Art for episode 1257

1257: Doggy DNA

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 15m
July 5th, 2020
Share at 0:00

Executive Producers: Sir Vince, Baron of Floribama, Sir Rod, Milton Cuevas, Nichelle Moore, Sir Mr, French, Fermentationist of Michigan Mirkwood, Christopher Hubbard, Boo Boo Cavric, Sir E of Silicon Valley, Baron von Stupid, Brittany Trusgnich, Sir Adam of Tourettes, Amber of the Taverns

Associate Executive Producers: John Robinette, Chad Finkbeiner

Cover Artist: Jay Man - 33

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
Suggest a new chapter
Models and Data
Tampa Bay hospitals brace for a possible surge in patients
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 04:05
The Tampa Bay area is back on the brink of a possible surge in hospitalizations related to the coronavirus, and data shows the local health care system's ability to respond has eroded since the spring.
Between early April and now, about 38 percent more people have been admitted to hospitals in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties, according to state data analyzed by the Tampa Bay Times.
Elective surgeries have resumed and doctors say patients who have put off routine care are starting to show up again '-- all while the state sees record-breaking increases in COVID-19 infections that don't appear to be slowing down.
Statewide, about 22 percent '-- or about half the beds open at the start of April '-- are available now, the Times found. Tampa Bay has seen a steady decrease in hospital space, too, dropping from more than 40 percent of beds available to about a quarter.
The landscape is similar in South Florida but worse in Central Florida, where capacity has dropped to about 16 percent, data shows. Other counties are worse off: Hardee had no beds available Tuesday evening, while Flagler and Orange each had about 11 percent left.
Top doctors in Tampa Bay say they aren't in crisis mode yet, but surge plans are in place. Hospital executives say they stand prepared to expand bed space quickly if needed, and that they will work with competitors to accommodate patients if necessary.
What happens next is up to residents and their choices about social distancing and face coverings, Dr. Ulyee Choe, director of the Pinellas health department, told commissioners at a June 23 meeting.
''What would occur if this trend line continues is increased death, increased hospitalization and then ultimately, overwhelming the health care system,'' he warned. ''What that would lead into is complications and death for both COVID patients as well as those without COVID.''
Dr. Charles Lockwood [DIRK SHADD | Times]Dr. Charles Lockwood, dean of the University of South Florida College of Medicine, said while there is less bed space currently, hospitals overall are better equipped to treat the coronavirus now than they were a couple months ago.
Doctors know more about the disease, plus protective equipment is less scarce, extra ventilators have been ordered, and treatment options have expanded. There are more medications, and doctors have started using a new strategy '-- prone positioning, or flipping patients onto their stomachs '-- to help people breathe more easily.
It often helps hospitals avoid putting patients on ventilators in the ICU, Lockwood said. ''We're just a lot better able to care for these patients.''
Hospitals have options as they begin to reach capacity or overflow, said Jennifer Tolbert, a health policy expert with Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit focused on national health issues that has been tracking the pandemic's effects in the United States.
They might look for unused beds in places like children's hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, or even open a makeshift hospital in a local convention center. They could convert their own conference rooms and waiting areas into more space for patients.
''As long as you have the equipment, you can set up beds,'' Tolbert said. ''The key issues to think about are staffing and equipment. Finding space is easier.''
Another move that might happen if Florida's infections keep creeping up is a return to a ban on elective surgeries, Tolbert added. Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped those procedures statewide March 20, as Florida prepared for a surge the first time, and they resumed May 4.
Tampa Bay hospitals, which put off thousands of procedures in that time, are playing catch up now, and that's a key reason they are so full, Lockwood said. Non-coronavirus patients now make up a larger part of those in ICU beds than six weeks ago, but it is not clear how many. The state to this point has not released that data but has said it will begin doing so this week.
Most of those admitted in recent weeks that do have the virus have been young compared to earlier on in the pandemic, Lockwood added. The average age among coronavirus cases in Hillsborough was 48 six weeks ago, for example. Now it's 37.
Meanwhile, the county's rate of death from the virus is close to 1 percent '-- one of the lowest in the country, Lockwood said.
Dr. Larry Feinman [Courtesy of HCA Healthcare]Though young people are less likely to stay in hospitals long or need intensive care or a ventilator, they can easily spread infection to other, more vulnerable people once they leave, said Dr. Larry Feinman, chief medical officer for HCA hospitals.
That's when the strain on Tampa Bay's health care system could get worse.
''I do think we all need to be concerned at this point,'' said Dr. Nishant Anand, chief medical officer for BayCare Health System, which operates 15 hospitals in and around Tampa Bay. ''If we see more people getting infected, especially an older age demographic, we will see more hospitalizations, and that has impacts for everyone in the community.''
Dr. Nishant Anand [Courtesy of BayCare Health System]Anand pointed out that BayCare can shift patients between its locations as needed, as can HCA and AdventHealth hospitals, according to those companies. Each BayCare location has ''extensive modeling on how to adapt'' facilities if needed, said spokeswoman Vjollca Hysenlika. She declined to share specifics about just how much BayCare can expand.
Recently, BayCare's Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater has been among the hospitals with the least remaining capacity in Tampa Bay, data shows. For the last few days of June, the facility had about 46 of its 450 beds open, a little more than 10 percent. As of Tuesday afternoon, that number was down to 8 percent, with only 36 free beds. In Morton Plant's ICU, only three of the 59 beds for adults were available.
AdventHealth, which operates six hospitals in the region, has ''sufficient'' space and equipment for a surge in admissions, according to a statement provided by the company. Spokeswoman Richelle Hoenes declined to share details on how much the hospital system can grow its capacity but said she has ''not heard any top leaders talk about worrying about a surge.''
At AdventHealth Tampa, the typical reported bed capacity in early April was about 545, which has grown to about 560 in recent days, although some updates have shown nearly 600 beds. The percent of those beds available has dropped from just below 50 percent to less than 20 percent.
HCA's 15 hospitals in and around Tampa Bay are prepared to expand ICU beds by 200 percent, said Feinman, the chief medical officer. Each facility has weeks worth of protective equipment, and there's more on standby in a central warehouse.
Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg has served as a good example of how HCA's facilities can expand to handle a surge in patients. Since April, the number of people admitted at once tripled, going from about 75 in early April to about 240 in late June. And data shows the hospital responded by dramatically upping its reported capacity, from about 160 beds to about 430.
On Tuesday afternoon, Northside's available capacity was about 42 percent. Its adult ICU capacity was about 14 percent.
At Tampa General Hospital, about 28 percent of its more than 1,200 beds were available for the last few days of June, although capacity on Tuesday afternoon dropped to just 13 percent.
The area's largest hospital has increased its number of rooms for COVID-19 patients, and there is room for more, according to spokesman Curtis Krueger. He did not share specifics, but said it's not unusual for Tampa General, one of the area's two trauma centers, to have a high number of critical patients, and noted that most in ICU beds currently are not infected with the virus.
Tampa General announced in April a $2.65 million donation by businessman and philanthropist Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and his wife, Candy, which will be used to treat COVID-19 patients. The money will fund construction and equipment for a long-term unit dedicated to diagnosing and treating patients infected with the virus, though the timeline for opening has not been announced.
Dr. Peter Chang [Courtesy of Tampa General Hospital]Dr. Peter Chang, vice president of care transitions at Tampa General, said it's hard to predict what comes next for Tampa Bay. He's expecting the worst and hoping for the best, and telling everyone he can to wear a mask and limit movement.
''Over the last couple of months, the luxury of what we have had is time to prepare,'' Chang said. ''We're really kind of bracing and trying to do everything we can to prepare for what may come. But we don't really have a good estimation for what that is.''
' ' '
Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverageHOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.
THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic.
SO YOU WANT TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE? Read these 10 tips first
UNEMPLOYMENT Q&A: We answer your questions about Florida unemployment benefits
GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.
HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips
We're working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven't already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.
Four Pinellas hospitals completely out of ICU beds
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 04:04
Four Pinellas County hospitals were without any space in their intensive care units Saturday as Florida hit an all-time high for single-day coronavirus cases.
Palms of Pasadena Hospital, St. Petersburg General Hospital, Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater and AdventHealth North Pinellas in Tarpon Springs had no beds for critical patients, according to data collected by the Agency for Health Care Administration.
Meanwhile, Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg had just 3 percent of its ICU beds available, Mease Dunedin Hospital had 5 percent and both St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg and Largo Medical Center had 13 percent.
Northside and Morton Plant were running low on regular beds, too, with just 3 percent and 2 percent left, respectively.
Florida counted 11,458 new coronavirus cases Saturday, the most ever in a single day. About 1,800 came from the Tampa Bay area, with 419 new infections and 18 additional hospitalizations in Pinellas.
Local hospitals have said they have multi-pronged plans to expand capacity quickly if needed. Some have announced a hold on some elective surgeries, and others say they can reconfigure their facilities to accommodate more patients.
Here's the breakdown of available space at each Pinellas hospital, as of Saturday at 5 p.m.:
Largo Medical Center:
37 percent of regular beds, 13 percent of ICU beds
Bayfront Health St. Petersburg:
48 percent of regular beds, 49 percent of ICU beds
Mease Dunedin Hospital:
33 percent of regular beds, 5 percent of ICU beds
AdventHealth North Pinellas:
5 percent of regular beds, no ICU beds
St. Anthony's Hospital:
9 percent of regular beds, 13 percent of ICU beds
Palms of Pasadena Hospital:
19 percent of regular beds, no ICU beds
Morton Plant Hospital:
2 percent of regular beds, no ICU beds
St. Petersburg General Hospital:
11 percent of regular beds, no ICU beds
Northside Hospital:
3 percent of regular beds, 3 percent of ICU beds
Mease Countryside Hospital:
6 percent of regular beds, 23 percent of ICU beds
' ' '
Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverageHOW CORONAVIRUS IS SPREADING IN FLORIDA: Find the latest numbers for your county, city or zip code.
THE CORONAVIRUS SCRAPBOOK: We collected your stories, pictures, songs, recipes, journals and more to show what life has been like during the pandemic.
SO YOU WANT TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE? Read these 10 tips first
UNEMPLOYMENT Q&A: We answer your questions about Florida unemployment benefits
GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information.
HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips
We're working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven't already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.
Mistake led to overcount of coronavirus testing in Orange County '' Orange County Register
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 20:22
Stanford medical student Thomas Koehnkz, right, takes a blood sample from Alan Wessel, of Mountain View during a coronavirus antibody study at Mountain View's First Presbyterian Church in Mountain View, Calif., on Friday, April 3, 2020. The public health research study will be testing 2500 pre-registered participants at three sites. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
Orange County erroneously inflated its COVID-19 testing numbers for more than a month '-- logging 30,000 more tests than it should have '-- before the error was discovered and fixed, officials acknowledged this week.
The county has counted coronavirus testing in a way some consider misleading, reporting total tests performed, but not how many individuals were tested (some people are tested multiple times).
This error may stoke further skepticism in the numbers.
''That's quite concerning,'' said Eva O'Keefe of San Clemente, founder of Stay Healthy OC/COVID-19, a Facebook group with nearly 500 members that tries to deal in data, not rumors. She has been asking the county to explain puzzling changes in reports on testing, hospitalizations, ICU beds and more '-- and hasn't been getting clear answers.
''We need a lot more transparency,'' she said.
People stand in line at a clinic offering quick coronavirus testing for a fee in Wilmington on Monday, June 29, 2020. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)What happened?First, it's important to understand the differences between the two most common COVID-19 tests.
The only test that counties are supposed to report is the diagnostic test, which finds active infections. It's called the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test, and uses a cotton swab to penetrate high into the nose and throat to collect gunk. That material is then examined for the virus' genetic markers. PCR tests can identify the sick, but can't detect if someone once had COVID-19 and then recovered.The serology, or blood antibody, test offers that window to the past. A positive result means the body mounted an immune response to the virus in recent weeks or months '-- but serology tests are notoriously unreliable for determining who's sick right now. That's why it's not supposed to be used, or counted, in officially reported testing numbers.But for five weeks '-- from April 28 through June 3 '-- Orange County mistakenly added about 30,000 serology test results to its ''cumulative tests to date'' figures, according to Orange County Public Health Services.
That made it appear testing was greater in O.C. than it actually was, to the tune of some 13 percent by the time the extra tests were removed.
It did not, however, incorrectly increase the number of confirmed cases. Positive serology tests were not counted as positive COVID-19 cases, the county said.
The mistake may have made the pandemic appear less intense in Orange County than it really was to people who were following the numbers closely.
One way to measure whether a region's cases are going up just because of more testing, or because there's actually more disease spreading, is by looking at what percentage of tests are coming back positive. Including more tests could make the slice of positive tests seem smaller, and the outbreak less acute.
''As you comingle the PCR with the antibody tests, that's going to make the denominator a lot larger, so your positivity rate is going to decrease,'' O'Keefe said.
It wasn't clear if the serology tests translated into lower ''positivity'' scores for Orange County in the calculations used by the state to monitor progress.
Count officials did not immediately provide a detailed breakdown on the number of PCR vs. serology tests logged over that five-week period. The Southern California News Group filed a public records request for that data, but the county said it had no responsive records.
How'd it happen?The county explained it this way in an emailed statement:
Orange County downloads lab testing results from the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE).
There, some lab results are manually processed '-- showing up in a ''staging area,'' where local health departments must then process and import them into the CalREDIE database. ''This process is typically used for reports that health departments need to see immediately in order to take action; COVID PCR results are processed through this option,'' the county said.
Some results, however, are ''auto-processed,'' which means the lab results don't show up in the staging area but are automatically processed into the database. Serology tests are auto-processed into the system because there's no immediate action the health department needs to take on them, the county said.
On April 28, CalREDIE enabled auto-processing of serology tests, and ''these serology test results were included with PCR test results in 'Cumulative Tests To Date,' '' the county said.
''Serology tests never should've been included as they are not an appropriate diagnostic test. This was an error, which is why they were removed when HCA leadership became aware of the issue. Approximately 30,000 serology tests were removed.''
However, even though officials realized the mistake June 3 and stopped including additional serology tests in the numbers starting June 4, they didn't remove the ones they'd already reported until June 26 when they launched a new COVID-19 data dashboard. It does not report any information about serology tests.
When pressed for more details on precisely how serology tests came to be added to PCR tests '-- who's charged with reviewing the numbers before they're posted? how did the error continue for so long without detection? '-- the county said that, once CalREDIE enabled auto-processing of serology tests, ''total COVID tests'' would technically include serology tests because they are, indeed, COVID tests.
''However, the intent of the public reporting is actually total PCR COVID tests, which is why including serology tests was incorrect,'' the statement said. ''When the OC Health Care Agency's leadership became aware of this, we responded accordingly and as quickly as we could given the current workload and demands on our team.''
It remains unclear precisely how the error came to the county's attention.
Staff at the Orange County Health Care Agency's Public Health Laboratory conduct tests for the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. (Courtesy of Edward Mertz, Orange County Health Care Agency)Many questionsO'Keefe gave the county's new COVID-19 dashboard mixed reviews.
''Aesthetically, it looks a lot better,'' she said. ''I like the ZIP codes and the deaths per ZIP. But some charting is missing. I think people want to see those charts and trends. I know some local doctors have been doing a lot of the charting that's missing from the county '-- it's been up to the citizens to take this on.''
The county of Santa Clara is doing a better job, she said, going so far as to reporting exact co-morbidities for people who've died, to help dispel rumors and hoaxes. ''The more information people have, the better they can decide for themselves whether they want to take a risk or not,'' she said. ''We're not getting that type of transparency from the county.''
The county said that the information is being posted in ''near-real time,'' so the data aren't perfect and there will be changes. The website states that information is always subject to clarification and will be updated as needed, it said.
''Meantime, we are proud to serve OC residents with the best information from our State and Federal partners, that helps everyone make the best decisions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,'' the county said.
We hope you're enjoying our content. Subscribe Today to continue reading this story, and all of our stories, for just 99 cents.
EXPLOSIVE '' About All These ''New'' Positive COVID Cases '' State Health Departments Manipulating Data, Changing Definitions.. '' The Last Refuge
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 04:46
This is very interesting . The document described in the video below is available HERE. Research into state health regulations by Fog City Midge shows that new guidance for the definition of COVID-19 positive infections is likely the biggest background cause in a dramatic upswing in positive test results. WATCH:
.
This revelation would explain exactly why those who construct the reporting systems are pushing so hard for contact tracing. According to the new guidance anyone who comes into contact with a person who tests positive is now also considered positive. [pdf link]
Nice convenient way to inflate the infection rate. The verified source is Here
In order to support the most important political objectives of the DNC writ large in the 2020 election, COVID-19 hype is essential:
'...Without COVID-19 panic Democrats cannot easily achieve 'mail-in' voting; which they desperately need in key battleground states in order to control the outcome.
'...Without COVID-19 panic Democrats cannot shut down rallies and political campaigning efforts of President Trump; which they desperate need to do in key battleground states.
'...Without COVID-19 panic Democrats cannot block the campaign contrast between an energetic President Trump and a physically tenuous, mentally compromised, challenger.
'...Without COVID-19 panic Democrats do not have an excuse for cancelling the DNC convention in Milwaukee; thereby blocking Team Bernie Sanders from visible opposition while protecting candidate gibberish from himself.
'...Without COVID-19 panic Democrats do not have a mechanism to keep voters isolated from each-other; limiting communication and national debate adverse to their interests. COVID-19 panic pushes the national conversation into the digital space where Big Tech controls every element of the conversation.
'...Without COVID-19 panic Democrats cannot keep their Blue state economies easily shut-down and continue to block U.S. economic growth. All thriving economies are against the political interests of Democrats.
'...Without COVID-19 panic Democrats cannot easily keep club candidate Joe Biden sealed in the basement; where the electorate is not exposed to visible signs of his dementia.
'...Without COVID-19 panic it becomes more difficult for Big Tech to censor voices that would outline the fraud and scheme. With COVID-19 panic they have a better method and an excuse.
'...Without COVID-19 panic Democrats cannot advance, influence, or organize their preferred presidential debate format, a 'virtual presidential debate' series.
[Comrade Gretchen Whitmer knows this plan, hence she cancelled the Michigan venue]
All of these, and more, strategic outcomes are based on the manufactured weaponization of the COVID-19 virus to achieve a larger political objective. There is ZERO benefit to anyone other than Democrats for the overwhelming hype surrounding COVID-19.
It is not coincidental that all corporate media are all-in to facilitate the demanded fear that Democrats need in order to achieve their objectives. Thus there is an alignment of all big government institutions and multinationals to support the same.
Nothing is coincidental. Everything is political.
This New Coronavirus Wave Isn't Like the Old Wave
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 04:52
Need help? Contact us We've detected unusual activity from your computer networkTo continue, please click the box below to let us know you're not a robot.
Why did this happen?Please make sure your browser supports JavaScript and cookies and that you are not blocking them from loading. For more information you can review our Terms of Service and Cookie Policy.
Need Help?For inquiries related to this message please contact our support team and provide the reference ID below.
Block reference ID:
The coronavirus may have mutated to become more infectious, Dr. Anthony Fauci says
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 11:58
Published Thu, Jul 2 2020 5:15 PM EDT
Updated Thu, Jul 2 2020 6:21 PM EDT
A Facebook iconShare by facebookA Twitter iconShare by twitterA LinkedIn iconShare by linkedinAn email iconShare by email
The coronavirus has mutated in a way that might help the pathogen spread more easily, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.Research is underway to confirm the possible mutation and its implications, Fauci said, adding that "there's a little dispute about it." Viruses naturally mutate and scientists have previously said they have observed minor mutations in the coronavirus that have not impacted its ability to spread or cause disease in any significant way. Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases prepares to testify ahead of a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2020.
Kevin Dietsch | Reuters
The coronavirus has mutated in a way that might help the pathogen spread more easily, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.
Research is underway to confirm the possible mutation and its implications, Fauci said, adding that "there's a little dispute about it." Viruses naturally mutate and scientists have previously said they have observed minor mutations in the coronavirus that have not impacted its ability to spread or cause disease in any significant way.
The possible mutation that Fauci cited was reported on by investigators at Los Alamos National Laboratory in an article published by the journal Cell earlier Thursday. Virologists at Scripps Research in Florida also wrote about the mutation last month, saying it "enhances viral transmission." It's unclear when the mutation might have occurred.
"The data is showing there's a single mutation that makes the virus be able to replicate better and maybe have high viral loads," Fauci said in an interview with The Journal of the American Medical Association's Dr. Howard Bauchner. "We don't have a connection to whether an individual does worse with this or not; it just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible."
He added that researchers are "still at the stage of trying to confirm that."
The World Health Organization and its team of global researchers have been keeping an eye on more than 60,000 different genetic sequences of the coronavirus collected from samples taken all over the world.
All viruses evolve, or mutate, throughout their lifespan. RNA viruses like the coronavirus mutate more quickly than some other viruses, top WHO officials told reporters last month, because unlike human DNA, RNA viruses do not have "natural error checking," meaning that the code of the virus cannot correct itself.
Not every mutation will lead to any meaningful change in the behavior of the virus or its impact on humans, the WHO previously said. Nonetheless, the United Nations health agency has formed a comprehensive data base of genetic sequences to investigate any potential mutations.
Earlier Thursday, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO's chief scientist, told reporters at a news briefing that "natural mutations" of the virus are to be expected. She explained that there are certain "domains" of the virus that are "more critical," such as the spike protein, from which the coronavirus gets its name.
"If major mutations occurred in those domains, it might actually affect the development of vaccines," she said.
The mutation that the Los Alamos researchers wrote about is affecting a specific amino acid, the authors of the report wrote. The mutated variant is known as D614G.
