1234: COVID KowTow

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 30m
April 16th, 2020
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Executive Producers: Trenton Scovell, Sir Dreb Scott of the ELB express Earl at Large, Anonymous, Baronette Octane, Sir Dave, Duke of America's Heartland and the Arabian Peninsula, Dame of the Crystal Core, Anonymous, Sir Randolph Luddy, Sir B-Lo, Knight of the Land-locked Drunken Texas Pirates, Thomas Lees, ANONYMOUS LESBIAN, Matthew Schock, Dexter Bonaparte, Señor Miguel of Washington Heights NY, Stephen Hutto, Sir Rotorhead, Knight of the Order of Dysemetry of Lift, Lee North, Sir HoGiHung, Baron of Mong Kok, Frances McCandless, Anna Merkuryev, Kim & Jon Watson, Arien de Jongste, Matthew Dietl

Associate Executive Producers: John Byrne, Joe Hawter, Andrew Hann, Combat rock of the Idaho highlands, Sir JoFo, the Plundering Knight, Sir Net Ned, Sir Bee Boop Knight of the Frozen Tundra, Erik Ahrsjo

Cover Artist: Darren O'Neill

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TODAY
Congratulations America, you’re almost ready to be begging for a a vaccine!
Trace together Bluetooth app. Does it start blaring when you are almost on top of the person?
Based on the corona virus model inaccuracies we can safely submit that climate change is real, it’s man made, and it will kill us in the expected time frame with a margin of error by factor 10. So not 2030, but in 2130.
No one is discussing the ease of tracking apps to launch. Not hard to do apparently. Also zero legislation passed or even discussed perhaps.
Let’s do all the tracking. Let’s sunset it after a year and review what we all thought.
Sir Scott venison and dressing
Baron Scott of the armory local 512 zoom meetup
If you want a vaccine from Bill Gates, then you need to be prepared to receive the equivalent of windows vista. And you’ll need an updated version of the vaccine every Tuesday night.
Maybe this was a stock market correction.
Amygdala
Op-Ed: Coronavirus market swings can lead to an 'amygdala hijack'
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 10:14
Our brains are wired to look for danger and react quickly to an approaching attack; however, this most recent threat is invisible, but no less distressing to our primitive brains. Plummeting stock prices are sending some investors over the edge, leading to irrational behavior that has dire long-term financial repercussions.
In his book, "Your Money & Your Brain," journalist Jason Zweig explains that financial losses are processed in the same part of the brain that responds to mortal danger. As investors see their investment portfolios plunge and paychecks disappear, an almond-shaped tissue in our brains called the amygdala kicks into high gear. The amygdala plays a crucial role in processing and steering your emotions, such as fear and anger, allowing you to respond quickly to dangerous situations. Once that happens, an "amygdala hijack" takes place.
An amygdala hijack refers to a personal, emotional response that is immediate, overwhelming and out of measure with the actual stimulus because it has triggered a much more significant emotional threat.
The ongoing communication between the emotion of the amygdala and the rational input given by the prefrontal cortex can be stunted in times of emotional threat, such as a financial loss. This communication disruption is also known as the amygdala hijack, and, essentially, the prefrontal cortex is disabled, preventing us from making sound, rational decisions.
More from FA Playbook:How advisors are helping clients and themselves amid Covid-19Advisors: Avoid these 401(k) mistakes during the crisisMost advisors see markets diving lower, study finds
This can play out in times when the stock market is so volatile '' like now. Stocks become cheaper and are a better deal for long-term investors who are 10, 20 or 30 years from retirement. However, feelings of fear and panic make it tough for investors to buy stocks because of the amygdala controlling their thoughts.
Under the current circumstances, investors are constantly seeing terrifying headlines and negative news, which causes them to be in a fearful state of mind, and that anxiety creeps into the decision-making process around their portfolios.
For some investors, these financial losses are so excruciatingly painful that they flee the stock market, entirely, and move their investments to cash, locking in losses that they now have no possibility of recovering from. We know this behavior is irrational for long-term investors, but it feels "safe."
When it comes to investing, it is in times like these that your brain is not necessarily your friend.
While all this information if helpful to know, how does one stop the amygdala hijack?
The first step in preventing an amygdala in overdrive is to identify what triggers it. What has caused you to question your long-term investment goals?
Scary headlines and advice given out of fear can steer you in the wrong direction when it comes to predicting market movement. To ensure that you are making rational decisions, rely on real facts and accurate market numbers before moving forward with any drastic changes to your portfolio.
Take breaks from the constant fear-inducing barrage of news bombarding your senses. In addition, if you stop looking at the stock market every day, you may find that you have more control over your fear-based thoughts.
In these unprecedented times of market volatility, it's crucial to take charge of what you can control and maintain the perception of control over your environment, in order to combat this amygdala hijack.
You can combat the amygdala hijack and curtail the influence your emotions exert on you as an investor.
Stacy Francis
president and CEO of Francis Financial
To prevent other people's panic from clouding your own investment decisions, make decisions only when the markets are closed and only make small moves at first. It can be helpful to work with a financial advisor during this process to keep emotions out of the decision-making process.
If you feel there is a need for you to make immediate changes to your portfolio, it may be the right time to get rid of investments that are no longer a good fit for your portfolio, because it is at a time when you won't have to pay taxes on any possible gains. By focusing on what you can control, you can also stay invested through this downturn, which experts continue to recommend for long-term investors.
Instead of thinking of your stocks in terms of what you paid for them, think of them, for the moment, as gifts. If you were offered a gift that is currently cheaper than what it was at the time it was bought, would you still be OK with returning it? Or would you want to buy more? By thinking about a market decline in a similar way, you can combat the amygdala hijack and curtail the influence your emotions exert on you as an investor.
Unfortunately, investors are not out of the woods yet, as a constant influx of upsetting headlines will probably continue in the months ahead. We need to do what we can to help us keep our brains in check, in order to continue making smart investment decisions.
BOTG Morocco
I used to mail you from imaoulad81@gmail.com but
i switched to protonmail. What a difference. But anyway.
I moved to Morocco and i am working as a dude named Ben in
Rabat. I wanted to let you know about the corona crisis here. Because several
times you mentioned that in Africa there is no Corona. Well here it is, and
people are losing their mind.
Since one month we are on lockdown. I have been working from
home for 3 weeks now. We are not to go out without a signed peace of paper.
Only for food or doctor or work you are allowed to go out. After 18u there is
curfew. Until now they have arrested 32000 people
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/04/299546/morocco-arrests-30898-for-violating-state-of-emergency-measures/
Police and the military patrol the streets. The lockdown is
till april 20th. But they will extend it most likely till after Ramadan wich
starts on 25th april.
I sent you a video i made from my window. You see the
military patroling the streets together with the police.
The other video shows you how the police handle people who
don't listen to the order. Now it is mandatory to wear mask. If you get caught
without a mask, that is what will happen to you.
Other then the lockdown, Morocco is paradise :)
On another subject, i was talking to a customer today. She
is from Croatia. I asked how the situation is in Croatia, with Corona issue in
mind when asking. She replies that the earthquakes have gotten less. I was
surprised, because nowhere i saw or hear anything about earthquakes in the
balkan.
Apparently there was a huge earthquake in Croatia 3 weeks
ago, and since then they had 200+ aftershocks!?! I told her that there has been
nothing in the news about this. She said in Croatia the same, only corona
corona corona. This shows again how ridiculous the media is nowadays. She told
me that the earthquakes hit Romania and Bulgaria too. But nothing in the news
about this.
Sadly, this is the sad state in wich we live. As a longtime
No Agenda listener this doesn't surprise me anymore. I have been listening
since episode 711. I have donated in the past but will start again. Got my life
together after a dark time. After the Corana shit is over i will get my
creditcard shit in order and i will be donating again.
Your shows have been amazing the last few months. You and
John do amazing work. Just wanted to tell you that it is much appreciated and
respected by me.
As a kicker, i sent you a video from the Dutch police. My
mom sent it to me. People are loosing their mind. 400 euros boete if they check
you and you are not complying.
I will keep you updated of the situation in Morocco. A lot
of stuff is happening here, especially with the battle for the sahara. Morocco
recently bought huge shipment of helicopters, tanks, and other good stuff from
the states. You should keep an eye on the sahara issue. This has all the
makings of a huge conflict.
Take care and stay healthy,
Greetings from Morocco,
BOTG Deutschland
Since I haven't heard you two speaking of the
Corona-situation in Germany much on the show, here is a brief 'boots on the
ground' report from Deutschländ - maybe some of it is of interest:
- German alternative media are moving more
and more to telegram channels, due to censorship on facebook, twitter and
especially youtube
- Youtube videos citing alternative opinions
of doctors and scientists concerning the 'virus' and its 'dangers' are being
deleted almost instantly (maybe partly done by algorithms searching for certain
wordings in the description?!)
- websites of some 'alternative' (though
until recently highly regarded) scientists are being shut down for several days
every now and then
- major media have heavily started framing
aforementioned prominent scientists and doctors of different opinion as
(potentially dangerous) 'conspiracy theorists'
- A lawyer (Beate Bahner) got sent into a
psychatric institution against her will, after she tried to sue the government
for the unconstitutional limitations of personal freedoms in Germany
two 'fun facts':
- the boss of the most important institution
for disease control in Germany (Robert-Koch-Institut) is a VETERINARIAN (Lothar
Wieler) …
- On Bill Gates' tweed from a week ago,
thanking health care workers for 'testing and treating', the most liked
commentary is (at least on April 15th) one written by a famous
German rapper, asking Bill: 'Can I see your doctor's license please?' :D
- Although state media talks about '94 %' of
the population are supporting the governments way of acting on the 'crisis',
many of the official government information videos on the topic 'Covid 19' are
getting MUCH more dislikes than likes (typically around 2:1 ratio, sometimes
even worse) on Youtube (and comment function is OFF, of course ...)
- But in general, there seem to be still many
sleepwalkers agreeing with the totalitarian regime of 'stay home alone and, for
Gods sake, show NO (physical) love to your fellow citizens' … Typically the
(SJW-) university students are the most hysterically paranoid compared to all
other parts of the population, while the simple common people, like health care
workers, shop owners, construction workers and the younger generation of less
educated migrants, are very calm and keeping their common sense.
... I can only say all this being true for a
bigger city, like Frankfurt. In the rural areas (and already in the suburbs of
Frankfurt, too) there seem to be much less hysterics anyway. And
'social-gathering-snitchers' seem to be mostly an urban thing …
… and just a little anecdote regarding the
mood of parts of the population:
in a 'gettho'-part of Frankfurt (Griesheim,
Ahorn-Straße) there was an incident: police tried to send home a group of young
adults who were hanging out in the streets of their neighborhood … the young
men then threw rocks at the police car, fled, and the police followed them –
but suddenly a bigger group of around 20 men ran towards the police (by now
present with two additional patrol cars) armed with iron rods and sticks,
throwing a 5 kilogram handle weight at the policemen (did not hit them though);
later a few arrests were made after a big search with helicopters
... a day or two later, a police car was
racing with sirenes on its way to the aforementioned neighborhood as a back up
for more 'social distancing' controls, assuming there will be resistance again
... and they crashed into a car of an old lady on a crossroad who didn't hear
the sirene … the police car flew through the air rolling all over, eventually
landing on its side (luckily no severe injuries though, neither to the
policemen, nor to the old lady, nor to two other car drivers involved in the
crash) … so maybe some of the policemen will wonder at some point, if it is
really worth losing their lives on a mission of enforcing 'social distancing' …
Peace,
Janosch
BOTG NC
Dame Nurse Kaytlyn here with an update from NC.. as of
today, all nurses at my hospital are being given the option of either
furloughing for the next four weeks OR continuing to work, but working only 2
shifts per week and being required to use PTO for the missing 24 hours in each
paycheck. This is so bizarre! Nothing else to add except TYFYC.
Fauci
Anthony Fauci - The Bernie Madoff of Science - henrymakow.com
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 11:12
This is the book that got the world's attention when it was introduced on Instagram by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Given the fact that Anthony Fauci has been at the center of one of the biggest medical cover-ups in history, it is shocking that anyone is putting their trust in him during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this explosive little book, Charles Ortleb, the first publisher to devote his newspaper to the coverage of AIDS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome details the role of Anthony Fauci in the cover-up of the truth about the relationship of the two epidemics.
While mistaken members of the media like Laurie Garrett and Rachel Maddow have called Anthony Fauci "a great American," Dr. Fauci will soon take in his place in history as the chief operator of a Ponzi scheme that has plunged the world into a dystopian medical darkness of fraud, deceit, and neglect.
This book is a must-read chapter from "The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic Cover-up Volume Two" with a new afterword that explores the extensive damage Fauci's Ponzi scheme has done to the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome community, people stigmatized with "HIV/AIDS," and everyone suffering from the viruses that Fauci's cover-up has been concealing from the world: the HHV-6/7/8 family of viruses. The list of the potential victims of Fauci's Ponzi scheme includes virtually everyone. Even the health of millions of doctors and nurses has been put at risk.
These are the elements of Fauci's scientific Ponzi scheme:
1. Nosological fraud. (That's the branch of medicine dealing with the classification of disease. It is ground zero for public health fraud.)
2. Epidemiological fraud.
3. Virological fraud.
4. Treatment fraud. (Treatments that harm more than they heal or conceal more than they reveal.)
5. Public health policy fraud.
6. Concealment of negative scientific data and paradigm-challenging anomalies.
7. Use of an elite network of "old boys" and pseudo-activist provocateurs to censor critics and whistleblowers.
8. Chronic obscurantism.
9. If necessary, vigilantism and witch-hunts against any intellectuals, scientists, or citizens who constitute any form of resistance to the Ponzi scheme. Millions of people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are at risk for complications of COVID-19 because Fauci and his colleagues have never told the truth about the viral and transmissible nature of the AIDS-like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome pandemic.
Fauci and his puppets at NIH have created a real mess. Like Bernie Madoff, Anthony Fauci is rich, famous, and powerful as a result of his scientific Ponzi scheme. And Fauci is a clever manipulator who will continue to try and hide the nature of his scientific Ponzi scheme from the public the way Bernie Madoff hid his financial records. But luckily, this brilliant and uncompromising work of journalism will enlighten members of Congress and the media as they begin extensive investigations of the Fauci Ponzi scheme.
-----------------------------
Charles Ortleb on our "medical dystopia."
When science is good, it is very good. The picture most people have of science is one of objectivity, integrity, good faith, and miracles. People of noble character use time-honored experimental procedures to give us a truthful picture of the reality we find ourselves situated in. But there is another side of science, a dark side. On that side of science there is prejudice, deception, and outright fraud. This little book is about that dark side...
My decades of coverage of HHV-6 was vindicated when the University of Wurzburg issued this statement in 2018: "While HHV-6 was long believed to have no negative impact on human health, scientists today increasingly suspect the virus of causing various diseases such as multiple sclerosis or chronic fatigue syndrome. Recent studies even suggest that HHV-6 might play a role in the pathogenesis of several diseases of the central nervous system such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression or Alzheimer's."
The Remarkable Doctor A. Fauci | New Eastern Outlook
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 10:52
The Remarkable Doctor A. Fauci P 15.04.2020 U F. William Engdahl
Dramatic political and social decisions are being made across the United States and around the world on what emergency quarantine measures and other steps must be taken. In many cases the radical and severe measures, such as shutting down the world economy, are being justified by COVID-19 case projections of morbidity into the future. If there is one person who is the face of the current strategy of dealing with the coronavirus in Washington it is the Director of the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the NIH, Dr. Tony Fauci. What major media conveniently leave out in discussing Fauci's role is his highly controversial and conflicted history since he first joined NIAID in 1984 during the beginnings of the AIDS panic. His role then sheds valuable light on his remarkable and highly controversial actions today.
Tony Fauci, a leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is being promoted by major US media such as CNN, MSNBC or the New York Times as the great expert on all related to the Covid19 outbreak. He had dismissed the President's efforts to promote a known malaria medication as treatment for severe corona patients as ''anecdotal,'' even though seven years before he backed the same drug. He has publicly taken projections from an institute created in Washington State by the Gates Foundation, the same foundation that virtually owns the WHO and owns major stakes in the leading vaccine makers, to claim that up to 200,000 Americans could die from COVID19. Fauci stated that COVID19 is ''probably about 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu,'' which would mean 300-600,000 coronavirus deaths this year, at the same time in a respected medical journal he compared Covid-19 as similar to seasonal flu in morbidity. When questioned how long the shutdown of much of the US economy must last, Fauci replied only when there is zero new covid19 positive tested cases, something impossible given the defective testing. He has also backed direct human tests of novel vaccines with no prior animal tests, including with radical non-tested mRNA gene-edited vaccines.
Fauci has more influence over US national policy on the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic than anyone, including the President. Much of media treats him with awe as an unimpeachable scientist, one of the world's finest. A closer look at Anthony Fauci's career gives a starkly different picture, a very alarming one in fact.
America's AIDS Czar
Tony Fauci has held the top post at the NIAID in Washington for an astonishing 36 years. Today he is well past retirement age at 79, and holds the funds to determine which drug companies or university researchers will get precious government funds or not from NIAID's annual $5 billion budget.
Let's go back to 1984 when Fauci was named head of NIAID during the Reagan era. That year an AIDS researcher, Robert Gallo, working under Fauci, held a press conference to announce that he had ''discovered'' the AIDS virus. He said it was HIV'' human immunodeficiency virus. The shocking announcement which went around the world, was in complete disregard of scientific procedures of prior peer-reviewed published scientific evidence, including the required electron microscope analyses. It was a case of ''science by press conference'' as a critical scientist, Prof. Peter H. Duesberg described it. Duesberg was an award-winning researcher at Berkeley who isolated the first cancer gene through his work on retroviruses in 1970, and mapped the genetic structure of these viruses.
For Gallo and Fauci, that was unimportant as millions in research funds flowed into NIAID to research the new virus, HIV. Fauci and Gallo claimed that AIDS was highly contagious, also by sexual transmission, especially among homosexual men. Notably, before the Gallo claim to have found the HIV AIDS virus, NIAID had been doing research on the role of drugs, poppers or nitrites, proven immune-suppressants, in the deaths of the earliest AIDS patients. That was quickly dropped in favor of researching a ''cure'' for AIDS. Media was told that AIDS was the ''public health threat of the Century.'' Gallo went on to make millions on his patented blood test for HIV, despite the fact that the test was often giving false positives and did not test directly for the alleged virus but for active antibodies, something immunology practice said was not valid, as antibodies merely suggested a past infection response and not necessarily presence of AHIV. At this time in the 1980'S Fauci was responsible for AIDS research at NIAID, a post he still holds.
False Tests?
The issue of HIV/AIDS tests is central. While a frightened world was clamoring for a test, Gallo and Fauci promoted their deeply flawed tests of antibodies. In 2006 Gallo claimed, ''HIV tests were highly accurate from the time they were developed in 1984 and have become much more accurate over time'...'' Highly accurate in 1984 but more accurate than highly over time? Gallo added in response to criticism, ''A PCR test for the presence of the virus itself can accurately determine a child's HIV status.''
In a sharp rebuttal of the Gallo claims, claims endorsed by Fauci and the NIAID as well as CDC, Roberto A. Giraldo, MD and Etienne de Harven, MD, the scientist who produced the first electron micrograph of a retrovirus, pointed out that both the ELISA and Western blot, and a genetic test, the PCR or 'Viral Load' test,'' the two major tests used to determine if one has AIDS, are invalid. ''None of these tests detect the HIV virus itself, nor do they detect HIV particles.'' They add that there are ''more than 70 different documented conditions that can cause the antibody tests to react positive without an HIV infection.'' Among the false positive cases are influenza, the common cold, leprosy or the existence of pregnancy. The same tests are used today to determine SARS-CoV-2-positive.
They concluded, ''The fact that after 25 years of intense research HIV has been neither isolated nor purified in terms of classical virology indicates to us that the infectious view of AIDS as a contagious viral disease is based on an apparently non-existent microbe!''
Giraldo and de Harven declared, ''The alleged existence of HIV was asserted from the study of proteins, reverse transcriptase activity (RT), and RNA fragments that were found in culture supernatants, not from the direct analysis of purified viral particles.'' The CDC requires a positive antibody test for HIV to determine AIDS in the USA. Yet in Africa since 1985 the WHO requires no HIV test or any other laboratory test. Merely the patient's symptoms that can include weight loss, chronic diarrhea, prolonged fever, persistent cough and such, symptoms endemic to chronic poverty, malnutrition and lack of sanitation.
Yet this fraud has shaped the career of Tony Fauci for more than 35 years. Fauci as head of NIAID has taken millions from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the Clinton Foundation along with tens of billions from US taxpayers for this bogus research. Suspiciously, the 2006 article by Giraldo and de Harven was suddenly retracted by the journal in 2019 just before the coronavirus Wuhan outbreak.
Despite the fact that he knew the established rules of virology, Fauci, as head of NIAID, recommended the Burroughs Wellcome chemotherapy drug, AZT as a ''preventive drug'' for HIV diagnosed patients even without symptoms! Burroughs Wellcome gave NIAID the study that was deliberately biased for AZT. Fauci even backed AZT for pregnant women despite the grave risk to the fetus. One mark of pregnancy in all women is a higher level of antigens as the natural immune system fights any infection to protect the fetus. AZT or Retrovir, a failed leukemia drug, has been proven to be a highly toxic drug. It was approved for AIDS testing in a record 5 days by Fauci and the US Government in 1987. Today despite more than thirty years funded research and billions of dollars, no effective vaccine for HIV/AIDS exists.
Fauci and Gilead
According to people who have studied the role of Tony Fauci as head of NIAID, his focus has been what is called scientific reductivism, described as ''a 19 Century-style, single-germ theory for a complex web of factors that collapsed the immune systems of a subset of gay men in the early 1980s.'' He has refused to explore the documentation that a variety of lethal drugs and other toxins such as nitrites could play a role. As a result he has wasted tens of billions of taxpayer dollars since 1984 on dead end experiments. One of his most nefarious was his collaboration with Gilead Sciences.
Not satisfied with having developed a false positive test for AIDS and having gained FDA fast-track approval for AZT to treat HIV-positive patients with serious illness symptoms, Fauci decided to collaborate with Gilead (as in the Biblical ''balm of Gilead'') on what came to be called PrEP experiments.
Fauci in 2007 began to finance clinical trials of the AZT drugs in HIV ''negatives,'' on the theory the chemotherapy would ''protect'' them from becoming ''positive.'' That is, testing toxic HIV drugs on otherwise healthy persons to ''insure'' they never got AIDS. If it sounds mad, it was. Gilead supplied the drug, Truvada, to NIAID between 2007-2012 for Phase III human tests on HIV negative subjects. Four tests of at least 2,000 and up to 5,000 test subjects each, were done. The project was called ''pre-exposure prophylaxis'' or ''PrEP.'' Healthy subjects were given doses of chemotherapy drug Truvada on the thesis it could prevent them from one day getting HIV-positive. CDC, in its May 2014 recommendation urged physicians to prescribe Truvada for negatives in the so-called ''risk groups,'' an official government imprimatur for an extremely profitable drug.
The FDA ignored two of the four Truvada tests that had failed and been halted. Despite that and owing to data manipulation by Fauci's NIAID and Gilead, the FDA approved the dangerous Truvada for PrEP. Today Gilead lists the side effects of Truvada: Kidney problems, including kidney failure; worsening Hepatitis B; too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which can lead to death; severe liver problems, which can lead to death; bone problems. They state that Truvada ''can help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 through sex, when taken every day and used together with safer sex practices.''
The Fauci-Gilead scam of promoting Truvada for healthy people to ''reduce risk'' of HIV is a marker for the level of medical malpractice and in some cases evident criminal abuse of human health that the current White House coronavirus guru, A. Fauci, represents.
Fauci and COVID-19
In October, 2019 Fauci and his NIAID got $100 million from the Gates Foundation to develop ''gene-based'' therapies for HIV and sickle cell disease. That means Fauci still to the time of the first claims of novel coronavirus in Wuhan China, Fauci was still promoting a 35-year fraud around HIV. Fauci is also part of the Gates Foundation cabal. In 2012 Fauci was named one of the five Leadership Council of the Gates Foundation-created Global Vaccine Action Plan.
This is highly relevant to his role today as the Trump Administration coronavirus ''pope.'' Has his NIAID or any other laboratory in the world rigorously, with electron microscopy, isolated and purified samples of patients tested SARS-CoV-2 positive for Covid-19? Or are the virus proofs as faulty as Fauci and the AIDS clique have made for HIV?
In addition NIAID is working with Gilead to conduct Phase II human trials on Gilead's drug, remdesivir, as a potential treatment for hospitalized adult patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
A coincidence?
Relevant also is the fact that all top scientific advisers to the US President's Task Force on COVID-19 are tied since decades to the bogus and destructive HIV/AIDS research and propagation of false theories. Alongside Tony Fauci of NIAID stands Deborah L. Birx, M.D., Obama appointee as US Global AIDS Coordinator who worked under Tony Fauci at NIAID from 1983-1986.
Robert Redfield is the current Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, center of the recent coronavirus testing scandal. Redfield cofounded with the discredited Robert Gallo, former Fauci colleague in the AIDS scandals of the early 1980's at NIH, the Institute of Human Virology based at University of Maryland. Redfield and Birx also coauthored numerous scientific articles on purported HIV vaccines, none of which have been effective.
Fauci, Birx and Redfield, all incestuously complicit in the HIV/AIDS frauds and malpractice, today hold the future of not only American public health, but also of the entire world economy in their hands. Not a good situation. As their work on the proved HIV=IDS fraud shows, the coronavirus tests do not at all prove presence of a deadly virus in any patient. If this is so, it is perhaps the greatest criminal fraud in medical history.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook.''
Recent Posts
Envelope glycoprotein GP120 - Wikipedia
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 13:09
Envelope glycoprotein GP120 (or gp120) is a glycoprotein exposed on the surface of the HIV envelope. It was discovered by Professors Tun-Hou Lee and Myron "Max" Essex of the Harvard School of Public Health in 1988.[1] The 120 in its name comes from its molecular weight of 120 kDa. Gp120 is essential for virus entry into cells as it plays a vital role in attachment to specific cell surface receptors. These receptors are DC-SIGN,[2] Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycan[3] and a specific interaction with the CD4 receptor,[4] particularly on helper T-cells. Binding to CD4 induces the start of a cascade of conformational changes in gp120 and gp41 that lead to the fusion of the viral membrane with the host cell membrane. Binding to CD4 is mainly electrostatic although there are van der Waals interactions and hydrogen bonds[5].
Gp120 is coded by the HIV env gene, which is around 2.5 kb long and codes for around 850 amino acids.[6] The primary env product is the protein gp160, which gets cleaved to gp120 (~480 amino acids) and gp41 (~345 amino acids) in the endoplasmatic reticulum by the cellular protease furin.[7] The crystal structure of core gp120 shows an organization with an outer domain, an inner domain with respect to its termini and a bridging sheet. Gp120 is anchored to the viral membrane, or envelope, via non-covalent bonds with the transmembrane glycoprotein, gp41. Three gp120s and gp41s combine in a trimer of heterodimers to form the envelope spike,[8] which mediates attachment to and entry into the host cell.
Variability Edit Since gp120 plays a vital role in the ability of HIV-1 to enter CD4+ cells, its evolution is of particular interest. Many neutralizing antibodies bind to sites located in variable regions of gp120, so mutations in these regions will be selected for strongly.[9] The diversity of env has been shown to increase by 1-2% per year in HIV-1 group M and the variable units are notable for rapid changes in amino acid sequence length. Increases in gp120 variability result in significantly elevated levels of viral replication, indicating an increase in viral fitness in individuals infected by diverse HIV-1 variants.[10] Further studies have shown that variability in potential N-linked glycosylation sites (PNGSs) also result in increased viral fitness. PNGSs allow for the binding of long-chain carbohydrates to the high variability regions of gp120, so the authors hypothesize that the number of PNGSs in env might affect the fitness of the virus by providing more or less sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies. The presence of large carbohydrate chains extending from gp120 might obscure possible antibody binding sites.[11]
The boundaries of the potential to add and eliminate PNGSs are naively explored by growing viral populations following each new infection.[12] While the transmitting host has developed a neutralizing antibody response to gp120, the newly infected host lacks immune recognition of the virus. Sequence data shows that initial viral variants in an immunologically na¯ve host have few glycosylation sites and shorter exposed variable loops. This may facilitate viral ability to bind host cell receptors.[13] As the host immune system develops antibodies against gp120, immune pressures seem to select for increased glycosylation, particularly on the exposed variable loops of gp120.[14] Consequently, insertions in env, which confer more PNGSs on gp120 may be more tolerated by the virus as higher glycan density promotes the viral ability to evade antibodies and thus promotes higher viral fitness.[15] In considering how much PNGS density could theoretically change, there may be an upper bound to PNGS number due to its inhibition of gp120 folding, but if the PNGS number decreases substantially, then the virus is too easily detected by neutralizing antibodies.[12] Therefore, a stabilizing selection balance between low and high glycan densities is likely established. A lower number of bulky glycans improves viral replication efficiency and higher number on the exposed loops aids host immune evasion via disguise.
The relationship between gp120 and neutralizing antibodies is an example of Red Queen evolutionary dynamics. Continuing evolutionary adaptation is required for the viral envelope protein to maintain fitness relative to the continuing evolutionary adaptations of the host immune neutralizing antibodies, and vice versa, forming a coevolving system.[15]
Vaccine target Edit Since CD4 receptor binding is the most obvious step in HIV infection, gp120 was among the first targets of HIV vaccine research. Efforts to develop HIV vaccines targeting gp120, however, have been hampered by the chemical and structural properties of gp120, which make it difficult for antibodies to bind to it. gp120 can also easily be shed from the surface of the virus and captured by T cells due to its loose binding with gp41. A conserved region in the gp120 glycoprotein that is involved in the metastable attachment of gp120 to CD4 has been identified and targeting of invariant region has been achieved with a broadly neutralising antibody, IgG1-b12.[16][17]
NIH research published in Science reports the isolation of 3 antibodies that neutralize 90% of HIV-1 strains at the CD4bs region of gp120, potentially offering a therapeutic and vaccine strategy. [1] However, most antibodies that bind the CDbs region of gp120 do not neutralize HIV,[18] and rare ones that do such as IgG1-b12 have unusual properties such as asymmetry of the Fab arms[19] or in their positioning.[20] Unless a gp120-based vaccine can be designed to elicit antibodies with strongly neutralizing antiviral properties, there is concern that breakthrough infection leading to humoral production of high levels of non-neutralizing antibodies targeting the CD4 binding site of gp120 is associated with faster disease progression to AIDS.[21]
Competition Edit The protein gp120 is necessary during the initial binding of HIV to its target cell. Consequently, anything which binds to gp120 or its targets can physically block gp120 from binding to a cell. Only one such agent, Maraviroc, which binds the co-receptor CCR5 is currently licensed and in clinical use. No agent targeting gp120's main first cellular interaction partner, CD4, is currently licensed since interfering with such a central molecule of the immune system can cause toxic side effects, such as the anti-CD4 monoclonal antibody OKT4. Targeting gp120 itself has proven extremely difficult due to its high degree of variability and shielding. Fostemsavir (BMS-663068) is a methyl phosphate prodrug of the small molecule inhibitor BMS-626529, which prevents viral entry by binding to the viral envelope gp120 and interfering with virus attachment to the host CD4 receptor.[22]
HIV dementia Edit The HIV viral protein gp120 induces apoptosis of neuronal cells by inhibiting levels of furin and tissue plasminogen activator, enzymes responsible for converting pBDNF to mBDNF.[23] gp120 induces mitochondrial-death proteins like caspases which may influence the upregulation of the death receptor Fas leading to apoptosis of neuronal cells,[24] gp120 induces oxidative stress in the neuronal cells,[25] and it is also known to activate STAT1 and induce interleukins IL-6 and IL-8 secretion in neuronal cells.[26]
See also Edit HIV envelope geneHIV entry to the cellgp41CD4CCR5Entry inhibitorStructure and genome of HIVReferences Edit ^ "Licenses Sold for Research With New Protein". The New York Times. 1989-02-08 . Retrieved 16 April 2018 . ^ Curtis BM, Scharnowske S, Watson AJ (September 1992). "Sequence and expression of a membrane-associated C-type lectin that exhibits CD4-independent binding of human immunodeficiency virus envelope glycoprotein gp120". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 89 (17): 8356''60. Bibcode:1992PNAS...89.8356C. doi:10.1073/pnas.89.17.8356. PMC 49917 . PMID 1518869. ^ de Witte L, Bobardt M, Chatterji U, Degeest G, David G, Geijtenbeek TB, Gallay P (December 2007). "Syndecan-3 is a dendritic cell-specific attachment receptor for HIV-1". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 104 (49): 19464''9. Bibcode:2007PNAS..10419464D. doi:10.1073/pnas.0703747104. PMC 2148312 . PMID 18040049. ^ Dalgleish AG, Beverley PC, Clapham PR, Crawford DH, Greaves MF, Weiss RA (1984). "The CD4 (T4) antigen is an essential component of the receptor for the AIDS retrovirus". Nature. 312 (5996): 763''7. Bibcode:1984Natur.312..763D. doi:10.1038/312763a0. PMID 6096719. ^ Korkut, A; Hendrickson, WA (2012). "Structural Plasticity and Conformational Transitions of HIV Envelope Glycoprotein gp120". PLOS One. 7 (12): e52170. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...752170K. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052170. PMC 3531394 . PMID 23300605. ^ Kuiken, C., Leitner, T., Foley, B., et al. (2008). "HIV Sequence Compendium", Los Alamos National Laboratory. ^ Hallenberger S, Bosch V, Angliker H, Shaw E, Klenk HD, Garten W (November 1992). "Inhibition of furin-mediated cleavage activation of HIV-1 glycoprotein gp160". Nature. 360 (6402): 358''61. Bibcode:1992Natur.360..358H. doi:10.1038/360358a0. PMID 1360148. ^ Zhu P, Winkler H, Chertova E, Taylor KA, Roux KH (November 2008). "Cryoelectron tomography of HIV-1 envelope spikes: further evidence for tripod-like legs". PLOS Pathog. 4 (11): e1000203. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000203. PMC 2577619 . PMID 19008954. ^ Wyatt R, Kwong PD, Desjardins E, Sweet RW, Robinson J, Hendrickson WA, Sodroski JG (1998). "The antigenic structure of the HIV gp120 envelope gycoprotein". Nature. 393 (6686): 705''711. Bibcode:1998Natur.393..705W. doi:10.1038/31514. PMID 9641684. ^ Novitsky V, Lagakos S, Herzig M, Bonney C, Kebaabetswe L, Rossenkhan R, Nkwe D, Margolin L, Musonda R, Moyo S, Woldegabriel E, van Widenfelt E, Makhema J, Essex M (January 2009). "Evolution of proviral gp120 over the first year of HIV-1 subtype C infection". Virology. 383 (1): 47''59. doi:10.1016/j.virol.2008.09.017. PMC 2642736 . PMID 18973914. ^ Wood N, Bhattacharya T, Keele BF, Giorgi E, Liu M, Gaschen B, Daniels M, Ferrari G, Haynes BF, McMichael A, Shaw GM, Hahn BH, Korber B, Seoighe C (May 2009). "HIV evolution in early infection: selection pressures, patterns of insertion and deletion, and the impact of APOBEC". PLOS Pathog. 5 (5): e1000414. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000414. PMC 2671846 . PMID 19424423. ^ a b Korber, Bette; Kuiken, Carla; Haigwood, Nancy; Foley, Brian; Blay, Wendy; Gaschen, Brian; Zhang, Ming (2004-12-01). "Tracking global patterns of N-linked glycosylation site variation in highly variable viral glycoproteins: HIV, SIV, and HCV envelopes and influenza hemagglutinin". Glycobiology. 14 (12): 1229''1246. doi:10.1093/glycob/cwh106. ISSN 0959-6658. PMID 15175256. ^ Liu Y, Curlin ME, Diem K, Zhao H, Ghosh AK, Zhu H, Woodward AS, Maenza J, Stevens CE, Stekler J, Collier AC, Genowati I, Deng WZioni R, Corey L, Zhu T, Mullins JI (May 2008). "Env length and N-linked glycosylation following transmission of human immunodeficiency virus Type 1 subtype B viruses". Virology. 374 (2): 229''33. doi:10.1016/j.virol.2008.01.029. PMC 2441482 . PMID 18314154. ^ Pantophlet R, Burton DR (2006). "GP120: target for neutralizing HIV-1 antibodies". Annu. Rev. Immunol. 24: 739''69. doi:10.1146/annurev.immunol.24.021605.090557. PMID 16551265. ^ a b Frost SD, Wrin T, Smith DM, Kosakovsky Pond SL, Liu Y, Paxinos E, Chappey C, Galovich J, Beauchaine J, Petropoulos CJ, Little SJ, Richman DD (December 2005). "Neutralizing antibody responses drive the evolution of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 envelope during recent HIV infection". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 102 (51): 18514''9. Bibcode:2005PNAS..10218514F. doi:10.1073/pnas.0504658102. PMC 1310509 . PMID 16339909. ^ Barbas CF, Bj¶rling E, Chiodi F, Dunlop N, Cababa D, Jones TM, Zebedee SL, Persson MA, Nara PL, Norrby E (October 1992). "Recombinant human Fab fragments neutralize human type 1 immunodeficiency virus in vitro". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 89 (19): 9339''43. Bibcode:1992PNAS...89.9339B. doi:10.1073/pnas.89.19.9339. PMC 50122 . PMID 1384050. ^ Zhou T, Xu L, Dey B, Hessell AJ, Van Ryk D, Xiang SH, Yang X, Zhang MY, Zwick MB, Arthos J, Burton DR, Dimitrov DS, Sodroski J, Wyatt R, Nabel GJ, Kwong PD (2007). "Structural definition of a conserved neutralization epitope on HIV-1 gp120". Nature. 445 (7129): 732''737. Bibcode:2007Natur.445..732Z. doi:10.1038/nature05580. PMC 2584968 . PMID 17301785. ^ Pantophlet, Ralph; Ollmann Saphire, Erica; Poignard, Pascal; Parren, Paul W. H. I.; Wilson, Ian A.; Burton, Dennis R. (2003-01-01). "Fine mapping of the interaction of neutralizing and nonneutralizing monoclonal antibodies with the CD4 binding site of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gp120". Journal of Virology. 77 (1): 642''658. doi:10.1128/jvi.77.1.642-658.2003. ISSN 0022-538X. PMC 140633 . PMID 12477867. ^ Ashish, null; Solanki, Ashish K.; Boone, Christopher D.; Krueger, Joanna K. (2010-01-01). "Global structure of HIV-1 neutralizing antibody IgG1 b12 is asymmetric". Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 391 (1): 947''951. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.11.170. ISSN 1090-2104. PMID 19995532. ^ Solanki, Ashish K.; Rathore, Yogendra S.; Badmalia, Maulik D.; Dhoke, Reema R.; Nath, Samir K.; Nihalani, Deepak; Ashish (2014-12-12). "Global Shape and Ligand Binding Efficiency of the HIV-1-neutralizing Antibodies Differ from Those of Antibodies That Cannot Neutralize HIV-1". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 289 (50): 34780''34800. doi:10.1074/jbc.M114.563486. ISSN 0021-9258. PMC 4263879 . PMID 25331945. ^ Chien, Peter C.; Cohen, Sandra; Kleeberger, Cynthia; Giorgi, Janis; Phair, John; Zolla-Pazner, Susan; Hioe, Catarina E. (2002-07-15). "High levels of antibodies to the CD4 binding domain of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 glycoprotein 120 are associated with faster disease progression". The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 186 (2): 205''213. doi:10.1086/341297. ISSN 0022-1899. PMID 12134256. ^ aidsinfo.nih.gov/drugs/508/bms-663068/0/professional ^ Bachis A, Avdoshina V, Zecca L, Parsadanian M, Mocchetti I (2012). "Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Alters Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Processing in Neurons". The Journal of Neuroscience. 32 (28): 9477''9484. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0865-12.2012. PMC 3408006 . PMID 22787033. ^ Thomas S, Mayer L, Sperber K (2009). "Mitochondria influence Fas expression in gp120-induced apoptosis of neuronal cells". Int. J. Neurosci. 119 (2): 157''65. doi:10.1080/00207450802335537. PMID 19125371. CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Price TO, Ercal N, Nakaoke R, Banks WA (May 2005). "HIV-1 viral proteins gp120 and Tat induce oxidative stress in brain endothelial cells". Brain Res. 1045 (1''2): 57''63. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2005.03.031. PMID 15910762. ^ Yang B, Akhter S, Chaudhuri A, Kanmogne GD (March 2009). "HIV-1 gp120 induces cytokine expression, leukocyte adhesion, and transmigration across the blood''brain barrier: modulatory effects of STAT1 signaling". Microvasc. Res. 77 (2): 212''9. doi:10.1016/j.mvr.2008.11.003. PMC 3715090 . PMID 19103208. Further reading Edit External links Edit https://web.archive.org/web/20060219135317/http://www.aidsmap.com/en/docs/4406022B-85D7-4A9B-B700-91336CBB6B18.asphttp://www.mcld.co.uk/hiv/?q=gp120http://www.ebi.ac.uk/interpro/IEntry?ac=IPR000777Vashistha, H.; Husain, M.; Kumar, D.; Singhal, P. C. (2009). "Tubular Cell HIV-1 gp120 Expression Induces Caspase 8 Activation and Apoptosis". Renal Failure. 31 (4): 303''312. doi:10.1080/08860220902780101. PMID 19462280.
GP40 AND USES THEREOF - Abstract - Europe PMC
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 13:08
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China
Executive Branch Agencies Recommend the FCC Revoke and Terminate China Telecom's Authorizations to Provide International Telecommunications Services in the United States | OPA | Department of Justice
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 15:18
Today, interested Executive Branch agencies[1] unanimously recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoke and terminate China Telecom (Americas) Corp.'s authorizations to provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States. China Telecom is the U.S. subsidiary of a People's Republic of China (PRC) state-owned telecommunications company.
The Department of Justice led the review of China Telecom's authorizations, and it based the recommendation on developments since the authorizations were last transferred in 2007, including China Telecom's failure to comply with the terms of an existing agreement with the Department.
''Today, more than ever, the life of the nation and its people runs on our telecommunications networks,'' said John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security. ''The security of our government and professional communications, as well as of our most private data, depends on our use of trusted partners from nations that share our values and our aspirations for humanity. Today's action is but our next step in ensuring the integrity of America's telecommunications systems.''
In its recommendation, the Executive Branch agencies identified substantial and unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks associated with China Telecom's operations, which render the FCC authorizations inconsistent with the public interest. More specifically the recommendation was based on:
the evolving national security environment since 2007 and increased knowledge of the PRC's role in malicious cyber activity targeting the United States;concerns that China Telecom is vulnerable to exploitation, influence, and control by the PRC government;inaccurate statements by China Telecom to U.S. government authorities about where China Telecom stored its U.S. records, raising questions about who has access to those records;inaccurate public representations by China Telecom concerning its cybersecurity practices, which raise questions about China Telecom's compliance with federal and state cybersecurity and privacy laws; andthe nature of China Telecom's U.S. operations, which provide opportunities for PRC state-actors to engage in malicious cyber activity enabling economic espionage and disruption and misrouting of U.S. communications. Some of the foregoing relate to China Telecom's failure to comply with a 2007 Letter of Assurance, which was a basis for the existing FCC authorizations. The Department's National Security Division, Foreign Investment Review Section, identified those compliance issues through its mitigation monitoring program. As a result, the Executive Branch agencies concluded that the national security and law enforcement risks associated with China Telecom's international Section 214 authorizations could not be mitigated by additional mitigation terms.
More information concerning the Executive Branch agencies' recommendation is available on the FCC's International Bureau Filing System (IBFS), under Docket Number ITC-T/C-20070725-00285. The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration filed the recommendation on behalf of the Executive Branch agencies.
The Department is committed to working with industry to ensure that critical business needs are considered and addressed in a manner that is consistent with the United States' national security and law enforcement interests. This action was taken under the legacy, ad hoc arrangement of the Departments of Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security, formerly known as Team Telecom, the operation of which was recently formalized by Executive Order dated April 4, 2020, establishing the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector. Applications referred by the FCC after the date of the Executive Order will be handled under the process outlined therein.
[1] For purposes of the recommendation, the Executive Branch agencies included the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Defense, State, Commerce, and the United States Trade Representative.
Kansas
NBAF Animal Disease Lab In Kansas Has Switched Teams And It's A USDA Thing Now | KCUR 89.3 - NPR in Kansas City. Local news, entertainment and podcasts.
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 14:47
Published June 26, 2019 at 12:01 PM CDT
The terms for handing off the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas, have been settled '-- even as the billion-dollar-plus research site remains under construction.
In the agreement signed this week, the Department of Homeland Security remains responsible for completing construction of the state-of-the-art research facility. But it will hand over the job of running the place to the U.S. Department of Agriculture when construction wraps up. That's expected at the end of 2020.
DHS has been responsible for the project since its inception, but the research arms of the USDA have always been heavily involved in planning. The USDA was always going to be overseeing research at the facility '-- if not its actual operation '-- even before the idea of taking over operations completely was requested in President Donald Trump's 2019 budget proposal.
Now the USDA won't be a tenant, it'll be the landlord.
''The roles of the research people does not change,'' DHS NBAF Coordinator Tim Barr said. ''The security setting does not change. The relationships that exist with the FBI and other entities, that does not change at all.''
NBAF is intended to be a world-class animal disease research facility and will ultimately be the only location in the U.S. where scientists will study live foot-and-mouth disease in livestock.
Once finished, the building will house more than 500,000 square feet of laboratory space, including the nation's first biosafety Level 4 large animal research laboratory.
The BSL-4 laboratory will allow researchers to study deadly zoonotic diseases '-- those that are highly contagious and can spread between humans and animals '-- that don't have any known vaccinations or treatments.
NBAF will be replacing the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York.
The USDA recently opened up an office in Manhattan to begin recruiting potential employees.
''A facility like this allows us to bring those people in, do the work that we need to do and be more prepared to stand-up operationally when we move into the NBAF facility,'' said Ken Burton, USDA's NBAF coordinator.
He said the agency would like to have 80% of the workforce needed for NBAF hired by the end of 2020.
The USDA expects to need as many as 400 employees once the facility is completely up and running at the end of 2022.
Brian Grimmett reports on the environment, energy and natural resources for KMUW in Wichita and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @briangrimmett or email grimmett (at) kmuw (dot) org.
Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link to
Copyright 2020 KMUW | NPR for Wichita. To see more, visit .
Plum Island's move to Kansas: 'This research facility is an accident waiting to happen' - Outbreak News Today
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 14:45
Groundbreaking for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a $1.25 billion project by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), took place last Wednesday in Manhattan, Kansas. The new facility will focus biosafety level 3 agriculture (BSL-3Ag) research on dangerous livestock diseases such as African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and will focus its BSL-4 research on such deadly pathogens as the Hendra and Nipah viruses, which are zoonotic pathogens that can be transmitted from animals to humans and for which no treatment is available.
FMD image/ Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryR-CALF USA Vice President Mike Schultz who raises cattle in Brewster, Kansas, said the United States is making a terrible mistake by bringing the live FMD virus into Kansas.
''Congress and the President are ignoring the science that tells us this research facility is an accident waiting to happen,'' he said.
When construction is complete, and for the first time since the 1929 FMD outbreak in California, the live FMD virus will once again be reintroduced to the United States' mainland. Foot-and mouth disease is the most highly infectious animal disease presently known to cloven-footed animals such as cattle, swine, sheep and deer. Nearly 100 percent of exposed animals become infected. To accommodate the DHS' request to bring the live FMD virus to the mainland, Congress first had to change U.S. law that restricted use of the live FMD virus to coastal islands. Since the 1950s, all U.S. research on FMD was conducted at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, located on an island off the northern tip of Long Island, New York.
Related: Transplanting Plum Island to Kansas: is the country's food supply at risk?
In 2008 the independent, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a study and concluded that the DHS lacks evidence to conclude that FMD research can be done safely on the U.S. mainland. The GAO raised numerous concerns regarding the inherent dangers of conducting research in close proximity to susceptible animals, such as the wildlife and cattle that surround the Manhattan site, particularly since FMD can be carried from farm-to-farm on the wind. The GAO pointed out that the DHS did not examine data from past releases of FMD '' including the inadvertent release of FMD from Plum Island in 1978 that, according to reports, was carried harmlessly away over the Atlantic Ocean by prevailing winds. As a result, only the research cattle in pens at the facility had to be destroyed.
Image/Keith WellerIn 2010 the National Academy of Sciences (Academy) conducted its own independent study of the proposed Manhattan site and concluded that the Manhattan site would more likely than not result in an FMD outbreak within the 50-year life span of the NBAF. The Academy found that some of the risks associated with the Manhattan site were generic to any high-containment large animal facility, such as sites where the virus is inoculated in live cattle rather than being contained in biosafety cabinets. However, the Academy found that the risk of FMD infection, spread, and impact were largely related to the Manhattan site.
The Academy concluded that the probability of an infection resulting from a laboratory release of FMD from the NBAF site in Manhattan, Kansas approaches 70% over 50 years, with an economic impact to the U.S. cattle industry of $9-50 billion. Human error will be the most likely cause of an accidental pathogen release from Manhattan, according to the Academy.
Schultz said that human error was the cause of accidental releases of FMD that occurred both internally in and externally from the Plum Island facility. ''If, or when, such accidents occur in Manhattan, the consequences will be far more severe than they were on the isolated island.''
There have been numerous, human-error-caused releases of deadly pathogens from BSL-3 laboratories both here and abroad over the past decade. In 2007 the FMD virus was accidently released from the Pirbright BSL-3 laboratory in Surrey, England, causing widespread outbreaks on surrounding farms.
Schultz said it is ironic that the same week that groundbreaking occurs for this dangerous NBAF laboratory, the Pentagon reports that the U.S. Army has mistakenly sent live anthrax spores to 24 laboratories in 11 states and two foreign countries.
Related: Did Lyme disease originate out of Plum Island?
On March 13, 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified human error '' lapses in the appropriate use of personal protective equipment '' as the cause of the accidental release of the deadly Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria from the Tulane National Primate Research Center, which is a BSL-3 research facility.
In June, 2014, the CDC announced that 75 people were being monitored or provided antibiotics because they may have been unintentionally exposed to live anthrax after safety practices were not followed at the Atlanta, Georgia, Roybal campus BSL-3 laboratory.
Schultz said these recent examples of human-caused breaches at high-containment facilities demonstrate that conducting FMD research at the Manhattan-based NBAF will likely result in an accidental release at some point.
''Equally alarming,'' said Schultz, ''Is that a study conducted this month by the GOA concludes that the federal government is not prepared to address a large-scale animal disease outbreak like an FMD outbreak.''
The GAO report found that federal agencies do not have enough veterinarians to respond to a major crisis, nor do they even know how many veterinarians they would need.
The report comes after the U.S. swine industry lost an estimated 8 million pigs to the recent porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and while the U.S. poultry industry is destroying tens of millions of poultry resulting from the out-of-control outbreak of avian influenza. Latest reports indicate that about 30 million chickens and turkeys have been destroyed.
''If our cattle industry were to lose the same number of cows as the poultry industry has now lost to avian influenza, we would wipe out our entire 29.7 million head of beef cows here in the United States.
''The NBAF in Manhattan will irresponsibly increase the risk of yet another deadly disease outbreak and the federal government does not even have an effective strategy to protect our nation's food security if or when that outbreak occurs,'' Schultz concluded.
National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility | Homeland Security
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 14:43
Location: Manhattan, KS
The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) will be a state-of-the-art biocontainment laboratory for the study of diseases that threaten both America's animal agricultural industry and public health. DHS S&T is building the facility to standards that fulfill the mission needs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which will own, manage and operate (PDF, 16 pgs., 165 KB) the NBAF once construction and commissioning activities are complete. The NBAF will strengthen our nation's ability to conduct research, develop vaccines, diagnose emerging diseases, and train veterinarians. DHS S&T will leverage the facility as a national asset to fulfill homeland security mission needs.
The United States currently does not have a laboratory facility with maximum biocontainment (BSL-4) space to study high-consequence zoonotic diseases affecting large livestock. The NBAF will be the first laboratory facility in the U.S. to provide BSL-4 laboratories capable of housing cattle and other large livestock. The NBAF will also feature a vaccine development module. For more information about the facility and intended use of its state-of-the-art features, please visit the USDA NBAF Program website.
DHS S&T leads construction activities for NBAF which remain underway. Facility commissioning will be completed in May 2021, and the facility will be fully operational in December 2022. Current operations at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) will continue until the mission is transitioned to the NBAF.
The federal government will execute a plan to provide for seamless transition of the agricultural defense mission from PIADC to the NBAF that includes an overlap of operations to make certain there is no interruption of the critical science mission and operational capabilities.
In January 2020, USDA and DHS S&T signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to outline their ongoing strategic interagency partnership at NBAF focused on national security. The MOU establishes an initial framework for scientific collaboration and identifies current areas of opportunity for collaboration which include:
Threat Risk Assessment and Research Prioritization: To determine which transboundary, emerging animal diseases and zoonotic pathogens present the greatest risk to animal health, human health and national security. Outputs from this work will inform the process for research prioritization at NBAF.Research and Collaboration: To support the related USDA and DHS S&T food and agriculture missions including threat characterization and classified research; RDT&E involving biological countermeasures (vaccines, biotherapeutics and diagnostics); subject matter expert collaboration and information sharing; and partnerships.Collaborative program areas may evolve over time. As a result, this MOU establishes a process for periodic review to ensure consistency with current missions and scopes of activities.
Current Project Status
As of November 2019, the $1.25B NBAF project is approximately 87 percent complete. The facility's main laboratory construction and commissioning activities were initiated in May 2015 and remain on schedule for May 2021 completion. The laboratory will not open until all necessary permits and registrations are received, which is scheduled to occur by December 2022. On June 20, 2019, officials from the USDA and DHS signed a Memorandum of Agreement (PDF, 16 pg., 165 KB) that formally outlines how the departments will transfer ownership and operational responsibility for the NBAF from DHS Science and Technology Directorate to USDA.
ContactYou may direct other specific inquiries related to DHS's role in NBAF to the following:
DHS S&T NBAF Program ManagerS&T DOR STOP 0217Department of Homeland Security245 Murray Lane, SWWashington, DC 20528-0217sandtnatlabs@hq.dhs.gov
OPEC
OPEC - Wikipedia
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 10:27
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC, OH -pek) is an intergovernmental organization of 13[ref] nations, founded on 14 September 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), and headquartered since 1965 in Vienna, Austria. As of September 2018,[update] the 14 member countries accounted for an estimated 44 percent of global oil production and 81.5 percent of the world's "proven" oil reserves, giving OPEC a major influence on global oil prices that were previously determined by the so-called "Seven Sisters" grouping of multinational oil companies. A larger group called OPEC+ was formed in late 2016 to have more control on global crude oil market.[5]
The stated mission of the organization is to "coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry."[6] The organization is also a significant provider of information about the international oil market. The current OPEC members are the following:[ref] Algeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Saudi Arabia (the De facto leader), the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Ecuador, Indonesia and Qatar are former members.
The formation of OPEC marked a turning point toward national sovereignty over natural resources, and OPEC decisions have come to play a prominent role in the global oil market and international relations. The effect can be particularly strong when wars or civil disorders lead to extended interruptions in supply. In the 1970s, restrictions in oil production led to a dramatic rise in oil prices and in the revenue and wealth of OPEC, with long-lasting and far-reaching consequences for the global economy. In the 1980s, OPEC began setting production targets for its member nations; generally, when the targets are reduced, oil prices increase. This has occurred most recently from the organization's 2008 and 2016 decisions to trim oversupply.
Economists often cite OPEC as a textbook example of a cartel that cooperates to reduce market competition, but one whose consultations are protected by the doctrine of state immunity under international law. In December 2014, "OPEC and the oil men" ranked as #3 on Lloyd's list of "the top 100 most influential people in the shipping industry".[7] However, the influence of OPEC on international trade is periodically challenged by the expansion of non-OPEC energy sources, and by the recurring temptation for individual OPEC countries to exceed production targets and pursue conflicting self-interests.
In October 2019, Saudi Arabia invited Brazil to join OPEC.[8] The president of Petrobras, Roberto Castello Branco, in an interview in New York, said that being a member or not of OPEC is not an option currently considered by the Brazilian federal government.[9]
History and impact Edit Post-WWII situation Edit In 1949, Venezuela and Iran took the earliest steps in the direction of OPEC, by inviting Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to improve communication among petroleum-exporting nations as the world recovered from World War II.[10] At the time, some of the world's largest oil fields were just entering production in the Middle East. The United States had established the Interstate Oil Compact Commission to join the Texas Railroad Commission in limiting overproduction. The US was simultaneously the world's largest producer and consumer of oil; and the world market was dominated by a group of multinational companies known as the "Seven Sisters", five of which were headquartered in the US following the breakup of John D. Rockefeller's original Standard Oil monopoly. Oil-exporting countries were eventually motivated to form OPEC as a counterweight to this concentration of political and economic power.[11]
1959''1960 anger from exporting countries Edit In February 1959, as new supplies were becoming available, the multinational oil companies (MOCs) unilaterally reduced their posted prices for Venezuelan and Middle Eastern crude oil by 10 percent. Weeks later, the Arab League's first Arab Petroleum Congress convened in Cairo, Egypt, where the influential journalist Wanda Jablonski introduced Saudi Arabia's Abdullah Tariki to Venezuela's observer Juan Pablo P(C)rez Alfonzo, representing the two then-largest oil-producing nations outside the United States and the Soviet Union. Both oil ministers were angered by the price cuts, and the two led their fellow delegates to establish the Maadi Pact or Gentlemen's Agreement, calling for an "Oil Consultation Commission" of exporting countries, to which MOCs should present price-change plans. Jablonski reported a marked hostility toward the West and a growing outcry against "absentee landlordism" of the MOCs, which at the time controlled all oil operations within the exporting countries and wielded enormous political influence. In August 1960, ignoring the warnings, and with the US favoring Canadian and Mexican oil for strategic reasons, the MOCs again unilaterally announced significant cuts in their posted prices for Middle Eastern crude oil.[10][11][12][13]
1960''1975 founding and expansion Edit OPEC headquarters in Vienna
(2009 building)
The following month, during 10''14 September 1960, the Baghdad Conference was held at the initiative of Tariki, P(C)rez Alfonzo, and Iraqi prime minister Abd al-Karim Qasim, whose country had skipped the 1959 congress.[14] Government representatives from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela met in Baghdad to discuss ways to increase the price of crude oil produced by their countries, and ways to respond to unilateral actions by the MOCs. Despite strong US opposition: "Together with Arab and non-Arab producers, Saudi Arabia formed the Organization of Petroleum Export Countries (OPEC) to secure the best price available from the major oil corporations."[15] The Middle Eastern members originally called for OPEC headquarters to be in Baghdad or Beirut, but Venezuela argued for a neutral location, and so the organization chose Geneva, Switzerland. On 1 September 1965, OPEC moved to Vienna, Austria, after Switzerland declined to extend diplomatic privileges.[16]
During 1961''1975, the five founding nations were joined by Qatar (1961), Indonesia (1962''2008, rejoined 2014-2016), Libya (1962), United Arab Emirates (originally just the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, 1967), Algeria (1969), Nigeria (1971), Ecuador (1973''1992, 2007-2020), and Gabon (1975''1994, rejoined 2016).[2] By the early 1970s, OPEC's membership accounted for more than half of worldwide oil production. Indicating that OPEC is not averse to further expansion, Mohammed Barkindo, OPEC's Acting Secretary General in 2006, urged his African neighbors Angola and Sudan to join,[18] and Angola did in 2007, followed by Equatorial Guinea in 2017.[3] Since the 1980s, representatives from Egypt, Mexico, Norway, Oman, Russia, and other oil-exporting nations have attended many OPEC meetings as observers, as an informal mechanism for coordinating policies.[19]
In 1971, an accord was signed between major oil companies and members of OPEC doing business in the Mediterranean Sea region, called the Tripoli Agreement. The agreement, signed on 2 April 1971, raised oil prices and increased producing countries' profit shares.[20]
1973''1974 oil embargo Edit An undersupplied US gasoline station, closed during the oil embargo in 1973
In October 1973, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC, consisting of the Arab majority of OPEC plus Egypt and Syria) declared significant production cuts and an oil embargo against the United States and other industrialized nations that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War.[21][22] A previous embargo attempt was largely ineffective in response to the Six-Day War in 1967.[23] However, in 1973, the result was a sharp rise in oil prices and OPEC revenues, from US$3/bbl to US$12/bbl, and an emergency period of energy rationing, intensified by panic reactions, a declining trend in US oil production, currency devaluations,[22] and a lengthy UK coal-miners dispute. For a time, the UK imposed an emergency three-day workweek.[24] Seven European nations banned non-essential Sunday driving.[25] US gas stations limited the amount of gasoline that could be dispensed, closed on Sundays, and restricted the days when gasoline could be purchased, based on license plate numbers.[26][27] Even after the embargo ended in March 1974 following intense diplomatic activity, prices continued to rise. The world experienced a global economic recession, with unemployment and inflation surging simultaneously, steep declines in stock and bond prices, major shifts in trade balances and petrodollar flows, and a dramatic end to the post-WWII economic boom.[28][29]
A woman uses
wood in a
fireplace for heat. A newspaper headline in the foreground shows a story regarding a lack of heating oil in the community.
The 1973''1974 oil embargo had lasting effects on the United States and other industrialized nations, which established the International Energy Agency in response, as well as national emergency stockpiles designed to withstand months of future supply disruptions. Oil conservation efforts included lower speed limits on highways, smaller and more energy-efficient cars and appliances, year-round daylight saving time, reduced usage of heating and air-conditioning, better insulation, increased support of mass transit, and greater emphasis on coal, natural gas, ethanol, nuclear and other alternative energy sources. These long-term efforts became effective enough that US oil consumption would rise only 11 percent during 1980''2014, while real GDP rose 150 percent. But in the 1970s, OPEC nations demonstrated convincingly that their oil could be used as both a political and economic weapon against other nations, at least in the short term.[22][30][31][32][33]
But the embargo also meant that a section of the Non-Aligned Movement saw power as a source of hope for their developing countries. The Algerian president Houari Boum(C)di¨ne expressed this hope in a speech at the UN's 6th Special Session in April 1974:
The OPEC action is really the first illustration and at the same time the most concrete and most spectacular illustration of the importance of raw material prices for our countries, the vital need for the producing countries to operate the levers of price control, and lastly, the great possibilities of a union of raw material producing countries. This action should be viewed by the developing countries as an example and a source of hope.[34]
1975''1980 Special Fund, now OFID Edit OPEC's international aid activities date from well before the 1973''1974 oil price surge. For example, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development has operated since 1961.[35]
In the years after 1973, as an example of so-called "checkbook diplomacy", certain Arab nations have been among the world's largest providers of foreign aid,[36][37] and OPEC added to its goals the selling of oil for the socio-economic growth of poorer nations. The OPEC Special Fund was conceived in Algiers, Algeria, in March 1975, and was formally established the following January. "A Solemn Declaration 'reaffirmed the natural solidarity which unites OPEC countries with other developing countries in their struggle to overcome underdevelopment,' and called for measures to strengthen cooperation between these countries... [The OPEC Special Fund's] resources are additional to those already made available by OPEC states through a number of bilateral and multilateral channels."[38] The Fund became an official international development agency in May 1980 and was renamed the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID),[39] with Permanent Observer status at the United Nations.[40]
1975 hostage siege Edit On 21 December 1975, Saudi Arabia's Ahmed Zaki Yamani, Iran's Jamshid Amuzegar, and the other OPEC oil ministers were taken hostage at their semi-annual conference in Vienna, Austria. The attack, which killed three non-ministers, was orchestrated by a six-person team led by Venezuelan militant "Carlos the Jackal", and which included Gabriele Kr¶cher-Tiedemann and Hans-Joachim Klein. The self-named "Arm of the Arab Revolution" group declared its goal to be the liberation of Palestine. Carlos planned to take over the conference by force and hold for ransom all eleven attending oil ministers, except for Yamani and Amuzegar who were to be executed.[41]
Carlos arranged bus and plane travel for his team and 42 of the original 63 hostages, with stops in Algiers and Tripoli, planning to fly eventually to Baghdad, where Yamani and Amuzegar were to be killed. All 30 non-Arab hostages were released in Algiers, excluding Amuzegar. Additional hostages were released at another stop in Tripoli before returning to Algiers. With only 10 hostages remaining, Carlos held a phone conversation with Algerian President Houari Boum(C)dienne, who informed Carlos that the oil ministers' deaths would result in an attack on the plane. Boum(C)dienne must also have offered Carlos asylum at this time and possibly financial compensation for failing to complete his assignment. Carlos expressed his regret at not being able to murder Yamani and Amuzegar, then he and his comrades left the plane. All the hostages and terrorists walked away from the situation, two days after it began.[41]
Some time after the attack, Carlos's accomplices revealed that the operation was commanded by Wadie Haddad, a founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They also claimed that the idea and funding came from an Arab president, widely thought to be Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya, itself an OPEC member. Fellow militants Bassam Abu Sharif and Klein claimed that Carlos received and kept a ransom between US$20 million and US$50 million from "an Arab president". Carlos claimed that Saudi Arabia paid ransom on behalf of Iran, but that the money was "diverted en route and lost by the Revolution".[41][42] He was finally captured in 1994 and is serving life sentences for at least 16 other murders.[43]
1979''1980 oil crisis and 1980s oil glut Edit Fluctuations of OPEC net oil export revenues since 1972
[44][45]In response to a wave of oil nationalizations and the high prices of the 1970s, industrial nations took steps to reduce their dependence on OPEC oil, especially after prices reached new peaks approaching US$40/bbl in 1979''1980[46][47] when the Iranian Revolution and Iran''Iraq War disrupted regional stability and oil supplies. Electric utilities worldwide switched from oil to coal, natural gas, or nuclear power;[48] national governments initiated multibillion-dollar research programs to develop alternatives to oil;[49][50] and commercial exploration developed major non-OPEC oilfields in Siberia, Alaska, the North Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.[51] By 1986, daily worldwide demand for oil dropped by 5 million barrels, non-OPEC production rose by an even-larger amount,[52] and OPEC's market share sank from approximately 50 percent in 1979 to less than 30 percent in 1985. Illustrating the volatile multi-year timeframes of typical market cycles for natural resources, the result was a six-year decline in the price of oil, which culminated by plunging more than half in 1986 alone.[53] As one oil analyst summarized succinctly: "When the price of something as essential as oil spikes, humanity does two things: finds more of it and finds ways to use less of it."
