Cover for No Agenda Show 1242: Smokin' Hot
May 14th, 2020 • 3h 16m

1242: Smokin' Hot


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

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McDonald’s. Couldn't understand what she was saying
Do you need a mask? The science hasn't changed, but public guidance might
Mon, 11 May 2020 06:22
As coronavirus cases continue to rise, a growing number of Americans are opting to cover their noses and mouths with makeshift masks, including bandannas, scarves or other wraps, when venturing into public.
While the science behind whether masks can prevent a person from catching the coronavirus hasn't changed (a mask does not help a healthy person avoid infection), public guidance may be shifting.
On Tuesday, President Trump said Americans could use scarves as makeshift protective masks.
Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
"You can use a scarf. A lot of people have scarves," Trump told reporters during a news conference at the White House. "There is certainly no harm to it. I would say do it rather than going out to get a mask."
Officially, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that wearing a mask is unnecessary for healthy individuals, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said federal health officials are actively discussing changing that guidance.
"Given the fact that there is a degree of transmission from asymptomatic individuals who may not know that they're infected, we need to at least examine the possibility, as long as we're absolutely certain we don't take the masks away from who are health care providers who need them," Fauci said in an interview with NBC News' Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday night.
"It doesn't need to be a classical mask. But something that would have someone prevent them from infecting others," Fauci added. "This is actively being looked at."
The potential change, which remains under discussion internally at the CDC according to an official, would involve do-it-yourself types of fabric coverings for the face, not the kinds of masks used by health care providers. The theory is that the homemade masks would help reduce the risk of unknowingly spreading the virus through coughs, sneezes, even yawns or simple conversation.
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The coronavirus is spread predominantly through large respiratory droplets, which are thought to travel about six feet through the air.
There is no scientific evidence that wearing face coverings would have a measurable impact on flattening the coronavirus curve. And whether it would have any impact at all is still up for debate.
Potential for benefitOn the one hand, experts say people who cover their faces may be more likely to follow other health guidance, such as proper hand washing, social distancing and disinfecting surfaces.
What's more, a mask "is a visible, physical memory and behavioral aid to not touch your eyes, nose and mouth without sanitizing or washing your hands," Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and the director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota, said.
And giving the general public something tangible to do could be empowering during a pandemic with many unknowns and uncertainties.
Potential for riskBut some experts say a mask may give the user a false sense of security. And the eyes '-- an important pathway for the virus to infect a person '-- remain exposed even though the mouth and nose are covered.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams has been outspoken against healthy people wearing masks or other coverings in public.
1/3 Regarding masks:@WHO @CDCgov & my office have consistently recommended against the general public wearing masks as there is scant or conflicting evidence they benefit individual wearers in a meaningful way, but real concerns about pulling from the healthcare worker supply...
'-- U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) March 28, 2020"@WHO @CDCgov and my office have consistently recommended against the general public wearing masks as there is scant or conflicting evidence they benefit individual wearers in a meaningful way," Adams wrote on Twitter.
Facial coverings must also be changed and washed often. And if a mask gets wet, even from the moisture emitted when a person exhales, the fabric could be more likely to transmit the virus.
"Once the mask becomes moist, you don't want to touch your face or the mask because you have to assume it's contaminated," Poland said. Handmade masks can be laundered appropriately in regular home washing machines, he added.
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Perhaps the biggest concern for changing facial covering guidelines is that the public might stock up on masks meant for people who are sick and health care workers. Adams previously tweeted about this, too, writing, "seriously people '-- STOP BUYING MASKS! If health care providers can't get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk."
To be clear, the guidelines would not apply to surgical or N95 masks, which are in short supply in the U.S., and should be reserved for "people on the front lines, the doctors and nurses and transporters who are there to save our lives," Dr. Thomas Frieden, former head of the CDC, told MSNBC on Tuesday.
Indeed, some health care providers say they've had to resort to rationing the few medical masks they do have.
The federal coronavirus task force will reportedly discuss changing public recommendations for facial coverings late Tuesday.
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People, take off your masks before you really make yourself sick! | SOTN: Alternative News, Analysis & Commentary
Tue, 12 May 2020 06:24
The Coronavirus Coach
Most masks are quite unhealthy and some are even disease-promoting'--Here's why!Chemical Off-gassingThose who are manifesting COVID-19 symptoms have a greater need for fresh clean air. Because of the various respiratory illnesses associated with Coronavirus syndrome they require prana-filled more than anything. So do folks who want to prevent catching the coronavirus.
However, when wearing a synthetic mask the person is filtering their air through a synthetic material that outgases the petrochemically derived constituents that most are made of. The masked individual is then breathing in those aerosolized toxic chemicals.
Many of the sickest COVID patients already have various respiratory illnesses and/or chemical sensitivities so putting a mask on them is the worst thing that can be done. The same applies to people who are relatively healthy but have E.I. syndrome or MCS.*
*Environmental Illness Syndrome & Multiple Chemical SensitivityBrand new products just taken out of a box are notorious for outgassing various chemical toxins. In the case of a new mask, which is placed right over the mouth and nose, these airborne chemicals go right into both airways.
Therefore, patients stricken with the novel coronavirus ought to be spared from such a misguided practice. A chemical overwhelm can even trigger a respiratory condition that compels the attending physician to put the patient on a ventilator which ought to be avoided for COVID-19 patients.
KEY POINT: Venting COVID-19 patients has proven to be injurious to the lungs and often deadly, as several doctors and nurses have testified. Five medical school professors in Italy have also correctly pointed out the extreme risks of ventilators in this scientific research paper: Covid-19 Does Not Lead to a ''Typical'' Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Oxygen & Carbon DioxideWith each and every in-breath, the sick individual is also intaking some of the carbon dioxide they just exhaled.
Instead of breathing in fresh clean air full of oxygen, the mask is diminishing their oxygen intake and replacing it with the respiratory waste product'--carbon dioxide.
By subtly decreasing their oxygen levels in this manner they are being deprived of the most powerful healing agent for respiratory diseases'--Molecular oxygen (O2).
Furthermore, even a slight increase of the carbon dioxide levels in their bloodstream can contribute to anxiety and feelings of nervousness as well as cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue.
For these reasons especially, both the healthy and the ill should avoid wearing a mask like the plague '... '... '... otherwise you may end up getting this coronavirus plague.
Unhygienic and UnsanitaryEven after wearing a mask for a short period of time it becomes filthy. The more polluted the indoor and/or outdoor ambient air is, the quicker the mask will become contaminated.
Not only is the mask capturing particulate and chemical pollution from the ambient air, the accumulation of these throughout the course of a day further obstructs the necessary breathing process.
Hence, the longer a mask is worn in a polluted environment, the dirtier and more contaminated it will become. Just take a close look at the return air filter in your home or garage if you want to see what's happening with a well-worn mask; albeit, on a much smaller scale.
Now let's add into the mix the constant coughing and sneezing and spitting up phlegm and mucus. What will inevitably develop regarding the mask is a worst-case scenario that can push the patient onto a ventilator. This is only one reason so many hospital inpatients are being vented; the inappropriate treatment plans also include specific pharmaceutical drugs that are strongly contraindicated for Coronavirus syndrome.
Damage the Immune SystemThe following excerpt was taken from this article published by the Alachua Chronicle in Gainesville, Florida: Face masks can damage the immune system.
Stress can lower Your immunity. A face-covering or mask that interferes with respiration can add to stress. Cortisol is a hormone closely linked with stress. It works as a key player in the body's stress response and is often measured in research as an indicator of stress.
Cortisol plays a vital role in the body's functioning; it's secreted by the kidney's adrenal glands. But high and sustained blood levels of cortisone in individuals stressed by the fear of COVID-19 can trigger serious and emergent health issues.
Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (such as those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as:
Impaired cognitive performanceSuppressed thyroid functionBlood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemiaDecreased bone densityDecrease in muscle tissueHigher blood pressureLowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequencesIncreased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, developing metabolic syndrome, higher levels of ''bad'' cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of ''good'' cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems.Uncomfortable and DepressingAnyone who has ever worn a tight, scratchy, synthetic mask knows they are so uncomfortable they want to take it off as soon as they put it on. And, that the longer they feel compelled to wear the mask, the more depressing the whole experience becomes.
Not only is this discomfiting experience physically depressing for all the reasons explained above, it can also become emotionally distressing.
There is a LOT of anecdotal evidence that proves the longer the mask is worn throughout the day, the more dispiriting. Likewise, the more days or weeks of continuous mask-wearing, the more distressful life becomes.
The best example of this new fact of life can be found in the many stores where the employees have been forced to wear a mask during the entire work day. Clearly, they are not happy. Nor are they as helpful as they used to be. The usual courtesy and cheerfulness have been replaced with gloom and/or sadness and/or frustration.
Inflammatory Wedge IssueWhoever put out the advice of wearing a mask in the manner which has been adopted nationwide has performed a tremendous disservice.
The medical authorities and health officials in charge of the coronavirus response effort need to draft a new national policy post haste before more damage is done to the individual and collective health of the American people.
After many decades of managing all sorts of similar epidemics and pandemics, there is no good reason why such an improper recommendation was ever issued. Many of those epidemics involved similar respiratory diseases, so what makes COVID-19 so different except the nonstop fear-mongering.
Those responsible for this extremely bad mask advice have created '-- wittingly or unwittingly '-- a toxic coronavirus culture whereby the mask wearers are looking at those who abstain as being dangerous nonconformists who are somehow threatening the mask-wearer's health.
In this way, mask-wearing is quickly becoming a divisive wedge issue that has been driven deeply into the heart of the body politic. This certainly does not help the healing process which many are in dire need of today and beyond.
Families and friends are not only being unnecessarily separated during critical periods of the COVID-19 disease process, social tensions are intensifying even more during this extremely tempestuous election year. This state of affairs only creates a more conducive environment for coronavirus clusters to mushroom; after all, stress weakens the immune system (unless it's well managed).
Special Note: The flurry of recommendations that were issued by government officials and medical authorities everywhere were fundamentally fear-driven and not based on science or reality. This fear-based guidance has served to stampede countless people into the pen of blind compliance. Not only are many unaware victims of this extremely bad advice never leaving home without a mask on, some of them are closely monitoring every individual in their viewing space without a mask. Others are so bold as to police the erroneous policy as vigilantes do catching lawbreakers. For these and other reasons, the mainstream media and governments across the country are obligated to clarify the guidance with all deliberate speed.
ConclusionYes, healthcare workers ought to wear hospital-grade mask rated as N95 anti-viral in every setting that requires one. By the way, even Dr. Fauci says not to wear a mask, except for healthcare providers.
Likewise, housebound COVID-19 caregivers should also wear a mask when working with the sick family member, friend or loved one, but only when necessary. It's important to immediately take the mask off whenever it's not needed.
Obviously, every situation is different and demands its own proper response. For example, a crowded New York City subway needs to be addressed differently than taking a walk down a quiet suburban street. Hence, city dwellers have their own decisions to make whenever they are walking through a high-traffic area or crowded area.
On the other hand, folks living in rural America can basically go mask free. The same goes for most suburbanites. As for the park or the beach, this is when everyone ought to freely bask in the therapeutic sunlight and open-air environment.
The bottom line here is for everyone to use their common sense. The guidance provided in this coronavirus coaching session can be used to inform any decision to wear or not to wear a mask. But perhaps the most important instruction is that no one should ever give into offensive peer pressure to wear a mask when they know in their bones it's the wrong thing to do.
Everyone, please stay safe and pray for protection.
Be well!
The Coronavirus Coach May 9, 2020
Recommended Reading
Here's How Everyone Can Avoid Getting The Coronavirus
Here's why the beach is the best place to be during the 2020 pandemic.
Anthony Fauci to begin 'modified quarantine' - CNNPolitics
Mon, 11 May 2020 05:58
By Jake Tapper, Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent
Updated 11:44 AM EDT, Sun May 10, 2020
(CNN) Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House's coronavirus task force, told CNN he will begin a "modified quarantine" after making a "low risk" contact with the White House staffer who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The "low risk" assessment means he was not in close proximity to the person who tested positive during the time when that person was known to be positive for the virus.
He is not doing a full quarantine like Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Hahn came into contact with an individual who tested positive for coronavirus, an FDA official confirmed to CNN on Friday.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will self-quarantine for two weeks after he was exposed to a person at the White House who tested positive for Covid-19, a CDC spokesperson confirmed to CNN.
Officials will not identify the person to whom Hahn or Redfield were exposed. However, Katie Miller, the press secretary to Vice President Mike Pence, tested positive on Friday. She is known to often be in the White House coronavirus task force meetings.
To err on the side of caution, Fauci said he is doing what he calls a "modified quarantine," meaning he will stay at home and telework, wearing a mask continually, for 14 days. He said he might also go to his office at the National Institutes of Health where he is the only one there. He also will be tested every day, he said, noting he was tested yesterday and was negative.
If he is called to the White House or Capitol Hill, he will go while taking every precaution, he said.
Fauci is expected to testify at a Senate hearing about the coronavirus next week. Redfield and Hahn will now testify by video conference, the committee's chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, confirmed on Saturday.
Fauci, though, is expected to attend while wearing a mask, a source in Alexander's office told CNN. If circumstances change and Fauci needs to testify remotely, the committee will accommodate that due to the unusual circumstances.
Meanwhile, the White House sent out an email to all staff on Friday titled, "Strong Precautions We Are Taking," about the measures the White House is taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the wake of Miller's positive test, an official said.
The note mostly discussed maintaining maximum telework for staff, reporting travel and monitoring one's own symptoms, according to a copy reviewed by CNN.
The memo said "high-touch points" in the White House and Eisenhower Executive Office Building, an office building near the White House where many staffers work, will receive "heightened levels of cleaning."
The day before the memo, on Thursday, White House staff received a different memo informing them that they would be asked, upon entry, about their symptoms, in addition to the temperature checks required for admission to the White House complex. Anyone who acknowledged having the symptoms may be pulled for further screening or barred entry, that memo said.
Neither memo mentioned anything about wearing facemasks.
This story has been updated with information about Fauci, Redfield and Hahn testifying before a Senate committee next week.
CNN's Sarah Westwood, Greg Clary and Dana Bash contributed to this story.
Dr. Fauci is dedicated to public service, formed at Jesuit high school | The Long Island Catholic
Tue, 12 May 2020 19:35
Dr. Anthony Fauci meets with New York City's Regis High School students and the school's president, Jesuit Father Daniel Lahart, in 2019. Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a 1958 graduate of Regis. (CNS photo/courtesy Regis High School)
By Peter Feuerherd Catholic News Service
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has emerged for many as the voice of reason and integrity as the nation confronts the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Much of that he learned at Regis High School, a no-tuition, Jesuit-run boys college-prep school in New York City that is renowned as an academic haven. Fauci, a member of the class of 1958, told a group of alumni last May that attending the school ''was the best educational period I could ever have imagined having.''
Fauci also is a graduate of College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, another Jesuit institution, and Weill Cornell Medicine, then called Cornell University Medical College.
The alumni address was part of a return to Regis by Fauci, now 79 and known for his power walking, who, while not a household name at the time, was apparently nearing the end of a long career in government service working for six presidents.
''I take great comfort in knowing that when he speaks that he is speaking the truth and nothing but the truth,'' Jesuit Father Daniel Lahart, Regis' president, told National Catholic Reporter. Father Lahart now supervises a school, like most across the country, confined to online classes as COVID-19 disrupts normal life.
The priest said the most famous Regis alumnus has exuded integrity throughout a career, which, before this latest outbreak, was best known for raising the alarm about HIV/AIDS at the highest levels of government in the 1980s.
Fauci has emerged as a no-nonsense truth-teller in the latest crisis. While President Donald Trump has been prone to what have been criticized as overly optimistic daily briefings, it's been Fauci, frequently standing behind the president, who has tempered the optimism, whether it has been about the possibility of miracle cures or the hope of returning to business as usual.
In an interview with Science Magazine in late March, Fauci acknowledged that Trump's stretching of the truth during national news conferences creates an issue. But his response has been limited. ''I can't jump in front of the microphone and put him down,'' Fauci told Science, a quote widely seen as an illustration of the tension between science and political talk.
''He's got a relatively good poker face. But not all of the time,'' Father Lahart said about Fauci.
During Fauci's visit to Regis last year '-- he also visited a biology class at the school before talking to alumni '-- he waxed nostalgically about his four years at Regis. Regis students come from all over the metropolitan region, picked out as eighth graders from the smartest boys from far-flung parochial schools.
The students often tell tales of heroic commutes. For Fauci it consisted of a couple of bus rides as well as two express subway trains, for a 70-minute, one-way ride to school from his home in Bensonhurst in the New York borough of Brooklyn.
He was captain of the basketball team, and if there were games and practices in Harlem, in the borough of Manhattan, or in the Bronx, another New York borough, the ride home could take nearly two hours. Regis students also were expected to do three hours of homework a night, a discipline he takes to public service.
On the first day of his freshman year, he recalled, the Jesuit dean of discipline, Father Flanagan, changed his name from Anthony to Tony, and it stuck.
Fauci said he navigated through six presidential administrations in Washington by being decidedly apolitical and nonideological. He offered insights into some of the presidents he served, beginning with President Ronald Reagan.
Reagan, who he said was personally a warm and friendly person, never even addressed the AIDS crisis until his second term, unwilling to deal with the topic for years while the epidemic raged, failing to use the presidential bully pulpit to marshal resources against the disease.
Fauci described Reagan's successor, President George H.W. Bush, as extraordinary, noting that as vice president, Bush had visited Fauci's AIDS patients. President Bill Clinton was absorbed in the science of countering AIDS, while President George W. Bush pushed Fauci to develop a program to counter AIDS in Africa, which Fauci credited with saving 14 million lives via the distribution of drugs that treated the disease.
Fauci earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the second President Bush for his work in Africa. But Fauci said the president was ultimately responsible for the program, motivated by a concern that the U.S. and other wealthy countries should not be the only places in the world where HIV/AIDS could be effectively treated.
Last year, he told the Regis group that the long fight against HIV/AIDS, which included times of helplessness when he was unable to assist his dying patients, were ''the darkest years of my life.''
Now Fauci is the public face of another dark struggle.
At his Regis talk, Fauci was asked if there was anything that kept him up at night. He responded that his days are usually so long that he always sleeps well. But there was, he said, an issue that worried him when he was awake, namely the emergence of a virus that attacks the lungs, similar to the one that killed millions during 1918 and 1919.
''I worry about a pandemic,'' he said last May. Now, less than a year later, his worries are a reality and he has emerged as the public face of the fight against coronavirus. He appears concerned yet unflappable.
''Right now, there is something he's trying to figure out. He enjoys the challenge,'' said Father Lahart.
The (In)famous Jesuits?
Tue, 12 May 2020 19:36
The word ''Jesuit'' is often associated with great intellectual skill, cunning, and deception. In academics the Jesuits have long been recognized as the leading order within the Catholic Church that fulfills a predominantly educational mission. Unfortunately, their intellectual expertise has in the past been used to subvert intellectual discussion. From their intellectual wranglings with the Jansenists in France during the seventeenth century, the expression ''Jesuit casuistry,'' or just ''casuistry,'' has become synonymous with hypocrisy, or with reference to anyone who is skilled at argumentation or specious reasoning and sophistry to support otherwise questionable, immoral behavior.
Officially known as the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits have a checkered history, not only among non-Catholics but also within the Catholic Church. Consider the following: they received the papal blessing and official sanction in 1540, just six years after their inception by Ignatius Loyola; they were also expelled from several European countries between 1750 and 1773; they are renowned for their educational mission, primarily for establishing schools for educating the youth; in academic debate, they are known as casuists; in modern times, they have performed praiseworthy actions, such as struggling for the rights of indigenous peoples in South America; during the 1970s, they had been placed under a ban of silence regarding liberation theology, considered akin to Marxism by the Curia (the Roman Catholic Church's official doctrinal authority).
It is worth noting, as well, that among famous Jesuits are John Carroll, a cousin of Charles Carroll, who signed the U.S. Declaration of Independence; John Courtney Murray, who authored most of the Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis humanae) of Vatican II; and Pope Francis I (formerly Cardinal Bergoglio).
Although their origins are well documented historically, they are often regarded as an organization shrouded in mystery. Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish soldier wounded in battle and who claimed a conversion experience during his convalescence, was the founder of the order. Ignatius wrote Spiritual Exercises, a detailed manual designed to lead the practitioner into a profound, mystical experience of commitment to Jesus Christ. The Spiritual Exercises consist of ''meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices'' developed by Loyola. As originally practiced, the devotee entered a ''long retreat'' of about 30 days in solitude and silence. So from the beginning a certain spiritual mysticism accompanied their intellectualism.
By 1599 Jesuit administrators and teachers had written Ratio Studiorum (the abbreviation of the full title, Ratio atque Institutio Studiorum Societatis Jesu, Method and System of the Studies of the Society of Jesus), which outlined the Jesuit plan of education. Such an education produced priests who were well equipped to defend the Catholic faith, an additional part of the Jesuit mission that was added to their Oath of Allegiance in 1550.The Society of Jesus had such remarkable results of regaining former Catholics that they became the front line of defense in the spiritual warfare against Protestants, presenting such formidable challenges as to have regained the majority of formerly Protestant countries back to Catholicism by the mid-1600s in what historians term the ''Catholic Counter-Reformation.''
Being highly educated, but often steeped in philosophy more than Scripture, the Jesuits of the medieval era recognized that the strength of Protestantism resided in a ''Thus saith the Lord''; that is, a plain declaration from the Holy Bible. From the Scriptures, Martin Luther and other Reformers identified the antichrist with the medieval Papacy. They were offended by its lust for power and influence, not to mention its persecutory nature, having initiated the Inquisition in an attempt to purge society of those it deemed to be heretics. To counter Protestant biblical teachings, two Jesuits'--Francisco Ribera and Luis de Alczar'--developed two conveniently countervailing methods of interpreting prophecies found in the Holy Scriptures. Preterism, the interpretational method of viewing all prophecies as past events, and thus already fulfilled, would identify the antichrist as a figure of history and would not identify popery as such.
Futurism; the hermeneutic (interpretational method) of viewing biblical prophecies as all having a future fulfillment, would likewise remove the accusatory finger away from the See of Peter. Five hundred years later the fruit of their interpretational methods can be seen among Protestant denominations that adopt them (Scofield Reference Bible; the rapture theory, etc.), resulting in less opposition toward Catholicism and a much heartier unity on social service projects, as well as theological dogma.However, perhaps the single factor that has contributed most to the perception of Jesuits as sinister and shrouded in mystery is the political intrigue that many Jesuits have been involved in.
Political Intrigues
In past centuries some Catholics (and perhaps with Jesuit involvement) have sought to address political grievances through assassinations of Protestant political leaders. For example, the Gunpowder Plot was an attempted assassination of King James I and Parliament on November 5, 1605. The plan was designed to jolt Protestant England back to the Catholicism that ''Bloody'' Queen Mary had enforced.
In Jesuit Political Thought: Jesuits and the State, 1540-1630, Harro Hopfl details how in England the Jesuits introduced political ideas regarding the relation of the church to the state, as well as the allegiance of citizens to their king, that sought to undermine the influence and jurisdiction of monarchs deemed to be out of step with Rome. Chapter 13 debates tyrannicide and the Oath of Allegiance taken by subjects toward their ruler.
During the twentieth century, Jesuits and priests supported General Franco in Spain from the early 1940s until the shift from Communism to democracy that occurred during the 1970s. Sensing how the political winds were shifting, priests actively mobilized society to desire a democratic rule. Utilizing information campaigns, priests distributed pamphlets, as well as preached in their pulpits to encourage the populace to seek a democratic form of government. Spain transitioned smoothly to democracy in no small part because of clerical involvement. But priestly overtures did not end here. During the drafting and debates on the constitution for the new democracy, priests assured the church a favored, prominent legal role, as well as stipulating that certain moral values from the church become codified (such as marriage).
During the 1990s and after the fall of Communism in Europe, the expression ''Vatican ratlines'' (information lines of communication that enabled the Vatican to match the CIA at intelligence collection) came to public knowledge as Time (''Unholy Alliance'') and other media revealed how intimately involved Pope John Paul II, and other Vatican leaders, including Jesuits, had effected the defeat of one of the Catholic Church's archrivals.
However, in some cases, the roles have been reversed.Instead of Jesuits effecting political change through a variety of methods, on November 16, 1989, the shocking news from El Salvador of the assassination of six Jesuits caught worldwide attention. Although tragic, this event spawned the Ignatian Solidarity Network, which seeks to ''network, educate, and form advocates for social justice animated by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the witness of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador.'' What kind of political power might this organization possess? It possesses enough to produce the joint efforts of a U.S. senator and a Jesuit to appeal to Congress requesting support of immigration legislation. Senator Dick Durbin, a graduate of Georgetown University and coauthor of the bipartisan DREAM Act legislation, organized a press conference for (Jesuit) Father Michael Sheehan to appeal to Jesuit-educated members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, in support of the Dream Act of 2017.Sheehan estimated that 10 percent of congressional members were educated at Jesuit colleges and universities. He therefore based his appeal upon ''responsible citizenship'' and the ''obligation to respect and protect the natural rights of other human beings,'' both of which are core elements of Jesuit education.
Following the lead of Pope Francis I, the Jesuits of Honduras on December 7, 2017, denounced the corrupt manipulation of the Honduran elections.The Jesuits of Canada and those of the United States echoed the objection of the Jesuits of Central America regarding what they deemed a flagrant violation of the democratic rights of the Honduran citizens.
Modern-Day Pursuits
While Jesuits of prior centuries may have sought to produce political change through assassination attempts, such as the Gunpowder Plot, those Jesuits of the modern era utilize democratic values, such as voting, free speech, and peaceful assembly, to accomplish their political goals.Jesuits masterfully leverage their educational expertise through formal educational institutions and through drama.
In fulfillment of their educational mission, there are, based on 2014 statistics, 28 Jesuit universities in America, seven of which are operated by lay presidents (i.e., presidents who are Catholics, but not Jesuit priests).Considering that there are roughly 251 Catholic universities throughout the nation, the Jesuit universities consist of about 11 percent of that number.
The underlying tension facing Jesuit universities in America is whether they are ''Catholic enough.'' Although they adhere to some Catholic values and teachings, they also allow for intellectual inquiry, which necessitates a large degree of academic freedom beyond what is pleasing to Rome and conservative Catholics. Speakers, whose views on abortion are often at odds with those of the church, are typically given invitations to speak at Jesuit universities, whereas other Catholic universities avoid addressing the issue altogether.
Regarding the use of drama to achieve their mission, Loyola Productions is a Jesuit-owned and -operated filming company. The director/owner, Reverend Eddie Siebert, not only graduated as a Jesuit priest, but also earned a degree in film production from Loyola Marymount University. In light of that, many would expect the company to promote Catholic values and teachings through movies. However, the film genre is anything but Catholic.
Such discrepancies between the historical Jesuits and their modern counterparts leads one to consider whether the society has lost its spiritual commitment, or whether it is being disingenuous in its modern-day pursuits, harboring an ulterior motive behind its benevolent deeds. Or, perhaps this is just another Jesuit casuistry at play? Time will tell. However, an order that has played such an active and pivotal role in defending the church and the popes can hardly be expected to just fade away, or abandon all of its tactics of the past.
Nicolas Chapuis, ''Qui sont les jesuites?'' Le Monde, March 14, 2013, http://www. (accessed September 17, 2017).
The Catholic Encyclopedia, (accessed December 20, 2017). (accessed December 20, 2017).
S. S. Schmucker, Discourse in Commemoration of the Glorious Reformaton of the Sixteenth Century, (accessed December 20, 2017).
U.K. Parliament staff, ''The Gunpowder Plot,'' about/living-heritage/evolutionofparliament/parliamentaryauthority/the-gunpowder-plot-of-1605/ (accessed December 13, 2017).
Ignatian Solidarity Network, ''Our Mission,'' (accessed December 20, 2017).
Ignatian Solidarity Network Staff, ''AJCU President Challenges Jesuit-educated Members of Congress to Respond to Situation of Undocumented Young People'' (October 25, 2017), (accessed December 13, 2017).
Statement from the Jesuit's Office of Justice and Ecology on the Honduran election, (accessed December 13, 2017).
Autumn Jones, ''The New Brand of Jesuit Universities,'' The Atlantic, December 30, 2014, (retrieved December 9, 2017).
Article Author: Ed CookEd Cook has a doctorate in church-state studies from Baylor University, Waco, Texas, where he currently leads in church religious liberty activities.
The Jesuit Order Exposed - Stillness in the Storm
Tue, 12 May 2020 19:34
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(The Individual (a.k.a: Reptilian Dimension)) ''They are a secret order created by Adam Weishaupt, a Jesuit Priest'... so when we talk about the Illuminati, you are probably talking about one of the many religio-eco-political controlling arms of the Jesuits'... which is a secret society that is based on an ancient pagan cult which infiltrated the Roman church long ago, and in turn, most of the denominations of 'Church-ianity'. Why do you think that the central OBEISK (shaped like the 'Washington Monument') at the center of Vatican square was brought all the way from the center of Egyptian pagan worship, and erected in the exact epicenter of Vatican square?'' (Branton)
Related Deep State Religion Exposed: Do You Realize You're Being Initiated Into the Dark Occult?
Source '' Prepare For Change
by The Individual (a.k.a: Reptilian Dimension), June 8th, 2019
''The Jesuit is inwardly a devil, outwardly a monk and altogether a serpent.'' (Ian Paisely, member of the house of Parliament in Ireland)
Contrary to popular belief, the illuminati existed in Spain in the 1500's. The illuminati did have a revival and restructuring in the 1700's through Adam Weishaupt though. The second revival and restructure of the illuminati came through Theodore Reuss in Munich and then in England. The illuminati existed in Spain in the 1500's and was officially known in Spain as ''The Alumbrados'' (Spanish pronunciation: [alumËbɾa°os], Illuminated). The Alumbrados were known to be involved in mystical spiritual ideology, which is what the present illuminati occult groups advertise themselves to be. All the illuminati front groups that work as door ways into the illuminati for new recruits, advertise themselves as mystical spiritual occult groups, however as you progress further in the organization, they eventually lead you into a combination of hardcore Luciferianism and Satanism. Some groups such as the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) have levels which are known as the illuminati levels. Los Alumbrados had Gnostic and Babylonian Origins, very similar to Crowley's OTO that has relations to the Gnostic church and Gnostic Mass etc. When analyzing the Spanish Alumbrados, one immediately observes the similarity of this group, to the present day illuminati, which is made up of the OTO and the various interlocking Satanic/Luciferian groups. When one does the research, its clear the illuminati has been led since the 1500's by Jesuit Priests and Satanists operating in high level Vatican offices.
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''Although the Alumbrados [Illuminated; Illuminati; Enlightened Ones] of Spain were linked in their zeal and spirituality to the Franciscan reforms of which Cardinal de Cisneros was a promoter, the administrators of the Inquisition had mounting suspicions.'' (Wikipedia)
In the above wikipedia quote, we clearly see that the illuminati had links to a Cardinal in the Vatican and that this particular Cardinal was both a leader and inspiration to the illuminati.
Another well known member of the Alumbrados in the 1500's was Ignatius Loyola, who was the founder and first General of the Jesuit Order. We clearly observe that the illuminati when documented at its earliest forms, is linked to the leader of the Jesuit Order (Ignatius Loyola).
''Ignatius of Loyola, while studying at Salamanca in 1527, was brought before an ecclesiastical commission on a charge of sympathy with the alumbrados.'' (Wikipedia)
According to Wikipedia, in 1527 Ignatius Loyola who was a member of the Alumbrados, was questioned about his involvement with this group by the Vatican. Ignatius also spoke directly to the Pope about his involvement with the Alumbrados, and how he wanted to start up the Jesuit Order to further the goals of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope gave Ignatius his stamp of approval, and allowed Ignatius Loyola to start up the Jesuit Order which would serve and eventually take over the Vatican. The Jesuit Order now completely controls the Vatican both in the shadows and outwardly, as the Jesuits now have one of their own as the White Pope.
According to other documentation, the members of the Alumbrados in the 1500's, were inspired and lead by the teachings of a Roman Catholic Cardinal (Cardinal de Cisneros). A Cardinal is one of the highest ranks in the Roman Catholic Church, and they are one of 70 Vatican officials who choose who the Pope will be.
We can clearly observe that two leading members of the Alumbrados (illuminati) in the 1500's were high level Vatican officials. Although Ignatius Loyola was questioned by certain people in the Vatican, about his involvement with the Alumbrados (probably because of an internal Vatican power struggle), Ignatius was officially ordained by the Pope as Jesuit General. Here we see links between a Cardinal who was an inspiration to the illuminati (who basically is involved in the installment of Popes), the Jesuit General and the Pope in the 1500's. If one analyzes this documentation objectively, its clear that the illuminati was led by high level Vatican officials since the 1500's.
In 1773, there was a revival and restructure of the illuminati in Bavaria Germany through Adam Weishaupt. Most illuminati researchers believe that Adam Weishaupt was the founder of the illuminati, however if one looks at the facts objectively, Adam Weishaupt was simply an agent for the Jesuits to revive the illuminati and recruit more members''Weishaupt began his formal education at age seven at a Jesuit school. He later enrolled at the University of Ingolstadt (Jesuit University named after the founder of the Jesuits) and graduated in 1768.'' (Wikipedia)
''In 1773, Weishaupt became a professor of canon law, a position that was held exclusively by the Jesuits until that time.'' (Wikipedia)
Weishaupt's relationship to the Jesuits is astonishing and its my personal belief that he actually was a Jesuit, as he held an office that has always traditionally been occupied by Jesuits (professor of canon law).
The founder of the Jesuits (Ignatius Loyola) was documented as a leading member of the illuminati in the 1500's, now we have Adam Weishaupt, who is clearly a Jesuit or Jesuit agent, reviving and leading the illuminati in the 1700's. If one analyzes these facts with an objective mind, you can come to no other conclusion, except that the Jesuits have been ruling and leading the illuminati since day one. The Jesuits are the secret puppet masters of the illuminati, who hide in the shadows and under the protection of Roman Catholic religious costumes. The Jesuits act righteous and above board during the day in the public limelight, however at night, they turn their crosses upside down, and their religious costumes inside out and worship their true lord who is satan.
According to former Jesuit Priest Alberto Rivera, the Jesuits regularly hold Black Masses where the devil is worshipped. At the black mass, Alberto Rivera also witnessed high level Jesuits wearing Masonic rings and Masonic jewellery. Alberto Rivera also explained that the Jesuits involved in the Black Masses have links to the illuminati in England. Alberto Rivera has the background and credentials as a former Jesuit Priest, so that should give him some credibility, however if you study historical facts, history certainly supports and gives credibility to Alberto Rivera's testimony.
If your an illuminati researcher, I am certain your familiar with the second revival of the illuminati by Adam Weishaupt, most researchers will certainly agree with me on this, however most believe this is when the illuminati was founded. However if you read my notes above I clearly show the illuminati was operating in the 1500's in Spain. I believe I have proven that Adam Weishaupt was either a Jesuit or Jesuit agent. At the minimum, Adam Weishaupt was a layman working in the office of a Jesuit, but my personal opinion is that he probably was an actual Jesuit. So if your with me so far, you have observed that a Cardinal from the Vatican and the Jesuit General were leaders in the illuminati in the 1500's, and during the second revival of the illuminati in the 1700's a Jesuit agent (Adam Weishaupt) was reviving and recruiting members for the illuminati.
The third revival of the illuminati occured through Theodore Reuss in Munich/Germany in 1880 onwards. Based on the principle of logic, it is my hypothesis that Reuss also was a Jesuit agent working for the Jesuits. I think by the late 1800's the Jesuits and Cardinals working with them, decided to step into the shadows and control the illuminati from deep within the shadows. If you have two confirmed Jesuit agents who led and revived the illuminati for the last few hundred years, any logical and reasonable individual would agree,that it was likely Reuss was a Jesuit agent. It was during the late 1800's and early 1900's, that the Jesuits began to cloak themselves from being seen and connected to the illuminati. It was around this time that many books about the Jesuit went missing or were destroyed, nowadays, it is almost impossible to get any information or history about the Jesuits. Most people do not know that the Jesuits throughout history, have been kicked out of countries all over the world for political intrigue and political subversion. Most people do not know either that it was the Jesuits of the Jesuit College of Clermont, who wrote the Luciferianized degree's of Scottish Rite Freemasonry. Well known occultist, author and Luciferian Helena Blavatsky also writes in her book ''Isis Unveiled'' that it was the Jesuits who wrote the Masonic Degree's.
If you combine the Scottish Rite and Misraim Memphis Rites of Freemasonry, you basically have over 90 degree's of Freemasonry. Most people think that Freemasonry goes to 33 degrees only, but the Misraim/Memphis Rite of Freemasonry takes you to the 99th degree. However by the time you reach the 33rd degree, according to famous Freemason Albert Pike, you are told that Lucifer is God and thats who Freemasons must worship. At the top of the Masonic pyramid, it is a Satanic fellowship and Satanic worship.
Theodore Reuss was Grand Master of the Memphis/Misraim fused Masonic Rite, which made him Grand Master of all Freemasons from the 99th degree and downward. Once again, it is my hypothesis that Reuss was a Jesuit agent, so I personally believe that Reuss like Weishaupt was a Jesuit agent who controlled the Freemasons on behalf of the Jesuits. I believe that Reuss was submitted to the Jesuit General throughout his rulership over Freemasonry. If we refer to Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled, and if you research the evidence that the Jesuits of Clermont College wrote the high level degree's of Freemasonry, then we have to refer to logic and consider that Reuss was a Jesuit agent who referred to the Jesuits on how to understand and apply the high degrees of Freemasonry. Hence, Reuss was a student and subordinate of the Jesuit Order.
Upon inspecting Reuss's rulership of Freemasonry from the 1st to 99th degree, we can also inspect his other memberships, to see the entire illuminati spread out through their interlocking secret mystical societies, which ultimately worship Satan in their inner circle.
Theodore Reuss: '' In 1880, in Munich, he participated in an attempt to revive Adam Weishaupt's Bavarian Order of Illuminati. While in England, he became friends with William Wynn Westcott, the Supreme Magus of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia and one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Westcott provided Reuss with a charter dated July 26, 1901 for the Swedenborgian Rite of Masonry and a letter of authorization dated February 24, 1902 to found a High Council in Germania of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia. G(C)rard Encausse provided him with a charter dated June 24, 1901 designating him Special Inspector for the Martinist Order in Germany. In 1888, in Berlin, he joined with Leopold Engel of Dresden, Max Rahn and August Weinholz in another effort to revive the Illuminati Order. In 1895, he began to discuss the formation of Ordo Templi Orientis with Carl Kellner.'' (Wikipedia)
One of the branches of Martinism is called Elus-Cohens. ''In the highest of the three degrees of the Order of the Elus-Cohen, known as the Shrine, itself consisting of three degrees of which the highest was the Master Reau-Crois, evocation of entities belonging to the Divine Plane was carried out.'' (Wikipedia) According to Wikipedia, we can observe that Martinism involves summoning demons and interacting with them. According to top researchers, the Martinist Order is a Jesuit organization that is directly involved in communicating with demons. According to my own research, the Martinist Order is one of the highest up groups in the Jesuit illuminati, I believe the Martinist Order was set up by the Jesuits as a place where they could introduce Satan and his demons to people climbing the illuminati hierarchy. According to my own research, the Martinist Order does not have any specific teachings written down, all teaching is by verbal teaching and your not allowed to write down anything you learn at the Martinist Order, it's also well known that Martinists have claimed to interact with angels (which are actually fallen angels/demons) on many occasions in their meetings.
It has also been documented that Martinism and it's teaching played a part in restructuring and reforming the Bavarian branch of the illuminati in the 1700's. ''Having reformed the French branch of the order, Willermoz (high level Martinist) in 1782 succeeded in persuading the German mother branch to adopt his reforms '' though not without meeting considerable opposition from other branches of the Strict Observance, such as the Illuminati founded by Adam Weishaupt on May Day 1776 in Bavaria.'' (Wikipedia) Here we see that the Bavarian illuminati and Martinist illuminati rubbed shoulders, and that Martinism played a role in reforming the Bavarian illuminati. Martinism find's its beginnings in France and was established in 1740 by a man named Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, whom most researchers believe was a Spanish Roman Catholic. If one studies the teachings of Martinism you discover that they seek illumination, and this word illumination is mentioned specifically in documents that report on the group. It is my belief that the Jesuits used Saint-Martin to establish an illuminati base in France, and then the Martinist illuminati teachings got imported from France to Bavaria and helped reform the Bavarian illuminati.
In 1901 Reuss was made Special Inspector of the Martinist Order in Germany, which is interesting, because in 1901 he was deputy Grand Master over the 1st to 99th degree Freemasons, so if we take these matters into consideration, Reuss was in fact second in charge of all Freemasons worldwide yet he was a Special Inspector in the Martinist Order and submitted to other authorities in the Martinist Order. The Martinist Order is an order linked to the Rosicrucian Order and the Rosicrucians have a saying that is, ''Masonry is our second sight.'' The Martinist Order is an organization where people communicate with fallen angels directly, or if you would like me to be more blunt, the Martinist Order is a place where you can talk and interact with Satan and the demons who follow him. My hypothesis is that the Martinist Order is an order the Jesuits created, to get people under more demonic control and to communicate directly with Satan. Reuss probably was controlled by agents in the Martinist Order who were controlled by the Jesuits, so the Jesuits had created layers to protect themselves from people connecting the dots. Yes, the Jesuit is cunning and as the illuminati has progressed and evolved since the 1500's, the Jesuits have implemented measures, to ensure the public does not connect them to the interconnected illuminati groups. With every illuminati revival and evolution, the Jesuit has sought to hide himself in greater layers, so in this present day, without heavy research and prayer, the average researcher has problems seeing the Jesuits as the true leaders of the illuminati. There are numerous secret societies under various names around the world and they are all Jesuit illuminati bases, however one needs to understand that the Jesuits have authority over all these groups, and only Satan and his demons have a higher rank in the illuminati than the Jesuit.
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The illuminati at the very top is led and controlled by supernatural beings known as Lucifer/Satan, and various other supernatural demons who use a variety of names. Under Satan and his demons are the Jesuits, they are next in charge. Why are the Jesuits second in charge under Satan and his demons? Because Satan and his demons are spirit beings and they need spiritual protection, so they placed the Jesuits underneath them in the illuminati to protect them. The Jesuits protect Satan and his demons by fighting a covert but violent war against true Born again Christians who follow Jesus Christ, and are able to cast away and do damage to demons by following instructions from the Bible. Since the 1600's, the Jesuits have been infiltrating Bible translation offices, to remove Bible verses and corrupt manuscripts to corrupt the instructions given to Christians by God. However in 1611, under the authority of King James of England, the greatest minds of England were able to produce the greatest Bible translation ever called ''The King James Bible''. The King James English Bible was translated from the original uncorrupted Greek and Hebrew texts, and was an exact English translation of every word given to Jesus disciples (New Testament) and to the Jews (Old Testament). Since the publication of the King James Bible, the Jesuits and their agents have been trying to replace it with other Jesuit modern versions, which bring down the deity of Jesus Christ, and which remove multitudes of verses to water it down. A watered down inaccurate Bible becomes a useless tool in the hands of a Christian, therefore they lose their authority to come against Satan and his demons. The Jesuit like a cunning special forces soldier, has come into the camp of the Christian, and tampered with his weapon, to give Satan an advantage and to weaken the Christians weapons. This is one way the Jesuit protects his master Satan and the demons. It is only a born again Christian who knows the Bible and has the Holy Ghost in him, who can actually entrap and cast away these notorious spirit beings (Satan and his demons) who control the illuminati.
The Jesuit has also fought against Satan's enemies for centuries by: burning, boiling, shooting, stabbing, poisoning, beheading and torturing any born again Christian who follows the Bible. This assault by the Jesuits against God's people continues to this day, as the Jesuits secretly poison and assassinate genuine Protestant Christians who will not submit to the Pope or their agenda. The Jesuits are able to use all kinds of poisons, such as secret nanotechnology bio-weapon poisons, that cannot be identified by most medical blood tests.
The Jesuits use the Roman Catholic Church as an institution where they become the authority over anyone interested in Christianity, so that they can control anyone interested in Christianity, and stop them from ever truly becoming a real Christian through: false doctrine, useless rituals and dumbing down. The Roman Catholic in essence, becomes a victim, as they seek to pursue God, they are trapped by a system where the Jesuits who rule the Vatican and clergy are instructing the congregation according to the will of Lucifer. Lucifer's will of course is for these congregation members to be blind to the truth so that they cannot be effective in battle against him. This dumbing down of the Roman Catholic congregation is spread throughout the Protestant denominations, as the Jesuits recruit Protestant preachers through freemasonry. As we read various reports in today's media, where we have well known Protestant Ministers saying that, we need to unite with the Vatican, we can observe the Jesuit influence has moved throughout many church denominations and is not isolated to the Roman Catholic Church. The Jesuits job is to control anyone interested in Christianity and protect Lucifer from them. The Jesuits are satan's bodyguards on earth, that is why they are so high up in the illuminati.
The Jesuits have also been involved in murdering and persecuting genuine followers of the Jewish religion. The Jesuits in control of the Bavarian illuminati raised up Hitler and the Nazi's to persecute and kill many Jews who followed the Old Testament Bible, the Jesuits also used the Nazi's to kill many Christians as well. Multitudes of Christians who wanted to follow righteousness also perished with Jews in the many Nazi death camps. Although many researchers claim the Jews run the illuminati, some people in the illuminati may be Jew by birth and have Jewish genes, but they have forsaken their Jewish religion and are following the Luciferian religion whose leadership is Jesuit. I suspect the Jesuit places Jews in visible power positions so the blame of world problems is blamed on the Jew. In most cases the Jew is the money manager and accountant for the Jesuit, the money Jew in the illuminati manages and operates the money under Jesuit directions.
The Masonic Jews in Israeli government who work for the Jesuits are also not managing the nation of Israel for the benefit of the many common Jews. Large chunks of land are often given away to extremist Islamic groups to create continued unrest and civil wars in the region, the Masonic Jews in political power in Israel want to keep the unrest going, so the UN can intervene and take over Jerusalem for the Jesuit Pope.
In the past Rabbi Kahane (an Israeli politician) wanted to give arabs/muslims living in Israel, large sums of money to relocate outside of Israel. This would have created peace and better living standards for arabs, as Israel and Palestine have become recruiting grounds for Islamic extremists, who thrive on the poverty of arabs and recruit them into extremist groups to attack Jews in Israel. Violence between Muslims and Jews in Israel is an ongoing civil war, Jews and Muslims have not been able to live peacefully for centuries, as both ideologies are in major conflict with each other. After Rabbi Kahane tried to give financial relocation assistance to arabs and make Israel exclusively Jewish, he was thrown in Jail by Israeli Masonic jewish politicians.
I do believe that the Jews deserve to be in Israel as God gave them that land in the Bible, but they are not living peacefully there as Islam and Judaism have never been able to exist peacefully. The ideal solution is to relocate the Muslims/Arabs elsewhere and give them funds to start a better life somewhere, away from the middle eastern civil war, and away from Islamic extremism, so they can choose an ideology and lifestyle independently, without bias coercian from extremists who thrive in poverty situations. But if you do the research, its my opinion that the Israeli Masonic politicians are working with Masonic Islamic leaders, to keep trouble occurring in that region, so the Jesuits can bring Israel under UN control and install their antichrist Pope as King of Jerusalem.