View the full site
Modelers Were 'Astronomically Wrong' in COVID-19 Predictions, Says Leading Epidemiologist'--and the World Is Paying the Price - Foundation for Economic Education
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:42
Dr. John Ioannidis became a world-leading scientist by exposing bad science. But the COVID-19 pandemic could prove to be his biggest challenge yet.
Ioannidis, the C.F. Rehnborg Chair in Disease Prevention at Stanford University, has come under fire in recent months for his opposition to state-ordered lockdowns, which he says could cause social harms well beyond their presumed benefits. But he doesn't appear to be backing down.
In a wide-ranging interview with Greek Reporter published over the weekend, Ioannidis said emerging data support his prediction that lockdowns would have wide-ranging social consequences and that the mathematical models on which the lockdowns were based were horribly flawed.
Ioannidis also said a comprehensive review of the medical literature suggests that COVID-19 is far more widespread than most people realize.
''There are already more than 50 studies that have presented results on how many people in different countries and locations have developed antibodies to the virus,'' Ioannidis, a Greek-American physician, told Greek Reporter. ''Of course none of these studies are perfect, but cumulatively they provide useful composite evidence. A very crude estimate might suggest that about 150-300 million or more people have already been infected around the world, far more than the 10 million documented cases.''
Ioannidis said medical data suggest the fatality risk is far lower than earlier estimates had led policymakers to believe and ''is almost 0%'' for individuals under 45 years old. The median fatality rate is roughly 0.25 percent, however, because the risk ''escalates substantially'' for individuals over 85 and can be as high as 25 percent for debilitated people in nursing homes.
''The death rate in a given country depends a lot on the age-structure, who are the people infected, and how they are managed,'' Ioannidis said. ''For people younger than 45, the infection fatality rate is almost 0%. For 45 to 70, it is probably about 0.05-0.3%. For those above 70, it escalates substantially'...''
Because of this, Ioannidis sees mass lockdowns of entire populations as a mistake, though he says they may have made sense when experts believed the fatality rate of COVID-19 was as high as 3-5 percent.
In March, in a widely read STAT article, Ioannidis said it was uncertain how long lockdowns could be maintained without serious consequences.
''One of the bottom lines is that we don't know how long social distancing measures and lockdowns can be maintained without major consequences to the economy, society, and mental health,'' Ioannidis wrote. "Unpredictable evolutions may ensue, including financial crisis, unrest, civil strife, war, and a meltdown of the social fabric.''
Nearly three months after that interview, the world has seen unemployment levels unseen since the Great Depression, mass business closures, spikes in suicide and drug overdose, and social unrest on a scale not seen in the US since the 1960s.
''I feel extremely sad that my predictions were verified,'' Ioannidis said. He continued:
''Major consequences on the economy, society and mental health'' have already occurred. I hope they are reversible, and this depends to a large extent on whether we can avoid prolonging the draconian lockdowns and manage to deal with COVID-19 in a smart, precision-risk targeted approach, rather than blindly shutting down everything. Similarly, we have already started to see the consequences of ''financial crisis, unrest, and civil strife.'' I hope it is not followed by ''war and meltdown of the social fabric.'' Globally, the lockdown measures have increased the number of people at risk of starvation to 1.1 billion, and they are putting at risk millions of lives, with the potential resurgence of tuberculosis, childhood diseases like measles where vaccination programs are disrupted, and malaria. I hope that policymakers look at the big picture of all the potential problems and not only on the very important, but relatively thin slice of evidence that is COVID-19.''
Ioannidis did not spare modelers who predicted as many as 40 million people would die, or those who claimed the US healthcare system would be overrun.
''The predictions of most mathematical models in terms of how many beds and how many ICU beds would be required were astronomically wrong,'' Ioannidis said. ''Indeed, the health system was not overrun in any location in the USA, although several hospitals were stressed.''
Conversely, he added, these actions had detrimental effects on the US health care system, which was ''severely damaged'' because of measures taken.
Only time will tell if Ioannidis is proven correct in his assessments. But if he's even half right, it would suggest that the experts did indeed fail again.
There's little question that the lockdowns have caused widespread economic, social, and emotional carnage. Evidence that US states that locked down fared better than states that did not is hard to find.
Though not yet certain, the COVID-19 pandemic may well turn out to be another example of central planning gone wrong.
As I previously noted, it's a sad irony that many of the greatest disasters in modern history'--from Stalin's "kolkhoz" collective farming system to Mao's Great Leap Forward and beyond'--are the result of central planners trying to improve the lot of humanity through coercive action.
During the coronavirus pandemic, experts may have unintentionally brought about one of the most serious human disasters in modern history by removing choice from individuals with superior local knowledge.
''This is not a dispute about whether planning is to be done or not,'' Hayek wrote in The Use of Knowledge in Society. ''It is a dispute as to whether planning is to be done centrally, by one authority for the whole economic system, or is to be divided among many individuals.''
Professor of Epidemiology: Plandemic is 'Utter Crap'
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:44
Note: This article was originally written as a Reddit comment in response to the documentary, 'Plandemic' being shared in r/Documentaries Subreddit forum. I did not write this, I am merely the messenger.
I'm a doctor, and I also have extensive training in public health. I also teach biostatistics and epidemiology. I finished watching this video, and it's utter crap. But you don't have to take my word for it, a simple google search of any of her claims will show she is either intentionally lying or promoting a crackpot conspiracy theory.
To save everyone the trouble, here are her claims debunked in order.
The filmmaker claims Dr. Judy Mikovitz is one of the greatest experts in the world, but that's false. She's famous for being an anti-vaxxer and kook. She pushes conspiracy theories of Deep State and Big Pharma working together to create a pandemic. She was fired for falsifying research data and trying to pass it off as valid and was arrested for theft of stem cells from the institute she worked in. (Was that footage of a police raid even of her? I doubt it.) There's a longer bio on her Wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Mikovits
The story of the rivalry between Dr. Gallo and Dr. Montagnier in the rush for HIV research is a well-known story about scientists in competition with one another, and while it was a scandal in the 1980s (one scientist selfishly undermined the other), it doesn't support any of her points. It's not relevant to the story, except she wants to try to paint Dr. Fauci in a bad light by falsely associating him with them and with an anecdote only she claims to have witnessed.
Dr. Gallo and Dr. MontagnierDr. Fauci was one of the leading researchers during the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. He and his team of researchers began looking for a vaccine or treatment for the newly-discovered HIV, though they would meet a number of obstacles such as the F.D.A. In October 1988 protesters came to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci, who had become the institute's director in 1984, bore the brunt of the anger from the LGBTQ community, who felt ignored by the government. At the time, famous AIDS activist Larry Kramer attacked Fauci relentlessly in the media. He called him an ''incompetent idiot'' and a ''pill-pushing'' tool of the medical establishment. Fauci did not have control over drug approval or any pull in the FDA's process, though at the time many people still felt he was not doing enough as his relatively high rank in the NIH. Fauci did make an effort in the late 1980s to reach out to the gay community in New York and San Francisco to find ways he and the NIAI could find a solution. Though Fauci was first criticized for his treatment of the AIDS epidemic, his work in the community was eventually acknowledged and even Kramer himself, who spent years hating Fauci for his treatment of the HIV/AIDS epidemic now calls him ''the only true and great hero'' among government officials in the AIDS crisis.
In 1980 the Bayh-Dole Act allowed universities to patent and profit from research developed in their labs. New York University had $157 million in research-related income on $210 million in research and development expenditures. It brought us Remicade, a rheumatoid arthritis drug developed along with Centocor and Johnson & Johnson. This act allowed universities to expand research. The Act may be problematic in some ways but not connected to the issue here and not the source of the problem. She's bringing it up to push her narrative that this virus and vaccine are all motivated by money.
Dr. Judy Mikovitz featured as a keynote speaker at an anti-vax conferenceShe claims to be not-anti vaccine in the same way David Duke claims he is not a racist. In the same breath, she says vaccines will kill millions. She's trying to do PR to minimize her anti-vax stances, and often people in her movement try to label themselves ''vaccine truthers'' or ''vaccine skeptics'' (even though r/skeptic lists the ways they are not engaging in any meaningful skepticism). In her mind vaccines are polluted despite all the evidence in multiple studies proving her theory wrong.
Next, the film engages in a strawman about mandatory vaccines. No vaccine is truly mandatory; they may be required to attend public school or college, but I have never forcibly given anyone a vaccine except for young children whose parents asked me to. When this eventual COVID vaccine comes out, it will not be mandatory. The anti-vaxxers can try making a dramatic showing of refusing the vaccine and that's fine because everyone will push past them to get in line. Once we get to >90% vaccine coverage, herd immunity should kick in and they will bask in the unearned benefit of everyone else.
This virus is NOT artificial, the genome has been sequenced and has no signs of artificial manipulation like she claims. We have strong evidence that it originated naturally.
She fundamentally misunderstands zoonotic transmission. Viruses jump from animals to humans frequently; Ebola likely originated from bats in Africa, HIV mutated from Simian Immunodeficiency Virus until it eventually became able to survive in humans (and likely jumped to humans many times before it stabilized), bird flu originated in birds, swine flu came from, you guessed it, pigs that came into contact with humans. It's not just viruses; Psittacosis in humans comes from parrots, salmonella from reptiles, brucellosis from cows (that one is an animal STD). There's a reason medical doctors and veterinarians have been collaborating for decades on the One Health Initiative (and we briefly studied together in my medical school) because we know that diseases will spread to humans and therefore veterinarians have a role in helping keep us safe.
Now she claims this is a government conspiracy where USAMRIID somehow released it into China. And then she brings up another conspiracy about how Ebola was created in a US lab and then made to kill people in Africa. Baloney! Debunking those claims alone would take up more than the entire length of this post.
She then claims that COVID is overcounted, which is untrue. I fill out death certificates and that's not how it works. People found dead in their homes in NYC were not being given COVID diagnoses because we don't test the dead. It must be some coincidence that usually 25 people are found dead in their homes in NYC on an average day, but ever since this outbreak there were >200 per day found dead. Then she claims people are assigned COVID diagnoses without testing. Also untrue. Almost every number in the COVID trackers and published statistics on the news are confirmed cases. Some cities like NYC show a breakdown of suspected and confirmed cases. Suspected ones are many more, but you have to show specific symptoms to be diagnosed with COVID in the absence of testing. Our molecular testing (at least the FDA-approved tests) has high specificity, meaning a low number of false positives. Its sensitivity is lower, meaning we've been seeing cases of false negatives that come back positive on a repeat. There's a reason the CDC advises COVID patients not to go back to work until they test negative twice.
COPD Lungs vs COVID19Then she claims that her husband's COPD looks like COVID. Not. At. All. COPD causes a breakdown of alveoli, the lung's small air sacs that look like grapes. As the COPD takes over, the walls of the alveoli break down until you get large pockets of air trapped in the lungs. You see huge hollow cavities on a lung X-ray. COVID causes a diffuse inflammatory reaction across the lungs that progresses to ARDS. We have autopsies of COVID patients and their lungs don't look anything like COPD, and their Xrays look dramatically different (COPD lungs look hollow and hyperinflated and COVID lungs start off looking like pneumonia that progresses to a total white-out. You don't have to be a doctor to spot the difference in X-rays here.)
Then the filmmaker brings up a clip from the infamous and debunked Bakersfield doctors. They're not board-certified and the American College of Emergency Physicians and American Academy of Emergency Medicine issued a rare joint statement condemning them. This article is a really good debunking of their numbers. I taught Biostatistics and Epidemiology and this article is sound.
We are not counting COVID deaths just because they incidentally test positive. This has been shown to affect multiple organ systems and its not a mere coincidence that people with chronic diseases suddenly die within 2''3 weeks once they get COVID. Even without looking at COVID-diagnosed deaths, NY is reporting >35,000 deaths more than their average rate.
And then she spreads the FUD that ventilators are what's harming people. No. If you are in acute respiratory failure, and your oxygen saturation is dropping below 90% despite an oxygen mask on 15L/min, you need to be on a ventilator. Ventilators are not risk-free, and require specialists to monitor it and adjust the settings, but without one your odds of dying by that point are nearly 100%. That's it, there are no alternatives. Italy ran out of ventilators, and patients were dying on beds in the hallways because they couldn't have a ventilator. The fatality rate for COVID tends to be around 3% average in most countries, but in Italy, it went up to 7% because people died without ventilators.
She claims Italy got COVID more because they were old. That's incorrect by the data, it affected all ages. Close to half the people on ventilators are under the age of 40. She claims Italians have inflammatory diseases, also no data to support her claim. (Italians tend to have a much more antioxidant-rich diet compared to the rest of the world, it's one of the reasons Italians have a longer average lifespan, so this claim doesn't make sense to me.) Next, she claims the flu vaccine made them die of COVID. What garbage. COVID deaths are also in developing countries that have low flu vaccine rates, her theory is idiotic.
She is trying to claim that the flu vaccine comes from dogs. That's a mixture of falsehood. Most flu vaccines that you and I received are derived from eggs. A non-egg vaccine known as Flucelvax came out recently and that seems to be what she's latched onto, but it is not in widespread use today.
HydroxyChloroquine Sulfate TabletsThen she goes on about hydroxychloroquine. The original claim that it helped treat COVID was based on anecdotal data, and some extremely weak studies (two letters to journals by Chinese doctors saying it worked in their communities but didn't show evidence or numbers, and a study in France of 26 people where the researcher claimed hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin helped people get over their infection, even though the evidence was weak and 6 patients in the trial wound up in ICU and had to stop early and 1 other patient died). She claims doctors are endorsing it, but most are pointing out the skepticism as well as the lack of any data showing improvement, and cautioning against a rush to judgment. It's more the opposite. The VA did a large scale study of thousands of patients and the data showed patients on Hydroxychlorine had a higher mortality rate than in COVID patients who didn't take hydroxychloroquine.
Dr. Mikovitz is linking vaccines with autism and predictably trying to sell a debunked ''cure.'' Many of the loudest voices of the anti-vax movement are grifters who try selling quack treatments that claim they can ''reverse'' autism or treat arthritis/fatigue that they claim a vaccine gave you. This is an old scam and near the heart of the anti-vax movement.
Then she claimed that the flu vaccine weakened your immune system and caused you to get COVID. She's taking research published in a journal and lied about its conclusions, you can read it for yourself and see it draws the opposite claim of what she is saying. Then putting aside the lie, she's trying to generalize the results of the study to COVID, when there's zero evidence the vaccines have any connection or would even affect the body's response.
Then the filmmaker goes back to the Bakersfield doctors claiming you're coddling your immune system by wearing a mask and gloves. That claim is almost jaw-droppingly bad. You are bathed in bacteria, it's in your body (estimated 0.3% of your body weight), it's on your skin, it's in your mouth (you have more germs in your mouth than a dog). Your bacterial and viral flora is unchanged whether you're outside or stay indoors all day. AND you still breathe in 50+ species of pathogens with every breath, mask or not. He also claims you can get ''opportunistic infections,'' which is another misunderstanding of basic microbiology, I'm surprised he hasn't had his license suspended for making such an ignorant display.
Then she claims masks give you coronavirus. She has no evidence for her claim. And that ''healing microbes'' are in the ocean. Salt-water is good for you, but those microbes won't save you from COVID.
Then there's a misleading clip where Fauci says there will be a ''surprise pandemic'' one day. Public health officials have already been saying this for decades, we know given the rate of mutations of pathogens that it was a matter of time. I've lived through multiple, including H1N1. We thought Ebola or Bird Flu was going to be ''the'' pandemic we would have to deal with, which is why for nearly 20 years NYC's Department of Health has stockpiled 1 million doses of Tamiflu, which was thought to be the only treatment available for Bird Flu and was believed to have some activity against SARS.
I'm glad this video was taken off YouTube because it is grossly irresponsible to air these false views uncritically. It's straight anti-vax propaganda.
Report: Head of $295M contract awarded by Texas leaders falsified degree (Houston Chronicle) | ResearchBuzz: Firehose
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 13:32
Houston Chronicle: Report: Head of $295M contract awarded by Texas leaders falsified degree. ''The CEO of a technology company that has been entrusted with state contact tracing efforts for Texans exposed to the coronavirus has claimed a doctorate he never got, according to a Houston-based podcast. Das Nobel, CEO of MTX Group Inc., says in an online profile on LinkedIn that he has a 'Doctorate of Management, Organizational Development and Leadership' from Colorado Technical University, and that he attended the school from 2008-2012.''
Brian Wesbury on Twitter: "US COVID testing has expanded from around 100k per day in March and April to over 600k now. If we had been testing 600k per day the entire time, and we use the previous positive test rate (which is an assumption), this is what i
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 21:34
Brian Wesbury : US COVID testing has expanded from around 100k per day in March and April to over 600k now. If we had been testing'... https://t.co/oe9sTgSDZw
Fri Jul 03 15:08:59 +0000 2020
Craig Bakalich : @wesbury @larryelder How are we actually testing to obtain these results. I'm feeling we will test 600k people but'... https://t.co/9USeqkm081
Fri Jul 03 21:32:46 +0000 2020
Jerry : @wesbury @larryelder Acedemic! We Couldn't test 600,000! Didn't have a test that was reliable then'¼¸
Fri Jul 03 21:32:23 +0000 2020
Raffaldo : @wesbury All stats surrounding this virus are untrustworthy. They're manipulated to fit a desired narrative. Yes, these too.
Fri Jul 03 21:30:54 +0000 2020
Daniel Nolan : @wesbury @larryelder You're just going to confuse the lefties with this.
Fri Jul 03 21:28:56 +0000 2020
Jack Gertz : @wesbury @larryelder Yes. We dramatically understated the cases at the beginning because of limiting testing to the'... https://t.co/1QslxC9ijr
Fri Jul 03 21:28:51 +0000 2020
Scott : @wesbury @larryelder Notice how the MSM is not reporting the death rate of the Wuhan virus. Now that it's on par with the flu.
Fri Jul 03 21:28:25 +0000 2020
Russian Troll : @wesbury @larryelder There are lies, there a damned lies, and then there are economists.
Fri Jul 03 21:26:21 +0000 2020
Inside a Texas hospital as coronavirus grips the Rio Grande Valley | The Texas Tribune
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 00:10
Reporting and writing by Shannon Najmabadi, photography by Miguel Gutierrez Jr.
*correction appendedEDINBURG '-- At midnight in South Texas, nearly every bed is full in a low-slung building housing some of the sickest COVID-19 patients near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Many patients in this unit, a hospice center at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance remade into a coronavirus ward, are sedated, intubated and attached by a tangle of cords to the whirring and beeping machines keeping them alive. Some are in individual rooms; dozens more are lined up in vacated bay divided into a grid by curtains to separate beds.
''How many more are coming?'' a nurse asks around 11 p.m. No one can be sure.
Some of these patients will go home and complete their recoveries. Others will leave to be buried.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one .
The Rio Grande Valley has seen a surge in coronavirus cases, and the patients arrive daily. At least 10 were brought here from the emergency room Wednesday. More than a dozen the day before that. Some nurses tend to three patients each, instead of the usual two, and pick up extra hours. A lead nurse who clocked in at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday was still working past 10:30 p.m. Another, on her fourth 12-hour shift, said she'd seen things she will ''never unsee.''
Health care workers at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance prepare to enter the COVID-19 unit by donning personal protection equipment. Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
In anticipation of a shortage of personal protective equipment, doctors and nurses in the COVID-19 unit at Doctors Health at Renaissance have been saving their face masks for reuse. They write their names on biohazard bags and place their masks inside. Photo credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
''We're getting more and more and more, and that's the problem,'' said nurse Apryle Pelshaw. The blaring alarm that signals a patient needs to be intubated or is having a medical emergency sounds in her sleep.
Similar scenes are playing out in hospitals across the Rio Grande Valley. The number of people infected in this predominantly Hispanic four-county region '-- Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy '-- has climbed from 1,391 to 7,600 since the beginning of June, and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott directed some of the region's medical facilities this week to stop elective procedures to free up hospital beds.
At a press conference this week, officials from a half-dozen of the region's hospitals said cases were rapidly rising, stretching their staff and filling up beds. Sometimes whole families were coming in. A county health authority who attended the press conference found out he'd tested positive that day.
At Valley Baptist Medical Center in Brownsville, there were so many patients in the hospital's holding area and emergency room that a space for elective surgeries was emptied a few days ago to make way for another coronavirus unit. That center is filling up now, too, and there are intubated patients there, said Dr. Jamil Madi, who works there and at Valley Baptist in Harlingen, where he's medical director of the intensive care unit.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one .
''We can handle small surges and clusters; it's not a big deal. But when you get this continuous surge ongoing hour after hour '-- you see these patients and they are all coming in with the same symptoms huffing and puffing, some of them are gasping for air and some of them are confused because of the lack of oxygen, and they're elderly and they're young and they're distressed and they're agitated, and then there are no family members around,'' Madi said. ''It is draining.''
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that Hispanics are hospitalized for the coronavirus at about four times the rate of white people and cited ''long-standing systemic health and social inequities.''
The Rio Grande Valley '-- which includes South Padre Island, a party destination '-- has a median household income of around $34,000 and a large number of residents with comorbidities that can make them more susceptible to becoming severely ill with the coronavirus. Officials here have tried for months to stamp out the virus, quickly ordering residents to stay home in March and even setting up checkpoints to enforce compliance.
A COVID-19 patient lies in a bed at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg. Before being converted to a COVID-19 unit, the building functioned as a hospice center. Photo credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
But infections have shot up in recent weeks after Abbott let businesses reopen and barred local officials from forcing residents to wear masks. (He reversed course Thursday and required people in all counties with 20 or more cases to cover their faces.) There have also been occasions to gather, further driving up the spread: Memorial Day, graduations, Father's Day and a regional penchant for backyard barbecues.