To combat falling revenue from oil sales, in 1982 Saudi Arabia pressed OPEC for audited national production quotas in an attempt to limit output and boost prices. When other OPEC nations failed to comply, Saudi Arabia first slashed its own production from 10 million barrels daily in 1979''1981 to just one-third of that level in 1985. When even this proved ineffective, Saudi Arabia reversed course and flooded the market with cheap oil, causing prices to fall below US$10/bbl and higher-cost producers to become unprofitable.[52][54]: 127''128,136''137 Faced with increasing economic hardship (which ultimately contributed to the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989),[55][56] the "free-riding" oil exporters that had previously failed to comply with OPEC agreements finally began to limit production to shore up prices, based on painstakingly negotiated national quotas that sought to balance oil-related and economic criteria since 1986.[52][57] (Within their sovereign-controlled territories, the national governments of OPEC members are able to impose production limits on both government-owned and private oil companies.)[58] Generally when OPEC production targets are reduced, oil prices increase.[59]
1990''2003 ample supply and modest disruptions Edit Fluctuations of Brent crude oil price, 1988''2015
[61]Leading up to his August 1990 Invasion of Kuwait, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was pushing OPEC to end overproduction and to send oil prices higher, in order to help OPEC members financially and to accelerate rebuilding from the 1980''1988 Iran''Iraq War.[62] But these two Iraqi wars against fellow OPEC founders marked a low point in the cohesion of the organization, and oil prices subsided quickly after the short-term supply disruptions. The September 2001 Al Qaeda attacks on the US and the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq had even milder short-term impacts on oil prices, as Saudi Arabia and other exporters again cooperated to keep the world adequately supplied.[61]
In the 1990s, OPEC lost its two newest members, who had joined in the mid-1970s. Ecuador withdrew in December 1992, because it was unwilling to pay the annual US$2 million membership fee and felt that it needed to produce more oil than it was allowed under the OPEC quota,[63] although it rejoined in October 2007. Similar concerns prompted Gabon to suspend membership in January 1995;[64] it rejoined in July 2016.[2] Iraq has remained a member of OPEC since the organization's founding, but Iraqi production was not a part of OPEC quota agreements from 1998 to 2016, due to the country's daunting political difficulties.[65][66]
Lower demand triggered by the 1997''1998 Asian financial crisis saw the price of oil fall back to 1986 levels. After oil slumped to around US$10/bbl, joint diplomacy achieved a gradual slowing of oil production by OPEC, Mexico and Norway.[67] After prices slumped again in Nov. 2001, OPEC, Norway, Mexico, Russia, Oman and Angola agreed to cut production on 1 Jan. 2002 for 6 months. OPEC contributed 1.5 million barrels a day (mbpd) to the approximately 2 mbpd of cuts announced.[54]
In June 2003, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and OPEC held their first joint workshop on energy issues. They have continued to meet regularly since then, "to collectively better understand trends, analysis and viewpoints and advance market transparency and predictability."[68]
2003''2011 volatility Edit Widespread insurgency and sabotage occurred during the 2003''2008 height of the American occupation of Iraq, coinciding with rapidly increasing oil demand from China and commodity-hungry investors, recurring violence against the Nigerian oil industry, and dwindling spare capacity as a cushion against potential shortages. This combination of forces prompted a sharp rise in oil prices to levels far higher than those previously targeted by OPEC.[69][70][71] Price volatility reached an extreme in 2008, as WTI crude oil surged to a record US$147/bbl in July and then plunged back to US$32/bbl in December, during the worst global recession since World War II.[72] OPEC's annual oil export revenue also set a new record in 2008, estimated around US$1 trillion, and reached similar annual rates in 2011''2014 (along with extensive petrodollar recycling activity) before plunging again.[45] By the time of the 2011 Libyan Civil War and Arab Spring, OPEC started issuing explicit statements to counter "excessive speculation" in oil futures markets, blaming financial speculators for increasing volatility beyond market fundamentals.[73]
In May 2008, Indonesia announced that it would leave OPEC when its membership expired at the end of that year, having become a net importer of oil and being unable to meet its production quota.[74] A statement released by OPEC on 10 September 2008 confirmed Indonesia's withdrawal, noting that OPEC "regretfully accepted the wish of Indonesia to suspend its full membership in the organization, and recorded its hope that the country would be in a position to rejoin the organization in the not-too-distant future."[75]
2008 production dispute Edit Countries by net oil exports (2008)
The differing economic needs of OPEC member states often affect the internal debates behind OPEC production quotas. Poorer members have pushed for production cuts from fellow members, to increase the price of oil and thus their own revenues.[76] These proposals conflict with Saudi Arabia's stated long-term strategy of being a partner with the world's economic powers to ensure a steady flow of oil that would support economic expansion.[77] Part of the basis for this policy is the Saudi concern that overly expensive oil or unreliable supply will drive industrial nations to conserve energy and develop alternative fuels, curtailing the worldwide demand for oil and eventually leaving unneeded barrels in the ground.[78] To this point, Saudi Oil Minister Yamani famously remarked in 1973: "The Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones."[79]
On 10 September 2008, with oil prices still near US$100/bbl, a production dispute occurred when the Saudis reportedly walked out of a negotiating session where rival members voted to reduce OPEC output. Although Saudi delegates officially endorsed the new quotas, they stated anonymously that they would not observe them. The New York Times quoted one such delegate as saying: "Saudi Arabia will meet the market's demand. We will see what the market requires and we will not leave a customer without oil. The policy has not changed."[80] Over the next few months, oil prices plummeted into the $30s, and did not return to $100 until the Libyan Civil War in 2011.[81]
2014''2017 oil glut Edit Countries by oil production (2013)
Top oil-producing countries
[82](million barrels per day, 1973''2016)
Gusher well in Saudi Arabia: conventional source of OPEC production
Shale "fracking" in the US: important new challenge to OPEC market share
During 2014''2015, OPEC members consistently exceeded their production ceiling, and China experienced a slowdown in economic growth. At the same time, US oil production nearly doubled from 2008 levels and approached the world-leading "swing producer" volumes of Saudi Arabia and Russia, due to the substantial long-term improvement and spread of shale "fracking" technology in response to the years of record oil prices. These developments led in turn to a plunge in US oil import requirements (moving closer to energy independence), a record volume of worldwide oil inventories, and a collapse in oil prices that continued into early 2016.[81][83][84]
In spite of global oversupply, on 27 November 2014 in Vienna, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi blocked appeals from poorer OPEC members for production cuts to support prices. Naimi argued that the oil market should be left to rebalance itself competitively at lower price levels, strategically rebuilding OPEC's long-term market share by ending the profitability of high-cost US shale oil production.[85] As he explained in an interview:[86]
Is it reasonable for a highly efficient producer to reduce output, while the producer of poor efficiency continues to produce? That is crooked logic. If I reduce, what happens to my market share? The price will go up and the Russians, the Brazilians, US shale oil producers will take my share... We want to tell the world that high-efficiency producing countries are the ones that deserve market share. That is the operative principle in all capitalist countries... One thing is for sure: Current prices [roughly US$60/bbl] do not support all producers.
A year later, when OPEC met in Vienna on 4 December 2015, the organization had exceeded its production ceiling for 18 consecutive months, US oil production had declined only slightly from its peak, world markets appeared to be oversupplied by at least 2 million barrels per day despite war-torn Libya pumping 1 million barrels below capacity, oil producers were making major adjustments to withstand prices as low as the $40s, Indonesia was rejoining the export organization, Iraqi production had surged after years of disorder, Iranian output was poised to rebound with the lifting of international sanctions, hundreds of world leaders at the Paris Climate Agreement were committing to limit carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and solar technologies were becoming steadily more competitive and prevalent. In light of all these market pressures, OPEC decided to set aside its ineffective production ceiling until the next ministerial conference in June 2016.[87][84][88][89][90][91] By 20 January 2016, the OPEC Reference Basket was down to US$22.48/bbl '' less than one-fourth of its high from June 2014 ($110.48), less than one-sixth of its record from July 2008 ($140.73), and back below the April 2003 starting point ($23.27) of its historic run-up.[81]
As 2016 continued, the oil glut was partially trimmed with significant production offline in the US, Canada, Libya, Nigeria and China, and the basket price gradually rose back into the $40s. OPEC regained a modest percentage of market share, saw the cancellation of many competing drilling projects, maintained the status quo at its June conference, and endorsed "prices at levels that are suitable for both producers and consumers", although many producers were still experiencing serious economic difficulties.[92][93][94][95]
2017''2020 production cut and OPEC+ Edit As OPEC members grew weary of a multi-year supply-contest with diminishing returns and shrinking financial reserves, the organization finally attempted its first production cut since 2008. Despite many political obstacles, a September 2016 decision to trim approximately 1 million barrels per day was codified by a new quota-agreement at the November 2016 OPEC conference. The agreement (which exempted disruption-ridden members Libya and Nigeria) covered the first half of 2017 '' alongside promised reductions from Russia and ten other non-members, offset by expected increases in the US shale-sector, Libya, Nigeria, spare capacity, and surging late-2016 OPEC production before the cuts took effect. Indonesia announced another "temporary suspension" of its OPEC membership rather than accepting the organization's requested 5-percent production-cut. Prices fluctuated around US$50/bbl, and in May 2017 OPEC decided to extend the new quotas through March 2018, with the world waiting to see if and how the oil-inventory glut might be fully siphoned-off by then.[96][97][98][99][100][101][3] Longtime oil analyst Daniel Yergin "described the relationship between OPEC and shale as 'mutual coexistence', with both sides learning to live with prices that are lower than they would like."[102] These production cut deals with non-OPEC countries are generally referred to[by whom? ] as OPEC+.[103][104]
In December 2017, Russia and OPEC agreed to extend the production cut of 1.8million barrels/day until the end of 2018.[105][106]
Qatar announced it would withdraw from OPEC effective 1 January 2019.[107] According to the New York Times, this constitutes a strategic response to the ongoing Qatar boycott by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt.[108]
On 29 June 2019, Russia again agreed with Saudi Arabia to extend by six to nine months the original production cuts of 2018.[109]
In October 2019 Ecuador announced it would withdraw from OPEC in January 1 of 2020 due to financial problems facing the country.[110]
In December 2019 OPEC and Russia agreed one of the deepest output cuts so far to prevent oversupply in a deal that will last for the first three months of 2020.[111]
2020 Saudi-Russian price war Edit In early March 2020, OPEC officials presented an ultimatum to Russia to cut production by 1.5% of world supply. Russia, which foresaw continuing cuts as American shale oil production increased, rejected the demand, ending the three-year partnership between OPEC and major non-OPEC providers.[112] Another factor was weakening global demand resulting from the 2019''20 coronavirus pandemic.[113] This also resulted in 'OPEC plus' failing to extend the agreement cutting 2.1 million barrels per day that was set to expire at the end of March. Saudi Arabia, which has absorbed a disproportionate amount of the cuts to convince Russia to stay in the agreement, notified its buyers on 7 March that they would raise output and discount their oil in April. This prompted a Brent crude price crash of more than 30% before a slight recovery and widespread turmoil in financial markets.[112]
Several pundits saw this as a Saudi-Russian price war, or game of chicken which cause the "other side to blink first".[114][115][116][117] Saudi Arabia had in March 2020 $500 billion of foreign exchange reserves, while at that time Russia's reserves were $580 billion. The debt-to-GDP ratio of the Saudis was 25%, while the Russian ratio was 15%.[114] Another remarked that the Saudis can produce oil at as low a price as $3 per barrel, whereas Russia needs $30 per barrel to cover production costs.[117] Another analyst came to the conclusion that "it's about assaulting the Western economy, especially America's."[116] In order to ward of from the oil exporters price war which can make shale oil production uneconomical, US may protect its crude oil market share by passing the NOPEC bill.[118]
Membership Edit Current member countries Edit As of January 2020, OPEC has 13 member countries: five in the Middle East (Western Asia), seven in Africa, and one in South America. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), OPEC's combined rate of oil production (including gas condensate) represented 44 percent of the world's total in 2016,[119] and OPEC accounted for 81.5 percent of the world's "proven" oil reserves.
Approval of a new member country requires agreement by three-quarters of OPEC's existing members, including all five of the founders.[120] In October 2015, Sudan formally submitted an application to join,[121] but it is not yet a member.
Qatar left OPEC on 1 January 2019, after joining the organization in 1961, to focus on natural gas production, of which it is the world's largest exporter in the form of liquified natural gas (LNG).[122][123]
Ecuador announced that it would leave OPEC on 1 January 2020.[124] Ecuador's Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources released an official statement on 2 January 2020 which confirmed that Ecuador had left OPEC,[4] though it was still listed as a member state on OPEC's website as of 7 January.[2]
CountryRegionMembership Years[2][3]Population(2018 est.)[125][126]Area(km2)[127]Oil Production(bbl/day, 2016)[A][119]Proven Reserves(bbl, 2016)[A][128] AlgeriaNorth Africa1969''42,228,4082,381,7401,348,36112,200,000,000 AngolaSouthern Africa2007''30,809,7871,246,7001,769,6158,423,000,000 Equatorial GuineaCentral Africa2017''1,308,97528,050'...'... GabonCentral Africa1975''1995, 2016''2,119,275267,667210,8202,000,000,000 IranMiddle East1960[B]''81,800,1881,648,0003,990,956157,530,000,000 IraqMiddle East1960[B]''38,433,600437,0724,451,516143,069,000,000 KuwaitMiddle East1960[B]''4,137,31217,8202,923,825101,500,000,000 LibyaNorth Africa1962''6,678,5591,759,540384,68648,363,000,000 NigeriaWest Africa1971''195,874,685923,7681,999,88537,070,000,000 Republic of the CongoCentral Africa2018[129]''5,125,821342,000260,0001,600,000,000 Saudi ArabiaMiddle East1960[B]''33,702,7562,149,69010,460,710266,578,000,000 United Arab EmiratesMiddle East1967[C]''9,630,95983,6003,106,07797,800,000,000 VenezuelaSouth America1960[B]''28,887,118912,0502,276,967299,953,000,000OPEC Total483,630,00012,492,69535,481,7401,210,703,000,000World Total7,778,632,000510,072,00080,622,287[130]1,650,585,000,000OPEC Percent6.3%2.4%44%73% ^ a b One petroleum barrel (bbl) is approximately 42 U.S. gallons, or 159 liters, or 0.159 m3, varying slightly with temperature. To put the production numbers in context, a supertanker typically holds 2,000,000 barrels (320,000 m3),[131] and the world's current production rate would take approximately 56 years to exhaust the world's current proven reserves. ^ a b c d e The five founding members attended the first OPEC conference in September 1960. ^ The UAE was founded in December 1971. Its OPEC membership originated with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Lapsed members Edit CountryRegionMembership Years[2]Population(2018 est.)[125][126]Area(km2)[127]Oil Production(bbl/day, 2016)[119]Proven Reserves(bbl, 2016)[128] EcuadorSouth America1973''1992, 2007''2020[4]17,084,358283,560548,4218,273,000,000 IndonesiaSoutheast Asia1962''2008,Jan-Nov 2016267,670,5431,904,569833,6673,692,500,000 QatarMiddle East1961''2019[122]2,781,68211,4371,522,90225,244,000,000For countries that export petroleum at relatively low volume, their limited negotiating power as OPEC members would not necessarily justify the burdens imposed by OPEC production quotas and membership costs. Ecuador withdrew from OPEC in December 1992, because it was unwilling to pay the annual US$2 million membership fee and felt that it needed to produce more oil than it was allowed under its OPEC quota at the time,[63] then rejoined in October 2007 before leaving again in January 2020.[4] Similar concerns prompted Gabon to suspend membership in January 1995;[64] it rejoined in July 2016. In May 2008, Indonesia announced that it would leave OPEC when its membership expired at the end of that year, having become a net importer of oil and being unable to meet its production quota.[74] It rejoined the organization in January 2016,[2] but announced another "temporary suspension" of its membership at year-end when OPEC requested a 5 percent production cut.[96]
Some commentators consider that the United States was a de facto member of OPEC during its formal occupation of Iraq, due to its leadership of the Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003''2004.[132][133] But this is not borne out by the minutes of OPEC meetings, as no US representative attended in an official capacity.[134][135]
OPEC+ members Edit In addition to the OPEC members, the following 10 more oil exporting countries led by Russia, are grouped as OPEC+ cartel from the year 2016 as they cooperate in fixing the global crude oil prices by agreeing to production quotas so that global production is below the global demand/consumption.[136][137] OPEC+ countries encourage unnecessary excess capital investment in the global oil sector instead of encouraging their cheaper oil production at lower capital investment.[138][139]
Observers Edit Since the 1980s, representatives from Egypt, Mexico, Norway, Oman, Russia, and other oil-exporting nations have attended many OPEC meetings as observers. This arrangement serves as an informal mechanism for coordinating policies.[19]
Vienna Group Edit A number of non-OPEC member countries also participate in the organisation's initiatives such as voluntary supply cuts in order to further bind policy objectives between OPEC and non-OPEC members.[5] This loose grouping of countries includes: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, Sudan and South Sudan.[140]
Leadership and decision-making Edit The OPEC Conference is the supreme authority of the organization, and consists of delegations normally headed by the oil ministers of member countries. The chief executive of the organization is the OPEC Secretary General. The Conference ordinarily meets at the Vienna headquarters, at least twice a year and in additional extraordinary sessions when necessary. It generally operates on the principles of unanimity and "one member, one vote", with each country paying an equal membership fee into the annual budget.[120] However, since Saudi Arabia is by far the largest and most-profitable oil exporter in the world, with enough capacity to function as the traditional swing producer to balance the global market, it serves as "OPEC's de facto leader".[87]
International cartel Edit At various times, OPEC members have displayed apparent anti-competitive cartel behavior through the organization's agreements about oil production and price levels.[141] In fact, economists often cite OPEC as a textbook example of a cartel that cooperates to reduce market competition, as in this definition from OECD's Glossary of Industrial Organisation Economics and Competition Law:[1]
International commodity agreements covering products such as coffee, sugar, tin and more recently oil (OPEC: Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) are examples of international cartels which have publicly entailed agreements between different national governments.
OPEC members strongly prefer to describe their organization as a modest force for market stabilization, rather than a powerful anti-competitive cartel. In its defense, the organization was founded as a counterweight against the previous "Seven Sisters" cartel of multinational oil companies, and non-OPEC energy suppliers have maintained enough market share for a substantial degree of worldwide competition.[142] Moreover, because of an economic "prisoner's dilemma" that encourages each member nation individually to discount its price and exceed its production quota,[143] widespread cheating within OPEC often erodes its ability to influence global oil prices through collective action.[144][145]
OPEC has not been involved in any disputes related to the competition rules of the World Trade Organization, even though the objectives, actions, and principles of the two organizations diverge considerably.[146] A key US District Court decision held that OPEC consultations are protected as "governmental" acts of state by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, and are therefore beyond the legal reach of US competition law governing "commercial" acts.[147][148] Despite popular sentiment against OPEC, legislative proposals to limit the organization's sovereign immunity, such as the NOPEC Act, have so far been unsuccessful.[149]
Conflicts Edit OPEC often has difficulty agreeing on policy decisions because its member countries differ widely in their oil export capacities, production costs, reserves, geological features, population, economic development, budgetary situations, and political circumstances.[86][80] Indeed, over the course of market cycles, oil reserves can themselves become a source of serious conflict, instability and imbalances, in what economists call the "natural resource curse".[150][151] A further complication is that religion-linked conflicts in the Middle East are recurring features of the geopolitical landscape for this oil-rich region.[152][153] Internationally important conflicts in OPEC's history have included the Six-Day War (1967), Yom Kippur War (1973), a hostage siege directed by Palestinian militants (1975), the Iranian Revolution (1979), Iran''Iraq War (1980''1988), Iraqi occupation of Kuwait (1990''1991), September 11 attacks by mostly Saudi hijackers (2001), American occupation of Iraq (2003''2011), Conflict in the Niger Delta (2004''present), Arab Spring (2010''2012), Libyan Crisis (2011''present), and international Embargo against Iran (2012''2016). Although events such as these can temporarily disrupt oil supplies and elevate prices, the frequent disputes and instabilities tend to limit OPEC's long-term cohesion and effectiveness.[154]
Market information Edit As one area in which OPEC members have been able to cooperate productively over the decades, the organization has significantly improved the quality and quantity of information available about the international oil market. This is especially helpful for a natural-resource industry whose smooth functioning requires months and years of careful planning.
Publications and research Edit Logo for
JODI, in which OPEC is a founding member
In April 2001, OPEC collaborated with five other international organizations (APEC, Eurostat, IEA, OLADE [es] , UNSD) to improve the availability and reliability of oil data. They launched the Joint Oil Data Exercise, which in 2005 was joined by IEF and renamed the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI), covering more than 90 percent of the global oil market. GECF joined as an eighth partner in 2014, enabling JODI also to cover nearly 90 percent of the global market for natural gas.[155]
Since 2007, OPEC has published the "World Oil Outlook" (WOO) annually, in which it presents a comprehensive analysis of the global oil industry including medium- and long-term projections for supply and demand.[156] OPEC also produces an "Annual Statistical Bulletin" (ASB),[65] and publishes more-frequent updates in its "Monthly Oil Market Report" (MOMR)[157] and "OPEC Bulletin".[158]
Crude oil benchmarks Edit A "crude oil benchmark" is a standardized petroleum product that serves as a convenient reference price for buyers and sellers of crude oil, including standardized contracts in major futures markets since 1983. Benchmarks are used because oil prices differ (usually by a few dollars per barrel) based on variety, grade, delivery date and location, and other legal requirements.[159][160]
The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes has been an important benchmark for oil prices since 2000. It is calculated as a weighted average of prices for petroleum blends from the OPEC member countries: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Rabi Light (Gabon), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE), and Merey (Venezuela).[161]
North Sea Brent Crude Oil is the leading benchmark for Atlantic basin crude oils, and is used to price approximately two-thirds of the world's traded crude oil. Other well-known benchmarks are West Texas Intermediate (WTI), Dubai Crude, Oman Crude, and Urals oil.[162]
Spare capacity Edit The US Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the US Department of Energy, defines spare capacity for crude oil market management "as the volume of production that can be brought on within 30 days and sustained for at least 90 days... OPEC spare capacity provides an indicator of the world oil market's ability to respond to potential crises that reduce oil supplies."[59]
In November 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that OPEC's "effective" spare capacity, adjusted for ongoing disruptions in countries like Libya and Nigeria, was 3.5 million barrels per day (560,000 m3/d) and that this number would increase to a peak in 2017 of 4.6 million barrels per day (730,000 m3/d).[163] By November 2015, the IEA changed its assessment[quantify ] "with OPEC's spare production buffer stretched thin, as Saudi Arabia '' which holds the lion's share of excess capacity '' and its [Persian] Gulf neighbours pump at near-record rates."[164]
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Retrieved 9 November 2016 . ^ Van de Graaf, Thijs (2016). "Is OPEC dead? Oil exporters, the Paris agreement and the transition to a post-carbon world" (PDF) . Energy Research & Social Science. 23: 182''188. doi:10.1016/j.erss.2016.10.005. hdl:1854/LU-8137111. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 September 2019 . Retrieved 25 September 2019 . ^ Farah, Paolo Davide; Cima, Elena (September 2013). "Energy Trade and the WTO: Implications for Renewable Energy and the OPEC Cartel". Journal of International Economic Law. 16 (3): 707''740. doi:10.1093/jiel/jgt024. SSRN 2330416 . ^ Weil, Dan (25 November 2007). "If OPEC Is a Cartel, Why Isn't It Illegal?". Newsmax. Archived from the original on 11 March 2014 . Retrieved 27 January 2014 . ^ Joelson, Mark R.; Griffin, Joseph P. (1975). "The Legal Status of Nation-State Cartels Under United States Antitrust and Public International Law". The International Lawyer. 9 (4): 617''645. JSTOR 40704964. ^ Learsy, Raymond J. (10 September 2012). "NOPEC ('No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act'): A Presidential Issue and a Test of Political Integrity". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 3 June 2017 . Retrieved 6 April 2016 . Varied forms of a NOPEC bill have been introduced some 16 times since 1999, only to be vehemently resisted by the oil industry. ^ Palley, Thomas I. (December 2003). "Lifting the Natural Resource Curse". Foreign Service Journal. Archived from the original on 20 May 2016 . Retrieved 26 April 2016 . ^ Ross, Michael L. (May 2015). "What Have We Learned about the Resource Curse?". Annual Review of Political Science. 18: 239''259. doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-052213-040359. ^ Kessler, Oren (13 February 2016). "The Middle East's Conflicts Are About Religion". The National Interest. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016 . Retrieved 17 March 2016 . ^ Motadel, David (24 May 2015). " ' Defending the Faith' in the Middle East". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015 . Retrieved 17 March 2016 . ^ Mattar, Philip, ed. (2004). "Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)". Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. 3 (2nd ed.). Detroit: Gale / Macmillan Reference USA. ISBN 978-0028657691. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016 . Retrieved 10 April 2016 . ^ "History of the Joint Organisations Data Initiative". JODI. Archived from the original on 12 October 2015 . Retrieved 23 December 2015 . ^ "World Oil Outlook". OPEC. Archived from the original on 24 December 2015 . Retrieved 31 December 2015 . ^ "Monthly Oil Market Report". OPEC. Archived from the original on 27 December 2015 . Retrieved 31 December 2015 . ^ "OPEC Bulletin". OPEC. Archived from the original on 5 January 2016 . Retrieved 31 December 2015 . ^ "Oil markets explained". BBC News. 18 October 2007. Archived from the original on 13 September 2018 . Retrieved 6 April 2016 . ^ Razavi, Hossein (April 1989). The new era of petroleum trading: spot-oil, spot-related contracts, and futures markets (PDF) . The World Bank. pp. 65''69. ISBN 978-0-8213-1199-8. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 February 2017 . Retrieved 4 February 2017 . ^ "OPEC Basket Price". OPEC. Archived from the original on 1 May 2019 . Retrieved 6 January 2017 . ^ "Brent crude and other oil price benchmarks". Reuters. 5 April 2011. Archived from the original on 25 September 2017 . Retrieved 4 April 2018 . ^ " ' Effective' OPEC Spare Capacity: Reality-Based Data" (PDF) . IEA Energy (7): 13. November 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 May 2016. ^ "3 billion barrel cushion". Oil Market Report. 13 November 2015. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015 . Retrieved 15 December 2015 . Further reading Edit Evans, John (1986). OPEC, Its Member States and the World Energy Market. ISBN 978-0810321489.Fesharaki, Fereidun (1983). OPEC, the Gulf, and the World Petroleum Market: A Study in Government Policy and Downstream Operations. ISBN 9780367281939.Licklider, Roy (1988). "The Power of Oil: The Arab Oil Weapon and the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and the United States". International Studies Quarterly. 32 (2): 205''226. doi:10.2307/2600627. JSTOR 2600627. Painter, David S (2014). "Oil and geopolitics: The oil crises of the 1970s and the cold war". Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung. 186''208.Skeet, Ian (1988). OPEC: Twenty-five Years of Prices and Politics. Cambridge UP. ISBN 978-0521405720Yergin, Daniel (1991). The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power. ISBN 978-1439110126External links Edit Wikimedia Commons has media related to OPEC . Official website The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) official website
Oil deal is May first, that’s the timing
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Coronavirus 'could be spreading across the globe through farts' claim doctors - Daily Star
Sun, 12 Apr 2020 21:22
Doctors have made the foul discovery that farting could spread the Covid-19 disease '' unless infected people wear pants which can protect this from happening
The deadly coronavirus bug could be spreading across the globe through farts, according to doctors.
Tests carried out earlier this year have shown that the virus was present in the faeces of more than half of patients with Covid-19.
And doctors have previously warned farts contain tiny poo particles that can spread bacteria.
They said more research needed to be done to rule out passing the disease on to people through omitting bodily gasses.
TV doctor Xander Van Tulleken, who presented CBBC series Operation Ouch as well as appearing on a string of documentaries, raised the issue on social media.
Doctors say, however, the infected person would have to not be wearing pants for starters (Image: Getty Images)He highlighted work by Australian doctor Andy Tagg which he called ''an enjoyable thread about whether farting can cause coronavirus''.
In his findings Dr Tagg cited tests carried out earlier this year which showed 55% of patients with SARS-CoV-2 had it present in their poo.
He said: ''Well, SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in faeces and has been detected in an asymptomatic individual up to 17 days post-exposure.''
The doctor added that previous tests have shown farts have the power to spray talcolm powder long distances.
The other person would also have to be sniffing the fart from close proximity to be at risk (Image: Getty Images) Read More UK to live under coronavirus restrictions 'for another 18 months until vaccine is found' In 2001 Australian doctor Karl Kruszelnicki and microbiologist Luke Tennent carried out an experiment to see if farts could spread disease.
Dr Tennent asked a colleague to pass wind directly into two Petri dishes from a distance of five centimeters - first while wearing pants, and then without.
He found that the first Petri dish stayed clean, while the second one sprouted bacteria overnight, but added the bacteria found in the test was not harmful.
Earlier this year China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that pants should be an effective barrier against farts that might carry the novel coronavirus.
A test earlier this year found 55% of patients with SARS-CoV-2 had it present in their poo (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto) Read More Babies born during coronavirus crisis given face shields to protect against killer bug It said that farts are unlikely to transmit the virus provided pants are worn.
It warned, however, that if the infected patient was not wearing pants, and they released a large amount of gas, then someone else '' if they took a close sniff at the gas '' could be at risk.
Dr Tagg added: ''Perhaps SARS-CoV-2 can be spread through the power of parping - we need more evidence.
''So remember to wear appropriate PPE at all times and stay safe!''
Related Articles
HCQ
Rita Wilson warns she experienced 'extreme side effects' after taking chloroquine | TheHill
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 15:06
Rita Wilson, who announced she had contracted the coronavirus with her husband Tom Hanks last month, warned that taking chloroquine, a drug that has been touted by the White House as a "game changer," caused her "extreme side effects."
The couple has since recovered from their infection that was reported on March 11, after quarantining in Australia, where they were diagnosed with the illness.
Hanks cited milder symptoms than Wilson, who was given chloroquine for her treatment, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Wilson said she was not sure if the drug worked or if her fever broke naturally. However, regardless of whether the drug worked, she said she thinks it caused "extreme side effects" that made her nauseous, dizzy and weakened her muscles.
She added, "people have to be very considerate about that drug. We don't really know if it's helpful in this case."
President Trump has touted the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as possible "miracle" solutions for treating the coronavirus, despite a lack of long-term research into its effects on COVID-19 patients.
The drugs, previously proven to treat infections such as malaria, have been issued an emergency-use authorization, which is still not a full approval for the drug's treatment for the coronavirus.
Health officials told Wilson and Hanks they are now immune to the virus, as the couple volunteers to donate their blood to a study working on developing a vaccine for COVID-19.
Wilson added that she and Hanks feel "completely normal" with no lingering or residual symptoms of the virus.
2020
Stacey Abrams on Being Vice President: "I Am Prepared and Excited to Serve"
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 17:20
Experienced politicians know there is a right way to answer questions about pursuing higher office. Be demure. Redirect. Convey vague interest while insisting never to have given it serious consideration. But Stacey Abrams does not give the expected answer when I ask if she would accept an offer from former vice president Joe Biden to serve as his 2020 running mate. ''Yes. I would be honored,'' Abrams says. ''I would be an excellent running mate. I have the capacity to attract voters by motivating typically ignored communities. I have a strong history of executive and management experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. I've spent 25 years in independent study of foreign policy. I am ready to help advance an agenda of restoring America's place in the world. If I am selected, I am prepared and excited to serve.''
Abrams's direct response betrays ambition, makes verifiable claims, and establishes outcomes to which she could later be held accountable. By normal political rules, it is the wrong answer. But as Abrams and I talk in March in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, it is clear that normal political rules no longer apply. I'm asking her about an unknown political future even as the future itself is frighteningly unknowable: schools closing, businesses shuttering, and Americans sheltering against a raging virus we can barely fathom. Amid this chaotic unpredictability, Abrams's candor is disarming and comforting.
Into the UnknownIn the March 15 televised debate, Biden committed to choosing a woman as his running mate. Less than a week later, the progressive strategy network Way to Win released survey data indicating Stacey Abrams was Biden's strongest potential lieutenant. A graduate of Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin, and Yale Law School, Abrams made history as the first woman to lead a political party in Georgia's General Assembly and the first African American to lead the Georgia House of Representatives. In 2018, she pursued history again, mounting an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to become America's first black woman governor. Her defeat came amid election irregularities and allegations of voter suppression. Abrams refused to concede the close race to her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp. ''I'm supposed to say nice things and accept my fate,'' Abrams writes in the preface to her New York Times best-seller, Lead From the Outside. ''I refused to be gaslighted into throwing away my power, diminishing my voice.''
Stacey Abrams, founder and chair of Fair Fight Action, testifies during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties hearing on the Voting Rights Act. Alex Wong Getty Images
The loss was not her end. The political star that is Stacey Abrams has continued to rise. On the heels of her defeat, she founded Fair Fight, a national organizing effort to ensure fair elections. This was followed by Fair Count, which works to achieve a fully accurate and representative census. Then, late last year, Abrams launched the Southern Economic Advancement Project to promote equitable economic and social policy for all races, classes, and genders across the region. She did all this while crisscrossing the country, giving lectures, supporting local Democratic candidates, and even becoming the first black woman to deliver the official Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union in 2019.
"I may not have won the office, but what I was able to earn for the causes I serve has been extraordinary. Apparently, I'm a really good loser."
''I've learned that failure is not permanent,'' Abrams tells me. ''My responsibility is to not let failure dissuade me from my core obligations. Sometimes we pursue a challenge thinking it is about our victory, but we don't know the true purpose until later. Not becoming governor of one state gave me the opportunity to launch a national network in 20 states [to fight for fair elections]. We are helping reform democracy in places where it was broken and battered. We are fixing access to a census that the president of the United States tried to destroy.'' She continues, ''I may not have won the office, but what I was able to earn for the causes I serve has been extraordinary, and beyond anything I could have imagined. Apparently, I'm a really good loser.''
For Abrams, the child of two Methodist ministers, her continued political climb is a journey that requires steadfast faith. Outside of the House of Representatives, black Southern Democrats have struggled to capture statewide office or lasting national prominence. Some of the cautionary tales are painful: After serving a decade in Congress, Tennessee's Harold Ford Jr. was defeated in the state's 2006 Senate race amid racist campaign propaganda. Ford served on the powerful House Budget committee and spent a decade as a media pundit but fell from grace in 2017, after being fired from Morgan Stanley for misconduct. More recently, Florida's Andrew Gillum exited public life amid a tabloid-ready scandal of addiction. The former mayor of Tallahassee lost his gubernatorial bid in Florida the same night Abrams was defeated in Georgia. For years, Abrams and Gillum were linked as the pair most able to build a viable Democratic presence below the Mason-Dixon Line. Abrams is kind and empathetic toward her colleague, saying, ''Andrew and his family deserve the privacy to address the challenges they face.''
She is unbothered by these tortured trajectories, and feels a true calling to work in the service of others no matter what may unfold. ''For me, the ambition is to serve as many people as I can, to the greatest extent I can, in the best way possible,'' she says. ''I cannot know every challenge I will meet. My job is to nurture the intellectual curiosity and the stamina necessary to respond to the unknown.''
Backing BidenStamina undoubtedly will be necessary for Abrams if she is tapped to serve as Biden's running mate. She describes Biden as having a ''truly sincere sense of humor'' and marvels at his heartfelt enjoyment of interacting with the American people. ''When you're in politics, you learn the difference between those who simply tolerate others and those who genuinely love people,'' she says. ''As an introvert, I find it fascinating. His charming gregariousness isn't just an affect.''
Introversion may be her most comfortable default, but the public-facing Abrams exudes striking eloquence, sincere warmth, and uncompromising rootedness in identity politics'--a contrast to Biden's verbal stumbles and misconduct allegations. Although she has been called a pragmatic progressive, it is her courage and straight-no-chaser public discourse that has earned Abrams the respect of voters, organizers, and elected officials alike. The vice presidency seems an odd fit for a politician who proudly writes of her own leadership, ''I refused to play my scripted part.''
"I know that my r(C)sum(C)...is usually reduced to 'She didn't become the governor of Georgia.' But it is important to understand all the things I did to prepare for that contest."
But Abrams insists she understands the role. ''The VP's job is to be chief lieutenant and partner by taking on the roles and responsibilities assigned to you by the president,'' she says. ''I am very self-aware, and I know that my r(C)sum(C)...is usually reduced to 'She didn't become the governor of Georgia.' But it is important to understand all the things I did to prepare for that contest. That campaign was not a whim. It was the outcome of decades of deliberate work building my capacity to serve as many people as I could, in the most effective way possible. My responsibility is to be ready to do the job'--to have the core capacities that are embedded in the role. I am able to stand effectively as a partner, to execute a vision, and to serve the vision of the president.''
Stacey Abrams takes the stage in the primary during an election night event on May 22, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Jessica McGowan Getty Images
I am dubious about Abrams's willingness to recede into the supportive shadow of the vice presidency. Her genuine and strategic empathy are too highly attuned for her to stay silent in the face of perceived injustice, so I ask her to grade the national Democratic Party. ''The Democratic Party has shown its strength and its cohesion during the coronavirus pandemic,'' she says. ''Governors are standing up and saying we will lead when those who should do not. Mayors and members of city councils are showing the best of who we can be. They are bolstered by the national apparatus amplifying their message.'' Then she lightens the mood with a slight laugh, adding, ''This moment is a perfect reminder that there is no national coven, no cabal declaring, 'Democrats, here's what we're going to do on Thursday.' The quality of the party is us. We are Democrats. We set the tone. We set the agenda. Those we elect to every level of government are part of it. Let's tell our story from the bottom up, not just the top down.''
Poverty, Pandemic, and The Polls The bottom, not the top, is where Abrams has focused her work. She and I had planned to talk in Atlanta, sitting together, sharing a meal, and discussing her vision for the country. Instead we strain to hear each other over a spotty phone line, hunkered down in our homes, doing our part to flatten the curve. It is a striking contrast to the last time we saw each other. We unexpectedly shared an elevator in a New Orleans hotel a few months after her gubernatorial loss. Abrams was accompanied by her parents, her siblings, and their families. Being Southerners, we all embraced'--chatting, laughing, sharing a bit of pleasant apolitical intimacy. Now we are living in a world where a global pandemic is stealing lives, smashing dreams, crushing economies, and eliminating those little rituals of shared humanity. I want to know how Abrams is coping personally.
''We are well,'' she begins. ''My parents and my niece recently moved to Georgia from Mississippi. They now live quite close to both my youngest sister and me. We are all observing social distancing, but my dad is a bit surprised: 'You're not gonna give me a hug?' he said. And I said, 'Of course not. We're gonna operate from six feet away.' I opened the door with the Clorox Disinfecting Wipes I have with me at all times. And I didn't hang out. I left. Because my parents are older, and my dad is in remission from prostate cancer. We remind him that despite the instinct to help, and to hug his children, the best thing he can do is stay away from us until this has passed. And my niece is 13, so social isolation for a teenager is a very different thing. It's almost traumatic.''
Abrams is balancing the intergenerational concerns of youth and her elders while trying to be a responsible citizen of a nation gripped by infectious disease. In this way, she is like millions of ordinary Americans. But what sets her apart from many decision-makers is her insistence that our problem solving must always begin at the bottom. ''Many Americans are now experiencing what poor communities live with daily. We have communities perennially facing lower wages, higher poverty, lack of access to health care, and lack of access to child care. Shift workers, low-wage workers, agrarian workers, and service workers are now being pushed over the edge,'' she says. ''We must be intentional about identifying these challenges and concrete about naming and pursuing the solutions. These issues aren't ancillary. They are central to who we are. The poor deserve expanded and deepened support. The poorest among us are often the people working the hardest. And they deserve to be protected. It is not socialism to have a social safety net.''
Stacey Abrams meets Georgia voters at The Busy Bee Cafe in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday November 6, 2018. The Washington Post Getty Images
"The census tells us where the lines can be drawn. And if you are invisible, they will draw those lines around your power, and they will erase you."
While amplifying the concerns of the most vulnerable, Abrams remains focused on the 2020 election, even as it recedes from the national headlines to make way for coronavirus coverage. Determined to ensure that the virus does not pose a mortal threat to American democracy, Abrams rings the alarm about voting. ''The November elections are not as far away as they seem,'' she warns. ''In the United States, 3,100 different administrative units manage elections. This public health crisis means we need funding to address the mechanics of elections now. And we need a sustained public education campaign. If we shift to vote by mail and you are Native American and living on a reservation in South Dakota or Montana, then your mail schedule is different from the average voter's. If you're African American or Latino, you don't necessarily trust a voting process you can't see and touch. These communities have shared memory and lived experience of being denied access to the vote. Vote-by-mail rules have to be clear and known and fair. We must be adaptable to the moment we're in.''
Even from quarantine, Abrams is leading Fair Fight to help ensure the congressional stimulus package includes hundreds of millions of dollars to support vote-by-mail systems for the 2020 election. And she isn't stopping with the most immediate election cycle. Abrams takes the long view, explaining the critical significance of this year's census: ''The Constitution does not permit the census to be postponed until 2021. Even as we shelter in place, we have an obligation to ensure a full, fair, and complete census. Our democracy works based on an allocation of political power. That allocation happens when we draw the line that says, 'This is where you get to pick the people who will speak for you.' The census tells us where the lines can be drawn. And if you are invisible, they will draw those lines around your power, and they will erase you. We need an accurate census so we can be seen and we can be represented.''
Black Girl MagicAs I listen to Abrams eloquently chart a path for fairness, equity, and democracy, even in the shadow of a terrifying and unprecedented public health crisis, it is easy to see her as invincible'--superhuman, even. We are used to seeing black women this way'--trained to rely on their seemingly unlimited reservoirs of strength and believing them magically invulnerable to hurt or harm. Abrams performs the strong black woman archetype elegantly. With palpable love and genuine humility, she explains how her parents shaped her. ''My parents showed me where they came from. They taught me who they were, and they taught me what I could be. They imbued me with a sense of capacity that I don't know I would have if I had not been their progeny,'' she says. ''And so my obligation is to replicate that. My power is amplified when I share it with others who do not recognize it as their own.''
Stacey Abrams meets the future of Georgia voters. The Washington Post Getty Images
Of course this is true. It's true for Stacey Abrams. It's true for Anita Hill. It's true for Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D''Mass.). Many smart, capable black girls are raised to become smart, capable black women who sacrifice personal comfort for collective uplift, carrying the legacy of unyielding strength and uncompromised service. Still, Abrams is human, not just an armored warrior.
I ask a simple question: ''When do you feel beautiful?'' For the first time, she hesitates. Stacey Yvonne Abrams, child of Gulfport, Mississippi, who dared pursue a gubernatorial seat, who confidently asserts her readiness for the vice presidency, pauses and searches for an answer. ''Actually'...that's not'...I don't think about beauty a lot,'' she says. ''I was often told I wasn't beautiful. Not directly. It was more like, 'This person is beautiful. You're really smart.' I'm a sturdy black woman with natural hair. It took me a while to recognize that I am an attractive woman. I don't look like everyone else. But I do me really well.''
"I don't look like everyone else. But I do me really well."
Abrams hits her stride. ''I feel beautiful when young black girls come up to me. They are not just excited to see me, but to see themselves in me. When little girls point to the gaps between their teeth because they haven't had braces. They may come from families that will never be able to afford them, like mine couldn't. I keep my gap. I could do Invisalign, but my gap is my mother's gap. It's my grandmother's gap. This doesn't make me less, because my parents didn't have the money to have my teeth fixed with braces. And it doesn't make me less when I stand before a nation and deliver the State of the Union response.''
Abrams has a Sankofa sensibility. Sankofa is a West African assertion that our collective future must be rooted in a critical examination of our past. Abrams's impulse to reach for the lessons of history while staying fixed on the necessity of service to the future suggests she may be the singularly remarkable leader America needs in this time of unprecedented economic and social change. In a world of social distancing, Abrams is a woman worth watching closely.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of ELLE.
Melissa Harris-Perry As editor-at-large, Melissa Harris-Perry acts as a guide to the stories, experiences, challenges, policies, and defining pop culture moments of women and girls of color.
Pig Ebola
The pork factory South Dakota. Sabotage by us or them???
UK
Coronavirus: MPs demand government publish names of SAGE experts | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 13:55
Ministers are under growing pressure to publish the names of all of the scientific experts who sit on the secretive committee which is advising the government on its coronavirus strategy.
MPs are calling for the cast list of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to be made public so that people can see exactly who ministers are getting their advice from.
The government has rejected the calls, with sources claiming the names cannot be published because of security concerns amid reports of some experts receiving death threats.
But former SAGE members have questioned that argument, insisting it is 'perfectly reasonable' for people to know who sits on the committee which Boris Johnson is relying on to guide the government's response to the outbreak.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Witty (left) attends SAGE committee meetings which are chaired by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance (right). But the rest of the membership is largely unknown
Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick, pictured alongside Boris Johnson on March 19, have been key players in the UK's response to coronavirus
Who are the experts who sit on the secretive SAGE committee?The government is under pressure to publish the names of the experts who sit on its Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) committee.
The latest published minutes of a SAGE meeting date back to August 2019 which means there is not an up to date comprehensive list of members and the government is resisting calls to publish one.
Here are the experts we know are currently involved:
Sir Patrick Vallance: The government's chief scientific adviser is the chair of the SAGE committee. He has been one of the key public figures during the crisis and has participated in numerous Downing Street press conferences.
Chris Whitty: The Chief Medical Officer for England has also been front and centre at many Number 10 press conferences. He has been relied upon to set out the science relating to the outbreak.
Neil Ferguson: A professor from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, his complex modelling on the spread of the virus has been crucial in informing the government's response.
SAGE is this week reviewing the latest data on the spread of the disease and the effectiveness of the nationwide lockdown before then presenting its findings to ministers.
The government will then make a decision tomorrow, based on SAGE's assessment of the evidence, on how long social distancing restrictions will remain in place.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's Chief Scientific Officer, chairs SAGE meetings.
Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, and Professor Neil Ferguson, whose computer modelling on the spread of the disease has been vital in guiding the government's response, are also known to attend.
But beyond that the attendees are largely unknown.
It is thought somewhere between 50 and 60 scientists are currently being invited to attend the committee's meetings.
Many MPs believe there needs to be greater transparency relating to the committee's membership and work given how important it is in determining the fate of the nation.
Greg Clark, the Conservative chairman of the Science and Technology Select Committee, is leading the calls for a cast list to be published, telling The Guardian that he is concerned 'the composition of Sage, and the disciplines represented therein, remains largely unknown'.
Liberal Democrat leadership challenger Layla Moran echoed a similar sentiment as she said: 'The composition of Sage and the data on which recommendations are being made must be published.'
There are also calls for SAGE to publish the evidence it is analysing and its conclusions relating to the outbreak.
Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said: 'Ministers must be fully transparent about the modelling and evidential base they are using to maintain public confidence.'
Sir Patrick wrote to Mr Clark to tell him the composition of SAGE will not be set out because of security advice from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure.
A source told The Telegraph: 'There is a duty of care that the government has to the scientists involved with Sage.
'In the interests of their security, they are not being named. There have already been incidents of people involved in Sage and its sub-committees being threatened.'
The newspaper reported the threats related either to the lockdown being too strict or to it being implemented too slowly.
Professor Peter Openshaw, a former SAGE member and a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said people should know who sits on the committee.
He told the BBC: 'Yes. I was on Sage during the last pandemic, the 2009 pandemic.
Professor Neil Ferguson is also a member of SAGE. His modelling of the outbreak has informed the government's strategy
'I don't quite know the reason that who is on it is not announced. It seems perfectly reasonable to say who is on it.'
Told that the government had cited concerns about scientists being threatened or intimidated if their names were published, Prof Openshaw said: 'I have never felt threatened or intimidated or even particularly controlled by government in terms of what we can say.
'I think government is generally pretty keen that experts can speak out and of course we don't decide, we only advise.
'The government expert advisory system that we have in this country which is really one of the best in the world I think in terms of the government actually having scientific information passed up to them is a very open one.
'It is relatively transparent and I think generally works reasonably well.'
Africans in China getting Kicked out
Hi Adam,
To preempt the reporting about Africans being kicked
out of their apartments/hotels/restaurants in China, I thought I'd provide some
nuance. While there is *definitely* discrimination going on, there is a lot
more to it than just "racism".
All businesses, communities, employers, etc. are required to
verify the health-code of people on their premises, now that quarantines are
being lifted in most places. The health-code proves you've not traveled to
high-risk areas or have been in close contact with infected people recently.
The problem is that a significant number of Africans are
here illegally. Often overstaying their visa, working on a tourist or study
visa (while not actually attending school), or even avoiding deportation after
having their visa revoked for these reasons. If they would try to register for
the health-code, their status would become clear immediately, and police would
be able to easily locate them based on the app storing location history.
So to avoid being picked up and deported, these people
refuse to install the health-code app. This means they can't prove they're not
high-risk for being infected.
If you, as a hotel, rent a room to someone who can't prove
they're not high-risk, you risk having your business closed by the authorities
(not to mention nobody would want to stay there if that news would get out).
The same is true for other kinds of businesses.
So they pretty much have no other option than to kick these
people out.
Besides that, there have been a couple of widely reported
cases where Africans used physical violence against hospital staff or doormen,
when asked to prove their health status.
--
Best regards,
Daniël Bos
Economy
Amazon Slashes Affiliate Payouts to as Low as 1% - Search Engine Journal
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 07:21
On April 14, 2020, Amazon sent notice to its affiliates regarding changes taking effect on April 21st.
The changes are dramatic cuts to the affiliate payouts.
For example, the Furniture and Home Improvement categories were slashed from an 8% payout to only 3%.
There was no indication in the email that the changes were to affiliate payouts.
Unless one clicks through from the email to the page with the changes, one would never know.
Here is the text of the Amazon email notice:
''Hello Associate,
We hope you are staying well during this time. We are writing to inform you of upcoming changes to the Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement, which governs your participation in the Amazon Associates Program.
All changes are effective as of April 21, 2020.
Visit the What's Changed page to see a summary of these changes. You can also find the Operating Agreement, Program Policies, and the Fee Statement if you would like to refer to the current, pre-change versions.''
The wording is vague as to what was changed.
So it is no doubt shocking to click through to see enormous changes to the affiliate payout structure.
Why is Amazon Cutting Affiliate Fees?In my opinion it appears to be the result of a logical business decision. This is likely about cutting unnecessary costs.
The categories Amazon is cutting fees on are related to Covid-19 buying trends that is generating unprecedented buying demand. The demand is so high Amazon is said to be hiring 100,000 warehouse workers to deal with the high demand.
With so much buying traffic already coming to Amazon it starts to make less sense to pay for traffic when Amazon already has more than it can deal with.
That said, the mood is dark in the affiliate world, with many saying that Amazon is motivated by greed by not sharing the bounty with their affiliates.
Categories in High Demand Are AffectedThe changes appear to relate to products that are currently in high demand by consumers because of the COVID-19 quarantine.
Products related to the home and working from home tended to be the categories that were slashed.
Below is a screenshot of the Amazon affiliate payouts, with fees highlighted:
The new affiliate payout rates are in black. The old payouts are in red.Amazon and other businesses are cutting their advertising costs, particularly for products that are in high demand.
Looked at from that perspective, it makes sense that Amazon is lowering the payout fees for products that are already flying off the warehouse shelves.
Not All Categories are AffectedThe cuts are not across the board.
Many categories remain unaffected.
For example, the Luxury Beauty and Amazon Coins categories continue to have a 10% payout rate.
The digital and physical music categories continue to pay out at 5%.
But these two categories may be tough categories to earn a payout from because nowadays most people tend to listen to music via streaming services.
The affiliate payout rates for the following categories remain unchanged.10%Luxury Beauty, Amazon Coins5%Digital Music, Physical Music, Handmade, Digital Videos4.5%Physical Books, Kitchen, Automotive4%Amazon Fire Tablet Devices, Amazon Kindle Devices, Amazon Fashion Women's, Men's & Kids Private Label, Apparel, Amazon Cloud Cam Devices, Fire TV Edition Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV Devices, Amazon Echo Devices, Ring Devices, Watches, Jewelry, Luggage, Shoes, and Handbags & Accessories3%Toys2.5%PC, PC Components, DVD & Blu-Ray2%Televisions, Digital Video Games1%Physical Video Games & Video Game ConsolesAmazon Affiliates Reaction is Predictably NegativeA dark mood has descended over the affiliate world.
Should Amazon have shared their bounty with their affiliates?Is Amazon being greedy and disloyal to their associates?Forum ReactionAn Internet Marketing forum discussion at Th3Core.com about these changes is entitled: Amazon to affiliates: we don't need you anymore.
The discussion title may reflect the general mood of Amazon affiliates once they find out how their earnings are being slashed to the bone.
The forum post says:
''As of April 21, the commission structure is getting slashed''
Harsh words for Amazon on Twitter:Amazon just wiped out the affiliate advertising game.
Lowered commissions from 10% to 3%, effective 7 days from today.
This is what it is like to dance with the beast. pic.twitter.com/uVI14dCyrd
'-- Molson Hart (@Molson_Hart) April 14, 2020
Insane for anyone in the #amazonaffiliate industry right now, wow!
Digital real estate values are taking 60% cut pic.twitter.com/jTEUfy2xvr
'-- Robert Idell (@robertidellxyz) April 14, 2020
TakeawayThis may be a side effect of the coronavirus quarantine.
Changes in demand are shaking up the online marketing world, particularly the advertising segment.
Advertising budgets are being slashed because of lack of demand in some areas.
Amazon Associates is cutting spending for areas where demand is at unprecedented levels.
It may mean that there is little reason to pay for traffic that is already coming to Amazon.
Clips
VIDEO -8m30 New NHS phone app unveiled by Matt Hancock which warns your friends when you've got coronavirus | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 07:34
New NHS phone app unveiled by Matt Hancock which tells your friends when you've come down with coronavirus symptoms and warns them to take action
NHSX is said to be working on software which uses bluetooth technology
It would alert users when they are near someone who has tested positive
Move would require the Government to track movement of millions of people
Ex-MI5 chief Lord Evans warned that any phone tracking must be done carefully
He said tight rules must govern use and allow challenge to avoid privacy lacklash
Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
By David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent For Mailonline
Published: 03:31 EDT, 12 April 2020 | Updated: 13:40 EDT, 12 April 2020
A new NHS phone app has been created that could eventually allow ministers to lift the stringent lock-down that has brought Britain to a halt.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the 'contract tracing' software would allow people who become unwell to warn those they had been in touch with 'over the past few days' so they can 'act accordingly'.
NHSX, the health service's technological arm, is believed to have been working on software which uses bluetooth technology, alongside Google and Apple, who run the two main smartphone operating systems.
Speaking at today's daily news conference Mr Hancock said: 'If you become unwell with the symptoms of coronavirus you can securely tell this new NHS app and the app will then send an alert anonymously to other app users that you've been in significant contact with over the past few days, even before (they) have symptoms so that they know and can act accordingly.
'All data will be handled according to the highest ethical and security standards and would only be used for NHS care and research and we won't hold it any longer than it's needed.'
Lord Jonathan Evans, who led Britain's domestic security service from 2007 to 2013, said that existing technology used in counter-terrorism and organised crime probes could be used.
He said the app is currently being tested and they are working with the world's leading tech companies and experts in clinical safety and digital ethics 'so that we can get this right'.
He added: 'The more people who get involved then the better informed our response to coronavirus will be and the better we can protect the NHS.'
However, the announcement came as a former head of MI5 warned ministers there had to be powerful 'oversight and accountability' if the public is going to accept such an invasion of privacy.
Lord Jonathan Evans, who led Britain's domestic security service from 2007 to 2013, said that existing technology used in counter-terrorism and organised crime probes could be used.
NHSX, the health service's technological arm, is said to be working on software which uses bluetooth technology to warn those who download it when they have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
They hope that the project, which involves Google and Apple, who run the two main smartphone operating systems, combined with massive increases in testing, could allow the lockdown to be lifted by the end of May
But he said that such measures - which amount to tracking the movements of millions of innocent British citizens, would have to be done carefully if they were not to provoke a human rights backlash on privacy grounds.
'There must be oversight and accountability. Tough surveillance powers are acceptable where there are equally tough oversight and accountability that ensures the powers are applied lawfully, proportionately and only where necessary,' he told the Sunday Times.
'This is now the case for anti-terrorism and the same must apply to health. And there must be redress.
'People who believe their privacy has been improperly invaded need to have a way of getting their complaint independently investigated.
'Against the background of the lockdown, people may consider the kind of surveillance needed to keep Covid-19 at bay a price worth paying, but public confidence will be retained in the longer term only if the right controls and accountability are in place.'
The Liberal Democrats have called for 'transparency' over how data in the new NHS coronavirus app will be used.
Acting party leader Sir Ed Davey said: 'Proposals laid out today to allow people to voluntarily provide data through an NHS app to improve contact tracing are likely to be crucial in enabling the UK to move out of the lockdown at some point in the future. This is therefore a welcome step to protect public health.
'However, there must be complete transparency around how the data will be stored and used, coupled with watertight guarantees that data will be anonymised, kept for the shortest possible time, and won't be shared between Government departments.
'Any proposal on the use of mobile phone data or other technology to track people must also be scrutinised properly by MPs before a final decision is made, further strengthening our argument that Parliament should be recalled urgently.'
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VIDEO - Hydroxychloroquine's false hope: How an obscure drug became a coronavirus 'cure' | The Fact Checker - YouTube
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 07:32
VIDEO-Watsonville Community Hospital makes layoffs
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 06:39
Watsonville Community Hospital said they have laid off between 6-8 employees who do not provide "hands-on patient care"."I'm not going to get into specific positions," Halsen Healthcare, who runs the hospital, Chairman and CEO Dan Brothman said. "It's important that we make appropriate and reasonable financial decisions to make sure the rest of the hospital is well managed."Brothman added that during the COVID-19 pandemic they have seen a dramatic drop in elective surgeries and emergency room volume.He said before the stay-at-home orders were issued, the hospital's emergency room would see between 85-110 patients a day compared to just 35-40 a day in the past ten days.Brothman added that they're spending significantly more on personal protective equipment and training for COVID-19 patients. Brothman said the lay offs will not impact the quality of patient care.
WATSONVILLE, Calif. '--Watsonville Community Hospital said they have laid off between 6-8 employees who do not provide "hands-on patient care".
"I'm not going to get into specific positions," Halsen Healthcare, who runs the hospital, Chairman and CEO Dan Brothman said. "It's important that we make appropriate and reasonable financial decisions to make sure the rest of the hospital is well managed."
Brothman added that during the COVID-19 pandemic they have seen a dramatic drop in elective surgeries and emergency room volume.
He said before the stay-at-home orders were issued, the hospital's emergency room would see between 85-110 patients a day compared to just 35-40 a day in the past ten days.
Brothman added that they're spending significantly more on personal protective equipment and training for COVID-19 patients.
Brothman said the lay offs will not impact the quality of patient care.
VIDEO-Armed protesters demand an end to Michigan's coronavirus lockdown orders - YouTube
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 06:12
VIDEO - 4-6-20 Montana physician Dr Annie Bukacek discusses how death certificates are being manipulated - YouTube
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 15:05
VIDEO - Gravitas: Inside China's global propaganda campaign | Wuhan Coronavirus - YouTube
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 14:59
VIDEO - Watch cellphone data reveal the impact of social distancing
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 14:30
The map shows a profound change in travel
Watch cellphone data reveal the impact of social distancing
The map shows a profound change in travel
Hide Transcript Show Transcript
Hey, guys, this is truly amazing. When you see it, we keep hearing the advice. If you don't social distance, you will spread this virus. But now real data is in using all of our mobile phone signals on a heat map showing the spread. Today, you're about to see it in real time. Every little dot on this map is an active cell phone signal. The company tracking them tectonics shows this one beach in South Florida. Look at all the kids partying together over spring. Break all those phones so close to each other. Now watch this tectonics. Follow those same signals as spring break ended. Watch what happens. All those people clustered together now traveling homes interacting with hundreds or thousands of others all over the country. Jefferson Wilson is CEO of tectonics, joining us now by Skype Thanks for joining us. Thanks. So why did you do this experiment? What, you hoping we take out of it? Obviously, we were pretty shocked at what we found because it's really hard to conceptualize something like this. So what we're hoping to do is to show people rather than simply tell them how important social distancing is and what sort of impact It can have a community if it's something that you choose not to dio. They also mapped the spread from New York City, the results even more disturbing. What we did was we zoomed in on New York City over a two day period, and then we zoom back out just to see what travel out of New York City looked like. They went everywhere from Maine, California, Texas, North Dakota all over the map. And this is how fast the virus can spread. We're seeing it right there. Yeah, it's It can spread just that. But some good news. When government officials crack down with stay at home laws, Tectonic says it seems to work. At least it is in Baltimore for the Baltimore video. What we're looking at is social distancing in action. The video starts before any sort of travel restrictions and the closing of non essential distances by Governor Hogan on it. Fast forwards to after those restrictions have been put in place so you can see the number of people that were out about really drop off. The company wanted us to point out they aren't tracking the identities of the cell phone owners. Just the signals themselves for the research. They tell us they're actually in touch with government officials right now. The supply data is this crisis continues and hope to use the information for good back to you.
Watch cellphone data reveal the impact of social distancing
The map shows a profound change in travel
Experts continue to recommend social distancing as a measure to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Data from mobile phone signals on a map illustrates the profound impact of heeding that advice. The data visualization company Tectonix mapped mobile phone signals over a period of time, revealing travel patterns before and after social distancing. Watch the video above to see how much''or how little''social distancing was happening on a beach in South Florida during spring break, over a two-day period in New York, and before and after measures went into effect in Baltimore.
Experts continue to recommend social distancing as a measure to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Data from mobile phone signals on a map illustrates the profound impact of heeding that advice.
The data visualization company Tectonix mapped mobile phone signals over a period of time, revealing travel patterns before and after social distancing. Watch the video above to see how much''or how little''social distancing was happening on a beach in South Florida during spring break, over a two-day period in New York, and before and after measures went into effect in Baltimore.
VIDEO - Coronavirus: Bill Gates interview @BBC Breakfast - BBC - YouTube
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 14:05
VIDEO - CCP makes WHO call TAIWAN racist.wav - Google Drive
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 13:52
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VIDEO - Pelosi: ''I Congratulate The Senate Democrats'' For Objecting To $250B In Small Business Relief
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 11:05
Heartless old hag.
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ZIP |April 15, 2020 10:30 am
VIDEO-pierrepoilievre on Twitter: "Here is the clip the CBC didn't want you to see. https://t.co/MyubxOuByV" / Twitter
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 10:00
Kevin W 🇨ðŸ‡... @ WannerKev
18h Replying to
@PierrePoilievre Why the song and dance around a simple yes or no. I thought the liberals campaigned on the promise of ''transparency?''
View conversation · Bond @ bondzie007
18h Replying to
@WannerKev @PierrePoilievre They promised to balance the budget too,,
View conversation · Phil Bentivoglio @ PHILBENTI
18h Replying to
@PierrePoilievre Just like our PM avoids answering any and all questions
View conversation · Bond @ bondzie007
18h Replying to
@PHILBENTI @PierrePoilievre Name one liberal mp that has answered a question truthfully,, just one
View conversation · Mat Schmaltz 🇨ðŸ‡... @ mat_schmaltz
18h Replying to
@PierrePoilievre MondayMorningQuarterbackingKingPierre Poilievre
View conversation · SC @ Scasey1984
17h Replying to
@mat_schmaltz @PierrePoilievre The evidence was there. The liberals lack of action has put us in this mess. We had a lot of time to prepare and were complacent.
View conversation · MS JACQUIE🇨ðŸ‡... @ jacquie_1959
15h Replying to
@PierrePoilievre As soon as
@PierrePoilievre had his chance to question the little
#cowardofthecottage aka Justin Trudeau he had
#snifflesmcfreeland answer for him or should I say he had her give no answers to Pierre
View conversation · Rowan @ canmericanized
12h Replying to
@jacquie_1959 @PierrePoilievre I noticed Trudeau left pretty quickly. He has only there for an hour when I scrolled thru CPAC.
View conversation · Diane Marie @ DianeMariePosts
13h Replying to
@PierrePoilievre I don't want to see Mr. Poilievre ask the same question Mr. Scheer asked just moments before and I suppose the CBC felt the same way when there was breaking news about the LTC deaths in Montreal.
View conversation · Natalie St-Denis🇨ðŸ‡... @ nstdenis
12h Replying to
@DianeMariePosts @PierrePoilievre Or maybe all the official party leaders had spoken.
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Kevin McConville on Twitter: "LOL, I don't usually subscribe to conspiracy theories on the CBC and their political agendas ... and I'm not really a fan of Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre ... But, perhaps the CBC should have stuck around for an
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 09:59
Log in Sign up Kevin McConville @ Sensfan001Kevin LOL, I don't usually subscribe to conspiracy theories on the CBC and their political agendas ... and I'm not really a fan of Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre ...But, perhaps the CBC should have stuck around for an answer? Seemed like an important question it did ...
pic.twitter.com/h3qFz4YRtw 11:08 AM - 11 Apr 2020 Twitter by: Kevin McConville @Sensfan001Kevin Jef Clayton @ JefClayton
Apr 11 Replying to
@Sensfan001Kevin @PrairieThink CBC should be disband or oh back all the money it's received
View conversation · PrairieWrongThink🇨ðŸ‡...🇺🇸 @ PrairieThink
Apr 11 Replying to
@JefClayton @Sensfan001Kevin #DefundCBC View conversation · Social Distancing since before it went ViralðŸ... @ Telford05036077
Apr 11 Replying to
@Sensfan001Kevin @RosieBarton @RosieBarton certainly has some explaining to do. She won't though.
View conversation · John Jacobs @ jacobs_yyc
Apr 11 Replying to
@Telford05036077 @Sensfan001Kevin @RosieBarton Rosie's just a paid talking head for the Libs, she doesn't decide when to cut away. But somebody at the CBC should explain.
View conversation · Mdg @ Mdg22531484
Apr 11 Replying to
@Sensfan001Kevin pic.twitter.com/0KX80Tz0e4 View conversation · DJ @ jaysrule22
Apr 11 Replying to
@Sensfan001Kevin @CBCNews Wow!I'd like to say I am surprised at this but sadly I am not. Rosie and
@CBCNews, I know you aren't ashamed at yourselves for this, but you really really should be!
View conversation · GordWhitehead @ GordWhitehead49
Apr 11 Replying to
@Sensfan001Kevin Sure, concerned Canadians would rather listen to Rosie. God what an embarrasment CBC has become.
View conversation · Alex @ kwralex
Apr 11 Replying to
@Sensfan001Kevin The CBC is beyond redemption. It makes me sick my money contributes to paying the salary of so many there that are so partisan.
View conversation · Russ Henshaw @ Russ_Henshaw
Apr 11 Replying to
@Sensfan001Kevin @rexglacer #DefundCBC View conversation · Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
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VIDEO-Bill Gates and the Return on Investment in Vaccinations
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 09:19
Davos - World Economic ForumCNBC's Becky Quick sits down with Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Gates made a $10B investment on vaccine development and distribution over the last 20 years.
10:26
Wed, Jan 23 2019 6:33 AM EST
VIDEO-PEDOGATE 2020 | In-Depth Exploration (NEW INFO) - YouTube
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 19:55
VIDEO-Governor Cuomo Rejects President Trump's Claim of "Total Authority" to Reopen Economy | C-SPAN.org
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 15:52
April 14, 2020 | Clip Of New York Governor Cuomo Coronavirus News Conference 2020-04-14T11:45:37-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/cf3/20200414114702001_hd.jpg New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rejects a claim made by President Trump Monday at the White House that he has "total authority" to reopen the economy. "This is not an accurate statement in my opinion," Cuomo says. He goes on to cite Alexander Hamilton on the powers invested in the states and the nature of the relationship between the federal government and the states.New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rejects a claim made by President Trump Monday at the White House that he has "total authority" to reopen'... read more
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rejects a claim made by President Trump Monday at the White House that he has "total authority" to reopen the economy. "This is not an accurate statement in my opinion," Cuomo says. He goes on to cite Alexander Hamilton on the powers invested in the states and the nature of the relationship between the federal government and the states. close
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*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO-President Trump Meeting with Recovered Coronavirus Patients | C-SPAN.org
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 13:34
April 14, 2020 2020-04-14T12:52:27-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/dca/20200414125245013_hd.jpg President Trump meets with recovered coronavirus patients at the White House.President Trump meets with recovered coronavirus patients at the White House.
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VIDEO-President Obama Endorses Joe Biden's Presidential Bid | C-SPAN.org
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 13:14
April 14, 2020 2020-04-14T13:20:22-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/a39/20200414132138001_hd.jpg Former President Barack Obama endorsed his former vice president, Joe Biden, in his bid for the White House in the 2020 race against President Trump's reelection campaign. In his remarks, which were made in a video released by the Biden campaign, President Obama said his former vice president had the experience, empathy, demeanor and trust in experts to effectively run the country. He said the Biden campaign was strengthened in its run against Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who just days before had also endorsed Mr. Biden after suspending his own campaign.Former President Barack Obama endorsed his former vice president, Joe Biden, in his bid for the White House in the 2020 race against President'... read more
Former President Barack Obama endorsed his former vice president, Joe Biden, in his bid for the White House in the 2020 race against President Trump's reelection campaign. In his remarks, which were made in a video released by the Biden campaign, President Obama said his former vice president had the experience, empathy, demeanor and trust in experts to effectively run the country. He said the Biden campaign was strengthened in its run against Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who just days before had also endorsed Mr. Biden after suspending his own campaign. close
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Points of InterestFor quick viewing, C-SPAN provides Points of Interest markers for some events. Click the play button and tap the screen to see the at the bottom of the player. Tap the to see a complete list of all Points of Interest - click on any moment in the list and the video will play.
*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
Points of InterestFor quick viewing, C-SPAN provides Points of Interest markers for some events. Click the play button and move your cursor over the video to see the . Click on the marker to see the description and watch.
You can also click the in the lower left of the video player to see a complete list of all Points of Interest from this program - click on any moment in the list and the video will play.
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VIDEO-Fareed Zakaria: The true fatality rate of Covid-19 is still unclear - YouTube
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 11:02
VIDEO-'I Don't Like What I Do': Chris Cuomo Goes On Rant About How He Hates His Job - The Daily Caller
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 10:46
CNN's Chris Cuomo trashed his job during a rant on his Sirius XM radio show Monday following a novel coronavirus diagnosis.
Cuomo began ''Let's Get After It'' by updating listeners on his recovery after being diagnosed with the virus March 31. He then diverted into a speech about how the virus has made him rethink his life, adding that he doesn't ''like'' what he does for work. The rant was first reported by the NY Post.
LISTEN:
''It made me think hard about who I am and how I live and what matters to me and what I value, and I haven't come to any really hard conclusions about how change will look, but change is coming,'' Cuomo said on his radio show. ''Why? Because I don't want to spend my time doing things hat I don't think are valuable enough to me, personally.''
''Like what? Well, I don't like what I do, professionally, I've decided '... I don't value indulging irrationality, hyper-partisanship, I don't think it's worth my time anymore.''
Cuomo added that he doesn't want to spend ''time trafficking in things'' he thinks are ''ridiculous.'' The CNN host then began to tell a story about ''this dick'' on a bike during Easter Sunday who was allegedly telling him how he should still be quarantined in his basement.
''I don't want some jackass, loser, fat tire biker being able to pull over and get in my face and in my space and talk bullshit to me. I don't want to hear it,'' Cuomo said, adding that he can't say anything during times like that because he's ''a celebrity.''
''That matters to me '' me being able to tell you, 'you shut your mouth or I will do you the way you guys get to do each other '...' I want that back. I want to be able to tell you to go to Hell, to shut your mouth, I don't wanna hear it.''
The CNN host said that being able to do that ''matters to me more than making millions of dollars a year.'' He noted that he's saved his money and doesn't ''need it anymore.'' Cuomo said that it would be nice to be able to tell someone, ''I don't respect what you're saying, I don't respect your presence in my existence and you're gonna leave or I'm gonna make you leave.''
''I value that more,'' Cuomo said.
Cuomo continued with his rant, saying that he feels as though he's ''being perceived as successful in a system'' that he doesn't ''value.'' He added that he values ''being able to live my life on my own terms'' then what he does for a living and that he doesn't feel he makes a difference.
