1256: White Tears

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 3m
July 2nd, 2020
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Executive Producers: Viscount J. D. Mac, Oracle of the Digital Prairie, Stefan Tucny, Peter Stroex, Doug Proctor, Sir Kevin McLaughlin, Duke of Luna, Ann Comfort, Guy Burton, Sir Desert Finn, Anonymous

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Kevin of the Burning River, Drew Saur, Felicia Tucny, Anonymous, Marc Roussy

Cover Artist: Darren O'Neill


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Record Setting!!
Testing Scam
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:30
My brothers friend was supposed to take a COVID test.. overslept and missed it.. a few days later had a test result in the mail saying the test was positive... that's pretty fishy
I find this article interesting because now home tests are in circulation. There is no shortage of supplies. I work for a national print/mail company. I'm the supervisor of their distribution center in Columbus, Ohio. For the past month we have been shipping COVID tests to individuals for a large diagnostics company. This week we are expecting to send a total of 50,000 tests directly to the patient. We are 1 of 3 facilities within my company that are doing this exact job.
The test goes like this...shove the qtip an inch up your nose, swirl it around about 10 times and place the qtip into a vial that they provide. Ship the test back and the lab will let you know the results.
I find it very interesting that drive through testing is still a thing. Why not spend a couple bucks to ship the test directly to the patient? Understandably there is still a need for in person testing, but enough to deplete the resources? Not likely.
Oh, did I mention that our clients largest client is Apple? They are the "Priority A" tests and they are the most important to get out on time.
Under 30 being tested
So I make friends at work because it's easy to get good info. One of the ladies doing call backs for positive covid tests told me today it's mostly 30 something year olds who are asymptomatic and got tested because it was FREE. I asked is it like more than half or what kind of numbers would she say. More than half are asymptomatic. Also, the people who do have the rona, have been the elderly population complaining of the worse runny nose.
Sir Daniel
(Spanish Medical Interpreter)
Texas COVID-19 Statistics: 172,486 Cases / 2,503 Deaths / 88,236 Recovered / 1,921,948 Tests / Avg cases/day rate of 6,320 has grew 137.8% from 14 days ago (Updated Jul 2, 2020 @ 7:35am)
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:50
Updated Jul 2, 2020 @ 7:35am EDT
Population 28,995,000 | Policy Reopening State Cases
Total0.59% Per Capita
Total0.009% Per Capita
Total81,747 In Recovery
New Cases
July 20.1% Growth
Yesterday there were 9,308 new confirmed* cases, 0 recoveries, 48 deaths. The current 7-day rolling average of 6,320 new cases/day grew 137.8% from 14 days ago, at that rate in Texas...Cases in 7 Days
Estimated55,194 New Cases
Cases in 14 Days
Estimated135,660 New Cases
Cases in 30 Days
Estimated485,766 New Cases
TexasMortality Rate
W.H.O.Mortality Rate
Deaths in 7 Days
Estimated912 New Deaths
Deaths in 14 Days
Estimated2,119 New Deaths
Deaths in 30 Days
Estimated7,371 New Deaths
* The number of cases displayed reflects how many have beentested & confirmed so far. It doesNOT include the potentially many undetected people who are currently infected with COVID-19, whether asymptomatic or undiagnosed.
Case / Death Rates & MortalityA sign of progress is the average number of cases & deaths per day dropping. Note that cases slowing can indicate a slowing infection rate, slowing testing rate, or a combination of these factors.Higher mortality rates can indicate strained medical resources, low testing rates, or a combination of these factors.Testing StatsTests Performed
Total as of Jul 16.63% Per Capita
Tests Per Day
7 Day Avg0.14% Per Capita
Positive Test Rate
7 Day AvgW.H.O. target: 10% max
Another gauge of expanding infection is an increasing positive test rate relative to overall testing.Cumulative StatsHospitalization StatsThe average rate of non-ICU hospitalization is 15%. Texas has approximately 66,689 non-ICU hospital beds in total.Current Non-ICU Patients
Estimated (15% of Cases)
Non-ICU Capacity
Estimated In Use
Non-ICU Days Left
22 days | Jul 24
Estimated Til 100% Capacity
At the current case rate in Texas...Patients in 7 Days
Patients in 14 Days
Patients in 30 Days
The average rate of ICU hospitalization is 5%. States have on average 20 - 30 ICU beds per 100,000 people, so Texas has roughly between 5799 and 8699 ICU beds. At the current rate Texas...Current ICU Patients
Estimated (5% of Cases)
ICU Capacity
46% - 70%
Estimated In Use
ICU Days Left at Most
1 days | Jul 3
Estimated Til 100% Capacity
At the current case rate in Texas...ICU Patients in 7 Days
ICU Patients in 14 Days
ICU Patients in 30 Days
Vance Ginn on Twitter: "Understanding what's going on at hospitals is essential to knowing whether hospitals are being overwhelmed...recall "flatten the curve" More hospital executives are speaking about how hospital staff are doing an amazing job while p
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 23:10
@ VanceGinn Understanding what's going on at hospitals is essential to knowing whether hospitals are being overwhelmed...recall "flatten the curve"More hospital executives are speaking about how hospital staff are doing an amazing job while politics gets in the way.
@kksheld @DavidBalatHC twitter.com/AlexBerenson/s'...
Senior Executive at Texas ER Chain Reveals Real Reason For Spike in Coronavirus Cases
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 06:38
The Democrat-media complex has been hammering Texas for its recent spike in Coronavirus cases, blaming Republican Governor Abbott for reopening too early.
Radical Marxist Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo slammed Abbott during a presser on Friday and said, ''The harsh truth is that our current infection rate is on pace to overwhelm our hospitals in the very near future. We opened too quickly.''
But what's really going on in Texas?
A senior executive at a Texas ER chain contacted former NY Times reporter Alex Berenson and revealed the real reason for the spike in Coronavirus 'cases.'
TRENDING: HUGE: Per His Lawyer -- General Flynn Was Targeted Because "He Knew About the Billions Brennan and Company Were Running Off the Books"
JB Neiman, a Managing Partner and General Counsel of a Texas-based company that owns 13 free-standing clinics in the state of Texas said he 'wants people to hear his story as opposed to the mainstream media.'
Neiman explained that in June, his clinics tested over 2,231 patients and saw a COVID-19 positive test rate close to 20% (was 4-6% positive in May).
What are the COVID-19 positive patients experiencing?
Here's the breakdown:
Do You Think The Media Is Overstating The Danger Of COVID?
99% (372 Votes)
1% (4 Votes)
The executive pointed out that the '' vast majority of the cases are mild to very mild symptoms .''More testing kits means they are able to test a broader group of patients.Clinically, they've had ''very few hospital transfers because of COVID.''Vast majority of patients are better within 2-3 days and would be described as ''having a cold (a mild one at that) or symptoms related to allergies.Most patients are given a steroid shot and antibiotics and by the time they have follow-up calls, the patients are no longer experiencing any symptoms.What is driving people to the ER?
The executive breaks that down:
Roughly half have been told by their employer to get a test '-- if they have a sneeze or a cough, their employer tells them to go home and get tested.The other half just want to know if they have COVID (some have mild symptoms and some have no symptoms).What else is going on in the ICU?
Here's the breakdown:
The hospital ICUs are filled with really sick people with NON-COVID issues. They didn't come in earlier because they were scared and now they are SUPER SICK.From multiple sources at different hospitals: They have plenty of capacity and no shortage of acute care beds.All patients are tested for COVID: ''You have some percentage of patients listed as COVID patients who are non COVID symptomatic and that the hospitalization rate is somewhat driven by hospitals taking in their normal patients with other medical issues.''Discharge planners are being pressured to put COVID as primary diagnosis because it pays significantly better, according to JB Neiman.
JB Neiman concluded: ''What we are seeing at our facilities is more of a positive story'...You have more people who are testing positive with minimal symptoms. This means the fatality rate is less that commonly reported.''
Wondering what's really happening in Texas? Here's the email, from a senior executive at a Texas ER chain that sees thousands of patients a month. He went on the record '' a brave move. I'm going to let him speak for himself. (Two tweets of screenshots. Worth reading to the end.) pic.twitter.com/4xuBdTIFIc
'-- Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) June 30, 2020
The media completely ignores the fact that Coronavirus deaths have dropped significantly which is why they are concentrating on the new 'cases.'
Sunday coronavirus positivity: deaths hit a new low, down to 273. Lowest coronavirus deaths since March 25th per linked data, down nearly 10% from last Sunday. https://t.co/Mb4uw9QkyR
'-- Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 28, 2020
As this ER executive clearly explained, the vast majority of new Coronavirus cases are mild to very mild symptoms (or asymptomatic).
Travis County Judges Orders stop testing
Scientists Warn CDC Testing Data Could Create Misleading Picture Of Pandemic : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:50
Kansas National Guard member Roy Manns writes down results as he runs samples through an Abbott coronavirus testing machine at a drive-through testing site on Wednesday in Dodge City. Charlie Riedel/AP hide caption
toggle caption Charlie Riedel/AP Kansas National Guard member Roy Manns writes down results as he runs samples through an Abbott coronavirus testing machine at a drive-through testing site on Wednesday in Dodge City.
Charlie Riedel/AP The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged that it is mixing the results of two different kinds of tests in the agency's tally of testing for the coronavirus, raising concerns among some scientists that it could be creating an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic in the United States.
The CDC combines the results of genetic tests that spot people who are actively infected, mostly by using a process known as polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, with results from another, known as serology testing, which looks for antibodies in people's blood. Antibody testing is used to identify people who were previously infected.
The CDC's practice was first reported by Miami public radio station WLRN on Wednesday and was confirmed by the agency in a subsequent email to NPR.
Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, expressed concern that adding the two types of tests together could leave the impression that more testing of active cases had been conducted than was actually the case.
"Reporting both serology and viral tests under the same category is not appropriate, as these two types of tests are very different and tell us different things," Nuzzo wrote in an email to NPR.
Serology tests don't give real-time information about the number of new infections occurring. And combining the tests is problematic because it could leave governments and businesses with a false picture of the true scope of the pandemic, she says. That's important because sufficient testing is considered crucial for keeping the epidemic under control, especially as the nation starts to relax social distancing measures, experts say.
"Only [PCR] tests can tell us who is infected and should be counted as a case," Nuzzo wrote. "The goal for tracking testing is to understand whether we are casting a wide enough net to identify cases and only viral tests can tell us that."
In addition, combining antibody testing with diagnostic testing could reduce the number of tests that appear to be producing positive results, lowering the overall "positivity rate." That's another important benchmark. The World Health Organization has recommended a positivity rate of 10% or less as a signal of whether enough testing is taking place.
"I suspect it will artificially lower the percent positive," wrote Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in another email to NPR about the CDC testing data.
CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund wrote in an email to NPR that the "majority of the data is PCR testing" but acknowledged that the agency's tally includes antibody testing because "some states are including serology data" in their testing numbers.
"Those numbers still give us an idea of the burden of COVID-19," Nordlund wrote.
She added, however: "We hope to have the testing data broken down between PCR and serology testing in the coming weeks as well."
Several states have acknowledged in recent weeks that they are combining both types of testing, but at least one, Virginia, then reversed that practice after it became public.
The criticism over how testing results are being reported is the latest in a series of controversies related to testing for the new virus. Many public health experts have criticized the federal government for failing to ramp up testing quickly enough to track and control the epidemic.
The CDC obtains testing data from several sources, including state public health labs, commercial testing companies and hospitals. Officials have been working to develop standardized criteria to alleviate complaints about confusion about reporting requirements.
Texas Bar and Nightclub Association sues state over latest shutdowns | FOX 7 Austin
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 05:06
article AUSTIN, Texas - Last week, the rise in coronavirus cases across Texas lead Gov. Greg Abbott to rollback his reopening plan, closing down bars across the state.
Now the Texas Bar and Nightclub Association (TBNA) is responding by announcing they are suing the state while encouraging other bars to join in and contest the closures.
RELATED: Bars close again in Texas after Gov. Abbott scales back reopening plans
"In light of Greg Abbott's irresponsible and shameful actions this morning that shutter the businesses that provide a livelihood for your families and employees, we support our members in the constitutional right to protest by keeping your businesses open," TBNA stated in a press release.
The association says they have "engaged" with attorney Brent Webster for guidance and representation through the closures. "Any business or business owner that chooses to exercise their right to protest and is ticketed, fined, suspended licensed and/or criminally charged, we have counsel standing by to aid if you would like their assistance," TBNA wrote.
RELATED: Texas restaurants and certain bars can now sell mixed-drinks to go
The association says they cannot afford to cover everyone's legal expenses, however, board members have retained legal counsel on behalf of all 51% of licenses across the state so that they may file a suit against the state of Texas in both state and federal court.
RELATED: VP Mike Pence, Gov. Abbott discuss COVID-19 in Dallas
"TBNA has heard from members across the state all day expressing their rage that our businesses have once again unjustly been indefinitely closed without one shred of scientific evidence that bars and nightclubs pose any more of a public health hazard than a restaurant, grocery store, big-box retailer, convenience store, health club, hair salon or the many of other business segments that cater to the public throughout the state of Texas," TBNA wrote.
Any business that does not follow the latest shutdown could result in a $1,000 dollar fine and a 30-day suspension.
To learn more about the suit, visit the TBNA website.
Fox 7 Discussion: Austin Mayor Steve Adler talks COVID19 hospitalAustin Mayor Steve Adler joined Good Day Austin's Casey Claiborne Sunday morning to talk about how the Austin area may reach hospital bed capacity by mid July if the COVID19 cases don't go down.
Austin Public Health revises risk-based guidelines chart | FOX 7 Austin
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 07:23
AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Public Health has adjusted its risk-based guidelines chart to accommodate for updated information regarding hospital capacity and current data.
The changes were made to the "Recommended threshold: 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions" part of the chart, as according to the hospital systems, the five-county Austin MSA has approximately 1,500 beds available to treat COVID-19 patients.
The revisions also account for average length of hospital stay, which, according to APH, fluctuates daily. Currently the majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients stay in the hospital nine days or less.
RELATED: Travis County Judge Biscoe sends letter to Abbott requesting more roll backs, statewide mask enforcement
The triggers for the different stages have been revised to give the community the ability to remain in Stage 4 for a longer period of time before crossing into Stage 5. The new stage thresholds are:
Stage 1 (Green): Zero (0) new COVID-19 hospital admissions in a 7-day period Stage 2 (Blue): Average of less than 10 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the MSA in 7-day period Stage 3 (Yellow): Average of 10-39'¯new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the MSA in a 7-day period Stage 4 (Orange): Average of 40-(70-123) new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the MSA in a 7-day period Stage 5 (Red): Average of greater than 70-123 (dependent on rate of increase) In Stage 4, the exact hospitalization average trigger will depend on the rate of increase. A faster increase in the daily average will trigger Stage 5 risk recommendations when the number reaches the lower end of this range. As of June 28, the 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions is 52.
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The previous stage threshold triggers were:
Stage 1 (Green): Zero (0) new COVID-19 hospital admissions in a 7-day period Stage 2 (Blue): Average of less than 5 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the MSA in 7-day period Stage 3 (Yellow): Average of 5-19'¯new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the MSA in a 7-day period Stage 4 (Orange): Average of 20-70 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the MSA in a 7-day period Stage 5 (Red): Average of 70 or more new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the MSA in a 7-day period'¯ According to APH, the'¯risk'¯stages system illustrates'¯the regression and progress of'¯several factors, including doubling time,'¯healthcare capacity,'¯and testing positivity rate on a seven-day moving average. These key indicators'¯will inform recommendations on'¯the'¯tightening or'¯loosening'¯of'¯restrictions on'¯physical distancing, mass gatherings, business operations, and other safety measures'¯in the months ahead.
Austin-Travis County is currently in Stage 4. At this stage, higher-risk individuals (those over the age of 65 and those who have chronic medical conditions) should avoid social gatherings and any gatherings greater than two people. They should also avoid all non-essential travel and avoid dining and shopping unless it is essential. At all times and levels, APH continues'¯to urge the community to continue:
Practice social distancing'¯ Wear'¯fabric'¯face coverings in public'¯ Cover coughs and sneezes'¯ Wash hands often'¯ Avoid touching your face'¯ Clean commonly-touched surfaces Given the increased demand for testing, APH is now prioritizing testing for those who are symptomatic, in a congregate setting, employed with critical infrastructure and vulnerable populations.
For more information and updates, click here.
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.
Texas COVID-19 on Twitter: "Top 25 counties of highest per capita infection rates in the US. Texas currently has 1 county on the list: Moore County. #covid19 #coronavirus #texas #tx #covidtexas #texascovid #txlege #TexasCovid19 #TXCovid19 https://t.co/p5R
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 17:36
Replying to
@TexasCovid The JBS beef processing plant there initially refused to allow testing of their workers after several workers had tested positive for the virus. After report if this was made by the press they relented. Just 2 counties north, Texas County, Oklahoma has 986 cases of a 19,983 pop
Vanilla Ice throwing July 4th concert despite coronavirus
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 23:25
The 'Ice Ice Baby' singer will perform for thousands in Texas, where coronavirus cases are surging.
Alright ... stop.
Vanilla Ice is throwing a Fourth of July weekend concert deep in the heart of pandemic hotspot Texas.
The Iceman will cometh this Friday at a concert venue in Austin, where all the bars are otherwise closed due to COVID-19.
The concert is titled the Independence Day Throwback Beach Party and it's happening due to a legal loophole, the Austin Chronicle pointed out. The venue '-- Emerald Point Bar & Grill, located on the shores of Lake Travis '-- is technically a restaurant, even though it also has a large capacity outdoor general admission concert space. So fans don't have to collaborate with or listen to current recommended coronavirus guidelines that seek to eliminate large crowds.
''I can't wait to get back to this," the "Ice Ice Baby" singer posted on Instagram along with some of his previous packed concert footage. "The 90s were the best. We didn't have coronavirus, or cell phones, or computers. We had 5.0's, blockbuster, Beavis and Butthead, Wayne's World, Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan ... Mortal Kombat is still better than Fortnight ... the last of the great decades.''
The concert is selling 2,500 tickets, which is roughly half of the venue's potential capacity. Tickets range from $25 for general admission to $300 for VIP seating (the latter is sold out).
Another retro act, Color Me Badd, will sex up the same venue on July 4th.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all the bars in Texas to re-close last Friday due to a large surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Earlier Wednesday, the popular ACL music festival announced it was scrapping its planned fall 2020 shows. Texas also announced 8,076 new cases, a record daily high, despite tests being increasingly in short supply. The test positivity rate for tests the Austin area is now at 28 percent, according to local news station KVUE.
Will it ever stop? Yo, I don't know.
Related content:
Vanilla Ice aboard Emirates plane quarantined in New York after passengers taken ill Vanilla Ice on today's pop culture: 'There's nothing that really defines this generation' Beavis and Butt-Head being rebooted for a Gen Z world by Comedy Central
WHO Chief On COVID-19 Pandemic: 'The Worst Is Yet To Come' : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 06:31
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference earlier this week in Geneva. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference earlier this week in Geneva.
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images The head of the World Health Organization is warning that the COVID-19 pandemic is actually speeding up and he criticized governments that have failed to establish reliable contact tracing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Speaking at a briefing in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over."
"Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up," he said.
He said the solution is the same as it has been since the early days of the pandemic: "Test, trace, isolate and quarantine."
"If any country is saying contact tracing is difficult, it is a lame excuse," he said.
According to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 10 million confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide since the virus was first identified in China late last year, with more than a half-million deaths. The U.S. alone accounts for more than one-quarter of all confirmed cases, with nearly 126,000 deaths.
"If any country is saying contact tracing is difficult, it is a lame excuse," says @WHO Chief @DrTedros, pointing out that many public health professionals have risked their lives to do contact tracing in active conflict zones, including @DrMikeRyan when fighting #Ebola in DRC. pic.twitter.com/ka8vbLrAUL
'-- Global Health Strategies (@GHS) June 29, 2020"[The] lack of national unity and lack of global solidarity and the divided world ... is actually helping the virus to spread," Tedros said. "[The] worst is yet to come."
"I'm sorry to say that, but with this kind of environment and conditions we fear the worst," he said.
The head of WHO's emergencies program, Mike Ryan, said there had been "tremendous work" toward a coronavirus vaccine but said there's no guarantee of success.
In the U.S., a spike in coronavirus infections has been driven in part by people unwilling to heed public health guidelines to wear masks and continue social distancing.
Currently, the U.S. leads the world in both coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths. Brazil ranks second in the number of infections, followed by Russia, India and the United Kingdom.
President Trump has been highly critical of the WHO, accusing it of helping China cover up the extent of the pandemic within its borders. Earlier this month, the president announced that the U.S. was "terminating" its decades-long relationship with the WHO and would withdraw vital U.S. funding.
Hollywood legend Carl Reiner dies at 98
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 21:33
funny enough. Carl Reiner didn't always have his sights set on comedy, however, there was a small problem. I was missing two things to be an opera singer pitch and timing. Reiner was born in 1922 to Jewish immigrants, a watchmaker and homemaker in New York. I went to the movies in the Bronx. When I was a kid. I saw Ronald Koeman. It was so good. I'll never be there. But I want to be a knock. I could talk like him. Growing up in the Great Depression, Reiner sought free acting classes offered by FDR's Works Progress Administration. After serving in World War two, he headed to Broadway, where he caught the attention of someone working in a new medium. Television. Getting one very important thing, launch show shows, was my college with since season imaging Coca best writers in the history of this business, I really learned to write and learned about what constitutes good comedy. After a decade of working with Sid Caesar, Reiner needed a new creative outlet as he told Conan O'Brien. He didn't have to go far. I was being offered situation comedies. I read a few of these. They weren't very good at my wife, and her infinite wisdom said, Why don't you write one? Reiner created and starred in head of the Family. It flopped at CBS, but Reiners agent had an idea. We'll get a better actor to play you. Although the show got a new cast and a new title Dick Van Dyke Show, Reiner stayed to run the Siri's regularly, appearing on it as well. Whatever you're going to see Laura, I would rather you said to me, That's the way you want it wrong Five years I spent with Carl Reiner and Mary Tyler Moore on The Van Dyke Show with the five best years of my life, the most fun I ever had, the most creative. And I think I learned the most working with Carl Reiner than I ever did what time on comedy about human behavior, about about everything. Carla could have been a psychiatrist. He's I understand people so well. The world is full of normal neurotics, and we like to see ourselves, and I think I think we saw ourselves Indyk. While on set, Reiner developed a passion for directing his movies Oh God with George Burns and the Jerk starring Steve Martin, became instant comedy classics when after Grab came out, I thought it was the greatest thing ever and I bought a pair. This is the result. In his later years, Reiner wrote several books, but he never strayed far from his acting roots. Whether it was on TV sitcoms like Met About You, We Have about Anywhere Before I'm sure I'd remember Oh yes, yes, you would. Or on film in the Oceans 11 franchise. You're all aces in my book, but I want the last check. I write bouts. In his personal life, Reiner was married more than 60 years to jazz singer Estelle Reiner, who appeared in their son Rob's film. When Harry Met Sally, I'll have what she's having. Reiners had three Children. Their eldest, Raw, became a successful actor turned director. Just like his dad. He is my idol and the person who has given me not only life but a direction in life do you pinch yourself a lot all the all the time. How did this happen? It's still a dream. It's still the dream
Hollywood legend Carl Reiner dies at 98
Carl Reiner, one of Hollywood's most iconic comedic talents whose career spanned seven decades, has died at the age of 98.TMZ was the first to report Reiner's death. The outlet said the star died Monday night at his home in Beverly Hills, California, with his family at his side. His assistant, Judy Nagy, told Variety that Reiner died of natural causes.He was one of show business' best liked men, the tall, bald Reiner was a welcome face on the small and silver screens, in Caesar's 1950s troupe, as the snarling, toupee-wearing Alan Brady of ''The Dick Van Dyke Show'' and in such films as ''The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming'' and ''It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.'' In recent years, he was part of the roguish gang in the ''Ocean's Eleven'' movies starring George Clooney and appeared in documentaries including ''Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age'' and ''If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.''Films he directed included ''Oh, God!'' starring George Burns and John Denver; ''All of Me,'' with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin; and the 1970 comedy ''Where's Poppa?'' He was especially proud of his books, including ''Enter Laughing,'' an autobiographical novel later adapted into a film and Broadway show; and ''My Anecdotal Life,'' a memoir published in 2003. He recounted his childhood and creative journey in the 2013 book, ''I Remember Me.''But many remember Reiner for ''The Dick Van Dyke Show,'' one of the most popular television series of all time and a model of ensemble playing, physical comedy and timeless, good-natured wit. It starred Van Dyke as a television comedy writer working for a demanding, eccentric boss (Reiner) and living with his wife (Mary Tyler Moore in her first major TV role) and young son in suburban New Rochelle, New York.He created, wrote, produced, directed and acted in the hit show, which won him 5 Emmys over the course of its run.''The Van Dyke show is probably the most thrilling of my accomplishments because that was very, very personal,'' Reiner once said. ''It was about me and my wife, living in New Rochelle and working on the Sid Caesar show."His achievements in the comedy world continued throughout the years. He won a total of 11 Emmys for his television work and was awarded a Grammy in 1999 Best Comedy Album. Reiner is survived by his three children, Rob Reiner, Annie Reiner and Lucas Reiner. Carl Reiner's wife, Estelle, died in 2008. They had been married for nearly 65 years. Funeral arrangements for Carl Reiner have not been made public.
Carl Reiner, one of Hollywood's most iconic comedic talents whose career spanned seven decades, has died at the age of 98.
TMZ was the first to report Reiner's death. The outlet said the star died Monday night at his home in Beverly Hills, California, with his family at his side. His assistant, Judy Nagy, told Variety that Reiner died of natural causes.
He was one of show business' best liked men, the tall, bald Reiner was a welcome face on the small and silver screens, in Caesar's 1950s troupe, as the snarling, toupee-wearing Alan Brady of ''The Dick Van Dyke Show'' and in such films as ''The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming'' and ''It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.''
In recent years, he was part of the roguish gang in the ''Ocean's Eleven'' movies starring George Clooney and appeared in documentaries including ''Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age'' and ''If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.''
Films he directed included ''Oh, God!'' starring George Burns and John Denver; ''All of Me,'' with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin; and the 1970 comedy ''Where's Poppa?'' He was especially proud of his books, including ''Enter Laughing,'' an autobiographical novel later adapted into a film and Broadway show; and ''My Anecdotal Life,'' a memoir published in 2003. He recounted his childhood and creative journey in the 2013 book, ''I Remember Me.''
But many remember Reiner for ''The Dick Van Dyke Show,'' one of the most popular television series of all time and a model of ensemble playing, physical comedy and timeless, good-natured wit. It starred Van Dyke as a television comedy writer working for a demanding, eccentric boss (Reiner) and living with his wife (Mary Tyler Moore in her first major TV role) and young son in suburban New Rochelle, New York.
He created, wrote, produced, directed and acted in the hit show, which won him 5 Emmys over the course of its run.
''The Van Dyke show is probably the most thrilling of my accomplishments because that was very, very personal,'' Reiner once said. ''It was about me and my wife, living in New Rochelle and working on the Sid Caesar show."
His achievements in the comedy world continued throughout the years. He won a total of 11 Emmys for his television work and was awarded a Grammy in 1999 Best Comedy Album.
Reiner is survived by his three children, Rob Reiner, Annie Reiner and Lucas Reiner. Carl Reiner's wife, Estelle, died in 2008. They had been married for nearly 65 years.
Funeral arrangements for Carl Reiner have not been made public.
Fans of apocalyptic movies are better prepared for pandemic, study claims | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:19
Movies that portray the end of the world or post-apocalyptic scenarios '' known as 'prepper' films '' have helped viewers deal with the coronavirus pandemic, a study claims.
Psychologists have found that people who have been watching movies depicting social chaos and the collapse of global order are better prepared for the virus.
Fans of 'prepper' genres, including alien-invasion, apocalyptic, and zombie films, exhibited higher levels of resilience and preparedness in experiments.
Those people who had been watching horror films in the last few months also showed greater psychological resilience to the viral pandemic.
The researchers say an exposure to frightening fiction allows audiences to practice coping strategies that can be beneficial in real-world situations.
Viewers 'learn vicariously' and are 'unintentionally rehearing the scenarios' when watching films like Contagion and 28 Days Later, and TV shows like The Walking Dead.
Cillian Murphy in a scene from 28 Days Later, a zombie apocalypse movie from 2002. Fans of pandemic and other types of disaster films can practice effective coping strategies that can be beneficial in real-world situations
'Our ability to imaginatively inhabit virtual worlds '' worlds of our own making, as well as those conveyed by movies and books '' is a gift from natural selection,' study author Mathias Clasen, a psychologist at Aarhus University in Denmark, told the Guardian.
'[It's] a bit of biological machinery that evolved because it gave our ancestors an edge in the struggle for survival.
'If you've watched a lot of what we call prepper movies, you will have vicariously lived through massive social upheavals, states of martial law, people responding in both pro-social and dangerously selfish ways to a sudden catastrophic event.
'Compared to somebody who has never simulated the end of the world, you'll be in a better place because you have that vicarious experience.'
TV shows and films have been seen as predictors of the current pandemic. Conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, this study tested whether past and current engagement with relevant media, including horror and pandemic films, was associated with greater preparedness for and psychological resilience
The question of why people seek out gruesome and disastrous situations for entertainment has long occupied the minds of philosophers and scientists, the research team say.
It's previously been speculated that such behaviour may be a form of catharsis or that the arousal generated by frightening stimuli is 'inherently pleasurable'.
But these experiences can act as simulations of actual experiences from which individuals can gather important and possibly vital information.
Exploring dangerous situations in imagined worlds is also a far safer alternative to exploring these situations in the real world, and biologically they help prep our emergency and 'fight or flight' responses.
Specifically, films about pandemics give viewers 'low-cost access to information that is difficult or dangerous to come across in the real world'.
Customers take some of the last paper towels in a Costco store in New Jersey, US, during the pandemic. Pandemic films address possible eventualities of a viral pandemic and whether it 'triggers cooperative or selfish behaviour in others'
Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon in the 2011 film Contagion. Sights of empty shelves during the coronavirus pandemic appeared to recall scenes from the film
They address matters such as whether the spread of a virus triggers cooperative or selfish behaviour in others '' such as the stockpiling of toilet paper and other essentials '' or whether institutions will continue to provide services as usual.
Should a pandemic ever occur, this information could be quite valuable, as it could lead to better preparedness and psychological resilience, the researchers hypothesised.
The team used the 2011 film Contagion, which stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon and Jude Law and depicts the spread of a virus transmitted by respiratory droplets, as an example.
Contagion rose from the 270th most-watched Warner Bros film to the second most-watched Warner Bros film three months into the Covid-19 outbreak.
It quickly became one of the most streamed movies in America, presumably due to the fact that it provides 'a realistic example of what happens during a viral pandemic', the team say.
Gwyneth Paltrow starring in 2011 movie Contagion, in which doctors and medical researchers scramble to track a highly contagious, lethal virus as it moves from Hong Kong to the US
In their study, the psychologists questioned 310 people on whether they considered themselves fans of movies and TV shows of 10 genres.
The 10 types of movies and TV shows were horror, zombie, psychological thriller, supernatural, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, science fiction, alien-invasion, crime, comedy and romance.
Only the prepper and horror genre variables were of interest in the analysis and the other genre variables were used to mask the intent of the study.
The team also took a measure of psychological resilience '' 'the ability to have subjectively positive experiences during a difficult time' '' and mental and physical preparedness during the pandemic, assessed through questionnaires.
As predicted, fans of prepper genres were more prepared for the pandemic and experienced fewer negative disruptions in their life during the pandemic.
Participants who had never seen a pandemic film felt significantly less prepared for the pandemic than those who had seen several or many, while horror fandom was associated with lower psychological distress.
Participants who had never seen a pandemic film felt less prepared for the pandemic than those who had seen several or many pandemic films. Average level of preparedness indicated by the black spot
'Our findings add support to the idea that fiction can be a useful simulation of both specific scenarios, in the case of pandemic films, and generally fearful scenarios, in the case of horror films,' the team report in their study, which is under review at the Social Psychology and Personality Science journal.
Analysis also revealed that morbidly curious individuals experienced greater positive resilience during the pandemic.
Morbid curiosity is typically described as an interest or curiosity about unpleasant things related to death, and was associated with positive resilience and interest in pandemic films, they found.
Morbidly curious individuals were more interested in morbid information about coronavirus and more interested in watching pandemic and virus films and TV shows.
Correlation between trait morbid curiosity and interest in watching a movie or TV show from movie and TV genres during the coronavirus pandemic compared to usual
They also reported more interest than non-morbidly curious individuals in learning specifically about the morbid aspects of the virus, such as seeing photos of what coronavirus does to the body.
The link between morbid curiosity and media preferences are explored further by Coltan Scrivner, a psychologist at the University of Chicago and co-author, in a separate web post.
Scrivner found a greater correlation between morbid curiosity and interest in watching a movie or TV show from the pandemic virus genre in the last few months, compared with other genres such as romance and action.
Royals putting 'Fanbassador' cutouts in stands to fill seats during games | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV | News, Weather, Sports
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:07
KANSAS CITY, Mo. '-- Kansas City Royals season ticket holders can be in the stands this year without actually being at Kauffman Stadium. Just send in a photo!
The Royals launched their Fanbassador program Wednesday. Season ticket holders can order a hard plastic cutout in their likeness.
The Royals will start with 500 cutouts, placed around the stadium, that way fans can see themselves on TV during games.
The Royals hope real people will be able to return to the stadium at some point.
''We're going to be playing baseball. We don't know if we're going to be playing with fans right away. But we hope to be playing in front of fans before it's all said and done,'' said Toby Cook, Royals vice president of publicity.
The cutouts are $40. Half of the money will go towards the Royals Respond Fund, which helps with food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis.
Gun sales break May record amid coronavirus pandemic, riots | Fox Business
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:13
Gun sales spiked more than 80 percent year over year in May as consumers responded to safety concerns and civil unrest prompted, in part, by the novel coronavirus pandemic, experts said.
Approximately 1,726,053 guns were sold in May '' a record-breaking 80.2 percent increase from last year, according to data released late Monday by Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting, which examines the raw data obtained from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
Of the firearms sold, 1,052,723 were handguns and 535,014 were long-guns, the SAAF estimated.
Similar increases were previously recorded through the months of April, when data showed a 71.3 percent increase from April 2019, and March, when an 85.3 percent increase was reported year over year, according to information previously released by the SAAF.
Jurgen Brauer, chief economist at SAAF, said Tuesday the numbers through May 31 so far did not appear to reflect any increase in firearm sales as a result of protests and, later, riots in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes.
Dana Loesch, an author, radio host and former spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, told FOX Business on Tuesday she was ''not at all'' surprised to hear the latest numbers and expects people will be eager to purchase firearms, considering the recent violence in parts of the nation.
''When people see the violence that they see on television '' and people understand the difference between peaceful protesters and violent rioters '' they see, you know, the sunset and then the fires start, and see the assaults and the looting and the breaking and destruction of private property,'' Loesch said. ''So they look at this and it unnerves them, especially after we've all been locked up for, like, three months."
Loesch said the likelihood of someone's business being looted or damaged decreases when owners have the means to protect themselves.
''This is people's livelihoods. For some people, their lives are over when they lose their ability to make ends meet,'' she said. ''These aren't rich corporation heads that are feeling the brunt of this.''
People purchasing firearms, ''want to make sure they're protected,'' especially, she said, at a time when some groups have created dangerous situations beyond peaceful protests.
''When people see the way that law and order breaks down out of either a lack of respect just for law and order, or for an unwillingness to stop looting and rioting,'' she continued, ''They're going to get firearms because they ultimately understand that they are their own first responder.''
The notion of people being ''their own first responder,'' was also expressed by Mark Oliva, spokesperson for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gunmakers.
People wait in a line to enter a gun store in Culver City, Calif., March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
An NSSF survey found that 40 percent of recent gun purchasers are first-time buyers who are ''overwhelmingly purchasing handguns for personal protection.''
''The past months, and especially the events of the past week, show us that in uncertain times, law-abiding Americans will consistently choose to take responsibility for their own safety, as is their right,'' he said Monday in a prepared statement. ''Police were already stretched thin before this wave of unrest, prisoners recently released from jails were being re-arrested for subsequent violent crimes and the widespread destruction of personal property and assaults remind Americans that they must be their own first-responder.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Sound of the crowd: TV sport keeps it real with the faux human league
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:24
The crowd roars, but there's no one there, so where is the noise coming from and how does it match the action so perfectly?
These are the existential questions that have hummed in the background since the NRL, AFL and English Premier League resumed their stop-start seasons in the past couple of weeks.
The new reality of TV sport: cardboard fans, piped-in crowd sounds. Credit: Getty Images
If you've been watching, you'll no doubt have formed a view about the use of artificial crowd noise on the broadcast. And if you're like most people, you'll probably have moved past the early outrage and settled into an "I don't mind it, actually" state of acceptance.
"We give our viewers the option to choose to watch the live game without the audio overlay," says Corin Dimopoulos, head of content at Optus Sport. ''And about 20 per cent do that because they feel they can hear the players calling to each other, which you sort of can. But the other 80 per cent choose it with the atmospheric over the top, so it's clearly working."
That result may be skewed by the fact the sound-off option is not available in catch-up viewing, which, because of the time difference, is how many EPL fans in Australia consume their soccer. Still, if the experience of Seven's broadcast of the crowdless first round of the AFL season is any indication, the novelty of hearing players' and coaches' voices echoing around an empty stadium might soon wear off anyway.
"It was clear to us after the first game that there were voids we needed to fill, both visually and from a sound experience," says Lewis Martin, managing director of Seven Melbourne, and the man responsible for the network's AFL coverage. "We looked at what was foreign to viewers '' and what was foreign was the empty stand and the lack of crowd noise."
If the big men fly but no one is there to hear them land, did they really fly at all? Credit: Getty Images
Within days, Martin and executive producer Gary O'Keefe had begun trawling through the library of game recordings, looking for examples of various stadiums at various crowd sizes, to compile a catalogue of samples for, say, the MCG with 40,000 people or the Gabba with 20,000.
"We spent hours listening to the different stadiums," Martin says. "We would close our eyes for 20 minutes just listening to the crowd. The big thing for us was we didn't want to give people something different '' it needed to be comforting and familiar to the audience from decades of watching footy on the telly. And it needed to be repeatable."
Martin is tight-lipped about exactly how the sound is married to the visuals in the heat of the moment, but he describes the result as "the Goldilocks outcome" '' not too loud, not too quiet, just right.
In the EPL broadcasts, which come prepackaged from the UK, they are using sound supplied by the computer game company EA Sports. Mixing the game, says Dimopoulos, "is a pretty manual process, with effects for oohs and aahs. They can even add some of the more family friendly chants."
So that'd be about 10 per cent of them then.
"About one per cent," he corrects.
EA has in fact been using stadium audio in its games since 2015, with that audio coming from Sky's broadcasts of real games. In other words, the sound it is supplying to the EPL now actually came from the EPL in the first place.
This circular arrangement hit a bit of a snag though in the EPL's first weekend back, with the management at Watford's game against Leicester opting to pump the EA-supplied artificial crowd noise into the stadium in a bid to motivate the home side; all it achieved was some nasty feedback problems for the sound engineer trying to mix the game live.
(An even worse glitch afflicted a La Liga game in Spain recently, when the digitally generated crowd image that was supposed to track around the stadium, being mapped onto seats according to which camera was in play, became stuck, with the effect that the crowd was seen to hover well above the seats and even at one point to map onto players on the field. Not so much Goldilocks as Godzilla, a disaster movie with terrible effects.)
No wonder Simon Fordham, executive producer of Nine's NRL coverage, didn't want to rush into the faux crowd sound scenario. "So many times I've seen people try to create a gimmick," he says, "but fans are smart, they spot a rat".
For the first game or two without crowds pre-lockdown, Fordham thought things would be fine au natural. But by the time the round was over, he knew otherwise.
"By that Sunday, having seen seven games without crowd noise, I was worried about maintaining that for an unknown period," he says. The hardcore league fan might be fine with it, but for the broader audience "the crowd is the thing that brings it together and endorses the sense of excitement '... without it, they might choose MasterChef over NRL if they're not entertained".
Even so, it wasn't until the day before the first game back that Nine finally decided to go with the added crowd noise. "We'd had discussions, done a couple of rehearsals, and were confident of the technology, but we had concerns," Fordham admits.
Paul Pogba is fouled in the incident which led to Manchester United's equaliser against Tottenham. Credit: AP
The NRL crowd noise comes from the network's databank of match recordings, but the soundtracking is done by an external company, AFX, which didn't even exist prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.
Again, it's a single audio engineer mixing live as the game unfolds '' "it has to be somebody who knows and loves the game", says Fordham '' pumping the volume of the crowd up and down using a foot-operated pedal, and dialling in boos, cheers, jeers, whistles and the like from a data bank of between 20 and 30 samples.
But each of those effects is also calibrated to the specifics of the venue. In a game between two Sydney teams, for instance, the crowd might be weighted roughly 50-50, but at a Broncos game in the cauldron of Suncorp Stadium, the Brisbane side is likely to have 80 per cent of the support. Each effect needs to reflect that as well.
"The tough part is the crowd is such an organic thing, completely reactive to its environment, so if you get it wrong it really sticks out," says Fordham.
Whatever you do, though, crowd or no crowd, it's going to stick out at least a little.
Take the game between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United on the opening weekend of the EPL's resumption. Home side Spurs were leading until the 66th minute, when United were given a penalty after Paul Pogba tumbled to the ground in the box.
Instantly, the crowd jeered and whistled in outrage. Except, of course, there was no crowd.
It was jarring and familiar all at once.
Just about perfect, in other words, for this strangest of seasons.
Follow the author on Facebook at karlquinnjournalist and on Twitter @karlkwin
Karl Quinn is a senior culture writer at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
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Alabama students held COVID-19 parties to get infected: Report | khou.com
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:25
A Tuscaloosa city councilor reportedly claimed the students put money in a pot. Whoever got infected first won the money.
MOBILE, Ala '-- Students in Tuscaloosa, Ala., who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 reportedly have been going to parties in an attempt to see who else will catch the virus. That's what a city council member told ABC News Wednesday.
Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry reportedly said that students had organized COVID-19 parties in an attempt to infect each other on purpose.
"They put money in a pot and they try to get COVID. Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense," McKinstry told ABC News. "They're intentionally doing it."
The Tuscaloosa council issued a mandatory facemask rule Tuesday night after Fire Chief Randy Smith told members that an investigation uncovered students who knew they were positive were still partying.
''We thought that was kind of a rumor at first. We did some additional research. Not only did the doctors' offices help confirm it but the state confirmed they had also had the same information," Smith said in remarks shown on Facebook live.
At least some of the students were from out of state, Smith said, indicating they were in college. But officials did not disclose what schools the students attended. Three colleges are located in Tuscaloosa.
The Mobile City Council voted 6-1 on Wednesday for an ordinance requiring facial coverings in public places for the next 30 days.
''At the end of the day what we want is to make sure our businesses stay open and our citizens stay healthy," Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said.
Birmingham and surrounding Jefferson County, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Selma already have mask ordinances because of the pandemic, which health officials say is worsening in Alabama as hospitalizations increase and the percentage of positive virus test results rises.
Several people spoke out against the Mobile ordinance during public comments and Stimpson said he knows some people may take offense at the step. But he said officials are seeking ways to stop the spread of the virus, adding police officers have been given masks to distribute if someone needs one.
''We would much rather have our officers handing out face masks instead of citations," Stimpson said.
Gov. Kay Ivey has declined to enact a statewide mask law, saying it couldn't be enforced, but she extended other, less-restrictive rules that have been in place.
More than 38,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed statewide, and at least 947 people have died of the illness. The state on Wednesday had nearly 800 people in state hospitals with COVID-19, the highest number since the pandemic began.
Decatur officials have delayed a decision on a mask requirement.
The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but it can be more serious and even fatal for older adults and those with other health problems.
The Alabama Department of Corrections reported Wednesday that a seventh inmate died after testing positive for COVID-19. The prison system said 68 inmates and 166 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. One employee has died.
TEGNA Staff contributed to this report.
Universities consider chartering planes for international students
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:10
Posted on Jun 26, 2020 by Will Nott Posted in Covid-19, News, under Global.Tagged with Coronavirus, Queen's University Belfast, The University of Bolton, The University of Canberra.Bookmark the permalink. Universities around the world are planning on chartering planes for international students to bring them onto campuses, as part of a bid to tackle travel disruption caused by Covid-19.
Universities around the world are planning to charter flights to get int'l students onto their campuses. Photo: Pexels Share this:About Will NottWill trained as a journalist at News Associates after studying English Literature at the University of Warwick. He has worked for the Daily Express, VICE and Newsquest where he was a reporter on the Bromley News Shopper. Will has also worked in online TV, where he directed documentaries. He was awarded a Malcolm Bradbury scholarship to study Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. When not working, Will enjoys reading, writing, cooking and trips to Cornwall.''The University of Canberra and the Australian National University are set to fly in 350 students in July''
In the UK, the University of Bolton has made plans to fly in students from India, China and before the new semester starts in September.
''We will ensure that from the moment they leave their home'... their safety is paramount ''
Similar plans have been made or are being considered by universities in Northern Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
Speaking during a British Council webinar about the future of transnational education, vice-chancellor of the University of Exeter and the UK's International Education Champion, Steve Smith, said that the key issue of the pandemic is how it is going to affect people's ability to travel.
''We are looking at chartering planes in the autumn to bring students from other parts of the world,'' he said.
''Because if they can't travel on commercial flights, if that is the case then TNE will be more of an interesting option for us because frankly, people may not be able to travel. I think it's that balance that's key.''
Universities are stepping in, not only to get students onto flights but also to support them with other parts of their journey onto campus.
For example, the University of Bolton has been working with Manchester Airport and Bolton Council to organise airport pick-up, onward travel by dedicated coaches, and quarantine support for students.
George Holmes, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Bolton, said that students' safety would be paramount throughout their entire journey and when they arrive on campus.
''The University of Bolton is open for international students. They are an incredibly important part of our institution,'' he said.
''We will ensure that from the moment they leave their home in whatever country they are from, that their safety is paramount.
''We will assist and support international students on the entire journey, ensuring that they remain within their own 'bubble' from the moment they set off until the moment they come out of quarantine in the UK,'' he added.
At Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland, a flight has been chartered from to bring students from Beijing to Northern Ireland in September.
All students who currently hold an offer for Queen's and INTO Queen's '' and who meet the conditions associated with their offer '' are eligible for the flight.
It is also open to current students returning to Belfast to start their next academic year. Safety is still a concern.
''Students are required to take a Covid-19 test 48 hours before flight departure. They are required to provide evidence of the test in order to board the flight,'' a statement on the university's website reads.
The chartering of flights is not only being used to assist the pool of incoming international students. The approach will also help existing students return to universities and resume their studies.
SBS Punjabi reported that The University of Canberra and the Australian National University are set to fly in 350 students in July as part of a pilot scheme backed by The federal and Australian Capital Territory governments .
''International students'... are an incredibly important part of our institution''
The pilot has been seen as a first step in resurrecting Australia's billion-dollar international education sector.
''The plan will see 350 international students landing in the first flight in Canberra in the middle of July ahead of the second semester,'' vice-chancellor of The University of Canberra, Paddy Nixon told the outlet.
''They will be subjected to mandatory quarantine at hotels in Canberra which will be partly paid for by us and the ACT government,'' added Nixon.
Earlier this month The PIE reported that Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand has been considering the use of chartered flights to bring students safely into the country.
Brandbrief - Brandbrief Nederlandse artsen over coronamaatregelen
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:23
Beste collega's,
Via deze weg willen wij onze ernstige bezorgdheid uiten, voortkomend uit de gang van zaken de afgelopen maanden rondom de uitbraak van het SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Wij, een grote groep artsen, menen dat de coronamaatregelen meer schade aanrichten dan goed doen. Wij roepen alle politici op om zelf, onafhankelijk en kritisch het beschikbare bewijs te beoordelen, ook die van andersdenkenden. Wij vragen politici openbaarheid van besluitvorming te eisen en te allen tijde proportionaliteit en subsidiariteit mee te laten wegen.
Gezondheid is een diffuus begrip dat de afgelopen jaren in opdracht van de Gezondheidsraad en ZonMw opnieuw werd omschreven als een alternatief voor de statische definitie van gezondheid uit 1948 van de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO). Het resulteerde in ''Gezondheid als het vermogen zich aan te passen en een eigen regie te voeren, in het licht van de sociale, fysieke en emotionele uitdagingen van het leven''.3 Deze omschrijving gaat niet uit van de afwezigheid van ziekte, maar van veerkracht, functioneren en eigen regie. Later uitgewerkt tot het begrip Positieve Gezondheid met zes dimensies, dat een rode draad vormt in de onlangs verschenen Landelijke Nota Gezondheidsbeleid 2020-2024 van het ministerie van Volksgezondheid Welzijn en Sport (VWS), voor alle gemeentes in Nederland.4 Ook maakt het deel uit van het nieuwe Raamplan Artsenopleiding 2020.5 Internationaal wordt het nieuwe gezondheidsbegrip zeer veel geciteerd. Daarnaast onderschrijft ook de WHO de noodzaak van het meewegen van de rechten van de mens als het gaat om maatregelen genomen in het kader van de volksgezondheid.a
De huidige wereldwijde maatregelen, genomen ter bestrijding van SARS-CoV-2 schenden in hoge mate
deze visie op gezondheid en de rechten van de mens. VWS gaat regelrecht in tegen de, in haar eigen nota vastgelegde, visie op gezondheidsbeleid en het potentieel ervan.
De maatregelen betreffen onder meer verplichte sociale distantie, (semi-) verplichte isolatie,
hyginemaatregelen en verplichte persoonlijke beschermingsmaatregelen.6,7
Ten tijde van de piek en onzekerheid van de pandemie was dit wellicht nog verdedigbaar, maar voor het
voortzetten van noodmaatregelen is onvoldoende wetenschappelijke basis, sterker nog er is wellicht meer bewijs t(C)gen het gezondheid bevorderende effect van de huidige maatregelen dan er voor.6, 7
Schade op het gebied van het psychosociale domein8,9,10, economische schade11 en schade aan de non-covid gezondheidszorg en totale zorgkosten, is ongevenaard en vele malen groter dan de winst van de gewonnen levensjaren van coronapatienten.12 De kans dat kwetsbare groepen dubbel geraakt gaan worden is groot.13,14 De maatregelen zouden ergens tussen de 13.000 en 21.000 gezonde levensjaren bij coronapatinten hebben opgeleverd, naast 10.000 tot 15.000 levensjaren die zij hebben gekost. Hoeveel gezonde levensjaren verloren zijn gegaan is nog moeilijk te schatten maar zouden het aantal gewonnen levensjaren ruim overstijgen.15,16 Door de blijvende maatregelen is de komende tijd de ziekenhuiscapaciteit dermate beperkt dat van inhalen van niet-geleverde zorg geen sprake zal zijn. 1,2 miljoen verwijzingen via zorgdomein zijn uitgesteld, hiervan wacht nog altijd 40% op een afspraak.17 Naast het verlies aan gezonde levensjaren is dit ook financieel een grote strop. Dat dit niet sneller ingevuld kan worden, wordt voor een groot deel veroorzaakt door de huidige 1,5 meter afstandseis, die tot grote logistieke uitdagingen in ziekenhuizen leidt en daarnaast goede poliklinische zorg in het gedrang brengt.
Er is nog weinig tot geen bewijs voor het nut van sociale distantie op 1 tot 2 meter6 afstand. In de openlucht raken mensen weinig besmet, terwijl dit in onvoldoende geventileerde ruimtes ook buiten 1,5 meter makkelijk lijkt te gebeuren.18 Er is groeiend bewijs voor verspreiding via arosolen en superspreaders. 19. 20
Daartegenover heeft social distancing wel een duidelijk negatief effect op de volksgezondheid. Infectiologen geven aan dat de maatregelen te goed gewerkt hebben, aangezien er nog zeer weinig antistofvorming in de maatschappij is op het moment. Virussen en andere overdraagbare aandoeningen behoren tot het natuurlijk menselijk bestaan. Ook Covid-19 trof voornamelijk ouderen en van de aangedane personen maakte meer dan 85% het mild door. Daarnaast is er een piekbelasting op de Intensive Care-units (IC's) geweest. Op 7 april lagen er 1424 mensen op IC's, ruim boven de normale Nederlands capaciteit. Vooral de extreem lange ligduur lijkt hier debet aan. Dit gebeurt bij de jaarlijkse griepgolf niet. Deze, sinds kort bekend wordende gegevens nopen tot heroverweging van de genomen maatregelen. Bijvoorbeeld omgekeerde isolatie (beschermingsmaatregelen toepassen bij een bepaalde groep i.p.v. bij iedereen) van zieken en kwetsbare groepen, waarbij bij maatregelen de nevenschade aan de gehele maatschappij en persoonlijke integriteit, te allen tijde meegewogen dienen te worden. Naast zinvolle afschaling dient de opgedane kennis ertoe te leiden dat in de toekomst naast de gezondheidszorg, ruimte wordt gegeven aan een breder palet van experts om te adviseren rondom maatregelen.
Ook willen we jullie aandacht vestigen op het wetsvoorstel dat later dit jaar ingediend zal worden.1 (1- wetsvoorstel, originele versie van juni 2020). Het doel van de wet is om de noodverordeningen bij wet vast te leggen, ter bescherming van de volksgezondheid. Naast het feit dat het initile wetsvoorstel extreme strafmaatregelen in zich draagt, iedere boete met een strafblad gepaard gaat en zowel de handhaving als de invulling aan veel willekeur wordt overgelaten2 (2- reactie Orde van Advocaten), leidt deze bovendien niet tot het doel dat hij feitelijk zou moeten dienen, namelijk verbetering van de volksgezondheid.
Dit alles meewegende verbazen wij ons over de overweging om, op basis van de summiere huidige wetenschappelijke onderbouwing, ertoe over te gaan om de maatregelen een wettelijk karakter te geven, met mogelijkheid tot verlenging voor onbepaalde tijd. De overheid beroept zich hierbij op 'het belang van de volksgezondheid'. De verantwoording vanuit de overheid dat dit gebeurt in het licht van volksgezondheid is schokkend te noemen, als de collaterale schade wordt meegewogen. Wij kunnen, als beroepsgroep helderheid in het debat creren door ons meer uit te spreken over de proportionaliteit (middel staat in verhouding tot de kwaal) en subsidiariteit (effect wordt met de minst ingrijpende maatregel bereikt) van de maatregelen. Om zo bij te dragen aan optimalisering van beleid.
Zolang het niet duidelijk is dat er binnen onze beroepsgroep ook twijfel bestaat over de uitvoering van de huidige maatregelen, kan dit een vertekend beeld aan de maatschappij geven, waarbij kritische discussie gemeden dan wel afgezwakt wordt. Dit kan de volksgezondheid verder schaden.
Als arts legden wij allemaal onze eed dan wel gelofte af welke in 2003 werd aangepast naar de huidige tijd en onder meer stelt '..Ik zal gezondheid bevorderen.'.. 'Ik erken de grenzen van mijn mogelijkheden. Ik zal mij open en toetsbaar opstellen. Ik ken mijn verantwoordelijkheid voor de samenleving en zal de beschikbaarheid en toegankelijkheid van de gezondheidszorg bevorderen. Ik maak geen misbruik van mijn medische kennis, ook niet onder druk.'21 In dit licht is het huidige shamen, blamen en censureren van artsen die een tegengeluid op overheidsbeleid en Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu laten horen, die alternatieven naast een vaccinroute belichten of kritische vragen stellen over de gang van zaken, uitermate zorgelijk. Evenals het plaatsvinden van het adviseren achter gesloten deuren. Wij snappen dit niet, maar zouden het graag begrijpen. Daarnaast benadrukt het de dubbele kant van de huidige situatie, want als we w(C)rkelijk als doel zouden hebben om zoveel mogelijk mensen te 'redden' van dit nieuwe coronavirus dan zouden we, redelijkerwijs, lle mogelijkheden en ideen moeten aangrijpen om dit te bewerkstelligen. In plaats daarvan sluiten we op dit moment de eerste lijn uit van onderzoek naar behandelmethoden en investeren geen aandacht in gezondheid bevorderende maatregelen.
