The Arrow #102
Greetings from Montecito.
Came back for Christmas with the fam here and so MD could sing in her Christmas concert with the Santa Barbara Choral Society. I went to the performance last Saturday evening, and it was superb. It was in the 600+ seat Lobero Theater, opened in 1873 and California’s oldest continuously operating theater (and the country’s 4th oldest). Here is the program, if you’re interested.
MD is just to the right of the harp in this photo. During part of the concert, a handful of kids from The Music Academy’s SING! program join the chorus. They are right in the middle in the photo below.
While watching them sing, all I could think of is that this must have been what MD was like as a little girl. She has sung publicly since she was practically a babe in arms, so I’m sure she performed in venues like this countless times long, long before I met her.
On another note—and about MD—I want to thank everyone who sent typos via either the comments or emails. I make them; MD is supposed to catch them. We both missed a bunch, so I’m grateful that future readers won’t have to stumble on them thanks to your efforts. Please continue to send them when you find them. Comments are probably the best place, because you can then see if someone else beat you to it.
Having authored or co-authored ten books with mainstream publishers, I can tell you that all the typos never get caught. Both MD and I proof what the other has written before we send it to the publisher. The editor we work with goes through and catches a bunch of typos and sends the manuscript back. MD and I go through it and make the suggested changes and, along the way, we both find typos we missed and the editor missed. Then it goes to the copy editor. Copy editors are the most anal people on earth. They go through and find every little thing, including more typos. Then MD and I go through the copy edited manuscript before it’s sent to the printer, and we pick up a typo of two that all of us missed. Then the book gets printed and sent to bookstores. And there will invariably be a few typos still. They’re like cockroaches. Impossible to get rid of completely.
Each week I hear from a few people tell me they didn’t get their Arrow. It happened when I sent them through my old platform, and I still get such missives now that I’m on Substack. I guess somehow a few just don’t get sent each week due to some glitch in the system. What’s nice about Substack is that if you don’t get your Arrow by late Thursday, you can go to https://michaeleades.substack.com and find it there.
Or look in your spam folder. I have no idea how spam filters work, but I do know they screw up frequently. Just this past week an old golfing buddy from Santa Barbara, from whom I’ve probably gotten 500 emails over the years, had four of his stuck in my spam folder. Which I found when I cleaned it out. Which I need to do more often.
So, if you don’t get your Arrow, check spam, or go to the link above.
Traffic in LA
All I can say is Wow! I got more email and more comments on my commentary about driving among the brain dead in LA last week than on anything I’ve ever written about in The Arrow. For every comment or email I got, there were probably five to ten times that many who felt the same way, but didn’t write or comment.
I don’t know how it came across, but I didn’t intend to imply that I was driving at 80-85 mph on the freeway and getting pissed at people who were driving the speed limit. People weren’t driving the speed limit—they were poking along. In all lanes, including the left lane. It was like all the drivers on the freeway were driving through molasses or trying to drive in slow motion. I left in plenty of time to be at my destination a bit early given typical LA traffic, but ended up being 30 minutes late, because all the drivers seemed to be brain dead or on dope.
I attributed to vax brain in what I wrote, but I don’t know what it was. The lockdowns have set children back a few years, six million people who were formerly working are now sitting home playing video games instead. And not because they can’t get jobs—they just decided they liked sitting home playing video games better than they did working. There has been a change in society, including drivers on the LA freeway (at least on my n=2 experience last week). Is it driven by the vaccines? By the lockdowns? Who knows?
I sort of wish I had to drive back down to LA before we go back to Dallas, just so I could see if that day was a one off. I don’t have to drive back down there, though, and I wouldn’t do it just as an experiment. So, it’s still an n=2 (down there and back). According to my kid, who was with me, it’s been getting more and more like that. When I get back here in a couple of months, I’ll have to go down there for an appointment I already have scheduled in March. I’ll keep you posted.
Okay, on to other things.
How about a story encompassing an A-list Hollywood celebrity, Paul Graham’s submarine, a powerful weight-loss drug, and a brand new study, the arrival of which in my email a couple of days ago inspired this write up. How do all these tie together? Let’s take a look.
Weight-Loss Drugs or Low-Carb Diet?