''When people say it's conspiracy, it doesn't exist or really [exaggerated], my response would be: Come to our emergency department where we have five people on ventilators for three days. Come to the three floors we've had to use to put these people on. Come to all the health care workers that go home every night, every little cough they're sure they have it. We're in tough times,'' Dr. Ivan Melendez, Hidalgo County's health authority, said at the press conference.
DHR Health, which has hospitals and dozens of clinics throughout the area, spent $9 million converting its hospice center into a COVID ward in March, when cases first started to spread in Texas. It housed two, four, six patients for weeks. But the numbers began multiplying in late May, and with nearly 80 patients in late June, hospital officials decided to turn a nearby rehabilitation facility into a second ward for COVID-19 patients on the mend. With the volume of patients not abating, they're adding dozens more beds.
Nurses and doctors work in the COVID-19 unit at Doctors Health at Renaissance in Edinburg. Photo credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
Local officials eye the filling hospitals with trepidation.
Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez requested state aid and imposed a nighttime curfew to dissuade people from gathering in groups. Two congressmen asked the governor to help avert an ''impending health care crisis'' by sending in the National Guard to provide medical support, and to erect field hospitals. They had not heard back by Thursday afternoon.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one .
''We're very concerned,'' Cortez said Monday. ''I'm not blaming the governor for anything, but since the governor opened up Texas, the numbers have been escalating, and '... they're at the point where we're getting close to capping out on our hospital capacity.''
The strain is already evident at DHR Health, where eight physicians are quarantined with the virus.
Doctors and nurses are working extra shifts, with hazard pay, and administrators are setting aside bonuses to reward medical staffers who have worked for weeks with little respite. They've been stocking up on personal protective equipment since March, even asking staff to sew face masks.
The system's coronavirus units are apart from the emergency room, where patients with appendicitis, strokes and the like continue to be treated. Patients that come to the ER and have coronavirus symptoms are immediately sent to another site for screening. If they test positive for the virus and need to be hospitalized, they're sent to one of the new offsite wards, which are staffed 24 hours a day, with shifts starting around 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one .
Pelshaw's night shift Tuesday began in what was the hospice center's ''meditation room,'' a curtained dressing room that now teems with nurses snapping on periwinkle gloves and gauzy hair bonnets. Then it's into the infectious disease unit, where staff members who worked during the day pass patient information on to those who'll care for them overnight.
Most of the patients Tuesday were elderly, some with underlying health issues common in the Valley, like diabetes. Several members of one patient's family had already tested positive for the virus. Another woman's daughter called Pelshaw around 8:30 p.m. asking to say a prayer for her mom.
Nurses look over the the X-rays and charts of patients in the COVID-19 unit at the Doctors Health at Renaissance medical center in Edinburg. Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
A nurse expressed fear of burning out from the long hours of treating COVID-19 patients. Photo credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
''Do you have any idea what room she's in, ma'am?'' Pelshaw asked over the mechanical whirring and the beeping of the intravenous pumps.
Pelshaw's wing had the sickest of the sick, 23 patients, 17 on vents, each kept in an individual room with an IV pole outside in the hallway, so nurses can make adjustments with minimal exposure. At the center is the hospice's break room '-- once a place where elderly residents visited with family members. It now holds shelf after shelf of supplies '-- tubes, lubricating jelly '-- and five ventilators in a corner. There's a case of refrigerated medications in what was once the ''kids room.''
The patients who are slightly less ill are in a cavernous wing on the other side of the building, their beds arranged in rows and separated by high blue and white curtains. Many were prone and unconscious Tuesday night.
Nurses worry about the mental toll the pandemic is taking on their colleagues. About eight patients have died in the last two weeks, leaving hospital staff to break the news to family members who were not allowed to visit the infectious disease wards in person.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one .
There's the strain of trying to support patients while dressed ''like an alien,'' as Pelshaw described it, gesturing at the scrubs, gown, face shield and masks she was wearing. There's the intense workload. And there's the constant worry about their own families and the possibility they might carry the disease home with them.
The unit has a disinfection section where protective equipment is stripped off and discarded, or set aside to be cleaned and reused, and an area where medical staff members can shower before leaving. No medical staffers have gotten the virus from working in the coronavirus ward, hospital officials said.
''We hold it together, and I think we go out into our vehicles and cry,'' said Pelshaw, hovering in a hallway above a monitor with her patient's charts. Then they collect themselves and come back to work.
A nurse briefly rests against a wall in the COVID-19 unit at Doctors Health at Renaissance in Edinburg. Photo credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
The hospitals most urgently need additional staff, not just nurses but the phalanx of respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, specialists and technicians that circulate through the DHR Health ward.
Some help is coming. The state sent medical workers to Hidalgo County, and visiting nurses in black scrubs have already begun checking in to nearby hotels. Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for the Department of State Health Services, said the personnel are sourced through BCFS, the agency's ''medical sheltering contractor,'' and that the costs are expected to be reimbursed by the federal government.
Another patient on the wayLate Tuesday in the DHR Health coronavirus ward, medical staff members tried to put a needle into the artery of one of nurse Christian Ramirez's patients. Her blood pressure dropped, and Ramirez rushed to adjust the medications. He watched her blood pressure stabilize, standing amid discarded gloves strewn on the ground in the frenzy.
''She didn't deserve this,'' he said of the patient, who had patches on both cheeks holding her endotracheal tube in place. ''My other two patients don't deserve this.'' All three needed critical care, two on ventilators, one on a nasal cannula and ''maxed out on oxygen.''
Doctors and nurses prepare to exit the COVID-19 unit. Because of the risk of exposure, staff members are required to decontaminate and discard their personal protective equipment. Photo credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
The patient's blood pressure suddenly shot up, and Ramirez darted to adjust her medications again, the green light of the machine reflecting on his face shield.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one .
The people that wind up in this coronavirus ward are seriously ill and ''require a lot of attention, a lot of medications,'' said Veronica Gomez, director of the unit. Two or three typically need to be intubated each shift. One doctor said he'd intubated five patients in one morning.
On top of that, nurses have become the patients' entire support system because family members aren't allowed in. They'll help connect patients and family by phone, and ''we can hear the anguish on the other side of the phone line,'' said Gomez, who's been a nurse for almost 20 years.
Not long before midnight, word came that a patient would be transferred over in an ambulance. One of the critical patients in the former hospice building had improved enough to move to a bed in the emptied bay. Their old room was being cleaned. A woman traipsed out with bagged-up trash. Ramirez began moving in supplies.
Another patient was on their way. Ramirez would be there to treat them.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one .
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Chris Van Deusen, spokesperson for the Department of State Health Services. Some photo captions in the story incorrectly stated the location of Doctors Health at Renaissance medical center, which is located in Edinburg.
Disclosure: DHR Health has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
The CDC and States Are Misreporting COVID-19 Test Data - The Atlantic
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 14:45
''Combining a test that is designed to detect current infection with a test that detects infection at some point in the past is just really confusing and muddies the water,'' Hanage told us.
Read: Why the coronavirus is so confusing
The CDC stopped publishing anything resembling a complete database of daily test results on February 29. When it resumed publishing test data last week, a page of its website explaining its new COVID Data Tracker said that only viral tests were included in its figures. ''These data represent only viral tests. Antibody tests are not currently captured in these data,'' the page said as recently as May 18.
Yesterday, that language was changed. All reference to disaggregating the two different types of tests disappeared. ''These data are compiled from a number of sources,'' the new version read. The text strongly implied that both types of tests were included in the count, but did not explicitly say so.
The CDC's data have also become more favorable over the past several days. On Monday, a page on the agency's website reported that 10.2 million viral tests had been conducted nationwide since the pandemic began, with 15 percent of them'--or about 1.5 million'--coming back positive. But yesterday, after the CDC changed its terms, it said on the same page that 10.8 million tests of any type had been conducted nationwide. Yet its positive rate had dropped by a percent. On the same day it expanded its terms, the CDC added 630,205 new tests, but it added only 52,429 positive results.
This is what concerns Jha. Because antibody tests are meant to be used on the general population, not just symptomatic people, they will, in most cases, have a lower percent-positive rate than viral tests. So blending viral and antibody tests ''will drive down your positive rate in a very dramatic way,'' he said.
The absence of clear national guidelines has led to widespread confusion about how testing data should be reported. Pennsylvania reports negative viral and antibody tests in the same metric, a state spokesperson confirmed to us on Wednesday. The state has one of the country's worst outbreaks, with more than 67,000 positive cases. But it has also slowly improved its testing performance, testing about 8,000 people in a day. Yet right now it is impossible to know how to interpret any of its accumulated results.
Read: Should you get an antibody test?
Texas, where the rate of new COVID-19 infections has stubbornly refused to fall, is one of the most worrying states (along with Georgia). The Texas Observer first reported last week that the state was lumping its viral and antibody results together. On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott denied that the state was blending the results, but the Dallas Observer reports that it is still doing so.
While the number of tests per day has increased in Texas, climbing to more than 20,000, the combined results mean that the testing data are essentially uninterpretable. It is impossible to know the true percentage of positive viral tests in Texas. It is impossible to know how many of the 718,000 negative results were not meant to diagnose a sick person. The state did not return a request for comment, nor has it produced data describing its antibody or viral results separately. (Some states, following guidelines from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, report antibody-test positives as ''probable'' COVID-19 cases without including them in their confirmed totals.)
Georgia is in a similar situation. It has also seen its COVID-19 infections plateau amid a surge in testing. Like Texas, it reported more than 20,000 new results on Wednesday, the majority of them negative. But because, according to The Macon Telegraph, it is also blending its viral and antibody results together, its true percent-positive rate is impossible to know. (The governor's office did not return a request for comment.)
Protests have not contributed to rise in COVID-19 cases, research group suggests | wusa9.com
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 15:55
One group of researchers has found that people not participating in protests have been more likely to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
When Black Lives Matter protests swept the country following the killing of George Floyd, medical experts feared a spike in COVID-19 cases tied to the demonstrations could soon follow.
However, a new economic report says while it's possible protests caused an increase in the spread of the virus among attendees, that hasn't yet shown up in the overall population of cities where these events occurred. In fact, these researchers believe the protests resulted in more social distancing, not less.
This is despite the large gatherings that have made up these protests, some numbering in the thousands, and the usage of pepper spray or tear gas that causes people to cough more.
The largest piece of research on this is a working paper released in June by the National Bureau of Economic Research, examining how protests affected COVID-19 trends nationwide.
Working papers such as this are circulated for discussion and comment purposes. They have not beenpeer-reviewed or been subject to a review board, according to the NBER.
The paper found that cities with protests generally did not show much deviation from their projected COVID-19 caseload and the actual number of new cases. Those cities also followed similar trends in case growth as cities without widespread protests.
The researchers studied 315 cities in the United States and analyzed the growth of the virus 21 days after the start of the first protest. The authors of the paper found that people not participating in protests have been more likely to stay at home while protesters are on the streets, and in doing so, offset the lack of social distancing by demonstrators.
Other possible factors considered in the report are that protesters could have mitigated spread of the virus by wearing masks or that many may not be getting tested because their symptoms could be less severe.
News outlets have reported that public health officials testing protesters in some cities found a small percentage of protesters tested positive for COVID-19 -- such as in Boston, Minneapolis and Seattle. Health officials quoted in those stories have cited widespread face covering use, the outdoor environment of the demonstrations, and protesters maintaining 6 feet of separation from each other where possible.
The nationwide study emphasized that their findings do not imply there was an increase of social distancing and a decrease in COVID-19 case growth across all parts of the population. It's possible some groups, such as protesters, could have an increase in case growth while other groups have a decrease.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to better attribute and explain the source used in the story.
Yale Study Suggests COVID Death Toll In US Has Been "Substantially Undercounted" | Zero Hedge
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:14
A new study from Yale University published in JAMA Internal Medicine seems to suggest that the number of U.S. deaths that have occurred as a result of the coronavirus have been "substantially undercounted".
Recall, we have recently published two studies suggesting that the infection rates of Covid-19 were substantially higher months ago than many people thought. A Penn State study found that the initial infection rate may have been 80 times quicker than we first thought and a Stanford study showed that the media case fatality rate for those under 70 years old could be as low as 0.04%.
The new Yale study took data from the National Center for Health Statistics and compared the number of excess U.S. deaths from any causes with the reported number of weekly deaths from Covid-19 during the period of March 1 to May 30, according to CNBC. Those numbers were then compared to the year prior.
The study found that the excess number of deaths over normal levels also exceeded those attributed to Covid-19, "leading them to conclude that many of those fatalities were likely caused by the coronavirus but not confirmed."
Dan Weinberger, an epidemiologist at Yale School of Public Health and a lead author of the study, said: "Our analyses suggest that the official tally of deaths due to Covid-19 represent a substantial undercount of the true burden. Other factors could contribute to the increase in deaths, such as people avoiding emergency treatment for things like heart attacks."
As CNBC notes, Weinberger's conclusions are supported by NIH data:
The 781,000 total deaths in the United States in the three months through May 30 were about 122,300, or nearly 19% higher, than what would normally be expected, according to the researchers. Of the 122,300 excess deaths, 95,235 were attributed to Covid-19, they said. Most of the rest of the excess deaths, researchers said, were likely related to or directly caused by the coronavirus.
The Yale study, like the Penn State study, also looked at influenza like illnesses. Recall, the Penn State study, "estimated the detection rate of symptomatic COVID-19 cases using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's influenza-like illnesses (ILI) surveillance data over a three week period in March 2020."
Justin Silverman, assistant professor in Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology and Department of Medicine, said: ''We analyzed each state's ILI cases to estimate the number that could not be attributed to influenza and were in excess of seasonal baseline levels. When you subtract these out, you're left with what we're calling excess ILI '' cases that can't be explained by either influenza or the typical seasonal variation of respiratory pathogens.''
The Yale study noted gaps between reported coronavirus deaths and excess deaths in several states. For example, in California, they found 41% of excess deaths likely attributed to Covid and in Texas, they found that number to be 53%.
PANDEMIC POTENTIAL - What Does it Mean for a Virus to Have 'Pandemic Potential'?
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:16
Photo: Julia Lototskaya (Shutterstock) Recently, headlines warned of a new flu virus with ''pandemic potential,'' based on a study of viruses on pig farms in China. There's no need to immediately start freaking out, however: While it's always a safe assumption there will be another pandemic someday, this one is not cause for concern just yet.
What did the study find?
The paper is a report from a program that periodically tests pigs on farms to see if they have any interesting new viruses. Pigs, birds and humans can all share flu viruses, although in most cases a virus that specializes in one species won't infect another.
The weird thing about influenza, though, is that its genes are like a deck of cards that can shuffle in with another virus's. If an individual is infected with two different flu viruses, a hybrid virus might result. Most viruses don't do this, but the flu does. And when this happens, it often happens in pigs. If you want to nerd out about the details, there's a good explainer on SciTable .
According to the study, a virus they're describing as ''G4, EA, H1N1'' has been circulating in pigs since at least 2016. It is able to infect humans, not just pigs. A very few people have been known to contract it, and nearly 10% of farm workers on certain farms have antibodies to it, meaning they may have had been infected without realizing.
G/O Media may get a commission
What does it mean for a virus to have ''pandemic potential''?
First, it's important to note that this virus has been around for a few years and it has not caused a COVID-19 style pandemic.
However, as virologist Angela Rasmussen explains in a Twitter thread , G4 has a couple of features that give it ''pandemic potential.'' It can easily enter human cells (some animal flu viruses cannot). It can reproduce in human cells and create infectious particles. It may be transmissible from human to human, but we aren't entirely sure yet. But, crucially, we don't have any proof that the virus can make people seriously ill. If you catch a virus but your health doesn't suffer, it's not much of a problem, is it?
So far, we're safe. But flu viruses like to mutate, so this one could be a problem, if it mutates to take those extra few steps. Or as Rasmussen puts it : ''Yes, this virus could evolve the ability to be an efficiently transmitted human-to-human pathogen.''
So how scared should we be?
Here's the thing about the flu: There's always another pandemic around the corner, we just don't know when it will come. I remember this coming up in every biology class when I was in school in the early 2000s. The professor would tell us about past influenza pandemics , including the one in 1918, and point out: we're due.
There was a pandemic flu strain in 2009, you may recall. It was bad! Not COVID-19 bad, but a lot of people got sick and a lot of people died. Fortunately the CDC and its counterparts across the globe got their act together pretty quickly, and things worked out okay. One nice thing about the flu's variability is that we already have a flu vaccine pipeline that changes every year. So once scientists knew that 2009 H1N1 was going to be a problem, they got to work and we had a vaccine for it very quickly.
Could this new virus be as bad as the 1918 flu? A manageable problem like the 2009 one? Or something worse? We don't know. But the first step in pandemic management is keeping an eye on what viruses are out there. It's not time for you and I to panic, but it is a good thing that virologists and epidemiologists know that this virus is one to keep an eye on.
Californians are losing their fear of the coronavirus, setting the stage for disaster - Los Angeles Times
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:26
As California began to rapidly reopen the economy, officials in Santa Cruz County decided the safe thing to do was keep its landmark beaches largely closed in the afternoons to prevent crowds that could spread the coronavirus.
But the public increasingly ignored the rules and demanded their summer on the sand, swimming, sunbathing and just hanging out. Unable to stop the crowds, county officials simply gave up.
''People are not willing to be governed anymore in that regard,'' health officer Dr. Gail Newel said as the county rescinded its beach closure order last week.
This is the problem California officials now face as they deal with a major surge in coronavirus cases tied to business reopenings, social gatherings and other factors, and hospitals are becoming increasingly crowded. As the public has become more accustomed to the pandemic, Californians have seemingly become less afraid of the highly contagious virus, even though it's no less infectious than it was in the winter.
When California became the first state in the nation to impose a stay-at-home order on March 19, people listened.
Businesses ground to a halt and many stayed home as much as possible, watching as COVID-19 made a deadly march through places like New York and northern Italy.
We emptied the supermarkets as if preparing for the apocalypse. We sanitized our cellphones hourly. Some of us even wiped down groceries or left mailed packages alone for days, fearful that the virus might be left on surfaces.
California emerged months later a seeming coronavirus success story, with far fewer deaths than in other hot spots. But those bragging rights also brought complacency, and a demand that we return to old routines that could revive the devastated economy. Eventually, coronavirus cases and hospitalizations started rising rapidly.
''We were kind of victims of our own success,'' said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, professor of medicine and an infectious-diseases expert at UC San Francisco.
Government officials now must try to roll back some of the reopenings, hoping to avoid a disastrous July Fourth weekend that spreads infection even more quickly with social events and crowds.
Gov. Gavin Newsom this week ordered the closure of indoor restaurants, bars, wineries, movie theaters, zoos and museums in 19 counties, affecting more than 28 million Californians, or 72% of the state's population. Beaches were ordered shut down by local government officials in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
Getting more people to comply with a state order to wear masks in public remains a challenge. And many have become accustomed to being out in crowds after taking part in protests, seeing restaurants reopen and hosting social gatherings.
''California should be commended for doing so much well at the beginning. We really shut down, and I think we really got the right messages out,'' said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, chair of UC San Francisco's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. ''So why did we start going out?''
''We felt good about all that we had accomplished, not realizing that the virus never left us. The virus was just under control,'' she said. And while the shutdown of society happened quickly, ''it made us believe that we could open up in the same type of way.''
Many residents are torn '-- they understand the growing dangers of the coronavirus but also say the months in virtual lockdown took an emotional toll. Casey Parlette, a Laguna Beach resident, said he was torn about whether his city should have closed its beaches during the holiday weekend.
''I hear both sides of the argument ... but it's a tough thing when everything is closed. When the beaches, trail heads, parks were closed, the only thing that was open was maybe your backyard, if you have one, and the middle of the street and that was pretty much it,'' Parlette said.
''We were trying to figure out creative ways to get my 3-year-old son out and doing things,'' he added. ''But I think that there's a certain amount of implicit responsibility that individuals need to take to not be part of the problem.''
California, however, is not yet in the same crisis as other states, such as Arizona and Florida. While the rate at which coronavirus tests are confirming infections in California over the last seven days is 6.9%, in Arizona it's 24%, and in Florida it's 16%.
Some experts say California can avoid disaster if it changes its behaviors now '-- without needing a return to the strictest stay-at-home order.
That's partly because of our better understanding of the virus '-- physicians are able to provide better hospital care than they did in the pandemic's earliest days.
But people also need to do a better job avoiding higher-risk activities. Experts say indoor bars are high-risk, as are large indoor gatherings.
Lower-risk activities involve meeting with friends or family outdoors, in smaller gatherings, for shorter periods of time, while wearing masks when not eating or drinking. San Francisco's health order, for instance, allows outdoor gatherings but requires masks and urges social distancing and no more than 12 people for special gatherings and no more than six for a meal.
In L.A. County, the coronavirus crisis is still so severe that officials do not recommend gatherings outside one's household. Newsom discouraged such gatherings this holiday weekend.
It's possible for us to change our habits. Wearing seat belts became California law in 1986. Smoking is no longer allowed in crowded public areas.
''Public health, when it does its work best, it's not telling people what to do. It's telling people how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe so people can make their decisions about how to do that,'' Bibbins-Domingo said.
Lockdown fatigue is not a new phenomenon. During the 1918 flu pandemic, San Franciscans threw their masks into the air when they thought the pandemic was over, not realizing a new deadly wave of flu would hit within weeks, said Chin-Hong at UC San Francisco.
''People are afraid that history is going to repeat itself,'' he said.
California's exuberant optimism that the worst of the pandemic was behind us was fueled by the state's early success. While many people in California might not know someone who died, Chin-Hong said, in New York, it seemingly felt like everyone knew someone who died.
Without that deep-seated fear, it's been hard for some Californians to accept that some traditions that seem safe and wholesome '-- like meeting with extended family indoors '-- are now risky.