Wij willen hierbij een openbaar app¨l doen op onze beroepsverenigingen en mede-zorgverleners om zich uit te spreken over de huidige maatregelen en de voorgestelde wetgeving.
Wij vragen aandacht voor en roepen op tot een open discussie, waarbij zorgverleners zich mogen en durven uitspreken zonder angst voor repercussies. Wij brengen dit met respect en erkenning voor het snelle handelen tijdens het begin van de pandemie, voor de integriteit van onze collegae in en rondom het Outbreak Management team en onderschrijven een eenduidig beleid. Wij maken ons echter in toenemende mate zorgen om de beslotenheid waarin het OMT de overheid adviseert en de snelheid waarmee hypotheses en meningen in beleid verankerd worden.
Wij geven met deze brief het signaal af dat voortgang op dezelfde voet meer schade dan goed zou kunnen doen en roepen de politieke partijen op om zelf, onafhankelijk en kritisch bewijs te beoordelen, ook dat van andersdenkenden, openbaarheid van besluitvorming te eisen en te allen tijde proportionaliteit en subsidiariteit mee te laten wegen vanuit een multidisciplinaire blik, om met de opgedane kennis beleid te vormen met als doel het bevorderen van gezondheid en medemenselijkheid.
Met bezorgdheid, hoop en op persoonlijke titel,
In alfabetische volgorde, een greep uit de 81 vroege ondertekenaars
Aysel Darbas, internist
Dick Bijl, epidemioloog, oud president van de International Society of Drug Bulletins (ISDB), huisarts
Esther van Fenema, psychiater
Evelien Peeters, Internist
Femme Zijlstra, radioloog
Frans Kusse, arts IM
Froukje Verdam, KNO arts
Hannah Visser, internist
Henk Jans, arts M+G, medisch milieukundige, chemicus
Ineke de Bruin, psychiater
Inge Prins- van der Velpen, fertiliteitsarts
Jacqueline van der Meij, patholoog
Jan Vosters, arts M+G n.p.
Johan Tielen, MDL arts
Kim van Oudenaarde, arts-assistent radiologie
Leonie Schaper, psychiater
Machteld Huber, voormalig huisarts/ onderzoeker
Marieke Krans, arts GGZ
Marion Heres, gynaecoloog
Marjolein Doesburg-van kleffens, specialist laboratoriumgeneeskunde, klinische chemie
Monique de Veth-Konings, psychiater
Peter van den Hazel, arts medisch milieukundige
Emeritus hoogleraar klinische immunologie Pierre Capel
Raymond Brunink, openbaar apotheker specialist
Renate Tillema-Schoon, psychiater
Roland Laurens, thoraxchirurg
Saira Moeniralam, specialist ouderengeneeskunde
Sanne Sanavro, internist
Tim Smits, dermatoloog
V(C)ronique van Erp, jeugdarts
A.A. de Rooij-Grandia, huisarts Zoetermeer
Annerose Kunenborg, huisarts
Annemarie Semeijn, huisarts
Arina Klokke, huisarts, Delft, kringbestuurslid LHV
Azucena Cuijpers, huisarts Amsterdam
Bettina van Steenis
Casper Post Uiterweer, huisarts en universitair docent, Utrecht
Caecilia Verlinden, huisarts Dubai en Nederland
C.J. van Setten, huisarts, Utrecht
Christof Zwart, huisarts
Claire Loots, huisarts
C.W. Mulder, arts M+G/MPH, Gorssel
Riverside Community Hospital nurses strike in California - World Socialist Web Site
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:45
By Kevin Martinez 26 June 2020Nurses in SEIU local 121 at the Riverside Community Hospital in California have gone on strike and plan to protest for 10 days until the HCA Healthcare hospital chain provides safety equipment for employees and resumes the staffing ratios agreed to last year.
Since the start of the pandemic, nurses at 19 HCA hospitals complained to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that they lacked protective gear like respirator masks and were forced to reuse medical gowns. The Guardian and Kaiser Health News have identified 679 health care workers in the US who have died from COVID-19. Nurses at HCA have repeatedly complained about not being provided with safety equipment, medical technicians and cleaning staff. Executives threatened to lay off thousands of nurses if they didn't agree to wage freezes and other cuts.
A nurse at an HCA hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, Celia Yap-B, died from COVID-19 in April, a month after her coworkers complained to OSHA that she had to treat a patient without safety gear. At HCA's hospital in Riverside, California, Rosa Luna died after cleaning patient rooms and contracting the virus. Her colleagues warned executives in emails that hospital cleaning staff were not being provided with safety masks.
Now, with California and states across the country lifting social distancing measures, COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing. Riverside itself is a hotspot, with the second largest number of cases and deaths in California. On Friday, Riverside County confirmed 501 new COVID cases. It has been responsible for roughly 10 percent of new cases across the state over the past two weeks. The efforts of nurses and hospital staff to brace for this storm have been undermined by HCA's cost-cutting.
With a wave of new cases developing and available ICU beds across the county dropping to just 86, HCA executives have threatened to lay off 10 percent of the workers unless the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and National Nurses United accept wage freezes, the elimination of company contributions to workers' pensions and other cuts.
Rather than call a system-wide strike in response to this threat against all of its members at HCA hospitals, the SEIU has called an isolated action, limited to the Riverside facility. SEIU Local 121 alone has members at two other HCA hospitals nearby. The isolated character of the work stoppage in Riverside allows HCA to bring in strike-breakers without significant expense.
Already, the hospital has brought in at least 400 nurses from other hospitals to offset the strike. HCA Healthcare recently offered nurses who cross the picket line up to $980 per shift, a $150 ''show up'' bonus and a continental breakfast.
Demonstrating the incapacity of privately-owned health care to respond with anything but greed to the pandemic, HCA received almost $1 billion in bailout funds set aside for the hospital industry by the federal government, part of the economic stimulus package misnamed the CARES Act. Many hospital chains continue to lay off or cut the pay of workers while compensating their executives with millions. Collectively, the hospital chains are sitting on billions of dollars of cash reserves. HCA earned more than $7 billion in profits over the last two years and its CEO made $26 million in 2019. The company is worth $36 billion.
The CEO at HCA, Samuel Hazen, has responded to criticisms of penny-pinching by donating two months' salary toward a fund to help furloughed workers. This amounts to $237,000, less than 1 percent of his $26 million annual pay.
Erin McIntosh, a nurse and member of SEIU Local 121RN, told the Guardian: ''When the pandemic hit, I thought HCA, our hospital, would be revving up the resources, that we would have more resources, more staff. But unfortunately it was the opposite. They started making cuts, and we're working with skeleton crews. We're being cut to the bare minimum.''
The union and the hospital reached an agreement last year that capped the number of patients per nurse. The number ranges from two to five patients. That agreement expired on May 31, forcing nurses to take on additional patients as well as other tasks such as housekeeping.
Although the Riverside Community Hospital has not laid off or furloughed any workers because of COVID-19, they have stopped calling in per diem nurses, who typically fill the schedule by working only one day a week. The hospital has also started a pandemic pay program, which pays nurses 70 percent of their regular pay for hours not worked. However, it requires them to be on call.
The SEIU intends to end the walkout after 10 days, whether or not its conditions are met. Nurses looking to protect their patients and themselves must reject the straitjacket being imposed by the union bureaucracy. Just last week, SEIU Local 1,000 accepted an 11 percent pay cut demanded by California's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, affecting 96,000 nurses, custodians and administrators employed by the state.
To carry the fight forward, nurses should take the struggle into their own hands by forming rank-and-file committees, independent of the unions, to demand full protective gear and equipment, full compensation for all staff and no furloughing of workers. This must be combined with a political fight to unite all sections of workers in opposition to the corporations and the government, and demand the replacement of for-profit medicine with a socialized system to provide free, equal and high quality health care for all.
The author also recommends:
For international working class action against the COVID-19 pandemic! [23 June 2020]
California Democrats collaborate with state employees union to cut workers' wages by 11 percent [25 June 2020]
Models and Data
Almost half in virus-hit Austria ski resort have antibodies: study
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 08:32
Ischgl, a tourism hotspot, was one hit by a coronavirus outbreak (AFP Photo/Johann GRODER)
Vienna (AFP) - Almost half of the population of an Austrian alpine resort hit by a coronavirus outbreak have antibodies, indicating they had been infected in the pandemic, researchers said on Thursday.
Thousands became infected after holidaying in Ischgl and other ski resorts in the western province of Tyrol around early March, transmitting the virus not just in Austria but also abroad in Germany, the US, Singapore, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
A study by the Medical University of Innsbruck now shows 42.4 percent of those living in Ischgl are thought to carry new coronavirus antibodies.
Serology tests on the blood can show antibodies indicating whether someone has had the virus in the past and may have some level of immunity.
Some governments are pushing antibody tests as a way to examine levels of potential immunity as they try to restart economies after virus lockdowns. But the WHO has warned there is still no evidence that people who test positive were immunised against getting infected again.
"In Ischgl, we have the highest seroprevalence ever shown in a study. Even if we can't conclude this means those in Ischgl have herd immunity, a good part of the population should have protection" from contracting the virus for now, research leader Dorothee von Laer said, using a term referring to a level of mass immunity.
She said only 15 percent of respondents had previously tested positive for the virus so "85 percent did not notice they were infected" with about half of them having had such mild symptoms that they dismissed them as a cold.
For the study, 79 percent of the population -- or 1,259 adults and 214 children from some 480 households -- were tested between April 21 and 27.
Among those under 18 years old, just 27 percent had antibodies, which could be because they had less contact to infected people or because their immune system reacts differently to the virus, according to epidemiologist Peter Willeit.
More studies, such as on how long the antibodies stay in the blood, could be conducted later.
Many of those who were infected in Tyrol's alpine resorts have filed legal complaints, blaming local authorities for not acting quickly enough to protect travellers.
Authorities have rejected the accusations, saying the region carried out contact tracing as recommended by the World Health Organization and that Ischgl's ski season was cut short on March 13, shortly before the region was put under quarantine.
Von Laer said the virus is thought to have been around Ischgl -- dubbed the "Ibiza of the Alps" thanks to its packed bars and buzzing nightlife -- from at least mid-February onwards. The first case that became public dates to March 7.
A previous study, based on tests in April, showed an estimated 4.71 percent of people in 27 communities with large numbers of infections had new coronavirus antibodies. A sample size of 540 people was tested for this study.
Overall, the country of nine million people has been spared the brunt of the crisis, reporting less than 17,400 cases and 700 deaths to date.
Why do more men die from COVID-19?
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 07:46
Men, women and children all become infected with the new coronavirus equally often. But men tend to suffer more severe cases of COVID-19 and are more likely to die of it. DW looks at possible explanations.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, many possible reasons have been put forward as to why men tend to suffer more when they become infected with the novel coronavirus: Men pay less attention to their health, smoke more or eat less nutritiously. According to such theories, the older generation in particular has an unhealthy lifestyle. And in addition, men generally wait longer before seeing a doctor.
Data gathered in more than 20 countries by the research initiative Global Health 50/50 confirms that women are infected with the virus as frequently as men. But men are more likely to contract severe forms of COVID-19 and die from the infection. The ratio of mortality according to sex is about one-third to two-thirds.
One factor is certainly the greater prevalence of particular preexisting conditions in men. For example, men suffer much more often from cardiovascular diseases, from which they also die more often than women.
Another decisive factor is the age structure. According to Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI), at least twice as many men as women have died in all age groups up to the 70 to 79 age group. Even the RKI is unable to name the reasons for this gender difference.
ACE2 receptor as the major gateway?
The ACE2 receptor might play an important role because it serves as a kind of gateway for the diseases COVID-19, SARS and MERS, which are all caused by coronaviruses. Men were also more affected by MERS, says Bernhard Zwissler, Director of the Department of Anaesthesiology at the LMU Klinikumin Munich.
Coronaviruses use the ACE2 receptor as a gateway into the host cell
According to a study by the University Medical Center Groningen, this ACE2 receptor is found in higher concentrations in men. Researchers discovered this gender difference while investigating a possible correlation between the ACE2 receptor and chronic heart failure.
According to Zwissler, researchers are currently investigating whether the administration of ACE inhibitors as antihypertensive drugs leads to the increased formation of the ACE2 receptor in cells, making them more susceptible to infection. He says this is certainly conceivable, but that nothing has yet been proven.
Estrogen and a stronger immune system
The female immune system is also more resilient than that of men. The main reason for this is the female sex hormone estrogen. It stimulates the immune system so it acts faster and more aggressively against pathogens. The male hormone testosterone, on the other hand, inhibits the body's own defenses.
Sneeze into your elbow, not your hand, please!
According to virologists, the generally faster and stronger reaction of women's immune systems to viral infections is also evident in the case of other viral diseases, such as influenza or even simple colds. This would seem to indicate that jokes about "man-flu" have a grain of truth to them.
On the other hand, women suffer more often from autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system overreacts and attacks body cells '-- a possible complication with COVID-19 as well.
There are also "genetic reasons" that favor women, the molecular virologist Thomas Pietschmann told DW. He says that "some immune-relevant genes, for example genes that are responsible for recognizing pathogens, are encoded on the X chromosome. Because women have two X chromosomes and men have only one, the female sex has an advantage here."
India as an exception
Surprisingly, research from India shows that women there have a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than men. It shows the mortality rate for infected women in the country as being 3.3% overall, while the rate for infected men is 2.9%. In the 40 to 49 age group, 3.2% of infected women died, compared to 2.1% of men. In the 5 to 19 age group, only women and girls died.
The reasons why India should be an exception are currently being intensively researched. It is suspected that women are more affected, among other things, because there are simply more older women than men in India.
In addition, research has suggested that in India less attention is paid to women's health in comparison with men's. Accordingly, women visit the doctor less often and often try self-medication first. And they tend to be tested or treated comparatively late.
"How much of this can be attributed to biological factors and how much of this is associated with social factors is unclear. Gender can be a critical factor in Indian settings," SV Subramanian, Professor of Public Health at Harvard University, told the British broadcaster BBC.
The Spanish flu of 1918 already killed significantly more women than men in India. Women were more susceptible to the infection because many of them were malnourished, because they were often locked up in unhygienic and poorly ventilated apartments and because women were much more likely than men to care for the sick.
Children less at risk
Surprisingly, children are not among the weakest members of society when it comes to the new coronavirus '-- in most children, the disease it causes takes a comparatively mild and often asymptomatic course. Of the around 9,000 people who have died of COVID-19 in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic, only three were under 18 years of age.
The reason for this is not yet fully understood. Doctors assume that the already innate "unspecific system" is effective in small children. As protection against the first pathogens, the mother gives her own specific immune protection to the fetus and later to the newborn via breast milk.
Doctors assume that the already innate 'unspecific system' works in small children
This innate immune defence includes, for example, scavenger and killer cells '-- white blood cells that attack all pathogens that enter the body via the mucous membranes or the skin.
This "passive immunization" usually lasts until children have built up their own defense system. Children develop their specific immune defense up to the age of about 10. And even after that, their defense system remains capable of learning throughout their lives when new pathogens appear.
Children are not spreaders
In any case, the age distribution of COVID-19 cases differs significantly from that of other infectious diseases, where children are often considered "super-spreaders" because they spread a virus quickly throughout the population.
This is not the case with the new coronavirus, according to a much-noticed study commissioned by government of the German state of Baden-W¼rttemberg. The study is now serving as the basis for a rapid and comprehensive return to normal operations in daycare centres and schools, provided that hygiene standards and distancing rules are observed.
Daycare centres and schools can open: Children are obviously not coronavirus spreaders
But it remains unclear whether infected children are just as contagious as infected adults. In another much-discussed study, the virologist Christian Drosten from the Charit(C) hospital in Berlin showed that children have just as many viruses in their throats as adults. Other international studies have also come to this conclusion.
However, a strong presence of viruses in the respiratory tract does not prove that these viruses are passed on equally strongly. Since children have fewer symptoms '-- for example, less coughing '-- it could be that they themselves are infected but that they infect fewer other people, pediatricians and hygiene specialists said in a statement issued by four medical associations.
World's dominant strain of coronavirus 'is 10 TIMES more infectious than the one that jumped to humans in China' because it mutated so its vital spike protein doesn't snap as often in the body, scientists say
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:03
The spikes on the outside of the coronavirus (illustrated in red) are what it uses to latch onto cells on the inside of a victim's airways. A mutated version of the virus appears to have developed stronger spikes so it is more likely to infect someone if they breathe it in, scientists say
(C) Provided by Daily Mail
A mutated version of the coronavirus that has gripped Europe and the West is more infectious because it doesn't break as often while inside the body, a study has found.
Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute in Florida say the 'spike protein' that the virus uses to attach to cells in the airways has adapted since January.
It used to break off regularly while trying to bind to receptors in people's airways, which it would use to gain entry to the body, but is now more resilient, they say.
A genetic mutation which scientists around the world have been picking up on for months appears to have caused this spike to be less likely to snap, and also to force the coronaviruses to produce more of them to make itself more infectious.
As a result the virus appears to be approximately 10 times more infectious than it was when it first jumped to humans in China at the end of the year, scientists say.
The mutated version of the virus, dubbed G614 - a change from D614 - is a tiny change in its genetic make-up that scientists weren't sure what to make of when they found it.
But by May research had found it had become the dominant strain being found in Covid-19 patients across the UK, US, Canada and Italy.
Lead researcher on the Scripps institute's study, Dr Hyeryun Choe, told the Washington Post the mutation seemed to have happened to 'compensate' for the weakness of the spike protein in the past.
The Post reported it appeared to have become approximately 10 times more infectious as a result of this change.
The way the virus enters the body is by using its spike to latch onto a receptor - called an ACE-2 receptor - inside someone's airways.
ACE-2 receptors are essentially tiny gateways that the virus uses to get into the blood and then multiply rapidly, destroying cells around them in the process and triggering illness.
Dr Choe and her colleagues examined the differences between the spike proteins, dubbed S, on the outside of both versions of the coronavirus.
They found: 'These results show SG614 is more stable than SD614, consistent with epidemiological data suggesting that viruses with SG614 transmit more efficiently.'
The spike was stronger, they said, and as a result the virus was better able to bash through the gateway of the ACE-2 receptors.
Dr Choe told the Washington Post: 'The epidemiological study and our data together really explain why the [G variant's] spread in Europe and the US was really fast... This is not just accidental.'
However, this improved spike strength did not seem to be making people any sicker - or any less sick.
This, they suggested, could be because the spike had nothing to do with the virus's ability to reproduce - to replicate - once it was inside the body.
HOW AND WHY CAN VIRUSES CHANGE OVER TIME? Viruses are known to change over time because they are subject to random genetic mutations in the same way that all living things are.
These mutations can have various effects and many will only happen briefly and not become a permanent change as newer generations of viruses replace the mutated ones.
However, some of the mutations might turn out to be advantageous to the virus, and get carried forward into future generations.
A virus may change its structure by accident but turn out to be more infectious that way, meaning it can infect more hosts, reproduce more, and become more dominant than its less fertile predecessor.
Or if a virus becomes less dangerous to its host - that is, it causes fewer symptoms or less death - it may find that it is able to live longer and reproduce more.
As a result, more of these less dangerous viruses are produced and they may go on to spread more effectively than the more dangerous versions, which could be stamped out by medication because more people realise they are ill, for example.
The mutation may then be taken forward in the stronger generations and become the dominant version of the virus.
In an explanation of an scientific study about HIV, the NHS said in 2014: 'The optimal evolutionary strategy for a virus is to be infectious (so it creates more copies of itself) but non-lethal (so its host population doesn't die out).
'The "poster boy" for successful long-living viruses is, arguably, the family of viruses that cause the, which has existed for thousands of years.'
The process of reproduction, and using the body's resources to achieve this, is how the coronavirus causes illness.
Dr Choe's study added: 'An interesting question is why viruses carrying the more stable SG614 appear to be more transmissible without resulting in a major observable difference in disease severity.
'It is possible that higher levels of functional S protein observed with SG614 increase the chance of host-to-host transmission, but that other factors limit the rate and efficiency of intra-host replication.'
The paper was published online on bioRxiv without being reviewed by independent scientists.
Researchers in the UK and US had in May noted that the G614 version of the virus had become 'the dominant pandemic form in many countries'.
They said it was first found in Germany in February and had since become the most common form of the virus in patients worldwide - it appears to force out the older version whenever they clash.
Viruses mutate naturally all the time and it is not usually cause for alarm but should be studied in case they change so much they become unrecognisable to the body and immunity from a first infection cannot protect against them, as is the case with flu.
A study done by scientists at the University of Sheffield and Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, found that D614 appeared to have been the virus's original state in humans, and the one found in Wuhan.
It made up the vast majority of all Covid-19 infections in China, and Asia as a whole, and also seemed to be the first version of the virus to appear in the countries they studied.
However, the mutated version - G614 - started to appear soon after in Europe and North America in particular, before going on to take over as the dominant virus.
'A clear and consistent pattern was observed in almost every place where adequate sampling was available,' the researchers said.
'In most countries and states where the COVID-19 epidemic was initiated and where sequences were sampled prior to March 1, the D614 form was the dominant local form early in the epidemic.
'Wherever G614 entered a population, a rapid rise in its frequency followed, and in many cases G614 became the dominant local form in a matter of only a few weeks.'
They said the G614 mutation may give the virus a 'selective advantage' which makes it better able to bind to cells in the airways, or to shed viruses which it uses to reproduce and spread.
It could do this because the D614G mutation appeared to affect the shape of the 'spike' protein that the virus uses to attach to a person's cells and infect them.
A sample of 447 hospital patients in Sheffield showed that people had a higher viral load when infected with G614, meaning they had a higher quantity of viruses circulating in their body.
This could make them more likely to spread COVID-19 because they could be more likely to show symptoms and have more viruses on their breath, for example.
The researchers wrote: 'An early April sampling... showed that G614's frequency was increasing at an alarming pace throughout March, and it was clearly showing an ever-broadening geographic spread.'
And they added: 'Through March, G614 became increasingly common throughout Europe, and by April it dominated contemporary sampling.
'In North America, infections were initiated and established across the continent by the original D614 form, but in early March, the G614 was introduced into both Canada and the USA, and by the end of March it had become the dominant form in both nations.'
WHAT IS AN ACE-2 RECEPTOR AND WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH COVID-19? ACE-2 receptors are structures found on the surface of cells in the lungs and airways which work with an enyzme called ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) to regulate blood pressure.
Its exact function in the lungs is not well understood but studies suggest it is protective against lung damage and low levels of it can worsen the impact of viral infections.
Scientists say that the coronavirus which causes COVID-19 enters the body through the ACE-2 receptor, which the shape of it allows it to latch on to.
This means that someone with more ACE-2 receptors may be more susceptible to a large viral load - first infectious dose of a virus - entering their bloodstream.
People who have higher than usual numbers of ACE-2 receptors may include those with diabetes or high blood pressure because they have genetic defects which make them produce more.
High levels of ACE-2 receptors may also be protective, however.
They are thought to be able to protect the lungs during infection and a study on mice in 2008 found that mice which had ACE-2 blocked in their bodies suffered more damage when they were infected with SARS, which is almost identical to COVID-19.
Smoking has in the past been repeatedly linked to lower than normal levels of ACE-2 receptors, potentially increasing the risk of lung damage from COVID-19.
Read more
UK on course for a V-shaped recovery, says Bank of England | Business | The Guardian
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:00
The Bank of England's chief economist has said Britain's economy is recovering faster than previously thought from the Covid-19 crisis, while warning that faster growth could lead to higher inflation.
Issuing an upbeat assessment as lockdown controls are gradually relaxed across most of the UK, Andy Haldane said there were signs of a V-shaped economic recovery '' whereby growth rapidly snaps back from a steep downturn in activity. However, he warned that a surge in unemployment could quickly nudge the country off course.
Official figures published earlier on Tuesday showed that the UK economy shrank by 2.2% in the first three months of 2020 '' the sharpest decline in more than 40 years. The drop was 0.2 percentage points bigger than first estimated.
The first-quarter figures put the country on course for the deepest recession in modern times, with expectations of a steeper collapse in the second quarter. According to the Office for National Statistics, economic output collapsed by more than 20% in April, the first full month of lockdown.
However, Haldane said economic activity had steadily recovered. Speaking during a webinar on Tuesday, he said: ''There is a debate about which letter of the alphabet will best describe the path of the economy, with some scepticism about the V-shaped scenario path in the Bank's May monetary policy report. It is early days, but my reading of the evidence is so far, so V.''
The prospect of a more rapid recovery for the world economy than previously hoped has driven financial markets to one of the strongest quarters on record.
In the UK, the FTSE 100 has rebounded by 9.1% over the quarter '' the strongest three-month period since 2010, when the stock market was recovering from the 2008 financial crisis. The index is still about 18% down from the start of the year.
Wall Street has staged a dramatic rebound in the three months to June, as central banks and governments stepped in with emergency financial support to prop up the world economy. The S&P 500 index has jumped by 18% since the start of April, in the strongest quarter since 1998. The index of leading US company shares remains about 5% down this year amid lingering concerns over the virus.
Haldane said the revival in the British economy had been helped by stronger than expected consumer spending, which had improved ''sooner and materially faster'' than the Bank of England predicted in May. That trend has been helped by spending on DIY and household goods, as well as a sharp uptick in car and home sales, which had plunged during lockdown.
However, the Bank's chief economist said he was aware of a range of risks to the economic recovery, including a potential surge in unemployment, which has so far been limited to an extent by the government's furlough scheme.
''Of these risks, the most important to avoid is a repeat of the high and long-duration unemployment rates of the 1980s, especially among young people,'' Haldane said.
Government figures released on Tuesday showed that 9.3 million people had been furloughed as part of the coronavirus job retention scheme. Meanwhile, more than 2.5 million self-employed workers are claiming income support.
''Taken together, this means that perhaps as much as half the UK workforce is currently either unemployed or underemployed. This, too, has no historical precedent,'' Haldane said.
He was the only member of the interest-rate setting monetary policy committee to vote against extending the central bank's £100bn stimulus programme earlier this month.
Faced with the prospect of a stronger economic recovery than first anticipated, Haldane sounded the alarm that the economy growing rapidly could fuel higher inflation.
Although it was still unclear which way the balance of risks would fall, he said the package of economic support from the Bank '' through lower interest rates and quantitative easing '' and from the government could lead to demand for goods and services outstripping supply, pushing up consumer prices.
Driven down by falling petrol prices as demand for oil evaporates amid the global health emergency, inflation is currently at an almost four-year low of 0.5%.
Haldane said inflation could be about one percentage point higher within two years than current Bank forecasts. This could require Threadneedle Street to raise interest rates by about one percentage point to hit its government-set 2% target.
However, he said he was ready to provide further support to the UK economy if needed. ''Like the rest of the MPC, I stand ready to adjust monetary policy, at speed, if needed to support the economy.''
ONS report shows 52% increase in excess deaths of people dying of dementia '' Alzheimer's Society comments | Alzheimer's Society
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:17
A new report on death registrations not associated with COVID-19 from the Office for National Statistics has given insight into the number of excess dementia deaths in England and Wales during the pandemic.
' The largest increases in non-COVID-19 deaths compared to the five-year average are seen in deaths due to 'dementia and Alzheimer disease' and 'symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions'.
' There has been a 52.2% increase in excess deaths of people dying of dementia. This 52.2% represents 5,404 excess deaths of people with dementia.
Fiona Carragher, Director of Policy and Influencing at Alzheimer's Society said:
'We already knew people with dementia have been worst hit by the virus, accounting for a quarter of all the deaths we've seen.
'But this 52% increase in excess deaths of people with dementia during the pandemic is staggering. It is the largest surge in deaths of any health condition.
'There are so many grieving families around the country who need answers. We must understand what's going on here.'
'In care homes, we suspect isolation, fewer visitors, the resulting onset of depression, as well as interruption to health services are contributing, but there is surely also underreporting of Covid-19 deaths.
'Early research is showing many people with dementia don't display typical symptoms, or may even be asymptomatic. We must have regular testing of all care home staff and residents to keep people safe.
'Our Alzheimer's Society Dementia Connect support line, which we're fighting to keep open despite facing loss of half our total income, is taking calls from people every day feeling hopeless at the deterioration of their loved ones.
'We know what good dementia care looks like, and social contact is key to keeping people with dementia well. The Government has to think hard about how to protect the lives of people with dementia if there is a second peak, we cannot have this scale of tragedy again.'
Estimation of Excess Deaths Associated With the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States, March to May 2020 | Infectious Diseases | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 22:59
Key PointsQuestion Did more all-cause deaths occur during the first months of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States compared with the same months during previous years?
Findings In this cohort study, the number of deaths due to any cause increased by approximately 122'¯000 from March 1 to May 30, 2020, which is 28% higher than the reported number of COVID-19 deaths.
Meaning Official tallies of deaths due to COVID-19 underestimate the full increase in deaths associated with the pandemic in many states.
Importance Efforts to track the severity and public health impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States have been hampered by state-level differences in diagnostic test availability, differing strategies for prioritization of individuals for testing, and delays between testing and reporting. Evaluating unexplained increases in deaths due to all causes or attributed to nonspecific outcomes, such as pneumonia and influenza, can provide a more complete picture of the burden of COVID-19.
Objective To estimate the burden of all deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States from March to May 2020.
Design, Setting, and Population This observational study evaluated the numbers of US deaths from any cause and deaths from pneumonia, influenza, and/or COVID-19 from March 1 through May 30, 2020, using public data of the entire US population from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). These numbers were compared with those from the same period of previous years. All data analyzed were accessed on June 12, 2020.
Main Outcomes and Measures Increases in weekly deaths due to any cause or deaths due to pneumonia/influenza/COVID-19 above a baseline, which was adjusted for time of year, influenza activity, and reporting delays. These estimates were compared with reported deaths attributed to COVID-19 and with testing data.
Results There were approximately 781'¯000 total deaths in the United States from March 1 to May 30, 2020, representing 122'¯300 (95% prediction interval, 116'¯800-127'¯000) more deaths than would typically be expected at that time of year. There were 95'¯235 reported deaths officially attributed to COVID-19 from March 1 to May 30, 2020. The number of excess all-cause deaths was 28% higher than the official tally of COVID-19''reported deaths during that period. In several states, these deaths occurred before increases in the availability of COVID-19 diagnostic tests and were not counted in official COVID-19 death records. There was substantial variability between states in the difference between official COVID-19 deaths and the estimated burden of excess deaths.
Conclusions and Relevance Excess deaths provide an estimate of the full COVID-19 burden and indicate that official tallies likely undercount deaths due to the virus. The mortality burden and the completeness of the tallies vary markedly between states.
The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) first emerged in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and rapidly grew into a global pandemic.1 Without adequate capacity to test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), during the early part of the pandemic, laboratory-confirmed cases captured only an estimated 10% to 15% of all infections.2 As a result, estimating the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 is a challenge.
Questions have been raised about the reported tallies of deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States. Some officials have raised concerns that deaths not caused by the virus were improperly attributed to COVID-19, inflating the reported tolls. However, given the limited availability of viral testing and the imperfect sensitivity of the tests,3,4 there have likely been a number of deaths caused by the virus that were not counted. Furthermore, if patients with chronic conditions turn away from the health care system because of concerns about potential COVID-19 infection, there could be increases in certain categories of deaths unrelated to COVID-19. In the midst of a large outbreak, there is also an unavoidable delay in the compilation of death certificates and ascertainment of causes of death. Overall, the degree of testing, criteria for attributing deaths to COVID-19, and the length of reporting delays are expected to vary between states, further complicating efforts to obtain an accurate count of deaths related to the pandemic.
To estimate the mortality burden of a new infectious agent when there is a lack of comprehensive testing, it is common to assess increases in rates of death beyond what would be expected if the pathogen had not circulated.5-7 The ''excess death'' approach can be applied to specific causes of death directly related to the pathogen (eg, pneumonia or other respiratory conditions), or this approach can be applied to other categories of deaths that may be directly or indirectly influenced by viral circulation or pandemic interventions (eg, cardiac conditions, traffic injuries, or all causes). The excess deaths methodology has been used to quantify official undercounting of deaths for many pathogens, including pandemic influenza viruses and HIV.7-9
In this study, we estimate the excess deaths due to any cause in each week of the COVID-19 pandemic across the United States. We compare these estimates of excess deaths with the reported numbers of deaths due to COVID-19 in different states and evaluate the timing of these increases in relation to testing and pandemic intensity. These analyses provide insights into the burden of COVID-19 in the early months of the outbreak in the United States and serve as a surveillance platform that can be updated as new data accrue.
Data on deaths due to pneumonia, influenza, and COVID-19 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision codes U07.1 or J09-J18) and on deaths due to all causes were obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) mortality surveillance system.10 Data were stratified by state and week.
Data on all-cause deaths in previous years were obtained from https://data.cdc.gov/resource/pp7x-dyj2 and https://data.cdc.gov/resource/muzy-jte6. Data on all-cause deaths and pneumonia/influenza/COVID-19 deaths since January 26, 2020, were obtained from https://data.cdc.gov/resource/r8kw-7aab. The NCHS data are based on the state where the death occurred rather than the state of residence.
The NCHS reports deaths as they are received from the states and processed; counts of deaths from recent weeks are highly incomplete, reflecting delays in reporting. These ''provisional'' counts are updated regularly for past weeks, and the counts are not finalized until more than a year after the deaths occur.
Historical data on the proportion of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza in previous years were obtained from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weekly influenza death reports (https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/mortality.html) via the cdcfluview package in R (R Foundation), and these were used to determine the number of pneumonia and influenza deaths in the baseline period. All data were accessed June 12, 2020.
Connecticut and North Carolina were missing mortality data for recent months and were therefore excluded from the analyses and from the baseline numbers.
We also compiled data on COVID-19''related morbidity to gauge the timing and intensity of the pandemic in different locations. We used CDC data on influenza-like illness,11 a long-standing indicator of morbidity due to acute respiratory infections, which has been used to monitor COVID-19. We also obtained information on influenza virus circulation to adjust baseline estimates.12 See the eAppendix in the Supplement for details.
To compare our excess mortality estimates with official COVID-19 tallies, we compiled weekly numbers of reported deaths due to COVID-19 in each state from the NCHS,13 and these data were supplemented with data from the COVID Tracking Project.14 State-specific testing information was obtained from the COVID Tracking Project14
These analyses use publicly available aggregate data and were deemed exempt from human subjects review by the Yale institutional review board (protocol 1411014890).
Excess Mortality and Morbidity Analysis
To calculate the number of excess deaths, we first needed to estimate the baseline number of deaths in the absence of COVID-19. We then subtracted the expected number of deaths in each week from the observed number of deaths for the period March 1, 2020, to May 30, 2020.
Each of the 48 states (excluding North Carolina and Connecticut) and the District of Columbia were analyzed individually. We fit Poisson regression models to the weekly state-level death counts from January 5, 2015, to January 25, 2020 (see the eAppendix in the Supplement for details). The baseline was then projected forward until May 30, 2020, to generate baseline deaths; excess mortality was defined as the observed mortality minus the baseline for the pandemic period March 1, 2020, to May 30, 2020. The baseline model was adjusted for seasonality, year-to-year baseline variation, influenza epidemics, and reporting delays. The model for pneumonia/influenza/COVID-19 mortality used all-cause deaths as a denominator and did not have a separate adjustment for reporting delays. Poisson 95% prediction intervals were estimated by sampling from the uncertainty distributions for the estimated model parameters.15 Pennsylvania was not highlighted in the data despite having a large number of excess deaths because the data were incomplete during March 2020. Deaths for New York City are reported separately by the NCHS, and we report estimates for New York City and the rest of New York State separately. To obtain national-level estimates, the observed count and predicted counts (median estimate from the model) for each state were summed for each week and compared. Estimates for excess all-cause deaths were rounded to the nearest 100 and for excess pneumonia/influenza/COVID-19 deaths to the nearest 10. Medians and 95% prediction intervals are presented.
Adjusting for Reporting Delays
Reporting delays make it challenging to estimate excess deaths for recent weeks. To adjust for incomplete data in recent weeks, we adjusted the baseline based on an estimate for data completeness in that week. The estimate of completeness is based on the number of weeks that passed between the week in which the data set was obtained and the week in which the death occurred. We used a modified version of the NobBS package in R to estimate the proportion of deaths that were reported for each date and incorporated that as an adjustment in the main analysis16 (eAppendix in the Supplement). For instance, if we estimated that the data were 75% complete for a particular week, we multiplied the baseline by 0.75. These reporting delays were estimated using provisional data for deaths that occurred since March 29, 2020, and thus reflect changes in reporting that might have occurred during the pandemic. The completeness of the data varied markedly between states (eFigure 1 in the Supplement).
A study by Woolf et al17 of excess deaths in the US used the same database and a related harmonic regression method. The main differences in methodology are that Woolf et al did not adjust for reporting delays, the study period ended on April 25, 2020, and that study controlled for time trends using an adjustment for calendar year rather than epidemiological year.
Code and Data Availability
The analyses were run using R version 3.6.1. All analysis scripts and archives of the data are available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3893882 and the current version of the repository is available at https://github.com/weinbergerlab/excess_pi_covid. More details about the data and methods are in the eAppendix in the Supplement.
Across the United States, there were 95'¯235 reported deaths officially attributed to COVID-19 from March 1 to May 30, 2020. In comparison, there were an estimated 122'¯300 (95% prediction interval, 116'¯800-127'¯000) excess deaths during the same period (Table). The deaths officially attributed to COVID-19 accounted for 78% of the excess all-cause deaths, leaving 22% unattributed to COVID-19. The proportion of excess deaths that were attributed to COVID-19 varied between states and increased over time (Table and Figure 1).
The changes in mortality that occurred during the pandemic varied by state and region. In New York City, all-cause mortality rose 7-fold above baseline at the peak of the pandemic, for a total of 25'¯100 (95%prediction interval, 24'¯800-25'¯400) excess deaths, of which 26% were unattributed to COVID-19 (Table and Figure 2). In contrast, in the rest of New York State, the increase was more moderate, rising 2-fold above baseline and resulting in 12'¯300 (95% prediction interval, 11'¯900-12'¯700) excess deaths. There were notable per capita increases in rates of death due to any cause in many other states, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Illinois, and Michigan, where the number of deaths greatly exceeded the expected levels (Table, Figure 2, and Figure 3; eFigure 2 in the Supplement for additional states). Other states, particularly smaller states in the central United States and northern New England, had some COVID-19 deaths reported in official tallies but small or no detectable increases in all-cause deaths above expected levels (Table).
The gap between the reported COVID-19 deaths and the estimated all-cause excess deaths varied among states (Table; eFigure 3 in the Supplement). For instance, California had 4046 reported deaths due to COVID-19 and 6800 (95% prediction interval, 6100-7500) excess all-cause deaths, leaving 41% of the excess deaths unattributed to COVID-19 (Table). Texas and Arizona had even wider gaps, with approximately 55% and 53% of the excess deaths unattributed to COVID-19, respectively. In contrast, there was better agreement between the reported COVID-19 deaths and the excess all-cause deaths in Minnesota, with 12% unattributed to COVID-19 (Table).
Some of the discrepancy between reported COVID-19 deaths and excess deaths could be related to the intensity and timing of increases in testing. In some states (eg, Texas, California), excess all-cause mortality preceded the widespread adoption of testing for SARS-CoV-2 by several weeks (Figure 4; eFigure 4 in the Supplement for additional states). In other states (eg, Massachusetts, Minnesota), testing intensity increased prior to or with the increase in excess deaths, and the gap between COVID-19 deaths and excess deaths was smaller (Figure 4).
The increase in excess deaths in many states trailed an increase in outpatient visits due to influenza-like illness by several weeks (eFigure 5 in the Supplement).
We performed several sensitivity analyses. We refit the seasonal baseline without adjusting for influenza activity (eTable in the Supplement). Excluding influenza pulled the baseline upward and led to smaller excess estimates in some states. Furthermore, we created an empirical baseline by averaging the number of deaths in corresponding weeks of the previous years. This yielded weekly estimates of excess death that aligned closely with estimates from our model in April 2020. The estimates of excess deaths based on the empirical baseline were slightly higher than those calculated with the modeled baseline in March 2020 and much lower estimates for May (eFigure 6 in the Supplement). The difference in the estimates for May is driven by reporting delays, which are adjusted for in the modeling approach but not in the empirical baseline. This suggests that our modeling approach provides robust estimates of excess mortality while allowing for formal quantification of uncertainty and more timely estimates than other empirical approaches. Finally, we explored the accuracy of our adjustment for reporting lags (eFigure 8 in the Supplement). The reporting delay correction underestimates deaths by 5% to 8% 2 weeks after the deaths at the national level but then stabilizes after 3 weeks or more. Therefore, our excess mortality estimates for the most recent week are modestly conservative.
Mortality data are released regularly, and updated analyses, along with additional figures, are available at https://weinbergerlab.github.io/excess_pi_covid/.
Monitoring excess deaths has been used as a method for tracking influenza mortality for more than a century. Herein, we used a similar strategy to capture COVID-19 deaths that had not been attributed specifically to the pandemic coronavirus. Monitoring trends in broad mortality outcomes, like changes in all-cause and pneumonia/influenza/COVID-19 mortality, provides a window into the magnitude of the mortality burden missed in official tallies of COVID-19 deaths. Given the variability in testing intensity between states and over time, this type of monitoring provides key information on the severity of the pandemic and the degree to which viral testing might be missing deaths caused by COVID-19. These findings demonstrate that estimates of the death toll of COVID-19 based on excess all-cause mortality may be more reliable than those relying only on reported deaths, particularly in places that lack widespread testing.
Syndromic end points, such as deaths due to pneumonia/influenza/COVID-19, outpatient visits for influenza-like illness, and emergency department visits for fever, can provide a crude but informative measure of the progression of the outbreak.18 These measures themselves can be biased by changes in health-seeking behavior and how conditions are recorded. However, in the absence of widespread and systematic testing for COVID-19, they provide a useful measure of pandemic progression and the impact of interventions.
The gap between reported COVID-19 deaths and excess deaths can be influenced by several factors, including the intensity of testing; guidelines on the recording of deaths that are suspected to be related to COVID-19 but do not have a laboratory confirmation; and the location of death (eg, hospital, nursing home, or unattended death at home). For instance, deaths that occur in nursing homes might be more likely to be recognized as part of an epidemic and correctly recorded as due to COVID-19. As the pandemic has progressed, official statistics have become better aligned with excess mortality estimates, perhaps due to enhanced testing and increased recognition of the clinical features of COVID-19. In New York City, official COVID-19 death counts were revised after careful inspection of death certificates, adding an extra 5048 probable deaths to the 13'¯831 laboratory-confirmed deaths.19 As a result, the all-cause excess mortality burden from March 11 to May 2, 2020, is only 27% higher than official COVID-19 statistics.19 This aligns well with our estimate of 26% for a similar period in New York City, using a slightly different modeling approach.
Many European countries have experienced sharp increases in all-cause deaths associated with the pandemic. Real-time all-cause mortality data from the EuroMomo project (https://www.euromomo.eu/) demonstrate gaps between the official COVID-19 death toll and excess deaths that echo findings in our study. These gaps are more pronounced in countries that were affected more and earlier by the pandemic and had weak testing. Very limited excess mortality information is available from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America thus far; these data will be important to fully capture the heterogeneity of death rates related to the COVID-19 pandemic across the world. Prior work on the 1918 and 2009 pandemics has shown substantial heterogeneity in mortality burden between countries, in part related to health care.8,20
These analyses are all based on provisional data, which are incomplete for recent weeks in some states because of reporting delays. We have attempted to correct for these reporting delays in the analysis. Sensitivity analyses suggest that these corrections might result in estimates that are conservative (smaller estimates of excess) in the most recent week (eFigure 8 in the Supplement) at the national level, but the correction might overestimate excess deaths in the most recent week in some states. Since several months of data have accrued, and pandemic activity is currently low nationally, any inaccuracies in correcting for reporting delays in recent weeks would likely have a minor impact on the overall estimates of excess deaths.
An alternative approach to the one presented here would be to simply apply the observed number of deaths to the average number of deaths in the corresponding weeks from previous years (eFigure 6 in the Supplement). While this would yield similar answers during certain periods (particularly in April 2020), using an empirical baseline would ignore secular trends in death rates, the potential impact of influenza epidemics in the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reporting delays in more recent weeks. While it would be ideal to wait until the pandemic is over and analyze complete data, there is a need for timely data and analysis during public health emergencies, so the trade-off between data completeness is warranted.
The number of excess deaths reported herein could reflect increases in rates of death directly caused by the virus, increases indirectly related to the pandemic response (eg, due to avoidance of health care), as well as declines in certain causes (eg, deaths due to motor vehicle collisions or triggered by air pollution). Further work is needed to determine the relative importance of these different forces on the overall estimates of excess deaths.
The national estimates do not include data from Connecticut and North Carolina. Together, these account for only 4.5% of the US population and are unlikely to have a large influence on the national-level estimates.
We used a Poisson regression model for analysis. While there was modest overdispersion in some of the larger states, the 95% prediction intervals provide adequate coverage during the prepandemic period (eFigure 7 in the Supplement).
We present a comparison of excess deaths with influenza-like illness. Influenza activity declined to historically low levels starting in March 2020. At the same time, health care''seeking behavior changed drastically. Therefore, analyses of influenza and influenza-like illness need to be interpreted with caution. Regardless, this analysis demonstrates the expected time lag between outpatient visits for influenza-like illness and excess deaths (eFigure 8 in the Supplement).
Monitoring syndromic causes of death can provide crucial additional information on the severity and progression of the COVID-19 pandemic. Estimates of excess deaths will be less biased by variations in viral testing, but reporting lags need to be properly accounted for. Even in situations of ample testing, deaths due to viral pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, can occur indirectly via secondary bacterial infections or exacerbation of comorbidities. There can also be secondary effects on mortality due to changes in population behavior brought about by strict lockdown measures and an aversion of the health care system. Together with information on official tallies of COVID-19 deaths, monitoring excess mortality provides a key tool in evaluating the effects of an ongoing pandemic.
Corresponding Author: Daniel M. Weinberger, PhD, PO Box 208034, New Haven, CT 06520 (daniel.weinberger@yale.edu).
Accepted for Publication: June 15, 2020.
Published Online: July 1, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.3391
Author Contributions: Dr Weinberger had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Concept and design: Weinberger, Chen, Cohen, Pitzer, Reich, Russi, Simonsen, Viboud.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Weinberger, Crawford, Mostashari, Olson, Reich, Russi, Watkins, Viboud.
Drafting of the manuscript: Weinberger, Russi, Watkins, Viboud.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Weinberger, Chen, Cohen, Crawford, Mostashari, Olson, Pitzer, Reich, Simonsen, Watkins, Viboud.
Statistical analysis: Weinberger, Crawford, Reich, Russi, Viboud.
Obtained funding: Weinberger.
Administrative, technical, or material support: Chen, Olson, Russi, Viboud.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Weinberger reported receipt of consulting fees from Pfizer, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and Affinivax for topics unrelated to this work and being principal investigator on a research grant from Pfizer on an unrelated topic. Dr Pitzer reported having received reimbursement from Merck and Pfizer for travel expenses to scientific input engagements unrelated to the topic of this work and being a member of the World Health Organization Immunization and Vaccine-related Implementation Research Advisory Committee (IVIR-AC). No other disclosures were reported.
Funding/Support: This study was supported by grants R01AI123208 (Dr Weinberger), R01AI137093 (Drs Weinberger and Pitzer), R01AI112970 (Dr Pitzer), and R01AI146555 (Dr Cohen) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health; by grant 1DP2HD091799-01 (Dr Crawford) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; by grant R35GM119582 (Dr Reich) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences/National Institutes of Health; by grant 1U01IP001122 (Dr Reich) from the CDC; and by grant CF20-0046 (Dr Simonsen) from the Carlsberg Foundation.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; or decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Disclaimer: This study does not necessarily represent the views of the National Institutes of Health or the US government. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, or the CDC.
Additional Contributions: We thank Andrew Ba Tran, BA, The Washington Post, for feedback on the analysis code. No compensation was received.
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As cases surge, lines for coronavirus tests sometimes stretch miles in the summer heat - The Washington Post
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:47
Reagents '-- substances used to carry out tests '-- and pipettes remain in short supply in many places, and the machines that run the tests are expensive and time-consuming to build.
There are also limits on collection sites, exacerbated by rising summer temperatures. Staff at testing sites, standing outside in full-body protective gear, must rotate more often to avoid heat-related health problems. Some testing sites have been temporarily or permanently closed because of extreme heat.
''The demand, in light of the surge '-- it's overwhelmed the system,'' said Marcia Katz, associate dean for clinical affairs at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. ''The lines are incredibly long. .'‰.'‰. There is availability for testing, there's just limitations in terms of how many people can be tested at one time.''
On a call with reporters Wednesday, Brett Giroir, the administration's testing czar, said the Department of Health and Human Services would help at least three states '-- Florida, Louisiana and Texas '-- with surge testing to identify people under age 35 who are spreading the virus and might not be having symptoms.
It was ''absolutely correct,'' Giroir said, that some labs were near capacity. But he said some of the demand came from one-time mass-testing events at prisons and nursing homes.
Julie Khani, president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association, said in a recent statement that ''the anticipated demand for COVID-19 testing over the coming weeks will likely exceed members' testing capacities.''
In Phoenix, Equality Health's first free coronavirus testing event in June was open-invitation. The health-care system expected 500 or 600 people. Instead, more than 1,000 showed up in lines of cars that stretched on for miles. The event, in a predominantly Hispanic and low-income neighborhood on the city's West Side, was supposed to end at 11 a.m. Medical workers and volunteers administered nose swabs until they ran out seven hours later.
''We didn't have the heart to cut people off that waited for so long,'' spokesman Toms Le"n said.
Still, about 100 people were turned away for lack of supplies. For its next testing event, Equality took only people with appointments; the health system ran out of slots nearly a week in advance, despite doubling capacity.
Cara Christ, director of Arizona's health department, said that throughout May and early June, the state had more tests available than people who wanted them. Then came the ''sudden increase in demand'' that has outstripped supply and created a backlog and long lines.
''We're working on several different fronts to try to increase access to testing and increase capacity,'' Christ said, including supplying more machines and reagents and partnering with private health-care organizations to open more testing sites.
In Austin, a software glitch last week meant more people got appointments for tests than the public health department in Texas's capital city could handle, exacerbating lines.
Austin, which had expanded testing to anyone who wanted it, clamped down again and now will test only people with coronavirus-like symptoms or those at higher risk of complications from covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
''We frankly don't have enough testing capability, and the tests are not coming back quickly enough,'' Mayor Steve Adler (D) said in a Facebook interview last week. He also asked people with health insurance to go to their doctors for tests rather than the city's overburdened free testing sites.
In Houston, officials say holding appointment-only testing at stadiums has helped avoid long lines even as demand has increased significantly. The city can test about 650 people a day under tents to protect from the heat. But the federal control of those test sites was supposed to expire at the end of the month; it was recently extended for two weeks. And by noon every day recently, they have exhausted their budget for supplies.
Houston Health Department spokesman Porfirio Villarreal said he hopes the federal funding will ''continue through August at least .'‰.'‰. because we see continued demand. More people are getting the message of getting tested.''
Ivey Foster, 32, thought she would be safe showing up at a free testing site in Piedmont, S.C., last weekend an hour and a half after it opened. Instead, she found blocks and blocks of cars.
''That line did not move a single car except for two people who got out of line,'' she said.
She ended up toward the front only because she came in from a side street. Still, after an hour in her car, Foster was just close enough to see the state highway patrol block off the line in front of her. They were out of tests.
She works in an office with an older colleague and worries about his risk; she also wants to get tested to persuade her grandmother to move out of a nursing home and in with her.
''That was the only free option over the weekend,'' she said. ''Everyone is looking for the free test where you can get a reliable answer.''
Insurance plans are required to cover covid tests completely, but getting reimbursed is a process, and some people still end up being billed for other tests or care.
''There's no 100 percent guarantee '-- people have been getting bills,'' said Katz of the University of Central Florida medical school. ''So it's really pushing people whether it's necessary or not to go to free testing sites because of the fear of cost.'' UCF offers testing through a lab that has capacity, but it requires a prescription from a doctor.
Gayle Resetar, chief operating officer at Tidelands Health in coastal South Carolina, said demand has been high since mass testing started in late May. Tidelands now tests 2,500 people a day. But Resetar said most people wait only about an hour because there are six drive-through testing lanes and a staff of 100 that rotates because of the heat.
''The challenge is many come before the event starts .'‰.'‰. because they want to make sure that they get a test,'' she said
What has changed is the percentage of tests coming back positive '-- about 1 percent in May, but 10 percent last weekend. Most of those people, Resetar said, do not have symptoms.
In Phoenix, Equality Health's Le"n said that of the 700 tests already processed from Equality's last event, a quarter came back positive. But many residents are waiting more than a week for results because of a backlog around the state.
''That's ridiculous,'' said Tom Frieden, who was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under President Barack Obama. ''It's not about the number of tests that get done; it's about what gets done with them. If it comes back five days later and people don't isolate in the interim, it's useless.''
Equality Health offers guidance, masks and other resources, and it is trying to start its own contact tracing but does not have the capacity to isolate people, Le"n said.
''We should have had a more complete, coordinated strategy as a state,'' he said. He suggested that if something good came out of the 13-hour waits at the June 20 event, it was that the outrage sparked greater awareness of the surge in cases.
''It was kind of the perfect storm,'' he said. ''Now, we're focused '-- this is a public health crisis.''
Yasmeen Abutaleb contributed to this report.
How common are mutations in SARS-CoV-2, and do the mutations lead to changes in the severity of the disease?
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:53
This is a summary of "Patient-derived mutations impact pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2"
A small study convincingly shows that coronavirus may have more mutations than previously expected, but more data is needed on whether these mutations actually change how deadly the virus is.
Key takeaways Though this study only used samples from 11 patients, it was well designed and used super deep sequencing technique to show that the coronavirus has more mutations than previously thought. The data on how quickly the virus reproduces and how deadly it is needs much more testing and verification to see if this is true outside of a petri dish. We wouldn't put too much stock in this finding just yet. Finding live virus in patient's stool is a new finding that merits further investigationWhy is this important?This research is important for a couple reasons. Figuring out what mutations there are and how quickly the coronavirus mutates is important for researchers working on treatments and vaccines so that they can target the right areas of the virus. Second, if different strains of the virus are more infectious or more lethal than others, this could help different countries and regions better manage their outbreaks.
This study has recently been taken up by media outlets, mainly focusing on the possibility that mutations might make some strains of the coronavirus more deadly than others. Let's take a look at those claims.
What did the study do? Sampling
Extracted live virus samples from 11 patientsThe 11 patients came into the researchers' hospital in China in January 2020, and were confirmed to have coronavirus. The researchers found that they were able to isolate functioning viral particles from poop ðŸ'(C)
Our Take Functioning viruses in poop is an exciting finding Finding active coronavirus in poop is a new finding that should be further investigated, as it may affect how people protect themselves from contracting the virus.
Only one sample per patient Growing the virus can vary a lot from sample to sample so generally researchers try to take multiple samples from the same patient or samples from multiple patients who have similar strains of the virus to make this process more reliable. In this study, the researchers only took a single sample from each patient, and every patient had a different strain of the virus.
Identified 33 total mutations with 19 brand new mutations between the virus samples This was a two part study. In the first part, they isolated coronavirus from these patients and determined if they had any mutations in their genome using deep sequencing.
