Blame the radical white progressives

carolineglick.com

The Great Threat to America — and to American Jewry

As white progressives radicalized over the past decade, radical Jewish progressives built a formidable Jewish organizational framework whose mission is to advance the progressive revolution. They have worked to recast Judaism itself as the apotheosis of progressive revolutionary ideals under the banner of “tikkun olam.”

By Caroline Glick, June 5, 2020

Scattered among the thousands of cellphone videos depicting looting and destruction in the streets of America’s greatest cities are clips of a different sort. In these short videos, we see throngs of white people on their knees, bowing before black people and asking for forgiveness for their “white privilege” and the “structural racism” in the deplorable, irredeemable United States of America.

Earlier this week, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former vice president Joe Biden symbolically embraced these genuflecting denunciations of “white privilege” as the official position of the Democratic Party. Biden had himself photographed on bended knee with a group of African Americans standing behind him during a visit to a church in Wilmington, Delaware.

These videos point to a socio-political phenomenon that sparked the riots throughout the country following George Floyd’s brutal death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. They also make clear the reason that the liberal media in the U.S. continues to back the protests despite the fact that from the outset they have involved wide-scale violence, destruction and looting.

Contrary to the narrative being pushed by the media and America’s elites, the riots are not an consequence of increased police brutality towards African Americans. As Heather McDonald documented this week in the Wall Street Journal, over the past several years, police violence against black people has decreased significantly.

The violence we are seeing is a result of the steep radicalization of progressive white Americans. Biden gave voice to this radicalization last summer when, during a campaign appearance in Iowa he said, “We choose truth over facts.”

Last year, political scientist Zach Goldberg published an article in Tablet online magazine where he presented statistical data demonstrating the depth and breadth of the radicalization of white progressives over the past ten years. Goldberg revealed that between 2010-2019, white progressives became the only demographic group in U.S. history to prioritize the interests of other groups over its own interests. White progressives prioritize the advancement of the interests of minorities and immigrants over their own and over those of American society as a whole. Moreover, as Goldberg showed, white progressive positions on race and immigration are more extreme than the positions black, Latino, and Asian progressives hold on these issues.

Goldberg argues that the massive increase in internet usage by white progressives over the past decade is responsible for the radicalization. Online platforms have created an information bubble which has created a warped presentation of reality to those inside the bubble. In this warped reality, race relations are far worse than they are in reality. Hence, those who inhabit this bubble prefer “truth” as presented in the bubble to facts.

Goldberg is undoubtedly correct that the more time people spend inside their internet bubble the more removed they become from objective reality. But internet isn’t the only source of the radicalization. The Obama presidency was also a factor.

When Barack Obama won the presidential race in 2008, many Americans believed his victory was proof the United States had overcome its racist past. Obama however, did not support this view. Throughout his tenure in office, Obama used the power of his position to resonate and legitimize positions on race that until then had been relegated to the leftist margins of American politics.

Obama cultivated the view that far from being a post-racial society, America is inherently racist and that American racism is structural – that is, it was baked in and impossible to overcome. In so doing, Obama gave credence to the false claim at the heart of the riots: that black Americans are under continuous, existential threat from the state as a whole and from law enforcement bodies first and foremost. Calls by Hollywood celebrities and Obama administration alumni to defund the police take this view to its logical endpoint.

A third cause of the radicalization of white progressives is the higher education system. The more radicalized campuses are, the more radicalized graduates become.

The radicalization of white progressive politics has been given its most dramatic expression in the refusal of progressive mayors and governors to act forthrightly to end the violence in their streets. Instead, we had the likes of New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio (whose daughter arrested for participating in the mayhem), stand with those burning his city.

In a letter to police sergeants in the New York Police Department, Ed Mullen, President of the Sergeants Benevolent Association gave expression to the distress of New York police officers. “I know we are losing our city,” Mullen wrote.

“We have no leadership, no direction, and no plan. I know that you are being held back and used as pawns,” he continued.

He then asked the sergeants to hold the line.

“Remember,” he added, “you work for a higher authority.”

For American Jews, the violent riots constitute a challenge on several levels. First there is the challenge of squaring their political identity with their Jewish identity. As the 2014 Pew survey of American Jews showed, around half of American Jews identify as progressives. As progressives, many American Jews share the views of their non-Jewish progressive counterparts regarding the need to prioritize the interests of minority communities over their own interests.

But the Jews’ progressive desire to work on behalf of those demonstrating for African Americans places their political identity on a collision course with their Jewish identity. Black Lives Matter, the radical group leading the demonstrations, is an anti-Semitic organization. BLM was formed in 2014 as a merger of activists from the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam, the anti-Semitic Black Panthers and Dream Catchers. In 2016, BLM published a platform that has since been removed from its website. The platform accused Israel of committing “genocide” and referred to the Jewish state as an “apartheid” state. The platform accused Israel and its supporters of pushing the U.S. into wars in the Middle East. The platform also officially joined BLM with the anti-Semitic BDS campaign to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. BDS campaign leader Omar Barghouti acknowledged this week that the goal of the BDS campaign is to destroy Israel. BDS campaigns on U.S. campuses are characterized by bigotry and discrimination directed against Jewish students.