In California, large indoor gatherings have triggered multigenerational COVID-19 outbreaks. People are particularly infectious in the days before they show symptoms if they do fall ill; a substantial share of those who get infected never show symptoms at all, yet can still be highly contagious.
Also complicating the public messaging system were the dizzying differences among neighboring counties over the pace of the reopening. You can't get a haircut in San Francisco, but you could if you drove up to Napa County.
And in L.A. County, it would've been difficult to keep businesses closed for longer than in neighboring counties, Mayor Eric Garcetti said in May. ''Regions have to move together,'' he said at the time, adding it would be tough to tell a barber in Long Beach to remain shut while hair salons are open nearby in Orange County.
The rules are so confusing between counties that people may end up thinking, ''These people don't know what they're talking about '-- I'm just gonna do my thing,'' Chin-Hong said.
In addition, the historic protests that emerged after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer may have caused some people to think, ''If this is OK, then certainly beginning to get together with others ... ought to be OK too,'' said Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
Another reason the coronavirus is hard to contain is its death rate. While it's 10 times more deadly than the seasonal flu, making stay-at-home orders reasonable to many, the virus is not nearly as lethal as the severe acute respiratory syndrome virus of 2002-03, which had a case-fatality rate 10 times higher and would probably prompt wider support for stronger lockdown measures, Kim-Farley said.
To get out of this new crisis, public health officials, politicians and the public need to agree on a way forward that's easy to understand, Kim-Farley said.
A unified message and groundswell of public support have helped contain the virus in places like Taiwan and New Zealand.
First, public health officials and politicians need to work together to identify widely understood goals, then politicians need to work with the public to establish support, and ''need to lead and demonstrate, by example themselves, the actions they wish for the public to do '-- such as the wearing of masks,'' Kim-Farley said.
If officials can craft disease control measures that the public will support, it'll help create new social norms.
''We have to create a new norm around public health for COVID '-- that it's not cool to be outside without a mask,'' Kim-Farley said, or that customers won't go into restaurants that don't keep tables at safe distances. Perhaps county officials can grade businesses' compliance with COVID-19 regulations, he said.
For now, health officials are hoping that news of the current surge in infections and hospitalizations will persuade Californians to change their behavior.
Bibbins-Domingo said she doesn't think California is destined for a New York-style overwhelming of the hospital system. ''What New York saw was a rate of rise so fast in a very constrained environment that was really impossible to deal with,'' Bibbins-Domingo said.
She said California must pay attention to pockets of outbreaks, such as in Latino communities, that can be much worse than a county average. ''We are all sort of interconnected in a way. That's where we have a risk for just the transmission level to be just too high for any of us to be safe.''
Bibbins-Domingo said she's hopeful California can get the coronavirus back under control.
''We've already shown we can do that. We can take some common sense measures,'' she said. ''We have to take it seriously ... but I think we can also get back. This was just a little bit of a wake-up call.''
Times staff writers Jake Sheridan, Colleen Shalby, Joseph Serna and Hillary Davis and Lilly Nguyen of Times Community News contributed to this report.
''No one has died from the coronavirus'' '' OffGuardian
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 13:58
Rosemary Frei and Patrick CorbettA high-profile European pathologist is reporting that he and his colleagues across Europe have not found any evidence of any deaths from the novel coronavirus on that continent.
Dr. Stoian Alexov called the World Health Organization (WHO) a ''criminal medical organization'' for creating worldwide fear and chaos without providing objectively verifiable proof of a pandemic.
Another stunning revelation from Bulgarian Pathology Association (BPA) president Dr. Alexov is that he believes it's currently ''impossible'' to create a vaccine against the virus.
He also revealed that European pathologists haven't identified any antibodies that are specific for SARS-CoV-2.
These stunning statements raise major questions, including about officials' and scientists' claims regarding the many vaccines they're rushing into clinical trials around the world.
They also raise doubt about the veracity of claims of discovery of anti-novel-coronavirus antibodies (which are beginning to be used to treat patients).
Novel-coronavirus-specific antibodies are supposedly the basis for the expensive serology test kits being used in many countries (some of which have been found to be unacceptably inaccurate).
And they're purportedly key to the immunity certificates coveted by Bill Gates that are about to go into widespread use '-- in the form of the COVI-PASS '-- in 15 countries including the UK, US, and Canada.
Dr. Alexov made his jaw-dropping observations in a video interview summarizing the consensus of participants in a May 8, 2020, European Society of Pathology (ESP) webinar on COVID-19.
The May 13 video interview of Dr. Alexov was conducted by Dr. Stoycho Katsarov, chair of the Center for Protection of Citizens' Rights in Sofia and a former Bulgarian deputy minister of health. The video is on the BPA's website, which also highlights some of Dr. Alexov's main points.
We asked a native Bulgarian speaker with a science background to orally translate the video interview into English. We then transcribed her translation. The video is here and our English transcript is here.
Among the major bombshells Dr. Alexov dropped is that the leaders of the May 8 ESP webinar said no novel-coronavirus-specific antibodies have been found.
The body forms antibodies specific to pathogens it encounters. These specific antibodies are known as monoclonal antibodies and are a key tool in pathology. This is done via immunohistochemistry, which involves tagging antibodies with colours and then coating the biopsy- or autopsy-tissue slides with them. After giving the antibodies time to bind to the pathogens they're specific for, the pathologists can look at the slides under a microscope and see the specific places where the coloured antibodies '-- and therefore the pathogens they're bound to '' are located.
Therefore, in the absence of monoclonal antibodies to the novel coronavirus, pathologists cannot verify whether SARS-CoV-2 is present in the body, or whether the diseases and deaths attributed to it indeed were caused by the virus rather than by something else.
It would be easy to dismiss Dr. Alexov as just another crank 'conspiracy theorist.' After all many people believe they're everywhere these days, spreading dangerous misinformation about COVID-19 and other issues.
In addition, little of what Dr. Alexov alleges was the consensus from the May 8 webinar is in the publicly viewable parts of the proceedings.
But keep in mind that whistleblowers often stand alone because the vast majority of people are afraid to speak out publicly.
Also, Dr. Alexov has an unimpugnable record and reputation. He's been a physician for 30 years. He's president of the BPA, a member of the ESP's Advisory Board and head of the histopathology department at the Oncology Hospital in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.
On top of that, there's other support for what Dr. Alexov is saying.
For example, the director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany said in media interviews that there's a striking dearth of solid evidence for COVID-19's lethality.
''COVID-19 is a fatal disease only in exceptional cases, but in most cases it is a predominantly harmless viral infection,'' Dr. Klaus P¼schel told a German paper in April. Adding in another interview:
In quite a few cases, we have also found that the current corona infection has nothing whatsoever to do with the fatal outcome because other causes of death are present, for example, a brain hemorrhage or a heart attack ['...] [COVID-19 is] not particularly dangerous viral disease ['...] All speculation about individual deaths that have not been expertly examined only fuel anxiety.''
Also, one of us (Rosemary) and another journalist, Amory Devereux, documented in a June 9 Off-Guardian article that the novel coronavirus has not fulfilled Koch's postulates.
These postulates are scientific steps used to prove whether a virus exists and has a one-to-one relationship with a specific disease. We showed that to date no one has proven SARS-CoV-2 causes a discrete illness matching the characteristics of all the people who ostensibly died from COVID-19. Nor has the virus has been isolated, reproduced and then shown to cause this discrete illness.
In addition, in a June 27 Off-Guardian article two more journalists, Torsten Engelbrecht and Konstantin Demeter, added to the evidence that ''the existence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA is based on faith, not fact.''
The pair also confirmed ''there is no scientific proof that those RNA sequences [deemed to match that of the novel coronavirus] are the causative agent of what is called COVID-19.''
Dr. Alexov stated in the May 13 interview that:
the main conclusion [of those of us who participated in the May 8 webinar] was that the autopsies that were conducted in Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Sweden do not show that the virus is deadly.''
He added that:
What all of the pathologists said is that there's no one who has died from the coronavirus. I will repeat that: no one has died from the coronavirus.''
Dr. Alexov also observed there is no proof from autopsies that anyone deemed to have been infected with the novel coronavirus died only from an inflammatory reaction sparked by the virus (presenting as interstitial pneumonia) rather than from other potentially fatal diseases.
Another revelation of his is that:
''We need to see exactly how the law will deal with immunization and that vaccine that we're all talking about, because I'm certain it's [currently] not possible to create a vaccine against COVID. I'm not sure what exactly Bill Gates is doing with his laboratories '' is it really a vaccine he's producing, or something else?''
As pointed to above, the inability to identify monoclonal antibodies for the virus suggests there is no basis for the vaccines, serological testing and immunity certificates being rolled out around the globe at unprecedented speed and cost. In fact, there is no solid evidence the virus exists.
Dr. Alexov made still more important points. For example, he noted that, in contrast to the seasonal influenza, SARS-CoV-2 hasn't been proven to kill youth:
[With the flu] we can find one virus which can cause a young person to die with no other illness present ['...] In other words, the coronavirus infection is an infection that does not lead to death. And the flu can lead to death.''
(There have been reports of severe maladies such as Kawasaki-like disease and stroke in young people who were deemed to have a novel-coronavirus infection. However, the majority of published papers on these cases are very short and include only one or only a small handful of patients. Moreover, commenters on the papers note it's impossible to determine the role of the virus because the papers' authors did not control sufficiently, if at all, for confounding factors. It's most likely that children's deaths attributed to COVID-19 in fact are from multiple organ failure resulting from the combination of the drug cocktail and ventilation that these children are subjected to.)
Dr. Alexov therefore asserted that:
the WHO is creating worldwide chaos, with no real facts behind what they're saying.''
Among the myriad ways the WHO is creating that chaos is by prohibiting almost all autopsies of people deemed to have died from COVID-19. As a result, reported Dr. Alexov, by May 13 only three such autopsies had been conducted in Bulgaria.
Also, the WHO is dictating that everyone said to be infected with the novel coronavirus who subsequently dies must have their deaths attributed to COVID-19.
''That's quite stressful for us, and for me in particular, because we have protocols and procedures which we need to use,'' he told Dr. Katsarov. '''...And another pathologist 100 years from now is going to say, 'Hey, those pathologists didn't know what they were doing [when they said the cause of death was COVID-19]!' So we need to be really strict with our diagnoses, because they could be proven [or disproven], and they could be checked again later.''
He disclosed that pathologists in several countries in Europe, as well as in China, Australia and Canada are strongly resisting the pressure on them to attribute deaths to COVID-19 alone:
I'm really sad that we need to follow the [WHO's] instructions without even thinking about them. But in Germany, France, Italy and England they're starting to think that we shouldn't follow the WHO so strictly, and [instead] when we're writing the cause of death we should have some pathology [results to back that up] and we should follow the protocol. [That's because] when we say something we need to be able to prove it.''
(He added that autopsies could have helped confirm or disprove the theory that many of the people deemed to have died of COVID-19 in Italy had previously received the H1N1 flu vaccine. Because, as he noted, the vaccine suppresses adults' immune systems and therefore may have been a significant contributor to their deaths by making them much more susceptible to infection.)
Drs. Alexov and Katsarov agreed that yet another aspect of the WHO-caused chaos and its fatal consequences is many people are likely to die soon from diseases such as cancer because the lockdowns, combined with the emptying of hospitals (ostensibly to make room for COVID-19 patients), halted all but the most pressing procedures and treatments.
They also observed these diseases are being exacerbated by the fear and chaos surrounding COVID-19.
We know that stress significantly suppresses the immune system, so I can really claim 200% that all the chronic diseases will be more severe and more acute per se. Specifically in situ carcinoma '' over 50% of these are going to become more invasive ['...] So I will say that this epidemic isn't so much an epidemic of the virus, it's an epidemic of giving people a lot of fear and stress.''
In addition, posited Dr. Alexov, as another direct and dire result of the pandemic panic many people are losing faith in physicians.
Because in my opinion the coronavirus isn't that dangerous, and how are people going to have trust in me doing cancer pathology, much of which is related to viruses as well? But nobody is talking about that.''
We emailed Dr. Alexov several questions, including asking why he believes it's impossible to create a vaccine against COVID-19.
He didn't answer the questions directly. Dr. Alexov instead responded:
We also emailed five of Dr. Alexov's colleagues in the European Pathology Society asking them to confirm Dr. Alexov's revelations. We followed up by telephone with two of them. None responded.
Why didn't Dr. Alexov or his five colleagues answer our questions?
We doubt it's due to lack of English proficiency.
It's more likely because of the pressure on pathologists to follow the WHO's directives and not speak out publicly. (And, on top of that, pathology departments depend on governments for their funding.)
Nonetheless, pathologists like Drs. Alexov and P¼schel appear to be willing to step out and say that no one has died from a novel-coronavirus infection.
Perhaps that's because pathologists' records and reputations are based on hard physical evidence rather than on subjective interpretation of tests, signs and symptoms. And there is no hard physical evidence that COVID-19 is deadly.
Rosemary Frei has an MSc in molecular biology from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, was a freelance medical writer and journalist for 22 years and now is an independent investigative journalist. You can watch her June 15 interview on The Corbett Report, read her other Off-Guardian articles and follow her on Twitter.Patrick Corbett is a retired writer, producer, director and editor who's worked for every major network in Canada and the US except for Fox. His journalistic credits include Dateline NBC, CTV's W-5 and the CTV documentary unit where he wrote and directed 'Children's Hospital', the first Canadian production to be nominated for an International Emmy. You can follow Patrick on Twitter.
Masks and Muzzles
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott mandates face masks in most counties | The Texas Tribune
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 21:09
Gov. Greg Abbott issued a nearly statewide mask mandate Thursday as Texas scrambles to get its coronavirus surge under control.
The order requires Texans living in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while inside a business or other building open to the public, as well as outdoor public spaces, whenever social distancing is not possible. But it provides several exceptions, including children who are younger than 10 years old, people who have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, people who are eating or drinking and people who are exercising outdoors.
Abbott's order specifies at least one group of people is not excepted from the order: ''any person attending a protest or demonstration'' with over 10 people who cannot socially distance.
Abbott released a video message along with the order, saying the latest coronavirus numbers in the state "reveal a very stark reality."
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one .
"COVID-19 is not going away," he said. "In fact, it's getting worse. Now, more than ever, action by everyone is needed until treatments are available for COVID-19."
In the video, Abbott reiterated his resistance to returning the state to the roughly monthlong stay-at-home order he issued in April. He said Texans "must do more to slow the spread without locking Texas back down." He also said his latest announcement is "not a stay-at-home order" but "just recognizes reality: If you don't go out, you are less likely to encounter someone who has COVID-19."
"We are now at a point where the virus is spreading so fast there is little margin for error," Abbott said.
Abbott's announcement came a day after the number of new daily cases in Texas, as well as hospitalizations, reached new highs again. There were 8,076 new cases Wednesday, over 1,000 cases more than the record that was set the prior day.
Hospitalizations hit 6,904, the third straight day setting a new record. The state says 12,894 beds are still available, as well as 1,322 ICU beds.
Abbott has been particularly worried about the positivity rate, or the share of tests that come back positive. That rate, presented by the state as a seven-day average, has jumped above its previous high of about 14% in recent days, ticking down to 13.58% on Tuesday. That is still above the 10% threshold that Abbott has long said would be cause for alarm amid the reopening process.
First-time offenders of Abbott's order will receive a written or verbal warning. Those who violate the order a second time will receive a fine of up to $250. Every subsequent violation is punishable also by a fine of up to $250. The order specifics that no one can get jail time for a violation.
Abbott's order is effective as of 12:01 p.m. Friday.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one .
Abbott had previously resisted calls for such a statewide requirement but allowed local governments to require businesses to mandate masks.
Abbott on Thursday also banned certain outdoor gatherings of over 10 people unless local officials approve. He had previously set the threshold at over 100 people. The new prohibition also goes into effect Friday afternoon.
Abbott's latest moves come ahead of Fourth of July weekend, which has raised concerns about larger-than-usual crowds gathering while the state grapples with the virus spike.
This is Abbott's latest set of moves aimed at trying to get the virus surge under control in Texas. Six days ago, he ordered bars closed and reduced the permitted restaurant occupancy to 50%, among other things.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one .
This developing story will be updated.
Why Texas Governor Abbott's 'Face Mask' Order Is Not What It Seems - LewRockwell
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:19
Today Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) issued yet another executive order on the coronavirus outbreak '' while the Texas state legislature continues slumbering while collecting paychecks for no work.
The mainstream media, predictably, is mis-reporting the executive order as a ''statewide face covering requirement for Texans.''
It is no such thing. However, it is worded in such an obtuse manner that this misinterpretation of the executive order will likely be universal in Texas.
Here is the important part of the order:
Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household; provided, however, that this face-covering requirement does not apply to the following'...
Shifu Orboot (App Base... Buy New $54.99 (as of 05:02 EDT - Details ) That comma after the word ''space'' is essential. It establishes ''outdoor public space'' as a clause within the sentence, meaning both indoor AND outdoor are covered by the exception ''wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing.'' This is critically important, as it means even in stores or other indoor spaces masks are not required as long as it is possible to ''social distance.'' That would include every grocery store and reasonably-sized commercial establishment.
In other words, this order was purposely written to be misinterpreted! Perception is 99 percent of reality, particularly among county and local officials who will mis-read this (probably intentionally) as a green light to crack down hard. Abbott is not mandating face masks outdoors or even indoors or even in commercial entities. But his order is worded in such a purposely weasel-like manner that it will be universally accepted and reported as such. It is already being so reported.
Section Sec. 418.014.C of the Texas legal code states that a governor-declared state of emergency can only last for 30 days. The governor has the authority to extend that state of emergency, but he is subject to the actions of the legislature. As the code states. ''The legislature by law may terminate a state of disaster at any time. On termination by the legislature, the governor shall issue an executive order ending the state of disaster.''
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick loves to bluster about being a champion of civil liberties, recently blasting the hapless Dr. Fauci to earn red meat political points. But unfortunately then it comes to actually standing up for Texans who are seeing their livelihoods destroyed, who are seeing their civil liberties trampled, who are seeing an out-of-control governor ruling by decree in a manner that would have made King George blush, he's ''all hat, no cattle'' as we say here in Texas.
In Texas the Lt. Governor wields extraordinary power over the state's legislative body and could call the Texas Senate back into session to begin the process of ending Governor Abbott's insane power grab.
But thus far that former radio personality has done little more than preen in front of the microphone. Jackery Portable Power... Buy New $999.99 (as of 04:50 EDT - Details )
As we very clearly explain in today's Ron Paul Liberty Report, the reason for the ''spike'' in Texas covid cases is a massive ramping up in testing (''Come one come all, it's free!!!!!'') and an extraordinary re-definition of what it means to be ''covid positive'' that was implemented by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in mid-May. Texas county and local officials expressed concern that ramping up testing and lowering the threshold to declaring ''probable'' covid cases (with no testing) as actual ''covid cases'' would lead to a mass spike in Texas. Turns out they were right.
Classifying all those seeking delayed surgeries and other medical procedures as ''covid cases'' even if not sick only makes the situation in Texas seem worse.
Many honest Texas officials saw the ''second wave'' spike coming because they saw how the game was being rigged. But Abbott fell for it and he has declared war on Texans and on liberty.
This is not rocket science. Politics is at play in the ''second wave'' coronavirus in Texas and elected officials are either too dense or too corrupt to take a stand for truth.
The Best of Daniel McAdams
L.A. unveils color-coded coronavirus risk-assessment system - Los Angeles Times
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 11:50
As coronavirus cases continue to mushroom throughout the state, Los Angeles has unveiled a new color-coded system to assess and report the risk of infection.
The online indicator, which Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled Wednesday, is broken into four categories '-- red, orange, yellow and green '-- each representing different threat levels.
''Information and data on the threat helps us all inform our behavior, guides us to better days,'' Garcetti said.
As of Thursday morning, L.A.'s indicator was orange, meaning that the risk of infection remains very high, according to Garcetti.
''When the indicator is orange, you want to stay at home as often as possible ... and only leave for essential activities like going to work or going to the market,'' he said. ''And you should assume everyone around you is infectious.''
Red, the highest threat level, would mean that ''residents must stay at home and take precautions and will likely be on a mandated safer-at-home order,'' Garcetti said.
The orange zone means that people without vulnerabilities should use their discretion.
Yellow means ''we're successfully flattening the curve'' and green ''will indicate that COVID-19 is mostly contained and presents a very low risk to Angelenos,'' he added.
''We all want to live in that green and yellow area until there's a cure or a treatment for COVID-19,'' he said.
The new tool was released as Los Angeles, like many areas in the state and nation, continues to see distressing spikes in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.
On Thursday, there were 1,893 patients with confirmed infections in L.A. County hospitals '-- up from 1,429 two weeks earlier.
''Whether we stop the threat of COVID-19, whether we save lives and preserve livelihoods, is up to us,'' Garcetti said. ''COVID-19 has taken control, and it's time for us to take control back.''
Statewide, the number of people hospitalized with coronavirus has shot up 56% in the last two weeks '-- from 3,337 to 5,196. Coronavirus cases also have surged, setting four daily records over that same time frame.
As of Thursday afternoon, the total number of confirmed infections statewide had surpassed 241,000. Almost 6,200 Californians have died from COVID-19.
So severe are the recent increases that some counties, including San Bernardino and Riverside, have said they are prepared to open overflow facilities as their hospitals approach surge capacity.
The state also announced the reactivation of four alternate care locations Wednesday '-- the Imperial Field Medical Site, Seton Medical Center, Fairview Developmental Center and Porterville Developmental Center. Combined, those facilities will make hundreds of additional beds available to relieve stress on the healthcare system.