Our Take Excellent deep sequencing techniques The researchers have excellent evidence to show how much the virus mutates. The genetic sequencing technique they used was more sensitive and of higher quality than prior studies, which allowed them to pick up more mutations.
Fastest growing samples of the virus grew 270 times faster than the slowest In the second stage, they grew the different strains of virus in the lab and measured how rapidly the strains could reproduce in cells growing in a dish, and then how fast the virus killed those cells.
Our Take Lack of standardization in virus sampling A challenge in virus research is making sure you have the same amount of live virus in each sample because this can make a huge difference in the results.
Example: Let's say a sample has 100 virus particules, but only 20 of them are living 1 .
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Sample A
Meanwhile, another sample has only 50 virus particles, but all 50 of them are living.
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Sample B
Standardizing between both samples before you start measuring how quickly they kill cells is super important because you could mistakenly conclude that sample B is more deadly when really it just started with more living virus particles.
There are techniques for balancing these differences out, but the researchers don't provide any detail on whether or how they did this.
Samples grown in monkey cells, not humans The cells that the authors used in the study were monkey kidney cells, which are commonly used in studies of viruses, and specifically for coronaviruses like SARS and the current coronavirus. It's always challenging to know if these findings would apply in living humans.
SARS-CoV-2 mutates more than we had previously thought, and different strains of the virus might reproduce and kill cells at different rates Our TakeThe authors have not demonstrated that the mutations that they detected actually changes how sick humans get. The data on how quickly the virus reproduces and how deadly it is needs much more testing and verification to see if this is true outside of a petri dish. We wouldn't put too much stock in this finding just yet.
Small sample size Since they only took samples from 11 patients who were all very different (their ages alone ranged from 4 months to 62 years), it is impossible to say if the mutations are why some were sicker than others. This would require a lot of data and further study.
How was it reported? Coronavirus has mutated into more than 30 strains, study finds The HillThe article incorrectly claims that the virus was tested in human cells when it was tested in monkey kidney cells. At least it brings in one outside source to comment.
Coronavirus has mutated into at least 30 different strains, study finds Fox NewsThe article has minimal details on the study itself, but at least acknowledges that the results are preliminary and not peer reviewed.
Coronavirus's ability to mutate has been vastly underestimated, and mutations affect deadliness of strains, Chinese study finds South China Morning PostThe article has a misleading subheading claiming that this study showed New York to have a deadlier strain from Europe even though the study makes no such claim. There's also no acknowledgment of the weaknesses in the study or comments from other scientists.
Vaccines and such
US secures world stock of key Covid-19 drug remdesivir | US news | The Guardian
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:15
The US has bought up virtually all the stocks for the next three months of one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19, leaving none for the UK, Europe or most of the rest of the world.
Experts and campaigners are alarmed both by the US unilateral action on remdesivir and the wider implications, for instance in the event of a vaccine becoming available. The Trump administration has already shown that it is prepared to outbid and outmanoeuvre all other countries to secure the medical supplies it needs for the US.
''They've got access to most of the drug supply [of remdesivir], so there's nothing for Europe,'' said Dr Andrew Hill, senior visiting research fellow at Liverpool University.
Remdesivir, the first drug approved by licensing authorities in the US to treat Covid-19, is made by Gilead and has been shown to help people recover faster from the disease. The first 140,000 doses, supplied to drug trials around the world, have been used up. The Trump administration has now bought more than 500,000 doses, which is all of Gilead's production for July and 90% of August and September.
''President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19,'' said the US health and human services secretary, Alex Azar. ''To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it. The Trump administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for Covid-19 and secure access to these options for the American people.''
The drug, which was trialled in the Ebola epidemic but failed to work as expected, is under patent to Gilead, which means no other company in wealthy countries can make it. The cost is around $3,200 per treatment of six doses, according to the US government statement.
The deal was announced as it became clear that the pandemic in the US is spiralling out of control. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading public health expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate the US was sliding backwards.
''We are going in the wrong direction,'' said Fauci. Last week the US saw a new daily record of 40,000 new coronavirus cases in one day. ''I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around,'' he said. He could not provide an estimated death toll, but said: ''It is going to be very disturbing, I guarantee you that.''
The US has recorded more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of Covid-19. Some states lifted restrictions only to have to clamp down again. On Monday, the governor of Arizona ordered bars, cinemas, gyms and water parks to shut down for a month, weeks after they reopened. Texas, Florida and California, all seeing rises in cases, have also reimposed restrictions.
Buying up the world's supply of remdesivir is not just a reaction to the increasing spread and death toll. The US has taken an ''America first'' attitude throughout the global pandemic.
From miracle cures to slowing testing: how Trump has defied science on coronavirus '' video explainerIn May, French manufacturer Sanofi said the US would get first access to its Covid vaccine if it works. Its CEO, Paul Hudson, was quoted as saying: ''The US government has the right to the largest pre-order because it's invested in taking the risk,'' and, he added, the US expected that ''if we've helped you manufacture the doses at risk, we expect to get the doses first''. Later it backtracked under pressure from the French government.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau warned there could be unintended negative consequences if the US continued to outbid its allies. ''We know it is in both of our interests to work collaboratively and cooperatively to keep our citizens safe,'' he said. The Trump administration has also invoked the Defense Production Act to block some medical goods made in the US from being sent abroad.
Nothing looks likely to prevent the US cornering the market in remdesivir, however. ''This is the first major approved drug, and where is the mechanism for access?'' said Dr Hill. ''Once again we're at the back of the queue.''
The drug has been watched eagerly for the last five months, said Hill, yet there was no mechanism to ensure a supply outside the US. ''Imagine this was a vaccine,'' he said. ''That would be a firestorm. But perhaps this is a taste of things to come.''
Remdesivir would get people out of hospital more quickly, reducing the burden on the NHS, and might improve survival, said Hill, although that has not yet been shown in trials, as it has with the other successful treatment, the steroid dexamethasone. There has been no attempt to buy up the world's stocks of dexamethasone because there is no need '' the drug is 60 years old, cheap and easily available everywhere.
Hill said there was a way for the UK to secure supplies of this and other drugs during the pandemic, through what is known as a compulsory licence, which overrides the intellectual property rights of the company. That would allow the UK government to buy from generic companies in Bangladesh or India, where Gilead's patent is not recognised.
The UK has always upheld patents, backing the argument of pharma companies that they need their 20-year monopoly to recoup the money they put into research and development. But other countries have shown an interest in compulsory licensing. ''It is a question of what countries are prepared to do if this becomes a problem,'' said Hill.
' This article was amended on 1 July 2020 because an earlier version said that remdesivir was invented for Ebola. The drug was trialled in the Ebola epidemic, but its development originated in research around hepatitis C and respiratory syncytial virus.
Covid-19 Drug Remdesivir to Cost $3,120 for Typical Patient - WSJ
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 08:14
Gilead Sciences Inc. detailed its pricing plans for Covid-19 drug remdesivir, saying it will charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 for a typical patient.
The drugmaker on Monday disclosed its pricing plans as it prepares to begin charging for the drug in July. The U.S. has been distributing remdesivir donated by Gilead since the drug was authorized for emergency use in May.
Under the company's plans, Gilead will charge a higher price for most patients in the U.S., and a lower price for the rest of the developed world where governments directly negotiate drug prices. The lower price will be extended to some U.S. government agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, but not programs such as Medicare and Medicaid that don't directly purchase medicines, a Gilead spokesman said.
The government price will be $390 a dose, or $2,340 a patient for the shortest treatment course and $4,290 for a longer treatment course.
Gilead said in the U.S. it will charge nongovernment buyers such as hospitals about $520 a dose, or one-third more than the government price, for patients who are commercially insured. That works out to $3,120 for a patient getting the shorter, more common course of treatment, and $5,720 for the longer treatment duration.
The U.S. is the only developed country where Gilead will charge two prices, Gilead Chief Executive Daniel O'Day said in an interview. In other nations, governments negotiate drug prices directly with drugmakers. ''The logic is that we wanted a single government price around the developed world,'' Mr. O'Day said.
The higher price for U.S. commercially insured patients is because government health programs such as the VA typically receive statutorily defined discounts off the prices companies receive in the private market, Mr. O'Day said. In addition to the VA, the Indian Health Service, the Defense Department, the Coast Guard and other direct purchasing agencies will also receive the lower price, the Gilead spokesman said.
''This medicine is priced far below the value it brings to health-care systems and that's true for private payers and government payers,'' Mr. O'Day said.
On average, the drug should help reduce hospital costs by $12,000 a patient, he said. Gilead estimated the savings based on data showing that each day of hospitalization costs $3,000 and that patients taking remdesivir are discharged four days sooner than those receiving standard treatment, Mr. O'Day said.
The Trump administration has been critical of other rich countries paying less for prescription drugs than the U.S., and has threatened to implement regulations that would tie U.S. government reimbursement to prices paid abroad.
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Monday that patients were unlikely to shoulder the full cost of the drug, citing the way hospitals are reimbursed for drugs administered during inpatient visits. She also said that the drug would reduce hospital stays, saving hospitals money.
''The patient will not see that cost,'' she said.
Remdesivir sales could reach $2.3 billion this year, of which about $1.3 billion would be profit, according to estimates by Brian Abrahams, an RBC Capital Markets analyst.
Gilead shares fell slightly on Monday, amid some analysts' expectations that Gilead would charge more. Gilead shares are up 15% so far this year, driven largely by high expectations for remdesivir.
Covid-19 patients get two doses of remdesivir by infusion on the first day, and one dose daily afterward. The shortest treatment course is five days, while a longer treatment course takes 10 days.
Currently, 90% to 95% of patients receive five-day treatment courses, Mr. O'Day said.
Remdesivir is the first antiviral drug shown to be effective at treating Covid-19 in a major clinical trial, reducing patients' recovery times by four days compared with the placebo group in a large study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
So far, few other drugs have proven in human testing to help coronavirus patients. One drug that recently produced positive results in a clinical trial was the steroid dexamethasone.
The drug, which treats Covid-19 by a different mechanism than remdesivir, has been on the U.S. market for decades to treat other diseases. It hasn't been authorized in the U.S. to treat Covid-19, but doctors are allowed to prescribe it ''off-label'' under U.S. regulations.
Given its unique status, remdesivir's pricing has been widely anticipated'--and hotly debated'--among doctors, health insurers and investors. It could serve as the starting point for other drugs that eventually prove to safely treat coronavirus patients.
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a nonprofit group that analyzes pharmaceutical prices, said last week that a cost-effective price for remdesivir would be $2,520 to $2,800 a patient if dexamethasone becomes a standard medication for Covid-19. The estimate also assumes that remdesivir reduces the risk of death from Covid-19, though that hasn't been proven in clinical trials.
''Gilead made a responsible pricing decision based on the evidence we have today,'' ICER President Steven D. Pearson said in a written statement on Monday. But ''if further data do not show a clear mortality benefit for remdesivir, then the price of the drug should be dramatically reduced.''
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 1 authorized emergency use of remdesivir through the course of the pandemic. Gilead plans to seek a full, permanent approval.
In July, Gilead will start charging for the drug, but federal and state officials will continue deciding which hospitals receive it. In September, Gilead expects to have enough supply to meet demand and will distribute the drug in the same way it distributes other medicines.
One issue that has already factored into debate over what remdesivir should cost is the U.S. government's role in funding its development.
The NIAID funded the study that showed it sped the recovery of hospitalized Covid-19 patients, and expects to spend at least $30 million on the study through the end of the fiscal year, an NIAID spokesman said in February.
Some Democrats criticized remdesivir's price. ''An outrageous price for a very modest drug, which taxpayer funding saved from a scrapheap of failures,'' Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D., Texas) said in a written statement. ''Taxpayers will be charged billions more for the same medications that they have already paid significantly for drugmakers to develop.''
Gilead has also invested in researching remdesivir. The company previously developed the drug to treat Ebola patients, but it didn't work as well as other drugs. Gilead and other researchers explored remdesivir's Covid-19 use after the virus emerged.
Gilead has said it spent about $50 million on research-and-development related to the drug in the first quarter, or about 4.5% of its total R&D spending. Through the end of 2020, Gilead expects to spend more than $1 billion on developing and manufacturing remdesivir, Mr. O'Day said.
Some generic drugmakers have said they plan to charge less than $1,000 per treatment course in India and Bangladesh, where Gilead has licensed rights to sell the drug. ICER estimates that the raw materials needed to make remdesivir cost about $10 a patient for a 10-day treatment course, citing a recent academic paper.
'--Catherine Lucey contributed to this article.
Write to Joseph Walker at joseph.walker@wsj.com
Corrections & Amplifications Gilead Sciences Inc. will charge a lower price of $390 a dose of remdesivir to some U.S. government agencies that directly purchase pharmaceuticals, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the lower price would be extended to government health programs such as Medicare.
CanSino's COVID-19 vaccine candidate approved for military use in China - Reuters
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:40
FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's military has received the greenlight to use a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by its research unit and CanSino Biologics (6185.HK ) after clinical trials proved it was safe and showed some efficacy, the company said on Monday.
The Ad5-nCoV is one of China's eight vaccine candidates approved for human trials at home and abroad for the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus. The shot also won approval for human testing in Canada.
China's Central Military Commission approved the use of the vaccine by the military on June 25 for a period of one year, CanSino said in a filing. The vaccine candidate was developed jointly by CanSino and a research institute at the Academy of Military Science (AMS).
''The Ad5-nCoV is currently limited to military use only and its use cannot be expanded to a broader vaccination range without the approval of the Logistics Support Department,'' CanSino said, referring to the Central Military Commission department which approved the military use of the vaccine.
CanSino declined to disclose whether the innoculation of the vaccine candidate is mandatory or optional, citing commercial secrets, in an email to Reuters.
The military approval follows China's decision earlier this month to offer two other vaccine candidates to employees at state-owned firms travelling overseas.
The Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of the CanSino's vaccine candidate showed it has the potential to prevent diseases caused by the coronavirus, which has killed half a million people globally, but its commercial success cannot be guaranteed, the company said.
Separately, AMS received an approval earlier this month to test its second experimental coronavirus vaccine in humans.
No vaccine has yet been approved for commercial use against the illness caused by the new coronavirus, but over a dozen vaccines from more than 100 candidates globally are being tested in humans.
Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Ana Nicolaci da Costa
Vaccines That Change your DNA & Gates' Italian Experiment | Armstrong Economics
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:45
Europe was already planning for a Vaccine ID Passport from the 3rd quarter of 2019. The real question is what is a vaccine. Gates has been funding a vaccine that is totally different. Instead of introducing a sample of a disease, he has been funding a vaccine that is in part nanobots that target to change and alter your DNA to prevent disease. This is already being met with approval and is highly questionable as to what are the long-term effects of changing someone's DNA.
Gates has been behind the movement in the EU to compel Europeans to be vaccinated. There was even a September 12, 2019, global vaccination summit that was jointly sponsored bt the EC and Gates who controlled the World Health Organization (WHO). Roberto Burioni, a virologist at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, Italy, became a celebrity battling against vaccine skeptics by simply stating: ''The Earth is round, gasoline is flammable, and vaccines are safe and effective,'' he said. ''All the rest are dangerous lies.''
One of the reasons some believe that the death rate in Italy from COVID-19 was higher than most other countries was because they were the target for a Gates' vaccine project sponsored by the WHO. The 2016 Lifetime Immunization Schedule was approved by the Italian scientific societies claiming it was a new paradigm to promote vaccination at all ages. There was a partnership of four national Medical Scientific Societies active in Italy in producing scientific advice on vaccines and vaccination influenced by Gates. These were:
the Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health; SitI,the Italian Society of Paediatrics; SIP,the ''Italian Federation of General Practitioners''; FIMP, andthe Italian Federation of General Medicine FIMMG)The ''Lifetime Immunization Schedule'' was introduced for the first time in Italy which allowed its people to be experiments for Gates and the WHO. The Italian National Prevention Plan was approved by the Italian Ministry of Health in February 2017. The serious question that has not been answered is what has been the connection between the excessive death rate in Italy in relation to this vaccination for ''all ages,'' which took place as an experiment supported by the WHO and Bill Gates.
There are serious questions about our politicians. Are they being paid-off to allow Gates to experiment on the world population? The correlation between Italy and the only country to allow a Gates experimentation needs to be addressed. The problem we really have is no politicians will allow an investigation that exposes their own corruption or bad decisions.
Protest versus Africa's 1st COVID-19 vaccine test shows fear | FOX 5 New York
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:33
CDC expands list of high-risk conditions for COVID-19 complicationsThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made revisions to its list of underlying medical conditions that put people at a higher risk of severe complications from the novel coronavirus.
JOHANNESBURG - Protesters against Africa's first COVID-19 vaccine trial burned their face masks Wednesday as experts note a worrying level of resistance and misinformation around testing on the continent.
Anti-vaccine sentiment in Africa is ''the worst I've ever seen,'' the CEO of the GAVI vaccine alliance, Seth Berkley, told an African Union vaccine conference last week.
''In general, people in Africa know the diseases and want to protect each other,'' he said. ''In this case, the rumor mill has been dramatic."
The trial that began last week in Johannesburg is part of one already underway in Britain of the vaccine developed at the University of Oxford. Some 2,000 volunteers in South Africa are expected to take part.
RELATED: CoronavirusNOW.com, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updatesIt's important that vaccines be tested in Africa to see how they perform in the local context, professor of vaccinology Shabir Madhi, leader of the new COVID-19 vaccine trial in South Africa, told reporters and others in a webinar Sunday.
But the small band of demonstrators who gathered Wednesday at the University of the Witwatersrand, where the trial is based, reflect long-running fears among some in Africa over testing drugs on people who don't understand the risks.
''The people chosen as volunteers for the vaccination, they look as if they're from poor backgrounds, not qualified enough to understand'' protest organizer Phapano Phasha told The Associated Press ahead of the event. ''We believe they are manipulating the vulnerable.''
The activist and political commentator brought up the widely circulated remarks earlier this year by a French researcher, Jean-Paul Mira, who said, ''''If I can be provocative, shouldn't we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatments, no resuscitation?" He compared it to some AIDS studies: "In prostitutes, we try things because we know that they are highly exposed and that they do not protect themselves.''
''The narrative we got is our continent is a dumping ground,'' Phasha said. First ensure the vaccine works elsewhere before bringing it to Africa, she added.RELATED: Scam alert: DOJ, HHS, FTC warn of fake COVID-19 contact tracing schemes amid pandemic
The French researcher later apologized for his comments, but they continue to circulate on social media among those opposed to vaccine testing in Africa, Meanwhile, anger among African health officials and others was swift.
The Ethiopian director of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called the comments ''racist'' and a ''hangover from a colonial mentality.'' The head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, called the remarks ''very disgusting'' and ''condescending.''
''Africa CDC will continue to work very closely with the World Health Organization to ensure that only ethically and scientifically sound clinical trials for vaccines and therapies will be conducted in Africa, using exactly the same standards and principles as those employed elsewhere in the world,'' Nkengasong said in a statement. ''These principles will be guided by respect for the dignity of Africans, the beneficence and non-maleficence, and justice.''
Madhi, the professor in charge of the South Africa vaccine trial, has said volunteers were given an explanation about the trial and possible risks and then had to score 80% on a questionnaire to take part.
But why not target more affluent parts of South African society? Phasha asked.
''I believe in science,'' she said. ''And I believe that science has managed to solve most of the problems society is faced with. I'm not against vaccinations, I'm against profiteering.''
IMF shares bleak forecast for global economyThe International Monetary Fund has sharply lowered its forecast for global growth this year because it envisions far more severe economic damage from the coronavirus than it did just two months ago.
Fellow protesters sang and danced with banners saying ''We not guinea pigs" and ''No safe vaccine.''
''If you want to test, test in the areas which they call the epicenter of the world," demonstrator Sean Goss said.
It's not clear when Africa's first vaccine trial will begin showing results, but a worried Madhi has said the local surge in confirmed cases could mean seeing them months earlier than expected.
South Africa now has more than 151,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, the most on the African continent. Africa overall has more than 400,000 cases.
RELATED: COVID-19 prompts 'hyper-activity' in blood clotting cells, research shows
As the pandemic picks up speed in Africa, health officials are urging that any vaccine be distributed equitably around the world. A quarter of all vaccines for other diseases are used in Africa and yet the continent has little production capacity, putting its 1.3 billion people at risk of being near the end of the line for any COVID-19 vaccine.
The new global attention to racial injustice creates a key time to act, the head of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control told the AU vaccine conference last week.
''If we don't use this moment when, for better or worse, we have the political attention of people, we will regret it,'' Chikwe Ihekweazu said.
Africa must play a role in the new vaccine trials, the vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Mamokgethi Phakeng, and the chair of South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Thokozani Majozi, wrote this month in the Sunday Times newspaper.
They, too, brought up the French researcher's comments and they criticized the calls for an ''African-only'' approach to finding a vaccine, saying it would pull the continent even further from the global stage.
''It would be tragic if Africa chose not to take part, at all levels, in clinical trials of a Covid-19 vaccine '-- or any medical treatment that could save lives,'' they said.
AP journalist Nqobile Ntshangase in Johannesburg contributed.
Masks and Muzzles
Anti-Mask League of San Francisco - Wikipedia
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:04
1919 San Francisco organization
Barbers wearing masks during the epidemic
The Anti-Mask League of San Francisco was an organization formed to protest the requirement for people in San Francisco, California, to wear masks during the 1918 influenza pandemic.
Background [ edit ] Cases of the Spanish flu began to appear in San Francisco during the fall of 1918. The first documented case was in late September; by mid-October, the city had more than 2,000 cases. The city's Board of Health enacted various measures to try to curb the disease, such as banning gatherings, closing schools and theaters, and warning citizens to avoid crowds. Professions that served customers (including barbers, hotel and rooming house employees, bank tellers, druggists, store clerks) were required to wear masks. On October 25, the city passed an ordinance that "every resident and visitor of San Francisco would be required to wear a mask while in public or when in a group of two or more people, except at mealtime."[1]
Initial compliance with the mask ordinance was high with an estimated 80% of people wearing masks in public. The Red Cross sold masks at the ferry terminal for incoming passengers. Anyone who failed to wear a mask or wore it improperly was charged with "disturbing the peace," warned and for subsequent violations, fined or jailed. The city health officer and the mayor both paid fines for not wearing masks at a boxing match.[1]
The mask ordinance was annulled effective November 21, 1918; however, when cases of the flu began to increase again, a new ordinance mandating masks took effect January 17, 1919.[1]
League formation [ edit ] Although there were some complaints from citizens during the initial period of mask-wearing, the new ordinance in 1919 galvanized more serious opposition and the Anti-Mask League was formed.[1] Members of the league included physicians, citizens,[2] civil libertarians,[3] and at least one member of the Board of Supervisors.[1] An estimated 4,000''5,000 citizens attended the meeting on January 25.[4][5] Some members of the league wanted to collect signatures on a petition to end the mask requirement, while others wanted to initiate recall procedures for the city health officer. Members of the anti-mask league also agitated for San Francisco Mayor James Rolph, Jr., to resign if he did not repeal the ordinance. The president of the League, suffragette, attorney, and labor rights activist Mrs. E.C. Harrington, was a fierce critic of the mayor, and it has been suggested that the anti-mask league protests were politically motivated.[6] The debate was heated.[2] Some objections to the ordinance were based on questions of scientific data while others considered the requirement to infringe on civil liberties.[7]
In addition to complaints from the Anti-Mask League, some health officers from other cities also contended that masks were not necessary.[2] The San Francisco city health officer criticized the secretary of the state's Board of Health for questioning the efficacy of masks, saying "The attitude of the state board is encouraging the Anti-Mask League."[8]
On January 27, the league presented a petition, signed by Mrs. E. C. Harrington as president, to the city's Board of Supervisors, requesting repeal of the mask ordinance.[9] Newspapers across the world took note of the protesting organization.[10][11][12][13] San Francisco lifted the mask requirement effective February 1, 1919, on the recommendation of the Board of Health.[2]
Historical analyses and comparisons [ edit ] According to medical historians, the decline in deaths from influenza in San Francisco can be partly attributed to the mandatory mask-wearing policies.[14]
During the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, opposition to the wearing of face masks and anti-lockdown protests led to comparisons with the Anti-Mask League of San Francisco.[15][16][17]
See also [ edit ] Anti-mask lawProtests over responses to the COVID-19 pandemicFace masks during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United StatesReferences [ edit ] ^ a b c d e "San Francisco, California and the 1918-1919 Influenza Epidemic". University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine: Influenza Encyclopedia . Retrieved 2020-04-19 . ^ a b c d Crosby, Alfred W. (2003-07-21). America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918. Cambridge University Press. pp. 112''113. ISBN 978-0-521-54175-6. ^ Torrey, E. Fuller; Yolken, Robert H. (2005-02-03). Beasts of the Earth: Animals, Humans, and Disease. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-3789-4. ^ "Big Mass Meeting Condemns Masks". Logansport Daily Tribune. February 14, 1919. p. 8. ^ Canales, Katie. "Photos show how San Francisco emerged from a lockdown too soon during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, leading to an even deadlier second wave that rampaged through the city". Business Insider . Retrieved 2020-04-22 . ^ Dolan, Brian (2020). "Unmasking History: Who Was Behind the Anti-Mask League Protests During the 1918 Influenza Epidemic in San Francisco?". Perspectives in Medical Humanities. ^ Jr, Samuel K. Cohn (2018). Epidemics: Hate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS. Oxford University Press. p. 440. ISBN 978-0-19-881966-0. ^ Municipal Journal. Municipal Journal and Engineer, Incorporated. 1919. p. 111. ^ Supervisors, San Francisco (Calif ) Board of (1919). Journal of Proceedings, Board of Supervisors, City and County of San Francisco. Recorder Printing and Publishing Company. p. 50. ^ "Anti-Mask League in San Francisco". Perth Truth. April 27, 1919. p. 11. ^ "18 Jan 1919, 1 - The Victoria Daily Times at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com . Retrieved 2020-04-20 . ^ "19 Jan 1919, Page 8 - Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com . Retrieved 2020-04-20 . ^ "You Don't Say So". The Macleay Chronicle, New South Wales. April 30, 1919. p. 4. ^ Strasser, Bruno J.; Schlich, Thomas (2020-05-22). "A history of the medical mask and the rise of throwaway culture". The Lancet. 0 (0). doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31207-1. ISSN 0140-6736. PMID 32450110. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (2020-05-08). "Anti-Mask League: San Francisco had its own shutdown protests during 1918 pandemic". SFChronicle.com. San Francisco Chronicle . Retrieved 2020-06-27 . ^ Kane, Peter Lawrence (2020-04-29). "The Anti-Mask League: lockdown protests draw parallels to 1918 pandemic". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077 . Retrieved 2020-06-27 . ^ Smith, Kiona N. (April 29, 2020). "Protesting During A Pandemic Isn't New: Meet The Anti-Mask League Of 1918". Forbes . Retrieved 2020-06-27 .
Deb ðŸŒ>> on Twitter: "@adamcurry In central NY-this was sent to residents in 1918. Wear the mask folks-no one likes them, stop whining, just do it. https://t.co/PLdwRsC7Km" / Twitter
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 13:28
In central NY-this was sent to residents in 1918. Wear the mask folks-no one likes them, stop whining, just do it.
COVID-19: Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings | CDC
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:19
CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don't live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.Cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.Cloth face coverings should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.Evidence for Effectiveness of Cloth Face CoveringsCloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
Who Should Wear A Cloth Face Covering? General publicCDC recommends all people 2 years of age and older wear a cloth face covering in public settings and when around people who don't live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That's why it's important for everyone to wear cloth face coverings in public settings and practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people).While cloth face coverings are strongly encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recognizes there are specific instances when wearing a cloth face covering may not be feasible. In these instances, adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible (see below for examples). People who know or think they might have COVID-19If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, do not visit public areas. Stay home except to get medical care. As much as possible stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If you need to be around other people or animals, wear a cloth face covering (including in your home).The cloth face covering helps prevent a person who is sick from spreading the virus to others. It helps keep respiratory droplets contained and from reaching other people.Caregivers of people with COVID-19Those caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19 at home or in a non-healthcare setting may also wear a cloth face covering. However, the protective effects'--how well the cloth face covering protects healthy people from breathing in the virus'--are unknown. To prevent getting sick, caregivers should also continue to practice everyday preventive actions: avoid close contact as much as possible, clean hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; and frequently clean and disinfect surfaces.Who Should Not Wear a Cloth Face CoveringCloth face coverings should not be worn by:
Children younger than 2 years oldAnyone who has trouble breathingAnyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistanceFeasibility and AdaptationsCDC recognizes that wearing cloth face coverings may not be possible in every situation or for some people. In some situations, wearing a cloth face covering may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns. Adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a cloth face covering or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one.
For example,
Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing'--or those who care for or interact with a person who is hearing impaired'--may be unable to wear cloth face coverings if they rely on lipreading to communicate. In this situation, consider using a clear face covering. If a clear face covering isn't available, consider whether you can use written communication, use closed captioning, or decrease background noise to make communication possible while wearing a cloth face covering that blocks your lips.Some individuals with developmental disabilities, sensory integration concerns or tactile sensitivities, certain mental health conditions, or limited cognitive ability may have a negative reaction to wearing a cloth face covering. These individuals may consult with their healthcare provider as part of the decision to wear a cloth face covering.Younger children (e.g., preschool or early elementary aged) may be unable to wear a cloth face covering properly, particularly for an extended period of time. Wearing of cloth face coverings may be prioritized at times when it is difficult to maintain a distance of 6 feet from others (e.g., during carpool drop off or pick up, or when standing in line at school). Ensuring proper cloth face covering size and fit and providing children with frequent reminders and education on the importance and proper wear of cloth face coverings may help address these issues.Individuals should not wear cloth face coverings while engaged in activities that may cause the cloth face covering to become wet, like when swimming at the beach or pool. A wet cloth face covering may make it difficult to breathe. For activities like swimming, it is particularly important to maintain physical distance from others when in the water.Individuals who are engaged in high intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a cloth face covering if it causes difficulty breathing. If unable to wear a cloth face covering, consider conducting the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange (for instance, outdoors versus indoors) and where it is possible to maintain physical distance from others.Individuals who work in a setting where cloth face coverings may increase the risk of heat-related illness or cause safety concerns due to introduction of a hazard (for instance, straps getting caught in machinery) may consult with an occupational safety and health professional to determine the appropriate face covering for their setting. Outdoor workers may prioritize use of cloth face coverings when in close contact with other people, like during group travel or shift meetings, and remove face coverings when social distancing is possible. Find more information here and below.Cloth face coverings are a critical preventive measure and are most essential in times when social distancing is difficult. If cloth face coverings cannot be used, make sure to take other measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread, including social distancing, frequent hand washing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
Face ShieldsIt is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. Some people may choose to use a face shield when sustained close contact with other people is expected. If face shields are used without a mask, they should wrap around the sides of the wearer's face and extend to below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Plastic face shields for newborns and infants are NOT recommended.
Surgical MasksCloth face coverings are not surgical masks or respirators. Currently, those are critical supplies that should continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. Cloth face coverings also are not appropriate substitutes for them in workplaces where masks or respirators are recommended or required and available.
Recent Studies:Rothe C, Schunk M, Sothmann P, et al. Transmission of 2019-nCoV Infection from an Asymptomatic Contact in Germany. The New England journal of medicine. 2020;382(10):970-971. PMID: 32003551 external icon Zou L, Ruan F, Huang M, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Upper Respiratory Specimens of Infected Patients. The New England journal of medicine. 2020;382(12):1177-1179. PMID: 32074444 external icon Pan X, Chen D, Xia Y, et al. Asymptomatic cases in a family cluster with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Lancet Infectious diseases. 2020. PMID: 32087116 external icon Bai Y, Yao L, Wei T, et al. Presumed Asymptomatic Carrier Transmission of COVID-19. Jama. 2020. PMID: 32083643 external icon Kimball A HK, Arons M, et al. Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Residents of a Long-Term Care Skilled Nursing Facility '-- King County, Washington, March 2020. MMWR Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 2020; ePub: 27 March 2020. PMID: 32240128 external icon Wei WE LZ, Chiew CJ, Yong SE, Toh MP, Lee VJ. Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 '-- Singapore, January 23''March 16, 2020. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2020;ePub: 1 April 2020. PMID: 32271722 external icon Li R, Pei S, Chen B, et al. Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2). Science (New York, NY). 2020. PMID: 32179701 external icon Furukawa NW, Brooks JT, Sobel J. Evidence Supporting Transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 While Presymptomatic or Asymptomatic [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 4]. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(7):10.3201/eid2607.201595. LinkOran DP, Topol Prevalence of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Narrative Review [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 3]. Ann Intern Med. 2020;M20-3012. PMID: 32491919 external icon National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Rapid Expert Consultation on the Possibility of Bioaerosol Spread of SARS-CoV-2 for the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 1, 2020). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25769 external icon .Schwartz KL, Murti M, Finkelstein M, et al. Lack of COVID-19 transmission on an international flight. CMAJ. 2020;192(15):E410. PMID: 32392504 external icon Anfinrud P, Stadnytskyi V, Bax CE, Bax A. Visualizing Speech-Generated Oral Fluid Droplets with Laser Light Scattering. N Engl J Med. 2020 Apr 15. doi:10.1056/NEJMc2007800. PMID: 32294341 external icon Davies A, Thompson KA, Giri K, Kafatos G, Walker J, Bennett A. Testing the efficacy of homemade masks: would they protect in an influenza pandemic? Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2013;7(4):413-8. PMID: 24229526 external icon Konda A, Prakash A, Moss GA, Schmoldt M, Grant GD, Guha S. Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth Masks. ACS Nano. 2020 Apr 24. PMID: 32329337 external icon Aydin O, Emon B, Saif MTA. Performance of fabrics for home-made masks against spread of respiratory infection through droplets: a quantitative mechanistic study. medRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.19.20071779, posted April 24, 2020.Ma QX, Shan H, Zhang HL, Li GM, Yang RM, Chen JM. Potential utilities of mask-wearing and instant hand hygiene for fighting SARS-CoV-2. J Med Virol. 2020. PMID: 32232986 external icon Leung, N.H.L., Chu, D.K.W., Shiu, E.Y.C. et al.Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks. Nat Med. 2020. PMID: 32371934 external icon Johnson DF, Druce JD, Birch C, Grayson ML. A quantitative assessment of the efficacy of surgical and N95 masks to filter influenza virus in patients with acute influenza infection. Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Jul 15;49(2):275-7. PMID: 19522650 external icon Green CF, Davidson CS, Panlilio AL, et al. Effectiveness of selected surgical masks in arresting vegetative cells and endospores when worn by simulated contagious patients. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012;33(5):487'494. PMID: 22476275 external icon
Surgeon General says U.S. economy will not fully reopen unless all Americans wear face masks | One America News Network
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 11:01
Holding up a mask, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, right, urges the public to use masks as he speaks during a news conference with Vice President Mike Pence about the COVID-19 response, at the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service Headquarters in Rockville, Md., Tuesday, June 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
OAN NewsroomUPDATED 7:16 PM PT '-- Wednesday, July 1, 2020Surgeon General Jerome Adams has changed his story yet again in the latest attempt to impose the mandatory use of face masks. On Tuesday, he said the U.S. economy will not fully reopen unless all Americans wear face masks in public.
Back in March, the surgeon general urged people not to buy face masks and claimed they don't prevent coronavirus. However, Adams is now threatening to partially close the economy again if Americans don't wear them.
''It is not a suppression of your freedom, it actually is a vehicle to achieve our goals,'' he stated. ''It adds to your convenience in your freedom because it allows us to open up more places and it allows those places to stay open.''
Don't have a face covering? It's easy to make one at home with an old t-shirt, hand towel or bandana. Follow these easy steps 👇 and check out @CDCgov for written instructions: https://t.co/hgs4vtppL0 #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/K4SQ6V6Xbn
'-- U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) June 30, 2020
This comes amid bipartisan calls to wear facial coverings. Republican leaders are now urging President Trump to wear a face mask in hopes that he will set an example for the public and depoliticize the practice.
''Unfortunately, this simple lifesaving practice has become part of the political debate that says this: if you're for Trump, you don't wear a mask and if you're against Trump, you do,'' said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). ''That's why I've suggested that the president occasionally wear a mask, even though in most cases it's not necessary for him to do so.''
The president has come under immense criticism for not consistently wearing a mask in public during certain briefings and events where he speaks.
FILE '' In this March 27, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
President Trump and administration officials have often called the decision to wear a face mask a personal choice, but top Republican leaders are now ramping up their calls for Americans to wear them by arguing it is necessary to keep others safe.
The GOP is coalescing behind the issue amid nationwide spikes in coronavirus cases, following an attempt to reopen the nation's economy. Meanwhile, the president has responded to the surge in cases by recently canceling a campaign event scheduled in Alabama.
Members the White House task force, including Vice President Mike Pence, have continued to encourage the public to abide by CDC guidelines in order to get through the pandemic.
RELATED: Trump campaign scraps plans for Ala. rally amid COVID-19 pandemic
Green New Deal
Praise for Apocalypse Never '-- Environmental Progress
Sun, 28 Jun 2020 23:12
"If there is one thing we have learned from the coronavirus pandemic, it is that strong passions and polarized politics lead to distortions of science, bad policy, and potentially vast, needless suffering. Are we making the same mistakes with environmental policies? I have long known Michael Shellenberger to be a bold, innovative, and non-partisan pragmatist. He is a lover of the natural world whose main moral commitment is to figure out what will actually work to safeguard it. If you share that mission, you must read Apocalypse Never."
'-- Jonathan Haidt, author, Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion''Apocalypse Never is eye-opening. Its fact-based approach reveals how environmental zealotry inhibits real solutions to climate change, and makes poor people of color collateral damage. Michael Shellenberger has written an essential, must-read call for environmental justice.''
'-- John Gamboa, civil rights leader, founder of Latino Issues Forum, The Two Hundred, and Greenlining Institute"In this engaging and well-researched treatise, Michael Shellenberger exposes the environmental movement's hypocrisy in painting climate change in apocalyptic terms while steadfastly working against nuclear power, the one green energy source whose implementation could feasibly avoid the worst climate risks. Disinformation from the Left has replaced deception from the Right as the greatest obstacle to mitigating climate change.''
'-- Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology''Will declaring a crisis save the planet? The stakes are high, but Michael Shellenberger shows that the real environmental solutions are good for people too. No one will come away from this lively, moving, and well-researched book without a deeper understanding of the very real social challenges and opportunities to making a better future in the Anthropocene.''
'-- Erle Ellis, Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction"Michael Shellenberger methodically dismantles the tenets of End Times thinking that are so common in environmental thought. From Amazon fires to ocean plastics, Apocalypse Never delivers current science, lucid arguments, sympathetic humanism, and powerful counterpoints to runaway panic. You will not agree with everything in this book, which is why it is so urgent that you read it."
'-- Paul Robbins, Dean, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, author, Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction''Defending science and reason against end-of-the-world sensationalism, Michael Shellenberger's Apocalypse Never is a must-read book.''
'-- Michael Lind, author of The New Class War, Land of Promise, The Radical Center''While denial and indifference surely undermine the battle against climate change, so too does misinformed panic, which serves the poorest among us worst of all. Inoculate yourself with Michael Shellenberger's timely and deeply informed Apocalypse Never.''
'-- Christopher H. Foreman, author of The Promise and Peril of Environmental Justice''Apocalypse Never will make some green progressives mad. But I see it as a useful and even necessary counterpoint to the alarmism being peddled by some activists and journalists, including me. Let the arguments begin!''
'-- John Horgan, science journalist, Stevens Institute of Technology, author, The End of War''Michael Shellenberger's Apocalypse Never is an eye-opening journey through the netherworld of apocalyptic environmental religionists and their dystopian vision of modern technology and human ingenuity. It's bracing as he meticulously documents the dangers of eco-alarmism, which skews priorities, prompting countries to direct enormous resources away from productive, carbon-reducing energy-producing enterprises, such as nuclear energy, and solvable global health and environmental challenges. This is a refreshing, highly readable, reality-based environmentalism.''
'-- Jon Entine, Executive Director, Genetic Literacy Project''If you think you have all the answers about our environmental problems and the best way forward, don't read this book. But if you're open to having your beliefs challenged, this book will not disappoint. It is not always a comfortable read, but our planet's future is too important to not put our assumptions to the test.''
'-- Michelle Marvier, Professor, Environmental Studies, Santa Clara University, author, Conservation Science: Balancing the Needs of People and Nature ''In this tour de force of science journalism, Michael Shellenberger shows through interviews, personal experiences, vignettes, and case histories that environmental science offers paths away from hysteria and towards humanism. This superb book unpacks and explains the facts and forces behind deforestation, climate change, extinction, fracking, nature conservation, industrial agriculture, and other environmental challenges, to make them amenable to improvements and solutions.''
'-- Mark Sagoff, author, The Economy of the Earth, Professor, George Mason University"Michael Shellenberger loves the Earth too much to tolerate the conventional wisdom of environmentalism. This book, born of his passions, is a wonder: a research-driven page turner that will change how you view the world. I wish I'd been brave enough to write it, and grateful that he was."
'-- Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist at MIT and author of More from LessWe environmentalists condemn those with antithetical views of being ignorant of science and susceptible to confirmation bias. But too often we are guilty of the same. Shellenberger offers 'tough love:' a challenge to entrenched orthodoxies and rigid, self-defeating mindsets. Apocalypse Never serves up occasionally stinging, but always well-crafted, evidence-based points of view that will help develop the 'mental muscle' we need to envision and design not only a hopeful, but an attainable, future.''
'-- Steve McCormick, former CEO, The Nature Conservancy and former President of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation"The apocalyptic impulse is irrepressible, so the job of countering its destructive effects requires relentless effort. There are few authors more capable of this task than Michael Shellenberger, who brings cool reason to our hothouse of emotionalism. Apocalypse Never is a triumph that will take its deserved place in the canon of serious revisionist literature of environmentalism."
'-- Steven F. Hayward, resident scholar, Institute of Governmental Affairs, University of California, Berkeley"In this refreshing chronicle, Michael Shellenberger rescues environmental activism from sensationalism and partisanship. Brought to life by rich personal experience and filled with data and grounded science, Apocalypse Never is a must-read for policymakers and others searching for pragmatic solutions to our ecological future.''
'-- Samir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation''The environmental movement desperately needs intelligent self-criticism. Michael Shellenberger provides it, training the light of science and reason on core green tenets, revealing where they do not reflect reality. Required reading for open-minded lovers of nature and humanity.''
'-- Martin W. Lewis, author of Green Delusions: An Environmentalist Critique of Radical Environmentalism"A passionate advocate, yet pragmatist at heart, Mike Shellenberger proposes an optimistic vision for a future in which human flourishing and environmental protection go hand in hand. Blending a deep love for the natural world with a rational and humanistic outlook, Shellenberger carves a new pathway for environmentally conscious leaders."
'-- Claire Lehmann, founder, Quillette''With Apocalypse Never, Michael Shellenberger provides a master class in rigorous reporting, stout science, and unapologetic humanism. Whether the issue is climate change, sweatshops, whales, the myth of ''energy leapfrogging'' or the importance of power density, he pulls them together into a coherent, timely, and important book that will make you feel optimistic about the future of people and the planet.''
'-- Robert Bryce, author of A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations''Apocalypse Never is a seminal book. Without alarmism or denial, Michael Shellenberger has broadened the discussion and changed how we think about climate change and the environment. As a pro-safety environmentalist, I view his work as invaluable to advancing the creation of safe and reliable energy sources.''
'-- Dr. Charles A. Casto, Regional Manager (ret.) U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission''Michael Shellenberger is one of our most insightful and provocative environmental thinkers. In Apocalypse Never he convincingly questions conventional wisdom and offers essential out-of-the-box thinking for a new 21st-century environmental movement. Full of personal drama and mind-bogglingly counter-intuitive information, Apocalypse Never will leave you hopeful, inspired, and eager to build a better future.''
'-- Robert Stone, Oscar-nominated filmmaker, ''Chasing the Moon,'' ''Pandora's Promise,'' ''Radio Bikini"Environmental doomsaying may be well-intentioned, but it often gets in the way of solving actual environmental problems. In Apocalypse Never Michael Shellenberger deftly challenges green platitudes and demonstrates how our environmental challenges are better confronted with pragmatic realism than with blinkered ideological visions or ecological fear-mongering. This is must-reading for those who care about human welfare and environmental conservation."
'--Jonathan Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law & Director, Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law, Case Western University''The trouble with end-of-the-world environmental scenarios is that they hide evidence-based diagnoses and exile practical solutions. Love it or hate it, Apocalypse Never asks us to consider whether the apocalyptic headline of the day gets us any closer to a future in which nature and people prosper.''
'-- Peter Kareiva, Director of the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and former Chief Scientist, The Nature Conservancy
On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare '-- Environmental Progress
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 08:32
On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It's just not the end of the world. It's not even our most serious environmental problem.
I may seem like a strange person to be saying all of this. I have been a climate activist for 20 years and an environmentalist for 30.
But as an energy expert asked by Congress to provide objective expert testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to serve as Expert Reviewer of its next Assessment Report, I feel an obligation to apologize for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public.
Here are some facts few people know:
Humans are not causing a ''sixth mass extinction''
The Amazon is not ''the lungs of the world''
Climate change is not making natural disasters worse
Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003
The amount of land we use for meat '-- humankind's biggest use of land '-- has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska
The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California
Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the mid-1970s
Netherlands became rich not poor while adapting to life below sea level
We produce 25% more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter
Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change
Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels
Preventing future pandemics requires more not less ''industrial'' agriculture
I know that the above facts will sound like ''climate denialism'' to many people. But that just shows the power of climate alarmism.
In reality, the above facts come from the best-available scientific studies, including those conducted by or accepted by the IPCC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other leading scientific bodies.
Some people will, when they read this imagine that I'm some right-wing anti-environmentalist. I'm not. At 17, I lived in Nicaragua to show solidarity with the Sandinista socialist revolution. At 23 I raised money for Guatemalan women's cooperatives. In my early 20s I lived in the semi-Amazon doing research with small farmers fighting land invasions. At 26 I helped expose poor conditions at Nike factories in Asia.
I became an environmentalist at 16 when I threw a fundraiser for Rainforest Action Network. At 27 I helped save the last unprotected ancient redwoods in California. In my 30s I advocated renewables and successfully helped persuade the Obama administration to invest $90 billion into them. Over the last few years I helped save enough nuclear plants from being replaced by fossil fuels to prevent a sharp increase in emissions
But until last year, I mostly avoided speaking out against the climate scare. Partly that's because I was embarrassed. After all, I am as guilty of alarmism as any other environmentalist. For years, I referred to climate change as an ''existential'' threat to human civilization, and called it a ''crisis.''
But mostly I was scared. I remained quiet about the climate disinformation campaign because I was afraid of losing friends and funding. The few times I summoned the courage to defend climate science from those who misrepresent it I suffered harsh consequences. And so I mostly stood by and did next to nothing as my fellow environmentalists terrified the public.
I even stood by as people in the White House and many in the news media tried to destroy the reputation and career of an outstanding scientist, good man, and friend of mine, Roger Pielke, Jr., a lifelong progressive Democrat and environmentalist who testified in favor of carbon regulations. Why did they do that? Because his research proves natural disasters aren't getting worse.
But then, last year, things spiraled out of control.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said ''The world is going to end in twelve years if we don't address climate change.'' Britain's most high-profile environmental group claimed ''Climate Change Kills Children.''
The world's most influential green journalist, Bill McKibben, called climate change the ''greatest challenge humans have ever faced'' and said it would ''wipe out civilizations.''
Mainstream journalists reported, repeatedly, that the Amazon was ''the lungs of the world,'' and that deforestation was like a nuclear bomb going off.
As a result, half of the people surveyed around the world last year said they thought climate change would make humanity extinct. And in January, one out of five British children told pollsters they were having nightmares about climate change.
Whether or not you have children you must see how wrong this is. I admit I may be sensitive because I have a teenage daughter. After we talked about the science she was reassured. But her friends are deeply misinformed and thus, understandably, frightened.
I thus decided I had to speak out. I knew that writing a few articles wouldn't be enough. I needed a book to properly lay out all of the evidence.
And so my formal apology for our fear-mongering comes in the form of my new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.
It is based on two decades of research and three decades of environmental activism. At 400 pages, with 100 of them endnotes, Apocalypse Never covers climate change, deforestation, plastic waste, species extinction, industrialization, meat, nuclear energy, and renewables.
Some highlights from the book:
Factories and modern farming are the keys to human liberation and environmental progress
The most important thing for saving the environment is producing more food, particularly meat, on less land
The most important thing for reducing air pollution and carbon emissions is moving from wood to coal to petroleum to natural gas to uranium
100% renewables would require increasing the land used for energy from today's 0.5% to 50%
We should want cities, farms, and power plants to have higher, not lower, power densities
Vegetarianism reduces one's emissions by less than 4%
Greenpeace didn't save the whales, switching from whale oil to petroleum and palm oil did
''Free-range'' beef would require 20 times more land and produce 300% more emissions
Greenpeace dogmatism worsened forest fragmentation of the Amazon
The colonialist approach to gorilla conservation in the Congo produced a backlash that may have resulted in the killing of 250 elephants
Why were we all so misled?
In the final three chapters of Apocalypse Never I expose the financial, political, and ideological motivations. Environmental groups have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars from fossil fuel interests. Groups motivated by anti-humanist beliefs forced the World Bank to stop trying to end poverty and instead make poverty ''sustainable.'' And status anxiety, depression, and hostility to modern civilization are behind much of the alarmism
Once you realize just how badly misinformed we have been, often by people with plainly unsavory or unhealthy motivations, it is hard not to feel duped.
Will Apocalypse Never make any difference? There are certainly reasons to doubt it.
The news media have been making apocalyptic pronouncements about climate change since the late 1980s, and do not seem disposed to stop.
The ideology behind environmental alarmsim '-- Malthusianism '-- has been repeatedly debunked for 200 years and yet is more powerful than ever.
But there are also reasons to believe that environmental alarmism will, if not come to an end, have diminishing cultural power.
The coronavirus pandemic is an actual crisis that puts the climate ''crisis'' into perspective. Even if you think we have overreacted, Covid-19 has killed nearly 500,000 people and shattered economies around the globe.
Scientific institutions including WHO and IPCC have undermined their credibility through the repeated politicization of science. Their future existence and relevance depends on new leadership and serious reform.
Facts still matter, and social media is allowing for a wider range of new and independent voices to outcompete alarmist environmental journalists at legacy publications.
Nations are reverting openly to self-interest and away from Malthusianism and neoliberalism, which is good for nuclear and bad for renewables.
The evidence is overwhelming that our high-energy civilization is better for people and nature than the low-energy civilization that climate alarmists would return us to.
The invitations from IPCC and Congress are signs of a growing openness to new thinking about climate change and the environment. Another one has been to the response to my book from climate scientists, conservationists, and environmental scholars. "Apocalypse Never is an extremely important book,'' writes Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb. ''This may be the most important book on the environment ever written,'' says one of the fathers of modern climate science Tom Wigley.
''We environmentalists condemn those with antithetical views of being ignorant of science and susceptible to confirmation bias,'' wrote the former head of The Nature Conservancy, Steve McCormick. ''But too often we are guilty of the same. Shellenberger offers 'tough love:' a challenge to entrenched orthodoxies and rigid, self-defeating mindsets. Apocalypse Never serves up occasionally stinging, but always well-crafted, evidence-based points of view that will help develop the 'mental muscle' we need to envision and design not only a hopeful, but an attainable, future.''
That is all I hoped for in writing it. If you've made it this far, I hope you'll agree that it's perhaps not as strange as it seems that a lifelong environmentalist, progressive, and climate activist felt the need to speak out against the alarmism.
I further hope that you'll accept my apology.
Delingpole: Forbes Cancels Environmentalist Who Wrote 'I Apologize for the Climate Scare'
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 12:27
Wikimedia Commons''On Behalf of Environmentalists, I Apologise for the Climate Scare,'' said an article published in Forbes magazine by Mike Shellenberger.
At least it did, till Forbes caved to furious green activists and pulled it within hours of publication. By arguing that climate change is real '' but ''not the end of the world'' and ''not even our most serious environmental problem,'' Shellenberger had been found guilty of wrongthink.
Forbes has censored my article.
I have reposted it here:https://t.co/PPcd2DrinO
'-- Mike Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) June 29, 2020
As he recounts in his cancelled article '' which can be read here '' Shellenberger could scarcely have more impeccable greenie/lefty credentials.
At 17, I lived in Nicaragua to show solidarity with the Sandinista socialist revolution. At 23 I raised money for Guatemalan women's cooperatives. In my early 20s I lived in the semi-Amazon doing research with small farmers fighting land invasions. At 26 I helped expose poor conditions at Nike factories in Asia.
I became an environmentalist at 16 when I threw a fundraiser for Rainforest Action Network. At 27 I helped save the last unprotected ancient redwoods in California. In my 30s I advocated renewables and successfully helped persuade the Obama administration to invest $90 billion into them. Over the last few years I helped save enough nuclear plants from being replaced by fossil fuels to prevent a sharp increase in emissions.
But none of this was enough to save him the green mob which apparently bullied Forbes into withdrawing the piece.
Here are some of the facts in Shellenberger's article which so infuriated his critics:
Humans are not causing a ''sixth mass extinction''
The Amazon is not ''the lungs of the world''
Climate change is not making natural disasters worse
Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003
The amount of land we use for meat '-- humankind's biggest use of land '-- has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska
The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California
Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the mid-1970s
Adapting to life below sea level made the Netherlands rich not poor
We produce 25% more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter
Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change
Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels
Preventing future pandemics requires more not less ''industrial'' agriculture
Shellenberger admits that though he has known the truth for some time, he kept quiet till last year because he was 'afraid of losing friends and funding'. What prompted him to speak out was that he saw the 'climate scare' was spiralling out of control.
To make amends, he wrote a book called Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.
It exposes many inconvenient truths that greenies would prefer that you didn't know.
Factories and modern farming are the keys to human liberation and environmental progress
The most important thing for saving the environment is producing more food, particularly meat, on less land
The most important thing for reducing air pollution and carbon emissions is moving from wood to coal to petroleum to natural gas to uranium
100% renewables would require increasing the land used for energy from today's 0.5% to 50%
We should want cities, farms, and power plants to have higher, not lower, power densities
Vegetarianism reduces one's emissions by less than 4%
Greenpeace didn't save the whales, switching from whale oil to petroleum and palm oil did
''Free-range'' beef would require 20 times more land and produce 300% more emissions
Greenpeace dogmatism worsened forest fragmentation of the Amazon
The colonialist approach to gorilla conservation in the Congo produced a backlash that may have resulted in the killing of 250 elephants
You hear more of Shellenberger in this interview for the Delingpod podcast.
Forbes '' and those bullying activists '' have made a huge mistake in cancelling Shellenberger's article.
Apparently, they are unaware of the Streisand Effect, which will now ensure that Shellenberger's message will reach an audience far bigger than it would have done otherwise.
Noodle Gun
Mastercard Changes Name To Equalitycard | The Babylon Bee
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 12:37
PURCHASE, NY'--Popular multinational financial services company, Mastercard Incorporated, which is known for its extensive line of credit, debit, and prepaid cards to process payments between card-issuing banks and merchants, has released a statement that they will now be known as Equalitycard. This shift in branding follows other companies who have made major branding changes due to their negligence in propagating racial stereotypes in America like Aunt Jemima syrup, Uncle Ben's Ready Rice, and Land O'Lakes Butter.
This massive change in branding awareness comes in the wake of protests pointing out how far we need to go in stamping out systemic racism, even if it is found in beloved food products. Financial products are now coming under fire as many consumers pointed out that the troubling phrase ''Master'' was in the name of Mastercard, leading many to think of a checkered past when slaveowners expected to be called ''master.''
