Tag Archives: Covid19

TheESP – Ep. #230 – Tinfoil hats against nonsense

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This week Europe has lost a star in the sky and we hear about how Louis Pasteur managed to create a rabies vaccine back in 1885 (NB: he wasn’t even a medical doctor). Pope Francis seizes even more control about the Vatican’s finances and appoints an “extraordinary commissioner” to raid the entity looking after St Peter’s Basilica. Apparently, someone has been cooking the books.
In the news this week:
– After a new outbreak the German authorities suggest people stay at home for vacation
– Was SARS-CoV-2 really present in Barcelona in March 2019?
– WHO stops Hydroxychloroquine tests
– WHO launches new podcast – Health in Europe
– High risk for polio outbreak in Ukraine
– Russian disinformation operations revealed
– Swedish actor from “Fargo” creates documentary TV-series promoting bogus runestone in Minnesota
– What’s happening with Facebook?
– 5G towers burning in Limassol
– Climate change denier loses bet – has to pay up
– Hungarian National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition bans most homeopathic products from claiming specific therapeutic effects
– Our friend Holm Hümmler airs a documentary about conspiracy theories

To end the episode secondary school students in Germany get today’s Really Right Award for not backing down from their “tinfoil hat” project

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Right; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:53 GREETINGS

0:05:26 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Louis Pasteur, successfully demonstrated a working Rabies vaccine on 6 July 1885.

0:13:49 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – Frankie steps up the fight against financial corruption

0:13:28 NEWS

0:56:54 REALLY RIGHT
GERMANY: Secondary School students in Germany don’t back down from their “tinfoil hat” project

1:00:48 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“I am utterly convinced that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will eventually unite not to destroy but to edify, and that the future will belong to those who have done the most for the sake of suffering humanity.”
/ Louis Pasteur, French biologist, microbiologist and chemist. /

1:01:47 OUTRO

1:03:11 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #229 – Reality vs politics, lies and fairy tales

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This week we can’t help but mention the Polish presidential elections and Susan Gerbic’s latest interview with Pontus. We commemorate Ignaz Semmelweis on his birthday before moving on to deliberating over the future of the papacy.
In the news:
– Was the Tönnies incident with COVID19 due to a church service
– Didier Raoult doubles down on hydroxychloroquine
– Hungary’s new curriculum and history textbooks full of folk legends and misleading claims
– Measles update
– The latest and most sophisticated fake of the Loch Ness Monster
– Large wildfires in Siberia as reminder of climate change
– ARP-SAPC’s Sergio Lopez Borgonoz research grant now open for applications

This week’s Really Wrong Price goes to a Swedish elementary school for investing in bogus “protective equipment” against Wi-Fi.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:54 GREETINGS

“About time Presents – in conversation with…” – Pontus Böckman edition:
https://youtu.be/UhoY7YcR_7E

Susan’s other recent interviews:

0:09:37 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
1st July 1818 – Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis, “Saviour of Mothers”

0:17:45 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
The Next Pope: Two new books explore life after Francis

0:30:38 NEWS

  1. GERMANY: Was the Tönnies incident because of a church service?
  2. FRANCE: Didier Raoult’s Hydroxychloroquine claims get even more bizarre
  3. HUNGARY: New history textbook full of legends, errors and misleading information
  4. EUROPE: Measles update
  5. SCOTLAND: Latest evidence of the Loch Ness monster turns out to be fake too
  6. RUSSIA: Large wildfires after of 38° Celsius heatwave in Siberia
  7. SPAIN: ARP-SAPC’s Sergio Lopez Borgonoz paranormal investigation research grant open for applications

1:03:59 REALLY WRONG
Swedish elementary school invest in “protection” against wi-fi

1:07:38 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“To spread healthy ideas among even the lowest classes of people, to remove men from the influence of prejudice and passion, to make reason the arbiter and supreme guide of public opinion; that is the essential goal of the sciences; that is how science will contribute to the advancement of civilization, and that is what deserves protection of governments who want to insure the stability of their power.”
/George Cuvier, French naturalist, widely considered the founder of comparative anatomy and paleontology, 1810/

1:08:50 OUTRO

1:10:04 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #228 – Let Science Take the Lead