The 49-year-old also talked about President Donald Trump during the segment, saying Trump is ''full of shit'' and that he's tired of dissecting the president, according to the NY Post.
''So, I'm gonna make changes,'' Cuomo reiterated. ''Why? Because I've gotta be happy. Why? Because life is short. Life is short. And I'm pretty far down the road '' I'm gonna be 50. I'll never be [Fox News's] Sean Hannity. I'll never have this mass following that echoes a political set of ideas and principles that I'll agree with. Similarly, [MSNBC's] Rachel Maddow.''
''I'll never beat them,'' he added before touting CNN's success. (RELATED: 'Beating Me Like A Pinata': Chris Cuomo Says Chills From Coronavirus Fever Left Him With A Chipped Tooth)
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller.
VIDEO-After Killing Investigation, Bloomberg News Sought To Silence Reporter's Wife : NPR
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 10:41
As mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg officially had relinquished control of his company. In reality, his former executives say, Bloomberg was in frequent contact and shared his aspirations for growth in China. Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images As mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg officially had relinquished control of his company. In reality, his former executives say, Bloomberg was in frequent contact and shared his aspirations for growth in China.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images Michael Bloomberg's short-lived presidential bid reignited a long-simmering dispute over the widespread use of nondisclosure agreements at American corporations '-- especially at his own.
His namesake company, Bloomberg LP, has used nondisclosure agreements broadly to conceal allegations and silence complaints from employees of sexual harassment or a hostile work environment, as published reports have documented.
The story of one Bloomberg reporter and his wife showcases the widespread use of such legal restraints at the company '-- and how far their reach can extend.
Six years ago, Bloomberg News killed an investigation into the wealth of Communist Party elites in China, fearful of repercussions by the Chinese government. The company successfully silenced the reporters involved. And it sought to keep the spouse of one of the reporters quiet, too.
"They assumed that because I was the wife of their employee, I was the wife," the author and journalist Leta Hong Fincher tells NPR. "I was just an appendage of their employee. I was not a human being."
Fincher is married to the journalist Mike Forsythe, a former Beijing correspondent for Bloomberg News who now works at The New York Times. In 2012, Forsythe was part of a Bloomberg team behind an award-winning investigation into the accumulation of wealth by China's ruling classes.
The Chinese ambassador warned Bloomberg executives against publishing the investigation. But Bloomberg News published the story anyway. Afterward, Forsythe received what he and Fincher considered death threats relayed through other journalists. He and Fincher moved their family to Hong Kong, believing it to be safer.
Even so, the reporting team pursued the next chapter, focusing on Chinese leaders' ties to the country's richest man, Wang Jianlin. Among those in the reporters' sights: the family of new Chinese President Xi Jinping. The story gained steam throughout 2013.
In emails sent back to Bloomberg's journalists in China seen by Fincher, senior news editors in New York City expressed excitement.
And then: radio silence from headquarters. That story never ran.
"Mike and some of the other reporters and editors who had been working on this story just were asking for answers about ... why was this story killed?" Fincher says.
Winkler fears China will "shut us down"Finally, in late October 2013, Bloomberg's famously intense founding editor-in-chief, Matthew Winkler, weighed in, via a private conference call. In attendance: senior news executives in New York and the China-based investigative team. NPR has obtained audio of Winkler's remarks on the call.
The investigation into Chinese political elites would "wipe out everything we've tried to build there," Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg's editor-in-chief at the time, said on audiotape obtained by NPR. Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images The investigation into Chinese political elites would "wipe out everything we've tried to build there," Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg's editor-in-chief at the time, said on audiotape obtained by NPR.
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images "It is for sure going to, you know, invite the Communist Party to, you know, completely shut us down and kick us out of the country," Winkler said. "So, I just don't see that as a story that is justified."
He expressed great apprehension because of the potential consequences of publishing another investigation. In this case, it was one that would itemize the links between top Chinese Communist Party leaders and the country's wealthiest man.
Matthew Winkler: 'They will probably kick us out of the country.'Winkler returned to those fears repeatedly. "The inference is going to be interpreted by the government there as we are judging them," Winkler said. "And they will probably kick us out of the country. They'll probably shut us down, is my guess."
Winkler suggested reporters could find a uniquely "Bloomberg" way to cover the wealth of Chinese ruling elites. But he added a caution about covering the regime.
"It has to be done with a strategic framework and a tactical method that is ... smart enough to allow us to continue and not run afoul of the Nazis who are in front of us and behind us everywhere," Winkler said, according to the audio reviewed by NPR and verified by others. "And that's who they are. And we should have no illusions about it."
At the time, two Bloomberg editors told NPR the story didn't run because it needed additional reporting. Winkler publicly said much the same. But these audio recordings reveal otherwise. They also show how much newsroom leaders were worried about losing lucrative business in China.
After the first investigative project ran in 2012, the Chinese authorities had searched Bloomberg's news bureaus, delayed visas for reporters and ordered state-owned companies not to sign new leases for Bloomberg's primary product: its terminals.
The terminals are the lucrative basis of Mike Bloomberg's personal fortune '-- recently estimated at more than $50 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world. Subscribers pay $20,000 annually for each terminal, which provides specialized financial data and analysis.
If Bloomberg makes its money on terminals, it gains prestige and greater name recognition from its news division. Many of its stories, predominantly on business and finance, appear first on the terminal.
At the time the story was being pursued, China was seen as a growing market and a strategic priority, according to three former Bloomberg executives.
Winkler alluded to that in his remarks. "There's a way to use the information you have in such a way that enables us to report, but not kill ourselves in the process and wipe out everything we've tried to build there," he told the reporting team. Bloomberg News and Winkler declined to comment for this story.
Mayor Bloomberg and his newsroomAs this debate played out inside Bloomberg News, Mike Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City. Officially, he had relinquished control of the company. In reality, his former executives say, Bloomberg was in frequent contact and shared his aspirations for growth in China.
At a press conference after The New York Times first wrote about the internal fight over the decision not to publish, Bloomberg denied the story had been killed.
"Nobody thinks we are wusses and not willing to stand up and write stories that are of interest to the public and that are factually correct," Bloomberg said at a City Hall press conference.
Two months after those remarks, Bloomberg's term as mayor ended and he returned to the company he founded. In January 2014, Bloomberg held a town hall for his global newsroom. NPR also obtained portions of that audio. Asked about the China controversy, Bloomberg sounded a new note.
Michael Bloomberg: 'You have two choices.'"If a country gives you the license to do something with certain restrictions, you have two choices," Bloomberg told his staff. "You either accept the license and do it that way, or you don't do business there."
Bloomberg said the newsroom should be proud of its coverage of China. He also said there were a few "bad apples" at any large institution. Some journalists at Bloomberg News took that to be aimed at the China team. Through a corporate spokesman, Bloomberg LP and its founder, the former mayor, declined to comment for this story.
The following month, Bloomberg LP Board Chairman Peter Grauer told the Asia Society's Hong Kong chapter that the company had about 50 journalists in China primarily to write about the local business and economic environment there. "Every once in a while, we wander a little bit away from that and write stories that we probably ... should have rethought," he said.
In late 2013, Bloomberg News suspended Forsythe, accusing him of leaking word of the controversy to other news outlets. The company would later fire him. He soon landed at The New York Times.
Forsythe declined to comment for this story. In leaving the company, he signed a nondisclosure agreement that bars him from speaking publicly about his time at Bloomberg News. Others from the China investigative team would leave the company in the years that followed, each having first signed an agreement not to disparage the company. In at least one case, a journalist signed the nondisparagement deal in part to prevent the loss of a month's pay.
"They assumed that because I was the wife of their employee, I was the wife," author and journalist Leta Hong Fincher says. "I was just an appendage of their employee. I was not a human being." Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images "They assumed that because I was the wife of their employee, I was the wife," author and journalist Leta Hong Fincher says. "I was just an appendage of their employee. I was not a human being."
Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images Lawyers for Bloomberg News pressured someone else to sign a nondisclosure agreement: Forsythe's wife, Fincher.
They threatened to force Forsythe and Fincher to pay back the tens of thousands of dollars spent to move their family to Hong Kong after the death threats. Bloomberg also threatened to sue to make the couple pay the company's legal costs, pushing the dollar amount well into the six figures.
"There was no reason why I should have to sign a nondisclosure agreement," Fincher tells NPR, "because I didn't possess any damaging material about the company."
NPR reached out to the general counsel of a rival media company, a top executive who has overseen contracts at two major television networks, and also a leading workplace attorney to determine whether they had ever heard of a company demanding a nondisclosure agreement from the spouse of an employee. Each separately said they had not.
Fincher recalls being summoned to the high-rise offices of Bloomberg's Hong Kong legal team. Her husband was there too, with his own lawyers.
She recalls staring at a giant projection of Bloomberg's outside lawyer from New York City on a video screen. He rejected her assurances that she did not pose any threat, demanding a formal nondisclosure agreement by asking, "What about all the evidence that's in her head?"
Fincher is a former correspondent for CNBC and Voice of America. At the time, she was finishing up her doctorate at a Chinese university. She bristled at what the company's lawyers were suggesting.
"They assumed that my husband would be able to silence me," Fincher says. "He didn't want to do that. That's not the kind of relationship that we have."
Fincher tells NPR she walked out of the conference room, took the elevator to the lobby, left the building and never returned. Bloomberg LP continued to press her.
Last month, a Bloomberg corporate spokeswoman told The New York Times that Forsythe stole "Bloomberg L.P. intellectual property and gave it to his wife." The spokeswoman, Natalie Harland, said that Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg News never pressured anyone to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
Legal documents reviewed by NPR contradict that claim, showing Bloomberg LP's muscular efforts to obtain a nondisclosure contract from Fincher. In letters to Fincher's Hong Kong lawyers, Bloomberg LP's attorneys insisted that she sign an agreement that includes, among other items, a promise she would never criticize the company or its officers. Bloomberg's lawyers also explicitly stated they reserved the right to sue her in court.
Fincher ultimately ended up hiring a pair of elite Hong Kong lawyers who had previously represented a famous American whistleblower: Edward Snowden. And Bloomberg LP relented and let it go.
More than a year later, the Times would publish Forsythe's expose about billionaire Wang Jianlin and the close relatives of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Several people who know Forsythe, including Fincher, say it took that long to publish because he had to painstakingly re-report the elements of the story he had previously documented with the Bloomberg team.
Fincher wrote about the incident recently for The Intercept, spurred by Mike Bloomberg's exchange with Elizabeth Warren over nondisclosure agreements at Bloomberg LP at a Democratic debate in February. (Fincher was a supporter of Warren's presidential bid.)
Bloomberg's brief candidacy never really recovered. He pledged to release three women who complained about his own conduct at the company from contractual requirements that they not speak publicly, though some laid-off staffers from his campaign have told reporters they, too, were forced to sign nondisclosure agreements.
Fincher asks her own lingering question: What else at Bloomberg News is being hidden if such contracts exist that require such secrecy?
VIDEO-birx dna instead of rna
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 09:23
VIDEO-Yamiche: Trump turned White House briefing into campaign rally in 'most overt way'
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 09:09
On Trump's campaign style video at the beginning of the briefing, PBS Newshour Yamiche Alcindor tells MSNBC's Ari Melber: ''I think what we saw today was really, a remarkable moment of the president being openly candid about the fact the he's using these briefings as a way to talk about his own re-election campaign.'' April 13, 2020
VIDEO-Curtis Houck on Twitter: "Video: Dr. Fauci torches CBS's Paula Reid for asking whether his statement today was coerced and made against his own will https://t.co/FX5KjPfmsG" / Twitter
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 21:32
Log in Sign up Curtis Houck @ CurtisHouck Video: Dr. Fauci torches CBS's Paula Reid for asking whether his statement today was coerced and made against his own will
pic.twitter.com/FX5KjPfmsG 3:07 PM - 13 Apr 2020 Twitter by: Curtis Houck @CurtisHouck elizabeth sweeden @ elizabethsweed1
3h Replying to
@CurtisHouck Paula Reid is the female Jim Acosta!
View conversation · ParkJiHoon🌷HanSeungWoo🌷Ravn @ p1nkobs3ssion
2h Replying to
@elizabethsweed1 @CurtisHouck Jemima Acosta... 🤭
View conversation · Carmela @ cpnovelas
4h Replying to
@CurtisHouck I really can't stand the media!
View conversation · mize @ mize161
3h Replying to
@CurtisHouck @report_baseball @PaulaReidCBS @PaulaReidCBS = ðŸ¤
View conversation · Rich Meray @ richmeray
4h Replying to
@CurtisHouck @PaulaReidCBS @PaulaReidCBS 🤣ðŸ‚
View conversation · Susan Schaffer @ susanlschaffer1
2h Replying to
@CurtisHouck Everyday the press embarrasses themselves
View conversation · PinkLady937 @ Pinklady937
2h Replying to
@CurtisHouck Just shows how the MSM twists things to their own agenda.
View conversation · M @ MWestie7
2h Replying to
@CurtisHouck These supposed journalists are such asshats. I honestly don't know how they could get any worse.
View conversation · Carol Cornelius🐶ðŸ'ðŸ'ŠðŸ'‰'Š¸ðŸºðŸ· @ mommmacarol68
3h Replying to
@CurtisHouck They even have Fauci changing his words
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VIDEO-Jack Posobiec, IWO on Twitter: "Fauci just nuked a ton of fake news, and slammed gotcha questions asked by Jake Tapper https://t.co/gesV7xtFkM" / Twitter
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 21:18
Log in Sign up Jack Posobiec, IWO @ JackPosobiec Fauci just nuked a ton of fake news, and slammed gotcha questions asked by Jake Tapper
pic.twitter.com/gesV7xtFkM 4:13 PM - 13 Apr 2020 Twitter by: Aaron Rupar @atrupar Mike @ mikevj15
3h Replying to
@JackPosobiec @OANN These WH correspondents are all over the place and disrespectful. Thank you
@OANN for your thoughtful and level headed questions.
View conversation · CoronaPug (COPUG-19) @ orderofthepug1
3h Replying to
@JackPosobiec @realDonaldTrump @PaulaReidCBS Boring! The real fun is
@realDonaldTrump vs
@PaulaReidCBS View conversation · Paula Feese 🇺🇸 ðŸ'…🏼ðŸ‘'🧶🐾 @ PaulaFeese
3h Replying to
@JackPosobiec @CBSNews #PaulaReid of
@CBSnews who had the gall to ask him if he was speaking without being coerced was disgusting The way she spoke to
#PresidentTrump SEVERAL times after he took this
#liberal media to the woodshed was repulsive
View conversation · Chris @ NYbird11
42m Replying to
@PaulaFeese @JackPosobiec @CBSNews Thought I was the only one who noticed that. Her smile right after was even worse
pic.twitter.com/zjEfV4pjcB View conversation · TheTruthHurts @ Th3Argum3ntativ
3h Replying to
@JackPosobiec Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Decisions made were right
View conversation · fortress1 @ fortress112
3h Replying to
@JackPosobiec @OANN Wouldn't it be great to see a ''reverse press conference''? One where the press has to stand at the podium and field questions from those that have been victims of their Fake News? Starting with POTUS!!
View conversation · PaigeAlexandra 🎤🎧🎼#2020TrumpCountry.USA @ 4PaigeAlexandra
3h Replying to
@JackPosobiec @OANN Fauci is a DS asset and now he has YOU all snowed.
View conversation · truth @ hittherightnote
3h Replying to
@JackPosobiec Still don't like himStill don't trust himStill
#FireFauci View conversation · Elizabeth Lisa @ fsls
3h Replying to
@JackPosobiec @OANN Because I think Fauci got ''what for'' 👍🏼
View conversation · Mark @ maxscott96
3h Replying to
@JackPosobiec @RobManess trying not to get fired
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VIDEO-President Trump falsely claims he has 'total authority' over states - YouTube
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 21:07
VIDEO-Top doc Fauci admits lives could have been saved if US had shut down in February '' but recommendation 'not taken' '' The US Sun
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 13:20
WHITE House coronavirus expert Dr Tony Fauci today said lives could have been saved if US had been shut down earlier.
Speaking on CNN, the immunologist said the US could start to re-open next month, but warned of a second deadly wave in the fall.
7
"We make a recommendation, often the recommendation is taken, sometimes it's not," Fauci said.During the interview, Fauci revealed that the government had been advised to begin social distancing measures in February.
President Trump announced plans to roll out "self-isolating" in mid March.
"We look at it from a pure health standpoint," Fauci said. "We make a recommendation, often the recommendation is taken, sometimes it's not.
"But it is what it is."
7
Fauci said there was 'a lot of pushback' about shutting things down in February Credit: The Mega Agency 7
Fauci was then asked if lives could have been saved if stay at home measures had started in February, rather than almost a month later.
"Obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier you could've saved lives, obviously," he replied.
"No-one is going to deny that.
"But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then."
The US on Saturday overtook Italy for the most coronavirus deaths reported worldwide.
On Friday, there were 2,000 deaths in the US in just 24 hours.
There are now at least 530,830 confirmed cases in the country, and 20,614 deaths.
Fauci was pressed multiple times by anchor Jake Tapper on when the US might start to lift isolation restrictions.
7
Another 758 New Yorkers died from the coronavirus on Saturday, the governor revealed Credit: Getty Images - Getty Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center employees transport a deceased patient to a refrigerated truck in the Brooklyn borough of New York City Credit: Getty Images - Getty 7
Food banks have been overwhelmed as millions struggle to feed themselves Credit: The Mega AgencyHe eventually said the country might be able to begin to open up next month, but said a "rolling re-entry" would have to happen and it was not a one-size-fits-all approach.
"It's not going to be a light switch," he said. "It will depend on where you are in the country."
Fauci expressed a "cautious optimism", pointing out that the admissions into ICU units in New York, the worst hit state, had started to flatten.
"It's started to turn a corner...it's cautious optimism that we are seeing that decrease.
"Once you turn that corner, hopefully we will see a very sharp decline.
"Then you can start thinking about how we can keep it that way and prevent it from re-surging."
Trump has yet to directly respond to Fauci's comments, but he he did post a tweet Sunday with a clip of the doctor being interviewed on Fox News that attacked information coming out of China and the World Health Organization early in the pandemic.
If the Fake News Opposition Party is pushing, with all their might, the fact that President Trump ''ignored early warnings about the threat,'' then why did Media & Dems viciously criticize me when I instituted a Travel Ban on China? They said ''early & not necessary.'' Corrupt Media!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020In the interview with Jesse Watters, which aired Sunday morning, Fauci addressed his seemingly contradictory advice. He had told Americans in February that there was no need for concern and a lifestyle change was not necessary.
"The Chinese were saying first it [the virus] was only going from an animal to a human, and then when there were human to human cases, that it was inefficient," he told Watters.
"When it became clear not only is transmitted efficiently from human to human, but that it is very very contagious... and a high degree of morbidity and mortality, it became clear we were in for a problem."
"Early on we did not get correct information," he continued. "The incorrect information was propagated from the beginning."
Fauci said he had warned the government America was dealing with a volatile situation.
"[My advice was] we could not take the chance that we would just let people get infected and think that there would be no very serious consequences," he said.
"People who were young, even though they did not necessarily get ill, clearly would be the vectors to transmit it to the people who were highly vulnerable.
"How do you cut that off? The best way to do it is to have a physical separation."
7
Trump watches as White House trade director Peter Navarro speaks at a press briefing at the White House Credit: ReutersOn Saturday, Trump declared the US economy would see a "tremendous surge - like a rocket ship" once coronavirus lockdowns are lifted and people return to work.
He made the prediction after hitting back at claims he saw a memo from White House trade adviser Peter Navarro back in January warning that two million Americans could die from coronavirus.
Earlier, Trump slammed The New York Times over a report which cited unnamed sources who claimed the president did not listen to early warnings about an impending pandemic.
"When the Failing @nytimes or Amazon @washingtonpost writes a story saying ''unnamed sources said'', or any such phrase where a person's name is not used, don't believe them," he tweeted.
"Most of these unnamed sources don't exist. They are made up to defame & disparage. They have no 'source'..." he added.
7
Navarro reportedly warned Trump in a memo dated January 29 about the potential impacts of coronavirus on the U.S. Credit: AP:Associated PressSpeaking to Fox's Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night, Trump said the decision over when to start re-opening the country will be the "toughest that I will ever have to make".
He added: "I'll be basing it on a lot of very smart people, a lot of professionals '' doctors and business leaders.
"There are a lot of things that go into a decision like that.
"And it's going to be based on a lot of facts and a lot of instinct also. Whether we like it or not '' there is a certain instinct to it.
CORONA COVER-UPChina hushed up work of 'Bat Woman' corona expert who unlocked killer gene
NEW NORMALFed Reserve president says US should prepare to be shut down for 18 MONTHS
LOCKDOWN MELTDOWNNaked woman hijacks health worker applause to run nude through town
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SAILOR DEADUSS Theodore Roosevelt sailor dies of coronavirus weeks after Crozier ousting
COMEBACKChina corona cases rocket by 108 - highest number in 5 WEEKS - amid 2nd wave fears
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NFL STAR KILLEDEx-Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson dead at 36 following car crash in Alabama
SUMMER POSTPONEDFrench told corona lockdown will continue 'well into May' as Brits brace
Exclusive
VILE SACRILEGEFamilies traumatized as Easter services 'zoom-bombed with child abuse pics'
CHILD'S PLAYSchoolgirl, 13, 'pregnant by boy, 10' proudly shows off baby bump
CORONA KILLINGParents shot 'execution-style' after kicking out daughter & lover over virus
"We have to get our country back '' people want to get back '' they want to get back to work."
Trump said he will be making a decision "reasonably soon" and he is currently setting up a team of leaders from a range of fields.
Do you have a story for The US Sun team?
Email us at exclusive@the-sun.com or call 212 416 4552.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheSunUS and follow us from our main Twitter account at @TheSunUS.
VIDEO-Countdown 1986 - YouTube
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 09:09
VIDEO-Aaron Lewis - "Country Boy" (Official Video) - YouTube
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 08:22
VIDEO-Who's behind the Chinese takeover of a U.S. pork producer? - YouTube
Sun, 12 Apr 2020 23:59
VIDEO-More than 80 employees at Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls test positive for COVID-19 - YouTube
Sun, 12 Apr 2020 23:57
VIDEO-Pat McGroin on Twitter: "Brand new commercial for Microsoft....ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS SHIT...what timeline are we even fucking in right now. #spiritcooking https://t.co/qS6H4ctcyh" / Twitter
Sun, 12 Apr 2020 23:53
Brenda Mitchell @ CanyonTraveler2
11h Replying to
@PhilMcCrotch4 Really??? He couldn't have picked a different artist?? They had to use the queen of satanism???
#BillGatesVirus View conversation · ニャロムlovely catæ§ã¯ãŠç(C)ºçµ @ rockyz69
10h Replying to
@CanyonTraveler2 @PhilMcCrotch4 insane🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮
View conversation · VividSpark @ vivid_spark
11h Replying to
@PhilMcCrotch4 ''And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
View conversation · WWG1WGA@TeamofOne @ Teamof0ne
10h Replying to
@vivid_spark @PhilMcCrotch4 Let them step out of the shadows and into the light. This is their last stand. God wins +++
View conversation · Michael Valentine Smith @ pctechpro1
13h Replying to
@PhilMcCrotch4 So the "philanthropist" that is pushing tagging us like cattle, is now endorsing the High Priestess of Death and her "art". This is the timeline they planned, but it will not end well for them. What's next? Public sacrifices? Youths being forced to supply blood for them?
View conversation · Suzanne Boucke @ SuzanneBoucke
9h Replying to
@pctechpro1 @PhilMcCrotch4 Apparently, our obedience to follow advise that steals our personal freedoms, was enough to make Gates feel it was time to push his agenda further.
View conversation · Becky Dennis @ BeckyDennis14
11h Replying to
@PhilMcCrotch4 @Shefunooo Lord Jesus, we need you now. Arise oh God and judge the Earth. In Jesus name, let thy will be done. Amen
View conversation · Foxy Byrd @ FoxyByrd
8h Replying to
@BeckyDennis14 @PhilMcCrotch4 @Shefunooo Amen!! Come back, Dear Lord Jesus!
View conversation · Concurrent @ Harteson
12h Replying to
@PhilMcCrotch4 The intersection of the occult and technology
View conversation · Jacob ðŸðŸ¼ @ jbreezykillem15
10h Replying to
@Harteson @PhilMcCrotch4 Technology is a direct result of the occult...
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Glen Woodfin on Twitter: "Dr Fauci tries to justify why all his models and projections were insanely exaggerated. It's obvious he wanted to scare the world and pave the way for Bill Gates' vaccines & digital certificates for big brother control
Sun, 12 Apr 2020 22:42
Replying to
@GlenWoodfin @PKAsedona Like Paul Krugman, this guy is never right about anything- Hillary lover, Hillary Supporter- Bill Gates Lover- Bill Gates Supporter- Soros lover- Soros Supporter-how could he be given the keys to the world
VIDEO-Kasie DC on Twitter: "Just In: New reporting about a sexual assault claim against former Vice President Joe Biden when he served in the U.S. Senate in the 90's. The campaign has strongly denied the accusation, calling them "untrue." @alivitali and @
Sun, 12 Apr 2020 20:17
Log in Sign up Kasie DC @ KasieDC Just In: New reporting about a sexual assault claim against former Vice President Joe Biden when he served in the U.S. Senate in the 90's. The campaign has strongly denied the accusation, calling them "untrue."
@alivitali and
@mikememoli have the newest reporting:
pic.twitter.com/4yz0cw6zg6 4:47 PM - 12 Apr 2020 Twitter by: Kasie DC @KasieDC i like cats @ DonnaMgraduates
1h Replying to
@KasieDC @alivitali @mikememoli Funny how everyone sat on this til Bernie was out of the race
View conversation · MKE2020 @ naahs7
56m Replying to
@DonnaMgraduates @KasieDC and
2 others Ugh...this primary has made me so cynical about our ''democracy'' so sad...
View conversation · Judy Caughran @ JudyCaughran
1h Replying to
@KasieDC @MSNBC and
2 others So why now? Why not when he was a VP?
View conversation · bright 🌞 side @ KingCharlieCLT
1h Replying to
@JudyCaughran @KasieDC and
3 others I wondered the same thing...
pic.twitter.com/YoJl6ao7pP View conversation · Allen Ripley @ AllenRipley2
1h Replying to
@KasieDC @MSNBC and
2 others You guys take the ratfcking GOP bait every time. Do better.
View conversation · Waiting for Godot @ RodDavis
1h Replying to
@KasieDC @alivitali @mikememoli You... you and everyone else watched this man run for office time and again after this alleged assault! You watched him run for VP! AND now you do this!I will never watch your show again, and... if any other MSNBC lowers themself to this, I won't watch anything on MSNBC!
View conversation · ðŸ'🐶Caroline🐾ðŸ'🌊🌊🌊🌊 @ ctran2001
44m Replying to
@RodDavis @KasieDC and
2 others I've resumed watching
@KasieDC when she went on maternity leave and Ayman Mohyeldin filled in for her...Now that she is back, I've stopped watching. Her show has been unwatchable since beginning.
View conversation · Save US @ SaveUS2017
1h Replying to
@KasieDC @MSNBC and
3 others Really disgusted by your giving air to this,
@kasie.
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VIDEO-Deep State Exposed® on Twitter: "RETWEET! "We see a lot of things going well, things like producing childhood death!" ~ Gates https://t.co/XYv5jv7nOq" / Twitter
Sun, 12 Apr 2020 20:13
Log in Sign up Deep State Exposed® @ DeepStateExpose RETWEET! "We see a lot of things going well, things like producing childhood death!" ~ Gates
pic.twitter.com/XYv5jv7nOq 4:52 PM - 12 Apr 2020 Twitter by: Deep State Exposed® @DeepStateExpose Deep State Exposed® @ DeepStateExpose
51m Replying to
@DeepStateExpose #KAGFOREVER #CoronaVirusAgendaamazon.com/dp/B081Z7HL76/'... View conversation · Deep State Exposed® @ DeepStateExpose
28m Replying to
@DeepStateExpose These Deep State sons of b*tches don't slip up with their words. He's only openly talked about depopulation everywhere he can. Operation Mockingbird.
View conversation · Max Powers @ powers2045
1h Replying to
@DeepStateExpose I shut my eyes so that I could listen exclusively with my ears, and I heard. PRODUCING childhood death. Not "reducing", PRODUCING. I heard the P.
View conversation · Deep State Exposed® @ DeepStateExpose
1h Replying to
@powers2045 He doesn't seem to count on anyone hearing the crazy things he's saying. He said it.
View conversation · Mary Jo Archer @ MaryJoArcher1
1h Replying to
@DeepStateExpose Didn't he say reducing?
View conversation · Deep State Exposed® @ DeepStateExpose
1h Replying to
@MaryJoArcher1 He said producing, clear as a bell.
View conversation · Litecoin Moses {No XRP} '‚ '§ Ł @ l3l2ucelee
1h Replying to
@DeepStateExpose @Digibyte4Life God Complex on full display
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VIDEO-State of the Union on Twitter: ""We make a recommendation," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, when asked by @JakeTapper about reports that he and other top officials called for social distancing in February. "Often the recommendation is taken. Some
Sun, 12 Apr 2020 15:41
Log in Sign up State of the Union @ CNNSotu "We make a recommendation," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, when asked by
@JakeTapper about reports that he and other top officials called for social distancing in February. "Often the recommendation is taken. Sometimes it's not. But it is what it is. We are where we are right now."
pic.twitter.com/sw8xYZILB4 6:35 AM - 12 Apr 2020 Twitter by: State of the Union @CNNSotu chuck @ 46mingo
6h Replying to
@CNNSotu @jaketapper @jaketapper would you ask Dr Fauci about this ? Being reported in China as well.COVID-19 reappears in recovered South Korean patients
v.aa.com.tr/1799908 View conversation · Jane Moore @ janeworld1
6h Replying to
@46mingo @CNNSotu @jaketapper Wonder if the positive recovered people were symptomatic?
View conversation · JT131313 @ JT1313131
7h Replying to
@CNNSotu @jaketapper pic.twitter.com/qet5jYWwrO View conversation · Cathy Hancock @ cathyhancock52
7h Replying to
@CNNSotu @jaketapper I watched Jake Tapper question Dr. Fauci. It was obvious Dr. Fauci was careful in his wording answering questions, as if afraid of angering Trump. He never gave a full, definite answer to any questions.
View conversation · Easter Bunny Has Risen @ KKJRyn
2h Replying to
@CNNSotu @stanspak @jaketapper Jake Tapper great interview
View conversation · Recite Social @ ReciteSocial
1h Replying to
@CNNSotu @BBC Your Tweet was quoted in an article by
@BBC bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-'... View conversation · John broaders @ Johnbroaders
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@ReciteSocial @CNNSotu @BBC Uk made similar mistake - don't see
@bbc chasing that story down....
twitter.com/laineydoyle/st'... twitter.com/laineydoyle/st'... View conversation · Willoughby 12 @ willoughby_12
6h Replying to
@CNNSotu @BradMossEsq @jaketapper Will no one cross this evil man?
View conversation · The Limerick Loonatic @ LoonaticThe
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@CNNSotu @jaketapper I think Dr. Fauci should separate from the Administration and stop the hedging and hoping. Just get on the air and speak what you know is true clearly and definitively.
View conversation · Catherine @ CatherineMFDS
5h Replying to
@CNNSotu @jaketapper Tragedy of the #'s were seeing across the country could of been avoided.One, two and even three months could of made a huge difference.Very sad.
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STORIES
Michael Pack - Wikipedia
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 08:58
Michael Pack is an American documentary film producer, and media executive.[1] He is President of Manifold Productions, Inc., an independent film and television production company.
Career [ edit ] Michael Pack founded Manifold Productions, Inc., an independent film production company, in 1977. Through Manifold Productions, Pack has written, directed and produced over 15 documentary films on a wide range of topics.[2]
In 1993, Pack served as Co-Chair of the International TV Council at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 2002, President Bush nominated and the Senate confirmed Pack to serve on the National Council on the Humanities, which oversees the National Endowment for the Humanities.[3] He served from July 2002 to February 2005.
From 2003''2006, Pack served as Senior Vice President for Television Programming at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.[4]
From 2015 to 2017, Pack served as President and CEO of the Claremont Institute in Upland, CA, and Publisher of its Claremont Review of Books.[5]
In June 2018, it was announced that President Donald Trump intended to nominate Pack as the chief executive officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.[6]
Filmography [ edit ] Pack has written, directed, and produced numerous documentaries, principally for PBS, as well as corporate and educational films. His major credits include[2]:
Hollywood's Favorite Heavy: Businessmen on Prime Time TV, hosted by Eli Wallach (1987)Campus Culture Wars: Five Stories about Political Correctness, narrated by Lindsay Crouse (1993)Hollywood vs. Religion, hosted by Michael Medved (1995)Inside the Republican Revolution: The First Hundred Days, hosted by Don Lambro (1995)The Rodney King Incident: Race and Justice in America, narrated by Robert Prosky (1998)The Fall of Newt Gingrich, narrated by Blair Brown (2000)Rediscovering George Washington, hosted by Richard Brookhiser (2002)God and the Inner City, narrated by Phylicia Rashad (2003)Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton, hosted by Richard Brookhiser (2011)RICKOVER: The Birth of Nuclear Power, narrated by Joan Allen (2014)Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in his Own Words (2020)Future releases
The Last 600 Meters, to be releasedReferences [ edit ] External links [ edit ] Michael Pack on IMDb
This is how coronavirus has changed media habits in each generation | World Economic Forum
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 06:42
A significant proportion of the world's population is currently under some form of lockdown, to curtail the spread of COVID-19. As a result of these lockdowns, we're consuming unprecedented levels of media to keep us entertained whilst staying safe indoors. Consumption is not the same across generations and the type of media we're consuming hints at generational culture gaps. Media Consumption in the Age of COVID-19
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to wreak havoc across the globe, people's time that would have otherwise been spent perusing malls or going to live events, is now being spent on the sofa.
During this period of pandemic-induced social isolation, it's no surprise that people are consuming vast amounts of media. Today's graphics use data from a Global Web Index report to explore how people have increased their media consumption as a result of the outbreak, and how it differs across each generation.
Media consumption in the age of COVID-19, by generation.
Image: Visual Capitalist
More Time to Kill
Global Web Index found that over 80% of consumers in the U.S. and UK say they consume more content since the outbreak, with broadcast TV and online videos (YouTube, TikTok) being the primary mediums across all generations and genders.
Unsurprisingly, 68% of consumers are seeking out pandemic updates online over any other activity. Gen Zers however, have other plans, as they are the only generation more likely to be listening to music than searching for news.
Percentage of quarantine internet activity, by generation.
Image: Visual Capitalist
Overall, younger generations are more likely to entertain themselves by playing games on their mobile or computer. Millennials also stand out as the foodie generation, as they are the most likely to be searching for cooking recipes or reading up on healthy eating.
Leaning on a Pillar of Trust
Across the board, consumers view the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most trusted source of information for any COVID-19 related updates.
This isn't true everywhere on a regional basis, however. For example, while U.S. consumers trust WHO the most, UK consumers view their government as their most trusted news source overall.
Trustworthy information sources, by generation.
Image: Visual Capitalist
Trust in information shared on social media is higher than word of mouth from friends and family, and even foreign government websites. That said, it is lower than information shared on the radio or news websites.
The Need for Pandemic Positivity
While staying abreast of pandemic updates is important, ultimately, a positive mindset and the ability to switch off will help people cope better day-to-day.
Therefore, it seems reasonable that people are more inclined to invest in new subscription services since they have been in isolation, with almost one-third of Gen Zers considering purchasing Netflix, followed by Disney+.
The percentage of people who'd consider paying for a new subscription service, by generation.
Image: Visual Capitalist
Understandably, people are becoming increasingly worried about how much time they are dedicating to their screens. However, research suggests that screen time itself is no cause for concern. Rather, it's the content we choose to consume that could have a significant impact our psychological well-being.
Perhaps most intriguingly, the TV shows and movies that are increasing in popularity on Netflix are about pandemics'--which could signify the need for people to fictionalize the chaos we find ourselves in.
Regardless of what type of content we are consuming, the fact is that every generation is relying on their devices during this pandemic to inform and distract more than ever before, creating a huge opportunity for media companies to engage a captive audience.
License and Republishing
World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with our Terms of Use.
This article is published in collaboration with Visual Capitalist.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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Coronavirus: Three-week lockdown extension set to be approved - BBC News
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 06:39
Image copyright Getty Images
Ministers are later expected to announce a three-week extension to the coronavirus lockdown.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will lead emergency Cobra committee and cabinet meetings about the continuation of social distancing measures.
Labour has said it will support an extension, but also called for details on how and when the lockdown would end.
Meanwhile, social care directors have said distribution of protective kit for carers has been "shambolic".
There have been 27 verified deaths with coronavirus among NHS staff, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed.
On extending the lockdown, Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast he believed the government had been clear "we think it too early to make a change".
He said: "We can see that we're reaching a peak, that is good news, but we can see that the numbers are not yet coming down, therefore we can't make a change."
Mr Hancock added that he did not want to put the "good effort" of the public to waste by ending the lockdown too early.
"If we just released all the measures now then this virus would run rampant," he said.
The health secretary is due to meet the first ministers of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales later ahead of making a formal decision on the lockdown.
A SIMPLE GUIDE: How do I protect myself?AVOIDING CONTACT: The rules on self-isolation and exerciseHOPE AND LOSS: Your coronavirus storiesSTRESS: How to look after your mental healthDuring Wednesday's daily press briefing, Mr Hancock said restrictions on movement were beginning to help reduce the spread of the virus.
The UK's chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, has warned of a possible "bounce" in the numbers soon, due to delays in reporting deaths over the Easter weekend.
He said while the UK was "probably" reaching the peak of its epidemic, the high numbers of deaths were expected to continue for a "short while" longer.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced strict curbs on life in the UK on 23 March, as the government sought to limit the spread of the virus.
Since then, people have been allowed to leave home only to exercise once a day, travel to and from work when "absolutely necessary", shop for essential items and fulfil medical or care needs.
Ministers are required by law to assess whether the rules are working, based on expert advice, every three weeks.
The government - led by Mr Raab as Mr Johnson continues to recover from the virus - will detail the outcome of the first assessment at the daily Downing Street news conference later.
All the indications are that the UK is hitting the peak of coronavirus cases. The number of patients in hospital with coronavirus seems to be levelling out.
There are more than 10,000 beds on general wards available and another 2,000 spaces in intensive care - and that's before you count the capacity available at the Nightingale hospitals.
It is this headroom that prompted NHS Providers, which represents hospital bosses, to declare this week that it was "increasingly" confident the health service could cope.
But the government's advisers will be advising ministers that the lockdown should continue.
They fear any lifting of restrictions at this stage could undo the good work, and see a spike in cases that would gobble up that spare capacity and overwhelm the health service.
Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth told BBC Breakfast he expected the lockdown to be extended for a further three weeks, and that the party would back an extension.
But he called for clarity from the government about "what happens next" and for a move to a "testing and contact-tracing strategy" to exit the lockdown.
He said: "Last night the junior health minister Nadine Dorries was complaining on Twitter that people shouldn't be asking about an exit strategy because there's no exit strategy until we get a vaccine.
"Well that could be 18 months away so if the government are saying we're in lockdown for 18 months they probably need to tell us."
Ministers in Scotland and Wales have already said their lockdowns are set to remain in place, while Northern Ireland's Arlene Foster confirmed the NI lockdown will be extended until 9 May.
According to the latest figures, 12,868 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for the virus in the UK, a day-on-day increase of 761.
In other developments:
The head of the IMF has suggested the UK and the EU should consider extending the deadline to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal beyond the end of the yearA proposal to set up a virtual Parliament is expected to be endorsed by the House of Commons authorities this morningThe baby of a "highly valued and loved" nurse has been delivered successfully after the 28-year-old died with Covid-19British Retail Consortium figures show retail sales in the UK declined at the worst rate on record last month, when the lockdown was imposed The toll of isolation on people's mental health is expected to be "profound", experts have saidDominic Raab is to take part in a "virtual summit" of G7 leaders hosted by US President Donald Trump, after the president announced he was cutting US funding for the World Health OrganizationWar veteran Tom Moore, 99, has raised more than £12m for the NHS by doing a sponsored walk in his garden'Haphazard' protective equipmentIn a letter to the Department of Health and Social Care, seen by the BBC, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said early deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) had been "paltry".
It described more recent deliveries as "haphazard".
The group said mixed messages from the government had created "confusion and additional workload", as the care sector struggled to cope with the virus.
The leak came to light after the health secretary launched a new supply network, including an emergency 24/7 helpline, to help get PPE to care home staff.
Care providers have been calling for more testing and PPE for weeks, amid outbreaks at more than 2,000 homes.
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Health Secretary Matt Hancock displays a new "badge of honour" designed to recognise the work of carers The Department of Health's statistics have come in for scrutiny in recent days. They do not include deaths in care homes - leading charities to claim the government was "airbrushing" the death toll.
In Scotland, new figures suggest a quarter of deaths linked to coronavirus have occurred in care homes.
In England and Wales there were 217 deaths in care homes by 3 April. That number is known to now be much higher. And 24 residents died after an outbreak at one care home in Staffordshire.
As part of new government guidelines, Mr Hancock announced on Wednesday that family members of dying relatives would be allowed to visit them to say their goodbyes "wherever possible".
He also promised anyone moving from hospital into social care would be tested for the virus to prevent care home outbreaks. However, critics have questioned the logistics of isolating people as they await test results.
Labour's shadow minister for social care, Liz Kendall, said few care home staff had been tested so far.
In response to Mr Hancock unveiling what he called a "badge of honour" to recognise care workers, she told the BBC: "I think probably what they want more than a brand or a badge is protective equipment, proper testing and a decent salary."
Outraged French lawmakers demand answers on 'fake' Chinese embassy accusations - Reuters
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 06:34
PARIS (Reuters) - A diplomatic spat between France and China widened on Wednesday as members of the French Senate demanded answers at a hearing with the foreign minister as to why an article they said was fake and cast them in a bad light was still up on the Chinese embassy website.
The French language article, entitled ''Restoring distorted facts - Observations of a Chinese diplomat posted to Paris'', first appeared on Sunday, the latest in a series of posts and tweets by the embassy that has defended Beijing's response to the coronavirus pandemic, while criticising the West's handling of the outbreak.
In the post, an unnamed diplomat suggests that careworkers in Western nursing homes - using the French term EHPAD - had abandoned their jobs, leaving residents to die. It came just days after France had raised its death toll substantially to include nursing homes.
The diplomat also suggested that some 80 French lawmakers had co-signed a disparaging statement about World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and had accused Tedros, an Ethiopian, of pro-Chinese bias.
''The WHO has been the subject of a real siege on the part of the Western countries, some even launching ad-hominem attacks against its Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,'' the article on the website says.
''The Taiwanese authorities, supported by more than 80 French parliamentarians in a co-signed declaration, even used the word 'negro' to attack him. I still do not understand what could have gone through the heads of all these French elected representatives.''
Reuters could not find any evidence French lawmakers backed such a declaration nor that Taiwanese authorities used this word to insult Tedros.
Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said the Chinese embassy was creating fake news.
''The Chinese embassy in France's tweet created something out of nothing,'' it said. Taiwan has strongly denied racially abusing Tedros and demanded he apologise.
The Chinese embassy posted a response on its website by its Foreign Ministry spokesman.
''We hope that there is no misunderstanding: the Chinese side has never made a negative comment on French management of the epidemic, and has no intention of doing so,'' it quoted spokesman Zhao Lijian as saying in a French translation.
The timing of the dispute is especially awkward for Paris, as it has ordered about 600 million masks from China to compensate for coronavirus-related shortages across the country and is still waiting for their delivery.
The French presidency and foreign ministry were initially cautious in their response to the article.
But on Tuesday after a growing clamour in France, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian summoned China's ambassador to stress his disapproval, while underscoring the good relationship he has with his Chinese counterpart.
''In the face of the virus and its consequences on our economies there is no place for controversy,'' he said.
However, during a parliamentary hearing with Le Drian on Wednesday, several senators expressed their dismay at the diplomat's comments. They denied such a declaration existed and demanded to know what the minister had told the envoy and why the article was still on the embassy's website.
Le Drian sidestepped the questions, citing the remarks by China's Foreign Ministry spokesman on Wednesday.
''You have a new brand of Chinese diplomats who seem to compete with each other to be more radical and eventually insulting to the country where they happen to be posted,'' said Fran§ois Godement, a senior advisor for Asia at the Paris-based Institut Montaigne.
''These diplomats are behaving as if they were trolls, or bots, and putting outrageous texts on their own social media, which happen to be the embassy website, not quite necessarily noting the distinction between an official embassy website, which represents the government.''
Reporting by John Irish, Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain, and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Michael Perry
CDC, FEMA Have Created Plan To Reopen America. Here's The Projected Start Date And Phases. | The Daily Wire
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 06:23
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have created a plan to reopen America after the country was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China.
''CDC and FEMA officials have worked on the public health response for at least the past week, and the resulting document has been discussed at the White House, including by members of the coronavirus task force,'' The Washington Post reported. ''The version obtained by The Post appears to be an early draft by FEMA and contains granular instructions for a phased reopening of institutions such as schools, child-care facilities, summer camps, parks, faith-based organizations and restaurants.''
The plan essentially starts now with the goal that communities can start to be reopened on May 1.
A White House official told The Washington Post: ''Beneath the bluster of the president saying May 1, and he's in charge, and all the other things, there are real efforts to figure out how we could safely and actually do this.''
The plan outlines designating communities in three categories:
Low Mitigation '' communities where significant spread was never observed, can ''re-open'' soonModerate Mitigation '' former hot spots entering controlled recovery, limited mitigation communities observing increased, but contained transmissionSignificant Mitigation '' current or emerging hot spots, moderate mitigation communities showing signs of strained capacityThe plan notes that ''significant advancements in testing, therapeutics, and investments in the public health and health care systems'' have allowed the Trump administration to get to this point where they are ready to get things going again.
Decisions on reopening individual communities '' which will be made at the federal, state, and local levels '' are contingent on:
Confidence that incidence of infection is genuinely low.A surveillance system that is well functioning and capable of promptly detecting any increase in incidence.A public health system that is reacting robustly to all cases of COVID-19 and has surge capacity to react to an increase in incidence.A health system that has the capacity in all respects, including inpatient beds, staffing, an other services, to handle all cases and that is in a position to rapidly scale up to deal with a surge in cases.The three macro-phases outlined in the plan are:
Phase 1: Prepare the Nation (now-May 1)National Communication CampaignTools to Assess Community Readiness to Re-Open Closed Spaces (by April 15)Dashboards For Ongoing Decision Support For Adjusting Mitigation StrategiesCoordination Facilitated Across Proximate Geographic Areas By State And Federal Officials In Order To Share Changes Across Indicators And Coordinate Adjusted Mitigation ApproachesPhase 2: Innovation and Ingenuity Applied to Pandemic (now '' May 15)Economic Recovery through Pandemic ManagementEconomic Recovery through Support for Local Businesses & SchoolsPhase 3: Staged Re-Opening (varies by local conditions '' not before May 1)Low Mitigation Locations (first to open)Moderate Mitigation Locations '' Step Down From Significant To Moderate Mitigation, Or Step Up From Low To Moderate Mitigation (Based On Indicators (Not Likely Before June?)Significant Mitigation Communities (Remain In Shelter In Place Until Thresholds Are Met)Continuous Monitoring and Mitigation Adjustment ALL Communities (Now Until End Of Spread Or Vaccine Availability)Tell the Democrat Governors that ''Mutiny On The Bounty'' was one of my all time favorite movies. A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2020
Postponing the Cannes Film Festival to this summer is 'no longer an option' - The Washington Post
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 06:17
Amid much speculation, organizers of the Cannes Film Festival announced in March that the nearly two-week event would be postponed from May to late June, stretching into July. Now, less than a month later, it appears those summer dates are ''no longer an option.''
A day after French President Emmanuel Macron extended the nation's ban on large gatherings until at least mid-July, Cannes organizers issued a news release stating that ''it is clearly difficult to assume that the Festival de Cannes could be held this year in its original form.'' The festival, in addition to hosting its annual competition, presents a valuable opportunity for filmmakers to land distribution deals. While in-person negotiations will not take place this summer, the Hollywood Reporter reported that a virtual market called the March(C) du Film will proceed as planned in late June.
Organizers seemed to hint at this virtual market in the Tuesday release, stating that they have been speaking with industry professionals and plan to ''explore all contingencies allowing to support the year of Cinema by making Cannes 2020 real, in a way or another."
Cannes is the latest industry event to be impacted by a wave of postponements and cancellations that began in earnest with the early March axing of South by Southwest. Widely regarded as one of the most distinguished festivals in global cinema, Cannes operates alongside parallel programs including the Directors' Fortnight and Critics' Week '-- both of which have been canceled.
The festival made history last year when ''Parasite'' filmmaker Bong Joon-ho became the first South Korean director to win the Palme d'Or; it was set to do so again this year, with former Grand Prix winner Spike Lee serving as the first-ever black jury president. Speaking to Variety, festival director Thierry Fr(C)maux ruled out the possibility of a virtual festival and competition.
''It's impossible to project ourselves in the short term: the fall festivals could all get canceled, or we could start seeing a clearer sky with the arrival of summer,'' Fremaux said, adding: ''What each and everyone must understand is that if we fight, it's not [for] the festival itself, but to support the economic relaunch of the whole sector, on a global scale '-- the films, the artists, the professionals, the theaters and their audiences.''
Read more:
Spike Lee will be the first-ever black president of the Cannes Film Festival jury
How coronavirus is upending the entertainment industry
Coachella's delay and SXSW's cancellation show how coronavirus could make festival season disappear
Austin golf courses reopen with restrictions
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 06:14
Austin's public golf courses reopened on Wednesday with restrictions. The Texas Attorney General established new guidelines that allow golfers back on the greens. (Photo: Bettie Cross)
Austin's public golf courses reopened on Wednesday with restrictions. The Texas Attorney General established new guidelines that allow golfers back on the greens.
''I'm glad they reopened,'' said Larry Smith while golfing at Lions Municipal Golf Course in West Austin.
The Austin golfer didn't expect to be driving down the fairway on Wednesday. Austin's six city-operated public courses closed at the end of March and Smith and his golfing buddy didn't think they would reopen this fast.
But on Wednesday the two men were some of the first to take advantage of the Texas Attorney General's Guidance Letter that allows players to tee-up.
Golf fell in a gray area under Governor Greg Abbott's executive order dealing with COVID-19. While physical activities are permitted under the order, places like gyms had to close. Golf course operators asked for clarification and are now acting on it.
RELATED: Gov. Abbott to announce plan for reopening Texas economy on Friday
''It's going for a walk in the park. There's really very little difference in my mind,'' said Smith.
The Attorney General agrees, equating golfing with other outdoor activities like jogging and bicycling. The new guidelines issued require golfers to walk the course. No golf carts can be used, and pro shops must remain closed. In addition, golfers must wear masks around the pro shop and on the putting greens and avoid touching everything possible.
''We don't touch the flag sticks and I think we're fine. I don't feel uncomfortable at all,'' said Cal Gooden.
Gooden says it's easy to maintain social distancing and groups are being limited to four players at all city-operated courses.
Golfers say a few precautions make it easy to safely get exercise.
''I keep a hand sanitizer in my bag and a little baggie full of Clorox wipes in case I need it,'' said Smith.
There's also a no-cash rule at Austin's six public courses. All payments are by credit/debit card.
Trump threatens to adjourn Congress so he can make recess appointments
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 06:09
WASHINGTON '-- President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to do what no American president before him has done: Unilaterally adjourn Congress so that he can appoint his nominees to senior positions and the federal bench without Senate approval.
But according to legal scholars, the president only has the authority to adjourn Congress if '-- and only if '-- the House and the Senate disagree with one another over when to adjourn. Currently, there is no such disagreement.
"The Senate's practice of gaveling into so-called pro forma sessions where no one is even there has prevented me from using the constitutional authority that we're given under the recess provisions," Trump said during Wednesday's coronavirus pandemic briefing. "The Senate should either fulfill its duty and vote on my nominees, or it should formally adjourn so that I can make recess appointments."
During congressional recess periods, both chambers hold extremely brief parliamentary sessions every few days, known as pro forma sessions, precisely so that the legislature is never officially adjourned, and no president can bypass the Senate's confirmation process to make recess appointments.
Trump said he needed the ability to make recess appointments in order to appoint key officials to aid in the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We have a tremendous number of people that have to come into government and now more so than ever before because of the virus," Trump said in the Rose Garden.
"If the House will not agree to that adjournment, I will exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress," the president said. "The current practice of leaving town while conducting phony pro-forma sessions is a dereliction of duty that the American people cannot afford during this crisis. It is a scam that they do."
No president before has ever forcibly adjourned Congress. And while the Constitution does give the president that power, it only applies in limited circumstances, all of which are nearly unimaginable.
Even if the GOP controlled Senate agreed to adjourn, formal adjournment resolutions must be adopted by both chambers of Congress, and it's hard to envision a scenario in which Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would agree to adjourn so that Trump could appoint his nominees.
Not only would the Democratic controlled House surely object to such an adjournment, but shortly after Trump issued his threat Wednesday, a spokesman for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that the Senate would likewise not adjourn.
"Leader McConnell had a conversation today with the president to discuss Senate Democrats' unprecedented obstruction of the president's well-qualified nominees, and shared his continued frustration with the process." the spokesperson said. "The Leader pledged to find ways to confirm nominees considered mission-critical to the COVID-19 pandemic, but under Senate rules will take consent from Leader Schumer."
It's not clear precisely why Trump chose Wednesday to unleash his frustration over stalled nominees, especially while so much of his administration is currently focused on the coronavirus response.
But one clue may lie in the stalled nominee who Trump repeatedly mentioned during the briefing: Michael Pack, Trump's pick to lead the U.S. Agency for Global Media, formerly known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The agency oversees the Voice of America news service, among other government-run media services.
"He's been stuck in committee for two years, and it's preventing us from managing the Voice of America," Trump said, before launching a broadside at the internationally respected VOA.
"If you heard what's coming out of the Voice of America, it's disgusting," Trump said. "The things they say are disgusting toward our country. Michael Pack, he would do a great job but he's been waiting for two years, because we can't get him approved."
Pack is a controversial nominee whose ties to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon have done little to endear him to either Republican or Democratic senators.
Pack's nomination was further imperiled last year when CNBC's Brian Schwartz reported that Pack had been funneling money from a nonprofit group he ran into a private media company that he owned.
The White House declined to comment.
Yet even the president himself seemed to acknowledge that he was pushing the boundaries of constitutional law with his threat to adjourn Congress. "Perhaps it's never been done before. Nobody's even sure if it has. But we're going to do it," Trump said.
Asked whether there was a deadline for the Senate to approve more nominees, Trump dodged the question. "They know they've been warned and they've been warned right now," Trump said. "If they don't approve it, then we're going to go this route. And we'll probably be challenged in court, and we'll see who wins."
Coronavirus lockdown: German lawyer detained for opposition | UK Column
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 05:41
A large number of well-established doctors and lawyers in the German-speaking countries have questioned the constitutionality of their governments' stringent confinement measures, which are commonly being referred to by the English loan-word der Shutdown (as there is no precedent for what to call the situation in German). These measures have begun to be challenged openly on the streets of Berlin. The medical and legal dissidents number in the dozens. None, however, has paid such a price for that freedom of speech as the German medical lawyer Beate Bahner, who has been committed to a psychiatric institution for publicly disagreeing with the measures and policies followed by the German government.
No right to demonstrateBeate Bahner, in the southern German state of Baden-W¼rttemberg, has a 25-year career and has won three cases before the Federal Constitutional Court (German Supreme Court) in the domain of unlawful infringements of the right to practise one's profession. She has written five books on medical law, most recently an analysis of the 2016 federal act to tackle corruption in the healthcare system.
On Friday 3 April 2020, Ms Bahner issued a press release decrying the German government's Coronavirus measures as "flagrantly unconstitutional, infringing to an unprecedented extent many of the fundamental rights of German citizens". The statement argued that the small minority of the public that was at risk of serious harm in the event of contracting Covid''19 could be far more suitably protected by means of targeted measures based on the principle of adult responsibility for safeguarding one's own health.
She continued:
In particular, these measures are not justified by the Infection Prevention Act, which was hurriedly amended just a few days ago. Long-term restrictions on leaving home and meeting others, based on high-death-rate modelled scenarios (which fail to take account of actual critical expert opinions), and the complete shutdown of businesses and shops with no proof that they pose any risk of infection, are thoroughly unlawful.
Noting that the Federal Ministry of Health had failed so far to supply protective equipment to medics and care workers and to conduct enough random tests to establish the actual rate of infection in the population, Ms Bahner went on in her press release to predict that the shutdown would have "devastating consequences for society, the economy, democracy and above all human health", and indicated her readiness to take the matter to the Federal Constitutional Court, since the lockdown represented a grave violation of the constitutional principle of proportionate measures and an abandonment by the state of its duty to guarantee the liberty and health of its citizens.
Ms Bahner followed up that press release with a nineteen-page legal analysis published on 7 April entitled Why the shutdown is unconstitutional and the greatest legal scandal in the post-1940s history of Germany. The headings of the document are as follows:
1. The Coronavirus Regulations in the State of Baden-W¼rttemberg '--grounds;citizens' responsibilities and demands made on them;lack of state competence to issue the regulations;curtailment of practically all fundamental rights and freedoms;the need to nullify all Coronavirus regulations with immediate effect
2. The Infection Prevention Act forms no legal basis for the shutdown '--intent and purpose of the Act;notifiable diseases and evidence of pathogens
3. Epidemic containment measures '--those restricted to persons actually ill or suspected of being bearers;those applying only marginally to healthy persons;the administrative law precedent from the measles ruling;the unlawfulness of a blanket shutdown of institutions and businesses;shutdown constitutes a severe and unconstitutional impingement of the freedom to practice one's profession
4. The Act is meant to ensure people assume responsibility for their own health '--spread of Covid''19 by droplets;following the Chancellor's guidance;every citizen's right to immunisation;quarantines are supposed to confine the sick, not the healthy
5. The local state Coronavirus Regulations flagrantly breach the Basic Law '--state governments have disregarded the federal government's lawful regulation;the shutdown is the greatest legal scandal in the history of post-War Germany;criminal offences by the state government and police;the ban on demonstrations has suspended the right to resist;fines and detentions are unlawful
After these substantive sections, Ms Bahner closed her document with three brief appeals:
An appeal to the Chancellor and all heads of government to end the tyranny at once
A call for a nationwide demonstration at 3 pm on Easter Saturday
The oaths of all lawyers and judges bind us to safeguard the rule of law
It was the second of these appeals, to demonstrate against "coronoia" (Coronavirus paranoia), that landed Ms Bahner in trouble. In full, it read:
Fellow citizens,
I hereby invite all 83 million of you across the nation to gather and demonstrate peacefully at 3 pm on Easter Saturday:
Coronoia 2020 '-- [Tyranny] never again. We rise up today!
In accordance with §14.1 of the Assembly Act, please give the competent authority prior notification of your intent to demonstrate.
Website takedownThe next day, Heidelberg Police announced their intention to prosecute Ms Bahner for this appeal, on the grounds of Article 111 of the German Penal Code:
He who publicly, whether in a gathering or by disseminating writing, encourages an illegal act will be prosecuted for incitement.
The police notification sent to Ms Bahner, ordering her to appear for interview as a criminal suspect on 15 April, stated:
As I have not been able to reach you personally, I inform you by this letter that due to your public call to commit criminal acts (national gatherings at 3 pm on Easter Saturday despite a ban), your website will immediately be switched off.
An order to that effect is being sent to the company 1&1 Telekommunikation SE.
Ms Bahner's website was duly switched off that day (9 April) but was available again the next day.
Supreme Court declines caseMeanwhile, as previously announced, Ms Bahner had submitted a 36-page urgent motion to the German Constitutional Court regarding the unlawfulness of all 16 German federal states' Coronavirus measures, on 8 April. At closing time on Good Friday (10 April), the Constitutional Court faxed its refusal to hear her motion, finding it inadmissible as a matter of inferior administrative law.
Violent committal to psychiatric clinicOn Easter Monday, a recording was uploaded of a calm 12½-minute voicemail left by Ms Bahner for her sister, describing a massively brutal swoop on her home on Easter Sunday evening (12 April). The voice in the recording matches a previous video recording of Ms Bahner (ironically, one in which she describes nursing liability law). In the voicemail, Ms Bahner recounts:
I went into the garage and found a car following me suspiciously. After standing in front of my car for ten minutes, I sensed something was not right and ran back out of the garage. Stupidly, I didn't run into the house, because my secretary had gone to get her car on Voss-strasse and she just didn't show up again '... I asked a passing car to call the police for me. They simply kept refusing to [respond] for five minutes, and then I realised it had been a huge mistake to call the police, because at the moment I'm Number One Enemy of the State.
When the police did arrive, I told them I felt threatened. They brought the handcuffs out and pushed me to the ground with massive force. They kept me sitting in their car for ten minutes with my hands cuffed behind my back, then they drove me around the corner to the psychiatric clinic. There were four police officers there, three nurses, and a doctor, though she only arrived ten minutes later.
I asked to be allowed to sit down and was shown to a bench. Then I asked to have the handcuffs taken off, since it was actually I who had requested police protection. But instead, I was thrown to the floor again, having my head hurled onto the stone floor from a metre (3 ft) height, which nobody reacted to. Then they asked me whether I wanted a face mask, which of course I declined.
Because I refused to move, they physically carried me to the doctor, who asked me "why I felt threatened", even though they all know perfectly well who I am. I was told I would not be given a lawyer.
She goes on to describe in the voicemail her unfamiliarity with the psychiatric facility to which she was taken, even though she is a local lawyer who apparently had to visit clients in that clinic in the past:
Then I was forced to spend the night lying on the floor in some high-security Guantanamo psychiatric clinic, which I didn't recognise; it's been renovated. There was no toilet, no sink, though they did allow me water, and there was a bell I could ring, though they ignored it after the third time I pressed it.
After a further ten minutes of description of how Ms Bahner was "upgraded" from the floor of an isolation cell to a proper furnished room with good nurses, she ends the voicemail to her sister with the observation:
I have been held here for 20 hours now. If people don't finally wake up, this is going to turn into the worst r(C)gime of terror ever '... We are being tyrannised by evil, evil, evil forces. Last night, I was petrified of being killed, of being forceably injected. I am fearful of being disappeared '... Because I had been without a mobile phone at the time I was arrested, I had no way of contacting anyone '... I have a summons for Wednesday [15 April] because I allegedly breached Article 111 of the Penal Code, "Incitement to Criminal Acts". I called upon people to demonstrate! Freedom of speech was the most fundamental constitutional right in Germany, and in the space of three months it has become a criminal act.
Ms Bahner's presence at the Klinik f¼r Allgemeine Psychiatrie on Voss-strasse in Heidelberg, a university clinic, was confirmed on Tuesday 14 April in a telephone call by journalist Hagen Grell. The clinic told him that it had put out a public statement on the case and refused to allow him to speak to Ms Bahner, but suggested that if he were able to obtain her mobile telephone number, he would be able to call her directly.
The detention has also been reported by local Heidelberg media, regional media and a national news source. Ms Bahner's interview for "incitement to commit criminal acts" is reportedly scheduled for 1 pm on Wednesday 15 April at the K6 Heidelberg Criminal Police Department on R¶merstrasse.
On Tuesday 14 April, Attorney W. Schmitz wrote to the German Federal Bar Association that it should take up Ms Bahner's case, if only because the Psychiatric Treatment Act did not in his understanding justify the committal of a person to an institution on the "alleged perception of a police officer" that she appeared confused. He added:
I should not have to add that Ms Bahner's claims of very grave abuse have very untoward connotations of the darkest chapters of German history. The mere fact that she claimed to have been so badly abused was what prompted me to write to you.
Ms Bahner is in the company of over 50 well-known experts in criticising the nationwide lockdown; I would be glad to furnish you with a list of their names.
If it really is the case that lawyers critical of government measures can now be intimidated using the state legal apparatus or psychiatry, and can be professionally and socially destroyed, then it is five minutes to midnight in this country.
Confinement of whistleblowers in psychiatric institutions, an old Soviet technique, has previously been reported by UK Column from Lancashire (in our most viewed ever video, an interview with social worker Carol Woods, who we understand has recently been released but remains at threat from persecutors); from North Yorkshire (in the Hofschr¶er case, extending to Germany and Austria); from Nottinghamshire (the case of Melanie Shaw, who is now being well looked after in another institution); and from Cornwall (the case of Emma, a mother who had reported apparent sexual grooming going on at her child's primary school).
UPDATE: A statement on Ms Bahner's website of Wednesday 15 April indicates that she was released from psychiatric committal the previous evening. In the early afternoon of 15 April, dozens of protestors rallied in front of the Heidelberg Criminal Police building where Ms Bahner had just been interviewed for alleged incitement to commit criminal offences. Ms Bahner told the assembled crowd that she had been given a date, apparently for a further interview.
Ms Bahner's statement ends:
Beate Bahner requires no legal representation, since practically the whole legal profession and the whole judicial system has utterly failed in the past two weeks, thereby contributing to the abolition of the rule of law and the lightning-quick setting-up of the most monstrous and appalling r(C)gime of injustice that the world has ever seen.
A statement of 14 April by the Heidelberg Public Prosecutor, the body's second press statement on Ms Bahner, announces that her prosecution by criminal police and the State Security Department is continuing and insists that the criminal proceedings against her have nothing to with "either the psychiatric committal of the accused or any other use of force by law enforcement".
State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses - The Washington Post
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 23:21
Two years before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the world, U.S. Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats. The cables have fueled discussions inside the U.S. government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus '-- even though conclusive proof has yet to emerge.
In January 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing took the unusual step of repeatedly sending U.S. science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which had in 2015 become China's first laboratory to achieve the highest level of international bioresearch safety (known as BSL-4). WIV issued a news release in English about the last of these visits, which occurred on March 27, 2018. The U.S. delegation was led by Jamison Fouss, the consul general in Wuhan, and Rick Switzer, the embassy's counselor of environment, science, technology and health. Last week, WIV erased that statement from its website, though it remains archived on the Internet.
Full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic
What the U.S. officials learned during their visits concerned them so much that they dispatched two diplomatic cables categorized as Sensitive But Unclassified back to Washington. The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help. The first cable, which I obtained, also warns that the lab's work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.
''During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,'' states the Jan. 19, 2018, cable, which was drafted by two officials from the embassy's environment, science and health sections who met with the WIV scientists. (The State Department declined to comment on this and other details of the story.)
The Chinese researchers at WIV were receiving assistance from the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch and other U.S. organizations, but the Chinese requested additional help. The cables argued that the United States should give the Wuhan lab further support, mainly because its research on bat coronaviruses was important but also dangerous.
As the cable noted, the U.S. visitors met with Shi Zhengli, the head of the research project, who had been publishing studies related to bat coronaviruses for many years. In November 2017, just before the U.S. officials' visit, Shi's team had published research showing that horseshoe bats they had collected from a cave in Yunnan province were very likely from the same bat population that spawned the SARS coronavirus in 2003.
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''Most importantly,'' the cable states, ''the researchers also showed that various SARS-like coronaviruses can interact with ACE2, the human receptor identified for SARS-coronavirus. This finding strongly suggests that SARS-like coronaviruses from bats can be transmitted to humans to cause SARS-like diseases. From a public health perspective, this makes the continued surveillance of SARS-like coronaviruses in bats and study of the animal-human interface critical to future emerging coronavirus outbreak prediction and prevention.''
The research was designed to prevent the next SARS-like pandemic by anticipating how it might emerge. But even in 2015, other scientists questioned whether Shi's team was taking unnecessary risks. In October 2014, the U.S. government had imposed a moratorium on funding of any research that makes a virus more deadly or contagious, known as ''gain-of-function'' experiments.
As many have pointed out, there is no evidence that the virus now plaguing the world was engineered; scientists largely agree it came from animals. But that is not the same as saying it didn't come from the lab, which spent years testing bat coronaviruses in animals, said Xiao Qiang, a research scientist at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley.
''The cable tells us that there have long been concerns about the possibility of the threat to public health that came from this lab's research, if it was not being adequately conducted and protected,'' he said.
There are similar concerns about the nearby Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention lab, which operates at biosecurity level 2, a level significantly less secure than the level-4 standard claimed by the Wuhan Insititute of Virology lab, Xiao said. That's important because the Chinese government still refuses to answer basic questions about the origin of the novel coronavirus while suppressing any attempts to examine whether either lab was involved.
Sources familiar with the cables said they were meant to sound an alarm about the grave safety concerns at the WIV lab, especially regarding its work with bat coronaviruses. The embassy officials were calling for more U.S. attention to this lab and more support for it, to help it fix its problems.
''The cable was a warning shot,'' one U.S. official said. ''They were begging people to pay attention to what was going on.''
No extra assistance to the labs was provided by the U.S. government in response to these cables. The cables began to circulate again inside the administration over the past two months as officials debated whether the lab could be the origin of the pandemic and what the implications would be for the U.S. pandemic response and relations with China.
Inside the Trump administration, many national security officials have long suspected either the WIV or the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention lab was the source of the novel coronavirus outbreak. According to the New York Times, the intelligence community has provided no evidence to confirm this. But one senior administration official told me that the cables provide one more piece of evidence to support the possibility that the pandemic is the result of a lab accident in Wuhan.
''The idea that it was just a totally natural occurrence is circumstantial. The evidence it leaked from the lab is circumstantial. Right now, the ledger on the side of it leaking from the lab is packed with bullet points and there's almost nothing on the other side,'' the official said.