BLM’s platform’s publication was greeted with wall-to-wall condemnations by Jewish organizations from across the political spectrum. But today, Jewish progressive are hard-pressed to turn their backs on the group, despite its anti-Semitism. As white progressives, they believe they must fight America’s “structural racism” even at the cost of empowering social forces that reject their civil rights as Jews. As Jews, they feel that their rights should be protected. One progressive Jew tried to square the circle writing in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, “Today Jews need to support Black Lives Matter; tomorrow we can talk about Israel.”

As white progressives radicalized over the past decade, radical Jewish progressives built a formidable Jewish organizational framework whose mission is to advance the progressive revolution. They have worked to recast Judaism itself as the apotheosis of progressive revolutionary ideals under the banner of “tikkun olam.”

Last week Tablet published a twenty-thousand word essay titled “Bend the Jews,” on Bend the Arc, the flagship organization spawned by those efforts.

Bend the Arc first rose to the attention of the general public in 2018 in the wake of the massacre of worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The organization quickly put out a statement blaming President Donald Trump for the massacre. When Trump came to the congregations to pay his respects, Bend the Arc organized demonstrations against him.

Bend the Arc may not have members. But it has an annual budget of tens of millions of dollars. $28 million of its budget comes from three non-Jewish foundations which have no other foothold in Jewish organizational life. On the other hand, one of the funders, the Rockefeller Foundation is well known for its generous support for radical anti-Israel and BDS groups.

To achieve its goal of reshaping the world views of American Jews, among other things, Bend the Arc trains Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist rabbinical students. It also pays the salaries of associate rabbis in various communities. With many synagogues long steeped in financial crisis due to dwindling membership, Bend the Arc’s ability to pay rabbis makes its involvement with synagogue hiring an attractive option for many communities. This is doubly true for synagogues whose members are progressive.

As progressive politics paralyze Jews from acting against anti-Semites in their political camp, levels of anti-Semitic sentiment among white progressives are rising. As Goldberg reported, as white progressives became radicalized on issues related to minorities and immigration, they also turned against Israel. Today white progressives are hostile to Israel. And Goldberg argued that while they express support for Jews, “their sympathy toward and concern for Jews has become more conditional.”

What is it conditioned on? On Jews not being opposed by blacks or other minorities that are considered by white progressives to be less privileged than Jews are.

On the burning streets of America today, leftist Jew-hatred is on clear display. Although New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio has prevented New York police from taking firm action against looters and arsonists, he did instruct them to use all necessary force to prevent ultra-Orthodox Jewish children from going to school. Earlier this week police in Brooklyn chased a group of Hassidic children and their mothers off a playground in Williamsburg.

Even worse, synagogues have been vandalized in New York and Los Angeles. According to Yeshiva World News, 75 percent of Jewish-owned stores in an Orthodox enclave of Beverly Hills were looted last weekend. Graffiti in Los Angeles made clear that the businesses and neighborhoods were targeted deliberately because they are Jewish.

Between BLM’s establishment in 2014 and the publication of its platform in 2016, anti-Israel activists went to great lengths to create an utterly false conceptual linkage between the Palestinians and African Americans. Today, anti-Israel activists in the U.S. have stepped up their efforts to capitalize on the riots. Anti-Israel activists in Bethlehem painted a picture of George Floyd wearing a khaffiyeh and draped in a Palestinian flag on the separation barrier. Photos of the picture are being heavily promoted on social media.

Democrats believe the riots will wreck President Trump’s reelection hopes. Polls this week indicate that at least in the short term, the unrest is hurting Trump’s chances of being reelected. Then again, it’s possible the chaos in the streets will strengthen public support for President Trump who voters may view as the last bulwark separating them from national destruction.

Whether Trump wins or loses in November, the radicalization of white progressives at the heart of the mayhem represents the greatest short and long-term threat to social cohesion in America. It also represents the greatest threat to the communal future of American Jewry, to relations between the American Jewish community and the rest of the Jewish world, and to U.S.-Israel relations.

Originally published in Israel Hayom. 

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UK scientist warns of second wave

news.sky.com

Coronavirus: Vast majority of the population at risk if there’s a second wave, top scientist warns

The senior member of the Scientific Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which advises ministers on the pandemic, warned the vast majority of every population in every country remains susceptible to coronavirus – and if there is a second wave, many would be at risk of becoming infected.


One of the government’s scientific advisers has told Sky News that people have to assume a second wave of coronavirus “is coming”.

Sir Jeremy Farrar said that, although lockdown in the UK has suppressed COVID-19, it has not changed the fundamental way it transmits between humans and “we have not got rid of it”.

The senior member of the Scientific Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which advises ministers on the pandemic, warned the vast majority of every population in every country remains susceptible to coronavirus – and if there is a second wave, many would be at risk of becoming infected.

Speaking on Sky’s After The Pandemic: Our New World, he said: “This is now a human endemic infection. In the UK and much of the world, actually only about 6 or 8% of people have seen this infection and we hope are immune.

“That means over 90% of people have not seen yet this infection and are probably still susceptible to it.”

He added: “What countries have got to do is learn lessons from the first wave.

“Put in place things we didn’t get right in the first wave, and make sure when we come into the autumn and the winter this year when other infections – influenza – will be circulating as well, we have everything we need in place so we can reduce the impact of that second wave.”

Former chief medical officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said some nations that have got the virus under control have had more outbreaks and she said there could even be a third wave coming.

She said: “The countries that seem to have got rid of it still have cases popping up, and while it’s rattling around the world it will be very difficult to get rid of

“If you think about flu, it’s in the northern hemisphere, then it goes to the southern, it may mutate, but then it comes back round. And it just goes round year after year with different strains, and different changes.”