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This week Pontus and András bring you the latest from all over Europe mixed with some history and a little bit of Poking the Pope(s).
This week marks the 646th anniversary of the onset of the Aachen Dancing Plague. After exploring that phenomenon, we move on to how Pope Francis regards women and weather Palpatine is up to no good on his visit to his homeland Germany.
Then, in the news:
– COVID-19 superspreading centre in Gütersloch, Germany now in lockdown
– Swedish coronavirus quack bites the dust
– The Guardian’s article on revised climate models deemed misleading by experts
– Spanish authorities finally publish COVID-19 statistics
– ARP-SAPC’s Skeptical Magnifier Award announced
– Novartis stops Hydroxychloroquine study for lack of participants
– New survey in University of Oxford’s Digital News Reports shows how much people care about climate change
– Political consensus in Norway to remove VAT exemption status for SCAM practitioners
– European Commission identifies Russia and China as origins of disinformation campaigns
– Almost half of Italians would not get a COVID-19 vaccine

The Swedish Food Safety Agency gets this week’s Really Right price for stepping up against illegal food supplement ads.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Right; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:25 INTRO

0:00:52 GREETINGS

0:03:11 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
24th June 1374 – “Medieval Dancing Plague” in Aachen, Germany

0:11:58 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Francis says “we” must respect women’s bodies – and then defines what “we” should use them for…

0:21:42 NEWS

  1. GERMANY: Meat processing plant outbreak in North Rhine Westphalia
  2. SWEDEN: Another corona quack bites the dust
  3. INTERNATIONAL: The Guardian’s article on revised climate models potentially misleading
  4. SPAIN: Authorities finally publish COVID-19 death statistics
  5. SPAIN: ‘Skeptical Magnifier’ Award announced
  6. SWITZERLAND: Novartis halts study for lack of participants
  7. INTERNATIONAL: Just how much do people care about climate change?
  8. NORWAY: Consensus to remove VAT exemption status for SCAM
  9. INTERNATIONAL: European Commission identifies Russia and China as responsible for disinformation
  10. ITALY: Almost half of Italians would not take a COVID19 vaccine

1:03:51 REALLY RIGHT
Swedish Food Safety Agency invites the public to report illegal ads for supplements against COVID19

1:08:45 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
„Science is constantly proved all the time. You see, If we took something like any fiction, any holy book, and any other fiction and destroyed it, in a thousand years’ time, that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and every fact and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back because all the same tests would be the same result.“
/Ricky Gervais, British comedian, actor and producer/

Thank you Jelena, we miss you already!

1:09:54 OUTRO

1:11:08 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #227 – Thank you, Jelena!

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This week we first learn about how the 1854 cholera outbreak led to advances in the knowledge about diseases and outbreaks thanks to the clever and rigorous work by the physician John Snow, now regarded as one of the founders of modern epidemiology. Pope Francis is getting closer to his vision of “a poor church for the poor”, perhaps just a little bit faster than he bargained for as the pandemic is hitting the Catholic finances. Then Andras delves into how we can begin to measure the success of covid-19 related restrictions.
In the news this week:
– Swedish Snake Oil advertisement is struck down
– Archaeologist sentenced for faking Basque finds
– Climate more sensitive to CO2 emissions than thought?
– Who killed the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme?
– Szekesfehervar budget cuts – nonessential vaccines are first to go
– The Aspen Institute’s ‘Good10 – The Pandemic Issue’ discussing many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic
– The return of the Mayan calendar – some myths refuse to die
– University of Vienna found a way to inoculate medical students about SCAM
The prize for being Really Wrong goes to doctors in Northern Ireland that continue to obstruct abortions even after the recent legalization!

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:26 INTRO

0:00:49 GREETINGS

0:06:36 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
John Snow, the father of modern epidemiology, died on 16 June 1858. He is famous for tracking down the source of the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak in London.

0:13:49 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – “The poor Church for the poor”

0:16:25 COVID-19 UPDATE

0:24:27 NEWS

1:00:58 REALLY WRONG
NORTHERN IRELAND: Doctors sabotaging legal abortions

1:04:28 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“Critical thinking is the only weapon and the only defense that the human being has against the dangers of life. Because if I do not think critically, I will be subject to all influences, to all suggestions, to all errors and to all the lies that are spread, and with which I have been indoctrinated since childhood.”
/ Erich Seligmann Fromm, social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. /

Thank you Jelena, we miss you already!