''As hospitalizations continue to rise, these alternative care sites will expand capacity and support additional acute care specifically dedicated to COVID-19 patients,'' according to the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
Amid the worsening outbreak, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday ordered 19 particularly hard-hit counties to walk back some reopenings and halt visits to indoor restaurants, bars, wineries and tasting rooms, entertainment centers, movie theaters, zoos, museums and card rooms for the next three weeks.
Counties affected by the order include Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Sacramento.
The Newsom administration's decision to impose tougher rules in those counties comes just weeks after the state allowed restrictions to be eased in most of the state.
Businesses in the affected counties are still allowed to remain open for outdoor service and takeout. Bars and other drinking establishments are also allowed to seat guests outdoors as long as they sell a meal with drinks in the same transaction and meet all of the same safety requirements as restaurants.
On Thursday, Garcetti said outdoor restaurant dining is not discouraged by the city but also acknowledged that he will be getting take-out.
''That's not the place where you probably are going to get infections,'' Garcetti said, adding that infections come when people are in a closed environment and near one another.
''We're in the second or third inning of this nine-inning game,'' Newsom said Thursday. ''By no stretch are we out of the woods, but we can influence, we can mitigate the spread, we can again bend this curve.''
A major thrust of that effort is wearing masks while in public or high-risk settings '-- which Newsom mandated statewide on June 18.
Newsom on Thursday announced the launch of a public-awareness campaign aimed at driving home the importance of wearing face coverings, which public health officials say can help prevent those who are infected with the coronavirus from spreading it to others.
The campaign is being funded in part by donations from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the foundation of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan. Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso and former Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer also donated to the campaign.
However, the issue of enforcement has remained an open question, with some local governments or law enforcement agencies saying they won't punish residents for not adhering to the mask mandate.
Newsom acknowledged there are limitations to how far the state can go in terms of enforcement '-- ''There are laws on the books that, if we tried to enforce at scale, we never could that transcend and predate COVID-19" '-- and said that's why public education and encouragement are so important.
''If 40 million people want to turn their back on civil society and abuse the rules, laws and regulations on a consistent basis at scale, then society begins to erode,'' he said. ''Accordingly, the health of a community begins to be diminished. We have a health crisis in this nation. We are not out of this crisis; we're still in the first wave of this crisis. It requires some level of personal responsibility.''
As infections continue to climb, officials are pleading with residents to not gather with friends or family members they don't live with over the Fourth of July weekend.
Newsom said state public health officials are gravely concerned that Californians will let their guard down during one of the most social holidays of the year, traditionally a festive time celebrated with backyard barbecues, crowded public fireworks shows and trips to beaches, rivers and lakes. Those gatherings have the potential to accelerate the spread of the coronavirus.
To that end, officials have moved to stave off some of the communal traditions that typically mark the holiday. The vast majority of Southern California's beaches will be closed for the Fourth of July weekend, and Newsom has recommended that all fireworks shows be canceled in the most impacted counties.
''This is not going to be the type of Fourth of July weekend that most of us are used to '-- nor should it be,'' L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement.
''The spike we have seen in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across our county should alarm all of us. We all have to make personal sacrifices to protect the people we love and our communities from this virus.''
San Francisco city and community leaders also held an online news conference Thursday to urge residents to stay home for the holiday.
Dr. Grant Colfax, the city's public health director, said San Francisco has experienced a ''significant and alarming increase in COVID-19 infections.''
''Our rates have soared,'' he said. ''We are in a situation where we could be seeing early signs of surge.''
Local hospital capacity remains in good shape, however, and the city is accepting patients from other harder-hit areas '-- including 18 inmates from San Quentin State Prison, he said.
''Once this virus takes off at a high rate, it is very aggressive,'' Colfax said.
Times staff writers Rong-Gong Lin II, Colleen Shalby, Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, Hannah Fry, Taryn Luna, Dakota Smith and Stephanie Lai contributed to this report.
RIVM: meer mensen hebben moeite om 1,5 meter afstand te bewaren | De Volkskrant
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 10:09
Reizigers op station Utrecht Centraal Beeld ANPIn de vierde ronde van het gedragsonderzoek (17 tot en met 21 juni) blijkt het aantal mensen dat zich aan de 1,5-meterregel houdt te zijn afgenomen tot 60 procent. Dat is 10 procent minder dan in de eerste ronde (van 17 tot en met 24 april). Het gebruik van papieren zakdoekjes nam af van 74 tot 65 procent.
Het percentage deelnemers dat aangeeft zich te houden aan de hygineregels, zoals handen wassen en hoesten of niezen in de elleboog, bleef redelijk stabiel. Handen worden er nog steeds nauwelijks geschud; aan die gedragsregel houdt meer dan 95 procent van de mensen zich.
Voor veel maatregelen, zoals 'vermijd drukte' en 'thuisblijven bij verkoudheid', is het draagvlak nog steeds groot. Maar de regels om een niet-medisch mondkapje in het openbaar vervoer te dragen en om zoveel mogelijk thuis te werken, kunnen op minder draagvlak rekenen: 65 respectievelijk 67 procent.
Ineens is het een soort wet: houd anderhalve meter afstand, en het virus zal niet tot u komen. Maar heeft de economisch zo hinderlijke maatregel wel zin? Hoe een oude medische vuistregel uitgroeide tot een heuse doctrine.
Is Nederland tijdens drie maanden coronacrisis socialer geworden? Kim Putters, directeur van het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau, betwijfelt het. 'De hulp die burgers elkaar nu bieden, is geen compensatie voor het bouwwerk dat door corona is weggeslagen.'
Deze embed wordt niet getoondU heeft via cookie-instellingen gekozen om deze embed niet te tonen. Onze aanbevolen cookie-instelling is niveau 4. Zo geniet u op elk ogenblik van deze website in optimale omstandigheden.
Why Some Young People Fear Social Isolation More Than COVID-19 : Shots - Health News : NPR
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 12:26
Youth from across Philadelphia gathered in front of City Hall June 9 to protest police brutality and voice their concerns and vision for the future. According to recent research cited by the CDC, nearly half of all Americans between 18 and 29 report symptoms of anxiety or depression. Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images Youth from across Philadelphia gathered in front of City Hall June 9 to protest police brutality and voice their concerns and vision for the future. According to recent research cited by the CDC, nearly half of all Americans between 18 and 29 report symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images Audrey just turned 18 and relishes crossing into adulthood: She voted for the first time this year, graduated high school, and is college-bound next month. The honors student typically wakes up "a bundle of nerves," she says, which has fueled her work volunteering, playing varsity sports, and leading student government.
But for years, she also struggled with anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder '-- all of which drove her to work harder.
"I was spending so much time on my homework, I felt like I was losing my friends '-- so my thoughts would race over and over again about my friends," says Audrey. "And then I would have the difficult thoughts about suicide and some scarier stuff." (NPR agreed to use only her first name to protect her medical privacy.)
Audrey's psychological struggles landed her in mental health treatment last fall. There, she says, the coping skills she learned gave her perspective on quarantine: "I know all about how seeing friends and seeing people outside '-- and social interaction '-- is vital for survival."
There is a simmering tension between young people's desire to gather socially, and the growing threat from the novel coronavirus in the United States. The virus is infecting more people in their teens and 20s than earlier in the pandemic, and that's contributing to outbreaks, especially in states in the South and West. As a result, public health officials are imploring young adults to limit social contact and take precautions to help protect their more vulnerable elders. But many young people see continued social isolation as a much greater risk than COVID-19 to their own mental health.
It's not that Audrey isn't worried about the pandemic; in fact, confirmed cases of the coronavirus are spiking in her hometown of Charlotte, N.C. So Audrey wears masks, washes her hands, and stays 6 feet from friends. But for her generation, she says, infection isn't the primary threat.
"A lot of people are calling attention to coronavirus because it's right in front of us," she says. "But at the same time, teens' depression rate '-- it's a silent threat."
The health risks of infection differ by generation. For many young adults, life lived at a social distance, with a lack of peer support, comes at a high cost to mental health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly half of people between 18 and 29 report feeling symptoms of anxiety or depression. That's twice the rate for their parents, and three times higher than their grandparents. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people under 35.
Yet somehow, says Audrey, that's not talked about as much.
"We haven't seen the government or adults as passionate about the things we really care about, like mental health and climate issues," she says.
It might be tempting to think that FaceTime and Zoom provide substitutes for in-person social outlets, especially for a generation of digital natives who grew up with smart phones. But, therapists say, talking by small screen offers no replacement for a calming hug, and can miss the subtleties of a compassionate expression.
Audrey's complaint is a common refrain among the adolescent and young adult patients psychologist Lisa Jacobs counsels. It is not that they aren't concerned about the risks of COVID-19, she says; it's just that their risk calculations differ.
"They are appropriately realizing that isolation is a risk for them as well '-- it's a risk factor for depression, and depression is a risk factor for suicide," Jacobs says. "And 8% of American teens attempt suicide each year."
Jacobs says many of her young patients complain older generations failed to address the young people's fears '-- of school shootings and climate change, for example.
"After not being protected, after not being taken seriously, they were asked to take extreme measures to protect other groups and to put themselves at risk by doing so," Jacobs says.
There is a biological basis for young peoples' need for socialization. Scientists say bonding isn't a luxury; it's critical for development.
Young brains need social connection to feel secure about their identity and place in the world, says Gregory Lewis, who studies the neurobiology of social interaction at Indiana University.
"We expect as a human being to have other people there to share the stressful times and to be our backup, and when they're not there physically, that in of itself tells our nervous system you're in a dangerous environment because you don't have these people here," he says.
That is less of an issue among older adults, Lewis says, who have had more time to develop their social networks '-- both at work and around their community '-- and more time to find partners who can help ground them emotionally. By contrast, he says, "younger people are missing a larger percentage of what previously was there to buffer them."
So the societal challenge, he says, is to find ways to help community members of all ages balance the risks of infection against the need to foster those essential social bonds.
Vaccines and such
Study finds hydroxychloroquine helped coronavirus patients survive better - CNN
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:08
By Maggie Fox, Andrea Kane, and Elizabeth Cohen, CNN
Updated 11:24 PM EDT, Thu July 02, 2020
(CNN) A surprising new study found that the controversial antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine helped patients better survive in the hospital.
A team at Henry Ford Health System in Southeast Michigan said Thursday its study of 2,541 hospitalized patients found that those given hydroxychloroquine were much less likely to die.
Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health System, said 26% of those not given hydroxychloroquine died, compared to 13% of those who got the drug. The team looked back at everyone treated in the hospital system since the first patient in March.
"Overall crude mortality rates were 18.1% in the entire cohort, 13.5% in the hydroxychloroquine alone group, 20.1% among those receiving hydroxychloroquine'‰plus'‰azithromycin, 22.4% among the azithromycin alone group, and 26.4% for neither drug," the team wrote in a report published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
It's a surprising finding because several other studies have found no benefit from hydroxychloroquine, a drug originally developed to treat and prevent malaria. President Donald Trump touted the drug heavily, but later studies found not only did patients not do better if they got the drug, they were more likely to suffer cardiac side effects.
The US Food and Drug Administration withdrew its emergency use authorization for the drug earlier this month and trials around the world, including trials sponsored by the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health, were halted.
"Our results do differ from some other studies," Zervos told a news conference. "What we think was important in ours ... is that patients were treated early. For hydroxychloroquine to have a benefit, it needs to begin before the patients begin to suffer some of the severe immune reactions that patients can have with Covid," he added.
The Henry Ford team also monitored patients carefully for heart problems, he said.
"The combination of hydroxychloroquine'‰plus'‰azithromycin was reserved for selected patients with severe COVID-19 and with minimal cardiac risk factors," the team wrote.
The Henry Ford team said they believe their findings show hydroxychloroquine could be potentially useful as a treatment for coronavirus.
"It's important to note that in the right settings, this potentially could be a lifesaver for patients," Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group, said at the news conference.
Kalkanis said that their findings do not necessarily contradict those of earlier studies. "We also want to make the point that just because our results differ from some others that may have been published, it doesn't make those studies wrong or definitely a conflict. What it simply means is that by looking at the nuanced data of which patients actually benefited and when, we might be able to further unlock the code of how this disease works," he said.
"Much more work needs to be done to elucidate what the final treatment plan should be for Covid-19," Kalkanis added. "But we feel ... that these are critically important results to add to the mix of how we move forward if there's a second surge, and in relevant other parts of the world. Now we can help people combat this disease and to reduce the mortality rate."
Zervos said hydroxychloroquine can help interfere with the virus directly and also reduces inflammation.
Researchers not involved with the study were critical. They noted that the Henry Ford team did not randomly treat patients but selected them for various treatments based on certain criteria.
"As the Henry Ford Health System became more experienced in treating patients with COVID-19, survival may have improved, regardless of the use of specific therapies," Dr. Todd Lee of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Canada, and colleagues wrote in a commentary in the same journal.
"Finally, concomitant steroid use in patients receiving hydroxychloroquine was more than double the non-treated group. This is relevant considering the recent RECOVERY trial that showed a mortality benefit with dexamethasone." The steroid dexamethasone can reduce inflammation in seriously ill patients.
The Henry Ford team wrote that 82% of their patients received hydroxychloroquine within the first 24 hours of admission, and 91% within the first 48 hours of admission.
They wrote that in comparison, a study of patients at 25 New York hospitals started taking the drug "at any time during their hospitalization."
But patients in that New York study, published in May in the Journal of the American Medical Association, started taking hydroxychloroquine on average one day after being hospitalized.
"Maybe there's a little bit of a difference, but it's not like patients in New York were being started on day seven. That's not what happened," said Eli Rosenberg, lead author of the New York study and an associate professor of epidemiology at the University at Albany School of Public Health.
Rosenberg also pointed out that the Detroit paper excluded 267 patients -- nearly 10% of the study population -- who had not yet been discharged from the hospital.
He said this might have skewed the results to make hydroxychloroquine look better than it really was. Those patients might have still been in the hospital because they were very sick, and if they died, excluding them from the study made hydroxychloroquine look like more of a lifesaver than it really was.
"There's a little bit of loosey-goosiness here in all this," he told CNN.
Both the Detroit and New York studies were observational: they looked back at how patients did when doctors prescribed hydroxychloroquine.
While helpful, observational studies are not as valuable as controlled clinical trials. Considered the gold standard in medicine, patients in a clinical trial are randomly assigned to take either the drug or a placebo, which is a treatment that does nothing. Doctors then follow the patients to see how they fare.
Two clinical trials on hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19, one in the US and one in the UK, were stopped early because their data suggested hydroxychloroquine wasn't helpful.
The US trial, run by the National Institutes of Health, enrolled more than 470 patients.
The UK trial, run by the University of Oxford, enrolled more than 11,000 patients.
"We have concluded that there is no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalized with COVID-19," the Oxford doctors concluded.
But a White House official praised the Henry Ford team's study.
Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser, said the study shows hydroxychloroquine works if given early enough.
"This is a big deal," he told CNN. "This medicine can literally save tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of American lives and maybe millions of people worldwide."
CCP
China warns US of countermeasures over Hong Kong sanctions bill
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 11:51
China has promised to take "all necessary countermeasures" if the United States pressed ahead with legislation penalising banks doing business with Chinese officials who implement Beijing's draconian new national security law on Hong Kong.
The warning on Friday came after the US Senate unanimously approved the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, sending it to the White House for President Donald Trump's signature.
"This US move has grossly interfered in China's internal affairs and seriously violated international law, as well as the basic norms governing international relations," the Foreign Affairs Committee of China's National People's Congress said.
"If the US side is bent on going down the wrong path, China will resolutely respond with all necessary countermeasures."
Beijing has faced a groundswell of criticism over its decision to impose a law outlawing "acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces" in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters in the city as well as foreign governments say the law breaches the "one country, two systems" principle enshrined in the 1984 Sino-British treaty that guaranteed the autonomy of Hong Kong.
The law has triggered alarm among democracy activists and rights groups. Demosisto, a pro-democracy group led by Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong, disbanded hours after the legislation was passed, while prominent group member Nathan Law said on Friday that he had left the global financial hub.
The 26-year-old said he made the decision to leave after criticising the new law at a US congressional hearing he attended via livestream on Wednesday. "Of course, I knew my speech and appearance would put my own safety in serious jeopardy given the circumstances," he wrote on Twitter.
"As a global-facing activist, the choice I have are stark: to stay silent from now on, or to keep engaging in private diplomacy so I can warn the world of the threat of Chinese authoritarian expansion. I made the decision when I agreed to testify before the US Congress."
Al Jazeera's Sarah Clarke, reporting from Hong Kong, said Law did not close his whereabouts for security reasons and is "just one among a number of political figures who've fled as a result of the national security law".
"Joshua Wong and prominent Demosisto member Agnes Chow - we do not know where they are at the moment. We think they must be in the city as they face criminal charges and are not allowed to leave as a result."
Wong and Chow face charges of taking part in an unlawful assembly in August last year, during mass protests against a now-withdrawn extradition bill with mainland China. It was those demonstrations - which lasted for months and at times descended into violence - that prompted Beijing's move to impose the security law.
Nathan Law, centre, walks past the media outside the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong [Isaac Lawrence/ AFP]
Officials in Beijing and Hong Kong say the law, which bypasses Hong Kong's legislature, is necessary to restore order and stability in the city and will only target a handful of "trouble-makers".
Meanwhile, Hong Kong's local government confirmed that a popular protest slogan used over the last year - "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times " - was now illegal. The rallying cry appears on placards at rallies, is printed on clothes and accessories and scribbled on post-it notes on walls across the city.
"The slogan 'Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times' nowadays connotes "Hong Kong independence", or separating the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from the People's Republic of China, altering the legal status of the HKSAR, or subverting the state power," the government said in a statement late on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the 23rd anniversary of the former British colony's handover to Chinese rule, police arrested about 370 people during protests against the legislation, with 10 of those involving violations of the new law
The United Kingdom has announced plans to allow millions of Hong Kong citizens with British National Overseas status to relocate with their families and eventually apply for citizenship. Australia said it was considering similar action, while Taiwan has opened an office to help Hong Kong people wanting to flee the city.
Text - S.3798 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Hong Kong Autonomy Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 11:52
S. 3798
AN ACT
To impose sanctions with respect to foreign persons involved in the erosion of certain obligations of China with respect to Hong Kong, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of theUnited States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. Short title; table of contents .
(a) Short title .'--This Act may be cited as the ''Hong Kong Autonomy Act''.
(b) Table of contents .'--The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Definitions. Sec. 3. Findings. Sec. 4. Sense of Congress regarding Hong Kong. Sec. 5. Identification of foreign persons involved in the erosion of the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law and foreign financial institutions that conduct significant transactions with those persons. Sec. 6. Sanctions with respect to foreign persons that contravene the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law. Sec. 7. Sanctions with respect to foreign financial institutions that conduct significant transactions with foreign persons that contravene the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law. Sec. 8. Waiver, termination, exceptions, and congressional review process. Sec. 9. Implementation; penalties. Sec. 10. Rule of construction. In this Act:
(1) A LIEN; NATIONAL; NATIONAL OF THE UNITED STATES.'--The terms ''alien'', ''national'', and ''national of the United States'' have the meanings given those terms in section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101).
(2) A PPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES AND LEADERSHIP.'--The term ''appropriate congressional committees and leadership'' means'--
(A) the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Committee on the Judiciary, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the majority leader and the minority leader of the Senate; and
(B) the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Financial Services, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Homeland Security, the Committee on the Judiciary, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Speaker and the minority leader of the House of Representatives.
(3) B ASIC LAW.'--The term ''Basic Law'' means the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
(4) C HINA.'--The term ''China'' means the People's Republic of China.
(5) E NTITY.'--The term ''entity'' means a partnership, joint venture, association, corporation, organization, network, group, or subgroup, or any other form of business collaboration.
(6) F INANCIAL INSTITUTION.'--The term ''financial institution'' means a financial institution specified in section 5312(a)(2) of title 31, United States Code.
(7) H ONG KONG.'--The term ''Hong Kong'' means the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
(8) J OINT DECLARATION.'--The term ''Joint Declaration'' means the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong, done at Beijing on December 19, 1984.
(9) K NOWINGLY.'--The term ''knowingly'', with respect to conduct, a circumstance, or a result, means that a person has actual knowledge of the conduct, the circumstance, or the result.
(10) P ERSON.'--The term ''person'' means an individual or entity.
(11) U NITED STATES PERSON.'--The term ''United States person'' means'--
(A) any citizen or national of the United States;
(B) any alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States;
(C) any entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including a foreign branch of such an entity); or
(D) any person located in the United States.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The Joint Declaration and the Basic Law clarify certain obligations and promises that the Government of China has made with respect to the future of Hong Kong.
(2) The obligations of the Government of China under the Joint Declaration were codified in a legally-binding treaty, signed by the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and registered with the United Nations.
(3) The obligations of the Government of China under the Basic Law originate from the Joint Declaration, were passed into the domestic law of China by the National People's Congress, and are widely considered by citizens of Hong Kong as part of the de facto legal constitution of Hong Kong.
(4) Foremost among the obligations of the Government of China to Hong Kong is the promise that, pursuant to Paragraph 3b of the Joint Declaration, ''the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will enjoy a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs which are the responsibilities of the Central People's Government''.
(5) The obligation specified in Paragraph 3b of the Joint Declaration is referenced, reinforced, and extrapolated on in several portions of the Basic Law, including Articles 2, 12, 13, 14, and 22.
(6) Article 22 of the Basic Law establishes that ''No department of the Central People's Government and no province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government may interfere in the affairs which the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region administers on its own in accordance with this Law.''.
(7) The Joint Declaration and the Basic Law make clear that additional obligations shall be undertaken by China to ensure the ''high degree of autonomy'' of Hong Kong.
(8) Paragraph 3c of the Joint Declaration states, as reinforced by Articles 2, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 22 of the Basic Law, that Hong Kong ''will be vested with executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication''.