It all started years ago when I read Paul Graham’s essay “The Submarine,” which is a must read for anyone who wants to make sense of how the media works. It’s about the power wielded on behalf of their clients by public relations (PR) firms. Whenever you read positive ‘news’ about a product or person, odds are it was placed there by a PR agency. Not a marketing firm, but a PR agency.
What’s the difference? A big one.
Let’s say you developed a new product you want to promote and sell. If you had the funds, you could go to a marketing firm and have the associates working there buy you a full page ad in the New York Times touting the advantages of your new product. It would not be an inexpensive proposition as neither marketing firms nor full-page ads in the New York Times come cheaply.
Alternatively, for a lot less money, you could hire on a big-time PR agency. If it’s a big company, the people there will have all kinds of contacts at all the big media outlets, including the New York Times. Journalists are always looking for stories and PR firms are always around to provide them. Your PR firm reaches out to the reporter at the New York Times who writes articles about products such as the one you’ve just come out with. And, if you’re lucky, you could get a full page story in the New York Times about your product.
Which do you think would sell more of your product? The ad, which is obviously an ad, or the piece extolling the virtues of your product in a supposedly independent article?
But can this really happen? You bet it can. It happened to us.
Back in 2009, when we started our family sous-vide business, we hired a Seattle-based PR firm for what I thought was the jaw-dropping fee of $12,500 per month plus expenses. They ended up getting us all kinds of articles in newspapers and magazines everywhere. They set up a coast-to-coast PR tour for us starting in Vancouver and ending up in New York. We had gotten to know the famous, famous chef Heston Blumenthal from the UK, who joined us on the tour. And we ended up getting a big article about us, our product, and sous vide cooking plastered all over the front page of the food section of the New York Times. An ad as large and as well placed would have cost three times as much and would have sold a fraction of the product that one article did.
Here is a link to that article. I can still send it around. And post it on our website. If it were a big ad we had paid for, would you have been anywhere near as impressed?
The point of this tale so far is not that we got into a major newspaper. The point is the same one Paul Graham made in his linked essay above. PR is a submarine running silently beneath most everything you read in the paper, see in a magazine, or watch on TV. If you hear of a trend, you can bet that a PR firm somewhere kicked it off. If you start to see some new actor or actress show up on all the talk shows and all gossip rags, you can be sure a PR firm, paid by a studio somewhere, was involved.
With that as a preface, let’s talk celebs. Just keep the idea of the PR submarine in the back of your mind.
The last day before MD and I left to go back to Texas a month ago, I played a round of golf with a true A-List Hollywood celebrity. As happens in rounds of golf, all kinds of things come up in conversation. In this round—on the 11th hole, if you must know—talk turned to weight loss. The celeb tells me “everyone in Hollywood” including he, himself, is on Wegovy. He tells me it’s great, that he isn’t really ever hungry, and that he can eat pretty much what he wants and still stays thin. He is a middle-aged guy and is flat bellied.
He emphasized that just about everyone he knew in the biz was on the drug. And loved it.
Wegovy, generic name semaglutide, is in the class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists. GLP-1 is short for glucagon-like peptide 1, which is an incretin hormone released in the lower part of the GI tract in response to food. When certain foods reach the lower end of the small bowel, they stimulate the release of this hormone from cells in the small bowel called L-cells. The hormone travels through the blood to the pancreas where it stimulates the release of insulin and inhibits the release of glucagon. And it feeds back on the GI tract to slow down the transit of food, which makes you feel full and less hungry.
Here is a graphic I used to show the effects of GLP-1 in a talk I gave:
As you can see, GLP-1 does a lot of good things metabolically.
When people develop type 1 diabetes, they can produce no, or very little, insulin while at the same time producing a ton of glucagon. This continuous release of glucagon drives the liver to continuously produce glucose, which, of course, runs glucose sky high.
The fact that GLP-1 does just the opposite—it increases the release of insulin while inhibiting the release of glucagon and increasing insulin sensitivity—attracted the attention of pharmaceutical research scientists, who are always on the lookout for new drugs to treat the booming diabetic epidemic. Then they found one in semaglutide, which works by stimulating the GLP-1 receptors to produce more of the hormone. (Drugs that stimulate receptors are called agonists.)
Novo Nordisk released the new drug under the trade name Ozempic, which was an anti-diabetic drug. It was designed to be used as a weekly subcutaneous injection, with dosage to increase over time until blood sugar stabilization, or until maximum dosage was reached.