''Honestly, in 2020, there is no place in America for terms like 'master','' said Ajaypal "Ajay" Singh Banga, Equalitycard's chief executive. ''That is not an image we want to evoke when consumers engage in financial transactions that might place them massively in debt to us, through late fees and massive interest charges. Equalitycard will always promote the equality of cardholders of all races.''
At publishing time, several other popular American institutions and brands using the problematic word were facing criticism including MasterClass online classes, Masterpiece Theatre, all master's degrees, and Jedi Masters.
Babylon Bee subscriber Payton McNabb contributed to this report. If you want to get involved with the staff writers at The Babylon Bee, check out our membership options
Breaking: Paypal Now AvailableMany of you told us you wouldn't subscribe until we offered Paypal as a payment option. You apparently weren't bluffing, so we finally caved and added Paypal. Now '-- like the unbeliever faced with God's invisible qualities displayed in nature '-- you are without excuse.
Hi Adam -
Below are some notes from a meeting I just left in which the Facebook Boycott was discussed. Being at a large international company CPG (xxx), the decision was made yesterday for us to also join.
Topline notes (nothing dramatically different from what you can probably find in other news reports):
Few activist groups came together to form Stop Hate For Profit in order to make demands on brands, asking all advertisers to boycott FB and Instagram for the month of July since:
1) FB isn't doing enough to stop hate speech across the platform.
2) Ads for businesses are landing next to places undesirable.
This took steam quickly, with US & Global companies joining the boycott. The main ask is halting all ads at least for the month of July.
Some brands have already announced that they will be halting for longer. Some only will only be doing this in North America.
Industry reports though are saying that even though a lot of big players are joining (Unilever, Patagonia, Coca-Cola, Adidas, etc), they do not expect this to impact Facebook financially since if you took all ads together for these brands for only a month it is not a large % of FB ad revenue.
Group behind this is:
HMFIC Store feedback
Sir HMFIC Here
Heard the discussion on this on Sunday's show, and I have a bit of standing in this area as my company spends a ton on FB ads each year. Short version, these companies are slitting their own throats in the name of wokeness and it will not hurt FB's bottom line one bit.
You discussed on the show about how FB is the king for targeted advertisements, and you are 100% correct. We get the best ROI by a factor of 10 with FB ads compared to other platforms and mediums. The ability to target to super specific demographics and build lookalike audiencies based on the characteristics of people that have already converted/purchased off your ads is unmatched anywhere.
These big companies take a shotgun approach to FB ads. They have boring videos or generic single image ads that nobody really pays attention too but they throw more money at them than a democrat at a gay athiest's bake sale. The result is that they take up a big portion of the available ad slots, and drive the price of ads way up. Especially over the last two years. In 2018 and years prior FB ads were about 20-30 percent of our total monthly expenses. 2019 through may 2020 they were 60% of total expenses.
Since this boycott began in early June, ad costs have started rapidly falling because these companies were pulling their campaigns which is GREAT NEWS for small businesses with a savvy ads team. For June our ad costs are down to around 20% and sales are through the roof (especially our masks. Let me know if there are any you want and I'll send you and John some. http://shop.asmdss.com/collections/face-covers )
With the big brands taking their spend out, there are hundreds of thousands of small to medium companies, internet marketers, Chinese dropshippers, etc. that will step in to fill the void as they now get more bang for their buck.
Not to mention with it being an election year both campaigns are going to be heavily running ads and dropping more cash than Bill Clinton at a Haitian brothel.
I really hope more and more big companies jump on this woke bandwagon and pull their spend, I will laugh at them all the way to the bank as I increase my spend and ROI at the same time along with tens of thousands of other capitalists.
Zuckerberg Tells Facebook Staff He Expects Advertisers to Return 'Soon Enough' '-- The Information
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 22:44
| July 1, 2020 2:49 PM PDT
Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo by Bloomberg; art by Mike Sullivan.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees he was reluctant to bow to the threats of a growing ad boycott, saying in private remarks that ''my guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.''
Zuckerberg gave his thoughts on the boycott, which now includes large brands like Starbucks and Coca-Cola, during a video town hall meeting last Friday, according to employees who attended.
In the previously unreported remarks, Zuckerberg said the boycott is more of a ''reputational and a partner issue'' than an economic one, according to a transcript obtained by The Information. He noted that large advertisers participating in the boycott make up a small portion of Facebook's overall revenue, and he said, ''We're not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue.''
The Truth About Essence - Black Female Anonymous - Medium
Sun, 28 Jun 2020 15:45
We are #BlackFemaleAnonymous. We present ourselves under the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, intimidation and the maligning of our media careers. We demand the immediate resignation of Essence Ventures owner and Chief Executive Officer Richelieu Dennis, Essence Ventures board member and former Essence Communications CEO Michelle Ebanks, Chief Operating Officer Joy Collins Profet, and Chief Content Officer Moana Luu. We are calling for Coca Cola, Ford, Walmart, McDonalds, AT&T, Procter & Gamble and Warner Media to immediately eliminate all active or future sponsorships and media buys at Essence Ventures until the company is under new leadership.
The Essence brand promise is fraudulent. The once exalted media brand dedicated to Black women has been hijacked by cultural and corporate greed and an unhinged abuse of power. Essence celebrated its 50th anniversary last month with supermodel Naomi Campbell on its cover, and this very weekend, the company's massive Essence Festival goes virtual in the age of Covid-19 with a performance by Bruno Mars, and appearances by Queen Latifah, Don Lemon and activist Tamika Mallory.
Historically a haven for Black female media professionals who couldn't get roles at major publishers like Hearst and Cond(C) Nast due to racial bias, the magazine's very first cover in May 1970 boldly presented a Black woman in a natural afro with a tantalizing cover line asking Black men, do you love me? Today, the company's predominately Black female workforce is asking Essence itself, do you love us like we love you?
For past and present Black female talent once lucky enough to walk its prestigious halls, Essence is the most deceptive Black media company in America. Why? Essence aggressively monetizes #BlackGirlMagic but the company does not internally practice #BlackGirlMagic. The company's longstanding pattern of gross mistreatment and abuse of its Black female employees is the biggest open secret in the media business.
New owner and CEO Richelieu Dennis, Michelle Ebanks, Joy Collins Profet and Moana Luu collaboratively immortalize an extremely unhealthy work culture. Scores of talented Black women have been either wrongfully laid off or forced to resign from the company in the past two years. Essence's C-suite leadership team strategically tells the market it ''serves Black women deeply'' under the safe seal of 100% Black ownership, but for the Black women who makeup over 80% of the company's workforce, they are systematically suppressed by pay inequity, sexual harassment, corporate bullying, intimidation, colorism and classism.
The Truth About Richelieu Dennis, Essence Ventures owner and CEO of Essence Communications
Richelieu Dennis acquired Essence in 2018 from Time Inc. to advance his personal power and influence despite his carefully crafted, public messaging. His surface-level commitment to Black women is driven by greed and a debaucherous sexual appetite. He has a history of sleeping with women on the Sundial staff, (the parent company of Shea Moisture he sold to Unilever in 2017) and for the women who don't seemingly consent, he openly sexually harasses them at private company events. In the later half of 2019, Richelieu tried to force Essence employees and contractors to sign non-disclosure agreements that exclusively protects his family from liability or disparagement after a string of wrongful layoffs and other potentially libelous business activity. When staff raised questions about the NDA, the executive leadership team launched a series of intimidation tactics on its staff. Richelieu's wife Martha Dennis is the company's Head of Human Resources, a blatant conflict of interest. Martha is complicit in her husband's abuse of power. For Essence employees under Dennis family leadership, there is no possible way to share your grievances or frustrations when the family matriarch is the head of HR.
Altogether Richelieu and the Dennis family directly and indirectly buy the silence of current and former Essence Black female employees who fear backlash of Richelieu's massive financial and social capital. The poisonous culture at the company however, began with one Michelle Ebanks.
The Truth About Michelle Ebanks, Essence Ventures Board Member and Former CEO of Essence Communications
Michelle Ebanks is nearly singlehandedly responsible for establishing an extreme toxic culture at the company since her hire as president in 2005 when the company was 100% acquired by Time Inc. Michelle's quest for total power and her corporate influence on the executive leadership at Time Inc. signaled the quiet firing of the iconic Susan L. Taylor in 2008. The company's culture hasn't been the same since. Although Michelle recently ''resigned'' as CEO, she continues her history of tactically bullying and gaslighting staff as a board member. At a company town hall during the second half of 2019, some employees asked Michelle about pay raises at market and industry rate in New York City, Michelle, then CEO, casually pointed to the door and told staff they could leave if they could find better compensation elsewhere.
Michelle's malignant and histrionic leadership led to the public and private firings, forced layoffs and resignations of some of the most talented and sought-after Black women in the media industry. It is also sadly, under Michelle's management that Black female staff on maternal leave or recently returned from work after giving birth, were dismissed from their roles or at minimum threatened with dismissal. It is for this reason many Black women fear for their jobs at Essence when they become pregnant and for some, they experience repeated miscarriages due to intense stress and anxiety from Michelle's leadership practices '-- if they can become pregnant at all. It is also a wide and common occurrence for employees under Michelle's leadership at Essence to suffer from intense anxiety, depression, evidenced by signs of extreme weight gain or loss, workforce isolation or surrendered resignations.
The Truth About Joy Collins Profet, COO of Essence Communications
When Michelle hired Joy Collins Profet former Essence Festival General Manager as the company's new COO, Joy became de facto head of Human Resources for over a year before Martha took over. Joy's lack of experience as a HR leader deepened the operational vulnerability of the business and teams in all parts of the business '-- from marketing, sales, digital to editorial. One senior leader who directly reports to Joy was forced to take a stress leave in 2019 only to return to an even more volatile work culture driven by Joy's leadership practices.
While most of Joy's senior hires were sound decisions '-- mostly executives sold on the company's new ''100% Black owned'' market messaging '-- she ultimately hired Darline Jean as Chief Digital Officer despite Darline having no proven experience running a lean digital operations. While Darline only stayed with Essence for a year, she like Michelle, led with a style of fear and intimidation. Both of her senior hires were men '-- one Black male and an Asian male. She severely compromised the stability of the digital business with a series of adverse business decisions. Darline alienated her staff, which led to the sweeping exodus of virtually every hire in Essence's digital organization. Michelle could have easily hired an experienced HR and operations leader but she calculatedly put Joy in the position of COO to secure her micro-authority over the organization. For 15 years, Michelle's reign over Essence was informed by what was best for Michelle not Essence.
The abusive work culture activated by Michelle passes on like a viral disease to every C-suite leader who manages a staff at the company. All employees in the Essence workforce are plagued, and not even the quarantine offered a reprieve. When Joy launched a search for a Senior Vice President of Revenue in 2018, Michelle stopped several highly experienced Black female sales leaders from advancing in interviews, and in 2019, she ultimately greenlit the hire of white woman Kristen Elliot formerly of Cond(C) Nast. Kristen unsurprisingly hired a white female sales leader under her leadership despite the volume of experienced Black female sales leaders who expressed interest in the role or the internal sales staff who could have used the promotion. At a market appointment in 2019, one brave executive on the client side, openly shared their frustration with Essence's white sales leadership when during a pitch, Kristen and her hire failed to articulate Black women's culture and influence. This brave executive from the client side was also a white woman.
The Truth About Moana Luu, Chief Content Officer of Essence Communications
Moana Luu, hired by Richelieu due to a personal relationship despite having no proven experience in publishing, is also rampantly abusive and divisive to the editorial and creative staff at Essence. Moana initiated the firing of a Black female senior leader who recently returned from maternity leave. She has a record of intimidating, bullying, and publicly shaming her staff. After staff sustained nearly a year of Moana's workplace bullying, flamboyant overspending, and lack of leadership on production budgets and deadlines '-- a direct reflection of her minimal business experience '-- a staffer anonymously emailed a complaint to both Richelieu and Michelle. Instead of investigating Moana's performance, they initiated interrogation tactics with support from IT leadership to ''find the mole'' among the company's staffers. The incident strengthened the toxicity of the company culture and led to the resignation of even more highly experienced Black women.
The Truth About Forced Black Female Anonymity
Essence magazine is failing Black America. When Black media companies become unstable, it triggers the instability of the entire culture. Black women and men have long depended on Black owned media outlets to service them with cultural identity, cultural memory, purpose and economic advancement.
There is no intersectionality on race and gender in the new movement for a more equitable corporate America. The testimonies on Twitter and Instagram by a mighty chorus of brave Black women uncovered the racial bias and discrimination in America's white-owned mass media organizations. This led to resignations followed by recent corporate promises to do better. But Black women at Essence have been forced to remain silent. We fear cannibalizing the public narrative for Black Lives Matter and civil rights 2.0. We also fear losing our jobs or being banished from Black cultural spaces. We can only look to the organized intimidation aimed at the survivors of Russell Simmons. The startling accounts of Drew Dixon, Sil Lai Abrams, Sherri Hines, and Jenny Lumet, all Black women, who experienced sexual violence at the hands of Russell, have been culturally dismissed and disrespected.
But what happens when your workplace bully have the same race and gender as you? Publicly coming forward seems simply foolish. White women can openly take down their devil in Prada but Black women must protect her. The demand for a new America calls for the complete accountability of all Americans, even those of us in Black America and our cultural institutions. Black women deserve to feel safe both in white America and Black America.
We are #BlackFemaleAnonymous but not for long. Our hope is that this message assures the hearts and minds of every forcibly muted Essence employee past and present that the change we've secretly hoped for is on the way. More urgently, we hope this message moves Essence leadership, and the corporations who invest in Essence, to action within the next 5 business days.
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Cambridge University backs academic who tweeted 'White Lives Don't Matter' | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:56
The University of Cambridge has spoken out in support of one of its lecturers who was hit by a wave of abusive messages and death threats for tweeting 'White Lives Don't Matter'.
Dr Priyamvada Gopal, 51, who teaches in the Faculty of English at Churchill College, took to the social media platform on Tuesday evening to write: 'I'll say it again. White Lives Don't Matter. As white lives.'
However the controversial message, which has since been deleted by Twitter, was met with a barrage of outrage, with many people responding both publicly and privately with death threats and racist abuse.
A petition titled 'Fire Cambridge Professor for Racism' was also launched on the petition site change.org on Wednesday demanding that Dr Gopal be fired by the university for the comment.
Dr Priyamvada Gopal, 51, who teaches in the Faculty of English at Churchill College, was met by a wave of death threats after her message on Tuesday
The Cambridge University professor took to Twitter to write: 'll say it again. White Lives Don't Matter. As white lives'
Dr Gopal later shared some of the hate speech she had received, including from a man sending her a picture of a noose and writing: 'We are coming for you you n***er loving piece of s*it'.
As well as sharing some of the worst abuse she has received, Dr Gopal - who is also a journalist and activist - announced that on Wednesday night, the university promoted her to a full Professorship.
She added: 'I would also like to make clear I stand by my tweets, now deleted by Twitter, not me.
'They were very clearly speaking to a structure and ideology, not about people.
'My Tweet said whiteness is not special, not a criterion for making lives matter. I stand by that.'
Following the torrent of abusive messages, the Russel Group University defended the academic and deplored the attacks she has faced since her tweet.
A statement released by the university read: 'The University defends the right of its academics to express their own lawful opinions, which others might find controversial.
'[It] deplores in the strongest terms abuse and personal attacks. These attacks are totally unacceptable and must cease.'
Cambridge University (pictured is Churchill College) said it defended the right of its academics to express their own lawful opinions, which others might find controversial
Dr Gopal later explained on social media that she was 'clearly speaking to a structure and ideology, not about people'
Stand-up comedian Nish Kumar came out in support of the academic and said it was 'awful seeing the hard right mob descend' Dr Gopal
Meanwhile, the Cambridge branch of the University and College Union (UCU), also showed their solidarity with Dr Gopal.
The union wrote: 'Solidarity with Priyamvada Gopal - being targeted with vile sexist and racist abuse for speaking up against white supremacists.
'We are proud to be your colleagues both on the picket line and off it. BlackLivesMatterSolidarity.'
Many colleagues and students have since expressed solidarity with Dr Gopal following the incident, with even popular comedian Nish Kumar wading in to call her 'one of the best and brightest around'.
However, the university's defence of Dr Gopal has been labelled by some as inconsistent and politically biased.
Critics have pointed to the recent removal of Noah Carl from his research position at St Edmund's college over links with far right extremist groups.
And others have referred to the university rescinding a visiting fellowship invitation to controversial professor Jordan Peterson in March last year.
Opponents of the university's stance have suggested that the same defence of free speech and tolerance of controversial views was not extended in these instances.
On June 18, Dr Gopal said that after 17 years of consideration she would not be supervising students at King's College due to the consistent racial profiling and aggression by porters
Dr Gopal's tweet has since been removed by Twitter for 'violating the Twitter Rules'.
The incident comes just a week after the academic announced she would no longer be supervising students from King's College because of 'consistently racist profiling and aggression by porters'.
On June 18, Dr Gopal told her 20,000 Twitter followers she was taking the stand 'on my behalf and of other people of colour' calling the situation a 'festering sore'.
She said: 'With deep regret but with 17 years of consideration behind it, I have finally decided on my behalf & of other people of colour @Cambridge_Uni to refuse to supervise any students at @Kings_College. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH of the consistently racist profiling & aggression by Porters.'
She added: 'It's for the students that over the years I've hesitated to take this decision. But I think it's come to point where it is for students, BAME students who've shared their Kings stories with me, that I must do it.
'Oh and today, I repeatedly asked them to address me as 'Dr Gopal' and repeatedly failed to get them to address me as anything other than 'madam'.'
The academic went on to say that Kings' porters treated her differently because she was not white.
But King's College hit back at her claims, saying there was 'no wrongdoing or discrimination' from its staff.
A King's College spokesperson said: 'We have investigated the incident and found no wrongdoing on the part of our staff.
'Every visitor was asked to show their card during the course of that day, as the College was closed to everyone except King's members.
'Non-members such as Dr Gopal were asked to take alternatives routes, around the College. This was a matter of procedure, not discrimination.
'King's College is a rich and diverse community, and take the wellbeing of its students and staff extremely seriously. We remain committed to being an inclusive and welcoming environment in which to work and study.
'We categorically deny that the incident referred to was in any way racist.'
Adidas Executive Resigns as Turmoil at Company Continues - The New York Times
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 21:32
Business | Adidas Executive Resigns as Turmoil at Company ContinuesKaren Parkin oversaw human resources for the sports apparel giant, which has faced criticism from employees who say it fosters a racist and discriminatory workplace.
Karen Parkin, who oversaw human resources at Adidas, acknowledged in a letter to employees that she had lost their trust. Credit... Hannah Hlavacek/Adidas June 30, 2020Updated 2:30 p.m. ET
A top Adidas executive resigned on Tuesday, weeks after a number of Black employees pushed for her ouster amid a wider outcry over what they said were past acts of racism and discrimination at the company.
Karen Parkin, who is British, had been the only woman on Adidas's six-person executive board since 2017, and was responsible for human resources across the company. She worked for Adidas for over 20 years in sales, business development and supply chain positions across Britain and the United States and at the company's headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
''Her decision to leave the company reflects that commitment and her belief that a new H.R. leader will best drive forward the pace of change that Adidas needs at this time,'' said Igor Landau, chairman of the company's supervisory board, in a release announcing her resignation. Germany has a two-tiered board system in which a supervisory board is elected both by shareholders and employees, while the executive board runs the day-to-day operations of the company.
In a letter sent to employees and seen by The New York Times, Ms. Parkin acknowledged that she had lost the trust of Adidas employees.
''While I would very much like to lead this critical transformation effort, after much reflection and listening to the feedback I've received, I have come to accept that I am not the right person to lead that change,'' she wrote. ''While I have always stood 100 percent against racism and discrimination and worked to create a more equitable environment, I recognize that the focus on me has become a hindrance inhibiting the company from moving forward.''
For weeks, a group of Adidas employees have held protests outside of the company's North American headquarters in Portland, Ore. They say the company's top executives have fostered a culture that permitted racism and discrimination, and failed to invest in Black employees or respect Black culture while exploiting those two groups to sell shoes and apparel.
This month, Ms. Parkin, who is white, apologized for her response when describing how Adidas ''viewed issues of race within our North American headquarters'' during a meeting last year. Her apology came via a post on an internal company messaging system that was viewed by The Times.
Image Adidas staff protested in June at the company's North American headquarters in Portland, Ore. Credit... Bernadette Little It was a response to an open letter from Aaron Ture, a product manager at Reebok, an Adidas subsidiary based in Boston. In his letter, Mr. Ture described an all-company meeting held in Boston in August in which Ms. Parkin, who lived in Portland but whose office was in Germany, was asked about racism within the company.
''This is noise we only hear in North America,'' Mr. Ture recalled Ms. Parkin's responding, though he acknowledged that he could not remember her exact response word for word. ''I do not believe there is an issue, so I do not feel the need to answer this question.''
Ms. Parkin's apology '-- in which she wrote, ''Should I have offended anyone, I apologize'' '-- struck many employees as hollow.
''You're willing to acknowledge your handling of the response was wrong, but cannot take full ownership and give a sincere apology?'' one employee responded on the internal messaging system. ''This is so disappointing.''
Another simply posted a link to the Wikipedia article for a non-apology apology.
In mid-June, dozens of Adidas employees sent a letter to the company's supervisory board, asking it to investigate whether Ms. Parkin had taken the right approach to racism in the workplace, according to The Wall Street Journal.
An investigation by The Times a year ago revealed that the company's predominantly white leadership in Portland was struggling with issues of race and discrimination. And the company has stumbled in its response to the worldwide protests after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck. In late May, it posted on Instagram an image of the word ''racism'' crossed out, which many employees saw as ineffectual.
Image An Adidas store in Manhattan. The company has stumbled in its response to protests after the police killing of George Floyd. Credit... Gabby Jones for The New York Times One group of mostly Black employees began working with the mostly white leadership in Portland on a list of demands '-- including more diverse hiring and an investment in the Black community '-- to present to executives in Germany, while another began daily noon protests outside of the company's campus. Employees shared stories of discrimination and racist encounters on social media, in meetings and in open letters addressed to their superiors.
In response, Adidas pledged that 30 percent of its new hires would be Black or Latino. It also pledged to expand funding for programs that address racial disparities to $120 million over five years and to fund 50 college scholarships a year for Black students over the next five years.
And the company posted new images on Instagram, these stating unequivocally that ''black lives matter'' and that ''the success of adidas would be nothing without Black athletes, Black artists, Black employees and Black consumers. Period.''
Portland restaurant group Toro Bravo Inc. dissolving in wake of founder's Facebook outburst - oregonlive.com
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:12
Toro Bravo Inc., a restaurant group that once included nearly a dozen restaurants and a gleaming Pearl District ''gastronomic society,'' will be dissolved in the wake of a Facebook outburst directed at a trans woman of color by chef John Gorham, new leader Renee Gorham told staff at a meeting Wednesday morning, sources told The Oregonian/OregonLive.
The closures will include destination Spanish restaurant Toro Bravo, brunch-focused sister restaurants Tasty n Alder and Tasty n Daughters as well as the Pearl District events space Plaza del Toro. John Gorham had already struck a deal to divest his interests in seven other restaurants within the Toro Bravo Inc. group. Those include Mediterranean Exploration Company, two locations of Shalom Y'all, two locations of Bless Your Heart burgers, the falafel shop Mama Sesame and the upcoming Y'alla.
The decision, which was confirmed by Renee Gorham on Wednesday evening, puts an end to one of the most successful Portland restaurant groups of the past decade. And it comes after a widespread departure of staff, many of whom left after the offensive nature of Gorham's private Facebook messages was revealed last weekend, according to several current and former employees.
Renee Gorham did not immediately respond to questions Wednesday, writing in an email to The Oregonian/OregonLive that ''we hope to continue to provide meals for shelters through July.''
The saga began in May, after several Toro Bravo Inc. vans parked near Southeast Portland's Tasty n Daughters were tagged. According to the Gorhams, the graffiti was part of a string of break-ins and vandalism that had cost the company a combined $75,000 as they struggled to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the chef on edge.
Gorham took to Facebook on May 23, floating the idea of starting a ''vigilante'' neighborhood patrol to keep properties safe and offering a $5,000 reward for information about the vandals. That post caught the eye of a trans woman of color, who said she decided to ''mock'' Gorham with a separate post, which offered to leave a box of free spray paint for any street artists who might need it, while captioning a photo of Gorham's tagged vans with, ''Art fills me with such joy.'' The woman asked not to be identified after receiving harassment.
Gorham was soon alerted to the woman's post and, along with his followers, began to release personal details about the woman, apparently thinking she was responsible for the graffiti, including a picture of her and another of her SUV, license plate visible.
A series of heated exchanges followed both in public comments and private messages, as Gorham and his followers made veiled threats against the person behind the mocking post. Though John Gorham said he did not know the sexual identity of the woman at the time, the chef threatened to ''kick you in your little man (vulgar term for a woman's genitalia),'' according to screenshots of private messages she provided to The Oregonian/OregonLive. Last week, she approached the Gorhams for money, saying she planned to take the story public.
The Gorhams offered to donate $5,000 to charity as an apology; she asked to be paid directly, promising to donate half, according to emails the Gorhams shared with The Oregonian/OregonLive. Ultimately, the Gorhams said they made a $5,000 donation to the Native American Youth and Family Center and issued a public apology.
On June 24, Renee Gorham announced she would take over leadership of Toro Bravo Inc., saying she did not condone her husband's behavior.
In an email to The Oregonian/OregonLive last week, John Gorham announced he had checked into the hospital and would ''not be returning to the company.'' In a separate announcement posted to the company's website, he apologized for his ''extremely immature outbreak and misguided anger via Facebook.''
In the statement, Gorham blamed his 2018 brain surgery for removing ''the area that controls emotions and common sense.''
According to a current employee, Renee Gorham met with staff at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Plaza Del Toro to announce that the restaurant group would be dissolved and that Toro Bravo, Tasty n Alder and Tasty n Daughters would not reopen. She also announced that Plaza Del Toro, which has been acting as a community kitchen during the coronavirus-enforced shutdown, would also close after fulfilling its current contracts with nonprofits through its Feed It Forward meal train sponsorship program.
''It is my responsibility that the food that is in our freezers and on our shelves makes it to the people that need it the most,'' Renee Gorham said Wednesday evening.
In emails this week, John Gorham wrote that he had left the hospital and had been diagnosed as clinically depressed.
''When this is said and done I'll be bankrupt, holding nothing but memories,'' Gorham wrote.
-- Michael Russell, mrussell@oregonian.com, @tdmrussell
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Activists: Change national anthem to John Lennon's 'Imagine'
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 08:42
June 26, 2020 | 10:45am | Updated June 26, 2020 | 11:40am
Enlarge Image Should "Imagine" be the new national anthem? NY Post Illustration
Can the broad stripes and bright stars make it through the perilous fight?
Amid a national reckoning over racial tropes in culture, historian Daniel E. Walker, author Kevin Powell and others are calling to ''rethink ['The Star-Spangled Banner'] as the national anthem, because this is about the deep-seated legacy of slavery and white supremacy in America,'' Walker told Yahoo Entertainment.
The song would join a long line of cultural mainstays that are rebranding after the Black Lives Matter protests '-- foods such as Eskimo Pies and Aunt Jemima syrup among them.
The song was originally a poem written in September 1814, during the Battle of Baltimore, by Francis Scott Key, who owned slaves. The poem was eventually set to music and became the country's official anthem in 1931. President Herbert Hoover authorized the song, sung often at baseball games and graduation ceremonies '-- notably missing the third verse, which references ''the hireling and slave.''
Powell argues the song is still problematic '-- beyond being at the heart of the NFL protests kicked off in 2016 by Colin Kaepernick.
''Scott Key '... was literally born into a wealthy, slave-holding family in Maryland,'' Powell says. He also brings up Key's unsavory ties to President Andrew Jackson and Roger Taney, a Supreme Court justice who opposed abolition. Why not, argues Powell, replace the tune with John Lennon's ''Imagine''?
''[It's] the most beautiful, unifying, all-people, all-backgrounds-together kind of song you could have,'' Powell says.
One soccer club in Kansas, semi-pro team Tulsa Athletic, has already done away with the Key ditty and replaced it with ''This Land Is Your Land,'' which was written by Woody Guthrie. Critics were quick to decry the call as too far '-- ''Now they want to cancel our National Anthem?'' writes one on Twitter. Others seemed to back the move, taking it a step further by suggesting ''Ribs'' by Lorde or Miley Cyrus' ''Party in the U.S.A.'' as alternatives.
A few more edits for the new era: band names with Confederate-leaning undertones like Lady Antebellum and The Dixie Chicks, now going by ''Lady A'' and ''The Chicks,'' respectively. Splash Mountain, a favorite ride at Disney World that drew on themes from ''Song of the South,'' will now be themed according to a more modern Disney movie, ''The Princess and the Frog,'' and white actresses Kristen Bell and Jenny Slate will no longer voice biracial animated characters.
Powell may have support from actress Gal Gadot and her tribe of celeb friends, who chose ''Imagine'' as a cringe-y coronavirus anthem earlier in the pandemic.
Antifa plans to Protest 154th Anniversary of Gettysburg battle by vandalizing Soldiers' Graves
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 08:21
Antifa 'activists' are reportedly planning to ''desecrate'' the graves of those that died in the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania battle as their means of protesting its 154th anniversary.
Gettysburg has become a great attraction for Americans, many of whom troop there annually to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, a conflagration that is often termed the ''high tide'' of the civil war for turning the war in favor of the federal armies vying to end slavery and save the union.
But as the 154th-anniversary celebration gears up for the coming month, leftists are making plans for a battle of their own. Only they plan to fight against the country, to ''desecrate'' history, and to disrupt the thousands of Americans and foreign visitors who intend to honor our past.
Gettysburg town officials, as well as the federal battlefield park officials, have acknowledged warnings that several protest groups are targeting the annual celebration this year, according to Philly.com.
According to Harrisbirg 100, at least one ''Antifa'' group began informing supporters that they intended to burn Confederate and American flags in the town.
One of the warnings read:
There is an event set up on Facebook that calls for the desecration of Confederate cemeteries on Confederate Memorial Day. Specifically, on Saturday, May 13, 3-6 PM, this group intends to target Old Marietta Confederate Cemetery. They intend to burn CBFs and/or urinate on graves. They also have an event scheduled for July 1, 3-6 PM, at Gettysburg National Memorial Park Cemetery'... The group urges their followers to ''find their local Confederate graves'' to desecrate.
Tennessee approves plan to dig up, remove the remains of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest | The Global Dispatch | The Global Dispatch
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 08:26
A city council Memphis, Tennessee unanimously approved the plan to dig up the remains of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest grave from under his statue at the Health Sciences Park on Union Avenue.
The plan is to relocate the man's remains, but the city council's attorney added that Chancery Court would also have to sign off on the removal of the remains and the family of Forrest would be involved in the decision as well.
The removal of the statue has been proposed as an ordinance before the council which will have to be read before the council three times before it can be approved. From there it will be presented to the Tennessee Historic Commission but there is no timeline for when they will make a decision. The next time the commission is scheduled to meet is in October.
''It is no longer politically correct to glorify someone who was a slave trader, someone who was a racist on public property,'' said City Council member Myron Lowery.
Lowery has spear headed the removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest's grave and statue from the park once named after him. Lowery said recent tragedies were what has propelled the change, two years after the city changed the park's name.
''It was clearly after what happened in South Carolina. It was clearly after what happened in the state capital of Tennessee,'' he said.
Statue of General Nathan Bedford Forrest will be removed and his remains may be dug up photo/ screenshot of WREG coverage
Forrest was the Democrat delegate from Tennessee, serving as a Lt. General during the Civil War. He became the first ''Grand Wizard'' of the Klu Klux Klan, amassing a fortune as a planter, real estate investor, and slave trader.
''I think it's disgusting that people use the shooting in Charleston [S.C.] and use those victims to forward their own agenda and join this anti-Confederate hysteria that's going on,'' the Sons of the Confederate Veterans spokesperson, Lee Millar, told WREG, adding that the decision was a knee-jerk reaction.
''To attack something like that now I feel is just really misguided.''
The staff at Elmwood Cemetery, the oldest active cemetery in Memphis, offered to take Forrest's remains, but said they didn't want his statue currently standing above his grave.
Councilman Edmund Ford, Junior said there's a more important question that must be asked.
''Even when all the flags have been taken down and when all the artifacts have been moved, what do we do next as a people?'' he asked.
Full video coverage by WREG can be found HERE
NBA to paint 'Black Lives Matter' on sides of courts at Disney, per report - CBSSports.com
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 09:20
Watch Now: The Jim Rome Show: NBA players have concern about playing in Florida ( 2:09 )
One of the central arguments against restarting the NBA season was the momentum social justice reform had gained in the United States. Playing basketball would theoretically provide a distraction for a nation whose focus should be on combatting both systemic racism and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and a number of players were reportedly uneasy about being part of such a distraction. Were the NBA to resume play under the circumstances, it would have to use its platform in the name of social change in order to satisfy those players. Fortunately, the NBA has taken significant steps in that arena.
On Saturday, it was reported that players will be able to include social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys at Disney. That decision, while powerful, puts the onus on players. The league itself needed to send a message of solidarity, and is doing so with its latest decision. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Zach Lowe and Ramona Shelburne, the league plans to paint "Black Lives Matter" on both sidelines on all three of the courts they will be using at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.
The WNBA is also reportedly considering doing the same when it begins its season at IMG Academy, also in Florida. In addition, WNBA players are considering wearing warmup shirts with the words "say her name," in honor of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her home by Louisville police in March, as well as other female victims of police brutality.
A number of players have already opted out of playing at Disney. Some have cited a desire to spend more time with their families while others have discussed their fear of the coronavirus, but a desire to use this time to push for added social justice reform has been at the center of some of their choices. "As promised also, I will use this time away to focus on the formation of projects to help strengthen my communities," Lakers guard Avery Bradley told Wojnarowski when he decided to sit out.
The movement for further social change in the United States is ongoing, and the NBA has typically been at the forefront of that moment. Now it will join its players in pushing for major reform across the country and world.
Premier League: Black Lives Matter campaign 'not endorsement of political movement' - BBC Sport
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 07:35
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Premier League players kneel in Black Lives Matter solidarityThe Premier League says its Black Lives Matter campaign is to send the message that it is unacceptable to treat black people differently to anyone else - and not an endorsement of a political movement.
A series of tweets from the Black Lives Matter UK account about Palestine has prompted criticism.
The Premier League said in a statement it was "aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes to promote their own political views".
"These actions are entirely unwelcome and are rejected," it added.
After the tweets were posted on Sunday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told BBC Breakfast it was a "shame" the sentiment behind the Black Lives Matter movement was "getting tangled up with these organisational issues" and said it was "nonsense" for the group to call to "defund the police".
The Black Lives Matter movement has led to global protests against racism and police brutality following the death in the United States of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while a police officer knelt on his neck.
The Premier League has shown its solidarity, with players' names replaced on the back of their shirts with 'Black Lives Matter' for the first 12 matches of the restarted season, and a Black Lives Matter badge will feature on all shirts for the rest of the campaign.
But while 'Black Lives Matter' has become the slogan behind the protests, Black Lives Matter also exists as a global organisation, founded in 2013, with several goals including to advocate against white supremacy and police violence towards black people.
In its statement, the Premier League said it stood alongside players, club and a wide range of football organisations who had "come together in recent weeks to reject racism and to show support for the message that black lives matter".
The league said "Black Lives Matter" had become an "expression of unity for people from all communities who believe it is unacceptable to treat black people differently to anyone else".
"In an unprecedented move, Premier League players from all 20 clubs united in solidarity with this message and the Premier League supported their request to replace their names on the back of playing shirts with 'Black Lives Matter'," the statement added.
"The Premier League offered this backing as we wholly agree with the players' single objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists. And we are unequivocal in the belief that there is no room for racism in our competition, football as a whole, or the wider community."
Explaining that "professional football bodies and the players and managers recognise the importance of the message that black lives matter", the league added: "We do not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.
"We are aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes and campaigns to promote their own political views.
"These actions are entirely unwelcome and are rejected by the Premier League and all other professional football bodies, and they underline the importance of our sport coming together to declare a very clear position against prejudice. We want our message to be a positive one that recognises football has the power to bring people together."
Black Lives Matter protests may have slowed overall spread of coronavirus in Denver and other cities, new study finds
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 07:41
As protests against racism and police violence swept across the country, drawing massive crowds into the streets amid a pandemic, public health officials worried about what the overall impact would be.
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Would these protests '-- which many health leaders said they support '-- also turn out to be virus super-spreading events?
But a new study by a nationwide research team that includes a University of Colorado Denver professor has found something surprising: The protests may have slowed the overall spread of the coronavirus in cities with large demonstrations, including Denver.
''We think that what's going on is it's the people who are not going to protest are staying away,'' said Andrew Friedson, the CU-Denver professor who is one of the paper's co-authors. ''The overall effect for the entire city is more social distancing because people are avoiding the protests.''
''It's nice to have some numbers''Friedson's specialty is economics '-- specifically the economics of health care. The field of COVID-19 research now contains a multitude of subspecialties, and it has often been economists leading the way in understanding how people are changing their behaviors in response to the pandemic.
MORE: Coloradans are moving around at nearly pre-pandemic levels. Will a second coronavirus wave follow?
As the protests built, Friedson said he and his colleagues took note of the rising concerns about virus' spread. He said they also realized they had the ability to answer that question '-- using official coronavirus case counts and the anonymous, aggregated cell phone data that has become the gold standard for tracking societal shifts in movement.
Andrew Friedson (Handout)The team worked quickly and published their findings earlier this month as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper '-- meaning it has not yet been peer-reviewed.
''I'm someone who likes to get the answers out,'' Friedson said. ''There are a lot of people who say, 'Well I think it should happen or I think this should happen,' and it's nice to have some numbers to inform these decision-making processes.''
Rising cases, rising worriesThe paper comes as officials in Colorado and other states are concerned about rising infections, especially among young people.
New infections among young people have contributed significantly to Colorado's uptick in cases in recent days '-- a rise that reversed a weeks-long trend of falling case numbers and has put Colorado back onto the list of potential coronavirus problem spots. Meanwhile, the number of new infections among older Coloradans has dropped.
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With the July 4 holiday approaching, Gov. Jared Polis and county health officials have pleaded with people to be responsible and avoid large gatherings.
''We don't have the direct causation of this uptick,'' Polis told reporters last week, noting that there is evidence that some young people who are part of an outbreak in Boulder had attended protests while other outbreaks are tied to social gatherings. ''And we hope this is a trend that is reversed in our state.''
On Monday, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said that, while the state has now seen rising numbers of new cases for two consecutive weeks, ''we have not seen any clear association between the protests and an increase in cases.''
The spokesman, Ian Dickson, said the uptick in infections ''may be partly due to some Coloradans changing their behavior '-- especially socializing in larger groups, sometimes without proper distancing or mask wearing.''
Friedson said his paper doesn't try to figure out whether the protests spread the virus among the people at the protest. Instead, he said the research took the bigger-picture view: What did the protests mean for overall transmission of the virus within the entire community?
The study looked at 315 American cities with populations of more than 100,000 and found that 281 of those cities saw protests. The remaining 34 cities that did not see protests '-- which, at the time, included Aurora '-- were used as a control group against which to measure the impact of the protests.
The researchers found that protests correlated with a net increase in overall stay-at-home behavior in cities where they occurred '-- and the increase was larger in cities that saw more sustained protests or reports of violence.
Protesters in Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood on Saturday, June 6, 2020. (Jesse Paul. The Colorado Sun)Not a green lightFriedson said he and his colleagues were a bit surprised at first. The protests in many cities, including Denver, were massive, drawing tens of thousands of people out to march. But they occurred in cities with hundreds of thousands to millions of residents.
''We started thinking about it a little more and we thought, 'Oh my gosh we're capturing everybody else,''' he said.
The paper also found that, with greater social distancing, COVID case growth slowed in cities with protests from what would be expected '-- but not by a statistically significant amount. There may be other explanations for the trends, the study's authors note. Overall, though, they say the data show that any resurgence in coronavirus cases can't be pinned entirely on the protests.
''Public speech and public health did not trade off against each other in this case,'' the authors wrote in the paper.
But Friedson said there is one last important thing to keep in mind about this study: It's not a green light for governments to fully reopen bars, concert venues and other places where people gather in large numbers. The key to the researcher's conclusions is that the protests, while receiving lots of support, were ultimately things most people decided to avoid. That's not true of many other large gatherings.
'An outdoor wedding doesn't generate avoidance behavior; we're measuring avoidance behavior,'' Friedson said. ''People don't say, 'Oh man, there's an outdoor wedding next door, we should stay home.'''
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Adam Silver Says He Hopes The NBA Can Find A 'Mutual Respect' With China | The Daily Caller
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 07:55
NBA commissioner Adam Silver wants to have a ''mutual respect'' with the Chinese government.
The NBA and China had a gigantic falling out when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had the audacity to express support for the freedom of people in Hong Kong. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)
The Chinese government wanted Morey fired and many people, including LeBron James, seemingly sided with the Communist dictatorship over freedom-loving Americans.
Lakers' LeBron James on NBA's China controversy: ''I don't want to get into a '... feud with Daryl Morey but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand and he spoke.'' pic.twitter.com/KKrMNU0dKR
'-- Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 15, 2019
Now, Silver wants the Chinese to respect the league while understanding things are a bit ''different.''
Silver said the following when asked by Sean Gregory if the NBA's relationship with China has improved at all, according to Sopan Deb:
You know, as I've said before, you know, we come to China with a certain set of core American values and principles. And I understand also they have a different form of government. And they have a different view of how things have been done, how things should be done. And hopefully, we can find mutual respect for each other.
Adam Silver on the NBA's relationship with China '' says he feels it has improved. '''...they have a different view how things have been done, how things should be done. And hopefully, we can find mutual respect for each other.'' pic.twitter.com/Dc9RFaboqN
'-- Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) June 30, 2020
What a pathetic answer from Adam Silver. I understand that there's billions of dollars on the line when it comes to the NBA and China, but you just have to eventually draw a line in the sand.
At some point, you just have to be willing to call a spade a spade. The Chinese government is a brutal dictatorship that has committed a laundry list of horrific actions, including forced abortions for Uighur Muslim, who are also locked up across the country.
Shaq on Daryl Morey/China ''One of our best values here in America is free speech we're allowed to say what we want to say and we are allowed to speak out on injustices and that's just how it goes. and if people don't understand that that's something they have to deal with. pic.twitter.com/vefcHSPlMD
'-- gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 22, 2019
It's sad how bad the NBA bows to China. They're an American sports league that has made billions of dollars because of the USA, and yet, they bend the knee to the dictatorship in China.
It makes me want to puke. Maybe somebody should ask Silver if Tiananmen Square rings a bell.
Let's also never forget when Warriors coach Steve Kerr was asked about the human rights record in China and tried to compare it to shootings with AR-15s.
Steve Kerr on if he's ever been asked about human rights during his previous trips to China:
''No. Nor has (America's) record of human rights abuses come up either'... People in China didn't ask me about, you know, people owning AR-15s and mowing each other down in a mall.'' pic.twitter.com/56mNC7LmID
'-- Sam Hustis (@SamHustis) October 11, 2019
The NBA should be ashamed of itself. We don't need a mutual respect for China. We need to respect, support and promote freedom at all times.
We're Entering the Age of Corporate Social Justice
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:15
Paul Linse/Getty ImagesResearch has shown that companies with effective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs are more profitable than those that aren't. Over the last 50 years, corporations have relied on these programs, which include social issue marketing, philanthropic efforts, employee volunteer initiatives, and diversity and inclusion work, to build their brands and satisfy customers.
Now, consumers and employees are raising the bar. The killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis has driven one of the largest protest movements in recent memory, and the widespread reactions to the standard CSR playbook suggest that old best practices may no longer work. Consumers and employees are now looking for more than Corporate Social Responsibility '-- they're looking for what I call Corporate Social Justice.
Corporate Social Justice is a reframing of CSR that centers the focus of any initiative or program on the measurable, lived experiences of groups harmed and disadvantaged by society. CSR is a self-regulated framework that has no legal or social obligation for corporations to actually create positive impact for the groups they purport to help. Corporate Social Justice is a framework regulated by the trust between a company and its employees, customers, shareholders, and the broader community it touches, with the goal of explicitly doing good by all of them. Where CSR is often realized through a secondary or even vanity program tacked onto a company's main business, Corporate Social Justice requires deep integration with every aspect of the way a company functions.
The need for this fundamental shift has become more apparent over the last few years. AT&T, which won a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index in 2017, was widely criticized for donating more than $2.5 million to anti-gay politicians that same year. Toms, whose one-for-one giving model won widespread accolades, eventually scrapped its model after it was revealed that its donations had disrupted local economies and producers. Amazon, which recently tweeted a statement expressing solidarity with Black communities, was immediately criticized for its selling of facial-recognition technology to law enforcement agencies and extreme underrepresentation of Black professionals. (Amazon later announced a one-year moratorium on police use of its facial recognition technology.)
Consumers and other stakeholders want companies that see social good as a necessity, not just a marketing strategy. It's up to companies to respond to this new challenge. Here's how:
Begin with a goal or vision for a more just society.When picking a goal or vision, don't just go with a goal that your CEO likes. Vanity projects aren't enough. Instead, develop a thoughtful and intentional process that brings together representatives from your various stakeholder groups to determine which issues lie at the intersection of your company's mission and the unmet needs of its stakeholders.
The objective of this exercise isn't to arrive at a goal that sounds impressive. It's to arrive at a vision that your company is best equipped to play a part in creating. The Chicago Community Trust, for example, recently set a goal to close the wealth gap between Latinx, Black, and white households in Chicago.
Thoughtfully situate your company within the broader ecosystem surrounding that goal.Companies looking to address systemic racism in policing, for example, must work to understand the racial history of policing, the advent of mass incarceration, the militarization of police departments, and the relationship between community resources and the crime rate.
Don't try to distance your company from these analyses. Most companies play a role in creating and maintaining inequities through their supply chains, hiring strategies, and the customer bases they serve '-- or don't serve. At a bare minimum, any company which counts Black consumers among its audience (that should be all of them) needs to understand the historical context that informs their buying, spending, and engagement.
Build robust and representative working groups that connect the company with its stakeholders.The goal of these groups is to fully explore the impact of the company's actions on various stakeholders, and to use this knowledge to proactively inform how the company acts on and reacts to society. For example, if a company is looking to release a public statement on anti-Black racism, its process to develop that message should heavily involve Black entry-level employees, managers, and senior leaders, Black customers, and any other Black communities that interact with the company's products or services.
This work is challenging, especially in moments of crisis that place an additional burden on those most marginalized. Ensure that all members are compensated for their participation and can opt out at any time. Done right, these working groups can inform your company's strategic priorities, help leaders make tough decisions in the public eye, and allow them to respond to pressing current events in ways that resonate with your stakeholders. For employees and stakeholders outside of the company, working groups can empower their voice, represent their perspectives in decision-making, and build trust between them and the company.
Take a stance.Corporate Social Justice is not a feel-good approach that allows everyone to be heard, and by nature it won't result in initiatives that will make everyone happy. The first step that many companies have taken by publicly supporting Black Lives Matter through public statements and donations is an example of that: a commitment to taking a stance, even if it alienates certain populations of consumers, employees, and corporate partners. The company must decide that it is okay with losing business from certain groups (say, white supremacists or police departments), since taking money from those groups would run counter to its Corporate Social Justice strategy.
Regularly evaluate progress.Corporate Social Justice is an ongoing commitment to achieve a vision of justice or equity in partnership with stakeholders. To build accountability into the process, goals and metrics should be set by working groups and translated by senior leaders into directives for the entire company. While companies have no legal obligation to meet these metrics, their relationships with stakeholders '-- especially their employees and external communities '-- are regulated by trust. Continued failure to meet goals damages this trust and sours the efficacy of working groups. Meeting goals maintains and grows a company's reputation for good, the trust stakeholders have in it, and the ability of working groups to continue bringing benefit to all parties.
Corporate Social Justice is a new paradigm that imagines a healthier and mutually beneficial relationship between companies and the communities they interact with. It is driven by the growing desire of socially-aware consumers and employees for companies, especially socially-conscious and forward-thinking companies, to do better. Companies have an opportunity to rise to the occasion and leverage their influence to build a better world for all '-- including themselves.
What is stakeholder capitalism? | World Economic Forum
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:15
The role of corporate boards has never been more important, nor subject to as much scrutiny, as it is today. The technological, environmental, geopolitical, and socioeconomic transformations of the past two decades are driving a re-examination of the prevailing corporate-governance model, just as they are posing fundamental challenges to many areas of public policy and governance.
It is becoming conventional wisdom that US President Donald Trump will be tough to beat in November, because, whatever reservations about him voters may have, he has been good for the American economy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In particular, these transformations are making environmental, social, governance, and data stewardship (ESG&D) considerations increasingly important to companies' financial performance and resilience. This broad change is eroding the traditional distinction between a shareholder-primacy model (which focuses on financial and operational costs and benefits) and a stakeholder-driven model (focused on environmental and social risks and opportunities).
Issues that were previously considered secondary for CEOs and boards '' matters once handled by companies' stakeholder-relations, philanthropy, and information-technology departments '' have become important determinants of firms' capacity to create and sustain economic value. For example, climate change, water management, and other aspects of environmental stewardship are increasingly recognized as bottom-line issues in a world where technology, regulation, and other features of the operating environment can change quickly.
Similar challenges apply to the management of intangible assets '' a key source of competitive advantage in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The talent and motivation of a firm's workforce, an innovative corporate culture, individual know-how, and data all are becoming increasingly important sources of value.
Accordingly, a company's approach to people, the planet, and innovation '' including how it protects and applies the value added of its data '' must figure more prominently in capital-allocation decisions. And to that end, corporate leaders need to improve their understanding of the trade-offs between longer-term investment in new capacity and capabilities and shorter-term rationalization of existing operations and assets. Over time, more emphasis should be placed on longer-term investment.
Effective administration of ESG&D performance is equally important for risk management. Some companies and sectors have learned the hard way that failure to pay due attention to ESG&D issues can result in the rapid deterioration of investor, employee, customer, and societal trust, potentially leading to a substantial loss of value. For example, the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, sponsored by IBM Security, estimates that the global average cost of a data breach has risen by 12% since 2014, meaning that organizations can now expect to pay an average of $3.92 million in related costs. Similarly, ForgeRock finds that more than 2.8 billion consumer data records were exposed in 342 breaches in the US in 2018 alone, costing an estimated $654 billion.
According to research published by the environmental group Ceres, more than 60 S&P 500 companies in 2017 publicly disclosed a negative material effect on earnings stemming from weather events. Moreover, climate-related supply-chain disruptions increased by 29% from 2012 to 2019, and in the US, there were more than 100 legal filings over climate issues as of May 2019. Globally, the number of climate regulations on the books has grown to 1,500, compared to 72 in 1997.
By the same token, the #MeToo movement has revealed the growing financial, reputational, and operational risks facing companies that fail to address issues of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, or misconduct. Fortune, reporting on The Conference Board's 2019 CEO Succession Practices report, notes that ''Among the 18 nonvoluntary CEO departures, five oustings were related to personal conduct and #MeToo allegations. That's especially noteworthy given that only one CEO between 2013 and 2017 was fired as a result of personal conduct unrelated to performance.''
Clearly, in the new environmental, social, geopolitical, and technological context of the 2020s, ESG&D issues are not only ethical or public-relations matters. They are essential to the exercise of fiduciary duty in the disposition of corporate resources. Still, realizing the full potential of stakeholder capitalism will require companies to translate its core principles into practice. That starts in the boardroom. Boards must transcend the traditional segmentation of shareholder and stakeholder considerations, exemplified by the concepts of shareholder value and corporate responsibility, by integrating them.
Integrated corporate governance is a departure from the mindset and associated practices of shareholder primacy and corporate social responsibility, both of which treat ESG&D factors as primarily non- or pre-financial matters. By contrast, an integrative approach takes a holistic view of shareholder and stakeholder interests by systematically internalizing ESG&D considerations into the firm's strategy, resource allocation, risk management, performance evaluation, and reporting policies and processes.
If stakeholder capitalism is to be more than an optimistic vision, this integration and internalization must be better defined in operational terms, and such practices must be widely adopted by boards, whether their companies are publicly-, privately-, or state-owned. That is what it will take to give practical effect to the principles articulated in the World Economic Forum's Davos Manifesto 2020, the US Business Roundtable's revised Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, and a growing number of regulatory frameworks around the world, such as the revised UK Corporate Governance Code and the UK Stewardship Code 2020. That is how companies can ''walk the talk'' of stakeholder capitalism.
China passes controversial Hong Kong security law - BBC News
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 23:13
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement lead waves of protests last year China has passed a controversial security law giving it new powers over Hong Kong, deepening fears for the city's freedoms, the BBC has learned.
Last month China announced it would impose the law, which criminalises any act of secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces.
The move comes after angry protests last year - sparked by another law - which became a pro-democracy movement.
Critics say the new law poses an even greater threat to Hong Kong's identity.
They warn it will undermine Hong Kong's judicial independence and destroy the city's freedoms, which are not available in mainland China.
Hong Kong was handed back to China from British control in 1997, but with a unique agreement which guaranteed certain freedoms.
The bill has sparked demonstrations in Hong Kong and drawn international condemnation since it was announced by Beijing in May.
But China says the law is needed to tackle separatist activity, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign elements - and rejects criticism as interference in its affairs.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Critics warn the law will shut down dissent China's new law: Why is Hong Kong worried? Beijing to set up new security office in Hong KongThe security law was fast-tracked to come into effect before Wednesday, which marks the anniversary of the handover from Britain to China and is usually marked by large-scale political protests.
It was passed unanimously on Tuesday morning by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in Beijing and is expected to be added to Hong Kong's Basic Law later in the day.
One of the city's most prominent activists, Joshua Wong, reacted by saying he would quit the pro-democracy group Demosisto he spearheaded until now.
Fellow activists Nathan Law and Agnes Chow also said they'd quit the group.
What is the new law?China has not officially confirmed the law has been passed, and the text of the bill has also not been made public, but some details have emerged.
It would make criminal any act of secession, subversion of the central government, terrorism and collusion with foreign or external forces.
A new national security office in Hong Kong would deal with national security cases, but would also have other powers such as overseeing education about national security in Hong Kong schools.
The Hong Kong government will be required to carry out most enforcement under the new law, but Beijing will be able to overrule the Hong Kong authorities in some cases.
Tencent takes $3.36B stake in Universal Music - MarketWatch
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 07:56
Tencent Holdings Ltd. is buying a 10% stake in the music giant behind Ariana Grande, Drake and Billie Eilish for EUR3 billion ($3.36 billion) in a deal that bolsters the Chinese internet giant's growing presence in the record industry.
The company said Tuesday it was leading a consortium that has agreed to acquire a stake in Universal Music Group from Vivendi SA, valuing the world's largest music company at EUR30 billion. The investment also gives Tencent the option to double its stake in the Los Angeles-based company.
The deal hands Tencent exposure to some of the biggest names in music -- Universal's stable also includes classic acts like Queen and the Beatles -- and will strengthen the tech company's dominance of the growing Chinese market.
Chinese consumers have quickly adopted to streaming-music services, showing a willingness to pay for the likes of Spotify Technology SA. Tencent Music Entertainment Group, the tech giant's streaming business, went public in December 2018 in one of the biggest U.S. listings in recent years.
Tencent said a separate deal would follow soon allowing its streaming business to buy a minority stake in Universal's Chinese operations.
Beyond China, Tencent is trying to defend its music-streaming business from the rising threat of blockbuster short-video app TikTok, which has increasing influence over the music industry by turning little-known musicians into viral sensations, said Shawn Yang, managing director of research firm Blue Lotus Capital Advisors. "Old Town Road," by rapper Lil Nas X, became a global hit after it caught on among TikTok users.