1:10:05 OUTRO

1:11:21 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #224 – An AntivaxxiNational crisis


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This week Pontus and Andras try their best to keep your spirit up while talking about the saddening advent of conspiracy theories and an ever growing antivaccination sentiment.
We talk about the great and controversial scientist, the father of glaciology, Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, try to make sense of the Pope’s latest actions as part of the Vatican’s financial reform, bring you a bit of the latest analyses of the COVID-19 situation and lots of news:
– A church congregation in Frankfurt becomes a virus hotspot
– Sweden’s approach looks very different when under the microscope
– Are we loosing against the antivaccination movement?
– Homeopathy International sneakily advises people to take homeopathic products
– Italian MP calls for the arrest of Bill Gates
– Nearlf half of tweets about COVID-19 likely come from bots
– “5GBioShield” hits the market
– WHO report says 80 million children not vaccinated because of COVID-19
– Hungarian snake oil salesman under scrutiny by Competition Authority

The Romanian Ministry of Health gets this week’s Really Wrong Price for failing to provide the necessary vaccination information and immunize the public against measles.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; COVID-19 Update; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:50 GREETINGS

0:06:41 This Week in Skepticism
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (May 28, 1807) – Swiss-American biologist and geologist, founder of glaciology – and creatinist

0:15:05 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Francis is back on St Peter’s Square, plus he’s starting to consolidate the fortunes of the Church

0:20:06 COVID-19 Update

0:40:41 NEWS

  1. INTERNATIONAL/UK: Homeopathy International – giving advice on what product to take against Coronavirus
  2. ITALY: MP calling for the arrest of Bill Gates and spreading conspiracy theories
  3. INTERNATIONAL: Nearly half of accounts tweeting about Covid-19 are likely bots
  4. UK: 5G bioshield hitting the market
  5. INTERNATIONAL: WHO – at least 80 million children not vaccinated because of COVID-19
  6. HUNGARY: Competition authority scrutinising snake oil salesman

0:59:52 REALLY WRONG
Romanian Ministry of Health failing regarding vaccination information

1:02:39 The Skeptic Zone Ad

1:03:17 Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia Ad

1:04:58 QUOTE AND FAREWELL

“The facts will eventually test all our theories, and they form, after all, the only impartial jury to which we can appeal.”
/Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz/

1:05:57 OUTRO

TheESP – Ep. #221 – Thou shalt not bleach the beach

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The three of us are back to bring you the latest from Europe. We’re saddened by the (not so surprising) news that QED 2020 is now postponed to 2021, but whenever it is, we are looking forward to it. In the meantime check out Christian Lehmann’s series of guest posts on Edzard Ernst’s blog about the hydroxychloroquine controversy.
Jelena tells us the story of an alleged alien abduction in Poland more than 40 years ago, now commemorated with a stone memorial.
Pontus delves into the question of whethe Pope Pius XII was indeed “Hitler’s Pope” and then a selection of news from Europe:
– A scientist in the UK allegedly dies in a COVID-19 trial
– Follow-up on David Icke’s YouTube channel – now suspended
– Countries faced with challenges in immunization programs while in lockdown
– Spanish beach sprayed with bleach to prevent coronavirus infections
– A patent from the Pasteur Institute that does NOT prove the alleged artificial origin of SARS-CoV-2
– The Heinz Oberhummer Award goes to German science populariser Mai Thai Nguyen-Kim
– German High Court rules that doctors can not selectively get rid of bad ratings
– Logical fallacies in easy-to-share format on ARP-SAPC’s website
This week’s Really Right Prize is given to the NHS UK for an excellent information page about homeopathy.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week in Skepticism; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Right; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:51 GREETINGS

0:04:50 This Week in Skepticism
An alleged alien abduction in Poland on May 10, 1978 is now commemorated with a stone memorial.