(9) On multiple occasions, the Government of China has undertaken actions that have contravened the letter or intent of the obligation described in paragraph (8) of this section, including the following:
(A) In 1999, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress overruled a decision by the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal on the right of abode.
(B) On multiple occasions, the Government of Hong Kong, at the advice of the Government of China, is suspected to have not allowed persons entry into Hong Kong allegedly because of their support for democracy and human rights in Hong Kong and China.
(C) The Liaison Office of China in Hong Kong has, despite restrictions on interference in the affairs of Hong Kong as detailed in Article 22 of the Basic Law'--
(i) openly expressed support for candidates in Hong Kong for Chief Executive and Legislative Council;
(ii) expressed views on various policies for the Government of Hong Kong and other internal matters relating to Hong Kong; and
(iii) on April 17, 2020, asserted that both the Liaison Office of China in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council ''have the right to exercise supervision '... on affairs regarding Hong Kong and the mainland, in order to ensure correct implementation of the Basic Law''.
(D) The National People's Congress has passed laws requiring Hong Kong to pass laws banning disrespectful treatment of the national flag and national anthem of China.
(E) The State Council of China released a white paper on June 10, 2014, that stressed the ''comprehensive jurisdiction'' of the Government of China over Hong Kong and indicated that Hong Kong must be governed by ''patriots''.
(F) The Government of China has directed operatives to kidnap and bring to the mainland, or is otherwise responsible for the kidnapping of, residents of Hong Kong, including businessman Xiao Jianhua and bookseller Gui Minhai.
(G) The Government of Hong Kong, acting with the support of the Government of China, introduced an extradition bill that would have permitted the Government of China to request and enforce extradition requests for any individual present in Hong Kong, regardless of the legality of the request or the degree to which it compromised the judicial independence of Hong Kong.
(H) The spokesman for the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress said, ''Whether Hong Kong's laws are consistent with the Basic Law can only be judged and decided by the National People's Congress Standing Committee. No other authority has the right to make judgments and decisions.''.
(10) Paragraph 3e of the Joint Declaration states, as reinforced by Article 5 of the Basic Law, that the ''current social and economic systems in Hong Kong will remain unchanged, as so will the life-style.''.
(11) On multiple occasions, the Government of China has undertaken actions that have contravened the letter or intent of the obligation described in paragraph (10) of this section, including the following:
(A) In 2002, the Government of China pressured the Government of Hong Kong to introduce ''patriotic'' curriculum in primary and secondary schools.
(B) The governments of China and Hong Kong proposed the prohibition of discussion of Hong Kong independence and self-determination in primary and secondary schools, which infringes on freedom of speech.
(C) The Government of Hong Kong mandated that Mandarin, and not the native language of Cantonese, be the language of instruction in Hong Kong schools.
(D) The governments of China and Hong Kong agreed to a daily quota of mainland immigrants to Hong Kong, which is widely believed by citizens of Hong Kong to be part of an effort to ''mainlandize'' Hong Kong.
(12) Paragraph 3e of the Joint Declaration states, as reinforced by Articles 4, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 33, 34, and 39 of the Basic Law, that the ''rights and freedoms, including those of person, of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of travel, of movement, of correspondence, of strike, of choice of occupation, of academic research and of religious belief will be ensured by law'' in Hong Kong.
(13) On multiple occasions, the Government of China has undertaken actions that have contravened the letter or intent of the obligation described in paragraph (12) of this section, including the following:
(A) On February 26, 2003, the Government of Hong Kong introduced a national security bill that would have placed restrictions on freedom of speech and other protected rights.
(B) The Liaison Office of China in Hong Kong has pressured businesses in Hong Kong not to advertise in newspapers and magazines critical of the governments of China and Hong Kong.
(C) The Hong Kong Police Force selectively blocked demonstrations and protests expressing opposition to the governments of China and Hong Kong or the policies of those governments.
(D) The Government of Hong Kong refused to renew work visa for a foreign journalist, allegedly for hosting a speaker from the banned Hong Kong National Party.
(E) The Justice Department of Hong Kong selectively prosecuted cases against leaders of the Umbrella Movement, while failing to prosecute police officers accused of using excessive force during the protests in 2014.
(F) On April 18, 2020, the Hong Kong Police Force arrested 14 high-profile democracy activists and campaigners for their role in organizing a protest march that took place on August 18, 2019, in which almost 2,000,000 people rallied against a proposed extradition bill.
(14) Articles 45 and 68 of the Basic Law assert that the selection of Chief Executive and all members of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong should be by ''universal suffrage.''.
(15) On multiple occasions, the Government of China has undertaken actions that have contravened the letter or intent of the obligation described in paragraph (14) of this section, including the following:
(A) In 2004, the National People's Congress created new, antidemocratic procedures restricting the adoption of universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.
(B) The decision by the National People's Congress on December 29, 2007, which ruled out universal suffrage in 2012 elections and set restrictions on when and if universal suffrage will be implemented.
(C) The decision by the National People's Congress on August 31, 2014, which placed limits on the nomination process for the Chief Executive of Hong Kong as a condition for adoption of universal suffrage.
(D) On November 7, 2016, the National People's Congress interpreted Article 104 of the Basic Law in such a way to disqualify 6 elected members of the Legislative Council.
(E) In 2018, the Government of Hong Kong banned the Hong Kong National Party and blocked the candidacy of pro-democracy candidates.
(16) The ways in which the Government of China, at times with the support of a subservient Government of Hong Kong, has acted in contravention of its obligations under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, as set forth in this section, are deeply concerning to the people of Hong Kong, the United States, and members of the international community who support the autonomy of Hong Kong.
SEC. 4. Sense of Congress regarding Hong Kong .
It is the sense of Congress that'--
(1) the United States continues to uphold the principles and policy established in the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 (22 U.S.C. 5701 et seq.) and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 (Public Law 116''76; 22 U.S.C. 5701 note), which remain consistent with China's obligations under the Joint Declaration and certain promulgated objectives under the Basic Law, including that'--
(A) as set forth in section 101(1) of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 (22 U.S.C. 5711(1)), ''The United States should play an active role, before, on, and after July 1, 1997, in maintaining Hong Kong's confidence and prosperity, Hong Kong's role as an international financial center, and the mutually beneficial ties between the people of the United States and the people of Hong Kong.''; and
(B) as set forth in section 2(5) of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 (22 U.S.C. 5701(5)), ''Support for democratization is a fundamental principle of United States foreign policy. As such, it naturally applies to United States policy toward Hong Kong. This will remain equally true after June 30, 1997.'';
(2) although the United States recognizes that, under the Joint Declaration, the Government of China ''resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong with effect on 1 July 1997'', the United States supports the autonomy of Hong Kong in furtherance of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 and advances the desire of the people of Hong Kong to continue the ''one country, two systems'' regime, in addition to other obligations promulgated by China under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law;
(3) in order to support the benefits and protections that Hong Kong has been afforded by the Government of China under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, the United States should establish a clear and unambiguous set of penalties with respect to foreign persons determined by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, to be involved in the contravention of the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law and the financial institutions transacting with those foreign persons;
(4) the Secretary of State should provide an unclassified assessment of the reason for imposition of certain economic penalties on entities, so as to permit a clear path for the removal of economic penalties if the sanctioned behavior is reversed and verified by the Secretary of State;
(5) relevant Federal agencies should establish a multilateral sanctions regime with respect to foreign persons involved in the contravention of the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law; and
(6) in addition to the penalties on foreign persons, and financial institutions transacting with those foreign persons, for the contravention of the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, the United States should take steps, in a time of crisis, to assist permanent residents of Hong Kong who are persecuted or fear persecution as a result of the contravention by China of its obligations under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law to become eligible to obtain lawful entry into the United States.
SEC. 5. Identification of foreign persons involved in the erosion of the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law and foreign financial institutions that conduct significant transactions with those persons .
(a) In general .'--Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, if the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, determines that a foreign person is materially contributing to, has materially contributed to, or attempts to materially contribute to the failure of the Government of China to meet its obligations under the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership a report that includes'--
(1) an identification of the foreign person; and
(2) a clear explanation for why the foreign person was identified and a description of the activity that resulted in the identification.
(b) Identifying foreign financial institutions .'--Not earlier than 30 days and not later than 60 days after the Secretary of State submits to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership the report under subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership a report that identifies any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducts a significant transaction with a foreign person identified in the report under subsection (a).
(c) Exclusion of certain information .'--
(1) I NTELLIGENCE.'--The Secretary of State shall not disclose the identity of a person in a report submitted under subsection (a) or (b), or an update under subsection (e), if the Director of National Intelligence determines that such disclosure could compromise an intelligence operation, activity, source, or method of the United States.
(2) L AW ENFORCEMENT.'--The Secretary of State shall not disclose the identity of a person in a report submitted under subsection (a) or (b), or an update under subsection (e), if the Attorney General, in coordination, as appropriate, with the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the head of any other appropriate Federal law enforcement agency, and the Secretary of the Treasury, determines that such disclosure could reasonably be expected'--
(A) to compromise the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution that furnished information on a confidential basis;
(B) to jeopardize the integrity or success of an ongoing criminal investigation or prosecution;
(C) to endanger the life or physical safety of any person; or
(D) to cause substantial harm to physical property.
(3) N OTIFICATION REQUIRED.'--If the Director of National Intelligence makes a determination under paragraph (1) or the Attorney General makes a determination under paragraph (2), the Director or the Attorney General, as the case may be, shall notify the appropriate congressional committees and leadership of the determination and the reasons for the determination.
(d) Exclusion or removal of foreign persons and foreign financial institutions .'--
(1) F OREIGN PERSONS.'--The President may exclude a foreign person from the report under subsection (a), or an update under subsection (e), or remove a foreign person from the report or update prior to the imposition of sanctions under section 6(a) if the material contribution (as described in subsection (g)) that merited inclusion in that report or update'--
(A) does not have a significant and lasting negative effect that contravenes the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law;
(B) is not likely to be repeated in the future; and
(C) has been reversed or otherwise mitigated through positive countermeasures taken by that foreign person.
(2) F OREIGN FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS.'--The President may exclude a foreign financial institution from the report under subsection (b), or an update under subsection (e), or remove a foreign financial institution from the report or update prior to the imposition of sanctions under section 7(a) if the significant transaction or significant transactions of the foreign financial institution that merited inclusion in that report or update'--
(A) does not have a significant and lasting negative effect that contravenes the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law;
(B) is not likely to be repeated in the future; and
(C) has been reversed or otherwise mitigated through positive countermeasures taken by that foreign financial institution.
(3) N OTIFICATION REQUIRED.'--If the President makes a determination under paragraph (1) or (2) to exclude or remove a foreign person or foreign financial institution from a report under subsection (a) or (b), as the case may be, the President shall notify the appropriate congressional committees and leadership of the determination and the reasons for the determination.
(e) Update of reports .'--
(1) I N GENERAL.'--Each report submitted under subsections (a) and (b) shall be updated in an ongoing manner and, to the extent practicable, updated reports shall be resubmitted with the annual report under section 301 of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 (22 U.S.C. 5731).
(2) R ULE OF CONSTRUCTION.'--Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to terminate the requirement to update the reports under subsections (a) and (b) upon the termination of the requirement to submit the annual report under section 301 of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 (22 U.S.C. 5731).
(f) Form of reports .'--
(1) I N GENERAL.'--Each report under subsection (a) or (b) (including updates under subsection (e)) shall be submitted in unclassified form and made available to the public.
(2) C LASSIFIED ANNEX.'--The explanations and descriptions included in the report under subsection (a)(2) (including updates under subsection (e)) may be expanded on in a classified annex.
(g) Material contributions related to obligations of China described .'--For purposes of this section, a foreign person materially contributes to the failure of the Government of China to meet its obligations under the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law if the person'--
(1) took action that resulted in the inability of the people of Hong Kong'--
(A) to enjoy freedom of assembly, speech, press, or independent rule of law; or
(B) to participate in democratic outcomes; or
(2) otherwise took action that reduces the high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong.
SEC. 6. Sanctions with respect to foreign persons that contravene the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law .
(a) Imposition of sanctions .'--
(1) I N GENERAL.'--On and after the date on which a foreign person is included in the report under section 5(a) or an update to that report under section 5(e), the President may impose sanctions described in subsection (b) with respect to that foreign person.
(2) M ANDATORY SANCTIONS.'--Not later than one year after the date on which a foreign person is included in the report under section 5(a) or an update to that report under section 5(e), the President shall impose sanctions described in subsection (b) with respect to that foreign person.
(b) Sanctions described .'--The sanctions described in this subsection with respect to a foreign person are the following:
(1) P ROPERTY TRANSACTIONS.'--The President may, pursuant to such regulations as the President may prescribe, prohibit any person from'--
(A) acquiring, holding, withholding, using, transferring, withdrawing, transporting, or exporting any property that is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and with respect to which the foreign person has any interest;
(B) dealing in or exercising any right, power, or privilege with respect to such property; or
(C) conducting any transaction involving such property.
(2) E XCLUSION FROM THE UNITED STATES AND REVOCATION OF VISA OR OTHER DOCUMENTATION.'--In the case of a foreign person who is an individual, the President may direct the Secretary of State to deny a visa to, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to exclude from the United States, the foreign person, subject to regulatory exceptions to permit the United States to comply with the Agreement regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations, signed at Lake Success June 26, 1947, and entered into force November 21, 1947, between the United Nations and the United States, or other applicable international obligations.
SEC. 7. Sanctions with respect to foreign financial institutions that conduct significant transactions with foreign persons that contravene the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law .
(a) Imposition of sanctions .'--
(1) I NITIAL SANCTIONS.'--Not later than one year after the date on which a foreign financial institution is included in the report under section 5(b) or an update to that report under section 5(e), the President shall impose not fewer than 5 of the sanctions described in subsection (b) with respect to that foreign financial institution.
(2) E XPANDED SANCTIONS.'--Not later than two years after the date on which a foreign financial institution is included in the report under section 5(b) or an update to that report under section 5(e), the President shall impose each of the sanctions described in subsection (b).
(b) Sanctions described .'--The sanctions described in this subsection with respect to a foreign financial institution are the following:
(1) L OANS FROM UNITED STATES FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS.'--The United States Government may prohibit any United States financial institution from making loans or providing credits to the foreign financial institution.
(2) P ROHIBITION ON DESIGNATION AS PRIMARY DEALER.'--Neither the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System nor the Federal Reserve Bank of New York may designate, or permit the continuation of any prior designation of, the foreign financial institution as a primary dealer in United States Government debt instruments.
(3) P ROHIBITION ON SERVICE AS A REPOSITORY OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS.'--The foreign financial institution may not serve as agent of the United States Government or serve as repository for United States Government funds.
(4) F OREIGN EXCHANGE.'--The President may, pursuant to such regulations as the President may prescribe, prohibit any transactions in foreign exchange that are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and involve the foreign financial institution.
(5) B ANKING TRANSACTIONS.'--The President may, pursuant to such regulations as the President may prescribe, prohibit any transfers of credit or payments between financial institutions or by, through, or to any financial institution, to the extent that such transfers or payments are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and involve the foreign financial institution.
(6) P ROPERTY TRANSACTIONS.'--The President may, pursuant to such regulations as the President may prescribe, prohibit any person from'--
(A) acquiring, holding, withholding, using, transferring, withdrawing, transporting, importing, or exporting any property that is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and with respect to which the foreign financial institution has any interest;
(B) dealing in or exercising any right, power, or privilege with respect to such property; or
(C) conducting any transaction involving such property.
(7) R ESTRICTION ON EXPORTS, REEXPORTS, AND TRANSFERS.'--The President, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, may restrict or prohibit exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) of commodities, software, and technology subject to the jurisdiction of the United States directly or indirectly to the foreign financial institution.
(8) B AN ON INVESTMENT IN EQUITY OR DEBT.'--The President may, pursuant to such regulations or guidelines as the President may prescribe, prohibit any United States person from investing in or purchasing significant amounts of equity or debt instruments of the foreign financial institution.
(9) E XCLUSION OF CORPORATE OFFICERS.'--The President may direct the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Homeland Security, to exclude from the United States any alien that is determined to be a corporate officer or principal of, or a shareholder with a controlling interest in, the foreign financial institution, subject to regulatory exceptions to permit the United States to comply with the Agreement regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations, signed at Lake Success June 26, 1947, and entered into force November 21, 1947, between the United Nations and the United States, or other applicable international obligations.
(10) S ANCTIONS ON PRINCIPAL EXECUTIVE OFFICERS.'--The President may impose on the principal executive officer or officers of the foreign financial institution, or on individuals performing similar functions and with similar authorities as such officer or officers, any of the sanctions described in paragraphs (1) through (8) that are applicable.
(c) Timing of sanctions .'--The President may impose sanctions required under subsection (a) with respect to a financial institution included in the report under section 5(b) or an update to that report under section 5(e) beginning on the day on which the financial institution is included in that report or update.
SEC. 8. Waiver, termination, exceptions, and congressional review process .
(a) National security waiver .'--Unless a disapproval resolution is enacted under subsection (e), the President may waive the application of sanctions under section 6 or 7 with respect to a foreign person or foreign financial institution if the President'--
(1) determines that the waiver is in the national security interest of the United States; and
(2) submits to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership a report on the determination and the reasons for the determination.
(b) Termination of sanctions and removal from report .'--Unless a disapproval resolution is enacted under subsection (e), the President may terminate the application of sanctions under section 6 or 7 with respect to a foreign person or foreign financial institution and remove the foreign person from the report required under section 5(a) or the foreign financial institution from the report required under section 5(b), as the case may be, if the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, determines that the actions taken by the foreign person or foreign financial institution that led to the imposition of sanctions'--
(1) do not have a significant and lasting negative effect that contravenes the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law;
(2) are not likely to be repeated in the future; and
(3) have been reversed or otherwise mitigated through positive countermeasures taken by that foreign person or foreign financial institution.
(c) Termination of Act .'--
(1) R EPORT.'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--Not later than July 1, 2046, the President, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the heads of such other Federal agencies as the President considers appropriate, shall submit to Congress a report evaluating the implementation of this Act and sanctions imposed pursuant to this Act.
(B) E LEMENTS.'--The President shall include in the report submitted under subparagraph (A) an assessment of whether this Act and the sanctions imposed pursuant to this Act should be terminated.
(2) T ERMINATION.'--This Act and the sanctions imposed pursuant to this Act shall remain in effect unless a termination resolution is enacted under subsection (e) after July 1, 2047.
(d) Exception relating to importation of goods .'--
(1) I N GENERAL.'--The authorities and requirements to impose sanctions under sections 6 and 7 shall not include the authority or requirement to impose sanctions on the importation of goods.
(2) G OOD DEFINED.'--In this subsection, the term ''good'' means any article, natural or manmade substance, material, supply, or manufactured product, including inspection and test equipment, and excluding technical data.
(e) Congressional review .'--
(1) R ESOLUTIONS.'--
(A) D ISAPPROVAL RESOLUTION.'--In this section, the term ''disapproval resolution'' means only a joint resolution of either House of Congress'--
(i) the title of which is as follows: ''A joint resolution disapproving the waiver or termination of sanctions with respect to a foreign person that contravenes the obligations of China with respect to Hong Kong or a foreign financial institution that conducts a significant transaction with that person.''; and
(ii) the sole matter after the resolving clause of which is the following: ''Congress disapproves of the action under section 8 of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act relating to the application of sanctions imposed with respect to a foreign person that contravenes the obligations of China with respect to Hong Kong, or a foreign financial institution that conducts a significant transaction with that person, on _______ relating to ________.'', with the first blank space being filled with the appropriate date and the second blank space being filled with a short description of the proposed action.
(B) T ERMINATION RESOLUTION.'--In this section, the term ''termination resolution'' means only a joint resolution of either House of Congress'--
(i) the title of which is as follows: ''A joint resolution terminating sanctions with respect to foreign persons that contravene the obligations of China with respect to Hong Kong and foreign financial institutions that conduct significant transactions with those persons.''; and
(ii) the sole matter after the resolving clause of which is the following: ''The Hong Kong Autonomy Act and any sanctions imposed pursuant to that Act shall terminate on ____.'', with the blank space being filled with the termination date.
(C) C OVERED RESOLUTION.'--In this subsection, the term ''covered resolution'' means a disapproval resolution or a termination resolution.
(2) I NTRODUCTION.'--A covered resolution may be introduced'--
(A) in the House of Representatives, by the majority leader or the minority leader; and
(B) in the Senate, by the majority leader (or the majority leader's designee) or the minority leader (or the minority leader's designee).
(3) F LOOR CONSIDERATION IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.'--If a committee of the House of Representatives to which a covered resolution has been referred has not reported the resolution within 10 calendar days after the date of referral, that committee shall be discharged from further consideration of the resolution.
(4) C ONSIDERATION IN THE SENATE.'--
(A) C OMMITTEE REFERRAL.'--
(i) D ISAPPROVAL RESOLUTION.'--A disapproval resolution introduced in the Senate shall be'--
(I) referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs if the resolution relates to an action that is not intended to significantly alter United States foreign policy with regard to China; and
(II) referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations if the resolution relates to an action that is intended to significantly alter United States foreign policy with regard to China.
(ii) T ERMINATION RESOLUTION.'--A termination resolution introduced in the Senate shall be referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the Committee on Foreign Relations.
(B) R EPORTING AND DISCHARGE.'--If a committee to which a covered resolution was referred has not reported the resolution within 10 calendar days after the date of referral of the resolution, that committee shall be discharged from further consideration of the resolution and the resolution shall be placed on the appropriate calendar.