Many of the top leaders in the illuminati have roots in Nazism and the illuminati is certainly not a Jewish conspiracy, although some Jews may be working for the Jesuits in the illuminati in various offices (mainly banking).
Many of the leading personalities in the illuminati are former Nazi's and have been trained by Nazi's, and as already discussed the Nazi's and Hitler were raised up and controlled by the Jesuits. The Nazi SS itself was designed after the Jesuit Order. ''Himmler used the Jesuits as the model for the SS, since he found they had the core element absolute obedience and the cult of the organisation. Hitler is also said to have called Himmler ''my Ignatius of Loyola''. (Wikipedia)
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The Nazi's and the SS were an expression of the Jesuit Order and illuminati, and the Nazi era itself was used as a training ground to develop many of the Jesuit Order and illuminati's systems. Death and prisoner camps such as Auschwitz, were used to imprison expendable people, that the Jesuit mad scientists could use as giunea pigs, when they experimented on people with satanic ideologies and satanic science. It was in these Nazi death camps that most of the mind control and systems the Jesuits and illuminati use today were developed. The Jesuit illuminati went through a big revival after Theodore Reuss revived the illuminati in Munich Germany, and that revival and evolution continued in Germany as the occult revival birthed the Nazi party and Hitler. Hitler and the top level Nazi officials were members of an illuminati organization known as the Thule Society, which sprang up in Germany as a result of Theodore Reuss's occult revival.
Once the Jesuit/illuminati Nazi's finished their experimentation at the Nazi death camps, the Jesuits used the allies to bomb and destroy the mainly Protestant Christian area's of Germany, to kill as many Christian heretics as they could. Remember that the Jesuits controlled the allies and Nazi's at this time, and once they had used the allies to bomb the Christian heretics in Germany, they then rescued all their top Nazi illuminati officials through programs such as Operation Paperclip. Through the American program called ''Operation Paperclip'', many top Nazi Scientist's and Nazi officials were brought back to the United States and absorbed into the US intelligence agencies. Many top Nazi's and SS officer's became leading illuminati figures in the USA, as they had brought back knowledge from Germany they had learnt in the concentration camps.
Nazi SS officer Joseph Mengele became a high level figure in the US branch of the illuminati and the international illuminati. Mengele was involved in producing unquestioning illuminati soldiers, spies, assassins and servants. There are literally too many reports of Mengele operating in the CIA and other US intelligence agencies to report, he has been identified by mind control victims who have testified at public hearings on numerous occasions.
Joseph Mengele was a doctor who worked at the Nazi death camp known as Auschwitz, it is at this camp that he tortured and experimented on people. It has been reported that he would torture people to the extreme, to calculate how much torture the average person could tolerate before they died. He would later use these torture techniques to develop mulitiple personality disorder in his subjects, so that he could create multiple personalities in one person, and use each personality for various purposes, without the principle personality knowing what the other internal personality was up to. This phenomena was dramatized in the movie ''The Manchurian Candidate'' where a politician would recieve a phone call and a key word was told to him on the phone, once this key word was recited, the politician would go into a trance and become a different person who would murder on command. After the politician would kill someone after going into a trance and literally turning into a different person, he would then forget what happened and could not even remember killing anyone. This is the sort of mind control that Mengele had developed by experimenting with patients in Auschwitz, using various techniques that involved torture and drugs.
There have been a number of ex illuminati members who have come out of the organization, and stated that Joseph Mengle was operating as a programmer in the United States on members of the US illuminati. One woman recalled how as a girl Mengele would program her by forcing her to kill a chicken (assassination programming) and when she wouldnt comply, Mengele would cut off her hair and take away her toys and belongings. This technique Mengele applied was used at Auschwitz and is basic Auschwitz programming. Its well documented that the first thing that happened to Auschwitz prisoners, was that their hair was shaved off, and their belongings and possessions were seized. This was Jesuit/illuminati experimentation on how to humiliate and mind control subjects, and get them to do what you want them to do.
According to my research, I do believe Joseph Mengele was a part of the US operation paper clip, and that he was absorbed into either the CIA or NSA (maybe both) and used by the Jesuits to program and control members of the illuminati in the USA and abroad. I believe the Jesuits and illuminati brought many Nazi's into the USA and placed them in key positions in the CIA and NSA, and I believe there is a big Nazi influence in the US intelligence agencies up untill today. The Nazi's in the USA's; CIA, NSA and other intelligence agencies, make up much of the Jesuit/illuminati apparatus in the USA. Even untill today, NSA agents such as Colonel Michael Aquino are known to dress up in Nazi uniforms and participate in Nazi occult rituals. Michael Aquino has stated on record that his religious beliefs sometimes do involve Nazi ideologies. So here we see that the Nazi ideology in US intelligence agencies is alive today. The US intelligence agencies which were full of Jesuit/illuminati agents, embraced these Nazi's that came to them through Operation Paperclip, and also embraced many of their ideologies as they were occult Luciferian brothers. The United States today is still at war with the Nazi factions, which now fight the US populace through US intelligence agencies they are agents of. The Nazi's and Jesuit/illuminati fight the US through these intelligence agencies, by recruiting and training mind control slaves through CIA programs such as MKultra, and using these slaves to assassinate and spy on their enemies in the USA. They also use the CIA and NSA to start up various cults and movements to stir up trouble in the USA.
I also believe many of the mass shootings in schools and other places in the USA are committed by Nazi, CIA, NSA mind control victims, the Jesuit/illuminati use these mind control victims, to create these shootings so they can take away US citizen's guns. Once US citizens have their guns seized, then the world government can send world government troops into the USA, and enforce UN laws that contradict the US constitution. If US citizens have no guns, they cannot resist the: world government, world army and world police, that the Jesuits want to implement over every country in the world. The Jesuits/illuminati want a world government that's: Nazi fascist, communist and totalitarian, and remember that the first thing Hitler and the communist leaders did, was take away everyone's guns, so they couldn't defend themselves against a fascist government. The Jesuit/illuminati want to erect their Jesuit Pope as King of the world and god, whom they will force everyone to worship by placing a microchip in your forehead or hand so they can have full control of you, in the Bible this microchip is known as the mark of the beast, and if you take this mark you will be damned forever as you have made an allegiance with Satan.
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (Revelation 13:16-18)
In conclusion it is clear that the illuminati are a tool and product of the Jesuit Order and that their goal is a one world government, where they can install their Jesuit Pope as King of the world government and world religion. The answer to this plot of satan is get a copy of the King James Bible, so we can hear what God has to say in our own language, and we need to seek God through Jesus Christ, so we can come into the Super Intelligence (Holy Spirit) consciousness and be guided by God through the Holy Spirit.
Obviously there is a conspiracy going on thats beyond our imagination and comprehension, and you the reader may be asking, what can I do? The author of this conspiracy is a supernatural being and ultimately this is a spiritual war, and you need spiritual help, so I would like to invite you to pray with me. Whether your a human or reptilian hybrid in the illuminati, or your just a concerned citizen, I invite you to please pray this prayer, so you can come into: the Jesus Christ Holy Spirit consciousness:
Lord, I come to you in Jesus name and after careful research, prayer and consideration, I believe that the King James Bible is accurate, and I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and that three days later he rose from the dead. Please forgive me of my sins, as I put my faith in Jesus Christ who took the punishment on that cross that I deserved. Come into my heart oh Jesus and fill me with the Holy Spirit, so that I can have the supernatural power to do what you want me to do. Give me the strength to help others and make a positive impact in this world, help me to be the person you want me to be and show me what it is I can do to make a difference in this world. Help me to read the Bible and understand it, and please speak to me supernaturally so that I can understand your will for my life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
The Jesuits control the illuminati with Lucifer (Satan) and his demons
The below pyramid structure reveals the Luciferian illuminati pyramid structure. The organization is made up of both reptilian shapeshifter's and regular human beings. Some reptilian shapeshifter's are benevolent and we need to be aware that reptilians can be saved just as humans can be saved, by coming into the Super Intelligence (Holy Spirit) consciousness through faith in Jesus Christ. The Luciferian illuminati is ruled by the Jesuits through the Vatican which they completely control, the Jesuits also have full control of the Vatican's Knight Orders which include: The Knights of Malta, Knights of Columbus etc. I believe the Jesuits are made up of both shapeshifting reptilians and human beings.
The various satanic occult groups discussed below are also made up of both shapeshifting reptilians and human beings. For more information on the reptilians and their origins, please click the link below titled ''Alien Origins''.
Readers should also take note that the Jesuits do not worship or follow Jesus, their secret symbol IHS, does not mean ''in his service'', it is actually a secret satanic occult symbol, that indicates that they worship the devil and the Egyptian demon gods (The Jesuit symbol IHS= Isis, Horus and Set)
Lucifer (Satan) and his fallen angels (demons)
At the top of the Jesuit illuminati pyramid, we have the illustration of a pyramid capstone (left), with the all seeing eye upon it. This all seeing eye capstone represents Lucifer (also known as Satan) and the fallen angels, who have rebelled against Almighty God and Jesus Christ, and are seeking to oppose God and His Kingdom by building their own satanic Kingdom on earth, that is interconnected with the spiritual dimension they dwell in. The fallen angels (demons), can materialize in physical form and interact with their followers at various: occult lodges, covens and cults. Lucifer (Satan) is the ultimate leader of the Jesuit illuminati, and he has appointed various demons beneath his authority, to perform various duties for him or to instruct the human members of the Jesuit illuminati what his will is.
The white Jesuit Pope seeks world temporal power (rulership of all political and military powers worldwide), and world spiritual power (rulership over all religious groups worldwide). Pope Francis (aka: Jorge Mario Bergoglio) is Satan's dark prince and physical ruler of the Jesuit illuminati. This man is Satan's chosen antichrist who will unite all world religions, and command a military/religious world order on Satan's behalf. When the UN take over the nations, this man will command the UN. This antichrist Pope seeks to steal the office of Jesus Christ, by demanding to be worshipped as God and Jesus Christ, he already demands worship as a demigod at this point by claiming to be the vicar of Jesus Christ (a vicar is defined as being a substitute according to most dictionaries). This demigod Jesuit Pope seeks to become a liberal Luciferian false Jesus god, who will fit into every religious philosophy of the world. He seeks to unite all religions under his authority by becoming the Christ for Christians, the Buddha for the Buddhists, the Mahdi for the Muslims, the Krishna for the Hindu's and the occult prince for the witches. This multidimensional false Messiah, will seek to become the authority over all religions worldwide.
To the far left in the brown/gold cloak, is the current Jesuit General, Adolfo Nicholas. Next to Adolfo dressed in black, is Peter Hans Klovanbach. This man is the second Jesuit General presently serving in the Jesuit Order. Pope Francis, Adolfo and Peter Hans, make up the physical dimension unholy trinity, as they are the three principle representatives of Lucifer (Satan) on earth. Lucifer (Satan) is using this unholy trinity, to establish his one world religion and one world government here one earth.
The symbol to the left is the official Jesuit Symbol, which is also written on the Roman Catholic wafer biscuit, which is ''IHS'', which the Jesuits claim means ''in his service'', however the true meaning of this IHS symbol is ''Isis, Horus and Set.'' These are the names of egyptian demon gods, and Set is often used as another name for Satan, by many prominent Satanist's such as Michael Aquino (founder of the temple of Set). The Jesuit symbol is actually a symbol for Satan and his demons, as these are the gods the Jesuits worship and whom they serve.
The Jesuits who are also in control of the worlds intelligence agencies, make up many members of the: CIA, NSA and other foreign intelligence agencies, we see this pattern by observing Jesuit Priest Avery Dulles whose uncle was director of the CIA. Jesuit associates and relatives always seem to suspiciously be in high level intelligence agency positions. These patterns also seem to confirm Branton's belief's, about the Jesuits controlling the international intelligence agencies and secret technology.
By dominating the worlds intelligence agencies, they can spy on whoever they want and plan assassinations, blackmail and coercion against anyone they wish to control. The Jesuits also control many worldwide religious groups which include: Roman Catholicism, Islam, many protestant denominations and a variety of New Age and occult groups. The Jesuits are also highly educated and can speak a variety of different languages, and can easily blend into various cultures, and place themselves in key positions so they can control that populace in that area. The Jesuit is a master spy and chameleon and can take the form of a: Islamic Imam, Protestant minister or missionary, businessman, police officer or politician, and you wouldn't even know it was a Jesuit. According to former Jesuit Alberto Rivera, a Jesuit is often given a fake girlfriend to walk around with, so when undercover, nobody suspects them of being a Jesuit priest.
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Underneath the Jesuit Order are a variety of interconnected Satanic cults, Luciferian occult groups, intelligence agencies, and other sympathetic organizations, that are working together to make the white Jesuit Pope king of the world government and world religion.
The church of Satan and Temple of Set can certainly be considered relative churches, as Michael Aquino used to be Vice President or second in command of the Church of Satan. According to my research the Jesuits are in control of the Temple of Set, and Michael Aquino was secretly submitted to the Jesuits, as the name of his satanic temple references ''Set'', which is the last initial of the Jesuit symbol. Remember that the Jesuit symbol is IHS, which stands for: Isis, Horus and Set. In the past, FBI agent Ted Gunderson and another witness who appeared on the TV program America's Most Wanted, have accused members of the Temple of Set of kidnapping children and forcing them to participate in Satanic Rituals that involved serious crimes. Former leader of The Temple of Set was a high level NSA intelligence agent with top secret security clearance, and its obvious to assume that he had access to the underground tunnel networks, underground bases and advanced technology. These types of cult's seem to be recruiting grounds for intelligence agents, who are given access to highly advanced technology, and they are also given security clearance, to enter the underground tunnel network connected by advanced underground speed trains. Members of all these cults become agents for the Jesuits, Lucifer and his demons.
The Rosicrucian Order certainly has a history of being deeply involved with the founding of the German illuminati. Amorc is a secretive organization, that has a confirmed mix of reptilian shapeshifters and human beings who are members. According to my own research and the research of people such as Branton, AMORC has strong links to the Bavarian illuminati, and is very involved with the underground tunnel networks and secret technology in underground bases. AMORC promises its members supernatural powers such as invisibility and telekinesis. The Rosicrucian Order is also a place where women can have leadership roles, and it serves as an excellent base for the Jesuit's to recruit female members seeking power and authority.
Misraim-Memphis Rite of Free masonry.
Most people are not aware that Freemasonry goes up to the 99th degree. The highest Freemasonry degree is in the Misraim-Memphis Masonic Rite, where one can reach the 99th Masonic degree which is called ''Grand Hierophant.''
As many are aware the Scottish Rite degrees of Freemasonry were written by the Jesuits from the Jesuit College of Clermont, and according to co-Mason and founder of the Theosophical Society, Helena Blavatsky, the Jesuits wrote all Luciferianized degree's of Freemasonry which include the Misraim and Memphis Rite, although the Jesuits have tried to hide this by tampering with encyclopedia's, and spreading disinfo, that the author of the Misraim-Memphis degree's was an Italian General. It's well documented and logical to assume, that the Jesuits wrote all the degree's of Freemasonry that go right up to the 99th degree. If the Jesuits wrote the Scottish Rite degree's which is the Luciferianized branch of Freemasonry, then its logical that they continued writing the Luciferian degrees right up to the 99th degree. Blavatsky was a female Mason and has her own Masonic/Luciferian lodge (Blavatsky Lodge), and she clearly states that the Jesuits wrote the Masonic degrees.
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The founder and so-called prophet of islam is Mohammad. Mohammad was trained by Roman Catholic monks, and according to former Jesuit Alberto Rivera, high level Vatican officials were responsible for the creation of Islam. Islam fits the Roman Catholic and Jesuit ideology perfectly, which is to kill anyone who does not agree to your doctrine or submit to it. The Islamic political system fits together with the fascist, communist, New World Order perfectly. You are going to see false prophets rise up from the New Age movement and out of the vatican, that are going to create a one world religion that fits in with: Islam, the Vatican and the New Age movement. A false Islamic prophet may rise up in the Middle East, he may even arrive in a spaceship or UFO, and he may claim to be an Islamic Messiah and unite the Muslims of the world with the Vatican. This false Islamic Messiah can then lead the Muslims to kill and behead anyone who does not submit to the New World Order or Pope.
In the below pictures the former Pope with an Islamic leader kissing the Koran. You are already seeing a movement in churches promoting the ideology called Chrislam, which is the merging of compromised Christianity with Islam (Biblical based Christianity would never do this. The Koran is a book of lies produced by the Vatican to attack Bible based Christianity). The Jesuits through supernatural witchcraft and advanced technology, can easily create a stunt in the Middle East, that portrays the coming of a stunning new Islamic leader with special powers and supernatural charisma. Through clever philosophy the Jesuits can then use this leader to bring Islam together with the Vatican and New Age movement religion. Your going to see all religions merge as stunning false prophets with supernatural demonic powers, rise up all over the world and unite under the United Nations.
The ruler of Islam's Holy site Mecca and Saudi Arabia, meets with his master the white Pope who is controlled by the Jesuits. Just as the Jesuits control Freemasonry and Islamic Shriner Freemasonry, they also conrol the Islamic Middle Eastern leaders and Islamic groups.
One should also note that during the Spanish civil war when the protestants started revolting against the Roman Catholic church, the Vatican called in Islamic mercenaries who fought against Spanish Protestants under the flag of the Vatican. In the future, when Bible based protestant Christians refuse to submit to the one world religion and Jesuit Pope, your going to see a similar situation where the Pope will use Islamic mercenaries to murder Christians who will not submit. Islam's doctrine of killing heretics is identical to Vatican canon law, and the Jesuit doctrines of killing people who will not submit to them.
Islam is another false New Age religion created by the Vatican to control large populations through a fascist style government (Shariah law). If a nation comes under Islamic Shariah law, the leaders of the nation can imprison and execute anyone they want without a trial. Islamic leaders can also call for violence and murder against any person or group they do not like, regardless if the person or group has done any real wrong doing. Under Islam, your living under an oppressive ruler who uses Shariah law to rob your money through excessive taxes, and an ideology that gives leaders a right to do anything to you without a fair trial. Under Islamic rule, you literally have no religious or spiritual rights, and if your seen carrying a Bible in places like Saudi Arabia, you can get in much trouble or violently punished. Saudi Arabia could be compared with a hardcore communist regime where rights and freedoms are non existent, and it could also be compared to the Vatican supremacy years, when the Pope: burned, beheaded and killed anyone who followed the written Bible and not the Popes words.
The only nations to ever have rights and true freedoms have been Protestant Christian nations who followed the Holy Bible. Switzerland and the USA are the two freest nations on earth, and both these nations have a strong protestant Bible based foundation. In Protestant Christian based nations, freedom and liberty is there, because they had the truth to guide them, and the spiritual truth's to lead them into freedom and protect them from oppression.
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Stillness in the Storm Editor: Why did we post this?
History is the tapestry of events of human activity that have led to the present. Without understanding where we have been, we can't properly understand and shape the future we want to create. The preceding information discusses history in some respect. With a proper understanding of history in hand, one can better comprehend their place in the present, as well as positively, contribute to the guiding of civilization toward a benevolent end.
'' Justin
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Fauci is a Jesuit, like the Pope a NWO guy - Free Masonry
We need a “Daily Flynn” Podcast
Open Memorandum to Barack Obama | Sidney Powell
Thu, 14 May 2020 05:57
OPEN MEMORANDUMTo: Barack Hussein ObamaFrom: Sidney
Date: May 13, 2020
Re: Your Failure to Find Precedent for Flynn Dismissal
Regarding the decision of the Department of Justice to dismiss charges against General Flynn, in your recent call with your alumni, you expressed great concern: ''there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free. That's the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic '-- not just institutional norms '-- but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk.''
Here is some help'--if truth and precedent represent your true concern. Your statement is entirely false. However, it does explain the damage to the Rule of Law throughout your administration.
First, General Flynn was not charged with perjury'--which requires a material false statement made under oath with intent to deceive.1 A perjury prosecution would have been appropriate and the Rule of Law applied if the Justice Department prosecuted your former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for his multiple lies under oath in an investigation of a leak only he knew he caused.
McCabe lied under oath in fully recorded and transcribed interviews with the Inspector General for the DOJ. He was informed of the purpose of the interview, and he had had the benefit of counsel. He knew he was the leaker. McCabe even lied about lying. He lied to his own agents'--which sent them on a ''wild-goose-chase'''--thereby making his lies ''material'' and an obstruction of justice. Yet, remarkably, Attorney General Barr declined to prosecute McCabe for these offenses.
Applying the Rule of Law, after declining McCabe's perjury prosecution, required the Justice Department to dismiss the prosecution of General Flynn who was not warned, not under oath, had no counsel, and whose statements were not only not recorded, but were created as false by FBI agents who falsified the 302.
Second, it would seem your ''wingman'' Eric Holder is missing a step these days at Covington & Burling LLP. Indelibly marked in his memory (and one might think, yours) should be his Motion to Dismiss the multi-count jury verdict of guilty and the entire case against former United States Senator Ted Stevens. Within weeks of Mr. Holder becoming Attorney General, he moved to dismiss the Stevens prosecution in the interest of justice for the same reasons the Justice Department did against General Flynn'--egregious misconduct by prosecutors who hid exculpatory evidence and concocted purported crimes.
As horrifying as the facts of the Stevens case were, they pale in comparison to the targeted setup, framing, and prosecution of a newly elected President's National Security Advisor and the shocking facts that surround it. This case was an assault on the heart of liberty'-- our cherished system of self-government, the right of citizens to choose their President, and the hallowed peaceful transition of power.
Third, the inability of anyone in your alumni association to find ''anybody who has been charged [with anything] just getting off scot-free'' would be laughable were it not so pathetic.
Many of your alum feature prominently in the non-fiction legal thriller published in 2014: Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice. A national best- seller, it focusses on the egregious prosecutorial misconduct of your longest serving White House Counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler; your counter-terrorism advisor Lisa Monaco; Loretta Lynch's DAG for the Criminal Division Leslie Caldwell; and Mueller prot(C)g(C) Andrew Weissmann. While they worked as federal prosecutors on the Enron Task Force'--under the purported supervision of Christopher Wray'--they destroyed Arthur Andersen LLP and its 85,000 jobs; sent four Merrill Lynch executives to prison on an indictment that criminalized an innocent business transaction while they hid the evidence that showed those defendants were innocent for six years. Both cases were reversed on appeal for their over-criminalization and misconduct. Indeed, Andersen was reversed by a unanimous Supreme Court.
Fourth, even if your many alumni don't remember multiple cases that had to be reversed or dismissed for their own misconduct, Judge Emmet Sullivan should remember dismissing the corrupted case against Ted Stevens. Judge Sullivan is the judicial hero of Licensed to Lie. It is that case that caused Judge Sullivan to enter the strong Brady order the Mueller and D.C. career prosecutors violated repeatedly in the Flynn prosecution.
Fifth, there is precedent for guilty pleas being vacated. Your alumni Weissmann and Ruemmler are no strangers to such reversals. At least two guilty pleas they coerced by threats against defendants in Houston had to be thrown out'--again for reasons like those here. The defendants ''got off scot-free'' because'--like General Flynn'--your alumni had concocted the charges and terrorized the defendants into pleading guilty to ''offenses'' that were not crimes. Andersen partner David Duncan even testified for the government against Andersen in its trial, but his plea had to be vacated. Enron Broadband defendant Christopher Calger had his plea vacated. There are many others across the country.
Sixth, should further edification be necessary, see Why Innocent People Plead Guilty, written in 2014 by federal Judge Jed Rakoff (a Clinton appointee). Abusive prosecutors force innocent people to plead guilty with painful frequency. The Mueller special counsel operation led by Andrew Weissmann and Weissmann ''wannabes'' specializes in prosecutorial terrorist tactics repulsive to everything ''justice'' is supposed to mean. These tactics are designed to intimidate their targets into pleading guilty'--while punishing them and their families with the process itself and financial ruin.
Most important, General Flynn was honest with the FBI agents. They knew he was'--and briefed that to McCabe and others three different times. At McCabe's directions, Agent Strzok and McCabe's ''Special Counsel'' Lisa Page, altered the 302 to create statements Weissmann, Mueller, Van Grack, and Zainab Ahmad could assert were false. Only the FBI agents lied'--and falsified documents. The crimes are theirs alone.
Seventh, the D.C. circuit in which you reside vacated a Section 1001 case for a legal failure much less egregious than those in General Flynn's case. United States v. Safavian, 528 F.3d 957 (D.C. Cir. 2008). Safavian sought advice from his agency's ethics board and did not give them all the relevant info. The jury convicted him on the theory it was a 1001 violation to conceal the information from the government ethics board. The court disagreed: ''As Safavian argues and as the government agrees, there must be a legal duty to disclose in order for there to be a concealment offense in violation of § 1001(a)(1), yet the government failed to identify a legal disclosure duty except by reference to vague standards of conduct for government employees.'' General Flynn did not even know he was the subject of an investigation'--and in truth, he was not. The only crimes here were by your alumni in the FBI, White House, intelligence community, and Justice Department.
These are just a few obvious and well-known examples to those paying any attention to criminal justice issues.
Finally, the ''leaked'' comments from your alumni call further evinces your obsession with destroying a distinguished veteran of the United States Army who has defended the Constitution and this country ''from all enemies, foreign and domestic,'' with the highest honor for thirty-three years. He and many others will continue to do so.
1As a ''constitutional lawyer,'' surely you recall that perjury (or false statements) also requires intent to deceive. In Bronston v. United States, 409 U.S. 352 (1973), the Supreme Court reversed a conviction of perjury. In Bronston, the defendant's answer was a truthful statement, but not directly responsive to the question and ultimately misled federal authorities. The Court determined: ''A jury should not be permitted to engage in conjecture whether an unresponsive answer, true and complete on its face, was intended to mislead or divert the examiner; the state of mind of the witness is relevant only to the extent that it bears on whether ''he does not believe [his answer] to be true.'' To hold otherwise would be to inject a new and confusing element into the adversary testimonial system we know.'' Id. at 359. The FBI agents who interviewed General Flynn specifically noted that his answers were true or he believed his answers to be true'--completely defeating criminal intent. Furthermore, General Flynn knew and remarked they had transcripts of his conversations.
Click here to read a PDF version of Sidney's Open Memorandum to Obama
Trump White House Rewrites History, This Time About Flynn
Thu, 14 May 2020 07:19
WASHINGTON '-- After announcing that the Justice Department was dropping the criminal case against Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, Attorney General William P. Barr was presented with a crucial question: Was Mr. Flynn guilty of lying to the F.B.I. about the nature of phone calls he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States?
After all, Mr. Flynn had twice pleaded guilty to lying about them.
''Well, you know, people sometimes plead to things that turn out not to be crimes,'' Mr. Barr said in an interview with CBS News. Then he went even further and described the infamous calls during the Trump presidential transition as ''laudable.''
Mr. Trump and his allies now accuse the F.B.I. of framing Mr. Flynn, which is part of the president's broader campaign to tarnish the Russia investigation and settle scores against perceived enemies ahead of the November election.
Their revisionist narrative is in stark contrast to the view held three years ago not only by top F.B.I. management but also by senior White House officials. Mr. Flynn, the officials said then, had lied to Vice President Mike Pence and other aides about the nature of his calls to the ambassador, had lied repeatedly to F.B.I. agents about the calls, and might have made himself vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
Revisiting the chaotic weeks surrounding Mr. Flynn's ouster '-- based on recently disclosed government documents, public statements, court records and interviews '-- show how much the original Trump administration concerns about him have been buried under the president's cause of portraying the Russia investigation as a ''witch hunt.''
Mr. Barr, for example, has recently argued that the F.B.I. interview of Mr. Flynn was not justified because agents who had been investigating him had not found any wrongdoing and were on the verge of closing the case. When agents found out about the call with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, they concocted a reason to keep the case open for ''the express purpose of trying to catch, lay a perjury trap for General Flynn,'' Mr. Barr said in the CBS interview.
A broad array of legal experts disagree. ''This case reeks of political influence,'' said Marshall L. Miller, a former top prosecutor in Brooklyn and the principal deputy of the Justice Department's criminal division. ''Mr. Flynn admitted twice under oath that he lied to the F.B.I. Political appointees at D.O.J. are now trying to rewrite the law to erase the crime.''
Mr. Flynn's troubles began with a phone call.
It was Dec. 29, 2016, the day the outgoing Obama administration announced sanctions against Russia for the country's widespread effort to disrupt the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Flynn, who was Mr. Trump's incoming national security adviser, urged Mr. Kislyak in a phone call not to escalate tensions with a retaliatory move against the United States '-- perhaps by kicking American diplomats and spies out of Russia.
Given the circumstances, the call was remarkable. The United States government had just determined that its longtime adversary had launched a concerted effort to sabotage a presidential election, and the incoming national security adviser was having a back-channel discussion with a top Russian official that might lead to the new Trump administration gutting the sanctions its predecessor put in place to punish the Russians.
Mr. Flynn chose not to document the calls with the ambassador, a decision that records from the investigation of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, show was based on his concern that he might be interfering with the Obama administration's foreign policy weeks before Mr. Trump took office. His concerns were well founded. When President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia did not retaliate after the Obama administration's sanctions, President Barack Obama was perplexed and asked spy agencies to figure out why.
The F.B.I. unearthed the discussions between Mr. Flynn and Mr. Kislyak when reviewing transcripts of the ambassador's intercepted calls. F.B.I. officials discussed interviewing Mr. Flynn, whom agents had been investigating as part of the bureau's inquiry into whether any Trump campaign associates had conspired with Russia during the presidential election.
The matter took on greater urgency when Mr. Flynn's discussions with Mr. Kislyak were revealed publicly by David Ignatius, a Washington Post columnist.
Top Trump transition officials '-- including Mr. Pence as well as Reince Priebus, who was to be White House chief of staff, and Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary '-- questioned Mr. Flynn about the Washington Post column. Mr. Flynn denied that he spoke about sanctions with Mr. Kislyak, and Mr. Spicer repeated those claims to members of the news media.
Days later, on Jan. 15, 2017, Mr. Pence was asked about the column during an interview on the CBS News program ''Face the Nation.'' The incoming vice president said that he had talked with Mr. Flynn about his calls with Mr. Kislyak, and he said that Mr. Flynn was unequivocal. ''They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States' decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,'' the vice president said.
Mr. Pence's interview set off alarms at the F.B.I. and the Justice Department. If Mr. Flynn had lied to the vice president, the Russians knew that and could use it as leverage over Mr. Flynn. Newly disclosed documents made public in Mr. Flynn's criminal case show officials were also concerned that Mr. Pence might have been lying, as well.
''The implications of that were that the Russians believed one of two things '-- either that the vice president was in on it with Flynn, or that Flynn was clearly willing to lie to the vice president,'' Mary B. McCord, a former top national security at the time, said in an interview with the special counsel's office.
The F.B.I. decided to try to find out who was lying to whom. James B. Comey, the bureau's director at the time, sent a pair of agents to the White House to speak with Mr. Flynn, who by then was only a few days into his job as national security adviser. But Mr. Comey made the unusual decision to not notify senior Justice Department officials about the interview until the agents were already on their way to the White House '-- blindsiding and infuriating the officials who oversee the F.B.I. about a highly sensitive session.
During the interview, Mr. Flynn was asked about sanctions and other topics. He denied talking about Russian sanctions, according to documents, even as agents used his own words from the highly classified transcripts to refresh his memory. Mr. Flynn seemed relaxed, agents would note, and did not betray any signs of deception.
But the F.B.I. reports from the interview did not square with the transcripts of the phone calls, and soon Trump administration lawyers were discussing whether Mr. Flynn might have committed a felony by making false statements during the interrogation.
Mr. Priebus later recounted to Mr. Mueller's investigators a meeting with Mr. Trump in which he told the president about the concerns that Mr. Flynn had lied during his F.B.I. interview. Mr. Trump was angry, Mr. Priebus recalled, and said, ''Not again, this guy, this stuff.''
Within days, White House lawyers '-- including the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II '-- had concluded, after reviewing the transcripts of the calls, that Mr. Flynn had repeatedly lied about his discussions with Mr. Kislyak. According to the findings by the special counsel, ''McGahn and Priebus concluded that Flynn could not have forgotten the details of the discussions of sanctions and had instead been lying about what he discussed with Kislyak.''
Mr. McGahn and Mr. Priebus decided that Mr. Flynn needed to go and made that recommendation to Mr. Trump.
On Feb. 13, after Mr. Priebus told Mr. Flynn that he must resign, he brought him into the Oval Office. There, Mr. Flynn and the president hugged, and Mr. Trump said he would give Mr. Flynn a good recommendation. ''You're a good guy,'' the president said, according to the account Mr. Priebus gave to the Mueller team. ''We'll take care of you.''
Ten months later, after Mr. Flynn had pleaded guilty for lying to the F.B.I. agents and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation, Mr. Pence said that removing him from the White House was the right move.
''What I can tell you is that I knew that he lied to me,'' the vice president told CBS News, ''and I know the president made the right decision with regard to him.''
Mr. Pence no longer holds that view, and his change over time reflects the far more combative position among Trump administration officials toward the various investigations into Mr. Trump and his advisers.
As this shift was occurring, Mr. Flynn jettisoned the legal team that had advised him to cut a deal with the Mueller prosecutors and hired a new lawyer, Sidney Powell, who launched a frontal attack on the forces that she believed led her client into wrongfully admitting to a felony offense.
In a letter to Mr. Barr last June, days before officially becoming Mr. Flynn's lawyer, Ms. Powell wrote that ''it is increasingly apparent that General Flynn was targeted and taken out of the Trump administration for concocted and political purposes.'' The letter was disclosed last year by federal prosecutors in the Flynn case.
After Mr. Barr announced his decision last week to drop criminal charges in the Flynn case, top Trump administration officials '-- including those who three years ago believed most vehemently that he should be fired '-- said that he would be welcomed back at the White House.
''I think General Michael Flynn is an American patriot; he served this country with great distinction,'' Mr. Pence said last week in an interview with Axios. ''And for my part, I'd be happy to see Michael Flynn again.''
The post Trump White House Rewrites History, This Time About Flynn appeared first on New York Times.
Former Watergate prosecutors urge judge not dismiss Michael Flynn case - CNNPolitics
Wed, 13 May 2020 06:44
By Katelyn Polantz and David Shortell, CNN
Updated 11:48 PM EDT, Tue May 12, 2020
(CNN) Sixteen former Watergate prosecutors have told a federal judge he has the authority to sentence former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn to prison despite the Justice Department's effort to toss the case.
The filings add prominent voices to the backlash against Attorney General William Barr's softening of criminal prosecutions against President Donald Trump's associates.
In legal memos sent to the court on Monday and obtained by CNN, the former prosecutors essentially laid out the legal footing they believe Judge Emmet Sullivan has to reject the dismissal request and sentence Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
They compared the current situation at the Justice Department to Watergate, the scandal and criminal investigation that led to the President Richard Nixon's resignation.
RELATED: Judge signals he won't immediately dismiss Michael Flynn case
The group, calling themselves friends of the court or "amici" in legal parlance, "experienced the 'Saturday Night Massacre,' during which an honorable Attorney General and an honorable Deputy Attorney General resigned or were dismissed rather than obey the instructions of a self-interested President to frustrate the work of an independent Special Prosecutor," they wrote to the judge.
"The parallels and the contrasts between the Watergate affair and the present situation now before this Court make manifest that Amici have a direct and substantial interest in the proper disposition of the pending Motion directed by the incumbent Attorney General to protect a close ally of the President."
In addition, the former prosecutors say they offer a "unique perspective on the need for independent scrutiny and oversight to ensure that crucial decisions about prosecutions of high-ranking government officials are made in the public interest, are viewed as legitimate and are not subsequently reversed by political intervention."
The filing appears to have at least contributed to an announcement from Sullivan that essentially keeps the case alive. Tuesday, the judge announced he would consider legal arguments from third parties, including people with "unique information or perspective," before deciding what to do on Flynn's case.
The Watergate alumni's full legal argument isn't yet available, and it's not yet known how many groups or individuals will try to become part of the Flynn proceedings.
The former prosecutors are: Nick Akerman, Richard Ben-Veniste, Richard J. Davis, Carl B. Feldbaum, George T. Frampton, Jr., Kenneth S. Geller, Gerald Goldman, Stephen E. Haberfeld, Henry L. Hecht, Paul R. Hoeber, Philip Allen Lacovara, Paul R. Michel, Robert L. Palmer, Frank Tuerkheimer, Jill Wine-Banks and Roger Witten.
It's been less than a week since the Justice Department said it wanted to drop Flynn's prosecution. The department argued Flynn should not have been investigated, and thus not interviewed in the White House in January 2017, where he lied to the FBI about his communications with Russia.
The drumbeat from former federal prosecutors has grown since last Thursday.
Almost 2,000 former Justice Department employees have signed an open letter urging Sullivan "to closely examine the Department's stated rationale for dismissing the charges." They suggested the judge could hold hearings with witnesses testifying and move forward to sentence Flynn.
"If ever there were a case where the public interest counseled the court to take a long, hard look at the government's explanation and the evidence, it is this one," the former employees, organized by Protect Democracy, a non-profit accountability group, wrote in a statement published on the website Medium.
The group will attempt to file a brief in the Flynn case, according to Ben Berwick, a counsel with Protect Democracy, told CNN.
Flynn's legal team pushed back almost immediately on Sullivan's announcement, writing that the judge should not allow third parties to chime in and urging the judge to dismiss Flynn's case immediately. The filing from Flynn's defense lawyers acknowledged that the former Watergate prosecutors had sought to be heard in the case.
"There are countless people -- including former prosecutors on both sides of the parties -- who would like to express their views, but there are many reasons there is no provision for outsiders to join a criminal case in this Court," Flynn's defense lawyers wrote on Tuesday. "Of course, the former prosecutors are all free to submit opinion pieces to assorted media outlets -- as many have already done -- but this Court is not a forum for their alleged special interest."
They also argued that Sullivan has no choice but to dismiss the case.
"This travesty of justice has already consumed three or more years of an innocent man's life -- and that of his entire family. No further delay should be tolerated or any further expense caused to him and his defense," they added.
Obama, Biden Oval Office Meeting On January 5 Was Key To Entire Anti-Trump Operation
Mon, 11 May 2020 15:43
Information released in the Justice Department's motion to dismiss the case it brought against Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn confirms the significance of a January 5, 2017, meeting at the Obama White House. It was at this meeting that Obama gave guidance to key officials who would be tasked with protecting his administration's utilization of secretly funded Clinton campaign research, which alleged Trump was involved in a treasonous plot to collude with Russia, from being discovered or stopped by the incoming administration.
''President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia,'' National Security Advisor Susan Rice wrote in an unusual email to herself about the meeting that was also attended by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, FBI Director James Comey, and Vice President Joe Biden.
A clearer picture is emerging of the drastic steps that were taken to accomplish Obama's goal in the following weeks and months. Shortly thereafter, high-level operatives began intensely leaking selective information supporting a supposed Russia-Trump conspiracy theory, the incoming National Security Advisor was ambushed, and the incoming Attorney General was forced to recuse himself from oversight of investigations of President Trump. At each major point in the operation, explosive media leaks were a key strategy in the operation to take down Trump.
Not only was information on Russia not fully shared with the incoming Trump team, as Obama directs, the leaks and ambushes made the transition chaotic, scared quality individuals away from working in the administration, made effective governance almost impossible, and materially damaged national security. When Comey was finally fired on May 9, in part for his duplicitousness regarding his handling of the Russia collusion theory, he orchestrated the launch of a Special Counsel probe that continued his efforts for another two years. That probe ended with Mueller finding no evidence of any American colluding with Russia to steal the 2016 election, much less Trump or anyone connected to him.
An analysis of the timeline from early 2017 shows a clear pattern of behavior from the federal officials running the collusion operation against the Trump campaign. It also shows how essential media leaks were to their strategy to sideline key law enforcement and intelligence officials and cripple the ability of the incoming Trump administration to run the country.
Here's a timeline of the key moments and news articles of the efforts, per Obama's direction, to prevent the Trump administration from learning about the FBI's operation against it.
January 4: Following the closure of a pretextually dubious and politically motivated FBI investigation of Flynn at the beginning of January, the leadership of the FBI scrambled to reopen a case against Flynn, the man who in his role as National Security Advisor would have to review their Russia collusion investigation. FBI officials openly discussed their concern about briefing the veteran intelligence official on what they had done to the Trump campaign and transition team and what they were planning to do to the incoming Trump administration. Flynn had to be dealt with. The FBI's top counterintelligence official would later memorialize discussions about the FBI's attempts to ''get [Flynn] fired.'' No reopening was needed, they determined, when they discovered they had failed to close the previous investigation. They found this mistake ''amazing'' and ''serendipitously good'' and said ''our utter incompetence actually helps us.'' Even more noteworthy were texts from FBI's #2 counterintelligence official Peter Strzok to FBI lawyer Lisa Page noting that the ''7th floor,'' a reference to Comey and his deputy director Andrew McCabe, was running the show.
January 5: Yates, Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper briefed Obama on Russia-related matters in the Oval Office. Biden and Rice also attended. After the Obama briefing, the intelligence chiefs who would be leaving at the end of the term were dismissed and Yates and Comey, who would continue in the Trump administration, were asked to stay. Not only did Obama give his guidance about how to perpetuate the Russia collusion theory investigations, he also talked about Flynn's conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to both Comey and Yates. Interestingly, Clapper, Comey, and Yates all said that they did not brief Obama about these phone calls. Clapper testified he did not brief Obama on the calls, Yates learned about the calls from Obama himself during that meeting, and Comey also testified he didn't brief Obama about the calls, even though the intelligence was an FBI product. Rice, who publicly lied but later admitted under oath to her widespread use of unmasked intelligence at the end of the Obama administration, likely briefed Obama on the calls and would have had access to the intelligence. Comey mentions the Logan Act at this meeting.
It was this meeting that Rice memorialized in a bizarre inauguration-day email to herself that claimed Obama told the gathered to do everything ''by the book.'' But Rice also noted in her email that the key point of discussion in that meeting was whether and how to withhold national security information, likely including details of the investigation into Trump himself, from the incoming Trump national security team.
January 6: An ostensibly similar briefing about Russian interference efforts during the 2016 campaign was given to President-elect Trump. After that briefing, Comey privately briefed Trump on the most salacious and absurd ''pee tape'' allegation in the Christopher Steele dossier, a document the FBI had already used to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump campaign affiliate Carter Page. Comey told Trump he was telling him because CNN was looking for any reason it could find to publish a story about Russia having compromising information on him, and he wanted to warn Trump about it. He did not mention the dossier was completely unverified or that it was the product of a secretly funded operation by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
January 10: In an amazing coincidence, CNN found the excuse to publish the Russia claims after a high-level Obama intelligence operative leaked that Comey had briefed Trump about the dossier. This selective leak, which was credulously accepted by CNN reporters Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper and Carl Bernstein, may have been the most important step in the operation to harm the incoming Trump administration. The leak of the briefing of Trump was used to legitimize a ridiculous dossier full of allegations the FBI knew to be false that multiple news organizations had previously refused to report on for lack of substantiation, and created a cloud of suspicion over Trump's campaign and administration by insinuating he was being blackmailed by Russia.
January 12: The next part of the strategy was the explosive leak to David Ignatius of the Washington Post to legitimize the use against Flynn of the Logan Act, a likely unconstitutional 1799 law prohibiting private individuals, not public incoming national security advisors, from discussing foreign policy with foreign governments. Ignatius accepted the leak from the Obama official. He wrote that Flynn had called Kislyak. ''What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions? The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about 'disputes' with the United States. Was its spirit violated?'' Flynn's routine and appropriate phone call became fodder for a developing grand conspiracy theory of Russia collusion. In discussions with investigators, both DOJ's Mary McCord and Comey conspicuously cite this Ignatius column as somehow meaningful in the approach they would take with Flynn. ''Nothing, to my mind, happens until the 13th of January, when David Ignatius publishes a column that contains a reference to communication Michael Flynn had with the Russians. That was on the 13th of January,'' Comey said of the column that ran online on January 12. In fact, quite a bit had happened at the FBI prior to that leak, with much conversation about how to utilize the Logan Act against Flynn. And the leak-fueled Ignatius column would later be used by FBI officials to justify an illegal ambush interview of Flynn in the White House.
January 23: Another important criminal leak was given to Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller of the Washington Post, also based on criminal leaks. Their article, headlined ''FBI reviewed Flynn's calls with Russian ambassador but found nothing illicit,'' was intended to make Flynn feel safe and put him at ease about the FBI stance on those calls the day before they planned to ambush him in an interview. The article was used to publicize false information when it said, ''Although Flynn's contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were listened to, Flynn himself is not the active target of an investigation, U.S. officials said.'' In fact, emails prior to this date confirm Flynn was their prime target. This article was later cited by McCabe as the reason why they were justified in concealing from Flynn the real purpose of their interview. Flynn later asked McCabe if he knew how all the information about his phone calls had been made public and whether it had been leaked. Any potential response from McCabe to Flynn has been redacted from his own notes about the conversation.
January 24: Comey later admitted he broke every protocol to send agents to interview Flynn and try to catch him in a lie. FBI officials strategized how to keep Flynn from knowing he was a target of the investigation or asking for an attorney to represent him in the interview. The January 23 Washington Post article, which falsely stated that Flynn was not an FBI target, was key to that strategy. Though the interviewing agents said they could detect no ''tells'' indicating he lied, and he carefully phrased everything in the interview, he later was induced to plead guilty to lying in this interview. Ostensibly because White House officials downplayed the Kislyak phone calls, presumably in light of what Flynn had told them about the calls, Yates would go to the White House the next day and insinuate Flynn should probably be fired.
February 9: The strategy to get Flynn fired didn't immediately work so another leak was deployed to Greg Miller, Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post. That article, headline ''National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say,'' was sourced to people who happened to share senior FBI leadership's views on the Logan Act. This article was also based on criminal leaks of top secret information of phone call intercepts and laid out the FBI's case for why Flynn's contacts with a foreign adversary were a problem. The fact that such phone calls are routine, not to mention Flynn's case that improved relations with Russia in a world where China, North Korea, and Iran were posing increasing threats, never made it into these articles for context.
February 13: The operation finally succeeded in getting Flynn fired and rendering him unable to review the operations against the Trump campaign, Trump transition team, and Trump administration.
March 1: Flynn was the first obstacle who had to be overcome. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was the next. The Trump loyalist with a strong Department of Justice background would also need to be briefed on the anti-Trump efforts unless he could be sidelined. Comey admitted that early in Sessions' tenure, he deliberately hid Russia-related information from Sessions because, ''it made little sense to report it to Attorney General Sessions, who we expected would likely recuse himself from involvement in Russia-related investigations.'' To secure that recusal, yet another leak was deployed to the Washington Post's Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller. The leak was intended to tar Sessions as a secret Russian agent and was dramatically spun as ''Sessions Spoke Twice To Russian Envoy: Revelation contradicts his testimony at confirmation hearing.'' One meeting was in passing and the other was in his function as a United States Senator, but the hysteria was such that the Post authors could get away with suggesting Sessions was too compromised to oversee the Department of Justice's counterintelligence operations involving Russia. It is perhaps worth noting that the Special Counsel idea was pushed in this article.
March 2: Sessions recused himself from oversight of the FBI's anti-Trump operation, providing no meaningful oversight to an operation that would be spun into a Special Counsel by mid-May. With the removal of Trump's National Security Advisor and his Attorney General, there was no longer any chance of Trump loyalists discovering what Obama holdovers at the FBI were actually doing to get Trump thrown out of office. After Trump fired Comey for managerial incompetence on May 9, deceptively edited and misleading leaks to the New York Times ordered by Comey himself were used to gin up a Special Counsel run exclusively by left-wing anti-Trump partisans who continued the operation without any meaningful oversight for another two years.