0:13:22 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Francis says the right thing for once, but 80 years ago Pius XII may indeed have been “Hitler’s Pope”

0:23:11 NEWS

  1. UK: Fake news about a scientist allegedly dying in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
  2. UK: Followup from last week: David Icke’s Youtube-channel has been shut down
  3. EU: Countries faced with challenges in immunization programs while they’re in a lockdown
  4. SPAIN: Spanish beach sprayed with bleach – to prevent coronavirus infections
  5. FRANCE: A patent from the Pasteur Institute does NOT prove that SARS-CoV-2 is artificial
  6. AUSTRIA: And the Heinz Oberhummer Award goes to… Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim
  7. GERMANY: High Court ruling: Doctors have to accept also bad ratings on portals (followup from ep 202)
  8. SPAIN: Logical fallacies compilation just got an upgrade

0:55:50 REALLY RIGHT
The NHS for an excellent information page about homeopathy

0:59:59 GSoW promo

http://guerrillaskepticismonwikipedia.blogspot.com

1:01:38 QUOTE AND FAREWELL

“The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land, to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions.”
/Thomas Henry Huxley, English biologist, anthropologist & comparative anatomist/

1:03:56 OUTRO

1:05:10 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #220 – A crazy world of COVIDcidences


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This week, in the absence of Jelena, Annika Harrison joins us to bring you news and curiosities from all over Europe.
We start by mentioning Pontus guest-hosting The Skeptic Zone with Richard Saunders, then move on to discuss what an idiot Trump is and how Satanic Ritual Abuse is on the rise in Germany.
Annika then investigates whether women are indeed better leaders with special regards to how they cope in the time of the pandemic.
Then the Vatican’s Rosary App is looked into as a tool to engage catholic believers while the church has really nothing to offer in this crisis.
In the news:
– Some businesses to reopen in Germany, including churches while schools remain closed
– The European Medicines Agency (EMA) warns people not to self-medicate with chloroquine and its derivatives to avoid serious side effects
– YouTube seems incapable of keeping 5G-Corona conspiracy theory videos at bay
– A new survey suggests UK public supports a long lockdown
– Yet another crucial WHO action as experts assess the situation in Belarus
– ARP-SAPC in Spain offers Sergio Lopez Borgonoz Research Grant for paranormal investigators
– Distorted reports of a survey commissioned by the German Association of Homeopathic Doctors
– 5G tower burnings and halts to rollout of new systems all over Europe
– Wind turbine noise shown not to cause any adverse health effects in Finland
– New book by Spanish author Ramon Nogueras ‘Why We Believe in Shit’ out (in Spanish)
– Edzard Ernst shares a story of a homeopathy-induced rib fracture.
The UK Ministry of Defence gets this week’s prize for being Really Wrong for buying lemon eucalyptus oil insect repellant as COVID-19 protection.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Annika Investigates; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:50 GREETINGS

0:11:17 Annika Investigates

Are women leaders really doing a better job than men in tackling the Coronavirus crisis?

0:23:56 PONTUS POKES THE POPE
Lord praise the app!

0:28:23 NEWS

  1. GERMANY: Some businesses (and churches reopen), but there are concerns
  2. EU/HUNGARY: EU intervention to stop people self medicating with malaria drugs
  3. UK: YouTube cannot handle the 5G corona conspiracy theories
  4. UK: New survey suggests UK public supports a long lockdown
  5. BELARUS: WHO expert mission recommends physical distancing measures as COVID-19 virus transmits in the community
  6. SPAIN: Sergio Lopez Borgonoz Research Grant for investigating paranormal and pseudoscientific claims
  7. GERMANY: Two thirds of all Germans are stupid … at least this is what the ‘German Association of Homeopathic Doctors’ seems to assume
  8. EU: More 5G tower burnings and an international movement to stop rollout
  9. FINLAND: Wind turbine noise not the cause of health symptoms
  10. SPAIN: New book out by Ramon Nogueras: ‘Why We Believe in Shit” and online book launch event
  11. UK: First even homeopathy-induced rib fracture – told by Edzard Ernst

1:06:58 REALLY WRONG
UK Ministry of Defense buys lemon eucalyptus oil insect repellant as Covid-19 protection

1:10:29 QUOTE AND FAREWELL

“It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment.”
/Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician, astronomer and physicist
who was born on 30th April, 1777/

1:12:28 OUTRO

1:13:42 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #214 – Don’t Panic!

 

 

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The three of us finally reunite for yet another show featuring an update on the COVID-19 situation and the GWuP cancelling SkepKon 2020. Then, after an interview with Annabel Bligh of the Anthill Podcast, we return with Pontus poking the Pope again for worsening the pandemic with his irrational approach to church-going.