Tencent will likely try to influence future licensing negotiations between Universal and TikTok owner Bytedance Inc., Mr. Yang said. TikTok and its Chinese version, Douyin, allow users to add snippets of music to their videos -- a process that depends on licenses from Universal and other major music companies.
"Tencent Music is more and more challenged by TikTok," he said, adding that such video services were growing in importance as a distribution platform for music.
For Vivendi, the stake sale allows the French company to cash in on a resurgent music industry and enables Universal to further develop in Asia.
The music industry is turning the page on an era of technological disruption that once bedeviled it. Universal, along with rivals such as Warner Music Group Corp. and Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment, now benefits from streaming services like Spotify and Apple Inc.'s Apple Music, which have emerged as revenue growth drivers.
Against that backdrop, Universal has become a bright spot for Vivendi, which also said Tuesday it was in talks with other investors about selling an additional minority stake in its music arm at a price that "would at least be identical."
Details of the negotiations with Tencent emerged in August, a year after Vivendi said it would embark on a search for strategic buyers to sell up to 50% of its music subsidiary.
The purchase by the Tencent consortium, which also includes the Chinese company's streaming arm and other undisclosed investors, is expected to close by the end of the first half of 2020, subject to regulatory approvals. Given trade tensions between the U.S. and China, the transaction could face added scrutiny, although analysts expect the deal to ultimately prevail because it doesn't involve innovative technology or sensitive user data.
Write to Shan Li at shan.li@wsj.com
India bans TikTok and 58 other apps as tensions with China escalate - CNN
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 07:15
By Rishi Iyengar, CNN Business
Updated 10:26 PM EDT, Mon June 29, 2020
San Francisco (CNN Business) India is banning TikTok and several other well-known Chinese apps, saying they pose a "threat to sovereignty and integrity," in the latest indication of escalating tensions between the two countries.
India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a statement Monday that it had received many complaints about misuse and transmission of user data by some mobile apps to servers outside India.
"The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures," the ministry said, listing 59 apps including many prominent Chinese ones that will be subject to the ban.
While the Indian government's statement did not mention China by name, the ban comes as military tensions between the two countries continue to escalate following deadly border clashes earlier this month that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead. Many Indians have called for a boycott of Chinese goods and services, particularly from China's dominant tech industry.
"There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against apps that harm India's sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens," the government added. Other popular Chinese apps on the list include the video game Clash of Kings, messaging app WeChat, social network Weibo and photo app CamScanner.
TikTok, the hugely popular video platform owned by Chinese tech giant Bytedance, has an estimated 120 million users in India, making the country one of its biggest markets.
Building local management teams in countries such as India has been "critical to our global success," a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement.
"The ByteDance team of around 2,000 employees in India is committed to working with the government to demonstrate our dedication to user security and our commitment to the country overall," the statement said.
This is not the first time TikTok has run into trouble with the Indian government. The app was briefly blocked in India last year after a court ruled that it could expose children to sexual predators, pornography and cyberbullying. The app was reinstated a week later after successfully appealing the court's decision.
While India's diplomatic tensions with China are starting to have a knock-on effect on business and tech, a complete decoupling may be easier said than done. China dominates India's massive internet market '-- the world's second largest, with close to 600 million users '-- both in hardware and software. Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus account for more than half of India's smartphone market, according to industry figures, and Chinese tech giants Alibaba ( BABA ) and Tencent ( TCEHY ) are major investors in some of the country's most valuable startups.
Nonetheless, the ban will be "a blow to the Chinese app industry that loses a strong installed base outside its home country," according to research firm Canalys.
CNN's Pamela Boykoff and Kaya Yurieff contributed to this report.
Pope: Don't Criticize Leaders
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:48
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Sign up today!VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis, a relentless critic of populist leaders, has cautioned Catholics not to criticize secular and spiritual leaders as even during the apostolic period "no one complained about Herod's evil and his persecution."
"No one abused Herod '-- and we are so accustomed to abuse those who are in charge," the pontiff preached in his Monday homily for the solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul '-- a feast marked as a secular holiday in Rome.
2017 posters in Rome criticizing Francis' heavy-headedness"It is pointless, even tedious, for Christians to waste their time complaining about the world, about society, about everything that is not right. Complaints change nothing," the Holy Father chided, addressing a small congregation at St. Peter's Basilica.
"Humanly speaking, there were reasons to criticize Peter, but no one criticized him. They did not complain about Peter; they prayed for him," Francis declaimed.
"Saint Paul urged Christians to pray for everyone, especially those who govern," the pope stressed, quoting the Apostle's first epistle to Timothy and describing how citizens criticized political leaders using "many adjectives."
"I will not mention them, because this is neither the time nor the place to mention adjectives that we hear directed against those who govern. Let God judge them; let us pray for those who govern!" Francis reiterated.
If we "prayed more and complained less, if we had a more tranquil tongue," the pope pleaded, "so many closed doors would be opened, so many chains that bind would be broken" as happened when the early Church prayed for Peter while he was in prison.
Obfuscation by the PontiffA Rome-based biblical scholar told Church Militant that Pope Francis' emphasis on praying for leaders was commendable and needed to be heeded by Catholics.
However, he noted, "the Holy Father seems to be injudiciously, or perhaps even disingenuously, conflating 'criticism,' 'complaint' and 'insult' in his sermon."
"On the one hand, Francis preaches [in Italian] saying 'Nessuno insulta Erode' [nobody insulted Herod]. On the other hand, he says 'ma nessuno lo criticava' [nobody criticized him '-- Peter]," the biblical scholar noted.
"What Francis doesn't mention is that many Lukan scholars interpret Luke's account of the death of Herod Agrippa I in Acts 12 as a polemic by the powerless early Church against their persecutor."
"Luke is using an ancient 'motif of disgust' to describe how Herod is struck down by God and eaten by worms," he explained, "while the Jewish historian Josephus less polemically attributes his death to heart pains and a pain in his abdomen."
"Jesus insulted religious leaders, calling them blind fools, hypocrites, vipers, wolves in sheep's clothing, white-washed tombs and, in Luke's gospel, labels Herod Antipas a fox," he observed.
Jesus insulted religious leaders, calling them blind fools, hypocrites, vipers, wolves in sheep's clothing and white-washed tombs.
"In his epistle to the Galatians, St. Paul tells us that when Peter came to Antioch, 'I opposed him to his face,'" the scholar added.
Pope Criticizes 'Populist' LeadersCritics have accused Pope Francis of double standards as the pontiff previously hit out at populist leaders like Donald Trump and Matteo Salvini '-- comparing their speeches to Hitler's rhetoric.
Cdl. Re receives the pallium from Pope Francis at Mass"I must confess to you that when I hear a speech [by] someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936," Francis said in a Nov. 2019 address to the International Association of Penal Law.
Francis has criticized Trump as "not Christian" because of the president's immigration policies. In 2017, the pope put down Trump for his decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA): "The president of the United States presents himself as pro-life and if he is a good pro-lifer, he understands that family is the cradle of life and its unity must be protected."
Francis later ratcheted up his anti-Trump rhetoric: "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian."
Pope Francis addressed the themes of unity and prophecy in his sermon, castigating "speeches that promise the impossible."
"Start serving and shut up. Not theory, but testimony," the pontiff scolded.
Start serving and shut up. Not theory, but testimony.
"But we need joy for the world to come, not of those pastoral projects that seem to have their own efficiency '-- as if they were sacraments, efficient pastoral projects, no '-- but we need pastors who offer their lives, to fall in love with God," he continued.
Francis Insults Faithful PriestsLast week, the pontiff blasted faithful pastors for offering the sacraments during pandemic-related lockdown and insultingly described them as "adolescents."
Francis added that the majority of priests, however, have been "obedient and creative" and called these compliant priests "fathers" and not "teenagers."
At Mass, Francis blessed the pallia '-- white wool strips of cloth with black crosses worn over the shoulders, that nuncios '-- the Vatican's ambassadors in various countries '-- will confer on the 54 metropolitan archbishops whom Francis has named over the last year, placing the pallium on Cdl. Giovanni Battista Re, the new dean of the College of Cardinals.
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Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane has links to China's Communist Party
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 05:57
In 2013 Mr Zhang participated in a training course organised by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, a branch within China's State Council, the highest organ of state administration. It was held at the Chinese Academy of Governance - the same institution which trains senior cadres of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Former Chinese consulate official Chen Yonglin, who defected to Australia in 2005, said the training courses were typically invitation-only and were targeted at overseas Chinese community leaders.
"They are selected to be trained by the Chinese embassy or consulate which recommends them to the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office. Not everyone can go. You must be a potential leader not simply a small pawn," Mr Chen said.
Mr Chen, who trained at Academy of Governance in 2000 before being promoted to a senior government official, said the leadership courses are "directly run by the CCP".
"They (participants) gather together in Beijing and listen to lectures of senior Chinese propaganda officials and United Front officials," he said.
Mr Zhang's trip was documented in the 2013 Yearbook of Chinese in Australia, which includes short biographies of prominent Chinese figures. Mr Zhang is listed as a member of the book's editorial committee.
Labor MLC Shaoquett Moselman. Credit: James Alcock
The yearbook was described as a "patriotic product, endorsed by the PRC and lauded in the [CCP newspaper] People's Daily" by China historian Geoff Wade in a review for a journal published by the Australian National University's College of Asia and the Pacific.
Mr Zhang did not respond to the Herald's questions. Mr Moselmane confirmed Mr Zhang had been employed for "just under nine months" on a one-day per week basis.
"He assists with multicultural and constituent matters," Mr Moselman said.
In addition to his senior role in ACETCA, Mr Zhang has previously been chairman of the Australian Shanghainese Association. Mr Moselmane is a member of the association and a member of the Australian Chinese Association.
The three organisations were accused by CCP influence experts Clive Hamilton and Alex Joske in a 2018 submission to federal Parliament of being linked to the Chinese government.
The submission named the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China (ACPPRC), once headed by Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo, as the "most active and visible arms of the CCP's interference operations in Australian social and political life".
Mr Huang quit as the chairman of the ACPPRC in 2017 and is at the centre of a NSW corruption inquiry into claims he illegally donated $100,000 to NSW Labor.
Dr Feng Chongyi, an associate professor in China Studies at University of Technology, Sydney, said ACETCA had "almost taken over" the role of the ACPPRC as one of the leading Chinese community groups in Australia.
"Due to the Huang Xiangmo affair the ACPPRC has been tarnished. The Chinese authorities need to support a new organisation as a replacement," Dr Feng said.
ACETCA executive chairman Ven Tan has refuted claims the organisation is tied to the Chinese government, saying "the notion that we are linked to Beijing is absurd."
In a heavily criticised speech at a function in NSW Parliament House last year, Mr Moselmane said the ''global media is in the hands of China's opponents'' and China needed to "force a change to the rules and create a new world order'' to realise its potential.
Lisa Visentin is a state political reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.
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Malthusianism - Wikipedia
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 08:53
Idea of restricting population growth to conserve resources and avoid catastrophe
The Malthusian catastrophe simplistically illustrated
Malthusianism is the idea that population growth is potentially exponential while the growth of the food supply or other resources is linear. It derives from the political and economic thought of the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, as laid out in his 1798 writings, An Essay on the Principle of Population. Malthus believed there were two types of "checks" that in all times and places kept population growth in line with the growth of the food supply: "preventive checks", such as moral restraints (abstinence and delaying marriage until finances become balanced), and restricting marriage against persons suffering poverty or perceived as defective, and "positive checks", which lead to premature death such as disease, starvation and war, resulting in what is called a Malthusian catastrophe. The catastrophe would return the population to a lower, more sustainable, level.[1][2] Malthusianism has been linked to a variety of political and social movements, but almost always refers to advocates of population control.[3]
Neo-Malthusianism is the advocacy of human population planning to ensure resources and environmental integrities for current and future human populations as well as for other species.[2] In Britain the term 'Malthusian' can also refer more specifically to arguments made in favour of preventive birth control, hence organizations such as the Malthusian League.[4] Neo-Malthusians differ from Malthus's theories mainly in their support for the use of contraception. Malthus, a devout Christian, believed that "self-control" (abstinence) was preferable to artificial birth control. He also believed the use of contraception would likely limit population too much, while in the 18th century perspective to which Malthus adhered, population growth was seen as needed for what was generally referred to as "the progress of society". Modern neo-Malthusians are generally more concerned than Malthus with environmental degradation and catastrophic famine than with poverty.
Malthusianism has attracted criticism from diverse schools of thought, including Marxists[5] and socialists,[6] libertarians and free market enthusiasts,[7] social conservatives,[8] feminists[9] and human rights advocates, characterising it as excessively pessimistic, misanthropic or inhuman.[10][11][3][12] Many critics believe Malthusianism has been discredited since the publication of Principle of Population, often citing advances in agricultural techniques and modern reductions in human fertility.[13] Many modern proponents believe that the basic concept of population growth eventually outstripping resources is still fundamentally valid, and "positive checks" are still likely in humanity's future if there is no action to curb population growth.[14][15]
Origins [ edit ] Malthus was not the first to outline the problems he perceived. The original essay was part of an ongoing intellectual discussion at the end of the 18th century regarding the origins of poverty. Principle of Population was specifically written as a rebuttal to thinkers like William Godwin and the Marquis de Condorcet, and Malthus's own father who believed in the perfectibility of humanity. Malthus believed humanity's ability to reproduce too rapidly doomed efforts at perfection and caused various other problems.
His criticism of the working class's tendency to reproduce rapidly, and his belief that this, rather than exploitation by capitalists, led to their poverty, brought widespread criticism of his theory.[16]
Malthusians perceived ideas of charity to the poor, typified by Tory paternalism, were futile, as these would only result in increased numbers of the poor; these theories played into Whig economic ideas exemplified by the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. The Act was described by opponents as "a Malthusian bill designed to force the poor to emigrate, to work for lower wages, to live on a coarser sort of food",[17] which initiated the construction of workhouses despite riots and arson.
Malthus revised his theories in later editions of An Essay on the Principles of Population, taking a more optimistic tone, although there is some scholarly debate on the extent of his revisions.[1] According to Dan Ritschel of the Center for History Education at the University of Maryland,
The great Malthusian dread was that "indiscriminate charity" would lead to exponential growth in the population in poverty, increased charges to the public purse to support this growing army of the dependent, and, eventually, the catastrophe of national bankruptcy. Though Malthusianism has since come to be identified with the issue of general over-population, the original Malthusian concern was more specifically with the fear of over-population by the dependent poor.[18]
One of the earliest critics was David Ricardo. Malthus immediately and correctly recognised it to be an attack on his theory of wages. Ricardo and Malthus debated this in a lengthy personal correspondence.[19]
Another one of the 19th century critics of Malthusian theory was Karl Marx who referred to it as "nothing more than a schoolboyish, superficial plagiary of De Foe, Sir James Steuart, Townsend, Franklin, Wallace" (in Capital, see Marx's footnote on Malthus from Capital '' reference below). Marx and Engels described Malthus as a "lackey of the bourgeoisie".[16] Socialists and communists believed that Malthusian theories "blamed the poor" for their own exploitation by the capitalist classes, and could be used to suppress the proletariat to an even greater degree, whether through attempts to reduce fertility or by justifying the generally poor conditions of labour in the 19th century.[citation needed ]
One proponent of Malthusianism was the novelist Harriet Martineau whose circle of acquaintances included Charles Darwin, and the ideas of Malthus were a significant influence on the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution.[20] Darwin was impressed by the idea that population growth would eventually lead to more organisms than could possibly survive in any given environment, leading him to theorize that organisms with a relative advantage in the struggle for survival and reproduction would be able to pass their characteristics on to further generations. Proponents of Malthusianism were in turn influenced by Darwin's ideas, both schools coming to influence the field of eugenics. Henry Fairfield Osborn, Jr. advocated "humane birth selection through humane birth control" in order to avoid a Malthusian catastrophe by eliminating the "unfit".[1]
Malthusianism became a less common intellectual tradition as the 19th century advanced, mostly as a result of technological increases, the opening of new territory to agriculture, and increasing international trade.[1] Although a "conservationist" movement in the United States concerned itself with resource depletion and natural protection in the first half of the twentieth century, Desrochers and Hoffbauer write, "It is probably fair to say ... that it was not until the publication of Osborn's and Vogt's books [1948] that a Malthusian revival took hold of a significant segment of the American population".[1]
Modern Malthusianism [ edit ] Malthusian theory is a recurrent theme in many social science venues. John Maynard Keynes, in Economic Consequences of the Peace, opens his polemic with a Malthusian portrayal of the political economy of Europe as unstable due to Malthusian population pressure on food supplies.[21] Many models of resource depletion and scarcity are Malthusian in character: the rate of energy consumption will outstrip the ability to find and produce new energy sources, and so lead to a crisis.[citation needed ]
In France, terms such as "politique malthusienne" ("Malthusian politics") refer to population control strategies. The concept of restriction of the population associated with Malthus morphed, in later political-economic theory, into the notion of restriction of production. In the French sense, a "Malthusian economy" is one in which protectionism and the formation of cartels is not only tolerated but encouraged.[citation needed ]
Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik Party and the main architect of the Soviet Union was a critic of Neo-Malthusian theory (but not of birth control and abortion in general).[22]
"Neo-Malthusianism" is a concern that overpopulation as well as overconsumption may increase resource depletion and/or environmental degradation will lead to ecological collapse or other hazards.[citation needed ]
The rapid increase in the global population of the past century exemplifies Malthus's predicted population patterns; it also appears to describe socio-demographic dynamics of complex pre-industrial societies. These findings are the basis for neo-Malthusian modern mathematical models of long-term historical dynamics.[23]
There was a general "neo-Malthusian" revival in the mid-to-late 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s after the publication of two influential books in 1948 (Fairfield Osborn's Our Plundered Planet and William Vogt's Road to Survival). During that time the population of the world rose dramatically. Many in environmental movements began to sound the alarm regarding the potential dangers of population growth.[1] The Club of Rome published a book entitled The Limits to Growth in 1972. The report and the organisation soon became central to the neo-Malthusian revival.[24] Paul R. Ehrlich has been one of the most prominent neo-Malthusians since the publication of The Population Bomb in 1968. Leading ecological economist Herman Daly has acknowledged the influence of Malthus on his concept of a steady-state economy.[25]: xvi Other prominent Malthusians include the Paddock brothers, authors of Famine 1975! America's Decision: Who Will Survive?
The neo-Malthusian revival has drawn criticism from writers who claim the Malthusian warnings were overstated or premature because the green revolution has brought substantial increases in food production and will be able to keep up with continued population growth.[13][26] Julian Simon, a cornucopian, has written that contrary to neo-Malthusian theory, Earth's "carrying capacity" is essentially limitless.[1] Simon argues not that there is an infinite physical amount of, say, copper, but for human purposes that amount should be treated as infinite because it is not bounded or limited in any economic sense, because:1) known reserves are of uncertain quantity2) New reserves may become available, either through discovery or via the development of new extraction techniques3) recycling4) more efficient utilization of existing reserves (e.g., "It takes much less copper now to pass a given message than a hundred years ago." [The Ultimate Resource 2, 1996, footnote, page 62])5) development of economic equivalents, e.g., optic fibre in the case of copper for telecommunications. Responding to Simon, Al Bartlett reiterates the potential of population growth as an exponential (or as expressed by Malthus, "geometrical") curve to outstrip both natural resources and human ingenuity.[27] Bartlett writes and lectures particularly on energy supplies, and describes the "inability to understand the exponential function" as the "greatest shortcoming of the human race".
Prominent neo-Malthusians such as Paul Ehrlich maintain that ultimately, population growth on Earth is still too high, and will eventually lead to a serious crisis.[10][28] The 2007''2008 world food price crisis inspired further Malthusian arguments regarding the prospects for global food supply.[29]
From approximately 2004 to 2011, concerns about "peak oil" and other forms of resource depletion became widespread in the United States, and motivated a large if short-lived subculture of neo-Malthusian "peakists."[30]
See also [ edit ] Notes [ edit ] ^ a b c d e f g Pierre Desrochers; Christine Hoffbauer (2009). "The Post War Intellectual Roots of the Population Bomb" (PDF) . The Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development. 1 (3). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 2, 2012 . Retrieved 2010-02-01 . [unreliable source? ] ^ a b Meredith Marsh, Peter S. Alagona, ed. (2008). Barrons AP Human Geography 2008 Edition. Barron's Educational Series. ISBN 978-0-7641-3817-1. ^ a b Dolan, Brian (2000). Malthus, Medicine & Morality: Malthusianism after 1798. Rodopi. ISBN 978-90-420-0851-9. ^ Hall, Lesley (2000). Malthusian Mutations: The changing politics and moral meanings of birth control in Britain. Dolan (2000), Malthus, Medicine & Morality: Malthusianism after 1798, p. 141: Rodopi. ISBN 978-9042008519. PMID 11027073. CS1 maint: location (link) ^ See, for example, Ronald L. Meek, ed. (1973). Marx and Engels on the Population Bomb. The Ramparts Press. Archived from the original on 2000-05-21. ^ Barry Commoner (May 1972). "A Bulletin Dialogue: on "The Closing Circle" '' Response". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: 17''56. ^ Simon, JL (June 27, 1980). "Resources, Population, Environment: An Oversupply of False Bad News". Science. 208 (4451): 1431''37. doi:10.1126/science.7384784. JSTOR 1684670. PMID 7384784. ^ Johnson, Ben (February 27, 2009). "Obama's Biggest Radical". FrontPage Magazine . Retrieved 2011-04-27 . ^ Knudsen, Lara Reproductive Rights in a Global Context: South Africa, Uganda, Peru, Denmark, United States, Vietnam, Jordan, Vanderbilt University Press, 2006, pp. 2''4. ISBN 0-8265-1528-2, ISBN 978-0-8265-1528-5. ^ a b Kunstler, James Howard (2005). The Long Emergency. Grove Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-8021-4249-8. ^ Serge Luryi (May 2006). "Physics, Philosophy, and ... Ecology" (PDF) . Physics Today. 59 (5): 51. doi:10.1063/1.2216962. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 21, 2011. ^ Frank W. Elwell (2001). "Reclaiming Malthus, Keynote address to the Annual Meeting of the Anthropologists and Sociologist of Kentucky" . Retrieved 2011-04-19 . ^ a b Bj¸rn Lomborg (2002). The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World . Cambridge University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-521-01068-9. ^ Colin Fraser (February 3, 2008). "Green revolution could still blow up in our face". The Age. ^ Cristina Luiggi (2010). "Still Ticking". The Scientist. 24 (12): 26. Archived from the original on January 1, 2011. ^ a b Neurath, Paul (1994). From Malthus to the Club of Rome and Back. M.E. Sharpe. p. 5. ISBN 9781563244070. ^ Adrian Desmond (1992). The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London. University of Chicago Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-226-14374-3. ^ UMBC. Archived June 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine ^ David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M. H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005), 11 vols. ^ Charles Darwin: gentleman naturalist A biographical sketch by John van Wyhe, 2006 ^ Garcia, Cardiff. "When Keynes pondered Malthus". Financial Times . Retrieved 2019-08-10 . ^ V. I. Lenin, "The Working Class and Neo-Malthusianism", 1913. ^ See, e.g., Peter Turchin 2003; Turchin and Korotayev 2006 Archived February 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine; Peter Turchin et al. 2007; Korotayev et al. 2006. ^ Wouter van Dieren, ed. (1995). Taking Nature Into Account: A Report to the Club of Rome. Springer Books. ISBN 978-0-387-94533-0. ^ Daly, Herman E. (1991). Steady-state economics (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Island Press. ISBN 978-1559630726. ^ Dan Gardner (2010). Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail '' and Why We Believe Them Anyway . Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. ^ Bartlett, Al (September 1996). "The New Flat Earth Society". The Physics Teacher. 34 (6): 342''43. doi:10.1119/1.2344473 . Retrieved 9 April 2013 . ^ Paul R. Ehrlich; Anne H. Ehrlich (2009). "The Population Bomb Revisited" (PDF) . Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development. 1 (3): 63''71 . Retrieved 2010-02-01 . ^ Brown, Lester (May''June 2011). "The New Geopolitics of Food". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 27 November 2011 . Retrieved 7 June 2011 . ^ Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew, author. (2015-10-14). Peak oil : apocalyptic environmentalism and libertarian political culture. ISBN 9780226285573. OCLC 951562545. CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) References [ edit ] Korotayev, A., et al. 2006. Introduction to Social Macrodynamics. Moscow: KomKniga. ISBN 5-484-00559-0Turchin, P., et al. (eds), 2007. History & Mathematics: Historical Dynamics and Development of Complex Societies. Moscow: KomKniga. ISBN 5-484-01002-0Turchin, P.; Korotayev (2006). "Population Dynamics and Internal Warfare: A Reconsideration". Social Evolution & History. 5 (2): 112''47. A Trap At The Escape From The Trap? Demographic-Structural Factors of Political Instability in Modern Africa and West Asia. Cliodynamics 2/2 (2011): 1''28.
nilay patel on Twitter: "Parler has basically a reverse 230 clause in its terms of service, allowing the company to bill users for legal fees relating to their posts. @jkosseff https://t.co/sR5TKwQDWv" / Twitter
Sun, 28 Jun 2020 07:57
Parler, the Twitter alternative that bills itself as a bastion of the First Amendment, explicitly tells users not to post rumors and advises against posting content that is ''sexual in nature'' because porn is banned.
India bans TikTok and 58 other apps as tensions with China escalate - CNN
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 07:15
By Rishi Iyengar, CNN Business
Updated 10:26 PM EDT, Mon June 29, 2020
San Francisco (CNN Business) India is banning TikTok and several other well-known Chinese apps, saying they pose a "threat to sovereignty and integrity," in the latest indication of escalating tensions between the two countries.
India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a statement Monday that it had received many complaints about misuse and transmission of user data by some mobile apps to servers outside India.
"The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures," the ministry said, listing 59 apps including many prominent Chinese ones that will be subject to the ban.
While the Indian government's statement did not mention China by name, the ban comes as military tensions between the two countries continue to escalate following deadly border clashes earlier this month that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead. Many Indians have called for a boycott of Chinese goods and services, particularly from China's dominant tech industry.
"There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against apps that harm India's sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens," the government added. Other popular Chinese apps on the list include the video game Clash of Kings, messaging app WeChat, social network Weibo and photo app CamScanner.
TikTok, the hugely popular video platform owned by Chinese tech giant Bytedance, has an estimated 120 million users in India, making the country one of its biggest markets.
Building local management teams in countries such as India has been "critical to our global success," a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement.
"The ByteDance team of around 2,000 employees in India is committed to working with the government to demonstrate our dedication to user security and our commitment to the country overall," the statement said.
This is not the first time TikTok has run into trouble with the Indian government. The app was briefly blocked in India last year after a court ruled that it could expose children to sexual predators, pornography and cyberbullying. The app was reinstated a week later after successfully appealing the court's decision.
While India's diplomatic tensions with China are starting to have a knock-on effect on business and tech, a complete decoupling may be easier said than done. China dominates India's massive internet market '-- the world's second largest, with close to 600 million users '-- both in hardware and software. Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus account for more than half of India's smartphone market, according to industry figures, and Chinese tech giants Alibaba ( BABA ) and Tencent ( TCEHY ) are major investors in some of the country's most valuable startups.
Nonetheless, the ban will be "a blow to the Chinese app industry that loses a strong installed base outside its home country," according to research firm Canalys.
CNN's Pamela Boykoff and Kaya Yurieff contributed to this report.
AWS Facial Recognition Platform Misidentified Over 100 Politicians As Criminals | Threatpost
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 13:06
Comparitech's Paul Bischoff found that Amazon's facial recognition platform misidentified an alarming number of people, and was racially biased.
Facial recognition technology is still misidentifying people at an alarming rate '' even as it's being used by police departments to make arrests. In fact, Paul Bischoff, consumer privacy expert with Comparitech, found that Amazon's face recognition platform incorrectly misidentified more than 100 photos of US and UK lawmakers as criminals.
Rekognition, Amazon's cloud-based facial recognition platform that was first launched in 2016, has been sold and used by a number of United States government agencies, including ICE and Orlando, Florida police, as well as private entities. In comparing photos of a total of 1,959 US and UK lawmakers to subjects in an arrest database, Bischoff found that Rekognition misidentified at average of 32 members of Congress. That's four more than a similar experiment conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) '' two years ago. Bischoff also found that the platform was racially biased, misidentifying non-white people at a higher rate than white people.
These findings have disturbing real-life implications. Last week, the ACLU shed light on Detroit citizen Robert Julian-Borchak Williams, who was arrested after a facial recognition system falsely matched his photo with security footage of a shoplifter.
The incident sparked lawmakers last week to propose legislation that would indefinitely ban the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement nationwide. Though Amazon previously had sold its technology to police departments, the tech giant recently placed a law enforcement moratorium on facial recognition (Microsoft and IBM did the same). But Bischoff says society still has a ways to go in figuring out how to correctly utilize facial recognition in a way that complies with privacy, consent and data security.
Listen to the podcast below, or download direct here.
Below find a lightly edited transcript of the podcast.
Lindsey O'Donnell-Welch: Welcome back to the Threatpost podcast. You've got your host, Lindsey O'Donnell Welch here with you today. And I am joined by Paul Bischoff who is the consumer privacy expert with Comparitech. Paul, thanks so much for joining today.
Paul Bischoff: Thanks for having me.
LO: Yeah, so we're going to talk about facial recognition today. And this is a technology that has really made the news over the past few months, but last week, lawmakers actually proposed legislation that would indefinitely ban the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement nationwide. And Paul, I know that you have looked a ton at the technology and the privacy challenges there. Can you just to start off, like, what are some of your thoughts on this newly proposed bill? I mean, it's it's pretty interesting.
PB: Well, I think at least a moratorium needs to be in place on police use of facial recognition. Right now, there's pretty much no regulation, and how individual police departments can buy face recognition technologies and use them pretty much however they want. And you know, there really should be more regulations on how they can use it, who they can share data with, when they can use it, in what context, things like that. And hundreds of probably police departments in the US have have bought into the face recognition and are just using it without any sort of regulation or limitation. So I think this is a good place to start. Let's first of all, get rid of it, and then we'll start working on regulations about what should be allowed in what shouldn't be allowed.
LO: Right. I totally agree that we need to take a step back here and Look at what will work versus what is kind of infringing on privacy. It's so important to do from a government standpoint, and from a law enforcement standpoint. And you know that when even Microsoft, Amazon and IBM are all stepping back and banning the sale of their own facial recognition technology to police departments and pushing for that federal law enforcement for regulation, that that this is something that is serious if even tech companies are buying into that, you know?
PB: Yeah, I think a part of that is, you know, the whole Black Lives Matter movement has brought it into light that face recognition has some issues with racial bias and things like that. And so it's really, for those big companies, it's bad optics right now to be selling the police face recognition that can be used to do things like identify protesters. So I think that's definitely part of it, just that it's good PR for them, but I'm glad that they're that they've stopped selling it for sure.
LO: Right. Yeah, and to your point, there's been a ton of stories over the past few weeks around facial recognition in the news and a lot of it does have to do with the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests and, and racial bias and even surveillance and how that is kind of playing into these protests and the government surveillance aspect of it, which makes sense. I'm curious too, more recently, there was this horrifying story emerging of a Detroit citizen, whose name was Robert Julian-Borchak Williams, who was an African American man and he was arrested after a facial recognition system falsely matched his photo with security footage of a shoplifter. And, you know, the ACLU came out and filed a complaint and said that this was the first wrongful arrest that was caused by faulty facial recognition technology. So it's it's kind of insane and that was a pretty scary real life instance to see where this is actually really impacting someone's life because of a fault in the technology. And I know that Comparitech actually did a study a few weeks ago, where you tested the accuracy of Amazon's recognition platform, I believe. Can you tell us a little bit more about this study and really how it plays into everything that's going on right now?
PB: Sure. So our study was actually a re-creation of what the ACLU did in 2018. The ACLU took a bunch of other members of Congress, it took their headshots, and then matched them against a police arrest database of mugshots. So these are suspected criminals and they just check to see what sort of incorrect matches they would get. The thing about the ACLU study that Amazon contested afterward is that they only used what's called a confidence threshold of 80 percent. And they said that was too low. Going back a little bit, face recognition technology doesn't just say, ''Oh, these two photos are of the same person or they're not,'' it's not a yes or no answer, they usually give you an answer in terms of a percentage. So we're 80 percent sure that these two people are the same person, these two images are of the same person. Amazon says that should be set to 95 or 99 percent for police use. But again, there's no regulation that says police have to use those thresholds. So what we did is, we ran the same study, and we ran and we tested the results at a confidence threshold of 80 percent and at 95 percent and there were no incorrect matches at 95 percent. But 80 percent we did he see a few incorrect matches and even at 90 percent we saw some incorrect matches. In total, the Amazon recognition technology misidentified 32 members of Congress and matched them against people in our arrest database. We ran this experiment four times, with four different sets of arrest photos, but all the Congress people's photos were the same each time. And then we averaged the results together.
So on average, it misidentified 32 members of Congress as people in the arrest photos. That's four more than what the ACLU tested two years ago. So it would seem that the technology hasn't really improved all that much. And the other thing we found was that there was definitely some racial bias in the technology '' the people who were mismatched, about half of them were people of color, even though only about 10 percent of Congress consist of people of color.
LO: Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah, and that was just recently too, right. I mean, you mentioned that the ACLU did this two years ago. And so this goes to show that nothing is changing in terms of this technology, getting better.
PB: According to what we found, a part of the part of the big part of the article was also explaining how accuracy is measured and how accuracy works. So we're not really testing accuracy, per se, but we can test whether the accuracy improved by repeating the ACLU's experiment. And at the 80 percent confidence threshold, which is what ACLU tested at, the technology does not seem to have gotten any better when we compare the results from two years ago to now. Part of this is basically because face recognition is actually fairly simple. It's just measuring the distance between your eyes, your nose and the corners of your mouth. And then it starts to factor in other things like your skin color, your hair color, eye color, etc. So I think there's maybe a limit as to how good it can be. And maybe that's another reason why companies have stopped sort of investing so much in it, like IBM, so it doesn't seem to be getting like a whole lot better. I think everybody sort of has access to the same training set. You know, they all describe publicly available photos online, and they train their algorithms to look at these photos. And there seems to be sort of a limit to how good they can get.
LO: Yeah, I mean, I'm curious if you looked at kind of what was behind these issues in terms of, is it because of the algorithms themselves? Or is it because of the people who are creating the algorithms that they themselves are biased?
PB: Well, I mean, Amazon's code isn't like open source or anything, but what I suspect is happening is that whenever they train the algorithm, they just have more photos of white people to train it on. So it gets really good at training the algorithm on white people's faces, but they have fewer photos to train their algorithm on for black people or for other people of color, or for women or for old people. So I think the reason for that bias isn't because the the engineers were making it biased. I think it's because they have a smaller training set '' a smaller set of photos to train their algorithm on that include people of color and women.
LO: And another point too, is that in actual real life situations, there's going to be certain factors and they might need to factor in the weather, it might be that the subject is far away from the facial recognition technology, through the camera or whatever. They might be facing a different direction or running or on a bike. And all these factors and more, as you mentioned, affect facial recognition, accuracy and performance. So, that's something that's difficult to spot for even the most advanced facial recognition software that's available.
PB: Yeah. And that brings to light the sort of the issue with the whole, the man who is arrested in Detroit is that the image they used to match him was from a video, some security video or something. And video is naturally, a still image from a video is going to be way granier than a still image taken from a normal camera. And so the quality of the photos you put into to match have a huge impact on how accurate the face recognition can be. So I think that that's one of the things that we need to look at whenever we're regulating this is to say, what sorts of images are you allowed to put in here and try to match because if you're just putting in grainy photos, you're gonna get a lot of mismatches.
LO: It is interesting that all of this is kind of coming to a head in part because of the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests because I feel like facial recognition has been in use for a while now and in real life applications, right? I mean, I know, the TSA uses it for certain TSA Global Entry programs and things like that.
PB: Yeah, I started reporting the first time ever on facial recognition back in like 2013 or 2014. So it's been it's been adopted very quickly and broadly by both private and public entities alike. And it's been adopted by law enforcement and by like you said the TSA, immigration, customs enforcement. So all these people are jumping on board. And yeah, it's a little bit scary.
LO: Yeah, definitely. I mean, it is funny that they're, for the most part, I've seen like, a couple of instances where people have gone on to social media and complained or been concerned or inquired into, you know, how it's being used, but I haven't really, for the most part, I've seen kind of widespread adoption and just people being comfortable with it or more comfortable than I would have thought. And so that's, that's kind of interesting to note, but, I think that this recently proposed bill kind of begs an important question, which is what is the future of facial recognition? I mean, is this something that is going to continue? Is it something that regardless of law enforcement, maybe having regulations is going to continue at a higher profile level?
PB: Yeah. So there's basically two major concerns with facial recognition, broadly speaking. One is, what if it's not good enough? And you know, and then we have a system that disproportionately affects people of color and women and things like that. And then the other concern is what if it works too well? And then what sort of capabilities does that give the government.
But I think as far as your questions, what the future of facial recognition is, I think there will be at least some use of police '' police will use it to some degree, I think it can be really in terms of, you know, human trafficking cases, and kidnappings, and things like that, I think those are good uses for facial recognition that the police can get involved in. But there may be more restrictions on putting up a camera on a public street to just identify everybody who walks by it, that sort of thing. But I don't think facial recognition is going to go away completely. I think private companies have invested a lot into it. And like I said, it's not that difficult to do. So we'll probably see things going open source and be freely available for any developer who wants to pick up facial recognition and put it in their app. So I think we need to be prepared for a world where everyone has facial recognition on their phone, they can point it at you as they pass you by the street and try to identify you, that sort of thing. Which is scary, but sort of inevitable with the way that technology is so freely available these days.
LO: Yeah, that is kind of mind blowing. And it does also bring up questions about consent and you know, can you consent to your your face being part of part of the software, if someone's just pointing a phone at you or even if there's just a camera on the on the street that is using facial recognition technology. So that's a whole different conversation.
But I do know that cities and governments seem to, at least in the U.S., be taking some steps to either regulate or ban government use of facial recognition. And even beyond the the federal bill that was proposed last week, Boston, which is my home city, announced that it would be banning the technology. So I think that this is at least kind of the top of the awareness level for a lot of local governments as well as tech companies and academia too. I think it was last week as well that there was 1,000 technology experts from organizations like MIT, Microsoft, Harvard all signed this open letter that denounced a upcoming paper that basically was describing AI algorithms that could predict crime that was based only on a person's face, they were calling it out for promoting racial bias there too. So I do think that this is something that people are really passionate about and trying to make sure that this is something that doesn't get to the point where it's not regulated and could be actually dangerous for citizens.
PB: Yeah. I think when you're thinking about regulation, the way of thinking about it is how would you write a privacy policy for facial recognition? So privacy policies usually stipulate a few things, we need to figure out who's allowed to use it '' not just police can use it, but who at a police department is allowed to authorize it '' what it can be used for, who you share any of the data that you collect with, who is allowed be shared with '' are local police departments allowed to share data with the IRS or the FBI, things like that.
So you have, who you're sharing it with, what's allowed to be shared with, under what context, what sorts of investigations are needed, are warrants needed, or any sort of court order, to use facial recognition and who it can be shared with. And then there's obviously consent as well. So do you need to warn people who are about to walk in front of a camera that their faces are being scanned and being used in facial recognition, does there need to be signage up. So these are all questions that we need to ask and address in any attempt to regulate face recognition.
LO: Right. Yeah, I think those are definitely important points. Well, Paul, any any other kind of overarching thoughts about facial recognition technology and kind of where it's going in the future and if privacy concerns will continue, or they'll get better?
PB: I think it'll continue. I think we're already seeing sort of worst case scenarios in places like China, where face recognition is being used to restrict freedom of movement and freedom of assembly, things like that. So if you want to an example of how bad it can get looked at China, particularly the western regions of China, where it's being used to heavily restrict where people can go and what they can do. So I'm just trying to be an advocate for privacy and avoid that sort of future. So I hope that more people will join in.
LO: Absolutely. Well, I'm sure that with what's happened over the past few weeks, we'll definitely at least raise awareness to this issue. So, Paul, thanks again for joining me today on the Threatpost podcast.
PB: Thank you so much.
LO: And to all our listeners. Once again, this is Lindsey O'Donnell Welch here today with Paul Paul Bischoff with Comparitech. Catch us next week on the Threatpost podcast and be sure to '' if you have any thoughts or comments on facial recognition technology and privacy concerns '' Be sure to follow us on Twitter @Threatpost and shoot us a comment or a thought in the comments.
Airbus to Cut 15,000 Jobs - The New York Times
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 21:31
The European aircraft giant said it didn't expect air travel to return to pre-virus levels till perhaps 2025.
Airbus A350 aircraft at the company's factory near Toulouse, France, this month. Credit... Stephane Mahe/Reuters June 30, 2020, 3:47 p.m. ET PARIS '-- The coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc on global aviation as the aerospace giant Airbus announced Tuesday that it would cut nearly 15,000 jobs across its global work force, the largest downsizing in the company's history.
Citing a 40 percent slump in commercial aircraft business activity and an ''unprecedented crisis'' facing the airline industry, Airbus said it would slash around 10 percent of its jobs worldwide, with layoffs hitting operations in France, Germany, Spain and Britain.
The chief executive, Guillaume Faury, had been preparing employees for hard times in a series of recent memos in which he warned it would be necessary to adapt to a ''lasting decline'' in the demand for airliners. The company said Tuesday that it didn't expect air travel to return to pre-virus levels before 2023 and potentially not until 2025.
''Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,'' Mr. Faury said in a statement Tuesday. ''We must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers.''
The layoffs are a stunning reversal of fortune for the world's largest plane maker, which was founded 50 years ago.
In February, as its U.S. rival, Boeing, stumbled from the yearlong grounding of its 737 Max plane, Airbus faced a large backlog of orders. Production of its A320 jet '-- the main competitor to the 737 Max and the bulk of Airbus's commercial business '-- was months behind schedule because of slowdowns at some of its European factories.
As the coronavirus pandemic brought much of global air travel to a halt, Airbus's fortunes tumbled with the rest of the aviation industry. Airlines are now planning for years of reduced passenger demand, and this means less need for new planes.
The company is shedding 5,000 of its 49,000 employees in France, 5,100 of 45,500 positions in Germany, 900 of 12,500 workers in Spain and 1,700 of 11,000 positions in Britain. Another 1,300 will be cut at other Airbus sites around the world, and about 900 are part of a previously planned restructuring.
The job losses will need to be discussed with labor unions at its European operations, Airbus said, and are expected to be completed no later than next summer. The company will seek to meet its goals through voluntary departures, early retirement and long-term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate, it said.
The French government, which has been trying to prevent waves of layoffs by supporting businesses, called the number of layoffs ''excessive.'' ''We expect Airbus to use tools made available by the government to reduce the number of job cuts,'' a spokesman at the Finance Ministry said.
Airbus had already begun cutting production of its popular A320 single-aisle aircraft and A350 long-range jets in April by around a third, when quarantines to contain the pandemic were in effect across Europe. That was a 40 decline from the number of planes the company had planned make in 2020 and 2021.
Research published last week by the International Air Transport Association warned that airlines in Europe were set to lose $21.5 billion in 2020 as passenger demand plunged by over half because of continued global travel restrictions.
Boeing announced 16,000 job cuts in late April after its chief executive, David L. Calhoun, said the coronavirus had created ''utterly unexpected challenges.''
Updated June 30, 2020
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.
What's the best material for a mask?Scientists around the country have tried to identify everyday materials that do a good job of filtering microscopic particles. In recent tests, HEPA furnace filters scored high, as did vacuum cleaner bags, fabric similar to flannel pajamas and those of 600-count pillowcases. Other materials tested included layered coffee filters and scarves and bandannas. These scored lower, but still captured a small percentage of particles.
Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise ''comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort'' and requires ''balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.'' Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. ''In my personal experience,'' he says, ''heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.'' Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.
I've heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.
What is pandemic paid leave?The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don't typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country's largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.
Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was ''very rare,'' but she later walked back that statement.
What's the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus '-- whether it's surface transmission or close human contact '-- is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.
How does blood type influence coronavirus?A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.
How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation's job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.
How can I protect myself while flying?If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)
What should I do if I feel sick?If you've been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.
Revenue for Boeing's commercial aircraft had slumped nearly 50 percent, and the plane maker received just 49 new orders and had 196 cancellations between January and March. Boeing recently got approval for test flights of the revised 737 Max.
Airbus is having troubles despite an enormous aid program for the aviation industry announced in June by the French government, featuring a 15 billion-euro support package (almost $17 billion) to bolster Air France, Airbus and major French parts suppliers.
But while the government called on companies receiving aid not to resort to job losses, no rules forbade layoffs.
''Airbus is grateful for the government support that has enabled the company to limit these necessary adaptation measures,'' Airbus said.
''However, with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-Covid levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025,'' the statement continued, ''Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post-Covid-19 industry outlook.''
UK's Rival to Galileo: A Brexit Farce '' Byline Times
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 10:59
In space, as in so many policy areas, no one can hear you scream. Alex Andreou on another multi-million-pound fiasco driven by narrow nationalism The sorry tale of Britain's as-yet-unnamed rival to the EU's Galileo programme took another unexpected, miserable and hugely expensive turn in the past few days.
It is widely reported that the Government has committed £500 million to a consortium seeking to bail out the global communications firm OneWeb in exchange for a 20% stake in the ailing company. The biggest player in this ''British'' consortium is, in fact, Indian giant Bharti Enterprises, which is controlled by billionaire '' and fan of Brexit '' Sunil Mittal.
Bharti is already one of the largest investors in OneWeb. So, it is in effect investing to save its own investment and getting help from a sizable chunk of British tax money to do so.
This is broadly seen as a last ditch attempt to rescue the UK's plan to avoid participating in the EU's Galileo programme by launching its own rival Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Boris Johnson's chief advisor Dominic Cummings is reported to have been ''instrumental'' in this bid.
The OneWeb entity on which the UK is bidding is actually a joint venture with Airbus '' itself owned to a significant extent by the German, French and Spanish. The UK is, in a sense, pumping money into a failed European project simply to avoid participating in a very successful one. That absurdity aside, the bid fails even on its own merits.
Despite BBC News reporting that ''the OneWeb service would be back-up for GPS in case it is attacked or fails'', most experts in the field are warning that it is no such thing. The satellites which form part of its network currently have no such technology and are too small to be retrofitted. Simply put, 'we've bought the wrong satellites'.
The UK spat out its dummy, so violently it flew into space. Looking at that orbiting dummy the UK thought: how hard could it be? As it turns out, quite hard.
What is more likely is that the Government decided to sink this enormous amount of money for a non-controlling stake, in exchange for some jam-tomorrow promise that if the company survives and if it is technically doable, it will try to piggy-back this technology on its next generation of satellites. Experts doubt this is even feasible, due to technical considerations.
''This situation looks like nationalism trumping solid industrial policy,'' says Giles Thorne, a specialist researcher in the field who works at Jefferies International. What is worrying is that, for anyone who understands the full story of how the UK dropped out of Galileo and decided to plough a lonely furrow, ''nationalism trumping industrial policy'' is absolutely par for the course.
And it is a crucial story to understand, not just because it is emblematic of the Brexit sklerosis currently choking the nation's economic lifeblood but because, despite being unsexy, it is of singular importance.
Lack of access altogether to such a system would, according to the Government's own commissioned research, cost the UK economy an estimated £1 billion a day or one-sixth of its GDP.
Stick that on the side of a bus.
How it Started: The Rationalism of GalileoElements of Galileo, such as the timing and navigation signal (PRS) designed to be used by government agencies and emergency services, are already operational. Full capabilities will all come online this year and the project is due to be completed with the launch of 'spare' satellites in 2026.
The UK had already invested £1.2 billion in Galileo and helped to define important aspects of the system's encryption, including PRS, as well as helped build and operate the 28 satellites already in orbit.
Importantly, Galileo '' unlike its US, Russian and Chinese counterparts '' will be the only such system under civilian, democratically accountable, transparent control. Further, it is not an 'exclusive' system. Using it with another, such as GPS, hugely improves accuracy. In fact, Norway is in the process of negotiating PRS access to do precisely that.
Contrary to misconceived headlines, the UK has not been 'kicked off' the project. It has simply been told that it no longer has automatic, unqualified access to it unless it negotiates such access and agrees to abide by the relevant rules. This is as near to a case of misunderstanding causing mass media hysteria as I have seen '' unsurprising given that the Defence Secretary at the time was Gavin Williamson.
In late March 2018, rumours began to circulate '' based on an official's interpretation of a letter from the European Commission which has been frequently reported, but not seen '' that British companies may be excluded from bidding for particularly sensitive Galileo manufacturing contracts. Williamson, having probably only heard the first half-sentence of what an advisor told him, is reported to have ''hit the roof''.
By May 2018, Michel Barnier had entirely clarified the position on the record: ''Third countries (and their companies) cannot participate in the development of security sensitive matters, such as the manufacturing of PRS-security modules. Those rules were adopted together by unanimity with the UK as a member, and they have not changed. Those rules do not prevent the UK, as a third country, from using the encrypted signal of Galileo, provided that the relevant agreements between the EU and the UK are in place.''
It seems so clear in retrospect: participation in the end project was completely open to negotiation. The only exclusion was that third-country companies could no longer participate in the manufacture of security-sensitive components '' a position with which Williamson could be expected to have some sympathy considering his position on Huawei.
But by this point, nobody was listening. The then Prime Minister Theresa May was facing an open revolt from her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who labelled her negotiating stance ''crazy''. Politically, she needed a phony war and this was as good as any.
How it Escalated: The Sleep of ReasonBy mid-May 2018, in a naive attempt at vindictiveness, the UK Space Agency wrote to all companies involved in Galileo manufacturing, reminding them that they could not bid on future Galileo contracts without state authorisation. This effectively told them that, if those nasty Eurocrats were going to prevent them from bidding for contracts, their own government might as well jump the gun.
It was at this point that it officially announced: ''The UK Space Agency is leading the work to develop options for a British alternative to Galileo, to guarantee our satellite positioning, navigation and timing needs are met in the future.''
BBC News reported this as: ''UK ups the ante'' '' in the same way someone involved in a verbal altercation could ''up the ante'' by punching himself in the face. Certainly, it gives one's opponent pause for thought.
The conservative press was instantly enamoured by the idea, reporting the proposed £3 billion project, as if the UK had already started building it, complete with photographs of ministers pointing to the sky, when all that had happened was an announcement that the Government intended to bring together a task force to look into it. This turned into £3 to 5 billion, which turned into £5 billion.
In Brussels, the move was largely dismissed as ''completely pointless'' since everyone knew and experts agreed that it would be a highly irrational move from the UK to spend four or five times the money it had already invested for a worse system decades down the line. Everyone concurred that it was ''just not a believable option''.
But, as has been the case on every occasion the EU has asked the UK to negotiate the rules of access to a thing it no longer has automatic access to '' an uncontentious proposition in a sane world '' the UK spat out its dummy, so violently it flew into space. Looking at that orbiting dummy the UK thought: how hard could it be? As it turns out, quite hard.
By August 2018, the Government had set aside £92 million of its Brexit 'readiness fund' for feasibility studies to explore alternatives to Galileo. By December 2018, the £5 billion project was confirmed, with Johnson promising a ''full launch'' by 2030, despite its conspicuous absence from the Conservative Party manifesto and appended costing document.
It is utterly incongruous to see the same newspapers, usually obsessed with relative pennies of taxpayer money spent on phantom benefit fraud and phantom health tourism, shake their pom-poms for a vanity triplicate £5 billion space programme '' a better version of which Britain has already paid for and has been offered ready access to, simply by agreeing to the rules it co-drafted.
How It Fell Apart: Limited BandwidthExperts had been pointing out severe flaws in the UK's plan for some time, calling it ''deeply embarrassing for British Space''.
The truly finite resource when it comes to satellite projects is the radio frequency spectrum. Launching a satellite may be relatively straightforward, but the question is whether it will be able to transmit information back and forth without affecting the thousands of systems already circling the planet.
It took the EU and US more than two years of complex negotiations to agree how Galileo systems would mesh seamlessly, rather than interfere with, America's GPS. This was 16 years before the project was operational, in 2004. The UK has made no such studies or inquiries that I can find.
Having said that, the UK cannot actually launch satellites. It has no launch vehicles of its own '' not since Black Arrow, 50 years ago. It would have to either develop that technology and build them or rely on the US, the EU or India to launch its satellites, as well as repair and replenish them.
Further, the cost of putting a satellite positioning system in place is only one element. Galileo has an estimated maintenance cost of '‚¬800 million every year. The UK could share that with another 27 countries or decide to go it alone. In which case, calling it a £5 billion project is misleading, when it could also entail a tripling of the UK's entire current annual space programme budget, just for maintenance.
Not to mention that supply capacity in the sector is very limited and most of the manufacturers involved are highly mobile; the result of international joint ventures who have facilities across the world. If either the UK or the EU tried to prevent them from bidding on contracts, they can simply relocate.
Most damning of all is the charge that such a ''triplicate system'', at huge cost, would add precisely nothing to the UK's capabilities, but instead result in huge opportunity costs by siphoning talent and resources away from more useful projects.
This matters. Deeply. A report commissioned by the Government warns that disruption to the UK's access to a comprehensive GNSS could result in disruption to military and commercial applications, vulnerabilities in telecoms and compromise everything from power distribution across the national grid and rail signals to the stock market and access to ATMs. It could also render government infrastructure, including emergency services susceptible to hacking.
Galileo contracts are also worth billions to UK manufacturing. The decision to bow out of the project left ''optimist by nature'' Chris Skidmore, then Minister for Science, in the absurd position of accepting that the UK would no longer be in the programme, but hoping that it could continue being a leading components supplier for a project in which it no longer wished to participate.
With wretched predictability, the project had run into trouble by early March 2020, with a six-month ''pause'' being briefed.
By the beginning of May, it was reportedly close to being altogether scrapped. In early June, ministers were briefing that they were ''exploring alternatives'' to the alternatives they had been exploring at great cost for the past two years. On June 20, Lord Willets reassured the nation that what the Prime Minister had in store was actually going to be ''better'' than Galileo.
Lack of access altogether to such a system would cost the UK economy an estimated £1 billion a day or one-sixth of its GDP
It now seems that that 'better' alternative was, in fact, this bid for insolvent OneWeb. Let's hope the Canadians do us all a favour and scupper the UK-led bid '' after all, they want the satellites for what they actually do, rather than some promised bolt-on chimera. It's horrid to think how much painting satellites in Union Jack colours will cost us.
''This entire episode is overturning decades of quite prudent British space policy, which is to minimise public spending and maximise the capabilities gained from allies and partners on both sides of the Atlantic,'' concluded Bleddyn Bowen, lecturer in space policy at the University of Leicester. ''There's nothing preventing Britain now from saying we want to negotiate our way back into [Galileo].''
Only there is something preventing Britain from doing anything vaguely sensible. In every aspect of governance, affecting every area of our lives, we continue to be victims of a bankrupt politics that has, for some years now, rejected any rational, evidence-led, pragmatic solution, in favour of empty nationalism and jingoistic narratives.
In space, as in so many policy areas, no one can hear you scream.
Stay up to date with news from the Byline Times Team
Italy Seizes Record-Breaking $1 Billion Worth Drugs They Say Were 'ISIS-Made'
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 03:38
Breaking | 3,551 views | | Jul 1, 2020, 04:22pm EDT TOPLINE Police in Italy found a record-breaking 15 tons of amphetamines worth $1.12 billion at an Italian port Wednesday they say were produced by terror group ISIS and were likely bound for distribution across Europe by organized crime groups.
Damascus, an illegal substance that has flourished in the chaos of Syria's war.
AFP via Getty Images
KEY FACTSAccording to investigators, 84 million pills of the drug Captagon inside industrial goods were found on board three container ships at Salerno's port Wednesday.