As my colleague David Ignatius noted, the Chinese government's original story '-- that the virus emerged from a seafood market in Wuhan '-- is shaky. Research by Chinese experts published in the Lancet in January showed the first known patient, identified on Dec. 1, had no connection to the market, nor did more than one-third of the cases in the first large cluster. Also, the market didn't sell bats.
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Shi and other WIV researchers have categorically denied this lab was the origin for the novel coronavirus. On Feb. 3, her team was the first to publicly report the virus known as 2019-nCoV was a bat-derived coronavirus.
The Chinese government, meanwhile, has put a total lockdown on information related to the virus origins. Beijing has yet to provide U.S. experts with samples of the novel coronavirus collected from the earliest cases. The Shanghai lab that published the novel coronavirus genome on Jan. 11 was quickly shut down by authorities for ''rectification.'' Several of the doctors and journalists who reported on the spread early on have disappeared.
On Feb. 14, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a new biosecurity law to be accelerated. On Wednesday, CNN reported the Chinese government has placed severe restrictions requiring approval before any research institution publishes anything on the origin of the novel coronavirus.
The origin story is not just about blame. It's crucial to understanding how the novel coronavirus pandemic started because that informs how to prevent the next one. The Chinese government must be transparent and answer the questions about the Wuhan labs because they are vital to our scientific understanding of the virus, said Xiao.
We don't know whether the novel coronavirus originated in the Wuhan lab, but the cable pointed to the danger there and increases the impetus to find out, he said.
''I don't think it's a conspiracy theory. I think it's a legitimate question that needs to be investigated and answered,'' he said. ''To understand exactly how this originated is critical knowledge for preventing this from happening in the future.''
Read more:
David Ignatius: How did covid-19 begin? Its initial origin story is shaky.
Marc A. Thiessen: China should be legally liable for the pandemic damage it has done
Isaac Stone Fish: Why do we keep treating China as a source of reliable information?
Xinyan Yu: My hometown showed us how a pandemic begins. Could it also show us how one ends?
Kanye West Says 'It's Better Now Than When Obama Was in Office', Ignites Online Debate - Sputnik International
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 19:46
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The 42-year-old singer, who is an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump and his policies, has been critical of the Democratic Party in recent years. The artist claimed that the Democrats have manipulated black voters in the US and urged African Americans not to flock to the party as a voting bloc.
Kanye West caused a stir on social media after saying that life is better under President Donald Trump than his predecessor Barack Obama. West made the statement in an interview with the GQ magazine. "I buy real estate. It's better now than when Obama was in office. They don't teach you in school about buying property. They teach you how to become somebody's property", the singer said.
West, who is married to reality TV star Kim Kardashian, said he would vote for Trump in the upcoming election and criticised people who are opposed to his choice and tell him to vote Democrat. "I was told my career would end if I wasn't with her. What kind of campaign is that, anyway?" West asked, referring to 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign slogan "I'm with her".
The singer's comments drew a barrage of criticism on social media.
Are mental patients even allowed to vote?
'-- brad pershing (@brad_pershing) April 15, 2020'‹Some netizens said that life may have become better under Trump, but only for the rich.
pretty sure he means ''it's better now (for the rich) than when Obama was in office''
'-- Justin (@justinssm) April 15, 2020''Multi-millionaire claims his life has improved because his multi-millionaire friend is in office'' is not a headline- it's the natural conclusion to an awful situation.
'-- ðŸ¤pArTY (🎉) JARED🤠(@CardiffGiants) April 15, 2020'‹Other netizens disagreed with West and joked that Trump is paying the rapper for his laudatory comments.
If by better he means worse then I agree.
'-- Sarah Wood (@sarahwoodwriter) April 15, 2020How much is Trumpy paying him I wonder. ðŸ¤--
'-- Stephen Lonergan #FBPEðŸ--¶ (@lonsteve) April 15, 2020'‹Some users contended that West, known for his provocative behaviour, is only seeking attention.
'‹Despite the fact that most of the comments were negative, there were users who agreed that life has got better under Trump.
Voting Democrat is a default position of many black people, Ye expresses freedom of expression, free mind, free soul
'-- common_sense (@Gink_tut) April 15, 2020
Kanye West on His Next Album, Designing Yeezy, and Kobe Bryant | GQ
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 19:00
When Kanye West shows up for breakfast in the central cabin at the ranch he recently bought near Cody, Wyoming, I ask how he's doing. ''Not good,'' he says, turning to look at me. Not good? How come? ''Because,'' he says, ''Kobe was one of my best friends.''
Of course. It's the morning of January 29'--72 hours after Bryant's shocking death. Somehow, in my head, being out here under the limitless unfamiliar sky and rocky alien tundra has made the already unimaginable Kobe tragedy seem even less real. Still, it was a thoughtless question. I have known West since 2003 and have stayed in intermittent contact with him over the years, but it feels like an inauspicious start to what will become an intense series of experiences and conversations across five weeks and three countries.
Kanye West covers the May 2020 issue of GQ. Click here to subscribe to GQ.
Jacket, $3,095, by Dunhill / His own T-shirt, by Yeezy / Jeans, $198, by Denim Tears x Levi's / His own sunglasses, by Oliver Peoples / His own watch, by Ikepod / His own rings, by CartierThe property'--formerly Monster Lake Ranch, now rechristened West Lake Ranch'--actually has two lakes across its nearly 4,000-acre expanse. The primary fishing lake has brown trout, brook trout, cutthroat trout, tiger trout, and rainbow trout. There are caves at the back of the property that have pictographs scrawled on the walls by indigenous tribespeople. This time of year, hundreds of antelope, mule deer, and a few elk appear on the property. The ranch is also home to colts and geldings, 160 cows, and approximately 700 sheep.
In its current state, the ranch appears pretty much the same as it did in October, when West bought it. There are some humble sleeping cabins clustered along the main driveway, two big barns, the eating cabin (with an upstairs lounge where West has installed a bare-bones studio as well as a whiteboard with ''Yeezy Business Development'' scrawled across the top), and out across the acreage, a couple of little un-winterized camp outposts. In fact, other than the name change, the only thing that seems to visibly mark Kanye's new ownership are the vehicles: an army of Ford F-150 Raptor pickups, painted an intimidating aftermarket matte black, along with a fleet of 10 imposing SHERP ATVs (also matte-blacked-out), a handful of UTVs (matte black), and of course Kanye's matte black tank.
So it isn't until I get a Raptor tour from a ranch hand that the radical nature of what's in store for West Lake Ranch begins to crystallize. We check out the sheep. We drive down by Monster Lake. Then finally we come upon what I'll just call the Big Dig.
At the foot of West Lake Ranch's grandest feature'--a dramatic cliffscape that looks like it was created when one massive plate of earth crashed spectacularly up against another in some unknowable prehistoric era'--is a tremendous excavation of terrain about the size of a sports arena. It is the ultimate spot for Kanye West to mark a big X and start digging. The next morning, while shooting pictures, we will climb up the back side of the cliff. ''When we went up on the moon rocks and looked down,'' Kanye says later, ''you saw something the size of a spaceship.'' Clearly this is not Wyoming ranch business as usual. This is the first sign that the strange future of this otherwise unassuming tract of land is already under way.
If you follow any of the Kanye West fan accounts on Instagram, there are a few laymen you might start to notice in the background of the photos'--guys trailing West out of his Calabasas office or sitting behind him on private airplanes. These are the Yeezy architects. Over the course of following West for this story, I met up with him in Cody for two days, flew on a jet to Los Angeles, attended Sunday Service'--one of the weekly performances by the new gospel choir he founded'--in Hollywood the morning of the Oscars, rejoined him three days later at an oceanside house in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and two weeks later, flew out to interview him in Paris the morning after his Yeezy Season 8 fashion show. The architects were within earshot of West every step of the way.
The exact nature of the project they are toiling over is ever evolving. In fact, since West has become publicly active again after the prolonged quiet period that followed his 2016 hospitalization at UCLA Medical Center for what was deemed a ''psychiatric emergency'' (a moment of adversity that, like an infamous car crash early in his career, West conceptualizes as pivotal), the correlation between all of his wide-ranging endeavors has been mysterious. Which is exactly what makes him so fascinating right now. ''I definitely think there's an alter ego,'' West tells me. ''And definitely Christ altered my ego.'' The choir, the rebirth, the multi-thousand-acre land grabs, the move to Wyoming, the new Jesus-centric rap album, the return to Fashion Week in Paris'... Where is it all coming from? And what does it all add up to? By a combination of instinct and design, West's projects are always moving targets, but what became clear as we spent time together is that, in many ways, they are all linked to what is going on here in Cody. So: Is it a ranch where he will raise the sheep that will produce the wool for Yeezy clothing, as has been reported? Yes, sure, that's a tiny part of it. But more than that, Kanye West is developing his boldest endeavors yet'--and this is his test site.
By the time you read this, whatever state the plans were in when I was on the ranch in January has surely morphed. But his idea of the place remains. Over the course of our conversations, Kanye refers to West Lake Ranch as a ''Yeezy campus'' and ''a paradigm shift for humanity.'' He is focused on developing a new architectural language with input from the legendary American light-and-space artist James Turrell, the Belgian interior design wizard Axel Vervoordt, and the Italian architect Claudio Silvestrin. The three frequently share ideas, notes, and drawings with the Yeezy team, which are then worked over under the direction of West himself. ''Whenever he's in Cody, he's in the office several times a day, always checking in,'' says a staff architect named Zach Walters. ''When he's not here, it's constant text messages, sending sketches, a lot of phone calls back and forth.''
As best I can tell, this global starchitect-level creative exchange evolved out of Kanye's total overhaul with Silvestrin of his New York City apartment (completed in 2007), as well as his five-year collaboration with Vervoordt on the recently completed Kardashian-West family home in Hidden Hills. In 2016, before that project finished, West encountered the work of Turrell and had an epiphany: ''We need to build a home,'' he remembers saying, ''where every room is a Turrell.'' Which eventually took him to the artist's epic land-art masterpiece in the cone of an extinct volcano near Flagstaff, Arizona, called Roden Crater. From there, West began to conceptualize a new kind of totally sustainable dome-shaped dwelling, complete with massive podlike rooms within the larger dome, the notable absence of corners and stairs, and an oculus open to the sky. Once West is satisfied with the new architectural language he is establishing, the design can be modulated and built anywhere'--but the first completed dome will almost surely be built in Cody or Calabasas.
The majority of the drawings that I see during my time with West largely focus on massive single-family dome dwellings, although he is also developing a multifamily version'--a retreat center, if you will, which will bring guests to West Lake Ranch to experience life inside the domes as well as performances by the Sunday Service Choir. ''We see 100,000 students singing these compositions,'' West tells me. ''A circular 100,000-person amphitheater.'' The Yeezy Season 8 clothes that he recently showed in Paris, meanwhile, are ''servicewear'' garments intended to be worn by the eventual Yeezy campus staff'--cooks, nannies, housekeepers, etc.
''There's a big sustainability aspect,'' Walters says of the entire project. He and Malek Alqadi, another Yeezy architect, have just arrived at the ranch from the office in downtown Cody, where West has bought just under 12 acres of commercial property and is developing a Yeezy factory for his sneaker partnership with Adidas, which reportedly did around $1.5 billion in revenue in 2019 alone. Walters and Alqadi are carrying the morning's drawings on printouts and tracing paper. ''Kanye talks a lot about how our spaces are so cluttered,'' Walters continues. ''What does all this stuff mean for our mental health? How different would we be if we were in spaces where we could actually think and focus and be clear?'' The next day, while sitting in his personal cabin, West will tell me, ''I'm trying out a different cure than medication. Fresh air. Fun. Inspiration. Space.''
The idea is that once these things are developed and built, the thinking that shaped them will spread, just as his album 808s & Heartbreak reshaped the sound and emotional tenor of popular music, and his taste for a mix of streetwear, Ralph Lauren, and Louis Vuitton changed how you and I dress'--and eventually reorganized the whole fashion industry. This is what West means when he says he's creating a new paradigm for human living'--the idea is to lead by example. ''You get into a position and you become influential, and that becomes more of your goal rather than following your spirit and your anointing,'' West says. ''So look, I'm not telling anybody who they should vote on, what they should wear, where they should live. I'm doing me. If you just so happen to catch a photograph of me doing me, that's what I was doing! I'm not doing nobody else in the photograph.''
Coat, $2,193, by Rochas / Jacket, $3,095, by Dunhill / Jeans, $198, by Denim Tears x Levi's / Shoes, $135, by BirkenstockAt one point, West refers to the domes he and his team are developing in Cody as ''V.2.'' The first tests'--the V.1 domes'--were erected out of temporary plywood last year on a 300-acre parcel in Calabasas. ''We had dinner in there every day for one or two months,'' Walters says. ''We changed [the plans] every single day. We built a waterfall shower, put moss on the floor, just tried everything to refine that language.''
Last September, West made CNN headlines when the Calabasas prototypes were torn down. ''A big misconception is that the city made me tear down the domes,'' West tells me. When I tell him that was exactly my conception'--that the city had given him an order to remove the domes by a specific date, he says, ''We were only making them to experience the proportion and fully planned to tear them down.'' So what was the interaction with the city? ''Like all of California, they got in front of the story. To say, 'Oh, we took Kanye and tore down his domes.' And you know, metaphorically, that's what people have been trying to do since I was little. But as we can see now, they have not succeeded.''
The V.2 plans call for new domes at a very Wyoming scale. The idea is to build them, experience them, refine them. ''And then,'' says Alqadi, ''to discuss how we can prefabricate and produce them in a sensible way, just like Kanye does with the shoes.'' One idea West is exploring is using set designers instead of contractors to help build his dwellings. ''Set designers could potentially be the Zara of homes,'' he says.
The next afternoon, while I watch Kanye collaborate with his architects on a flight from Cody to Los Angeles, he offers up his phone to show me a rendering they've been working on of a massive portal entrance to an underground dome at the site of the Big Dig. ''It's perfect for skating,'' West says with pride. ''It's super soothing to walk into.'' As he trails off, beaming with his signature childlike wonder, I suddenly realize what he's just said. When you say skating, do you mean skateboarding? I ask. ''Yeah,'' West says. ''That was the original brief for this house: It has to be completely skateable.'' The architects all nod along. So is it still skateable? ''Oh,'' Kanye says matter-of-factly. ''It's more skateable than ever.''
Interview One: Kanye's Cabin at West Lake Ranch
January 30, 2020
The first of four interview sessions with West takes place in the upstairs of his personal cabin at West Lake Ranch during the lunch break of our cover shoot. There are two bedrooms, a kitchenette/dining area, and a small living room/lounge, with a simple recording-studio setup and couches.
GQ: I'm going to start recording, cool?Kanye West: I think words are one of our lowest forms of communication. Music, sound, food, dancing are nonverbal forms of communication. We get so wrapped up into words. We got to make things that are speechless. We have to make things that leave people speechless. We have to make things to the level where no one can say anything.
Before we get to the architecture and homes, I want to understand what you're up to now in terms of clothing development. What's the latest?We've been developing new products for two years now. I love having the opportunity to iterate on a piece of apparel. It's therapeutic and it brings me great joy. There's times when people used to tell me, ''You shouldn't work on clothes.'' And I wouldn't allow people to tear down my happiness. There's times where, now that we're doing couture again'--
At Yeezy, you mean?Yes. At Yeezy. At Kanye West. Whatever you want to call it. At my office. We're doing couture. And I get to talk about a color palette for one hour. A lot of people would have suggestions: ''Go take a jog. Go get some fresh air.'' Colors are my fresh air. And every piece that I make, it's not only something that I would wear'--I would never make anything that you wouldn't catch me in'--they're also art pieces. Everything I've ever done has been an art piece, because I'm an artist.
Whether it's music or'...Any action. Any word. Anything. Even this conversation right now.
Sometimes it seems like you're never done iterating. How do you know when a project is done? You even kept changing The Life of Pablo after you released it.Nothing is ever done. That could be the new N.E.R.D. album: Nothing's Ever Really Done.
How does that apply here in Cody? Because you're developing these hugely ambitious multiyear projects.The word ambitious is not allowed to be used around me. Kanye West is nothing if not ambitious. Because ambition, when I hear it, it says that it seems like it's almost impossible.
As though it has far-fetched tucked into it?Far-fetched! Yeah, it's got far-fetched tucked into it. You would be amongst 100 or 200 people on the planet who are like the least racist white person possible. But it's something about the word ambitious that makes me feel like I'm young Venus Williams doing the TV interview when her dad had to come and defend her. If you say, ''Yo, it's ambitious,'' I need Venus and Serena Williams's dad to run up and say, ''How you going to say it's ambitious? He said he was going to do it!'' Have I ever not done anything I said I was going to do? I made it back from addiction, I beat the predictions, brought real to the fictions'--that's off the new album.
Does the fact that nothing is ever really done slow down the momentum of everything you're creating?Time and space are man-made constructs. That's my answer to that question right there. Art never fully explains itself, and art is never fully done. Me being normal'--that's not even a true statement. You know what normal is to me? An act. I can act normal, and that's me as Clark Kent. But artists are people who have embraced themselves as a superhero.
Vest, and hoodie, by Yeezy / Pants, by Key Work Wear / Sunglasses, by Oliver Peoples / Gloves, by Wells Lamont / Watch, by Ikepod / All his ownSometimes, when I see you refusing to be Clark Kent in certain situations, I'm like, ''Please just be Clark Kent for a minute! It will save you so much trouble!''Yeah, I feel like there's a job to be unwilling to make compromise. I like when people don't have to compromise themselves to collaborate. Even as an artist, or as a composer, I compose the strongest talents and push them to be the maximum version of their superhero. People spend one day with me and they're thinking about their own ideas outside of the box. If people spend years, they should be able to make it to the Super Bowl. To have blind faith is the ultimate confidence. Sometimes it could have felt like it was arrogant. And I think that the arrogance could have come from the fact that I wasn't working for God, but I was working for my ego, which is like working for the devil.
I feel like this conversation that we're having, I'm not having to use ego, because everything is defined. We're on a piece of the 12,000 acres that I own in Wyoming. It's different than me being inside a photography studio where previous to that there was somebody posing in their underwear, after that there's somebody showing a backpack. There's already a comfortability here, and then we've known each other for a long time, and then a lot of what sounded crazy or ambitious at a certain point has already been proven.
You seem really focused on architecture right now'--developing and building these domes.When I visited the Tadao Ando Art Island [in 2018], there were three James Turrells next to each other and I said, ''We need to live in a Turrell.'' The funny thing is, the first time I ever talked to Turrell on the phone was the night I ended the Saint Pablo Tour. And the last thing I ever said on that tour was, ''The show's over.'' Which felt like my mom talking through me.
How so? Like she was telling you through your own voice to stop?Yeah, and telling everyone else. Like, ''My son is not just here to fill up these sports arenas. My son's got something else to do.''
And now the ground out here is broken and the next phase has begun.Yes. The ground between the two lakes is broken. Before, I was working with Axel Vervoordt on revitalizing [the West family home in Hidden Hills] that started as a McMansion and is now an iconic home that informs a lot of other people's homes'--just from my wife's Instagram Stories. That was a language that Axel guided that would cap, for me, the end of the vicennium. I would just word it like that and let people Google.
I mean, I'm going to have to Google vicennium.A vicennium is 20 years. So it capped the end of the vicennium. We begged Axel to redo the space. This is before I went to the hospital. I felt like I might go crazy, and we felt like having this wabi-sabi space might help deter that.
When you say ''we,'' do you mean you and Kim?No, it was me and [longtime collaborator] Vanessa Beecroft. Vanessa literally said to Axel, ''You must do this to save Kanye's life.''
No pressure! And he said?Yes! And now we're really good friends. We were at James Turrell's crater on my birthday'--June 8, 2019'--and Turrell designed an entire home and gave it to me on my birthday.
What did he physically hand to you?A sketch. Axel was saying that James Turrell's spaces are too pure for us human beings to live in, and I told Axel, ''You're not going to bully me on my birthday.''
Was being Kanye West a help or a hindrance in establishing a relationship with James Turrell and Axel Vervoordt?A lot of people are celebrities because they're vibrating at such a high energy. They're just stars. I felt that me and James always had that connection. That first time I talked to him, I was literally screaming at the top of my lungs about how important it was for us to work together.
That didn't send him running the other way?Well, you know, not everybody's a pussycat! That would be the Christian way to say it. Some people actually like energy.
His own vest, hoodie, and shoes, by Yeezy / His own pants, by Key Work Wear / Socks (throughout), his own / His own gloves, by Wells LamontInterview Two: On the Jet from Cody to Los Angeles
January 30, 2020
As our first interview session winds down, West informs me that he actually has to leave the ranch'--and our cover shoot'--earlier than expected because he has to get back to Los Angeles for Kid Cudi's birthday party. When I ask about the rest of our interview, he suggests we continue it on the two-hour plane ride.
So a few hours later, West drives the two of us in his Raptor straight from our last photo location toward the local private airport without so much as stopping to grab a bag. We pass the huge ''WELCOME WEST'' billboard along Highway 120, which was put up to mark the arrival of Yeezy to town'--a literal sign of goodwill for the many local jobs and economic opportunities that the unforeseen arrival of this billion-dollar business promises. When we pull onto the airport tarmac and begin to approach a G5, he asks for my phone and shoots a video out the window while doing wide, fast doughnuts around the jet.
West spends the first leg of the commute going over drawings with the architects. A gentleman I have not yet met presents thought-starters for culinary gardens and orchards that will grow on top of and around the domes, feeding those who shelter down below. The conversation that follows begins 45 minutes into the flight and ends as we disembark the jet and get straight into West's waiting matte black Lamborghini Urus.
West: One thing I thought was really amazing is that we were able to find a groove with the photographs today even as out of it as I was with the loss of Kobe. We were able to just go to the court and play ball. There's one street that I drive to go from either my office or my home to the property where the domes were built. [Editor's note: The street is Las Virgenes Road, the site of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight other people just four days prior.] So now there's no way for me not to be as determined as Kobe every time I drive down that street. It's game time. There's no move that we can't make, or that we'll wait to make. Everyone in our life is now a member of the Lakers on one of Kobe's championship teams. The way that Kobe would say that we all have to come together and win this championship is the way I look at life now. To an infinite, other level.
This is a game changer for me. He was the basketball version of me, and I was the rap version of him, and that's facts! We got the commercials that prove it. No one else can say this. We came up at the same time, together. And now it's like, yeah, I might have had a reputation for screaming about things'--but I'm not taking any mess for an answer now. We're about to build a paradigm shift for humanity. We ain't playing with 'em. We bringing home the trophies.
I want to understand the timeline of your rebirth as a Christian. Did it evolve out of Sunday Service'--and can you tell me the story of the moment where you accepted Jesus?I surrounded myself with the healing'--the highest-level healing possible: singing about Jesus with my friends and family surrounding me [at Sunday Service] every single week. This was a place, contrary to popular belief about Christianity, of no judgment. I feel that the church that most people grew up on as kids had a negative environment. The greatest thing for me, as someone who's given their life to Christ, is knowing that other people have that as an anchor and a form of healing, because you're talking to a person that went to the hospital and back. Now you see the measured nature'--being able to let the child take the driver's seat but still be measured.
Do you attribute that to the anchor of faith?Yes, because when you're not in service to God, you can end up being in service to everything else. To live inside of sin, it's going to cost you more than you can pay. You don't want to continue to sin with no repentance. I understand that people feel that I've made some cultural sins. But the only real sins are the sins against God, and you don't want to continue to sin against God.
Do you conceptualize yourself as having been born again?I'm definitely born again.
West's fleet of ranch vehicles includes 10 Russian-made SHERP ATVs.
You specifically highlighted that Sunday Service is a place without judgment. But what happens when you take it on tour and you're headlining Christian festivals'--I feel that we all have sin, and when certain sins are worn more on our sleeves, it's easier for Christians who are not Christ, but are human beings, to be able to channel judgment at what they see in front of them. The other thing is, if anyone claims to be Christian, they're accepting accountability to other Christians. But people don't realize that Christians are loud. That we have a right to righteous anger. That Jesus flipped tables. They think that all of a sudden you believe in Christ, so we're not even supposed to speak up. And if we speak up, people will say, ''Oh, you're being judgmental.'' And it's like, Oh, now, because I'm Christian, I don't even have an opinion any more? I'm Christian and I still have an opinion. But my opinion is based on the Word.
Let me phrase the question differently: The Kanye West that I have known over the years hates institutions and hates systems of control and will do anything to break out from being controlled. I'm wondering if that Ye will persist as you encounter more churches and religious institutions, which I, at least, conceptualize as systems of control.You know, I see opportunity for creativity inside our faith. But let me'--because I know you're looking for a real answer to How does the guy who made Yeezus, which is a very punk album, make a Jesus Is King?
Well, not how do you make Jesus Is King, but how do you headline a Christian festival or interact with various churches? You having your own personal relationship with Jesus is clean and clear. But what happens when these other organizations come into play that are institutions of control?I think yes, there are groups, as man does, that take the Word and use it to control other people. But as you said, I'm expressing my personal relationship with Christ. When I was not owning up to the maximum of who I could be as a dad and the maximum of who I could be as a husband, that kind of behavior, that kind of mentality, landed me in a place where I needed to be medicated.
Now all of that energy and that creativity that I have channeled and put on track comes from me surrendering to God and saying that everything is in God's will. People can say in the same way, ''Hey, why would you go to Paris if they didn't want you in the fashion houses?'' And that's not going to stop my love for clothing, my love of creativity, my love of going to see the shows. And people could say, ''What about these things that men have done with the word of Christ that were bad and, let's say, over-institutionalized?'' And I'm saying: That's not going to stop my love for Christ. I'm going to keep on expressing what God has done for my life.
''I didn't intend for anything except to speak my mind and express how I felt. I have no intention other than to be free, and I don't intend to be free'--I just simply am.''
So this is an election year, and I'm curious how your faith plays into your thoughts on politics. To go back to when you put on the MAGA hat, how do you see that moment from where we are now, sitting on this plane, in January of 2020?Both my parents were freedom fighters, and they used to drink from fountains they were told they couldn't drink from, and they used to sit in restaurants where they were told they couldn't eat from. They didn't fight for me to be told by white people which white person I can vote on. [laughs]
What do you make of how that moment reverberated? Did it have the effect that you intended?I didn't intend for anything except to speak my mind and express how I felt. I have no intention other than to be free, and I don't intend to be free'--I just simply am.
What is the responsibility of celebrities who are able to move culture? There is this idea that you have to be accountable to people other than just yourself.Yeah, usually you're accountable to people that are in control of your check. And you're accountable for whatever they deem you to be the face of'--for the people that they are controlling through you. So that's what celebrity in America truly means. Celebrities are scared! Celebrities don't have the real voice. But I don't want to diss the organization of celebrities. I don't want to be sending shots at celebrities, because I am one. I know a lot of celebrities.
I don't think that was a shot at people who are celebrities. I think that was an analysis of the way the system works.What do you want me to say? This is America. One in three African Americans are enslaved, and we go more crazy if, you know, someone scores a touchdown. Modern-day mass incarceration is right in front of us, and if I even use the word slavery, I'm treated like I'm a white person talking about slavery. I remember when I became a billionaire I was told not to say out loud that I was a billionaire. What?
How did that go?What? What is the point of being a billionaire if you can't even say it out loud? We're not completely free yet.
And one Ripsaw EV2 tank.
The one thing that seemed at odds with'--Oh, I got one for you.
Yeah?''George Bush doesn't care about black people'' is a victim statement. This white person didn't do something for us. That is stemmed in victim mentality. Every day I have to look in the mirror like I'm Robert De Niro and tell myself, ''You are not a slave.'' As outspoken as I am, and the position that I am in, I need to tell myself.
A lot of the reaction to you wearing the hat was ''How could the guy who gave us the gift of 'George Bush doesn't care about black people' now do this?''Black people are controlled by emotions through the media. The media puts musicians, artists, celebrities, actors in a position to be the face of the race, that really don't have any power and really are just working for white people. When it's said like that, it's kind of obvious, right? We emotionally connect to someone of our color on TV and feel that this person is speaking for us. So let me say this: I am the founder of a $4 billion organization, one of the most Google-searched brands on the planet, and I will not be told who I'm gonna vote on because of my color.
Now, if that speaks to you, cool. But I'm speaking for myself.
What was at odds to me about you wearing the hat is that ''Make America Great Again'' is about looking back. Whereas, to me, you are a perpetual forward thinker.I buy real estate. It's better now than when Obama was in office. They don't teach you in school about buying property. They teach you how to become somebody's property.
For the election ahead, do you plan to speak more about it, or are your interests elsewhere?No, I'm definitely voting this time. And we know who I'm voting on. And I'm not going to be told by the people around me and the people that have their agenda that my career is going to be over. Because guess what: I'm still here! Jesus Is King was No. 1! I was told my career would end if I wasn't with her. What kind of campaign is that, anyway? That's like if Obama's campaign was ''I'm with black.'' What's the point of being a celebrity if you can't have an opinion? Everybody make their own opinion! You know?
But there is an expectation that when you have a voice as powerful as yours, you can't just express yourself for yourself. You have to think of other people.Well, it's good that we found out about all of those awards shows that partially led me to alcoholism. Whistle been blown, you know? Imagine My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch the Throne [being eligible] the same year and neither of them being nominated for Album of the Year. Imagine doing The Life of Pablo and driving down the road and never hearing none of those songs on the radio and your wife and your daughter are in the car.
Well, especially when it comes to Dark Fantasy, the record has been corrected. It's one of the most lauded albums ever. Nobody remembers whether you did or did not win a Grammy.But when Rolling Stones [sic] wrote it, they said you've probably already forgot about Jesus Is King. Meanwhile, ''Selah'' is my daughter's favorite song. So Chicago ain't forgot about it, Rolling Stones. This is the only album that has this level of production that can be played throughout the house like music was when we grew up. Yeah, we had spirituals about Christ that kept us alive on the slave fields. Then we got opportunity to make money by making R&B, rock 'n' roll, which removed the name Jesus from the songs. It made it about falling in and out of love. Then the next frontier was to really make the song about how I'm going to kill somebody. Or how I'm going to be with somebody else's wife. I almost fell into that trap.
So in a way, the sound of the music you're making has evolved and modernized, but you're putting the content back to where it began in American music: back into the church, back into faith.Yeah, the church, where it's spiritual.
Coat, $2,730, by Maison Margiela / Jacket, $4,960, by Prada / His own pants, by Key Work Wear / His own boots, by YeezyInterview Three: The Lamborghini in Los Angeles
January 30, 2020
It's disorienting, to say the least, to suddenly be in L.A. In Wyoming it was winter. Yet somehow I find myself riding through Beverly Hills with West at the wheel on a balmy January evening. My clothes are still covered in ranch dust. My suitcase is back in a Cody hotel room. I do not have a fresh pair of socks or a toothbrush.
Our first stop is Kid Cudi's birthday party. West parks the car across the front of Cudi's driveway. When Cudi sees West walk in, he is overjoyed. There are a couple of bartenders setting up and a catering crew preparing food. Guests arrive, including Timoth(C)e Chalamet, Shia LaBeouf, and Travis Scott. Kanye shows LaBeouf an image on his phone of an Ugg-like women's boot that he's developing for Yeezy; Shia reacts so enthusiastically that he goes running out onto the patio by the pool. Meanwhile, Chalamet shows West a reference image of the Prada fit he'll soon be wearing to the Academy Awards and says that West inspired him. We eat delicious miniature salmon fillets on disposable cocktail plates and shoot the shit until Kanye says, ''You ready?'' We Irish goodbye using a back hallway. When we emerge from the house, the Lamborghini has somehow been turned around and is now facing the way out, back down the hill.
Our next stop is Kanye's office in Calabasas. He pulls the Lamborghini up to the curb in front of the door. It's a Thursday night at around 8:30 or 9:00, and inside, 10 or 15 employees are still working at computers. West shows me a small plate holding what look like real rocks until he picks one of them up and squeezes it. It's a prototype for the lotion bottles that will go in the bathrooms of the domes.
We then head up to the second floor and do a two-hour fitting with West's head designers, who retrieve a staff member from downstairs to serve as a fit model and begin dressing her in various sample garments made of undyed muslin: an anorak that looks somehow both Inuit and stormtrooper, leggings with channels of padding that look almost topographical.
At West's direction, every piece gets reworked, bunched up into odd new shapes and pinned in place while the designers take notes for the sample makers. A massage therapist arrives wearing a pair of Yeezy Wave Runners and a Rolex Daytona; West gets the treatment sitting up so he can continue to conduct the fitting. Clearly in his element, West offers utterances like ''I like the language here,'' ''I like what this is saying,'' and ''I like the feeling of this'' even as he constantly makes adjustments. Eventually he explains to me that the collection that he's developing is ''couture servicewear.'' ''I'm not designing for the heads of household,'' West continues. ''This is for the people really putting in work.'' He pauses. ''Let us not be mistaken for luxury.'' As we're walking out of the office at around 11 p.m., West says, ''Welp, you might as well come check out the crib.''
When we exit the office building, I stop in my tracks. I could swear that the Lamborghini is once again facing the opposite direction. Am I tripping, I say, or was the car facing the other direction? ''They turned it around,'' West says, and climbs in the driver's seat. Only then do I realize that we have not been alone since we landed at the airport five hours ago: Two additional Lamborghini Uruses are following us. They are painted matte black.
What follows are selections from the conversation we had over the course of the evening while driving around L.A., culminating with West giving me a midnight tour of the Hidden Hills home that he shares with Kim Kardashian West and their four children. Inside the living room, I compliment a white Anish Kapoor fiberglass sculpture, essentially an inverted dome, that is mounted to a wall. ''Yeah, it's an amazing piece,'' West says. ''And now we're gonna live in one.'' The night ends with the two of us standing in silence at the couple's kitchen island. I drink a bottle of Voss water. Kanye has a bowl of Raisin Bran. By then we are both too exhausted to talk, but earlier in the night, there was plenty to discuss.
Let's talk about the music you're making.I was thinking of not rapping again, because I rapped for the devil so long that I didn't even know how to rap for God. Then one of my pastors told me, ''My son just said that he would want a rap album about Jesus from Kanye West.'' He didn't say, ''Kanye West, you should do this,'' or ''you need to do this.'' He just told me something that a child said. And that one thing made the difference.
One day I was in my office working on the couture collection, and there was some Grey Goose in the fridge and I was just going to get a daytime drink, and I looked and thought, ''Devil, you're not going to beat me today.'' That one statement is like a tattoo. I haven't had a drink since I realized I needed to take it day by day, but I never owned up, or was even told, ''Hey, you're a functioning alcoholic.'' People have called me a crazy person, people have called me everything'--but not a functioning alcoholic. And I would be drinking orange juice and Grey Goose in the morning.
There was never a public perception of you as an alcoholic. Of course everybody knows the Hennessy-on-the-red-carpet moment, but there wasn't a perception of ''Kanye West has a drinking problem.''Right? I really grabbed the drink to be able to even go to the awards show due to the information that everyone knows now. To say, ''Okay, I can handle this.''
To be Clark Kent.Yeah.
At the ranch today, we talked a lot about clothing you're developing. Is Yeezy coming back in a big way? And is it in tandem with the development of the domes and everything happening at the ranch?Yes. It's in tandem. My vision'--well, I prefer not to say the whole vision. It'd be like if I told you all the lyrics verbatim from the new album. I want people to come and visit Willy Wonka's factory when it's ready.
One of the renderings (top), by Claudio Silvestrin and Kanye West, of a dome-shaped home that will eventually be built at West Lake Ranch. A schematic (bottom) detailing a proposed layout.
But Yeezy fashion apparel hasn't gone away?We're there every day. Like Willy Wonka.
What about the new Yeezy basketball sneaker? What was the inspiration behind it?I'm not going to give the exact codes of how we got there. I got kids! There's pain that comes with those codes. And there's more innovation to push and to drive.
Okay here's another one: Can Nike retro the original Air Yeezy 1 and Air Yeezy 2 sneakers? And if they made a move toward rereleasing them, what would you do?Man, I'm with everything.
What do you mean? You could be okay with that?Man, anything that the kids want and the people want. People should be able to have what they want.
I've also noticed that you have studio setups in pretty much all of your workspaces. With everything you're doing, when do you decide it's time to record?I just rap into my iPhone. Best microphone on the planet. Thirty, forty percent of The College Dropout was recorded on a [Roland] VS-1680. Twenty percent of Jesus Is King was recorded on an iPhone.
Your actual vocals on the album are just voice memos?Yes. I first started doing that on Yeezus. Like Closed on Sunday, you're my Chick-fil-A'--that part is off the phone.
We talked about how Jesus Is King went to No. 1, but in my opinion people's ears are still catching up to what you're doing. Since Yeezus, I feel like you've been making music according to a different value system than the one that people are using to judge it.What value system do people judge music by?
It has to do with their own expectations and the way a song by Kanye West is supposed to work for them.I mean, ''Follow God'' was No. 1 [on both the Christian and gospel charts] out the gate and stayed there'--and what's the format on that?
So you're saying the audience gets it and you're not focused on the criticisms?Nah. I'm just focusing on myself. [laughs] You know, music to drive by. Music for me. I actually think Sunday Service is like the Wu-Tang Clan of choirs.
Why?Because when you first heard Wu-Tang, it sounded completely different. It sounded more aggressive. It even sounded'--I think artists are so concerned with perfectionism. All these people say Dark Fantasy was this album that was so good, and then people didn't like 808s, they didn't like Yeezus. Dark Fantasy, I just made it to that level because people were saying my career was going to be over. I always felt like ''Power'' was my weakest first single that I ever had, because I felt like it was bowing to the expectations.
How so?Just like, ''Here's the ultimate Kanye West song!'' Versus ''Love Lockdown''? ''Can't Tell Me Nothing''? ''Diamonds''? ''Follow God''? I always do the songs that people never heard before. But you had actually heard ''Power'' before. You heard ''Crack Music.'' You heard ''Amazing.'' You heard that song before! It's just a mix of things. But when I showed you a photo of the anorak that we're developing today, it's like, Oh, okay'--
''This is the start of a whole new conversation.''Yeah. The anorak feels different. The Yeezy Slide feels different. The Foam Runner'--you hadn't seen that shoe before, either. And I like how all of these things now start to be spoken about as art pieces. A song, a Foam Runner, an interview.
Coat, $2,730, by Maison Margiela / Shirt, $4,240, by OAMC / His own pants, by Key Work Wear / His own shoes, by YeezyInterview Four: Breakfast at the H´tel Ritz Paris
March 3, 2020
Before I get to my final interview with West, which takes place the morning after his Yeezy Season 8 fashion show in Paris, I should back up and say that West is deep into recording the follow-up to Jesus Is King. Two weeks prior to rejoining him in Paris, I spent two days with West at a home owned by the designer James Perse, in Mexico, which Kanye had commandeered for a multiday working vacation. There I heard a number of new songs at various stages of completion.
To get to the Perse home, which feels like it is at the very edge of the earth, you drive to the shore down a long, sandy private road that leads over a series of dunes. The whole house is basically a minimalist open concrete patio under a massive thatched-roof palapa, an open-air infinity dwelling that gives way to an infinity patio that leads to an infinity pool that overlooks an infinity ocean. Pods of whales breach and blow streams of seawater directly in front of the house the entire time we are there. And Kanye has turned it into a multidisciplinary workshop.
Here's what I mean: A music engineer sits in the open air at a small round table with a laptop and a pair of studio monitors just feet from the infinity pool and yards from the ocean. Meanwhile the architects hunch over laptops and tracing paper at a nearby picnic table. West's music managers are loitering around, making calls and sending texts, having beats sent to the engineer while also planning West's upcoming Sunday Service performance during NBA All-Star weekend in Chicago. One of Kanye's pastors, an intensely chipper white guy named Adam Tyson, sits with a laptop in the sunken concrete rotunda beneath the palapa. All the while, Kanye is moving seamlessly among these various teams and advisers, operating the patio like it comes equipped with Siri: Engineer, play this song. Architects, pull up that rendering. It continues this way until late into the night.
Throughout my two days there, the music engineer, under Kanye's direction, cues up various versions of new songs from a playlist of 54 tracks. At one point, the engineer plays a beat that has just come in. Kanye hears a horn part he likes at the very end of the track. ''Give me a two-minute loop where the horns open up at the end,'' West says, ''and label it 'Superman.' '' Other songs are mellow and sweet, with singing and soulful samples. Then there's a song called ''Washed in the Blood,'' with hard drums and Yeezus-like industrial horror noises that consistently shotgun-fires a rapping, dancing, moshing West across the concrete patio like it's an arena stage:
Wash us in the bloodWash us in the bloodWhole life selling drugsWashed us in the bloodHoly Spirit come downHoly Spirit we need you now
As with Jesus Is King, all of the songs, regardless of their sonic quality, are worship songs'--Christian rap, if you will'--of an altogether unprecedented sort.
At the end of two days on the infinity patio, I get back to the hotel and find that I'm badly sunburned. I fly back to New York; Kanye will soon release his latest Yeezy sneaker, the BSKTBL, and appear at the NBA All-Star Game in Chicago. Two weeks later, I text West about doing one last interview over the phone. The text that comes back reads: ''Come to Paris bro. We got Yeezy Season 8 this Monday.''
The setting for the fashion show'--the Oscar Niemeyer-designed headquarters of the French Communist Party'--is chosen because it is the city's closest approximation to the kind of domes that West is developing in Wyoming. The show culminates when West's six-year-old daughter, North, performs a new song she made with her father.
The next morning at the Ritz hotel, over smoked salmon and eggs with coffee and grapefruit juice'--and continuing in a chauffeured Maybach to Rick Owens's showroom at the Palais de Tokyo, where we meet up with Kim Kardashian West and Owens's wife, Mich¨le Lamy'--West is a reflective combination of mellow and elated.
How are you feeling after your fashion show last night? Afterward, everyone was talking about North's performance. Or about the coronavirus.I'm just proud of my daughter. It felt'--one conversation is about the end of the world. The next conversation is about the beginning. Really, that's how it is out here! Two days ago, I sat there in the atelier [in Calabasas] as we all talked about the virus, and just thought: If we were to not be here anymore, all I can think is, What a wonderful life it is. You think about those movies where the world is ending and I just simply thank God for life. Thank God for all these experiences.
Courtesy of Gorunway Looks from the Yeezy Season 8 show in Paris in March.
In Cody we talked a lot about getting out of cities. Into nature. A sustainable environment. Surrounded by family. You said to me, ''How far are we from Paris Fashion Week right now?'' Now that we're here in Paris, and fear of the coronavirus is spreading, it makes even more sense'--you would certainly be sealed off from the virus if you were living in a sustainable dome in Cody.Perhaps.
So why come back to the center of the cultural vortex, to Paris?Well, it's interesting to see Mich¨le Lamy and Rick Owens be present. Like, Rick Owens, existing with us. I'm 42 years old. When Rick started doing the spaces and the furniture, he was probably my age. It's a few people'--the space program wasn't made by itself. It moves me to be able to see Rick Owens in a setting of the past, which is our now. It makes me think: Life is a song that's already been written, that takes your entire life to hear.
I believe that.Something I've really been on in the past few weeks is the way we use memories to express ourselves. We're taught that the color white is white when we're super young. So now if I point at this tablecloth and say ''white,'' you agree with me. You're agreeing with something that we both have been programmed to understand in the past so we can communicate in the future.
How does that inform how you create? Are you looking to break some of the programmed ideas that we are all supposed to agree upon?The greatest freedom is to challenge the vernacular. Or add something to the vernacular. I saw [Alyx designer and former DONDA member] Matt Williams in the hotel lobby at the Mercer a couple weeks ago. Right when I saw him, I started communicating in, like, beep sounds.
Can you give me an example?You know the beginning of the Bobby Digital song? Like that.
Did he beep back?Good question. [laughs] We hugged and started using memories to attempt to communicate the future.
Matt posted a photo of the two of you with Virgil [Abloh] in New York. What did y'all talk about?I don't remember barely any of what we were talking about. But I remember the way it felt.
For most fashion brands, the goal is to show a new fashion collection, then produce it and sell it. To make revenue and grow a business. But last night, when talking to the press, you said showing the clothes, producing the clothes'--it's all just a creative exercise for you.Yeah, because who programs us to have certain goals? I like to wake up and exist in a place of ideation every morning. But the way our human nature works, we can increase our productivity when there are checkpoints. I love the video game OutRun 2. Arcade version. I love hitting all the curves and getting all the straightaways. But I also love hitting the goals. Having a fashion show is a step into the goal of the inevitable, which is Armani meets Aman: food, clothing, shelter, space. Showing at an Oscar Niemeyer building gives the apparel some context. But I don't exist in context. I exist in KAN-text. [laughs] The thing about the spaces that you've seen'--once those are in place, certain ideas will feel more appropriate as it all joins together.
Do you think that one of the things you do is make really far-out ideas accessible?I get to exist inside of my own mind and then have these moments where I can pull a piece of what's in my mind out: Here's an image from the living spaces we're doing. Here's a shot of what me and Axel did with the home over the past five years. Last night was like, This is what the housekeeper looks like in Kanye West's mind.
Isn't this what people have always come to you for'--these little downloads that suggest where we're headed?Yes. Today everyone that's looking has to sit through the questions that it presents: What just happened? Why did I just look at that? We know from the past ten years that, you know, when I wore the Pastelle jacket at the ''Heartless'' performance at the AMAs, it was awesome. But neither me nor anyone else around thought it was better than or even equal to what Hedi [Slimane] was doing at Dior. Or to what Nigo was doing then. But now that jacket would definitely be equal or better.
Because the context has shifted?You know what it is? Farming. Farming ideas. Planting seeds. Fashion Week and the internet is the soil. This is the seed. If I don't show, then I never plant the seed. But the thing is, people say, ''This is Kanye West, and we love the huge trees that you have given us. We want to come to your garden to see your trees.'' And when they come, they just see dirt.
You're like, ''Trust me, there's seeds in there.''I get so excited about the dirt.
Will Welch is the editor in chief of GQ.
A version of this story originally appeared in the May 2020 issue with the title ''The Space Program.''
PRODUCTION CREDITS:Photographs by Tyler MitchellStyling by Mobolaji Dawodu and Lily MarkeyGrooming by Barry White using Dior BeautyTailoring by Tatyana Sargsyan and Nataliia BoberSet design by Nicholas Des Jardins at StreetersProduced by Connect the Dots
Would you give up health or location data to return to work? | Fox News
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 16:23
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Cameron Karosis usually strives to protect his personal information. But a scary bout of COVID-19 that began last month with headaches and fevers, progressed to breathing problems and led to a hospital visit has now left him eager to disclose as much as possible to help halt the virus' spread.
Karosis has already shared personal details with Massachusetts health investigators. And if he was asked to comply with a disease-tracking phone app that monitored his whereabouts but didn't publicly reveal his name and Cambridge street address, he said he'd do that, too.
PEYTON, ASHLEY MANNING DONATE HUNDREDS OF MEALS TO TENNESSEE HOSPITAL
''I'm sick and I'm under a quarantine -- hold me accountable for it,'' the 27-year-old software salesman said. ''You have the potential to kill other people.''
As countries around the world edge toward ending lockdowns and restarting their economies and societies, citizens are being more closely monitored, in nations rich and poor, authoritarian and free.
New systems to track who is infected and who isn't, and where they've been, have been created or extended in China, South Korea and Singapore. And a range of other surveillance systems '' some utilizing GPS location data, some gathering medical data '' have been debated or piloted in Israel, Germany, the U.K., Italy and elsewhere.
After a scary bout with COVID-19 that began with headaches and fevers that progressed to breathing problems and led to a hospital visit, Cameron Karosis is now eager to disclose as much as possible to help halt the virus' spread. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
The challenge: achieving the tricky balance between limiting the spread of disease and allowing people freedom to move outside their homes.
Whether the prospect on the table is ''immunity passports'' or cellphone-based tracking apps, the aim is to protect public health. But experts say it's also important to avoid a slippery-slope scenario where data collected to minimize the spread of disease is stored indefinitely, available without limits to law enforcement or susceptible to hackers.
GLOBAL COORNAVIRUS CASES SURPASS 2 MILLION MARK
''We need to build necessary guardrails for civil liberties,'' said Jake Laperruque, a lawyer at the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight in Washington. ''If new data is being collected for public health purposes, it should only be used for public health purposes.''
Right now, there is no single official plan for reopening the United States, where the constitutional system gives states responsibility for maintaining public safety and where deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise steeply.
Scientists believe that the hundreds of thousands of people who already have recovered from the virus worldwide are likely to have some immunity to future infection, but they aren't sure for how long. To ensure new cases don't overwhelm hospital capacity, any plans to relax lockdowns will include provisions to track infections.
''The virus is not going away '' if we all just come out on a certain date, it will spread widely again,'' said Dr. Tom Frieden, an infectious disease expert and former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ''That means we need to think carefully about how and when we come out.''
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House's top disease expert, said the administration has looked at the idea of issuing certificates of immunity to people whose blood tests reveal they have developed antibodies to fight the virus, among other possible plans. Yet they haven't concluded that approach would be effective, he told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
''I know people are anxious to say, 'Well, we'll give you a passport that says you're antibody-positive, you can go to work and you're protected.' The worst possibility that would happen is if we're actually wrong about that'' and those people get infected.
CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS MAY BE CONTAGIOUS 2 TO 3 DAYS BEFORE SYMPTOMS SHOW, RESEARCH WARNS
Meanwhile, public health agencies from Massachusetts to the city of San Francisco have hired a surge of people to run ''contact tracing'' teams. Their mission is to identify anyone who has recently been in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, then encourage those people to get tested and perhaps isolate themselves. These meetings can be sensitive and require training, and support, to pull off effectively.
Aiming to take the tracing approach to a new scale are tech giants Apple and Google, which are jointly working to build smartphone technology that alerts users if they shared a park bench or grocery store aisle with a stranger later found to be infected with the virus.
Unlike the more invasive location-tracking methods attempted by some governments, the Apple-Google approach uses Bluetooth beacons to detect physical proximity and encrypted keys to maintain people's anonymity. The companies say they're building the software for public health departments only, on the condition that they won't make use of them mandatory.
In addition to developing the technology, experts warn that the implications of deploying such devices need to be carefully considered. Who will collect and verify the data? How long will it be held? Will enough people use a voluntary app for it to be helpful?
''We know from history that 'emergency measures' too often last long beyond their initial expiry date,'' said Deborah Brown, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.
CHILE COUNTS PEOPLE WHO HAVE DIED FROM CORONAVIRUS AS 'RECOVERED' BECAUSE THEY CAN'T INFECT ANYONE ELSE
She also noted that systems that monitor cellphone location or GPS data reveal more than just where someone has recently been. ''Your contacts and associations can be gleaned, potentially your religious or political beliefs,'' she said -- for instance, if you've visited a church or mosque.
Susan Landau, a cybersecurity professor at Tufts University, said she has doubts about the effectiveness of relying on smartphone-based approaches, even if the apps are carefully designed to protect individual privacy.
''My real concern about the whole thing is I think it's being oversold,'' she said. ''Does it reduce spread? I don't doubt that. Does it enable us to eliminate social distancing? No, not as long as there's a high portion of people who are asymptomatic.''
Collecting data should complement, but not substitute for, well-managed public health interventions, said Deborah Seligsohn, a political scientist at Villanova University.
It's one thing to merely send a phone alert that someone exposed to a COVID-19 case should self-isolate for 14 days. It's another to have government workers bring them groceries or other essentials to make that quarantine period possible if someone would otherwise have trouble complying, she said.
After the various lockdowns lift, it's not clear how readily Americans will submit to tracking efforts.
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE
Cameron Karosis had his mind changed by contracting the virus, but many others are still wrestling with the prospect of how far they'd be willing to go.
''Personally, I would not be thrilled to be forced into downloading an app, mostly because I don't love the idea of Silicon Valley knowing even more about me than they already do,'' said Maura Cunningham, a writer in Ann Arbor, Michigan. ''But I'd probably give in on that pretty quickly if it were made a widespread prerequisite for getting back to normal activity at some point in the future. I'd definitely resist a blood test '-- that just feels too intrusive.''
Daily Telegraph stops publishing section paid for by China | Daily Telegraph | The Guardian
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 16:16
Show caption The long-running China Watch section appeared in print supplements and on the Telegraph website. Photograph: Chris Batson/Alamy
Daily TelegraphContent from China Watch, written by state journalists, has also been wiped from website
Tue 14 Apr 2020 11.53 EDT
The Daily Telegraph has stopped publishing paid-for propaganda on behalf of Chinese state media, amid growing scrutiny of how Beijing is using the pandemic to grow its influence in English-language media aimed at western audiences.
The long-running China Watch section, funded by the government-controlled China Daily news outlet, has appeared in the Telegraph for more than a decade. The content, written by Chinese state journalists, presents relentlessly upbeat views on China's standing in the world in both print supplements and on a branded section of the Telegraph's website.
However, in recent days the dedicated content has been wiped from the Telegraph's website along with another section that reproduced material from China's People's Daily Online '' the official outlet of the country's ruling communist party.
Articles deleted by the Telegraph as part of the removal had headlines such as: ''Why are some framing China's heroic efforts to stop coronavirus as inhumane?''; ''Traditional Chinese medicine 'helps fight coronavirus'''; and ''Coronavirus outbreak is not an opportunity to score points against China''.
The Telegraph would not comment on why it is no longer running the lucrative branded material, with one report claiming that the newspaper was paid about £750,000 a year for reproducing the China Daily material. In common with the rest of the newspaper industry, the Telegraph is battling both a pandemic-induced fall in print sales and a collapse in the advertising market, while also trying to avoid becoming collateral damage in the fraternal feud between its two owners, the Barclay brothers.
The removal of the paid-for sections comes as China aims to improve its standing with western audiences amid the pandemic, with substantial investment in its CGTN rolling news channel and the growing role of vocal English-language diplomats who use Twitter to forcibly make their arguments.
In return, the country is facing an increasingly hostile reception from parts of the British media, with the Mail on Sunday spending recent weeks reporting on alleged threats to national security from growing Chinese influence in the UK.
The Telegraph has run many pieces critical of China since the start of the pandemic. The newspaper's China correspondent, Sophia Yan, recently spent a week in Wuhan reporting on doubts about the official death toll from coronavirus, claiming the real total could be substantially higher than the authorities are admitting.
Another comment piece entitled ''The Left have become China's useful covidiots'' suggested the ''Chinese Communist party's cover ups and lies'' helped play a role in spreading the virus around the world. The Telegraph has also reported on how Chinese state media is buying positive coverage through Facebook adverts.
Other major global news outlets also run similarly branded China Watch sections, including the Wall Street Journal, who did not respond to a request for comment on whether they were continuing to run the section, which has not been updated for weeks.
Until recently, the New York Times carried a similar section but a spokesperson said earlier this year the outlet had made the decision ''to stop accepting branded content ads from state-run media, which includes China Daily''. The Washington Post has also run China Watch in the past, although the outlet confirmed they have not run the supplement since last year.
They are the same three US news outlets that recently had their Chinese-based reporters expelled from the country.
Similar deals to reprint paid-for Chinese propaganda have been struck with newspapers around the world, including outlets in Australia, France and Germany.
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Pelosi's motives questioned for labeling Zoom a 'Chinese entity' after waving off remote voting for Congress '-- RT USA News
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 16:13
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi slammed Zoom over security concerns when talking about Congress remotely voting, mistakenly calling the American firm ''Chinese.'' Both her logic and motives have quickly fallen under suspicion.
''People think we can do Congress by Zoom. Zoom is a Chinese entity that we've been told not to even trust the security of,'' Pelosi told MSNBC's Chris Hayes this week when questioned about Congress not meeting before the first week of May.
Zoom is a video conferencing app that has been utilized by many companies with employees working remotely and has shot to prominence during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has also been used by schools for online classes.
While the app has come under question for routing calls through China '' which its CEO says happened ''mistakenly'' '' it is an American company headquartered in San Jose, California, that has been in existence for nine years.
Also on rt.com Thousands DRIVE to Michigan capitol in protest over governor's strict Covid-19 lockdown (PHOTO, VIDEO) ''What a ridiculous evasion,'' writer Sam Adler-Bell tweeted in reaction to Pelosi's comments, adding that Zoom is only one of many remote options for Congress. By waving off remote voting potentials, Adler-Bell wrote, Pelosi is taking ''absolute control over the caucus.''
''With most reps at home dealing with constituent needs, she's effectively the only Democratic legislator right now,'' he tweeted.
Also what a ridiculous evasion. As if Zoom is the only option.This is what I'm talking about. Without remote voting, Pelosi has absolute control over the caucus. With most reps at home dealing with constituent needs, she's effectively the only Democratic legislator right now. https://t.co/znK6Sh2jhu
'-- Sam Adler-Bell (@SamAdlerBell) April 15, 2020''Pelosi pretending the only remote voting option possible is Zoom calls routed through China is about as serious as Trump saying the virus would disappear through a 'miracle,'" Huffington Post writer Zach Carter added.
Pelosi pretending the only remote voting option possible is Zoom calls routed through China is about as serious as Trump saying the virus would disappear through a "miracle."
'-- Zach Carter (@zachdcarter) April 15, 2020Pelosi admits Covid-19 presents an ''emergency'' for the country, but Congress is still looking into ''what is allowed under the Constitution, under the rules of the House, what is possible technologically, but we haven't gotten to that.''
Meanwhile, others tried to find the origin of Pelosi's belief that Zoom is a ''Chinese entity'' '' even suggesting she may have ''confusion'' over the ethnicity of its CEO.
Also on rt.com NY gov Cuomo mandates masks after offering New Yorkers as GUINEA PIGS for coronavirus vaccine ''Is 'routing calls through China' the explanation here as to why Pelosi thought Zoom was a 'Chinese entity' or is anyone going to point out the CEO of Zoom is a Chinese-American and this is also maybe, perhaps the reason for her confusion,'' writer Adam H. Johnson tweeted.
While far from being the only video conferencing app, as Zoom is used more and more, it has faced a wave of questions about security concerns. The New York City Department of Education, for instance, told educators not to use the service as hackers could infiltrate video conferences and troll with expletives or inappropriate imagery, though the issue can likely be chalked up to the culture of the web more than to the app itself.
Eric Yuen, the company's CEO, admitted to NPR last week he had not thought about online harassment ''seriously'' before it became an issue with more widespread usage.
He promised the company will ''transform our business to a privacy-and-security-first mentality'' following the well-publicized missteps.
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Veel ventileren, weinig alcohol en bijzondere reclames tijdens Spaanse griep-epidemie - NH Nieuws
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 15:10
ALKMAAR - Tijdens 'onze' coronacrisis worden we op alle mogelijke manieren op de hoogte gehouden van de ontwikkelingen. Via NL-Alerts, sociale media, radio, televisie en krant: alle maatregelen en berichten van het RIVM zijn op de voet te volgen. 100 jaar geleden was de berichtgeving een stuk summierder toen de Spaanse griep over de wereld joeg.
NH Nieuws
De Spaanse griep begon in Amerika en werd door troepen die kwamen vechten in de Eerste Wereldoorlog meegenomen naar Europa. Het was een zware epidemie die wereldwijd voor tientallen miljoenen doden heeft gezorgd. In Nederland bezweken direct aan de ziekte zo'n 21.000 mensen, nog eens 38.000 bezweken aan de longontsteking die ze er door opliepen.
Op ons verzoek heeft het Regionaal Archief in Alkmaar een snelle duik gedaan in de archieven van rond 1918. Hoe werd de toen heersende pandemie beschreven en wat deed de overheid? Natuurlijk is het niet makkelijk vergelijken maar er blijken opmerkelijke overeenkomsten en toch ook weer grote verschillen te zijn.
"Als je zoekt kom je al snel best veel artikelen tegen en informatie vanuit de overheid", vertelt Marille Hageman van het archief. "Het is niet zoveel als vandaag de dag, maar je vindt van alles over wat er zoal tegen gedaan werd. Wat mij opviel was dat de berichten in de kranten niet met grote koppen werden geschreven zoals nu. Het zijn allemaal kleine berichtjes. Op de voorpagina's domineerde het nieuws over de oorlog die toen natuurlijk woedde."
Regionaal Archief AlkmaarDe provincie schrijft in juli 1918 aan de gemeentes dat er vooralsnog geen aanvullende maatregelen nodig zijn. In de stukken vanuit de overheid wordt al wel regelmatig gewezen op een goede hygine. Meerdere malen komt voorbij dat het belangrijk is om gebouwen goed te ventileren. "De Burgemeester van De Rijp komt op 4 september 1918 met het advies aan alle inwoners om het gebruik van sterke drank te beperken. En dan zeker in dansgelegenheden."
Scholen dichtEen discussie die ons nu ook bekend voorkomt, gaat over het sluiten van scholen. "Op 6 november 1918 schreef de gemeentelijke geneesheer van Oterleek aan de burgemeester: 'Uw voorstel de scholen voor enige tijd te sluiten, juich ik van harte toe." Het idee bestond toen, in tegenstelling tot nu bij het coronavirus, dat de griep zich op het platteland voornamelijk via kinderen verspreidde.
ReclameIn de kranten stonden ook bijzondere reclames die waarschijnlijk nu niet gepubliceerd zouden kunnen worden. "Menthol Snuif" zou een des¯nfecterende werking hebben. Maar ook "Abdijsiroop" wordt van harte aanbevolen als "voorbehoedmiddel tegen Spaansche Griep." Maar er worden niet alleen nationale advertenties geplaatst. Ook lokaal wordt er een graantje meegepikt. J.H. Albers verkoopt in zijn bierkelder aan het Verdronkenoord in Alkmaar "Geen betre glas tegen de Spaansche Griep dan een goed glas Stoutbier."
Regionaal Archief AlkmaarOproep materiaal"Je ziet nu hoe fijn het is dat je terugkijkend naar 100 jaar geleden dat kunt reconstrueren. Wat ze toen hebben gedaan, welke maatregelen ze hebben genomen", zegt Hageman. "Ik merk, nu ik zo aan het zoeken ben in ons archief, dat we heel veel dingen hebben van de overheid maar eigenlijk heel weinig persoonlijke verhalen."
Voor de onderzoeker is juist dat materiaal een groot gemis in de collectie rond de Spaanse griep: "Dus daarom hebben we nu een oproep gedaan aan de mensen om in deze tijd ook meer persoonlijke documenten in te leveren. Zo krijgen we in de toekomst een completer beeld van de corona-epidemie. Dat kan van alles zijn: foto's, filmpjes maar ook briefjes, dagboeken, flyers en zelfs muziek. Daarmee krijgen we een goed beeld van wat we hebben gedaan maar ook hoe we de crisis hebben beleefd."
Corona in de Noordkop & TexelðŸ'° Blijf op de hoogte van het laatste nieuws via onze speciale siteðŸ'º Kijk naar de extra uitzending van NH Radio en deel jouw verhaal''‰¸ Tip ons met jouw nieuws via het tipformulier👥 Word lid van de Facebookgroep Nieuws uit de Noordkop en Texel en krijg updates in je tijdlijn
Starving, angry and cannibalistic: America's rats are getting desperate amid coronavirus pandemic
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 15:08
Slideshow by photo services
America's rats are being hit hard by the coronavirus.
As millions of Americans shelter indoors to combat the deadly virus, which has claimed over 21,000 U.S. lives, many businesses '-- including restaurants and grocery stores '-- have closed or limited operations, cutting off many rodents' main sources for food. On deserted streets across the country, rats are in dire survival mode, experts say.
"If you take rats that have been established in the area or somebody's property and they're doing well, the reason they're doing well is because they're eating well," Bobby Corrigan, an urban rodentologist, told NBC News. "Ever since coronavirus broke out, not a single thing has changed with them, because someone's doing their trash exactly the same in their yard as they've always done it '-- poorly."
But many other rats are not faring as well, said Corrigan, who works as a consultant for several city health departments and businesses, such as airports and shopping malls.
Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
"A restaurant all of a sudden closes now, which has happened by the thousands in not just New York City but coast to coast and around the world, and those rats that were living by that restaurant, some place nearby, and perhaps for decades having generations of rats that depended on that restaurant food, well, life is no longer working for them, and they only have a couple of choices."
And those choices are grim. They include cannibalism, rat battles and infanticide.
"It's just like we've seen in the history of mankind, where people try to take over lands and they come in with militaries and armies and fight to the death, literally, for who's going to conquer that land. And that's what happens with rats," he said. "A new 'army' of rats come in, and whichever army has the strongest rats is going to conquer that area."
(C) Richard Drew IMage: A rat crosses a Times Square subway platform in New York in 2015.
Rats whose food sources have vanished will not just move into other colonies and cause fights over grub. They will also eat one another.
"They're mammals just like you and I, and so when you're really, really hungry, you're not going to act the same '-- you're going to act very bad, usually," he said. "So these rats are fighting with one another, now the adults are killing the young in the nest and cannibalizing the pups."
Residents of dense urban areas and some rural parts of the country have coexisted with these vermin, but the sightings in some cities have increased in recent weeks because of the pandemic.
In New Orleans, where Louisiana's governor imposed a stay-at-home order that shuttered many restaurants, particularly those in popular tourist areas like the French Quarter, a viral video posted in March showed swarms of rats taking to the streets to find food. And officials said social distancing is to blame.
"What we have seen is these practices are driving our rodents crazy," Mayor LaToya Cantrell said at a news conference late last month. "And what rodents do, they will find food, and they will find water. That puts our street homeless in dire, dire straits. And that's why I'm so laser-focused on it right now."
Claudia Riegel, director of the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board, told The Times-Picayune newspaper that the city is preparing aggressive pest control measures.
"These rats are hungry, so we want them to eat our bait," she said, adding that the city is "going to put a lot of pressure for at least the next month" until the population decreases.
Washington, D.C., is also taking steps to combat rodent issues. Mayor Muriel Bowser shut down restaurants and other businesses but designated pest control workers as essential. Before the pandemic, the city had already aggressively implemented pest control measures, including the use of feral cats.
In the past 30 days, the city has had nearly 500 calls regarding rodents, according to city 311 data. In nearby Baltimore, which has a robust rat eradication program, city data show that there were about 11,000 "proactive" calls or online 311 requests about rats in the same period.
Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts about the coronavirus outbreak
Still, Corrigan said, people should not panic that they will suddenly see a rat invasion, like in the movies.
"There's no one behavior that's going to fit all," he said. "This is not going to be a case where all of a sudden the rats are doing invasions everywhere, and it's not going to be exactly as we saw on Bourbon Street in New Orleans."
He said it will be a "case by case" and "block by block" issue in cities across the country. Rats can get desperate, and people might see them near their homes or properties.
"Rats are designed to smell molecules of anything that's food-related," Corrigan said. "They follow those food molecules like heat-seeking missiles '-- and eventually you know they end up where those molecules are originating."
Mark Dice on Twitter: "This hospital is so ''overwhelmed'' that dozens of doctors and nurses can dance around the halls for another TiKTok video. https://t.co/VvIxw17zkK" / Twitter
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 15:04
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State releases initial race and ethnicity data for COVID-19 cases | Colorado COVID-19 Updates
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 14:33
Monday, April 13, 2020
Submitted by [user:field_first_name]
DENVER, April 13, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is releasing all available race and ethnicity data on reported cases of COVID-19 in the state.
The race and ethnicity data released today represents 75% of all reported COVID-19 cases. Cases with an unknown race or ethnicity are excluded from these calculations.
Initial disease reports to public health are often missing information on race and ethnicity. CDPHE is drafting a public health order to clarify the type of data the department needs from health care entities. The public health order will help the department have a more complete dataset moving forward.
Using the data available now, the percentage of cases is statistically higher for Hispanic, Black/African American, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Coloradans compared to the overall population distribution. The following graph has more complete information about the percentage of cases and deaths by race and ethnicity:
Here are the cases collected and analyzed by race/ethnicity by number:*
Total: 5188 cases with race and ethnicity dataAmerican Indian or Alaskan Natives (non-Hispanic): 24 cases, 0.46%
Asian (non-Hispanic): 116 cases, 2.24% (statistically lower)
Black or African American (non-Hispanic): 363 cases, 7.00% (statistically higher)
Hispanic: 1,458 cases, 28.10% (statistically higher)
Multiple racial categories (non-Hispanic): 96 cases, 1.85% (statistically lower)
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (non-Hispanic): 29 cases, 0.56% (statistically higher)
Other: 38 cases, 0.73% (no test performed as population data do not include 'other')
White (non-Hispanic): 3,064 cases, 59.06% (statistically lower)
Here are the deaths among cases collected and analyzed by race/ethnicity by number:
Total: 249 deaths among cases with race and ethnicity dataAmerican Indian or Alaskan Natives (non-Hispanic): 2 deaths, 0.80%
Asian (non-Hispanic): 7 deaths, 2.81%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic): 17 deaths, 6.83%
Hispanic: 44 deaths, 17.67%
Multiple racial categories (non-Hispanic): 3 deaths, 1.20%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (non-Hispanic): 4 deaths, 1.61%
Other: 0 deaths (no test performed as population data do not include 'other')
White (non-Hispanic): 172 deaths, 69.08%
Colorado has racial disparities in certain chronic diseases due to unequal access to health care and economic opportunities occurring over many generations. Because studies have shown people with underlying health conditions are more likely to die of the virus, tracking racial and ethnic data is a high priority for the department.
''We know that social and health care inequities affect outcomes, and that becomes even more apparent in times of disaster,'' said Jill Hunsaker-Ryan, Executive Director of CDPHE. ''There have been generations of institutionalized barriers to things like preventive medical care, healthy food, safe and stable housing, quality education, reliable transportation, and clean air. Research shows that these types of factors are the most predictive of health outcomes. There is much to be learned from this disaster, and the uneven effects of COVID-19 on different communities will perhaps be one of the most profound lessons. It's apparent now more than ever why we must bridge these inequities and even more closely track the outcomes of COVID-19 by race and ethnicity.''