Dame Sally added: “It’s not gone away in Britain. We need to continue with the planning and the work that’s happening because, though I’m not a forecaster or a modeller, I would prefer to be prepared for a second, and even maybe a third wave.

“When we look back at 2009-10, the mild flu pandemic, we had three waves and so we can expect more of this. The question is – is it a big wave or is it because of the way we handle it, lots of little waves? It will go on until we are immune.”

Sir Jeremy, who also serves as director of the Wellcome Trust, also said he was “confident” there would be a successful vaccine “soon”, but cautioned: “What soon means I don’t know.”

He said: “We still don’t have vaccines for TB and malaria. We can’t put all hopes on a vaccine. Yes I’m optimistic, yes the science is progressing incredibly quickly all around the world, including here in the UK, but we can’t assume we will have a vaccine.”

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More efficient solar energy

sciencedaily.com

More efficient biosolar cells modelled on nature

In collaboration with the research group of Professor Wolfgang Schuhmann at RUB and the Israeli research group of Professor Noam Adir, Nowaczyk’s team has succeeded in producing a two-component bioelectrode. The main difficulty was the functional interaction of the multiprotein complexes, some of which were combined across species.


Potential sources of renewable energy include protein complexes that are responsible for photosynthesis. However, their efficiency in technical applications still leaves much to be desired. For example, they cannot convert green light into energy. A research team has successfully closed this so-called green gap by combining a photosynthesis protein complex with a light-collecting protein from cyanobacteria.

Imitating plants, algae and bacteria

Biosolar cells are an innovative concept for converting sunlight into electrical energy. They are manufactured using biological components from nature. At their core are so-called photosystems: large protein complexes that are responsible for energy conversion in plants, algae and cyanobacteria. Photosystem II, PSII for short, plays a central role in the process, because it can use water as an electron source for the generation of electricity.

Cooperation so far unsuccessful in the test tube

“However, as unique as PSII is, its efficiency is limited, because it can use merely a percentage of the sunlight,” explains Professor Marc Nowaczyk, Head of the Molecular Mechanisms of Photosynthesis project group at RUB. When it comes to the so-called green gap in particular, PSII is almost inactive. “Cyanobacteria have solved the problem by forming special light-collecting proteins, i.e. phycobilisomes, which also make use of this light. This cooperation works in nature, but not yet in the test tube.”

Super complexes use twice as many photons of the green gap

In collaboration with the research group of Professor Wolfgang Schuhmann at RUB and the Israeli research group of Professor Noam Adir, Nowaczyk’s team has succeeded in producing a two-component bioelectrode. The main difficulty was the functional interaction of the multiprotein complexes, some of which were combined across species.

The researchers stabilised these super complexes using short-chain chemical crosslinkers that permanently fix the proteins at a very short distance from each other. In the next step, they inserted them into appropriate electrode structures. “We mastered this challenge by using customised, three-dimensional and transparent electrodes in combination with redox-active hydrogels,” says Dr. Volker Hartmann, lead author of the study. This design enabled the researchers to use twice as many photons within the green gap, compared to a system without any light collection complexes.

Promising interim stage

The assembly of protein complexes in the test tube is considered a promising interim stage in the development of biological solar cells. The advantages of different species can thus be functionally combined in semi-artificial systems. In future, the researchers will be mainly focusing on optimising the production and life span of the biological components.

Funding

The research was funded by the Ruhr Explores Solvation Resolv Cluster of Excellence, the GRK 2341 Microbial Substrate Conversion Research School (Micon), which are financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the German-Israeli research project Nano-engineered opto-bioelectronics with biomaterials and bio-inspired assemblies under the auspices of the DFG and the Israel Science Foundation.

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Materials provided by Ruhr-University Bochum. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Israel invests in solar energy

pv-magazine.com

Israel wants another 15 GW of solar by 2030

“In the next decade, solar energy and electricity storage facilities will be set up on a scale equal to all existing electricity production in the country today,” said Steinitz in an official statement….The minister predicted renewables would meet around 80% of power demand by 2030, with gas covering the balance and coal phased out.

By Emiliano Bellini

Energy minister Yuval Steinitz has announced the country’s 2030 renewable energy target will rise to 30%, with solar expected to account for the lion’s share. Approximately $23 billion more clean energy investment is envisaged this decade.

Solar will be expected to do most of the clean energy heavy lifting in Israel.Image: edu_castro27/Pixabay

The Israeli government is betting hard on solar and energy storage to help the nation towards energy independence.

Energy minister Yuval Steinitz this week announced a new plan to deploy around 15 GW more solar capacity to help raise the 2030 target for the proportion of national electricity drawn from renewables from 17% to 30%.

“In the next decade, solar energy and electricity storage facilities will be set up on a scale equal to all existing electricity production in the country today,” said Steinitz in an official statement.

The minister predicted renewables would meet around 80% of power demand by 2030, with gas covering the balance and coal phased out.

The change, Steinitz added, will be driven by the private sector, with clean energy investment expected to reach around ILS80 billion ($23 billion).

Where?

The energy minister added, the Israeli Electricity Market Regulatory Authority is assessing grid capacity to identify the most suitable locations for PV project development as well as conducting quantitative analysis of the plan’s estimated costs and benefits.