It didn’t take long before the manufacturer of the drug figured out it could be used as a weight loss drug as well as an anti-diabetes drug. And that the profits from an anti-obesity drug would dwarf those of Ozempic. Thus Wegovy was born. Same drug, different name, different dosage.
Wegovy, like Ozempic, is given subcutaneously once per week. The dosage of Wegovy starts low and moves upward over time until a max of 2.4mg/week is reached. (Which is a bit higher than the max for Ozempic (2.0mg/wk).)
If you look at the package insert for Wegovy, you’ll notice a couple of things.
First is a big warning about the risk of a specific type of thyroid cancer. Followed down the page with a recitation of possible adverse reactions from taking the drug:
Next comes the indications for use.
See that first figure of 30 kg/m2 or greater? (Kg per square meter is how BMI is measured.)
Here is how the CDC classifies obesity as a function of BMI.
To fit the Wegovy indication for usage as described in the package insert, you must have a BMI of at least 30. Or higher. Which the CDC classifies as obese.
Or you must have a BMI of at least 27, which is right in the middle of the Overweight category, AND at least one of the other “weight-related comorbid condition[s]” described in the insert.
I can assure you that my new A-List Hollywood friend did not have a BMI of even 25. Nor do most of the folks you see from Hollywood. But “everyone” there is on Wegovy. Supposedly, as my friend told me, because they’re never hungry and they can eat what they want to eat when they do eat.
They had better be making star wages, because Wegovy costs around $1,500 per month.
Note: To forestall a bunch of emails and comments, I know BMI is a lousy measure of obesity. Most professional athletes with low to normal body fat can have high BMIs. But when you’re looking at average Joes and Jills, BMI is okay. I’m not crazy about it. I would much rather use body fat percentage as a measure of what’s going on. But it is vastly more difficult to calculate accurately than is BMI.
So, here we have a drug Wegovy, a GLP-1 agonist, that should help us lose weight, but at a fairly hefty price.
Does it really work?
I had, of course, heard of Wegovy, but I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to it. I came home after my time with my new friend and looked up the papers. And took a run through YouTube to see if I could find any physicians with hands on experience talking about it. I did indeed find a bunch of them. And most were practically orgasmic about the drug’s efficacy. Go to YouTube and enter “semaglutide,” and you’ll see what I mean.
And, then, of course, there is a nice article in Variety, the Hollywood trade rag about how everyone is going wild over Ozempic, Wegovy’s predecessor. Remember the submarine. I’m sure Novo Nordisk has a big-time PR company working for it full time.
Here is the set up:
304 subjects (68 men; 236 women) were randomized into a control group (152) and a study group (152).
Those in the study group got an injection of 2.4 mg semaglutide weekly; those in the control group got a weekly injection of placebo.
Both groups received “behavioral intervention,” whatever that is. It wasn’t defined in the study.
The subjects in both groups had BMIs of ~38.5, which almost reaches the state of morbid obesity (BMI of 40 or higher).
The study ran for two years.
The results were pretty impressive:
A few interesting items of note in this data.
First, it is most impressive. I’ve been around the weight-loss business for a long time, and these results are by far and away the best I’ve ever seen in any drug or drug combination I’ve seen tested. Those subjects in the study group lost massive amounts of weight as compared to those in the placebo group, who lost almost no weight. Which tells you the value of the “behavioral intervention” applied.
Second, you can start to see in the study group a flattening of the weight-loss curve at the 68-week point. And an uptick in weight in this group toward the end of the study. What does this mean? Does it mean that at about 68 weeks the drug starts to lose its effectiveness? Does the weight start to pile back on starting at about 100 weeks?
Third, look at the small print at the bottom of the graphic above. It’s a listing of how many subjects were still in the study at any given point. Notice how many subjects in the placebo group bailed out as time went on. Their numbers got smaller and smaller as time went on, while those in the study group stayed almost the same. Obviously those in the placebo group were not losing weight, and, I’m sure, became less than excited to show up every week and get jabbed. Especially if they were in the same waiting room with those subjects in the study group, who were losing like crazy.
Losing like crazy for a while.