This stunning operation was not just a typical battle between political foes, nor merely an example of media bias against political enemies. Instead, this entire operation was a deliberate and direct attack on the foundation of American governance. In light of the newly declassified documents released in recent days, it is clear that understanding what happened in that January 5 Oval Office meeting is essential to understanding the full scope and breadth of the corrupt operation against the Trump administration. It is long past time for lawmakers in Congress who are actually interested in oversight of the federal government and the media to demand answers about what really happened in that meeting from every single participant, including Obama and Biden.
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Three Times Joe Biden Was Reportedly Involved with the Russia Collusion Hoax
Sun, 10 May 2020 18:53
President Donald Trump hinted that Barack Obama and Joe Biden could soon be implicated for their alleged roles in the controversial Russia collusion investigation.
''There's more to come from what I understand, and they're going to be far greater than what you've seen so far, and what you've seen so far is incredible, especially as it relates to President Obama,'' Trump said during an appearance Friday on Fox & Friends when discussing Obama's role in the Russia probe.
''I believe he and Biden'...Sleepy Joe was involved in this also, very much, and other people around President Obama were totally involved,'' Trump said.
Below, in no particular order, are three publicly known connections between Biden and the Russia probe.
The associations could become problematic for the presumptive Democratic nominee as evidence continues to mount pointing to possible wrongdoing during the course of the Russia collusion case.
Trump's comments about Biden and Obama come as the Justice Department this past week ended its case against Mike Flynn after internal FBI documents were released containing damning materials showing possible FBI misdeeds in the agency's probe of Trump's then-national security adviser.
Last week saw the release of a trove of 57 transcripts from witness interviews conducted by the House Intelligence Committee during its Russia probe in 2017 and 2018. One after the other, senior former Obama administration officials admitted in closed door testimony that they did not possess any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Yet the transcripts were kept classified throughout Robert Mueller's Special Counsel's slow moving probe into eventually discredited Russia collusion claims.
The past three weeks, numerous other key documents were declassified showing more evidence of possible offenses committed during the Russia investigation.
1 '' Biden was present at a Russia collusion briefing documented in an ''odd'' Susan Rice email.
Biden was documented as being present in the Oval Office for a conversation about the controversial Russia probe between President Obama, disgraced ex-FBI chief James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and other senior officials including Obama's national security advisor Susan Rice.
In an action characterized as ''odd'' in 2018 by then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Rice memorialized the confab in an email to herself describing Obama as starting ''the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities 'by the book.'''
Grassley, in a letter to Rice, commented: ''It strikes us as odd that, among your activities in the final moments on the final day of the Obama administration, you would feel the need to send yourself such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation.''
Grassley noted the unusual timing of the email sent by Rice to herself more than two weeks after the January 5, 2017 White House meeting on the Russia investigation, but mere hours before she vacated the White House for the incoming Trump administration.
The email, Grassley documented, was sent by Rice to herself on Trump's inauguration day of January 20, 2017.
''If the timestamp is correct, you sent this email to yourself at 12:15 pm, presumably a very short time before you departed the White House for the last time,'' Grassley wrote to Rice in a letter seeking clarification on a number of issues regarding the email and the Oval Office briefing at which Biden was documented as being present.
Also in the email, Rice used the ''by the book'' phraseology a second time, writing (emphasis added):
President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ''by the book.'' The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.
From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.
The next part of Rice's email was classified.
After that, Rice discussed the possibility of issues with sharing classified information with the incoming Trump administration '-- presumably referring to alleged concern that the Trump campaign had been colluding with Russia.
That part of the email reads:
The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.
The email was sent during the period Obama reportedly personally raised purported red flags to then-President-elect Trump about hiring Flynn during an Oval Office meeting two days after the election.
An attorney for Rice responded to Grassley's letter saying Rice wrote the email to herself with the goal of ''memorializ[ing] an important national security discussion,'' since ''President Obama and his national security team were justifiably concerned about potential risks to the Nation's security from sharing highly classified information about Russia with certain members of the Trump transition team, particularly Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.''
The attorney's previous admission that the conversation was about Flynn may raise immediate red flags now that Flynn's case was dropped amid reports of possible wrongdoing by the FBI.
FBI notes show internal motivations on interviewing Flynn ''to get him to lie'' and ''get him fired.'' Fox News reported the smoking-gun notes were written by Bill Priestap, the FBI's former head of counterintelligence, documenting conclusions from a meeting with Comey and then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
''What is our goal?'' one note reads. ''Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?''
The note discussed whether the FBI should get Flynn ''to admit to breaking the Logan Act'' during a conversation he had with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The Logan Act is an obscure law banning negotiation by unauthorized American citizens with foreign governments in dispute with the U.S. It was only used twice to indict to Americans '' once in 1802 and another in 1852. Neither case ended in a conviction.
Amid the questions about FBI conduct in the Flynn case, it may be instructive to recall evidence of underhanded FBI spy tactics against both Flynn and President Trump.
In February, Breitbart News first spotlighted a largely unreported section of an extensive Inspector General report revealing the FBI under Comey deceptively sent a senior member of the team investigating alleged Russian collusion to conduct an official briefing with Flynn and Trump.
Unbeknownst to both Trump and Flynn, that FBI investigator memorialized that briefing, which included exchanges with Flynn and Trump, in an official document that was added to the Crossfire Hurricane case file probing the Trump campaign over unsubstantiated and ultimately discredited charges of Russian collusion.
This means the FBI's controversial Crossfire Hurricane probe team investigating members of the Trump campaign not only directly interfaced with Trump and Flynn without telling them but also recorded their comments in the official case file. Flynn at the time was already a target of the FBI probe.
Moreover, the FBI investigator who conducted the briefing says that he used the occasion as an opportunity to study Flynn's behavior and mannerisms just in case the FBI needed to eventually conduct a subject interview of Flynn. Indeed, the same investigator himself was the FBI agent who conducted an in-person FBI interview with Flynn on January 24, 2017 in connection with the FBI's investigation of Flynn.
2 '' Biden was reportedly involved in the controversial early stages of the Russia collusion probe.
Biden was reportedly one of the few Obama administration officials who participated in secretive meetings during the early stages of the Obama-era intelligence community's initial operations regarding suspected Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
That tidbit was contained deep inside a 7,700-plus word Washington Post article published June 23, 2017 in which the newspaper also detailed the highly compartmentalized nature of the original Russia interference investigation and the manner in which other U.S. intelligence agencies were deliberately kept in the dark. Part of the efforts eventually involved unsubstantiated and ultimately discredited charges made by the Christopher Steele dossier that Trump campaign officials were colluding with Russia.
The lengthy Washington Post article from 2017 detailed the closed circle of Obama administration officials who were involved in overseeing the initial efforts related to the Russia investigation '-- a circle than was narrowly widened to include Biden, according to the newspaper report.
According to the newspaper, in the summer of 2016, CIA Director John Brennan convened a ''secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI.''
The Post described the unit as so secretive it functioned as a ''sealed compartment'' hidden even from the rest of the U.S. intelligence community; a unit whose workers were all made to sign additional non-disclosure forms.
The unit reported to top officials, the newspaper documented:
They worked exclusively for two groups of ''customers,'' officials said. The first was Obama and fewer than 14 senior officials in government. The second was a team of operations specialists at the CIA, NSA and FBI who took direction from the task force on where to aim their subsequent efforts to collect more intelligence on Russia.
The number of Obama administration officials who were allowed access to the Russia intelligence was also highly limited, the Post reported. At first only four senior officials were involved, and not Biden. Those officials were CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-FBI Director James Comey. Their aides were all barred from attending the initial meetings, the Post stated.
The circle of those who attended the secretive meetings on the matter soon widened to include Biden, the Post reported (emphasis added):
The secrecy extended into the White House.
Rice and White House homeland-security adviser Lisa Monaco convened meetings in the Situation Room to weigh the mounting evidence of Russian interference and generate options for how to respond. At first, only four senior security officials were allowed to attend: Brennan, Clapper, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and FBI Director James B. Comey. Aides ordinarily allowed entry as ''plus-ones'' were barred.
Gradually, the circle widened to include Vice President Biden and others. Agendas sent to Cabinet secretaries '-- including John F. Kerry at the State Department and Ashton B. Carter at the Pentagon '-- arrived in envelopes that subordinates were not supposed to open. Sometimes the agendas were withheld until participants had taken their seats in the Situation Room.
Adding another layer of secrecy, the newspaper reported that when the closed cabinet sessions on Russia began in the White House Situation Room in August, the video feed from the main room was cut off during the meetings.
The feed, which allows only for video and not audio, is usually kept on so that senior aides can see when a meeting takes place.
The paper reported:
The blacked-out screens were seen as an ominous sign among lower-level White House officials who were largely kept in the dark about the Russia deliberations even as they were tasked with generating options for retaliation against Moscow.
It was not clear what went on inside those meetings and how many of them included Biden's participation. The meetings progressed during the period that the Steele dossier was reported to the FBI. They also took place during the period that the names of U.S. citizens were reportedly unmasked from intelligence intercepts.
3 '' Biden's national security adviser participated in secretive early Russia probe meetings.
Colin Kahl, who served as then-Vice President Biden's national security adviser, reportedly participated in the secretive and highly compartmentalized early principals' meetings described above in #2.
The detail was contained in the March 2018 book Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump by Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, and David Corn, Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones.
In their book, Isikoff and Corn confirmed other mainstream media reports describing a small, tightly held unit of senior officials and experts handling the initial probe efforts.
By July 31, 2016, they note, ''the FBI had formally opened a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump's campaign's ties to Russians, with sub-inquiries targeting four individuals'' '-- Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
Then-CIA Director John Brennan got together with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Chief Mike Rogers, they document, asking them ''to dispatch to the CIA their experts to form a working group at Langley that would review the intelligence and figure out the full scope and nature of the Russian operation.''
In discussing how to respond to the information gathered, Isikoff and Corn write, the traditional interagency process of deputy chiefs meeting to formulize options for the heads of agencies '-- also referred to as principals '-- was bypassed for a more secretive route.
They write:
Usually, when the White House invited the deputies and principals to such meetings, they informed them of the subject at hand and provided ''read­ ahead'' memos outlining what was on the agenda. This time, the agency officials just received instructions to show up at the White House at a certain time. No reason given. No memos supplied. ''We were only told that a meeting was scheduled and our principal or deputy was expected to attend,'' recalled a senior administration official who participated in the sessions.
Also, they write that principals and deputies could not bring additional staffers, as is routine in other briefings.
Susan Rice chaired the principals meeting, which the authors write included Kahl, who served as Biden's national security adviser from October 2014 to January 2017.
Kahl was present to inform Biden about what happened inside the meetings, they write:
Rice would chair the principals' meetings '-- which brought together Brennan, Comey, Kerry, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff '-- with only a few other White House officials present, including White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, and Colin Kahl, Vice President Joe Biden's national security adviser. (Kahl had to insist to Rice that he be allowed to attend so Biden could be kept up to speed.)
Kahl has drawn media attention for his frequent anti-Trump tweets and boasts on his Twitter profile that he is the ''Likely Ops Chief'' of the ''Echo Chamber'' '-- clearly a sarcastic reference to reports about a 2017 document titled ''The Echo Chamber'' that was purportedly circulated among Trump advisers listing former Obama administration officials accused of working to undermine the Trump administration.
In social media remarks that got little attention until a Breitbart News report, Kahl called for ''purging or marginalizing the 'Axis of Ideologues' in the West Wing'' in order to ensure what he described as ''any hope of a sane foreign policy'' during the Trump administration. Kahl took to Twitter to make those little noticed remarks on March 11, 2017, two months after he departed the White House along with the rest of the Obama administration for the incoming Trump team.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart's Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, ''Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.'' Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKlein
Podesta testimony: Hillary Clinton knew in 2016 about Russia dirt digging on Trump | Just The News
Tue, 12 May 2020 13:27
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook DocumentsSteele testimony
Podesta testimony
In recently unsealed testimony to Congress, former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta acknowledged that both he and Hillary Clinton were aware that her campaign had purchase opposition research and was looking for dirt on Donald Trump's ties to Russia during the 2016 election.
Podesta's comments are the most direct acknowledgement about what Donald Trump's opponent knew in real-time about the effort that ultimately became known as the Steele dossier.
In a second appearance before the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017, Podesta testified that Clinton likely didn't know the names of the firm, Fusion GPS, and former British spy Christopher Steele who had conducted the research. But he said she and he were both cognizant of an opposition research effort to connect Trump to business dealings in Russia.
"I think she was -- she knew that we had an -- we had an opposition research staff in-house. We, the campaign, directly purchased some opposition research. And she knew I think in general terms that we were trying to figure out, which was not easy, what Mr. Trump's financial relationships were, what his relationships might be to Russia and other former Soviet Union actors that, you know. But I don't '' I don't think we '' I mean, she wasn't '' you know, if I wasn't, she certainly wasn't sort of saying, 'Who are your vendors?' "
In fact, Podesta said he only learned after the election that the project was funded through the law firm Perkins Coie and the costs for Fusion and Steele's research were split 50-50 between the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. Podesta said he had learned of the funding arrangement after he had already testified before the Senate intelligence committee's Russia investigation earlier in 2017.
"I think that I only learned subsequently that the payments were made through Perkins Coie, 50 percent from the campaign, 50 percent from the DNC. I didn't know that at the time I was before the Senate," he told House lawmakers.
You can read Podesta's testimony here.
Podesta's explanation is consistent to testimony that Steele, a former MI-6 operative, gave in March before a British court in which he said Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson told him that Clinton and the leadership of her campaign were aware of his research.
''You also understood that Hillary Clinton herself was aware of what you were doing?'' a lawyer asked Steele.
''I think Glenn had mentioned it, but I wasn't clear,'' Steele answered.
Then Steele was confronted with what lawyers said were notes he took at a meeting with the FBI in 2016 in which he purported to tell agents that Clinton was aware of his research. The lawyers read from those notes during the court proceedings.
The notes, according to the transcript, read: ''We explained that Glenn Simpson/GPS Fusion was our commissioner but the ultimate client were the leadership of the Clinton presidential campaign and that we understood the candidate herself was aware of the reporting at least, if not us.''
The lawyers prodded: ''It's your note, so we assume it's accurate?''
''Yes,'' Steele answered during the March 17 testimony. You can read his testimony here.
List names Biden among Obama officials who unmasked Trump ally Flynn
Wed, 13 May 2020 22:03
Former Vice President Joe Biden is named on a list of Obama-era officials who reportedly 'unmasked' the identity of President Donald Trump's first national security adviser Michael Flynn in redacted intelligence documents from the 2017 Russia investigation.
Acting director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified the list, which names the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee along with former FBI Director James Comey and intelligence chiefs John Brennan and James Clapper.
The list also names Obama's chief of staff Denis McDonough, according to several news reports.
In an interview with Good Morning America Tuesday, Biden denied any connection to the case.
''I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn,'' Biden said, but later in the interview admitted to George Stephanopoulos that he had been briefed on the Flynn investigation.
''I thought you asked me whether or not I had anything to do with him being prosecuted,'' Biden explained. ''I'm sorry. ... I was aware that there was '-- that they asked for an investigation, but that's all I know about it, and I don't think anything else.''
The list from the National Security Agency was released a day after federal Judge Emmet Sullivan refused to rubber-stamp the Justice Department's plan to dismiss the criminal case against Flynn, saying he would instead let the outside legal community weigh in about the move first.
On Monday, nearly 2,000 former Justice Department officials signed a letter calling for the attorney general to resign over what they describe as his improper intervention in the criminal case against Flynn.
It is possible that Sullivan could ask for additional information from the DOJ about its decision, including more details about why it was abruptly abandoning a case it had pursued in court since 2017, when Flynn pleaded guilty.
Grenell, meanwhile, said he alone made the decision to declassify the names.
''I declassified the enclosed document, which I am providing to you for your situational awareness,'' Grenell wrote to GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, who made the documents public Wednesday.
Grenell described those on the list as ones who ''may have received Lt. Gen Flynn's identity in response to a request processed between 8 November 2016 and 31 January 2017 to unmask an identity that had been generically referred to in an NSA foreign intelligence report,'' Fox News reported.
''Each individual was an authorized recipient of the original report and the unmasking was approved through NSA's standard process, which includes a review of the justification for the request,'' the document said. ''Only certain personnel are authorized to submit unmasking requests into the NSA system. In this case, 16 authorized individuals requested unmasking for [REDACTED] different NSA intelligence reports for select identified principals.'' The document added: ''While the principals are identified below, we cannot confirm hey saw the unmasked information. This response does not include any requests outside of the specified time-frame.''
PreviouslyFlynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with then-Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. Those calls were picked up by surveillance and later leaked to the press.
Attorney General William Barr has said that dropping the case against Flynn was in the interests of justice. The department says the FBI had insufficient grounds for interviewing Flynn about his ''entirely appropriate'' calls and that any imperfect statements he made weren't material to the broader counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who conducted an independent ''investigation into the investigators'' since March 2018, said in late 2019 that he found no evidence of political influence in the decision to investigate Michael Flynn, or that former President Barack Obama's FBI had illegally spied on the Trump campaign.
But the decision stunned former law enforcement officials involved in the case, including some who say the Justice Department is rewriting history and omitting key context.
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said the FBI was obligated to interview Flynn about the Russian ambassador over sanctions imposed for election interference.
And because White House officials, including current Vice President Mike Pence, were inaccurately asserting that Flynn had never discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, U.S. officials were concerned Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail since Russia also knew what was discussed.
Judge: Flynn not entrappedThe same federal judge that on Tuesday refused to immediately rule on the dismissal of Flynn's case also ruled in December 2019 that Flynn was not entrapped by the feds.
>> FROM 2019: Judge rejects Michael Flynn's claims of FBI misconduct
''The sworn statements of Mr. Flynn and his former counsel belie his new claims of innocence and his new assertions that he was pressured into pleading guilty to making materially false statements to the FBI,'' Judge Sullivan wrote in a 92-page opinion that poured cold water on claims that FBI misconduct had been the root cause for Flynn's lies to investigators.
Around this same time, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who had been conducting an independent ''investigation into the investigators'' since March 2018, said he found no evidence of political influence in the decision to wiretap Flynn and others, or that Obama's FBI had illegally spied on the Trump campaign. Horowitz's conclusions, however, were separate from another probe ordered by Barr in May 2019, and led by John Durham, which is now reportedly a criminal case.
What it all meansThe Justice Department's move to dismiss the criminal case against Flynn marks another step in his transformation, in the eyes of Trump and his allies, from rogue adviser to victim of runaway law enforcement.
>> MORE: Justice Dept. drops criminal case against Trump ally Michael Flynn
The dismissal rewrites the narrative of the case that Trump's own Justice Department had advanced for the last three years in a way that former law enforcement officials say downplays the legitimate national security concerns they believe Flynn posed and the consequences of the lies he pleaded guilty to telling.
It's been swept up in a broader push by Trump and his Republican allies to reframe the Russia investigation as a ''deep state'' plot to sabotage his administration, setting the stage for a fresh onslaught of election-year attacks on past and present Democratic officials and law enforcement leaders.
''His goal is that by the end of this, you're just not really sure what happened and at some gut level enough Americans say, 'It's kind of messy,''' said Princeton University historian Julian Zelizer.
Scrambling to manage the coronavirus and economic crash, Trump has been eager to shift the focus elsewhere. He has repeatedly called Flynn ''exonerated'' and pushed the development as evidence of what he deemed ''Obamagate,'' an allegation the previous administration tried to undermine him during the presidential transition.
Trump has tried to rally his supporters around the claim to revive enthusiasm among voters disappointed by his handling of the pandemic. He used the first 20 minutes of a recent Fox News interview to attack the Obama administration rather than offer updates on the pandemic.
Obama ignites social mediaFormer President Barack Obama ignited a social media storm over the weekend after a tape-recorded call surfaced of him criticizing Trump's response to the pandemic and also questioning Barr's decision to drop charges against Flynn, saying ''the rule of law is at risk.''
''And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free. That's the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic '-- not just institutional norms '-- but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk. And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we've seen in other places,'' Obama said.
>> FROM TUESDAY: Obama 'should have kept his mouth shut' about Trump's virus response, McConnell says
Flynn actually pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI, and not perjury as Obama mistakenly said in the call.
The move to dismiss the case against Flynn was a stunning reversal for one of the signature cases brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, with the Justice Department concluding that Mueller did not have ''a legitimate investigative basis'' to interview Flynn about his communications with the Russians.
>> MORE: Social media giants struggle to contain viral 'Plandemic' conspiracy theory
News about Obama's call swirled in the media over the weekend, with Trump retweeting several conspiracy theories accusing the former president ''of the biggest political crime in American history.''
The theory trended on Twitter through the hashtag #OBAMAGATE.
It was the latest in a web of conspiracies circulating online that all claim rogue officials in the Obama administration broke the law to try to prevent Trump from becoming president.
Trump accuses Obama of crimesAdding more fuel to the controversy was Trump's Monday press briefing at the White House Rose Garden, where Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker pressed Trump about his tweets, some of which suggested Obama had committed crimes while in office.
Asked what crimes the former president had committed, Trump avoided any specifics.
''Obamagate!'' Trump exclaimed, repeating the trending hashtag. ''It's been going on for a long time. Some terrible things happened. And you'll be seeing what's going on over the coming weeks.''
Rucker then asked, ''What is the crime exactly that you're accusing him of?''
''You know what the crime is,'' Trump said. ''The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.''
>> RELATED: Obama warned of pandemic threat in 2014, but Republicans blocked funding
Trump's advisers believe painting the previous administration as corrupt can distract from a pandemic crisis that has killed tens of thousands of people in the U.S., and is an effective line of attack against Biden, who was Obama's vice president, according to four current and former administration officials and Republicans close to the White House not authorized to discuss the matter by name.
The hope is to revive some of the pre-pandemic arguments to cast Trump, even now as an incumbent, as the political outsider being attacked by the establishment.
Trump has increasingly lashed out on ''the Russia hoax'' in the year since Mueller's report did not directly accuse the 45th president of a crime or allege a criminal conspiracy between his campaign and Russia. Revelations since then have exposed problems with early days of the FBI's probe, including errors and omissions in applications to surveil an ex-Trump campaign adviser.
Mueller concluded that Russians interfered in the 2016 election on Trump's behalf, though the special counsel did not allege illegal coordination with Trump's campaign. Mueller however did pointedly note that he was unable to exonerate Trump for potential obstruction of justice.
'-- Information provided by The Associated Press was used to supplement this report. This is a developing story.
Supreme Court Ruled Unanimously Last Week Against Improper Use of Amicus Briefs; Relevant for Flynn Case
Thu, 14 May 2020 06:33
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously last week against the improper use of amicus briefs by judges to shape a court case as they wish '-- which is what Judge Emmet G. Sullivan is doing, critics say, in the ongoing Michael Flynn case.
On Tuesday, Judge Sullivan announced that he would accept amicus briefs about whether he should grant the Department of Justice's (DOJ) motion to dismiss the case against Flynn. On Wednesday, Sullivan went a step further, appointing retired judge John Gleeson as amicus curiae (''friend of the court'') to argue against dismissal, and to argue Flynn be held in criminal contempt.
(Gleeson had already expressed his views in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Monday, attacking the DOJ's motion.)
But last week, in the case of U.S. v. Sineneng-Smith, the Supreme Court held that the Ninth Circuit acted improperly by appointing three amici and directing them to brief issues that the judges wanted to consider '-- but the litigants had not raised.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for a unanimous Court, held:
In our adversarial system of adjudication, we follow the principle of party presentation '... [O]ur system ''is designed around the premise that [parties represented by competent counsel] know what is best for them, and are reponsible for advancing the facts and argument entitling them to relief.'' Id., at 386 (Scalia, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment).
In short: ''[C]ourts are essentially passive instruments of government.'' United States v. Samuels, 808 F. 2d 1298, 1301 (CA8 1987) (Arnold, J., concurring in denial of reh'g en banc)). They ''do not, or should not, sally forth each day looking for wrongs to right. [They] wait for cases to come to [them], and when [cases arise, courts] normally decide only questions presented by the parties.'' Ibid.
While such amicus briefs could be used in ''extraordinary circumstances,'' the Court's list of examples did not include cases in which prosecutors simply dropped a case.
Sullivan has been criticized for inviting the intervention of amicus briefs. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Wednesday, for example, Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz argued that judges are ''umpires,'' not ''ringmasters'': ''If the litigants come to an agreement, there is no controversy. The case is over. '... Judge Sullivan should get back to the business of deciding actual controversies and get out of the business of producing political shows.''
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
John Gleeson, David O'Neil and Marshall Miller: The Flynn case isn't over until the judge says it's over - The Washington Post
Thu, 14 May 2020 06:37
John Gleeson served as a U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of New York and chief of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney's Office in that district. David O'Neil served as the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Criminal Division and assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. Marshall Miller served as the highest-ranking career official in the Criminal Division and as chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District.
The Justice Department's move to dismiss the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn does not need to be the end of the case '-- and it shouldn't be. The Justice Department has made conflicting statements to the federal judge overseeing the case, Emmet G. Sullivan. He has the authority, the tools and the obligation to assess the credibility of the department's stated reasons for abruptly reversing course.
The department's motion to dismiss the Flynn case is actually just a request '-- one that requires ''leave of the court'' before it is effective. The executive branch has unreviewable authority to decide whether to prosecute a case. But once it secures an indictment, the proceedings necessarily involve the judicial branch. And the law provides that the court '-- not the executive branch '-- decides whether an indictment may be dismissed. The responsible exercise of that authority is particularly important here, where a defendant's plea of guilty has already been accepted. Government motions to dismiss at this stage are virtually unheard of.
Prosecutors deserve a ''presumption of regularity'' '-- the benefit of the doubt that they are acting honestly and following the rules. But when the facts suggest they have abused their power, that presumption fades. If prosecutors attempt to dismiss a well-founded prosecution for impermissible or corrupt reasons, the people would be ill-served if a court blindly approved their dismissal request. The independence of the court protects us all when executive-branch decisions smack of impropriety; it also protects the judiciary itself from becoming a party to corruption.
There has been nothing regular about the department's effort to dismiss the Flynn case. The record reeks of improper political influence. Hours after the career prosecutor abruptly withdrew, the department moved to dismiss the indictment in a filing signed only by an interim U.S. attorney, a former aide to Attorney General William P. Barr whom Barr had installed in the position months before.
The department now says it cannot prove its case. But Flynn had already admitted his guilt to lying to the FBI, and the court had accepted his plea. The purported reasons for the dismissal clash not only with the department's previous arguments in Flynn's case '-- where it assured the court of an important federal interest in punishing Flynn's dishonesty, an interest it now dismisses as insubstantial '-- but also with arguments it has routinely made for years in similar cases not involving defendants close to the president. And all of this followed a similarly troubling reversal, also preceded by the withdrawal of career prosecutors, in the sentencing of Roger Stone.
Courts often inquire as to the reasons for a government motion to dismiss, but this is the rare case that requires extra scrutiny, to ensure that, in the Supreme Court's words, ''the waters of justice are not polluted.''
Fortunately, the court has many tools to vindicate the public interest. It can require the career prosecutor to explain why he stepped off the case, as another federal judge recently did when the Trump administration attempted to replace a trial team litigating the politicization of the census. It can appoint an independent attorney to act as a ''friend of the court,'' ensuring a full, adversarial inquiry, as the judge in the Flynn case has done in other situations where the department abdicated its prosecutorial role. If necessary, the court can hold hearings to resolve factual discrepancies.
And the court could compel the department to reveal the one thing it has thus far refused to show '-- the actual evidence underlying the prosecution. To help Flynn, the department has made public documents it jealously guards in almost every other case, including confidential memos and internal deliberations. But it has balked at disclosing the transcripts of the very conversations with the Russian ambassador that Flynn admitted he lied about when the FBI interviewed him.
The department once argued that those conversations confirmed Flynn's guilt. It now claims those conversations were innocuous. By ordering disclosure of the transcripts, the court can empower the American public to judge for itself '-- and assess why the department is trying to walk away from this important case.
Flynn's guilt has already been adjudicated. So if the court finds dismissal would result in a miscarriage of justice, it can deny the motion, refuse to permit withdrawal of the guilty plea and proceed to sentencing.
Read more:
Jonathan Kravis: I left the Justice Department after it made a disastrous mistake. It just happened again.
The Post's View: The judge should look skeptically at Barr's latest effort to rescue another Trump crony
Chuck Rosenberg: The long list of people who thought Flynn's lies were material
Randall D. Eliason: The Justice Department's lawless reversal on Michael Flynn
David Ignatius: If Michael Flynn did nothing wrong, why didn't he tell the truth?
Retired Judge Who Will Argue Against Michael Flynn Said Case 'Reeks of Improper Political Influence'
Thu, 14 May 2020 06:38
The retired federal judge who was appointed Wednesday to argue that Michael Flynn should be held in criminal contempt of court for changing his guilty plea published an op-ed in the Washington Post Monday criticizing the Trump administration.
Retired Judge John Gleeson was appointed by Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is presiding over the Flynn case, both to oppose the Department of Justice motion to drop the case and to argue Sullivan should begin proceedings to hold Flynn in contempt.
In an op-ed titled ''The Flynn case isn't over until the judge says it's over,'' Gleeson and two co-authors wrote (original links and emphasis):
There has been nothing regular about the department's effort to dismiss the Flynn case. The record reeks of improper political influence. Hours after the career prosecutor abruptly withdrew, the department moved to dismiss the indictment in a filing signed only by an interim U.S. attorney, a former aide to Attorney General William P. Barr whom Barr had installed in the position months before.
The department now says it cannot prove its case. But Flynn had already admitted his guilt to lying to the FBI, and the court had accepted his plea. The purported reasons for the dismissal clash not only with the department's previous arguments in Flynn's case '-- where it assured the court of an important federal interest in punishing Flynn's dishonesty, an interest it now dismisses as insubstantial '-- but also with arguments it has routinely made for years in similar cases not involving defendants close to the president. And all of this followed a similarly troubling reversal, also preceded by the withdrawal of career prosecutors, in the sentencing of Roger Stone.
The Washington Post played a role in Flynn's prosecution when columnist David Ignatius reported in January 2017 that Flynn, as incoming National Security Advisor, had spoken to the Russian ambassador. (The leak of Flynn's name was likely a felony.)
Flynn was later accused of lying about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to Vice President Mike Pence and to the FBI. The DOJ now says that those lies were not ''material'' because Flynn was not under investigation.
Both Gleeson and Sullivan were appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
Biden Spox Melts Down; Insults Journo Who Revealed Unmasking Role As 'Partisan, Rightwing Hack' | Zero Hedge
Thu, 14 May 2020 07:46
Update (1745ET): The day just keeps getting better and better. The left is now moving the goalposts, parroting the new talking point that: 'sure, Biden unmasked Flynn - but that just goes to show how concerned everyone was about him.'
Biden spokesman Andrew Bates, meanwhile, took to Twitter to insult journalist Catherine Herridge as a "partisan, rightwing hack who is a regular conduit for conservative media manipulation..." for revealing Biden's involvement in unmasking Flynn.
He then deleted the tweet and issued a statement accusing President Trump of "dishonest media manipulation to distract from his response to the worst public health crisis in 100 years," adding that the documents "simply indicate the breadth and depth of concern across the American government -- including among career officials -- over intelligence reports of Michael Flynn's attempts to undermine ongoing American national security policy through discussions with Russian officials or other foreign representatives."
.@JoeBiden camp responds to "unmasking" list: "These documents simply indicate the breadth and depth of concern across the American govt...over intelligence reports of Michael Flynn's attempts to undermine ongoing American national security policy" via @AndrewBatesNC
'-- Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) May 13, 2020Somehow their response failed to include why Biden tried to lie on Tuesday about knowledge of the Flynn investigation.
* * *
Update (1635ET): It did not take long for the liberalati to try and distract from what just dropped and to turn their cognitive dissonance up to '11'. None other than Ben Rhodes quickly ranted:
"The unconfirmed, acting DNI using his position to criminalize routine intelligence work to help re-elect the president and obscure Russian intervention in our democracy would normally be the scandal here..."
To which The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel rebuked rather eloquently...
"This is the best they've got--to complain about transparency."
But perhaps most notable is the fact the unmasking involved here occurred BEFORE the Kislyak call that was supposedly triggered the move against Flynn et al.
Another riddle we are sure Messrs. Biden et al. will quickly mumble-splain.
* * *
A list of Obama administration officials who participated in the 'unmasking' of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has been released by Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley. The names include former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former Vice President Joe Biden.
SCOOP @CBSNews obtains @RichardGrenell notification to congress declassified ''unmasking list'' Flynn between late 2016 and January 2017 - Read 3 pages provided by NSA here
'-- Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 13, 2020#FLYNN unmasking docs include these key details ''Each individual was an authorized recipient of the original report and the unmasking was approved through NSA's standard process..While the principals are identified below, we cannot confirm they saw the unmasked information."
'-- Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 13, 2020The revelation comes after Biden was caught trying to lie about his knowledge of the Flynn investigation during a Tuesday morning interview - changing course after host George Stephanopoulos pointed out his documented attendance at a January 5 Oval Office meeting in which key members of the Obama administration discussed the ongoing investigation into Flynn's intercepted contacts with the Russian ambassador.
Notably, Obama asked Comey to conceal the FBI's investigation from the incoming administration.
Declassified documents reveal V.P. Biden ordered the unmasking of General Flynn's private conversation.Anyone think that Biden might have abused his power to go after a political opponent...
'-- Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) May 13, 2020The Senate must immediately hold hearings on this! Clapper, Comey, Brennan and even Biden owe it to the American people. They should testify under oath. What did the former president know?
'-- Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) May 13, 2020As we have previously noted, "unmasking" is a term used when the identity of a U.S. citizen or lawful resident is revealed in classified intelligence reports. Normally, when government officials receive intelligence reports, the names of American citizens are redacted to protect their privacy. But officials can request that names, listed as "U.S. Person 1," for example, be unmasked internally in order to give context about the potential value of the intelligence. Unmasking is justified for national security reasons but is governed by strict rules across the U.S. intelligence apparatus that make it illegal to pursue for political reasons or to leak classified information generated by the process.
Last week, Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell visited the Justice Department with the list of unmaskers, which the DOJ effectively said was up to him to release, according to a Fox News report.
After Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice was outed as the ringleader of an unmasking campaign, the Wall Street Journal reported that she wasn't the only administration official to participate in Flynn's unmasking.
The new disclosure comes after the FBI was revealed to have attempted to ensnare Flynn in a perjury trap, despite the agency's own DC field office suggesting that the case be closed.
Wooooo.... Biden's in trouble.
'-- Jenna Jameson (@jennajameson) May 13, 2020
Back to Work
CCP testing 14 million in Wuhan
15000 people testing 1 person every 5 minutes 24 hours a day for 10 days
Wuhan to test whole city of 11 million as new COVID-19 cases emerge - The Boston Globe
Tue, 12 May 2020 14:46
Wuhan has ordered officials to test its entire population of 11 million people after the central Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic began reported new infections for the first time since its lockdown was lifted.
All districts in the city have been told to submit a plan laying out how they will prepare to conduct testing of everyone under their purview within 10 days, according to a document from Wuhan's anti-virus department cited in Chinese state media reports. The plans should prioritize the testing of vulnerable groups and areas like residential compounds, the document is cited as saying.
Six locally transmitted cases, reported on May 10 and 11, were found in people already under quarantine classed as being asymptomatic before testing positive, according to the local government. All six cases emerged from a single residential compound in Wuhan and were the first new infections found in the city since its lockdown was lifted on April 8.
The ambitious plan to test everyone in Wuhan reflects China's anxiety over a resurgence of the virus, which it managed to stamp out through draconian restrictions that locked down hundreds of millions of people at its peak in February. Wuhan was sealed off from Jan. 23 until April 8 in a months-long ordeal that saw scores die as the local health system became overwhelmed.
Even as its people cautiously return to normal life, Wuhan remains in the global spotlight with U.S. President Donald Trump's administration claiming that the virus somehow emerged from a laboratory run by the Wuhan Institute of Virology. China has denied any link and the laboratory's director said that no staff have been infected, which he said disproves the theory.
Although the new cases in Wuhan are few and appear under control, they serve as a reminder of the risk China faces as it tries to reopen an economy that has seen its worst contraction since 1992.
''Seven provinces reported new infections over the past 14 days, and clustered cases were continuing to increase,'' Mi Feng, spokesman for the National Health Commission, said on Monday. China reported only one confirmed case on Tuesday, with no new infections in Wuhan.
China's massive effort to assess the pandemic's hold on the city contrasts with narrower approaches in the U.S. and the U.K., where testing has been limited to patients with symptoms due to a lack of equipment as well as a desire to preserve those tools. Diagnostic testing tells doctors nothing about a brewing contamination or a past infection, it can only reveal whether someone is harboring the virus at the time of the test.
Fears of a coronavirus resurgence in other parts of China were highlighted on Sunday when the northeastern city of Shulan, which borders North Korea, was partially locked down after 11 new infections were discovered. Many cities in China still don't allow cinemas and bars to operate, and heavy restrictions against social gatherings remain in place. Face masks are required on public transport and to enter stores and public facilities.
Baltimore Restaurant Owner Can't Get Employees to Return Because They Make More in Unemployment
Thu, 14 May 2020 08:37
A Baltimore restaurant owner said Tuesday that she can't get employees to return to work because they make more in unemployment benefits than in working for her business.
Melony Wagner, who owns Charles Village Pub in Baltimore, said her employees would prefer to continue collecting unemployment than come to work as they make more money staying home, according to a report by FOX 5 News.
"They don't want to [come back to work] and I don't really want a restaurant full of unhappy employees," Wagner told the tv station.
"They don't want to because it is less money. I am not even angry or upset with them. I understand. Why would you want to come back and actually work and make half as much money or two-thirds as much money '' and you are working '' as you can get to stay home," Wagner said. The restaurant is currently open for carry-out orders and has hired high school students to make deliveries.
The increase in unemployment totals is a key provision in the CARES Act, a coronavirus relief bill implemented to help struggling Americans in the midst of the pandemic that led businesses across the country to close.
Under the CARES Act, Americans who lost their jobs due to the pandemic and claim unemployment benefits can receive an additional $600 per week on top of what they already get from their state. The federal unemployment aid went into effect April 22 and will continue until July 31.
A Congressional Research Service report on state unemployment insurance released late last year indicated that most states provide unemployment payments to residents for up to 26 weeks. According to the report, 1.6 million unemployed people received an average of $364 a week in August 2019. Still, the maximum payout to residents fluctuates wildly from state to state.
For instance, in Massachusetts, a person could receive $1,192 per week if they claim the maximum amount of dependents on their unemployment insurance, while in Mississippi the most a person can claim '' even with the maximum amount of dependents '' is $235 per week.
Maryland residents can claim a maximum of $430 a week for six months. With the additional $600, those individuals could see $1030 per week in claims until the end of July.
"It's a very difficult position to be put in right now, honestly. Although I know everybody loves the extra $600 a week, it's really had the opposite effect of what I think they were hoping it was going to have," Wagner said.
Democrats drafted a new relief package that would see the $600 unemployment benefits extend through the end of the year, and for some people until March 2021. Republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio said a better plan would be to incentivize workers to return to work by providing a bonus in addition to their salaries instead of extending unemployment insurance.
"If you take $450, as an example, per week...that would mean that in every state for minimum wage workers it would be more advantageous go back to work than to stay on unemployment insurance...They're going to get their salary plus that [$450]," Portman said in an appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box Wednesday.
OCEAN CITY, MD. - APRIL 27: A man walks along the empty boardwalk on April 27, 2020 in Ocean City, Maryland. The beach and boardwalk were closed after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a stay-at-home order and banned non-essential travel to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Mark Wilson/Getty
Beijing adopts smart wristbands for real-time fever detection of students as schools reopen after coronavirus lockdown | South China Morning Post
Mon, 11 May 2020 06:48
Students wait in line to get their body temperature checked at the No 87 Middle School in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin province, on April 20, 2020. Photo: Xinhua
Temperature statistics collected by the wristbands are uploaded to smartphone apps via BluetoothStudents in their final year of senior high resumed classes on April 27 and received the wristbands after the Labour Day holidayTopic | Smartwatches
Published: 5:45pm, 11 May, 2020
Updated: 5:55pm, 11 May, 2020
Students wait in line to get their body temperature checked at the No 87 Middle School in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin province, on April 20, 2020. Photo: Xinhua
The movement to reopen Florida has been somewhat subdued. Why is that?
Mon, 11 May 2020 07:17
TAMPA '-- All over the country, the groups have grabbed headlines, storming state capitols, dramatically staring down law enforcement officers while forcefully declaring what they believe to be their rights.
Not so in Florida.
Sure, there have been rallies. In late April, some 200 showed up to a Tampa television station toting messages like ''Quarantine for the sick. Vitamins for the rest'' and ''End quarantine now!'' For hours, they waved signs on Kennedy Boulevard and disregarded social distancing recommendations.
There are Facebook groups: About 10,000 are signed onto a page called ''Reopen Florida.''
But Florida's reopen movement has been a more modest affair compared to those that have disrupted other states. An analysis by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, a non-profit watchdog of far-right extremists, found that Facebook groups dedicated to reopening Florida have just a fraction of the following of other states' groups. For example, ''Michiganders against excessive quarantine'' had some 382,400 members as of Friday.
Over 100 supporters of the Re-Open Florida CARavan and Rally movement gathered to protest in front of the FOX 13 News Station on Kennedy on Sunday, April 26, 2020 in Tampa. The group held signs, played music and spread their message to reopen the state of Florida after being closed for months. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]And unlike other states, such as Michigan or Ohio, denunciations of the governor's safer-at-home order haven't come from one of the state's highest political offices.
Devin Burghart studies these movements for a living as the president of the institute. He said Gov. Ron DeSantis, a staunch conservative, hasn't gotten much pushback from the reopen crowd because he has built up years of good will fighting for many of their causes.
''You have a much more sympathetic governor to these causes,'' Burghart said.
DeSantis has dedicated substantial portions of recent news conferences aiming fire at a favorite target of Trump's base: reporters and the experts they quote. He says they stoked panic at the pandemic's outset. If the Reopen Florida Facebook group is any gauge, that's music to the ears of the most conservative Floridians '-- some of whom doubt the coronavirus is any more dangerous than the seasonal flu. (It is.)
Yet, DeSantis' record in handling the crisis shows he's taken the disease seriously. He did issue a shutdown order on April 1, after all. And, at least at first, DeSantis' actions to reopen the state were more cautious than the recommendations from the White House and other Republican-led states. Movie theaters, for example, are still closed under the governor's executive order. Not so in Texas.
Some in the Reopen groups have picked up on DeSantis' caution.
''I'm not fully satisfied with his response,'' said Tara Hill, a moderator on the Reopen Florida Facebook group. ''However, I think his intentions are toward reopening the state.''
Over 100 supporters of the Re-Open Florida CARavan and Rally movement gathered to protest in front of the FOX 13 News Station on Kennedy on Sunday, April 26, 2020 in Tampa. The group held signs, played music and spread their message to reopen the state of Florida after being closed for months. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]So far, that viewpoint from the right is an exception. FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy nonprofit that played a major role in the Tea Party movement, actively promotes Reopen protests on its website. Earlier this month, the group put out a scorecard which graded America's 50 governors on their reopening plans. It was essentially a qualitative assessment: the better a governor balanced the health needs of their state with the daunting economic reality, the higher they scored. DeSantis was one of nine governors to score an ''A.'' Eight were Republicans. (Washington D.C. and its mayor were also included in the scorecard.)
Adam Brandon, the president of FreedomWorks, said the grades are subject to change with the evolving executive orders. But so far, Brandon says, DeSantis has closed what needs closing and started to open what can be safely opened.
''You have to be smarter than just these blanket approaches,'' Brandon said. ''It's pretty clear when you look at the graphs who gets sick and who doesn't.''
Although the state has significantly ramped up its testing capacity in recent weeks, experts say Florida is still not testing enough people to fully reopen the economy. Last week, the state tested about 18,600 people per day. Dr. Charles Lockwood, the dean of University of South Florida's College of Medicine who has said he supports the governor's approach to reopening, said in April the state needs to be testing about 33,000 people every day.
Such numbers are unpersuasive to the reopen crowd.
Over 100 supporters of the Re-Open Florida CARavan and Rally movement gathered to protest in front of the FOX 13 News Station on Kennedy on Sunday, April 26, 2020 in Tampa. The group held signs, played music and spread their message to reopen the state of Florida after being closed for months. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]A primary reason for that is the economic desperation brought about by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Burghart said. But, like the Tea Party before it, there's also more at play.
National conservative groups like Freedomworks are happy to help grassroots activists who align with their small government message. (Brandon said Freedomworks has not spent money to help organize the Reopen protests.) And like the Tea Party, the movement is uniting disparate factions skeptical of Big Government: Donald Trump superfans, conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccine crusaders.
However, there is one major difference between the two movements: timing. The Reopen campaign has already amassed an online following of over 2 million Facebook users across hundreds of groups, according to the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights analysis. It took months for the Tea Party to accomplish what the Reopen movement has in weeks.
Burghart said even if the Reopen movement isn't dictating the conversation in Florida '-- yet '-- standard bearers of the right like Ron DeSantis may have to tread carefully. If one lesson can be applied from the Tea Party, it's that conservatives alienate the grassroots base at their own risk.
''They have an outsized influence on the dialogue,'' Burghart said.
' ' '
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Lockdown Sceptics '' Stay sceptical. End the lockdown. Save lives.
Tue, 12 May 2020 06:59
Keeping the handbrake on is a polite way of describing Boris's raft of announcements yesterday about how and when the lockdown is going to be eased. On Twitter, I described it as placing the country on ''double secret probation'', so elaborate are the rules about when we're allowed out of our domestic prisons. Others have been more forthright. One reader described the Prime Minister's speech as a ''nothingburger squared'', while Kathy Gyngell at Conservative Woman has a new name for our glorious leader: Bottler Boris.
The weird thing is, lots of people think he went too far. That was particularly true of left-wing politicians. Jeremy Corbyn, for instance, tweeted: ''There should be no return to work until it is safe to do so. If work cannot be done safely, it should not proceed. People must come before private profit.'' The idea, obviously, is to get it on record that they think Boris is making a dreadful mistake so if the death toll starts to rise they can pin that on him. Sturgeon is playing the same game. Happily, that didn't stop people getting on the tube to return to work this morning. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has responded by saying wearing masks on public transport should be compulsory.
One thing that stood out in Boris's speech was how often he mentioned ''the R'' '' the rate of infection. Clearly, how free we're allowed to be is inextricably bound up with what the R number is, although the details were hard to follow. That led Ben Pile, a Spiked contributor, to post this amusing summary of the speech on Twitter: ''If I understand the Prime Minister, the level of alert will be updated by scientists checking their Rs. If their Rs is low, then we can be free. But if their Rs is high, then we must be locked up again. Scientists will be speaking to the Prime Minister through their Rs.'' He then added: ''The PM will be checking the scientists' Rs every day. Scientists will also be checking each others Rs '' a method pioneered by Prof Neil Ferguson and his lover.''