A draft of the revised renewable energy target is open to public consultation and the government will accept feedback from stakeholders and citizens until June 18.

Steinitz had already announced a new energy and water infrastructure plan in late April, to help the country’s economy recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. That strategy included the deployment of 2 GW of solar generation capacity.

Israel had around 1.19 GW of solar capacity at the end of last year, according to International Renewable Energy Agency figures. Developers installed around 120 MW of solar in Israel last year.

The nation supports PV development through tenders for large scale projects and an incentive scheme for rooftop PV which includes net-metering and feed-in tariffs.

Emiliano Bellini

Emiliano joined pv magazine in March 2017. He has been reporting on solar and renewable energy since 2009.

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Another error in evolution theory

phys.org

The most popular textbook example of punctuated evolution debunked

The idea of fast-track evolution during speciation has been controversial. Critics of the theory of punctuated equilibrium found it difficult to believe that the leading to new species should be markedly different from the processes that cause already existing species to change.

by Bjarne Røsjø,

Reprinted from Phys.org, June 3, 2020

The most popular textbook example of punctuated evolution debunked
The picture shows the seven species of bryozoans that were used in the debunking.The white line is only 500 micrometers in length. Credit: JoAnn Sanner, The University of Chicago

Evolutionary biologists have for a long time disagreed on the rate of evolution when new species emerge. Are new species the result of gradual changes—as Charles Darwin suggested—or is evolution speeding up for short periods of time when new species evolve?

World renowned paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) formulated the theory of punctuated equilibrium together with Niles Eldredge (1943-) in 1972. The theory states that species remain more or less unaltered during their existence, with major evolutionary change happening during rapid events of speciation. As evidence for this view, Gould pointed to the fossil record.

According to Gould, the typically show that species do not change significantly after they emerge, and that major changes occurred when appeared.

Stephen Jay Gould was one of the twentieth century’s most famous and a bestselling popular science writer. Some even claimed that Gould was the foremost biologist of his time—perhaps the greatest since Charles Darwin himself—so his words have carried a lot of weight to this day.

In a new paper from researchers at the University of Oslo, the authors claim to have found several methodological problems in the most famous and well-trusted example supporting the theory of punctuated equilibrium.

“We find no evidence for punctuated evolution in our reanalysis of the most recognized dataset that Gould used to support his theory”, says Kjetil Lysne Voje at UiO’s Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) at the Department of Biosciences.

Textbook example is rejected

Fossils of the bryozoan genus Metrarabdotos—a group of aquatic invertebrates thoroughly investigated by the excellent paleobiologist Alan Cheetham—have been the prime example of punctuated evolution.

Gould called Metrarabdotos “the most brilliantly persuasive, and most meticulously documented, example ever presented for predominant (in this case, exclusive) punctuated equilibrium in a full lineage” (Gould 2002, page 827).

“We detected some critical methodological issues in the original work on Metrarabdotos. When we take the methodological issues into account, we do not find any evidence of punctuated evolution in our reanalysis of the Metrarabdotos data”, says Kjetil Lysne Voje.

Bryozoans are so small that scientists have to use an electron microscope to study them in detail, but they form colonies that can be quite large (up to 1 meter). Most bryozoans live in the sea, but there are also many species in fresh water. The bryozoan genus Metrarabdotos has been used as a textbook example in evolutionary biology and paleontology, showing how evolution speeds up when new species form compared to a much slower evolution of already established species.

“But our new results show nothing else than a gradual evolution of the bryozoan species both before, during and after the formation of new species”, emphasizes Voje.

The idea of fast-track evolution during speciation has been controversial. Critics of the theory of punctuated equilibrium found it difficult to believe that the leading to new species should be markedly different from the processes that cause already existing species to change.

“Species are continuously evolving and our results support the hypothesis that does not “behave” differently when new emerge”, says Voje.

The paper with the new results was published in the May issue of The American Naturalist.



More information: Kjetil Lysne Voje et al. Revisiting a Landmark Study System: No Evidence for a Punctuated Mode of Evolution in Metrarabdotos, The American Naturalist (2019). DOI: 10.1086/707664

Citation: The most popular textbook example of punctuated evolution debunked (2020, June 3) retrieved 4 June 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-06-popular-textbook-punctuated-evolution-debunked.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Rabbi discusses these challenging times

All Human Lives Matter

We have shown how much human life matters to us. We must continue to uphold safety rules as we begin to emerge into a chaotic society. We must be strong and resolute in advocating for our civil rights, our stores, and our synagogues and schools…by working in peaceful and productive ways toward opposing racism and defending and upholding everything that is great in this great country.

By Rabbi Hershel Billet
Rabbi, Young Israel of Woodmere
June 3, 2020
hbillet@gmail.com
Black lives absolutely matter.

Human life, in general, for all people – absolutely matters.

The past three months of our lives, we have made tremendous sacrifices precisely because we value human life infinitely. Not just Jewish life, but the lives of all humans.

How do we react to the chaos that rules America today?

As an Orthodox Jewish community we must condemn racism in the strongest possible terms! I recently shared with our community the story of my teacher Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, who demanded that his students attend a protest at the UN in 1968 when the  black Ibo tribe of Biafra was being ruthlessly annihilated in the Nigerian Civil War. RAL taught us that we must care for all human life and that we thus must rally against this genocide. We arose early, prayed vatikin, had a shiur for 2 hours, and then made our way to the UN on a frigid below zero morning. Of the sixty people who attended the rally, forty seven were white YU boys with their Rebbe.