At the 68-week point, it looks as if the weight loss maxed out at around 17 percent of original body weight. Based on a starting body weight of ~235 pounds, this would represent about a 40 pound weight loss, which is not insignificant. But that would represent a weight at that time of ~195 pounds per subject.
I reverse engineered the BMI to discover the average height, which turns out to be ~5 ft 5.5 inches. A normal weight for someone who is 5ft 5.5 inches tall would range anywhere from 125 pounds to 140 pounds. So these subjects are still carrying 55 to 70 pounds of extra weight. And that excess weight is beginning to increase over the lowest to the tune of almost 5 pounds. Who knows how much would come back on had the study continued?
Although a 40 pound weight loss is nothing to sneeze at, that, or more, could pretty easily have been lost over two years by following a low-carb or ketogenic diet. The virtue, if it is such, of the semaglutide is the 40 pound loss came without dieting. But if it all comes back, it’s all for naught except during the period when the weight loss is at its max.
The big question is what happens to these folks when they quit getting their weekly injections of semaglutide?
Well, fortunately, we don’t have to wonder. That situation has already been studied.
This study had a lot more participants than did the study above. There were 1961 subjects overall, with about two thirds in the study group and one third in the placebo group.
Starting weights, BMI, etc. were pretty much the same as in the study above.
Subjects in the study group got subcutaneous injections of 2.4 mg of semaglutide, while the control group got injections of placebo. But this time, the injections ended after 68 weeks, but the follow up continued for another year.
Here’s what happened:
As you can see above, after these subjects stopped getting their semaglutide injections, their lost weight came back quickly.
In their conclusion the authors write:
One year after withdrawal of once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide 2.4 mg and lifestyle intervention, participants regained two-thirds of their prior weight loss, with similar changes in cardiometabolic variables. Findings confirm the chronicity of obesity and suggest ongoing treatment is required to maintain improvements in weight and health.
So, we’ve got an expensive drug that does work. For at least 68 weeks. But then it starts to fail. No one tried bumping the dose, but when you do that, that’s when side effects start to emerge.
What it all boils down to is that despite the availability of a new, powerful weight-loss drug, the only hope for long-term weight loss is a change in diet and lifestyle.
Which brings me to the final part of this long tale.
Just two days ago, I come across a brand new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
This one, like most, has its pluses and minuses. Researchers in Denmark started with 185 overweight subjects with type 2 diabetes and NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), then randomized them in a 2:1 ratio into either a low-carb diet group or a low-fat diet group.
These subjects in this study were a little less obese than the subjects in the previously discussed studies (BMI from 33-35) and with about the same breakdown of men and women.
The 124 who ended up in the low-carb group were instructed to consume 50-60 percent fat, 25-30 percent protein, and to keep their carbs below 20 percent. The 61 who were to follow the low-fat diet were asked to eat 50-60 percent of their calories as carbohydrate, 20-30 percent as fat, and 20 to 25 percent as protein. Neither group was told to restrict calories.
The nice thing about this study is that there was no caloric restriction in either group, so we’re truly comparing apples to apples. Many studies looking at low-carb diets have the group in the low-carb arm restrict only carbohydrates, while those in the low-fat group are told to restrict calories. Even then, the low-carb diet generally comes out on top.
Most low-carb books instruct their readers to keep carbs within a certain range and eat all the fat and protein they want. Low-fat books, on the other hand, tell their readers to keep their fat intake below a certain percentage—usually 25-30 percent—and eat all the carbs they want. So this study is a good comparison between overweight people who grab a low-carb book versus those who grab a low-fat book. The scales aren’t tipped in favor of one over the other.
My gripe about the study is that if I were constructing the low-carb diet, I would have cut the carbs even more and bumped the fat intake.
The study was designed to see if there was a difference in outcome in terms of diabetes and fatty liver disease. They looked at weight as well, but that wasn’t the main thrust of the study.
As you might expect, the low-carb diet triumphed on all counts except for one, which we don’t care about anyway. LDL-cholesterol levels fell on the low-carb diet, but didn’t fall as far as they did with the low-fat. But who cares?
HgbA1c dropped, insulin sensitivity increased, and measures of fatty liver disease improved—all more in those on the low-carb diet as compared to those on the low-fat diet.