Authorities told CNN they stopped and searched the ships after intercepting calls by a local organized crime group that expected the shipment.
Investigators said it is the largest drug bust in world history, in both physical size and street cost of the haul.
Police believe the drugs were meant for European distribution by multiple organized crime groups, and said the seized load was large enough to satisfy the entire continent's appetite for the drug.
Captagon is a brand name for fenethylline hydrochloride, a stimulant originally developed to treat narcolepsy and depression that is popular in the Middle East, according to Reuters, that the Islamic State produces and sells to finance itself.
Captagon is known to give people who take it bursts of energy and has reportedly been taken by ISIS fighters themselves to ''inhibit fear and pain,'' according to a statement from investigators, coming to be known as the ''Jihad drug.''
KEY BACKGROUNDJust two weeks ago, police found a million Captagon capsules and more than 6,000 pounds of hashish being smuggled through the same port in Salerno. Authorities in Italy said they believe Covid-19 lockdowns throughout Europe have thrown a wrench into illegal drug production and distribution across the continent. Traffickers may have been forced to import drugs from Syria instead, they said, which is now the world's top producer of amphetamines.
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Twitter. Send me a secure tip. I am a Texas native covering breaking news out of New York City. Previously, I was a Forbes intern in London. I am an alum of City, University of London and Texas State
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Di Rupo in de clinch met gouverneur Nationale Bank na uitspraken over Walloni: ''Dichter bij communistisch regime dan bij neoliberaal'' | Binnenland | Nieuws | HLN
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:21
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Trump the Murderer
Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says - The New York Times
Sun, 28 Jun 2020 17:04
The Trump administration has been deliberating for months about what to do about a stunning intelligence assessment.
American troops in Afghanistan have been the target of some Taliban operations backed by Russia, intelligence officials found. Credit... Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan '-- including targeting American troops '-- amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.
The United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.
Islamist militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money, the officials said. Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.
The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House's National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options '-- starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.
An operation to incentivize the killing of American and other NATO troops would be a significant and provocative escalation of what American and Afghan officials have said is Russian support for the Taliban, and it would be the first time the Russian spy unit was known to have orchestrated attacks on Western troops.
Any involvement with the Taliban that resulted in the deaths of American troops would also be a huge escalation of Russia's so-called hybrid war against the United States, a strategy of destabilizing adversaries through a combination of such tactics as cyberattacks, the spread of fake news and covert and deniable military operations.
The Kremlin had not been made aware of the accusations, said Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. ''If someone makes them, we'll respond,'' Mr. Peskov said.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, denied that the insurgents have ''any such relations with any intelligence agency'' and called the report an attempt to defame them.
''These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless '-- our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources,'' he said. ''That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don't attack them.''
Spokespeople at the National Security Council, the Pentagon, the State Department and the C.I.A. declined to comment.
The officials familiar with the intelligence did not explain the White House delay in deciding how to respond to the intelligence about Russia.
While some of his closest advisers, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have counseled more hawkish policies toward Russia, Mr. Trump has adopted an accommodating stance toward Moscow.
At a summit in 2018 in Helsinki, Finland, Mr. Trump strongly suggested that he believed Mr. Putin's denial that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 presidential election, despite broad agreement within the American intelligence establishment that it did. Mr. Trump criticized a bill imposing sanctions on Russia when he signed it into law after Congress passed it by veto-proof majorities. And he has repeatedly made statements that undermined the NATO alliance as a bulwark against Russian aggression in Europe.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the delicate intelligence and internal deliberations. They said the intelligence had been treated as a closely held secret, but the administration expanded briefings about it this week '-- including sharing information about it with the British government, whose forces are among those said to have been targeted.
Image President Trump has suggested he believed a denial by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia of Kremlin interference in the 2016 election. Credit... Kirill Kallinikov/Host Photo Agency, via Getty Images The intelligence assessment is said to be based at least in part on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals. The officials did not describe the mechanics of the Russian operation, such as how targets were picked or how money changed hands. It is also not clear whether Russian operatives had deployed inside Afghanistan or met with their Taliban counterparts elsewhere.
The revelations came into focus inside the Trump administration at a delicate and distracted time. Although officials collected the intelligence earlier in the year, the interagency meeting at the White House took place as the coronavirus pandemic was becoming a crisis and parts of the country were shutting down.
Moreover, as Mr. Trump seeks re-election in November, he wants to strike a peace deal with the Taliban to end the Afghanistan war.
Both American and Afghan officials have previously accused Russia of providing small arms and other support to the Taliban that amounts to destabilizing activity, although Russian government officials have dismissed such claims as ''idle gossip'' and baseless.
''We share some interests with Russia in Afghanistan, and clearly they're acting to undermine our interests as well,'' Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the commander of American forces in Afghanistan at the time, said in a 2018 interview with the BBC.
Though coalition troops suffered a spate of combat casualties last summer and early fall, only a few have since been killed. Four Americans were killed in combat in early 2020, but the Taliban have not attacked American positions since a February agreement.
American troops have also sharply reduced their movement outside military bases because of the coronavirus, reducing their exposure to attack.
While officials were said to be confident about the intelligence that Russian operatives offered and paid bounties to Afghan militants for killing Americans, they have greater uncertainty about how high in the Russian government the covert operation was authorized and what its aim may be.
Some officials have theorized that the Russians may be seeking revenge on NATO forces for a 2018 battle in Syria in which the American military killed several hundred pro-Syrian forces, including numerous Russian mercenaries, as they advanced on an American outpost. Officials have also suggested that the Russians may have been trying to derail peace talks to keep the United States bogged down in Afghanistan. But the motivation remains murky.
The officials briefed on the matter said the government had assessed the operation to be the handiwork of Unit 29155, an arm of Russia's military intelligence agency, known widely as the G.R.U. The unit is linked to the March 2018 nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury, England, of Sergei Skripal, a former G.R.U. officer who had worked for British intelligence and then defected, and his daughter.
Western intelligence officials say the unit, which has operated for more than a decade, has been charged by the Kremlin with carrying out a campaign to destabilize the West through subversion, sabotage and assassination. In addition to the 2018 poisoning, the unit was behind an attempted coup in Montenegro in 2016 and the poisoning of an arms manufacturer in Bulgaria a year earlier.
American intelligence officials say the G.R.U. was at the center of Moscow's covert efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. In the months before that election, American officials say, two G.R.U. cyberunits, known as 26165 and 74455, hacked into Democratic Party servers and then used WikiLeaks to publish embarrassing internal communications.
In part because those efforts were aimed at helping tilt the election in Mr. Trump's favor, his handling of issues related to Russia and Mr. Putin has come under particular scrutiny. The special counsel investigation found that the Trump campaign welcomed Russia's intervention and expected to benefit from it, but found insufficient evidence to establish that his associates had engaged in any criminal conspiracy with Moscow.
Operations involving Unit 29155 tend to be much more violent than those involving the cyberunits. Its officers are often decorated military veterans with years of service, in some cases dating to the Soviet Union's failed war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Never before has the unit been accused of orchestrating attacks on Western soldiers, but officials briefed on its operations say it has been active in Afghanistan for many years.
Though Russia declared the Taliban a terrorist organization in 2003, relations between them have been warming in recent years. Taliban officials have traveled to Moscow for peace talks with other prominent Afghans, including the former president, Hamid Karzai. The talks have excluded representatives from the current Afghan government as well as anyone from the United States, and at times they have seemed to work at crosscurrents with American efforts to bring an end to the conflict.
The disclosure comes at a time when Mr. Trump has said he would invite Mr. Putin to an expanded meeting of the Group of 7 nations, but tensions between American and Russian militaries are running high.
In several recent episodes, in international territory and airspace from off the coast of Alaska to the Black and Mediterranean Seas, combat planes from each country have scrambled to intercept military aircraft from the other.
Mujib Mashal contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan.
Here is the truth behind Trump's 'white power' tweeting '' Alternet.org
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 06:50
To this point in his presidency, Donald Trump has told more than 19,000 public lies.
However, he recently did something very much out of character: He was honest about his inner thoughts and true beliefs.
On Sunday, the president retweeted a video of one of his supporters in Florida displaying ''Trump 2020'' and ''America First'' signs while repeatedly shouting, ''White power!''
Here's a summary from NBC News of what happened:
President Donald Trump promoted a video on Twitter Sunday morning showing a man in a golf cart with Trump campaign gear shouting ''white power.''
The video, which Trump said was from the Florida retirement community known as The Villages, featured a parade of golf carts, some with pro-Trump signs, driving past anti-Trump protesters who were shouting curses at them. The man who is heard shouting ''white power'' was responding to protesters shouting ''racist.''
The tweet was removed from his feed hours later.
''Thank you to the great people of The Villages,'' Trump had written. ''The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!!''
Trump's handlers could not allow such a moment of honesty to stand on its own. Instead, they have tried to erase it. (As noted, the tweet was deleted later in the day.)
Deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere attempted to clean up the president's mess by saying, ''President Trump is a big fan of the Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters.''
On CNN's Sunday talk show ''State of the Union,'' Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tried to make excuses for Trump's tweet by saying that ''obviously neither the president, his administration nor I would do anything to be supportive of white supremacy or anything.''
The facts: Sunday was hardly the first time that Donald Trump has shared white supremacist, anti-Semitic or other kinds of hateful messages on Twitter.
Through his behavior, words and public policies he advances, Trump has repeatedly shown himself to be a white supremacist.
The phrase ''white power'' is a racist slur and a threat of violence against nonwhite people. Innumerable Black and brown people, and many others as well, have been killed under its banner.
Trump recently visited Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of one of the United States' worst instances of white-on-black terrorism, for his first ''comeback rally,'' which was originally scheduled for ''Juneteenth.''
Trump is trying to choke out America's multiracial democracy. He went to Tulsa to dance on its grave.
Trump has repeatedly pledged his allegiance to the treasonous Confederate States of America, vowing to defend public monuments to its evil cause.
Trump has threatened those Americans who are protesting police thuggery and murder in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder with a possible military crackdown. He has described Black, brown and white protesters as ''thugs.''
White House adviser Stephen Miller, perhaps Trump's most trusted and valued aide, is an overt and unapologetic white supremacist.
Trump believes that Hispanics and Latinos are a natural-born race of rapists and murderers who only want to come to America to brutalize white people. Trump has repeatedly sought to enact policies that bar Muslims from entering the United States. He has tried a series of maneuvers to minimize or eliminate immigration to the U.S. from nonwhite countries.
Trump and his regime have imprisoned tens of thousands of nonwhite migrants and refugees. Cruelty against nonwhite people continues to be the Trump regime's unifying political strategy.
Donald Trump obsessively threatens Barack Obama, the country's first black president, with charges of treason and then imprisonment or worse. (Traditionally, treason was punishable by death.) Trump was also a key voice in the racist ''birther'' conspiracy which claims that Obama was not a ''native-born'' U.S. citizen and therefore ineligible to be president.
Trump has been endorsed and embraced by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.
As revealed by a series of lawsuits in the 1970s, Donald Trump and his father would not rent apartments to Blacks and Latinos.
Trump and the Republican Party have enacted public policies aimed at restricting the civil rights and human rights of Black and brown people.
Trump infamously described the white supremacists and racist hoodlums who rampaged through Charlottesville, Virginia, in August of 2017, killing Heather Heyer and injuring many others, as ''very fine people.'' Not surprisingly, when the president Trump the ''white power'' video on Twitter he also described his supporters seen in the clip as ''great people.''
In an obvious attempt to fuel racism, Donald Trump has recently shared or endorsed random videos on Twitter which show black people attacking white people.
Ultimately, ''white power!'' is Donald Trump's value system and brand name. The same is true of today's Republican Party. But even in his moment of ''white power'' honesty, Trump cannot escape the lies.
Whiteness itself is a lie. There are no ''white'' people. As historians, social scientists and others have exhaustively documented, whiteness is a socially constructed identity that first came into existence in the 15th and 16th centuries, but was not fully solidified until the 18th and 19th centuries. Throughout its history, the definitions and boundaries of who counted as ''white'' have constantly shifted. Historian Nell Irvin Painter, author of ''The History of White People,'' explores this in a new essay for NBC News:
White identity didn't just spring to life full-blown and unchanging, which is what most people assume. Whiteness is severely under theorized, leaving millions unaware of a history whose constant characteristic is change. Whiteness has changed over time, over place, and in the myriad situations of human ranking.
Let me say it again: Whiteness has a history whose meanings change. Neither scholars nor ordinary people have been able to agree upon the definition of white people '-- who is white and who is not '-- nor on the number of races that count as white. Disagreement reigns and has reigned since the modern scientific notion of human races was invented in the 18th-century Enlightenment. Nota bene: invented in the 18th century.
Before the Enlightenment, people classified themselves and others according to clan, tribe, kingdom, locale, religion and an infinity of identities dependent on what people thought was important about themselves and others. Before the Enlightenment, Europeans could see human difference, they could see who was tall, who short, who light-skinned, who dark, differences they explained according to religion, cultural habits, geography, wealth and climate, among the most usual characteristics, but not race.
In the most fundamental ways, white-on-black chattel slavery, European colonialism and imperialism helped to establish whiteness as a meaningful social identity in the West and other parts of the world.
White people are not victimized or otherwise discriminated against in America as a group because of their racial identity. In reality, white people as a group control every major social, political, economic and cultural institution in this country.
Trump's most recent endorsement of white supremacy through his sharing of a ''white power'' message on Twitter is not, contrary to what some have suggested, a preview of his 2020 re-election strategy. He campaigned on racism and white supremacy in 2016, and that lifted him to the presidency. Trump is simply continuing with the only strategy he understands, and the one he knows will appeal to his supporters. In all, white supremacy is the connective tissue of the Age of Trump.
The commentariat often describes Donald Trump's racism and white supremacy as an example of ''dog whistle politics'' or, alternatively, ''air raid sirens'' and ''foghorns'' directed at his base. That is true enough. But there is also a better description.
Trump may be best understood as a white supremacist flasher who leaps out of the bushes and opens his trench coat, exposing his ugliness to hapless passersby. Then he flees and denies it ever happened, relishing the thrill of what he just inflicted on the public.
But in a most unfortunate situation for America and the world, the deviant is not hiding behind a dumpster in a fetid alley. Instead he is in the Oval Office and has an audience of tens of millions who are titillated by his vile performances.
Who Killed More: Hitler, Stalin, or Mao?
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 05:59
Chairman Mao attending a military review in Beijing, China, 1967. Photo from Apic / Getty Images.
In 2011, Timothy Snyder asked the provocative question: Who killed more, Hitler or Stalin? As useful as that exercise in moral rigor was, some think the question itself might have been slightly off. Instead, it should have included a third tyrant of the twentieth century, Chairman Mao. And not just that, but that Mao should have been the hands-down winner, with his ledger easily trumping the European dictators'.
While these questions can devolve into morbid pedantry, they raise moral questions that deserve a fresh look, especially as 2018 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the launch of Mao's most infamous experiment in social engineering, the Great Leap Forward. It was this campaign that caused the deaths of tens of millions and catapulted Mao Zedong into the big league of twentieth-century murders.
But Mao's mistakes are more than a chance to reflect on the past. They are also now part of a central debate in Xi Jinping's China, where the Communist Party is renewing a long-standing battle to protect its legitimacy by limiting discussions of Mao.
The immediate catalyst for the Great Leap Forward took place in late 1957 when Mao visited Moscow for the grand celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the October Revolution (another interesting contrast to recent months, with discussion of its centenary stifled in Moscow and largely ignored in Beijing).
The Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, had already annoyed Mao by criticizing Stalin, whom Mao regarded as one of the great figures of Communist history. If even Stalin could be purged, Mao could be challenged, too. In addition, the Soviet Union had just launched the world's first satellite, Sputnik, which Mao felt overshadowed his accomplishments. He returned to Beijing eager to assert China's position as the world's leading Communist nation. This, along with his general impatience, spurred a series of increasingly reckless decisions that led to the worst famine in history.
A rudimentary smelting furnace, part of Mao's Great Leap Forward program, in Beijing, 1958. Photo by Jacquet-Francillon / AFP / Getty Images.
The first signs of Mao's designs came on January 1, 1958, when the Communist Party's mouthpiece, People's Daily, published an article calling for ''going all out'' and ''aiming higher'''--code phrases for putting aside patient economic development in favor of radical policies aimed at rapid growth.
Mao drove home his plans in a series of meetings over the next months, including a crucial one'--from January 11 to 20 in the southern Chinese city of Nanning'--that changed the Communist Party's political culture. Until that moment, Mao had been first among equals, but moderates had often been able to rein him in. Then, in several extraordinary outbursts, he accused any leader who opposed ''rash advance'' of being counter-revolutionary. As became the pattern of his reign, no one successfully stood up to him.
Having silenced party opposition, Mao pushed for the creation of communes'--effectively nationalizing farmers' property. People were to eat in canteens and share agricultural equipment, livestock, and production, with food allocated by the state. Local party leaders were ordered to obey fanciful ideas for increasing crop yields, such as planting crops closer together. The idea was to create China's own Sputnik'--harvests astronomically greater than any in human history.
This might have resulted in no more harm than local officials' falsifying statistics to meet quotas, except that the state relied on these numbers to calculate taxes on farmers. To meet their taxes, farmers were forced to send any grain they had to the state as if they were producing these insanely high yields. Ominously, officials also confiscated seed grain to meet their targets. So, while storehouses bulged with grain, farmers had nothing to eat and nothing to plant the next spring.
Compounding this crisis were equally deluded plans to bolster steel production through the creation of ''backyard furnaces'''--small coal- or wood-fired kilns that were somehow supposed to create steel out of iron ore. Unable to produce real steel, local party officials ordered farmers to melt down their agricultural implements to satisfy Mao's national targets. The result was that farmers had no grain, no seeds, and no tools. Famine set in.
When, in 1959, Mao was challenged about these events at a party conference, he purged his enemies. Enveloped by an atmosphere of terror, officials returned to China's provinces to double down on Mao's policies. Tens of millions died.
No independent historian doubts that tens of millions died during the Great Leap Forward, but the exact numbers, and how one reconciles them, have remained matters of debate. The overall trend, though, has been to raise the figure, despite pushback from Communist Party revisionists and a few Western sympathizers.
On the Chinese side, this involves a cottage industry of Mao apologists willing to do whatever it takes to keep the Mao name sacred: historians working at Chinese institutions who argue that the numbers have been inflated by bad statistical work. Their most prominent spokesperson is Sun Jingxian, a mathematician at Shandong University and Jiangsu Normal University. He attributes changes in China's population during this period as due to faulty statistics, changes in how households were registered, and a series of other obfuscatory factors. His conclusion: famine killed only 3.66 million people. This contradicts almost every other serious effort at accounting for the effects of Mao's changes.
The first reliable scholarly estimates derived from the pioneering work of the demographer Judith Banister, who in 1987 used Chinese demographic statistics to come up with the remarkably durable estimate of 30 million, and the journalist Jasper Becker, who in his 1996 work Hungry Ghosts gave these numbers a human dimension and offered a clear, historical analysis of the events. At the most basic level, the early works took the net decline in China's population during this period and added to that the decline in the birth rate'--a classic effect of famine. Later scholars refined this methodology by looking at local histories compiled by government offices that gave very detailed accounts of famine conditions. Triangulating these two sources of information results in estimates that start in the mid-20 millions and go up to 45 million.
Two more recent accounts give what are widely regarded as the most credible numbers. One, in 2008, is by the Chinese journalist Yang Jisheng, who estimates that 35 million died. Hong Kong University's Frank Dik¶tter has a higher but equally plausible estimate of 45 million. Besides adjusting the numbers upward, Dik¶tter and others have made another important point: many deaths were violent. Communist Party officials beat to death anyone suspected of hoarding grain, or people who tried to escape the death farms by traveling to cities.
Regardless of how one views these revisions, the Great Leap Famine was by far the largest famine in history. It was also man-made'--and not because of war or disease, but by government policies that were flawed and recognized as such at the time by reasonable people in the Chinese government.
Hu Jie: Let there be light #12, 2014.
Can all this be blamed on Mao? Traditionally, Mao apologists blame any deaths that did occur on natural disasters. Even today, this era is known in China as the period of ''three years of natural disasters'' or the ''three years of difficulty.''
We can discard natural causes; yes, there were some problems with drought and flooding, but China is a huge country regularly beset by droughts and floods. Chinese governments through the centuries have been adept at famine relief; a normal government, especially a modern bureaucratic state with a vast army and unified political party at its disposal, should have been able to handle the floods and droughts that farmers encountered at the end of the 1950s.
What of the explanation that Mao meant well but that his policies were misguided, or carried out too zealously by subordinates? But Mao knew early enough that his policies were resulting in famine. He could have changed course, but he stubbornly stuck to his guns in order to retain power. In addition, his purging of senior leaders set the tone at the grass-roots level; if he had pursued a less radical policy and listened to advice, and encouraged his underlings to do so as well, their actions would surely have been different.
But Mao's policies were responsible for other deaths on top of those caused by the famine. The Cultural Revolution'--the ten-year period (1966''1976) of government-instigated chaos and violence against imagined enemies'--resulted in probably 2 to 3 million deaths, according to historians such as Song Yongyi of California State University Los Angeles, who has compiled extensive databases on these sensitive periods of history. I called to ask for his estimates, and he said he would add another 1 to 2 million for other campaigns, such as land-reform and ''anti-rightist'' movements in the 1950s. The University of Freiburg's Daniel Leese gave me similar figures. He estimates 32 million in the Great Leap Forward, 1.1 to 1.6 million for the Cultural Revolution, and another million for the other campaigns.
It is probably fair to say, then, that Mao was responsible for about 1.5 million deaths during the Cultural Revolution, another million for the other campaigns, and between 35 million and 45 million for the Great Leap Famine. Taking a middle number for the famine, 40 million, that's about 42.5 million deaths.
At this point, I must digress briefly to deal with two specters that diligent researchers will find on the Internet and even on the shelves of otherwise reputable bookstores. One is the political scientist Rudolph Rummel (1932''2014), a non-China specialist who made wildly higher estimates than any other historian'--that Mao was responsible for 77 million deaths. His work is disregarded as polemical, but has a strange life online, where it is cited regularly by anyone who wants to score a quick victory for Mao.
Equally scorned but extremely influential is the British-based author Jung Chang. After writing a bestselling memoir about her family (the most popular in what now seems like an endless succession of imitators), she moved on to write, along with her husband, Jon Halliday, popular history, including a biography of Mao as monster.
Few historians take their work seriously, and several of the most influential figures in the field'--including Andrew J. Nathan, Timothy Cheek, Jonathan Spence, Geremie Barm(C), Gao Mobo, and David S.G. Goodman'--published a book to rebut it. No matter: a dozen years after publication, Chang's work is still on bookshelves around the Western world, while the Amazon blurb misleadingly calls it ''the most authoritative life of the Chinese leader ever written.'' According to Chang, Mao was responsible for 70 million deaths in peacetime'--''more than any other twentieth-century leader.''
The ''peacetime'' adjective is significant because it gets Hitler out of the picture. But is starting a war of aggression less of a crime than launching economic policies that cause a famine?
How, finally, does Mao's record compare to those of Hitler or Stalin? Snyder estimates that Hitler was responsible for between 11 million and 12 million noncombatant deaths, while Stalin was responsible for at least 6 million, and as many as 9 million if ''foreseeable'' deaths caused by deportation, starvation, and incarceration in concentration camps are included.
But the Hitler and Stalin numbers invite questions that Mao's higher ones do not. Should we let Hitler, especially, off the hook for combatant deaths in World War II? It's probably fair to say that without Hitler, there wouldn't have been a European war.
If one includes the combatant deaths, and the deaths due to war-related famine and disease, the numbers shoot up astronomically. The Soviet Union suffered upward of 8 million combatant deaths and many more due to famine and disease'--perhaps about 20 million.
Ukrainians starving in the street during the Soviet famine of the early 1930s. Photo by Sovfoto / UIG via Getty Images.
Then again, wasn't Stalin partly responsible for those deaths, because he purged his best generals and adopted reckless military policies? As for Hitler, should his deaths include the hundreds of thousands who died in the aerial bombardments of Germans cities? After all, it was his decision to strip German cities of anti-aircraft batteries to replace lost artillery following the debacle at Stalingrad.
And what of the millions of Germans in the East who died after being ethnically cleansed and driven by the Red Army from their homes? On whose ledger do they belong? These considerations add to Stalin's totals, but they still more increase Hitler's. Slowly, Hitler's numbers approach Mao's.
And there is the sensitive matter of percentages. Mao's numbers are high because of the famine, without which he wouldn't be in the running for butcher of the century. But if Mao had been the leader of Thailand, he wouldn't be in the running: it was because his policies played out in China, with the world's largest population, that they resulted in such high absolute numbers of deaths. So is Mao simply a reflection of the fact that anything that happens in China becomes a superlative? And that, by definition, the world's Pol Pots can never compete?
Relativizing can be perilous. As Snyder writes, ''the difference between zero and one is an infinity'' (thinking, perhaps, of the dictum often attributed to Stalin that ''a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic''). It is true that we can grasp when a loved one dies but have a harder time accepting when the difference is between a million and a million and one deaths. But the correct answer, of course, is that even one extra death tilts the scales. Death is an absolute.
Yet all these numbers are little more than well-informed guesstimates. There are no records that will magically resolve the question of exactly how many died in the Mao era. We can only extrapolate based on flawed sources. If the percentage of deaths attributable to the famine is slightly changed, that's the difference between 30 and 45 million deaths. So, in these sorts of discussions, the difference between one and two isn't infinity but a rounding error.
Mao didn't order people to their deaths in the same way that Hitler did, so it's fair to say that Mao's famine deaths were not genocide'--in contrast, arguably, to Stalin's Holodomor in the Ukraine, the terror-famine described by journalist and historian Anne Applebaum in Red Famine (2017). One can argue that by closing down discussion in 1959, Mao sealed the fate of tens of millions, but almost every legal system in the world recognizes the difference between murder in the first degree and manslaughter or negligence. Shouldn't the same standards apply to dictators?
When Khrushchev took Stalin off his pedestal, the Soviet state still had Lenin as its idealized founding father. That allowed Khrushchev to purge the dictator without delegitimizing the Soviet state. By contrast, Mao himself and his successors have always realized that he was both China's Lenin and its Stalin.
Thus, after Mao died, the Communist Party settled on a formula of declaring that Mao had made mistakes'--about 30 percent of what he did was declared wrong and 70 percent was right. That's essentially the formula used today. Mao's mistakes were set down, and commissions sent out to explore the worst of his crimes, but his picture remains on Tiananmen Square.
Xi Jinping has held fast to this view of Mao in recent years. In Xi's way of looking at China, the country had roughly thirty years of Maoism and thirty years of Deng Xiaoping's economic liberalization and rapid growth. Xi has warned that neither era can negate the other; they are inseparable.
A Bejing street vendor selling souvenirs of China's present leader, Xi Jinping, and past leaders, including Chairman Mao. Photo by Nicolas Asfouri / AFP / Getty Images.
How to deal with Mao? Many Chinese, especially those who lived through his rule, do so by publishing underground journals or documentary films. Perhaps typically for a modern consumer society, though, Mao and his memory have also been turned into kitschy products. The first commune'--the ''Sputnik'' commune that launched the Great Leap Forward'--is now a retreat for city folk who want to experience the joys of rural life. One in ten villagers there died of famine, and people were dragged off and flayed for trying to hide grain from government officials. Today, urbanites go there to decompress from the stresses of modern life.
Foreigners aren't exempt from this sort of historical amnesia, either. One of Beijing's most popular breweries is the ''Great Leap'' brewery, which features a Mao-era symbol of a fist clenching a beer stein, instead of the clods of grass and earth that farmers tried to eat during the famine. Perhaps because of the revolting idea of a brew pub being named after a famine, the company began in 2015 to explain on its website that the name came not from Maoist history but an obscure Song dynasty song. Only when you're young and fat, goes the verse, does one dare risk a great leap.
Ian Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize''winning journalist who lives in ­Beijing, his home for more than twenty years. His most recent book is ''The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao.''
Biden's best vice-president pick is obvious
Sun, 28 Jun 2020 17:11
Whatever his wobbles, Joe Biden has, from the start of his presidential campaign, got one thing exactly right: The 2020 election is a battle for the soul of America. That's not just a pretty slogan. It's the stomach-knotting truth '-- and it's the frame he should use for choosing his running mate.
It's why he should pick Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.
She's a paragon of the values that Donald Trump, for all his practice as a performer, can't even pantomime. She's best described by words that are musty relics in his venal and vainglorious circle: ''sacrifice,'' ''honour,'' ''humility.'' More than any of the many extraordinary women on Biden's list of potential vice-presidential nominees, she's the anti-Trump, the antidote to the ugliness he revels in and the cynicism he stokes.
Americans can feel good '-- no, wonderful '-- about voting for a ticket with Duckworth on it. And we're beyond hungry for that. We're starving.
The most patriotic thing you can do is not necessarily putting on the uniform but speaking truth to power, exercising your First Amendment rights '-- that's what created America, right? - Senator Tammy Duckworth, Illinois
That ache transcends all of the other variables that attend Biden's deliberations as he appraises Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Val Demings and others: race, age, experience, exact position on the spectrum from progressive to moderate.
Duckworth, a former Army lieutenant colonel who lost both of her legs during combat duty in Iraq, is a choice that makes exquisite emotional and moral sense. Largely, but not entirely, because of that, she makes strategic sense, too.
For the uninitiated: Duckworth, 52, is in the fourth year of her first term in the Senate, before which she served two terms in the House. So, unlike several of the other vice-presidential contenders, she has ascended to what is conventionally considered the right political altitude for this next step.
But it's her life story that really makes her stand out. It's the harrowing chapter in Iraq, yes, but also how she rebounded from it, how she talks about it. It's her attitude. Her grace.
Helicopter pilot in Iraq
As my colleague Jennifer Steinhauer explained in a recent profile of Duckworth in The Times, she didn't just serve in the Army: She became a helicopter pilot, which isn't a job brimming with women. And as she flew near Baghdad one day in 2004, her Blackhawk was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. The explosion left her near death.
She later received a Purple Heart, but she bristles when she's called a hero. That designation, she has often said, belongs to her co-pilot, Dan Milberg, and others who carried her from the wreckage and got her to safety.
She put it this way when, as part of a ''Note to Self'' feature on ''CBS This Morning,'' she read aloud a letter that she had written to the younger Tammy: ''You'll make it out alive completely because of the grit, sacrifice and outright heroism of others. You haven't done anything to be worthy of their sacrifices, but these heroes will give you a second chance at life.'' She paused there briefly, fighting back tears.
To Steinhauer she said, ''I wake up every day thinking, 'I am never going to make Dan regret saving my life.''' Her subsequent advocacy for veterans, her run for Congress, her election to the Senate: She casts all of it in terms of gratitude and an obligation to give back.
Tell me how Trump campaigns against that. Tell me how he mocks her '-- which is the only way he knows how to engage with opponents. Or, rather, tell me how he does so without seeming even more obscene than he already does and turning off everyone beyond the cultish segment of the electorate that will never abandon him. Duckworth on the Democratic ticket is like some psy-ops masterstroke, all the more so because it was she who nicknamed Trump ''Cadet Bone Spurs.''
I asked her about that on the phone Thursday, remarking that it was uncharacteristically acerbic of her.
''This guy's a bully,'' she said. ''And bullies need a taste of their own medicine.''
Other contenders to partner Biden
Warren, too, is terrific at giving Trump that. Her placement on the Democratic ticket might fire up the progressives who regard Biden warily. And she could make an excellent governing partner for him.
But mightn't she also give moderate voters pause? What about her age? She's 71. Biden's 77. Can the party of change and modernity, whose last two presidents were both younger than 50 when first elected, go with an all-septuagenarian ticket?
Governing partners don't matter if you don't get to govern. The certain catastrophe of four more years of Trump demands that Biden choose his running mate with November at the front, the back, the top and the bottom of his mind.
I will work as hard as I can to get Joe Biden elected because the country needs it. It doesn't matter where I end up on that team. - Senator Tammy Duckworth, Illinois
Harris also ably prosecutes the case against Trump. But many progressives have issues with her, and the idea that she'd drive high turnout among black voters isn't supported by her failed bid for the Democratic nomination. She lacked support across the board, including among African-Americans. And in a recent national poll conducted by The Times and Siena College, more than 4 in 5 voters '-- including 3 in 4 black voters '-- said that race shouldn't be a factor in Biden's vice-presidential pick.
Duckworth is neither progressive idol nor progressive enemy. That partly reflects a low policy profile that's among her flaws as a running mate but could actually work to her advantage, making her difficult to pigeonhole and open to interpretation. Trump-weary voters can read into her what they want. And in recent congressional elections, Democrats have had success among swing voters with candidates who are veterans.
Duckworth certainly can't be dismissed as the same old same old. Her vice-presidential candidacy would be a trailblazing one, emblematic of a more diverse and inclusive America. Born in Bangkok to an American father and a Thai mother, she'd be the first Asian American and the first woman of colour on the presidential ticket of one of our two major parties.
Duckworth's virtues
She was the first US senator to give birth while in office and the first to bring her baby onto the Senate floor. You want relatable? Duckworth has two children younger than 6. She's a working mum.
She's not the product of privilege: In fact her family hit such hard times when she was growing up in Hawaii that at one point she sold flowers by the side of the road. But she went on to get not only a college degree but also a master's in international affairs.
Cards on the table: I'm not at all sure that running mates matter much on Election Day. There's ample evidence that they don't.
But in any given election, they sure as hell might. Biden would be a fool, given the stakes, not to consider his running mate a victory clincher or deal breaker and to choose her accordingly.
Duckworth's virtues include everything that I've mentioned plus this: She projects a combination of confidence and modesty, of toughness and warmth, that's rare '-- and that's a tonic in these toxic times.
I asked her whether she deems Trump a patriot. She said that he wraps himself in the American flag '-- a flag, she noted, that will someday drape her coffin '-- for the wrong reasons.
''I would leap into a burning fire to pull that flag to safety, but I will fight to the death for your right to burn it,'' she told me. ''The most patriotic thing you can do is not necessarily putting on the uniform but speaking truth to power, exercising your First Amendment rights '-- that's what created America, right?''
I asked her how it felt to have her name floated as a possible vice-presidential nominee.
''It's surreal, right?'' she said, recalling that she was once ''a hungry kid who fainted in class for lack of nutrition. It's unbelievable I'm even a US senator.''
''But it's one team, one fight,'' she added, referring to the Democratic quest to defeat Trump. ''I will work as hard as I can to get Joe Biden elected because the country needs it. It doesn't matter where I end up on that team.''
Yes, Senator Duckworth, it does. In the right role, you could help guarantee the right outcome.
'-- Frank Bruni is a senior columnist and author of best-sellers like Born Round and Ambling into History
Tammy Duckworth - Wikipedia
Sun, 28 Jun 2020 17:12
Ladda Tammy Duckworth (born March 12, 1968) is an American politician and former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who has served as the junior United States Senator for Illinois since 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she represented Illinois's 8th district in the United States House of Representatives from 2013 to 2017. Before election to office, she served as Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (2009''11) and Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (2006''09). Duckworth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016, defeating Republican incumbent Mark Kirk.[2]
Tammy Duckworth
United States Senatorfrom Illinois Assumed office January 3, 2017 Preceded by Mark KirkMember of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois's 8th district In office January 3, 2013 '' January 3, 2017 Preceded by Joe Walsh Succeeded by Raja KrishnamoorthiAssistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs In office April 24, 2009 '' June 30, 2011PresidentBarack Obama Preceded by Lisette Mondello Succeeded by Michael GalloucisDirector of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs In office November 21, 2006 '' February 8, 2009GovernorRod BlagojevichPat Quinn Preceded by Roy Dolgos Succeeded by Daniel GrantPersonal detailsBornLadda Tammy Duckworth
( 1968-03-12 ) March 12, 1968 (age 52) Bangkok, ThailandPolitical partyDemocraticSpouse(s)Bryan Bowlsbey (m. 1993)
Children2EducationUniversity of Hawaii at Manoa (BA)George Washington University (MA)Northern Illinois UniversityCapella University (PhD)
Website Senate website Military serviceAllegiance United StatesBranch/service United States ArmyYears of service1992''2014Rank Lieutenant ColonelUnit Illinois Army National Guard 106th Aviation Regiment, 28th Infantry DivisionBattles/warsIraq War (WIA)Awards Purple Heart Meritorious Service Medal Air Medal Army Commendation Medal with Oak leaf cluster National Defense Service Medal Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with four Oak leaf clusters Army Service Ribbon Combat Action Badge Senior Army Aviator Badge Dame Grand Cross (First Class) of the Order of the Crown of Thailand[1]Duckworth was the first Thai-American woman elected to Congress, the first born in Thailand elected to Congress, the first woman with a disability to be elected to Congress, the first female double amputee in the Senate, and the first Senator to give birth while in office. Duckworth is the second Asian American woman serving in the U.S. Senate, after Mazie Hirono, and before Kamala Harris.
A combat veteran of the Iraq War, Duckworth served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot and suffered severe combat wounds, which caused her to lose both of her legs and some mobility in her right arm. She was the first female double amputee from the war.[3] Despite her grievous injuries, she sought and obtained a medical waiver that allowed her to continue serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard along with her husband, Major Bryan W. Bowlsbey, a signal officer and fellow Iraq War veteran. Both have since retired from the armed forces.[4]
Early life and education Edit Tammy Duckworth was born in Bangkok, Thailand, the daughter of Lamai Sompornpairin and Franklin Duckworth. Her father, who died in 2005, was a U.S. Army veteran[5][better source needed ] who traced his family's American roots to the American Revolutionary War.[6] Her mother is Thai Chinese.[7] Because of her father's work with the United Nations and international companies in refugee, housing, and development programs,[8] the family moved around Southeast Asia. Duckworth became fluent in Thai and Indonesian, in addition to English.[9]
Duckworth attended Singapore American School, and for a few months in her senior year was at the International School Bangkok, and was in the class of 1985 at Jakarta Intercultural School[10][11] (then known as Jakarta International School). The family settled in Hawaii when she was sixteen. Her father became unemployed for a time, and the family relied on public assistance.[8] She graduated with honors from McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1985, having skipped the ninth grade. She graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and later received a Master of Arts in international affairs from George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.[12] She completed a PhD in Human Services at Capella University in March 2015.[13]
Military service Edit Captain Duckworth in 2000
Following in the footsteps of her father, who served in World War II, and ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War,[5] Duckworth joined the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps as a graduate student at George Washington University in 1990. She became a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserve in 1992 and chose to fly helicopters because it was one of the few combat jobs open to women. As a member of the Army Reserve, she went to flight school, later transferring to the Army National Guard and entering the Illinois Army National Guard in 1996.[14] Duckworth also worked as a staff supervisor at Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, Illinois[15][16] and was the coordinator of the Center for Nursing Research at Northern Illinois University.[17]
Duckworth was working towards a Ph.D. in political science at Northern Illinois University, with research interests in the political economy and public health in southeast Asia, when she was deployed to Iraq in 2004.[15] She lost her right leg near the hip and her left leg below the knee[18] from injuries sustained on November 12, 2004, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents.[19] She was the first American female double amputee from the Iraq War.[3] The explosion severely broke her right arm and tore tissue from it, necessitating major surgery to repair it.[5][5] Duckworth received a Purple Heart on December 3 and was promoted to Major on December 21 at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she was presented with an Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal.[19] She retired from the Illinois Army National Guard in October 2014 as a lieutenant colonel.[20]
The Daughters of the American Revolution erected a statue with Duckworth's likeness and that of the Revolution's Molly Pitcher in Mount Vernon, Illinois, in 2011.[5] The statue was dedicated in honor of female veterans.[5][21]
Government service Edit Duckworth being sworn in as Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, by Judge
John J. Farley with her husband Bryan Bowlsbey beside her
On November 21, 2006, several weeks after losing her first congressional campaign, Duckworth was appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs by Governor Rod Blagojevich.[22][23][24] Duckworth served in that position until February 8, 2009. While she was Director, she was credited with starting a program to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and veterans with brain injury.[25]
On September 17, 2008, Duckworth attended a campaign event for Dan Seals, the Democratic candidate for Illinois's 10th congressional district. Duckworth used vacation time, but violated Illinois law by going to the event in a state-owned van which was equipped for a person with physical disabilities. She acknowledged the mistake and repaid the state for the use of the van.[26]
In 2009, two Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs employees at the Anna Veterans' Home in Union County filed a lawsuit against Duckworth.[27] The lawsuit alleged that Duckworth wrongfully terminated one employee and threatened and intimidated another for bringing reports of abuse and misconduct of veterans when she was head of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.[28] Duckworth was represented in the suit by the Illinois Attorney General's office.[29] The case was dismissed twice but refilings were allowed.[30] The court set a tentative trial date of August 2016 and rejected the final motion to dismiss.[31] The state announced that it had settled the case in June 2016 for $26,000 with no admission of wrongdoing.[30] Although the plaintiffs later indicated they no longer wanted to settle, the judge gave them 21 days to sign the settlement and canceled the trial.[32][33]
Also in 2009, the Illinois Auditor General released an audit of the Veteran's Affairs department. Some issues noted by the audit predated Duckworth's tenure, while the majority of the audit covered Duckworth's tenure.[34] Findings of the audit included a fiscal year 2007 report that was not completed on time, failure to conduct annual reviews of benefits received by Illinois veterans, and failure to establish a task force to study the possible health effects of exposure to hazardous materials. The routine audit covered a two-year period, June 2006 to June 2008, and the findings were described by the auditor's department as "typical" in its audits.[35]
On February 3, 2009, Duckworth was nominated to be the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.[36] The United States Senate confirmed her for the position on April 22.[37] Duckworth resigned from her position in June 2011 in order to launch her campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in Illinois's 8th Congressional District.[38]
U.S. House of Representatives Edit Elections Edit Duckworth spoke at the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Democratic National Conventions.[39][40][41]
2006 Edit After longtime incumbent Republican Henry Hyde announced his retirement from Congress, several candidates began campaigning for the open seat. Duckworth won the Democratic primary with a plurality of 44%, defeating 2004 nominee Christine Cegelis with 40%, and Wheaton College professor Lindy Scott with 16%. State Senator Peter Roskam was unopposed in the Republican primary. For the general election, Duckworth was endorsed by EMILY's List, a political action committee that supports female Democratic candidates who back abortion rights.[42] Duckworth was also endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Fraternal Order of Police.[43][44] While she raised $4.5 million to Roskam's $3.44 million, Duckworth lost by 4,810 votes, receiving 49% to Roskam's 51%.[45]
2012 Edit Duckworth as a U.S. Representative during the 113th congress
In July 2011, Duckworth launched her campaign to run in 2012 for Illinois's 8th congressional district. She defeated former Deputy Treasurer of Illinois Raja Krishnamoorthi for the Democratic nomination on March 20, 2012, then faced incumbent Republican Joe Walsh in the general election.[46] Duckworth received the endorsement of both the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald.[47][48] Walsh generated controversy when in July 2012, at a campaign event, he accused Duckworth of politicizing her military service and injuries, saying "my God, that's all she talks about. Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it's the last thing in the world they talk about." Walsh called the controversy over his comments "a political ploy to distort my words and distract voters" and said that "Of course Tammy Duckworth is a hero ... I have called her a hero hundreds of times."[49]
On November 6, 2012, Duckworth defeated Walsh 55%''45%.[50] She became the first woman with a disability to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand.[51]
2014 Edit In the 2014 general election, Duckworth faced Republican Larry Kaifesh, a United States Marine Corps officer who had recently left active duty as a colonel.[52] Duckworth defeated Kaifesh with 56% of the vote.[53]
Tenure Edit Duckworth was sworn into office on January 3, 2013.[54]
On April 3, 2013, Duckworth publicly returned 8.4% ($1,218) of her congressional salary for that month to the United States Department of Treasury in solidarity with furloughed government workers.[55]
On June 26, 2013, during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Duckworth received national media attention after questioning Strong Castle CEO Braulio Castillo on a $500 million government contract the company had been awarded based on Castillo's disabled veteran status.[56][57]
House committee assignments Edit Committee on Armed ServicesSubcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces (2013''2017)Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (2013''2015)Subcommittee on Readiness (2015''2017)Committee on Oversight and Government ReformSubcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements (2013''2015)Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs (2013''2015)Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets, Ranking Member (2015''2017)Subcommittee on Information Technology (2015''2017)United States House Select Committee on Benghazi (May 2014''July 2016)U.S. Senate Edit 2016 election Edit On March 30, 2015, Duckworth announced that she would challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Kirk for his seat in the 2016 Senate election in Illinois.[58] Duckworth defeated fellow Democrats Andrea Zopp and Napoleon Harris in the primary election on March 15, 2016.[59]
During a televised debate on October 27, 2016, Duckworth talked about her ancestors' past service in the United States military. Kirk responded, "I'd forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington." The comment led to the Human Rights Campaign withdrawing their endorsement of Kirk and switching it to Duckworth, stating his comments were "deeply offensive and racist."[60][61]
On November 8, Duckworth defeated Kirk 54 percent to 40 percent to win the Senate seat.[62] Duckworth and Kamala Harris, who was also elected in 2016, are the second and third female Asian American senators, after Mazie Hirono who was elected in 2012.[2]
Tenure Edit In January 2018, following a federal government shut down after the Senate could not agree on a funding bill, Duckworth responded to President Trump's accusations that the Democrats were putting "unlawful immigrants" ahead of the military:
I spent my entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible. Sadly, this is something that the current occupant of the Oval Office does not seem to care to do '-- and I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger. And I have a message for Cadet Bone Spurs: If you cared about our military, you'd stop baiting Kim Jong Un into a war that could put 85,000 American troops, and millions of innocent civilians, in danger.[63]
Duckworth became the first U.S. Senator to give birth while in office in 2018.[64] Shortly afterward, the Senate passed Senate Resolution 463, which was introduced by Duckworth on April 12, 2018.[65] The Senate passed Senate Resolution 463 by unanimous consent and Senate rules were changed so that a Senator has the right to bring a child under one year old on the Senate floor during votes.[66] The day after those rules were changed, Maile became the first baby on the Senate floor when Duckworth brought her.[65][67]
According to The Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL), a joint partnership between the University of Virginia's Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Vanderbilt University,[68] Duckworth achieved a "Legislative Effectiveness Score" (LES) of "Exceeds Expectations" as a freshman Senator in the 115th Congress (2017-2018). In the 115th Congress, Duckworth's LES ranked 11th highest out of 48 Democratic Senators.[69] On April 15, 2020, the Trump administration invited Duckworth to join a bipartisan task force on the reopening of the economy amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[70]
Senate committee assignments Edit Committee on Armed Services (2019''present)Subcommittee on AirlandSubcommittee on PersonnelSubcommittee on Readiness and Management SupportCommittee on Commerce, Science, and TransportationSubcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and SecuritySubcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the InternetSubcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data SecuritySubcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and SecurityCommittee on Energy and Natural Resources (2017''2019)Subcommittee on EnergySubcommittee on National ParksSubcommittee on Water and PowerCommittee on Environment and Public WorksSubcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife (Ranking Member)Subcommittee on Transportation and InfrastructureCommittee on Small Business and EntrepreneurshipCaucus memberships Edit Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus[71]Political positions Edit Environment Edit In April 2019, Duckworth was one of twelve senators to sign a bipartisan letter to top senators on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development advocating for the Energy Department to be granted with maximum funding for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), citing American job growth could be stimulated through investment in creating viable options to capture carbon emissions released into the atmosphere and expressing disagreement with the 2020 budget request of President Trump that called for combining the two federal programs that include carbon capture research.[72]
Foreign policy Edit Duckworth narrates the
Salute to Fallen Asian Pacific Islander Heroes in
Arlington, Virginia, June 2, 2005.
During her unsuccessful congressional campaign in 2006, Duckworth called on Congress to audit the estimated $437 billion spent on overseas military and foreign aid since September 11, 2001.[73]
On September 30, 2006, Duckworth gave the Democratic Party's response to President George W. Bush's weekly radio address. In it, she was critical of Bush's strategy for the Iraq War.[74]
In October 2006, The Sunday Times reported that Duckworth agreed with General Sir Richard Dannatt, the British Army chief, that the presence of coalition troops was exacerbating the conflict in Iraq.[75]
In May 2019, Duckworth was a cosponsor of the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act, a bipartisan bill reintroduced by Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin that was intended to disrupt China's consolidation or expansion of its claims of jurisdiction over both the sea and air space in disputed zones in the South China Sea.[76]
Gun law Edit Duckworth was rated by the National Rifle Association as having a pro-gun control congressional voting record.[77] Duckworth, who is a gun owner herself, cites violence in Chicago as a major influence for her support of gun control. She supports universal background checks and the halting of state-to-state gun trafficking.[78]
Duckworth participated in the 2016 Chris Murphy gun control filibuster. During the sit-in, Duckworth hid her mobile phone in her prosthetic leg to avoid it being taken away from her since taking pictures and recording on the House floor is against policy.[78]
In a 2016 interview with GQ magazine, Duckworth stated that gaining control of the Senate and "closing the gap" in the House would be necessary in order to pass common sense gun laws. She also stated that she believed moderate Republicans, who support common sense gun control, would have more power to influence gun control if they were not "pushed aside by those folks who are absolutely beholden to the NRA. And so we never get the vote."[78]
In response to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Duckworth stated that "My heart goes out to the victims of the tragic shooting in Las Vegas last night and their loved ones. Such senseless and horrifying acts of violence have no place in America or any other nation."[79]
Health policy Edit Duckworth supports abortion rights[80][81] and the Affordable Care Act.[82]
Immigration Edit Duckworth supports comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for those in the country illegally. She would admit 100,000 Syrian refugees into the United States.[82]
In August 2018, Duckworth was one of seventeen senators to sign a letter spearheaded by Kamala Harris to United States Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen demanding that the Trump administration take immediate action in attempting to reunite 539 migrant children with their families, citing each passing day of inaction as intensifying "trauma that this administration has needlessly caused for children and their families seeking humanitarian protection."[83]
Electoral history Edit Illinois 6th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2006[84]PartyCandidateVotes%Democratic L. Tammy Duckworth 14,283 43.85 DemocraticChristine Cegelis13,15940.40DemocraticLindy Scott5,13315.76Total votes32,575100.0Illinois 6th Congressional District General Election, 2006[85]PartyCandidateVotes%Republican Peter J. Roskam 91,382 51.35 DemocraticL. Tammy Duckworth86,57248.65Write-in votesPatricia Elaine Beard30.00Total votes177,957100.0Illinois 8th Congressional District General Election, 2014[88]PartyCandidateVotes%Democratic Tammy Duckworth (incumbent) 84,178 55.73 RepublicanLarry Kaifesh66,87844.27Total votes151,056100.0Illinois U.S. Senator (Class III) General Election, 2016[90]PartyCandidateVotes%Democratic Tammy Duckworth 3,012,940 54.86 RepublicanMark Steven Kirk (incumbent)2,184,69239.78LibertarianKenton McMillen175,9883.20GreenScott Summers117,6192.14Write-in votesChad Koppie4080.01Write-in votesJim Brown1060.00Write-in votesChristopher Aguayo770.00Write-in votesSusana Sandoval420.00Write-in votesEric Kufi James Stewart50.00Write-in votesPatricia Beard10.00Total votes5,491,878100.0Charity work Edit Duckworth helped establish the Intrepid Foundation to help injured veterans.[91]
Awards and accolades Edit In May 2010, Duckworth was awarded an honorary doctorate by Northern Illinois University.[92]
In 2011, Duckworth was honored by Chicago's Access Living for her work on behalf of veterans with disabilities.[93]
Former Republican presidential candidate and Senator from Kansas Bob Dole dedicated his autobiography One Soldier's Story in part to Duckworth.[94] Duckworth credits Dole for inspiring her to pursue public service, while she recuperated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center; although, in 2006, Dole endorsed Duckworth's Republican opponent, Peter Roskam.[95]
Personal life Edit Duckworth is married to Bryan Bowlsbey. The couple has two daughters: Abigail, who was born in 2014,[96] and Maile, born in 2018.[97] Maile's birth made Duckworth the first U.S. Senator to give birth while in office.[97][98] Former senator Daniel Akaka (Democrat of Hawaii) helped the couple with the naming of both daughters; Akaka died April 6, 2018, three days before Maile was born.[99] Shortly after Maile's birth, a Senate rule change permitted senators to bring children under one year old on the Senate floor to breastfeed.[65] The day after the rule change, Duckworth brought Maile with her during the casting of a Senate vote, making Duckworth the first senator to cast a vote while holding a baby.[65][67]
See also Edit List of Asian Americans and Pacific Islands Americans in the United States CongressList of United States Senators born outside the United StatesVeterans for a Secure AmericaVoteVets.orgWomen in the United States House of RepresentativesWomen in the United States SenateReferences Edit ^ "ประกาศสà¸"à¸à¸±à¸à¸à¸²à¸à¸à¸£à¸±à¸à¸à¸à¸•à¸£à¸µ à¹à¸£à¸·à¹à¸­à¸‡ พระราชทาà¸à¹à¸à¸£à¸·à¹à¸­à¸‡à¸£à¸²à¸Šà¸­à¸´à¸ªà¸£à¸´à¸à¸²à¸ รà¸'์ใà¸à¹‰à¹à¸à¹à¸Šà¸²à¸§à¸•à¹à¸²à¸‡à¸›à¸£à¸°à¹à¸—ศ (พัà¸à¸•à¸£à¸µà¸à¸à¸´à¸‡ ลัà¸--à¸--า แทà¸à¸à¸µ à¸--ั๊กà¹à¸§à¸´à¸£à¹Œà¸--)" [Announcement of the Prime Minister's Office on granting decorations to foreigners (Major Ladda Tammy Duckworth)] (PDF) . Royal Thai Government Gazette (in Thai). January 15, 2010. ^ a b House, Jennifer Bendery White (November 8, 2016). "Tammy Duckworth Takes Back Obama's Illinois Senate Seat For Democrats". The Huffington Post . Retrieved November 9, 2016 . ^ a b O'Toole, Molly (May 14, 2012). "Unseen: Trailblazing Military Women Forced To Fight For Recognition, Equal Treatment". The Huffington Post. ^ Brown, Mark (February 14, 2007). "Duckworth's husband Iraq-bound". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on February 24, 2007 . Retrieved March 27, 2007 . ^ a b c d e f "Franklin G. Duckworth, Captain, United States Army". Arlington National Cemetery Website. February 9, 2009 . Retrieved January 26, 2018 . ^ Kravitz, Derek. "Yes, Tammy Duckworth's Family Has Served in the Military for Centuries". ProPublica . Retrieved June 28, 2020 . ^ Adam Weinstein (September''October 2012). "Nobody Puts Tammy Duckworth in a Corner". Mother Jones . Retrieved January 4, 2012 . ^ a b Chase, John (November 9, 2016). "Duckworth reaches pinnacle of Senate nearly 12 years to day after Iraq crash". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved November 13, 2016 . ^ Felsenthal, Carol (May 11, 2012). " ' Nothing to Lose': Tammy Duckworth on Her Quest to Go to Congress". Chicago . Retrieved April 6, 2019 . ^ "JIS Alumni". Jakarta Intercultural School . Retrieved January 8, 2020 . ^ "Mau Sekolah Gratis di JIS? Begini Caranya". SkyeGrid Media (in Indonesian) . Retrieved January 8, 2020 . ^ Will Hoover (January 15, 2006). "Duckworth working to win". The Honolulu Advertiser. ^ "Countdown to commencement". capella.edu. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. ^ Haskall, Bob (January 6, 2005). "U.S. Army National Guard Maj. Tammy Duckworth: Illinois Guard officer faces adversity with courage, concern for troops". Defend America. U.S. Department of Defense. Archived from the original on July 11, 2007 . Retrieved July 10, 2007 . ^ a b Paulson, Amanda (February 22, 2006). "For veteran Tammy Duckworth, latest fight is for a House seat" . Retrieved October 28, 2016 '' via Christian Science Monitor. ^ "Illinois lieutenant governor honors Rotary Centennial and RI employee". Rotary International. Archived from the original on June 8, 2007 . Retrieved July 10, 2007 . ^ Davey, Monica (November 28, 2008). "The New Team: Tammy Duckworth". The New York Times. New York, NY. ^ "Can-do spirit rises from crash". Honolulu Advertiser. March 17, 2005 . Retrieved August 22, 2012 . ^ a b Shane, Leo, III (June 14, 2005). "The pedals were gone, and so were my legs". Stars and Stripes. ^ "Duckworth Retires". Public Affairs Office, Illinois National Guard . Retrieved October 15, 2014 . ^ "Mount Vernon Statue Honors Women Vets, Maj. Tammy Duckworth". www.facebook.com . Retrieved November 12, 2016 . ^ "Director L. Tammy Duckworth: Committed to Serving Country and Community". Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. Archived from the original on October 27, 2008 . Retrieved November 12, 2008 . ^ "Veterans". ^ Sweet, Lynn (November 21, 2006). "Gov picks Duckworth for Veterans Affairs". Chicago Sun-Times. ^ Abramson, Mark (October 20, 2008). "Veterans' advocate promotes PTSD site". Stars and Stripes. ^ Kuczka, Susan (September 18, 2008). "Official admits error using state van; Tammy Duckworth took time off from job as state Veterans Affairs director to attend a campaign event but ran into controversy". Chicago Tribune. p. 1. ^ "Employee lawsuit pops up in Walsh-Duckworth race". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved July 20, 2015 . ^ Kurt Erickson. "Duckworth whistleblower trial date set". The Quad-City Times . Retrieved July 20, 2015 . ^ "Morning Spin: Judge sets May date in Duckworth 'retaliation' lawsuit". Chicago Tribune. March 23, 2016 . Retrieved March 23, 2016 . ^ a b Pearson, Rick (June 24, 2016). "Workplace lawsuit against Tammy Duckworth settled". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved June 28, 2016 . ^ "Judge allows workplace case against Tammy Duckworth to go to trial". Chicago Tribune. May 12, 2016 . Retrieved May 13, 2016 . ^ Team, Fox Illinois News. "Judge Vacates Rep. Duckworth's Lawsuit". ^ "Duckworth lawsuit not going to trial Monday". August 12, 2016. ^ Hinz, Greg (March 3, 2016). "Duckworth used vets' post to build political career: Ex-deputy". Crain's Chicago Business . Retrieved May 9, 2016 . ^ Lester, Kerry (June 27, 2012). "Tea Party questions audit of VA under Duckworth". dailyherald.com . Retrieved October 28, 2016 . ^ "Duckworth Tapped for VA Assistant Secretary" (Press release). United States Department of Veterans Affairs. February 3, 2009. Archived from the original on April 8, 2009 . Retrieved April 3, 2009 . ^ "Senate Confirms Duckworth's Federal Nomination". Associated Press. April 23, 2009 . Retrieved January 4, 2012 . ^ "Tammy Duckworth Resigns At VA, Illinois Congressional Run Could Be In The Cards". The Huffington Post. June 14, 2011 . Retrieved February 5, 2016 . ^ "Conventions 2008 '' the Democrats". The Washington Post . Retrieved August 26, 2008 . ^ Burns, Alexander (August 21, 2012). "Ledbetter, Baldwin, Longoria to address Dem convention". Politico . Retrieved August 22, 2012 . ^ Pearson, Rick (September 4, 2012). "Duckworth touts Obama record at DNC convention". articles.chicagotribune.com . Retrieved November 12, 2014 . ^ Zeleny, Jeff; Biemer, John (May 12, 2006). "Duckworth praised for stance on abortion: EMILY'S List backs congressional hopeful". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. ^ Biemer, John; Parsons, Christi (October 11, 2006). "Gun law heats up race for Congress". Chicago Tribune. ^ Krol, Eric (October 11, 2006). "Duckworth takes aim at Roskam gun record". Daily Herald. ^ "Election 2006 Results: State Races, Illinois". CNN . Retrieved March 27, 2007 . ^ Sneed, Michael (July 6, 2011). "Tammy Duckworth running for Congress again, in redrawn 8th". Chicago Sun Times . Retrieved July 9, 2011 . ^ Editorial board (October 8, 2012). "For the House: Duckworth". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012. ^ Editorial board (October 8, 2012). "Endorsement: Duckworth over Walsh in 8th Congressional District". Daily Herald. ^ Skiba, Katherine (July 3, 2012). "Walsh defends remarks on whether Duckworth is true hero". Chicago Tribune. ^ "2012 Election Results by State '' Illinois". Politico. ^ Duaa Eldeib (November 10, 2012). "Duckworth the first Asian-American from Illinois in Congress". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved January 4, 2013 . ^ Hinz, Greg (November 4, 2013). "Marine veteran to take on U.S. Rep. Duckworth". Crain's Chicago Business . Retrieved January 24, 2015 . ^ "Illinois General Election 2014". Illinois State Board of Elections. November 4, 2014 . Retrieved February 24, 2015 . ^ Santostefano, Melanie (January 5, 2013). "Tammy Duckworth Sworn in to Congress". Palatine Patch . Retrieved February 5, 2016 . ^ Kiene, Chelsea (April 4, 2013). "Tammy Duckworth Returns Portion Of Salary In Sequestration Solidarity". The Huffington Post . Retrieved February 5, 2016 . ^ Graham, D. A. (June 27, 2013). "Tammy Duckworth's Impassioned Shaming of a Faux-Disabled Vet". The Atlantic . Retrieved June 27, 2013 . ^ Thompson, M. (June 27, 2013). "Service-Connected Dissembling". Time . Retrieved June 27, 2013 . ^ Gallardo, Michelle (March 30, 2015). "Tammy Duckworth Running Against Mark Kirk for US Senate". Chicago ABC 7 Eyewitness News . Retrieved March 30, 2015 . ^ Jordan, Karen (March 16, 2016). "Duckworth, Kirk win Illinois US Senate Primaries". Chicago ABC 7 Eyewitness News . Retrieved March 17, 2016 . ^ Morin, Rebecca (October 29, 2016). "Human Rights Campaign revokes Mark Kirk endorsement". Politico . Retrieved October 30, 2016 . ^ "HRC Revokes Endorsement Following Racist Comments of Senator Mark Kirk". Human Rights Campaign. October 29, 2016. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017 . Retrieved October 30, 2016 . ^ Pearson, Rick (November 9, 2016). "Duckworth claims victory over Kirk in U.S. Senate race". chicagotribune.com . Retrieved November 9, 2016 . ^ Carter, Brandon (January 20, 2018). "Duckworth slams Trump: I won't be lectured on military needs by a 'five-deferment draft dodger ' ". The Hill . Retrieved January 20, 2018 . ^ "Tammy Duckworth Becomes First U.S. Senator To Give Birth While In Office". ^ a b c d Serfaty, Sunlen. "Duckworth proposes rule allowing babies on Senate floor". CNN. ^ Serfaty, Sunlen (April 19, 2018). "Babies now allowed on Senate floor after rule change". CNN. ^ a b Viebeck, Elise (April 20, 2018). "A duckling onesie and a blazer: The Senate floor sees its first baby, but many traditions stand". The Washington Post . Retrieved April 20, 2018 . ^ "The Center for Effective Lawmaking". University of Virginia & Vanderbilt University . Retrieved May 3, 2020 . ^ "Highlights from the New 115th Congress Legislative Effectiveness Scores". The Center for Effective Lawmaking. February 27, 2019 . Retrieved May 3, 2020 . Finally, we note those new freshmen lawmakers who are off to a promising start in their first two years, scoring in our ''Exceeds Expectations'' category in their first term in office. Research suggests that performance in a lawmaker's freshman term is highly correlated with subsequent lawmaking effectiveness, as well as with their overall career trajectory. Among them are two Senators (out of the eleven Senators in their freshman class), John Kennedy of Louisiana and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. Kennedy sponsored 26 bills, including four that passed the Senate and eventually became law, on issues ranging from national flood insurance and small business disaster loans to mandatory disclosure of corrupt practices among lobbyists. Duckworth shepherded three of her 45 proposed bills into law, including the Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act of 2018.