If there's one straw to clutch at, it's that Boris has abandoned the crackpot notion that any reimposition of restrictions after some modest easing would be ''an economic disaster''. That's what he said when he addressed the nation on April 27th, announcing we couldn't possibly relax any of the extreme social distancing measures if there was the slightest risk it would lead to an uptick in infections. I despaired at the time because it seemed like a ''test'' that could never be met. But he's done a reverse ferret on that, thank God. Now the line is that if infections start to rise, restrictions will be tightened up again until they start to fall. Indeed, he unveiled a 'Covid Alert' metre that will dictate when restrictions are turned on and off. As several readers have pointed out, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the 'Peri-ometer' at Nando's, the high-street peri-peri chicken chain:
Another reason we should welcome switching measures on and off in response to the rise and fall of the R number '' first suggested in the Imperial College March 16th paper '' is that it seems unlikely infections will start to climb again as a result of any easing. In Germany, for instance, it's clear that new infections have been trending downwards since the lockdown was dialled back a couple of weeks ago. And, of course, infections have also been declining in those countries that never imposed lockdowns in the first place, such as Sweden.
And Belarus. We mustn't forget Belarus. A reader reminded me yesterday that no lockdown has been imposed in the East European republic and it has experienced one of the mildest Covid outbreaks anywhere in the world. Only 135 deaths so far, which works out at 14 per million. Who would have suspected that Alexander Lukashenko, the autocratic President of Belarus, would have managed this crisis better than our own democratically-elected leaders? As Mark put it in the comments beneath yesterday's daily update: ''What a state we have come to when a thuggish ageing Belarussian autocrat makes our entire political, media and social elite look like a bunch of scared, hysterical old women (with due apologies to all the sterling ladies of a certain age posting here).''
So why are infections unlikely to start trending upwards post-lockdown and why have they been falling in those countries '' and US states '' that never made the disastrous mistake in the first place? One theory is that the herd immunity threshold is far lower than originally anticipated '' more like 7-24% than 50-60%. Nicholas Lewis, a climate change researcher, has written a piece that parses the evidence and sets out the argument. He shows that variation in COVID-19 susceptibility and infectivity between individuals, arising mainly from differences in their social connectivity, lowers the herd immunity threshold to a much more manageable level. His analysis draws on a recent preprint by Gomes et al entitled 'Individual variation in susceptibility or exposure to SARS-CoV-2 lowers the herd immunity threshold'. Lewis's paper is well worth a read.
By the way, what happened to the much-heralded Porton Down antibody testing survey? That involved randomly testing tens of thousands of people with a view to building up a picture of just how many Britons had been infected. It was announced over a month ago and I haven't heard a peep about it since. Can any reader throw any light on this?
One more reason why the R number is unlikely to go up post-lockdown is that it may have sunk to below 1 before the lockdown was imposed and remained at that level throughout. That's what happened in Germany. This chart from the Robert Koch Institute shows that by March 23rd, when the German Government imposed its most severe lockdown measures, the reproduction figure was already below 1, meaning the number of new infections was declining. In addition, it shows that in the following weeks, after the lockdown was in place, the R figure didn't decline any further. So the lockdown didn't result in any additional reduction of new cases.
''Sue Denim'' has been in touch to point out that several other people with similar levels of coding expertise have posted analyses of Neil Ferguson's code that are as scathing as his. Take this one, for instance, by Chris von Csefalvay. He is an epidemiologist specialising in the virology of bat-borne illnesses, including bat-related coronaviruses. ''It is very difficult to look at the Ferguson code with any understanding of software engineering and conclude that this is good, or even tolerable,'' he writes. He notes that Ferguson apologised for the poor quality of the code on Twitter, explaining that he wrote it more than 13 years ago to model flu pandemics. Csefalvay responds as follows: ''That, sir, is not a feature. It's not even a bug. It's somewhere between negligence and unintentional but grave scientific misconduct.''
Then there's this review by Craig Pirrong, Professor of Finance and Energy Markets Director of the Global Energy Management Institute at the Bauer College of Business, University of Houston. ''Models only become science when tested against data/experiment,'' he writes. ''By that standard, the Imperial College model failed spectacularly.''
Meanwhile, the quality of the responses to these critiques by Ferguson's defenders is pitiful. Like this one by Phil Bull, a Lecturer in Cosmology at Queen Mary University headlined 'Why you can ignore reviews of scientific code by commercial software developers'. Includes a caveat that tells you everything you need to know: ''I will caveat this section with the fact that I am an astrophysicist and not an epidemiologist, so can't critique the model assumptions or even really the extent to which it has been implemented well in the Imperial code.''
Problems continue to mount for the NHSx contact-tracing app. On May 7th, the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights chaired by Harriet Harman published its report on the first version of the app and it doesn't look like anyone on that Committee is going to be installing it on their phones anytime soon. The same person who wrote a detailed analysis of the app's shortcomings for Lockdown Sceptics has summarised the Committee's findings:
The Committee does not believe the app, in its nascent form, is even legal: ''Unless the efficacy and benefits of the app are clear, the level of data being collected will be not be justifiable and it will therefore fall foul of data protection law and human rights protections.''From the summary: ''there are significant concerns about a tracking app being rolled out at speed with the potential longer-term effects on personal freedoms and concerns around surveillance encroaching on people's everyday lives'...'' ''The implications of such an app are so widespread, significant, and, as yet, subject to limited public examination, that they should be subject to the in-depth scrutiny of Parliament at the earliest opportunity. The Committee is concerned that this has not happened to date.'' ''The implementation and oversight of this app must, in our view, be urgently placed on a legislative footing'...''The Committee is calling for primary legislation to govern the app and the use of its data, plus an independent body to oversee it. Matt Hancock has apparently appointed an independent Ethics Advisory Board but the Committee sees this as insufficient.Meanwhile, in Germany an anti-lockdown political party has been formed called Widerstand2020 Deutschland. Founded on April 21st, it has already attracted more than 100,000 members (although that number is contested). I can't find anything about the party in any English-language publications, but it has a German website and a Facebook page and its two leaders are Ralf Ludwig, a Leipzig-based lawyer, and Dr Bodo Schiffmann, an ear, nose and throat specialist. Together, they're known as Ralf and Bodo. (There was a third leader, Victoria Hamm, but she seems to have dropped out.) There is some discussion in Germany about whether Widerstand2020 Deutschland is, technically, a political party because single-issue parties are legally prohibited from participating in elections by Germany's Basic Law. The fact that it accepts anonymous donations also rules it out. Widerstand2020 Deutschland has a page on Wikipedia, but lockdown zealots are straining every sinew to get it removed. (The party's website has also been under attack since May 3rd.) The entry notes that a ''right wing extremism researcher'' called Matthias Quent believes the party '' and the German lockdown sceptics movement in general '' is a ''collective of dissatisfied, frustrated and esoteric types, conspiracy theorists, people who are against vaccinations, anti-Semites and right-wing radicals''. A German-speaking reader of this website, to whom I'm indebted for doing some research on this for me, notes that nearly all the reporting about Widerstand2020 Deutschland in the German media has been dismissive. ''The tendency to lump the entire membership of the organisation together as dangerous extremists dominates all the news reports I found,'' he says. Dr Schiffmann also has a YouTube channel in which he makes arguments that will be familiar to readers of this site, such as questioning the level of danger presented by the virus and pointing out how disproportionate the response has been. One interesting fact uncovered by my researcher: the German term for lockdown is ''der lockdown''. Incidentally, widerstand is the German word for resistance. If Widerstand2020 Deutschland does figure out how to get around Germany's election rules I've no doubt it will do well. Das Bild, Europe's biggest-selling newspaper, announced yesterday that the lockdown in Germany had been a ''huge mistake''. Breitbart has more.
The UK still seems a long way from the emergence of Widerstand2020 GroŸbritannien, but an embryonic anti-lockdown movement is emerging. For instance, a group of sceptics in Manchester were out yesterday plastering the town with stickers. The group, which calls itself ''For Freedom's Sake'' and can be found on Twitter here, is hoping to encourage others by engaging in small acts of resistance, a bit like Otto and Elise Hampel, the Berlin couple who wrote postcards denouncing Hitler and left them in public places around the city. Here's one of the stickers:
And now for our own small act of resistance. Today, Lockdown Sceptics is launching a searchable directory of open businesses across the UK. The idea is to celebrate those retail and hospitality businesses that have reopened, as well as to help people find out what has opened in their area. But we need your help to build it, so we've created a form you can fill out to tell us about those businesses that have reopened near you. Should all be fairly self-explanatory '' and the owners of small businesses are welcome to enter their own details. Please visit the page and let us know about those courageous entrepreneurs who are doing their bit to get the country moving again.
And check this out. An enterprising family has created a drive-thru McDonald's in their back garden. But don't add underground businesses like that to our directory. We don't want the police to use it as a tool to track down Covid dissidents.
A reader in Japan has sent me this imaginative diagram that a designer friend of his has created to help people understand the social distancing rules. Could this be an example of what will come to be known as Covid art? Obviously, I don't include this monstrous piece of propaganda by Banksy in that category.
Artist: Eisuke Tachikawa, known as NOSIGNER, creator of the PANDAID portalGood letter in the Yorkshire Post yesterday from Peter Snowdon contrasting his fathers' generation, which won the Second World War, with the current lot of bed-wetters:
They would be appalled by the way in which we have responded to this pandemic. They would think that we are unable to balance and manage risk. The effects of the breakdown of the economy will put those vital parts of society '' the health service, education and social care '' back by many years. We will live with the economic effects of these few weeks for years to come. Unemployment will soar and many more people will die worldwide than ever succumb to the virus as a result of the economic strictures that will be in place.
Let's honour the memory of those who died, or gave up their younger years, by accepting that, in times of natural disaster, we cannot solve everything. Our parents did so and 'just got on with it'. We cannot reduce the numbers dying to nothing and we shouldn't rob the future of millions of people in a futile effort to do so.
I received a heart-rending email from an isolated sceptic in Bexhill-on-Sea, a small town on England's south coast. ''Never has there been a bunch of more hysterical, scared-shitless snowflakes, not only wanting the lockdown to carry on for months, but to tighten it down to unprecedented levels,'' he writes. ''There is a very popular community-based facebook group here and there are literally hundreds of posts screaming about the slight ease-up in restrictions that Bojo spoke about last night.'' He continues:
Toby, I wanted to post something on the group with the alternate point of view, but my wife and daughter wouldn't let me! I realised myself that I would generate so much abuse and hate and wouldn't be surprised if I was hounded out of the group. I have friends in the same group and I actually think I would lose some of them if I put in my penny-worth. It has actually become like the Brexit/Remainer thing now, dividing communities and even families. There is a lot of shaming of, not only those breaking the lockdown, but those who dare to walk on the seafront who are still socially distancing.
I'm sure there are a lot of readers of this site who feel his pain.
I was at Comedy Unleashed, the samizdat comedy night in Bethnal Green, on March 10th when Dominic Frisby unveiled a new verse to his 'Maybe' song, this one about coronavirus. Talk about prophetic! You can see Dominic singing that verse here. If you fancy anther dose of Comedy Unleashed-style humour, there's this brilliant YouTube piss-take of Nicola Sturgeon reacting to Boris's announcement by Jane Godley. Warning: Contains profanity. And this YouTube video by Paul Weston is laugh-out-loud funny. Slow start, but wait till you get to the bit when he points out that people aged 19 and under are about as likely to die from COVID-19 as they are from putting on their trousers. Apparently, eight people died while trying to do that last year.
Conor Friedersdorf, a journalist at the Atlantic I have a lot of time for, wrote a good piece yesterday entitled 'Take the Shutdown Skeptics Seriously'. After summarising the sceptics' case, he writes: ''These facts may not be evident from the least thoughtful proponents of reopening, many of whom advance arguments that are uninformed, dismissive of experts, or callous. But the warnings of thoughtful shutdown skeptics warrant careful study, not stigma rooted in the false pretense that they don't have any plausible concerns or value human life.''
And on to the round-up of all the stories I've noticed, or which have been been brought to my attention, in the last 24 hours:
'Covid-19's Third Shock Wave: The Global Food Crisis' '' Michael T Klare in the Nation argues that the lockdown will cause the collapse of global food-supply systems, leading to mass starvation in the developing world'How to make a crisis far, far, worse' '' Latest jeremiad from Dr Malcolm Kendrick'Global virus lockdown was ''madness''' '' Uwe Parart summarises the evidence, as laid out by Stefan Homburg, Professor of Public Finance at Leibniz University'Is there any point in social distancing?' '' Will Jones's latest in the Conservative Woman'What are the 'reopen' protesters really saying?' '' Great piece in the Conversation doing some social anthropology about the different groups attracted to the sceptics' causeSome more suggestions for theme songs from readers: 'Wake Up' by Rage Against the Machine, 'Isolation' by Joy Division, 'Sitting Round at Home' by the Buzzcocks and, of course, 'Infected' by the The. Can't believe we haven't had that one before.
Thanks as always to those who made a donation in the last 24 hours to pay for the upkeep of the site. If you feel like donating, you can do so by clicking here. (Every little helps!) And if you want to flag up any stories or links I should include in tomorrow's update, you can email me here.
And finally, Guy de la B(C)doy¨re, a long-standing contributor to this site, has written a great essay for Lockdown Sceptics about Britain's slide into totalitarianism. Guy is a historian who mainly writes books about the Roman world, but he taught a course on Totalitarian Ideology in Theory and Practice for a number of years. Please do read the whole thing, but here's an extract:
One of the most remarkable aspects of the creation of Britain's Covid Reich was that even in the middle of the Government's witless, confused and ambivalent approach to the crisis it was able to rustle up overnight many of the key ingredients of totalitarianism. The ideology and the slogans, and the continual repetition of the message with the supine assistance of broadcast media, all fell into place with frightening speed. The speed with which the Great British Public acquiesced was even more alarming.
Los Angeles County to Likely Extend Stay-At-Home Measures into August - Eater LA
Tue, 12 May 2020 16:31
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the county plans to extend its stay-at-home orders for at least three additional months to help suppress the spread of coronavirus. Dr. Ferrer discussed the extension at a Board of Supervisors meeting this morning, as the county's original order expires this coming Friday.
Dr. Ferrer also mentioned the county will continue to slowly lift social and business restrictions, but only if the data illustrates dramatic change '-- around infection and mortality rates, along with local hospitals' ability to accommodate patients, among measures '-- according to the Los Angeles Times.
Also today, California Gov. Gavin Newsom presented some sobering guidelines for restaurants and bars, where restaurants must craft a ''workplace specific plan'' for how to deal with issues like physical distancing, the use of face masks, and sanitary procedures. While bars, nightclubs, distilleries, and other alcohol manufacturers that do not serve food should remain closed.
Between Newsom new restaurant guidelines and Dr. Ferrer's extension, businesses and LA residents must figure out how to navigate an additional three months of restricted interactions. It's a challenging task to gradually reopen the economy, ensure that residents stay healthy, and keep coronavirus cases from increasing.
Over the last week, LA County began the second phase of the state's five-stage recovery plan. Last Friday, designated businesses were allowed to offer curbside pickup along with reopened trails, parks and golf courses. Starting tomorrow, beaches will reopen with required face coverings when not in the water, and not allow sunbathing or picnicking.
The extension of the stay-at-home orders comes just hours after Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that Americans would encounter ''suffering and death that could be avoided'' and experience further economic damage if states reopen before seeing a decline in COVID-19 cases.
The most populous county in the Unites States, LA County, reported 39 new deaths and 591 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday '-- a marked contrast to neighboring Orange County and Riverside counties, which have both seen their numbers decline in recent weeks.
Here Are California's Guidelines For Reopening Restaurant Dining Rooms [ELA] Sign up for the newsletter Eater LA Sign up for our newsletter.
Here Are California's Guidelines for Reopening Restaurant Dining Rooms - Eater LA
Tue, 12 May 2020 16:32
Today California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined ''guidelines for reopening in-room dining'' at restaurants statewide, paving a path toward a ''new normal'' in the billion-dollar hospitality industry.
A broad PDF outlining industrywide guidance was released on the state's COVID-19 support website just moments ago, laying out ''guidance for dine-in restaurants, brewpubs, craft distilleries, breweries, bars, pubs, and wineries to support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers.'' A more specific checklist of necessary duties and tasks for restaurants was also released, and can be found here.
The guidance notes that restaurants must craft a ''workplace specific plan'' for how to deal with issues like physical distancing, the use of face masks, sanitary procedures, and more. Restaurants are told to ''continue to encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible,'' and bars, nightclubs, distilleries, and other alcohol manufacturers that do not also serve food should remain closed. However:
Brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, craft distilleries, and wineries that do not provide sit-down meals themselves, but can contract with another vendor to do so, can serve dine-in meals provided both businesses follow the guidance below and alcohol is only sold in the same transaction as a meal.
That means that pop-ups inside of breweries are back on, though large-scale entertainment venues are still closed. Restaurants should also ''discontinue tableside food preparation and presentation such as food (item selection carts and conveyor belts, guacamole preparation, etc.).''
As for reservations:
' Encourage reservations to allow for time to disinfect restaurant areas and provide guidance via digital platforms if possible to customers for physical distancing while at the restaurant.
' Consider allowing dine-in customers to order ahead of time to limit the amount of time spent in the establishment.
' Ask customers to wait in their cars or away from the establishment while waiting to be seated. If possible, alert patrons through their mobile phones when their table is ready to avoid touching and use of ''buzzers.''
Many restaurants, Newsom said, ''are open for takeout, but this would allow patrons to start coming back'' to dine inside, though he cautioned that the openings would be phased-in slowly, starting in counties least affected by the coronavirus pandemic. ''The statewide order affords the opportunity for local government to come into conformance with those guidelines,'' Newsom added, ''but one can choose to be a little bit more prescriptive and restrictive. Not everyone is compelled into this phase.''
''It's going to be very trying, even with these modifications,'' Newsom said, for restaurants to survive. ''I'm not naive about any of this, and I'm deeply concerned.''
Earlier in the day, Los Angeles County public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said that the county's stay-at-home order would ''with all certainty'' be extended through July, though she declined to make that an official mandate. The order could also continue on into August while allowing for some limited easing, like this week's reopening of some beaches within the county, as well as the possibility of allowing dine-in restaurants well before the end of the order.
While taking questions, Newsom also said that the guidelines today ''are not static,'' meaning specific details like percentages of reduced seating capacity, the increased use of patio dining, and other issues, could be updated as time goes on.
Newsom has long held that ''regional variance'' could see different counties take different approaches (and at different times) to reopening the California economy, meaning Orange, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties could return to the ''new normal'' sooner than Los Angeles County, with its 10 million-strong population and larger COVID-19 outbreak. Nearby Riverside County has been pressing to reopen its economy even sooner, while also relaxing physical distancing, face covering, and other mandates there, as county sheriff Chad Bianco has repeatedly stated that he will not enforce state lockdown orders.
Regardless of reopening announcements at the county and state levels, it remains to be seen how comfortable diners are to return to sitting down inside of restaurants and bars in their own neighborhoods. A recent poll out of Emerson College found that just 35 percent of diners would be comfortable eating inside of a restaurant ''with some spacing precautions,'' and operators themselves aren't quite sure yet how any new-look restaurant could work and feel during the protracted coronavirus pandemic, particularly with a possible vaccine potentially a year or more away.
Hospitality Workers are Launching Their Own Food Side Hustles to Get Through the Pandemic [ELA] Sign up for the newsletter Eater LA Sign up for our newsletter.
We Have Rights | Protest to Open the United States | Los Angeles, CA | May 9th Protest '-- We Have Rights
Wed, 13 May 2020 15:45
Details & EtiquetteTime: 12pm
We need to have a variety of verbiage on the signs
Size matters
Must be able to read your sign from across the street
Sign Materials
Poster board COLOR helps stand out (cheap $ store)
Foam board (more expensive)
LARGE Black markers
We recommend not using sticks as they can be utilized as weapons
I have the right to work
Gavin Newsom Businesses are [graphic of pulse flatline]
We Are All Essential
FREEDOM is Essential
ReOpen Now
The shutdown is killing us
Practice Media Distancing
''Open our state now''
''Back to work''
''Back to school''
Our goal is to get our message out in a positive and safe manner.
We want to be taken seriously. We will be judged by our attitudes, sign presentation and dress.
We will be wearing RED, WHITE & BLUE colored shirts at the march. That way we know each other and stand united.
Please be prepared for people who may not be in agreement with us. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and so are we. Please remember that our response needs to be positive not confrontational. The world will be watching and in order to be taken seriously and respected we must be respectful.
We DO NOT CONDONE the use of force or violence by anyone IN WORDS OR ACTIONS. Anyone committing violent acts is disavowed by WE THE PEOPLE and the FULLY OPEN CA movement. They are plants and/or are acting independently and should be treated as such and not affiliated with this movement. If you see someone acting violently, immediately move yourself and group/s away from them. Isolate them away from others and get law enforcement.
All people are required to maintain CDC guidelines for prevention. Following Best practice.
Social distancing from non-family members means you need to stand 6' apart. 2 arm lengths away from each other.
We are leaving wearing masks or cloth face coverings up to your discretion.
If you are sick or high risk please stay at home and quarantine.
Each location will have a spokesperson to talk to the media.
We must be prepared for what will be said to the media so our message is clearly communicated. Words can be taken out of context and become damaging.
We understand sometimes it's hard to find the words so we will be helping by giving you highlights and answers to general questions to help you with people who ask what this moment is all about. Here is a sample statement:
We are demanding that Newsom FULLY REOPEN CALIFORNIA NOW.
We demand our rights are restored.
We have the right to work and we can do so while exercising preventative safety measures.
We CANNOT SURVIVE this shutdown any longer.
People have been stripped of their rights to freedom of religion. They have no right to shut us down from our churches. The right to practice your religion free from government interference is absolutely essential freedom to every person. This government overreach violates 1st amendment rights and WE WON'T STAND FOR IT!
ADP Reports 20 Million Jobs Lost: A Disaster Comparison Three Ways
Thu, 14 May 2020 06:40
The ADP National Employment Report provides the strongest clue yet for the pending disastrous BLS jobs report on Friday.
Private sector employment decreased by 20,236,000 jobs from March to April according to the April ADP National Employment Report®. The report utilizes data through the 12th of the month. The NER uses the same time period the Bureau of Labor and Statistics uses for their survey. As such, the April NER does not reflect the full impact of COVID-19 on the overall employment situation.
Unprecedented Job Losses
''Job losses of this scale are unprecedented. The total number of job losses for the month of April alone was more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession,'' said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute. ''Additionally, it is important to note that the report is based on the total number of payroll records for employees who were active on a company's payroll through the 12th of the month. This is the same time period the Bureau of Labor and Statistics uses for their survey.''
Job Losses by Company Size
Job Losses By Sector
Initial Unemployment Claims
In the last 6 week there have been 30 million initial unemployment claims.
20 Years of Employment Gains Have Vanished
Based on the 30 million claims, I commented 20 Years of Employment Gains Have Vanished.
If we assume only 20 million jobs were lost, that would roughly takes us back fo January 2000 or so.
But those are "Private Jobs". They are a subset of "All Employees Total Nonfarm" which in turn is a subset of "Employment Level".
Unemployment Rate
Yesterday, the Chicago Fed addressed the question Is the Unemployment Rate a Good Measure of People Currently Out of Work?
The Chicago Fed projected a baseline unemployment rate of 9.4% with a U-6 rate of 18.9% and a COV-Underutilization Rate of 29%. The Cov rate is essentially the U-6 rate except that it makes additions for Cov-impacted workers.
Recall that if people did not look for work, they are not unemployed. But furloughed people (temporary layoffs), don't have to look.
Upcoming Jobs Report: What Will the Unemployment Rate Be?
On April 30, and based on the 30 million claims, I asked Upcoming Jobs Report: What Will the Unemployment Rate Be?
Here is my formula
Unemployment Rate = (New Claims + Existing Unemployed + Estimate of Claims to Come) / Labor Force
But I also allowed for overcounts, that is people who made an unemployment claim but will not be considered by the BLS as unemployed. Recall that if you worked as little as 1 hour, you are considered "employed".
Furthermore, I made the assumption that there were no new claims coming, making the formula: Unemployment Rate = (New Claims + Existing Unemployed - Estimate of overcounts) / Labor Force
Assume a "Net" Overcount of 8 Million30.303 million New Claims + 7.140 million Existing Unemployed - 8.000 million Overcounts / 162.913 Labor Force = 18.1%Assume a "Net" Undercount of 2 Million30.303 million + 7.140 million + 2.000 million / 162.913 = 24.2%
To pick a specific number, I will go with 21% assuming a net overcount of 4.0 million vs the Household Survey (yielding 20.5%) + another 0.5 percentage points representing a change in the Labor Force.
Mish vs Chicago Fed vs Bloomberg
My Unemployment rate projection is 21% vs the Chicago Fed baseline of 9.4%
For comparison purposes, Bloomberg estimated 20%.
For details and BLS caveats, please see 20 Years of Employment Gains Have Vanished.
Job Losses by Size of Company: Who Lost the Jobs?
Thu, 14 May 2020 06:42
May 6, 2020
ADP reported a massive decline of over 20 million jobs. Let's investigate losses by size of firm.Earlier today I commented ADP Reports 20 Million Jobs Lost: A Disaster Comparison Three Ways
This is a followup on losses and percentage losses by corporation size.
Nonfarm Private Payrolls March 2020
Nonfarm Private Payrolls April 2020
Change in Nonfarm Payrolls by Company Size
Workers at the largest companies got hit the least (13.36%). Small firms, especially those with 20-49 employees got hit the hardest (21.47%)The largest firms were the best equipped to offer work at home.
Also, some large firms like Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, Safeway, and all the food stores were designated critical businesses and stayed open.
Number of Small Businesses
In 2018 the SBA reports there were 30.2 million small businesses with 58.9 million employees.
Millions of small businesses will go bankrupt over this.
Inflation or Deflation?
If you believe all this printing will soon result in inflation, you are mistaken.
For discussion, please see Inflation or Deflation? Collapse in Demand Trumps Supply Shocks
Amusingly, Hyperinflationists Come Out of the Woodwork Again.
Understanding the Problem
The Fed's seriously misguided efforts to force inflation into a system begging for deflation is the problem.
The Problem is Not Deflation, It's Attempts to Prevent It
Shut Up Slave
Metro One Loss Prevention Social Compliance Officer Job in Tennessee | Glassdoor
Tue, 12 May 2020 09:07
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Fact Check: Ventura County Will NOT Forcibly Remove People Infected With COVID-19 From Their Homes Into Quarantine | Lead Stories
Mon, 11 May 2020 08:42
Wrong Words Did the Ventura County public health director say that the California county will be forcibly moving people infected with COVID-19 out of their homes into quarantine? No, that's not true. The video of Public Health DirectorDr. Robert Levin giving details about the county's contact tracing program went viral but he did not say they were going to force infected people to move out of their homes. The Department of Health confirmed to that viral reaction to the comments were a "misunderstanding" about the process to offer people in need separate house and stated it was voluntary, not forced.
The story continued to go viral with a post (archived here) published on Facebook on May 8, 2020, under the title "Ventura County Will Forcibly Remove You From Your Home." It opened:
They will forcibly remove youThis can not be happening in America... but it is!
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
The video shows Ventura County Public Health Department Health Director Dr. Robert Levin on May 5, 2020, explaining the details of the new program to fight coronavirus in the county directly north of Los Angeles, which is home to approximately 850,000 people.
A warning chyron on the video reads: "Ventura County Will Forcibly Remove You From Your Home. Says 1000's of Counties Will Follow!" and the clip racked up over more than 374,000 views.
The controversy began with Levin's comments about expanding the contact tracing program amid the coronavirus outbreak in the United States and specifically in Ventura County:
As we do more testing, we will find more and more people who have COVID-19 and again, we will isolate every one of them and we will find every one of their contacts and we will make sure that they stay quarantined. And we will check in with them every day."
Levin continued explaining how the county planned to deal with people their contact tracers found to be infected with COVID-19.
We will be giving intensive training to these people. Training not only for identifying and finding contacts but also in term as of how to be sensitive. We also realize that as we find more contacts some of the people, we find are going to have trouble being isolated.
For instance, if they live in a home where there is only one bathroom and there are three or four other people living there and those people don't have COVID infection, we're not going to be able to keep the person in that home.
Every person who we are isolating for instance needs has to have their own bathroom. And so, we will be moving people like this into other kinds of housing that we have available
They'll also have other needs perhaps. Food. Whatever it is going to be, the county will be there to back them up and support them."
Here is the video of Levin's remarks on May 5.
Outrage began circulating quickly, with critics claiming the county was going to forcibly remove people who were infected with COVID-19 and who didn't have the ability to isolate in a manner approved by the county in their own home.
Commenters decried the takeover of rights by the government on the Facebook page of the post.
Brenda Robinson Nickelson Old Benjamin Franklin was right when he said: he who sacrifices his FREEDOM for safety, deserves neither!
Dennis Fischer The question now is . Who will have the courage to stand up to these tyrants? Will you stand with your father, mother, neighbor to defend your rights under the Constitution? Or will you cower in your home, and hope you're not next?
The Ventura County Public Health Department clarified the remarks to on Friday, May 8, 2020, calling it a "misunderstanding."
We can assure you that is not what is going to happen," a county spokesperson explained. "They are not going to be forcibly taking people out of their homes. The County has places available to quarantine but that is up to them."
The department clarified that the places the county has available would be "hotels or motels" and there would be no cost to the people that choose to leave their homes and quarantine at an outside location.
"That is part of the process that the county is providing."
The department issued a clarification on its Facebook page on Friday afternoon.
Doctor Levin's recent comments have gone viral and he wants to set the record straight. The County of Ventura is not removing people from their homes. We have alternative options if needed. Here's a statement from Doctor Levin.
What I would like to say to those people who interpreted what I said as forcibly pulling people from their homes if they become COVID positive is that if I conveyed that, it was a mistake on my part and I apologize for that. I am sensitive to that as well. We have no intention of taking people from the environments they feel safe and comfortable in. To demonstrate our past actions, because they speak louder than words, we have managed over 600 people in our county with COVID-19 and we have not forcibly removed anyone from their home or wherever they wanted to be. We have removed about 7 of our seniors who were living in Long Term Care Facilities (LTCF) and had them admitted to one of our hospitals. This was to protect the other seniors and to observe those hospitalized for worsening of their symptoms. If COVID establishes itself in a LTCF (a nursing home), it can kill dozens as it did in Washington State. We also placed two homeless people who were COVID positive in a motel because they wanted to return to a crowded camp in the river bottom. Virtually everyone wants to stay in their home. It is safest when such a person can have their own room and bathroom but many of our COVID cases have not been so fortunate. When that is the case, our Communicable Disease nurses find ways of keeping them in their home such that it is still safe for the others who are there." - Doctor Robert Levin, Public Health Officer County of Ventura.
Here is video of Levin apologizing on the next day at a press conference.
"I either misspoke or was misinterpreted -- I'll take the blame of having misspoken," he said on May 6, 2020. "Yesterday, at this conference, at the Board of Supervisors, and I gave people the impression that if you were isolated, you would be taken out of your home and put into a hotel room or a motel room or sequestered in some other way.
"If I did do that, I am very sorry," he said. "That is an option. That is possible. If you become infected, you don't want to stay in your home, you're afraid that you're going to expose other people, we'll work with you to find a place to stay. And, it's likely to be a hotel or a motel. We will desire for you to have your own room in your place of residence and a bathroom that can be dedicated to just you. Now, not everyone is fortunate enough to have more than one bathroom, so we'll work with you on this.
"We have had 600 or so cases in our county and I'd say only in very, very unusual circumstances, we've had to put someone up in a hotel or motel and this was for reasons which have nothing to do with your choice of staying in your household."
Here is more of what Levin said during his remarks clarifying the earlier comments.
"Yesterday, yes, at the Board of Supervisors, I spoke to issues related to isolation and quarantine, and how we were going to step up our program. We were going to increase by 10, 20, maybe 50 people to help us locate people and make sure they're in quarantine or make sure they're in isolation.
"If you have the illness and you stay in your own quarters or in your hospital room, that's called isolation," he continued. "If you don't have the illness, but you were exposed to someone who did, but we want to watch you for the period of incubation, where you might come down with the illness and might be contagious and give it to someone else, that's called quarantine."
"We're looking to not only isolate everyone, but we're looking to quarantine the contacts of the isolates we have who have COVID disease. Now, we're going to get - because of increased manpower and because of increased testing - more and more meticulous in our ability to do this," Levin said.
"And, what we anticipate that's going to happen as a result of this, is that we're going to drive our numbers way down and that's what we want to see."
As of May 8, 2020 Ventura County had 631 total cases of coronavirus and 19 deaths according to
Robot dog patrolling in Singapore
Tue, 12 May 2020 16:37
12 May 2020
Singapore is using a 'robot dog' to enforce social distancing measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The black and yellow robot, named Spot, plays a recording that says: ''Let's keep Singapore healthy. For your own safety and for those around you, please stand at least one metre apart. Thank you.''
Spot will be covering a two-mile region in the heart of Singapore and will be given a trial run of a fortnight before a performance review.
The mechanical pooch has been fitted with cameras and sensors to avoid running into people or objects.
In a press release, the Singaporean government said: ''These cameras will not be able to track and/or recognise specific individuals, and no personal data will be collected.''
AG Paxton Warns County Judges and Local Officials on Unlawful COVID-19 Orders | Office of the Attorney General
Wed, 13 May 2020 06:54
May 12, 2020 | Press Release
Attorney General Ken Paxton today issued letters to three Texas counties (Dallas, Bexar, and Travis) and two mayors (San Antonio and Austin), warning that some requirements in their local public health orders are unlawful and can confuse law-abiding citizens. These unlawful and unenforceable requirements include strict and unconstitutional demands for houses of worship, unnecessary and onerous restrictions on allowing essential services to operate, such as tracking customers who visit certain restaurants, penalties for not wearing masks, shelter-in-place demands, criminal penalties for violating state or local health orders, and failing to differentiate between recommendations and mandates.
''Unfortunately, a few Texas counties and cities seem to have confused recommendations with requirements and have grossly exceeded state law to impose their own will on private citizens and businesses. These letters seek to avoid any public confusion as we reopen the state,'' said Attorney General Paxton. ''I trust that local officials will act quickly to correct any orders that unlawfully conflict with Texas law and Governor Abbott's Executive Orders.'' Read the letter to Bexar County and the City of San Antonio here.
Read the letter to Travis County and the City of Austin here.
Read the letter to Dallas County here.
Dem Bailout $3 Trillion
Basically a lot of existing bills wrapped into one
Lots of IG's getting millions to investigate the response
Follow the Money
$100 Million to Violence against women
and other domestic abuse
Community Oriented Policing Services $300m
$540 Billion for state bailouts
To compensate for revenue shortfall
$25 Billion to USPS
A couple billion for work programs
Every single department gets a top-up
Ryan White HIV Program $10m for covid-19
Half a billion for NAIAD - Fauci
$7 billion for states child care services
$90 Billion for schools
Student Loan Forgiveness And $1,200 Second Stimulus Check Included In New Stimulus Proposal
Wed, 13 May 2020 07:01
6,190 views | May 12, 2020, 04:59pm EDT
Zack Friedman Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Bestselling Author, The Lemonade Life. I write and speak about leadership and greatness.
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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House Democrats want one more bite of the apple with student loan forgiveness.
Here's what you need to know.
Student Loan ForgivenessHouse Democrats pitched an ambitious $3 trillion new stimulus spending proposal '' called the HEROES Act '' that, among other benefits, includes a new, one-time stimulus check for $1,200 for each individual ($2,400 for married couples) and $1,200 for each dependent (with a maximum of three dependents). Also included '' in addition to extended unemployment benefits '' is a student loan forgiveness proposal to cancel $10,000 of student loan debt.
This student loan forgiveness proposal is pared back significantly from some previous student loan forgiveness proposals offered by presidential candidates and members of Congress. For example, the House stimulus bill proposal most closely mirrors a proposal from Senate Democrats, whose student loan forgiveness plan would forgive at least $10,000 of federal student loans for all borrowers. However, the current proposal is much smaller than an earlier House Democrats proposal that called for $30,000 of student loan forgiveness .
Forgive Student Loans: Comparison To Presidential CandidatesThe current proposal to forgive $10,000 of federal student loans is substantially less than proposals from three 2020 presidential candidates: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Here are recent student loan forgiveness plans from the three candidates:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) proposed $1.6 trillion of student loan debt forgiveness , which would cancel all federal and private student loans. Former Vice President Joe Biden called for student loan forgiveness for all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges and universities for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 per year. Biden also has proposed a $750 billion student loan plan focused on income-driven repayment. Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed a student loan forgiveness plan to cancel student loan debt for 95% of Americans. Why $10,000 Of Student Loan Forgiveness?For supporters of student loan forgiveness, $10,000 of student loan forgiveness is a much smaller than cancelling all $1.6 trillion of student loan debt forgiveness. Why is this current smaller than student loan debt cancellation plans proposed by Biden, Sanders and Warren? Here are a few potential reasons why Democrats proposed $10,000 of student loan debt forgiveness:
Similar To Senate Plan: The $10,000 amount matches a similar plan offered in the U.S. Senate, which can help build support in the Senate. Other Priorities: While student loans may be your top priority, legislators are balancing multiple high priority measures that are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Student loan debt forgiveness has relatively less bi-partisan support in both houses of Congress. Help Struggling Borrowers: Most borrowers who default on their student loans have relatively low student loan balances. A lower student loan forgiveness amount could help these borrowers in particular. Student Loan Repayment OptionsWhile public leaders debate the future of student loan forgiveness, remember that you need a student loan repayment plan. These four options are a good place to start:
Student loan refinancing Student loan consolidation Income-driven repayment plans Student loan forgiveness Resources: Student LoansNavient settles lawsuit '-- what it means for your student loans
Should you pay off student loans during COVID-19?
How COVID-19 affects student loan forgiveness
Here's everything that's happened to your student loans in 2 weeks
15 most popular questions about student loans and Coronavirus
How to pay your student loans during Coronavirus
Student loan forgiveness benefits these members of Congress
How to get financial relief for your student loans during Coronavirus
5 ways to lower your student loan payments during Coronavirus
Student loan refinancing rates are incredibly cheap
Follow me on
Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here. Zack Friedman is the bestselling author of the blockbuster book, The Lemonade Life: How To Fuel Success, Create Happiness, and Conquer Anything. Apple named The Lemonade
'... Read More Zack Friedman is the bestselling author of the blockbuster book, The Lemonade Life: How To Fuel Success, Create Happiness, and Conquer Anything. Apple named The Lemonade Life one of "Fall's Biggest Audiobooks" and a "Must-Listen." Zack is the Founder & CEO of Make Lemonade, a leading online personal finance company that empowers you to live a better financial life. He is an in-demand speaker and has inspired millions through his powerful insights, including more than 70 million people who have read his advice. Previously, he was a chief financial officer, a hedge fund investor, and worked at Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, and the White House. Zack holds degrees from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins.
Read Less
$15 Billion for highways
$15 Billion reserve for overruns
$100 Billion Rental assistance
$11 Billion Homeless assistance (not experiencing!)
Shored up the language around relief funds
SBA loans
Slipped in TIN for the $1200 so undocumented can get it as well
HEROES Act includes a form of 'amnesty' fro 'essential workers' even if illegal
Tax breaks and rebates here and there
Payroll tax cut for corps that have pandemic working employees
No price gouging rules
Free wifi at and around schools and libraries etc
Emergency broadband for those who can't afford it
Enhanced Obama Phones with 4G
Repeals the T-band auction
Free calls from prison
Tele-medicine medicare rates will be rural for rural even if the doctor isn't
Some fuckery with pensions tha I don't understand
The Elders
Covid-19: nursing homes account for 'staggering' share of US deaths, data show | US news | The Guardian
Mon, 11 May 2020 11:27
Show caption The Life Care Center in Kirkland, where an early coronavirus outbreak was reported. Photograph: Lindsey Wasson/Reuters
US newsYale professor describes as 'staggering' research that reveals more than half of all deaths in 14 US states from elderly care facilities
Residents of nursing homes have accounted for a staggering proportion of Covid-19 deaths in the US, according to incomplete data gathered by healthcare researchers.
'We're living in fear': why US nursing homes became incubators for the coronavirus Privately compiled data shows such deaths now account for more than half of all fatalities in 14 states, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Only 33 states report nursing home-related deaths.
''I was on a phone call last week, where four or five patients came into our hospital just in one day from nursing homes,'' said infectious disease specialist Dr Sunil Parikh, of Yale School of Public Health in Connecticut. ''It's just a staggering number day to day.''
Despite early warnings that nursing homes were vulnerable to Covid-19, because of group living settings and the age of residents, the federal government is only beginning to gather national data.
In Connecticut, 194 of 216 nursing homes have had at least one Covid-19 case. Nearly half the Covid-19 deaths in the state '' more than 1,200 people '' have been of nursing home residents. The proportion is higher elsewhere. In New Hampshire, 72% of deaths have been nursing home residents.
Parikh said limited testing and a lack of personal protective equipment such as masks hampered efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 in care homes. Connecticut nursing homes are still only testing residents with cough, fever and shortness of breath, classic Covid-19 symptoms, even though the disease is known to spread asymptomatically.
''What I would like to see is the ability to test the entire nursing homes,'' Parikh said. ''This symptomatic approach is just not cutting it. Many states, including Connecticut, are starting to move in that direction '... but I hope it becomes a national effort.''
Nursing homes have been closed to the public for weeks but a bleak picture has nonetheless emerged. In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy called in 120 members of the state national guard to help long-term care facilities, after 17 bodies piled up in one nursing home.
In Maine, a 72-year-old woman who went into a home to recover from surgery died just a few months later, in the state's largest outbreak.
''I feel like I failed my mom because I put her in the wrong nursing home,'' the woman's daughter, Andrea Donovan, told the Bangor Daily News. ''This facility is responsible for so much sadness for this family for not protecting their residents.''
Fifteen states have moved to shield nursing homes from lawsuits, according to Modern Healthcare.
Nursing home residents were among the first known cases of Covid-19 in the US. In mid-February in suburban Kirkland, Washington, 80 of 130 residents in one facility were sickened by an unknown respiratory illness, later identified as Covid-19.
Statistics from Kirkland now appear to tell the national story. Of 129 staff members, visitors and residents who got sick, all but one of the 22 who died were older residents, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
By early March, most Covid-19 deaths in the US could still be traced to Kirkland.
''One thing stands out as the virus spreads throughout the United States: nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are ground zero,'' wrote Dr Tom Frieden, the former head of the CDC, for CNN on 8 March.
That day, Frieden called on federal authorities to ban visitors from nursing homes. US authorities announced new measures to protect residents several days later.
The CDC investigation into Kirkland was released on 18 March. It contained another warning: ''Substantial morbidity and mortality might be averted if all long-term care facilities take steps now to prevent exposure of their residents to Covid-19.''
It was not until 19 April that the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services promised to track all deaths in nursing homes. That requirement went into effect this Friday, but there is still a two-week grace period for compliance. During the period from 19 April to 8 May, 13,000 people died, according to an NBC News analysis.
''This is really decimating state after state,'' said Parikh. ''We have to have a very rapid shift [of focus] to the nursing homes, the veteran homes '... Covid will be with us for many months.''
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STUNNING: In the US 39% of All US COVID-19 Deaths -- or 31,900 -- Occurred in Nursing Homes
Tue, 12 May 2020 07:57
(Source: G. Girvan / FREOPP; Graphic: A. Roy / FREOPP)
A new study by reveled that 39% of all US coronavirus deaths occurred in nursing homes.That comes out to 31,900 Deaths in Nursing Homes!That is a really shocking number!
49,895 deaths were outside of nursing homes.Which is what you might expect from a typical flu season.
TRENDING: Breaking Update: DNI Richard Grenell Declassifies List of Obama Officials Involved in "Unmasking" Flynn in His Conversations with Kislyak
Italy also saw 40% of their coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.
Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities Account for 39% of U.S. COVID-19 Deaths
'-- Andrew Bostom (@andrewbostom) May 12, 2020
At least 4,900 seniors have died in New York State nursing homes from the coronavirus so far this year. Around 20 percent of all New York state deaths were in nursing homes.
New York State, the UK and Italy all had laws that encouraged infected coronavirus patients to be sent back to nursing homes.And now thousands of seniors are dead from the virus.
New York reportedly allows COVID-19-positive staff to continue working in nursing home - News - McKnight's Long Term Care News
Tue, 12 May 2020 13:32
New York's Health Department signed off on a move to allow nursing home nurses and other staff who tested positive for COVID-19 to continue caring for residents with the virus, according to a news report.
Even though local officials from Steuben County had objected to the action at the Hornell Gardens nursing home, state officials approved it, the New York Post reported this week. At least 15 people have died at Hornell Gardens home since the coronavirus outbreak occurred, according to local reports. The state's decision came after testing indicated that 1 in 3 of the facility's residents and staff tested positive for COVID-19.
The state of New York has been under fire since it issued a directive telling nursing homes that they had to readmit residents from hospitals who had the coronavirus but didn't need intensive care. Nursing home associations have criticized this action because of the inherent dangers in exposing vulnerable nursing home residents to the virus.
When asked about the situation at Hornell this week, Howard Zucker, the state health commissioner, said that the facility is taking necessary precautions to keep the residents safe.
''The patients who are, your question about the asymptomatic, we make sure they have necessary precautions that they need by going in there to care for individuals there,'' he said, according to a news report. ''That involves PPE and we monitor them and we're working on a way to test them and we are testing individuals who are in the nursing homes, both the workers as well as the patients.''
Topics:Coronavirus / COVID-19New York
Models and Data
There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,'' Birx said - As deaths mount, Trump tries to convince Americans it's safe to inch back to normal - The Washington Post
During a task force meeting Wednesday, a heated discussion broke out between Deborah Birx, the physician who oversees the administration's coronavirus response, and Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Birx and others were frustrated with the CDC's antiquated system for tracking virus data, which they worried was inflating some statistics '-- such as mortality rate and case count '-- by as much as 25 percent, according to four people present for the discussion or later briefed on it. Two senior administration officials said the discussion was not heated.
''There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,'' Birx said, according to two of the people.
The flare-up came two days after it was reported that an internal government model, based on data from the CDC and other agencies, projected the daily death count would rise to 3,000 by June 1.
Redfield defended his agency, but there was general agreement that the CDC is in need of a digital upgrade.
Birx said in a statement: ''Mortality is slowly declining each day. To keep with this trend, it is essential that seniors and those with comorbidities shelter in place and that we continue to protect vulnerable communities.''
Mon, 11 May 2020 11:58
But in doing so, the administration is effectively bowing to '-- and asking Americans to accept '-- a devastating proposition: that a steady, daily accumulation of lonely deaths is the grim cost of reopening the nation.
Inside the West Wing, some officials talk about the federal government's mitigation mission as largely accomplished because they believe the nation's hospitals are now equipped to meet anticipated demand '-- even as health officials warn the number of coronavirus cases could increase considerably in May and June as more states and localities loosen restrictions, and some mitigation efforts are still recommended as states begin to reopen.
The administration is struggling to expand the scale of testing to what experts say is necessary to reopen businesses safely, and officials have not announced any national plan for contact tracing. Trump and some of his advisers are prioritizing the psychology of the pandemic as much as, if not more than, plans to combat the virus, some aides and outside advisers said '-- striving to instill confidence that people can comfortably return to daily life despite the rising death toll.
On Friday, as the unemployment rate reached a historically high 14.7 percent, Trump urged Americans to think of this period as a ''transition to greatness,'' adding during a meeting with Republican members of Congress: ''We're going to do something very fast, and we're going to have a phenomenal year next year.'' The president predicted the virus eventually would disappear even without a vaccine '-- a prediction at odds with his own science officials.