(C) P ROCEEDING TO CONSIDERATION.'--Notwithstanding Rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, it is in order at any time after the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs or the Committee on Foreign Relations, as the case may be, reports a covered resolution to the Senate or has been discharged from consideration of such a resolution (even though a previous motion to the same effect has been disagreed to) to move to proceed to the consideration of the resolution, and all points of order against the resolution (and against consideration of the resolution) are waived. The motion to proceed is not debatable. The motion is not subject to a motion to postpone. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to shall not be in order.
(D) R ULINGS OF THE CHAIR ON PROCEDURE.'--Appeals from the decisions of the Chair relating to the application of the rules of the Senate, as the case may be, to the procedure relating to a covered resolution shall be decided without debate.
(E) C ONSIDERATION OF VETO MESSAGES.'--Debate in the Senate of any veto message with respect to a covered resolution, including all debatable motions and appeals in connection with the resolution, shall be limited to 10 hours, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the majority leader and the minority leader or their designees.
(5) R ULES RELATING TO SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.'--
(A) T REATMENT OF SENATE RESOLUTION IN HOUSE.'--In the House of Representatives, the following procedures shall apply to a covered resolution received from the Senate (unless the House has already passed a resolution relating to the same proposed action):
(i) The resolution shall be referred to the appropriate committees.
(ii) If a committee to which a resolution has been referred has not reported the resolution within 2 calendar days after the date of referral, that committee shall be discharged from further consideration of the resolution.
(iii) Beginning on the third legislative day after each committee to which a resolution has been referred reports the resolution to the House or has been discharged from further consideration thereof, it shall be in order to move to proceed to consider the resolution in the House. All points of order against the motion are waived. Such a motion shall not be in order after the House has disposed of a motion to proceed on the resolution. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the motion to its adoption without intervening motion. The motion shall not be debatable. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion is disposed of shall not be in order.
(iv) The resolution shall be considered as read. All points of order against the resolution and against its consideration are waived. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the resolution to final passage without intervening motion except 2 hours of debate equally divided and controlled by the sponsor of the resolution (or a designee) and an opponent. A motion to reconsider the vote on passage of the resolution shall not be in order.
(B) T REATMENT OF HOUSE RESOLUTION IN SENATE.'--
(i) R ECEIVED BEFORE PASSAGE OF SENATE RESOLUTION.'--If, before the passage by the Senate of a covered resolution, the Senate receives an identical resolution from the House of Representatives, the following procedures shall apply:
(I) That resolution shall not be referred to a committee.
(II) With respect to that resolution'--
(aa) the procedure in the Senate shall be the same as if no resolution had been received from the House of Representatives; but
(bb) the vote on passage shall be on the resolution from the House of Representatives.
(ii) R ECEIVED AFTER PASSAGE OF SENATE RESOLUTION.'--If, following passage of a covered resolution in the Senate, the Senate receives an identical resolution from the House of Representatives, that resolution shall be placed on the appropriate Senate calendar.
(iii) N O SENATE COMPANION.'--If a covered resolution is received from the House of Representatives, and no companion resolution has been introduced in the Senate, the Senate procedures under this subsection shall apply to the resolution from the House of Representatives.
(C) A PPLICATION TO REVENUE MEASURES.'--The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply in the House of Representatives to a covered resolution that is a revenue measure.
(6) R ULES OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATE.'--This subsection is enacted by Congress'--
(A) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, and as such is deemed a part of the rules of each House, respectively, and supersedes other rules only to the extent that it is inconsistent with such rules; and
(B) with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change the rules (so far as relating to the procedure of that House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of that House.
SEC. 9. Implementation; penalties .
(a) Implementation .'--The President may exercise all authorities provided under sections 203 and 205 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1702 and 1704) to the extent necessary to carry out this Act.
(b) Penalties .'--A person that violates, attempts to violate, conspires to violate, or causes a violation of section 6 or 7 or any regulation, license, or order issued to carry out that section shall be subject to the penalties set forth in subsections (b) and (c) of section 206 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1705) to the same extent as a person that commits an unlawful act described in subsection (a) of that section.
SEC. 10. Rule of construction .
Nothing in this Act shall be construed as an authorization of military force against China.
Passed the Senate June 25, 2020.
Attest:
Secretary
116th CONGRESS 2d Session
S. 3798
AN ACT
To impose sanctions with respect to foreign persons involved in the erosion of certain obligations of China with respect to Hong Kong, and for other purposes.
China Appoints Protest and Propaganda Enforcer to Tame Hong Kong - WSJ
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 19:27
HONG KONG'--Beijing sent a forceful message about the enforcement of its new national-security law in Hong Kong, installing an official with experience battling protests and media as its chief enforcer, as the city's authorities brought the first charges filed under the law against a man accused of secession and terrorism.
The Chinese government Friday named Zheng Yanxiong as the inaugural director of Beijing's Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong. Mr. Zheng first attracted attention as a municipal leader in southern China nearly a decade ago, when he took a hard-line approach against a local village rebellion over alleged land grabs.
A senior Communist Party official in his native Guangdong, an affluent province that borders Hong Kong, Mr. Zheng worked as a party propagandist over much of his nearly three-decade career. He played a role in subduing the region's influential newspapers, which had a reputation for harder-hitting and more liberal journalism.
On the same day Mr. Zheng's new post was announced, Hong Kong authorities charged a man they said was the motorcyclist who drove through Hong Kong streets during demonstrations Wednesday, with a flag bearing a popular protest slogan, before colliding with police officers. Court records named the man as Tong Ying-kit, whom police said was in his early 20s. A lawyer for Mr. Tong couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
China politics watchers say the appointment of Mr. Zheng, announced Friday, signaled a new reality for Hong Kong. The city has long been known for its vibrant press, including publications that often criticize China's ruling Communist Party, and journalists have generally been able to work in the city with little fear of intimidation or legal repercussions.
''He is a specialist in ideology and a hard-line official,'' said Wu Qiang, a Chinese politics researcher and former lecturer at Beijing's Tsinghua University. ''We can expect him to impose stricter controls over press and speech freedoms in Hong Kong.''
Mr. Zheng's role was created under a new Hong Kong national-security law, which Beijing imposed this week in a push to tighten controls over a city that has been rocked by antigovernment protests over the past year.
The law empowers Beijing to bring into Hong Kong many mainland Chinese methods for policing activities that challenge Communist Party rule'--a prospect that has sent a chill through pro-democracy groups, businesses, schools and media organizations in the former British colony.
The new Office for Safeguarding National Security, a central-government agency that Mr. Zheng now leads, has broad powers to gather and analyze intelligence, supervise local authorities' handling of security matters, and directly investigate major cases. Its personnel will operate free of the fetters of Hong Kong law when they are carrying out official duties.
Mr. Zheng, 56 years old, is a familiar name to many Hong Kongers because of his role in handling the 2011 protests in the Guangdong fishing village of Wukan. Residents staged a surprise uprising over land seizures by local officials that escalated after the subsequent death of a protest leader in police custody. The unrest attracted intense foreign-media coverage before provincial leaders stepped in to broker a peaceful resolution that included arrangements for democratic village elections.
Then the top party official of the city that administered Wukan, Mr. Zheng helmed a forceful response marked by a police and paramilitary siege of the village. He won notoriety for a speech he gave at a meeting with local officials and residents, where he berated protesters and accused them of turning to foreign media to draw unwanted attention to the unrest.
''If foreign media are trustworthy, then sows can climb trees,'' Mr. Zheng said at one point, according to leaked footage from the meeting that was widely publicized.
Mr. Zheng was promoted to Guangdong's deputy propaganda chief in 2013, soon after provincial authorities started ramping up censorship of local media'--a campaign widely seen as instrumental in securing the promotion of Mr. Zheng's superior to a vice-ministerial post in the Communist Party's powerful Central Propaganda Department. Last year, Mr. Zheng became a member of the top provincial party leadership committee in Guangdong, which shares a cultural and linguistic heritage with Hong Kong.
Given the high-profile nature of the new Hong Kong security agency, ''the director must have a good grasp of Hong Kong society, and a good understanding of the media,'' said Tian Feilong, an associate law professor at Beihang University in Beijing who specializes in Hong Kong affairs.
Hong Kong's leadership had vowed that the new national-security law wouldn't affect freedom of speech in the city, but authorities are already moving to curtail political expression. The Hong Kong government declared Thursday that a popular protest slogan'--''Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times'''--is considered illegal as it connotes secessionist and subversive impulses that are banned by the new law.
A flag bearing this slogan was attached to the back of the motorcyclist when he collided with police officers Wednesday, according to videos and photos of the incident shared on social media. Police said three officers suffered injuries after the man, who faces secession and terrorism charges, ''flagrantly crashed his motorcycle into the officers.''
Mr. Zheng will be supported by two deputies in his new Hong Kong role, according to a government statement. Both have experience in mainland China's domestic-security apparatus.
One of them is Li Jiangzhou, a law-enforcement veteran and the Chinese Public Security Ministry's chief representative in Hong Kong. He was previously a senior official at the ministry's First Bureau, which handles domestic political security.
Little public information was available for the other deputy, Sun Qingye. People familiar with the matter say that Ms. Sun is an official from the Ministry of State Security'--China's main civilian intelligence and counterespionage agency.
'--Dan Strumpf contributed to this article.
Write to Chun Han Wong at chunhan.wong@wsj.com
Chinese belangen teisteren Nederlands onderzoek - NRC
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 21:25
In het Clingendael-rapport, 'China's invloed op onderwijs in Nederland: een verkenning', tonen onderzoekers Ingrid d'Hooghe en Brigitte Dekker aan hoe China probeert om politieke invloed uit te oefenen op Chinese studenten en wetenschappers in Nederland (C)n op Nederlands onderzoek in en naar China. Ze spraken hiervoor ruim honderd onderzoekers, studenten en beleidsmakers. Hun conclusie liegt er niet om: 'žDe politieke be¯nvloeding door China in het hoger onderwijs en de wetenschap in Nederland heeft twee brede gevolgen: het leidt tot een aantasting van de Nederlandse kennispositie met betrekking tot China, en tot aantasting van de kwaliteit van onderzoek over China (...).''
Hoe gaat die be¯nvloeding in z'n werk?
Ingrid d'Hooghe: 'žWe zien dat de Chinese overheid probeert te sturen op onderwerpen voor onderzoek. Alles is politiek: sommige onderwerpen moeten vermeden worden, het verhaal moet positief zijn, kritiek is niet gewenst. Dat gaat niet alleen om het tegenhouden van onderzoek naar de Oeigoeren, maar ook bijvoorbeeld over onderzoek naar de arbeidsomstandigheden in China. Wetenschappers die dit soort onderzoeken doen, wordt het lastig gemaakt. Er worden barri¨res opgeworpen: bepaalde informatie is bijvoorbeeld niet toegankelijk. Dat tast de kwaliteit van het onderzoek aan. Wij merkten in ons onderzoek dat wetenschappers dit min of meer accepteren. Het went, blijkbaar. Niet alleen Chinese wetenschappers, ook onderzoekers van andere nationaliteiten zijn de hindernissen normaal gaan vinden. Ze accepteren de restricties, willen geen gedoe en gaan er dus een beetje omheen werken. Dat wordt bijna een tweede natuur. Maar het druist in tegen alle wetenschappelijke normen en waarden.''
Lees ook: Zeg maar eens nee tegen een 'gratis' onderzoeker uit China Waarom accepteren wetenschappers die inmenging?
'žDe belangen zijn groot. China is een enorme speler binnen de Nederlandse wetenschap. Er studeren, voor corona, ongeveer 4.700 Chinese studenten aan Nederlandse universiteiten en er werken zo'n 1.000 phd's (jonge onderzoekers) op contractbasis, vooral aan de medische en b¨ta-faculteiten. Aan universiteiten als Wageningen en Delft, werken honderden onderzoekers uit China, grotendeels met eigen financiering. Zij zijn belangrijk om bepaald onderzoek in Nederland op peil te houden, omdat ze veel geld en talent meebrengen.''
Dreigt China de geldkraan dicht te draaien als wetenschappers lastig worden?
'žNiet direct. Het is een subtiel spel. Maar bij het maken van afspraken tussen Nederlandse en Chinese onderzoeksgroepen heeft China een machtige positie. Ik kan vanwege de vertrouwelijkheid van de gesprekken geen concrete voorbeelden geven, maar denk aan afspraken over het niet publiceren van bepaalde gedeelten van een onderzoek, of aan data die niet openbaar mag worden gemaakt. Dat druist in tegen de regels voor wetenschappelijke integriteit die wij hier kennen. Wat we ook veel zien is dat China het spel hard speelt: ze sturen een officieel contract voor een gezamenlijk onderzoeksproject op een heel laat moment en eisen dat er direct handtekeningen worden gezet. De wetenschappers hier zijn vaak te goeder trouw en ontdekken pas later dat er dingen in dat contract staan die voordeliger uitpakken voor China dan voor Nederland.''
Moeten Nederlandse universiteiten hier niet veel strenger in optreden?
'žZeker! Ze moeten veel alerter zijn op wat hier gebeurt. Maar het is lastig: universiteiten hebben niet altijd zicht op de precieze afspraken met China en onderzoekers laten zich niet graag een leuk project door de neus boren door al te kritisch te zijn.''
Dat klinkt als een combinatie van na¯viteit en opportunisme.
'žJa, dat is een mooie samenvatting. Al wil ik benadrukken dat het ook vaak w(C)l goed gaat: er zijn ook integere Chinese wetenschappers en er is ook integer onderzoek over China. Maar naar een deel moeten we kritischer kijken en dan is het soms beter om nee te zeggen.''
Wat wil China hiermee bereiken?
'žChina wil graag dat bepaalde discussies, over mensenrechten bijvoorbeeld, niet plaatsvinden. Het beeld is: China is goed. Daar mag niet aan worden getornd. Chinese studenten in Nederland worden flink in het gareel gehouden om die boodschap uit te dragen. Er zijn informanten die daarop letten. We weten dat er in elk geval aan (C)(C)n universiteit sprake was van de aanwezigheid van een cel van de communistische partij. Of dat nog zo is, weten we niet.''
Een versie vandit artikelverscheen ook in
NRC Handelsbladvan 4 juli 2020Een versie vandit artikelverscheen ook in
nrc.nextvan 4 juli 2020
The 53 countries supporting China's crackdown on Hong Kong - Axios
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 04:48
Dueling statements at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva shed light on geopolitical currents far beyond the walls of that institution.
Driving the news: China's Foreign Ministry and state media declared victory after 53 countries backed Beijing's new national security law for Hong Kong. Just 27 criticized the law, which imposes harsh penalties for vaguely defined political crimes and is widely viewed as the death knell for Hong Kong's autonomy.
In the room: The two statements were read back to back in Tuesday's session, with Cuba supporting China and the U.K. representing the critics. China's other allies weren't named publicly until Axios obtained the list this morning.
The big picture: This is one of the clearest indications to date of which countries are challenging a rising superpower, at least on human rights, and which are lining up behind it.
Breaking it downChina's critics are concentrated in Europe and also include major democracies like Australia, Canada and Japan. All 27 are considered "free" in Freedom House's global ratings.
China is backed by an assortment of "not free" and "partially free" countries, including many of the world's most brutal dictatorships '-- North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria. Three small ''free'' countries did back Beijing: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Suriname (combined pop. ~700,000). All three, and at least 40 of the other signatories, have signed onto China's Belt and Road infrastructure project.Many of the African signatories, meanwhile, are trying to renegotiate debt payments to China amid sharp COVID-related downturns.Our thought bubble: China's massive investments are bearing fruit, notes Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: "Beijing has effectively leveraged the UN Human Rights Council to endorse the very activities it was created to oppose."The full listsSupporting: China, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Belarus, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, UAE, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.Opposing: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.The U.S. has been highly critical of China over the law, but withdrew from the Human Rights Council in 2018.Behind the scenesKeith Harper, who served as America's representative to the council from 2014 to 2017, says America's absence is one major reason why the balance tipped so dramatically in China's favor.
Statements like this often play out as "battles between China and the United States," Harper says, with China putting "unbelievable pressure" on countries to back it.While some countries on the list "are always going to back China," he says, others joined because "they will get better deals if they are in the good graces of China" and "there's no detriment there because the U.S. isn't at the table.""Since we have pulled away from nearly all international organizations, China has stepped up big time," Harper says. "They really want to take over for the United States, and this is why.''Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, says China is attempting not only to silence critics of its record on human rights, but "to change the norms and the protocols of these institutions so that no state really can be held accountable."
The big picture "One interesting question to ask is, 'Who's not on that list who has been on China's team in the past, and why?'" says Richardson.
As a series of similar disputes have played out at various international forums, she says, China's support "has sort of plateaued," while more countries are willing to offer criticisms.India didn't join the U.K. statement, for example, but did offer a more mild statement "expressing concern," in a signal of its growing willingness to confront China.There's a price to pay for challenging China, even for major players on the international stage.
After pushing for an independent probe into China's initial response to the coronavirus, Australia found itself in a costly trade dispute with its largest trading partner.Two Canadian citizens are still being held in China, meanwhile, after Canada arrested Huawei's CFO on behalf of the U.S.What to watchThe U.K. is the latest country to risk China's ire.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused China of a "serious breach" of the terms under which Britain turned over control of Hong Kong in 1997, and he said the U.K. would offer residency and a path to citizenship to eligible Hong Kongers.The new scheme could apply to up to 3 million Hong Kong residents and their dependents (details here).A spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry issued an angry retort today, saying the U.K. would "bear the consequences that will arise from this.''Go deeper: Hong Kong's fate is the future of globalism
China found Covid-like virus in 2013 and kept it stored in Wuhan lab | The Sunday Times
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:34
The world's closest known match to the Covid-19 virus was found seven years ago by Chinese scientists in an abandoned mine where it was linked to deaths caused by a coronavirus-type respiratory illness.
An investigation by The Sunday Times has found evidence that China has failed to publicly share this crucial information about the sister virus to Covid-19, even though it is the strongest lead in the hunt for the origin of the pandemic.
The ''new strain'' of coronavirus, which was discovered in the mine in 2013, has been stored for years at a virology lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the Covid-19 pandemic started at the end of last year.
It was found after six men were struck down in 2012 with
BLM
Beacon Press: Take our quiz to see if you have white fragility!
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:04
24 Farnsworth Street
Boston, MA 02210-1409
617-742-2110 (p)
617-723-3097 (f)
Beacon Press books are published under the auspices of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.
Beacon Press is a registered trademark of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.
Law Prof Wants To Scrap US Constitution's "Racist" And "Gendered" Language | Zero Hedge
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 20:19
Authored by Maria Copeland via Campus Reform,
A law professor is calling for changes to the ''outdated'' language of the Constitution.
Richard Albert, a professor of law and government at the University of Texas-Austin, denounced the Constitution in an op-ed for The Hill published Tuesday, saying that ''its gendered and racist words stand in the way of true reconciliation in this divided country and have no place in any modern society.''
Albert cites the 13th Amendment as an example of racism in the Constitution, saying that although it abolishes slavery it still includes the Fugitive Slave Clause; which, remaining in the Constitution, is ''a painful reminder of America's original sin.''
The Constitution's language also discriminates based on gender, Albert says. It uses exclusively male pronouns when referring to the presidency, he points out, admitting that this did not prevent Hillary Clinton from running in 2016, but suggests that the first woman to be elected to the House of Representatives -- Jeannette Rankin (R-Mont.), 100 years prior to Clinton's candidacy -- faced disapproval merely because the Constitution's language only allowed for male leaders.
''Imagine how schoolchildren must feel when they read the Constitution in their basic civics course. Some will be made to feel less than welcome in their own country...
The highest law of the land creates a hierarchy of citizenship.''
Albert condemns Roger Sherman's argument that changing the founders' original words would threaten the document's integrity, saying it is better ''to erase those texts that time had overrun or that present exigencies suggested should be removed,'' as James Madison argued. If ''racist and gendered terms'' are removed, then the Constitution ''would celebrate equality and inclusion, and give Americans a text proudly to call their own '-- one in which they would see themselves and their hopes reflected.''
''The Constitution is replete with obsolete and outdated language that weakens rather than enhances the feeling of belonging that a constitution should generate among a country's citizens,'' he concludes.
''It is time to update the Constitution to reflect America's modern values of equality and inclusion.''
Professor Albert did not respond to Campus Reform's request for further comment in time for publication.
Couple who pulled guns on Black mother and daughters charged with felony assault
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 16:47
A white couple from Clarkston, Michigan, was arrested and charged with a felony after a video showed the woman pointing a gun at a Black mother and her two daughters.
Jillian Wuestenberg, 32, and Eric Wuestenberg, 42, were taken into custody on Wednesday, the same day they got into an altercation with the family at a Chipotle in Orion Township.
The Oakland County Prosecutor's Office announced Thursday that the Wuestenbergs were charged with felonious assault.
Deputies were called to the Chipotle around 6 p.m. local time for reports of threats involving a firearm, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office said in a press release. Both the Wuestenbergs and the family, whom authorities did not identify, had called police on each other.
Part of the altercation was captured on cellphone video and shows two women off-camera accusing Jillian Wuestenberg of bumping into them. Eric Wuestenberg enters the frame and helps his wife get into their car before exchanging words with the mother.
Jillian Deanne Wuestenberg, 32, and Eric Peter Wuestenber, 42. Oakland County Sheriff's OfficeThings quickly escalate after Eric Wuestenberg begins to reverse the vehicle out of the parking spot.
"You gonna f---ing hit me," the mother yells. Both groups begin arguing and the video shows Jillian Wuestenberg get out of the car and point a gun at the mother.
"Get away," Jillian Wuestenberg says, telling her husband to call the police. "Get the f--- away."
The video ends with Jillian Wuestenberg getting back into the car and the couple driving away. The footage does not show what led up to the altercation but Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said that it began when one group bumped into the other.