CDPHE is working continuously on data analysis and will update case data by race/ethnicity and other factors as it is available. Starting tomorrow, CDPHE will add race and ethnicity data to its daily refresh of data.
*Unless otherwise indicated, the percentage listed is not statistically different from the general population distribution.
Source data:
###
El estado publica datos iniciales de raza y etnia relacionados con los casos de COVID-19 DENVER, 13 de abril de 2020: El Departamento de Salud Pºblica y Medio Ambiente (CDPHE, siglas en ingl(C)s) publicar todos los datos disponibles de raza y etnia en relaci"n con casos reportados en el estado de COVID-19.
Los datos de raza y etnia publicados hoy representan un 75% de todos los casos reportados de COVID-19. Los casos sin datos de raza ni etnia son excluidos de estos clculos.
De manera frecuente, los informes iniciales enviados a agencias de salud pºblica no incluyen informaci"n de raza y etnia. El CDPHE est bosquejando una orden de salud pºblica para clarificar los tipos de datos que los departamentos necesitan de las organizaciones de atenci"n m(C)dica. La orden de salud pºblica le ayudar al departamento a contar con un conjunto de datos ms completo a futuro.
Segºn los datos disponibles en este momento, el porcentaje de casos es estad­sticamente ms alto para los habitantes de Colorado hispanos, negros / afroamericanos y nativos de Hawi / isle±os del pacifico en comparaci"n con la distribuci"n en la poblaci"n general. El siguiente grfico contiene informaci"n ms detallada sobre el porcentaje de casos y fallecimientos por raza y etnia:
A continuaci"n, se encuentran las cifras de los casos recopilados y analizados por raza / etnia*:
Total: 5188 con datos de raza y etniaInd­genas de Am(C)rica o nativos de Alaska (no hispanos): 24 casos, 0.46%
Asiticos (no hispanos): 116 casos, 2.24% (estad­sticamente ms bajo)
Afroamericanos o negros (no hispanos): 363 casos, 7.00% (estad­sticamente ms alto)
Hispanos: 1,458 casos, 28.10% (estad­sticamente ms alto)
Mºltiples categor­as raciales (no hispanos): 96 casos, 1.85% (estad­sticamente ms bajo)
Nativos de Hawi / isle±os del pacifico (no hispanos): 29 casos, 0.56% (estad­sticamente ms alto)
Otros: 38 casos, 0.73% (no se ha realizado ninguna prueba bajo esta categor­a ya que los datos de poblaci"n no incluyen la categor­a ''otro''.)
Blancos (no hispanos): 3,064 casos, 59.06% (estad­sticamente ms bajo)
A continuaci"n, se encuentran las cifras de los fallecimientos entre casos recopilados y analizados por raza / etnia:
Total: 249 fallecimientos entre los casos con datos de raza y etniaInd­genas americanos o nativos de Alaska (no hispanos): 2 fallecimientos, 0.80%
Asiticos (no hispanos): 7 fallecimientos, 2.81%
Afroamericanos o negros (no hispanos): 17 fallecimientos, 6.83%
Hispanos: 44 fallecimientos, 17.67%
Mºltiples categor­as raciales (no hispanos): 3 fallecimientos, 1.20%
Nativos de Hawi / isle±os del pacifico (no hispanos): 4 fallecimientos, 1.61%
Otros: o fallecimientos (no se ha realizado ninguna prueba bajo esta categor­a ya que los datos de poblaci"n no incluyen la categor­a ''otro'')
Blancos (no hispanos): 172 fallecimientos, 69.08%
Colorado tiene disparidades raciales en relaci"n con ciertas enfermedades cr"nicas debido al acceso no equitativo a la atenci"n m(C)dica y a oportunidades econ"micas por muchas generaciones. Diversos estudios han indicado que las personas con condiciones m(C)dicas subyacentes tienen mayor probabilidad de fallecer debido al virus, por lo tanto, registrar los datos raciales y (C)tnicos es de alta prioridad para el departamento.
''Sabemos que las desigualdades sociales y de atenci"n m(C)dica afectan los resultados y eso llega a ser aºn ms aparente en los periodos de desastre'', indic" Jill Hunsaker-Ryan, Directora Ejecutiva del CDPHE. ''Durante generaciones, han existido de barreras institucionalizadas que impiden obtener cosas como atenci"n m(C)dica preventiva, alimentos saludables, viviendas seguras y estables, educaci"n de alta calidad, transporte fiable y aire limpio. Diversas investigaciones indican que estos tipos de factores pronostican los resultados sanitarios de mejor manera. Hay mucho que se debe aprender de este desastre y es posible que los efectos desiguales del COVID-19 en diferentes comunidades sean una de las lecciones ms significativas. Ahora ms que nunca es aparente por que debemos eliminar estas desigualdades y registrar aºn ms cercanamente las repercusiones del COVID-19 por raza y etnia''.
El CDPHE est trabajando de manera continua en el anlisis de datos y actualizar los datos de casos por raza / etnia y otros factores cuando est(C)n disponibles. Comenzando desde ma±ana, el CDPHE agregar datos de raza y etnia a la actualizaci"n diaria de datos.
*A no ser que se indique lo contrario, el porcentaje indicado no es diferente estad­sticamente a la distribuci"n en la poblaci"n general.
Fuente de datos:
###
Mark Milley: U.S. intelligence investigating whether coronavirus leaked from Wuhan lab - Washington Times
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 14:28
U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating whether the coronavirus may have leaked from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday.
Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the nation's most senior military officer, told reporters at the Pentagon the initial assessments indicate the coronavirus causing the global pandemic appears to have been a ''natural'' event arising from animal-to-human transmission.
However, he noted published reports that the origin may have occurred as an escape from a research laboratory.
SEE ALSO: China didn't warn public of likely pandemic for 6 key days
''It should be no surprise that we've taken a keen interest in that and we've had a lot of intelligence [agencies] take a hard look at that,'' Gen. Milley said. ''I would just say at this point it's inconclusive although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural. But we don't know for certain.''
The comments by the four-star general are the first time a senior American government official publicly raised the prospect that the virus may have originated from a Chinese laboratory.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, appearing with Gen. Milley, was asked if international inspectors should be stationed at Chinese laboratories in the future. Mr. Esper said it is something that will be looked at in the future as part of a ''lessons learned'' regarding the pandemic.
The outbreak began Dec. 1 in Wuhan and many of the first victims '-- but not all '-- were associated with a wild animal market in the city.
The market is located within three miles of a laboratory at the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention that Chinese state media has said is involved in extensive research on bat coronaviruses.
The Wuhan CDC laboratory that conducts bat virus research is rated a Level-2 security facility that generally is not equipped to handle deadly pathogens.
A second laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology contains a Level-4 laboratory that is secure for handling deadly viruses and has been engaged in bat coronavirus research.
Shi Zhengli, a senior researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology known as the ''Bat Woman'' for her coronavirus work, has insisted the new virus is not related to her laboratory.
''The 2019 novel coronavirus is a punishment by nature [for] humans' unsanitary life style,'' Ms. Shi stated on WeChat last month. ''I promise with my life that the virus has nothing to do with the lab.''
The comments by Gen. Milley also challenge the comments of some scientists and news media outlets that have labeled any discussion of the possible leak of the virus from a Chinese laboratory as a conspiracy theory.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that State Department officials had warned about poor security at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2018, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that China is continuing to hold back needed information about the virus and the disease it causes.
''It is still the case that we need good data from all across the world,'' Mr. Pompeo said. ''And so we need every country, including the Chinese Communist Party, to share that data broadly, to be transparent. That data saves lives.''
Gen. Milley did not elaborate on the U.S. intelligence work on the coronavirus's origins.
Chinese authorities have suggested the virus, which is over 90% similar to at least one coronavirus found in horseshoe bats, may have been passed to an animal host and then to humans at the ''wet market,'' as the wild animal distribution site is called.
The possibilities for an inadvertent release include someone becoming infected while conducting laboratory research on the virus, or if an infected research animal may have escaped or been taken from the laboratory by a worker.
A group of scientists who have studied the new virus reported in the journal Nature Medicine last month that the inadvertent release of the virus by Chinese researchers cannot be ruled out.
China's government, after initially stating the coronavirus outbreak appeared to have started at a wild animal market in Wuhan, have backed off that theory.
Foreign Ministry spokesman have said determining the origin of the virus must be carried out by scientists. But after initially agreeing to provide samples of the virus for study, officials later refused to give virus samples to U.S. researchers.
In the early stages of the outbreak, China also blocked U.S. and international virus experts from visiting Wuhan during most of January to investigate the virus origin, and later delayed releasing the virus genome sequence for about a month to international researchers.
The wild animal market was also closed and the animals removed, limiting investigators' ability to search for an origin. The market has since reopened, bringing fears that another virus outbreak could happen.
Copyright (C) 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.
G-20 Urges Stablecoin Framework Ahead Of Libra | PYMNTS.com
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 14:24
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) '' the regulatory watchdog of the Group of 20 (G-20) '' warned global regulators that possible stablecoin disruptions should be addressed before Facebook's Libra is released, according to a consultation report released on Tuesday (April 14).
The FSB outlined 10 recommendations for global stablecoins (GSC) that provide a unified, global approach to stablecoin supervision. The G-20 mandated in June 2019 that the FSB examine regulatory issues related to GSC.
''If a GSC were used as a common store of value, even a moderate variation in its value might cause significant fluctuations in users' wealth. Such wealth effects may be sizeable enough to affect spending decisions and economic activity,'' according to the report. ''If users relied upon a stablecoin to make regular payments, significant operational disruptions could quickly affect real economic activity, e.g. by blocking remittances and other payments.''
The FSB's recommendations call for regulation that aligns with the risks and emphasizes the importance of ''flexible, efficient, inclusive and multi-sectoral cross-border cooperation, coordination and information-sharing arrangements'' that also consider how stablecoins could evolve and what the possible risks could be.
The report also outlines important standards from the Basel Committee, the Financial Action Task Force, the Committee of Payments and Market Infrastructures and the International Organization of Securities Commissions.
A report will be delivered to G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors for their virtual meeting on Wednesday (April 15). The public consultation period closes on July 15, with final recommendations to be published in October.
The April G-20 meeting with finance ministers and central bank governors is usually held in Washington, D.C. on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group spring meetings.
G-20 leaders said last month that they would infuse $5 trillion into the global economy. The group said it was committed to doing ''whatever it takes'' to stop the virus' spread and ensuing effects.
Coronavirus: China tries to bolster confidence in banknotes as fears of contamination mount | South China Morning Post
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 14:24
As the coronavirus has spread in China, the central bank has begun disinfecting cash. Photo: Reuters
China's central bank has stepped up efforts to assure the public that handling cash is safe amid the coronavirus pandemicConcern the virus can be transmitted by banknotes and coins has led to a surge in online search activity about safetyTopic | Coronavirus outbreak
Published: 6:30am, 15 Apr, 2020
Updated: 6:53am, 15 Apr, 2020
CORONAVIRUS WORLD EXCLUSIVE FOR A WORLD IN CRISIS:
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 10:59
GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Emmanuel Macron, Emma Walmsley, and the global drive for immunisation against all things natural The sleaze behind the COVID19 hysteria Some of you may recall the shot below, taken in London (and featured at The Slog twelve days ago) of Emma Walmsley, the CEO of the world's biggest vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) sitting next to President Trump during a State visit last year.
The visit took place in June'...fully four months prior to the Wuhan outbreak of a virus that became known as COVID19.
The point in showing it was to ask how '' when pandemics weren't on anyone's radar '' the boss of GSK wangled a seat right next to The Donald.
In previous posts here, I have shown that Glaxo has by far the most to gain from a strategy of lockdown'....because natural immunity will take place on a smaller scale and more slowly than if lighter restrictions were employed'....thus leaving time for any vaccine to still exploit a large potential market.
In a major development today, Walmsley has announced that GSK is teaming up with French rival Sanofi to develop a coronavirus vaccine and manufacture ''hundreds of millions of doses.''
Glaxosmithkline is to work with Sanofi on a treatment that they hope to test on humans during the second half of this year. But the highlighted words above are key: only just over two million cases have presented worldwide. So we would be talking about mass vaccination on an absolutely unprecedented scale.
Ever the PR smoothie, Emma was keen to point out that GSK ''does not intend to profit from this development during the pandemic emergency'' which isn't saying much given that (i) such never happens during development anyway (ii) the emergency is over when friends in high places say it is and (iii) the product wouldn't be on the market until the back end of 2021. The truth behind this diaphanous veil of virtue is that the deal with Sanofi brings to seven the number of Covid-19 collaborations that GSK has with other groups.
Not much chance for any grass to grow under the feet of the folks at Glaxo.
But the choice of Sanofi is of particular interest, given the severity of the French lockdown ordered by President Macron. For Macrony and Sanofi go back a long way.
Five years ago, when Macron was economics minister, FranceinfoTV carried out an investigation into why then plain Monsieur Macron had let Sanofi off '‚¬137 million of tax in one year. The answer was a sort of low-pitched woffle.
He has known Sanofi President Serge Weinberg for many years: they are close personal friends who worked as colleagues first of all during 2008. Macron ensured Weinberg was made a L(C)gion d'Honneur Commandeur in 2017.
It was Weinberg who originally introduced Macron to Rothschild Bank during 2010, after a spell in the ENA-dominated Finance Ministry'....yet more of those ever-revolving corporacratic doors. Rothschild bankrolled the successful campaign to get Manny elected President. Weinberg became one of the five proposers of Macron's candidacy, and Sanofi made several large donations to the campaign.
Once elected, Macron introduced the use of obligatory vaccinations for some 800,000 French kids annually.
In 2018, Assembly MP Francois Ruffin described himself as ''revolted'' by the corruption and protection offered to ''Macron's friends at Sanofi'' including huge contracts, help with its US flotation, rises in drug prices, and immunity from prosecution following the D(C)pakine scandal '' a Sanofi drug that left 30,000 children autistic.
After a dinner at the Elys(C)e Palace hosted by Macron for Roche and Sanofi in July 2019, the French news site Mediapart splashed an aggressive 'seven-questions for Macron' article, the gist of which was why favouritism towards Big Pharma ''has brought the French public health service to the point of ruin '' not least because of rising drug prices''.
The piece quotes cases where Sanofi-branded drugs have been bought by the State in preference to the exact same drug in generic form that costs a fraction of the branded price.
The evidence of massive interest conflicts and downright corruption between Sanofi and Macron for over a decade is irrefutable. But now '' with the arrival of the GSK-Sanofi joint venture '' conflict of interest takes an intriguing new twist. For Sanofi makes a cocktail form of the anti-malaria drug Hydroxychlorachine championed by virologist superstar Didier Raoult. And surprise, surprise'.....Macron has suddenly changed tack on Chlorachine, by agreeing to accelerate the scale and process of testing the Raoult cocktail.
So what happens when one division of Sanofi making the Chlorochine cocktail starts lobbying for its broader use in COVID19 management in preference to whatever the joint-venture comes up with in terms of immunisation?
No doubt Emma Walmsley and Serge Weinberg can come up with a win-double narrative.
The Unelected State is following several strategies by country '' further support for my long-held conviction that there is no 'New World Order' grand plan. But they all have the same aim '' sovereign control and power.
Rothschild has used a rising star of no affiliation in order to buy the Elys(C)e and the Assembly. Zuckerberg harbours Presidential ambitions, but derives his power via data collection for globalist businesses and State Security. Gates is part of the drive to take over the job of Federal government departments in track, trace and citizen control; but he doesn't give a monkey's chuff what legislators think: he doesn't factor them into his vision of the future.
The same is true of the European Commission in Brussels: they simply avoid election by inverting the democratic process, and then giving directives to neutered (and corrupted) MEPs. Boris Johnson affects the persona of a populist in opposing the EU way of doing things; but on his journey to Number 10, Boris used varietal brown-nosing tricks to ensure business success for everyone from taxi manufacturers and media owners to local government perverts and London property developers.
BoJo is onside completely with the aims of the Unelected State. He has allowed the Whitehall Spook Supremo Sir Mark Sedwill to remain in place as head of the Cabinet Office. Johnson I suspect senses that corporatocracy '' what I've dubbed Totalitechnairianism '' is the future. Whitehall, banking and globalist business revolving-door bodily-fluid exchangers may be wary of the new British PM, but they have nothing to be concerned about. He is one of them.
The overriding need since roughly 1985 has been to take the lobbyist-money element out of politics'....to drain the swamp. It's too late for that now. Somehow, thinking citizens are going to have to work out how to be independent of the State '' at an ever-higher level until that State becomes irrelevant.
The swamp is already self-regenerating; that battle is lost. The fight to starve the beasts in the swamp is beginning.
Pentagon IG Strikes Blow To Amazon, Rules $10B Award To Microsoft Was Proper
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 10:57
The Defense Department's Inspector General dealt a blow to Amazon Wednesday, after finding that the Pentagon's decision to award a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft was proper, and "consistent with applicable acquisition standards."
What's more, the IG found no evidence that the Trump administration affected the decision over the contract, known as JEDI.
"We believe the evidence we received showed that the DoD personnel who evaluated the contract proposals and awarded Microsoft the JEDI Cloud contract were not pressured regarding their decision on the award of the contract by any DoD leaders more senior to them, who may have communicated with the White House," reads the IG report.
That said, Bloomberg notes that report cites instances where the White House provided limited cooperation in the inquiry - asserting "presidential communications privilege" which caused the DoD general counsel to instruct some officials "not to answer our questions about potential communications between White House and DoD officials about JEDI."
Amazon, which filed a November lawsuit against the government over the decision, made several incendiary claims in a Tuesday court filing.
It alleges that President Trump's animus for Amazon and owner Jeff Bezos caused Pentagon officials "consciously or subconsciously" to award the contract to Microsoft.
The DoD requested that the suit be frozen for four months in order to correct an apparent error found by the judge in the government's rationale for selecting Microsoft in an upset decision last October.
Amazon's Amazon Web Services (AWS) unit had long been considered the front-runner in the contest, because it pioneered the commercial cloud industry; still commands more than twice the market share of its nearest competitor, Microsoft Azure; and is the only vendor already authorized to operate at a ''secret'' or ''top secret'' level, having provided cloud services for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since 2013. -Yahoo
Amazon's lawsuit seeks to determine whether career government employees reasonably evaluated the competing offerings via eight "factors" and 55 "sub-factors" laid out in the contract's solicitation request.
See the IG report below:
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Formula 1 faces 'difficult' decision on restart - McLaren boss Andreas Seidl - BBC Sport
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 10:55
McLaren are lobbying for a further reduction in the proposed F1 budget capFormula 1 faces a "difficult" decision as to when racing can start later this year, says McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl.
The sport is considering a number of options to start the season after the first nine races were called off because of the coronavirus crisis.
Seidl said: "There is a big desire from the public that sporting events happen again, even if it is just on TV.
"But there are a lot of different aspects that need to be considered."
F1 teams receive 20,000 NHS orders for equipmentMotor racing legend Moss dies at 90F1 has said it hopes to start a season of up to 18 or 19 races at some point in the summer, but Seidl emphasised that the sport can only begin when the health situation allows and that it cannot be rushed.
"The most important thing is to protect our people, so definitely we can't go back until we know our people are safe," said the 44-year-old German.
"Then it will depend on the guidelines of our home countries first of all - the travel guidelines, for our daily life - and we need to see if that allows us to travel out and back again.
"We need to wait [and see] what the different counties where the races should happen are deciding, and then we need to see what the promoters are deciding.
"If there are changes of dates, promoters need to be up for it and it needs to make sense from a commercial point of view.
"And then I think also what is important is the public acceptance of events happening again.
"It is important we only go back racing once we also have certainty that when it comes down to protective equipment (for medical staff), the number of tests for people, that this is all in place and available for the people who need it and we are not burning these tests just go back racing."
Eight of the first nine races of the season - up to and including the Canadian Grand Prix, which was scheduled for 14 June - have been postponed, with the Monaco Grand Prix cancelled.
On F1's financial crisisSeidl echoed the warning last week from his boss Zak Brown, McLaren's chief executive officer, that F1 is facing a difficult period as a result of the loss of revenue that arises from a reduced number of races.
"It is not just a fear, it is reality - there is a big risk we could lose teams through this crisis," Seidl said.
"We don't know what the income will be, we don't know when will get back to racing. We all hope we can do as many races as possible."
Seidl said he believed F1 had made the right calls in the changes it has made so far in delaying a major regulation change by a year to 2022 and forcing teams to run this year's cars again in 2021, among other details.
And he said it was important that the sport now agreed on a lower figure for a budget cap from 2021.
Teams and F1 bosses have already informally committed to lower the figure from $175m (£137.9m) which is currently enshrined in the 2021 regulations to $150m, and McLaren are pushing for it to be even lower.
Seidl said: "We would like to see the budget cap as low as possible. We have put out the number of $100m, which is something we would be in favour of, but we understand it invites a lot of different teams with different sizes.
"So I'm looking forward to the next meeting which we have tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon and then hopefully we come to some big decision soon."
Bosses announce the postponement of the Australian GP'No threat to F1 itself'Despite the crisis caused by coronavirus, Seidl said he saw no threat to the sport itself.
"I don't see any signs F1 will not exist next year," Seidl said. "The biggest risk is we lose teams if we don't take decisive action tomorrow.
"It is important we put all these actions in place to do maximum money saving this year and then a lower budget cap to make a sport that is healthy and sustainable from the financial side."
And he said that as long as the right steps were taken, F1 could emerge out of the Covid-19 crisis in a stronger position than before.
"The crisis we are in is the final wake-up all that the sport which was unhealthy before and not sustainable has now reached a point where we need big changes, drastic changes," he said.
"I have to hope if we make the right decisions now that F1 can be more sustainable and in a better more healthy state than in previous years and then it improves the show."
President Donald J. Trump Is Demanding Accountability From the World Health Organization | The White House
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 10:32
Quote I will never hesitate to take any necessary steps to protect the lives, health, and safety of the American people. I will always put the well-being of America first.
President Donald J. Trump
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR AMERICAN TAXPAYERS: President Donald J. Trump is holding the World Health Organization (WHO) accountable by putting a hold on United States funding.
President Trump is placing a hold on all funding to the WHO while its mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic is investigated.The American taxpayers provide $400 million to $500 million in funding to the WHO each year, but the WHO has failed them.China, on the other hand, provides just around one-tenth of the funding that the United States provides.The American people deserve better from the WHO, and no more funding will be provided until its mismanagement, cover-ups, and failures can be investigated.President Trump will continue fighting the coronavirus outbreak and will redirect global health aid to others directly engaged in the fight.INVESTIGATING THE WHO'S FAILED RESPONSE: The WHO's response to the coronavirus outbreak has been filled with one misstep and cover-up after another.
Despite the fact that China provides just a small fraction of the funding that the United States does, the WHO has shown a dangerous bias towards the Chinese government.The WHO repeatedly parroted the Chinese government's claims that the coronavirus was not spreading between humans, despite warnings by doctors and health officials that it was.Taiwan contacted the WHO on December 31 after seeing reports of human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus, but the WHO kept it from the public.The WHO praised the Chinese government's response throughout January and claimed there was no human-to-human transmission, despite the fact that doctors in Wuhan were warning there was.The WHO decided on January 22 that the coronavirus did not pose a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, all while praising China's response.The WHO put political correctness over life-saving measures by opposing travel restrictions.The WHO made the disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other countries'--despite applauding travel restrictions within China itself'--leading to further spread of the virus internationally.STRUCTURAL ISSUES AND NECESSARY REFORMS: The WHO has longstanding structural issues that must be addressed before the organization can be trusted again.
The WHO has shown it was not prepared to prevent, detect, and respond to a severe infectious disease crisis like this.The WHO lacks the structure to ensure accurate information and transparent data sharing from members, which makes it vulnerable to misinformation and political influence.The United States seeks to refocus the WHO on fulfilling its core missions of preparedness, response, and stakeholder coordination.The United States is also calling for reforms to promote transparency and data sharing, hold member states accountable for abiding by the International Health Regulations, increase access to medicines, and counter China's outsized influence on the organization.
Lame Cherry: Trump Stability in Coronavirus Chaos
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 10:26
My father joins a short list of successful American national and international PresidentsAs another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.If there was not derangement agendas in motion against President Donald Trump, he would be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace and Economics, because in the week of April 13th, the President of the United States accomplished something bigger than Mideast Peace. The American President established OPEC PLUS, an ingenious expansion of OPEC, which has placed the United States as leader of the world oil economy, and that means the world.The United States brokered a peace deal, larger than Theodore Roosevelt's deal between Japan and Russia, for the President has provided peace between Saudi Arabia and Russia, both now suffering from the Coronavirus pandemic.What this does is stabilize prices so American production will continue and people will not lose high paying jobs. This will mean a stable supply of affordable energy for Americans, instead of bankruptcy.This blog though is more interested in the world order. For four years, the forces who wanted war with Russia have attacked President Trump and kept him from working with Moscow, but in one venture, the President now has Russia and the United States with Saudi Arabia as partners in the world economic base. Oil is what is the world economy, and Russia partnering with the United States in cooperation is a Russia which will be less inclined to side with China which is the source of the world plague.Russians will have chaos, will feel the sting of Coronavirus and be reminded constantly that China did this. Russia working with the United States will mean that China is more isolated each day as a pariah state, and China as a pariah state without Russia, is less likely to invade Alaska for oil or surge into the Mideast for oil, as Russia will be in Iran and America will be in Saudi Arabia as nuclear power checks.Coronavirus is re establishing a Russian Orthodox and American Protestant alliance which includes the sons of Ishmael in guarding Europe from a Chinese invasion, as much as cutting off the land bridge of China annexing the resources of Africa.Only Donald Trump could have been a Theodore Roosevelt type leader in changing the diplomatic oil dynamic. If this was Hillary Clinton, they would still be talking about it. If this was Jeb Bush, his fam would be finding a way to screw over Russia. Only President Trump could be the honest broker that Russia and Saudi Arabia would trust.As this projects out, America is now leading the oil production of the world in cooperation. China is the cancerous oil consuming nation and as prices rise, China is deprived of resources in their paper dragon economy further, and in being weakened and isolated is the position China should be, as China has proven it is not a partner on the world stage. It has none of the diplomatic nuance of the Russians nor the ability of the Saudi Arabians.This Trump Relationship with Russia is vital in United States interests as China will have to be punished and wealth confiscated, which it will not agree to. With Russia joining the United States in oil production, it shaves a huge margin off China's choices in starting a world war by invading other nations for food or energy.The US military is replaying an incorrect war game with China based upon Japan's failed island hopping campaign of defense. China will never occupy islands as there is nothing there to consume.China must take Alaska for oil. China must take Korea to stop the US base there as a landing point. China must take Vietnam and Indonesia for rice supplies, and in this China must open a third front into the Khyber and taking the Mideast for oil and a land bridge to African resources.China has enough military boots to fight a four front war and accomplish these objectives, but not hold them. With Russia and the United States united for oil and the pandemic, this removes the numbers of Chinese ventures.China moving into Alaska, instead of just Japan, there is now Russia in a pincer movement to cut off the Chines invasion and supply. Alaska ceases to be a source of energy and a gateway to America,China moving into Korea, has Russia immediately contending with the United States, in Russia in the north, American in the south and North Korea battling in the middle. That gambit is removed and the US presence remains active in Japan and Korea.China seizing rice in Indonesia and Vietnam, is resisted, but with it's gambits removed in Korea and Russia understanding that what is South Asia today will be North Asia in Russia in the future, become a hostile front to China which China will have to deal with, as America and Asia maneuver all along the eastern and southern borders.China moving into the Khyber and Mideast, now meets Russia as a contender defending Iran and the Stans, so that gambit is removed.As this blog stated in 2016, making peace with Russia, solves 90% of the United States global problems. Making peace with Russia, over the pariah state of China in Coronavirus, lessens the threat of China becoming aggressive in the Four Frontiers.This is why President Donald Trump should be awarded several Nobel Prizes for economics and peace, as what he engaged in was brilliant and has not be heralded for the far ranging positive implications in which this brings stability to the world. Donald Trump ranks with the greatest diplomatic Presidents ever in the United States. He is equal to Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Nixon and Reagan, in being the gamechanger of global politics in he did not create adversaries, but allies.This monumental in Trump leading OPEC PLUS. No one has noticed it in their ignorance or rants, but this is the greatest leadership this President has engaged in, and is equal to the domestic leadership he has exhibited in this pandemic.Once again, another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.In Reference:George Washington's doctrine of America the honest broker to all.John Adams doctrine of American Peace in ending war with Britain.Thomas Jefferson international diplomacy in the Louisiana PurchaseJames Monroe in the Monroe Doctrine in protecting thee Americas from outside influenceAbraham Lincoln in the doctrine of cooperation with Russia in the Civil WarTheodore Roosevelt in international peace through American strength and honestyRichard Nixon in the doctrine of thee American SuperpowerRonald Reagan in the doctrine of thee American Superpower at peace with Russia Donald Trump in the doctrine of America leading stable energy production with RussiaNuff SaidagtG
Explainer: What the U.S. funds freeze could mean for WHO and its work | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 10:21
Wed Apr 15, 2020 / 11:09 AM EDT
Stephanie Nebehay and Kate Kelland
GENEVA/LONDON GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump has told his administration to temporarily halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the new coronavirus.
Here's what we do and don't know about what this might mean for the WHO and its programmes around the world:
* Set up in 1948, the U.N. agency has a mandate to improve the standard of health worldwide. It is credited with leading a 10-year campaign to eliminate smallpox in the 1970s and has coordinated the fight against epidemics including Ebola.
* The WHO is currently leading the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, providing countries with advice on how to contain its spread. It is also coordinating global research into potential drugs and vaccines against COVID-19.
* The WHO now has more than 7,000 people working in 150 country offices, six regional offices and Geneva headquarters.
* The WHO's budget is biennial, spanning a two-year period.
* The United States is the biggest overall donor to the WHO and had contributed more than $800 million by the end of 2019 for the 2018-2019 biennial funding period. The Gates Foundation is the second largest donor, followed by Britain.
* The funding comes in two forms:
- so-called "assessed contributions" from member states, which go towards keeping up the WHO's core functions
- and voluntary contributions, which are targeted at specific programmes such as polio eradication and the fight against AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases.
* At this stage, it is not clear whether the United States intends to halt its voluntary contributions, its assessed contributions, or both.
* The WHO's 2020-2021 budget, approved by health ministers last May, amounts to nearly $4.85 billion in total and represents a 9% rise from the previous two-year period.
* It is not clear whether the United States has already made all or part of its payments towards the 2020-2021 budget, but its assessed contributions are normally made late in the year.
* Almost $1 billion of the 2020-2021 budget is earmarked for WHO operations across Africa, the world's poorest continent with the highest rates of under-five mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases.
* Polio eradication remains a major WHO programme and the United States is a key contributor to this effort.
* The WHO's emergency programme is also seeking to stamp out other deadly infectious disease outbreaks including Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
* Trump has taken an increasingly critical stance towards the WHO, accusing it of promoting China's "disinformation" about the virus and saying that likely led to a wider outbreak than otherwise would have occurred.
* China has said it has been transparent and shared information with the WHO and other countries, including the United States. The WHO says China shared information quickly and is cooperating in research and other areas. "Focus on the epic struggle right now and leave the recriminations until later,'' WHO COVID-19 special envoy David Nabarro told an online conference on Wednesday, without naming the United States or Trump.
* The agency has faced controversy before. It was accused of overreacting to the 2009-10 H1N1 flu pandemic, and then faced withering criticism for not reacting fast enough to the vast Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 that killed more than 11,000 people.
(Writing by Kate Kelland, Editing by Mark John and Alison Williams)
OH MY: New York Times Deletes Shocking Biden Tweet
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 10:12
Follow Matt on TwitterOn Sunday, the New York Times finally reported on former Vice President Joe Biden's sexual assault accusation.
Many days before the Times reported on the accusation, former Biden staffer Tara Reade said that in 1993 Biden ''pinned her to a wall in a Senate building, reached under her clothing and penetrated her with his fingers.''
The Times reports:
A friend said that Ms. Reade told her the details of the allegation at the time. Another friend and a brother of Ms. Reade's said she told them over the years about a traumatic sexual incident involving Mr. Biden.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Biden said the allegation was false. In interviews, several people who worked in the Senate office with Ms. Reade said they did not recall any talk of such an incident or similar behavior by Mr. Biden toward her or any women. Two office interns who worked directly with Ms. Reade said they were unaware of the allegation or any treatment that troubled her.
Last year, Ms. Reade and seven other women came forward to accuse Mr. Biden of kissing, hugging or touching them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable. Ms. Reade told The Times then that Mr. Biden had publicly stroked her neck, wrapped his fingers in her hair and touched her in ways that made her uncomfortable.
The Times, who is all too giddy to report on anything that is somewhat negative for President Trump, stated that after speaking to Reade and ''nearly two dozen people who worked with Mr. Biden during the early 1990s, including many who worked with Ms. Reade; and the other seven women who criticized Mr. Biden last year, to discuss their experiences with him,'' they made the conclusion that there is ''no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.''
Check out their original passage which was tweeted on the New York Times' Twitter account:
No other allegation of sexual assault surfaced in the course of our reporting, nor did any former Biden staffer corroborate Reade's allegation. We found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Biden, beyond hugs, kisses, and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.
Within minutes of posting this passage on Twitter, the Times must have realized that it could have been worded differently to make Biden look better.
They revised the passage, without explanation, to read this: ''No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade's allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.''
The Daily Wire reports:
The portion that suddenly vanished without explanation '-- ''beyond hugs, kisses, and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable'' '-- sparked widespread criticism online, particularly after the Times revised the passage in the report but left the tweet up. The tweet was eventually deleted Sunday.
The only acknowledgement from the Times that they revised the passage came in a vague tweet noting that one of the tweets on the report (the one highlighting the passage) had been deleted because it ''had some imprecise language that has been changed in the story.''
You can read more from our friends at Trending Politics.
Stimulus Checks Will Carry Trump's Signature - The New York Times
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 09:52
Politics | Getting a Stimulus Check? Trump's Name Will Be on ItThe decision to have President Trump's name appear on the checks is a break in protocol.
President Trump's signature. His name will appear in the ''memo'' section of the stimulus checks. Credit... Stephen Crowley/The New York Times Published April 14, 2020Updated April 15, 2020, 7:57 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON '-- President Trump's name will appear on the economic stimulus checks that will be mailed to millions of Americans in the coming weeks, the Treasury Department confirmed on Tuesday.
The decision to have Mr. Trump's name on the checks, a break in protocol, was made by the Treasury Department after Mr. Trump suggested the idea to Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, according to a department official.
The president's name will appear in the ''memo'' section of the check because Mr. Trump is not legally authorized to sign such disbursements.
A department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, denied that the decision would delay the disbursement of the checks and said that they would be mailed beginning next week. The decision about the president's name was first reported by The Washington Post.
But many Americans may not see the president's name. Those who are eligible for stimulus payments and have provided their banking information to the Internal Revenue Service will receive the money through direct deposit.
Representatives for the I.R.S. and the White House referred questions to the Treasury Department.
Treasury and I.R.S. officials briefed House Democrats about the economic stimulus payments this month and said that paper checks would be issued at a rate of about five million per week, beginning the week of May 4, for up to 20 weeks.
A memo that House Democrats drafted after the briefing made no mention of Mr. Trump's name appearing on the paper checks.
Erin Hatch, a spokeswoman for the House Ways and Means Committee Democrats, said that lawmakers were not made aware of the plan.
''The committee was not consulted about this,'' she said, ''and we do not want the checks to be delayed for a second to add the signature.''
Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, criticized the Trump administration's move to include the president's name on the relief money.
''Donald Trump is further delaying cash payments to millions of Americans struggling to pay the rent and put food on the table to feed his ego,'' Mr. Wyden said. ''Only this president would try to make a pandemic and economic catastrophe all about him.''
The Treasury said the first checks were expected to be in the mail early next week, ahead of initial estimates.
N.Y.C. Death Toll Soars Past 10,000 in Revised Virus Count - The New York Times
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 09:33
The city has added more than 3,700 additional people who were presumed to have died of the coronavirus but had never tested positive.
A triage tent at Elmhurst Hospital Medical Center in Queens, which has been inundated with patients during the coronavirus outbreak. Credit... James Estrin/The New York Times New York City, already a world epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, sharply increased its death toll by more than 3,700 victims on Tuesday, after officials said they were now including people who had never tested positive for the virus but were presumed to have died of it.
The new figures, released by the city's Health Department, drove up the number of people killed in New York City to more than 10,000, and appeared to increase the overall United States death count by 17 percent to more than 26,000.
Coronavirus Deaths in New York CityConfirmed deaths
Probable deaths
500
400
300
200
100
March 11
April 1
April 12
March 11
April 1
April 12
Confirmed deaths
500
400
300
200
100
March 11
April 1
April 12
Probable deaths
300
200
100
March 11
April 1
April 12
Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene · Note: All data are preliminary and subject to change. Data as of April 13.
The numbers brought into clearer focus the staggering toll the virus has already taken on the largest city in the United States, where deserted streets are haunted by the near-constant howl of ambulance sirens. Far more people have died in New York City, on a per-capita basis, than in Italy '-- the hardest-hit country in Europe.
And in a city reeling from the overt danger posed by the virus, top health officials said they had identified another grim reality: The outbreak is likely to have also led indirectly to a spike in deaths of New Yorkers who may never have been infected.
Three thousand more people died in New York City between March 11 and April 13 than would have been expected during the same time period in an ordinary year, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the commissioner of the city Health Department, said in an interview. While these so-called excess deaths were not explicitly linked to the virus, they might not have happened had the outbreak not occurred, in part because it overwhelmed the normal health care system.
''This is yet another part of the impact of Covid,'' she said, adding that more study was needed. Similar analysis is commonly done after heat waves and was performed in the wake of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
''What New Yorkers are interested in, and what the country is interested in, is that we have an accurate and complete count,'' Dr. Barbot added. ''It's part of the healing process that we're going to have to go through.''
The revised death toll renewed focus on shortcomings in testing that have hamstrung city and state officials since the beginning of the outbreak. A limited number of tests have been available, and until now, only deaths where a person had tested positive were officially counted among those killed by the virus in New York.
Where People Died of Coronavirus in New York CityConfirmed deaths
Probable deaths
25
50
75%
25
50
75%
Hospitals
Nursing homes
Residences
Other
Confirmed deaths
Probable deaths
50
100%
50%
Hospitals
Nursing homes
Residences
Other
Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene · Note: Showing cases with complete location data only. All data are preliminary and subject to change. Data as of April 13.
Mr. de Blasio decided, after another round of briefings over the weekend, to release the presumptive cases, the people said. Most of the added deaths took place in hospitals, according to the data. Others occurred in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities and in residences.
''In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,'' said Freddi Goldstein, the mayor's press secretary. ''As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.''
New York City is among a handful of places in the country, including Connecticut, Ohio and Delaware, that are beginning to disclose cases where infection is presumed but not confirmed.
In California and Washington '-- locations of early cases in the American outbreak '-- officials said they included deaths as connected to Covid-19 only when the disease was confirmed by testing. Louisiana and Chicago followed the same protocol.
The new numbers in New York cover the weeks between March 11 to April 13, beginning at a time when the virus had already been spreading throughout the city and its surrounding suburbs. Mr. de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo shut down large swaths of the city and state by the third week of March.
Coronavirus Deaths in New York City's BoroughsConfirmed deaths
Probable deaths
10
20
30%
10
20
30%
Queens
Brooklyn
Bronx
Manhattan
Confirmed deaths
Probable deaths
10
20
30%
10
20
30%
Queens
Brooklyn
Bronx
Manhattan
Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene · Note: Showing cases with complete location data only. All data are preliminary and subject to change. Data as of April 13.
New York City has been reporting the probable cases to the federal National Center for Health Statistics for more than a week, health officials said. But Dr. Barbot said that the city would continue reporting only confirmed cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its coronavirus tracker, because the agency requested those statistics. ''We are more than happy to report on probables,'' she said.
The C.D.C., in its guidance to local governments, has recommended that cases of ''assumed'' coronavirus infection be noted on death certificates since before New York City recorded its first death on March 14.
On Tuesday, the city's count of confirmed cases went up to 6,589.
The city and the state have at times differed in their counts of the dead in New York City. As of Monday, the state said that 7,349 had died of the virus in the city. City officials have complained that they are at the whim of the state, which has been slow to share the data it receives from hospitals and nursing homes. The state Health Department explained on its website that the discrepancy is caused by the city and state using ''different data systems.''
The state Department of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the city's decision to report suspected cases.
The sheer volume of additional deaths in the city has been felt daily. Emergency responders have seen the number of people dying at home jump significantly. Overwhelmed morgues have filled refrigerated trucks with bodies outside of hospitals.
And on Hart Island, the city's old potter's field, the number of unclaimed dead has grown markedly '-- as many people are buried there in a day now as would have been buried in a week before the pandemic arrived.
While the city has been uniquely overwhelmed by cases and deaths, the newly released data suggested that the toll elsewhere in the nation and the world may be much higher than reported.
''This is quite portentous,'' said Andrew Noymer, associate professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine. He said the revised New York figures provided ''a sobering reality that confirmed and probable Covid-19 deaths exceed deaths from all other causes.''
Public health officials say that counting the dead from a pandemic disease like Covid-19 presents difficulties because many of those who die are older or suffering from other serious health conditions. And the full effects of the outbreak on mortality in New York City, and around the country, could take many more months to study and understand.
Epidemiologists who study such events said a complete account would include an analysis of the number of the excess deaths.
Such an analysis can be ''very hard to do'' as an event is unfolding, said Sabrina McCormick, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University, who has studied excess deaths in heat waves. ''This virus is moving so fast,'' she said.
But, she added, an analysis of excess deaths is ''the simplest and most straightforward way of measuring how many people have died from an extreme event'' and can offer a more accurate accounting of the actual impact than the daily death counts provided by officials.
Updated April 11, 2020
When will this end?This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: ''How will we know when to reopen the country?'' In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.
How can I help?Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities. More than 30,000 coronavirus-related GoFundMe fund-raisers have started in the past few weeks. (The sheer number of fund-raisers means more of them are likely to fail to meet their goal, though.)
What should I do if I feel sick?If you've been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.
Should I wear a mask?The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don't need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don't replace hand washing and social distancing.
How do I get tested?If you're sick and you think you've been exposed to the new coronavirus, the C.D.C. recommends that you call your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms and fears. They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there's a chance '-- because of a lack of testing kits or because you're asymptomatic, for instance '-- you won't be able to get tested.
How does coronavirus spread?It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.
Is there a vaccine yet?No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.
What makes this outbreak so different?Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions '-- not just those with respiratory diseases '-- particularly hard.
What if somebody in my family gets sick?If the family member doesn't need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there's space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don't forget to wash your hands frequently.
Should I stock up on groceries?Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.
Can I go to the park?Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don't live in your home. Even if you just hang out in a park, rather than go for a jog or a walk, getting some fresh air, and hopefully sunshine, is a good idea.
Should I pull my money from the markets?That's not a good idea. Even if you're retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year's worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.
What should I do with my 401(k)?Watching your balance go up and down can be scary. You may be wondering if you should decrease your contributions '-- don't! If your employer matches any part of your contributions, make sure you're at least saving as much as you can to get that ''free money.''
Bloomberg News killed a story on China's communist elites fearing repercussions. Then it fired the reporter and tried to silence his wife: report
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 08:51
Six years ago, Bloomberg News quashed an investigation into China's wealthy elites over fears that the Chinese government would retaliate. Then the outlet fired one of the reporters involved and even attempted to silence his wife, NPR reported.
According to audio recordings obtained by NPR, in October 2013, Bloomberg News founding editor in chief Matthew Winkler told a team of reporters who were working on an expos(C) of the corrupt practices of China's ruling class that the story would be killed out of fear that Chinese officials would "shut us down and kick us out of the country."
"It is for sure going to, you know, invite the Communist Party to, you know, completely shut us down and kick us out of the country," Winkler said, according to NPR, comparing the Chinese officials to the Nazis of World War II-era Germany. "So, I just don't see that as a story that is justified."
"The inference is going to be interpreted by the government there as we are judging them," Winkler added, again relaying his concerns. "And they will probably kick us out of the country. They'll probably shut us down, is my guess."
The China-based team of reporters included Mike Forsythe, an ex-Bejing correspondent for Bloomberg News who now works for the New York Times. Forsythe and other team members had already published an award-winning report on the corrupt accumulation of wealth by China's ruling class in 2012. And during the following year, they were working on a subsequent story that would tie top Chinese Communist Party officials '-- including the family of current President Xi Jinping '-- to the country's wealthiest man.
But the story never ran. According to NPR, two Bloomberg editors denied that the story was killed at the time, instead saying that the story needed additional reporting. Winkler toed the same line.
"The reporting as presented to me was not ready for publication," Winkler said to the Financial Times in November.
Shortly after the story was dropped, Bloomberg News fired Forsythe, accusing him of leaking about the controversy to other outlets. On his way out, he signed a nondisclosure agreement.
Then lawyers for Bloomberg News allegedly pressed Forsythe's wife, author and journalist Leta Hong Fincher, to sign a nondisclosure agreement, as well. She declined despite repeated attempts by Bloomberg lawyers to force the action. After she hired attorneys of her own, Bloomberg L.P. finally let it go.
"They assumed that because I was the wife of their employee ... I was just an appendage of their employee. I was not a human being," Fincher told NPR. "There was no reason why I should have to sign a nondisclosure agreement, because I didn't possess any damaging material about the company."
In 2013, Mike Bloomberg, who was mayor of New York City at the time, denied that the story was cut out of fear of repercussions from China.
"Nobody thinks we are wusses and not willing to stand up and write stories that are of interest to the public and that are factually correct," he told Politico at the time.
ACTEMRA® Treatment Information for Rheumatologists
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 07:26
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA)The most common serious adverse reactions were serious infections. The most common serious infections included pneumonia, urinary tract infection, cellulitis, herpes zoster, gastroenteritis, diverticulitis, sepsis and bacterial arthritis. In the ACTEMRA-IV monotherapy clinical study, the rate of serious infections was 3.6 per 100 patient-years in the ACTEMRA group and 1.5 per 100 patient-years in the methotrexate group. The rate of serious infections in the 4 mg/kg and 8 mg/kg ACTEMRA plus DMARD groups was 4.4 and 5.3 events per 100 patient-years, respectively, compared to 3.9 events per 100 patient-years in the placebo plus DMARD group.
In the 5 Phase III clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions ('‰¥5% of patients treated with ACTEMRA-IV) through 6 months were:
ACTEMRA-IV8 mg/kgMonotherapy (%)Methotrexate (%)ACTEMRA-IV4 mg/kg+ DMARDs (%)ACTEMRA-IV8 mg/kg+ DMARDs (%)Placebo+ DMARDs (%)URTI75686Nasopharyngitis76464Headache72653Hypertension62443Increased ALT64331The safety observed for ACTEMRA administered subcutaneously was consistent with the known safety profile of intravenous ACTEMRA, with the exception of injection-site reactions, which were more common with ACTEMRA-SC compared with placebo-SC injections (IV-arm).
In the 6-month control period, in SC-I, the frequency of injection-site reactions was 10.1% (64/631) and 2.4% (15/631) for the weekly ACTEMRA-SC and placebo-SC (IV-arm) group, respectively. In SC-II, the frequency of injection-site reactions was 7.1% (31/437) and 4.1% (9/218) for the every other week ACTEMRA-SC and placebo-SC groups, respectively. These injection-site reactions were mild to moderate in severity. The majority resolved without any treatment and none necessitated drug discontinuation.
Doctor with coronavirus saved with experimental treatment - Los Angeles Times
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 07:23
As critically ill, elderly patients streamed into his emergency room outside Seattle, Dr. Ryan Padgett quickly came to understand how deadly COVID-19 could be.
Of the first two dozen or so he saw, not a single one survived.
It took longer for Padgett and his colleagues at EvergreenHealth Medical Center '-- the first hospital in the country to treat multiple coronavirus patients '-- to learn how easily the disease could spread.
At first, the medical workers wore only surgical masks and gloves. Later, they were told to wear respirators and other gear, but the equipment was unfamiliar and Padgett couldn't be certain he put it on and took it off correctly each time.
A 6-foot-3, 250-pound former football star who played for Northwestern in the 1996 Rose Bowl, he wasn't fazed by much.
''To worry about myself, as a 44-year-old healthy man, didn't even cross my mind,'' he said in an interview Monday.
But on March 12, with his wedding day two months away, Padgett became the patient.
Soon after being admitted to his own hospital with a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, he was placed on a ventilator. Five days after that, his lungs and kidneys were failing, his heart was in trouble, and doctors figured he had a day or so to live.
He owes his survival to an elite team of doctors who tried an experimental treatment pioneered in China and used on the sickest of all COVID-19 patients.
Lessons from his dramatic recovery could help doctors worldwide treat other extremely ill COVID-19 patients.
''This is a movie-like save, it doesn't happen in the real world often,'' Padgett said. ''I was just a fortunate recipient of people who said, 'We are not done. We are going to go into an experimental realm to try and save your life.'"
Once his colleagues at EvergreenHealth realized they had run out of options, they called Swedish Medical Center, one of two Seattle hospitals that has a machine known as an ECMO, which replaces the functions of the heart and lungs.
But even after the hospital admitted him, doctors there had to figure out why he was so profoundly sick.
Based on the astronomical level of inflammation in his body and reports written by Chinese and Italian physicians who had treated the sickest COVID-19 patients, the doctors came to believe that it was not the disease itself killing him but his own immune system.
It had gone haywire and began to attack itself '-- a syndrome known as a ''cytokine storm.''
The immune system normally uses proteins called cytokines as weapons in fighting a disease. For unknown reasons in some COVID-19 patients, the immune system first fails to respond quickly enough and then floods the body with cytokines, destroying blood vessels and filling the lungs with fluid.
The doctors tried a drug called Actemra, which was designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis but also approved in 2017 to treat cytokine storms in cancer patients.
''Our role was to quiet the storm,'' said Dr. Samuel Youssef, a cardiac surgeon. ''Dr. Padgett was able to clear the virus'' once his immune system was back in balance.
Dr. Matt Hartman, a cardiologist, said that after four days on the immunosuppressive drug, supplemented by high-dose vitamin C and other therapies, the level of oxygen in Padgett's blood improved dramatically. On March 23, doctors were able to take him off life support.
Four days later, they removed his breathing tube. He slowly came out of his sedated coma, at first imagining that he was in the top floor of the Space Needle converted to a COVID ward.
He soon became more conscious of his surroundings and had a FaceTime conversation with family members, who hadn't been able to visit because of the hospital's coronavirus lockdown.
''It's an incredible thing to survive a brush with death and not be able to see and be with your most loved people,'' Padgett said. ''And when everyone on staff who comes to see you has to be in a spacesuit, you just feel like this pariah. The isolation was pretty devastating at times.''
On March 31, balloons, gifts and letters came in the door. It was his 45th birthday. ''My birthday cake was an ice chip,'' he said, recalling how grateful he was for his first sustenance by mouth.
As Padgett got to know Youssef, Hartman and other team members, they told him about a 33-year-old woman '-- a mother of three '-- who was in the hospital as well, also having experienced a cytokine storm. He saw the team's excitement when they tried the approach on her, and she too recovered.
Padgett went home on April 5. He said Monday that he faced a long, slow recovery, physically and cognitively. He expects to be a better doctor, reminded how devastating an illness can be to a patient and a family.
Returning to the ER won't be easy, he said. ''But that's my home, that's what I do,'' he said. ''I enjoy that everyone-in-the-foxhole mentality.''
And one day before then, Padgett and his fiancee, Connie Kinsley, plan to have a small wedding ceremony with a few friends on their boat moored on a Seattle lake.
Coronavirus can't stop climate change. Here's what could - Los Angeles Times
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 07:20
A coronavirus-related shutdown sign posted outside Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, Calif.
(Getty Images)
By Matthew Fleischer Senior Digital Editor
Last week, Reuters published a rather remarkable look at how coronavirus shutdowns are affecting climate emissions. The piece claimed 2020 could see the ''biggest fall in carbon emissions since World War Two,'' when gas rationing was the norm. More specifically, it quoted Stanford professor and Global Carbon Project chair Rob Jackson saying global carbon output could fall by 5% this year.
To the untrained ear that certainly sounds like a small bit of good news in an otherwise brutal time of human misery. But buried further down in the piece was the unsettling fact that a recent U.N. report found that emissions have to drop 7.6% per year '-- for decades '-- to stave off the worst effects of climate change.
Much of the industrialized world is stuck inside under quarantine. The global economy is collapsing. Armies of influencers are trapped in their homes taking selfies with their dogs instead of thot squatting in Bali. And the world isn't even going to meet its climate targets. For this year alone!
I called Jackson for further clarification.
He was quick to point out that emissions tracking is incredibly tricky, and it's still too early to know for sure exactly what reductions will result from the coronavirus shutdown '-- particularly as it relates to greenhouse gases like methane. However, we do have some idea how things will shake out based on the results from 2008, when emissions declined 1.4% in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
Jackson made his 5% estimate under the assumption that we'll spend several months under lockdown, but that the economy '-- and therefore emissions '-- will start to ramp back up before the end of 2020.
''If we were to stay under quarantine as we are now,'' he says, ''I'm confident the U.S. would make its emissions goals for the year. And if current conditions around the globe were to persist through the end of the year, yes, we'd make our planetary climate goals for 2020.''
So take some small comfort in the fact that the sacrifices we're currently making under quarantine, if they stayed in place for the rest of year, would likely be sufficient to put us on track to save the planet.
But don't be too comforted, says Jackson.
To stave off the worst impacts of climate change, we need to make even further emissions cuts next year. And the next. And the next. And the next ....
Contracting the economy as the sole means of staving off a global climate meltdown isn't just undesirable, it's impossible. We have to fundamentally change the nature of our infrastructure and our culture.
Coronavirus is teaching us valuable lessons about how to do that '-- particularly as it relates to transportation.
''Most of us are home and using as much electricity as we were before,'' explains Jackson. ''The agricultural industry is still producing food and we're transporting it to people's homes. So any significant reductions in carbon emissions we'll see during this crisis will likely come from transportation, which is the leading source of emissions in the United States.''
And it's those reductions we can do our best to preserve when the pandemic ends.
Jackson says that those of us who are able to work from home should continue to do so even after we're free from lockdown. But many folks will still need to get around for work, meaning it's clearer than ever before that we need 100% electrification of our vehicle fleet as soon as possible.
Figuring out transportation in the short term could buy us time to work out the rest of the climate puzzle.
The worst pandemic in a century won't solve climate change. We have to do that for ourselves.
Amid coronavirus, South Korea forges ahead with election - Los Angeles Times
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 07:15
At a time when most governments are urging citizens to stay at home, one country is calling on them to come out in force this week '-- to the polls.
South Korea is going ahead with its hotly contested parliamentary elections Wednesday, even as nations around the world, from Britain to Bolivia, have postponed races out of coronavirus concerns and a primary this month in Wisconsin raised myriad worries about safety and disenfranchisement.
With nearly 4 out of 5 South Koreans saying they intend to cast a ballot and early voting already logging record turnout, the country may offer an early look at how to hold a general election in the midst of a pandemic.
Election officials have assured citizens that they are taking every precaution to keep voters safe. All voters are being required to wear masks, and polling stations are being thoroughly sanitized. Poll workers wearing gloves, masks and protective face shields will take each voter's temperature, squirt his or her hands with sanitizer and then distribute a pair of disposable gloves.
Anyone with a fever or other coronavirus-related symptoms will be routed to a separate voting booth, which will be disinfected after each use.
South Korean voters keep their distance while waiting in line in Seoul to cast their ballots during early voting.
(Lee Jin-man / Associated Press)
After much debate, the government also announced measures to allow those under mandatory 14-day quarantine '-- people who have traveled abroad or come into contact with a known COVID-19 patient '-- to leave their homes during a 1 hour, 40-minute window Wednesday evening to cast their ballots. Only those without symptoms will be permitted to do so, and they're required to walk or drive themselves to the polls rather than take public transit.
Some coronavirus patients under quarantine also had the option of voting by mail, which South Korea typically allows only in limited cases.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a quarter of eligible voters turned out for early voting over the weekend in an election widely viewed as a referendum on the presidency of Moon Jae-in. Moon, a liberal, was voted into office in 2017 after his predecessor was impeached in a corruption scandal that triggered a large-scale protest movement that filled the streets of Seoul.
Before the pandemic, the elections were shaping up to be dominated by South Korea's lackluster economy and Moon's stalled policy of engagement with North Korea, which has been at an impasse since talks between the U.S. and North Korea fell apart.
But the virus changed everything.
Even though Moon made an early blunder, prematurely saying out of concern for the economy that the outbreak would be over soon, politicians in South Korea have largely stayed out of the way of the disease-control professionals who took charge of the epidemic response.
Systems and laws kicked in that had been created after the government's bungled handling of an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, in 2015. Daily COVID-19 infections, after a surge in late February, slowed to fewer than 30 new cases this week. The country's success in controlling the outbreak and flattening the curve of new infections has received acclaim and attention from around the world.
A voter drops her ballot into a box Friday during early voting. Wednesday is election day.
(Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press)
That's translated into the highest approval ratings for Moon '-- 57% '-- since 2018, according to Gallup Korea.
Moon said Monday that the election could serve as an example to other countries still struggling to curb the epidemic. ''If we can maintain the results of our disease-prevention efforts while holding nationwide elections, we can give the world the hope that it's possible to return to normal social systems and daily activities,'' he said.
Running for seats in South Korea's 300-seat parliament are a high-profile former North Korean diplomat who defected to the South, young feminists who've formed their own party on a platform against misogyny and sexism, and two former prime ministers going head to head in a district in central Seoul.
On street corners in recent weeks, campaigners courted voters wearing jackets, hats and matching face masks in each political party's color.
At competing rallies in the race between the two former premiers, enthusiasm for the candidates appeared to trump any social distancing concerns as citizens mobbed candidates for photos and handshakes.
The opposition has largely supported the government's anti-virus efforts but has faulted Moon for not swiftly banning travel from China and accused him of taking advantage of South Korea's coronavirus-related economic stimulus to buy votes.
Hwang Kyo-ahn of the conservative main opposition United Future Party did not mention the coronavirus once in a 15-minute speech, focusing instead on economic woes and taxation.
''If he mentions it, he's just helping the incumbents. I'm on this side [of the political spectrum], but a good job is a good job,'' said Lee Wan-jae, a 67-year-old taxi driver watching Hwang's speech, who said he always voted with the conservatives. ''With the coronavirus, it's not the administration but the public health officials who are doing good work. They're trying to free-ride on that.''
Lee said his primary concern was the economy '-- he stopped driving a couple of months ago because he wasn't getting enough fares. He said he wasn't optimistic about either party being able to turn the economy around.
Across the street, Lee Nak-yeon, who served as Moon's prime minister until January, stumped primarily on praising the current government's coronavirus successes.
''Isn't South Korea really remarkable?'' he said, noting that treatment for COVID-19 for one individual in the U.S. would cost many times more the amount '-- 40,000 Korean won, or about $32 '-- it would cost the average South Korean patient. ''We seem like a small country, but we're not a small country.''
Jun Sung-man, a 29-year-old occupational therapist, said he was a moderate but planned on voting for Moon's liberal party because of the current government's outbreak response '-- and the couple of hundred dollars in a stimulus check he was due to receive.
''They're dealing with the coronavirus in a transparent way and doing a good job of implementing policy,'' he said.
Google News - Counting the dead: National tolls are only an estimate, and that is a problem
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 07:07
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Bill Gates says Trump's decision to halt WHO funding is 'as dangerous as it sounds' - CNN
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 07:02
By Christina Maxouris, CNN Business
Updated 7:53 AM EDT, Wed April 15, 2020
(CNN Business) President Donald Trump's decision to withhold funding to the World Health Organization pending a review of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic is "as dangerous as it sounds," Bill Gates said Wednesday.
"Their work is slowing the spread of Covid-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever," the Microsoft founder and philanthropist said in a tweet.
The WHO declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern in late January and a week later, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged up to $100 million to help contain the outbreak.
Those funds, the foundation said, would be used to help find a vaccine for the virus, limit its spread and improve detection and treatment.
About $20 million was directed toward groups including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO.
It's not the first time the couple has directed funds toward public health causes. In 2009, they worked to combat a tuberculosis outbreak in China and a year later committed as much as $10 billion to vaccine research.
Bill Gates, who since March cautioned about the effects of delayed social distancing measures, urged the United States to implement a country-wide shutdown, saying a state-by-state strategy wouldn't work as effectively. He predicted the number of coronavirus cases will peak in late April.
Trump's decision to halt WHO fundingTrump said Tuesday a review of the WHO will cover its "role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of coronavirus," he said.
"Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death," Trump said.
In response to criticism by the president last week, the head of the WHO outlined a timeline of the organization's actions in response to the pandemic, saying in a statement, "please don't politicize the virus."
"If you don't want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it. My short message is: Please quarantine politicizing Covid. The unity of your country will be very important to defeat this dangerous virus," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Trump said the United States funds $400 million to $500 million to the WHO each year, adding that China contributes "roughly $40 million."
Gates' concerns over the president's announcement echoed ones made by the American Medical Association on Tuesday, which also called Trump's decision "dangerous."
"During the worst public health crisis in a century, halting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) is a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating Covid-19 easier," the association's president, Dr. Patrice Harris, said in a statement.
Harris urged Trump to reconsider, saying AMA was "deeply concerned by this decision and its wide-ranging ramifications."
-- CNN's Joe Sutton,Betsy Klein, Michelle Toh, Jennifer Hansler, Michael Nedelman and Jen Christensen contributed to this report.
Donald J. Trump's name will be on stimulus checks in unprecedented move - The Washington Post
Wed, 15 Apr 2020 06:59
The Treasury Department has ordered President Trump's name be printed on stimulus checks the Internal Revenue Service is rushing to send to tens of millions of Americans, a process that could slow their delivery by a few days, senior IRS officials said.
The unprecedented decision, finalized late Monday, means that when recipients open the $1,200 paper checks the IRS is scheduled to begin sending to 70 million Americans in coming days, ''President Donald J. Trump'' will appear on the left side of the payment.
It will be the first time a president's name appears on an IRS disbursement, whether a routine refund or one of the handful of checks the government has issued to taxpayers in recent decades either to stimulate a down economy or share the dividends of a strong one.
Treasury officials disputed that the checks would be delayed.
Watch more!
(The Washington Post)While some people receiving the checks '-- the centerpiece of the U.S. government's economic relief package to stave of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic '-- may not care, or observe, whose name appears on them, the decision is another sign of Trump's effort to cast his response to the pandemic in political terms.
Trump had privately suggested to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who oversees the IRS, to allow the president to formally sign the checks, according to three administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter to track the outbreak. All stories linked in the newsletter are free to access.
But the president is not an authorized signer for legal disbursements by the U.S. Treasury. It is standard practice for a civil servant to sign checks issued by the Treasury Department to ensure that government payments are nonpartisan.
Watch more!
(The Washington Post)The checks will instead bear Trump's name in the memo line, below a line that reads, ''Economic Impact Payment,'' the administration officials said.
IRS to begin issuing $1,200 coronavirus payments but some Americans won't receive check until September
The IRS will mail the checks to people for whom it does not have banking information. Many of them have low incomes.
The checks will carry the signature of an official with the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, the Treasury Department division that prints the checks. The checks will follow direct deposits issued in recent days to the bank accounts of about 80 million people. Those payments do not include Trump's name.
The decision to have the paper checks bear Trump's name, in the works for weeks, according to a Treasury official, was announced early Tuesday to the IRS's information technology team. The team, working from home, is now racing to implement a programming change that two senior IRS officials said will probably lead to a delay in issuing the first batch of paper checks. They are scheduled to be sent Thursday to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service for printing and issuing.
Computer code must be changed to include the president's name, and the system must be tested, these officials said. ''Any last minute request like this will create a downstream snarl that will result in a delay,'' said Chad Hooper, a quality-control manager who serves as national president of the IRS's Professional Managers Association.
A Treasury Department representative, however, denied any delay and said the plan all along was to issue the checks next week.
''Economic Impact Payment checks are scheduled to go out on time and exactly as planned'--there is absolutely no delay whatsoever,'' the representative said in a written statement. She said this was a faster process than the stimulus checks the George W. Bush administration issued in 2008 to head off a looming recession.
''In fact, we expect the first checks to be in the mail early next week which is well in advance of when the first checks went out in 2008 and well in advance of initial estimates,'' the statement said.
An IRS representative referred questions to the Treasury Department.
The paper checks are scheduled to be issued at a rate of 5 million each week until September, starting with the lowest-income taxpayers.
The $2 trillion stimulus, the government's largest and most recent coronavirus rescue package, was passed by a bipartisan Congress and signed by the president. The checks to individual taxpayers were not originally Trump's idea, but he embraced them after Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) proposed them.
The stimulus checks are arriving. People are mostly spending them on food.
The White House had initially floated a payroll tax cut as a centerpiece of its stimulus effort but backed off that plan amid concerns it would not reach American households quickly enough.
Trump has repeatedly called the legislation ''a Trump administration initiative'' and placed himself singularly at the center of what the government is doing to help Americans during the coronavirus response '-- taking full credit.
About six months before he faces reelection, with his campaign on pause because the virus has prevented him from holding the rallies that are popular with his base, the checks provide Trump with a new form of retail politics. A check provides a touchable, bread-and-butter symbol to taxpayers right in their mailboxes.
But to critics and some IRS employees, many of whom started to learn of the decision on Tuesday, the presence of Trump's name on the checks reeks of partisanship in a corner of the government that touches all Americans and has, since the Nixon era, steadfastly steered clear of politics. After President Richard Nixon targeted a wide range of ''enemy'' groups for tax audits, including civil rights groups, reporters and prominent Democrats, Congress enacted laws to ensure that the agency conducts itself apolitically.
''Taxes are supposed to be nonpolitical, and it's that simple,'' said Nina Olson, who stepped down last fall after an 18-year tenure as the National Taxpayer Advocate, leading an arm of the IRS that helps individual taxpayers resolve tax problems, manages clinics for low-income taxpayers and advises the agency on service issues.
''It's absolutely unprecedented,'' Olson said.
She recalled that when the Bush administration delivered economic rebate checks of $300 to $600 to taxpayers in 2001 to share the benefits of a strong economy, the White House asked the IRS to include in a letter to taxpayers a sentence that took credit for ''giving you your money back.''
The IRS commissioner at the time refused, Olson recalled, because the move was perceived as too political.
When the Bush administration launched its $168 billion economic stimulus package in 2008, the checks were signed by a treasury official.
Only the IRS commissioner and general counsel are politically appointed. The current, Trump-appointed commissioner, Charles Rettig, a tax attorney confirmed by the Senate in 2018, was appointed to a five-year term designed to carry over into a possible new administration.
Hooper, the president of the Professional Managers Association, said he was appalled by what he called ''an abuse of government resources.''
''In this time of need for additional resources,'' Hooper said, ''anything that takes our focus from getting those checks out the door and hampers the equitable, fair administration of the tax code is not something we can support.''
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has dismissed suggestions about Trump signing checks or having his name attached. Last week she said the payments should go out as quickly as possible without ''waiting for a fancy-Dan letter from the president.''
About 150 million Americans and others are expected to receive the one-time payment. The first wave of recipients includes mainly people who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and gave the IRS their direct deposit information.
Under the stimulus plan, single filers earning up to $75,000 a year receive a payment of $1,200. Married couples earning up to $150,000 a year receive a payment of $2,400. Parents receive an additional $500 for each child under 17.
Erica Werner contributed to this report.
Can We Trust the WHO? | New Eastern Outlook
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 19:47
Can We Trust the WHO? P 02.04.2020 U F. William Engdahl
The most influential organization in the world with nominal responsibility for global health and epidemic issues is the United Nations' World Health Organization, WHO, based in Geneva. What few know is the actual mechanisms of its political control, the shocking conflicts of interest, corruption and lack of transparency that permeate the agency that is supposed to be the impartial guide for getting through the current COVID-19 pandemic. The following is only part of what has come to public light.
Pandemic declaration?
On January 30 Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the UN World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern or PHIEC. This came two days after Tedros met with China President Xi Jinping in Beijing to discuss the dramatic rise in severe cases of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan and surrounding areas that had reached dramatic proportions. Announcing his emergency PHIEC declaration, Tedros praised the Chinese quarantine measures, measures highly controversial in public health and never before in modern times attempted with entire cities, let alone countries. At the same time Tedros, curiously, criticized other countries who were moving to block flights to China to contain the strange new disease, leading to charges he was unduly defending China.
The first three cases in Wuhan were reported, officially, on December 27, 2019, a full month earlier. The cases were all diagnosed with pneumonia from a ''novel'' or new form of SARS Coronavirus. Important to note is that the largest movement of people in the year, China's Lunar New Year and Spring Festival, during which some 400 million citizens move throughout the land to join families went from January 17 through February 8. On January 23, at 2am two days before start of actual New Year festivities, Wuhan authorities declared an unprecedented lockdown of the entire city of 11 million as of 10am that day. By then, hundreds of thousands if not several million residents had fled in panic to avoid the quarantine.
By the time the WHO declared its Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January, precious weeks had been lost to contain the disease. Yet Tedros effusively praised the ''unprecedented'' Chinese measures and criticized other countries for placing ''stigma'' on Chinese by cutting travel.