There is a real history of racism in this country that Jews must actively oppose, especially given our own history of being victims of anti-Jewish racism. When our Congresswoman, Kathleen Rice, organized a meeting with black clergy after the shootings in the Carolina church, Rabbi Hain and I attended the meeting and we each expressed solidarity with the African American community who were the victims of horrific racism. Our fellow black clergymen were deeply appreciative of this Jewish expression of solidarity.

Black Jews also matter. I went to Ethiopia in 2006 with an Uri Ariel, an Israeli MK to try to lend support to the remaining black Jews left in that country. The State of Israel engineered two major missions to bring tens of thousands of black Ethiopian Jews to Israel during the last two decades of the previous century. Unfortunately, there is racism in Israel as well. But the black community in Israel is an important part of a diverse Israeli society, both in the IDF and in all parts of the social fabric. We must oppose racism there too.

The response of small but very vocal and violent segments of society in America during the last week has brought shame to America. As America struggles to slowly emerge from the Corona pandemic, we are assaulted by lawlessness. The riots, the theft, the looting, the graffiti, the destruction of property and the uncontrollable violence is disgraceful. The indiscriminate attacks on police officers all over the country is outrageous. And the anti-Semitic references by too many rioters is frightening to all of us.

Let me acknowledge that there is a problem of police brutality that disproportionately affects African Americans. We must oppose this trend. There are also a majority of police officers who are not racist and who are trying their best to protect all Americans and who are suffering deeply as a result of so much anti-police sentiment. We must support these officers. Violence and anarchy are never, ever the answer. Indeed, the violence is doing immense harm to the very people it claims to support. This should raise red flags for all Americans who oppose racism.

Who is responsible for these attacks? The riots are driven by extremists on the far left and on the far right who thrive on anarchy and chaos in American society. It is not a universal uprising of all black people! It must be noted that overwhelming majority of African Americans have nothing to do with the chaos. They too are victims of the hooligans.

From the perspective of our Jewish community, we must be wary and aware, because too often anti-Semitism converges within all of these movements, even though it has no rational or historical relationship with this American political and social problem. Although we as Jews must support measures to oppose racism in America, there is unfortunately a complicated history between Black Lives Matter and the Jews.

Wikipedia writes that “Black Lives Matter is international human rights movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. BLM regularly holds protests speaking out against police killings of black people, and broader issues such as racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.” It is noble to fight racial injustice. I support this aspect of the BLM platform. The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer was a heinous crime. But the movement has also been implicated in anti-Semitism, and this creates a major problem for me.

The Movement for Black Lives a group affiliated with Black Lives Matter issued a platform in 2016 which used the word “genocide” regarding Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. They have called Israel and apartheid state and they have advocated for BDS. They have condemned Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in the Golan Heights.

In an op-ed piece in the Boston Globe on August 12, 2016, Alan Dershowitz wrote, “It is a real tragedy that Black Lives Matter — which has done so much good in raising awareness of police abuses — has now moved away from its central mission and has declared war against the nation state of the Jewish people.” Dershowitz added that Black Lives Matter is not monolithic and “is a movement comprising numerous groups. … But the platform [which includes these statements about Israel] is the closest thing to a formal declaration of principles by Black Lives Matter.” He called on “all decent supporters of Black Lives Matter” to demand removal of the paragraph accusing Israel of genocide from the platform.

There is unfortunately also more subtle anti-Semitism, perpetuated at times by well-meaning people who have come to see a false zero-sum game between blacks and Jews. For example, in an article in today’s Jerusalem Post a well-meaning black Reverend, Anthony A. Johnson misses the point. He says, “Put yourselves in our shoes for a moment, imagine what the response of the Jewish community would be if George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery or Breonna Taylor were Jewish? No doubt it would reach biblical proportions.”

He is so off base. Countless Jews have been murdered in America, as a direct result of Anti-Semitism. Did America burn? Did anyone riot or destroy property? Did the outrages of today occur anywhere? The JPost also reported that on LA,“A number of kosher stores and synagogues were vandalized and looted in the uptown Los Angeles neighborhood of Fairfax, between Saturday night and Sunday morning, by people protesting police brutality following the killing of George Floyd……Some of the synagogues damaged as a result of vandalism, graffiti and looting by protesters….. It was also reported that Congregation Beth Israel, one of the oldest synagogues in Los Angeles and also on Beverly Boulevard, was defaced with antisemitic graffiti that read “F**k Israel” and “Free Palestine” scrawled along its walls.” Jews must stand with our African American brothers and sisters to help make positive change for them, but we must ask them to quash all forms of anti-Semitism in their ranks, too.

This brings me back home and back to today’s riots. We must know that what we are up against in these violent riots is an anti-American movement looking to disrupt normative American life, a movement that harms ALL Americans, including those it claims it supports. We must be prepared to articulate this to our elected officials and to the Police Department. We must support the NCPD.

We also must put things in the correct perspective. This is harmful for black Americans too. This does not help solve the real injustices suffered by that community. The greater African American community is not at fault. We must condemn racism and police brutality. I am confident that this too shall pass. We must continue to pray and to trust in G-d.

We have confronted Corona, we have suffered painful losses of friends and family, and we have remained strong. We have shown how much human life matters to us. We must continue to uphold safety rules as we begin to emerge into a chaotic society. We must be strong and resolute in advocating for our civil rights, our stores, and our synagogues and schools. This too shall pass. I have full confidence in the Nassau county Police Department.