A White House spokesman defended the status of testing by pointing to comments in mid-April by two of the medical professionals on the task force, Anthony S. Fauci and Adm. Brett Giroir, saying there have been enough tests to safely reopen the country.
Sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter to track the outbreak. All stories linked in the newsletter are free to access.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also backed the administration's response, saying, ''President Trump is committed to a data-driven approach to safely reopening the country. His steadfast leadership has saved American lives, and the American people recognize his leadership.''
Some of Trump's advisers described the president as glum and shell-shocked by his declining popularity. In private conversations, he has struggled to process how his fortunes suddenly changed from believing he was on a glide path to reelection to realizing that he is losing to the likely Democratic nominee, former vice president Joe Biden, in virtually every poll, including his own campaign's internal surveys, advisers said. He also has been fretting about the possibility that a bad outbreak of the virus this fall could damage his standing in the November election, said the advisers, who along with other aides and allies requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
The president is also eager to resume political travel in June, including holding his signature rallies by the end of the summer in areas where there are few cases, advisers said. Trump's political team has begun discussions about organizing a high-dollar, in-person fundraiser next month, as well as preliminary planning about staging rallies and what sort of screenings might be necessary, according to Republican National Committee officials and outsider advisers. One option being considered is holding rallies outdoors, rather than in enclosed arenas, a senior administration official said.
Officials also are forging ahead with the Republican National Convention planned for late August in Charlotte, albeit a potentially scaled-back version.
But Trump's outward projections of assurance and hope masked the more sober acknowledgments of some outside advisers and experts who worry the number of deaths will either stabilize around 2,000 per day or continue to climb over the next month.
''The question is, will people become anesthetized to it? Are they willing to accept that?'' said one adviser to the White House coronavirus task force who, like many others interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters or offer candid assessments.
Stephen Moore, a conservative economist who has been informally advising Trump and his team, said making people comfortable returning to work and resuming normal activities will take a long time.
''I'm the biggest advocate for getting the economy up and running there is, but I have two relatives who think I'm crazy, and they're not going out of their house no matter what,'' Moore said. ''Just because the president and governors open up a state doesn't mean that commerce is going to instantly resume. It's not.''
Q&A: Can I go outside? Should I get an antibody test? Plus other coronavirus questions answered.
Inside the administration last week, there were roiling disputes over the data used by the government to track the virus as well as over possible therapeutics. The debates underscored the administration's chronic challenges in managing the crisis, even as Trump pushes to reopen the economy.
During a task force meeting Wednesday, a heated discussion broke out between Deborah Birx, the physician who oversees the administration's coronavirus response, and Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Birx and others were frustrated with the CDC's antiquated system for tracking virus data, which they worried was inflating some statistics '-- such as mortality rate and case count '-- by as much as 25 percent, according to four people present for the discussion or later briefed on it. Two senior administration officials said the discussion was not heated.
''There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,'' Birx said, according to two of the people.
The flare-up came two days after it was reported that an internal government model, based on data from the CDC and other agencies, projected the daily death count would rise to 3,000 by June 1.
Redfield defended his agency, but there was general agreement that the CDC is in need of a digital upgrade.
Birx said in a statement: ''Mortality is slowly declining each day. To keep with this trend, it is essential that seniors and those with comorbidities shelter in place and that we continue to protect vulnerable communities.''
That assertion is contrary to Johns Hopkins data, which shows U.S. daily deaths hovering close to 2,000 most days for several weeks now, and climbing higher some days last week. Many experts also believe coronavirus deaths are actually being undercounted, with mortality data showing that U.S. deaths soared in the early weeks of pandemic, far beyond the number attributed to covid-19.
During the same meeting, the group also found itself in a robust debate over remdesivir, an experimental drug some administration officials are optimistic could help treat patients with covid-19. Robert Kadlec, assistant health secretary for preparedness and response, said the government had shipped remdesivir to seven states '-- an announcement that surprised Birx and others, who felt it was premature because they had not yet determined which states needed the drug most.
''Why would you do that?'' Birx asked, referring to the supply of the drug donated by its manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, according to someone with direct knowledge of the meeting.
The next day, Vice President Pence, who oversees the administration's coronavirus task force, grew frustrated when he asked for an update on distributing the drug and no one '-- including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar '-- was able to provide one, saying discussions were still ongoing. On Saturday, HHS announced that another allocation of the drug would be sent to six states.
White House pandemic relief effort Project Airbridge is swathed in secrecy and exaggerations
The task force's new strategy came amid broader internal debate about the future of the Pence-led group. On Tuesday, the New York Times first reported that the administration was talking about dismantling the task force, which Pence confirmed to reporters shortly thereafter. The next morning, however, Trump announced on Twitter that the group would ''continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN.''
Administration officials stressed that the public may have an outsized impression of the task force. Its purpose was largely to provide a centralized forum for analyzing virus data and crafting response plans, through daily Situation Room meetings, as well as to share information with the public through daily White House press briefings, while much of the government's substantive work took place at various agencies. The goal behind disbanding the task force, officials argued, was simply to center all coronavirus efforts in the agencies where they could be handled more efficiently.
Whereas initially the task force found itself scrambling to deploy a whack-a-mole management effort, dealing with regular crises as they emerged '-- from coronavirus-infected cruise ships to the urgent need for ventilators '-- the administration now intends to shift its focus to what is says is more strategic longer-term planning.
''I think we're in a really good position now to be able to look around the corner and set ourselves up for the fall,'' said Katie Miller, Pence's press secretary.
However, White House officials declined to provide any specifics as to what the long-term strategy is, what the different plans will look like, and who is leading the various efforts.
The task force had already begun to curtail briefings, following a disastrous performance last month when Trump suggested the idea of injecting disinfectants, such as bleach, to treat the virus.
Although Trump and his aides have boasted that the number of Americans tested continues to rise '-- the total was 8.4 million as of Saturday '-- allies and other public health experts bemoan the slow pace. They argue that the country could have tested far more people and initiated a contact tracing plan had the president and his team focused more strategically on that in recent weeks.
''It's incredibly sad and it shouldn't be the case,'' a former senior administration official said. ''We should have testing and contact tracing and we don't. That's a concern.'' The official added, ''You can't have just whatever the shiny ball is today. You have to be able to do more than one thing at a time and deal with more than one crisis point at a time.''
More than anything, three advisers said, Trump is focused on how to turn the economy around and reopen the country, seeing a nascent recovery as key to getting reelected and his handling of the economy as one of his only strengths in the polls over Joe Biden.
''Given that we're going to be at 15 or 20 percent unemployment, it is the direction of the economy, rather than the raw numbers of the economy, that I think voters will judge him on,'' said Neil Newhouse, a prominent GOP pollster.
The president and senior White House advisers have begun holding meetings on a range of topics other than the coronavirus, such as a session Friday on the thrift savings plan in the Oval Office and a Monday session on health care.
Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who has been running his own coronavirus effort, has begun interviewing candidates for a new position focused on finding vaccines and therapeutics, but some administration officials say it is another instance of Kushner stepping into territory he knows little about.
On Thursday afternoon, Trump huddled in the Oval Office with a mix of campaign aides and White House officials. No one wore masks, though campaign manager Brad Parscale did tweet a photo of himself in the West Wing sporting sunglasses and a white mask with red ''Trump Pence 2020'' lettering. Parscale brought five prototype campaign masks to show the president and is planning to send out 50,000 to supporters across the country.
As the president was updated on the Republican convention, various lawsuits the Republican Party and Trump campaign have launched against Democrats over voting rules, and political ads attacking Biden over China, he appeared to be in a good mood, said three people familiar with the meeting.
But reality kept intruding. The same day, news broke that one of Trump's personal valets, a Navy chief petty officer, had tested positive for coronavirus. And on Friday, Trump himself revealed the name of another White House staffer who had just tested positive for the virus: Miller, the vice president's press secretary.
During McEnany's press briefing Friday, Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller asked about the coronavirus cases that had infiltrated the White House, which for weeks has implemented temperature checks and virus testing for those close to the president.
''Why should the average American, whose workplace doesn't have access to these rapid tests, feel comfortable going to work if the White House isn't even safe?'' Miller asked.
''As America reopens safely, the White House is continuing to operate safely,'' McEnany said.
Team Trump Pushes CDC to Dial Down COVID Death Counts
Wed, 13 May 2020 22:07
President Donald Trump and members of his coronavirus task force are pushing officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change how the agency works with states to count coronavirus-related deaths. And they're pushing for revisions that could lead to far fewer deaths being counted than originally reported, according to five administration officials working on the government's response to the pandemic.
Though he has previously publicly attested to the accuracy of the COVID-19 death count, the president in recent weeks has privately raised suspicion about the number of fatalities in the United States, which recently eclipsed 80,000 recorded deaths. In talks with top officials, Trump has suggested that those numbers could have been incorrectly tallied or even inflated by current methodology, two individuals with knowledge of those private comments said.
The White House has pressed the CDC, in particular, to work with states to change how they count coronavirus deaths and report them back to the federal government, according to two officials with knowledge of those conversations. And Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the administration's coronavirus task force, has urged CDC officials to exclude from coronavirus death-count reporting some of those individuals who either do not have confirmed lab results and are presumed positive or who have the virus and may not have died as a direct result of it, according to three senior administration officials.
Officials inside the CDC, five of whom spoke to The Daily Beast, said they are pushing back against that request, claiming it could falsely skew the mortality rate at a time when state and local governments are already struggling to ensure that every person who dies as a result of the coronavirus is counted. Scientists and doctors working with the task force, including Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have said the U.S. death-toll count is likely higher than is being reflected in government data sets. And several local officials in hot spot areas said they've seen hundreds if not thousands more deaths over the last two months than in the same time period over the last several years. They presume many of those individuals contracted the coronavirus.
''I don't worry about this overreporting issue,'' Bob Anderson, the chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch in CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, told The Daily Beast. Anderson's team is in charge of aggregating, calculating, and reporting coronavirus deaths for the agency. ''We're almost certainly underestimating the number of deaths [in the country].''
The pressure being placed on the CDC is yet another tension point between the agency and the White House that has erupted over its handling of the coronavirus. Those tensions have reached a boiling point over the last several weeks as the CDC has worked to publish its guidelines for states working to reopen their local economies. The guidelines, which provide detailed information about how local officials can begin to allow some residents to attend religious gatherings and summer camps, were contested by White House officials who sought to shelve many of the agency's recommendations.
The emerging fight over death counts represents a new front line in these battles'--one that's attracted the direct interest of the president himself. Though Trump has quietly suggested that the U.S. is inflating the COVID-19 death tolls, one task-force official told The Daily Beast that any discussion about mortality rate is merely a small part of a broader dialogue about how to improve the quality of data at the local, state, and federal level.
That official called the mortality rate a ''far-lagging indicator'' of the spread of the virus and argued that it was ''not a real-time indicator of how the virus is affecting the population.'' The official said it was the task force's view that the mortality rate doesn't ''inform the response efforts as other data could, like hospitalizations'' and that the virus moves through populations ''like nursing homes and prisons,'' as well as populations with comorbidities.
But according to other knowledgeable sources, there is broader skepticism within the White House over how the CDC is compiling its data. In a task-force meeting last week, officials relayed that Birx said she couldn't trust the CDC's numbers'--on both case and death counts'--because the reporting system it relied upon was flawed. She argued that the agency was likely overcounting. The Washington Post was the first to report on the meeting. Officials in the CDC said they were confused by the argument.
''The system can always get better. But if we've learned anything it's that we're seeing some of these individuals who have died of the virus slip through the cracks,'' one official told The Daily Beast. ''It's not that we're overcounting.''
But according to one of the sources with knowledge of Trump's private remarks, the president recently said that he'd like a ''review'' of how the coronavirus deaths are counted and studied by the government, citing hypothetical cases in which a person has the virus but is killed by other unnatural means, such as falling down a flight of stairs. The other source said that Trump pointed out that death estimates for other incidents'--such as natural disasters and wars'--are revised down or up ''all the time,'' and that the coronavirus pandemic could have similar fluctuations in the numbers published by public and private entities. (This month, Axios was first to report on Trump voicing doubts behind closed doors about current body counts.)
It's an argument that has gained traction in various pro-Trump circles, as well, and is mirrored by the complaints of some of the president's closest advisers.
''My view is the president is totally correct that we need to have medical transparency,'' said Art Laffer, a longtime conservative economist who has counseled Trump and other key administration officials on coronavirus response and how to ''open'' the economy amid the pandemic. ''When you attribute a death to the coronavirus today, what that means is that the guy had the coronavirus and died. It doesn't matter if he got hit by a car and died, and he would still be categorized as a coronavirus death... You need the whole transcribed medical records on a disk so people can sit there, maybe without names, and look for causes and correlations.''
Anderson said Laffer's assessment was incorrect and that the form used by physicians to report coronavirus deaths specifically asks them to answer: ''Did the patient die as a result of this illness?''
''It doesn't say 'Did this patient die?''' Anderson said.
Anderson's division at the CDC keeps tabs on novel coronavirus deaths through two parallel tracking systems. It relies on the data it receives from local departments of health and through information it gathers from states through a death-certificate digital coding system.
Anderson said the death count is normally higher from states' health systems than the death certificate system data. ''But those numbers aren't necessarily inconsistent,'' he said, adding that the death-certificate death count usually lags anywhere from two to eight weeks. Meanwhile, local officials and doctors say any disruption in the way they count coronavirus deaths could lead to a significant undercounting.
One study by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene published Monday said that there were thousands of ''excess deaths'' in the city from March 11 to May 2. About 18,879 of those deaths were explicitly tied to the coronavirus. But the study said there were also an additional 5,200 that were not identified as either laboratory-confirmed or probable COVID-19-associated deaths, but could have been tied to the virus in some other way.
Gretchen Van Wye, the assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Vital Statistics at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said her team matches individuals coded as having died from the coronavirus with the lab results to get a ''confirmed'' category of people daily. Then, with individuals that aren't coded, the team uses an algorithm to search for words such as ''Covid'' or ''Covid-19'' on their death certificate to create a ''probable'' category. Unlike other cities across the country, New York City includes this probable count in its reporting. The rest of the results are considered as ''other'' deaths.
In New Jersey, officials told The Daily Beast that they have seen an uptick in the number of patients arriving at the hospital already deceased who were never tested for the virus. Two doctors'--one in New York City and one in Jersey City'--said that they have not tagged certain individuals as having died as a result of the coronavirus because families requested it be kept off the death certificate so they could more easily collect the remains.
Even with the death-certificate coding system, doctors and local officials say they are running into problems where some of their patients are not being counted in the total coronavirus death tally.
State officials are required to enter a specific code'--a seven-digit number'--on a death certificate to identify whether an individual has died as a result of COVID-19, Anderson said.
The CDC requires doctors to input ''COVID-19'' in order for an individual to be counted in the national system as having died as a result of the coronavirus. Several doctors in New York City who spoke with The Daily Beast said in high intensity situations human error could result in a physician not coding a patient correctly. Doctors were coding patients as simply ''coronavirus'' or some variation of that without indicating that the virus was specific to the 2020 pandemic. In some instances they were forgetting to input ''-19'' after ''COVID''.
''Now we're having to go back and recode those deaths,'' Anderson said, adding that there were more than 1,500 individuals who were mistakenly overlooked in the first few weeks the CDC was calculating the coronavirus death count.
Unsettled Science: Latest Climate Models Have Unrealistically High Projections of Future Warming
Mon, 11 May 2020 06:54
A new study from University of Michigan climate researchers concludes that some of the latest-generation climate models may be overly sensitive to carbon dioxide increases and therefore project future warming that is unrealistically high.
In a letter scheduled for publication April 30 in the journal Nature Climate Change, the researchers say that projections from one of the leading models, known as CESM2, are not supported by geological evidence from a previous warming period roughly 50 million years ago.
The researchers used the CESM2 model to simulate temperatures during the Early Eocene, a time when rainforests thrived in the tropics of the New World, according to fossil evidence.
But the CESM2 model projected Early Eocene land temperatures exceeding 55 degrees Celsius (131 F) in the tropics, which is much higher than the temperature tolerance of plant photosynthesis '-- conflicting with the fossil evidence. On average across the globe, the model projected surface temperatures at least 6 C (11 F) warmer than estimates based on geological evidence.
''Some of the newest models used to make future predictions may be too sensitive to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and thus predict too much warming,'' said U-M's Chris Poulsen, a professor in the U-M Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and one of the study's three authors.
The other authors are U-M postdoctoral researcher Jiang Zhu and Bette Otto-Bliesner of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. They say their study shows how geological evidence can be used to benchmark climate models and predictions of future warming.
The new study focuses on a key climate parameter called equilibrium climate sensitivity, or ECS. ECS refers to the long-term change in global temperature that would result from a sustained doubling '-- lasting hundreds to thousands of years '-- of heat-trapping carbon dioxide above the preindustrial baseline level of 285 parts per million.
The present-day CO2 level is about 410 ppm, and climate scientists say atmospheric concentrations could hit 1,000 ppm by the year 2100 if nothing is done to limit carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
For decades, most of the top climate models predicted an equilibrium climate sensitivity of around 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 F), with a range of 1.5 to 4.5 C (2.7 to 8.1 F).
But that changed recently with some of the newest climate models participating in CMIP6. The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) is an internationally coordinated effort between climate-science institutions, and it is now in its sixth phase. The next assessment report from the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is due next year, will rely on CMIP6 models.
Ten of the 27 CMIP6 models have an equilibrium climate sensitivity higher than 4.5 C (8.1 F), meaning that they are more sensitive to CO2 increases than most previous-generation models. The CESM2 model (Community Earth System Model, version 2) tested by the U-M-led research team is one of those CMIP6 models and has an equilibrium climate sensitivity of 5.3 C (9.5 F).
The predecessor to CESM2, the CESM1.2 model, did a remarkably good job of simulating temperatures during the Early Eocene, according to the researchers. It has an equilibrium climate sensitivity of 4.2 C (7.6 F).
''Our study implies that CESM2's climate sensitivity of 5.3 C is likely too high. This means that its prediction of future warming under a high-CO2 scenario would be too high as well,'' said Zhu, first author of the Nature Climate Change letter.
''Figuring out whether the high climate sensitivity in CMIP6 models is realistic is of tremendous importance for us to anticipate future warming and to make adaptation plans,'' said NCAR's Otto-Bliesner.
The team's simulations of the Early Eocene incorporated the latest paleoclimate reconstructions and included data about paleogeography, vegetation cover and land surface properties. Reconstructions of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from that time predate ice-core records and rely on geochemical and paleobotanical proxies.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report, finalized in 2014, said the global surface temperature increase by the end of the 21st century is likely to exceed 1.5 C relative to the 1850 to 1900 period for most emissions scenarios, and is likely to exceed 2.0 C for some emissions scenarios.
The projections in that assessment were based on the previous generation of CMIP models, known as CMIP5 models. The newer CMIP6 models will likely lead to projections of even greater warming. The Paris climate accord's long-term temperature goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 C above preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 C.
Reference: ''High climate sensitivity in CMIP6 model not supported by paleoclimate'' by Jiang Zhu, Christopher J. Poulsen and Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, 30 April 2020, Nature Climate Change.DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-0764-6
The work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation to Poulsen, who is the associate dean for natural sciences at U-M's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
Neil Ferguson's Lockdown Model Ridiculed After its Code is Open Sourced
Mon, 11 May 2020 11:50
The 15,000 lines of code that have cost the global economy an estimated $20 trillion have been open sourced with coders dismayed.
''Billions of lives have been disrupted worldwide on the basis that the study produced by the logic contained in this codebase is accurate, and since there are no tests to show that, the findings of this study (and any others based on this codebase) are not a sound basis for public policy at this time.''
So says Justin Holmes, a coder since 2010, regarding the COVID-19 CovidSim microsimulation model developed by the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis hosted at Imperial College, London.
Neil Ferguson, who leads the MRC Centre, publicly tweeted on the 22nd of March that he wrote the code 13 years ago to model flu pandemics.
''I am happy to say that Microsoft and GitHub are working with Imperial JIDEA and MRC Outbreak to document, refactor and extend the code to allow others to use without the multiple days training it would currently require (and which we don't have time to give),'' he said.
One of those people helping to refactor and extend was John Carmack, a well known coder who on the 27th of April released this on Github, the platform for open source code.
''As a software engineer, I'm appalled at the quality of this code and the role its played in public policy. The deficits in testing and quality assurance need to be immediately spoken for to assure the claims made by its data are valid,'' says a coder going by the name of Tux who seems to have been coding since 2011.
''In a time where faith in scientific models is more important than ever, it's truly disheartening to see that such widely-used models are based on such faulty testing logic,'' says a Software Engineer at Capital One.
Someone claiming to be a now retired senior software engineer at Google, who Carmack links to on twitter, says:
''What [this code is] doing is best described as 'SimCity without the graphic'. It attempts to simulate households, schools, offices, people and their movements, etc. I won't go further into the underlying assumptions, since that's well explored elsewhere'...
Due to bugs, the code can produce very different results given identical inputs. They routinely act as if this is unimportant.
This problem makes the code unusable for scientific purposes, given that a key part of the scientific method is the ability to replicate results. Without replication, the findings might not be real at all.''
Locked-down Britain has seen a far higher death rate per capita than non locked down Sweden, that's despite a rate of 95% compliance in the United Kingdom.
''As of 8am yesterday, 39 per cent of NHS beds were empty '' about four times above what's normal for this time of year,'' says Fraser Nelson.
''Neil Ferguson was bankrolled by major pharmaceutical companies,'' reports the Express.
''On at least two occasions, Antonia Staats, 38, travelled across London from her home in the south of the capital to spend time with the Government scientist, nicknamed Professor Lockdown,'' reports the Telegraph as the reason for Ferguson's recent resignation from the government scientific advisory body.
Such hypocrisy in not following the rules he himself set might be nothing compared to the finding of these coders that the model which locked down the United Kingdom and the United States is bug ridden and gives different results even when the same data is entered.
Just to clarify that latter bit fully, if you ask it to calculate 1+1 it says 5 and then when you try again it says 7, it might even say 100, presumably it does sometime even say 2, making it alchemy.
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now to address the nation this Sunday in arguably the most important speech since Churchill as the Bank of England claims the United Kingdom is facing ''its deepest recession in 300 years.''
We all thus will have to wait and see what Johnson says to the clear evidence coming out that these models were fully flawed.
Coronavirus UK: SAGE documents hidden by government are leaked | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 12 May 2020 09:34
A huge swathe of coronavirus documents used by the Government to battle to pandemic have yet to be published to avoid 'unnecessary confusion' of the public, the Government claimed today.
Some 16 documents from Special Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) meetings since February were released this morning, taking the total to 28.
But according to a Government-supplied list it leaves more than 90 that remain secret.
They include advise for ministers on stopping flights from certain countries, on when to stop contact tracing, and another on the impact of school closures.
The list also includes unpublished documents on the use of face masks, the risk of pets passing on the virus, and advice on restricting flights from specific countries.
These are all highly contentious issues as the death toll mounts and the Government seeks a way out of the current lockdown.
Additionally, some of the documents released today included heavily redacted pages, including one on how to relax lockdown measures.
But according to a Government-supplied list more than 90 that remain secret after 16 were revealed today
The issue of school closures was raised at the daily coronavirus press conference tonight with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab saying: 'We have asked Sage to look at different options'
Additionally, some of the documents released today included heavily redacted pages, including one on how to relax lockdown measures
Other secret documents of scientific evidence that helped shape the Government's response to the crisis were released today. They revealed:
Ministers were warned lifting the coronavirus lockdown and then reimposing restrictions later would be seen by the public as a 'serious failure of policy'; A traffic light system could be used to explain to the public the new rules when lockdown is eased, according to behavioural experts; Scientists urged the government to tell people to stop shaking hands the same day Boris Johnson was boasting about shaking hands with 'everybody'; Officials were told employers could shun workers who have not had COVID-19 after lockdown, prompting people to actively try to catch the disease. The issue of school closures was raised at the daily coronavirus press conference tonight with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab saying reopening all schools at once would lead to a 'very real risk' of the infection rate rising, creating the possibility of a second peak.
'The crucial bit for us is the five tests and the risk of a second spike in relation to any new changes that we would make and that must of course included schools,' he said.
'We have asked Sage to look at different options, I don't think it's binary.
'At least to date the evidence has been that we wouldn't be able to open up all schools without a very real risk that the R rate - the transmission rate - would rise at such a level that we would risk a second spike.
'We have asked Sage for the options on this and we will, as ever, continue to be guided by the scientific advice we get.'
The Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters today: 'We will publish all of the evidence in the coming weeks and months.
'Some evidence remains under live considerations for policy decisions being made by Government and as such it wouldn't be appropriate to publish at this time.
'Releasing policy still under formulation could cause unnecessary confusion for the public at a time when clear guidance is the top priority
'Other documents that have been considered will be published in organised tranches once they have all the relevant permissions and are OK to be in the public domain.'
The SAGE files: At least 12 different strains of coronavirus were circulating in the UK in March - including one that has only ever been found in Britain, Government-funded study finds At least a dozen different strains of coronavirus were spreading through the UK in March, a Government-funded study has found.
Leading genetic scientists analysed the genomes of the killer virus in 260 infected patients from all corners of the UK.
They say they have identified 12 unique lines of the virus, one of which has only ever been found in Britain '' meaning it mutated on UK soil.
But the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) said the number of strains 'is very likely substantially higher' due to under-sampling in the UK.
The scientists say most of the strains were imported from Italy and Spain, the worst-hit countries in the world at the time the research was carried out.
There is no suggestion that any of the strains are any more potent or infectious than another, infectious disease experts say.
Professor Paul Hunter, at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline it is 'entirely plausible' this could happen to one of the strains if it continues to evolve.
The report, made public today, was given to the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) in March to help them map the outbreak's spread.
The Sage Files: UK scientists believe that coronavirus cases in China are TEN TIMES higher than claimed - as communist state's ambassador warns Tory MPs their criticism of the Beijing regime could 'poison' relationsChina underplayed the scale of the coronavirus outbreak and may have suffered ten times as many cases as it has confirmed, documents released today suggest.
Documents released today from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) show that UK scientists believed that the number of cases was vastly higher than admitted by Beijing.
They do not accuse the authoritarian regime of lying but the revelation in Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) minutes released today will fuel claims that China has questions to answer over its handling of the outbreak.
It also suggests that deaths from the outbreak in China could be many times higher than the 4,300 so far admitted to.
In the US, President Donald Trump is blaming China for covering-up the lethality of coronavirus and colluding with the WHO to let it spread around the world while Beijing saved face.
Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also say they have seen 'overwhelming' evidence that the virus was accidentally leaked from a lab near Wuhan.
A raft of documents from Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) meetings over the past few months on coronavirus were released today.
Chinese ambassador in the UK Lui Xiaoming warned Tory MPs critical of his regime that ongoing animosity could 'poison' Sino-British relations
It came as the Chinese ambassador in the UK Lui Xiaoming warned Tory MPs critical of his regime that their ongoing animosity could 'poison' Sino-British relations.
Speaking in a China-Britain Business Council webinar today, he said: 'Such talks are a political virus.
'If they go unchecked they'll poison UK-China relations and even international solidarity.'
He insisted that the outbreak in his country was 'under control'.
Afterwards the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: 'We have continued to work with all of our international partners including China on the global response to this pandemic.
'The First Secretary of State (Dominic Raab) has also talked about the fact that once this response is over there are questions that need to be answered about the origin and the spread of the virus.'
A raft of documents from Sage meetings over the past few months on coronavirus were released today.
They included a statement from a sub-committee on modelling contagious disease outbreaks on February 3.
The Defence Secretary Ben Wallace yesterday reignited the war of words over whether China suppressed information about the virus
It noted: 'The number of confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in China is estimated to be at least 10 times higher than the number currently confirmed.'
Downing Street has said China has 'questions to answer' over the outbreak and many Try MPs have voiced their own anger.
The Defence Secretary Ben Wallace yesterday reignited the war of words over whether China suppressed information about the virus - whose first cases were reported in Wuhan - which prevented other countries from taking steps to save more lives.
It came as Donald Trump's US administration scaled up its rhetoric over Chinese culpability, with the president accusing the communist state of a cover-up after making a 'horrible mistake'.
The SAGE files: Government science experts warned ministers 'immunity certificates' mean firms could discriminate against those who haven't had coronavirus - and desperate workers could TRY to get infectedEmployers could shun workers who have not had coronavirus after lockdown, prompting people to actively try to catch the disease, the government's science experts warned ministers.
Secret documents prepared by the independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) last month outlined the potential drawbacks of introducing widespread antibody testing and so-called 'immunity certificates'.
Such tests would show if someone has had the disease and if they have some degree of immunity with accompanying digital certificates then showing employers the health status of staff.
Antibody tests are viewed as one of the key pieces in the puzzle when it comes to getting the UK back to work.
But SPI-B, a sub-committee of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said introducing the tests could result in people trying to 'game' the system.
The documents suggest workers who do not have antibodies could be discriminated against, effectively creating two classes of employee, with those who have had the disease prized because of a belief that they will not get ill again.
Those who are antibody negative could then turn to trying to obtain fake test results or even trying to get ill on purpose to boost their chances of returning to work.
Meanwhile, the documents also warned positive tests could result in people wrongly thinking they no longer need to wash their hands, risking an increase in the transmission of the disease.
Those who are antibody negative could also be too afraid to leave home and could refuse to return to work, the group said.
The warnings about antibody testing came as separate documents showed scientists were urging Boris Johnson to tell people to stop shaking hands on the same day that he boasted he was still shaking hands with 'everybody'.
Newly-released records on the advice given to the government as the coronavirus crisis erupted show Mr Johnson seemingly flouted the recommendations from his own experts.
A meeting of the behavioural group that feeds into SAGE on March 3 concluded that 'Government should advise against greetings such as shaking hands and hugging, given existing evidence about the importance of hand hygiene'.
Boris Johnson, pictured in St James' Park this morning, was warned by the government's science experts that antibody testing and 'immunity certificates' could have unintended negative consequences
Mr Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have relied heavily on advice from Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance during the crisis. The four are pictured in Downing Street on March 12
Scientists advised against shaking hands on same day Boris Johnson said he was still shaking hands with 'everybody'Scientists were urging Boris Johnson to tell people to stop shaking hands the same day the PM was boasting about shaking hands with 'everybody', it was revealed today.
Newly-released records on the advice given to the government as the coronavirus crisis erupted show Mr Johnson seemingly flouted the recommendations from his own experts.
A meeting of the behavioural group that feeds into SAGE on March 3 concluded that 'Government should advise against greetings such as shaking hands and hugging, given existing evidence about the importance of hand hygiene'.
'A public message against shaking hands has additional value as a signal about the importance of hand hygiene,' the Independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) said.
'Promoting a replacement greeting or encouraging others to politely decline a proffered hand-shake may have benefit.'
However, that evening Mr Johnson told a press conference in Downing Street that he 'continued to shake hands' and the important thing was washing them.
He said: 'I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you will be pleased to know, and I continue to shake hands.
'People obviously can make up their own minds but I think the scientific evidence is'... our judgement is that washing your hands is the crucial thing.'
A mass-produced antibody test which is accurate enough to be rolled out at a national level is yet to be identified by any country in the world.
But the UK government is hoping for a breakthrough in the near future with the tests viewed as one of the keys to getting Britain back to work.
Ministers are in talks with tech firms about developing an 'immunity certificate' app which would show if someone has been tested and if they have coronavirus antibodies.
The SPI-B committee was tasked with examining the potential negative outcomes of introducing antibody testing.
Documents written on April 13 and finally published today show such a regime could have devastating unintended consequences.
The experts warned that 'some employers may discriminate on the basis of antibody status'.
That could include not allowing people who have tested negative to return to work or only hiring people who are antibody positive.
The group said that could prompt people to try to cheat the system or to try to catch coronavirus.
The experts wrote: 'If a test result is a requirement for a resumption of work, a range of strategies to "game" the system may arise.
'These include people deliberately seeking out infection or attempting to purchase a fake test result, commercial organisations selling unapproved tests, or approved tests becoming available through private organisations at prices that make them unavailable to most.'
Meanwhile, those workers who have not had coronavirus could be too afraid to go outside, reducing their social contact to unhealthy levels, and some could simply refuse to return to work.
The group said: 'It is possible that people told they have not yet had the virus may feel more vulnerable and wish to avoid specific activities at work that pose a risk to their health, or seek to avoid attendance at work entirely.'
The group also expressed major concerns that positive tests could drastically alter people's behaviour.
Those who have tested positive for antibodies may wrongly 'believe they have no chance of becoming infected with COVID-19 in the future'.
That means that if they developed the key symptoms of a cough or fever they may not think they need to self-isolate, increasing the risk of infecting others.
Experts: More than 12 coronavirus strains were spreading across UK in MarchAt least a dozen different strains of coronavirus were spreading through the UK in March, a Government-funded study has found.
Leading genetic scientists analysed the genomes of the killer virus in 260 infected patients from all corners of the UK.
They say they have identified 12 unique lines of the virus, one of which has only ever been found in Britain '' meaning it mutated on UK soil.
But the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) said the number of strains 'is very likely substantially higher' due to under-sampling in the UK.
The scientists say most of the strains were imported from Italy and Spain, the worst-hit countries in the world at the time the research was carried out.
There is no suggestion that any of the strains are any more potent or infectious than another, infectious disease experts say.
People who test positive could also stop washing their hands, the scientists said, which would also boost transmission.
Scientists are yet to determine with 100 per cent certainty whether people who have had coronavirus have a high level of resistance to the disease. They are also trying to establish whether that immunity could wane over time. But total immunity has already been ruled out.
The SPI-B group also raised concerns about the accuracy of the tests and the potential for people to be given a false sense of protection.
For example, if five per cent of tests were actually incorrect then thousands of workers could wrongly believe they are safe from the disease.
This would have particularly bad consequences if people with positive antibody tests decided to volunteer for high coronavirus exposure jobs, the group said.
'Some testing ''Antibody Positive'' may actively volunteer to take on activities at work with high exposure to COVID-19,' the experts said.
'This might include customer-facing roles or tasks within health or social care that involve greater contact with COVID-19 patients.
'This would be particularly problematic if the test result was incorrect.'
COVID-19 estimation updates | Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
Wed, 13 May 2020 22:02
View the COVID-19 projections
Main updates on IHME COVID-19 predictions since May 10, 2020
First set of COVID-19 projections for 17 more countriesOver the last few months, the novel coronavirus has rapidly spread worldwide, leaving countries facing highly variable trajectories of COVID-19 infections and deaths. In turn, we have sought to produce COVID-19 predictions for increasingly more locations in addition to the US. We first added European Economic Area (EEA) countries on April 7, and then Puerto Rico and Canada (nationally and by province) on April 22.
Today we publish a first set of COVID-19 projections for 17 additional countries. These include COVID-19 estimates for nine countries in Latin America: at the national level for Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama, and Peru, and for a subset of states in Brazil and Mexico. For Brazil, these states include Amazonas, Bahia, Cear, Maranh£o, Paran, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, and S£o Paulo. For Mexico, included states are Baja California, Mexico City, Puebla, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, the state of M(C)xico, and Tabasco. Any reported estimates for Brazil or Mexico more broadly reflect the aggregation of these states and not the national level; subsequently, national-level estimates are likely to be higher than these aggregates.
An additional eight countries with more than 50 COVID-19 deaths to date also have been included: Egypt, Israel, Malaysia, Moldova, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Ukraine.
All currently included locations now have been incorporated into the multi-stage hybrid modeling framework. This means that the transmission dynamics component of our model, which also accounts for changes in key drivers (e.g., testing, mobility, easing of social distancing policies) and their relationships with viral transmission, has been applied to all locations and thus all corresponding estimates reflect this methodological advance.
We summarize key results below, with a special focus on newly added locations; these estimates can be explored further online:
At IHME, our guiding principle is to produce the best possible predictions given what we know today '' and to continually improve these estimates to support further gains against COVID-19 tomorrow. We will be continuing to update our projections in the coming days and weeks to incorporate the world's evolving evidence base on COVID-19.
Key findings from today's release (May 12, 2020)A focus on Latin AmericaCOVID-19 death predictions
For the nine Latin American countries included today, Brazil is likely to experience the highest projected toll by August, with predictions of cumulative COVID-19 deaths for currently included states reaching 88,305 (estimate range of 30,302 to 193,786). Mexico, Peru, and Ecuador could have the next highest cumulative deaths from COVID-19 by August, as summarized in the table below.
Predictions for cumulative COVID-19 deaths through August from our May 12 release (today)
680 (414 to 1,420)
88,305 (30,302 to 193,786)
687 (421 to 1,417)
2,157 (793 to 5,890)
Dominican Republic
881 (595 to 1,435)
5,215 (4,844 to 6,052)
6,859 (3,578 to 16,795)
661 (362 to 1,345)
6,428 (2,731 to 21,724)
Results as of 05/12/2020(C) 2020 IHMESee terms and conditions of use,
* Estimates for Brazil and Mexico reflect the aggregation of currently included states; their national-level predictions are likely higher than what is captured to date.
Hospital resource demand projections
With today's release, we also publish a first set of estimates for hospital resource demand '' total hospital beds, ICU beds, and invasive ventilators '' for these locations. Based on the latest available data, demand for ICU beds could exceed current capacities in many countries. While potential shortages may also occur in the future, our estimates suggest that substantial shortages could already be happening in several locations. For instance, at the national level, Peru may be experiencing some of the most acute shortages, with predicted need of 1,040 ICU beds (estimate range of 793 to 1,677), with an estimated 88 available. Brazil's estimates of ICU demand could surpass present capacities, with an estimated need of 6,836 (4,966 to 10,936), and 4,060 ICU beds available among states currently included. Predictions indicate that demand for ICU beds could exceed current capacities among Mexico's included states; these patterns could change if COVID-19 epidemic trajectories shift.
Subnational locations in Brazil
In Brazil, S£o Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are projected to have the highest cumulative COVID-19 deaths by August, potentially rising to 36,811 (11,097 to 81,774) and 21,073 (5,966 to 51,901) deaths, respectively. COVID-19 is currently projected to cause at least 5,000 cumulative deaths in Pernambuco, Cear, and Amazonas by August. Location
Predictions for cumulative COVID-19 deaths through August from our May 12 release (today)
Brazil (aggregated across states)
88,305 (30,302 to 193,786)
5,039 (1,859 to 9,383)
2,443 (529 to 8,429)
8,679 (2,894 to 18,593)
4,613 (868 to 12,661)
245 (170 to 397)
9,401 (2,468 to 23,027)
Rio de Janeiro
21,073 (5,966 to 51,901)
S£o Paulo
36,811 (11,097 to 81,774)
Results as of 05/12/2020(C) 2020 IHMESee terms and conditions of use,
Based on the latest available data, most states may experience their epidemic peaks anytime between now (May 12-14) and June or beyond. As more data become available and more information on Brazil's response is incorporated, these projections are likely to change. High hospital resource demand to support COVID-19 patients could exceed several Brazilian states' present capacities '' and could worsen as many locations are seeing rising COVID-19 trajectories. Currently, Amazonas has an estimated need of 4,744 total hospital beds (estimate range of 2,933 to 9,776) while an estimated 1,026 beds are available. In terms of ICU beds, our estimates indicate Amazonas has a current need of 1,031 (704 to 1,945), with a capacity of 40 ICU beds. Estimated infections appear to far exceed testing throughout Brazil, indicating a critical need for scaling up COVID-19 testing. This is particularly important given the country's mounting death toll and widening gaps in hospital resources.Subnational locations in Mexico
Based on the latest available data, currently included Mexican states could have 6,859 cumulative COVID-19 deaths (3,578 to 16,795) by August. Projections indicate that Mexico City, followed by Baja California, may have the highest cumulative COVID-19 deaths within the country (see table below). Location
Predictions for cumulative COVID-19 deaths through August from our May 12 release (today)
Mexico (aggregated across states)
6,859 (3,578 to 16,795)
Baja California
1,171 (675 to 2,566)
Mexico City
3,414 (1,396 to 9,671)
312 (190 to 831)
Quintana Roo
465 (269 to 1,056)
292 (257 to 362)
State of M(C)xico
544 (445 to 800)
660 (323 to 1,730)
Results as of 05/12/2020(C) 2020 IHMESee terms and conditions of use,
Many Mexican states may be currently experiencing acute hospital resource shortages, trends that are less striking at the national level. Based on the latest available data, Baja California and Quintana Roo could be seeing overall hospital bed demand exceeding current capacities, while all states are either at or far surpassing available ICU beds relative to need for supporting COVID-19 patients at present. Mexico City and Baja California appear to be experiencing the largest gaps in potential need and capacity in terms of ICU beds. While our estimates indicate gradual progress in some states for scaling up testing (state of M(C)xico), testing for COVID-19 falls far below estimated infections in most Mexican states. In the absence of concerted action to increase testing, particularly among states with larger epidemics, COVID-19 trajectories could worsen for Mexico.A focus on other newly added locationsAmong the newly added locations with more than 50 COVID-19 deaths to date in other regions, Turkey could have the highest cumulative COVID-19 death toll through August, at 5,263 deaths (estimate range of 4,563 to 6,508). As summarized in the table below, the Philippines and Ukraine may also see projected cumulative deaths exceeding 1,000 by August. Country
Predictions for cumulative COVID-19 deaths through August from our May 12 release (today)
2,047 (805 to 6,059)
272 (266 to 279)
112 (110 to 117)
399 (240 to 829)
1,735 (1,094 to 3,972)
South Korea
346 (262 to 755)
5,263 (4,563 to 6,508)
1,269 (603 to 3,396)
Results as of 05/12/2020(C) 2020 IHMESee terms and conditions of use,
For these nine newly included locations, predicted epidemic peaks and daily deaths at peak are highly variable; these patterns reflect the divergent epidemic trajectories that many of these locations have experienced to date. Current predictions indicate that South Korea and Malaysia likely saw predicted peaks in late March to early April, whereas others (e.g., Ukraine, Moldova, and Egypt) may be experiencing predicted peaks now or in the future. At the national level, predictions of hospital resource demand generally did not exceed estimated capacities. Further, most of these countries showed positive trends in scaling up testing relative to estimated infections. South Korea's success in COVID-19 testing is particularly evident, but other locations, such as Israel and Malaysia, have also been able to achieve and maintain high levels of testing. At the same time, some countries (e.g., the Philippines) have only recently been closing gaps in estimated infections and testing levels '' and confirmed cases remain low. Of note, Israel's mobility trends have markedly increased by nearly 30 percentage points since its mobility nadir around mid-April. This pattern corresponds with easing of previously implemented social distancing policies, though akin to many other countries, initial rises in mobility began prior to when formal easing actions occurred. A focus on EuropeBased on the latest data and updated methods, a projected 43,479 cumulative COVID-19 deaths (estimate range of 40,110 to 50,128) could occur in the United Kingdom (UK) by August. Both Italy's and France's cumulative COVID-19 death tolls are now estimated to exceed 30,000. These updated predictions reflect the incorporation of these locations into our new multi-stage hybrid model, which was launched on May 4 but had been only fully applied to the US; we subsequently compare estimates for the five EEA countries with the highest projected cumulative deaths for today's release relative to their May 4 predictions. Compared with the May 4 estimates, these five locations '' the UK, Italy, France, Spain, and Belgium '' all have higher projected cumulative deaths; however, uncertainty intervals substantially overlap. Our death model updates for May 4 were applied to all included locations at that time, so these changes represent the combination of updated data inputs and the effects of accounting for transmission dynamics and the effects of potential drivers of viral transmission. Location
Predictions for cumulative COVID-19 deaths through August from our May 12 release (today)
Predictions from our May 4 release
Change of average values since the May 4 release*
United Kingdom
43,479 (40,110 to 50,128)
40,555 (29,657 to 74,539)
'†‘ 2,924 deaths
35,137 (34,565 to 35,829)
31,458 (29,605 to 34,969)
'†‘ 3,679 deaths
31,155 (30,257 to 32,410)
28,859 (25,280 to 38,798)
'†‘ 2,296 deaths
29,581 (28,956 to 30,447)
27,727 (25,720 to 32,130)
'†‘ 1,854 deaths
10,594 (10,221 to 11,293)
9,464 (8,056 to 13,936)
'†‘ 1,130 deaths
Results as of 05/12/2020(C) 2020 IHMESee terms and conditions of use,
*Change estimates do not include uncertainty; they are only based on the average value. If prediction values' uncertainty intervals (the numbers reported in parentheses) overlap a lot across different releases, changes in these estimates are not considered substantively different.
While most other EEA countries saw small to moderate increases in projected cumulative COVID-19 deaths since the May 4 release, Sweden was the main exception: today's projections point to 5,760 cumulative COVID-19 deaths (estimate range of 4,426 to 9,089) by August, while the May 4 release had Sweden's predictions at 10,196 (estimate range of 3,474 to 37,830). Although the uncertainty intervals overlap for both sets of predictions, the updated estimates are, on average, 4,436 deaths lower. At the national level, most EEA countries appeared to have rapidly scaled up testing during or prior to rising estimated infections. Yet some countries have only recently closed gaps between estimated infections and testing (e.g., the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK), indicating a potential need to accelerate testing progress, especially as more countries move to ease previously implemented social distancing policies. Akin to patterns seen in the US, a number of locations saw rising mobility before distancing policies were being considered for easement; we will explore these results more in future releases.A focus on the USBy August, the US's cumulative COVID-19 death toll could be 147,040 (113,182 to 226,971). These estimates are higher than those published on May 10 (see table below), though their uncertainty intervals overlap considerably. National-level estimates and the US states with highest projected cumulative COVID-19 deaths are summarized below.Location
Predictions for cumulative COVID-19 deaths through August from our May 12 release (today)
Predictions from our May 10 release
Change of average values since the May 10 release*
US (national)
147,040 (113,182 to 226,971)
137,184 (102,783 to 223,489)
'†‘ 9,856 deaths
New York
34,068 (32,779 to 35,983)
31,620 (30,105 to 33,954)
'†‘ 2,448 deaths
New Jersey
14,692 (12,843 to 18,365)
14,752 (12,255 to 19,594)
'†' 60 deaths
12,420 (6,218 to 33,620)
10,742 (6,115 to 25,063)
'†‘ 1,677 deaths
9,629 (7,502 to 13,492)
7,545 (6,199 to 10,420)
'†‘ 2,084 deaths
7,830 (5,232 to 14,675)
7,395 (4,898 to 13,814)
'†‘ 435 deaths
Results as of 05/12/2020(C) 2020 IHMESee terms and conditions of use,
*Change estimates do not include uncertainty; they are only based on the average value. If prediction values' uncertainty intervals (the numbers reported in parentheses) overlap a lot across different releases, changes in these estimates are not considered substantively different.