Even though it wasn’t a weight-loss study and even though the researchers weren’t interested in weight loss, they did measure it. And a full-calorie low-carb diet brought about more weight loss than did a low-fat diet. How much more? Those on the low-carb diet lost an average of 12.1 pounds over the six months, while those on the low-fat, high-carb diet lost, on average, 3.74 pounds. So those following the no-calorie-counting low-carb diet lost 8.34 pounds more than those on the low-fat diet.
But the study didn’t end in six months. What ended in six months was the hands-on care and follow up with the study subjects. I don’t know how much of that there was because the study itself doesn’t specify how often the subjects came in for rechecks. But the study does say that some diabetic medications were readjusted during the study, which would imply some ongoing interaction. The researchers checked the lab data at the onset, at three months, and at the end of six months.
Then the subjects were freed to go back to eating however they wanted. They were basically released from the study with a request to come back in three months for their last evaluation.
On that three month post-intervention evaluation, most of the improvement from the low-carb diet was gone. The lab values of both the low-carb subjects and the low-fat subjects merged. The low-carbers were still a little better off in terms of lab values, but the difference wasn’t statistically significant. If you believe in that.
What the outcome of this study—and doubtless the experience of most of you reading this—reveals is that dietary changes need to be permanent to maintain good health.
If you’ve got a condition that is improved by a low-carb or ketogenic diet, that means you have a metabolic issue with carbohydrates. And, as Samuel Johnson would have said, “there’s an end on’t.”
Let’s say you came to see me for high blood pressure, and I put you on a medication to treat it. If your blood pressure dropped to the normal range, you would understand it was because of the medication. You wouldn’t think—I hope—that your blood pressure had been cured. And that you could quit the medication. If you did quit the medication and your blood pressure went up, you probably wouldn’t be surprised.
It’s exactly the same with diet. You’ve got to look upon it as medicine. You can’t just stick with it till you get to your goal weight, then say, Well, I’m glad that’s over. And go face down in the donuts.
The longer you can stay at your lower ideal weight, the easier it is to maintain. And the more leeway you have to veer from your diet here and there on special occasions. But you have to more or less stick to it. And understand that you have an underlying metabolic condition you’re treating. If you didn’t have the condition, you wouldn’t have been overweight in the first place.
But here is the kicker. The pharmaceutical industry wants you to believe long-term weight loss maintenance is an unachievable goal for most people. Obesity is a disease. And, as such, it should be treated with drugs.
Many physicians feel the same way. Here is a tweet from a physician with a big Twitter following, who loves Wegovy. Many docs feel just as he does.
As you might imagine, Big Pharma is all aboard as well. This article just came today in Trial Site News. It’s behind a paywall, but the headline says it all.
Here is an excerpt:
In the first three months of 2022, Novo Nordisk earned $283.5 million in sales from Wegovy’s weight loss predecessor, Saxenda. The sale of the obesity drugs for the manufacturer climbed 107%. The global market revenue for weight loss drugs could total $30 billion by 2030 with the sale of Wegovy expected to exceed $7 billion.
The drugs carry gastrointestinal side effects (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), can cause low blood sugar, and can possibly cause an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
Eli Lilly is also entering the weight loss drug market with tirzepatide, which was “fast-tracked” by the FDA in October of 2022. This is another drug that was created to treat diabetes but has now been repurposed for the treatment of obesity.
With a monthly cost of $1627 a month for Wegovy and $1168 for tirzepatide, these medications promise huge profits. As Trial Site News first pointed out, in 2018, Novo Nordisk early on focused on the obesity market—recognizing the mounting crisis—and made a considerable research and development investment. The World Health Organization has said obesity is a growing crisis worldwide. It appears Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly are literally banking on the obesity epidemic. [My bold]
Studies such as the one I reviewed above tend to emphasize the hopelessness of losing weight permanently by changing your diet. It pretty much mirrors what physicians like the one who tweeted above and pharmaceutical reps will tell you. Sure, the low-carb diet works…as long as you follow it. But no one can stay on a diet forever. For permanent weight loss, you need drugs. Forever.
That is the message. Subtly in the study above and in your face from Big Pharma and a lot of docs.
Oh, and by the way, guess who funded the study above?
Well, well, well… Why would the makers of Wegovy fund a study showing the benefits of low-carb dieting?
I’ll leave that one for you to speculate on. Just remember the submarine.