In reference to the Wuhan COVID-19 spread and why WHO did not call it a pandemic, the WHO spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic, stated ''There is no official category (for a pandemic)'...WHO does not use the old system of 6 phases '-- that ranged from phase 1 (no reports of animal influenza causing human infections) to phase 6 (a pandemic) '-- that some people may be familiar with from H1N1 in 2009.''
Then, in an about-face, on March 11, Tedros Adhanom announced for the first time that WHO was calling the novel coronavirus illness, now renamed COVID-19, a ''global pandemic.'' At that point WHO said there were more than 118,000 cases of COVID-19 in 114 countries, with 4,291 deaths.
2009 WHO Fake Pandemic
Since an earlier WHO fiasco and scandal in 2009 over its declaration of a global pandemic around the ''swine flu'' or H1N1 as it was termed, the WHO decided to drop using the term pandemic. The reason is indicative of the corruption endemic to the WHO institution.
Just weeks before first reports in 2009 of a young Mexican child being infected with a novel H1N1 ''swine flu'' virus in Veracruz, the WHO had quietly changed the traditional definition of pandemic. No longer was it necessary a reported disease be extremely widespread in many countries and extremely deadly or debilitating. It need only be widespread, like seasonal flu, should WHO ''experts'' want to declare pandemic. WHO H1N1 symptoms were the same as a bad cold.
When then-WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan officially declared a Phase 6 global Pandemic emergency, that triggered national emergency programs including billions of dollars of government purchases of alleged H1N1 vaccines. At the end of the 2009 flu season it turned out the deaths due to H1N1 were tiny relative to the normal seasonal flu. Dr Wolfgang Wodarg, a German physician specialising in Pulmonology, was then chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In 2009 he called for an inquiry into alleged conflicts of interest surrounding the EU response to the Swine Flu pandemic. The Netherlands Parliament as well discovered that Professor Albert Osterhaus of the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the person at the center of the worldwide Swine Flu H1N1 Influenza A 2009 pandemic as the key advisor to WHO on influenza, was intimately positioned to personally profit from the billions of euros in vaccines allegedly aimed at H1N1.
Many of the other WHO scientific experts who advised Dr Chan to declare pandemic were receiving money directly or indirectly from Big Pharma including GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and other major vaccine-makers. The WHO Swine Flu Pandemic declaration was a fake. 2009-10 saw the mildest influenza worldwide since medicine began tracking it. The pharma giants took in billions in the process.
It was after the 2009 pandemic scandal that the WHO stopped using the 6 phase pandemic declaration and went to the totally vague and confusing ''Public Health Emergency of International Concern.'' But now, Tedros and WHO arbitrarily decided to reintroduce the term pandemic, admitting though that they are still in the midst of creating yet a new definition of the term. ''Pandemic'' triggers more fear than ''Public Health Emergency of International Concern.''
WHO's SAGE Still Conflicted
Despite the huge 2009-10 conflict-of-interest scandals linking Big Pharma to WHO, today the WHO under Tedros has done little to clean out corruption and conflicts of interest.
The current WHO Scientific Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) is riddled with members who receive ''financially significant'' funds from either major vaccine makers, or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BGMF) or Wellcome Trust. In the latest posting by WHO of the 15 scientific members of SAGE, no fewer than 8 had declared interest, by law, of potential conflicts. In almost every case the significant financial funder of these 8 SAGE members included the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Merck & Co. (MSD), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (a Gates-funded vaccine group), BMGF Global Health Scientific Advisory Committee, Pfizer, Novovax, GSK, Novartis, Gilead, and other leading pharma vaccine players. So much for independent scientific objectivity at WHO.
Gates and WHO
The fact that many of the members of WHO's SAGE have financial ties to the Gates Foundation is highly revealing, even if not surprising. Today the WHO is primarily financed not by UN member governments, but by what is called a ''public-private partnership'' in which private vaccine companies and the group of Bill Gates-sponsored entities dominate.
In the latest available financial report of WHO, for December 31, 2017, slightly more than half of the $2+ billion General Fund Budget of WHO was from private donors or external agencies such as World Bank or EU. Far the largest private or non-government funders of WHO are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation together with Gates-funded GAVI Vaccine Alliance, the Gates-initiated Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). Those three provided more than $474 million to WHO. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation alone gave a whopping $324,654,317 to WHO. By comparison, the largest state donor to WHO, the US Government, gave $401 million to WHO.
Among other private donors we find the world's leading vaccine and drug makers including Gilead Science (currently pressing to have its drug as treatment for COVID-19), GlaxoSmithKline, Hoffmann-LaRoche, Sanofi Pasteur, Merck Sharp and Dohme Chibret and Bayer AG. The drug makers gave tens of millions of dollars to WHO in 2017. This private pro-vaccine industry support for the WHO agenda from the Gates Foundation and Big Pharma is more than a simple conflict of interest. It is a de facto high-jacking of the UN agency responsible for coordinating worldwide responses to epidemics and disease. Further, the Gates Foundation, the world's largest at some $50 billion, invests its tax-exempt dollars in those same vaccine makers including Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline.
Against this background it should come as no surprise that Ethiopian politician, Tedros Adhanom, became head of WHO in 2017. Tedros is the first WHO director not a medical doctor despite his insistence on using Dr. as title. His is a doctor of philosophy in community health for ''research investigating the effects of dams on the transmission of malaria in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.'' Tedros, who was also Ethiopia Minister of Foreign Affairs until 2016, met Bill Gates when he was Ethiopian Health Minister and became Board Chair of the Gates-linked Global Fund Against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Under Tedros, the notorious corruption and conflicts of interest at WHO have continued, even grown. According to a recent report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, in 2018 and 2019 under Tedros, the WHO Health Emergencies Program, the section responsible for the COVID-19 global response, was cited with the highest risk rating noting the ''failure to adequately finance the program and emergency operations [risks] inadequate delivery of results at country level.'' The ABC report further found that there has also been a ''surge in internal corruption allegations across the whole of the organisation, with the detection of multiple schemes aimed at defrauding large sums of money from the international body.'' Not very reassuring.
In early March Oxford University stopped using WHO data on COVID-19 because of repeated errors and inconsistencies the WHO refused to correct. The WHO test protocols for coronavirus tests have repeatedly been cited by various countries including Finland for flaws and false positives and other defects.
This is the WHO which we now trust to guide us through the worst health crisis of the past century.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook.''
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Coronavirus and the Gates Foundation | New Eastern Outlook
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 19:14
Coronavirus and the Gates Foundation P 18.03.2020 U F. William Engdahl
Arguably, no one has been more active in promoting and funding research on vaccines aimed at dealing with coronavirus than Bill Gates and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. From sponsoring a simulation of a coronavirus global pandemic, just weeks before the Wuhan outbreak was announced, to funding numerous corporate efforts to come up with a novel vaccine for the apparently novel virus, the Gates presence is there. What does it actually entail?
We must admit that at the very least Bill Gates is prophetic. He has claimed for years that a global killer pandemic will come and that we are not prepared for it. On March 18, 2015 Gates gave a TED talk on epidemics in Vancouver. That day he wrote on his blog, ''I just gave a brief talk on a subject that I've been learning a lot about lately'--epidemics. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a tragedy'--as I write this, more than 10,000 people have died.'' Gates then added, ''As awful as this epidemic has been, the next one could be much worse. The world is simply not prepared to deal with a disease'--an especially virulent flu, for example'--that infects large numbers of people very quickly. Of all the things that could kill 10 million people or more, by far the most likely is an epidemic.''
That same year, 2015, Bill Gates wrote an article for the New England Journal of Medicine titled, ''The Next Epidemic: Lessons from Ebola.'' There he spoke of a special class of drugs that ''involves giving patients a set of particular RNA-based constructs that enables them to produce specific proteins(including antibodies).Although this is a very new area, it is promising because it is possible that a safe therapy could be designed and put into large-scale manufacture fairly rapidly. More basic research as well as the progress of companies like Moderna and CureVac could eventually make this approach a key tool for stopping epidemics.'' Moderna and CureVac both today receive funds from the Gates Foundation and are leading the race to develop an approved COVID-19 vaccine based on mRNA.
2017 and Founding of CEPI
A global flu-like pandemic in fact is something that Gates and his well-endowed foundation have spent years preparing for. In 2017 during the Davos World Economic Forum, Gates initiated something called CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, together with the governments of Norway, India, Japan, and Germany, along with the Wellcome Trust of the UK. Its stated purpose is to ''accelerate the development of vaccines we'll need to contain outbreaks'' of future epidemics. He noted at the time that ''One promising area of vaccine development research is using advances in genomics to map the DNA and RNA of pathogens and make vaccines.'' We will return to that.
Event 201
By 2019 Bill Gates and the foundation were going full-tilt boogie with their pandemic scenarios. He made a Netflix video which made an eerie imaginary scenario. The video, part of the ''Explained'' series, imagined a wet market in China where live and dead animals are stacked and a highly deadly virus erupts that spreads globally. Gates appears as an expert in the video to warn, ''If you think of anything that could come along that would kill millions of people, a pandemic is our greatest risk.'' He said if nothing was done to better prepare for pandemics, the time would come when the world would look back and wish it had invested more into potential vaccines. That was weeks before the world heard about bats and a live wet market in Wuhan China.
In October, 2019 the Gates Foundation teamed up with the World Economic Forum and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security to enact what they called a ''fictional'' scenario simulation involving some of the world's leading figures in public health. It was titled Event 201.
As their website describes it, Event 201 simulated an ''outbreak of a novel zoonotic coronavirus transmitted from bats to pigs to people that eventually becomes efficiently transmissible from person to person, leading to a severe pandemic. The pathogen and the disease it causes are modeled largely on SARS, but it is more transmissible in the community setting by people with mild symptoms.''
In the Event 201 scenario the disease originates at a pig farm in Brazil, spreading through low-income regions and ultimately explodes into an epidemic. The disease is carried by air travel to Portugal, the USA and China and beyond to the point no country can control it. The scenario posits no possible vaccine being available in the first year. ''Since the whole human population is susceptible, during the initial months of the pandemic, the cumulative number of cases increases exponentially, doubling every week.''
The scenario then ends after 18 months when the fictional coronavirus has caused 65 million deaths. ''The pandemic is beginning to slow due to the decreasing number of susceptible people. The pandemic will continue at some rate until there is an effective vaccine or until 80-90 % of the global population has been exposed.''
Event 201 Players
As interesting as the prescient Gates-Johns Hopkins Event 201 fictional scenario of October, 2019 may be, the list of panelists who were invited to participate in the imaginary global response is equally interesting.
Among the selected ''players'' as they were called, was George Fu Gao. Notably, Prof. Gao is director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention since 2017. His specialization includes research on ''influenza virus interspecies transmission (host jump)'... He is also interested in virus ecology, especially the relationship between influenza virus and migratory birds or live poultry markets and the bat-derived virus ecology and molecular biology.'' Bat-derived virus ecology'...
Prof. Gao was joined among others at the panel by the former Deputy Director of the CIA during the Obama term, Avril Haines. She also served as Obama's Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor. Another of the players at the Gates event was Rear Admiral Stephen C. Redd, Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The same CDC is at the center of a huge scandal for not having adequate functioning tests available for testing cases of COVID-19 in the USA. Their preparedness was anything but laudable.
Rounding out the group was Adrian Thomas, the Vice President of scandal-ridden Johnson & Johnson, the giant medical and pharmaceutical company. Thomas is responsible for pandemic preparedness at J&J including developing vaccines for Ebola, Dengue Fever, HIV. And there was Martin Knuchel, Head of Crisis, Emergency & Business Continuity Management, for Lufthansa Group Airlines. Lufthansa has been one of the major airlines dramatically cutting flights during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
All this shows that Bill Gates has had a remarkable preoccupation with the possibility of a global pandemic outbreak he said could be even larger than the alleged deaths from the mysterious 1918 Spanish Flu, and has been warning for at least the past five years or more. What the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also has been involved in is funding development of new vaccines using bleeding-edge CRISPR gene-editing and other technologies.
The Coronavirus Vaccines
Gates Foundation money is backing vaccine development on every front. Inovio Pharmaceuticals of Pennsylvania received $9 million from the Gates-backed CEPI, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, to develop a vaccine, INO-4800, which is about to test on humans in April, a suspiciously rapid time frame. In addition Gates Foundation just gave the company an added $5 million to develop a proprietary smart device for intradermal delivery of the new vaccine.
In addition Gates Foundation monies via CEPI are financing development of a radical new vaccine method known as messengerRNA or mRNA.
They are co-funding the Cambridge, Massachusetts biotech company, Moderna Inc., to develop a vaccine against the Wuhan novel coronavirus, now called SARS-CoV-2. Moderna's other partner is the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Head of NIAID is Dr Anthony Fauci, the person at the center of the Trump Administration virus emergency response. Notable about the Fauci-Gates Moderna coronavirus vaccine, mRNA-1273, is that it has been rolled out in a matter of weeks, not years, and on February 24 went directly to Fauci's NIH for tests on human guinea pigs, not on mice as normal. Moderna's chief medical adviser, Tal Zaks, argued, ''I don't think proving this in an animal model is on the critical path to getting this to a clinical trial.''
Another notable admission by Moderna on its website is the legal disclaimer, ''Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: '...These risks, uncertainties, and other factors include, among others: '... the fact that there has never been a commercial product utilizing mRNA technology approved for use.'' In other words, completely unproven for human health and safety.
Another biotech company working with unproven mRNA technology to develop a vaccine for the COVID-19 is a German company, CureVac. Since 2015 CureVac has received money from the Gates Foundation to develop its own mRNA technology. In January the Gates-backed CEPI granted more than $8 million to develop a mRNA vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
Add to this the fact that the Gates Foundation and related entities such as CEPI constitute the largest funders of the public-private entity known as WHO, and that its current director, Tedros Adhanom, the first WHO director in history not a medical doctor, worked for years on HIV with the Gates Foundation when Tedros was a government minister in Ethiopia, and we see that there is practically no area of the current coronavirus pandemic where the footprints of the omnipresent Gates are not to be found. If that is to the good of mankind or grounds to be worried, time will tell.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook.''
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Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution - Wikipedia
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 16:48
The Twelfth Amendment (Amendment XII) to the United States Constitution provides the procedure for electing the President and Vice President. It replaced the procedure provided in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, by which the Electoral College originally functioned. The amendment was proposed by the Congress on December 9, 1803, and was ratified by the requisite three-fourths of state legislatures on June 15, 1804. The new rules took effect for the 1804 presidential election and have governed all subsequent presidential elections.
Under the original rules of the Constitution, each member of the Electoral College cast two electoral votes, with no distinction made between electoral votes for president and electoral votes for vice president. The presidential candidate receiving the greatest number of votes'--provided that number equaled a majority of the electors'--was elected president, while the presidential candidate receiving the second-most votes was elected vice president. In cases where no individual won a vote from a majority of the electors, as well in cases where multiple individuals won votes from a majority of electors but tied each other for the most votes, the House of Representatives would hold a contingent election to select the president. In cases where multiple candidates tied for the second-most votes, the Senate would hold a contingent election to select the vice president. The first four presidential elections were conducted under these rules.
The experiences of the 1796 and 1800 presidential elections spurred legislators to amend the presidential election process, requiring each member of the Electoral College to cast one electoral vote for president and one electoral vote for vice president. Under the new rules, a contingent election is still held by the House of Representatives if no candidate wins a presidential electoral vote from a majority of the electors, but there is no longer any possibility of multiple candidates winning presidential electoral votes from a majority of electors. The Twelfth Amendment also lowered the number of candidates eligible to be selected by the House in a presidential contingent election from five to three, established that the Senate would hold a contingent election for vice president if no candidate won a majority of the vice presidential electoral vote, and provided that no individual constitutionally ineligible to the office of president would be eligible to serve as vice president.
Text Edit The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;
The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;
The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.[a]
The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.[1]
Background Edit Under the original procedure for the Electoral College, as provided in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, each elector cast two electoral votes, with no distinction made between electoral votes for president and electoral votes for vice president. The two people chosen by the elector could not both inhabit the same state as that elector. This prohibition was designed to keep electors from voting for two "favorite sons" of their respective states.[2] The person receiving the greatest number of votes, provided that number constituted a majority of the electors, was elected president, while the presidential candidate receiving the second-most votes was elected vice president.
In the cases where no candidate won a majority of electoral votes the House of Representatives would hold a contingent election to select the president. If there were more than one individual who received the same number of votes, and such number equaled a majority of the electors, the House would choose one of them to be president. If no individual had a majority, then the House would choose from the five individuals with the greatest number of electoral votes. In both sets of circumstances, each state delegation had one (en bloc) vote. A candidate was required to receive an absolute majority, more than half of the total number of states, in order to be chosen as president.
Selecting the vice president was a simpler process. Whichever candidate received the second greatest number of votes for president became vice president. The vice president, unlike the president, was not required to receive votes from a majority of the electors. In the event of a tie for second place, the Senate would hold a contingent election to select the vice president from those tied, with each Senator casting one vote. A candidate was required to receive an absolute majority, more than half of the total Senate membership, in order to be chosen as vice president.
The original electoral system worked adequately for the first two presidential elections because on both occasions George Washington was the unanimous choice of the electors for president; the only real contest was the election for vice president for which an overall majority was not required. George Washington's decision not to seek a third term and the emergence of partisan political activity exposed problems with the original procedure.
In the 1796 election, John Adams, the Federalist Party presidential candidate, received a majority of the electoral votes. However, the Federalist electors scattered their second votes, resulting in the Democratic-Republican Party presidential candidate, Thomas Jefferson, receiving the second highest number of electoral votes and thus being elected Vice President. It soon became apparent that having a vice president and a president unwilling to work together effectively was going to be a more significant problem than was originally realized. The most significant problem was that with the French Revolutionary Wars raging in Europe, it was immediately apparent that President Adams was going to pursue a pro-British foreign policy, much to the disgust of the strongly pro-French Vice President Jefferson.
Both major parties attempted to remedy the situation by having the president and vice president elected on a party ticket. This solution significantly enhanced the likelihood of having political allies serving as president and vice president but raised a different flaw in the arrangements.
On January 6, 1797, Federalist Representative William L. Smith of South Carolina responded to the 1796 result by presenting a resolution on the floor of the House of Representatives for an amendment to the Constitution requiring each elector to cast one vote for president and another for vice president.[3] However, no action was taken on his proposal, setting the stage for the deadlocked election of 1800.
The 1800 election exposed a defect in the original formula in that if each member of the Electoral College followed party tickets, there could be a tie between the two candidates from the most popular ticket. Both parties planned to prevent this by having one of their electors abstain from voting for the vice presidential candidate to ensure a clear result. Jefferson managed to secure a majority of pledged electors, but the margin in 1800 was so slim that there was little room for error if the Democratic-Republicans were to avoid repeating the Federalists' miscues of 1796. Given the technical limitations of 18th-century communications, Democratic-Republicans electors in all states were left to assume that an elector in another state was the one responsible for casting the one abstention necessary to ensure the election of unofficial vice presidential nominee Aaron Burr to that office. All Democratic-Republicans electors in each state were so reluctant to be seen as the one responsible for causing outgoing President Adams to be elected as vice president that every Democratic-Republican elector cast a vote for both Jefferson and Burr, resulting in a tie.
Consequently, a contingent presidential election was held in the House of Representatives. Federalist-controlled state delegations cast their votes for Burr in an effort to prevent Jefferson from becoming president. Neither Burr nor Jefferson was able to win on the first 35 ballots. With help from Alexander Hamilton, the gridlock was finally broken on the 36th ballot and Jefferson was elected President on February 17, 1801.[4] This prolonged contingent election, combined with the increasing Democratic-Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate, led to a consequential change in the nation's frame of government, the requirement of separate votes for president and vice president in the Electoral College.
Adoption Edit Journey to Congress Edit In March 1801, weeks after the election of 1800 was resolved, two amendments were proposed in the New York state legislature that would form the skeleton of the Twelfth Amendment. Governor John Jay submitted an amendment to the state legislature that would require a district election of electors in each state. Assemblyman Jedediah Peck submitted an amendment to adopt designations for the votes for President and Vice President. The two amendments were not considered until early 1802 because the state legislature took a break for the summer and winter. New York state senator DeWitt Clinton moved for the adoption of the amendment in January 1802. Shortly thereafter, Clinton won a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate, where he was instrumental in bringing the designation amendment to Congress. The process continued in New York on February 15 when Representative Benjamin Walker of New York proposed the designation and district election amendments to the House. Debate on the amendments began in May. The Republicans wanted to decide on the amendment quickly, but the Federalists argued that the ideas needed more time than the current session allowed. Federalist Samuel W. Dana of Connecticut wanted to examine the necessity of a Vice President. The amendment ultimately failed in the New York State Senate, but DeWitt Clinton brought the amendment discussion to the House of Representatives.[5]
Congress was ready to debate the presented amendment, but the Democratic-Republicans decided to wait for the 8th Congress. The 8th Congress would allow the Democratic-Republicans a better chance of meeting the two-thirds vote requirement for submitting a proposed Constitutional amendment.
Congressional debate Edit On its first day, the 8th Congress considered the designation amendment. The first formulation of the amendment had the five highest electoral vote earners on the ballot in the House if no one candidate had a majority of the electoral votes. Republican John Clopton of Virginia, the largest state in the Union, argued that having five names on the list for a contingency election took the power from the people, so he proposed that there be only two names on the list. On October 20, the House appointed a seventeen-member committee (one Representative from each state) to fine-tune the amendment.[6]
The original proposal starting in the New York state legislature would have, along with designation, put forward the idea of the district election of electors that Treasury Secretary Gallatin had supported. Shortly after the committee was formed, Federalist Benjamin Huger attempted to add a provision regarding district elections to the proposed amendment, but the committee ignored him.[7]
The committee then submitted an updated version of the designation amendment to the House on October 23 that changed the number of candidates in a contingency election from five to three and allowed the Senate to choose the Vice President if there were a tie in that race. Small Federalist states disliked the change from five to three because it made it far less likely that a small-state candidate would make it to a contingency election. Huger and New York Federalist Gaylord Griswold argued that the Constitution was a compromise between large and small states and the method chosen by the Framers is supposed to check the influence of the larger states. Huger even asserted that the Constitution itself was not a union of people, but a union of large and small states in order to justify the original framework for electing the President. Designation, argued Griswold and Huger, would violate the spirit of the Constitution by taking away a check on the power of the large states.[5]
Next up for the Federalists was Seth Hastings of Massachusetts, who submitted the argument that the designation amendment rendered the Vice Presidency useless and advocated for the elimination of the three-fifths clause. John C. Smith asked the inflammatory question of whether the proposed amendment was to help Jefferson get reelected. Speaker Nathaniel Macon called this inappropriate. After Matthew Lyon of Kentucky denounced any reference to the three-fifths clause as mere provocation, the House easily passed the resolution 88-39 on October 28.
By October 28, the Senate had already been discussing the designation amendment. Republican DeWitt Clinton expected that the Senate, with a 24-9 Republican majority would quickly pass the amendment. Federalist Jonathan Dayton proposed that the office of the Vice President should be eliminated and his colleague, Uriah Tracy, seconded it. On the other side, Wilson Cary Nicholas was simply worried that Congress would not submit the amendment in time for the states to ratify it before the 1804 election. Despite Nicholas' concern, the Senate would not seriously deal with the amendment again until November 23.[8]
Much as it had in the House, debate centered around the number of candidates in a contingency election and the philosophical underpinnings of the Constitution. Again, small Federalist states vehemently argued that three candidates gave too much power to large states to pick presidents. Senator Pierce Butler of South Carolina argued that the issues with the election of 1800 were unlikely to happen again and he would not advocate changing the Constitution simply to stop a Federalist Vice President. John Quincy Adams argued that the change from five to three gave an advantage to the people that violated the federative principle of the Constitution. Rather than have the office of the President balanced between the states and the people, Adams felt designation of President and Vice President would tip that scale in favor of the people.[9]
Federalist Senators argued for retaining the original procedure for the Electoral College. Senator Samuel White of Delaware claimed that the original procedure had not been given "a fair experiment" and criticized the proposed amendment for entrenching the two-party system that had taken over presidential elections.[10]
In response, the Republicans appealed to democratic principles. Samuel Smith of Maryland argued that the presidency ought to be as closely accountable to the people as possible. As such, having three candidates in a contingency election is far better than having five, because it would otherwise be possible to have the fifth best candidate become President. Also, designation itself would drastically cut down the number of elections that would reach the House of Representatives, and the President is then much more likely to be the people's choice. Another of Smith's arguments was simply the election of 1800. William Cocke of Tennessee took a different approach when he argued that the entire small state argument of the Federalists was simply out of self-interest.[11]
One last order of business for the amendment was to deal with the possibility that the House would fail to choose a President by March 4. It was the least controversial portion of the Twelfth Amendment and John Taylor proposed that the Vice President would take over as President in that peculiar occurrence, "as in case of the death or other Constitutional disability of the President."[12]
It seemed clear all along that the Republican dominance would render this a no-contest and the Republicans were just waiting for all of their votes to be present, but the Federalists had one last defense. A marathon session of debate, lasting from 11 A.M. to 10 P.M., was the order of the day on December 2, 1803. Most notably, Uriah Tracy of Connecticut argued in a similar vein as Adams when he invoked the federative principle of the Constitution. Tracy claimed the original procedure was formulated to give the small states a chance to elect the Vice President, who would be a check on the President's powers. In essence, the states balanced the power of the people. However, this only works if you make it partisan, as Georgia (for example) was a Republican small state.[13]
Proposal and ratification Edit The Twelfth Amendment was proposed by the 8th Congress on December 9, 1803, when it was approved by the House of Representatives by vote of 84''42,[14] having been previously passed by the Senate, 22''10, on December 2.[15] The amendment was officially submitted to the states on December 12, 1803, and was ratified by the legislatures of the following states:[16]
North Carolina (December 22, 1803)Maryland (December 24, 1803)Kentucky (December 27, 1803)Ohio (December 30, 1803)Pennsylvania (January 5, 1804)Vermont (January 30, 1804)Virginia (February 3, 1804)New York (February 10, 1804)New Jersey (February 22, 1804)Rhode Island (March 12, 1804)South Carolina (May 15, 1804)Georgia (May 19, 1804)New Hampshire (June 15, 1804)Having been ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states (13 of 17), the ratification of the Twelfth Amendment was completed and it became a part of the Constitution.[A] It was subsequently ratified by:Tennessee (July 27, 1804)Massachusetts (1961)[B]The amendment was rejected by Delaware, on January 18, 1804, and by Connecticut, on May 10, 1804. In a September 25, 1804, circular letter to the governors of the states, Secretary of State James Madison declared the amendment ratified by three-fourths of the states.[16]
Electoral College under the Twelfth Amendment Edit While the Twelfth Amendment did not change the composition of the Electoral College or the duties of the electors, it did change the process whereby a President and a Vice President are elected. The new electoral process was first used for the 1804 election. Each presidential election since has been conducted under the terms of the Twelfth Amendment.
The Twelfth Amendment stipulates that each elector must cast distinct votes for President and Vice President, instead of two votes for President. Additionally, electors may not vote for presidential and vice-presidential candidates who both reside in the elector's state'--at least one of them must be an inhabitant of another state.
If no candidate for President has a majority of the total votes, the House of Representatives, voting by states and with the same quorum requirements as under the original procedure, chooses the President. The Twelfth Amendment requires the House to choose from the three highest receivers of electoral votes, compared to five under the original procedure.
The Twelfth Amendment requires a person to receive a majority of the electoral votes for Vice President for that person to be elected Vice President by the Electoral College. If no candidate for Vice President has a majority of the total votes, the Senate, with each Senator having one vote, chooses the Vice President. The Twelfth Amendment requires the Senate to choose between the candidates with the "two highest numbers" of electoral votes. If multiple individuals are tied for second place, the Senate may consider all of them, in addition to the individual with the greatest number of votes. The Twelfth Amendment introduced a quorum requirement of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators for the conduct of balloting. Furthermore, the Twelfth Amendment requires the Senate to choose a Vice President by way of the affirmative votes of "a majority of the whole number" of Senators.
To prevent deadlocks from keeping the nation leaderless, the Twelfth Amendment provided that if the House did not choose a President before March 4 (then the first day of a Presidential term), the individual elected Vice President would "act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President." The Twelfth Amendment did not state for how long the Vice President would act as President or if the House could still choose a President after March 4. Section 3 of the Twentieth Amendment, adopted in 1933, supersedes that provision of the Twelfth Amendment by changing the date upon which a new presidential term commences to January 20, clarifying that the Vice President-elect would only "act as President" if the House has not chosen a President by January 20, and permitting Congress to statutorily provide "who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected" if there is no President-elect or Vice President-elect by January 20. It also clarifies that if there is no President-elect on January 20, whoever acts as President does so until a person "qualified" to occupy the Presidency is elected to be President.
Edit The Twelfth Amendment explicitly states the constitutional requirements as provided for the President also apply to being Vice President. It is unclear whether a two-term president could later serve as Vice President. Some argue that the Twenty-second Amendment and Twelfth Amendment both bar any two-term president from later serving as Vice President as well as from succeeding to the presidency from any point in the United States presidential line of succession.[19] Others contend that the Twelfth Amendment concerns qualification for service, while the Twenty-second Amendment concerns qualifications for election, and thus a former two-term president is still eligible to serve as Vice President.[20] The applicability of this distinction has not been tested, as no former president has ever sought the vice presidency, and thus the courts have never been required to make a judgment regarding the matter. Hillary Clinton said during her 2016 candidacy that she considered naming Bill Clinton as her Vice President, but was advised it would be unconstitutional.[21]
Elections since 1804 Edit Starting with the election of 1804, each Presidential election has been conducted under the Twelfth Amendment. Only once since then has the House of Representatives chosen the President in a contingent election, in the 1824 election as none of the four candidate won an absolute majority (131 at the time) of electoral votes: Andrew Jackson received 99 electoral votes, John Quincy Adams (son of John Adams) 84, William H. Crawford 41, and Henry Clay 37.
As the House could only consider the top three candidates, Clay was eliminated, while Crawford's poor health following a stroke and heart attack made his election by the House unlikely.
Jackson expected the House to vote for him, as he had won a plurality of both the popular[C] and electoral votes. Instead, the House elected Adams on the first ballot with thirteen states, followed by Jackson with seven and Crawford with four.[23] Clay had endorsed Adams for the Presidency, which carried additional weight because Clay was the Speaker of the House. Adams subsequently appointed Clay as his Secretary of State, to which Jackson and his supporters responded by accusing the pair of making a "corrupt bargain".[24][25] In the election for vice president, John C. Calhoun (the running mate of both Jackson and Adams) was elected outright with received 182 electoral votes.
In 1836, the Whig Party nominated four different candidates in different regions, aiming to splinter the electoral vote while denying Democratic nominee Martin Van Buren an electoral majority and forcing a contingent election.
The Whig strategy narrowly failed as Van Buren won an electoral vote majority and an apparent popular vote majority, winning Pennsylvania by 4222 votes. (In South Carolina, whose Presidential electors were Whigs, no popular vote was held as the state legislature chose the electors.)
The basis for the Whigs strategy lay in a severe state-level Democratic Party split in Pennsylvania that propelled the Whig-aligned Anti-Masonic Party to statewide power. Party alignments by state in the House of Representatives suggest that any contingent election would have had an uncertain outcome, with none of the candidates (Van Buren, William Henry Harrison and Hugh White) having a clear path to victory.
In that same election, no candidate for Vice President secured an electoral majority as the Democratic electors from Virginia refused to vote for Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, Richard Mentor Johnson, due to his relationship with a former slave, and instead cast their votes for William Smith.
As a result, Johnson received 147 electoral votes, one vote short of a majority, followed by Francis Granger with 77, John Tyler with 47 and Smith with 23. Thus, it became necessary for the Senate to hold a contingent election between Johnson and Granger for Vice President, which Johnson won on the first ballot with 33 votes to Granger's 16.[26]
Since 1836, no major U.S. party has nominated multiple regional presidential or vice presidential candidates in an election. However, since the Civil War, there have been two serious attempts by Southern-based parties to run regional candidates in hopes of denying either of the two major candidates an electoral college majority. Both attempts (in 1948 and 1968) narrowly failed; in both cases, a shift in the result of two or three close states would have forced these respective elections into the House.[27][28]
In modern elections, a running mate is often selected in order to appeal to a different set of voters. A Habitation Clause issue arose during the 2000 presidential election contested by George W. Bush (running-mate Dick Cheney) and Al Gore (running-mate Joe Lieberman), because it was alleged that Bush and Cheney were both inhabitants of Texas and that the Texas electors therefore violated the Twelfth Amendment in casting their ballots for both. Texas' 32 electoral votes were necessary in order to secure Bush and Cheney a majority in the Electoral College. With the Democrats picking up four seats in the Senate to equal the Republicans at 50 seats each in the chamber, the outcome of a contingent election in the Senate, especially if it had happened after the newly-elected Senators had been seated, would have been far from certain; in fact such an election in 2000, had it happened, would have determined which party controlled the Senate.
Bush's residency was unquestioned, as he was Governor of Texas at the time. However, Cheney and his wife had moved to Dallas five years earlier when he assumed the role of chief executive at Halliburton. Cheney had grown up in Wyoming, had represented it in Congress and had continuously maintained a residence in the state during his tenure at Halliburton. A few months before the election, he switched his voter registration and driver's license to Wyoming and put his home in Dallas up for sale. Three Texas voters challenged the election in a federal court in Dallas and then appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where it was dismissed.[29]
See also Edit United States presidential eligibility legislationNotes Edit ^ Rati¬cation was probably completed on June 15, 1804, when the New Hampshire Legislature ratified the amendment. However, the state's governor, John Taylor Gilman, vetoed the resolution of ratification on June 20, and the act failed to pass again by the two-thirds vote then required by the state constitution. Nevertheless, considering that the ratification prescribed by Article V of the Constitution specifies that amendments shall become effective "when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States or by conventions in three-fourths thereof," it has been generally believed that an approval or veto by a governor is without legal effect[16] ^ After having been rejected by the Massachusetts Legislature on February 3, 1804.[17][18] ^ Six states at that time chose their electors in the state legislature rather than by popular vote and so did not keep a count of votes for president.[22] References Edit ^ "Constitution of the United States: Amendments 11-27". National Archives . Retrieved February 9, 2008 . ^ The Electoral College '' Origin and History Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections ^ United States Congress (1797). Annals of Congress. 4th Congress, 2nd Session. p. 1824 . Retrieved June 26, 2006 . ^ Wood, Gordon (2009). Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 285. ^ a b Kuroda, Tadahisa (1999). The Origins of the Twelfth Amendment: The Electoral College in the Early Republic. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ^ Kuroda, Tadahisa (1999). The Origins of the Twelfth Amendment: The Electoral College in the Early Republic. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 127''128. ^ Kuroda, Tadahisa (1999). The Origins of the Twelfth Amendment: The Electoral College in the Early Republic. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 128. ^ Kuroda, Tadahisa (1999). The Origins of the Twelfth Amendment: The Electoral College in the Early Republic. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 133''136. ^ Kuroda, Tadahisa (1999). The Origins of the Twelfth Amendment: The Electoral College in the Early Republic. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 136''137. ^ Alder, Carolyn (March 3, 2016). "A Far Superior Method'--the Original Electoral College". Freedom Formula . Retrieved June 4, 2017 . ^ Kuroda, Tadahisa (1999). The Origins of the Twelfth Amendment: The Electoral College in the Early Republic. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 137. ^ Kuroda, Tadahisa (1999). The Origins of the Twelfth Amendment: The Electoral College in the Early Republic. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 139. ^ Kuroda, Tadahisa (1999). The Origins of the Twelfth Amendment: The Electoral College in the Early Republic. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 140''141. ^ "13 Annals of Congress 775 (1805)" . Retrieved April 18, 2014 . ^ "13 Annals of Congress 209 (1805)" . Retrieved April 18, 2014 . ^ a b c "Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation" (PDF) . Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, Library of Congress. August 26, 2017. pp. 28''30 . Retrieved July 25, 2018 . ^ Mount, Steve. "Ratification of Constitutional Amendments". USConstitution.net . Retrieved July 24, 2018 . ^ "Amendment XII". The Founders' Constitution. University of Chicago . Retrieved September 7, 2018 . ^ Matthew J. Franck (July 31, 2007). "Constitutional Sleight of Hand". National Review . Retrieved April 20, 2014 . ^ Scott E. Gant; Bruce G. Peabody (June 13, 2006). "How to bring back Bill". The Christian Science Monitor . Retrieved June 12, 2008 . ^ 1339 GMT (2039 HKT) September 15, 2015 (September 15, 2015). "Hillary Clinton: Bill as VP has 'crossed her mind ' ". Edition.cnn.com . Retrieved October 29, 2015 . ^ McNamara, Robert (March 11, 2018). "The Election of 1824 Was Decided in the House of Representatives: The controversial election was denounced as "The Corrupt Bargain. " ". thoughtco.com. New York, New York: Dotdash . Retrieved July 25, 2018 . ^ Andrew Costly. "BRIA 8 4 a The Election of 1824-25: When the House Chose the President - Constitutional Rights Foundation". ^ McNamara, Robert. "The Election of 1824 Was Decided in the House of Representatives". About.com . Retrieved July 3, 2009 . ^ Parsons, Lynn Hudson (2009). The Birth of Modern Politics: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the Election of 1828 . Oxford University Press. pp. 106. ISBN 978-0-19-975424-3. ^ "VP Richard Mentor Johnson". May 30, 2014. ^ "Student Activity: Presidential Campaign of 1948". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum . Retrieved March 19, 2016 . ^ "American Experience: George Wallace - 1968 Campaign". PBS. 2000 . Retrieved March 19, 2016 . ^ Bravin, Jess. Obscure Texas Case Offers Peek Into Role Of Court Nominee, The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 7, 2005. External links Edit Constitution of the United States, via WikisourceCRS Annotated Constitution: Twelfth Amendment, via Cornell Law SchoolEllis, E. S. (1903). Thomas Jefferson: A Character Sketch., via Project GutenbergU. S. Electoral College, via Office of the Federal RegisterHawley, Joshua. "The Transformative Twelfth Amendment". University of Missouri School of Law.
Could Joe Biden Pick Barack Obama as his Running Mate in 2020? | HillReporter.com
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 16:13
Here's a quick thought: Could former Vice President Joe Biden, now himself a candidate for the presidency, select as his running mate former President Barack Obama?
(Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images) Biden, who announced on Thursday he's running for President of the United States in the crowded Democratic primary, served two terms as Obama's vice president from 2009 to 2017. And while some focus has been given to whom he may choose as his own second-in-line to be the president (should he win in 2020), thoughts over whether that individual could be his former boss have been considered in the past.
Truth be told, it's not likely this scenario would be carried out. Although Obama remains popular among the electorate in the United States, Biden, is more likely to select someone new, who hasn't served in either role before, to be his running mate.
The core values of this nation'... our standing in the world'... our very democracy'...everything that has made America '-- America ''is at stake. That's why today I'm announcing my candidacy for President of the United States. #Joe2020 https://t.co/jzaQbyTEz3
'-- Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 25, 2019
Still, it's a fun mental exercise to consider, and one worth looking into given the strong relationship that Biden and Obama had during the eight years they served alongside one another.
Obama himself is ineligible to run for a third term as president, as the 22nd Amendment prohibits an individual from doing so if they've won office more than twice. But the wording of that amendment also gives Obama some wiggle-room to run for vice president:
The partial wording of that amendment states:
''No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.''
The key words to look at here are ''elected to the office.'' The amendment forbids Obama or any other president who has served two terms from running again. But it doesn't say anything about whether they are ineligible from serving as president once more, thus paving the way for a former two-term president to run for the second-in-command post.
Conversely, there are provisions in the Constitution that could questionably prevent Obama from being able to run '-- and serve '-- as vice president. The 12th Amendment, for example, contains such a rule.
''[N]o person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States,'' the amendment reads.
But again, that doesn't necessarily settle the matter. It's all up for interpretation. Is a person ineligible to be vice president (and thus, have the outside chance of becoming president) if they're ineligible to run for president? T echnically speaking, the 22nd Amendment doesn't place any limits on former presidents to serve as president for a third term '-- it simply prevents them from running directly for the office of president again.
Michael Dorf, a professor at Cornell Law School, gave his opinion on the issue in an interview with the Washington Post in 2015.
''The drafters of this language [of the 22nd Amendment] knew the difference between getting elected to an office and holding an office,'' Dorf explained. ''They could have just said 'no person may hold the office of president more than twice.' But they didn't.''
Indeed, Dorf even signaled that the present-day Supreme Court's hands would be tied on the matter. In a case from 1968, the Court ruled eligibility requirements that restrict people from running for federal office had to be read with a narrow interpretation '-- that is, the letter of the law mattered more than a broad interpretation of the rules. To rule differently now would thwart the established precedent created more than 50 years ago.
Looking at the 22nd Amendment with a narrow lens, it's clearly written in a way to allow a former president to run as someone else's vice president. It may not have been the collective authors' intent for that to have happened, but they didn't consider disallowing it either.
Again, it's not likely that Biden, or any other Democratic candidate for president, would choose Obama as their vice presidential pick, and even if they did, it's very doubtful that Obama would accept the offer. But given Obama's present popularity '-- and the fact that the law would allow them to choose him '-- one could be forgiven if a Democratic candidate made such a suggestion while on the 2020 campaign trail.
Explainer: How smartphone apps can help 'contact trace' the new coronavirus | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 15:43
Tue Apr 14, 2020 / 2:21 PM EDT
OAKLAND, Calif. OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) - A global race is on to develop smartphone apps and other types of mobile phone surveillance systems to track and contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The process known as "contact tracing," which is used to control the spread of infectious diseases, was boosted last week when the top two smartphone software makers, Alphabet Inc's Google (GOOGL.O ) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O ), said they were collaborating on apps that can identify people who have crossed paths with a contagious patient and alert them.
HOW CAN MOBILE PHONES HELP COMBAT THE NEW CORONAVIRUS?
Smartphones and some less-sophisticated mobile phones keep track of their location via cell-tower signals, Wi-Fi signals and the satellite-based global positioning system, known as GPS. Smartphones also use so-called Bluetooth technology to connect with nearby devices.
The location data can be used to monitor whether people, either individually or in aggregate, are obeying orders to stay inside their homes. It can also be used for contact tracing: determining whether people have been in contact with others who have the virus, so they can get tested or quarantined.
Smartphones can also be used to take surveys of people about their health via messaging, record their health histories via various forms of data entry and even produce a health "score" based on a combination of location information and health data.
HOW CAN PHONES HELP WITH CONTACT TRACING?
Using Bluetooth, smartphones can log other phones they have been near. If someone becomes infected, there is a ready list of their prior encounters. Phones on the list would get push notifications urging them to get tested or self-isolate.
In principle, this system is more efficient than traditional contact tracing methods that require large staffs to interview patients about their travels and then call or knock on the doors of contacts.
The Bluetooth solution is far from perfect. Phones can log one another even when 15 feet apart or on separate sides of a wall, even though a cough from an infected person likely would not be problematic in those cases. But developers have been working on ways to better define "contacts" based on the length and strength of so-called handshakes between devices.
Bluetooth also remains more accurate than GPS or cell tower location data, which can wrongly associate everyone on a busy city block as contacts.
ARE ANY OF THESE METHODS CURRENTLY IN USE?
Singapore pioneered contact tracing via Bluetooth with an app called "TraceTogether." Israel, which made headlines by employing its powerful government surveillance system to track cases, has also rolled out an app called The Shield. India also has an app.
South Korea is using mobile phone location data for contact tracing, while Taiwan uses it for quarantine enforcement and is also developing an app. China is employing a range of app-based tracking systems.
Meanwhile, dozens of efforts to develop contact tracing apps are underway around the world, many led by government research institutes and health authorities. In Europe, for example, a German-led effort is aiming to rally other European countries behind a technology platform that could support contact tracing apps across the 27-member EU. But several other European countries are pursuing their own apps. An effort is also underway in the United Kingdom.
The United States government has yet to promote an app, but at least two university research groups and one ad-hoc software development team are trying to gain endorsements from state and local bodies.
HOW DO APPLE AND GOOGLE FIT IN?
The two companies said they were concerned about competing approaches and agreed to develop tools, to be released in May, that will enable apps to "handshake" with one other. They also address battery drain and other issues that have limited the utility of some early apps.
Apple and Google also plan to go a step further later this year by integrating logging functionality directly into their phone software nearly worldwide.
People who catch the virus would still need to download an app to initiate contact notifications, but even those without apps could receive notifications.
ARE THERE PRIVACY AND SECURITY CONCERNS?
Yes. The most sensitive issue is who can view a phone's list of devices it has crossed. Nearly everyone agrees on deleting logs after about one month.
The tools coming from Google and Apple keep names off contact lists and leave the lists secret to everyone involved, which has drawn plaudits from privacy experts. Only governments, which must verify that people who say they tested positive for coronavirus actually did so, would know the identity of disease carriers, and even they would not have access to the contact lists.
But some governments and technologists favor collecting a central database of all "handshakes" between phones because it is an easier system to design and manage. Privacy advocates worry that such a database would be a hackers' goldmine and prone to governmental abuse.
Some researchers have suggested apps also track GPS information to better map the spread of the coronavirus. But GPS data could undermine people's privacy and leave places visited by people who test positive ostracized, activists said.
WILL PEOPLE BE REQUIRED TO TURN ON CONTACT TRACING?
No country is known to have required an app, but workplaces or other facilities could end up mandating usage. Apple and Google said that apps seeking to use its tools would need to be voluntary.
But the apps won't achieve their purpose unless they are widely used. Some epidemiologists have said at least 60% of a country needs to activate digital contact tracing for it make an impact.
(Graphic: Tracking global spread of coronavirus - tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7)
(This story was refiled to to add dropped words paragraphs 13, 16 and 23)
(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis, Raphael Satter and Douglas Busvine; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Grant McCool)
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: Democrats' coronavirus voting plan '' this is the way to undermine democracy | Fox News
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 15:41
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After failing with their first left-wing laundry list disguised as coronavirus relief, Democratic leaders are already plotting their next attempt to use the pandemic for political gain.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and former Vice President Joe Biden say we must throw election integrity to the wayside in favor of an all-mail election, fundamentally changing how Americans vote in eight months. The overhaul would vastly expand opportunities for fraud and weaken confidence in our elections, but all Washington Democrats see is a potential benefit for their party.
Pelosi says she needs $4 billion, at the height of the pandemic, to "really democratize our whole system.'' Pardon those of us who thought we already had democratic elections.
ANDY PUZDER: IN CORONAVIRUS CRISIS, TRUMP DISPLAYS LEADERSHIP AMERICANS EXPECT AND WANT
If it were about safety, why does Pelosi call for mandatory early voting in all states, forcing polls to be open ''no less than 10 hours'' every day for over two weeks before Election Day? Why do Democrats encourage public transportation use, which can increase exposure to viruses, by mandating polling places be within walking distance of a bus stop or metro? And why do Democrats want paid campaign operatives going door to door, collecting mountains of ballots? So much for social distancing.
Because Democrats see the pandemic, as Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said, as ''a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit'¯our vision.'' And try to give themselves a political edge.
More from OpinionThe Democrats' all-mail ballots proposal is a ruse to legalize ballot harvesting nationwide. Any person would be allowed to return an unlimited number of absentee ballots for voters, opening the door for political operatives to deliver ballots in bulk. They could even be paid as long as he or she is not paid based on the number of ballots returned.
All voters ''eligible to cast a vote'' would receive a ballot. The problem: many states do not clean up their voter registration lists unless forced to. California had to remove up to 1.5 million ineligible voters due to a court settlement last year after its rolls showed registration of 112 percent. In other words, there were more registered voters than adults living in the state.
At a time of so much uncertainty, we should not reduce confidence in our elections. Mail-in voting and ballot harvesting do just that, delaying results for days and even weeks. In California, a ''stunning 5 million ballots,'' over 40 percent of the vote, were counted after election day in 2018. Ballots with mismatched signatures had to be ''given time to fix it.''
When New Jersey expanded vote-by-mail in 2018 it sowed confusion, and officials left out 172,000 voters of its absentee list. Imagine the chaos of overhauling election systems in all 50 states in eight months.
Mail-in voting increases the opportunity for fraud. Just ask the New York Times, which in 2012 documented numerous ways ''fraud is easier by mail'' and ''vastly more prevalent'' than in-person voting. The Times found ''votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth.''
Voting by mail led to multiple elections where ''no one can say with confidence which candidate was the deserved winner.'' The Times pointed to an MIT study of the 2008 election finding millions of requested ballots that never reached voters, with a failure rate up to 21 percent. Fraud known as ''granny farming'' has emerged, where mail ballots are collected en masse from nursing homes, seniors are coerced and their ballots compromised.
These flaws, the Times said, ''raise questions about the most elementary promises of democracy.''
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Or ask Richard Hasen, an election law expert, and no right-winger. Hasen says the ''most common kind of voter fraud'' is through vote-by-mail ballots.
''When voter fraud does occur or when voter coercion does occur, it tends to occur with absentee ballots,'' he said in a 2016 interview. Hasen said absentee votes can be bought, and voters pressured. ''When you're in the privacy of the voting booth, that becomes impossible.''
When New Jersey expanded vote-by-mail in 2018 it sowed confusion, and officials left out 172,000 voters of its absentee list. Imagine the chaos of overhauling election systems in all 50 states in eight months.
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The Republican Party will always defend free and fair elections, especially in times like these. That is why we will continue to fight and win against attempts by Democrats to use the pandemic as an excuse to circumvent election integrity.
We are all in this fight together. We will get through it. But we will not throw out our most elementary promises of democracy, because agenda-driven Democrats do not want to let a pandemic go to waste.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM RONNA MCDANIEL
NYC map shows patients testing positive for coronavirus
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 14:13
April 1, 2020 | 12:09pm | Updated April 1, 2020 | 9:11pm
A new city map showing confirmed coronavirus cases based on patient address by ZIP code suggests the poorest New Yorkers are being hardest hit by the pandemic.
Wealthier parts of the city, including much of Manhattan, waterfront sections of Queens and brownstone Brooklyn, have the fewest number of coronavirus cases, according to the map released by the city Department of Health.
A stark example of the wealth gap is the Rockaway section of Queens. The richest part of the peninsula that incorporates Belle Harbor where homes sell for over $1 million has at least 112 cases while Far Rockaway with its public housing complexes has up to 947 cases.
Data scientist Michael Donnelly, who's been crunching the city's coronavirus numbers since the start of the outbreak, noted the new map tracks with earlier MTA turnstile data.
Those maps showed ridership plummeting in Manhattan stations in mid-March, while New Yorkers from the outer reaches of the outer boroughs continued commuting.
''Over time we start to see the effect of the fact that Manhattan and the inner zip codes of Queens and Brooklyn have a lower positive rate because they were able to bend the curve before the outer boroughs,'' Donnelly said.
Neighborhoods with fewer than 200 cases '-- like Park Slope, Brooklyn and Greenwich Village in Manhattan '-- count many white-collar professionals who can telecommute as residents.
''I think the clear next step there, is if that's true, then there's a real socio-economic inequality, inequity in the fact that these ZIP codes, which also tend to skew lower socio-economic, are also going to be the ones who are harder hit by this pandemic,'' Donnelly said.
''Broad strokes, those tend to be the wage workers, emergency service workers that are exposing themselves more and more over time,'' Donnelly said.
Many front-line workers, from grocery store clerks to EMTs, live in the outer boroughs. Their jobs require them to use the subways while the majority of New Yorkers stay home.
Neighborhoods with high poverty like Mott Haven in The Bronx and East New York in Brooklyn have as many as 947 cases compared to Park Slope and Greenwich Village's 200 cases.
The map doesn't always track to income. More exclusive enclaves like Williamsburg, Brooklyn also have up to 947 cases, likely because of a cluster among the area's Orthodox Jewish population.
On Staten Island, solidly middle class sections like Heartland Village and Annadale are the hardest hit '-- potentially due to the concentration of first responders who live there.
Another version of the map showing percent of patients testing positive for COVID-19 by zip code was flawed because it was a depiction of which neighborhoods had the most access to testing, not the prevalence of the disease.
The overall impact of COVID-19 on the city remains unknown. Only 96,528 New Yorkers out of a population of 8.6 million have been tested. Of those 44,915 have tested positive.
The maps use slightly outdated data based on 38,936 positive cases.
Salyer: "A report from boots on the ground from a fb group'..." - No Agenda Social
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 10:37
FollowA report from boots on the ground from a fb group that I am in...
Just a little update on Sweden:
The ICU is still operating below its maximum capacity. There are currently 530 Covid-19 patients in the ICU across the country. Nearly half of them are in Stockholm. The total number of patients who have been in the ICU because of the virus is close to 900.
cont...
Why do these people get sick to a larger degree? I'm not entirely sure, but I think the non sanitary living conditions, and the fact that many of them have a very poor understanding of the Swedish language, probably are contributing factors.
I'm thinking about giving everyone here a daily update on Sweden if you guys are interested? My dad works for the central bureau of statistics in Sweden, so I can get pretty accurate data on the current situation, at any given time.
end.
Show thread @ Salyer I'm guessing these groups have a higher rate of sickness due to hygiene.
@ Salyer Please. I find Sweden a very interesting country (COVID aside!) just because of their ethos and EU stance. Stuff like this is gold to me.
@ Hemmels just to be clear, this is not my boots on the ground. It is from someone else. I will continue to post as he updates.
# TYFYC
@ Salyer No algos in FB groups is ok with me :)
Agency Chief Spurs Bioterror Research -- And Controversy - WSJ [Printable]
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 10:04
BETHESDA, Md. -- Anthony S. Fauci has hundreds of millions of dollars at his disposal to bet on drug companies, hoping they will come up with the next hit vaccine or medicine.
Dr. Fauci isn't a venture capitalist. An AIDS-research pioneer, he runs the infectious-diseases institute within the National Institutes of Health. Since the terror attacks of 2001, he has been playing an unusual role for an NIH official by supporting start-up companies with NIH grants and contracts. His belief: Market forces alone won't provide the medicines Americans need for protection against bioterrorism.
The 64-year-old Dr. Fauci is drawing his share of controversy. Some entrepreneurs who haven't been showered with money talk of a "Fauci Club" of favored companies.
Others say he is overstepping his bounds by funding rival entities and pitting them against each other for government contracts. In one case, the NIH gave materials from a supplier of one company to help jump-start research at a rival. One of his biggest bets -- on a next-generation anthrax vaccine -- has yet to pay off.
The most fundamental question is whether the government and Dr. Fauci should be trying to influence what drugs and vaccines the marketplace produces. "If you had to pick one person, he's a pretty good guy to pick," says J. Leighton Read, a partner at Alloy Ventures, a Palo Alto, Calif., venture-capital firm. "But I'm not sure Tony should be investing. His experience in products and manufacturing is very limited. Maybe they ought to pay more attention to the invisible hand."
The workings of the invisible hand, though, have been all but invisible. Publicly traded drug companies have tended to stay away from vaccines, antibiotics and related drugs. These products have low profit margins and are especially prone to liability suits. The government is often the main customer for them.
Dr. Fauci acknowledges that bankrolling product development in the private sector "is not our spécialité de la maison." Still, he argues that some entity has to be the investor of last resort if the marketplace isn't producing crucial medicine. "The industry wasn't going to make the investment when they had a choice between developing a new Viagra, a new Lipitor, versus the very risky procedure of doing advanced development in a product where there wasn't going to be a guaranteed payback for them," Dr. Fauci says.
Dr. Fauci is pumping about $500 million to $600 million in taxpayer money a year, or about a third of his biodefense budget, into product development. Much of that goes to companies. By comparison, biotechnology venture investments in the U.S. totaled $4.06 billion in 2004, according to surveys by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Dr. Fauci's goal is to get companies ready to bid on contracts under the BioShield program run by the NIH's parent, the Department of Health and Human Services. The department was authorized by Congress last year to spend $5.6 billion over 10 years on biodefense drugs under BioShield.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who joined the NIH in 1968 after graduating from Cornell University's medical school, Dr. Fauci already had achieved prominence as a scientist-bureaucrat before Sept. 11 set the stage for his new role. In the 1970s and 1980s, he did groundbreaking work on the immune system, and later gained recognition for helping decipher how the AIDS virus destroys the body's defenses. At a recent concert in Washington, D.C., the Irish rock star and activist Bono dedicated a song called "Miracle Drug," about his hopes for future disease treatments, to Dr. Fauci.
The scientist wows members of Congress with lucid briefings, all delivered in a rapid-fire New York accent. Discussing pandemic flu at a recent news conference, President Bush made a point of saying that he consults with Dr. Fauci.
After Sept. 11 and the anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001, Dr. Fauci and his agency, whose formal name is the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, divided pathogens into three categories. They gave highest priority to Category A pathogens such as anthrax, smallpox and plague. Dr. Fauci argued that his agency was well-suited to receive new funds for biodefense.
It was a persuasive argument. The agency's biodefense-related funding rose from $42 million a year in 2001 to nearly $1.2 billion in 2003 and nearly $1.7 billion this year. Spurred by colleagues, Dr. Fauci says he decided to fund companies on a large scale. That was a radical role for the NIH, which mostly has funded academic or basic research.
While an anthrax vaccine already existed, Dr. Fauci and other experts worried that it was hard to make and might cause side effects such as fever and headache. Dr. Fauci's institute solicited bids for a better one. Among the responders was a company in Brisbane, Calif., called VaxGen Inc.
Dr. Fauci knew VaxGen because the company had a promising AIDS vaccine that his agency had funded over several years. In 2003, however, the AIDS vaccine failed important clinical trials. In the meantime, VaxGen was busy reinventing itself as a biodefense company with a next-generation anthrax vaccine candidate.
Demanding Schedule
NIH spelled out a demanding schedule for the anthrax-vaccine bidders, such as delivering early trial results by the end of 2003. A predecessor company of drug giant Sanofi-Aventis SA declared the timetable impossible and was disqualified. Dr. Fauci's agency awarded $100 million in two funding rounds to VaxGen and about $80 million in two rounds to its main rival, Avecia Group PLC, a United Kingdom biotechnology company. The idea was to get them prepared to compete for a big federal contract to deliver a new anthrax vaccine to the national stockpile.
One of VaxGen's rivals, BioPort Corp., of Lansing, Mich., cried foul. The bidding specifically excluded any makers of the existing older-generation vaccine, of which there was just one, BioPort. The company swung into action, hiring publicists and lobbyists. Eventually, BioPort received a $122 million contract to supply the older vaccine, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, to the U.S. stockpile.
In late 2004, the department awarded the entire $877 million contract for a new anthrax vaccine to VaxGen under the BioShield program. Since then, though, VaxGen has stumbled and its vaccine is almost a year late. Its first deliveries now are slated for late 2006. The company won't get paid until it delivers. Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci finds himself on the spot.
At a House government reform committee hearing last month, Rep. Chris Cannon, a Utah Republican, grilled Dr. Fauci: "So now we've got a small company [VaxGen] failing to perform…We have an experimental technology to deal with a disease that we've already been attacked with…We don't have a stockpile, even though my understanding is, we have a company that has an FDA-approved vaccine for anthrax. Is that a fair statement of where we are?"
"Yes, it is a fair statement," Dr. Fauci replied. He added that the "experimental" technology has been used in other vaccines and an authoritative federal panel called for a transition to a new, safer vaccine.
In many ways, Dr. Fauci's description of his job makes him sound like a venture capitalist, although the NIH never takes ownership stakes in the companies it funds. He seeks to place bets on multiple companies in the hopes of hitting the jackpot and to dole out the NIH's money in multiple rounds, using milestones to gauge progress.
"When you put your eggs in one basket, even a totally unavoidable scientific slip-up can leave you with no eggs in your basket. You have to hedge your bets," Dr. Fauci says.
Nonetheless, the Silicon Valley comparison makes him cringe, and he dislikes the term "venture capital" applied to his new role. "It makes our grantees very nervous," he says, referring to the traditional recipients of NIH money who worry about competing with companies for funds.
There is another big difference between Dr. Fauci and a venture capitalist. If a company that gets NIH funding becomes a stock-market darling, U.S. taxpayers don't enjoy any financial windfall, even though their money was put at risk.
Dr. Fauci says he draws on the vast scientific expertise within NIH to come up with products and companies worthy of funding. In May, he hired Michael Kurilla, an infectious-disease specialist who has worked at the drug company Wyeth, to work on biodefense projects.
The NIH's bet-hedging strategy has at times seemed prudent. It gave money to both Sanofi-Aventis and Chiron Corp. to develop an effective vaccine against H5N1 influenza, the bird flu that has raised alarms around the world about a possible pandemic. In August, Dr. Fauci announced that the first human trials of the Sanofi-Aventis vaccine were effective. The company now is trying to scale up production.
Funding Rivals
Dr. Fauci's tactic of funding rivals with directly competing products also can create controversy. In 2001, Bavarian Nordic A/S, a Danish biotechnology company, brought an idea for a smallpox vaccine to Dr. Fauci's institute. This got his attention, since the new vaccine could be used on patients with AIDS or other conditions that compromised their immune system. The existing vaccine is considered highly risky for such patients.
Dr. Fauci began funding Bavarian's research and development of a new smallpox vaccine. He also started funding a rival, Acambis PLC. NIH awarded more than $100 million to each company, with an eye toward making them competitors for a BioShield contract. That contract, for 20 million doses of the new smallpox vaccine, is expected to be awarded in 2006.
In a move that stunned Bavarian, the NIH gave Acambis samples of modified smallpox virus used by Bavarian. It had obtained the samples from Bavarian's own supplier, a professor in Germany.
Bavarian filed a civil lawsuit against Acambis in August at the U.S. District Court in Delaware. It filed a parallel complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, which has the power to bar imports of products that use stolen intellectual property. Bavarian said it has exclusive rights to the German professor's virus strains.
Bavarian didn't sue the NIH, though. It has been awarded $130 million in NIH contracts and already has received $45 million of that. "We do not believe it is good business practice to involve your customers in litigation," says Li Westerlund, director of intellectual-property rights at Bavarian.
The chief executive of Acambis, Gordon Cameron, says his company believes it received the virus strains without restrictions on their use. Dr. Fauci says he can't comment on the spat because it is in litigation.
When the government initially solicited bids for the smallpox-vaccine contract expected to be awarded next year, it required that all bidders have "unencumbered" intellectual property. After Acambis was sued, the government revised its bid solicitation to remove the word "unencumbered."
John Clerici, a partner at the law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP in Washington who isn't involved in the Acambis case, says the revision shows how the government tends to deal with a few anointed companies. "I think this makes clear that NIH can and will do what it wants to ensure the game is being played by its rules, no matter what the rules have been in the past," says Mr. Clerici, who represents BioPort, the anthrax-vaccine maker. "This isn't exactly fair and open competition."
Dr. Fauci, while declining to discuss specific cases, says competing for the parent agency's big BioShield contracts is all a matter of competence and meeting milestones. The issue for BioShield bidders, he says, is: "Do you meet the criteria?"
In reality, several companies have been funded by NIH only to find themselves on the losing end of big contracts.
Nonetheless, some companies worry that without NIH funding, they can't get on the inside track for BioShield. "If the NIH is giving grants, they become the gatekeeper. They define what gets developed, and exclude all these other innovative ideas," says Richard Hollis, chief executive of Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Diego biotechnology concern developing a radiation-sickness antidote.
Hollis-Eden's experimental medicine addresses two medical problems stemming from radiation exposure. A rival product, Amgen Inc. 's Neupogen, addresses only one. Dr. Fauci's agency is funding studies of Neupogen for this use. When the Department of Health and Human Services recently put out draft bid requests and specified only one of the indications, it seemed to favor the Amgen product. Hollis-Eden's stock dropped 50% on the Nasdaq Stock Market over the next few days.
Hollis-Eden began urging members of Congress to complain to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt. Rep. Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia, did so, writing that he is "very troubled" by the draft bid request. Stewart Simonson, an assistant HHS secretary, responded that the department was focusing on the most significant blood abnormality of radiation exposure. Dr. Fauci declined to comment on the Hollis-Eden protests.
Write to Bernard Wysocki Jr. at bernie.wysocki@wsj.com
Corona: Attorney Beate Bahner brought to psychiatry - she wanted to go to the constitutional court - Frankfurt - Bild.de
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 09:35
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Is the Pope a Hologram? - YouTube
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 09:29
Yamiche Alcindor - Wikipedia
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 09:11
Yamiche L(C)one Alcindor (born 1986 or 1987)[2] is an American journalist who currently is the White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and a political contributor to NBC News and MSNBC.[3][4] In the past, she has worked as a reporter for USA Today and The New York Times. Alcindor has written mainly about politics and social issues.
Early life and education Edit Alcindor was born in Miami, Florida, to Haitian-born parents.[5] When she was in high school, she was an intern at the Westside Gazette, a local African-American newspaper, and the Miami Herald (2005).[6][7] She earned a bachelor's degree in English and government with a minor in African-American studies at Georgetown University in 2009.[6] While studying, she became a member of the predominantly African-American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, and she interned at The Seattle Times (2006), the Miami Herald again (2007), the Botswanan newspaper Mmegi (2008), and The Washington Post (2009).[5][6][8][7] She aspired to become a civil rights journalist, and was inspired by African-American journalist Gwen Ifill and contemporary newspaper reporting surrounding Emmett Till.[5] In 2015, Alcindor received a master's degree in "broadcast news and documentary filmmaking" at New York University.[4]
Career Edit Alcindor's first full-time job was as a reporter of Newsday, a newspaper based in Melville, New York.[5] She was employed there for two years covering, among other things, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, until she became a multimedia reporter for USA Today based in New York City in December 2011 to cover national breaking news.[7][9] For the newspaper, Alcindor reported on, among other things, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the Ferguson unrest, and the Baltimore protests.[4] She was named "Emerging Journalist of the Year" by the National Association of Black Journalists in 2013.[8] That same year, Alcindor began to contribute to NBC News and MSNBC as a guest.[10] Programs she has appeared on include Morning Joe, The Rachel Maddow Show, PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and Meet the Press.[11][12][13][14][15]
She left USA Today to work for The New York Times as a national political reporter in November 2015.[7] At The New York Times, Alcindor covered the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.[4] She also produced a documentary called The Trouble with Innocence (2015) about a man who was wrongly convicted of murder.[16] Alcindor also appeared in the 2018 television series "The Fourth Estate" about Times staff covering the first 100 days of the Trump presidency.
In 2016, she was nominated for a Shorty Award in the Journalist category.[17] The next year, Alcindor won an award in a tribute to journalist Gwen Ifill, who had died in November 2016, at the Syracuse University's Toner Prize ceremony.[18] Alcindor was number 13 on the 2017 edition of "The Root 100", an annual list by magazine The Root of the most influential African Americans between the ages of 25 and 45.[2] In January 2018, she was named White House correspondent of the PBS NewsHour, replacing John Yang, who was named the NewsHour's national correspondent.[4] In this position Alcindor covers the Trump presidency.[4] During the 2020 presidential election season, she was one of the moderators of the sixth Democratic debate.
Personal life Edit Alcindor is Haitian-American, and is fluent in Haitian Creole.[6] She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.[5] In 2018, she married reporter Nathaniel Cline.[5]
References Edit External links Edit Official website Profile on PBS NewsHour website
'Accelerate the Endgame': Obama's Role in Wrapping Up the Primary - The New York Times
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 08:48
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and President Barack Obama in 2016. Mr. Obama has been much more involved in the denouement of this year's primary than has been previously revealed. Credit... Al Drago/The New York Times April 14, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET Over the past year, Joseph R. Biden Jr. and former President Barack Obama practiced a political distancing of sorts, with Mr. Obama maintaining a posture of public neutrality in the Democratic primaries, offering counsel to any candidate who called (most did), and Mr. Biden saying he wanted to win on his own.
But with calibrated stealth, Mr. Obama has been considerably more engaged in the campaign's denouement than has been previously revealed.
And for months, he kept in close contact with senior party officials, in hopes of preventing a repeat of the protracted and nasty 2016 primary race.
Then, in the weeks after it became clear that Mr. Biden was the party's near-certain nominee, Mr. Obama '-- telling a friend he needed to ''accelerate the endgame'' '-- had at least four long conversations with his former vice president's remaining rival, Senator Bernie Sanders. Mr. Obama's efforts to ease the senator out of the race played a significant role in his decision to end his bid and, on Monday, endorse Mr. Biden, according to people close to the Vermont independent.
By that time, Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama had already begun hashing out the thorny questions of how, when and where to deploy a former president thrust into an unfamiliar role as his sidekick's sidekick.
It is a negotiation between friends, but a delicate one. The terms of the reunion, however welcome, are complicated by an intermingling of political and personal issues, according to interviews with a dozen people close to both men who spoke mostly on the condition of anonymity.
Mr. Biden's team knew better than to ask Mr. Obama for his overt support during the primary campaign. But they felt he might have done more to spare them a few tribulations, and were incensed that some former Obama advisers, especially David Axelrod, repeatedly questioned Mr. Biden's viability. When Naomi Biden, the candidate's granddaughter, took to Twitter in February to describe the former Obama aide as ''a jerk with a microphone,'' cheering could be heard at the campaign's headquarters in Philadelphia, according to a person who was present. (Mr. Axelrod has said he considers himself an impartial observer.)
Party officials were more direct, prodding Mr. Obama to be more active behind the scenes, especially after Mr. Biden had begun his comeback by winning the South Carolina primary. But the former president, often communicating through Eric Schultz, a political aide who has also served as a bridge to the Biden campaign, insisted that his best use would be as a passive peacemaker.
''He kept his powder dry, and that gave him credibility, which made all the difference,'' said Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chairman, who served as labor secretary under Mr. Obama.