In addition to some of the states listed above, several saw sizeable changes since our May 10 release (see table below); however, most of these estimates have overlapping uncertainty intervals across releases. Exact reasons vary by state, but these changes are likely due to a combination of updated data inputs on COVID-19 epidemiologic indicators and key drivers of viral transmission like changes in testing and mobility, as well as easing of distancing policies. It is worth noting that the full potential effects of recent actions to ease social distancing policies, especially if robust containment measures have yet to be fully scaled up, may not be fully known for a few weeks due to the time periods between viral exposure, possible infection, and full disease progression. Location
Predictions for cumulative COVID-19 deaths through August from our May 12 release (today)
Predictions from our May 10 release
Change of average values since the May 10 release
North Carolina
4,413 (1,416 to 11,321)
1,190 (764 to 2,143)
'†‘ 3,222 deaths
3,799 (2,444 to 7,038)
2,606 (1,890 to 4,645)
'†‘ 1,192 deaths
5,262 (4,497 to 6,868)
4,575 (3,745 to 6,056)
'†‘ 688 deaths
795 (609 to 1,270)
1,554 (561 to 5,490)
'†' 758 deaths
2,062 (1,760 to 2,692)
3,596 (2,139 to 7,079)
'†' 1,534 deaths
2,429 (1,810 to 3,731)
4,091 (2,144 to 10,620)
'†' 1,662 deaths
Results as of 05/12/2020(C) 2020 IHMESee terms and conditions of use,
*Change estimates do not include uncertainty; they are only based on the average value. If prediction values' uncertainty intervals (the numbers reported in parentheses) overlap a lot across different releases, changes in these estimates are not considered substantively different.
Data and methods updates since our last release on May 10, 2020Data updatesFor all previously included locations, we have added reported data points on COVID-19 deaths, cases, mobility, and testing rates, as well as available information on social distancing policies for two days (May 9 and May 10 at about 10:00 p.m. Pacific). For all new locations, we include these data inputs from the first date of reporting through May 10.Methods updatesAs mentioned above, we have now incorporated previously included locations into our updated multi-stage hybrid modeling platform. We apply these same methods to all but one of the newly added locations: the exception is Ecuador. For Ecuador, we approximate the number of deaths differently than for other locations in our analysis. The reason we are using a different approach in Ecuador is that the number of reported deaths due to COVID-19 appears to be improbably low. We consider all-cause mortality, which gets reported on a weekly basis for Ecuador. Based on trends in all-cause mortality over the past few years, we estimate the number of additional deaths that occurred in Ecuador since March 2020. This corresponds to total excess mortality during the global pandemic. Not all of the excess mortality is due to COVID-19, though. To estimate what proportion of excess deaths we should attribute to COVID-19, we conducted an analysis in 14 other countries (13 European countries and the US) where we had data on both weekly reports of all-cause mortality and reliable data on COVID-19 deaths. In these locations, we took the ratio of all excess mortality to COVID-19 deaths. On average, we found that 55.3% of excess deaths during the pandemic were due to COVID-19 in countries with good registration systems. We subsequently applied this proportion to the number of excess all-cause deaths by week in Ecuador to get an estimate of the weekly deaths due to COVID-19. We plan to update this analysis on a regular basis.
What's in the development pipeline for IHME COVID-19 predictionsBefore we introduce new model components or improvements to our current analytical platform for predictions, IHME's COVID-19 development team members test these additions or changes.
Based on currently available data and model testing progress, our immediate- and medium-term priorities are as follows:
Initial COVID-19 projections for additional countries. Data collation and processing for a wider set of locations and countries worldwide are in progress. We are currently working on adapting our prediction model to countries which have experienced more than 50 total COVID-19 deaths to date. With the increasing recognition of under-counting of COVID-19 deaths in many locations outside of EEA and North America, we are now exploring methods that can approximate excess mortality and incorporate such estimates into our COVID-19 models. Additional key epidemic drivers. Pending data availability across currently included locations, we are exploring how to incorporate additional model covariates such mask or facial covering use by the broader public and human contact rates.A note of thanksWe would like to extend a special thanks to the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) for key data sources; our partners and collaborators in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey and Ukraine for their support and expert advice; and to the tireless data collection and collation efforts of individuals and institutions throughout the world.
In addition, we wish to express our gratitude for efforts to collect social distancing policy information in Latin America to University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas (Felicia Knaul, Michael Touchton); Fundaci"n Mexicana para la Salud with support from the GDS Services International: T"matelo a Pecho A.C.; and Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Anhuac (H(C)ctor Arreola-Ornelas); Lab on Research, Ethics, Aging and Community-Health at Tufts University (REACH Lab) and the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas (Thalia Porteny).
Further, IHME is grateful to the Microsoft AI for Health program for their support in hosting our COVID-19 data visualizations on the Azure Cloud.
For all COVID-19 resources at IHME, visit
Questions? Requests? Feedback? Please contact us here.
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South Africa coronavirus lockdown: Is the alcohol ban working? - BBC News
Thu, 14 May 2020 06:21
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Police have arrested people caught drinking in public The ban on the sale and transportation of alcohol during the coronavirus lockdown in South Africa has emptied hospital beds, ruined businesses, provoked violence and political disputes, and has led to a surge of interest in pineapples, writes the BBC's Andrew Harding from Johannesburg.
The idea was simple.
Ban all booze, and you'll prevent drunken fights, reduce domestic violence, stop drunk driving, and eliminate the weekend binge-drinking so prevalent across South Africa. Police, medics and analysts estimate - conservatively - that alcohol is involved in, or responsible for, at least 40% of all emergency hospital admissions.
In normal times some 34,000 trauma cases arrive at emergency departments in South Africa every week.
But since the nationwide lockdown came into force last month to prevent the spread of coronavirus, that figure has plummeted, dramatically, by roughly two thirds, to about 12,000 admissions.
"It's a significant impact," said Professor Charles Parry, with some understatement.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Soldiers force a homeless man to empty his beer can in Johannesburg He has been modelling the extent to which the alcohol ban has been responsible for the decline in those numbers for South Africa's Medical Research Council.
"If we end the prohibition on alcohol sales, we're going to see about 5,000 alcohol admissions in trauma units coming back into the system [each week]," he predicted.
Police minister 'gone rogue'The fact that those 5,000 extra hospital beds now stand empty could soon prove invaluable if the pandemic - which has been held, impressively, in check here for several weeks - begins to spread again exponentially, as government advisors predict it may.
But medical experts, while urging the government to keep the alcohol ban in place, also point out that heavy drinking weakens the immune system and may have a particular effect on respiratory conditions.
"Covid-19 is going to have a more severe impact on heavy drinkers'... and in South Africa many people live in crowded conditions.
"So, alcohol sales'... may increase community transmission [as people often drink socially]'... and we're likely to see an increase in gender-based violence and harm towards children," warned Professor Parry.
Alcohol and Covid-19: World Health Organization's advice
Avoid alcohol altogether
If you drink keep it to a minimum
Immune system weakened by alcohol, especially if you drink heavily
Reduces ability to cope with infectious diseases
Can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome
Drinking also increases risk of domestic violence
Source: WHO But how to enforce such a draconian and unprecedented clampdown for five weeks, or possibly more if South Africa's lockdown, due to end on 30 April, is extended once again?
The man responsible for policing the new prohibition has provoked anger in some quarters by appearing to encourage the security forces to take heavy-handed, and potentially illegal, action against those caught breaking the rules.
There have already been numerous worrying examples, including the alleged beating to death of a man caught drinking in his own yard.
You may also be interested in: Police Minister Bheki Cele, well-known for his abrasive language and his swaggering enthusiasm for the alcohol ban, recently warned that his forces would "destroy the infrastructure where the liquor is sold".
"It's deeply concerning when you have senior political leaders encouraging police officers to use violence or force, or to break the law. It seems as if the police minister has gone rogue," said Gareth Newham, a crime expert at South Africa's Institute for Security Studies.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Traditionally brewed beer in popular, especially in rural areas South Africa's alcohol industry initially sought to challenge the ban in court, arguing that it was unconstitutional and introduced without consultation. It has since backed down.
But while many in the industry acknowledge the importance of supporting national efforts to fight the virus, there is frustration about a "one-size-fits-all" approach that is causing significant damage to many businesses.
'It could be game over'"It's not looking good at all," said Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela, the country's first black female brewery owner and chair of South Africa's Beer Association, who fears her small business may go under if the ban continues for much longer.
"The arguments against lifting the ban do make sense. A lot of people are unemployed and use alcohol as a get-away drug," she acknowledged, but she said a more sophisticated approach - perhaps allowing limited alcohol sales - could save her industry from collapse.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cards and beer bottles lie on the floor following a security force raid in a Johannesburg suburb "It could be game over for us," agreed Nick Smith, an American who owns a craft brewery outside Cape Town.
"This one-size-fits-all rule is having a major impact on smaller businesses like ours," added Mr Smith.
Rise in home brewingThat argument is echoed by South Africa's official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), which is in favour of a "smart lockdown model" that would allow people to buy alcohol for a few hours each day.
But another party, the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has called the DA's proposal "murderous" and "racist" since the current ban appears to be having the most positive impact on health in poorer, largely black, communities.
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Media caption Nigeria's Tommy Kuti: Fighting coronavirus with rap Many people have compared South Africa's prohibition to the US's famous, decade-long crackdown which began in 1920 in response to campaigning by religious and moral groups, and was immortalised by Hollywood in films like Some Like It Hot and The Untouchables.
As with Chicago's notorious gangster, Al Capone, there are concerns that the alcohol ban could push the sector here into the hands of criminals who already control a lucrative chunk of South Africa's cigarette industry.
"The longer the lockdown goes on, the more criminal networks will be able to entrench their ability to sell and distribute alcohol," confirmed Gareth Newham, warning that the government was already losing a fortune in taxation because of the ban.
Alcohol consumption in South Africa: 31% of people aged 15 and above drink
59% of them are heavy or binge drinkers
26% of alcohol is homemade or illegally produced
Up to 60,000 of sale and distribution outlets are licensed
About 120,000 are not
Source: 2018 WHO report and 2016 South African government report The ban has certainly tapped into deep undercurrents here in South Africa - a country with a history of apartheid where black citizens were once banned from drinking in public, and some workers were even paid in alcohol, causing huge social problems.
"We, South Africans, don't have a good relationship with alcohol. Over the years, it's something that has to a certain extent got out of control," said Ms Nxusani-Mawela.
But as things stand, one aspect of the ban does appear to be uniting people from different walks of life. It has created a new enthusiasm for home brewing, which has always been a firm fixture in rural communities.
Videos and recipes for pineapple beer and the more traditional corn and sorghum known as "umqombothi", are now being widely touted on social media, alongside warnings that such drinks, if wrongly prepared, could prove dangerous.
92% Of Cook County COVID-19 Victims Had Pre-Existing Conditions | Zero Hedge
Thu, 14 May 2020 07:49
Authored by Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner via,
A Wirepoints analysis of COVID-19 deaths from the Cook County Medical Examiner's office reveals that 92 percent of victims from the virus had pre-existing medical conditions.
The medical examiner's database showed COVID-19 as the primary cause of death for 2,303 people. Of those, 2,112 were shown to have at least one underlying condition as a secondary cause of death. Those conditions, also known as comorbidities, included hypertension, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. There were no secondary causes reported for 191 deaths.
This finding is important because Gov. J.B. Pritzker has refused to release any statewide comorbidity data as part of his official Illinois Department of Health releases. Wirepoints asked for data directly from the governor's office on April 21st, but we were told it was not available. We've since released a piece asking Gov. J.B. Pritzker why that's so: Who's most at risk for COVID-19 and why isn't Illinois publishing that data?
Understanding who is most at risk '' and who is not '' is central to a public understanding of the virus. It's also central to helping decide when and how to open up our economy and schools. What Cook County's and other comorbidity data across the country implies is that the risk of death for healthy Illinoisans is far lower than Gov. J.B. Pritzker might lead people to believe based on his protracted lockdown and drawn out reopening plan.
Cook County reports that of the 2,303 victims where COVID-19 was listed as the primary cause of death, 92 percent had one or more comorbidities.
Hypertension affected 1,070 victims, or more than 46 percent of all deaths. Diabetes impacted 973 victims, or 42 percent of the total. Pulmonary disease was part of 397 deaths, or 17 percent. And 215 of those deaths, about 9 percent, were accompanied by obesity or morbid obesity.
Yet others had conditions including cancer and cardiovascular and kidney diseases. The numbers above add up to more than 100 percent because many victims had more than one pre-existing condition.
The Cook County data lines up with city of Chicago data on comorbidities for city deaths. Though the city does not provide any broader detail, it does report that 1,090 of Chicago's 1,160 COVID-19 deaths had underlying conditions. That's 94 percent.
What's stark about the Cook comorbidity data is just how few young adults die from COVID-19 in the absence of some pre-existing condition. Just 3 of the 15 deaths in the 20-29 age bracket had no comorbidities. Same goes for the 30-39 and 40-49 age brackets, where just 26 of the 132 deaths were accompanied with no underlying causes.
The above data is key to mapping out a reopening strategy for schools, universities and workplaces. Younger, healthier adults face far less risk from COVID-19 than originally feared.
On the flip side, it shows who is at risk: anyone with pre-existing conditions, including the elderly. As of May 8, the average age of all COVID-19 deaths in Illinois was 74, a clear sign of where the true risk lies.
Even more, almost 50 percent of all Illinois deaths have been tied to long-term care facilities, the subject of an upcoming Wirepoints piece. That means nearly 1,600 deaths occurred outside the general public.
For months, Illinois residents have lived in fear, a fear that has been exacerbated by a lack of transparency and open reporting from the state. The state didn't release hospitalization data until outside pressure forced it to. Antibody testing results are still being held back, which we wrote about in With New FDA Action, Gov. Pritzker and Dr. Ezike Have No Excuse for Further Stonewalling Antibody Testing.
And Wirepoints shouldn't be forced to seek out and compile partial comorbidity data based on tips from others. The state should be open and transparent with all of its COVID-19 statistics.
Regardless, the data continues to be revealed, even with the state's stonewalling. The information we now know paints a compelling case for a far different reopening plan than Gov. Pritzker has introduced.
Hat tip to CWB Chicago for making us aware of the examiner's online database. The link to the examiner's office is here.
* * *
Click here for the full list of Cook County COVID-19 victims
Read more about COVID-19 and the impact on Illinois:
Illinois' COVID-19 crisis: Daily data updateWith New FDA Action, Gov. Pritzker and Dr. Ezike Have No Excuse for Further Stonewalling Antibody TestingPritzker's top-down reopen strategy will fail large parts of IL: He should expect pushbackGovernor Pritzker's Plan to Reopen Illinois Makes No SenseOpen Illinois' economy: Recessions and depressions killCOVID-19: Seven facts that tell us Illinoisans can and must get back to workReopen the Economy While Protecting Those Truly at Risk or Face Another Great Depression
Trump administration in talks with chip makers about building US factories, amid coronavirus tensions with China | South China Morning Post
Mon, 11 May 2020 06:48
US chip maker Intel Corp's logo is seen on their ''smart building'' in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv, Israel in December. Photo: Reuters
Trump administration has been in discussions with Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co over improving domestic sources for microelectronicsApple and Samsung also approached about US manufacturing operations, according to media reportTopic | Coronavirus pandemic
Published: 4:29am, 11 May, 2020
Updated: 4:28am, 11 May, 2020
Arkansas prof arrested over alleged secret China ties
Wed, 13 May 2020 08:52
Jon Street Managing Editor @JonStreet on May 12, 2020 at 9:35 AM EDT A University of Arkansas professor was arrested and charged for undisclosed ties to China.The professor is the latest of multiple American university professors to be charged with such a crime.Yet another American university professor has been indicted for allegedly failing to disclose his ties to China.
According to the Justice Department, University of Arkansas Electrical Engineering Professor Simon Saw-Teong Ang was arrested Friday on one count of wire fraud. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Arkansas says Ang had "close ties" with both the Chinese government and Chinese companies but failed to disclose his ties when receiving federal grant money through NASA.
"These materially false representations to NASA and the University of Arkansas resulted in numerous wires to be sent and received that facilitated Ang's scheme to defraud"
[RELATED: Prof indicted over alleged secret ties to China]
"These materially false representations to NASA and the University of Arkansas resulted in numerous wires to be sent and received that facilitated Ang's scheme to defraud," the U.S. Attorney's office said. Ang faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted.
[RELATED: Chinese national arrested for smuggling Harvard cancer research in a sock]
Ang is just the latest American university professor to be charged in recent months for undisclosed ties to China, as the nation grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China. The Trump administration says the virus could have been contained within China had the Chinese Communist Party reacted more transparently amid the outbreak in late 2019.
[RELATED: UCLA prof guilty of conspiring to steal missile secrets for China, could face more than 200 years in prison]
The charges against multiple professors in the U.S come as the U.S has for years debated Chinese intellectual property theft. In recent months, U.S. lawmakers have also called on American universities to close their Confucius Institutes, which American intelligence officials have called national security threats and the former Chinese propaganda minister once admitted the Chinese government uses as "propaganda" centers.
Among the most prominent professors arrested for allegedly hiding his ties to China was the former head of Harvard University's chemistry department, Charles Leiber, who was allegedly paid tens of thousands of dollars per month and was awarded $1.5 million to launch a research lab at the Wuhan University of Technology, in Wuhan, China, the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus.
Follow the author of this article on Facebook: @JonStreetDC and Twitter: @JonStreet
Beijing's Job Recruitment Programs Spotlighted With Conviction of US Professor
Wed, 13 May 2020 09:44
A former professor at Emory University has been convicted of tax fraud in connection to his concealment of earnings from participating in a Chinese state-run job recruitment program that aims to benefit Beijing.
Li Xiaojiang, a 63-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen originally from China, worked at the Atlanta-based university's department of human genetics for 23 years before being fired in May 2019 for failing to disclose his financial ties to China. His wife, Li Shihua, who worked in the same department, was also fired.
''This defendant thought that he could live two separate lives'--one here at Emory University and one in China as a Thousand Talents Program participant,'' said U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak, according to a May 11 press release from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Li was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay $35,089 in restitution. Li will also be required to file lawful income tax returns for the period from 2012 to 2018.
Thousand TalentsBeijing rolled out the Thousand Talents Program in 2008 to aggressively recruit promising science and tech researchers from foreign countries to work in China.
In February, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned about the program's potential to be exploited for intellectual property theft, during a speech at the National Governors Association's winter meeting.
''It's a plan to recruit scientists and professors to transfer the know-how we have here to China in exchange for enormous paydays,'' Pompeo said, before pointing to recent federal indictments against professors who participated in the Chinese program while employed at the University of Kansas, Virginia Tech, and Harvard University.
A professor at the University of Arkansas was arrested on wire fraud on May 8 for his failure to disclose funding he received from Chinese companies and the Thousand Talents Program.
Li, while still employed at Emory, joined Thousand Talents in late 2011, according to the DOJ. From 2012 until 2018, he investigated Huntington's disease with animal models while working at Chinese institutions: the state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Jinan University, located in southern China's Guangdong Province.
''Over those six years, Li earned at least $500,000 in foreign income that he never reported on his federal income tax returns,'' the DOJ stated.
Specifically, Li worked at CAS's Institute of Genetic and Developmental Biology, as well as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Institute of Central Nervous System Regeneration, a research institute at Jinan University, according to those institutions' websites.
Li's fraudulent income returns were exposed after an investigation by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over his research grant applications in which he failed to disclose his foreign research activity, according to the DOJ.
NIH expressed concerns about the Thousand Talents Program in a report published in December 2018, which warned that the program's recruits had access to U.S. intellectual property and could potentially transfer key data to China, produced using U.S. federal research money.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said the DOJ would continue to remain ''vigilant over programs such as the Thousand Talents Program that recruits professors and researchers to work for China,'' in the press release.
State Funding Li also participated in another Chinese state-run job recruitment program before 2011 while employed at Emory, according to a document published by the education bureau of China's Jiangxi provincial government.
The document lists outstanding graduates of Jiangxi's Nanchang University, where Li was a graduate of its medical college (formerly known as the Jiangxi Medical College) in the early 1980s before moving to the United States for doctoral studies.
The document showed that Li was a chair professor of the Changjiang Scholars program in 2008 at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, located in Wuhan.
China's Ministry of Education rolled out the Changjiang Scholars Program that year to attract exemplary academics from the West, of Chinese or foreign descent.
It's not known what benefits Li received as a Changjiang scholar. But in recent years, China's central government pays such scholars 200,000 yuan (about $28,210) annually for five years, while regional governments and schools where they work may provide additional financial incentives.
While at Emory, Li also obtained other Chinese government fundings for his research.
According to a 2015 publication by CAS's Institute of Genetic and Developmental Biology, a genetic study done by Li and his wife and published in the scientific journal Neuron in March that year was partially funded by China's State Key Laboratory of Molecular Development Biology.
Another study by Li and his wife on Parkinson's disease, published in the scientific journal Human Molecular Genetics in 2014, was jointly funded by State Key Laboratory; China's 973 Program; and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, an agency run by China's State Council.
China rolled out the 973 Program in 1997 to focus on basic science research in eight categories, including agriculture; population and health; and environment and resources.
The 2015 publication also carried remarks by Xu Weihua, the Communist Party secretary of CAS's Institute of Genetic and Developmental Biology.
During a meeting on March 19, 2015, Xu outlined four suggestions for the year. He said Party organizations within the institute must ''value the learning of [Party] ideologies and the results of holding Party-themed events.''
He also said the institute should ''strictly strengthen Party idea education,'' and its Party organizations should ''facilitate the institute's technological innovation.''
US WarningOn May 10, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ariz.) told Fox News that he will propose legislation to address threats posed by China's job recruitment programs, calling the Thousand Talents in particular an ''espionage program.''
Cotton said he found it ''a real scandal'' that participation in this program was legal in the United States. ''I'm going to propose legislation that would ban any researcher from accepting Chinese-affiliated funds if they are also working on federally funded programs,'' he said.
Most federal cases involving Thousand Talent participants have charged them for failing to disclose their affiliations or intending to transfer intellectual property to China.
Cotton said his bill would also ''require universities to make their best effort not to employ anyone who is a part of this talent program.''
''We should not be underwriting those people who are on the Chinese Communist Party's payroll to send our most advanced cutting-edge technology back to China,'' he said.
Follow Frank on Twitter: @HwaiDer
Report: Apple Plans to Move Significant Amount of iPhone Production from China to India
Mon, 11 May 2020 10:30
According to a recent report, tech giant Apple is planning to move a significant amount of its iPhone production from China to India.
MacRumors reports that American tech giant Apple may be moving a significant portion of its production from China to India in the wake of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Apple could reportedly be planning to produce as much as $40 billion worth of smartphones in India through manufacturers Wistron and Foxconn, according to the Indian Economic Times.
The Indian Economic Times reports:
Several meetings between Apple's senior executives and top ranking government officials over the last few months have paved the way for the iPhone maker examining the possibility of shifting nearly a fifth of its production capacity from China to India and scaling up its local manufacturing revenues, through its contract manufacturers, to around $40 billion over the next five years, say officials familiar with the matter.
A senior government official reportedly told ET that the decision is linked to India's production linked incentive (PLI) scheme which was developed to boost local manufacturing of electrical products.
In order to benefit from the PLI program, a company must produce at least $10 billion worth of mobile phones in a phased manner between 2020 and 2025 and are required to meet that target figure on a yearly basis.
Apple currently sells around $1.5 billion worth of phones in India but less than $0.5 billion of that total is from iPhones manufactured in the country. In comparison to China, between 2018 and 2019 Apple produced $220 billion worth of products in the country.
Officials are reportedly willing to look into concerns that Apple has about the PLI scheme including how it values plants and machinery already in use in China and the extent of the detailed business information that companies are required to provide under the scheme.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address
China bans beef from Australian slaughterhouses in feared tit-for-tat move | News | DW | 12.05.2020
Tue, 12 May 2020 07:02
China has blacklisted four red-meat-processing plants in Australia, suspending beef imports from them. The move is being widely seen as retaliation amid a bilateral dispute over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beijing has suspended imports of beef from four major slaughterhouses in Australia, amid fears that it is taking revenge after Australia called for an independent investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak, which originated in China.
Three of the facilities are in the northeastern state of Queensland and one in the southeastern state of New South Wales.
According to one analyst interviewed by national broadcaster ABC, the three plants combined produce some 35% of beef exports to China, Australia's largest trading partner. Beef exports to China bring Australia some $1.7 billion Australian dollars ($1.1 billion; '‚¬1 billion) each year.
Read more: Does US-China coronavirus blame game threaten scientific investigation?
Suggested boycott
China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday denied any link with the COVID-19-related dispute, saying that it had discovered violations in health certificate regulations at the plant.
The move comes after China said it planned to introduce major tariffs on Australian barley, alleging that Australia was selling the grain in China for less than it costs to produce.
It was also preceded by remarks made last month by Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye, who said that people in China were "frustrated, dismayed and disappointed" by Australia's calls for an investigation over COVID-19.
"Maybe the ordinary people will say 'Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?" he told the Australian Financial Review.
Read more: US chief diplomat Pompeo backs coronavirus Wuhan lab claims
New Zealand under fire
Australia is not the only country in the region to have got on the wrong side of China in recent times.
New Zealand has also drawn the ire of Beijing by supporting Taiwan's bid to participate at the World Health Organization against the will of China, which sees the island as a runaway province.
China responded to comments by senior New Zealand ministers praising Taiwan for its efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 by saying that the Pacific nation should "stop making wrong statements."
But New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters has stuck to his guns on the issue, saying on Tuesday that "we have got to stand up for ourselves."
He said he did not foresee any lasting damage to diplomatic ties with China, which is also New Zealand's biggest trading partner.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern later said said New Zealand's position on Taiwan was only related to its success in combating COVID-19 and that her country had "always taken a 'One China' policy, and that continues to be the case."
tj/aw (Reuters, AFP)
Every evening, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.
Van Jones Explains Why He Agreed To Speak At Misinformation Event Sponsored By Chinese Tech Company | The Daily Caller
Tue, 12 May 2020 20:08
CNN host Van Jones explained Tuesday why he agreed to speak at a National Association of Black Journalists event on coronavirus misinformation sponsored by a banned Chinese tech company.
Jones would not have participated in the event had he known that Chinese telecommunications company Huawei was involved, he told his Twitter followers. NABJ noted in a tweet that the group pulled out of the webinar event, citing ''distraction of priorities.''
''I accepted invite to participate in NABJ webinar, warning black community about #COVID misinformation. I said 'yes' without knowing sponsor. Glad NABJ canceled; I wouldn't have participated. I'll keep raising alarm about pandemic's impact on vulnerable people,'' he said.
Black Eyed Peas singer and former CNN journalist Roland Martin were pegged to join Jones on the panel. (RELATED: Chinese Tech Company Will Host Panel On COVID-19 'Misinformation' Featuring CNN's Van Jones)
The Huawei logo is pictured at the IFA consumer tech fair in Berlin, Germany, September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo
The Wednesday webinar was expected to ''explore how journalists and leaders across industries can come together to fight against a unified enemy: COVID-19'' and how ''disinformation about the coronavirus disproportionately affects communities of color and low-income neighborhoods,'' according to NABJ's registration page, which has since been deleted.
President Donald Trump is fighting a two-pronged battle against Huawei. His administration is trying to convince allies to steer clear of the Chinese company's products, while at the same time the Department of Justice is making the case that the company's chief financial officer violated Iranian sanctions.
The DOJ leveled a 13-count indictment in January 2019 against Huawei and its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, accusing China's tech behemoth of bank fraud, wire fraud and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Huawei was also charged with conspiring to obstruct justice related to the DOJ's investigation.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact
War on Meat
Meat packing producer says it wil be OK in two weeks
While the headlines will blast the "major packers"
for driving up the price of beef, EVERYTHING is dependent on workers showing up
at the plants. Two weeks from now prices will be back to very near
MONEY. Packers will be blamed. It's just the way of the world.
My workers are very well taken care of.
PPE, +$4.00 per hour, 2 cash bonuses of $600, paid to stay home if they
don't feel comfortable. Still they WANT to work. Unlike the lazy
ass politicians and unions who claim to represent them.
Anytime one side had an enormous public relations
advantage (as we have here, big bad packer like orange man bad) you will never
have an honest discussion.
Video you will never see on any media. They want to
keep the image of the Chicago Stock Yards at the turn of the century. Our
plants are truly a modern marvel. When this is all over I will take
you on a tour of our Cactus Texas Plant.
As U.S. meat workers fall sick and supplies dwindle, exports to China soar - Reuters
Mon, 11 May 2020 06:51
CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump ordered meat processing plants to stay open to protect the nation's food supply even as workers got sick and died. Yet the plants have increasingly been exporting to China while U.S. consumers face shortages, a Reuters analysis of government data showed.
FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators stand outside the closed Smithfield Foods pork plant, the world's biggest pork processor, after it was closed indefinitely due to a rash of coronavirus cases among employees as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S., April 17, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Trump, who is in an acrimonious public dispute with Beijing over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act on April 28 to keep plants open. Now he is facing criticism from some lawmakers, consumers and plant employees for putting workers at risk in part to help ensure China's meat supply.
''We know that over time exports are critically important. I think we need to focus on meeting domestic demand at this point,'' said Mike Naig, the agriculture secretary in the top U.S. pork-producing state of Iowa who supported Trump's order.
Processors including Smithfield Foods, owned by China's WH Group Ltd, Brazilian-owned JBS USA [JBS.UL] and Tyson Foods Inc temporarily closed about 20 U.S. meat plants as the virus infected thousands of employees, prompting meatpackers and grocers to warn of shortages. Some plants have resumed limited operations as workers afraid of getting sick stay home.
The disruptions mean consumers could see 30% less meat in supermarkets by the end of May, at prices 20% higher than last year, according to Will Sawyer, lead economist at agricultural lender CoBank.
While pork supplies tightened as the number of pigs slaughtered each day plunged by about 40% since mid-March, shipments of American pork to China more than quadrupled over the same period, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
Smithfield, which China's WH Group bought for $4.7 billion in 2013, was the biggest U.S. exporter to China from January to March, according to Panjiva, a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence. Smithfield shipped at least 13,680 tonnes by sea in March, Panjiva said, citing its most recent data.
Smithfield, the world's biggest pork processor, said in April that U.S. plant closures were pushing retailers ''perilously close to the edge'' on supplies.
The company is now retooling its namesake pork plant in Smithfield, Virginia, to supply fresh pork, bacon and ham to more U.S. consumers, according to a statement. The move is an about-face after the company reconfigured the plant last year to process hog carcasses for the Chinese market, employees, local officials and industry sources told Reuters.
The Virginia facility currently serves export markets like China and domestic customers, according to Smithfield. Most U.S. pork processors routinely export products to more than 40 international markets, company spokeswoman Keira Lombardo said.
The virus infected about 850 employees at another Smithfield pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Across the U.S. industry, about 5,000 infections and 20 deaths occurred, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
''That tragic outcome is all the worse when the food being processed is not going to our nation's families,'' said U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut. ''That is what the Defense Production Act is all about: protecting America's national interests, not China's.''
Pork processor Fresh Mark resumed making bacon and ham for global customers at a Salem, Ohio, plant it shut in April over coronavirus cases.
''If we start having a shortage in America, I think it should stay here,'' said Bruce Fatherly, a maintenance worker at the plant and member of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
Fresh Mark said exports are a small part of its business.
WHOLE HOGS The supply concerns could not have been foreseen when Trump signed a deal in January to ease a trade war he started with Beijing two years earlier. China promised to increase purchases of U.S. farm goods by at least $12.5 billion in 2020 and $19.5 billion in 2021, over the 2017 level of $24 billion.
The White House declined to comment. The USDA and U.S. Trade Representative's office did not respond to requests for comment.
China increased its purchases because of its dire need for protein after a pig disease called African swine fever led to the death of half the country's herd over the past two years. Beijing lifted a nearly five-year ban on U.S. chicken imports in November and also waived retaliatory tariffs on meat shipments to help boost supplies.
Year-to-date, about 31% of U.S. pork has been exported, totaling about 838,000 tonnes, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. One-third of that volume went to China, accounting for more than 10% of total first-quarter production, the industry group said.
Carcasses, which include most of the pig, were the top product shipped to China in January and February, according to USDA. Loads also include feet and organs that many Americans do not eat.
Exports to China set a record for the period from January to March, and shipments to all destinations in March set a record for any month, according to USDA.
JBS, which produces pork, beef and chicken, told Reuters it reduced exports to focus on meeting U.S. demand during the pandemic. About 280 employees at a JBS beef plant in Greeley, Colorado, have been infected with the virus, and seven died, union officials said.
''I think we need to take care of our country and our needs first,'' said Kim Cordova, president of the local United Food and Commercial Workers International Union that represents plant employees.
Tyson Foods did not respond to requests for comment about exports.
Slideshow (2 Images) Suppliers like Tyson have limited meat products for retailers because of plant closures. Kroger Co and Costco Wholesale Corp, meanwhile, restricted shoppers' meat purchases.
U.S. farmers, who struggled financially during the trade war with Beijing, say they still need importing countries, including China, to buy their pork. Prior the pandemic, they grappled with an oversupply of hogs.
''There's enough meat for all channels if we could get these plants back up and rolling,'' said Brian Duncan, a hog farmer and vice president of the Illinois Farm Bureau.
Additional reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago and Dominique Patton in Beijing; editing by Caroline Stauffer and Edward Tobin
China bans beef from Australian slaughterhouses in feared tit-for-tat move | News | DW | 12.05.2020
Tue, 12 May 2020 07:02
China has blacklisted four red-meat-processing plants in Australia, suspending beef imports from them. The move is being widely seen as retaliation amid a bilateral dispute over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beijing has suspended imports of beef from four major slaughterhouses in Australia, amid fears that it is taking revenge after Australia called for an independent investigation into the COVID-19 outbreak, which originated in China.
Three of the facilities are in the northeastern state of Queensland and one in the southeastern state of New South Wales.
According to one analyst interviewed by national broadcaster ABC, the three plants combined produce some 35% of beef exports to China, Australia's largest trading partner. Beef exports to China bring Australia some $1.7 billion Australian dollars ($1.1 billion; '‚¬1 billion) each year.
Read more: Does US-China coronavirus blame game threaten scientific investigation?
Suggested boycott
China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday denied any link with the COVID-19-related dispute, saying that it had discovered violations in health certificate regulations at the plant.
The move comes after China said it planned to introduce major tariffs on Australian barley, alleging that Australia was selling the grain in China for less than it costs to produce.
It was also preceded by remarks made last month by Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye, who said that people in China were "frustrated, dismayed and disappointed" by Australia's calls for an investigation over COVID-19.
"Maybe the ordinary people will say 'Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?" he told the Australian Financial Review.
Read more: US chief diplomat Pompeo backs coronavirus Wuhan lab claims
New Zealand under fire
Australia is not the only country in the region to have got on the wrong side of China in recent times.
New Zealand has also drawn the ire of Beijing by supporting Taiwan's bid to participate at the World Health Organization against the will of China, which sees the island as a runaway province.
China responded to comments by senior New Zealand ministers praising Taiwan for its efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 by saying that the Pacific nation should "stop making wrong statements."
But New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters has stuck to his guns on the issue, saying on Tuesday that "we have got to stand up for ourselves."
He said he did not foresee any lasting damage to diplomatic ties with China, which is also New Zealand's biggest trading partner.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern later said said New Zealand's position on Taiwan was only related to its success in combating COVID-19 and that her country had "always taken a 'One China' policy, and that continues to be the case."
tj/aw (Reuters, AFP)
Every evening, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.
Kamala emerges as early Biden VP favorite as sting of debate attack fades
Mon, 11 May 2020 05:57
Sen. Kamala Harris. | Chris Carlson/AP Photo
Kamala Harris was written off as a possible vice presidential pick for Joe Biden last year after a cutting debate performance where she seemed to suggest he was racially insensitive.
Now, Harris is not only in top contention, but Biden aides, surrogates and major donors see her as the best fit at the onset of the process '-- at least on paper '-- to join him atop the Democratic ticket.
Biden's campaign has formally started vetting a group of prospects that includes roughly a dozen women. But in interviews, more than two dozen Democrats, including advisers, allies and donors aligned with Biden, returned to Harris as an early frontrunner. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the favorite among progressives, was also seen as rising above the pack.
Biden and his family were stung by the June debate exchange over his record on school busing. The attack was particularly hurtful because of Harris' bond with Biden's late son Beau, also a one-time state attorney general.
But Biden and others close to him have come to view Harris' debate knockdown as part of the rough and tumble of presidential campaigning.
Even before Harris ended her own campaign last year, aides said she and Biden were already stealing warm moments together. And friends of former second lady Jill Biden '-- who as recently as March described Harris' attack as a ''punch to the gut'' '-- said they've mulled ways for her to telegraph that it wasn't a deal breaker for the California senator's chances, perhaps by sharing her posts on social media.
''I believe strongly that people make mistakes when they allow the heat of a political campaign and things said during a contest to define you,'' Rep. Jim Clyburn told POLITICO. ''We're at a point now where whoever was part of the scrimmage needs to be on the same team. And I think they are.
''Joe Biden is a big boy,'' Clyburn added. ''I've never seen Joe have any animus toward Kamala for what may have been said during the campaign.''
Biden and Harris have spoken privately several times, and a growing contingent of operatives inside and around the presumptive Democratic nominee's campaign have been making it clear they want her as his pick. Influential donors are joining in the push, seeing the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica as the most logical choice to balance a ticket led by a white man in his late 70s. Some of the party's biggest benefactors, including those who went months rarely hearing from Harris, said they have seen an uptick in contacts from her and people on her behalf.
''She really is a standout in terms of keeping [Democrats] together and keeping donors warm,'' a Biden bundler said of Harris' operation. ''She doesn't need to do a full-court press, and it would probably be seen as unseemly for her.''
Harris has adopted a less-is-more approach to the veepstakes. She appeared at fundraisers and a town hall for Biden in late April. While she waited until after Super Tuesday to endorse him, her announcement of support in Michigan, timed to coincide with Cory Booker's, served to act as a power boost at a time when the Biden campaign was looking to close out its lead against Bernie Sanders. Michigan was viewed as pivotal to Sanders' campaign remaining viable at that point.
Harris has since started to issue other endorsements of her own and raised money for other Democrats running in contested elections.
''Clearly, she is out there and being supportive of Joe, but she is coming at it from a position of strength,'' the donor added. ''She has continued to prove herself as a team player for Joe, a team player for Senate Democrats and that's going to benefit her regardless of whether she's picked for VP.''
Other names being advanced for the job include Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada; Florida Rep. Val Demings; Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; former national security adviser Susan Rice; and Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, a former state House Democratic leader who narrowly lost a race for governor in 2018.
Warren's supporters are pitching her inside Biden's camp as a governing choice who could unite the party by exciting liberals and younger voters while bringing to bear her skills as a small-dollar fundraiser. Harris' allies and donors point to her comparative youth, her ability to energize voters of color in key states and what they believe would be a seamless rapport between her and Biden, with little ideological daylight.
''I would be disappointed if Kamala Harris isn't chosen. She deserves to be chosen,'' said Bakari Sellers, a South Carolina Democrat and a top surrogate for Harris on her campaign. Inside Biden's operation, Sellers said, ''a lot of people are pushing for her. She has a lot of support.''
Clyburn's endorsement before the South Carolina primary was a turning point for Biden's campaign, coming after Biden failed to win any of the three other early state primaries. He said he has his opinions on the VP matter, but that ultimately Biden has to feel comfortable with his choice.
''I would be disappointed if Kamala Harris isn't chosen. She deserves to be chosen."
''I've made very clear that when I look in the mirror in the morning, I realize who and what I am, I have three daughters, two granddaughters and I am very supportive of an African American woman on the ticket. I'm very supportive of that,'' he said. ''But I also know that in order for there to be a winning ticket, the chemistry has to be there.''
Asked whether Biden risks alienating African American voters '-- or failing to excite them to go to the polls '-- by not choosing a black woman as a running mate, Clyburn bristled.
''Us African Americans, most of us grew up in the South, those of us who didn't grow up in the South have roots in the South, one of the things we live by: one should never cut off one's nose to spite one's face. One should never,'' Clyburn said. ''I'm still saying, my preference is an African American female and that's just my preference.''
Harris has worked to move past the PR missteps and staff drama that surrounded her own campaign, keeping a tight lid on her return to the trail and March endorsement of Biden.
She overhauled her political team and is now working closely with Mindy Myers, the veteran Democratic strategist; Sabrina Singh, a senior adviser who previously was a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee before joining the presidential campaigns of Cory Booker and Mike Bloomberg; and Rohini Kosoglu, a former Harris chief of staff who later worked on her presidential campaign. Julie Chvez Rodr­guez, a national political director on the Harris campaign, and Jalisa Washington-Price, the South Carolina state director, are also advising Harris.
Harris' post-campaign emergence has mostly centered on her legislative efforts, including a heavy focus on dealing with the coronavirus. She's pushing for a task force to address racial disparities in the number of cases and deaths, and working on a separate effort to ensure all communities have access to testing and treatment. With Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Harris introduced a bill to send a monthly $2,000 check to people who make less than $120,000. Another Harris effort with Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) is focused on helping small businesses.
Before the debate in Miami, Biden and Harris got to know each other through Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46. The following year, Biden, along with President Barack Obama, endorsed Harris for Senate over another Democrat ahead of the party's national convention.
After Biden swore her in to the Senate early the next year, Harris suggested they get together for regular coffees. The meetings didn't happen, but there were seemingly chance encounters on the street and at train stations that staffers captured for social media, fueling speculation from supporters about their possible future together. The first debate tested their connection, and soured Harris among some key Biden advisers and top donors.
Biden in interviews offered explanations for why he was caught so flat-footed. He said he was prepared for questions about his record, but not in the way Harris did. ''She knew Beau. She knows me,'' he told CNN last summer.
''It was personal to her, because of Kamala and Beau's relationship. She was caught off guard, they both were,'' one Biden adviser said of Jill Biden's reaction. The adviser stressed, however, that Jill Biden has since put it behind her and pointed to the virtual town hall with Biden as one example that the campaign has publicly brought Harris into the fold.
People close to Harris said they've never heard her express regrets about questioning Biden's position on busing, which he provided an opening for ahead of the debate by talking about his past work with segregationist colleagues.
Sellers, whom Harris will join next week for a talk about his upcoming book, suggested that the aggressiveness with which she questioned Biden would actually be an asset on the ticket.
''What I would take from that for choosing a vice president is she's a really skilled debater,'' he said, ''and she'd kick Mike Pence's ass.''
Filed Under: Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Warren 2020, Joe Biden, Joe Biden 2020, Jim Clyburn, Vice President, Democratic Party, Kamala Harris, Kamala Harris 2020, Bakari Sellers, 2020 Elections, 2020 Presidential Candidates
Val Demings - Wikipedia
Tue, 12 May 2020 23:29
Florida politician
Valdez Venita Demings (n(C)e Butler; born March 12, 1957) is an American politician and retired law enforcement officer who serves as the United States Representative from Florida's 10th congressional district , serving since 2017. She served as Chief of the Orlando Police Department, the first woman to hold the position. She was the Democratic nominee in both 2012 and 2016 to represent Florida's 10th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, the latter of which Demings won.[3] On January 15, 2020, Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected Demings to serve as an impeachment manager in the Senate trial of President Donald J. Trump.[4]
Early life [ edit ] Valdez Venita Butler was born on March 12, 1957,[5] one of seven children born to a poor family; her father worked in orange groves, while her mother was a housekeeper. They lived in Mandarin, a neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida. She attended segregated schools in the 1960s, graduating from Wolfson High School in the 1970s.[6]
Her desire for a career in law enforcement came when Demings served in the "school patrol" at Dupont Junior High School. She attended Florida State University, graduating with a degree in criminology in 1979.[6] She continued her education at Webster University Orlando, earning a master's degree in public administration in 1996.[7]
Early career [ edit ] After graduating from college, Demings worked as a social worker in Jacksonville for 18 months.[6][8] In 1983, she applied for a job with the Orlando Police Department (OPD), and she began with the department on patrol on Orlando's west side.[6]
Demings was appointed as chief of the OPD in December 2007, becoming the first woman to lead the department.[9] As chief, she was credited with reducing violent crime in Orlando. She retired from the position effective June 1, 2011, after serving with the OPD for 27 years.[10]
Political career [ edit ] Demings was the Democratic Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Florida's 10th congressional district in the 2012 elections.[11] She faced freshman Republican Daniel Webster in a district that had been made slightly more Republican than its predecessor. Demings narrowly lost, taking 48 percent of the vote to Webster's 51 percent.[12]
Democrats attempted to recruit Demings to run against Webster again in 2014.[13] After considering her options, she decided to run for Mayor of Orange County, Florida, against Teresa Jacobs, instead.[14] Demings dropped out of the mayoral race on May 20, 2014.[15]
Demings ran again for the 10th district seat after a court-ordered redistricting made the 10th significantly more Democratic ahead of the 2016 elections.[16] She won the Democratic Party nomination on August 30,[17] and won the general election with 65% of the vote.[18] She is only the third Democrat ever to win this Orlando-based district since its creation in 1973 (it was numbered as the 5th from 1973 to 1993, the 8th from 1993 to 2013, and has been the 10th since 2013).
In her 2018 reelection campaign, Demings was unopposed for a second term.[19]
U.S. House of Representatives [ edit ] Tenure [ edit ] Demings was sworn in on January 3, 2017. She is a member of the New Democrat Coalition[20] and the Congressional Black Caucus.[21]
On December 18, 2019, Demings voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.[22]Demings was selected as one of seven impeachment managers who presented the impeachment case against Trump during his trial before the United States Senate.[23]
Committee assignments [ edit ] Committee on Homeland SecuritySubcommittee on Border and Maritime SecurityCommittee on the JudiciarySubcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations (Vice Chair)Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust LawPermanent Select Committee on IntelligenceSubcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter SupportSubcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and ReadinessCaucus memberships [ edit ] New Democrat Coalition[24]Political positions [ edit ] This section
needs expansion.