Our news segment covers all sorts of topics including a distant world where it’s raining iron, the Strasbourg Court rejecting case of anti-abortion midwives, homeopathy suggested as a valuable asset in times of crisis and Boiron closing down 13 sites, firing a quarter of their employees in the process.

If you want to help ongoing research into fighting SARS-CoV-2, you can try Folding@Home, then you can turn your eye towards Sweden where the acupuncturer who killed a client is back to court after having been acquitted. And finally, we mention a few social media awards that went to skepticism related contents in Germany.
Our Really Wrong award goes to Andrzej Dziega, Archbishop of Szczecin-Kamien for claiming that holy water and the holy communion can not spread the virus.

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; Interview with Annabel Blight; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:33 INTRO

0:00:56 GREETINGS

Coronavirus update, plus sad news: SkepKon 2020 is now cancelled.

0:15:45 INTERVIEW with Annabel Blight from The Conversation

0:25:51 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – Since Religion is Irrational, Frankie Helps the Pandemic

0:30:31 NEWS

  1. INTERNATIONAL: European astronomers discover an even more hostile world than our own
  2. SWEDEN: Anti-abortion Midwives Rejected by the Strasbourg Court
  3. INTERNATIONAL: Homeopathy suggested as a valuable asset in times of crisis?
  4. FRANCE: Homeopathy Company Boiron Closes 13 Sites and Fires a Quarter of Employees
  5. INTERNATIONAL: How you can help in fighting COVID-19 and its virus – Folding@Home
  6. SWEDEN: Acupuncture Acquittal Verdict Appealed
  7. HUNGARY: Bogus electrosmog leaflet issued by local authorities
  8. SPAIN: Spanish Actor Acquitted of Blasphemy
  9. GERMANY: Social media awards given to people dealing with topics relevant to skeptics

1:00:14 REALLY WRONG
POLAND: Andrzej Dziega, Archbishop of Szczecin-Kamien claiming Holy water and communion “cannot spread virus”

1:04:07 QUOTE AND FAREWELL

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”

/Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor/

1:06:18 OUTRO

1:07:33 OUT-TAKES

TheESP – Ep. #212 – Corona Corona Corona

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This week it cannot be helped that a lot of the episode is about different aspects on the Coronavirus and Covid-19. But we also want to remind everyone about our SkepKon raffle where we have one ticket to hand out to the conference in Berlin 21 – 23 May! Just send us an email to participate.

After the greetings we hear about holocaust denier David Irving, who was declared bankrupt This Week in History in 2002, after he sued a writer for libel and lost the subsequent trial. Pontus Pokes the Pope and tells about the new “papal task force” that will try to get all local and national Catholic organizations to handle sex abuse scandals better.

In the news, nonsense Coronavirus information is peddled by Hungarian authorities, a TV channel in Norway says that you will be protected if you donate to them while in other places, homeopaths think empty sugar pills are better. We discuss how the outbreak is a breeding ground for conspiracy theories and hear that in the UK, the PSA reaccredits the Society of Homeopaths but under strict conditions. Further on the subject, a German court says homeopathy may be totally ineffective, but that is not their concern.

We finish with another Corona related item and hand out a Really Wrong award to Durek Verrett, the self-proclaimed shaman and the boyfriend of the Norwegian Princess Märtha Louise. He recently published a homemade “cure” for the covid-19 disease. Spoiler: the vodka is optional!

Enjoy!

Segments:
Intro; Greetings; This Week; Pontus Pokes the Pope; News; Really Wrong; Quote and Farewell; Outro; Out-takes

Events Calendar: http://theesp.eu/events_in_europe

0:00:27 INTRO

0:00:50 GREETINGS

Coronavirus update, plus a reminder that the SkepKon 2020 raffle is still on. Email us to win a ticket! And we got a shout-out on TRC, the Reality Check podcast.

0:07:55 THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
David Irving, famous holocaust denier, was declared bankrupt on 4 March 2002, after losing a libel suit against a writer who published a book about his “research”..

0:13:49 PONTUS POKES THE POPE – Nobody Expects the Papal Task Force!

0:18:41 NEWS

0:45:53 REALLY WRONG
NORWAY: Norwegian Shaman and Boyfriend to the Princess, Durek Verrett, Publishes a “Cure” for Covid-19

0:51:53 QUOTE AND FAREWELL
“People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive”
/ Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian /

0:54:22 OUTRO

0:55:37 OUT-TAKES