Now, with the primary campaign over, Mr. Biden and his aides are eager to deploy the former president as quickly as possible, especially on fund-raising, as they race to compete with President Trump's small-donor juggernaut.
''Biden has obviously achieved something huge here on his own, but the president is a surrogate unlike anyone else anyone can bring to bear '-- I mean, who has Trump got?'' said Joel Benenson, Mr. Obama's longtime pollster and a top adviser to Hillary Clinton in 2016. ''Getting to the point where he can get Obama involved, you know, that's a big deal.''
Mr. Obama is open to whatever the campaign suggests, according to several people familiar with his thinking. But he continues to counsel caution, the better to preserve his political capital and to avoid the perception that he is somehow coming in to rescue Mr. Biden.
A more immediate matter is the unprecedented logistical challenge of taking on a sitting president during a pandemic and an economic collapse. And Mr. Obama, like Mr. Trump, is less adept at recording direct-to-camera pitches than at delivering rousing speeches before live crowds, a scenario that social-distancing restrictions have made impossible for the foreseeable future.
So Mr. Obama is expected to release an online endorsement of Mr. Biden as early as Tuesday morning, on the heels of Mr. Sanders's endorsement, according to Democratic officials '-- including one who said the goal was to make it ''not look like a hostage video.''
The camps are still working out the details of engaging Mr. Obama in fund-raising. But David Plouffe, who remains Mr. Obama's most trusted political adviser, has offered to pitch in, and plans to participate in several virtual Biden fund-raisers that could be a dry run for Mr. Obama's participation, according to people briefed on the plans.
Mr. Biden's emergence as the Democrats' presumptive nominee relatively early in the political calendar is unwelcome news to Mr. Trump, his bluster notwithstanding, several of the president's advisers said. Last Thursday, after trying to goad an anti-Biden revolt among Sanders supporters, the president suggested dark motives for Mr. Obama's hesitancy in endorsing Mr. Biden.
''You know what? I'll tell you, it does amaze me that President Obama hasn't supported Sleepy Joe,'' Mr. Trump said at a White House coronavirus briefing, in between questions about his administration's response to the crisis. ''It just hasn't happened. When is it going to happen? When is it going to happen? Why isn't he? He knows something that you don't know, that I think I know, but you don't know. So it'll be interesting.''
That claim was Trumpian misdirection. But the Biden-Obama relationship, which deepened from a congenial partnership into a real friendship in 2015, when the president consoled Mr. Biden during his son Beau's illness and death, is not without complications.
Mr. Biden is grateful for Mr. Obama's friendship but increasingly proud of his historic comeback. When news reports surfaced that Mr. Obama had called to congratulate Mr. Biden on his victory in South Carolina, the candidate made it clear to his staff that while his connection to Mr. Obama played a role in delivering African-American voters, Mr. Obama ''had not lifted a finger'' on his behalf, according to a senior Democrat with knowledge of his remarks.
Well, maybe a pinkie. Last year, Mr. Obama consulted with Mr. Biden's team on campaign strategy, and he bucked up Mr. Biden after his loss in the Iowa caucuses. In a private dinner last fall with members of the liberal Democracy Alliance, Mr. Obama offered thinly veiled criticism of Mr. Sanders's ''revolutionary'' policies and opined that voters wanted change, not to ''tear down the system.''
Mr. Obama is relieved that the Democratic contest is over early, but he had other plans for 2020 '-- hoping to finish, publish and promote his White House memoirs before the campaign kicked into high gear.
He had intended to engage publicly only after the convention (now scheduled for August, at the earliest), in line with his fall barnstorming campaign on behalf of Mrs. Clinton in 2016 and congressional candidates in 2018. He resisted calls by some Democratic officials earlier this year to intervene on Mr. Biden's behalf in the wake of Mr. Sanders's victory in the Nevada caucuses, arguing that he did not want to ''thumb the scale'' for his friend.
Nonetheless, he was becoming more agitated by the state of the race as Mr. Sanders surged, and Mr. Biden slumped. By late February, he was telling people in his orbit that he thought Mr. Biden's campaign had an alarming lack of ''infrastructure'' and shared his doubts about Mr. Biden's belief that he could win the nomination after losing Iowa and New Hampshire.
Democratic officials say Mr. Obama had no direct role in the campaign shake-up that happened soon after. But people with knowledge of the situation say he made it clear that he supported Mr. Biden's moves '-- naming as his campaign manager Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, a former Obama campaign field organizing specialist, and moving another Obama veteran, the former White House communications director Anita Dunn, into a more powerful role.
Mr. Obama did not directly encourage Mr. Sanders's rivals to endorse Mr. Biden ahead of the decisive Super Tuesday primaries. But he did tell Pete Buttigieg, a moderate, that he would never have more leverage than on the day that he was quitting the race '-- and the former South Bend mayor soon joined the avalanche of former candidates backing Mr. Biden.
Mr. Sanders, who in 2016 accused the Democratic establishment of conspiring to support Mrs. Clinton, took note of all these moves, but he has made no such charges against Mr. Obama.
In fact, one of his campaign advisers, speaking on the condition of anonymity in the wake of last month's string of Sanders defeats, said the senator was grateful for Mr. Obama's neutrality throughout the campaign. And Mr. Sanders, who has denied reports that he contemplated a primary challenge to Mr. Obama in 2012, had made a point of reaching out to the former president several times in recent months to update him on the progress of his campaign.
Before those conversations, the two men had a polite but frosty relationship, and some of their private exchanges over the years devolved into policy debates, former aides said. But Mr. Obama saw Mr. Sanders's overture as an opening to assume the peacemaker's role he believed himself best suited to play.
Since leaving office, Mr. Obama has ruminated about what he could have done differently, both as president and as a campaign surrogate for Mrs. Clinton, to stop Mr. Trump's ascent, and concluded that he needed to do more to repair the damage from party infighting.
''His true north is winning back the White House, period,'' said Valerie Jarrett, a close friend and adviser to the former president, in a phone interview last month. Mr. Obama, she added, would ''have backed any nominee, any of them, with the same conviction.''
Mr. Sanders is much closer personally to Mr. Biden despite their political differences, but Mr. Obama, unlike Mr. Biden, remains a trusted figure to many Sanders supporters, so much so that his campaign released an ad that featured a patchwork of clips with Mr. Obama lavishing praise on Mr. Sanders.
In the end, Mr. Sanders concluded that negotiating a d(C)tente through the former president would ease the blow of his withdrawal on his base. Whether Mr. Obama's involvement will ultimately draw Sanders voters to support Mr. Biden's candidacy remains an open question, and some supporters, including Mr. Sanders's own campaign press secretary, say they won't.
In late March, Mr. Obama reached out to Mr. Sanders. The two men would talk at least three more times, with the former president reassuring Mr. Sanders that he had already accomplished much of what he had set out to do, moving the party '-- and Mr. Biden '-- substantially to the left, according to two people with knowledge of their interactions.
But, the people said, he mostly listened to Mr. Sanders, who was in a reflective mood, speaking candidly about his post-campaign plans and feelings about the race, the kind of conversation the two men had never had before.
Mr. Sanders, for his part, is intent on protecting his open line of communication with the former president. When asked for a readout during an interview on MSNBC shortly after dropping out last week, he replied, ''They're private conversations,'' waving a don't-even-ask-me-about-it hand at the camera.
The interviewer, Chris Hayes, plowed ahead: ''Well, can I ask about your conversations with Vice President Biden?''
''Oh, yes,'' Mr. Sanders answered, with a laugh.
OH MY! Emails About Seth Rich Between Strzok and Page RELEASED
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 08:44
Follow Matt on TwitterIt's amazing how this tail continues to unravel for the Democrats and the Deep State.
As many of you know, I've been sued by the two most powerful Democrat law firms in America. They have but one goal, to silence the biggest voice in America investigating the Seth Rich murder. They'd also like to know our sources, and be able to shut them up as well. That's also goal #2 of this frivolous lawsuit.
Two of the amazing patriot investigators on my team Larry Beach and Brick (I honestly don't know their real names, and I don't want to know, but they're ridiculous with the skill sets they have) reached out to me late Friday evening. Early into Saturday morning, we had two new drops in our Seth Rich investigation.
Low and behold, emails existed between none other than disgruntled FBI top brass Peter Strzok and FBI Attorney Lisa Page. What did those emails entail? Oh, just communications about Seth Rich, which of course the FBI claimed they couldn't find, didn't exist, didn't have, didn't look into, etc.
Ty Clevenger, who is a personal friend of mine and the attorney representing Ed Butowsky filed paperwork asking for documentation between the FBI and the FBI's Washington Field Office about the unsolved murder of Seth Rich.
The FBI continued to claim that no such information existed, in fact, they didn't produce anything related to Seth Rich to Mr. Clevenger. Now we know that information was withheld. Not only do we know it, but we have the proof.
Live view of the Democrats trying to cover up the Seth Rich Murder Investigations now that emails have been released from FOIAs, showing Peter Strzok and Lisa Page discussing Seth Rich'... pic.twitter.com/Lk0gxuvZ3l
'-- Matt Couch 🎠(@RealMattCouch) January 26, 2020Now the question is, why would the FBI not reveal this in Mr. Clevenger's request back on September of 2019? Why didn't they want this information exposed?
The key here to break it down for those at home, is the FBI lied and said they had no files on this in previous FOIA's. They've consistently said they didn't look into Seth Rich. Now thanks to our Legal Beagles and Judicial Watch we've turned a corner today!
It's too late now, and the downward spiral of the Seth Rich investigation continues.
Coronavirus: Trump berates media at jaw-dropping briefing - BBC News
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 05:33
Video caption WATCH: Reporter challenges President Trump at briefing On Monday morning I had a delivery to my apartment from the nearby off-licence - or liquor store, as they say over here.
And I put a jokey picture on Twitter of a bottle of gin and eight bottles of tonic, with the caption that at least I had the next week sorted.
After leaving the White House Briefing Room on Monday evening following a marathon two-hour 24-minute press conference, I felt I could have knocked off the whole lot in one sitting.
This has been the most dizzying, jaw-dropping, eyeball-popping, head-spinning news conference I have ever attended. And I was at Bill Clinton's news conference in 1998 when he faced the press for the first time over his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
I was at this president's first White House gathering when he called me "another beauty". I was in Helsinki when he had his first news conference with Vladimir Putin, and seemed to prefer to believe the Russian leader over his own security and intelligence chiefs on interference in the 2016 election.
I was in Vietnam when Mr Trump gave a news conference after his talks with Kim Jong-un had unceremoniously collapsed. So I've sat in on some corkers.
USS Roosevelt sailor dies of Covid-19 'I lost my mum to coronavirus on Mother's Day'What made last night's encounter unique was the context. And secondly, this was, if you like, a distillation - all the talk of gin, I think, forced me to use that word - in one news conference of what three and a half years of Donald Trump has been like to cover.
There are more than 23,000 Americans dead because of coronavirus and more than half a million infected - and remember that, in early March, Donald Trump was saying there were a handful of cases, but that would soon be down to zero.
Yet Donald Trump walked into the briefing room with scores to settle with the media. This wasn't about the dead, the desperately sick, the people fearful of catching the virus. This was about him. And more particularly his profound sense of grievance that the media has been critical of his handling of Covid-19.
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Refrigerator lorries are being used as makeshift mortuaries in New York If you think that is an unfair exaggeration, after a few moments he said he was going to play a video. It had been produced by White House staff, even though it bore all the hallmarks of a campaign video. If it was a movie, it would have been called "Coronavirus: Why Donald Trump is Great - and the Media Awful".
One of the reporters quoted in the film would complain immediately afterwards that her words had been taken out of context.
If you were watching the news conference on TV, you would have seen the film. But in the briefing room, where I had my vantage point, Donald Trump was alternately scowling at us, then pointing and smiling derisively and then smirking, as if to say, "Look at all you losers - I've nailed you with this".
Contempt seemed to ooze out of every pore. Central to the president's argument is that at the end of January he stopped a lot of flights coming from China and that had saved countless thousands of American lives.
Paula Reid from CBS pushed back forcefully, arguing that, bold move though that was, it wasn't followed through with any meaningful action in February, when testing was minimal and precious time was lost.
A SIMPLE GUIDE: How do I protect myself?AVOIDING CONTACT: The rules on self-isolation and exerciseHOPE AND LOSS: Your coronavirus storiesVIDEO: The 20-second hand washSTRESS: How to look after your mental healthThe president was enraged. You could see the fury coursing through him as he was extremely rude to her (he didn't answer the detail of her arguments, though). He called her a "fake" and "disgraceful".
So here we have a president who apparently hates us. But. But. But. He stuck around and answered questions for a full hour and a half. It was like a band on their farewell tour wanting to do one more encore. He loves it. He is in his element. And he hates us too.
Going back to my previous experience of news conferences, I always think you are lucky if you get to ask one question. Most often you don't get to ask one - particularly if you are from a foreign news organisation. I think I asked five questions of the president (and one of them got a "that's a very good question" - 10 points for me). He loves to engage.
Video caption Jon Sopel tackles President Trump at Monday's press briefing This president is more accessible than any senior politician I have ever known. And who can complain about that? He stood there and took all questions for an age, knowing full well this was playing out across all the US networks - and around the world, given the range of messages I got from all and sundry. But it is also confounding. You feel he wants to be loved, and can't understand it when love is not forthcoming.
Then there is power. Coronavirus is unlike any enemy he has faced before. It's unlike any enemy that any of us have come up against, as it doesn't have a face. And Donald Trump is great when there's a name and a face. "Lyin' Ted", "Sleepy Joe", "Crooked Hillary", "Little Marco" - and on and on and on. But there really isn't much point insulting a virus. It doesn't respond and seems utterly indifferent to what names it is called.
Video caption How Trump's attitude toward coronavirus has shifted Before the White House, the president ran a family business where everyone answered to him. At Monday night's news conference he gave every impression of wanting to run America like that.
He has said he wants to reopen the US for business as quickly as possible - if you're interested, my Q&A with him concerned the feasibility of that, a laudable ambition. But is that his prerogative, or that of the 50 state governors? Remember, the US has a federal constitution.
The other big stories eclipsed by coronavirus Five ways coronavirus is disrupting the food industryDonald Trump was in no doubt last night that it was up to him to decide when America lifted the shutters and changed the sign on the door from "closed" to "open".
But if it was down to the individual states to decide on when it was appropriate to issue "shelter in place" orders - and the president said he couldn't order six states controlled by Republican governors to enforce social distancing - how can it be his prerogative to order the reverse?
After listening to the president, Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic governor of New York state, said this: "The constitution says we don't have a king. To say, 'I have total authority over the country because I'm the president', it's absolute, that is a king. We didn't have a king. We didn't have King George Washington - we had President George Washington."
That is not how the guy who ran the family firm sees it.
At the end of this rollercoaster of a ride of a news conference, I tried to make sense of it as I left the White House.
Like so much in this divided country, I suspect it is entirely a question of where you stand. His supporters will probably have loved him sticking it to the media the moment he walked into the briefing room.
His opponents will have been appalled that he could put the coverage of his own handling of the crisis above the suffering of the American people.
Before I made it into the briefing room last night, I had to have my temperature taken in a tent that's been erected just outside the White House estate on Pennsylvania Avenue. And I had to have it taken again before I would be allowed to enter the briefing room.
Good thing they didn't do blood pressure. I'm sure a fair few people - participants and observers - would have had very different before and after readings.
Growth in surveillance may be hard to scale back after pandemic, experts say | Coronavirus outbreak | The Guardian
Tue, 14 Apr 2020 00:48
Show caption Police officers in Szolnok, Hungary, use a drone to find residents failing to comply with the stay-at-home order. Photograph: Janos Meszaros/EPA
Coronavirus outbreakTue 14 Apr 2020 00.00 EDT
The coronavirus pandemic has led to an unprecedented global surge in digital surveillance, researchers and privacy advocates around the world have said, with billions of people facing enhanced monitoring that may prove difficult to roll back.
Governments in at least 25 countries are employing vast programmes for mobile data tracking, apps to record personal contact with others, CCTV networks equipped with facial recognition, permission schemes to go outside and drones to enforce social isolation regimes.
The methods have been adopted by authoritarian states and democracies alike and have opened lucrative new markets for companies that extract, sell, and analyse private data. One of the world's foremost experts on mobile phone surveillance said the pandemic had created a ''9/11 on steroids'' that could lead to grave abuses of power.
''Most of these measures don't have sunset clauses. They could establish what many people are describing as a new normal,'' Ron Deibert, who heads the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, said in an interview with the Guardian.
''I think we have to be really vigilant about that to make sure there are appropriate safeguards in place because the potential for the abuse of power is pretty extreme '... so it's a little bit like 9/11 on steroids.''
In China, hundreds of millions have installed mandatory ''health code'' apps that determine whether users'' given colour-coded designations of green, yellow, or red (for confirmed Covid-19 patients) '' can travel or leave home.
In Europe, some of the world's most privacy-conscious governments are collecting telecom data, employing drones and copying contact-tracing apps pioneered in Asia. In the US, Apple and Google have announced they will open up their mobile operating systems to allow for similar apps, which will run on iPhones and Android phones alike.
A man wears a face mask in Mumbai. Photograph: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images Moscow, a city of 12 million people, will require citizens to have QR codes for travel on its streets and is seeking to employ its 100,000 surveillance cameras and facial recognition technology to enforce self-isolation schemes.
In India, local authorities have experimented with solutions such as mobile tracking apps, geolocated selfies, and releasing the addresses of coronavirus patients.
With the proliferation of digital surveillance methods, a number of global initiatives have appeared to chart their progress around the globe.
''This isn't just an issue with authoritarian governments. This is happening across the world,'' said Samuel Woodhams, the digital rights lead at the London-based Top10VPN, who has compiled an index of new surveillance measures related to the coronavirus outbreak. ''A lot of the technologies we're seeing are alarmingly similar.''
An emergency text message sent to Tasmanian citizens from police. Photograph: Barbara Walton/EPA Whether that surveillance is eventually rolled back will depend on public oversight.
''[The crisis] has shown that negative technology can appear around the world, including in the west,'' said Artem Kozlyuk, the head of the Moscow-based Roskomsvoboda internet rights group, which has released a global tracker called Pandemic Big Brother. ''But we suspect that these measures are going to be under greater public control in western democracies than in not-entirely democratic regimes.''
Israel, with its global reputation for both state and private sector intelligence gathering technology, was quick to implement surveillance on a national scale, initially with phone tracking measures endorsed by the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Lawmakers, however, opposed a proposal from the hardline defence minister, Naftali Bennett, to involve a private sector company in data analysis, which was later identified as the controversial Israeli spyware company the NSO Group.
Bennett had outlined a system in tweets that would give people a rating of one to 10 on their likelihood of carrying the virus, based on their movements and other factors.
Israel is not using an NSO-developed system but a person familiar with the company said a ''handful of governments'' were already piloting the software it made to track the virus.
An NSO spokesperson said it did not operate the platform it developed and data was not shared with the company. It denied any invasion of privacy. ''The data required to operate the system by authorities and governments is statistical and aggregated, not personal data,'' the spokesperson said.
Israeli police stop a vehicle at a checkpoint in Bnei Brak, a city east of Tel Aviv. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images Campaigners have also warned the focus on surveillance measures may be diverting resources from health-focused approaches,such as improving testing capability or supplying hospitals with more medical equipment.
''It's this kind of technological 'solutionism' that might look good on paper but is actually undermining efforts to fight the disease in the long run,'' said Edin Omanovic, advocacy director at the London-based charity Privacy International.
Contact-tracing apps and other methods to identify those who have been in contact with people infected with the disease were pioneered in Asia. Hong Kong issues tracking wristbands to international arrivals that connect to a StayHomeSafe mobile app and a registered ''quarantine address'', while Singapore's TraceTogether app, which uses Bluetooth to find people within two metres of someone diagnosed with Covid-19 for half an hour or more, has been made open source to allow other countries to copy it.
NHS coronavirus app: memo discussed giving ministers power to 'de-anonymise' users Contact-tracing has been especially effective in South Korea, which has employed GPS data, CCTV footage and and credit card records to identify and warn suspected victims of the disease. But the country's surveillance push would not have been effective without widespread testing, experts said, allowing officials to quickly confirm new coronavirus cases.
The adoption of tracing apps and other electronic surveillance measures has become a live issue of concern in Brussels, where member states have been warned of the risk to the EU's ''fundamental rights and freedoms''.
Authorities in Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland and the UK have all either expressed an interest or started to roll out mobile phone apps to help them track and trace those infected with the virus.
The UK health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced plans on Sunday for a Bluetooth-based app that will warn users if they have recently been in close proximity to someone suspected to be infected with the coronavirus. The Dutch health minister, Hugo de Jonge, said last week at least 60% of the population would need to download the Netherlands' similar app for it be effective. ''We are looking at whether you can require everyone to do it,'' he said during a press conference.
Meanwhile, telecom operators in Italy, Spain and other EU countries have released ''heat maps'' of users' movements, arguing that the data was sufficiently anonymised and aggregated to prevent the tracking of individuals, which would be a potential violation of GDPR.
The UK's last EU commissioner, Julian King, who held the security portfolio in Brussels, said he was concerned about the lack of debate so far ''about what kind of society we want, and what values we hold dear''.
In Russia, the crisis has helped expose the country's potential for digital surveillance, but also some of its limitations. Officials last month said they would use mobile apps, employ CCTV cameras with facial recognition, QR codes, mobile phone data and credit card records in a digital surveillance menu that opposition members had termed a ''cybergulag''.
Most quarantine violations are, however, still exposed by physical surveillance, meaning police patrols and roadblocks on the streets. Pavel Chikov of the Agora International Human Rights Group noted that a more sophisticated system could be ''too expensive'' for many of the country's regions to employ. In Tatarstan, an SMS permission system looked suspiciously similar to a local parking app, suggesting the government may just have adapted the technology.
When Moscow did finally roll out its QR-code system this week, the website quickly crashed, and remained down on Monday morning. Privacy advocates have said personal data put into the system may not remain secure. ''If they can even make it work, I have zero trust that this data is going to remain private,'' said one open-source investigator based in Russia.
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What Can a President Do During a State of Emergency? - The Atlantic
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 21:13
I n the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump reached deep into his arsenal to try to deliver votes to Republicans.
Most of his weapons were rhetorical, featuring a mix of lies and false inducements'--claims that every congressional Democrat had signed on to an ''open borders'' bill (none had), that liberals were fomenting violent ''mobs'' (they weren't), that a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class would somehow pass while Congress was out of session (it didn't). But a few involved the aggressive use'--and threatened misuse'--of presidential authority: He sent thousands of active-duty soldiers to the southern border to terrorize a distant caravan of desperate Central American migrants, announced plans to end the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship by executive order, and tweeted that law enforcement had been ''strongly notified'' to be on the lookout for ''ILLEGAL VOTING.''
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These measures failed to carry the day, and Trump will likely conclude that they were too timid. How much further might he go in 2020, when his own name is on the ballot'--or sooner than that, if he's facing impeachment by a House under Democratic control?
More is at stake here than the outcome of one or even two elections. Trump has long signaled his disdain for the concepts of limited presidential power and democratic rule. During his 2016 campaign, he praised murderous dictators. He declared that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, would be in jail if he were president, goading crowds into frenzied chants of ''Lock her up.'' He hinted that he might not accept an electoral loss. As democracies around the world slide into autocracy, and nationalism and antidemocratic sentiment are on vivid display among segments of the American populace, Trump's evident hostility to key elements of liberal democracy cannot be dismissed as mere bluster.
The moment the president declares a ''national emergency'''--a decision that is entirely within his discretion'--he is able to set aside many of the legal limits on his authority.It would be nice to think that America is protected from the worst excesses of Trump's impulses by its democratic laws and institutions. After all, Trump can do only so much without bumping up against the limits set by the Constitution and Congress and enforced by the courts. Those who see Trump as a threat to democracy comfort themselves with the belief that these limits will hold him in check.
Read: The coronavirus outbreak could bring out the worst in Trump
But will they? Unknown to most Americans, a parallel legal regime allows the president to sidestep many of the constraints that normally apply. The moment the president declares a ''national emergency'''--a decision that is entirely within his discretion'--more than 100 special provisions become available to him. While many of these tee up reasonable responses to genuine emergencies, some appear dangerously suited to a leader bent on amassing or retaining power. For instance, the president can, with the flick of his pen, activate laws allowing him to shut down many kinds of electronic communications inside the United States or freeze Americans' bank accounts. Other powers are available even without a declaration of emergency, including laws that allow the president to deploy troops inside the country to subdue domestic unrest.
This edifice of extraordinary powers has historically rested on the assumption that the president will act in the country's best interest when using them. With a handful of noteworthy exceptions, this assumption has held up. But what if a president, backed into a corner and facing electoral defeat or impeachment, were to declare an emergency for the sake of holding on to power? In that scenario, our laws and institutions might not save us from a presidential power grab. They might be what takes us down.
1. ''A LOADED WEAPON''T he premise underlying emergency powers is simple: The government's ordinary powers might be insufficient in a crisis, and amending the law to provide greater ones might be too slow and cumbersome. Emergency powers are meant to give the government a temporary boost until the emergency passes or there is time to change the law through normal legislative processes.
Unlike the modern constitutions of many other countries, which specify when and how a state of emergency may be declared and which rights may be suspended, the U.S. Constitution itself includes no comprehensive separate regime for emergencies. Those few powers it does contain for dealing with certain urgent threats, it assigns to Congress, not the president. For instance, it lets Congress suspend the writ of habeas corpus'--that is, allow government officials to imprison people without judicial review'--''when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it'' and ''provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.''
Polly J. Price: How a fragmented country fights a pandemic
Nonetheless, some legal scholars believe that the Constitution gives the president inherent emergency powers by making him commander in chief of the armed forces, or by vesting in him a broad, undefined ''executive Power.'' At key points in American history, presidents have cited inherent constitutional powers when taking drastic actions that were not authorized'--or, in some cases, were explicitly prohibited'--by Congress. Notorious examples include Franklin D. Roosevelt's internment of U.S. citizens and residents of Japanese descent during World War II and George W. Bush's programs of warrantless wiretapping and torture after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Abraham Lincoln conceded that his unilateral suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War was constitutionally questionable, but defended it as necessary to preserve the Union.
The Supreme Court has often upheld such actions or found ways to avoid reviewing them, at least while the crisis was in progress. Rulings such as Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company v. Sawyer, in which the Court invalidated President Harry Truman's bid to take over steel mills during the Korean War, have been the exception. And while those exceptions have outlined important limiting principles, the outer boundary of the president's constitutional authority during emergencies remains poorly defined.
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SubscribePresidents can also rely on a cornucopia of powers provided by Congress, which has historically been the principal source of emergency authority for the executive branch. Throughout the late 18th and 19th centuries, Congress passed laws to give the president additional leeway during military, economic, and labor crises. A more formalized approach evolved in the early 20th century, when Congress legislated powers that would lie dormant until the president activated them by declaring a national emergency. These statutory authorities began to pile up'--and because presidents had little incentive to terminate states of emergency once declared, these piled up too. By the 1970s, hundreds of statutory emergency powers, and four clearly obsolete states of emergency, were in effect. For instance, the national emergency that Truman declared in 1950, during the Korean War, remained in place and was being used to help prosecute the war in Vietnam.
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Aiming to rein in this proliferation, Congress passed the National Emergencies Act in 1976. Under this law, the president still has complete discretion to issue an emergency declaration'--but he must specify in the declaration which powers he intends to use, issue public updates if he decides to invoke additional powers, and report to Congress on the government's emergency-related expenditures every six months. The state of emergency expires after a year unless the president renews it, and the Senate and the House must meet every six months while the emergency is in effect ''to consider a vote'' on termination.
By any objective measure, the law has failed. Thirty states of emergency are in effect today'--several times more than when the act was passed. Most have been renewed for years on end. And during the 40 years the law has been in place, Congress has not met even once, let alone every six months, to vote on whether to end them.
As a result, the president has access to emergency powers contained in 123 statutory provisions, as recently calculated by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where I work. These laws address a broad range of matters, from military composition to agricultural exports to public contracts. For the most part, the president is free to use any of them; the National Emergencies Act doesn't require that the powers invoked relate to the nature of the emergency. Even if the crisis at hand is, say, a nationwide crop blight, the president may activate the law that allows the secretary of transportation to requisition any privately owned vessel at sea. Many other laws permit the executive branch to take extraordinary action under specified conditions, such as war and domestic upheaval, regardless of whether a national emergency has been declared.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / APThis legal regime for emergencies'--ambiguous constitutional limits combined with a rich well of statutory emergency powers'--would seem to provide the ingredients for a dangerous encroachment on American civil liberties. Yet so far, even though presidents have often advanced dubious claims of constitutional authority, egregious abuses on the scale of the Japanese American internment or the post-9/11 torture program have been rare, and most of the statutory powers available during a national emergency have never been used.
But what's to guarantee that this president, or a future one, will show the reticence of his predecessors? To borrow from Justice Robert Jackson's dissent in Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 Supreme Court decision that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans, each emergency power ''lies about like a loaded weapon, ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need.''
2. AN INTERNET KILL SWITCH?L ike all emergency powers, the laws governing the conduct of war allow the president to engage in conduct that would be illegal during ordinary times. This conduct includes familiar incidents of war, such as the killing or indefinite detention of enemy soldiers. But the president can also take a host of other actions, both abroad and inside the United States.
These laws vary dramatically in content and scope. Several of them authorize the president to make decisions about the size and composition of the armed forces that are usually left to Congress. Although such measures can offer needed flexibility at crucial moments, they are subject to misuse. For instance, George W. Bush leveraged the state of emergency after 9/11 to call hundreds of thousands of reservists and members of the National Guard into active duty in Iraq, for a war that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Other powers are chilling under any circumstances: Take a moment to consider that during a declared war or national emergency, the president can unilaterally suspend the law that bars government testing of biological and chemical agents on unwitting human subjects.
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The president could seize control of U.S. internet traffic, impeding access to certain websites and ensuring that internet searches return pro-Trump content as the top results.One power poses a singular threat to democracy in the digital era. In 1942, Congress amended Section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934 to allow the president to shut down or take control of ''any facility or station for wire communication'' upon his proclamation ''that there exists a state or threat of war involving the United States,'' resurrecting a similar power Congress had briefly provided Woodrow Wilson during World War I. At the time, ''wire communication'' meant telephone calls or telegrams. Given the relatively modest role that electronic communications played in most Americans' lives, the government's assertion of this power during World War II (no president has used it since) likely created inconvenience but not havoc.
We live in a different universe today. Although interpreting a 1942 law to cover the internet might seem far-fetched, some government officials recently endorsed this reading during debates about cybersecurity legislation. Under this interpretation, Section 706 could effectively function as a ''kill switch'' in the U.S.'--one that would be available to the president the moment he proclaimed a mere threat of war. It could also give the president power to assume control over U.S. internet traffic.
The potential impact of such a move can hardly be overstated. In August, in an early-morning tweet, Trump lamented that search engines were ''RIGGED'' to serve up negative articles about him. Later that day the administration said it was looking into regulating the big internet companies. ''I think that Google and Twitter and Facebook, they're really treading on very, very troubled territory. And they have to be careful,'' Trump warned. If the government were to take control of U.S. internet infrastructure, Trump could accomplish directly what he threatened to do by regulation: ensure that internet searches always return pro-Trump content as the top results. The government also would have the ability to impede domestic access to particular websites, including social-media platforms. It could monitor emails or prevent them from reaching their destination. It could exert control over computer systems (such as states' voter databases) and physical devices (such as Amazon's Echo speakers) that are connected to the internet.
Video: Trump's Emergency Powers Are ''Ripe for Abuse''
To be sure, the fact that the internet in the United States is highly decentralized'--a function of a relatively open market for communications devices and services'--would offer some protection. Achieving the level of government control over internet content that exists in places such as China, Russia, and Iran would likely be impossible in the U.S. Moreover, if Trump were to attempt any degree of internet takeover, an explosion of lawsuits would follow. Based on its First Amendment rulings in recent decades, the Supreme Court seems unlikely to permit heavy-handed government control over internet communication.
But complacency would be a mistake. Complete control of internet content would not be necessary for Trump's purposes; even with less comprehensive interventions, he could do a great deal to disrupt political discourse and hinder effective, organized political opposition. And the Supreme Court's view of the First Amendment is not immutable. For much of the country's history, the Court was willing to tolerate significant encroachments on free speech during wartime. ''The progress we have made is fragile,'' Geoffrey R. Stone, a constitutional-law scholar at the University of Chicago, has written. ''It would not take much to upset the current understanding of the First Amendment.'' Indeed, all it would take is five Supreme Court justices whose commitment to presidential power exceeds their commitment to individual liberties.
3. SANCTIONING AMERICANSN ext to war powers, economic powers might sound benign, but they are among the president's most potent legal weapons. All but two of the emergency declarations in effect today were issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, or ieepa . Passed in 1977, the law allows the president to declare a national emergency ''to deal with any unusual and extraordinary threat'''--to national security, foreign policy, or the economy'--that ''has its source in whole or substantial part outside the United States.'' The president can then order a range of economic actions to address the threat, including freezing assets and blocking financial transactions in which any foreign nation or foreign national has an interest.
In the late 1970s and '80s, presidents used the law primarily to impose sanctions against other nations, including Iran, Nicaragua, South Africa, Libya, and Panama. Then, in 1983, when Congress failed to renew a law authorizing the Commerce Department to control certain exports, President Ronald Reagan declared a national emergency in order to assume that control under ieepa . Subsequent presidents followed his example, transferring export control from Congress to the White House. President Bill Clinton expanded ieepa 's usage by targeting not just foreign governments but foreign political parties, terrorist organizations, and suspected narcotics traffickers.
President George W. Bush took matters a giant step further after 9/11. His Executive Order 13224 prohibited transactions not just with any suspected foreign terrorists, but with any foreigner or any U.S. citizen suspected of providing them with support. Once a person is ''designated'' under the order, no American can legally give him a job, rent him an apartment, provide him with medical services, or even sell him a loaf of bread unless the government grants a license to allow the transaction. The patriot Act gave the order more muscle, allowing the government to trigger these consequences merely by opening an investigation into whether a person or group should be designated.
Designations under Executive Order 13224 are opaque and extremely difficult to challenge. The government needs only a ''reasonable basis'' for believing that someone is involved with or supports terrorism in order to designate him. The target is generally given no advance notice and no hearing. He may request reconsideration and submit evidence on his behalf, but the government faces no deadline to respond. Moreover, the evidence against the target is typically classified, which means he is not allowed to see it. He can try to challenge the action in court, but his chances of success are minimal, as most judges defer to the government's assessment of its own evidence.
Read: The pandemic could change how Americans view government
Americans have occasionally been caught up in this Kafkaesque system. Several Muslim charities in the U.S. were designated or investigated based on the suspicion that their charitable contributions overseas benefited terrorists. Of course if the government can show, through judicial proceedings that observe due process and other constitutional rights, that an American group or person is funding terrorist activity, it should be able to cut off those funds. But the government shut these charities down by freezing their assets without ever having to prove its charges in court.
In other cases, Americans were significantly harmed by designations that later proved to be mistakes. For instance, two months after 9/11, the Treasury Department designated Garad Jama, a Somalian-born American, based on an erroneous determination that his money-wiring business was part of a terror-financing network. Jama's office was shut down and his bank account frozen. News outlets described him as a suspected terrorist. For months, Jama tried to gain a hearing with the government to establish his innocence and, in the meantime, obtain the government's permission to get a job and pay his lawyer. Only after he filed a lawsuit did the government allow him to work as a grocery-store cashier and pay his living expenses. It was several more months before the government reversed his designation and unfroze his assets. By then he had lost his business, and the stigma of having been publicly labeled a terrorist supporter continued to follow him and his family.
Despite these dramatic examples, ieepa 's limits have yet to be fully tested. After two courts ruled that the government's actions against American charities were unconstitutional, Barack Obama's administration chose not to appeal the decisions and largely refrained from further controversial designations of American organizations and citizens. Thus far, President Trump has followed the same approach.
That could change. In October, in the lead-up to the midterm elections, Trump characterized the caravan of Central American migrants headed toward the U.S. border to seek asylum as a ''National Emergency.'' Although he did not issue an emergency proclamation, he could do so under ieepa . He could determine that any American inside the U.S. who offers material support to the asylum seekers'--or, for that matter, to undocumented immigrants inside the United States'--poses ''an unusual and extraordinary threat'' to national security, and authorize the Treasury Department to take action against them.
Americans might be surprised to learn just how readily the president can deploy troops inside the United States.Such a move would carry echoes of a law passed recently in Hungary that criminalized the provision of financial or legal services to undocumented migrants; this has been dubbed the ''Stop Soros'' law, after the Hungarian American philanthropist George Soros, who funds migrants'-rights organizations. Although an order issued under ieepa would not land targets in jail, it could be implemented without legislation and without affording targets a trial. In practice, identifying every American who has hired, housed, or provided paid legal representation to an asylum seeker or undocumented immigrant would be impossible'--but all Trump would need to do to achieve the desired political effect would be to make high-profile examples of a few. Individuals targeted by the order could lose their jobs, and find their bank accounts frozen and their health insurance canceled. The battle in the courts would then pick up exactly where it left off during the Obama administration'--but with a newly reconstituted Supreme Court making the final call.
4. BOOTS ON MAIN STREETT he idea of tanks rolling through the streets of U.S. cities seems fundamentally inconsistent with the country's notions of democracy and freedom. Americans might be surprised, therefore, to learn just how readily the president can deploy troops inside the country.
The principle that the military should not act as a domestic police force, known as ''posse comitatus,'' has deep roots in the nation's history, and it is often mistaken for a constitutional rule. The Constitution, however, does not prohibit military participation in police activity. Nor does the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 outlaw such participation; it merely states that any authority to use the military for law-enforcement purposes must derive from the Constitution or from a statute.
The Insurrection Act of 1807 provides the necessary authority. As amended over the years, it allows the president to deploy troops upon the request of a state's governor or legislature to help put down an insurrection within that state. It also allows the president to deploy troops unilaterally, either because he determines that rebellious activity has made it ''impracticable'' to enforce federal law through regular means, or because he deems it necessary to suppress ''insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy'' (terms not defined in the statute) that hinders the rights of a class of people or ''impedes the course of justice.''
Presidents have wielded the Insurrection Act under a range of circumstances. Dwight Eisenhower used it in 1957 when he sent troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce school desegregation. George H. W. Bush employed it in 1992 to help stop the riots that erupted in Los Angeles after the verdict in the Rodney King case. George W. Bush considered invoking it to help restore public order after Hurricane Katrina, but opted against it when the governor of Louisiana resisted federal control over the state's National Guard. While controversy surrounded all these examples, none suggests obvious overreach.
And yet the potential misuses of the act are legion. When Chicago experienced a spike in homicides in 2017, Trump tweeted that the city must ''fix the horrible 'carnage''‰'' or he would ''send in the Feds!'' To carry out this threat, the president could declare a particular street gang'--say, MS'‘13'--to be an ''unlawful combination'' and then send troops to the nation's cities to police the streets. He could characterize sanctuary cities'--cities that refuse to provide assistance to immigration-enforcement officials'--as ''conspiracies'' against federal authorities, and order the military to enforce immigration laws in those places. Conjuring the specter of ''liberal mobs,'' he could send troops to suppress alleged rioting at the fringes of anti-Trump protests.
Mandel Ngan / AFP / GettyHow far could the president go in using the military within U.S. borders? The Supreme Court has given us no clear answer to this question. Take Ex parte Milligan, a famous ruling from 1866 invalidating the use of a military commission to try a civilian during the Civil War. The case is widely considered a high-water mark for judicial constraint on executive action. Yet even as the Court held that the president could not use war or emergency as a reason to bypass civilian courts, it noted that martial law'--the displacement of civilian authority by the military'--would be appropriate in some cases. If civilian courts were closed as a result of a foreign invasion or a civil war, for example, martial law could exist ''until the laws can have their free course.'' The message is decidedly mixed: Claims of emergency or necessity cannot legitimize martial law '... until they can.
Peter Wehner: The Trump presidency is over
Presented with this ambiguity, presidents have explored the outer limits of their constitutional emergency authority in a series of directives known as Presidential Emergency Action Documents, or pead s. pead s, which originated as part of the Eisenhower administration's plans to ensure continuity of government in the wake of a Soviet nuclear attack, are draft executive orders, proclamations, and messages to Congress that are prepared in advance of anticipated emergencies. pead s are closely guarded within the government; none has ever been publicly released or leaked. But their contents have occasionally been described in public sources, including FBI memorandums that were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act as well as agency manuals and court records. According to these sources, pead s drafted from the 1950s through the 1970s would authorize not only martial law but the suspension of habeas corpus by the executive branch, the revocation of Americans' passports, and the roundup and detention of ''subversives'' identified in an FBI ''Security Index'' that contained more than 10,000 names.
Less is known about the contents of more recent pead s and equivalent planning documents. But in 1987, The Miami Herald reported that Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North had worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create a secret contingency plan authorizing ''suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the United States over to fema , appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments and declaration of martial law during a national crisis.'' A 2007 Department of Homeland Security report lists ''martial law'' and ''curfew declarations'' as ''critical tasks'' that local, state, and federal government should be able to perform in emergencies. In 2008, government sources told a reporter for Radar magazine that a version of the Security Index still existed under the code name Main Core, allowing for the apprehension and detention of Americans tagged as security threats.
Since 2012, the Department of Justice has been requesting and receiving funds from Congress to update several dozen pead s first developed in 1989. The funding requests contain no indication of what these pead s encompass, or what standards the department intends to apply in reviewing them. But whatever the Obama administration's intent, the review has now passed to the Trump administration. It will fall to Jeff Sessions's successor as attorney general to decide whether to rein in or expand some of the more frightening features of these pead s. And, of course, it will be up to President Trump whether to actually use them'--something no previous president appears to have done.
5. KINDLING AN EMERGENCYW hat would the Founders think of these and other emergency powers on the books today, in the hands of a president like Donald Trump? In Youngstown, the case in which the Supreme Court blocked President Truman's attempt to seize the nation's steel mills, Justice Jackson observed that broad emergency powers were ''something the forefathers omitted'' from the Constitution. ''They knew what emergencies were, knew the pressures they engender for authoritative action, knew, too, how they afford a ready pretext for usurpation,'' he wrote. ''We may also suspect that they suspected that emergency powers would tend to kindle emergencies.''
In the past several decades, Congress has provided what the Constitution did not: emergency powers that have the potential for creating emergencies rather than ending them. Presidents have built on these powers with their own secret directives. What has prevented the wholesale abuse of these authorities until now is a baseline commitment to liberal democracy on the part of past presidents. Under a president who doesn't share that commitment, what might we see?
Read: There are no libertarians in an epidemic
Imagine that it's late 2019. Trump's approval ratings are at an all-time low. A disgruntled former employee has leaked documents showing that the Trump Organization was involved in illegal business dealings with Russian oligarchs. The trade war with China and other countries has taken a significant toll on the economy. Trump has been caught once again disclosing classified information to Russian officials, and his international gaffes are becoming impossible for lawmakers concerned about national security to ignore. A few of his Republican supporters in Congress begin to distance themselves from his administration. Support for impeachment spreads on Capitol Hill. In straw polls pitting Trump against various potential Democratic presidential candidates, the Democrat consistently wins.
Trump reacts. Unfazed by his own brazen hypocrisy, he tweets that Iran is planning a cyber operation to interfere with the 2020 election. His national-security adviser, John Bolton, claims to have seen ironclad (but highly classified) evidence of this planned assault on U.S. democracy. Trump's inflammatory tweets provoke predictable saber rattling by Iranian leaders; he responds by threatening preemptive military strikes. Some Defense Department officials have misgivings, but others have been waiting for such an opportunity. As Iran's statements grow more warlike, ''Iranophobia'' takes hold among the American public.
Proclaiming a threat of war, Trump invokes Section 706 of the Communications Act to assume government control over internet traffic inside the United States, in order to prevent the spread of Iranian disinformation and propaganda. He also declares a national emergency under ieepa , authorizing the Treasury Department to freeze the assets of any person or organization suspected of supporting Iran's activities against the United States. Wielding the authority conferred by these laws, the government shuts down several left-leaning websites and domestic civil-society organizations, based on government determinations (classified, of course) that they are subject to Iranian influence. These include websites and organizations that are focused on getting out the vote.
The VoorhesLawsuits follow. Several judges issue orders declaring Trump's actions unconstitutional, but a handful of judges appointed by the president side with the administration. On the eve of the election, the cases reach the Supreme Court. In a 5''4 opinion written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Court observes that the president's powers are at their zenith when he is using authority granted by Congress to protect national security. Setting new precedent, the Court holds that the First Amendment does not protect Iranian propaganda and that the government needs no warrant to freeze Americans' assets if its goal is to mitigate a foreign threat.
Related Stories How to Build an Autocracy Why Trump Supporters Believe He Is Not Corrupt America's Slide Toward Autocracy Protests erupt. On Twitter, Trump calls the protesters traitors and suggests (in capital letters) that they could use a good beating. When counterprotesters oblige, Trump blames the original protesters for sparking the violent confrontations and deploys the Insurrection Act to federalize the National Guard in several states. Using the Presidential Alert system first tested in October 2018, the president sends a text message to every American's cellphone, warning that there is ''a risk of violence at polling stations'' and that ''troops will be deployed as necessary'' to keep order. Some members of opposition groups are frightened into staying home on Election Day; other people simply can't find accurate information online about voting. With turnout at a historical low, a president who was facing impeachment just months earlier handily wins reelection'--and marks his victory by renewing the state of emergency.
T his scenario might sound extreme. But the misuse of emergency powers is a standard gambit among leaders attempting to consolidate power. Authoritarians Trump has openly claimed to admire'--including the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan'--have gone this route.
Of course, Trump might also choose to act entirely outside the law. Presidents with a far stronger commitment to the rule of law, including Lincoln and Roosevelt, have done exactly that, albeit in response to real emergencies. But there is little that can be done in advance to stop this, other than attempting deterrence through robust oversight. The remedies for such behavior can come only after the fact, via court judgments, political blowback at the voting booth, or impeachment.
By contrast, the dangers posed by emergency powers that are written into statute can be mitigated through the simple expedient of changing the law. Committees in the House could begin this process now by undertaking a thorough review of existing emergency powers and declarations. Based on that review, Congress could repeal the laws that are obsolete or unnecessary. It could revise others to include stronger protections against abuse. It could issue new criteria for emergency declarations, require a connection between the nature of the emergency and the powers invoked, and prohibit indefinite emergencies. It could limit the powers set forth in pead s.
Congress, of course, will undertake none of these reforms without extraordinary public pressure'--and until now, the public has paid little heed to emergency powers. But we are in uncharted political territory. At a time when other democracies around the world are slipping toward authoritarianism'--and when the president seems eager for the United States to follow their example'--we would be wise to shore up the guardrails of liberal democracy. Fixing the current system of emergency powers would be a good place to start.
This article appears in the January/February 2019 print edition with the headline ''In Case of Emergency.''
Elizabeth Goitein, a co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, is the author of
The New Era of Secret Law.
As YouTube Traffic Soars, YouTubers Say Pay Is Plummeting
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 17:33
Advertising rates on the platform have dropped significantly during the coronavirus pandemic
Photo: Szabo Viktor/UnsplashNewspapers, websites, and TV channels have all been decimated by the coronavirus. And YouTubers are also feeling the pinch.
While boredom-inducing stay-at-home orders may be good for YouTube channel traffic, increasing by 15%, according to the New York Times, YouTubers say that the rates companies pay to advertise on their videos are dropping significantly. That means that despite increased audiences, some YouTubers are making less money.
Carlos Pacheco, a former media buyer turned YouTube adviser, says that across 180 YouTube channels he works with '-- which have a total of nearly 68 million subscribers worldwide across a range of different interests '-- advertising rates have tanked by an average of nearly 50% since the start of February.
''Everyone is pausing their campaigns on YouTube,'' Pacheco says.
Data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), an advertising industry body, suggests that one in four media buyers and brands have paused all advertising for the first half of 2020, and a further 46% have adjusted their spending downwards. Three-quarters say the coronavirus will be more damaging for the ad industry than the 2008'''09 financial crisis. That means fewer ads for Big Macs on TV and in newspapers, but it also means advertisers are less likely to compete for the pre-roll ads that usher you toward your next YouTube video.
Digital ad spending is down by a third, according to the IAB '-- a slightly less painful drop than the traditional media's 39% cut, but still damaging. YouTubers are reporting anywhere from 30% to 50% declines in their cost per mille (CPM), or the amount YouTube receives for every 1,000 views of an advertisement served against a video. YouTube takes that money, keeps 45% for itself, and gives 55% to creators.
Roberto Blake, a YouTuber who also advertises his social media consultancy business through social media ads, says he has seen a 10% drop in his CPMs, to around $20. But, he says, other YouTubers have it worse. ''People I know are going down from $8 to $5.50. I'm seeing people go down from $12 to $4.''
Those calculations are based on advertisers and their budgets.
If you're a food-based channel focused on finding the world's best street food in the planet's farthest-flung corners, you might rely on tourist boards, airline companies, and restaurants to advertise against your videos. But when the restaurants are closed, the airplanes are grounded, and the tourism industry in all practicality doesn't exist, there's no reason for anyone in the chain to spend money advertising. While the entire industry is becoming parsimonious with their spending, some areas are affected less than others: You still need groceries, and given you're likely working from home, office supply companies may be keen to market to customers.
''Everyone is pausing their campaigns on YouTube.''
Video game content received 13% more views across five key markets in Europe in the last month compared to the same time in 2019, according to data collated by Tubular Labs, a video intelligence company.
Though CPMs for video game content have also taken a hit, it's a glancing punch to their finances rather than a knockout blow. ''They're dropping,'' admits Pacheco, ''but just not dropping as much as other channels.''
Hank Green is an author and one half of the Vlogbrothers YouTube channel, which has 3.3 million subscribers. He also runs a suite of different educational channels, including Crash Course and SciShow, which combined have tens of millions of subscribers. Even he's not immune to the impact of falling CPMs: He said in a tweet in late March that while views across the multiple channels he runs were up by around 5%, CPMs dropped by 30%. Another creator, who uploads drumming videos to YouTube, reported his ad income had halved.
Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, a digital content trade organization, believes that TV will hold out better than YouTube. When budgets are tight, he says, brands seek safe harbors, and while YouTube has managed to project a message of professionalism in recent years, it still has an radical, independent streak that companies shy away from. ''I would expect the savvier brand advertising money to go towards trusted brands and higher quality video, including traditional TV,'' he says.
Both Pacheco and Blake say that falling ad revenue hasn't discouraged YouTubers from producing more content, who see increased traffic to the video sharing platform from people stuck at home as an opportunity to attract new followers. ''Everyone is being a little careful and tightening their belts in terms of the production side of things, but using this opportunity to gain audiences,'' says Pacheco. ''Think about it this way '-- it's the perfect environment, where many people who wouldn't be online consumers now are, so the audience is growing exponentially.''
But making more content unfortunately only makes the falling advertising prices fall faster. More content, says Blake, ''means the bidding war for that advertising is lower. It's cheaper to advertise, and there's more inventory to sell it against. The market just shrunk, but more people are creating content.''
Many YouTubers, he says, are hoping that the pandemic's impact on advertising lasts three or four months, before bouncing back. (They may be holding their breath: IAB data forecasts that advertising in the third quarter of 2020 will be 75% planned budgets, and only 88% the original planned spent in the last three months of the year.) ''Anyone that makes money only off YouTube at the minute is in a very precarious place,'' he says.
YouTubers have been here before. The ''adpocalypse,'' a 2017 scandal where advertisements were being placed against terrorist recruitment videos on the platform, caused a mass exodus of big business from YouTube. Some of the world's biggest brands yanked their advertising budgets away from the site, hitting creators in the pocket.
The advertisers eventually returned after YouTube made sweeping changes to clean up the platform '-- changes which ended up irking the site's independent creators, and making it more difficult for them to survive. In the interim, YouTubers sought income off the platform. They diversified their revenue streams by developing and selling merchandise, building up an audience on other social networks in case their YouTube channels disappeared, and joining platforms like Patreon, where fans can directly support their favorite talent financially with a monthly stipend. Those who did diversify back then are better prepared to weather the storm now. ''Anyone that has all their eggs in one basket right now is getting hammered,'' reckons Pacheco.
South Dakota to Launch Hydroxychloroquine Clinical Trial
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 13:27
South Dakota will launch a statewide clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment of the Chinese coronavirus, Gov. Kristi Noem (R) told Fox News on Monday.
''From Day One, I've said we're going to let the science, facts and data drive our decision-making in South Dakota,'' Noem said in a statement to the news outlet.
Noem will kick off the ''comprehensive'' trial after conveying to the Trump administration in recent days that ''South Dakota's medical community was ready to step up and lead the way on research efforts.''
''I made direct requests to President Trump and Vice President Pence to supply us with enough hydroxychloroquine so that it could be made available for every hospitalized person the state may have, as well as those for health care workers on the frontlines and those in the most vulnerable populations,'' added the governor.
Noem revealed South Dakota received hydroxychloroquine for the trials thanks to healthcare providers Avera Health, Monument Health, and Sanford Health.
''The health care community in South Dakota consistently works together with the state for the benefit of all our patients,'' South Dakota Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said in a statement. ''I am excited patients across the state will have access to this drug, and we will learn more about its benefits in treating and even preventing COVID-19.''
The announcement comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved emergency use of Hydroxychloroquine as a possible coronavirus treatment, determining that the possible benefits outweigh the risks.
''Based on the totality of scientific evidence available to FDA, it is reasonable to believe that chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate may be effective in treating COVID-19,'' FDA Chief Scientist Denise Hinton wrote in the approval letter.
''When used under the conditions described in this authorization, the known and potential benefits of chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate when used to treat COVID-19 outweigh the known and potential risks of such products.''President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted the drugs as a possible treatment for the virus, while doctors around the country have said the medication helped patients recover.
Greta Van Susteren on Twitter: "This is the Jan 14 WHO tweet...yes, this is why people are so angry at WHO https://t.co/ebXpH3VBcK" / Twitter
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 13:08
Bill @ BillGent
8h I think readers need to carefully unpack that tweet. "Chinese authorities report" is a red flag for me. A huge assumption that the report is accurate underlies that tweet. No independent verification allowed? attempted? And more. Just sayin'...
View conversation · Mel Harman @ MelHarman
6h China lied about SARS when it first started. There was never a time in Jan, or since, that I didn't question what China reported. All nations should have questioned this more. Still, this nation knew enough by early-Feb we should have started lockdowns in mid-Feb.
View conversation · Bobbi @ RaidersNana
8h Exactly & then praised China.Then the body bag comment only made matters worse.Why should ANYONE believe them.I don'tTheir actions put not just USA but the WORLD in Danger.So many needlessly lostI trust very few these days
View conversation ·
Ireland wields its 'soft power' as Bono joins coronavirus fight
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 12:48
One Saturday afternoon early last month, the Minister for Finance telephoned the rock star.
Paschal Donohoe's call led, some time later, to Bono becoming unusually knowledgeable about the art of price-per-unit bartering with Chinese suppliers.
Ultimately, the band would chip in '‚¬10 million for personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline medics in the fight against coronavirus.
''I explained to him that any role that people like him could play in it because of the way they connect people across the world would be a little part of the thread of the great story of how Ireland is responding,'' says the Minister.
The band and its lead singer have ended up being just some of the players in a bigger public-private collaboration that culminated in a large consignment of medical supplies '' sourced by the HSE, Irish diplomats and IDA officials in China, and private individuals and businesses '' arriving at Dublin Airport on a privately funded flight from China on Tuesday.
HSE personal protective equipment arriving at Dublin Airport from Hong Kong on Tuesday. 'If I bring a million masks back from China, I know they are going straight into the Mater, James's, Vincent's and all over the country,' D"mhnal Slattery of Avolon aircraft leasing company says. Photograph: Avolon/TwitterThese endeavours have since turned into a much broader collective effort involving members of the public.
The global pandemic has flipped the world on its head.
The battle against Covid-19 has turned Aer Lingus passenger planes into cargo vessels for critical medical supplies on maiden flights to China, artisan gin-distillers to hand sanitiser, and global rock stars into door-openers for supply-chain managers navigating a cut-throat world of fake manufacturers and pirate governments scrambling for scarce, life-saving products.
Bono was one of a number of people Donohoe called that weekend last month as the Government sought help in unusual quarters in these strange, unprecedented times.
Concerned at what the country was facing in a once-in-a-century health emergency, the Minister for Finance wanted to see how prominent people in Irish life, including business leaders, could help the country out in this time of need, economically or otherwise.
''I was pushing a door that was already wide open because he was already thinking about it and the role he could play.''
In their conversations, Bono felt that a predictable musical response was not the right one.
''I just don't think this is the moment for U2 to be doing a sort of Kumbaya thing. It just doesn't feel right for me '' it feels like a time for action rather than words,'' the singer told The Irish Times.
The Minister explained the challenges the State was facing, including the shortage of PPE.
''Proactively, off his own bat, he said he wanted to get involved in a very particular thing '' he could find new ways of trying to source new PPE equipment for Ireland,'' says Donohoe.
Army Vehicles pictured leaving Dublin on March 29th following the arrival of a consignment of PPE. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times Boxes of PPE are unloaded at Dublin Airport on March 29th. Photograph: Tom HonanThe Irish Times Contacts bookConnections were made with the HSE and Bono worked his well-worn contacts book.
He teamed up with businessman Liam Casey, founder of tech supply chain business PCH and a 24-year veteran of doing business in China '' global centre of protective equipment manufacturing.
Bono contacted some of the world's most powerful businessmen to see how they could help source medical supplies out of China. His calls included Chinese magnate Jack Ma of Alibaba, Tim Cook of iPhone maker Apple, Mark Benioff of US software giant Salesforce and Doug McMillon, chief executive of US retail giant Walmart.
Casey leaned on his corporate team in China to verify the quality of the PPE material they found: visiting factories, walking production lines and checking documentation and packaging
''We have got a couple of hundred people out there. It is easy: you get on a plane and go to the factory and see if is it real or is it fake, and a lot of them are fake,'' says the businessman.
One of the Irish party involved in the push to buy the PPE likened the frenzy to buy it to the Pirates of the Caribbean and the ''Wild East'' where brokers and middlemen '' rather than the Chinese government and manufacturers themselves '' are pushing and price-gouging.
''The competition is fierce. There has never been anything like this from a trade point of view '' never. This is completely unique,'' says Casey.
Brass tacksFor Irish buyers, it got down to brass tacks on price and the cent demanded for every medical-grade KN95 face mask; Casey bartered them down from 69 cent to 39 cent a face mask but he says it was because the products were of a high quality rather than the lowest price that mattered.
''If I am putting a product out, can you imagine that shipment if there was anything wrong with the quality? It would have been a disaster. We weren't going to take a risk on that,'' he says.
Bono's profile and phoning from Dublin landed new suppliers, including this week a top executive at Chinese tech giant Tencent who was impressed that U2 was putting its money where Bono's mouth was. Getting the company on board brought leverage and opened up supply lines for high-quality masks and other equipment, and conversations with business owners.
''The power of Bono on the ground '' I was able to go to some of the bigger companies and that really opened the doors for us,'' says Casey.
The singer is keen to stress his efforts pale by comparison to what others are facing at home.
''The 'why' here was easy,'' he says.
''The 'how' turned out to be very difficult but not as difficult as turning up for work as a nurse without your protective clothing, not as difficult as stacking shelves for people when you are not sure whether you have got a cold or something more serious, not as difficult as being a person who is self-employed who is scared sh*tless about how they are going to put food on the table.''
Getting the PPE was one challenge, getting it back to Ireland and into Irish hospitals was another. Casey called D"mhnal Slattery, founder and chief executive of Dublin-based aircraft leasing company Avolon.
''I get a phone call from Liam: 'I have a bunch of PPE in China and I have no way of getting it home '' can you help?''' says the Clare man of the Cork man's call.
Slattery found a free A330 airplane within Avolon's fleet that could take almost 15 tonnes of PPE including masks, goggles, gloves, face protectors and 40 ventilators that the HSE had bought, some Avolon had sourced and the U2-Casey shipment.
Two flight crews and a standby crew were found for the 13-hour flight. It was a passenger aircraft so a million medical gloves were loaded into the overhead compartments above seats.
''It was nothing beyond the wit of man,'' says Slattery.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and D"mhnal Slattery, CEO of Avolon. Photograph: Robbie Reynolds Cargo capacityThe efforts are continuing. Avolon is chartering a Boeing 787, which is three times the cargo capacity of the first airplane, that will transport a further 70 tonnes of PPE supplies in next week or so. The company has opened up a crowd-fundraising drive seeking '‚¬350,000 to cover the cost of the flight; by Friday morning it had raised '‚¬160,000 including many small donations from across the country.
''If there is any shortfall here, we will pick it up but the collaborative national challenge is to try to get everyone to feel that they are involved. We have kids giving '‚¬20 into this thing,'' he says.
Beyond their own private efforts to source PPE, Casey says he was amazed at the volumes the Irish Government has been able to source and ship from China '' an order of '‚¬208 million, using its connections through Ireland's Ambassador in Beijing, Eoin O'Leary, and IDA officials in the Far East '' given the ''intense'' competition for the products. Even the HSE-bought equipment that turned out to be below medical-grade standard will find a use somewhere, he says.
''What we are doing is nothing in comparison to what the HSE has done, nothing. I have never seen anything like that. It is soft power as well as knowing what to do.''
'Social capital'Paschal Donohoe says this soft power flows from the ''social capital'' and the intangible Irish qualities that come from the country's ''size and intimacy'' where, when institutions are under strain, people who are well connected with each other '' outside of government '' can come together.
''I believe that Ireland does have reserves of soft power but unlike in some other countries, that soft power can sometimes come together spontaneously and the locus of that soft power is not always government in Ireland,'' he says.
''I just think it came together in this extraordinary story.''
D"mhnal Slattery says the speed and passion behind people's efforts to help, from world-famous musicians to a teenager donating a fiver, is due to being able to see the immediate benefits of action.
''If I bring a million masks back from China, I know they are going straight into the Mater, James's, Vincent's and all over the country. It is very tangible,'' he says. The outpouring of support from across the country has been ''extraordinary''.
''It is like a war footing, it's blitzkrieg. We have to make sure we come out the right end of it and it is a very cohesive, energising environment,'' he says.
''When the Irish put their mind to it, we can make anything happen.''
THE BACTERICIDAL ACTION OF PROPYLENE GLYCOL VAPOR ON MICROORGANISMS SUSPENDED IN AIR. I
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 11:36
J Exp Med . 1942 Jun 1; 75(6): 593''610.
From the Department of Medicine, the Douglas Smith Foundation for Medical Research, the Bartlett Memorial Fund, and the Zoller Memorial Dental Clinic of the University of Chicago, Chicago
Copyright (C) Copyright, 1942, by The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research New York
This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution''Noncommercial''Share Alike''No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see
http://www.rupress.org/terms). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution''Noncommercial''Share Alike 4.0 Unported license, as described at
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/).
This article has been
cited by other articles in PMC.
Abstract It has been found that propylene glycol vapor dispersed into the air of an enclosed space produces a marked and rapid bactericidal effect on microorganisms introduced into such an atmosphere in droplet form. Concentrations of 1 gm. of propylene glycol vapor in two to four million cc. of air produced immediate and complete sterilization of air into which pneumococci, streptococci, staphylococci, H. influenzae, and other microorganisms as well as influenza virus had been sprayed. With lesser concentrations of propylene glycol, rapid and marked reduction in the number of air-borne bacteria occurred, but complete sterilization of the air required a certain interval of time. Pronounced effects on both pneumococci and hemolytic streptococci were observed when concentrations as low as 1 gm. of glycol to fifty million cc. of air were employed. Numerous control tests showed that failure of the glycol-treated microorganisms to grow on the agar plates was due to actual death of the bacteria. The means by which propylene glycol vapor produces its effect on droplet-borne bacteria is discussed and data relating the bactericidal properties of propylene glycol in vitro to the lethal action of its vapor is presented. Atmospheres containing propylene glycol vapor are invisible, odorless, and non-irritating. This glycol is essentially non-toxic when given orally and intravenously. Tests on possible deleterious effects of breathing propylene glycol containing atmospheres over long periods of time are being carried out.
Full TextThe Full Text of this article is available as a
PDF (1.2M).
Selected ReferencesThese references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article. Robertson OH, Bigg E, Miller BF, Baker Z. STERILIZATION OF AIR BY CERTAIN GLYCOLS EMPLOYED AS AEROSOLS. Science. 1941 Feb 28; 93 (2409):213''214. [PubMed] [Google Scholar] Miller BF, Baker Z. INHIBITION OF BACTERIAL METABOLISM BY SYNTHETIC DETERGENTS. Science. 1940 Jun 28; 91 (2374):624''625. [PubMed] [Google Scholar] Puck TT. A METHOD FOR DETERMINING THE CONCENTRATION OF PROPYLENE GLYCOL VAPOR IN AIR. Science. 1942 Feb 13; 95 (2459):178''178. [PubMed] [Google Scholar] Robertson OH, Loosli CG, Puck TT, Bigg E, Miller BF. THE PROTECTION OF MICE AGAINST INFECTION WITH AIR-BORNE INFLUENZA VIRUS BY MEANS OF PROPYLENE GLYCOL VAPOR. Science. 1941 Dec 26; 94 (2452):612''613. [PubMed] [Google Scholar] Articles from The Journal of Experimental Medicine are provided here courtesy of The Rockefeller University Press
Research shows propylene glycol vapor kills airborne influenza virus '' VAPES
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 11:33
Propylene glycol is a primary ingredient of FDA-approved e-liquids, but even before it was used in electronic cigarettes, scientists have been testing its many remarkable health benefits for decades. In fact, many pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of medical supplies like asthma nebulizers have even been including this compound in many of their products based on research dating back to the 1940s.
According to three studies conducted at the University of Chicago's Billings Hospital, scientists confirmed that the vapor created from this liquid solution kills many forms of airborne bacteria, including pneumococci, streptococci, and staphylococci. Led by Dr. O.H. Robertson, the research team came to the additional conclusions that the antibacterial properties of propylene glycol (PG) vapor makes it a safe and effective preventative against blood stream infections, asthma attacks, and common respiratory diseases like pneumonia and strep throat. It even acts as an air germicide by killing some airborne viruses, like the one that causes influenza.
The Black Plague, propylene glycol, and the influenza virusApparently, Dr. Robertson was inspired by a colleague - Dr. Theodore Puck '' who was a self-proclaimed history buff since his early youth with an endless fascination with medieval Europe. Of particular interest to young Puck was the historical significance of the Black Plague of the mid-thirteenth century.
Puck often wondered - as a child and throughout his medical school training - precisely what had eventually caused the Black Plaque to stop spreading. Also known as the Bubonic Plague, historians believe that the highly contagious disorder first appeared rather suddenly in 1347 when twelve ships landed in Europe after traveling through the Black Sea. Rats from the ships are still believed to be the original carriers.
Over the next four years, the Black Plaque would kill an estimated 75-200 million people. By the end of 1351, it seemingly disappeared almost overnight. But why?
Puck hypothesized that it was only after the townsfolk started burning nearly everything in sight that the crisis would come to an end. Therefore, there must have been some unknown component within the ashen air itself that killed the Bubonic virus in its tracks. But what was it?
Related Article: Research shows vaping CBD helps manage diabetes in three very important ways
Determined to find the answer, the scientific team of Robertson and Puck began a series of experiments where they ''vaporized'' several chemical compounds to determine their possible effects on airborne microorganisms. That's when they eventually stumbled upon vaporized PG. In their research paper entitled, The Bactericidal Action of Propylene Glycol Vapor on Microorganisms Suspended in air (NCBI), the researchers state the following.
''A study of the conditions which affect the bactericidal action of propylene glycol vapor on air-suspended microorganisms has been carried out. The killing process was found to be more effective when both the total number of air-borne droplets and the number of organisms in the bacterial suspension are small. A temperature below 80°F. and an atmospheric relative humidity between 45 and 70 per cent were found to constitute the most favorable conditions for the lethal action of the vapor. Experiments were performed to test the bactericidal efficiency of propylene glycol vapor in both small and large enclosed spaces....
"Concentrations of not less than 1 gm. of propylene glycol in three or four million cc. of air resulted in immediate and complete sterilization of the chamber air. This effect was demonstrated with staphylococci, pneumococci, hemolytic streptococci, H. influemae, and H. pertussis;;;
Propylene glycol vapor was also found to exert a lethal or at least an inactivating effect on the virus of influenza. This was determined by tests in which the presence of the glycol vapor in concentration of 1:3,000,000 was shown to protect mice completely against infection with amounts of air-borne influenza virus that produced death regularly in the control animals."
As the world continues to debate the health advantages of vaping, it's becoming increasingly clear that politicians and lawmakers need to focus more attention on the underlying scientific research and less on the touchy-feely issues surrounding teen usage. To be clear, the Robertson/Puck experiments did not involve the inhaling of propylene glycol vapor, but their research should not be entirely discounted either. Science '' not politics or financial political contributions by Big Pharma and Big Tobacco '' should be the only basis for which lawmakers make legislative decisions that directly affect the American vaping community.
Related Article: Is De Blasio politicizing coronavirus to kill vaping? Will Inslee be next?
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)
CDC Finally Gets Vaping Right, While FDA Permits New Cigarettes | American Council on Science and Health
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 11:30
If you're a government agency like the CDC, the best time to admit to a huge mistake is on Friday afternoon before a three-day weekend. And if you're a government agency like the FDA, there's never a good time to make a boneheaded decision.