Elon and Twitter
On December 15, 1791, 231 years ago today, Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve 10 of the 12 amendments, thus giving the Bill of Rights the majority of state ratification necessary to make it legal.
What we all who live in the USA need to remember is that the Bill of Rights wasn’t put in place to protect us from one another. It was put in place to protect us from the government. That’s a major distinction.
If I am a US corporation, or if I own and operate a tiny paper in a dinky town, I don’t have to abide by the Bill of Rights. I can elect to suppress your freedom of speech, at least in my own publications. The New York Times does it every day.
But the Bill of Rights does prevent the government from restricting your rights. The First Amendment guarantees us the freedom of speech, which means the government can’t suppress what we want to say. But private businesses can. If I write a letter complaining about something to the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, the folks who run those papers don’t have to publish it. But the government can’t stop me from saying publicly whatever I want to say.
But what if I’m on a social media platform such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever, and I write something distasteful to the owners of said platform? Can I be banned from saying what I want to say?
That has become a major debate. We didn’t have social media when the founders cobbled together the Bill of Rights and got it ratified, so who knows how they would have dealt with social media. My own libertarian leanings kind of edge me on to the side that says, Hey, it’s a private company. It’s not bound by the Bill of Rights.
The issue arises when government officials, who are bound by the Constitution, do an end run around it by telling private companies what they—the government—would like to see banned. And then these companies, which do have the right to ban, do so at the government’s behest. It’s an arm’s length violation of the Bill of Rights.
Section 241 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code provides: “If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person . . . in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same, . . . they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”
This post-Civil War statute responded to the depredations of the Ku Klux Klan and similar private organizations. Then as now, government officers sometimes relied on private allies to accomplish what they couldn’t—sometimes violently, sometimes more subtly. Whether for government officers or cooperating private parties, Section 241 makes conspiracy to violate civil rights a crime.
I’ve reveled in all these Twitter revelations Elon Musk has released through journalists Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, and Michael Shellenberger. Many of them involved various Twitter employees (former employees now) emailing back and forth about how the FBI or DOJ or CDC reached out to them asking to ban this or that tweet. And how the decisions were made to do so.
What hasn’t been released is any concrete evidence, i.e., anything coming in written or voice recording from any of the government officials who allegedly asked for these bans. I don’t know if these documents/recordings exist, and Musk has decided not to publish them. Or if the only ‘proof’ they have is the emails from various employees saying they “heard from” these government officials.
I hope the dumps continue. And I hope at some point they contain some real documentation that this violation of Section 241 took place.
Musk finally relented and restored Drs. Peter McCullough and Robert Malone back on the site. There are still many others who have been suspended who are not restored. Let’s hope Elon gets around to getting everyone back on. I don’t know what the issue is.
I don’t know if this hesitance has anything to do with Musk’s tweeted warning from Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market or not.
I have no idea what advertising revenue Twitter gets from the EU countries, but, unless it were a whole, whole lot, my inclination were I Musk would be to tell Thierry Breton to jump up a fat dog’s ass. If Twitter were pulled from the EU countries as a consequence of Thierry Bretton’s meddling, I suspect he would hear about it loud and clear from his constituents.
Fauci’s Net Worth Doubled During the Pandemic
According to OpenTheBooks, a government transparency watchdog, Anthony Fauci, the US government’s highest paid employee, saw his net worth almost double during the pandemic.
His net worth increased by $5M from 2019 to 2021 and now exceeds $12.4M. Part of this increase was contributed by his wife, Christine Grady, who has also fed from the public trough for years. If Fauci retires this month as announced, his pension will be $414,667, which is more than the $400,000 the President earns annually.
The Fauci household disclosed net worth increased from $7.6 million (January 1, 2019) to over $12.6 million (December 31, 2021).
Disclosures show $910,174 in gains within the Fauci stock, bond, and money market portfolio during 2021 – in 2020, the portfolio gained $794,369. The total value of Dr. Fauci’s investment account was $10,271,626 and his wife’s investments totaled another $2,405,887, as of 12/31/2021. [This during a time when the overall market was tanking]
In January 2021, Fauci received a $1 million prize for the prestigious Dan David Prize affiliated with Tel Aviv University for “speaking truth to power” and “defending science” during the Trump administration. Disclosures show that Fauci kept $901,400 of that prize with roughly 10-percent awarded to handpicked scholarship winners.