You can help by adding to it. ( September 2018 )Gun policy [ edit ] Demings has stated that she seeks to keep firearms out of the hands of "people who seek to do harm," saying that the gun control legislation that she supports "isn't about taking guns away from responsible, law-abiding people."[25] She supports the Gun Violence Restraining Order Act of 2017, which would provide a lawful method of temporarily confiscating firearms from people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. Of the Act, Demings said, "We must do what we can to make sure law enforcement has the tools it needs to more effectively perform the ever more challenging job of keeping us a safe nation. The Gun Violence Restraining Order Act is a major step to doing just that."[26] In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, Demings announced her opposition to proposals to arm teachers, saying such efforts were "ridiculous"[27] and "only shift the responsibility from lawmakers to others. It shifts the pain, the hurt, and the guilt to school staff who will find themselves out skilled and outgunned in active shooter situations."[26]
Demings has an "F" rating from the NRA, which they award to those they deem a "true enemy of gun owners' rights".[28] She has accused the NRA of "hijacking" conversations after mass shootings to make them about the Second Amendment.[29]
Personal life [ edit ] Her husband, Jerry Demings, is the former Orange County Sheriff and current mayor of Orange County, Florida.[10] He served as the Chief of the OPD, the first African American to do so, from 1999 to 2002.[6][8] The two met while on patrol in the OPD; they married in 1988 and have three children.[6]
See also [ edit ] List of African-American United States RepresentativesWomen in the United States House of RepresentativesReferences [ edit ] ^ ^ ^ "Florida U.S. House 10th District Results: Val Demings Wins". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 9, 2016 . Retrieved November 8, 2016 . ^ DeBonis, Mike (January 15, 2020). "Schiff, Nadler lead group of House managers to prosecute Trump in Senate impeachment trial". Washington Post. WP Company LLC. Archived from the original on January 16, 2020 . Retrieved January 16, 2020 . ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF) . Roll Call. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 24, 2018 . Retrieved January 3, 2017 . ^ a b c d e f "Val Demings takes over as Orlando's police chief Monday". December 16, 2007. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014 . Retrieved October 4, 2012 . ^ "Valerie Demings". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress . Retrieved January 21, 2020 . ^ a b "Married cops to head next-door agencies '' US news '' Life | NBC News". NBC News. January 25, 2009. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014 . Retrieved October 4, 2012 . ^ "Val Demings' retirement opinion: Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is retiring". Orlando Sentinel. May 5, 2011. Archived from the original on April 19, 2013 . Retrieved October 4, 2012 . ^ a b Schlueb, Mark (May 3, 2011). "Orlando Police Chief Val Demings retiring: Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is retiring". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013 . Retrieved October 4, 2012 . ^ Green, Merissa (October 1, 2012). "Rep. Daniel Webster Challenged By Val Demings, Ex-Chief of Police". The Ledger. Archived from the original on October 4, 2012 . Retrieved October 3, 2012 . ^ Schlueb, Mark (November 6, 2012). "Dan Webster beats Val Demings, wins second term". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014 . Retrieved November 7, 2012 . ^ Damron, David (October 7, 2013). "Demings still undecided on next political move". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014 . Retrieved January 7, 2014 . ^ Powers, Scott (January 7, 2014). "Val Demings takes on Teresa Jacobs for Orange County Mayor". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014 . Retrieved January 7, 2014 . ^ "Val Demings drops out of Orange County mayoral race". Archived from the original on May 18, 2015 . Retrieved August 18, 2015 . ^ Powers, Scott (August 17, 2015). "Val Demings to run for Congress". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015 . Retrieved August 18, 2015 . ^ "Val Demings wins Democratic primary for US House District 10: Former Orlando police chief to face off against Thuy Lowe in November". August 30, 2016. Archived from the original on September 1, 2016 . Retrieved September 1, 2016 . ^ Comas, Martin E. (November 8, 2016). "Political newcomer Murphy pulls stunner, unseats Mica; Demings defeats Lowe". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016 . Retrieved November 9, 2016 . ^ "House elections 2018: Uncontested races - Washington Post". Archived from the original on October 21, 2018 . Retrieved October 20, 2018 . ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018 . Retrieved January 31, 2019 . ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Archived from the original on April 27, 2019 . Retrieved March 7, 2018 . ^ ^ Wilkie, Christina (January 15, 2020). "Pelosi taps Schiff, Nadler and 5 others as Trump impeachment managers". CNBC. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020 . Retrieved January 15, 2020 . ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018 . Retrieved February 5, 2018 . ^ Demings, Val (June 12, 2017). "A year after Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, we're going backward on guns". USA Today. McLean, Virginia. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018 . Retrieved March 5, 2018 . ^ a b Powers, Scott (February 16, 2018). "Val Demings pushes bill to seek gun restraining orders on people deemed dangerous". Florida Politics. Peter Schorsch. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018 . Retrieved March 5, 2018 . ^ Bennett, John T. (February 21, 2018). "Shooting Survivors, Victims' Families Tell Trump Emotional Stories". Roll Call. CQ Roll Call. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018 . Retrieved March 5, 2018 . ^ Berlow, Alan (May 1, 2013). "Gun lobby's money and power still holds sway over Congress". The Center for Public Integrity. The Center for Public Integrity. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018 . Retrieved March 5, 2018 . ^ Yanes, Nadeen (February 16, 2018). "What have Florida's politicians done to change gun laws?". News 6. Orlando, Florida. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018 . Retrieved March 5, 2018 . External links [ edit ] Congresswoman Val Demings official U.S. House websiteVal Demings for Congress official campaign websiteVal Demings at CurlieBiography at the Biographical Directory of the United States CongressProfile at Vote SmartFinancial information (federal office) at the Federal Election CommissionLegislation sponsored at the Library of CongressAppearances on C-SPANProfile at The Wall Street JournalVal Demings Video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America
Why 2020 Is A Great Year For Linux (mostly Ubuntu)
Sun, 10 May 2020 15:36
This year, we have seen a huge influx of Linux users (source), but we are seeing more distributions to try and pull people in. So let's talk about why 2020 is the best year in Linux (so far).
Now we need to understand, Windows 10 has nothing Linux can't do, and Linux has many things Windows 10 can't do. This is fantastic. Here is a simple table of basic things.
Win10LinuxOEM SupportYesYesFunctional default shellsNo (!)YesAbility to ignore shellsYesYesGraphical EnvironmentsYesYesNo GUI OptionsNoYesEasy software managementNo (!2)YesEasy customizationYes (!3)YesDedication to low-spec machinesNo (!4)YesRedistribution allowedNoYes(!) - While Powershell and CMD exist, CMD is the default, and calling it "functional" is not exactly correct.
(!2) - Partly subjective, will be explained further.
(!3) - While easy, not many, and alternatives aren't easy to work with if they even exist.
(!4) - While ARM support exists, dedication to old machines with very low-spec hardware (below 4GB RAM, 2CPU Cores) is not great.
Not only is this list pretty large, but also doesn't take everything into account. Yet the point is made, the main things Windows 10 users might care about is mentioned. Now with that said, Linux is a better product, but it isn't easy to get/install. Except for System76, Juno Computers, DELL, HP, and others have options to get a form of Linux (usually Ubuntu or derivative) shipped with the machine.
Now, what about Phones? Linux has Android but with how closed and locked down it is, Android is to Linux as macOS is to FreeBSD. Now phone operating systems are mostly shipping with some Linux fork, (i.e. Android), removing Android and iOS, we get KaiOS as the third largest. Now KaiOS is more for non-smartphones, but it is somewhat available for such. Otherwise, we also have Neon Mobile from KDE, Ubuntu Touch from UBPorts, Manjaro has a mobile spin, Purism, LuneOS, Tizen, Sailent, and many many others. Not to mention Volla Phone is making a bit of noise itself. Not to mention we still have old things to fork, like Firefox OS, WebOS, and any desktop Linux distro with a mobile desktop environment, so we can plausibly expect more Linux phones.
Now on the tasty side, more Linux contributors exist. From the people who contribute to small distributions to those starting their own. In the Ubuntu world, we are seeing FOUR new desktop remixes. These being (in order by release) Ubuntu Cinnamon, Ubuntu Deepin/DDE, Ubuntu Unity, and Ubuntu Lumina. Four desktops Linux remixes for Ubuntu, making the total remixes being 11. While this is a little weird to have 11 remixes, note that this is good for Linux, is mostly found in the fact that it promotes options for those who care. Those who find Ubuntu boring can find a functionally similar distribution in terms of a flavor/remix they might prefer. This, depending on the advertising of the remix done by the leads, they could (all by themselves) drag new users to their distribution of Ubuntu, while dragging more people to Linux.
This is a lot so far, but it keeps getting better. We have seen Lenovo coming closer to Linux, by doing an interview with LinuxForEveryone, joined with someone from Fedora (Watch Here). So we also have Lenovo coming to Linux, plus many OEMs for Linux specifically, such as System76, Juno Computers, Tuxedo Computers, and probably a million others. Manjaro has an OEM, elementaryOS has an OEM, Kubuntu has an OEM, Ubuntu has a billion OEMs, Pop!_OS is developed by an OEM, not to mention we might also get more from Lubuntu, other remixes/flavors, other distributions like FerenOS and Linux Mint. We might even get Drauger an OEM for gaming-specific stuff.
Now this is aiming to be as short as I can get this article, as I have to focus on Ubuntu Lumina at least somewhat, but I want to post a lot so I can have fun talking with the community while I work, and maybe inspire someone.
Facebook will pay $52 million in settlement with moderators who developed PTSD on the job - The Verge
Tue, 12 May 2020 16:29
In a landmark acknowledgment of the toll that content moderation takes on its workforce, Facebook has agreed to pay $52 million to current and former moderators to compensate them for mental health issues developed on the job. In a preliminary settlement filed on Friday in San Mateo Superior Court, the social network agreed to pay damages to American moderators and provide more counseling to them while they work.
Each moderator will receive a minimum of $1,000 and will be eligible for additional compensation if they are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or related conditions. The settlement covers 11,250 moderators, and lawyers in the case believe that as many as half of them may be eligible for extra pay related to mental health issues associated with their time working for Facebook, including depression and addiction.
''We are so pleased that Facebook worked with us to create an unprecedented program to help people performing work that was unimaginable even a few years ago,'' said Steve Williams, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, in a statement. ''The harm that can be suffered from this work is real and severe.''
In September 2018, former Facebook moderator Selena Scola sued Facebook, alleging that she developed PTSD after being placed in a role that required her to regularly view photos and images of rape, murder, and suicide. Scola developed symptoms of PTSD after nine months on the job. The complaint, which was ultimately joined by several other former Facebook moderators working in four states, alleged that Facebook had failed to provide them with a safe workspace.
Scola was part of a wave of moderators hired in the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election when Facebook was criticized for failing to remove harmful content from the platform. The company hired several large consulting firms, including Accenture, Cognizant, Genpact, and ProUnlimited to bring on thousands of contractors in the United States to do the job.
Last year, The Verge found that moderators hired through Cognizant were working in dire conditions in Phoenix and Tampa. For an annual salary as low as $28,800, moderators were placed into a high-stakes environment that demanded near-perfect accuracy in navigating Facebook's ever-changing content policies, while being subjected to imagery that could sometimes begin to haunt their dreams within weeks.
Several moderators told The Verge that they had been diagnosed with PTSD after working for Facebook. Later in the year, Cognizant announced that it would leave the content moderation business and shut down its sites earlier this year.
Under the terms of the settlement, every moderator will receive $1,000 that can be spent however they like. But the companies intend for the money to be spent partly on medical treatment, covering the costs associated with seeking a diagnosis related to any mental health issues the moderator may be suffering.
The amount of money a moderator will receive beyond the initial $1,000 will depend on their diagnosis. Anyone who is diagnosed with a mental health condition is eligible for an additional $1,500, and people who receive multiple concurrent diagnoses '-- PTSD and depression, for example '-- could be eligible for up to $6,000.
In addition to payment for treatment, moderators with a qualifying diagnosis will be eligible to submit evidence of other injuries they suffered for their time at Facebook and could receive up to $50,000 in damages.
The exact amount of the payout depends on how many members of the class apply for benefits, and it could shrink significantly if the majority of the class is found to be eligible for benefits.
In the settlement, Facebook also agrees to roll out changes to its content moderation tools designed to reduce the impact of viewing harmful images and videos. The tools, which include muting audio by default and changing videos to black and white, will be rolled out to 80 percent of moderators by the end of this year and 100 percent of moderators by 2021.
Moderators who view graphic and disturbing content on a daily basis will also get access to weekly, one-on-one coaching sessions with a licensed mental health professional. Workers who are experiencing a mental health crisis will get access to a licensed counselor within 24 hours, and Facebook will also make monthly group therapy sessions available to moderators.
Other changes Facebook will require of its vendors include:
Screening applicants for emotional resiliency as part of the recruiting and hiring process Posting information about psychological support at each moderator's workstationInforming moderators how to report violations of Facebook's workplace standards by the vendors they're working forThe preliminary settlement covers moderators working in California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida from 2015 until now. Members of the class will now have time to comment on the proposed settlement and request changes before it receives final approval from a judge. That is expected to happen by the end of this year, lawyers involved in the case said.
''We are grateful to the people who do this important work to make Facebook a safe environment for everyone,'' Facebook said in a statement. ''We're committed to providing them additional support through this settlement and in the future.''
Queensland next to upload photos to national face matching database - Security - iTnews
Tue, 12 May 2020 20:11
Queensland will become the next state or territory to share driver's licence information with the federal government's controversial national facial biometrics matching database, the Department of Home Affairs has revealed.
In answers to questions on notice from senate estimates, the department said the sunshine state would become the fourth jurisdiction to upload data to the National Driver Licence Facial Recognition Solution (NDLFRS).
It will join Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania , which uploaded their driver's licence details and photographs to the system in December 2018, August 2019 and December 2019, respectively.
Remaining states and territories, including Western Australia , NSW, the ACT and the NT, will ''follow over the next 18 months'', Home Affairs said in response to questions from Greens senator Nick McKim.
All state and territory government leaders agreed to establish the NDLFRS in October 2017 to replace current image-based identification methods, which are considered slow and often involve manual intervention.
The system, which is managed by the Department of Home Affairs and remains non-operational, will allow law enforcement agencies to share and access identity information in real-time.
It will store ''biometric templates created from facial images provided by states and territories centrally'', with each state to retain control over their set of images and identity information within NDLFRS.
As at mid-March, Home Affairs said that almost 7 million driver licenses were now in the system, including 5.2 million from Victoria and 1.3 million from SA. In the case of Tasmania, the information was uploaded in a single batch.
However, the department said the photos are yet to be accessed for the purposes of face matching, likely due to the Commonwealth laws that are currently stalled in Parliament after being rejected by a bipartisan parliamentary committee .
Face matching services trial
Home Affairs has also revealed that a ''small number'' of federal and state agencies are currently trialing ''the face matching services against visa, citizenship and passport images''.
The department said trials are occuring in accordance with the Privacy Act and other ''relevant Commonwealth and state laws which permit this information sharing''. Some states, including Queensland, have passed laws to enable participation in the NDLFRS .
One such agency trialing the services is Services Australia, which has been using face verification services to provide service to people who have been affected by the recent bushfires in SA and Victoria
''Let's assume that they lost everything in a house fire, came in to Services Australia and said, 'I've lost everything','' Deputy Secretary Infrastructure, Transport Security and Customs Group Paul Grigson said at senate estimates in March.
''Services Australia would ask for their consent to use a face to identify them and, if a match comes back, that would help Services Australia provide those individuals with services.''
Slack goes down GLOBALLY, crippling remote work amid Covid-19 pandemic '-- RT World News
Tue, 12 May 2020 21:35
The chat application and virtual workplace Slack has gone dark, experiencing a major outage worldwide as countless remote workers rushed to check their email inboxes and migrate to other platforms.
The outage was reported by Slack on Tuesday, noting it was investigating the cause of the glitch, though was unable to provide an estimate of when it might be resolved.
So sorry for the trouble! We don't have an exact ETA to share but we are working on a fix now.
'-- Slack Status (@SlackStatus) May 13, 2020Left adrift in a sea of work with no way to contact their colleagues and superiors, netizens flooded social media with complaints about the outage, and jokes about 'slacking' on the job in the meantime.
Slack should go "down" at 5PM every day.
'-- Sahil Lavingia (@shl) May 12, 2020Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
Rockefeller Foundation's Plan to Track Americans
Wed, 13 May 2020 16:00
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Loading Please Wait Loading Please WaitStory at-a-glance - Bill Gates has gone on record saying life will not go back to normal until we have the ability to vaccinate the entire global population against COVID-19. To that end, he is pushing for disease surveillance and a vaccine tracking system that might involve embedding vaccination records on our bodies According to Gates, societal and financial normalcy may never return to those who refuse vaccination, as the digital vaccination certificate Gates is pushing for might ultimately be required to go about your day-to-day life The Rockefeller Foundation is also coordinating efforts in the direction of social control through the implementation of draconian COVID-19 tracking and tracing measures that are clearly meant to become permanent April 21, 2020, The Rockefeller Foundation released a white paper, ''National COVID-19 Testing Action Plan '-- Strategic Steps to Reopen Our Workplaces and Our Communities,'' which calls for testing and tracing all Americans using a national database connected to other health records The plan requires setting aside privacy concerns, and allowing infection status to be validated before entering schools, office buildings, places of work, airports, concerts and sport venues and much more Bill Gates '-- who illegally invests in the same industries he gives charitable donations to, and who promotes a global public health agenda that benefits the companies he's invested in '-- has gone on record saying life will not go back to normal until we have the ability to vaccinate the entire global population against COVID-19.
To that end, he is pushing for disease surveillance and a vaccine tracking system that might involve embedding vaccination records on our bodies. One example of how this might be done is using an invisible ink quantum dot tattoo, described in a December 18, 2019, Science Translational Medicine paper.
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Apple Watch and iPhone will soon share your health data with first responders | iMore
Thu, 14 May 2020 06:47
Source: iMore
What you need to knowApple Watch and iPhone can already store data about our health.They will soon be able to share that data with first responders automatically.It's a feature coming in iOS 13.5 and watchOS 6.2.5.Apple Watch and iPhone will soon be able to automatically share our health data with first responders during an emergency call, according to a report. Both devices can already store our health data and make emergency calls on our behalf, but this change will bring the two features together.
The change will come as part of iOS 13.5 and watchOS 6.2.5 according to a 9to5Mac report. It notes that users will be able to populate their Medical ID and then have that information provided to first responders to save them from asking for it.
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Source: Apple
Both Apple Watch and iPhone already feature Medical ID, a place where users can input their allergies, blood type, medication, and more. They can also already initiate emergency calls when required. This new feature would simply have Medical ID transmit data to first responders in the case of an emergency if users configure it to.
The feature is currently available to those testing the iOS 13.5 and watchOS 6.2.5 betas and will reportedly be made available to the public as an update "later this month".
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The computer interfaced by touch vs mouse vs commandline is astoundingly limited over time
"A Legal Nightmare": In Latest European "Freakshow", EU Threatens To Sue Germany Over QE Ruling | Zero Hedge
Mon, 11 May 2020 11:52
In the latest European farce, the European Commission threatened to sue Germany after the country's top court questioned the legality of the ECB's bond-buying program, Bloomberg reported over the weekend. In what Nordea's Andrewas Steno Larsen dubbed the "ongoing freakshow in the Euroarea", the EC president - a German no less - Ursula von der Leyen said that "The final word in EU law is always spoken in Luxembourg. Nowhere else."
In other words, following last week's shocking decision by Germany's constitutional court which found that some aspects of the ECB's QE are not constitutional and gave the ECB a 3 month ultimatum in which to demonstrate that QE was a proportional response, "we are gearing up for a remarkable legal stand-off between EU and Germany" writes Larsen, who adds that "the German head of the EU Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen, is now openly battling her mother country's constitution as she hinted that Brussels is considering taking legal steps that could result in Germany being sued in Europe's highest court over the ruling from its constitutional court on ECB bond buying in a letter to the German Press Agency. Never underestimate the arrogance of EUR-crats!"
And here is the German European who is tasked with leading the onslaught on the German constitution.
German head of the EU Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen.And just to make sure the Germans are really pissed off, the ECB has tasked its staff to study if they should consider buying junk corporate bonds according to Reuters, "as if the ECB hasn't manipulated credit prices enough already" as Nordea helpfully adds, noting that "ultimately, we think the EUR-ship will be glued together again '' but markets are rightfully pricing in a risk of an ugly political showdown for the time being (wider spreads, relatively low EUR/USD etc)."
Going back to the EU threat to sue Germany, one which as Bloomberg notes "has major implications for the European project itself and the monetary policy that underpins it" and would be a "legal nightmare", here is how it might play out, courtesy of Bloomberg:
1. What infringement would the EU claim?
Germany's constitutional court decided last week it wouldn't follow a 2018 judgment by the EU Court of Justice that cleared the central bank's debt purchases, totaling 2.7 trillion euros ($2.9 trillion) since 2015. But under EU treaties, the top European court ranks higher. The German judges said they could deviate because the bloc's top judges overstepped their powers when they backed the ECB's policy in a previous ruling. It was a stinging challenge to the 68-year-old EU tribunal. That prompted a rebuke by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday. ''The final word on EU law is always spoken'' by the European court, she said. ''Nowhere else.''
2. How can the EU sue a member country?
The European Commission, the EU's executive and administrative body, has the task of policing whether member states are abiding by EU law. If it finds that an EU country isn't complying, it has to take action. The commission first informs the country that it's in breach and tries to negotiate a solution. If that goes nowhere, the commission files a court case.
3. How real is the risk of the case going to court?
This warning by the Brussels-based guardians of the EU doesn't necessarily trigger an infringement procedure. Yet von der Leyen also has to consider the deterrent effect. ''On the other hand, the commission cannot simply ignore this challenge to EU law,'' Miguel Maduro, a former advocate general at the EU Court of Justice, said in an interview. Otherwise, such national challenges ''might be replicated by other states. What would the commission do if the Hungarian constitutional court or the Polish constitutional court, or others, do something like this.''
4. Is there a road map for such lawsuits?
So-called infringement proceedings aren't unusual. Most of them don't make headline because they often address very technical questions on EU regulations. However, they've usually resulted in a kind of give-and-take where EU complaints are resolved with policy changes or, in extreme cases, fines. Yet it's unlikely that Germany's top court would reverse its ruling if the European court overturned it. That could trigger an institutional crisis for the EU. ''Making this statement that they're considering opening an infringement procedure without actually opening it is a smart, prudent approach,'' Maduro said.
5. Would the EU sue the German court or the German government?
The EU can only sue member states. That kicks in if an institution in a country '-- even a court '-- allegedly breaks EU law. Under international law, countries need to ensure that their agencies are in line with the law and must fix any transgressions.
6. Which court would hear the EU's suit '' and is that a problem?
The case would be heard by the EU's top court, the same one the German judges attacked in their May 5 ruling. A 15-judge panel handed down the December 2018 judgment on the ECB's asset purchases. Since the court has 27 judges, that gives it some leeway to make sure that all of the same judges don't rule on this case if it goes to court.
7. What's the politics behind the dispute?
German opponents of euro-area bailouts and ECB bond-buying to protect the shared currency repeatedly challenged those policies in the country's high court, which until last week broadly went along with the rescue measures. Former German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, a veteran of Europe's bailout battles, warned that letting nations cast doubt on the EU court's authority could eventually threaten the euro's survival.
No.10 backs down on PM's terrifying mix-up over coronavirus in sewage system - Mirror Online
Tue, 12 May 2020 09:29
Number 10 has been forced to clarify after Boris Johnson suggested that the government would be able to track the rate of coronavirus by testing the water supply.
Speaking in the House of Commons the Prime Minister spoke about strengthening lockdown measures in a particular area due to a local "flare up".
But his comments about detecting the deadly virus "in the water supply" confused and scared many.
His aides rushed to insist that he was referring to waste water rather than the fresh water coming out of people's taps.
Mr Johnson told MPs: "The intention is that the covid alert system in time will be sufficiently sensitive and flexible so as to detect local flare ups, so that if for example the Covid is detected in the water supply of a certain town or whatever then steps can be taken, or in a school or whatever then, steps can be taken on the spot to deal with that flare up, to keep the R down locally as well as nationally."
Testing sewage water may be a way of tracking the virus (Image: Getty Images) Read MoreRelated ArticlesMirror Politics newsletter - the e-mail you need to navigate a crisis-hit UKBut later the Prime Minister's spokesman was forced to clarify.
He insisted Mr Johnson was referring to sewage or waste water rather than the water that comes out of the tap and most people drink.
''That specifically is a reference to sewage or waste water as it's more politely described.
Read MoreBoris Johnson's plan for easing lockdown"Some studies have been carried out overseas on this and I think it is something we are looking at as a possible way of seeing if you could track the rate of infections locally.''
Former Labour MP Anna Turley tweeted: "The man is a dangerous liability".
Coronavirus: Pink Eye and Other Possible Ophthalmological Symptoms
Sun, 10 May 2020 18:22
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2019, more than 3 million people have contracted the disease worldwide. COVID-19 is caused by a newly discovered virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Viruses in the coronavirus family cause various kinds of respiratory infections, including the common cold, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The virus that causes COVID-19 is highly contagious and can result in either mild or severe illness. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the symptoms include:
feverdry coughfatigueaches and painsheadachenasal congestionsore throatdiarrheaAlthough less common, COVID-19 may also lead to the development of pink eye in about 1 to 3 percent of people.
In this article, we're going to take a look at a look at why COVID-19 may cause pink eye and what other eye symptoms people with COVID-19 may experience.
It's thought that up to 3 percent of people with COVID-19 develop ophthalmological symptoms (symptoms affecting the eyes).
In comparison, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 83 to 99 percent of people develop a fever and 59 to 82 percent of people experience a cough.
A one-person study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology found that eye symptoms occurred in the middle stages. Additional research involving more participants is needed to verify that this is typical, however.
Pink eyePink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the clear tissue over the whites of your eyes and the inside of your eyelids. It usually leads to redness and swelling of your eyes and can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
A review of studies published on April 24, 2020, examined the prevalence of pink eye among people with COVID-19.
The researchers examined 1,167 people with either mild or severe COVID-19.
They found that 1.1 percent of people developed pink eye, and that it was more common in people with severe symptoms.
Only 0.7 percent of people with mild symptoms developed pink eye, while it occurred in 3 percent of people with severe symptoms.
A study published in late February 2020 examined the COVID-19 symptoms of 1,099 people with the illness in 552 hospitals in China. Researchers found that 0.8 percent of the people with COVID-19 had symptoms of pink eye.
ChemosisOne study published in JAMA Ophthalmology examined the symptoms of 38 people who had to be hospitalized because of COVID-19. Twelve of the participants had symptoms of pink eye.
Seven of these experienced chemosis, which is a swelling of the clear membrane that covers your eye whites and inner eyelid. Chemosis can be a symptom of pink eye or a general sign of eye irritation.
Epiphora In the same study, researchers found that seven people had epiphora (excessive tearing). One of the participants experienced epiphora as their first symptom of COVID-19.
Increased eye secretionSeven of the participants in the JAMA Ophthalmology study experienced increased eye secretions. (Your eyes normally produce an oily film to help keep them lubricated.)
None of the participants experienced an increase in eye secretions at the beginning of their illness.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 primarily travels through droplets in the air. These droplets occur when somebody who has the virus sneezes, speaks, or coughs. When you breathe in these droplets, the virus enters your body and can replicate.
You can also contract the virus if you touch surfaces that the droplets may have landed on, such as tables or handrails, and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
It's suspected that the virus can also be transmitted through the eyes.
The virus responsible for the 2003 SARS outbreak is genetically similar to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Research on this outbreak found that a lack of eye protection put healthcare workers in Toronto at risk of contracting the virus.
The same research suggests that the risk of transmission through your eyes is relatively low compared to other means. However, taking precautions to protect your eyes is likely still a good idea.
Scientific knowledge of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, and it's possible that future studies will find the risk is higher than originally thought.
How COVID-19 gets into to your eyesThe virus that led to the 2003 SARS outbreak entered the body through an enzyme called angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Research has also found that the virus that causes COVID-19 also likely does the same.
ACE2 is widely found in places throughout your body, including your heart, kidney, intestines, and lungs. ACE2 has also been detected in the human retina and the thin tissue that lines your eye.
The virus enters human cells by tricking cells into thinking that it's ACE2.
The virus can attach to a cell at a particular spot, called a receptor, where ACE2 fits exactly. The virus mimics the shape of the ACE2 enzyme well enough that the cell allows the virus to enter it, same as it would the enzyme.
Once in the cell, the virus is protected and can replicate until it ruptures the cell. Copies of the virus find new cells to invade, repeating the process.
When the virus reaches your eyes, it may cause pink eye or other eye symptoms.
Protecting your eyes from airborne respiratory droplets may help reduce your chances of developing COVID-19.
You can protect your eyes by:
switching from contact lenses to glasses to help prevent contact with your eyeswearing glasses or sunglasses to partially shield your eyes from the virusnot rubbing your eyesfollowing other recommended practices such as washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, avoiding contact with sick people and social distancing, and wearing a mask in public Having pink eye or irritated eyes doesn't mean you have COVID-19.
There are many other reasons your eyes might be red or swollen, including allergies, getting foreign objects in your eyes, and digital eyestrain. Eye-related symptoms are rare for people at the beginning of COVID-19.
So far, there haven't been any reports of sight-threatening symptoms of COVID-19, so it's most likely that your eye symptoms will be mild. A doctor may be able to recommend specific ways to manage your symptoms, such as eye drops.
To reduce the transmission of COVID-19, it's a good idea to get in touch with a doctor by phone or video appointment instead of going to a clinic. If you have COVID-19, you may transmit the illness to others at a clinic or hospital.
To reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to other people, including healthcare workers, it's a good idea to avoid going to a hospital if your symptoms are mild. About 80 percent of people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms.
Many clinics are offering virtual visits, which involve talking to a doctor either by phone or online. These services lower your chances of transmitting the disease and are a better option than visiting a doctor's office, unless your symptoms are severe.
Medical emergencyIf you or a loved one has any of the following emergency symptoms, you should get in contact with a medical professional right away:
trouble breathingchest painblue lips or faceconfusion inability to wake Some people with COVID-19 develop pink eye, but it's not as common as other symptoms like fever, dry cough, and fatigue. Research has also found it seems to be a more common symptom in people with severe cases of COVID-19.
Minimizing contact with your eyes and taking other precautions like wearing a face mask in public, washing your hands frequently, and practicing social distancing can help you reduce your chances of developing COVID-19 or pink eye.
The Secret Group of Scientists and Billionaires Pushing a Manhattan Project for Covid-19 - WSJ
Sun, 10 May 2020 15:43
A dozen of America's top scientists and a collection of billionaires and industry titans say they have the answer to the coronavirus pandemic, and they found a backdoor to deliver their plan to the White House.
The eclectic group is led by a 33-year-old physician-turned-venture capitalist, Tom Cahill, who lives far from the public eye in a one-bedroom rental near Boston's Fenway Park. He owns just one suit, but he has enough lofty connections to influence government decisions in the war against Covid-19.
These scientists and their backers describe their work as a lockdown-era Manhattan Project, a nod to the World War II group of scientists who helped develop the atomic bomb. This time around, the scientists are marshaling brains and money to distill unorthodox ideas gleaned from around the globe.
They call themselves Scientists to Stop Covid-19, and they include chemical biologists, an immunobiologist, a neurobiologist, a chronobiologist, an oncologist, a gastroenterologist, an epidemiologist and a nuclear scientist. Of the scientists at the center of the project, biologist Michael Rosbash, a 2017 Nobel Prize winner, said, ''There's no question that I'm the least qualified.''
This group, whose work hasn't been previously reported, has acted as the go-between for pharmaceutical companies looking for a reputable link to Trump administration decision makers. They are working remotely as an ad hoc review board for the flood of research on the coronavirus, weeding out flawed studies before they reach policy makers.
The group has compiled a confidential 17-page report that calls for a number of unorthodox methods against the virus. One big idea is treating patients with powerful drugs previously used against Ebola, with far heftier dosages than have been tried in the past.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs have already implemented specific recommendations, such as slashing manufacturing regulations and requirements for specific coronavirus drugs.
National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told people this month that he agreed with most of the recommendations in the report, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the matter. The report was delivered to cabinet members and Vice President Mike Pence, head of the administration's coronavirus task force.
Dr. Cahill's primary asset is a young lifetime of connections through his investment firm. They include such billionaires as Peter Thiel, Jim Pallotta and Michael Milken'--financiers who afforded him the legitimacy to reach officials in the middle of the crisis. Dr. Cahill and his group have frequently advised Nick Ayers, Mr. Pence's longtime aide, and agency heads through phone calls over the past month.
No one involved with the group stands to gain financially. They say they are motivated by the chance to add their own connections and levelheaded science to a coronavirus battle effort that has, on both state and federal levels, been strained.
''We may fail,'' said Stuart Schreiber, a Harvard University chemist and a member of the group. ''But if it succeeds, it could change the world.''
Steve Pagliuca, co-owner of the Boston Celtics and the co-chairman of Bain Capital'--as well as one of Dr. Cahill's investors'--helped copy edit drafts of their report, and he passed a version to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive David Solomon. Mr. Solomon got it to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The group's members say they are aware that many of their ideas may not be implemented, and could be ignored altogether by the Trump administration.
This account is based on interviews with scientists, businesspeople, government officials, as well as a review of related documents.
Break outOnly two years ago, Dr. Cahill was studying for his M.D. and PhD. at Duke University, conducting research on rare genetic diseases and wearing $20 Costco slacks. He assumed he would continue the work after graduation.
Instead, he reconnected with a friend who introduced him to a job at his father's company, the blue-chip investment firm the Raptor Group.
Dr. Cahill got hooked on investing, particularly in life sciences. He reasoned he could make a bigger impact by identifying promising scientists and helping them troubleshoot problems'--both scientific and financial'--than doing research himself.
After a stint at Raptor, he formed his own fund, Newpath Partners, with $125 million from a small group of wealthy investors, including Silicon Valley stalwart Mr. Thiel and private-equity founders like Mr. Pagliuca. They were attracted to his blunt approach, as well as his interest in tackling intractable problems.
In early March, as the Covid-19 death toll mounted, Dr. Cahill was intrigued and a little depressed with the state of research on the virus. ''Science and medicine were the furthest things removed from everything happening,'' he said.
His investors peppered him with questions about the virus, and he organized a conference call to share some against-the-grain ideas on how to accelerate drug development and the like. He expected about 20 people.
When Dr. Cahill tried to dial in the meeting, he was rejected because the call had reached capacity. Then his cellphone buzzed from a New York number. It was National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver. He, too, wanted the meeting's access code. Dr. Cahill later gave him a personal briefing.
Newpath's deep-pocketed investor base had spread word of the call, and hundreds of people were on the line, most of whom he had never met, including Mr. Milken.
When he finally got on the call, Dr. Cahill took a deep breath and said he had been working with friends to whittle down potential Covid-19 treatments to the most promising. He said he largely dropped his investing work to focus on a hunt for a cure.
After an hour, he hung up and found his email inbox full of ideas and offers to help, including from Mr. Milken's team. ''For the 50 years I've been involved in medical research I have never seen collaboration as we have today,'' Mr. Milken said.
Dr. Cahill received a handful of notes from advisers to the vice president. They also had been on the call.
The scientist-investor had gained a platform. All he needed was a plan.
Tracing contactsOne of Dr. Cahill's first calls was to Mr. Schreiber, a founder of several private companies.
Mr. Schreiber looped in a longtime friend, Edward Scolnick, former head of research and development at pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., where he helped develop 28 new drugs and vaccines. Dr. Scolnick was blunt: A vaccine would take at least 18 months to hit the market under normal circumstances, he told Mr. Schreiber, ''if you're damn lucky.''
Mr. Schreiber responded, ''What about six months?''
The team drew up a list of roughly two dozen companies that could benefit from their recommendations and pledged to sell any shares in them immediately. One early member said he couldn't and was kicked out.
Much of the early work involved divvying up hundreds of scientific papers on the crisis from around the world. They separated promising ideas from dubious ones. Each member blazed through as many as 20 papers a day, around 10 times the pace they would in their day jobs. They gathered to debate via videoconference, text messages'--''like a bunch of teenagers,'' Mr. Rosbash said'--and phone calls.
Personal hygiene went by the wayside. Michael Lin, a Stanford University neurobiologist, began disabling the camera on his phone to protect his vanity. ''A couple of days, I've had seven or eight Zoom meetings, which will itself I'm sure cause some kind of disease,'' joked David Liu, a Harvard University chemical biologist.
Debates haven't always been purely science. The group discussed, for instance, whether to suggest that public-health authorities rename the virus ''SARS-2,'' after the 2003 China animal virus. To them, the name sounded scarier and might get more people to wear face masks. They dropped it.
The team pledged to try to block out politics'--not an easy task in the noise and fury of a presidential election year.
Hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug promoted by the president, was dismissed after the group's resident expert, Ben Cravatt of Scripps Research in La Jolla, Calif., determined it was a long shot at best. The drug received only a passing mention in the group's final report.
The group also disparaged the idea of using antibody testing to allow people back to work if their results showed they had recovered from the virus. Mr. Cravatt, a chemical biologist, declared it ''the worst idea I've ever heard.'' He said that prior exposure may not prevent people from giving the virus to others, and that overemphasizing antibody testing might tempt some people to intentionally infect themselves to later obtain a clean bill of health.
The group's initial three phases of recommendations, contained in its report, center on leveraging the scale of the federal government. For instance, buy medicines not yet proven effective as a way to encourage manufacturers to ramp up production without worrying about losing money if the drugs fail. Another is to slash the time required for a clinical review of new drugs to a week from nine months or a year.
The group next needed to get their recommendations to the right people in the Trump administration. For that, Dr. Cahill tapped another well-placed billionaire.
An introduction Brian Sheth, co-founder of private-equity firm Vista Equity Partners, and a Democrat, had been watching the effort gather steam from his home in Austin, Texas. He was an early investor in Dr. Cahill's fund and had been on the first call. His expertise was technology, though, not immunology.
He had become friendly with Thomas Hicks Jr., the Dallas businessman and co-chairman of the Republican National Committee. Mr. Sheth introduced Mr. Hicks to Dr. Cahill's group.
The connection cinched ties between a group of mostly liberal scientists from left-leaning institutions with a Republican stalwart who hunts birds with Donald Trump Jr.
In his first chat with the group, Mr. Hicks said, ''I'm not a scientist. Make it clear enough for me, and then tell me where the red tape is.''
A major concern of the scientists was the FDA. The scientists had in their research identified monoclonal antibody drugs that latch onto virus cells as the most promising treatment. But to make the medicine in sufficient quantities, one drugmaker, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., would have to shift some of its existing manufacturing to Ireland. FDA rules required a monthslong wait for approval.
Mr. Scolnick, who had tussled with bureaucracy during the AIDS epidemic, tried reaching the FDA. The call ended poorly after the bureaucrats told the group they already had the pandemic under control. In a group call afterward, one of the scientists said, of the FDA: ''They're the problem here.''
Dr. Cahill got in touch with Mr. Ayers. Once the group briefed the vice president's aide on the bottleneck, Mr. Ayers said he knew who to call. That evening, March 27, Regeneron received a call from the FDA. They had permission, starting immediately, to shift production to Dublin.
''That was proof positive that what we were doing was starting to work,'' Mr. Rosbash said.
The group also made inroads with the VA, the largest health care system in the U.S. The scientists pushed the division's medical staff to allow veterans with Covid-19 to join existing studies in such areas as prostate cancer, to see if already-approved drugs might be effective against the virus. They spoke to the VA's chief medical officer and secretary about the proposal and learned the initiative was being fast-tracked.
Mr. Pagliuca spoke to Charles Baker, the Republican governor of Massachusetts, on the phone about the report. The governor, Mr. Pagliuca said, planned to adopt elements of the plan.
With much of their scientific proposals under advisement, or already in the process, the group has an eye on the post-Covid-19 world. Mr. Pagliuca pushed the scientists to add a fourth phase to the plan'--reopening America.
The ideas include development of a saliva test, and scheduling tests at the end of the workday so results are available by morning. They also have suggested a nationwide smartphone app that requires residents to confirm each day that they don't have any of 14 symptoms of a cold or fever.
Group members have continued their discussions with administration officials in recent days, hoping their confidential plan turns to action.
''We need the entire nation'--government, business and science'--to unite to defeat this,'' Mr. Pagliuca said.
Corrections & Amplifications An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote, ''I'm sure cause some kind of disease,'' to Michael Lin. It was said by David Liu. (April 27, 2020)
Write to Rob Copeland at
DOD Awards $138 Million Contract, Enabling Prefilled Syringes for Future COVID-19 Vaccine > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Release
Tue, 12 May 2020 20:36
Statement attributed to Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, Department of Defense spokesman:
"Today the Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announce a $138 million contract with ApiJect Systems America for ''Project Jumpstart'' and ''RAPID USA,'' which together will dramatically expand U.S. production capability for domestically manufactured, medical-grade injection devices starting by October 2020.
Spearheaded by the DOD's Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF), in coordination with the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the contract will support ''Jumpstart'' to create a U.S.-based, high-speed supply chain for prefilled syringes beginning later this year by using well-established Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS) aseptic plastics manufacturing technology, suitable for combatting COVID-19 when a safe and proven vaccine becomes available.
By immediately upgrading a sufficient number of existing domestic BFS facilities with installations of filling-line and technical improvements, ''Jumpstart'' will enable the manufacture of more than 100 million prefilled syringes for distribution across the United States by year-end 2020.
The contract also enables ApiJect Systems America to accelerate the launch of RAPID USA manufactured in new and permanent U.S.-based BFS facilities with the ultimate production goal of over 500 million prefilled syringes (doses) in 2021. This effort will be executed initially in Connecticut, South Carolina and Illinois, with potential expansion to other U.S.-based locations. RAPID will provide increased lifesaving capability against future national health emergencies that require population-scale vaccine administration on an urgent basis.
RAPID's permanent fill-finish production capability will help significantly decrease the United States' dependence on offshore supply chains and its reliance on older technologies with much longer production lead times. These supplies can be used if a successful SARS-COV-2 vaccine is oral or intranasal rather than injectable."
Website resources:
DOD Coronavirus Update HHS Public Health Emergency DOD Industrial Policy
Pedo Bear
Scott Moretti, retired State Dept. official for diplomatic security, charged with child sex abuse - The Washington Post
Sun, 10 May 2020 18:29
A former deputy assistant secretary of the State Department, who oversaw diplomatic security training until 2018 and previously headed Secretary of State John F. Kerry's security detail, was arrested Tuesday in Prince William County and charged with molesting a child between 2011 and 2013.
J. Scott Moretti, 58, was the deputy assistant secretary of state for training for the Diplomatic Security Service from 2015 to July 2018, according to his archived State Department biography and his LinkedIn page. He joined the Diplomatic Security Service in 1986 and served in Afghanistan and Iraq while rising up the ranks to deputy assistant secretary of state in 2015.
Prince William County police said they received a complaint in September from a woman who told them she had been sexually assaulted at a residence in the Manassas area sometime between November 2011 and November 2013, when she was between 10 and 11 years old. The woman told police the incidents had happened on more than one occasion. Sgt. Jonathan Perok, a Prince William police spokesman, said the complainant was not a family member of Moretti's.
The Prince William police special victims unit investigated and then obtained arrest warrants Tuesday for Moretti, who lives in the Manassas area. The warrants charge Moretti with indecent liberties with a minor and forcible sodomy. The Virginia State Police arrested him Tuesday, and he was ordered held without bond. It could not be determined whether a lawyer has been hired or appointed to represent him.
During the period of the alleged assaults, Moretti was stationed in Washington through July 2012 as director of the Office of Mobile Security Deployments, according to his State Department biography. The office is the on-call response force used by the State Department to counter threats against U.S. interests and personnel overseas. He then spent five months in Iraq as the deputy regional security officer for protective operations at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. From January 2013 to April 2015, he headed Kerry's protective detail.
Moretti's LinkedIn page indicates he retired in July 2018 from the State Department and provides no further employment history.
Tax Returns
I've Seen Trump's Tax Returns and You Should, Too
Tue, 12 May 2020 06:54
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Sunday morning, elated: ''So great to see our Country starting to open up again!''
He shared that sentiment with nearly 80 million followers and attached it to a tweet from one of his golf clubs, Trump National, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. ''Game on! We are thrilled to announce the reopening of @trumpgolfla beginning Saturday May 9th!,'' the club tweeted. ''We look forward to welcoming you back. Book your tee time now!''
Sometimes a tweet is just a tweet. And sometimes it's an advertisement for your business. And sometimes, when the president of the United States promotes his business on Twitter while overseeing the federal response to a pandemic gutting the economy, it's a financial conflict of interest.
Is Trump pushing businesses to reopen despite ongoing perils attached to the coronavirus because it's best for the country? Or is it because Covid-19 has battered his family's fortunes? Or is it simply because he has the upcoming presidential election in mind? Who knows. But we are more than three years into this presidency and the same questions that have hung over Trump from the moment he launched his bid for the White House still linger: What are the contours of his personal finances and how do they inform his actions and policies?
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will help shape our understanding of some of this when it hears arguments involving efforts by Congress and a New York prosecutor to get access to Trump's tax returns, bank documents and bookkeeping records. Trump's lawyers and the Justice Department contend that the president shouldn't have to comply with subpoenas '-- or can block his financial advisers from complying '-- because the requests are overly intrusive or undermine the sweeping immunity from criminal investigations he should enjoy while in office.
Congress says it wants Trump's tax returns so it can craft legislation modernizing federal ethics and disclosure laws and protecting the 2020 election from foreign interference. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is conducting a probe into the Trump Organization's efforts to mask hush money paid to two women who said they had sexual encounters with Trump. He wants to explore whether Trump's team falsified business records as part of those maneuvers.
While the Supreme Court's decision will likely touch on crucial Constitutional matters such as the separation of powers and the legislative branch's ability to monitor the executive branch, the animating force guiding the court in this matter may be even more basic: whether or not any president is above the rule of law. If the court's decision pivots off of that, then you'd do well to read George Conway's recent op-ed in the Washington Post. ''The Constitution is concerned with protecting the presidency, not the person who happens to be the president,'' Conway writes. ''That's because no one in this country is above the law.''
The Constitution also makes it clear that presidents can't use the most powerful office in the land to line their wallets. Articles I and II forbid presidents from accepting what the 18th century called ''emoluments'' and what the 21st century calls ''bribes'' from foreign or domestic sources. The Constitution's ban on emoluments in and of itself requires presidents to be transparent about their finances and circumspect about their business dealings.
While federal conflict-of-interest laws dating from the Civil War era and updated in 1978 in the wake of the Watergate scandal also require presidents to disclose assets and business interests '' and to have potential conflicts monitored by a federal ethics watchdog '-- much of the disclosure remains voluntary. Presidents remain exempt from federal conflict-of-interest statutes, so practices like placing assets in a blind trust (which Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, both of the Bushes and Bill Clinton did) or releasing personal income tax returns (which every president since Carter has done) is essentially voluntary. Financial transparency in the White House is a tradition but not a requirement.
Trump chose to buck tradition, of course. He hasn't released his tax returns and the trust controlling his business interests is anything but blind '-- it's overseen by his two eldest sons and his longtime accountant. Litigants typically aren't hesitant to release information or documents that reflect well on themselves, so the natural question arising from Trump's stonewalling in the matters the Supreme Court will hear is, ''What's he hiding?''
Trump sued me for libel in 2006 for a biography I wrote, ''TrumpNation,'' claiming the book unfairly and intentionally misrepresented his track record as a businessman and lowballed the size of his fortune. The suit was dismissed in 2011.
During the course of the litigation, Trump resisted releasing his tax returns and other financial records. My lawyers got the returns, and while I can't disclose specifics, I imagine that Trump is hesitant to release them now because they would reveal how robust his businesses actually are and shine a light on some of his foreign sources of income.
Deutsche Bank AG, one of the firms Trump's lawyers are trying to stifle in their arguments before the Supreme Court, also turned over documents in my case '-- including its own assessment of Trump's wealth that pegged his fortune at $788 million in 2004, well below the $3 billion he told them he had at the time. Deutsche is the only major global bank to have continued doing business with Trump since the early 1990s and is conversant with his financial comings and goings since then.
Mazars USA is Trump's outside accounting firm. Trump's lawyers will argue before the Supreme Court that it too shouldn't comply with subpoena requests for documents. Mazars, which boasts a history ProPublica recently described as ''colorful,'' turned over documents in my litigation with Trump as well (through a predecessor company with which Mazars later merged). That trove included a financial statement Trump routinely used to substantiate his claims to fabulous wealth. The document, it turned out, was drafted without regard for standard accounting practices or other factors that might have diminished the future president's claims.
If all of this information from Trump's taxes, bankers and accountants was good enough for me over a decade ago, it's certainly good enough for Congress and the Manhattan district attorney today. It's also good enough for the American people. If we've learned one thing from the Trump presidency it's that it's no longer enough to rely on tradition when it comes to the Oval Office and financial transparency. Financial transparency should be a requirement for all presidents going forward '-- and the Supreme Court would do well to help pave the way.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Timothy L. O'Brien is a senior columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.
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FBI seizes Sen. Richard Burr's cellphone after serving search warrant, report says | Fox News
Thu, 14 May 2020 07:47
Report: Federal agents seize Sen. Richard Burr's cellphoneNorth Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was reportedly forced to surrender his cellphone to federal agents as part of the Justice Department's investigation into stock trades he made in the early days of the coronavirus crisis.