Thanks in part to the efforts of ACSH and other evidence-minded health policy advocates, the CDC has admitted to a huge mistake. And we know they know it's a mistake because they made the announcement on Friday afternoon before a three-day weekend with little fanfare*. They hoped nobody would notice. But we did.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the CDC updated its website so that it "no longer includes the broad reference to stopping vaping." More than four months ago, we called them out for their ludicrous and counterproductive recommendation that all people avoid e-cigarettes (including smokers who are trying to quit). The CDC finally gave in to science. Better late than never.
The CDC's new recommendation is to avoid vaping THC products, "particularly from informal sources like friends, family, or in-person or online dealers." Informal sources. That's a nice way of saying "illegal, black market products" -- just like ACSH has been saying for months. The CDC went on to recommend that "adults using nicotine-containing e-cigarettes or vaping products as an alternative to cigarettes should not go back to smoking."
YES! Common sense wins at the CDC. How about at the FDA?
FDA Permits Two New Cigarettes
Presumably, the FDA doesn't want smokers to die. Yet, it still doesn't put vaping devices -- which are known to help smokers quit and are even recommended by the UK's National Health Service -- on its list of approved cessation products.
What has the FDA done instead? Well, it gave permission for two new types of cigarettes to be sold on the market. Are they low-tar or extra-filtered? Nope. They are low-nicotine, which means that a smoker -- if he or she switched to this new product -- would actually have to smoke more cigarettes to get the same nicotine fix.
The FDA's rationale is that a low-nicotine cigarette is less likely to cause people to become addicted to smoking. But do you know what else accomplishes that at a far lower level of risk? Vaping.
CDC 1FDA 0
*Note: The WSJ says the update was posted on Thursday, but the CDC's website indicates Friday.
PDF version By Alex Berezow, PhD
Vice President of Scientific Communications
Dr. Alex Berezow is a PhD microbiologist, science writer, and public speaker who specializes in the debunking of junk science for the American Council on Science and Health. He is also an Analyst at Geopolitical Futures and a featured speaker for The Insight Bureau. Formerly, he was the founding editor of RealClearScience.
''The List'' '' Interesting and Quietly Overlooked Remarks by Secretary Pompeo'... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 08:45
With an increased awareness of how some U.S. politicians appear to be reacting to the COVID-19 challenges; and with a new American perspective toward the way media outlets, some businesses and many politicians appear to be influenced by China; it's worth revisiting a recent speech by Secretary of State Pompeo that might have been overlooked.
Pompeo's remarks were made to the National Governors Association (NGA) Feb 8, 2020; and there's an interesting segment where Pompeo reveals his awareness of a list of U.S. governors compiled by China's communist party; and their alignment with China's interests. A transcript of the key excerpt from his speech is provided. WATCH :
.
[Transcript at 01:45] ['...] ''Last year, I received an invitation to an event that promised to be, quote, ''an occasion for exclusive deal-making.'' It said, quote, ''the opportunities for mutually beneficial economic development between China and our individual states [are] tremendous,'' end of quote.''
''Deal-making sounds like it might have come from President Trump, but the invitation was actually from a former governor.
I was being invited to the U.S.-China Governors' Collaboration Summit.
It was an event co-hosted by the National Governors Association and something called the Chinese People's Association For Friendship and Foreign Countries. Sounds pretty harmless.
What the invitation did not say is that the group '' the group I just mentioned '' is the public face of the Chinese Communist Party's official foreign influence agency, the United Front Work Department.
Now, I was lucky. I was familiar with that organization from my time as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
But it got me thinking.
How many of you made the link between that group and Chinese Communist Party officials?
What if you made a new friend while you were at that event?
What if your new friend asked you for introductions to other politically connected and powerful people?
What if your new friend offered to invest big money in your state, perhaps in your pension, in industries sensitive to our national security?
These aren't hypotheticals. These scenarios are all too true, and they impact American foreign policy significantly.
Indeed, last year, a Chinese Government-backed think tank in Beijing produced a report that assessed all 50 of America's governors on their attitudes towards China. They labeled each of you ''friendly,'' ''hardline,'' or ''ambiguous.''
I'll let you decide where you think you belong. Someone in China already has. Many of you, indeed, in that report are referenced by name.
So here's the lesson: The lesson is that competition with China is not just a federal issue. It's why I wanted to be here today, Governor Hogan. It's happening in your states with consequences for our foreign policy, for the citizens that reside in your states, and indeed, for each of you.
And, in fact, whether you are viewed by the CCP as friendly or hardline, know that it's working you, know that it's working the team around you.
Competition with China is happening inside of your state, and it affects our capacity to perform America's vital national security functions.'' (Keep Reading)
It sure sounds to me like Secretary Pompeo and President Trump have that list of China-friendly governors'.... Oh my. Very interesting.
UPDATE : Axios had an article earlier this year and included the Chinese Communist Party Report [Cloud pdf Here]
It will be interesting to see how and when each of these governors responds to the re-opening of their economy post COVID-19 peak. Will there be a correlation to their CCP assigned alignment?
We'll keep watching'...
He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump's Failure on the Virus - The New York Times
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 08:43
An examination reveals the president was warned about the potential for a pandemic but that internal divisions, lack of planning and his faith in his own instincts led to a halting response.
''Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion,'' President Trump said last month. He has repeatedly said that no one could have seen the effects of the coronavirus coming. Credit... Erin Schaff/The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- ''Any way you cut it, this is going to be bad,'' a senior medical adviser at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Carter Mecher, wrote on the night of Jan. 28, in an email to a group of public health experts scattered around the government and universities. ''The projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe.''
A week after the first coronavirus case had been identified in the United States, and six long weeks before President Trump finally took aggressive action to confront the danger the nation was facing '-- a pandemic that is now forecast to take tens of thousands of American lives '-- Dr. Mecher was urging the upper ranks of the nation's public health bureaucracy to wake up and prepare for the possibility of far more drastic action.
''You guys made fun of me screaming to close the schools,'' he wrote to the group, which called itself ''Red Dawn,'' an inside joke based on the 1984 movie about a band of Americans trying to save the country after a foreign invasion. ''Now I'm screaming, close the colleges and universities.''
His was hardly a lone voice. Throughout January, as Mr. Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government '-- from top White House advisers to experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies '-- identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action.
The president, though, was slow to absorb the scale of the risk and to act accordingly, focusing instead on controlling the message, protecting gains in the economy and batting away warnings from senior officials. It was a problem, he said, that had come out of nowhere and could not have been foreseen.
Even after Mr. Trump took his first concrete action at the end of January '-- limiting travel from China '-- public health often had to compete with economic and political considerations in internal debates, slowing the path toward belated decisions to seek more money from Congress, obtain necessary supplies, address shortfalls in testing and ultimately move to keep much of the nation at home.
Unfolding as it did in the wake of his impeachment by the House and in the midst of his Senate trial, Mr. Trump's response was colored by his suspicion of and disdain for what he viewed as the ''Deep State'' '-- the very people in his government whose expertise and long experience might have guided him more quickly toward steps that would slow the virus, and likely save lives.
Decision-making was also complicated by a long-running dispute inside the administration over how to deal with China. The virus at first took a back seat to a desire not to upset Beijing during trade talks, but later the impulse to score points against Beijing left the world's two leading powers further divided as they confronted one of the first truly global threats of the 21st century.
The shortcomings of Mr. Trump's performance have played out with remarkable transparency as part of his daily effort to dominate television screens and the national conversation.
But dozens of interviews with current and former officials and a review of emails and other records revealed many previously unreported details and a fuller picture of the roots and extent of his halting response as the deadly virus spread:
The National Security Council office responsible for tracking pandemics received intelligence reports in early January predicting the spread of the virus to the United States, and within weeks was raising options like keeping Americans home from work and shutting down cities the size of Chicago. Mr. Trump would avoid such steps until March.
Despite Mr. Trump's denial weeks later, he was told at the time about a Jan. 29 memo produced by his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, laying out in striking detail the potential risks of a coronavirus pandemic: as many as half a million deaths and trillions of dollars in economic losses.
The health and human services secretary, Alex M. Azar II, directly warned Mr. Trump of the possibility of a pandemic during a call on Jan. 30, the second warning he delivered to the president about the virus in two weeks. The president, who was on Air Force One while traveling for appearances in the Midwest, responded that Mr. Azar was being alarmist.
Mr. Azar publicly announced in February that the government was establishing a ''surveillance'' system in five American cities to measure the spread of the virus and enable experts to project the next hot spots. It was delayed for weeks. The slow start of that plan, on top of the well-documented failures to develop the nation's testing capacity, left administration officials with almost no insight into how rapidly the virus was spreading. ''We were flying the plane with no instruments,'' one official said.
By the third week in February, the administration's top public health experts concluded they should recommend to Mr. Trump a new approach that would include warning the American people of the risks and urging steps like social distancing and staying home from work. But the White House focused instead on messaging and crucial additional weeks went by before their views were reluctantly accepted by the president '-- time when the virus spread largely unimpeded.
When Mr. Trump finally agreed in mid-March to recommend social distancing across the country, effectively bringing much of the economy to a halt, he seemed shellshocked and deflated to some of his closest associates. One described him as ''subdued'' and ''baffled'' by how the crisis had played out. An economy that he had wagered his re-election on was suddenly in shambles.
He only regained his swagger, the associate said, from conducting his daily White House briefings, at which he often seeks to rewrite the history of the past several months. He declared at one point that he ''felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic,'' and insisted at another that he had to be a ''cheerleader for the country,'' as if that explained why he failed to prepare the public for what was coming.
Mr. Trump's allies and some administration officials say the criticism has been unfair. The Chinese government misled other governments, they say. And they insist that the president was either not getting proper information, or the people around him weren't conveying the urgency of the threat. In some cases, they argue, the specific officials he was hearing from had been discredited in his eyes, but once the right information got to him through other channels, he made the right calls.
''While the media and Democrats refused to seriously acknowledge this virus in January and February, President Trump took bold action to protect Americans and unleash the full power of the federal government to curb the spread of the virus, expand testing capacities and expedite vaccine development even when we had no true idea the level of transmission or asymptomatic spread,'' said Judd Deere, a White House spokesman.
There were key turning points along the way, opportunities for Mr. Trump to get ahead of the virus rather than just chase it. There were internal debates that presented him with stark choices, and moments when he could have chosen to ask deeper questions and learn more. How he handled them may shape his re-election campaign. They will certainly shape his legacy.
The Containment IllusionBy the last week of February, it was clear to the administration's public health team that schools and businesses in hot spots would have to close. But in the turbulence of the Trump White House, it took three more weeks to persuade the president that failure to act quickly to control the spread of the virus would have dire consequences.
When Dr. Robert Kadlec, the top disaster response official at the Health and Human Services Department, convened the White House coronavirus task force on Feb. 21, his agenda was urgent. There were deep cracks in the administration's strategy for keeping the virus out of the United States. They were going to have to lock down the country to prevent it from spreading. The question was: When?
There had already been an alarming spike in new cases around the world and the virus was spreading across the Middle East. It was becoming apparent that the administration had botched the rollout of testing to track the virus at home, and a smaller-scale surveillance program intended to piggyback on a federal flu tracking system had also been stillborn.
In Washington, the president was not worried, predicting that by April, ''when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.'' His White House had yet to ask Congress for additional funding to prepare for the potential cost of wide-scale infection across the country, and health care providers were growing increasingly nervous about the availability of masks, ventilators and other equipment.
What Mr. Trump decided to do next could dramatically shape the course of the pandemic '-- and how many people would get sick and die.
With that in mind, the task force had gathered for a tabletop exercise '-- a real-time version of a full-scale war gaming of a flu pandemic the administration had run the previous year. That earlier exercise, also conducted by Mr. Kadlec and called ''Crimson Contagion,'' predicted 110 million infections, 7.7 million hospitalizations and 586,000 deaths following a hypothetical outbreak that started in China.
Facing the likelihood of a real pandemic, the group needed to decide when to abandon ''containment'' '-- the effort to keep the virus outside the U.S. and to isolate anyone who gets infected '-- and embrace ''mitigation'' to thwart the spread of the virus inside the country until a vaccine becomes available.
Among the questions on the agenda, which was reviewed by The New York Times, was when the department's secretary, Mr. Azar, should recommend that Mr. Trump take textbook mitigation measures ''such as school dismissals and cancellations of mass gatherings,'' which had been identified as the next appropriate step in a Bush-era pandemic plan.
The exercise was sobering. The group '-- including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci of the National Institutes of Health; Dr. Robert R. Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Mr. Azar, who at that stage was leading the White House Task Force '-- concluded they would soon need to move toward aggressive social distancing, even at the risk of severe disruption to the nation's economy and the daily lives of millions of Americans.
If Dr. Kadlec had any doubts, they were erased two days later, when he stumbled upon an email from a researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who was among the group of academics, government physicians and infectious diseases doctors who had spent weeks tracking the outbreak in the Red Dawn email chain.
A 20-year-old Chinese woman had infected five relatives with the virus even though she never displayed any symptoms herself. The implication was grave '-- apparently healthy people could be unknowingly spreading the virus '-- and supported the need to move quickly to mitigation.
''Is this true?!'' Dr. Kadlec wrote back to the researcher. ''If so we have a huge whole on our screening and quarantine effort,'' including a typo where he meant hole. Her response was blunt: ''People are carrying the virus everywhere.''
The following day, Dr. Kadlec and the others decided to present Mr. Trump with a plan titled ''Four Steps to Mitigation,'' telling the president that they needed to begin preparing Americans for a step rarely taken in United States history.
But over the next several days, a presidential blowup and internal turf fights would sidetrack such a move. The focus would shift to messaging and confident predictions of success rather than publicly calling for a shift to mitigation.
These final days of February, perhaps more than any other moment during his tenure in the White House, illustrated Mr. Trump's inability or unwillingness to absorb warnings coming at him. He instead reverted to his traditional political playbook in the midst of a public health calamity, squandering vital time as the coronavirus spread silently across the country.
Dr. Kadlec's group wanted to meet with the president right away, but Mr. Trump was on a trip to India, so they agreed to make the case to him in person as soon as he returned two days later. If they could convince him of the need to shift strategy, they could immediately begin a national education campaign aimed at preparing the public for the new reality.
A memo dated Feb. 14, prepared in coordination with the National Security Council and titled ''U.S. Government Response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus,'' documented what more drastic measures would look like, including: ''significantly limiting public gatherings and cancellation of almost all sporting events, performances, and public and private meetings that cannot be convened by phone. Consider school closures. Widespread 'stay at home' directives from public and private organizations with nearly 100% telework for some.''
The memo did not advocate an immediate national shutdown, but said the targeted use of ''quarantine and isolation measures'' could be used to slow the spread in places where ''sustained human-to-human transmission'' is evident.
Within 24 hours, before they got a chance to make their presentation to the president, the plan went awry.
Mr. Trump was walking up the steps of Air Force One to head home from India on Feb. 25 when Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, publicly issued the blunt warning they had all agreed was necessary.
But Dr. Messonnier had jumped the gun. They had not told the president yet, much less gotten his consent.
On the 18-hour plane ride home, Mr. Trump fumed as he watched the stock market crash after Dr. Messonnier's comments. Furious, he called Mr. Azar when he landed at around 6 a.m. on Feb. 26, raging that Dr. Messonnier had scared people unnecessarily. Already on thin ice with the president over a variety of issues and having overseen the failure to quickly produce an effective and widely available test, Mr. Azar would soon find his authority reduced.
The meeting that evening with Mr. Trump to advocate social distancing was canceled, replaced by a news conference in which the president announced that the White House response would be put under the command of Vice President Mike Pence.
The push to convince Mr. Trump of the need for more assertive action stalled. With Mr. Pence and his staff in charge, the focus was clear: no more alarmist messages. Statements and media appearances by health officials like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield would be coordinated through Mr. Pence's office. It would be more than three weeks before Mr. Trump would announce serious social distancing efforts, a lost period during which the spread of the virus accelerated rapidly.
Over nearly three weeks from Feb. 26 to March 16, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States grew from 15 to 4,226. Since then, nearly half a million Americans have tested positive for the virus and authorities say hundreds of thousands more are likely infected.
The China FactorThe earliest warnings about coronavirus got caught in the crosscurrents of the administration's internal disputes over China. It was the China hawks who pushed earliest for a travel ban. But their animosity toward China also undercut hopes for a more cooperative approach by the world's two leading powers to a global crisis.
It was early January, and the call with a Hong Kong epidemiologist left Matthew Pottinger rattled.
Mr. Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser and a hawk on China, took a blunt warning away from the call with the doctor, a longtime friend: A ferocious, new outbreak that on the surface appeared similar to the SARS epidemic of 2003 had emerged in China. It had spread far more quickly than the government was admitting to, and it wouldn't be long before it reached other parts of the world.
Mr. Pottinger had worked as a Wall Street Journal correspondent in Hong Kong during the SARS epidemic, and was still scarred by his experience documenting the death spread by that highly contagious virus.
Now, seventeen years later, his friend had a blunt message: You need to be ready. The virus, he warned, which originated in the city of Wuhan, was being transmitted by people who were showing no symptoms '-- an insight that American health officials had not yet accepted. Mr. Pottinger declined through a spokesman to comment.
It was one of the earliest warnings to the White House, and it echoed the intelligence reports making their way to the National Security Council. While most of the early assessments from the C.I.A. had little more information than was available publicly, some of the more specialized corners of the intelligence world were producing sophisticated and chilling warnings.
In a report to the director of national intelligence, the State Department's epidemiologist wrote in early January that the virus was likely to spread across the globe, and warned that the coronavirus could develop into a pandemic. Working independently, a small outpost of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Center for Medical Intelligence, came to the same conclusion. Within weeks after getting initial information about the virus early in the year, biodefense experts inside the National Security Council, looking at what was happening in Wuhan, started urging officials to think about what would be needed to quarantine a city the size of Chicago.
By mid-January there was growing evidence of the virus spreading outside China. Mr. Pottinger began convening daily meetings about the coronavirus. He alerted his boss, Robert C. O'Brien, the national security adviser.
The early alarms sounded by Mr. Pottinger and other China hawks were freighted with ideology '-- including a push to publicly blame China that critics in the administration say was a distraction as the coronavirus spread to Western Europe and eventually the United States.
And they ran into opposition from Mr. Trump's economic advisers, who worried a tough approach toward China could scuttle a trade deal that was a pillar of Mr. Trump's re-election campaign.
With his skeptical '-- some might even say conspiratorial '-- view of China's ruling Communist Party, Mr. Pottinger initially suspected that President Xi Jinping's government was keeping a dark secret: that the virus may have originated in one of the laboratories in Wuhan studying deadly pathogens. In his view, it might have even been a deadly accident unleashed on an unsuspecting Chinese population.
During meetings and telephone calls, Mr. Pottinger asked intelligence agencies '-- including officers at the C.I.A. working on Asia and on weapons of mass destruction '-- to search for evidence that might bolster his theory.
They didn't have any evidence. Intelligence agencies did not detect any alarm inside the Chinese government that analysts presumed would accompany the accidental leak of a deadly virus from a government laboratory. But Mr. Pottinger continued to believe the coronavirus problem was far worse than the Chinese were acknowledging. Inside the West Wing, the director of the Domestic Policy Council, Joe Grogan, also tried to sound alarms that the threat from China was growing.
Mr. Pottinger, backed by Mr. O'Brien, became one of the driving forces of a campaign in the final weeks of January to convince Mr. Trump to impose limits on travel from China '-- the first substantive step taken to impede the spread of the virus and one that the president has repeatedly cited as evidence that he was on top of the problem.
In addition to the opposition from the economic team, Mr. Pottinger and his allies among the China hawks had to overcome initial skepticism from the administration's public health experts.
Travel restrictions were usually counterproductive to managing biological outbreaks because they prevented doctors and other much-needed medical help from easily getting to the affected areas, the health officials said. And such bans often cause infected people to flee, spreading the disease further.
But on the morning of Jan. 30, Mr. Azar got a call from Dr. Fauci, Dr. Redfield and others saying they had changed their minds. The World Health Organization had declared a global public health emergency and American officials had discovered the first confirmed case of person-to-person transmission inside the United States.
The economic team, led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, continued to argue that there were big risks in taking a provocative step toward China and moving to curb global travel. After a debate, Mr. Trump came down on the side of the hawks and the public health team. The limits on travel from China were publicly announced on Jan. 31.
Still, Mr. Trump and other senior officials were wary of further upsetting Beijing. Besides the concerns about the impact on the trade deal, they knew that an escalating confrontation was risky because the United States relies heavily on China for pharmaceuticals and the kinds of protective equipment most needed to combat the coronavirus.
But the hawks kept pushing in February to take a critical stance toward China amid the growing crisis. Mr. Pottinger and others '-- including aides to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo '-- pressed for government statements to use the term ''Wuhan Virus.''
Mr. Pompeo tried to hammer the anti-China message at every turn, eventually even urging leaders of the Group of 7 industrialized countries to use ''Wuhan virus'' in a joint statement.
Others, including aides to Mr. Pence, resisted taking a hard public line, believing that angering Beijing might lead the Chinese government to withhold medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and any scientific research that might ultimately lead to a vaccine.
Mr. Trump took a conciliatory approach through the middle of March, praising the job Mr. Xi was doing.
That changed abruptly, when aides informed Mr. Trump that a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman had publicly spun a new conspiracy about the origins of Covid-19: that it was brought to China by U.S. Army personnel who visited the country last October.
Mr. Trump was furious, and he took to his favorite platform to broadcast a new message. On March 16, he wrote on Twitter that ''the United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus.''
Mr. Trump's decision to escalate the war of words undercut any remaining possibility of broad cooperation between the governments to address a global threat. It remains to be seen whether that mutual suspicion will spill over into efforts to develop treatments or vaccines, both areas where the two nations are now competing.
One immediate result was a free-for-all across the United States, with state and local governments and hospitals bidding on the open market for scarce but essential Chinese-made products. When the state of Massachusetts managed to procure 1.2 million masks, it fell to the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert K. Kraft, a Trump ally, to cut through extensive red tape on both sides of the Pacific to send his own plane to pick them up.
The Consequences of ChaosThe chaotic culture of the Trump White House contributed to the crisis. A lack of planning and a failure to execute, combined with the president's focus on the news cycle and his preference for following his gut rather than the data cost time, and perhaps lives.
Inside the West Wing, Mr. Navarro, Mr. Trump's trade adviser, was widely seen as quick-tempered, self-important and prone to butting in. He is among the most outspoken of China hawks and in late January was clashing with the administration's health experts over limiting travel from China.
So it elicited eye rolls when, after initially being prevented from joining the coronavirus task force, he circulated a memo on Jan. 29 urging Mr. Trump to impose the travel limits, arguing that failing to confront the outbreak aggressively could be catastrophic, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars in economic losses.
The uninvited message could not have conflicted more with the president's approach at the time of playing down the severity of the threat. And when aides raised it with Mr. Trump, he responded that he was unhappy that Mr. Navarro had put his warning in writing.
From the time the virus was first identified as a concern, the administration's response was plagued by the rivalries and factionalism that routinely swirl around Mr. Trump and, along with the president's impulsiveness, undercut decision making and policy development.
Faced with the relentless march of a deadly pathogen, the disagreements and a lack of long-term planning had significant consequences. They slowed the president's response and resulted in problems with execution and planning, including delays in seeking money from Capitol Hill and a failure to begin broad surveillance testing.
The efforts to shape Mr. Trump's view of the virus began early in January, when his focus was elsewhere: the fallout from his decision to kill Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran's security mastermind; his push for an initial trade deal with China; and his Senate impeachment trial, which was about to begin.
Even after Mr. Azar first briefed him about the potential seriousness of the virus during a phone call on Jan. 18 while the president was at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Mr. Trump projected confidence that it would be a passing problem.
''We have it totally under control,'' he told an interviewer a few days later while attending the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. ''It's going to be just fine.''
Back in Washington, voices outside of the White House peppered Mr. Trump with competing assessments about what he should do and how quickly he should act.
The efforts to sort out policy behind closed doors were contentious and sometimes only loosely organized.
That was the case when the National Security Council convened a meeting on short notice on the afternoon of Jan. 27. The Situation Room was standing room only, packed with top White House advisers, low-level staffers, Mr. Trump's social media guru, and several cabinet secretaries. There was no checklist about the preparations for a possible pandemic, which would require intensive testing, rapid acquisition of protective gear, and perhaps serious limitations on Americans' movements.
Instead, after a 20-minute description by Mr. Azar of his department's capabilities, the meeting was jolted when Stephen E. Biegun, the newly installed deputy secretary of state, announced plans to issue a ''level four'' travel warning, strongly discouraging Americans from traveling to China. The room erupted into bickering.
A few days later, on the evening of Jan. 30, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff at the time, and Mr. Azar called Air Force One as the president was making the final decision to go ahead with the restrictions on China travel. Mr. Azar was blunt, warning that the virus could develop into a pandemic and arguing that China should be criticized for failing to be transparent.
Mr. Trump rejected the idea of criticizing China, saying the country had enough to deal with. And if the president's decision on the travel restrictions suggested that he fully grasped the seriousness of the situation, his response to Mr. Azar indicated otherwise.
Stop panicking, Mr. Trump told him.
That sentiment was present throughout February, as the president's top aides reached for a consistent message but took few concrete steps to prepare for the possibility of a major public health crisis.
During a briefing on Capitol Hill on Feb. 5, senators urged administration officials to take the threat more seriously. Several asked if the administration needed additional money to help local and state health departments prepare.
Derek Kan, a senior official from the Office of Management and Budget, replied that the administration had all the money it needed, at least at that point, to stop the virus, two senators who attended the briefing said.
''Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus,'' Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, wrote in a tweet shortly after. ''Bottom line: they aren't taking this seriously enough.''
The administration also struggled to carry out plans it did agree on. In mid-February, with the effort to roll out widespread testing stalled, Mr. Azar announced a plan to repurpose a flu-surveillance system in five major cities to help track the virus among the general population. The effort all but collapsed even before it got started as Mr. Azar struggled to win approval for $100 million in funding and the C.D.C. failed to make reliable tests available.
The number of infections in the United States started to surge through February and early March, but the Trump administration did not move to place large-scale orders for masks and other protective equipment, or critical hospital equipment, such as ventilators. The Pentagon sat on standby, awaiting any orders to help provide temporary hospitals or other assistance.
As February gave way to March, the president continued to be surrounded by divided factions even as it became clearer that avoiding more aggressive steps was not tenable.
Mr. Trump had agreed to give an Oval Office address on the evening of March 11 announcing restrictions on travel from Europe, where the virus was ravaging Italy. But responding to the views of his business friends and others, he continued to resist calls for social distancing, school closures and other steps that would imperil the economy.
But the virus was already multiplying across the country '-- and hospitals were at risk of buckling under the looming wave of severely ill people, lacking masks and other protective equipment, ventilators and sufficient intensive care beds. The question loomed over the president and his aides after weeks of stalling and inaction: What were they going to do?
The approach that Mr. Azar and others had planned to bring to him weeks earlier moved to the top of the agenda. Even then, and even by Trump White House standards, the debate over whether to shut down much of the country to slow the spread was especially fierce.
Always attuned to anything that could trigger a stock market decline or an economic slowdown that could hamper his re-election effort, Mr. Trump also reached out to prominent investors like Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of Blackstone Group, a private equity firm.
''Everybody questioned it for a while, not everybody, but a good portion questioned it,'' Mr. Trump said earlier this month. ''They said, let's keep it open. Let's ride it.''
In a tense Oval Office meeting, when Mr. Mnuchin again stressed that the economy would be ravaged, Mr. O'Brien, the national security adviser, who had been worried about the virus for weeks, sounded exasperated as he told Mr. Mnuchin that the economy would be destroyed regardless if officials did nothing.
Soon after the Oval Office address, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and a trusted sounding board inside the White House, visited Mr. Trump, partly at the urging of Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law. Dr. Gottlieb's role was to impress upon the president how serious the crisis could become. Mr. Pence, by then in charge of the task force, also played a key role at that point in getting through to the president about the seriousness of the moment in a way that Mr. Azar had not.
But in the end, aides said, it was Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the veteran AIDS researcher who had joined the task force, who helped to persuade Mr. Trump. Soft-spoken and fond of the kind of charts and graphs Mr. Trump prefers, Dr. Birx did not have the rough edges that could irritate the president. He often told people he thought she was elegant.
On Monday, March 16, Mr. Trump announced new social distancing guidelines, saying they would be in place for two weeks. The subsequent economic disruptions were so severe that the president repeatedly suggested that he wanted to lift even those temporary restrictions. He frequently asked aides why his administration was still being blamed in news coverage for the widespread failures involving testing, insisting the responsibility had shifted to the states.
During the last week in March, Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House adviser involved in task force meetings, gave voice to concerns other aides had. She warned Mr. Trump that his wished-for date of Easter to reopen the country likely couldn't be accomplished. Among other things, she told him, he would end up being blamed by critics for every subsequent death caused by the virus.
Within days, he watched images on television of a calamitous situation at Elmhurst Hospital Center, miles from his childhood home in Queens, N.Y., where 13 people had died from the coronavirus in 24 hours.
He left the restrictions in place.
Mark Walker contributed reporting from Washington, and Mike Baker from Seattle. Kitty Bennett contributed research.
Updated April 11, 2020
When will this end?This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: ''How will we know when to reopen the country?'' In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.
How can I help?Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities. More than 30,000 coronavirus-related GoFundMe fund-raisers have started in the past few weeks. (The sheer number of fund-raisers means more of them are likely to fail to meet their goal, though.)
What should I do if I feel sick?If you've been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.
Should I wear a mask?The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don't need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don't replace hand washing and social distancing.
How do I get tested?If you're sick and you think you've been exposed to the new coronavirus, the C.D.C. recommends that you call your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms and fears. They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there's a chance '-- because of a lack of testing kits or because you're asymptomatic, for instance '-- you won't be able to get tested.
How does coronavirus spread?It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.
Is there a vaccine yet?No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.
What makes this outbreak so different?Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions '-- not just those with respiratory diseases '-- particularly hard.
What if somebody in my family gets sick?If the family member doesn't need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there's space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don't forget to wash your hands frequently.
Should I stock up on groceries?Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.
Can I go to the park?Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don't live in your home. Even if you just hang out in a park, rather than go for a jog or a walk, getting some fresh air, and hopefully sunshine, is a good idea.
Should I pull my money from the markets?That's not a good idea. Even if you're retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year's worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.
What should I do with my 401(k)?Watching your balance go up and down can be scary. You may be wondering if you should decrease your contributions '-- don't! If your employer matches any part of your contributions, make sure you're at least saving as much as you can to get that ''free money.''
'The UK is dead': Near-unanimous disgust after British police threaten to 'appear from shadows' to bust rural picnics '-- RT UK News
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 08:03
Central Bedfordshire police have triggered an avalanche of social media scorn after warning residents that their scenic picnics would be ambushed by eagle-eyed law enforcement tasked with supervising Covid-19 lockdown measures.
The police force, which serves a rural area of eastern England, took to Twitter to announce that they would be on the prowl for unruly locals trying to enjoy the nice weather outside.
''If you think that by going for a picnic in a rural location no one will find you, don't be surprised if an officer appears from the shadows! We are covering the whole county,'' they wrote, including a photograph illustrating the discreet nature of their personnel.
The unnerving public service announcement didn't go down well with the public, as Twitter commenters took turns to admonish the force.
"Fascism always lurks in the shadows. We must be vigilant,''replied popular bitcoin enthusiast and entrepreneur Samson Mow.
''The UK is dead,''lamented Joel Lambert, a television host and former Navy SEAL.
Jordan Schachtel, a specialist in national security issues, joked that the tweet seemed to suggest that Nazi Germany had won World War II.
I thought we won WWII. Apparently not?
'-- Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) April 13, 2020The force issued a clarification following the barrage of negative comments, insisting that their message was ''well intentioned.'' They said the patrols were necessary because picnics ''aren't essential'' and that the stay-at-home order was in place to save lives.
The United Kingdom instituted strict lockdown measures in late March in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. The advisories issued by the government discourage all non-essential travel and movement, and limit outside exercise to one hour per day. The country currently has 85,200 confirmed cases of Covid-19, resulting in more than 10,600 deaths, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
Also on rt.com The UK govt needs to start telling us the truth on Covid-19; lockdown is NOT a way of beating the virus Britain's National Health Service (NHS) has found itself under increasing pressure as it fights on the frontline against the pandemic. On Sunday, it announced that it would begin treating some Covid-19 patients with an anti-malaria drug. The controversial move has sparked fierce political debate, largely due to the medication's most high-profile supporter: US President Donald Trump.
Patience for the strict lockdown measures (and their zealous enforcement) has started to wane, as Britons watch case numbers and deaths increase '-- perhaps a sign that the social distancing strategy isn't as effective as the government claimed.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!
SNL star Michael Che goes on anti-fast food and 5G rant after his grandmother dies from coronavirus | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 13 Apr 2020 08:01
According to Chinese data, one in five patients with COVID-19 may be ill enough to need medical intervention. For the rest with symptoms, the best medication could be ibuprofen and paracetamol, as this controls fever and pain.
In order to help rebuild the immune system post-virus, experts recommend antioxidants which can be obtained from a variety of foods, such as berries, garlic and onion.
Vitamin Injections London founder Bianca Estelle has recommended cocktails of vitamins and minerals, intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) injection, as an alternative to oral supplements which can be harmful to the stomach in high doses.
The UK-based clinic administers high doses (dependent on factors including age and health condition. The antiviral concoctions are also great for preventing free radical damage and reducing inflammation caused by viruses.
According to Chinese data, one in five patients with COVID-19 may be ill enough to need medical intervention. File image
B VITAMINS
B Complex vitamins also help boost the immune system after a viral infection.
'Specifically B6,' Estelle says. 'It gives cells the energy they require to communicate effectively and function.' B6 supports red blood cell production and reduces inflammation. It cannot be made by the body naturally.
VITAMIN C
Coronavirus victims have reported symptoms of fatigue, body aches, fever, coughing and sneezing.
Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that protects the body against the effects of harmful agents (internal and external) and can negatively affect metabolic processes, leading to tiredness and fatigue.
Chinese studies have been treating some infected people with high doses of vitamin C due to its anti-viral properties.
Since it has a very low toxicity level, there is no risk of damaging vital organs, as long as the correct dose is administered for an individual as recommended by a health expert.
VITAMIN D
According to a WHO study on respiratory tract infections, 'Vitamin D deficiency may affect the immune system as vitamin D plays an immunomodulation role, enhancing innate immunity by up-regulating the expression and secretion of antimicrobial peptides, which boosts mucosal defenses'. Magnesium is also found in vegetables, milk and fish (pictured)
According to a World Health Organization study on respiratory tract infections, 'Vitamin D deficiency may affect the immune system as vitamin D plays an immunomodulation role, enhancing innate immunity by up-regulating the expression and secretion of antimicrobial peptides, which boosts mucosal defenses'.
Airborne illnesses such as coronavirus can get into the system via mucous membranes; eyes, nose and mouth.
Estelle hails the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of D3, otherwise known as the 'sunshine vitamin'. Darker skin tones have more difficulty obtaining the benefits of vitamin D but slow-release adhesive skin patches provide 12 hours of continuous D3 supplementation, delivered directly into the bloodstream.
'The Vitamin D Shot is a safe treatment,' VitaminInjections.co.uk states. 'Rarely, however, Vitamin D injections can lead to a number of side effects - the most common of which are stomach discomfort and nausea.'
Darker skin tones have more difficulty obtaining the benefits of vitamin D but slow-release adhesive skin patches provide 12 hours of continuous D3 supplementation
MAGNESIUM
Magnesium helps reduce inflammation in tissues and regulates the immune system response. Notably it helps keep organs, bones and nerves healthy.
Found in vegetables, milk, fish, pulses, and grains, about 15 percent is absorbed via oral supplement and it's absorbed at a much higher rate via IV.
ZINC
Zinc helps flush out damaged cells and fight infection.
According to VitaminInjections.co.uk, the trace mineral, stimulates the activities of nearly one hundred enzymes and is necessary for the healthy functioning of the body. Individuals lacking in this nutrient may be more susceptible to illness, meaning that an adequate amount of Zinc should ideally be present in the body's cells.
Zinc is recommended for supplementing pre-existing deficiencies in order to enhance the body's natural ability to defend itself against foreign invaders.
Smithfield Foods - Wikipedia
Sun, 12 Apr 2020 23:55
Smithfield Foods, Inc., is a meat-processing company based in Smithfield, Virginia, in the United States, and a wholly owned subsidiary of WH Group of China.[a] Founded in 1936 as the Smithfield Packing Company by Joseph W. Luter and his son, the company is the largest pig and pork producer in the world.[5] In addition to owning over 500 farms in the US, Smithfield contracts with another 2,000 independent farms around the country to grow Smithfield's pigs.[6] Outside the US, the company has facilities in Mexico, Poland, Romania, Germany, and the United Kingdom.[7] Globally the company employed 50,200 in 2016 and reported an annual revenue of $14 billion.[3] Its 973,000-square-foot meat-processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, was said in 2000 to be the world's largest, processing 32,000 pigs a day.[8]
Smithfield Foods, Inc.PrivateIndustryMeat processingPredecessorFarmland Industries Founded1936 as Smithfield Packing Company, Smithfield, Virginia, United StatesFoundersJoseph W. Luter, Sr.Joseph W. Luter, Jr.Headquarters200 Commerce Street, Smithfield, Virginia[1]Area served
WorldwideKey people
Kenneth M. Sullivan (CEO)ProductsMeat processingPork productsBrandsCook's, Eckrich, Gwaltney, John Morrell, Krakus, and Smithfield, among othersProduction output
As of 2006 raised 15 million pigs and produced six billion pounds of pork per year[2]RevenueUS$14.4 billion (2015)[3] US$793.8 million (2015)[3] US$452.3 million (2015)[3] Total assets US$9.9 billion (2015)[3] Total equity US$4.8 billion (2015)[3]Number of employees
50,200 (2016)[3]ParentWH Group, Luohe, Henan province, and Hong Kong, China[4]Website www.smithfieldfoods.com Then known as Shuanghui Group, WH Group purchased Smithfield Foods in 2013 for $4.72 billion, more than its market value.[9][10] It was the largest Chinese acquisition of an American company to date.[11] The acquisition of Smithfield's 146,000 acres of land made WH Group, headquartered in Luohe, Henan province, one of the largest overseas owners of American farmland.[b]
Smithfield Foods began its growth in 1981 with the purchase of Gwaltney of Smithfield,[13] followed by the acquisition of nearly 40 companies between then and 2008, including Eckrich; Farmland Foods of Kansas City; John Morrell; Murphy Family Farms of North Carolina; Circle Four Farms of Utah; and Premium Standard Farms.[14] The company was able to grow as a result of its highly industrialized pig production, confining thousands of pigs in large barns known as concentrated animal feeding operations, and controlling the animals' development from conception to packing.[8]
As of 2006 Smithfield raised 15 million pigs a year and processed 27 million, producing over six billion pounds of pork[2] and, in 2012, 4.7 billion gallons of manure.[15] Killing 114,300 pigs a day, it was the top pig-slaughter operation in the United States in 2007; along with three other companies, it also slaughtered 56 percent of the cattle processed there until it sold its beef group in 2008.[16][c] The company has sold its products under several brand names, including Cook's, Eckrich, Gwaltney, John Morrell, Krakus, and Smithfield.[17] Kenneth Sullivan has been the president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods since December 2015 and executive director of WH Group since January 2016.[18]
Company profile Edit History Edit The company traces its history to 1936, when Joseph W. Luter Sr. and his son, Joseph W. Luter Jr., opened the Smithfield Packing Company in Smithfield, Virginia. The men were working for the meatpacker P. D. Gwaltney, Jr. & Co. when they set up the company;[19] Joseph W. Luter Sr. was a salesman and Joseph W. Luter Jr. the general manager. Financing for the new company came from Peter Pruden of Suffolk and John S. Martin of Richmond. In an interview in 2009, Joseph W. Luter III described how the Luters would buy 15 hog carcasses a day, cut them up, box them, and sell them to small stores in Newport News and Norfolk. They built the Smithfield Packing Company plant in 1946 on Highway 10.[20] By 1959 they had a workforce of 650.[19]
Joseph W. Luter Jr. served as Smithfield's chief executive officer (CEO) until his death in 1962.[21] He owned 42 percent of the company when he died.[20] His son, Joseph W. Luter III, was at Wake Forest University at the time and joined Smithfield that year. Working in sales, he borrowed enough to buy a further eight-and-a-half percent of the shares, and in 1966 he became chairman and CEO.[20][21] He told Virginia Living that the company was killing around 3,000 hogs a day when he took over, and 5,000 by the time he left in January 1970, while the number of employees rose from 800 to 1,400. In July 1969 he sold Smithfield to Liberty Equities for $20 million; they asked him to stay on, but in January 1970 they fired him. From then until 1975 he developed a ski resort, Bryce Mountain, in Virginia.[20]
At the recommendation of the banks, Smithfield hired Joseph W. Luter III as CEO again in April 1975 when it found itself in financial difficulties. At the time, according to Luter, the company had a net worth of under $1 million, debt of $17 million, and losses of $2 million a year. He said it even lost money in December 1974'--holiday-ham season'--which was "like Budweiser losing money in July".[20] Luter's restructuring of the company is credited with its improved performance.[21] He remained as CEO until 2006 and as chairman until the company was sold to WH Group in 2013.[22] His son, Joseph W. Luter IV, became an executive vice-president of Smithfield Foods in 2008 and president of the Smithfield Packing Company, by then the parent company's largest subsidiary.[23] He resigned in October 2013.[22] At that point his stock was valued at $21.1 million and Joseph W. Luter III's at $30 million.[24]
Mergers and acquisitions (1981''2007) Edit Joseph W. Luter III began his expansion of Smithfield in 1981 with the purchase of its main competitor, Gwaltney of Smithfield, for $42 million.[20] This was followed by the acquisition of almost 40 companies in the pork, beef, and livestock industries between 1981 and around 2008,[25] including Esskay Meats/Schluderberg-Kurdle in Baltimore, Valley Dale in Roanoke,[20] and Patrick Cudahy in Milwaukee in 1984.[23]
In 1992 Smithfield opened the world's largest processing plant, a 973,000-square-foot facility in Tar Heel, North Carolina, which by 2000 could process 32,000 pigs a day.[8] Smithfield purchased John Morrell & Co in Sioux Falls, SD, in 1995 and Circle Four Farms in 1998. In 1999 it bought two of the largest pig producers in the United States: Carroll's Foods for around $500 million[26] and Murphy Family Farms of North Carolina for $460 million.[27] The latter was at that point the country's largest producer.[26] Farmland Foods of Kansas City was added in 2003, as were Sara Lee's European Meats, ConAgra Foods Refrigerated Meats, Butterball (the poultry producer) and, in 2007, Premium Standard Farms.[23][28] Smithfield sold its 49 percent share in Butterball in 2008 for an estimated $175 million.[29] In 2009 Smithfield was assessed a $900,000 penalty by the U.S. Justice Department to settle charges that the company had engaged in illegal merger activity during its takeover of Premium Standard Farms.[30]
The acquisitions caused concern among regulators in the United States regarding the company's control of the food supply. After Smithfield's purchase of Murphy Family Farms in 1999, the Agriculture Department described it as "absurdly big".[8] According to agricultural researchers Jill Hobbs and Linda Young, writing in 2001, the acquisitions constituted a "major structural change" in the hog industry in the United States, leaving Smithfield in control of 10''15 percent of the country's hog production.[26][31] As of 2006 four companies'--Smithfield, Tyson Foods, Swift & Company, and Cargill'--were responsible for the production of 70 percent of pork in the United States.[25]
2013 purchase by Shuanghui Group Edit On May 29, 2013, WH Group, then known as Shuanghui Group or Shineway Group, the largest meat producer in China, announced the purchase of Smithfield Foods for $4.72 billion,[32] a sale first suggested in 2009.[33] At the time of the deal, China was one of the US's largest pork importers, although it had 475 million pigs of its own, roughly 60 percent of the global total.[34] According to Lynn Waltz, the Chinese ate 85.3 pounds of pork per person in 2012, compared to 59.3 pounds per person in the US.
Shuanghui said it would list Smithfield on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange after completing the takeover.[36] On September 6, 2013, the US government approved Shuanghui International Holding's purchase of Smithfield Food, Inc. The deal was valued at approximately $7.1 billion, which included debt. It was the largest stock acquisition by a Chinese company of an American company.[11][37][38] The deal included Smithfield's 146,000 acres of land, which made WH Group one of the largest overseas owners of American farmland.[12][b]
For decades Smithfield had run its acquisitions as independent operating companies, but in 2015 it set up the "One Smithfield" initiative to unify them; Circle Four Farms in Milford, Utah, for example, became Smithfield Hog Production-Rocky Mountain Region.[39][40] Ken Sullivan said in 2017 that he saw the company's future as a "consumer-packaged goods business".[40]
Mergers and acquisitions (2016'') Edit In 2016 Smithfield purchased the Californian pork processor Clougherty Packing PLC for $145 million, along with its Farmer John and Saag's Specialty Meats brands. Smithfield also acquired PFFJ (Pigs for Farmer John) LLC and three of its farms from Hormel Foods Corporation.[5][41][42] In August 2017 Smithfield acquired Pini Polska, Hamburger Pini, and Royal Chicken of Poland,[43] and in September that year it announced that it would purchase two Romanian packaged-meat suppliers, Elit and Vericom.[44] In 2019 it acquired Maier Com in Romania.[45]
Employees, brands Edit In 2016 Smithfield had 50,200 employees in the United States, Mexico and Europe, and an annual revenue of $14 billion.[3] In 2012 it opened a restaurant, Taste of Smithfield, in Smithfield, Virginia, located in the same Main Street building as its retail store, The Genuine Smithfield Ham Shoppe.[46] As of July 2017, the company's brands included Armour, Berlinki, Carando, Cook's, Curly's, Eckrich, Farmland, Gwaltney, Healthy Ones, John Morrell, Krakus, Kretschmar, Margherita, Morliny, Nathan's Famous, and Smithfield.[17] In 2019 it introduced Pure Farmland, a plant-based brand of soy burgers and meatballs.[47][48]
In early 2019 Smithfield re-branded its foodservice business, Smithfield Farmland, as "Smithfield Culinary". The company created advisory boards composed of chefs, established partnerships with culinary schools, and engaged in substantial research and development to improve its products. Smithfield Culinary uses the Carando, Curly's, Eckrich, Farmland, Margherita, and Smithfield brand names.[49]
Leadership Edit Kenneth Sullivan became the president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods in December 2015 and executive director of WH Group in January 2016.[50] As of March 2020, Gregg Schmidt is the president for hog production, and Darek Nowakowski the president of Smithfield's European operations.[51] As of February 2020, Kraig Westerbeek was head of Smithfield Renewables.[52] Wan Long, Kenneth Sullivan, and Jaio Shuge all serve on Smithfield's board of directors.[51]
Pig production Edit Vertical integration, contract farms Edit Smithfield began buying hog-farming operations in 1990, making it a vertically integrated company. As a result, it was able to expand by over 1,000 percent between 1990 and 2005.[2] Vertical integration allows Smithfield to control every stage of pig production, from conception and birth, to slaughter, processing and packing, a system known as "from squeal to meal" or "from birth to bacon".[8]
The company contracted farmers who had moved out of tobacco farming, and sent them piglets between eight and ten weeks old to be brought to market weights on diets controlled by Smithfield.[53] Smithfield retained ownership of the pigs. Only farmers able to handle thousands of pigs were contracted, which meant that smaller farms went out of business.[2] In North Carolina, Smithfield's expansion mirrored hog farmers' decline; there were 667,000 hog farms there in 1980 and 67,000 in 2005. When the US government placed restrictions on the company, it moved into Eastern Europe. As a result, in Romania there were 477,030 hog farms in 2003 and 52,100 in 2007. There was a similar decline, by 56 percent between 1996 and 2008, in Poland.[54][55][56]
According to Joseph W. Luter III, vertical integration produces "high quality, consistent products with consistent genetics".[8] The company obtained 2,000 pigs and the rights to their genetic lines from Britain's National Pig Development Company in 1990, and used them to create Smithfield Lean Generation Pork, which the American Heart Association certified for its low fat, salt, and cholesterol content.[53][21] According to Luter, it was vertical integration that enabled this.[21]
Housing and lagoons Edit The pigs are housed together in their thousands in identical barns with metal roofs, known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The floors of the buildings are slatted, allowing waste to be flushed into 30-feet-deep "open-air pits the size of two football fields", according to the Washington Post. These are known within the industry as anaerobic lagoons.[57] They dispose of effluent at a low cost, but they require large areas and release odors and methane, a major contributor to greenhouse gas.[58][59]
Smithfield Foods states that the lagoons contain an impervious liner made to withstand leakage.[57] According to Jeff Tietz, writing in Rolling Stone in 2006, the waste'--a mixture of excrement, urine, blood, afterbirths, stillborn pigs, drugs and other chemicals'--overflows when it rains, and the liners can be punctured by rocks.[2] Responding to Tietz, Smithfield attributed the pink color of the waste to the health of the lagoons, and stated that the color is "a sign of bacteria doing what it should be doing. It's indicative of lower odor and lower nutrient content."[60] In 2018 Smithfield announced an "animal waste-to-energy" plan; the company said it would spend $125 million over ten years, along with Dominion Energy, to cover the lagoons in North Carolina, Utah and Virginia with "high-density plastic and digesters" to capture the methane gas and direct it into a local pipeline.[59]
Pregnant sows Edit Sows used for breeding are confined in 7 ft x 2 ft
gestation crates.
[61] This image was taken inside a Smithfield facility in Virginia in 2010.
Smithfield said in 2007 that it would phase out its use of gestation crates by 2017.[62] Pregnant sows spend most of their lives in these stalls, which are too small to allow them to turn around.[63] Pregnancies last about 115 days;[64] the average life span of a sow in the United States is 4.2 litters.[65] When they give birth, they are moved to a farrowing crate for three weeks, then artificially inseminated again and moved back to a gestation crate.[66] The practice has been criticized by animal-welfare groups, supermarket chains and McDonald's.[63] Smithfield did not commit to requiring its contract farms to phase out the crates.[67][68] Almost half the company's sows in the United States live on its roughly 2,000 contract farms.[6]
In 2009 Smithfield said it would not meet the deadline because of the recession,[69] but in 2011 it returned to its commitment,[70][71] and to doing the same in Europe and Mexico by 2022.[72] In January 2017 the company said that 87 percent of sows on company-owned farms were no longer in crates, and that it would require its contract farms to phase out crates by 2022.[73][68] As of January 2018, on company-owned farms in the United States, Smithfield confines pregnant sows in gestation crates for six weeks during the impregnation process. When pregnancy is confirmed, they are moved to pens within a group-housing system[6] for about 10 weeks, then to a farrowing crate, then back to a gestation crate to be impregnated again.[74][75] It uses two forms of group housing: in one system, 30''40 sows are kept in a pen with access to individual gestation crates; in the other system, five or six sows are housed together in a pen.[76] In July 2017 Direct Action Everywhere filmed the gestation crates at Smithfield's Circle Four Farms in Milford, Utah.[77] The FBI subsequently raided two animal sanctuaries searching for two piglets removed by the activists.[78] In January 2018 Smithfield released a video of the gestation and farrowing areas on one of its farms.[79]
Environmental and animal-welfare record Edit Emissions Edit Smithfield has come under criticism for the millions of gallons of untreated fecal matter it produces and stores in the lagoons. In 2012 it produced at least 4.7 billion gallons of manure in the United States; during their lifetimes, every pig will produce 1,100''1,300 liters.[15] In a four-year period in North Carolina in the 1990s, 4.7 million gallons of hog fecal matter were released into the state's rivers. Workers and residents near Smithfield plants reported health problems and complained about the stench.[2] The company was fined $12.6 million in 1997 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for 6,900 violations of the Clean Water Act after discharging illegal levels of slaughterhouse waste into the Pagan River in Virginia.[80] Its facilities in North Carolina came under scrutiny in 1999 when Hurricane Floyd flooded lagoons holding fecal matter; many of Smithfield's contract farms were accused of polluting the rivers. Smithfield reached a settlement in 2000 with the state of North Carolina, agreeing to pay the state $50 million over 25 years.[81][82][d]
According to Ralph Deptolla, writing for Smithfield Foods, the company created new executive positions to monitor the environmental issues. In 2001 it created an environmental management system and the following year hired Dennis Treacy, director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality since 1998, as executive vice-president and chief sustainability officer. Treacy had previously been involved in enforcement efforts against Smithfield.[85] In 2005 the company received ISO 14001 certification for its hog production and processing facilities in the US, with the exception of new acquisitions, and, in 2009, 14 plants in the US and 21 in Romania received certification.[86] By 2011, 578 Smithfield facilities (95 percent of the company's global operations) were ISO 14001-certified. Smithfield subsidiary Murphy-Brown reached an agreement in 2006 with the Waterkeeper Alliance, once one of Smithfield's biggest critics, to enhance environmental protection at the Murphy-Brown's facilities in North Carolina.[87][88] In 2009 the company said it had reduced its emissions since 2007, including its greenhouse-gas emissions by four percent; it attributed this to the divestiture of the beef group.[89] In 2010 it released its ninth annual Corporate Social Responsibility report, and announced the creation of two sustainability committees.[90]
Operations in Mexico Edit The earliest confirmed case of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) during the 2009 flu pandemic was in a five-year-old boy in La Gloria, Mexico, near several facilities operated by Granjas Carroll de Mexico, a Smithfield Foods subsidiary that processes 1.2 million pigs a year and employs 907 people.[57][91][92][93] This, together with tension between the company and local community over Smithfield's environmental record, prompted several newspapers to link the outbreak to Smithfield's farming practices. According to The Washington Post, over 600 other residents of La Gloria became ill from a respiratory disease in March that year (later thought to be seasonal flu). The Post writes that health officials found no link between the farms and the H1N1 outbreak.[57] Smithfield said that it had found no clinical signs of swine flu in its pigs or employees in Mexico, and had no reason to believe that the outbreak was connected to its Mexican facilities. The company said it routinely administers flu virus vaccine to its swine herds in Mexico and conducts monthly tests to detect the virus.[94]
Residents alleged that the company regularly violates local environmental regulations.[95][96] According to the Washington Post, local farmers had complained for years about headaches from the smell of the pig farms and said that wild dogs had been eating discarded pig carcasses. Smithfield was using biodigesters to convert dead pigs into renewable energy, but residents alleged that they regularly overflowed. Residents also feared that the waste stored in the lagoons would leak into the groundwater.[57]
Packaging reduction Edit In 2009 Armour-Eckrich introduced smaller crescent-style packaging for its smoked sausages, which reduced the plastic film and corrugated cardboard the company used by over 840,000 pounds per year. In 2010 the John Morrell plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reduced its use of plastic by 40,600 pounds a year, and Farmland Foods reduced the corrugated packaging entering waste streams by over five million pounds a year. Smithfield Packing used 17 percent less plastic for deli meat. The company also eliminated 20,000 pounds of corrugated material a year by using smaller boxes to transport chicken frankfurters to its largest customer.[89]
Use of antibiotics Edit Concerns have been raised about Smithfield's use of low doses of antibiotics to promote the pigs' growth, in addition to using antibiotics as part of a treatment regime. The concern was that the antibiotics were harmful to the animals and were contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Smithfield said in 2005 that it would administer antibiotics only to animals who were sick themselves, or who were in close proximity to sick animals; however, in CAFOs all pigs are in close proximity to each other.[98] The company introduced an antibiotic-free Pure Farms brand in 2017; it promoted the brand as free of antibiotics, artificial ingredients, hormones, and steroids.[99]
2006 CIWF investigation Edit In Poland, Smithfield Foods purchased former state farms for what its CEO said were "small dollars" and turned them into CAFOs using grants from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.[100] Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) conducted an undercover investigation into Smithfield CAFOs there in 2006, and found sick and injured animals in the barns, and dead animals rotting. The CAFOs were run by Animex, a Smithfield subsidiary. In one barn, 26 pigs were reported to have died in a five-week period. The CIWF report said of a Smithfield lagoon in Boszkowo: "Everywhere is the detritus of industrial factory farming'--plastic syringe casings, intravenous needles and white clinical gloves'--floating in the rancid cesspit and discarded on adjacent farmland."[101]
2010 HSUS investigation Edit In December 2010 the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released an undercover video taken by one of its investigators inside a Smithfield Foods facility.[63] The investigator had worked for a month at Murphy-Brown, a Smithfield subsidiary in Waverly, Virginia.[102] The Associated Press (AP) reported that the investigator videotaped 1,000 sows living in gestation crates. According to the AP, the material shows a pig being pulled by the snout, shot in the head with a stun gun, and thrown into a bin while trying to wriggle free. The investigator said he saw sows biting their crates and bleeding; staff jabbing them to make them move; staff tossing piglets into carts; and piglets born prematurely in gestation crates falling through the slats into the manure pits.[103][104] The video won a 2012 Webby Award in the "Public Service and Activism" category.[105]
In response, Smithfield told the AP that it has "zero tolerance for any behavior that does not conform to our established animal well-being procedures".[103] The company asked Temple Grandin, a professor of animal husbandry, to review the footage; she recommended an inspection by animal welfare expert Jennifer Woods.[106][107][108][109][110] Smithfield announced on December 21 that it had fired two workers and their supervisor.[106][111] At the company's invitation, the Virginia state veterinarian Richard Wilkes visited the facility on December 22. He told The Virginian-Pilot that Smithfield had been "very responsive and very responsible in how they've addressed the issues", and that he had not seen "any indication of abuse" of the pigs and was impressed by their demeanor. A Humane Society spokesman said that Smithfield had provided the vet "with a pre-announced, white glove tour".[112]
Lawsuits Edit In 2010 a jury in Jackson County, Missouri, awarded 13 plaintiffs $825,000 each against a Smithfield subsidiary, Premium Standard, and two other plaintiffs $250,000 and $75,000. The plaintiffs argued that they were unable to enjoy their property because of the smell coming from the Smithfield facilities.[113]
In 2017 in Wake County, North Carolina, nearly 500 residents sued a Smithfield subsidiary, Murphy-Brown, in 26 lawsuits, alleging nuisance and ill health caused by smells, open-air lagoons, and pig carcasses. Residents said their outdoor activities were limited as a consequence, and that they were unable to invite visitors to their homes. Smithfield said the complaints were without merit.[114] On August 3, 2018, a federal jury awarded six North Carolina residents $470 million in damages against Murphy-Brown LLC. The verdict included $75 million each in punitive damages, plus $3''$5 million in compensatory damages for loss of enjoyment in their properties. A state law capping punitive damages lowered that amount to $94 million. The plaintiffs had filed suit for "stench odor, truck noise and flies generated near their homes on Kinlaw Farm in Bladen County."[115] In December 2018, several plaintiffs living near a Smithfield contract farm in Sampson County received compensatory damages ranging from $100 to $75,000.[116] In March 2019, 10 plaintiffs were awarded $420,000 for nuisance by a jury in North Carolina.[117]
State representatives of agriculture in North Carolina accused lawyers and their plaintiffs of attempting to put farmers out of business. Steve Troxler, North Carolina's agricultural commissioner, said the litigation could harm farm production across the country; he argued that legal abuse of the word nuisance is a mounting concern.[115] As a result of the cases, legislators in Georgia, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia passed or proposed changes to right-to-farm laws that reduce either the right to sue or potential damages.[118]
Smithfield Renewables Edit In 2019, a joint venture in Northern Missouri with Roeslein Alternative Energy constructed a "low-pressure natural gas transmission line" between a Smithfield farm and the city of Milan, Missouri. The construction was part of Smithfield Renewables' "manure-to-energy" project.[119]
Labor issues Edit 1994''2008 union dispute Edit John Edwards meets Smithfield workers, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, June 2007.
The Smithfield Packing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, was the site of an almost 15-year dispute between the company and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), which had tried since 1994 to organize the plant's roughly 5,000 hourly workers.[120][121] Workers voted against the union in 1994 and 1997, but the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleged that unfair election conduct had occurred and ordered a new election. During the 1997 election the company is alleged to have fired workers who supported the union, stationed police at the plant gates, and threatened plant closures. In 2000, according to Human Rights Watch, Smithfield set up its own security force, with "special police" status under North Carolina law, and in 2003 arrested workers who supported the union.[122][123]
Smithfield appealed the NLRB's ruling that the 1997 election was invalid, and, in 2006, the US Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of the NLRB.[124] After demonstrations, lockouts, and a shareholder meeting that was disrupted by shareholders supporting the union, the union called for a boycott of Smithfield products. In 2007 Smithfield countered by filing a federal RICO Act lawsuit against the union.[120] The following year Smithfield and the union reached an agreement, under which the union agreed to suspend its boycott in return for the company dropping its RICO lawsuit and allowing another election. In December 2008, workers voted 2,041 to 1,879 in favor of joining the union.[121]
Working conditions Edit Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a 175-page report in 2005 documenting what it said were unsafe work conditions in the US meat and poultry industry, citing working conditions at Smithfield Foods as an example.[125][126][127][128][129][130] In particular, the report said, workers make thousands of repetitive motions with knives during each shift, leading to lacerations and repetitive strain injuries. It also alleged that the workers' immigrant status may be exploited to prevent them from making complaints or forming unions.[125][123] According to the report, the speed at which the pigs are killed and processed makes the job inherently dangerous for workers.[127] A Smithfield manager testified in 1998, during an unfair labor practices trial, that at the Tar Heel plant in North Carolina it takes 5''10 minutes to slaughter and complete the process of "disassembly" of an animal, including draining, cleaning, and cleaving. One worker told HRW that the disassembly line moves so fast that there is no time to sharpen the knives, which means harder cuts have to be made, with the resultant injuries to workers.[131] Similar criticism was made by other groups about Smithfield facilities in Poland and Romania. The American Meat Institute stated that the report was "replete with falsehoods and baseless claims".[127] The United Food and Commercial Workers Union used the report in its appeals to consumers and civil rights groups during its dispute with Smithfield.[128]
Medical supplies Edit Smithfield is a supplier of heparin, which is extracted from pigs' intestines and used as a blood thinner, to the pharmaceutical industry.[132] In 2017 the company opened a bioscience unit and joined a tissue engineering group funded by the United States Department of Defense to the tune of $80 million. According to Reuters, the group included Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic and United Therapeutics.[133]
Philanthropy and marketing Edit Smithfield Foods Foundation Edit The Smithfield Foods Foundation, established in 2002, is a non-profit organization[134][135] that acts as the philanthropic wing of Smithfield Foods, dedicated primarily to providing scholarships to the children and grandchildren of Smithfield employees. The foundation gave $5 million to Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, to establish the Luter School of Business,[136] and in 2006 gave $5 million to the University of Virginia Cancer Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.[137] It also supported its "learners to leaders" programs, begun in 2006, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Denison, Iowa; and Norfolk, Virginia.[138]
Job training for veterans Edit Smithfield Foods, the Smithfield Foods Foundation, the United States Department of Defense, and the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association announced a program to train veterans for refrigeration engineering. Participants receive classroom training, are tested for certification, then are interviewed for employment at Smithfield Foods.[139]
In-kind donations Edit In December 1999, Smithfield, Colorado Pork Producers, and JBS Pork jointly donated 50,000 pounds of meat to the Food Bank of the Rockies in Colorado.[140] In early 2020, Smithfield donated 40,000 pounds of pork to the Utah Food Bank,[141] and Smithfield and Basha's Family of Stores said they would donate 40,000 pounds of meat to St. Mary's Food Bank in Arizona.[142]
Edit In 2012, Smithfield announced a 15-race sponsorship with Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) and driver Aric Almirola driving the No. 43 Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The sponsorship was increased to 30 races beginning in 2014. Smithfield rotates its brands on the car, featuring Smithfield, Eckrich, Farmland, Gwaltney, and Nathan's Famous. Smithfield and RPM parted ways in September 2017, allowing Smithfield to sponsor Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018.[143] As of 2020, Smithfield sponsored Aric Almirola. Almirola competes in NASCAR.[144]
Notes Edit ^ Form 10-K, United States Securities and Exchange Commission (January 3, 2016): "Smithfield Foods, Inc., together with its subsidiaries ... is the largest hog producer and pork processor in the world. ... On September 26, 2013 ... the Company merged with Sun Merger Sub, Inc., a Virginia corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of WH Group ... As a result of the Merger, the Company [Smithfield] survived as a wholly owned subsidiary of WH Group."[3] ^ a b AgoPro (July 15, 2017): "In an overlooked part of the deal, Shuanghui also acquired more than 146,000 acres of farmland across the United States, worth more than $500 million, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. The deal made Shuanghui, now the WH Group Limited, into one of the biggest foreign owners of U.S. agricultural land, according to an analysis of that same data" [paragraph break removed].[12] ^ The other companies were American Foods Group, Cargill Meat Solutions and XL Beef. ^ The company agreed to donate $1.3 million to clean up; North Carolina State University would receive $15 million to research the treatment of pig waste; and the North Carolina Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation, Ducks Unlimited and the North Carolina Coastal Federation would receive grants.[81] References Edit ^ "Smithfield Foods Inc". Bloomberg. ^ a b c d e f Tietz, Jeff (December 14, 2006). "Boss Hog: The Dark Side of America's Top Pork Producer". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 30 March 2017. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Form 10-K. Smithfield Foods, Inc: Financial statements and supplementary data". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. 3 January 2016. p. 67ff. ^ "About". W H Group. Archived from the original on 27 April 2019. ^ a b "Smithfield Foods to buy Farmer John from Hormel". Reuters, November 21, 2016. ^ a b c Diamond, Max (January 18, 2018). "Animal activists are happy with Smithfield Foods' new housing for pregnant pigs". The News & Observer. ^ Subsidiaries, Smithfield Foods, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ^ a b c d e f Barboza, David (April 7, 2000). "Goliath of the Hog World; Fast Rise of Smithfield Foods Makes Regulators Wary". The New York Times. ^ De la Merced, Michael J.; Barboza, David (May 29, 2013). "Needing Pork, China Is to Buy a U.S. Supplier". The New York Times. ^ Polansek, Tom; Zhu, Julie (June 8, 2017). "Exclusive: China's WH Group targets beef and poultry assets in U.S. and Europe". Reuters. ^ a b Woodruff, Judy (September 12, 2014). "Who's behind the Chinese takeover of world's biggest pork producer?". PBS Newshour. ^ a b Hettinger, Jonathan; Holly, Robert; Meers, Jelter (July 15, 2017). "Foreign Investment in U.S. Farmland on the Rise". AgoPro. Archived from the original on 8 April 2020. ^ "Timeline: The history of Smithfield Foods". The Virginia-Pilot. May 29, 2013. ^ Deptolla, Ralph (2011). "Smithfield's journey to sustainability: A work in progress". Global Business and Organizational Excellence. 30 (6): (6''16), 6. doi:10.1002/joe.20401. ^ a b Maron, Dina Fine (July 12, 2013). "Defecation Nation: Pig Waste Likely to Rise in U.S. from Business Deal". Scientific American. ^ Seward, Robert A. (2009). "Regulations on Meat Hygiene in the USA," in Fidel Toldr (ed.), Safety of Meat and Processed Meat. Springer, p. 650. ^ a b "Smithfield Foods' Saratoga Food Specialties Recognized as Yum! Brands' Supplier of the Year". GlobeNewsWire, July 20, 2017. ^ "Kenneth Sullivan", Bloomberg. ^ a b Waltz, Lynn (2018). Hog Wild: The Battle for Workers' Rights at the World's Largest Slaughterhouse. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-60938-585-9. ^ a b c d e f g Ernsberger, Jr., Richard (September 25, 2009). "The Ham Man". Virginia Living. ^ a b c d e Turner, Tyya (2007). Vault Guide to the Top Consumer Products Employers. Vault Inc. p. 323. ISBN 978-1581313239. ^ a b Walzer, Phil (October 13, 2013). "Great-grandson of Smithfield founder leaves company". The Virginian Pilot. ^ a b c "1965''1936". Smithfield Foods. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. "2000''1966". Smithfield Foods. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. "Present''2001". Smithfield Foods. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011."Corporate Officers". Smithfield Foods. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012.
^ Biesheuvel, Thomas; Casey, Simon (May 31, 2013). "Smithfield Foods execs to pocket more than $85M from Chinese sale". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Bloomberg News. ^ a b Calamuci, Daniel (Spring 2008). "Return to the Jungle: The Rise and Fall of Meatpacking Work", New Labor Forum, 17(1) (pp. 66''77), p. 73. JSTOR 40342745 ^ a b c Hobbs, Jill E.; Young, Linda M. (June 2001). "Vertical Linkages in Agri-Food Supply Chains in Canada and the United States". Research and Analysis Directorate, Strategic Policy Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, p. 17. ^ Smith, Kimberly K. (2012). Governing Animals: Animal Welfare and the Liberal State. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-19-989575-5. ^ Company News: Smithfield in Stock Deal for Tyson's Hog Operations". The New York Times, September 30, 1999. ^ Felberbaum, Michael. "Smithfield to sell its stake in Butterball". Associated Press, September 10, 2010. ^ "Smithfield Foods and Premium Standard Farms Charged with Illegal Premerger Coordination". United States Department of Justice, January 21, 2010. ^ "Smithfield Buys Carroll's For $500 Million". National Hog Farmer. March 1, 1999. ^ Thomas, Denny & Oran, Olivia (29 May 2013). "China's appetite for pork spurs $4.7 billion Smithfield deal". Reuters. ^ "Pigs will fly". The Economist. June 1, 2013. ^ Palmer, Doug (September 6, 2013). "U.S. approves Ch