Before I conclude, I want to acknowledge an event of violent rioting that affected the Jewish community exactly at this time of year, 79 years ago. On June 1-2, 1941, on Shavuot, a violent pogrom was perpetrated against the Jewish community of Baghdad in Iraq. In the rioting and looting which followed, more than 180 Jews were murdered, more than 1000 were injured, and Jewish property was destroyed all over the city. This event is known as the Farhud. It marked the beginning of the end of 2600 years of continuous Jewish communal life in Baghdad. Edwin Black has written an excellent book called, The Farhud, which I highly recommend if you wish to learn the details of this Jewish tragedy.

What America is experiencing now is its own ‘Farhud’. It is extreme violence with the goal of destroying the fabric of a great society. We must oppose this by working in peaceful and productive ways toward opposing racism and defending and upholding everything that is great in this great country.

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Reverse Type 2 diabetes

discovermagazine.com

Can You Reverse Type 2 Diabetes with Diet and Weight Loss?

Type 2 diabetes and obesity have been found to be major risk factors for mortality with COVID-19.  Both can be reversed with the same methods

Posted June 3, 2020

See videos below text


Text below is reprinted from Discover Magazine, December 28, 2019

By Alex Orlando,  December 28, 2019

https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/can-you-reverse-type-2-diabetes-with-diet-and-weight-loss

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes. The vast majority suffer from Type 2 diabetes, which arises when the body doesn’t process insulin properly. This causes blood sugar levels to rise and potentially triggers a host of other health problems, like heart disease, kidney disease and loss of vision. The disease has long been characterized as a chronic condition, requiring people to receive regular insulin injections, test their blood sugar levels and take medications.

However, a growing body of evidence suggests that reversing the condition — essentially, bringing blood sugar back to a non-diabetic level without meds — may be possible through diet and weight loss. In a 2016 study in Barbados, more than half of participants given a low-calorie, low-carb diet, in addition to fibrous fruits and vegetables, were able to reduce their blood sugar to non-diabetic levels. Weight-loss surgery has also been used as a technique to keep diabetes at bay.

But not everybody can control their blood sugar levels without medication, particularly in the disease’s later stages. And experts caution that major lifestyle changes involving diet can be difficult for many people to maintain.

“Often times, people will go on these very restrictive, low-calorie diets,” says Ann Albright, director of the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The evidence is clear that, for a majority of people, those are not sustainable.”

Videos posted from YouTube by CNP Webmaster

Can a person be “cured” of Type 2 Diabetes? Dr. Sarah Hallberg provides compelling evidence that it can, and the solution is simpler than you might think.

Diabetes is a curable disease. As a dietary disease, it demands a dietary treatment. Dr. Jason Fung explains.  The principles are outlined here.

Insulin resistance has become a huge problem in our culture and it can lead to many of the chronic health problems we see today, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, insulin resistance can cause many of the symptoms most women attribute to menopause. In this video Dr. Northrup shares everything you need to know about insulin resistance and how you can reverse it.

 

 

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Concern over published studies

sciencemag.org

A mysterious company’s coronavirus papers in top medical journals may be unraveling

Today, The Lancet issued an Expression of Concern (EOC) saying “important scientific questions have been raised about data” in the paper and noting that “an independent audit of the provenance and validity of the data has been commissioned by the authors not affiliated with Surgisphere and is ongoing, with results expected very shortly.”

By Kelly Servick, Martin Enserink

A hydroxychloroquine study is being audited.AP Photo/John Locher

Sciences COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center.

On its face, it was a major finding: Antimalarial drugs touted by the White House as possible COVID-19 treatments looked to be not just ineffective, but downright deadly. A study published on 22 May in The Lancet used hospital records procured by a little-known data analytics company called Surgisphere to conclude that coronavirus patients taking chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine were more likely to show an irregular heart rhythm—a known side effect thought to be rare—and were more likely to die in the hospital.

Within days, some large randomized trials of the drugs—the type that might prove or disprove the retrospective study’s analysis—screeched to a halt. Solidarity, the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) megatrial of potential COVID-19 treatments, paused recruitment into its hydroxychloroquine arm, for example. (Update: At a briefing on 3 June WHO announced it would resume that arm of the study.)

But just as quickly, the Lancet results have begun to unravel—and Surgisphere, which provided patient data for two other high-profile COVID-19 papers, has come under withering online scrutiny from researchers and amateur sleuths. They have pointed out many red flags in the Lancet paper, including the astonishing number of patients involved and details about their demographics and prescribed dosing that seem implausible. “It began to stretch and stretch and stretch credulity,” says Nicholas White, a malaria researcher at Mahidol University in Bangkok.

Today, The Lancet issued an Expression of Concern (EOC) saying “important scientific questions have been raised about data” in the paper and noting that “an independent audit of the provenance and validity of the data has been commissioned by the authors not affiliated with Surgisphere and is ongoing, with results expected very shortly.”

Hours earlier, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) issued its own EOC about a second study using Surgisphere data, published on 1 May. The paper reported that taking certain blood pressure drugs including angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors didn’t appear to increase the risk of death among COVID-19 patients, as some researchers had suggested. (Several studies analyzing other groups of COVID-19 patients support the NEJM results.) “Recently, substantive concerns have been raised about the quality of the information in that database,” an NEJM statement noted. “We have asked the authors to provide evidence that the data are reliable.”