There is more, but you get the picture. Just bear in mind that Fauci has worked for the federal government for over 50 years. He started with the NIH in 1968 and between then and 2019 (51 years), he had been able to amass a net worth of a little over $7M. Then in just two years, while most of the country was struggling due to lockdowns he recommended, his net worth ballooned by $5M more.
Why Did the Feds Grab Sam Bankman-Fried Now?
I wondered why they hadn’t grabbed him sooner until I read a piece by Andy McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor.
Bankman-Fried was to testify before Congress the next day, and, according to McCarthy there is nothing prosecutors salivate over more than having potential prosecutees aka defendants bare their souls under oath at Congressional hearings. Congressmen aren’t bound by the same rules lawyers are in court, so they can ask almost anything.
So why did the DOJ pounce when it did? Why not wait a couple of days until after the hearing and grab him then?
One obvious possibility, for the cynical among us, is that the Democrats who run the House Committee (which is led by firebrand lefty Maxine Waters of California), were loath to abide Republican harangues about SBF’s prodigious political contributions to Dems, whose regulatory enthusiasm he echoed, making him the bane of his crypto competitors’ existence. SBF reportedly donated about $40 million to Democratic candidates and PACs, making him second only to George Soros in Democratic contributions in the just-concluded midterm cycle. The committee majority may not have relished giving Republicans a chance to spotlight the fact that prominent Democrats received lavish contributions from SBF of what now appears to be stolen money, while the investors who provided the money — and had no idea it was being donated to politicians — lost their shirts.
If this were the reason for the sudden arrest, it would not be the first time the Democrats who run the Justice Department accommodated the whims of congressional Democrats.
McCarthy goes on to describe how Bankman-Fried also gave to the GOP, but did so, so he claims, via Dark Money that couldn’t be tracked. He did it that way so he wouldn’t piss off his Democrat friends. I find this difficult to believe. Not the fact that his Dem friends would be pissed, but that Bankman-Fried with his love of effective altruism would give huge amounts of money to the GOP, whom I’m sure he considers fascists or non-believers in effective altruism at the least.
I think he is well and truly screwed.
Most people, when they do the things he’s alleged to have done, keep their mouths shut at their lawyers behest. They let legalman do all the speaking for them lest they say something that makes their situation worse. In Bankman-Fried’s case, I’m not sure it could get any worse.
One of the things courts look for in these cases is consciousness of guilt. If you do something bad, then try to cover it up, it shows you were conscious that you were doing something bad. If you simply bumble along like Mr. MaGoo and never try to hide anything, then that’s sort of a sign you didn’t know you were doing anything bad. I think Bankman-Fried is in so deep, that’s his only alternative. But that’s only my opinion.
His girlfriend Caroline Ellison has apparently turned on him. She has lawyered up and is, I’m sure, going to try to say it was ALL Sammy’s fault. Her parents are apparently friends of Gary Gensler’s. (Gensler is the head of the SEC.) He is acting outraged about how Bankman-Fried flimflammed so many people and promising justice to those whom he screwed. I fear that seeing Sammy go down may be the only justice they see. I doubt the DOJ is going to try to claw back any of the $40M he contributed to Democrat candidates.
I can’t help but feel sorry for SBF.
I’ve run out of time, so I’ll put off my thoughts on Died Suddenly till next week, or even the week after. Too depressing to talk about during the holidays. A reader wrote that the link I put up last week is no longer good. I tried it, and the reader is correct. YouTube took it down. Here is a link to the movie on Rumble. It should be safe there. Given the content, I’m surprised YouTube left it up as long as it did.
I don’t know how many of you read Alex Berenson’s Substack post on Elon Musk’s putting Yoel Roth’s life in danger. If not, here it is.
I couldn’t resist commenting on it here.
Video of the Week
An oldie that I had never seen. Thanks to Don Surber for posting.
What are the odds that Sonny and Cher would appear in a Christmas special with Chastity, Bernadette Peters, Shields and Yarnell and, and, wait for it, Captain Kangaroo?
Well, here it is. A whopping dose of nostalgia.
That’s about it for this week. Next week I’ll post my favorite Texas Christmas song. I had never heard it till I moved there. Now I’ve heard it a thousand times.
Keep in good cheer, and I’ll be back next Thursday.
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