^ Levine, Marianne; Ferris, Sarah; Zanona, Melanie (April 16, 2020). "White House taps members of Congress to advise on reopening economy". Politico . Retrieved April 16, 2020 . ^ "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus . Retrieved May 17, 2018 . ^ Green, Miranda (April 5, 2019). "Bipartisan senators want 'highest possible' funding for carbon capture technology". The Hill. ^ Pat Corcoran (August 17, 2006). "Duckworth calls for investigation of foreign spending since 9/11". Northbrook Star. Archived from the original on August 21, 2006. ^ Biemer, John (October 1, 2006). "Duckworth: Bush has slogans, not strategies on Iraq". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved May 9, 2016 . ^ Baxter, Sarah (October 22, 2006). "War heroine leads Democrat charge". The Sunday Times. ^ Ghosh, Nirmal (May 24, 2019). "US Bill reintroduced to deter China in South China, East China seas". The Straits Times. ^ "Tammy Duckworth on Gun Control". On The Issues . Retrieved October 4, 2017 . ^ a b c Nelson, Rebecca (September 29, 2016). "The Dark Humor of Tammy Duckworth, Iraq War Hero and Gun Control Advocate". GQ . Retrieved October 4, 2017 . ^ Maxwell, Mark (October 4, 2017). "Politicians react to Las Vegas massacre". Illinois Homepage . Retrieved October 4, 2017 . ^ Slevin, Peter (February 19, 2006). "After War Injury, an Iraq Vet Takes on Politics". The Washington Post . Retrieved July 20, 2015 . ^ Pathe, Simone (August 25, 2015). "Another Democrat Gets in Race to Replace Duckworth". Roll Call . Retrieved May 9, 2016 . ^ a b Skiba, Katherine (March 3, 2016). "Duckworth's rebound paved by help from Democrats in high places". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved May 9, 2016 . ^ Weixel, Nathaniel (August 15, 2018). "Senate Dems demand immediate reunification of remaining separated children". The Hill. ^ "Election Results 2006 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections . Retrieved November 6, 2019 . ^ "Election Results 2006 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections . Retrieved November 6, 2019 . ^ "Election Results 2012 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections . Retrieved November 6, 2019 . ^ "Election Results 2012 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections . Retrieved November 6, 2019 . ^ "Election Results 2014 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections . Retrieved November 6, 2019 . ^ "Election Results 2016 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections . Retrieved November 6, 2019 . ^ "Election Results 2016 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections . Retrieved November 6, 2019 . ^ Haglund, Alex (June 27, 2011). "Duckworth, Pitcher honored along with all women veterans in Mt. Vernon". Advocate-Press . Retrieved February 5, 2016 . ^ "NIU to award honorary degree to 'a true American hero ' ". Northern Illinois University. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011 . Retrieved August 29, 2010 . ^ Meyer, Karen (June 19, 2007). "Duckworth to be honored for commitment to disabled veterans". ABC-7 Chicago. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011 . Retrieved November 12, 2014 . ^ Sneed, Michael (August 20, 2006). "Did you know". Chicago Sun-Times. ^ Biemer, John (September 29, 2006). "Dole makes it clear: He backs Roskam over Duckworth". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved October 20, 2006 . ^ Skiba, Katherine (November 20, 2014). "Rep. Tammy Duckworth gives birth to daughter". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved May 9, 2016 . ^ a b Anapol, Avery (April 9, 2018). "Duckworth gives birth to baby girl". TheHill . Retrieved April 9, 2018 . ^ Stevens, Heidi (January 24, 2018). "Tammy Duckworth expecting 2nd child; will be 1st sitting senator to give birth". chicagotribune.com . Retrieved January 23, 2018 . ^ Stack, Liam (April 9, 2018). "Tammy Duckworth Becomes First U.S. Senator to Give Birth While in Office". The New York Times . Retrieved April 10, 2018 . External links Edit Senator Tammy Duckworth official U.S. Senate siteTammy Duckworth for Senate official campaign siteTammy Duckworth at CurlieAppearances on C-SPANFront & Center with John Callaway: Returning Veterans: How Warm A Welcome? at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, July 12, 2007
Hawks approved to turn State Farm Arena into huge voting station for upcoming elections
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 09:35
6:52 PM ET Kevin Arnovitz ESPN Staff Writer
CloseNBA writer for ESPN.com since 2008Former contributor and editor at NPRThe Fulton County Registration and Elections Board approved a plan by the Atlanta Hawks to transform State Farm Arena into a massive polling station for Georgia's primary runoff election on Aug. 11 and early voting for the general election scheduled for Nov. 3.
The idea was hatched during the weekend after the killing of George Floyd, when the focal point of protests in Atlanta was just outside the Hawks' home arena. Conversations among Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, CEO Steve Koonin and majority owner Antony Ressler quickly coalesced around the idea of turning the playing floor into a voting location.
"We were casually brainstorming since our whole world turned about what we can do internally as an organization," Pierce said. "We were trying to figure out how we can take care of home first, and [Koonin] pitched the idea."
After taking two weeks to examine the facility's capacity to host both early and election day voting in summer and fall, the Hawks brought the idea to the Fulton County Commission, which provides funding for the county's registration and elections board.
"It took me about a nanosecond to understand what a big deal that would be for us here in Fulton County running this upcoming election, given the challenges that we had," Robb Pitts, chairman of the Fulton County board of commissioners, said.
Polling sites in the Atlanta metropolitan area, particularly in predominately African American precincts, were beset by logistical problems during the primary election on June 9. Watching Georgians endure waits of several hours to vote led the Hawks to believe their plan could bring efficacy to a system that lacked it.
"Making State Farm Arena the safest, most efficient and largest polling location in Georgia -- and maybe the country -- we thought was a really cool idea that helps Atlanta be a model for a great voting experience rather than what hasn't, shall we say, been a model recently," Ressler said.
Neither the Hawks nor Fulton County could offer a target for the number of voting machines they planned to house at State Farm Arena, though the Hawks said the expectation is several hundred. The building, which has an interior of 680,000 square feet, includes a practice floor, several clubs and dozens of suites, all of which could accommodate voters.
Much of that square footage will be used to account for the coronavirus. Voting machines that might typically be arranged inches apart will be set at least 6 feet apart. Lines to vote on the game court will begin at the portals in the main concourse and descend down the aisles of the lower bowl to the floor, with voters following social distancing practices. Given the size of the arena, many ancillary functions required on election day, such as tabulating absentee ballots, will be performed on site.
Ressler offered a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that if the Hawks wanted to maximize turnout at the State Farm Arena location, the team could host an open court practice as voters file into the building and cast their ballots. He was politely told that such a setup wasn't practical. He nevertheless anticipates that Hawks players will be active in the get-out-the-vote effort in Fulton County.
The Hawks have volunteered to pick up the expenses for the voting facility, including compensation for 300 full-time State Farm Arena employees and several hundred who work part time. Vehicles with voters will not be charged for parking.
In addition, State Farm Arena will serve as one of 19 polling locations that will offer early voting for a 19-day period prior to Election Day in both the runoff and general elections.
"Adam Silver says that arenas should be town halls or public squares for the city they serve," Koonin said. "This was something that was one of those ideas that was so obvious, you asked, 'Why hasn't anyone done it before?'"
Pierce, who has played a lead role on the National Basketball Coaches Association's committee on racial injustice and reform, plans to discuss the initiative on the weekly call of the NBA's head coaches.
"The focal point tonight is what the coaches can do in Orlando to keep this conversation alive and use our voice and our platform in unity," Pierce said. "But being able to address the group and show them this initiative was really not hard to process. We reached out to the county, and they were on board. The next thing you know, we're the first city to have an arena host a voting site. So I really want to encourage all the other 28 other coaches."
Pierce added that though the 29th coach, Toronto's Nick Nurse, can't help develop a polling site at Scotiabank Arena, he has been helpful in encouraging American expatriates in Canada to complete voter registration and obtain absentee ballots.
"When we saw what we saw on June 9, it was extremely clear that we have a real issue in the state of Georgia and especially here in Atlanta," Pierce said. "And we felt we had an opportunity to do something special. It was encouraging that we were able to think outside of the box and speak this idea into existence."
Parler CEO wants liberal to join the pro-Trump crowd on the app
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 09:51
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Parler's user base has grown to 1.5 million from 1 million in about a week, CEO John Matze said.Republican politicians and conservative pundits have flocked to the app, in large part to protest what they say is unfair censorship by Twitter. "If you can say it on the street of New York, you can say it on Parler," Matze said.Parler CEO John Matze
Jim Jordan, Elise Stefanik and Nikki Haley all have something in common, other than a strong affection towards President Trump.
The three Republican politicians joined social media app Parler this week, adding their profiles to a site that's emerged as the new digital stomping ground for anti-Twitter conservatives. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas arrived earlier this month and Rep. Devin Nunes of California started in February, while Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has been a member since 2018, the year the app launched.
"It's about time y'all joined me on @parler_app," Paul tweeted on Wednesday. "What's taking the rest of you so long?!"
To be fair, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale has also been on Parler since 2018. Eric Trump, the president's son, and his wife, Lara, joined on the same day last month. Like Twitter, the app lets users share comments, photos and news stories with their followers.
The catalyst for the latest growth surge was a story from The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, which said that the Trump administration was looking for alternatives to Facebook and Twitter over concern that more content is going to be blocked as the election campaign heats up. The Journal named Parler as a possible alternative.
Two days later, Parler was the top-ranked iPhone app in the news category, ahead of Twitter and Reddit, and 24th overall, just behind Venmo and WhatsApp, according to App Annie. User growth surged to 1.5 million from 1 million over the course of about a week, said John Matze, Parler's 27-year-old founder and CEO.
"We're a community town square, an open town square, with no censorship," Matze said in an interview on Thursday, from his home in Las Vegas. "If you can say it on the street of New York, you can say it on Parler."
Parler is playing into the hands of conservatives, who have become more vocal in their criticism of Twitter since the site started flagging Trump's tweets for promoting violence or abusive behavior or making false claims that could confuse voters. Trump supporters have long argued that the dominant Silicon Valley platforms have been out to censor conservative voices, even as those very same people continue to post on those sites and rack up followers by the thousands.
Rep. Jordan of Ohio told his 1.4 million Twitter followers on Friday to come over to Parler, where they "don't censor or shadow ban," referring to the practice of banning users in a way that's not apparent to them. By late afternoon he had about 3,100 followers on Parler.
Twitter regularly denies treating people differently based on their political views. Liz Kelley, a Twitter spokeswoman, told CNBC in a statement that, "We enforce the Twitter Rules impartially for everyone, regardless of their background or political affiliation."
When Nunes joined in February, he told his Twitter fans, which number 1.1 million, to join him on Parler if they're "tired of left wing censorship of big tech." Nunes has an infamous relationship with Twitter, after attempting to sue the company for defamation and negligence and naming as defendants two anonymous parody accounts, "Devin Nunes' Mom" and "Devin Nunes' Cow."
"With Devin Nunes came a whole pack of haters," said Matze. He said that parody accounts are fine and even welcome, but Parler draws a line when it comes to spammers. "You can't spam people's comment sections with unrelated content," he said.
That's not the only no-no on Parler, which has a fairly thorough set of community guidelines. The app doesn't allow terrorist organizations or support for terrorism, the sharing of false rumors, violent language (what the site describes as "fighting words") toward others, blackmail or pornography.
For verification, Parler awards a gold badge to public figures to distinguish them from parody accounts, which get a purple badge.
'Progressive bounty'Matze, a computer scientist who founded the company in 2018, is grateful for the growth even if all the new verifications are creating a lot of extra work for his 30-person team.
But Matze doesn't want the app to be just an echo chamber for conservative voices. Personally, he says he doesn't like either political party and he wants to see more healthy debate. He's so intent on getting some liberals onto the platform that he's offering a $20,000 "progressive bounty" for an openly liberal pundit with 50,000 followers on Twitter or Facebook to start a Parler account.
The company will judge the best one, based on engagement with the community, and pay that person the reward. Matze said there's been such little response that he increased the original proposed payment from $10,000 to $20,000.
"The whole company was never intended to be a pro-Trump thing," Matze said. "A lot of the audience is pro-Trump. I don't care. I'm not judging them either way."
Brad Parscale, manager of U.S. President Donald Trump's re-election campaign, speaks during a rally for U.S. President Donald Trump in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Where Matze is in full agreement with the Parler audience is in his opinion of Twitter. He thinks the company is targeting conservatives with censorship.
"I don't see why you need to censor the president's tweets," he said. "If you don't like what he has to say, vote him out of office."
Matze expects Parler to become a more attractive site for a more diverse audience over time because he sees Twitter continuing down a path of alienating right-wing voices, and "no one is going to want to stay on Twitter if the conservatives are gone."
But he recognizes that the political tone of his platform will probably make it hard for him to raise money from investors in Silicon Valley, which leans Democratic and is decidedly anti-Trump. Thus far, he's funded the company with angel money and said he'll soon be looking to raise a first institutional round of financing.
"I can only speculate that they wouldn't be interested unless they're ideological," he said, referring to traditional venture investors.
His bigger challenge, and one that venture capitalists know well, is the difficulty in turning a big audience into a massive audience and turning that into a business. Few ad-supported companies have managed that feat. Matze said the site has a nascent ad business, but that revenue has not been a focus of the company. One model he's considering is a revenue share, so that users can monetize their own fanbase without all of the benefits going to the company.
There's much more to do first, though, on the product side. For example, sharing content isn't as easy as on other networks. If you share a post with a friend via a text message, the other person can't view it without being logged in. Matze says he's "fully intent on opening the platform" but user growth has gotten in the way of building it out.
For the Trump campaign, that appears to be a significant hurdle. Parscale, who has 159,000 followers on Parler, compared to almost 700,000 on Twitter, made a number of suggestions to the company last month, like recommending that it spend money to lure more media members and hire a designer.
With just a few months until the election and Trump sinking in the polls, he's not hiding his ultimate goal.
"It must be buttoned up," he wrote on May 29. "I want to love it. I want to use it, I want to help. However, more than anything I want to win in November."
WATCH: Trump to sign executive order aimed at cracking down on Facebook, Twitter
Could Donald Trump Drop Out? Some Bettors Seem to Think So - The New York Times
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 09:25
The Upshot | Could Donald Trump Drop Out? Some Bettors Seem to Think SoThe 2016 Race
There's a small but meaningful chance that Donald Trump will quit the race before Election Day, according to betting markets. Credit... Mark Makela for The New York Times The latest guessing game is whether Donald Trump will drop out of the presidential race before Election Day. Although his campaign has denied that this is a possibility, ABC News reports that senior Republican officials are taking the idea seriously enough that they are exploring how to replace him if he drops out.
So, what are the odds he quits?
One way to determine this is to look at the latest odds in political prediction markets. It's not that any bettor knows what Mr. Trump will do. Rather, markets are useful because people putting their money where their mouth is are more likely to give an honest assessment than party insiders positioning for political advantage. Moreover, aggregating the intuitions of many traders usually beats relying on any group of pundits.
At the British prediction market Betfair, traders currently assess the Republican Party as holding a 25.8 percent chance to win the presidency. But they give Mr. Trump only a 24.1 percent chance of becoming president.
The difference of 1.7 percent probably reflects the possibility that Mr. Trump drops out and that an alternative Republican wins the White House.
That tells us the chance that Mr. Trump drops out and the Republicans still win. What about the odds that Mr. Trump drops out, and his replacement loses to Hillary Clinton? To determine those odds, some extrapolation is required.
As a starting point, let's assume that Mr. Trump's replacement is as likely to lose the election as Mr. Trump is. Note that the markets assess the chance that the Republicans lose '-- 74.2 percent '-- as being roughly three times greater than the chance of victory. As such, our assumption suggests that the chance that Mr. Trump's replacement loses is also three times that of his chance of winning (which we already calculated to be 1.7 percent). It follows that the chance that someone other than Mr. Trump leads the Republican Party to a loss is then three times 1.7, or around 5 percent.
The odds that Mr. Trump drops out are simply the sum of the chance of an alternative Republican either winning (1.7 percent) or losing the election (5 percent), or 6.7 percent.
Perhaps instead, Mr. Trump will drop out only if or when the chances of a Republican winning have fallen sufficiently that continuing to campaign is not worth his time. If so, the previous calculation represents a lower bound on the odds Mr. Trump drops out. For instance, if Mr. Trump will drop out only when he has wrought sufficient damage on the Republican brand that his replacement has '-- to keep the math simple '-- a 17 percent chance to win the election, then similar calculations suggest that markets give Mr. Trump a 10 percent chance to drop out.
Perhaps the bias goes the other way, particularly if you believe '-- as I do '-- that the Republicans are more likely to win if Mr. Trump drops out. If so, my calculation represents an upper bound on the chance Mr. Trump quits. Perhaps an alternative Republican candidate has a 50 percent chance of winning, if given the chance. If so, then the chance that an alternative Republican runs and wins (which, if you recall, is 1.7 percent) is equal to the chance that an alternative runs and loses. By this view, the odds that Mr. Trump drops out are about 3.4 percent.
My own judgment is that it appears that the markets rate the chance that Mr. Trump drops out as being somewhere between 3 and 10 percent. The range of my estimate is wide partly because it is unclear precisely what assumption to use in extrapolating from market prices to the odds Mr. Trump drops out, and partly because these calculations are sensitive to small changes in betting odds.
How seriously should we take all of this?
The divergence between the odds of a Republican president and a Trump presidency is real. It is evident not only at Betfair, but also in the odds offered by an array of overseas internet bookmakers. No similar divergence appears between the odds of Mrs. Clinton assuming the presidency and the Democrats winning the election, suggesting that markets believe it's a sure thing that she'll be on the ballot.
Equally, it seems unlikely that these markets are privy to any sensitive inside information. Instead, they're a useful aggregation of people's best guesses. Some people call this the ''conventional wisdom,'' but I prefer to call it ''collective wisdom,'' to highlight that it is probably wiser than any of us individually. And that collective wisdom says that there's a small though meaningful chance that Mr. Trump quits the race before Election Day.
Hillary Clinton on Twitter: "Join @PeteButtigieg, @LaurenUnderwood, and me to talk about how we can all help mobilize voters, elect good progressive leaders at every level of our government, and retire Trump. https://t.co/DrYrFGYYBI https://t.co/q9v2k284q
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 13:27
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The Articles of Unity - #Unity2020 - Medium
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 13:50
If President Trump is returned to office, will you feel that your future is secure?
If Vice-President Biden is elected, will you feel that the nation is in capable hands?
Now imagine instead that a courageous, competent pair of patriots take the stage '-- a team not beholden to any party, nor beset by conflicts of interest. A team driven to build a future where our national vision is clear, our plan is wise and '-- for the first time '-- every American is fully included.
Imagine looking your neighbors in the eye and '-- no matter who they might be '-- feeling a sense of comradery and excitement about what is to come. Imagine being proud to be an American again, or for the first time.
This scenario is one that an overwhelming majority of Americans would prefer. And the very real possibility stands open before us.
Are you ready to accept this possibility and the responsibility that comes with it?
Our World in Data: Corruption flows through major political parties, and the people know it.After decades of neglect, our country is in crisis, and cynicism dominates the public mind.
Maybe you have felt this. Maybe you are worried about your family's future. Or maybe you are simply a concerned citizen, witnessing recent events unfold and are troubled by what they seem to foreshadow.
You are not alone.
Our two dominant political parties are entirely consumed by partisan politics and are clearly uninterested in serious solutions to an ever-expanding list of problems they had a powerful hand in creating. More disturbingly, the tools we might use to remedy this situation, tools granted us by our founding documents, appear to have been dulled to the point of uselessness by the major parties '-- parties which, in those brilliant blueprints, are nowhere mentioned.
The Constitution Center: Partisan politics are paralyzing our country, and it's only getting worse.As a nation, we are navigating uncharted territory. In addition to partisan gridlock, we must rise to several new challenges:
We lack consensus, even about matters of basic fact, and the current tools of collective sense-making are unable to close the gap.Our country is on the brink of economic catastrophe and we are hobbled by our dependence on an outsourced manufacturing base.Massive protests reveal the depth of frustration, but these outpourings of genuine anger are all too easily co-opted and attention diverted away from root causes '-- while working class Americans demonize each other, those who captured our system and hoarded opportunity continue to flourish at our expense.The world is losing confidence in America's capacity to lead, even as Chinese geopolitical power expands. This could lead to catastrophic war in the absence of sober leadership.Each of these challenges is daunting. Taken together, and mismanaged by our captured and dysfunctional government, the country finds itself in jeopardy. Divisive, partisan politics has hobbled our nation and battered our better angels '-- just when when we need them most.
Pervasive corruption has compromised every system on which we depend. If we do nothing the best-case scenario is one of continuing slow collapse. Growing unrest may devolve into left- or right-wing authoritarianism, and with racial tensions rising at a spectacular rate, a second civil war is a very real possibility.
Those in power have abdicated responsibility, exploited the partisan divide, and hijacked the consent of the governed for personal gain.
Our human potential is being squandered. How many Albert Einsteins or James Baldwins will we forego due to the concentration of opportunity by rent-seeking elites? The hoarding of wellbeing hampers progress and harms us all. Our government, rather than protect us, has become complicit in parasitizing the electorate.
A substantial shift in our national direction cannot be put off any longer. Good governance liberates citizens and empowers them to be creative, productive, and to enrich the nation. We must change our course and return to government by and for the people.
We the people draft two candidates: one from the center-left, one from the center-right. Once elected, they agree to govern as a team. All decisions and appointments will be made jointly in the interests of the American public. Only when they cannot reach agreement, or when a decision does not allow for consultation, does the President decide independently. A coin flip determines which candidate runs at the top of the ticket.
Candidates must meet these three criteria:
They must be patrioticThey must be highly capableThey must be courageousAfter four years in office, the order reverses for the next election. This continues until the American public chooses an alternative administration or one of the members of the team cannot run for re-election, at which point a new patriot would replace them.
The Unity Ticket represents our shared values and vision for the future. Cooperation and necessary compromise pave the path to a functioning and productive government that serves all citizens.
No. The Unity Ticket is designed to avoid that pitfall in two different ways.
First, by bridging the center-left and center-right, the Unity Ticket disempowers both major parties rather than empowering one or the other.
Second, the plan includes a fail-safe: if, at a carefully chosen point prior to the General Election, the Unity Ticket has no viable path to the White House, the candidacy will be suspended.
Not only is it possible for a Unity Ticket to win, but the Republic may well depend on it.
Our proposal is unprecedented, but it comes midway through a year in which our usual intuitions of plausibility are continually upended.
We have already seen impeachment, pandemic, widespread violence, lockdown, police brutality followed by calls to abolish the police and declarations of sovereignty within the United States. All of this is occurring with a looming economic depression and without a single credible national leader to steer us toward calmer waters.
The Hidden Tribes Report: The majority of Americans agree, yet we are polarized by extremism from the ideological fringesIn the United States, more than 40% of voters self-identify as ''Independent'' having already rejected the hegemony of the major parties. If they had a ticket that spoke to their interests as American citizens, they would be the largest voting bloc in the country. Many citizens who have given up on voting would be likely to vote if they had reason to do so.
Only 17% of people trust the government to ''do what is right'' most of the time. Congressional approval ratings have dropped to 25% at the time of this writing. 88% of Americans say that our current political leaders are not ''up to the challenge'' of addressing the crises we face.
89% of voters say that ''political corruption'' is either a ''significant problem'' or ''crisis.''
We are starved for leadership, the parties have failed us, and the American public knows it. Yet, 84% of Americans believe it is still possible to ''improve the level of confidence we have in government.'' There is hope.
With the rise of social media, grassroots commentary, and citizen journalism, corporate media monopolies no longer control the bounds of political discourse.
Trust in traditional news media is at an all-time low. 61% of people say that the media frequently and intentionally ignores important stories. Citizens' awareness is now largely decentralized. People source their news from peers and channels that have bootstrapped their way into the public consciousness. The mainstream media can pretend the duopoly is sound, but it can no longer silence challenges to their legitimacy.
Anyone who has witnessed ideas spread across the internet knows that we do not need the sanction of the mainstream media. We can reach Americans directly, and we are confident that candidates who speak with honor, authenticity, and insight will stand apart''and a majority of Americans will heed the call.
Both Biden and Trump have greater unfavorable ratings than favorable ones, even before the general election battle has begun. Either one would be the oldest person ever sworn in as President, and persistent concerns about declining health and cognition are certain only to grow.
Historically, the major parties have ensured that alternative efforts were doomed to fail. In 2020 however, both parties have delivered Presidential candidates who are broadly distrusted and show no capacity to rise above partisan politics. The need for leadership has never been greater. Yet, the parties have never offered less.
President Trump certainly has loyal supporters but outside of that circle, he is widely distrusted '-- even within his own party. His insistence on politicizing every issue is a terrible match for this dangerous moment. Outside the ranks of DNC loyalists, it is difficult to find anyone enthusiastic about Joe Biden's candidacy. The ground is fertile for anything that captures the public imagination and restores confidence in our capacity as a nation.
There are several viable paths for ballot access, but we must act quickly. This requires an unprecedented groundswell of the American people. If the American people overwhelmingly rise up and demand this alternative, it is possible for a Unity Ticket to win in 2020.
We the People are Americans. We are ordinary citizens from all walks of life and backgrounds. We are brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors, and colleagues from across the political spectrum. We are Patriots.
The United States is the most prosperous democracy in the world. Despite flaws at our founding, dark episodes in our history, and transgressions against many of our own, our founding principles have stood as a singular beacon of liberty for open minds across the world. We continue to strive to build a more perfect Union. We have stumbled, but we have not fallen '-- and we must not.
We will not settle for the false choice presented to us. We demand better, in no uncertain terms. We propose a solution to unify our country such that it may deliver on its immense promise. We intend to use the available tools of American democracy in a new and galvanizing way. We are keenly aware of the full history of American third parties; we will not be a spoiler or be relegated to a footnote. We fully intend to seat an administration that represents the interests of a clear and overwhelming majority of Americans.
Our national situation is dire, and even people well beyond our borders are depending on us. We cannot afford to wait four more years.
We are calling upon every citizen to recapture the people's house, and restore hope for our future, our children's future, and for generations yet to come.
We the people are duty-bound to rescue the Republic and to revive the spirit of its founding fathers. Only by so doing will we prepare ourselves to meet the challenges of the 21st century with the courage and ingenuity that was long ago woven into the fabric of this marvelous, patchwork nation.
We can, at long last, break the two-party stranglehold that has for decades kept us from real change, sincere progress, and growing prosperity.
We can end the corrosive influence of special interests that cynically divide our country and the major parties that have come to exclusively serve the interests of their benefactors.
We must resist polarization, and unify against corruption. We must elect powerful leaders who will put the interest of the nation first. We must do it now, the hour is upon us, and the opportunity is at hand.
''We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.''
'-- Preamble to The Constitution of the United States of America, Summer of 1787
Inquiries: info@ArticlesOfUnity.com
Opinion | Joe Biden's Best Running Mate and Cabinet Picks - The New York Times
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 03:37
''His cabinet will be the future'': Readers tell us who they want to see next to Joe Biden, on the ballot and in the White House.
July 1, 2020Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris greet each other during a campaign stop in Detroit on March 9. Credit... Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters The summer is heating up and, with it, the Democratic Veepstakes. The party's presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has said he wants to announce his running mate around Aug. 1. This means that somewhere out there, the campaign's aides and advisers are in the final stages of agonizing over who'd make the perfect No. 2: Kamala Harris? Elizabeth Warren? Michelle Lujan Grisham? Tammy Duckworth? The stakes are high, and the calculation seems in constant flux.
Last month, we invited readers to get in on the action by submitting their picks for the vice presidency as well as for top cabinet positions such as attorney general, secretary of state and E.P.A. chief. Thousands of you answered the call, choosing from our suggestions or writing in your favorites, creating your own Dream Team. The (highly unscientific) results have been tabulated and are now ready to be shared '-- a perfect conversation starter for your socially distanced July 4 barbecue.
Topline: Senator Kamala Harris was your top choice for vice president, though it was by no means a blowout. Senator Amy Klobuchar ran a close second '-- and only a few votes ahead of Senator Elizabeth Warren. On June 19, Ms. Klobuchar took herself out of contention for the job, saying that with the protests and focus on racial justice of late, Mr. Biden should put a Black woman on the ticket. But overall, the women of the Senate made a strong showing.
You had clear favorites for some of the cabinet posts. Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, whose short-lived presidential run revolved around fighting climate change, was the overwhelming pick to head the E.P.A. To lead the Treasury Department, Ms. Warren easily outpaced the No. 2 vote-getter, Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor.
Image Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington. Credit... Susan Walsh/Associated Press Image Senator Elizabeth Warren. Credit... Ruth Fremson/The New York Times Other categories were more evenly split. Susan Rice, who served as the ambassador to the United Nations and then as the national security adviser during the Obama years, was your favorite for secretary of state, but Senator Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican who some readers said would help bring some balance to the cabinet, was close behind.
Image Susan Rice, former national security adviser. Credit... Win Mcnamee/Getty Images Image Senator Mitt Romney of Utah. Credit... Michael Reynolds/EPA, via Shutterstock Ms. Harris was your top choice for attorney general but scored only a few hundred votes more than Preet Bharara, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Image Preet Bharara, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Credit... Adrees Latif/Reuters Ms. Harris wasn't the only name that popped up in multiple categories. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico got write-in love in the V.P. spot, as well as to head Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. Several of you wanted to see Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as U.N. ambassador, but also possibly as head of the E.P.A. And Ms. Warren got a nod for every position listed, with the exception of secretary of defense.
Some of your write-ins were more fanciful than others. Michelle Obama would no doubt be a formidable choice for V.P. '-- or, as one of you suggested, to lead a new ''Department of Becoming.'' It also would be fascinating to see The Times's Paul Krugman tackle the job of treasury secretary. But it's best not to bet the farm on either of these dark horses.
Some of you went above and beyond, suggesting the creation of new high-level positions: a czar to oversee ''tech and cyber attacks''; a ''cabinet-level post for National Infrastructure''; someone to lead a ''National Truth and Reconciliation Commission'' to investigate ''the corruption of the Trump administration.''
Regardless of who makes the cut, several of you argued that Mr. Biden should announce his team sooner rather than later, to give his campaign a little ''OOMPH,'' as one reader put it.
Below are your top Dream Team selections, along with the reasoning behind some of your decisions. Remarks have been edited for length and clarity.
Vice President: Senator Kamala HarrisHarris's prosecutorial chops have helped make her among the most intimidating questioners in committee hearings. She eviscerated both Jeff Sessions and his craven replacement, Bill Barr. It doesn't hurt that she has a multi-watt Obama-esque smile and considerable personal charm. Smart, funny, and ruthless when she needs to be. She would help lead a team with integrity, accountability and a true sense of patriotism and public service. '-- Monty Mickelson, 63, Portland, Ore.
Runner-up: Senator Amy KlobucharShe has common sense, experience and the Midwest '-- but only if a Democrat replaces her in Senate. '-- Allison Henderson, older than 60, El Cajon, Calif.
Secretary of State: Susan RiceShe understands the importance of strong international relationships and is smart and experienced. We need someone with experience to repair relationships with allies and conduct sophisticated, effective management of China and Russia. '-- John Holland, 57, New Haven, Conn.
Runner-up: Senator Mitt RomneyMitt Romney is well rounded, smart, could restore diplomacy, has excellent ethics and is a true leader, even if we don't agree on many things. '-- Mari Boggiano, 45, New Jersey
Secretary of the Treasury: Senator Elizabeth WarrenIncome inequality must be addressed as our No. 1 priority. She can handle that as well as addressing corruption. I want to see fierce advocates in all these roles but I am supporting Joe Biden no matter who he chooses. '-- Ann Heiser, 62, Afton, Minn.
Runner-up: Michael BloombergJoe will most likely inherit a devastated economy. Bloomberg has the experience and knowledge to help us once again save an economy destroyed by Republicans. '-- Wesley Ginnick, 29, Pittsburgh
Image Adm. William McRaven. Credit... Marsha Miller/The University of Texas at Austin, via Associated Press Secretary of Defense: Adm. William McRavenAdmiral McRaven projects self-confidence, determination and independence. He tells it like it is, with the bark off. Ramrod and iron straight. Joe Biden deserves a secretary of defense to tell him what's what, just like George C. Marshall did with F.D.R. when elevated to Army chief of staff when Roosevelt reached down past 343 others to place Marshall at the top to lead America during World War II! '-- Dean Browning Webb, 69, Camas, Wash.
Runner-up: Pete ButtigiegTime to promote his generation. He served the nation in the Middle East. He's an articulate, brilliant role model for his generation and for gay people of all generations. '-- Laury Zicari, 67, Glenburn, Maine
Attorney General: Senator Kamala HarrisI doubt she'd take it, but whoever does would be the point person on criminal justice reform. On the long list of people who could do the job, Senator Harris is at the top. '-- Nikunj Khetan, 23, Boston
Runner-up: Preet BhararaHe has a strong record of expecting powerful interests to actually obey laws. '-- Brian Crain, 45, Houston
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator: Gov. Jay Inslee of WashingtonInslee is committed to fighting climate change to the point where it borders on obsession. '-- Ben Adams, 23, Bethlehem, Pa.
Runner-up: Christine Todd WhitmanLet's show that a Republican can, and does, care about the environment. '-- Rich Strum, 56, Ticonderoga, N.Y.
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Bill GatesI'd like to see a doctor in this role, like Fauci. But if Gates would accept it, he could revolutionize things. He's run a huge organization before, and his foundation has been tremendously innovative and effective. It's an area in dire need of technological modernization. '-- Chris Lansford, 49, Boise, Idaho
Runner-up: Dr. Don BerwickBerwick, having worked with Medicare and Medicaid, will be in a good position to handle the complexities that are going to come forth with this pandemic and to be able to make informed decisions regarding how to best serve the people who have lost health care as well as jobs. [Dr. Berwick is a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.]'-- Dianne A. Clowes, 53, Fredericksburg, Va.
Honorable MentionsI want Michelle Obama for V.P. because in addition to being very smart, she has the charisma and allure to energize young people and women, in addition to African-American voters. I hear she won't take it, but a girl can dream. '-- Jessica Lowrey, 54, Salt Lake City
Biden, Harris, Romney, Warren, McRaven and Adam Schiff are a unity ticket. This team will show Americans that they care more about them than the oligarchy, assuage the fears of centrist voters and give centrist Republicans familiar faces. '-- Elliot Broze, 30, Walla Walla, Wash.
Senator Cortez Masto would ensure that the ticket brings a new voice to complement Biden's well-known tune. She brings a Western state perspective and can tick up Hispanic turnout like Obama did for African-Americans in 2008. '-- Terri O'Brien, 67, Detroit
Only a progressive leadership team (Bernie Sanders, Andrew Bacevich, Senator Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Alan Grayson, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Arnold Schwarzenegger '-- heading the E.P.A. as a token bipartisan establishment pick) could reassure me that a Biden administration will act to seriously address the economic and foreign policy crises that have resulted from the last 30 years of misguided and destructive policy pursued by establishment leaders of both parties. '-- Jakub Wrzesniewski, 40, Washington, D.C.
Being the age that he is, Biden needs to act as a steward of the next generation of the party. By picking young, diverse cabinet members like Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, he can show voters that while he is the ''return to normalcy'' candidate, his cabinet will be the future. '-- Leah Forrest, 24, Los Angeles
2020 Election Odds: Donald Trump Has Only 33% Probability of Beating Joe Biden | The Action Network
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:00
2020 Election OddsCandidateOddsImplied Prob.Joe Biden-18959.3%Donald Trump+17533.0%Mike Pence+33002.7%Hillary Clinton+50001.8%Nikki Haley+75001.2%Michelle Obama+100000.9%Andrew Cuomo+150000.6%Bernie Sanders+200000.4%Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson+500000.1%Odds as of June 30 and via European sportsbook Betfair. Note that the implied probabilities are vig-free, so they're not accounting for the cut the sportsbook is taking.
If you're new to betting, +175 odds mean a $100 bet would net $175 with a win. You can also covert odds using our Betting Odds Calculator.
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the United States while the country confronts issues of systemic racism, Donald Trump's odds to be re-elected continue to fall.
Trump is now a +175 betting underdog, giving him only a 33% implied probability of winning the election compared to Joe Biden's 59.3% implied probability. The latest polling backs it up: According to FiveThirtyEight's average of national polls, Biden has an average +9.6 edge over Trump '-- that's tied for Biden's second-biggest edge over Trump in FiveThirtyEight's average since late February.
Trump's implied probability has steadily declined since outrage over George Floyd's death swept the nation, falling from 45.2% on June 2 to 33% on June 30. Trump hits this new low just days after The New York Times released new polling that showed him falling six to 11 points behind in six battleground states that helped deliver his 2016 victory.
2020 Presidential Election Odds TrackerHere's a snapshot of how odds have evolved from week to week, starting with March 4 '-- the day after Super Tuesday.
Presidential Race UpdatesJune 22The presidential race continues to evolve as the nation grapples with COVID, issues of race and more.
Joe Biden is now a -161 betting favorite, giving him a 55.8% implied probability '-- that's a 3.2% increase over the past two weeks and the biggest edge lead the former Vice President has had over Donald Trump since we started tracking these odds on Super Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Trump's 36.2% implied probability with +150 odds is the worst it's been this cycle, falling from 40.5% and +125 over the past two weeks.
June 8After a second straight weekend of protests in the wake of George Floyd's death, CNN released a new poll showing that only 41% of the public supports Donald Trump compared to the 55% that supports Joe Biden.
The betting market continues to move in Biden's direction, as well: The former Vice President is now a -137 favorite to win the election, giving him a 52.6% implied probability of winning according to the odds at the European sportsbook Betfair.
That's the biggest lead Biden has had over Trump since we started tracking these odds after Super Tuesday.
These odds were stagnant for months as the U.S. battled COVID-19, but have quickly moved in Biden's favor over the past two weeks.
June 4Joe Biden is the favorite to win the 2020 presidential election for the first time since mid-March.
After trailing Donald Trump on the odds board for much of the past three months, Biden drew even with Trump earlier this week with +100 odds at European sportsbook Betfair. Now Biden's -110 odds give him a 47.3% vig-free implied probability of winning in November '-- a 2.1% increase over the past two days '-- while Trump is down to +110 (a 2.2% decrease).
The first significant shift in election odds comes amidst ongoing unrest across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death.
The odds now better reflect recent polling, as Real Clear Politics' average of major polls lists Biden at +7.8.
June 2Amid ongoing protests in the wake of George Floyd's death, the 2020 election odds market just saw its first significant change in months.
Donald Trump '-- who had been between a -110 and -120 favorite since mid-March '-- is now listed at even odds (+100) with Joe Biden at the European sportsbook Betfair.
Just one month ago, the betting market gave Trump a 46% vig-free implied probability of winning November's election, which at the time was a 6.1% edge over Biden. Now their +100 odds give them each a 45.2% implied probability of winning.
As my colleague Bryan Mears recently discussed, betting markets haven't necessarily reflected recent polling. And while the current odds are now closer to what polls seem to indicate about the state of the presidential race, Biden actually still has a +6 edge over Trump in Real Clear Politics' average of notable polls:
As the U.S. continues to grapple with issues of racial inequality and a virus that has claimed more than 100,000 American lives, it appears that betting markets have at least adjusted for the uncertainty of how the coming weeks and months will impact the presidential race.
May 13There hasn't been much movement on the 2020 election oddsboard in May.
Donald Trump is still favored to win in November. His -110 odds give him a 46% implied probability of winning '-- a more than 6% edge over Joe Biden, whose +120 odds give him a 39.9% implied probability.
May 5Donald Trump has maintained his position as the favorite to win the 2020 election since mid-March, though his edge has shortened over the past three weeks '-- his implied probably of winning according to the betting market has fallen from 50.5% (-120 odds) to 46% (-110 odds) over that span.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden's odds remain unaffected by the ongoing coverage of the sexual assault allegation against him, holding steady at +120 since mid-April.
April 13Just five days after seeing a boost from Bernie Sanders dropping out of the race, Joe Biden's election odds are once again trending downward while Donald Trump's continue to rise.
Here's how their implied probabilities of winning (per their odds) have shifted since last Wednesday:
Trump: 47.6% to 50.5% (+2.9%)Biden: 45.5% to 42% (-3.5%)April 8Bernie Sanders ended his campaign on Wednesday, paving way for Joe Biden to (likely) secure the Democratic nomination in August.
Biden's election odds saw a boost as a result, improving from a 40.4% implied probability (+125 odds) to 45.5% (+100). That puts him within nearly two percentage points of Donald Trump, who had been previously padding his lead on the odds board over the prior two weeks.
April 3Since re-emerging as the betting favorite 10 days ago, Donald Trump has held a steady lead over Joe Biden on the 2020 election odds board as the U.S. continues to navigate the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak.
Trump now has a 6.8% edge in implied probability over Biden (47.2% vs. 40.4%).
Here's a brief snapshot of notable odds movement over that span:
March 24: Trump announces he hopes to relax social distancing guidelines by Easter. His odds move from +110 (tied with Biden) to -110, positioning him as the favorite once again.March 25: Betfair adds election odds for New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who has seen those improve from +8000 (1.1% implied probability) to +2200 (3.9%) since.March 27: Biden sees his odds dip from +110 to +120, or from 43.7% to 41.3% (-2.4%) in implied probability in just two days.March 30: The day after reversing course on his Easter timeline to extend social distancing guidelines through the end of April, Trump sees his lead over Biden grow with the former Vice President's odds slipping further to +125.March 30A day after Donald Trump announced that federal social distancing guidelines would be extended through the end of April, the gap has widened between Trump and Joe Biden in 2020 election odds.
Trump remains a -110 favorite (47.2% implied probability) to win in November, but Biden saw his implied probability fall from 41.3% (+120 odds) to 40.4% (+125 odds) between Friday and Monday '-- or 3.3% total since March 18.
March 27After bottoming out at +110 odds (43.1% implied probability) last week, Donald Trump re-emerged as the betting favorite to win the general election earlier this week and is now padding his lead over Joe Biden.
The former Vice President is down to a +120 underdog as of Friday, representing a dip in implied probability from 43.7% to 41.3% (-2.4%) since this past Wednesday.
March 25On Wednesday, European sportsbook Betfair added one more name to the 2020 election odds board: New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who is currently combatting a COVID-19 outbreak across his state.
Still, Cuomo hasn't actually announced any intention of running as of writing, and his +8000 odds give him only a 1.1% chance of winning.
Donald Trump remains the favorite to win the general election with his 45.9% implied probability giving him a slight edge over Joe Biden, who has a 43.7% implied probability.
March 24After hitting a new low of +110 (43.1% implied probability) only one week ago, Donald Trump's odds to win the 2020 election are up to -110 (46.1% implied probability), meaning he is once again the favorite to win in November.
Trump's 3% boost in implied probability comes at a cost to Joe Biden: While the former Vice President has held steady at +100 odds, his implied probability has dipped from 44.5% to 44% over the past week.
We'll continue to monitor how the 2020 presidential election odds shift in the coming days and weeks, so be sure to check back as the race evolves.
March 19Betting odds indicate the market is growing increasingly bearish on Donald Trump's chances of re-election.
His odds reached a new low on Monday, bottoming out at +110 (43.1% implied probability). Trump has since bounced back to +100, but that still leaves him even with Joe Biden, who has gained significant ground since Super Tuesday (March 10), when he was a +500 underdog to win the presidency.
For context on how quickly Trump's odds have fallen, his -162 odds heading into Super Tuesday gave him a 50.2% implied probability of winning. That's now down to 44.5%.
Betfair is offering odds simply for President Donald Trump not to be re-elected '-- meaning it doesn't pin him against Joe Biden or any other candidate; it's just a yes/no bet '-- and Trump is listed as -137 to not be voted in for a second term.
Trump is also positioned as an underdog in two other bet categories at Betfair:
Popular vote winner: The still to-be-officially-nominated candidate of the Democratic party is a -227 favorite (64.6% implied probability) to win the popular vote over Trump, who is listed at +163 odds (35.4%).Winning party: Democrats are a -120 favorite to win the presidential election (49.7% implied probability) against the Republicans, who are -110 (47.6%). An independent is, unsurprisingly, a +3300 longshot (2.7%) to win.Vig-free implied probabilities mean that the fee Betfair charges bettors for a wager has been factored out so that the implied probabilities of odds for a given market all add up to 100% exactly.
HOLY SH*T! Shocking FBI Notes Implicate Obama In General Flynn Surveillance Operation
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 10:03
Follow Matt on TwitterBombshell new notes from the FBI confirm that Barack Hussein Obama was the man pulling the strings all along in the General Flynn case.
In the leaked notes, Obama was quoted as saying; ''Make sure you look at things and have the right people on it,''
Here's more from The Federalist:
The handwritten notes from fired former FBI agent Peter Strzok appear to describe a Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting between Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Comey, Yates, and then-national security adviser Susan Rice. The meeting and its substance were confirmed in a bizarre Inauguration Day email Rice wrote to herself.
The new notes, which record Comey's accounting to Strzok of the meeting's substance, constitute definitive evidence that Obama himself was personally directing significant aspects of a criminal investigation into his political enemy's top foreign policy adviser.
Here's the transcript from the conversation:
''NSA-D-DAG = [illegible] Other countries
D-DAG: lean forward on [illegible]
VP: ''Logan Act''
P: These are unusual times
VP: I've been on the intel cmte for ten years and I never
P: Make sure you look at things '-- have the right people on it
P: Is there anything I shouldn't be telling transition team?
D: Flynn ''> Kislyak calls but appear legit
[illegible] Happy New Year. Yeah right''
For a more exhaustive writeup of this situation, read Sean Davis' full column here at The Federalist.
What are your thoughts on this information? This story is developing.
Explosive New FBI Notes Confirm Obama Directed Anti-Flynn Operation
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 10:05
Newly released notes confirm President Barack Obama's key role in surveillance and leak operation against Michael Flynn, the incoming Trump administration national security adviser. The handwritten notes, which were first disclosed in a federal court filing made by the Department of Justice on Tuesday, show President Obama himself personally directed former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to investigate Flynn for having routine phone calls with a Russian counterpart. He also suggests they withhold information from President Trump and his key national security figures.
The handwritten notes from fired former FBI agent Peter Strzok appear to describe a Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting between Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Comey, Yates, and then-national security adviser Susan Rice. The meeting and its substance were confirmed in a bizarre Inauguration Day email Rice wrote to herself.
It was at this meeting, which was confirmed by testimony from Comey and Yates, 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.
Yates told the special counsel that Obama broke the news of Flynn's phone calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to her during the Jan. 5 meeting. Rice detailed further involvement from Obama. ''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,'' she wrote in her email.
The new notes, which record Comey's accounting to Strzok of the meeting's substance, constitute definitive evidence that Obama himself was personally directing significant aspects of a criminal investigation into his political enemy's top foreign policy adviser. An image of the notes is reproduced below. This is a rough transcript of the unredacted portion of the notes:
NSA-D-DAG = [Flynn cuts?]. Other countries
D-DAG: lean forward on [unclass?]
VP: ''Logan Act''
P: These are unusual times
VP: I've been on the intel cmte for ten years and I never
P: Make sure you look at things + have the right people on it
P: Is there anything I shouldn't be telling transition team?
D: Flynn ''> Kislyak calls but appear legit
[illegible] Happy New Year. Yeah right
Peter Strzok's Notes Confirm Obama Personally Ordered Hit On Michael Flynn by The Federalist on Scribd
''Make sure you look at things and have the right people on it,'' Obama is quoted as saying.
Comey's description that the Flynn-Kislyak phone calls appear ''legit,'' shorthand for ''legitimate,'' is also in the notes. Until this week, this exculpatory information was withheld from Flynn and his defense team, multiple congressional committees, and the American public. A lengthy campaign to illegally leak selectively edited defamatory information through media accessories damaged the Trump administration and spurred the appointment of a special counsel to investigate anyone associated with the Trump campaign.