A third COVID-19 study using Surgisphere data has also drawn fire. In a preprint first posted in early April, Surgisphere founder and CEO Sapan Desai and co-authors conclude that ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, dramatically reduced mortality in COVID-19 patients. In Latin America, where ivermectin is widely available, that study has led government officials to authorize the drug—although with precautions—creating a surge in demand in several countries.

Chicago-based Surgisphere has not publicly released the data underlying the studies, but today Desai told Science through a spokesperson that he was “arranging a nondisclosure agreement that will provide the authors of the NEJM paper with the data access requested by NEJM.”

Meanwhile, the questions swirling around the Lancet paper have left leaders of the halted chloroquine trials weighing whether to restart. “The problem is, we are left with all the damage that has been done,” says White, a co-investigator on a trial of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 prevention that was halted at the request of U.K. regulators last week. Headlines proclaiming deadly effects will make it hard to recruit patients to key studies, he says. “The whole world thinks now that these drugs are poisonous.”

A striking observation

Desai’s co-authors on the Lancet paper were cardiologist Mandeep Mehra of Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), cardiologist Frank Ruschitzka of the University Hospital Zürich, and cardiac surgeon Amit Patel, who listed affiliations with the University of Utah and HCA Research Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. Their study described an analysis of Surgisphere-provided electronic health record data from patients already treated for COVID-19 at 671 hospitals on six continents.

According to the paper, the analysis included nearly 15,000 patients prescribed chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, alone or in combination with a class of antibiotics that has been suggested to boost its effects. A control group consisted of more than 81,000 patients who hadn’t gotten the experimental drugs. After controlling for potentially confounding factors such as age, race, pre-existing disease, and COVID-19 severity, the researchers found that the risk of dying in the hospital was 9.3% for the control group versus 23.8% for those getting hydroxychloroquine alongside an antibiotic—apparently the riskiest of the treatment combinations. The results echoed a preprint published last month, based on a much smaller group of patients in U.S. Veterans Health Administration medical centers, which suggested an increased risk of death for patients who were prescribed hydroxychloroquine alone (though not in combination with an antibiotic).

In 25 May media briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cited the Lancet results in announcing a “temporary pause” in Solidarity’s hydroxychloroquine arm. Regulators in France and the United Kingdom also instructed investigators, including White’s team, to halt enrollment in trials of the malaria drug. And Sanofi, which manufactures the branded hydroxychloroquine drug Plaquenil, said it would temporarily stop recruiting patients to its two clinical trials of the drug.

The Lancet authors acknowledged their results needed confirmation from more rigorous randomized trials, but in an interview with TRT World, a Turkish channel for international news, Desai expressed confidence. “The real question is: With data like this, do we even need a randomized controlled trial?” he said.

Other researchers immediately took issue with the analysis. The study doesn’t properly control for the likelihood that patients getting the experimental drugs were sicker than the controls, says Matthew Semler, a critical care physician at Vanderbilt University. If you have a physician sitting with two patients who have coronavirus, and the physician chooses to give one of them hydroxychloroquine, theyre doing it for a reason,” he says. The patient may be relying on high levels of supplemental oxygen, for example, or getting worse over time. But those kinds of details aren’t available about the patients in the Lancet study, he notes.

Other researchers were befuddled by the data themselves. Though 66% of the patients were reportedly treated in North America, the reported doses tended to be higher than the guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, White notes. The authors claim to have included 4402 patients in Africa, 561 of whom died, but it seems unlikely that African hospitals would have detailed electronic health records for so many patients, White says.

The study also reported more deaths in Australian hospitals than the country’s official COVID-19 death statistics, The Guardian reported. On 29 May, The Lancet issued a correction updating a supplemental table and saying that a hospital assigned to the study’s “Australasia” group should have been assigned to Asia. There have been no changes to the findings of the paper,” the correction notice said.

Deepening skepticism

The brief response left some researchers frustrated. “This was very, very annoying, that The Lancet were just going to let them write this absurd reply … without addressing any of the other concerns,” says James Watson, a statistician at Mahidol who on 28 May published an open letter to the journal and the study’s co-authors, signed by more than 200 clinicians and researchers, that calls for the release of Surgisphere’s hospital-level data, an independent validation of the results, and publication of the peer review comments that led to the Lancet publication.

Today, many of the same researchers published an open letter to NEJM and the authors of the ACE inhibitor study, citing similar problems in that journal’s paper. The letter notes a discrepancy between the small number of hospitals in each country that are reported to have shared patient data with Surgisphere and the high proportion of those countries’ confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the study. It also notes inconsistencies in the reported increases in the risk of COVID-19 death with increasing age of participants.

Mehra and Patel declined to speak to reporters about the various papers, referring inquiries to BWH, which released a statement on Mehra’s behalf this evening saying “independent of Surgisphere, the remaining co-authors of the recent studies published in The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine have initiated independent reviews of the data used in both papers after learning of the concerns that have been raised about the reliability of the database.” (Ruschitzka, who is on the Lancet paper, has not yet responded to Science’s requests for comment.)