Federal agents on Wednesday served a search warrant to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., at his Washington-area home in part of the government's investigation into his stock sales that were made early in the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report.
The exclusive report by the Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed officials, said agents seized a cellphone. A second official said agents served an earlier warrant to obtain information from the senator's iCloud account. A law enforcement source told the paper that the Justice Department was reviewing communication between Burr and his broker.
Fox News reached out to Burr's office for comment and emailed his lawyer. The FBI did not immediately return a phone call to the Times and Burr's office declined to comment for the paper.
Burr has denied any wrongdoing and requested an ethics review of the sales.
Suspicions arose last month after it was revealed that several senators dumped stocks prior to the coronavirus pandemic taking hold of the global economy. The FBI reportedly reached out to Burr, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, to discuss the sale of as much as $1.7 million in stocks.
Senate records indicate that Burr and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to nosedive and government health officials began to sound alarms about the virus. Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels.
Burr -- who sat in on early briefings on the virus -- has acknowledged selling the stocks because of the coronavirus but said he relied ''solely on public news reports,'' specifically CNBC's daily health and science reporting out of Asia.
The phone seizure was significant because it means the judge who signed off on the warrant was persuaded by federal agents and prosecutors that there was probable cause that a crime was committed, the L.A. Times reported.
The same day that Burr dumped the stocks, his brother-in-law also sold a significant amount of shares, according to a recent report from ProPublica.
That report, citing a public financial disclosure form from Burr's brother-in-law Gerald Fauth -- who serves on the National Mediation Board (NMB) -- revealed that he sold between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of stocks in a total of six transactions on Feb. 13, 2020. Burr's sales that day reportedly led to the Securities and Exchange Commission investigating whether non-public information played a role, which his attorney denies.
"Sen. Burr participated in the stock market based on public information and he did not coordinate his decision to trade on Feb. 13 with Mr. Fauth," attorney Alice Fisher said in a statement to ProPublica.
Besides Burr, the Daily Beast reported that Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and her husband sold stock on Jan. 24, the same day she sat in on a closed-door coronavirus briefing as a member of the Senate Health Committee with the Trump administration and with Dr. Anthony Fauci in attendance.
Loeffler has defended the sales, claiming they were nothing out of the ordinary and were made without her involvement or knowledge.
''If you actually look at the personal transaction reports that were filed, it notices at the bottom that I'm only informed of my transactions after they occur '-- several weeks,'' Loeffler said at the time. ''So, certainly, those transactions '-- at least on my behalf '-- were a mix of buys and sells. Very routine for my portfolio.''
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., who is facing off against Loeffler for the Senate seat, seized on the Times' report and tweeted for the senator to "call her office."
Fox News' Ronn Blitzer and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
VIDEO-WATCH: LA Mayor Garcetti: 'We'll Never Be Completely Open Until We Have A Cure' | The Daily Wire
Thu, 14 May 2020 07:48
Speaking on ABC's ''Good Morning America'' on Wednesday morning, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti stated, ''We're not moving beyond COVID-19, we're learning to live with it,'' later adding, ''We'll never be completely open until we have a cure.''
Host George Stephanopolous asked Garcetti, ''Let's start with these stay-at-home orders. Your top health official said yesterday expect to extend the orders for another three months, but explain exactly what that means.''
Garcetti replied:
Sure. I think we all have to recognize that we're not moving beyond COVID-19, we're learning to live with it. It's important not to overreact, but it's important to take this serious (sic) because it is as dangerous today as it the first day it arrived in our cities and our country. So quite frankly, there's no so-called ''open state'' or ''open country'' that doesn't continue to have health orders telling us to cover our faces, physically distance, and to tell people that you're safest working from and staying at home. That's all that the county health director was saying. And we can't expect that to disappear in a matter of weeks or even a few months.
At the same time, we are learning a lot of really important lessons about how to safely reopen sectors and places and we have to assess each of those steps, give three or four weeks, time to see if there is any additional spread, are we endangering more people, and how can we keep our most vulnerable safe. So we are learning to live with it at the same moment that we are also learning the lessons of how to do that.
Stephanopolous asked, ''So do you have a sense of where you're going to be in September? We did see that news this morning that California State University system is saying they're not going to have classes on campus. What are you expecting in Los Angeles and for your schools?''
Garcetti answered:
I hope for our K-12 schools that we will have some sense of opening but it won't be in the way that we've known school in the past; it might be fewer days in the week; it might be staggered because we have to maintain that physical distance and we have to make sure for our vulnerable children. Some of them won't be able to go back to school for some time.
Look, we have to tell the hard truths and protect our people at the same time we take steps forward. For example, this past weekend, we opened up our trails; we have retail for curbside pickup; we'll see that expanded and even some active recreation on our beaches this coming weekend. Those are important, and we've never been fully closed. We'll never be completely open until we have a cure. But I do believe that we can take steps, but monitor those numbers, listen to the scientists and the medical professionals and make the tough calls even when there's criticism.
The Daily Mail noted, ''California Governor Gavin Newsom has allowed individual counties to implement their own lockdown measures based on the state of the pandemic in their areas and Garcetti first issued the city's 'Safer at Home' emergency order on March 19.''
Video below:
''We all have to all recognize that we're not moving beyond COVID-19, we're learning to live with it,'' @MayorOfLA Eric Garcetti weighs in on latest stay-at-home orders.
'-- Good Morning America (@GMA) May 13, 2020
The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media's rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member .
VIDEO-CNN Host Slams Conservatives' Russia Probe 'Obsession'
Thu, 14 May 2020 07:45
In a torrent of new revelations about the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, conservatives found their worst fears confirmed: It seems the Obama administration did indeed target the opposing party's presidential campaign without evidence of collusion and set a perjury trap for retired General Mike Flynn in order to cover up their malfeasance. Conservative media has been aghast at these revelations, but left-leaning journalists seemingly prefer to ignore them.
Take Brian Stelter, for example. The host of CNN's Reliable Sources, Stelter has expressed his disappointment that so many conservative journalists are so hung up on the Russia probe all of a sudden. It's not like a sitting president targeting the political opponent of his hand-picked successor for a national intelligence probe is a big deal, right? I mean, why can't they just move on?
''It's so disappointing to look at what we're seeing from right-wing media these days where there's so much obsession with the deep state and these revelations about the Russia probe,'' Stelter said on Sunday.
Stelter himself should know a thing or two about ''obsession'' with the Russia probe. The Washington Free Beacon compiled a short video clip showcasing the CNN host's own obsession with Russia '-- when Obama administration officials (who admitted in sworn testimony that they had seen no evidence Trump's campaign colluded with Russia) leaked the scandalous story of collusion to the media.
Projection: CNN's @brianstelter Accuses Conservative Media of 'Obsession' With Russia Probe
'-- Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) May 12, 2020
The Free Beacon's David Rutz put Stelter's complaint with right-wing ''obsession'' down as a matter of ''projection,'' but I think it has more to do with the CNN host trying to dismiss the real story of what President Donald Trump has termed ''Obamagate.''
You see, the apparent perjury trap set for Michael Flynn revealed the ugly depths to which the Intelligence Community would sink to maintain the collusion narrative. The transcripts of House Intelligence Committee testimony revealed that most of the intelligence actors in the investigation did not have any evidence to suspect collusion. The mostly-unredacted scope memo laying out the reasoning behind appointing Special Counsel Robert Mueller has laid bare the utter baselessness of the case against Trump.
This drew new attention to a January 5, 2017, meeting in which Obama directed Comey and others to ''inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team.'' It appears Obama was setting up a ''deep state,'' pitting top-level intelligence officials against the incoming president they were bound to serve.
Democrats and former Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI officials seemingly tried to distract from this tsunami of new evidence by condemning Attorney General William Barr's decision to drop the Flynn case, despite the heinous abuses against Flynn. This should come back to bite them, but it was arguably the only play they had.
There has always been good reason to suspect the collusion investigation went all the way to the top (to Obama himself), but recent revelations have only added to that suspicion. Obama's former National Security Advisor Susan Rice's last-minute email to herself insisting that Obama wanted everything done ''by the book'' was remarkably suspicious, as was FBI lawyer Lisa Page's text saying ''potus [President of the United States] wants to know everything we're doing.''
As former U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy wrote at National Review, the FBI coordinated ''very closely with the Obama White House on the investigation of Michael Flynn, while the Obama Justice Department was asleep at the switch.'' As PJ Media's Matt Margolis noted, it is looking more and more like the Russia probe was a rogue operation of the White House. Indeed, Attorney General Barr noted that FBI Director James Comey ''purposely went around the Justice Department and ignored Deputy Attorney General [Sally] Yates.''
As former Vice President Joe Biden would likely put it, a sitting president launching a politically-motivated investigation into his chosen successor's opponent without any concrete evidence and then directing his intelligence officials to undermine the incoming president is ''a big f***ing deal.''
Rather than complaining about conservative media's alleged ''obsession'' with the Russia probe, perhaps Stelter should take a close look at the evidence and reconsider his position. Of course, that might mean coming to grips with the fact that he aided in this historic attempt to weaponize the intelligence community and tarnish Trump with an utterly false narrative. Perhaps ignoring this story is a matter of self-preservation for ''journalists'' like him.
Tyler O'Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
The Real Reason Trump Didn't Name Obama's Specific Crime in 'Obamagate'
VIDEO-Paul Unloads On Biden: 'Biden Is Guilty Of Using Government To Go After A Political Opponent' | The Daily Wire
Thu, 14 May 2020 07:44
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blasted Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden on Wednesday after it was revealed that then-Vice President Biden had requested the unmasking of then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn.
''Today, I received the shocking answer that Vice President Biden and more than a dozen Obama administration officials requested and received the power to unmask General Flynn during his phone call with the Russian ambassador,'' Paul said. ''The fact that Vice President Biden and all of the president's inner circle individually requested to unmask General Flynn is very troubling.''
''Unmasking involves revealing the identity of an American's private phone conversation without a constitutional warrant, to eavesdrop on that conversation,'' Paul continued. ''What makes this even more troubling is that this American was a high-ranking adviser to an incoming president of the opposite party. This is incredibly troubling and shocking that the previous administration, under President Obama, under Vice President Biden's specific instruction, was eavesdropping on an American, an American adviser to the next president.''
''There's been much conjecture in recent days that President Obama was specifically directing this, we now know at the very least, Vice President Biden was in this up to his eyeballs,'' Rand later added.
A reporter later brought up the notion that if a current U.S. president did this, it could be an impeachable offense and possibly a criminal offense, with which Paul agreed.
''This is about eavesdropping on your opponent and eavesdropping on the new president's top advisers,'' Paul continued. ''The fact that Vice President Biden is directly involved with unmasking of a political opponent '' think about it. You remember we went through this thing called impeachment? They said the president was using the government to go after a political opponent? This is Vice President Biden using the spying powers of the United States to go after a political opponent; he's caught red-handed here. Vice President Biden is caught red-handed eavesdropping on a political opponent's phone calls.''
''This is exactly what they were accusing President Trump of '' he was acquitted on those charges,'' Paul added. ''They have now found that Vice President Biden is guilty of using government to go after a political opponent.''
It's important to remember that the Department of Justice concluded that Flynn was the subject of an illegitimate investigation that was being carried out by the Obama administration.
Attorney General William Barr touched on this issue during an interview last week, saying:
I think a very important evidence here was that this was not a bona fide counterintelligence investigation '' was that they were closing the investigation in December. They started that process. And on January 4th, they were closing it.
And that when they heard about the phone call, which is '' the FBI had the transcripts too '' there's no question as to what was discussed. The FBI knew exactly what was discussed. And General Flynn, being the former director of the DIA, said to them, you know, ''You listen, you listen to everything. You know, you know what was said.''
So there was no mystery about the call. But they initially tried some theories of how they could open another investigation, which didn't fly. And then they found out that they had not technically closed the earlier investigation. And they kept it open for the express purpose of trying to catch, lay a perjury trap for General Flynn.
They didn't warn him, the way we usually would be required by the Department. They bypassed the Justice Department. They bypassed the protocols at the White House and so forth. These were things that persuaded me that there was not a legitimate counterintelligence investigation going on.
The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media's rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.
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VIDEO - Dr. Anthony Fauci, Sen. Rand Paul spar over coronavirus deaths of children
Wed, 13 May 2020 15:36
Republican Sen. Rand Paul challenged one of the Trump administration's top health advisors on the coronavirus pandemic, questioning why the U.S. shouldn't reopen schools in the fall when relatively few children die from Covid-19.
"Shouldn't we at least be discussing what the mortality of children is?" Paul asked White House coronavirus task force advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing Tuesday on reopening the economy. Paul then noted that the mortality rate of coronavirus patients age 0 to 18 "approaches zero" in New York where 12 children have died, according to the state health department. The notion of not sending students back to school in the fall is "really ridiculous," he said.
At one point, Fauci countered: "I think we better be careful that we're not cavalier, in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects."
Paul's challenge encapsulates the debate between elected officials eager to open up businesses and willing to accept the risk that more people will die, and public health experts committed to lowering infection rates and keeping the public as safe as possible.
"People are hurting and we're destroying our country," Paul told reporters outside the hearing room. "We've got to open up business we got to let people vote, and we're not going to live in a perfect world without infectious disease, we're still going to have it, but we got to open the economy and that's the number one message I have."
The Kentucky senator, an opthamologist, told Fauci he didn't believe there would be a surge in cases if schools opened, which is not what public health experts say. Paul dismissed predictive models of the virus. "The history of this, when we look back, will be of wrong prediction after wrong prediction after wrong prediction," Paul said.
Paul then targeted Fauci personally: "As much as I respect you Dr. Fauci, I don't think you're the end-all, I don't think you're the one person that gets to make the decision. We can listen to your advice. But there are people on the other side saying there won't be a surge and we can safely open the economy."
Fauci asked for a chance to respond, and pushed back.
"I never made myself out to be the end-all," he said. "I'm a scientist, a physician, and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence."
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on May 12, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee | Getty Images
He said other people have advised the U.S. of the "need to get the country back open again economically. I don't give advice about economic things, I don't give advice about anything other than public health."
Fauci then turned Paul's own phrasing on him. "You used the word we should be 'humble' about what we don't know. I think that falls under the fact that we don't know everything about this virus, and we really had better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children," Fauci said.
"Because the more and more we learn, we're seeing things about what this virus can do that we didn't see from the studies in China or in Europe. For example, right now children presenting with Covid-19 who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome, very similar to Kawasaki syndrome," Fauci said.
Officials in New York and elsewhere have announced they're investigating rare cases of inflammatory conditions in young children that appear to be associated with Covid-19. The World Health Organization previously said the symptoms appear to be similar to toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease.
Toxic shock syndrome is a rare, life-threatening condition caused by bacteria getting into the body and releasing harmful toxins. Symptoms include a high temperature, a sunburn-like rash and flu-like symptoms such as a headache and sore throat.
Kawasaki disease causes swelling of the heart's blood vessels and mainly affects children under age 5, according to U.K. health officials. Symptoms include a rash, swollen glands in the neck, dry or cracked lips and red fingers or toes. The Mayo Clinic says it is usually treatable.
Children generally do not develop severe disease from the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the CDC noted last month that "severe outcomes have been reported in children, including three deaths."
"You're right in the numbers, that children in general do much, much better than adults and the elderly and particularly those with underlying conditions," Fauci concluded. "But I am very careful, and hopefully humble, in knowing that I don't know everything about this disease. And that's why I'm reserved in making broad predictions."
Scientists are learning everyday about the nature of the virus and how it attacks the human body as well as different demographics of people. The World Health Organization has said the virus, which was originally believed to primarily attack the respiratory system, has also been found to cause circulatory, digestive and neurological problems.
VIDEO-Why Austin isn't reopening with the rest of Texas - YouTube
Wed, 13 May 2020 07:09
VIDEO-Texas AG warns Austin/Travis County about 'unlawful' COVID-19 orders
Wed, 13 May 2020 06:54
FILE - In this June 22, 2017, file photo, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at a news conference in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
AUSTIN, Texas '--The Office of the Texas Attorney General sent a letter to three big Texas counties on Tuesday for local orders they recently issued, warning them the mandates are ''unlawful'' and could lead to confusion on what orders to follow.
Letters were sent to Bexar County along with the mayor of San Antonio, Dallas County and Travis County along with Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt.
In the letter to Judge Eckhart and Mayor Adler, Deputy Attorney General for Legal Counsel Ryan Vassar wrote, ''We trust you will act quickly to correct mistakes like these to avoid further confusion and litigation challenging the county's and city's unconstitutional and unlawful restrictions.''
The letter points out several areas of Austin's local 'Stay Home, Work Safe' order issued by Mayor Adler and Judge Eckhardt on May 9th:
Houses of Worship: The letter states the county's and the city's order attempts to restrict essential services, including those provided by houses of worship.Contact Tracing: The letter states that Austin's order ''only seems to recommend for these restaurants to track their employees and customers, it forces restaurants into submission by threatening to release the names of restaurants who do not comply.'' It goes on to say the city's ''Orwellian order raises privacy concerns and s also likely superseded by the governor's order.''Masks: The letter states that the order issued in Austin says ''all person over the age of six shall wear some form of mask when leaving their residence.'' The state order encourages people to wear face coverings but does not require them. ''The Governor's order recognizes that Texans will act responsibly and make smart decision to protect themselves and their families.''Shelter-in-place: AG's letter says the Governor's order only requires Texans to ''minimize social gatherings and in person contact with people who do not live in the same household.'' And the state order doesn't include a mandatory ''shelter-in-place'' but the city and county orders do. ''Your orders require all residents to shelter-in-place, close all businesses that are non-essential or not reopened services and prohibit all gatherings except as permitted by the orders.''Criminal Offenses: The letter says Austin's order also conflicts with the State order by trying to impose a criminal penalty for violations but the Governor modified the state order on May 7th to eliminate confinement as a punishment for violating any state or local orders.The Texas Restaurant Association said they were happy to see Paxton's letter for the issue of contact tracing.
RELATED: Texas population one of the most vulnerable to coronavirus, study finds
Kelsey Erickson''Steufert of the TRA said they, too, sent a letter to Mayor Adler on Monday asking him to change Section 11 of the local order. That portion encourages restaurants with a capacity of 75 or less to keep a log of all customers and employees who came in, including the dates and times they were there and where they sat. TRA feels if small businesses should be contact tracing this way larger businesses should also be following orders.
''When a small businesses' options are to do this or be publicly shammed, that's really not much of an option. We're treating this like a requirement,'' said Erickson-Steufert.
City of Austin and Travis County attorneys are now reviewing the letter.
In a statement to CBS Austin a Travis County Spokesperson Hector Nieto said, ''Travis County has received the letter and our county attorneys are reviewing it. Our initial thought is we disagree with the Attorney General.''
Mayor Adler's office also issued a statement saying, ''Up to this point, we have avoided the naked politicization of the virus crisis. I will not follow the AG down that road. The City's Order complements, incorporates, and does not conflict with the Governor's Order. We will continue working to keep our community safe to the fullest extent allowed by law.''
During his daily 'Got a minute' virtual address on Facebook, Adler spoke about the letter he received from the Office of AG Paxton saying ''We asked for restaurants to do that voluntarily and I guess the Attorney General's office doesn't like that we asked for that voluntary act.''
VIDEO-Texas patients treated with anti-malarial drug for coronavirus |
Wed, 13 May 2020 06:42
Patients completed a five-day treatment and their doctor said none of the patients experienced side effects.
DALLAS '-- What happened at a Galveston County nursing home over the last week was one of the first big tests of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients in Texas.
''I thought the risk of seeing 15% of that nursing home die was just not an acceptable,'' said Dr. Robin Armstrong, MD, medical director at The Resort at Texas City.
Fifty-six residents at this senior facility in Galveston County contracted the novel coronavirus. Dr. Robin Armstrong said 39 of them gave him permission to treat them with hydroxychloroquine pills.
''Most of the patients have done well. And, you know, and I think that that is suggestive that the medication is helpful,'' Armstrong told WFAA.
But notice that Armstrong qualified his answer by saying ''most of the patients.''
''Well, I would say I would say all the patients have done well,'' Armstrong added.
On Sunday, those 39 patients finished five days of treatment with hydroxychloroquine. Dr. Armstrong said no one experienced any side effects.
''We've got one patient now that kind of goes back and forth,'' said Dr. Armstrong, ''He's an older gentleman, but we're kind of nursing him through the process, but he's getting better.
Two patients receiving hydroxychloroquine have had to go to hospital for unrelated conditions, Armstrong disclosed; a woman had a fall and a man got dehydrated in his room because he was not eating and drinking.
But for the first time since this treatment began, many of those who have recovered from the virus have been able to go outside and get some fresh air over the last 48 hours, Armstrong said.
Hear more about Dr. Armstrong's experience on the latest episode of Y'all-itics.
The 65-year-old anti-malarial drug became controversial after Pres. Trump said it was a promising possibility for COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Armstrong is a Republican activist and said he supports the president, but at first questioned whether hydroxychloroquine would work for patients with coronavirus symptoms.
''When this hydroxychloroquine came out, I was a bit skeptical,'' he explained, ''because I know the World Health Organization actually was not initially including it in their study, because they didn't think that it was very effective.''
Democrats have correctly cautioned that hydroxychloroquine remains unproven for treating the coronavirus.
But if the president didn't bring attention to this drug, it's doubtful there would be any political controversy around this pharmaceutical.
''I don't think so,'' Armstrong said. ''I don't think this would even be a conversation, honestly.''
Supply and demand have created a new side effect in the market for these tablets.
''I've been on this medication for about 20 years or so,'' said Sandy Dixon, who lives in Euless in Tarrant County.
Hydroxychloroquine helps her live with lupus, but she says the pills have become harder for her to find since some doctors began using them for coronavirus patients.
''I understand for them it's an 'if' but for me it's not an 'if' factor. I need the medicine every day to be able to function.''
A Kroger spokesperson told WFAA that its Texas pharmacies have hydroxychloroquine in stock.
CVS and Walgreens said it's now limiting these pills to ensure everyone with a prescription gets some.
Messages to both WalMart and Tom Thumb have not been returned.
Armstrong is quick to note that hydroxychloroquine is not a cure for COVID-19 but he said, in his experience, it can help reduce the severity of the symptoms in some patients.
Subscribe to Y'all-itics to get the weekly episodes on your phone:
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VIDEO-FOX26 News on Twitter: "A scuffle between Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias and conservative activist Ben Bergquam was caught on camera earlier today. Police officers are now being placed outside the homes of other councilmembers as a preca
Wed, 13 May 2020 01:21
Log in Sign up FOX26 News @ KMPHFOX26 A scuffle between Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias and conservative activist Ben Bergquam was caught on camera earlier today. Police officers are now being placed outside the homes of other councilmembers as a precaution. (Video: James H.) 5:44 PM - 12 May 2020 Twitter by: FOX26 News @KMPHFOX26 Sabina Gonzalez-Era±a @ ABWSabina
5h Replying to
@KMPHFOX26 You forgot to mention they were trying to get into his home where his kids live. What would any of us do? They are lucky he was that calm.
View conversation · Juan Mendoza @ juan_der_ful
5h Replying to
@KMPHFOX26 If you guys call that ''assault'' then this country has just gotten so soft. Miguel Arias YOU HAVE MY VOTE
View conversation · tangerine @ tanujransi
5h Replying to
@KMPHFOX26 Awww look at these snowflake crybabies crying that he got his phone smacked :( how will they survive????
View conversation · tangerine @ tanujransi
5h Replying to
@KMPHFOX26 ''My dad is a lawyer'' LOL ðŸ¤
View conversation · Paul D @ Paulmd199
5h Replying to
@KMPHFOX26 @AltNatSecAgency I bet these same dudes would claim they have the right to shoot trespassers under Stand Your Ground.
View conversation · Rockin and Rollin @ purdygoo
5h Replying to
@KMPHFOX26 @loisbeckett ''My dad is a lawyer''. Wuss
View conversation · Krystle1122 @ Krystle1122
3h Replying to
@KMPHFOX26 No one is wearing masks and/or social distancing View conversation · Andrew Feil @ andrewsfeil
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@KMPHFOX26 Disgusting. This is NEVER okay whether you are right or left.
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VIDEO - Rand Paul says Fauci isn't the 'end all'. See Fauci's response - YouTube
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Tue, 12 May 2020 09:34
VIDEO - Pete Evans posts bizarre coronavirus conspiracy theory to Instagram
Tue, 12 May 2020 09:27
The president of the Royal Australian College of GPs, Dr Harry Nespolon has said embattled celebrity chef Pete Evans should spend time with family following his latest social media posts.
Speaking to Ben Fordham's 2GB radio program on Tuesday, Dr Nespolon said he was a ''little bit keen to make sure Pete is actually with his family or with someone else,'' the Daily Mail reported.
''If he really is in trouble, dare I say, he should make an appointment with his GP and I'm really quite serious about that,'' he said.
The top doctor said losing an $800,000 a year contract with Seven could be affecting his mental state and it's important he feels included.
''It doesn't matter what he has done in the past, it really is important that we do take care of him and that we reach out to him if there is a problem,'' he said.
''He has just lost his job, or he has resigned from his job. That is a very stressful thing to have happened.
''I don't know Pete Evans, I don't know his family so this is just pure speculation but it really is one of the oddest things I have ever read.''
The comments come after the controversial celebrity chef made a series of Instagram posts in the wake of his axing from Seven's My Kitchen Rules which he had been with for 10 years.
RELATED: What Pete Evans will do next, after MKR
Since then, his Instagram feed has been raising eyebrows, with Evans appearing to promote the idea that the coronavirus crisis is some kind of conspiracy.
In a story posted early on Tuesday, the chef shared a detailed list which urged people to ''look out for'' certain code words and implied ''mass trials'' and ''executions'' were happening behind closed doors.
Dr Nespolon warned Australians should not take medical advice from anyone who is not a medical professional.
In a post on Instagram, Pete Evans wrote about the ''code words'' to look out for on social media.
''Soon you will hear about certain high profile people (celebrities, politicians, executives, elite, billionaires) having CV (coronavirus). Here are some code words to look out for,'' it read.
''Self Quarantined = under house arrest either under Federal agent guards or ankle bracelet. Self Quarantined, CV exposure = detained and being questioned by authorities. Tested negative for CV = no confession so they are going to trial after world mass arrest. If convicted their reputation and legacy will be destroyed.
''Tested positive for CV = they confessed and taking a deal, their execution will be out of the public eye. Execution will be portrayed as a suicide or some sort of accidental death. Their reputation and legacy will be preserved.''
The list concluded: ''Remember, these people are being arrested for major crimes against humanity. NO PITY.
''Pay very close attention for these code words in the media.''
He also shared a detailed graph showing links between a ''Great Awakening'', a ''Great Solar Flash'', ''Secret Space Program'', and ''machine elves''.
It follows a post by Evans yesterday, in which he shared a meme of US President Donald Trump alongside a lengthy caption attacking the mainstream media and urging his fans to look at the world "through a different lens".
"This is a very exciting time in human history and we can all manifest our own reality, or we can hand that over to others with their own agendas or conflicts of interests," part of it read. "Do you trust the 'experts'? What is #obamagate?"
Evans also shared an image of a chart purporting to show the financial links between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation '' the public health-focused charity funded by the Microsoft founder and his wife '' and various health and research bodies, as well as pharmaceutical companies.
"If you thought multinational food ties to health authorities was interesting, this could be a whole other level," Evans wrote.
The Gates family is a popular target for anti-vaccination voices.
While Evans' recent Instagram activities have been causing a stir, the former MKR judge is certainly no stranger to controversy.
Just last month, he was slapped with $25,000 in fines for coronavirus eradication claims he made about a ''BioCharger'' device he promoted on Facebook.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issued two infringement notices to the controversial health guru after receiving complaints about his promotion of the $14,990 machine.
In the April 9 lifestream on his Facebook page, which has 1.4 million followers, Evans described the gadget as a ''hybrid subtle energy revitalisation platform''.
''It's programmed with a thousand different recipes and there's a couple in there for the Wuhan coronavirus,'' Evans said in the video.
VIDEO - Boris Johnson faces questions from MPs over lockdown | Watch live on LBC - YouTube
Tue, 12 May 2020 07:54
VIDEO - What Dr. Fauci wants you to know about face masks and staying home as virus spreads | PBS NewsHour
Tue, 12 May 2020 07:51
Americans should wear face masks as a way to help stifle the spread of COVID-19, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation's top doctors leading the public health fight against the coronavirus pandemic '-- a departure from previous government guidance to only wear a mask if you were caring for someone with the illness or had it yourself.
''If everybody does that, we're each protecting each other,'' Fauci said in an interview with PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff. His comments came shortly before President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force shared national recommendations for people to wear non-medical face masks. The task force did not recommend the use of surgical or medical grade face masks, which are in short supply for hospitals and front line health care workers.
For months, federal health officials discouraged the use of surgical face masks. In recent weeks, some health experts began to question that decision, suggesting that the use of face coverings could have helped slow the spread of the virus sooner. But on Friday, the task force said it was now recommending face coverings ''in light of recent studies.'' Trump added that this recommendation does not eliminate the need for social distancing.
This guidance comes as more states this week told residents to stay at home to prevent further spread of the virus that causes the disease, COVID-19. But more states and communities should join in tightening those measures, Fauci said.
He warned that the U.S. is currently ''in a very difficult period. It will get worse before it gets better.''
So far, testing has confirmed roughly 240,000 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., where nearly 5,900 people have died after they were infected by the virus, according to the latest data from The COVID Tracking Project. Public health experts have said those numbers are likely an undercount because testing remains inadequate, despite being the only way to measure how far the pandemic has spread within the country.
As of Thursday, the pandemic crossed another milestone, now infecting more than 1 million people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers who have been tracking the virus' global spread. Fauci said he was confident Americans ''will get out of this.''
Other highlights from the interview:On equipment shortages across the U.S. The Trump administration has suggested health care workers and states have what they need to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at a time when governors, hospital administrators, physicians and nurses are pleading for more supplies and equipment such as face masks, gowns and ventilators. On Thursday, Jared Kushner, senior adviser to and son-in-law of the president, suggested states should not receive supplies from the National Strategic Stockpile. Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that people should ''stop complaining'' about their supplies and that states like New York had enough to fight the virus. During the interview, Fauci said, ''I hope we never get to the situation where people will not have the necessary equipment that they need.''China's transparency about the virus: No health care system in the world was fully prepared to deal with COVID-19, Fauci said, because the virus so easily transmits among humans. But Fauci said that if the world had known earlier that the virus could spread so efficiently, other nations would have acted more quickly to take measures like shutting down international travel, possibly buying them more time to prepare. ''That delay in transparency'' had an effect on our awareness of how bad the pandemic could become, he added.Fauci's need for heightened security: This week, it was reported that threats had been made against Fauci. In response, he received heightened security. When asked if the job caused him to worry, Fauci said, ''This is the life that I've chosen, and I accept it. It is what it is. The thing that I don't like is the effect it has on my family.'' Judy Woodruff:
As the spread of COVID-19 has increased, there have been significant new questions about stay-at-home orders, whether the public should be wearing masks outside and new findings about how the virus spreads.
I spoke this afternoon with one of the government's top officials on the public health response, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health. He is a key member of the president's Coronavirus Task Force.
And we spoke before the president announced the recommendation from the CDC that people use a cloth or fabric mask outside.
Dr. Fauci, thank you very much for joining us.
You are now saying that you don't understand why all Americans are not staying at home. Have you told the president that you think it's a good idea to order Americans to stay home?
Anthony Fauci:
Well, there's always that difficulty of ordering centrally vs. having the states be the major implementers of policy.
I have said that I feel we should be implementing this social distancing or physical separation, which, in many respects, means staying at home, to the extent possible.
And I do think we should do it broadly throughout the country, because, although there are hot spots that we see that are very obvious, there is the threat of outbreak virtually everywhere and anywhere within our country.
So, when we extended the guidelines from the 15-day guidelines to now 30 days towards the end of April, I think this is an opportunity for everyone, every state, every region, every locale, to participate in this very serious physical separation, as delineated very clearly in the guidelines.
I have articulated this multiple times, as have several of my other colleagues. I'm not alone on this. And we daily brief the president.
Judy Woodruff:
But when lives are at stake, why aren't command measures requiring people to do this appropriate now?
Anthony Fauci:
I think, if you look at the iterances at the press conferences, when you hear me and others and the vice president and the president speak, it is really the functional equivalent of that.
I understand what you're talking about, Judy, about making a very explicit statement. But that generally is not the way things operate in the relationship between the federal government and the states.
I mean, I say out there to all who are listening in all the states that they should be doing this. Even though they feel that, in certain respects, there are relatively few cases in their city, in their town, in their state, that will change.
There is no region in the country, in my mind, that's going to be exempt from an outbreak, if you do not do the appropriate mitigation issues, namely, the physical separations that are clearly spelled out in the guidelines.
Judy Woodruff:
But let me ask you, for those people who are mostly staying at home, but they are going to the grocery store or to the pharmacy or taking a walk, that those guidelines are still appropriate?
Anthony Fauci:
Absolutely. Absolutely.
The guidelines that '-- you know, often at the press conference, the vice president puts up that card where he talks about the guidelines, and, you know, 30 days to do this now with the extension, they're all spelled out pretty clearly there.
And I think '-- I know there's disparity throughout the country, because you look at some of the videos and some of the information you get, and there is disparities. There are still people who are not abiding by that.
And I would just use my presence here on your program to plead with them to please take seriously those guidelines.
Judy Woodruff:
We are told that the Trump administration is on the verge of urging Americans to wear masks when they go out. Tell us about the thinking on that, because, just a few days ago, we were told that the thinking was it wasn't necessary.
Anthony Fauci:
It's a great question, Judy.
And the thinking is really now influenced by information that's coming in. And the information is that more and more accumulation of data indicate that people who are without symptoms at all can transmit the virus.
But, importantly, they can do it merely by speaking. So, there's been a recent study that came out that said even the force from your voice of speaking, there is a degree of aerosolization. Namely, the virus can come out, not very far, a few feet and down.
So, even though the perfect solution to this is if everyone at all times could stay six feet separated from another person, but, as you correctly mentioned, this is not always feasible. There are times when you have to do necessary functions.
You have to get food. You have to get drugs from the pharmacy. And you might inadvertently be in a situation where you're close enough where that kind of transmission can take place.
And, importantly, I think what people don't fully appreciate is that putting a mask on yourself is more to prevent you from infecting someone else. And if everybody does that, we're each protecting each other, because the data is, it's more efficient to prevent transmitting to others than it is to prevent transmission to yourself.
But you can completely cover that ballpark if, essentially, universally, when people go out and are in a situation where they might come into closer contact, that they wear that mask.
So, we have discussed this in detail yesterday. And in today's task force meeting, it will also be discussed in detail. So there may be recommendations coming out. There likely will be.
Judy Woodruff:
So, in short, whatever the announcement today is about wearing masks, if people are to wear them, what's the guidance on under what circumstances and what kind of mask?
Anthony Fauci:
I'm glad you gave me the opportunity to address that, Judy, because the one thing that's paramount here, that we want to make sure that people don't all of a sudden go out, buy and hoard masks that are most appropriately used and necessary for the front-line health care workers, who do need it for the clear and present danger that they find themselves in when they are taking care of people who are actually sick with coronavirus disease.
So, we want to make sure that this issue of having a broader community approach towards putting on a facial covering doesn't, in fact, get in the way of the primary purpose of masks.
And in that regard, that's why what we're talking about are things that may not necessarily need to be a classical mask, but could be some sort of facial covering.
You know, we're pretty good in making things in a way that spontaneously becomes effective just because of your own creativity.
Judy Woodruff:
And the same question about masks that I was asking about staying at home. If these are things that save lives, keep people healthy, why not require them to do this?
Anthony Fauci:
You know, Judy, I understand where you're coming from, but it becomes difficult.
When you say require, by what? By penalty? By putting people in jail? That becomes something that really could be counterproductive in the society that we live in, in America. Perhaps you might be able to do that in China, but I think it would be difficult to do it here.
So what we are relying on is for people to really understand the importance of this.
Judy Woodruff:
And going back to what you said was new information about this organism, about how long it lingers in the air, people are asking, is it '-- does it linger on the handle of a grocery bag, on a piece of paper?
What is known about that at this time?
Anthony Fauci:
Well, studies actually have been done to determine the viability, viable virus, when you measure it on different surfaces, like enamel, stainless steel, plastic or cloth.
It varies. It generally is measured in a few hours to, in some situations, maybe even a day or two. The titer of it may be so low that, even though it's virus that's alive, it's not really capable of transmissing.
The bottom line is, there's a great deal of variability. One of the things one can do is, when you have surfaces that you frequently touch, that you might get one of those alcohol swabs or one of the things that can disinfect, and rub it off, clean it.
That '-- the most common one are doorknobs. And I think that's the thing that people should be most aware of, is '-- because people who can get virus on your hands, one of the things you do every day is turn a doorknob.
But I wouldn't fixate that the virus is going to hang around for weeks and months, and you can't touch anything that is inanimate. That's really not the case. It generally is measured in a couple of hours to maybe a day or two. But, when I say a day or two, I mean probably at a very low titer.
The most important thing that I think overshadows all of that is to wash your hands as frequently as possible.
I can tell you, Judy, I wash my hands 50 times a day. So, rather than being concerned if a doorknob that I touch is contaminated, I'll just wash my hands as much as I possibly can. And when I don't have access to a sink and water and soap, I'll just carry around one of those Purell or alcohol things and clean it with that.
Those are just some of the practical things that you can do.
Judy Woodruff:
Dr. Fauci, there are more reports we're hearing now from the heads of hospitals that they're worried about not having enough protective equipment from doctors and nurses worried about equipment, about medications.
On the other hand, the White House was saying last night that every place where something is needed, they're going to get it. What's the reality here?
Anthony Fauci:
Well, certainly, everything that can possibly be done to make sure that no one anywhere in the United States will go without the necessary PPE or personal protective equipment, and certainly not ventilators, that is something that is right up there.
It is very, very much on the awareness of the task force. FEMA is a major component and agency to see that we don't ever run into that situation where our brave health care workers are put more in harm's way by a lack of equipment.
And that's what people concentrate on all the time. And, hopefully, we will never get into a situation where they will fall short of that.
Judy Woodruff:
And on the question of social distancing and taking all the precautions we should, I just want to be clear. You're saying it's still too early to know when people can begin to relax on this?
Anthony Fauci:
You're absolutely correct. Thank you for asking that question.
As I have said all the time, you can put into place a program where you would project that, after a certain number of weeks, you start to see the bending and the turning of the curve, but the virus determines the timetable, not you or me in a predetermined timetable.
We adjust the timetable as to what we see happening. And that's why I say, what you need to look at first, will be the first inkling, is the number of new cases each day, the relative proportion.
If that stabilizes, there's a cascading of events, because, as the number of new cases begin to stabilize, instead of exponentially going up, then the hospitalizations, then the intensive care, and then the deaths will stabilize.
And what happens is, there's always the lag. You're going to start seeing stabilization of new cases at the same time that you're seeing an increase in deaths. That may seem paradoxical, but it isn't, because, after a while, the deaths catch up with it.
And the early indications that something is going right will then ultimately be manifested in less deaths. So, that's why what we look at, we look at it in New York, in New Orleans, in Chicago, in Detroit, as we start to see that stabilization, then we will get a more comfortable feel, so that we might be able to turn the corner.
But, right now, as I mentioned, we're in a very difficult period. It will get worse before it gets better. And I don't want the American public to get too alarmed at that. I mean, obviously, it's concerning. It's not something to just put aside. But things will get better, they will turn around, and we will get out of this.
Judy Woodruff:
I know you have said you don't like to look back, but I just have a couple of questions about where this originated.
When did you first have a sense that this was different, that what had happened was not just another virus, that this one was going to be something more serious, much more serious?
Anthony Fauci:
Well, somewhere in the early January, when it became clear that what the Chinese had claimed originally, that this was just a virus that jumped from an animal reservoir to a human, and wasn't being transmitted from human to human, well, it became very clear pretty quickly that that was not the case, that this was a virus that was being transmitted from human to human, but not only that.
You know, the nightmare that we have is that not only is it transmitted from human to human. It does it very efficiently. And when the numbers started coming in as to what the morbidity and the mortality was, it was during that period in early to mid-January that it became clear to me that this was not just another SARS, it wasn't another MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. This was different.
Judy Woodruff:
I think you're aware of reporting that the Chinese were not transparent about all this in the very beginning.
The question now that's arising, though, is, people are asking, if they had been more transparent in the very beginning, would it have prevented the spread of this virus, period, or would it have simply given more countries like the United States more time to prepare?
Anthony Fauci:
Well, Judy, I don't think anything would have prevented the spread of this virus. Once it emerged into society, with its capability of efficient spread and morbidity and mortality, that was it.
But what could have been different '-- and this is something that people are going to reflect on, you know, when this is all over, as they try and analyze what actually happened '-- is that, if we had known that this was highly transmissible early on, when it was just in China, I think other countries would have maybe been more quick on the trigger to try and inhibit travel from China to their country, because, remember, it started in China.
And then China, by the fact that there are so many Chinese people, and travel is part of our daily existence in this planet, that there would maybe have been more attention paid to the possibility that just pure travel from China in general, but certainly from Wuhan and the Hubei district, is something that could start an outbreak throughout the world.
So, that delay in transparency, I think, likely had an impact on what I just said, the awareness that this could seed the rest of the world.
Judy Woodruff:
All that points right back to Chinese officials, doesn't it?
Anthony Fauci:
Looks that way.
Judy Woodruff:
And I want to be careful about how I ask you this, but there are reports that there have been threats made against you, that security around you has been increased.
And the question I have is, is this job more than you thought it would be? Is it now something more than you bargained for?
Anthony Fauci:
You know, Judy, as I have said often, this is the life that I have chosen, and I accept it. It is what it is.
The thing that I don't like is the effect that it has on my family.
Judy Woodruff:
Well, we know you are working around the clock, and the country is very grateful.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you very much.
Anthony Fauci:
Thank you, Judy. Very good to be with you.
VIDEO-Greg Price on Twitter: "Today on Meet The Press, @chucktodd wildly took context out of an answer AG Bill Barr gave about his decision to drop the case into Gen. Michael Flynn. I cut Todd's segment along with Barr's full answer together. Look at how
Mon, 11 May 2020 11:48
Rick Miller @ RLM42753
20h Todd completely lied about Barr's comments..."He didn't make the case that he was upholding the rule of law" In fact Barr did exactly that, Todd just withheld that part of the clip. This is beyond bad journalism, this should be actionable.
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Saudi Arabia triples VAT rate as oil revenues tumble - YouTube
Mon, 11 May 2020 11:29
VIDEO - Bill Gates after 2mins
Mon, 11 May 2020 08:22
VIDEO - Robot reminds visitors of safe distancing measures in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
Mon, 11 May 2020 07:17
SINGAPORE - A four-legged robot will be patrolling Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to remind people of safe distancing measures starting from Friday (May 8).
Called Spot, the robot will assist with safe distancing efforts at parks, gardens and nature reserves managed by National Parks Board (NParks) and at parks managed by town councils.
The pilot trial is jointly conducted by NParks, and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG).
The Spot robot will broadcast a recorded message reminding park visitors to observe safe distancing measures.
It is fitted with cameras, enabled by GovTech-developed video analytics, to help it estimate the number of visitors in the parks.
The cameras, however, will not be able to track or recognise specific individuals, neither will it collect any personal data.
As part of the two-week trial, Spot will be deployed over a 3km stretch in the River Plains section of the park during off-peak hours, and it will be accompanied by at least one NParks officer.
If the trial proves successful, NParks will consider deploying Spot for safe distancing efforts at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in the morning and during evening peak-hours.
NParks is also looking into deploying the robot at other parks such as Jurong Lake Gardens.
Originally developed by American company Boston Dynamics, the four-legged robot is able to navigate obstacles more effectively compared to wheeled robots, making it suitable for different terrains.
It is also fitted with safety sensors to detect objects and people within 1m to avoid collision.
As the robot is four-legged, it is able to navigate obstacles more effectively compared to wheeled robots, making it suitable for different terrains. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
GovTech has enhanced Spot with various functions such as remote control, 3D-mapping and semi-autonomous operations to facilitate the trial.
It is currently looking to develop analytics allowing Spot to check if park visitors are observing safe distancing measures.
Spot is the centre of attention among park goers as it patrols Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on May 8, 2020. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
As it is controlled remotely, less manpower is needed for park patrols, helping to minimise physical contact among staff, safe distancing ambassadors and park visitors. This helps to lower their risk of exposure to the Covid-19 virus.
NParks is also deploying 30 drones to detect visitorship at selected parks and nature areas.
In addition, the Safe Distance At Parks portal lets the public find parks near them, as well as check the crowd situation at the parks before making their way there.
The Spot robot is also currently on trial at the Changi Exhibition Centre community isolation facility, which houses patients with mild symptoms, to help deliver essential items such as medicine to patients.
The robot is fitted with safety sensors to detect objects and people within 1m to avoid collision. PHOTO: GOVTECH
The SNDGG will also be exploring the use of the robot in supporting other Covid-19-related operations across agencies.
Last month, an autonomous robot known as O-R3 was deployed at Bedok Reservoir Park by national water agency PUB as a kind of safe distancing ambassador.
The four-wheeled robot was originally used for surveillance, but it now broadcasts safe distancing messages at the park as it patrols the area in the mornings and the evenings when human traffic is at its highest.
Similar robots will be deployed at Pandan and MacRitchie reservoirs.
VIDEO-Boris Johnson announces phased reopening plan for England - CBS News
Mon, 11 May 2020 06:04
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday announced a phased reopening plan for England, although strict lockdown measures will continue in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland during the coronavirus pandemic . In a nationally televised address, Johnson said people should continue to work from home if they can and only return to work "if you must" and urged people not to take public transportation.
"This is not the time, simply, to end the lockdown this week," Johnson said. "Instead, we're taking the first capital steps to modify our measures."
People in jobs such as construction and manufacturing are now being "actively encouraged" to return to work, Johnson said. Starting Wednesday, people can now go outside for unlimited exercise and sit on park benches, rather than for one hour a day.
While noting that any future plans could change if the rate of infection goes up, Johnson said that the second phase of reopening includes opening primary schools on June 1. And then in July, the country will start looking at opening parts of the hospitality industry, including shops, bars and restaurants.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during filming of his address to the nation from 10 Downing Street following the outbreak of the coronavirus in London, Britain, on Sunday, May 10, 2020. Handout via Reuters Anyone who comes into the country by air will be put in quarantine, Johnson said. But after the speech, Johnson and French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron issued a joint statement saying the quarantine does not apply to France.
Johnson also announced the creation of an alert system to track the coronavirus.
After Johnson's measures, London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted that the city's residents should still "continue to work from home if they possibly can" and also urged residents not to take public transportation. "I want to be as clear as possible with Londoners '-- social distancing measures are still in place," Khan wrote. "You must still stay home as much as possible and keep a safe 2-meter distance from other people when you are out."
Leaders in Scotland and Wales both rejected Johnson's "stay alert" message and encouraged people to continue to stay at home. "Our advice has not changed in Wales," said Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, meanwhile, said there is a need for a clearer message. Sturgeon told BBC News she is "particularly concerned" that moving from the "stay at home" message to "something much vaguer" means the public hasn't been given clear instructions about what they should and shouldn't do.
VIDEO-Nick the Rat - 228 - McAfee Interview - YouTube
Sun, 10 May 2020 15:39

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