According to Strzok's notes, Biden explicitly referenced the Logan Act, an 18th-century law that forbids certain political speech from private citizens. The law, even if it were constitutional, would not apply to a national security adviser for the newly elected president of the United States. Biden had previously denied that he knew anything about the investigation into Flynn.
''I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn,'' Biden said on ABC's ''Good Morning America'' when George Stephanopoulos asked what he knew of the FBI's operations in early 2017. He later admitted that statement was false.
The meeting to strategize against the Trump administration included just a few key law enforcement principals. Their testimony about what transpired is sometimes in conflict. Yates claimed Comey brought up the Logan Act while Comey claims Biden cited it. Rice claimed Obama directed that the anti-Trump operation be run ''by the book,'' but Comey claimed Obama even directed which personnel to use.
All parties agree, however, on the main substance of the meeting, which was a discussion of how to target Flynn for his ''legit'' phone calls and withhold vital national security information from the newly elected presidential administration.
Attorney General William Barr has directed an investigation into the spying and leaking operation, led by U.S. Attorney John Durham. Durham, whose investigation is ongoing, has not yet issued any indictments or any reports of his findings thus far. Barr has repeatedly stated that if Durham finds evidence of criminal wrongdoing that can be proved in a court beyond a reasonable doubt, then those responsible for the criminal acts will be held to account.
The handwritten notes from Strzok, which were included in a court filing from the Justice Department, were filed under seal by order of Emmett Sullivan, the judge overseeing Flynn's criminal trial. The judge has ordered the documents to be hidden and has given no indication that he will ever allow all of the evidence filed by the DOJ to be publicly disclosed. When the DOJ moved to dismiss charges against Flynn, Sullivan refused to grant their request and instead appointed a shadow prosecutor to target Flynn on Sullivan's behalf.
Following an appeal by Flynn, the top federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday ordered the judge to dismiss all charges against Flynn. That court also vacated his appointment of a shadow prosecutor to target Flynn.
This article has been corrected since publication.
Copyright (C) 2020 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.
Before 'takedown' of General Flynn, he was planning to audit John Brennan for running billions 'off the books'
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 17:38
National SecurityAll roads lead back to John Brennan.By PoliZette Staff June 27, 2020
Sidney Powell, attorney for retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, said her client, in his duties as the White House national security adviser, was prepared to ''audit'' the U.S. intelligence community.
That, according to the former federal prosecutor, is partly why federal agents ''set up'' Flynn.
Powell, who took over Flynn's defense last summer, told the ''Vickie McKenna Show'' on 1310 WIBA Madison that her client was ''totally set up'' because he threatened to expose wrongdoing by top intelligence officials in the Obama administration.
MORE NEWS: Another murder in Seattle's infamous 'The CHOP'
''He was going to audit the intel agencies because he knew about the billions Brennan and company were running off the books,'' Powell said, referring to former CIA Director John Brennan.
Flynn was picked by former President Barack Obama to serve as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012, but he was pushed out of the position after clashing with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and others.
He retired from the Army in 2014, a year before his stint was supposed to end.
In his 2016 book, ''The Field of the Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies,'' Flynn wrote, ''I was fired as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency after telling a congressional committee that we were not as safe as we had been a few years back.''
The future Trump national security adviser was openly critical of the intelligence community prior to joining Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser in February 2016.
MORE NEWS: Older woman obliterates radical liberal activist: 'You got something to say, little boy?'
''They've lost sight of who they actually work for,'' Flynn said of the CIA to The New York Times in October 2015.
''They work for the American people. They don't work for the president of the United States'... It's become a very political organization.''
Clearly, the Deep State wanted to use Flynn to try to kick off this whole ''Russia collusion'' nonsense.
But if what Flynn's lawyer says is accurate, then there was another very serious reason why the swamp wanted to get Flynn out of the picture.
What's with the ''billions Brennan and company were running off the books,'' and why aren't the Republicans investigating?
Now that Flynn is free, he can start talking and sharing his side of the story and hopefully help John Durham and U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr sort out this entire #SpyGate mess.
Thousands of Sealed Indictments
Clinton WhistleBlower: FEDS Investigating Adam Schiff's Disturbing Behavior at Ed Buck's Meth & Sex House '' True Pundit
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 07:36
Embattled Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff is now the target of a federal investigation focused on the Congressman's more-than-frequent trips to Ed Buck's 'drug house,' according to a Clinton Whistleblower and insider.
Buck is a high-profile, millionaire Democratic benefactor who has contributed and bundled large amounts of cash to Democrats including Schiff, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Kamala Harris and the list goes on and on. Buck was arrested last month after a nearly-dead man escaped from Buck's home after Buck allegedly plied him with meth.
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Larry Nichols is the consumate DC insider and operator. In fact, Bill Clinton in his biography described Nichols as a dangerous man. Clinton would know because Nichols spearheaded many of Clinton's political black-bag Ops in Arkansas and Washington D.C for the Clinton cartel and beyond before he turned whistleblower.
Nichols revealed on his weekly news show on CrowdSource the Truth that federal agents have traced Congressman Schiff at Buck's drug mansion over a dozen times. And now they want to know what Schiff was doing there.
''(Attorney General William) Barr is looking into why Adam Schiff was at Buck's place 16 times,'' said insider Larry Nichols. ''The reason Barr is obligated to look into Adam Schiff, and the fact that he was there 16 times, is because as a member of Congress if he saw at his time at Buck's any illegal activity, he is obligated by law to report it.
''And if he didn't report it, then he is guilty of a crime.''
Two men previously died at Buck's mansion from drug overdoses but Buck was never charged by Los Angeles Police. Finally, Buck was charged in Sept. with running a drug house and doping up victims and then allegedly acting out his twisted sexual fantasies on the incapacitated victims, according to prosecutors.
Buck targeted homeless men, according to prosecutors.
Nichols said Schiff, like Buck, is under investigation.
Who will be the first to rat the other one out?
This story is developing.
Seven Elected Democrats Charged in Past Week on Corruption and Fraud Charges | Dan Bongino
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 11:08
S even elected Democrats have been charged or plead guilty in the past week to corruption and fraud charges for a healthy ''one per day'' average.
Last Thursday New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced voter fraud charges against Councilman Michael Jackson and Councilman-elect Alex Mendez, two of the winners in Patterson's recent ward council elections. The two were charged with voter fraud, specifically facing allegations that the duo violated state laws governing the way mail-in ballots are supposed to be collected and filled out. These charges certainly are peculiar because I had previously been told by other Democrats that voter fraud simply doesn't happen.
This Monday former Cincinnati City Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard pleaded guilty to ''honest services wire fraud'' in federal court. As a result of her guilty plea, prosecutors will drop the bribery and extortion charges against her. She's also required to repay $15,000. State and local officials can still file separate charges.
And yesterday, on Tuesday, federal agents charged four Toledo city council members in connection to a bribery probe. City council members Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes, and Gary Johnson were accused of engaging in a years-long scandal. Criminal complaints filed in federal court allege that the four accepted multiple bribes and committed acts of extortion.
Will any arrests be made today to close out the week? Stay tuned to find out!
Foneguy89: "179,178 #SealedIndictments @adam" - No Agenda Social
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:35
The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!
VIDEO - (20) Media Tweets by ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) / Twitter
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:34
Something went wrong, but don't fret '-- let's give it another shot.
VIDEO - Homeowner who pulled gun on protesters: I was a victim of a mob - YouTube
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:32
VIDEO - Homeowner who pulled gun on protesters: I was a victim of a mob - YouTube
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:29
VIDEO - 'Wearing A Mask Shows That You Care About Others': Pa. Secretary Of Health Signs Order Making Masks Mandatory In All Public Spaces '' CBS Pittsburgh
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:28
HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) '' Masks are now mandatory in all public spaces in Pennsylvania.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday the order was signed by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.
Masks must be worn whenever anyone leaves home, the governor says. The order '-- which you can read here '-- takes effect immediately.
#COVID19 UPDATE: In Pennsylvania, masks must now be worn whenever anyone leaves home.
This is essential to stopping the recent increase in #COVID19 cases in Pennsylvania.
More about this requirement: https://t.co/86fURayk6c pic.twitter.com/XuK38ALi2V
'-- Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) July 1, 2020
''This mask-wearing order is essential to stopping the recent increase in COVID-19 cases we have seen in Pennsylvania,'' Gov. Wolf said in a press release.
''Those hot spots can be traced to situations where Pennsylvanians were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing '' two practices that must be adhered to if we want to maintain the freedoms we have in place under our reopening.''
The order requires face masks to be worn in several different settings, including if you're outdoors and can't stay 6 feet away from people who aren't family members, if you're inside a public place or if you're at work.
There are exceptions that can be found in the order. People with exceptions aren't required to show documentation.
''It is essential that Pennsylvanians wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19,'' Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a press release.
''While cases increase in some areas, we cannot become complacent. My mask protects you, and your mask protects me. Wearing a mask shows that you care about others, and that you are committed to protecting the lives of those around you.''
A press release goes on to say the order will be sent to state and local officials, as well as law enforcement and others ''tasked with education about the order for those not in compliance.''
VIDEO - Wecht Calls PA Mandatory Mask Order by Levine Totally Absurd | Newsradio 1020 KDKA
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:06
"Society cannot continue to function under the rules of Dr. Rachel Levine and Governor Wolf. Cannot!" - Dr. Wecht
On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Heath Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine made the wearing masks when you leave your home mandatory for all Pennsylvanians - an expansion of the Secretary's order that people must wear a mask when visiting businesses.
Dr. Cyril Wecht told KDKA Radio's Wendy Bell that Levine's order is "totally, totally absurd."
Listen Live Now on Newsradio 1020 KDKAHe said "I don't know how that's going to work. Everybody will decide for themselves and a number of people will be arrested and fined. I do not know, Wendy, what this is based upon."
Instead of learning just the daily COVID case counts, Dr. Wecht said we should be learning more about the people behind the numbers and how ill they are. "Tell me how many of them are ill; how many of them knew that they had any kind of Coronavirus infection; how many of them went to see a doctor; how many of them went to a hospital; how many of them were admitted to the hospital for further treatment; how many of them died. That is what is meaningful, not how many people have tested positive" said Wecht.
Wecht said that in a way, it's good that there are positive tests. "The more people who test positive, then we're developing, we're working toward what is called herd immunity. That's good. That's a good thing."
Dr. Wecht said the response to the virus isn't just about health. "This has been so over politicized, it's disgusting. And yes, I am a Democrat, but I am the first one to say the Democratic governors and other Democratic politicians are pushing hard for this because it looks bad for Trump and the longer it goes on, the worse it is for Trump - even in terms of his campaigning.
"The ultra left-wing liberals on the Democratic side - they're total lunatics too," he said. "Let's deal with this in an objective way."
Wecht said the mortality rate for COVID in people under 60 and in basic general health is 0.1 to 0.3 percent.
"Look at what these actions of a governmental nature - visa vie quarantining, sequestration - what they have done to us."
Dr. Wecht thinks there will come a time when people have had enough. "I think it's going to reach a point - the people are going to rebel," he said. "I don't think we're going to reach a point of armed, revolutionary conflict, but something has to end.
"People's lives are being destroyed, Wendy. They're literally being destroyed. Financially, domestically and in every single way. That cannot go on. Society cannot continue to function under the rules of Dr. Rachel Levine and Governor Wolf. Cannot! Cannot!"
VIDEO-Leadership FAIL -You CAN'T make this shit up'¼¸ - YouTube
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 23:27
VIDEO-Harvard grad Claira Janover lost Deloitte job over TikTok 'stab threat'
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 23:06
By Lee Brown and Aaron Feis
July 1, 2020 | 7:28pm
Claira Janover TikTok/@cjanover
The Harvard graduate who said in a TikTok video that she would ''stab'' anyone who told her ''All Lives Matter'' revealed in a new pair of recordings that she has lost her job over the perceived threats and ensuing furor.
''Standing up for Black Lives Matter put me in a place online to be seen by millions of people,'' a teary Claira Janover said in a new video posted Wednesday afternoon. ''The job that I'd worked really hard to get and meant a lot to me has called me and fired me because of everything.''
Janover's LinkedIn account lists her as an ''incoming government and public business service analyst'' at Deloitte, a UK-based accounting firm.
During the video, Janover gestured to what appears to be a page from the company's website, and noted that she was axed ''even though they claim to stand against systematic bias, racism and unequal treatment.''
Janover '-- who graduated from Harvard in May with a degree in government and psychology '-- went viral after posting a video to the platform railing against people with ''the nerve, the sheer entitled caucasity to say 'All Lives Matter.'''
@cjanoverYour scare tactics won't work on me. always and forever, #blacklivesmatter
'¬ original sound '' cjanover
''I'ma stab you,'' the Connecticut native said in the video, zooming in tight on her face.
''I'ma stab you, and while you're struggling and bleeding out, I'ma show you my paper cut and say, 'My cut matters, too.'''
Janover, who contended that the message was an analogy rather than a serious threat, has since deleted that video, but said that she's since received a deluge of threats against her own life and safety.
In her new videos, she blamed supporters of President Trump for going after her job.
''Trump supporters took my job away from me,'' she said in another new video posted Wednesday. ''I have gotten death threats, rape threats, violent threats. It was OK, but now my future's entirely compromised because Trump supporters have decided to come for my life.''
Through tears, a defiant Janover vowed not to back down.
''I'm too strong for you. I'm too strong for any of you 'All Lives Matter,' racist Trump supporters,'' she said. ''It sucks. But it doesn't suck as much as systemic racism. And I'm not going to stop using my platform to advocate for it.''
She also took a parting shot at Deloitte.
@cjanover#deloitte I am on the right side of history. #blacklivesmatter
'¬ original sound '' cjanover
''I'm sorry, Deloitte, that you can't see that,'' she said. ''That you were cowardice [sic] enough to fight somebody who's going to make an indelible change in the world and is going to have an impact.''
Deloitte did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment.
VIDEO-GREENLAND Trailer (2020) - YouTube
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 10:49
VIDEO - 'I'm Glad You're A Mind Reader': St. Louis Homeowner Snaps At Chris Cuomo In Heated Exchange | The Daily Caller
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 09:57
St. Louis attorney Mark McCloskey snapped at CNN anchor Chris Cuomo during a heated exchange Wednesday on CNN.
McCloskey, whose image went viral when he and his wife Patricia armed themselves to confront protesters marching through their gated community, appeared on ''Cuomo Prime Time'' alongside his attorney. The St. Louis-based attorney, who said that he had initially been reluctant to appear on Cuomo's show, appeared to be frustrated when Cuomo pressed him to explain why President Donald Trump had retweeted video of the confrontation. (RELATED: St. Louis Authorities Will Investigate Homeowners Who Met Trespassing Protesters With Guns)
Cuomo began by suggesting that McCloskey, because of President Trump's retweet of the video, had become the face of ''white resistance'' against the Black Lives Matter movement.
''He became the face involuntarily,'' Albert Watkins, McCloskey's attorney explained.
''I'm not saying it was voluntary. I'm saying why do you think the president retweeted it?'' Cuomo pressed, talking over Watkins.
''You can talk all night if you don't let me answer,'' Watkins shot back.
Cuomo continued to ask about the president retweeting the video of the McCloskeys, prompting both McCloskey and Watkins to answer.
''Well, that's a second question,'' Watkins said as McCloskey added, ''Maybe you should ask the president.''
''You should ask the president,'' Watkins agreed.
''He doesn't answer my question,'' Cuomo protested.
''I'm not going to speak for the president, quite frankly, I find it probably an impossibility for anyone to speak for the president,'' Watkins pushed back.
Cuomo tried again, turning the question to McCloskey directly. ''Mr. McCloskey, this is what I'm saying, the president retweeted this for a reason. Why do you think he retweeted it?''
McCloskey said again that he did not have any idea why the president might have retweeted the video, adding that he had not see the tweet and repeating, ''I think you ought to ask the president.''
''I was reluctant to come on your show for a similar reason,'' McCloskey continued, noting that the purpose of the protest over the weekend was to call for Democratic St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson to resign because she had shared some of their private information.
''Those have been people walking down my street screaming death threats and threatening to burn my house and kill my dogs and saying what rooms in my house they were going to live in after they killed me, do you think them distributing my information all over the western hemisphere is different than what they're asking the mayor to resign for doing? This hypocrisy is just obvious nonsense,'' he said.
Cuomo said that he didn't like the fact that the McCloskeys had been ''weaponized for political means,'' going on to take a veiled shot at Fox News host Tucker Carlson '-- who had interviewed McCloskey earlier in the evening. ''I'm not going to use you as a pawn to advance my own agenda like the show you went on, which is where somebody wants people to see Black Lives Matter as inimical to the American cause,'' Cuomo said.
''That's why I asked you that, not because that's how you see yourself. But that's how you are being seen. I wanted to give you a chance with counsel to respond to that,'' Cuomo said.
McCloskey said that the people he had felt threatened by were white, adding, ''A guy stands in front of me, pulls out two loaded pistol magazines, snaps them in front of my face and says, you're next. If you were there, Chris, I think you'd feel like you had a right to defend yourself, as well.''
''Absolutely, somebody takes out magazines and clicks it and makes a direct threat, I would feel threatened 100%,'' Cuomo replied.
Cuomo then shifted the conversation slightly, saying that it really came down to how people treat each other. ''That's why the president tweeted this tweet, Mr. Watkins, you know it, and Mr. Mccloskey, you know it. He retweeted it. He liked the image of white resistance to this movement and I'm not saying that was fair to you. But we know that's why he did it.''
''I'm glad you are a mind reader,'' McCloskey snapped. ''Because no one else thinks you are''
VIDEO - CDC's National Dashboard Includes COVID-19 Data That Expert Says Mixes 'Apples To Oranges' | WLRN
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:51
A nationwide analysis of COVID-19 data released this week shows broad discrepancies between what some states are reporting about testing for the novel coronavirus to the public, and what is being reported by the CDC. The analysis lists Florida as ''the most extreme case'' of testing discrepancies between what the state and the federal government are reporting.
Asked about the discrepancy, the CDC told WLRN that it is lumping together antibody tests along with tests for active COVID-19 infections, in an apparent conflation of its own antibody testing definitions.
''It's apples to oranges. The two tests measure two different things,'' said Mary Jo Trepka, a professor of epidemiology at Florida International University. ''It's more informative to look at the numbers of those two tests separately.''
WLRN is committed to providing South Florida with trusted news and information. In these uncertain times, our mission is more vital than ever. Your support makes it possible. Please donate today. Thank you.
Antibodies, or serology, tests are used to measure whether someone might have had contact with COVID-19 in the past. Diagnostic '-- or PCR '-- testing measures cases of acute, current infections. The CDC's guidelines specify that antibody tests are adequate for surveillance and research, but not for individual use.
The antibodies tests are not designed ''to test people who want to know if they have been previously infected,'' according to the CDC website.
''If they are reporting the numbers of real time PCR tests, plus the number of serology tests together, it's hard to interpret and hard to know how many people are actually screened for an acute infection,'' said Trepka.
The CDC only recently released a dashboard to track COVID-19 cases and testing on a national level. The dashboard makes no mention of antibody tests being included.
Even if traces of COVID-19 are found in an antibody test, those results are not logged by states or by the CDC as ''positive'' results for an acute infection. Grouping the two together could make it seem that a smaller percentage of people who have received tests are positive with COVID-19, since antibody tests do not measure acute infections at all.
Up until last week, data reported by the CDC explicitly did not include antibody tests, as it explained on its archived website.
But in recent days, that page was changed from tracking "Viral Testing" to simply "Testing." Antibody tests are now included in the data. The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 has dropped two percentage points since then.
Up until the release of the CDC dashboard, the COVID Tracking Project, which is run by The Atlantic magazine, was a primary national database for tracking COVID-19 across the nation. The project pulls together data from every corner of the nation into a single clearinghouse, and has been so successful that the White House has cited it in official reports.
When the CDC's dashboard was released, the COVID Tracking Project, made up of journalists and dozens of volunteers, wrote a white paper analysis, comparing what states were reporting versus what the CDC was reporting.
Several states are listed in the analysis as having ''major'' discrepancies when it comes to testing data. Those include Florida, California, Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Indiana, Arizona, North Carolina, Colorado and Maryland. For many of these states, the CDC reports far fewer tests than what the state is reporting.
In absolute case numbers, the largest discrepancy came from Florida. But in terms of percentage, Indiana is the biggest deviance, with the CDC reporting 58 percent more tests than the state.
The COVID Tracking Project's analysis found that, at the time, Florida reported the completion of 691,653 COVID-19 tests. Meanwhile, the federal government listed Florida as having conducted 919,109 tests, for a difference of a 227,456 tests.
That amounted to a 33 percent discrepancy between state and federal sources.
''We thought: Wow, this is actually quite a problem. Because to date, Florida has actually done a pretty good job reporting data about the outbreak, at least from what we could see ,'' said Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic and a manager of the COVID Tracking Project. ''Florida is still the only state that provides a line list of every case, which is so far beyond what other states have done.''
If anything, researchers expected the state's testing numbers to be higher than numbers reported by the federal government, because of delays in reporting data.
In an email, CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said another thing that makes federal numbers higher than state numbers is that the CDC tracks the total amount of tests conducted, rather than the number of people tested, as Florida currently does.
Nordlund added that antibody testing is being tracked by the CDC because ''it can tell us who previously had the virus.''
''The data in the COVID tracker on testing is meant to capture all testing that is being done,'' she said.
She wrote that the "CDC is working to do an in-depth look at the testing differences with several other states."
VIDEO - Biden says he has "list" of reporters he was instructed to call on - YouTube
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 07:55
VIDEO-Aj2 on Twitter: "@BeachMilk Hey. @adamcurry this is interesting" / Twitter
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 07:08
Why would former FBI chief Ted Gunderson say THIS?Consider for a moment that he's actually telling you the TRUTH!
VIDEO-The Case against Revolution with Ayaan Hirsi Ali - YouTube
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 06:56
VIDEO-graemearthur on Twitter: "@British_Megan @VanguardBears @adamcurry surely this would be good for either a clip or end of show cc @THErealDVORAK" / Twitter
Wed, 01 Jul 2020 06:31
This must be losing him a lot of support from everywhere.Even Scottish Nationalists can't possibly agree with this racist and illogical rant.
VIDEO - Joe Biden rips Trump, calls reporter a 'lying dog face'
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 21:26
June 30, 2020 | 3:14pm | Updated June 30, 2020 | 4:02pm
Joe Biden upbraided President Trump for his response to the coronavirus pandemic during a stump speech on Tuesday where he took questions from reporters for the first time since March '-- and called one of them a ''lying dog face.''
Appearing before a giant American flag at a school in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, the former veep accused Trump of squandering the three months since the virus first arrived on US shores and said the country was no better prepared than in March.
''It's almost July and it seems our wartime president has surrendered, waved the white flag and abandoned the battlefield,'' said Biden, 77.
''We don't need a cheerleader, Mr. President. We need a president, Mr. President,'' he added.
The presumptive Democratic nominee outlined his plans for dealing with the pandemic as the nation experiences a troubling surge of new infections, including doubling the number of testing sites and fixing ongoing shortages in protective gear.
Biden, who has been stuck at his Wilmington home during the pandemic, also took questions from reporters for the first time in months after the Trump campaign accused him of hiding.
But the gaffe-prone former lawmaker lashed out when one reporter mentioned his own mental deterioration at age 65 and asked Biden if he had been tested for cognitive decline.
''You're a lying dog face,'' Biden said, apparently irritated that the reporter kept asking questions as he tried to leave the event, before adding that he was ''constantly tested.''
''All you gotta do is watch me and I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I'm running against,'' he said.
The former veep infamously called a college student a ''lying dog-faced pony soldier'' at a campaign event in New Hampshire in February, an experience she described as ''humiliating.''
Biden also attacked Trump's own cognitive abilities '-- a line of attack usually deployed by the Trump campaign against him '-- when quizzed on reports the president was briefed but failed to act on intelligence that Russia had paid Taliban militants to kill US troops, a claim the White House has denied.
''He talks about cognitive capability. He doesn't seem to be cognitively aware of what's going on. He either reads and/or gets briefed on important issues and he forgets it or he doesn't think it's necessary that he needs to know it,'' Biden said.
Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, today. Kevin Lamarque/ReutersThe former veep also flip-flopped on the movement to tear down Confederate statues across the US and described slave owners as people who did things that were ''now and then distasteful.''
VIDEO - (769) Sen. Rand Paul challenges Dr. Fauci. Watch his response. - YouTube
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 21:25
VIDEO-Jewish Deplorable (Parler: TrumpJew) on Twitter: "I dare you to watch this and tell me that Biden doesn't have dementia https://t.co/xlSqvbwTid" / Twitter
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 17:31
Replying to
@PackofPirates8 @TrumpJew @ComfortablySmug Of course he is. He has an ear piece, is in constant communication with his staff, has notes in front of him and a teleprompter... and still can't get through this. You really think he has a chance in a debate? He gets worse daily, everyone sees that!
VIDEO - 5 Qs with Zach Bush & Sacha Stone - YouTube
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 16:22
VIDEO-Breaking: States Ordered To Fraudulently Inflate COVID-19 Cases 15 Times Actual Rate
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 14:08
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VIDEO - Upstate county has highest hospital bed utilization in SC
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 12:38
Upstate county has highest hospital bed utilization in SC
Anderson County has 94.7% hospital bed utilization rate; hospital officials say DHEC statistics are misleading
Anderson County has the highest hospital bed utilization rate in the state of South Carolina, according to newly released DHEC statistics. The statistics state that Anderson County has a 94.7% hospital bed utilization rate, followed by Lexington County at 88.2% and Sumter County at 87.6%.As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in South Carolina, hospital bed utilization is a way to measure hospital capacity around the state. Anderson County officials say that the DHEC numbers can be misleading; appearing to represent total hospital capacity. According to David Baker with Anderson County Emergency Management, the DHEC bed utilization statistics show staffed hospital beds, meaning the total number of beds a hospital is supporting with the current staff, and not the total hospital bed capacity. "It appears that 94% of the hospital or the beds that are available for COVID patients is occupied, well that's actually not accurate," said Baker. "What it means is that the current phase the hospital is in has a 94% occupancy for that particular phase."According to Baker, the AnMed hospital system is in "Phase 1" of the COVID response, and "Phase 2" would be triggered by reaching capacity at phase one, and would bring about more employees to staff more beds in the hospital, significantly lowering the occupancy rate. "When our census dropped significantly at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we appropriately reduced the number of staffed beds we report," said Lizz Walker, AnMed Health Public Relations Coordinator. "With the return of elective procedures and surgeries, we are now close to filling those beds and are looking at the staffing needs to and expand our inpatient capacity back to closer pre-COVID-19 levels. The fact that our occupancy is high means we are doing a good job of matching our resources to the level of demand during this crisis."Anderson County officials want to urge everyone to continue to wear masks, social distance and practice good hygiene.
ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. '--Anderson County has the highest hospital bed utilization rate in the state of South Carolina, according to newly released DHEC statistics.
The statistics state that Anderson County has a 94.7% hospital bed utilization rate, followed by Lexington County at 88.2% and Sumter County at 87.6%.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in South Carolina, hospital bed utilization is a way to measure hospital capacity around the state.
Anderson County officials say that the DHEC numbers can be misleading; appearing to represent total hospital capacity. According to David Baker with Anderson County Emergency Management, the DHEC bed utilization statistics show staffed hospital beds, meaning the total number of beds a hospital is supporting with the current staff, and not the total hospital bed capacity.
"It appears that 94% of the hospital or the beds that are available for COVID patients is occupied, well that's actually not accurate," said Baker. "What it means is that the current phase the hospital is in has a 94% occupancy for that particular phase."
According to Baker, the AnMed hospital system is in "Phase 1" of the COVID response, and "Phase 2" would be triggered by reaching capacity at phase one, and would bring about more employees to staff more beds in the hospital, significantly lowering the occupancy rate.
"When our census dropped significantly at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we appropriately reduced the number of staffed beds we report," said Lizz Walker, AnMed Health Public Relations Coordinator. "With the return of elective procedures and surgeries, we are now close to filling those beds and are looking at the staffing needs to and expand our inpatient capacity back to closer pre-COVID-19 levels. The fact that our occupancy is high means we are doing a good job of matching our resources to the level of demand during this crisis."
Anderson County officials want to urge everyone to continue to wear masks, social distance and practice good hygiene.
VIDEO - SHOWDOWN: Rebel News takes on Antifa mob, mall cops '-- and politically correct police - YouTube
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:17
VIDEO - Kansas to make wearing masks in public mandatory - KOAM
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:03
June 29, 2020 4:45 PM
Associated Press
Posted: June 29, 2020 4:45 PM
Updated: June 29, 2020 4:58 PM
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) '-- Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly says she will issue an executive order mandating the use of masks in public starting Friday to stop the spread of COVID-19.
''The evidence could not be clearer '-- wearing a mask is not only safe, but it is necessary to avoid another shutdown,'' the Democratic governor told reporters Monday.
Kelly's executive order would require every Kansan to wear a mask if they are around other people. She said her administration will issue specific guidance later this week and will work with the attorney general's office to implement the policy.
Local officials would enforce the policy.
''This is all we have to fight this virus and it is up to each of us to do our part,'' Kelly said.
Kansas health officials reported on Monday at least 14,443 confirmed coronavirus cases, an increase of 905 since Friday. The state also had six more deaths from COVID-19, bring the total number of deaths in the state to 270. Kansas reported that 1,152 people had been hospitalized.
Release from Governor of Laura Kelly:TOPEKA '' Governor Laura Kelly today announced that she will sign an Executive Order requiring that most Kansans in a public space must wear a mask, beginning 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 3.
''This is a simple, proactive step we can take to keep Kansans at work, get our kids back to school, and keep ourselves and our neighbors healthy,'' Governor Kelly said. ''Wearing a mask is not only safe '' but it is necessary to avoid another shut down.
''Remember '' my mask protects you, and your mask protects me,'' Governor Kelly said. ''We're all in this together.''
Under the order, most Kansans must wear masks in stores and shops, restaurants, and in any situation in which social distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained, including outside. The EO will be released on Thursday, and will provide specific guidance regarding under what circumstances masks must be worn.
''I know Kansans will have many questions about this order '' and we will answer them when it is released later this week,'' Governor Kelly said. ''But by announcing the requirement today, people in our state will have the appropriate time to acquire the masks.''
The Kansas Attorney General's Office will work closely with officials in Governor Kelly's administration to ensure that the order complies with Kansas law.
For more information on COVID-19 health guidance, please visit www.covid.ks.gov .
Comments comments
VIDEO - Breaking: States Ordered To Fraudulently Inflate Cases 15 Times Actual Rate - YouTube
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 09:07
VIDEO - 'Black Lives Matter' Is Not Helping Blacks - YouTube
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 08:13
VIDEO-'Pandemic potential': New swine flu strain discovered in China | Fox 59
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 07:15
DALLAS (NEXSTAR) '-- A strain of swine flu that scientists fear has the potential to become a pandemic in humans has been identified in China.
According to a report from the BBC, researchers are concerned the flu could mutate and easily spread from person to person. Right now, it's carried by pigs but could infect humans, according to scientists.
Experts say this strain has ''all the hallmarks'' of adapting to impact the human population. With it being a newer virus, people would likely have little to no immunity.
''We just do not know a pandemic is going to occur until the damn thing occurs,'' Robert Webster, an influenza investigator, told Science Magazine. ''Will this one do it? God knows.''
Scientists say G4 EA H1N1, which is the name of the new virus, could grow and multiply in human airways. They say the current flu vaccines don't appear to protect against it, according to the BBC report.
''Right now, we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses,'' said Prof Kin-Chow Chang of Nottingham University in the UK in an interview with the BBC.
Scientists wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that it's important to control the virus in pigs and monitor people who work with the animals.
''From the data presented, it appears that this is a swine influenza virus that is poised to emerge in humans,'' said Edward Holmes of University of Sydney, according to Science Magazine. ''Clearly this situation needs to be monitored very closely.''
The last major flu outbreak was the swine flu of 2009. That outbreak turned out to be less deadly than originally feared because many people had immunity to it, according to the BBC.
Scientists wrote this new strain is similar to the 2009 version of the flu '-- but with just enough changes to make it problematic.
VIDEO-What happened to Elijah McClain? Case draws new attention amid nationwide protests | Nightline - YouTube
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 07:13
VIDEO-Workers protest outside Whole Foods after being told no BLM masks allowed '' Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 06:44
June 29, 2020
June 30, 2020CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (WHDH) - Employees at a Cambridge Whole Foods are protesting outside the store and telling shoppers to get their food elsewhere after workers were sent home last week for wearing Black Lives Matter masks.
Whole Foods management says the store's policy doesn't allow workers to wear clothing with slogans or logos, and that the employees were offered new masks. But one worker who was sent home five times for wearing a Black Lives Matter mask said that policy is selectively enforced.
''Management does have the power to say yes, you can wear them,'' he said at the protest.
Another worker said banning the masks conflicts with Whole Foods' statements on racial justice.
''Whole Foods claims on their website that they support the black community and change in this world,'' she said at the protest. ''So we believe this supports the black community, wearing these masks, and walking around Whole Foods with them on supports the meaningful change that they claim to support as well.''
(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
VIDEO-Cambridge Whole Foods workers sent home for wearing Black Lives Matter masks '' Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 06:42
(CNN) '-- A group of Whole Foods employees in a Boston-area store walked out to protest the company's policy that prevented them from wearing Black Lives Matter paraphernalia.
Seven workers at the chain's Cambridge, Massachusetts, store posed in a picture Wednesday that they posted on Twitter, in which they claimed Whole Foods cares ''about the business their racist customers give them more than spreading a peaceful yet important message.'' The employees say the protest was in response to the store's manager decision not to let them wear the gear.
In response to the manager's decision, Whole Foods said in a statement that all employees ''must comply with our longstanding company dress code, which prohibits clothing with visible slogans, messages, logos or advertising that are not company-related.''
''Team members with face masks that do not comply with dress code are always offered new face masks,'' a Whole Foods spokesperson said. ''Team members are unable to work until the comply with dress code.''
Although Whole Foods doesn't allow employees to visibly support the Black Lives Matter movement while on the job, Amazon explicitly stated those three words in a press release earlier this month.
''Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with our Black employees, customers, and partners, and are committed to helping build a country and a world where everyone can live with dignity and free from fear,'' Amazon wrote on June 3. It also announced a $10 million donation to social justice organizations.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has stated similar sentiments on his Instagram account in response to a customer email that said ''all lives matter.'' Whole Foods also has a statement on its homepage saying it supports ''the Black community and meaningful change in the world.''
Starbucks had also barred employees from wearing Black Lives Matter apparel before reversing its decision earlier this month. The coffee chain sent out 200,000 T-shirts with the phrase displayed on the shirt.
In a statement, Starbucks said it's ''critical to support the 'Black Lives Matter' movement as its founders intended and will continue to work closely with community leaders, civil rights leaders, organizations, and our partners to understand the role that Starbucks can play, and to show up in a positive way for our communities.''
The movement gained steam after George Floyd died in police custody in May sparking nationwide protests for racial equality and police reform.
The-CNN-Wire' & (C) 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.
VIDEO-Professor Richard Wolff: The coming economic crash will be like NOTHING in history - YouTube
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 06:19
VIDEO-Why America's police look like soldiers - YouTube
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 06:17
VIDEO-Couple point guns at peaceful protesters in Missouri | US News | Sky News
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 09:49
Fill 2 Copy 11 Created with Sketch.Monday 29 June 2020 14:00, UK
VIDEO - Trudeau pledges $300 million to fight COVID-19 abroad | CTV News
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 09:19
OTTAWA -- Canada contributed $300 million on Saturday towards the international fight against COVID-19, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined fellow leaders, activists and philanthropists in calling for a vaccine to be distributed to the world's neediest people.
Trudeau announced the new funds in another virtual international fundraiser -- this one sponsored by an organization, Global Citizen, that raised almost $9.5 billion in pledges.
"COVID-19 has changed the lives of people everywhere, and it has highlighted inequalities around the world," Trudeau said. "None of us have been spared from the effects of COVID-19 and none of us can beat it alone."
Canada's contribution includes $180 million to address the immediate humanitarian and development impacts of the pandemic and $120 million towards a new initiative called the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.
The ACT Accelerator was created in April by the World Health Organization, the French government, the European Commission and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to ensure equitable access to medical treatments. It supports organizations, health professionals and businesses in their efforts to develop a vaccine, as well as drug therapies and diagnostic tools to battle the pandemic.
Newsletter sign-up: Get The COVID-19 Brief sent to your inboxTrudeau said the pandemic has hit vulnerable populations especially hard and the ACT Accelerator will ensure that when a vaccine is found, it will be able to reach all the people who need it.
"We're also committed to working with countries around the world on how we can pool procurement efforts to make sure all countries have access to the vaccine," said Trudeau.
Sir Andrew Witty, the former chief executive of the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, said a vaccine would normally take 10 to 15 years to develop, but the COVID-19 outbreak is forcing companies and universities to find one or more viable vaccines in one-tenth that time, or quicker.
Witty said the pandemic has forced unprecedented co-operation between "industrial partners, biotech companies, government, universities" to swiftly find new treatments as well as a vaccine.
"This is a really, really difficult thing to try and achieve. We're all giving it our absolute best shot, but there are no guarantees," Witty told the conference.
"No country can be an island in this situation. It's not great to be the one country who's safe if all of the people you trade with are still struggling because the trade is not going to be there."
There has been widespread concern that President Donald Trump might adopt a go-it-alone approach if a vaccine were discovered in the United States first.
However, Trump's ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, offered an olive branch to the conference when she announced Washington's new pledge of almost $750 million.
"Together we must work in an open, transparent and supportive manner to build a safer, more resilient world," said Craft, who previously served as Trump's envoy to Canada.
"We must be the true multilateralist in the best in sense of the word, working toward the common good."
Julia Anderson, the chief operating officer of the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children's Health, said the ACT Accelerator is the "robust mechanism" the world needs to co-ordinate the fight against the pandemic while supporting the existing health systems of vulnerable countries.
"It's shaping up to be hopefully the one-stop shop," Anderson said, adding that the ACT is very much a work in progress. "The plane is being built as it is being flown."
Her group and two anti-poverty organizations -- Results Canada and the One Campaign -- say Canada should be devoting one per cent of its overall COVID-19 spending programs to international assistance.
They say that would require a boost of at least $1.5 billion to Canada's foreign-aid budget, which stands at about $5 billion.
"Today's pledge was significant but we're still far from hitting that mark. But this is a marathon not a sprint, so we trust there's more to come and (we) will keep pushing for Canadian leadership," said Chris Dendys, the executive director of Results Canada.
The aid agencies and anti-poverty groups are crediting International Development Minister Karina Gould for being one of the strongest advocates they have seen for their sector around the federal cabinet table.
"We are happy to see Minister Gould pushing for more investment because more is desperately needed," said Stuart Hickox, the Canadian director of the One Campaign.
Gould has repeatedly stressed that Canadians' safety is linked to the success of stamping out COVID-19 abroad, and that there can be no rolling back of existing spending, or else there could be new flare-ups of preventable diseases such as tuberculosis, polio and malaria.
"What keeps me up at night is not just the immediate needs of the pandemic, but the collateral damage if we turn our attention away from our core activities," Gould told The Canadian Press on Friday.
Global Citizen bills itself as the world's largest anti-poverty advocacy group, and it organized Saturday's pledging conference as well a star-studded evening concert that is to be livestreamed across the world.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2020.
VIDEO - CNN: Donald Trump on Weiner-gate - YouTube
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 08:59
VIDEO - ROBOMAN - SPACEBOOK & THE WAR ON CRAZY mike D is a cockroach! - YouTube
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 08:35
VIDEO-HHS Sec. Azar SCHOOLS CNN's Tapper on Gov's COVID Readiness | Newsbusters
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 07:26
In a feisty Sunday interview, CNN State of the Union host Jake Tapper grew increasingly irritated with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Throughout the interview, the cool-headed Trump administration official repeatedly schooled the shoddy CNN ''journalist'' on the federal government's preparedness for coronavirus spikes around the country.
Tapper was in a foul mood right from the get-go. He repeatedly demanded that Azar answer for why President Trump was rarely seen wearing a facemask, and repeatedly lied about ''no one'' wearing a mask at Trump's recent rallies. It was an easily disprovable lie because there was video of Senator James Lankford (R) (and a few other people) wearing a mask at Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
After reminding Tapper that the President was in a ''unique position'' that afforded him the constant health monitoring of himself and the people around him, Azar wanted to make it clear that the country was in a better place than it was at the start of the pandemic because of the administration:
But the important thing for the American people to know is our circumstances today, even though this is a very serious situation in these localities, very serious that has to be tackled. Our situation is are very different than it was several months ago. We have hospital capacity. We have personal protective equipment, and reserves of it at our hospitals, and at our states, and at our national level. We now have therapeutics, we have steroids, Remdesivir, we have convalescent plasma.
''We're definitely in a different position than we were several months ago, but just to take issue with a few things you said,'' Tapper bitterly declared. ''First of all, the AMA [American Medical Association] says there's still a PPE problem in some hospitals. Second of all, some hospitals, including in Arizona, are actually starting to approach maximum capacity and they're worried what it's going to look like in two weeks.'' But the facts were on Azar's side.
While Tapper was sitting there making faces at his guest (pictured above), the Secretary was schooling him on those facts:
So, Jake, back to some of the things you said there, because I want to make sure the American people are reassured about some of the actions of their government and their healthcare system. With all respect to the AMA, they don't have the information we have. We literally are on the phone with the hospitals in Arizona, [Tapper makes a face] Texas, California, Florida every day, measuring their PPE supplies and their reserves and making sure that we're there to support them.
Debunking Tapper's second assertion, Azar added: ''In Arizona, 15 percent of hospitalizations in-patient are from COVID. The rest of their capacity is consumed with other hospital uses and elective procedures. And you're going to see governors and hospitals slowing down on elective procedures to make capacity.''
Azar also wanted to reassure Americans that anyone who required a bed in an ICU would get one, along with a ventilator, and any therapeutics that they needed should they find themselves battling the virus. ''And the numbers still keep going up,'' Tapper sneered with no substantial rebuttal.
Tapper continued to press his attack by pointing to the Trump administration's recent effort to overturn ObamaCare via the Supreme Court. ''Is it not unconscionable, during a pandemic, to take health insurance away from 24 million Americans without having a replacement plan ready to go, so that those 24 million Americans do not have to not have health insurance in the middle of a pandemic,'' he asked Azar in an elevated tone.
Azar immediately pulled the rug out from under Tapper by noting the government would be covering the healthcare costs of uninsured Americans suffering from the virus:
So, first off, President Trump has done something really historic here for the uninsured, and he's made sure there's a program that if you're uninsured for any reason, you get the COVID care you need with no cost-sharing, no co-payments, no deductibles, no surprise medical bills. So, the American people need to be reassured, get your medical care if you're uninsured, it will be covered by us.
From there the two argued about a possible replacement for ObamaCare before they ran out of time for the interview.
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CNN's State of the UnionJune 28, 20209:11:44 a.m. Eastern
JAKE TAPPER: I agree with you. And we have been saying consistently on CNN and on my shows, if you're going to go out and protest '' Well first of all, if you're in a vulnerable group, you shouldn't. But second of all, if you're going to, please social distance, please wear a mask.
But you know that there is a difference between indoor and outdoor, indoor and outdoor activity. It seems that indoor activity is much more dangerous potentially. And yet, the President continues to rallies where, not only does he not wear a mask, but no one on stage with him does, and none of his supporters do. And frankly I worry about his supporters going into these indoor rallies, not social distancing, and not wearing masks even though you are saying that they should be. The President and his campaign are not telling them to do so.
ALEX AZAR (HHS Secretary): With Jake, first, in regard to the President. You know he's in a unique position, the President, the Vice President are tested regularly. Anybody around them are tested that day. They're leaders of the free world. They have a very different circumstance than the rest of us.
Our message has been consistent. Which is -- The surgeon general said this back in March, always, assess your individual circumstances. Are you at risk or are people in your family or your home at risk? And that means 80 years and over or say 65 and over with three of the very important co-morbidities like hypertension, diabetes, renal failure, et cetera.
Assess what's going on in your community. What's happening in Montana is going to be very different than what is happening in Las Vegas in terms of the community spread and risk. And then assess the type of activity that you're engaging in. Are you taking a walk in the park? Are you eating outside at a restaurant? Are you going out to an overcrowded bar? And you've got to take individual responsibility.
But the important thing for the American people to know is our circumstances today, even though this is a very serious situation in these localities, very serious that has to be tackled. Our situation is are very different than it was several months ago. We have hospital capacity. We have personal protective equipment, and reserves of it at our hospitals, and at our states, and at our national level. We now have therapeutics, we have steroids, Remdesivir, we have convalescent plasma.
And if you have had COVID, please contact your American Red Cross or your local blood bank and donate plasma so we can increase our supplies for people. And, we're advancing on vaccines.
TAPPER: We're definitely in a different position than we were several months ago, but just to take issue with a few things you said.
First of all, the AMA [American Medical Association] says there's still a PPE problem in some hospitals. Second of all, some hospitals, including in Arizona, are actually start to approach maximum capacity and they're worried what it's going to look like in two weeks. And third of all, with all due respect, you, the surgeon general, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, yes, you're all consistent, you've had one message. President Trump and Vice President Pence are not having that message. They are not out there saying that masks are important. They are not out there demonstrating the importance of social distancing. They are holding rallies in which individuals are not social distancing at all. Do you think it is going to be safe to go to Florida to have masses, thousands of people going into the Republican national convention in a few months for the President in a state that is right now experiencing a huge surge in coronavirus cases?
AZAR: So, Jake, back to some of the things you said there, because I want to make sure the American people are reassured about some of the actions of their government and their healthcare system. With all respect to the AMA, they don't have the information we have. We literally are on the phone with the hospitals in Arizona, [Tapper makes a face] Texas, California, Florida every day, measuring their PPE supplies and their reserves and making sure that we're there to support them.
In Arizona, 15 percent of hospitalizations in-patient are from COVID. The rest of their capacity is consumed with other hospital uses and elective procedures. And you're going to see governors and hospitals slowing down on elective procedures to make capacity. We will ensure that Americans who need hospital beds have hospital beds, if they need an ICU, they'll have an ICU bed and if they need a ventilator, they'll have a ventilator, and we'll be able to deploy therapeutics to them to help them through also.
It's very important we rely on data, we're following this at the micro level, the county level, the hospital level.
TAPPER: And the numbers still keep going up.
Let me ask you, in the midst of all this, the Trump administration moved this week to ask the Supreme Court to strike down the entirety of Obamacare. Obviously, we're in the middle of a pandemic. Is it not unconscionable, during a pandemic, to take health insurance away from 24 million Americans without having a replacement plan ready to go, so that those 24 million Americans do not have to not have health insurance in the middle of a pandemic?
AZAR: So, first off, President Trump has done something really historic here for the uninsured, and he's made sure there's a program that if you're uninsured for any reason, you get the COVID care you need with no cost-sharing, no co-payments, no deductibles, no surprise medical bills. So, the American people need to be reassured, get your medical care if you're uninsured, it will be covered by us.
And in terms of the Affordable Care Act, we have made very clear that if the Supreme Court strikes down all or a large part of Obamacare, because it is constitutionally or statutorily infirm, we will work with Congress to create a program that generally protects individuals with pre-existing conditions. And by that I mean something very different than what we see today.
You know, a couple that's age 55 in Missouri making $70,000 a year will pay $30,000 in premiums and have $12,000 of deductibles, I'm sorry, that's not real protection for somebody with pre-existing conditions.
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VIDEO-Ivor Cummins on Twitter: "Nobel Prize for Science winner Professor Levitt of Stanford - one of the few who called this thing correctly back in February - with a population fatality rate of 0.04 to 0.05%, largely regardless of lockdown Now calls it a
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 05:23
Michael James @ mjchippy77
5m Ivor have you got a Levitt video recommendation that could deliver a 'knockout punch' (metaphorically speaking) to a close friend of mine (a scientist) who wants nothing to do with my theories that reflect the work of yourself and Prof Levitt?
View conversation · /// Billy Bango \\\ @ BangoBilly
4m Thank you Michael Levitt, (Ivor Cummins) .. I think I will put this on ''loop de loop de loop'', over and over again I will let this play this magic to my ears. Oh dear lord you've all done so well, as well as Alistair Haimes, Hector Drummond, various journos...too many mention!
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Covid-19 vaccine might not get us the herd immunity if too many people refuse to get it, Fauci says - CNN
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 05:01
By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent
Updated 9:15 PM EDT, Sun June 28, 2020
(CNN) Dr. Anthony Fauci says he would "settle" for a Covid-19 vaccine that's 70% to 75% effective, but that this incomplete protection, coupled with the fact that many Americans say they won't get a coronavirus vaccine, makes it "unlikely" that the US will achieve sufficient levels of immunity to quell the outbreak.
With government support, three coronavirus vaccines are expected to be studied in large-scale clinical trials in the next three months.
"The best we've ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98 percent effective," said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "That would be wonderful if we get there. I don't think we will. I would settle for [a] 70, 75% effective vaccine."
A CNN poll last month found one-third of Americans said they would not try to get vaccinated against Covid, even if the vaccine is widely available and low cost.
In an interview Friday, CNN asked Fauci whether a vaccine with 70% to 75% efficacy taken by only two-thirds of the population would provide herd immunity to the coronavirus.
"No -- unlikely," he answered.
Herd immunity is when a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease, either through prior illness or vaccination, so that spread from person to person unlikely.
Coronavirus vaccine education effort 'not going to be easy' Fauci noted that "there is a general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country -- an alarmingly large percentage of people, relatively speaking."
He said given the power of the anti-vaccine movement, "we have a lot of work to do" to educate people on the truth about vaccines.
"It's not going to be easy," he said. "Anyone [who] thinks it will be easy is not facing reality. It's going to be very difficult."
Fauci said the government has a vaccine education program to counteract anti-vaccine messages.
"We have a program right now that's going to be extensive in reaching out to the community," he said. "They may not like a government person in a suit like me telling them, even though I will tell them. They really need to see people that they can relate to in the community -- sports figures, community heroes, people that they look up to."
But there's no indication that such a program is in place.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention runs many federal health education programs, but agency spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund referred CNN to the US Department of Health and Human Services, which runs Operation Warp Speed, the Trump Administration effort to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
In an email, Michael Caputo, an HHS spokesman, did not confirm the existence of a vaccine education campaign, adding that "I'd hate to see CNN put out [a] wildly incorrect story."
Fauci gives some states a C for coronavirus efforts Fauci made his comments about vaccines during a wide-ranging interview with CNN that was part of the Aspen Ideas Festival and aired Sunday night.
When asked what grade he would give the country for handling the coronavirus outbreak, Fauci said some states were doing better than others.
"Some states are going to be A+. Some are going to be A and some are going to be down in C somewhere," he said.
He singled New York out for doing "really well," but declined to name the "C" states.
"There are some states in which the leadership and the decision [to open up] was a little too precipitous," he said. "There are others when the leadership did it right, but the citizenry didn't listen to them.
Fauci said in states where you can see people congregating closely without using masks, "that's a recipe for disaster."
He added that he understands that people, especially young people, want to be together after months of lockdown. He warned those people that they're "not in a vacuum."
"The fact that you got infected means that it's likely that you'll infect someone else who might infect someone else who then will infect a vulnerable person," Fauci said. "That person could be someone's uncle, aunt, grandma, a child with leukemia who's immunosuppressed. All of the people who have a grave danger of a poor outcome."
Contact tracing not going well, Fauci says Until there's a vaccine, one key to controlling the virus is contact tracing, the public health practice of trying to contain an outbreak by isolating infected people, asking them with whom they've had contact while they were infectious, and then quarantining those contacts.
When asked how the United States is doing with contact tracing, Fauci answered, "I don't think we're doing very well."
"If you go into the community and call up and say, 'how's the contact tracing going?' the dots are not connected because a lot of it is done by phone. You make a contact, 50% of the people because you're coming from an authority don't even want to talk to you," he said.
He recommended that communities "get boots on the ground and to go out there and look for the people, instead of getting on a phone and doing so-called contact tracing by phone."
But he added that contact tracing is hindered by the fact that so many people who are infected with coronavirus don't have symptoms, and since they don't know they're sick, it's impossible to trace their contacts.
He said in areas where the virus is spreading in the community, 20% to 40% of those who are infected are asymptomatic.
"When you have community spread, it's insidious because there are so many people in the community who are infected but asymptomatic," he said. "So the standard classic paradigm of identification, isolation, contact tracing doesn't work no matter how good you are because you don't know who you're tracing."
VIDEO-Chris Stigall on Twitter: "I wonder how Grandma and Grandpa are doing down there at The Villages? https://t.co/6pR8M66EXr" / Twitter
Sun, 28 Jun 2020 19:59
blue @ mundoazullibre
6h Socialism learned that by dividing citizens, they win. let us not allow divisions and love our neighbor as ourselves, let us not let hatred enter our souls. God bless the United States of America.
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Evidence of Revision FULL VERSION - YouTube
Sun, 28 Jun 2020 17:17
VIDEO-The Lincoln Project on Twitter: "Putin paid a bounty to kill American soldiers. @realDonaldTrump knew about it but did nothing. How can Trump lead America when he can't even defend it? https://t.co/oEbnc2cWbT" / Twitter
Sun, 28 Jun 2020 17:03
Chip Franklin @ chipfranklin
21h Replying to
@ProjectLincoln @realDonaldTrump Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about an affair.What should happen to the Traitor-in-Chief who sides with Putin as he murderers our soldiers?
@ProjectLincoln has it right: it's
pic.twitter.com/G23C0bHmpS View conversation · Chip Franklin @ chipfranklin
21h Replying to
@ProjectLincoln @realDonaldTrump @realDonaldTrump#TRE45ON pic.twitter.com/R4CvBgv0Bk View conversation · Chris B @ ChrisBEsq
22h Replying to
@ProjectLincoln @realDonaldTrump @GOP From Roger Stone to Afghanistan, Trump and the complicit
@GOP are aiding and abetting Russian interests over America's.
#TRE45ON View conversation · American Political Bullhorn @ USBullhorn
21h Replying to
@ChrisBEsq @ProjectLincoln and
2 others Hearings need to be held on Monday regarding this situation. This is also a potential case of treason, trump may need to be removed under emergency rules.
View conversation · Andrew Weinstein @ Weinsteinlaw
21h Replying to
@ProjectLincoln @realDonaldTrump and
2 others We can't be complacent or smug or sense that somehow it's so obvious that this president hasn't done a good job because, look, he won once.'' -
@BarackObama So chip in to help elect
@JoeBiden and let's sweep Donald Trump into the dustbin of history.
secure.ngpvan.com/UhVQblmjSkajFS'... pic.twitter.com/U86hLlzuFq View conversation · Bonita Rose @ bonitarosekemp
21h Replying to
@Weinsteinlaw @ProjectLincoln and
3 others Yes. I donated more today. Let's help n do thisNo better time 🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊
View conversation · Joshua Loeb @ JoshuaLoeb
21h Replying to
@ProjectLincoln @realDonaldTrump Remember when he tried to invite the taliban over to Camp David for a 9/11 BBQ?
View conversation · Amy @ American330
21h Replying to
@JoshuaLoeb @ProjectLincoln @realDonaldTrump I will never forget that, nor the a Fourth of July trip 8 Republicans made to Moscow. Wtf.
View conversation · medit8now @ medit8now
21h Replying to
@ProjectLincoln @realDonaldTrump This makes me sick to my stomach at the reality.
View conversation · Karen Bennett @ KarenBeChirico
20h Replying to
@medit8now @ProjectLincoln @realDonaldTrump SAME. He should be removed from office right now, tonight. I hate him and his lies
View conversation ·


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