Oddities also appear in the ivermectin study, says Carlos Chaccour of the Institute for Global Health in Barcelona, who knows the drug well because he’s studying its potential role in mosquito control. There’s evidence that ivermectin has antiviral properties, and a study from an Australian team published in Antiviral Research on 3 April showed that it inhibits SARS-CoV-2 in a test tube. A 6 April preprint co-authored by Patel, Desai, and Mehra, along with David Grainger of the University of Utah, used Surgisphere data reportedly collected at 169 hospitals around the world between 1 January and 1 March. It included three patients in Africa who received ivermectin—despite the fact that only two COVID-19 cases had been reported in all of Africa by 1 March, Chaccour and two colleagues note in a recent blog post.

Chaccour says after he inquired about the discrepancy, the authors posted a second, longer version of the manuscript on 19 April, containing data collected between 1 January and 31 March. (The first version was removed but Chaccour has archived it on his institute’s website.) The new manuscript contained data on 704 COVID-19 patients treated with ivermectin and 704 controls in 169 hospitals on three continents. It reported that ivermectin reduced the need for mechanical ventilation by 65% and slashed the death rate by 83%.

But the revision had other problems, Chaccour and his colleagues wrote in their blog post. For example, the mortality rate for patients who received mechanical ventilation but no ivermectin was just 21%, which is strikingly low; a recent case series from New York City area found that 88% of COVID-19 patients who needed ventilation died. Also, the data shown in a figure were wildly different from those reported in the text. (Science also attempted to reach Grainger, but received no reply to an email and call.)

The ivermectin study has had a significant impact in Latin America, where the drug is well known and often sold over the counter to treat scabies, Chaccour says. The Peruvian Health Ministry modified its COVID-19 treatment protocol to include ivermectin (as well as hydroxychloroquine) for mild and severe cases of COVID-19. Demand for the drug in Peru has surged, and in the San Martín de Porres district, police confiscated 20,000 bottles of veterinary ivermectin intended to be sold for human treatments. In Trinidad, Bolivia, the city government aimed to hand out more than 350,000 free doses of ivermectin after the country’s Ministry of Health authorized its use against COVID-19. Physicians in the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Chile, citing the test tube study and the Surgisphere preprint, say they performed informal trials of ivermectin with COVID-19 patients and saw good outcomes.

(In a guest editorial in The American Journal of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Chaccour and three colleagues cautioned against the risks of using ivermectin without solid evidence and urged rigorous clinical trials. Eighteen such studies are ongoing, according to the website ClinicalTrials.gov, including one led by Chaccour in Pamplona, Spain.)

Surgisphere’s sparse online presence—the website doesn’t list any of its partner hospitals by name or identify its scientific advisory board, for example—have prompted intense skepticism. Physician and entrepreneur James Todaro of the investment fund Blocktown Capital wondered in a blog post why Surgisphere’s enormous database doesn’t appear to have been used in peer-reviewed research studies until May. Another post, from data scientist Peter Ellis of the management consulting firm Nous Group, questioned how LinkedIn could list only five Surgisphere employees—all but Desai apparently lacking a scientific or medical background—if the company really provides software to hundreds of hospitals to coordinate the collection of sensitive data from electronic health records. (This morning, the number of employees on LinkedIn had dropped to three.) And Chaccour wonders how such a tiny company was able to reach data-sharing agreements with hundreds of hospitals around the world that use many different languages and data recording systems, while adhering to the rules of 46 different countries on research ethics and data protection.

Desai’s spokesperson responded to inquiries about the company by saying it has 11 employees and has been developing its database since 2008. Desai, through the spokesperson, also said of the company’s work with patient data: “We use a great deal of artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate this process as much as possible, which is the only way a task like this is even possible.”

What next?

The potential of hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19 has become a political flashpoint, and the questions around the Lancet paper have provided new fodder to the drug’s supporters. French microbiologist Didier Raoult, whose own widely criticized studies suggested a benefit from the drug, derided the new study in a video posted today, calling the authors “incompetent.” On social media, some speculated that the paper was part of a conspiracy against hydroxychloroquine.

For scientists running randomized trials of hydroxychloroquine, an urgent question has been how to respond to the paper and the many questions raised about it. Some studies were not halted at all. A hydroxychloroquine trial known as ORCHID, funded by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, opted to keep running after its data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) reviewed safety data from already enrolled participants, says Semler, a co-investigator on the study.

WHO’s paused Solidarity trial is awaiting a similar review from its DSMB, says Soumya Swaminathan, the organization’s chief scientist. The pause will allow time for a review of published studies and interim data from Solidarity itself, she says. WHO paused the trial to show investigators and potential study participants that the agency takes safety issues seriously, she says. We want to reassure people that the WHO didnt make any kind of value judgment on the use of hydroxychloroquine.”

But some say WHO had a knee-jerk reaction to a questionable study. “This is a drug that has been used for decades. Its not like we know nothing about its safety,” says Miguel Hernán, a Harvard epidemiologist and co-investigator on an ongoing trial of hydroxychloroquine in Spain and Latin America for COVID-19 prevention in health care workers.

The controversy has been an unfortunate distraction, Hernán adds. If you do something as inflammatory as this without a solid foundation, you are going to make a lot of people waste time trying to understand what is going on.”

Chaccour says both NEJM and The Lancet should have scrutinized the provenance of Surgisphere’s data more closely before publishing the studies. “Here we are in the middle of a pandemic with hundreds of thousands of deaths, and the two most prestigious medical journals have failed us,” he says.

With reporting by Rodrigo Pérez Ortega, Charlie Piller, and John Travis.

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