"There was a bump as they entered and exit. The one person said they didn't realize they had bumped the person with the food bag and the other person felt they needed to get an apology and it escalated from there," the sheriff said at a news conference Thursday.
Jillian Wuestenberg and her husband, who are concealed pistol license holders, told deputies that they feared for their lives after threatening comments were directed at them, according to the sheriff's office press release.
The mother and daughters told deputies that the Wuestenbergs threatened them with firearms.
The Wuestenbergs were arraigned on the charges Thursday and each was given a $50,000 personal bond. As part of the bond conditions, they have to surrender all firearms and are prohibited from leaving the state. It's not clear if they have obtained attorneys.
Eric Wuestenberg was an employee at Oakland University. The school said in a statement Friday to NBC News that it found "his behavior unacceptable" and he has since been fired.
Old Hand Sends: Armed Antifa group declares ''Everywhere a battlefield'' | American Partisan
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 15:31
They're bringing the war to your door. Old Hand sent this link over from Far Left Watch. The original is three years old now, but look at where they were then compared to where they are now. This is from a group in Austin (color me shocked) but there is a presence in every town in America. While it looks like they have some of the same problems as the so-called militia movement on social media, they're at least smart enough to cover their faces, not interested in telling the world how cool they ain't and are at least two decades younger on average. Think you're safe in a rural place? Ask me how I know you're not. -NCS
The Austin based extremist group, Red Guards Austin, has been gaining prominence in the Texas antifa movement. They are a self described autonomous Marxist-Leninist-Maoist collective and their website contains multiple reports on their confrontational and often armed demonstrations.
Editor's note: Notice the Baofeng antenna in the ACU SAW pouch on his belt. Students from the RTO and SIGINT Courses will immediately know how to exploit this on the ground.
Austin Red Guard 2
They also openly advocate for violent revolution against capitalism.
''we must seriously take up the task not only of self-defense on the personal and community level, but we must also struggle to unite all genuine antifascists behind the necessity of revolution. Revolution means the long fight for communism and nothing less.''
In a blog they recently shared from their Facebook Page titled ''Everywhere a Battlefield'', this trend continues as they claim ''The war is not coming'--it is here and now'' and then discuss the need for weapons training and more ''revolutionary violence''.
''The war is not coming'--it is here and now. We must take our historic task seriously. We must accumulate forces and steel them in small-scale street battles. We must respond accordingly to the apocalyptic reality that capitalism-imperialism has forced on us.''
''So what does self-defense mean for the rest of us? What does it mean for enemies of the state? It can only mean that we must develop red physical culture. It means that we must contend for ground that has been ceded to the enemy. That we train in both hand-to-hand combat and in weapons. We must take community self-defense seriously. We must walk away from the comfort zone of the legal left, and by extension it means that those who protect them are sure to attack us. It means that we return to our filthy neighborhoods of cramped apartment complexes and organize right there among our class. It means that we choose the field of combat thoughtfully and not out of uninventive and timid habit. We cannot expect a mass antifascist movement to develop its necessarily revolutionary character unless we move away from the state-ordained protest zones.
''Reclaiming violence means making revolutionary violence available to be utilized by all types of comrades at all levels and all abilities. It means training physically in flexible ways applied to the specific conditions of specific groups. Everyone, regardless of ability, can improve. This is not to do away all at once with the division of violent labor; the science of revolutionary violence is universal, and it must at the same time be applied with great care to the specific. In this process of trial and error we sharpen and broaden our skillsets. Martial arts, firearms, and sports must be seen as cultural battlefields as well as invaluable tools in our revolutionary toolkit.''
For months, militant antifa groups have been engaging in targeted political violence. They claim they exist to fight racists, bigots, and white supremacists; and their allies in the media often echo these claims. But if the actions from the Red Guards Austin is any indication, this is nothing more than a public relations campaign to recruit moderates. Their end goal is communism, a political ideology responsible for tens of millions of deaths in the 20th century.
The mission of Far Left Watch is to investigate, expose, and combat far left extremism. Please share this article via Twitter, Facebook, etc. and encourage friendly media and YouTube content creators to report on this information.
If you appreciate the work we do, please consider donating to our Patreon account.
Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Virginia state officials order large American flag taken down amid July 4 protest fears | Fox News
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 10:58
Virginia state officials ordered the removal of an American flag from the construction site in Richmond, citing concerns that the flag would become a "target" for protesters this Fourth of July.
The call from the Department of General Services reportedly angered a subcontractor whose company created the flag using tarps in celebration of Independence Day.
''When we saw the flag, we were concerned that it could become a target so we told the contractor to remove it,'' department spokeswoman Dena Potter told The Washington Post in an email.
ASTRONAUT DOUG HURLEY TWEETS PIC OF AMERICAN FLAG FROM INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
The officials pointed to the recent protests targeting historical statues and monuments that represent what demonstrators say are a part of systemic racism in the U.S.
''Over the past month, we've seen buildings and structures around Capitol Square vandalized and flags, dumpsters, a bus and other items set ablaze during demonstrations around the city,'' Potter said.
The flag was reportedly as tall as one story in a building and was to be mounted on top of what is a $300 million project in the city.
''Since when is this flag, on this weekend, IN THIS COUNTRY, a Target!!'' Eric Winston from American Coatings Corp. wrote on Facebook. ''Let me guess, if I had a black lives matter flag it would be 'ok'!? [sic]''
SEN. TIM SCOTT: FOURTH OF JULY CHALLENGES '' AS IN TIMES PAST WE WILL UNITE, PROGRESS AND HOPE, ALWAYS
Winston said that the flag originally went up with the approval from Gilbane Building Company, the project's general manager. The company then received a call from state officials requesting they take it down.
''The American Flag is a symbol of Freedom! Many men and women died to maintain this freedom, many more fought and still fight to keep this freedom, and you make us remove it??''
''I'm all for the freedoms and liberty's [sic] we have in this country, Protest, sure. Take a knee during the national anthem, whatever floats your boat. Marry who you want, absolutely,'' Winston added. ''That's what this flag represents!''
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Potter noted the city did not have any objections to the standard-size flag flying high on a crane but was worried the large flag was more accessible to protesters.
''Of course the safety of the workers on the job and the public is our No. 1 concern, but we also did not want to see the flag damaged in any way,'' Potter told The Post.
Noodle Gun
America Exports Cancel Culture to the World - Quillette
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 13:04
Recently, I was interviewed for a video for the Dutch media outlet NU.nl, a popular news website in the Netherlands. The topic was cancel culture, which refers to the social trend of ending (or attempting to end) an individual's career or prominence to hold them to account for violating moral norms. The video was about the uses and abuses of this new trend, including how cancel culture has rightly jettisoned reprehensible individuals like Harvey Weinstein from polite society. On the other hand, it also discussed its excesses, such as the recent social media mobbing of J.K. Rowling. During my segment, I described how individuals use cancel culture to elevate their own social position.
Three days after it was published, the video was taken down. I contacted the journalist who interviewed me, asking what happened. He replied that although the video gathered over 176,000 views and was positively received by viewers, his employer determined that it ''didn't meet their profile.'' He then revealed that his supervisors believed the video was too sympathetic to the targets of cancel culture. In other words, a video about cancel culture was cancelled.
This social phenomenon is spreading beyond our shores. It is the latest American cultural export. Referring to the cancelled video, the Dutch sociologist Dr. Eric C. Hendriks has told me, ''This would have been unthinkable in the Netherlands a year ago. Over time, American influence has spread cancel culture here.'' The political scientist Joseph Nye advanced the idea of ''soft power,'' or the ability to influence societies through seduction, persuasion, and pop culture rather than military power. Because America still has reputational prestige across the globe, other societies adopt the views of our credentialed class. These individuals have been manipulating language and norms for personal gain.
The reason provided for why the Dutch video was banned is revealing. The economist Tyler Cowen has suggested that the purpose of media is simply to raise the status of some individuals and groups and lower the status of others. Taking this idea one step further, Cowen's fellow economist Arnold Kling has written, ''So much of political and economic debate is about which groups and individuals deserve higher or lower status'... Lowering another group's social status is the most powerful message of all. It is more powerful than raising the status of those who one likes.'' The video was taken down because it did not do enough to damage the status of cancel culture's targets.
Consider the way charges of ''racism'' have been used to target individuals. People used to appropriately get rebuked or fired for expressing racist views. Today, though, people are getting cancelled for not supporting the claim that America itself is irredeemably racist. Never mind that such a position is in fact a Kafka trap: Danger awaits no matter how you respond. If America is a racist country, and you agree, then you are admitting that more purging and re-educating must be done. However, if you disagree, proponents of cancel culture take this as evidence that you and others like you are more racist than you realize, and thus more purging and re-educating must be done. The guidelines for what the writer Wesley Yang has termed the ''successor ideology'' are perhaps intentionally vague, and maximize optionality for undercutting political adversaries.
And status matters, particularly for how people evaluate beliefs and opinions. And this is a key reason why cancel culture has spread so swiftly. The Nobel Laureate economist John Harsanyi has said, ''apart from economic payoffs, social status seems to be the most important incentive and motivating force of social behavior.'' One way people evaluate a claim is by checking the prestige of the source. Put simply, people believe higher status individuals have more credibility. In fact, a recent study led by Philip R. Blue in the European Journal of Social Psychology used financial incentives to understand the role of social status when it comes to trust. Researchers invited participants to play economic games, and found that people were more likely to cooperate with (i.e., trust) high-status game partners. Such findings are relevant to current trends. Many people view our credentialed class as credible because of their resumes. And many members of this lofty group have spread the belief that America is hopelessly bigoted. Some have even suggested that social revolution is required to purge all bad elements, regardless of how minor, from society.
Alongside prestige, another way people decide whether to believe something is through social proof. That is, how many of their peers believe it. Social proof is a mental shortcut that allows us to bypass the burdensome work of actually thinking about an issue on our own. Moreover, people are terrified of social disapproval, and for good reason. Although we live in the 21st century, our cognitive architecture is still set up for small foraging communities. In the ancestral environment, being ostracized by one's community was a death sentence. The panic we feel as a consequence of social judgment is adaptive, because that feeling alerted our ancestors to life-threatening danger.
These two features, prestige and social proof, help explain why American culture has changed so rapidly. We didn't suddenly become better at evaluating evidence and reasoning our way into cancel culture. Rather, people saw homo sapiens with fancy credentials emotionally express certain beliefs. Those beliefs spread, because most people mimic the views of high-status individuals in the hope that some of that prestige will rub off on them. ''If virtuous person says X, and I say X too, then I'm as virtuous as she is.'' This is also how celebrity endorsements work.
But sometimes people go even further. They take an article of faith, and stretch it to increase their own reputation. Indeed, in their forthcoming book Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk, the philosophers Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke refer to this as ''ramping up.'' They observe that, ''Moral talk often devolves into a moral arms race, where people make increasingly strong claims'... trying to outdo one another'... to be the most morally impressive'... to signal that they are more attuned to matters of justice.'' This creates a spiral such that each person competes in a moral grandstanding contest. At first, people cancel Harvey Weinstein for real offenses. Then then ramp up, change their standards for cancellable offenses, and go after J.K. Rowling for tweets. Still, sometimes doubters remain. And these non-believers do not want to be ostracized from polite society. Thus, they either remain silent or publicly express a belief they do not privately hold.
The US used to export Coca-Cola, television shows, and music. Today, we export outrage, deplatforming, and social mobbing. The fact that cancel culture has seeped into other countries is evidence that American soft power is alive and well. The way things are going, though, eventually the only culture left will be the one that has ''cancel'' behind it.
Rob Henderson is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge. He obtained a BS in Psychology from Yale University and is a veteran of the US Air Force. You can follow him on Twitter @robkhenderson.
Money talk? Redskins sponsor FedEx requests name change, Nike pulls merch after Wall Street nudging '-- RT Sport News
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 04:59
The Washington Redskins' lead sponsor, FedEx, has apparently caved to corporate pressure, asking the football team to change its name after a group of investment firms and shareholders urged major funders to sever ties.
FedEx, which holds rights to the team's stadium, formally requested the Redskins to ditch their name on Thursday, days after a group of 87 investment firms and shareholders, collectively worth some $620 billion, implored FedEx and two other major NFL sponsors '' Nike and PepsiCo '' to cut ties with the team unless it takes on a less ''offensive'' name.
Also on rt.com 'It's past time': NFL's Washington Redskins scrub former owner George Preston Marshall from team history amid racist allegations In a short statement, reported by NBC Sports' J.P. Finlay, FedEx said that they ''have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.''
The request appears to be a thinly-veiled ultimatum, considering that FedEx President and CEO Frederick Smith is a minority owner of the team, in addition to the company being the most prominent sponsor of the Redskins.
Around the same time FedEx's statement began making the rounds, Nike reportedly stopped selling Redskins merchandise on its website.
It appears that Nike has removed all Redskins clothing from their website. If you go to Nike's website, they have apparel for all the NFL teams currently ; except for Washington.
'-- Jordan (@redskinstoday_) July 3, 2020A word search for 'redskins' on Nike's website returned no results as of Thursday evening, while apparel emblazoned with emblems of all other NFL teams remain on site.
Twitter was immediately swamped with suggestions as to how the team should rebrand itself.
My vote:1) Washington Redtails (keeps httr)2) Washington Redhawks (keeps httr)3) Washington Defenders 4) Washington Sentinels 5) Washington Warriors https://t.co/QDdbz40MzX
'-- Cameron Magruder (@ScooterMagruder) July 2, 2020if they want the Redskins can call themselves the Jets
'-- Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) July 3, 2020Among the more popular suggestions has been the ''Washington Redtails,'' intended as a homage to the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black military aviators of the Army Air Corps who went by the same nickname.
If Washington owner Dan Snyder ever gets his head out of his ass, I hope they change the team name to Redtails. Redtails was the nickname coined for the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. pic.twitter.com/5cP1yTVxkO
'-- Sox 🌹ðŸŒ>> (@CMBowersox) July 2, 2020Although the Redskins name has been a source of controversy since the 1960s, campaigns to force the team to change its title and logo have all fallen flat.
The team's owner, Dan Snyder, has been adamant that the change won't' happen on his watch. In an open letter to fans in October 2013, he argued that the name celebrates Native American heritage, and should not be taken as an offense.
''On...the inaugural Redskins team, four players and our Head Coach were Native Americans. The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor,'' Snyder wrote, citing polls that indicated that the vast majority of Native Americans at the time did not see the name as problematic.
A 2016 Washington Post survey found out that out of 500 polled, nine out of 10 Native Americans did not oppose the moniker. A subsequent 2019 web-based study showed that 68 percent of 500 self-identified Native Americans were OK with the team's name.
However, the most recent study, conducted this year by the liberal bastion UC Berkeley, argued that attitudes have shifted. The study claimed to have found that some 49 percent of about 1,000 self-identified Native Americans polled agreed that the name was indeed offensive. Thirty-eight percent said that they were not bothered by the issue, while the rest did not voice any opinion.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
Video Game Developer Ends Racism by Erasing 'OK' Hand Gesture From Call of Duty '' Summit News
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 12:09
A ''concept incubator'' envisages a dystopian future where babies are grown inside sophisticated electronic pods which completely replace the womb and pregnancy.
The promotional video for the baby pod stresses how parents will be able to focus on other things like work while the pod baby is taken care of by the machine.
''Parents would be able to live their lives normally,'' states the promo, as if having a baby naturally is abnormal.
''It has a dock to insert food,'' states the promo as a woman is shown pouring green gunk into a canister. There's also a ''microphone'' attached so people can ''speak to the foetus.''
They want to take away from women what makes them special.
No I will not grow my baby in the pod. pic.twitter.com/UALJWRVz8k
'-- Grass Tastes Good 🌱 (@TasteGrass) July 1, 2020
The pod, which thankfully is just an ''idea'' at this stage, was *birthed* by students at Product Design Arnhem.
According to Tech Insider, the arrival of the pod baby is ''only a matter of time'' because it is not that different from lambs already being grown inside ''biobags.''
Responses on Twitter to the pod baby concept were not overly enthusiastic.
POV: Pod-grown humans bullying you in 2065 for having developed in your mother's womb pic.twitter.com/DYOg8m0peM
'-- Grass Tastes Good 🌱 (@TasteGrass) July 1, 2020
This and sex robots = erasing women
'-- Daystrom was right (@DemotedHusband) July 2, 2020
What happens when there is a power outage?
'-- Empress Eleni (@EmpressEleni) July 1, 2020
Grotesque. I hope this is a joke. We are not in any danger of extinction. There are BILLIONS of humans on this planet. Growing lambs in plastic sacs is obscene god complex experimentation for experimentation's sake, let alone more humans. There is absolutely no need for it.
'-- Emmeline Wyndham (@EmmelineWyndham) July 2, 2020
This is an abomination!
It could only be morally acceptable if a woman was close to losing her child and this was used in a NICU under medical supervision- but what a disgrace to separate the biological reality of mother and child.
How callous are we going to get?!
'-- Joanna Jewell 🕊''¨ (@JoannaAJewell) July 1, 2020
The happy clappy promotional video did not make mention of the fact that this all sounds like some horrific dystopian hybrid of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and a plot from Black Mirror.
Huxley's 1932 classic portrayed a soft form of totalitarianism where children are biologically engineered from birth in test tubes where each one is given a predestined course in life which is dependent on the conditioning techniques used on its decanted embryo.
While the ''concept incubator'' falls far short of that scenario, it does promote the idea of dehumanizing the baby by removing the mother from the process entirely.
As we have previously highlighted, the tech elite seems to be obsessed with further atomizing human beings by making them do literally everything from within the confines of a pod, whether that be living, exercising, working, or eating.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, numerous restaurants have announced that they'll be enclosing diners within pods or greenhouses, despite the fact that they will obviously overheat in summer.
''Transparent corrals for beach-goers. Dining pods. Clear boxes for students. The demand for plexiglass protective shields has never been higher,'' announced the Wall Street Journal this week.
SUBSCRIBE on YouTube:
Follow on Twitter: Follow @PrisonPlanet
'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--
My voice is being silenced by free speech-hating Silicon Valley behemoths who want me disappeared forever. It is CRUCIAL that you support me.
Please sign up for the free newsletter here. Donate to me on SubscribeStar here.
Support my sponsor '' Turbo Force '' a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown.
'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--
Source - NFL plans to play Black national anthem before Week 1 games
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:58
play 'Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing' (The Undefeated Mix) featuring Aloe Blacc and special guests The String Queens (2:59)The Undefeated presents a modern-day rendition of the Black national anthem. (2:59)
4:10 PM ET Jason Reid Senior Writer, The Undefeated
CloseFormer columnist and Redskins beat writer for Washington PostCovered multiple beats over 15 years at Los Angeles TimesUniversity of Southern California graduate"Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing," traditionally known as the Black national anthem, is expected to be performed live or played before every Week 1 NFL game, and the league is considering a variety of other measures during the upcoming season to recognize victims of police brutality, a source familiar with the league's discussions told The Undefeated on Thursday.
The song would be performed before "The Star-Spangled Banner," the source said. The NFL's season opener is scheduled for Sept. 10, with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans.
Having recently displayed increased awareness about the problems of systemic racism, the NFL, in collaboration with the NFL Players Association, is also considering listing the names of victims on uniforms through decals on helmets or patches on jerseys. The NFL also may produce educational programs about victims, among other plans.
Early last month, commissioner Roger Goodell in a video admitted that the league had erred in how it handled peaceful NFL player protests of police brutality and systemic oppression. Goodell condemned racism and affirmed that Black lives matter, pledging his allegiance to the players in the battle for equal justice under the law.
Also in June, the league revealed plans to increase its social justice footprint by pledging to donate $250 million over a 10-year period.
The league hopes its efforts demonstrate "a genuine commitment to the public, players and coaches and that player voices continue to be heard," the source wrote in a text message. "This is key to educating fans, and becoming a prominent voice in the fight to end racism."
Copenhagen's Little Mermaid labeled "racist fish" | Arts & Ent , Culture | THE DAILY STAR
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 13:43
CommentsYour feedback is important to us!
We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.
Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.
Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)
Twitter Engineering on Twitter: "We're starting with a set of words we want to move away from using in favor of more inclusive language, such as: https://t.co/6SMGd9celn" / Twitter
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 21:30
Twitter Engineering : We're starting with a set of words we want to move away from using in favor of more inclusive language, such as: https://t.co/6SMGd9celn
Thu Jul 02 16:52:32 +0000 2020
Ashutosh Tryambak : @TwitterEng Remove that white background from your DP. It's showing white supermacy.
Fri Jul 03 21:30:12 +0000 2020
🕸🕷Spiders Georg 🕷🕸 : @TwitterEng Excuse me, but the word person contains the suffix ''-son'' which implies a male juvenile and is still a'... https://t.co/W032jA7isG
Fri Jul 03 21:30:11 +0000 2020
Marena Valenzuela : @TwitterEng Enough with your Newspeak! #Orwellian
Fri Jul 03 21:30:11 +0000 2020
Eric Maginnis 🇨ðŸ‡... : @TwitterEng Is this a parody account?
Fri Jul 03 21:30:07 +0000 2020
the littlest shrumbo : @TwitterEng this is dumb
Fri Jul 03 21:29:58 +0000 2020
Timothygarrett : @TwitterEng Ok my fellow Americans on the Whitelist,Blacklist, let's follow our master twitter and have our sanity'... https://t.co/kFMitStJF7
Fri Jul 03 21:29:58 +0000 2020
RegalStone : @TwitterEng You're not helping Twitter
Fri Jul 03 21:29:56 +0000 2020
twatterfigs8 : @TwitterEng Hey y'all, from tomorrow we are adding further sample values to the DenyList per Ben's request, they sa'... https://t.co/w25EO4Z3rR
Fri Jul 03 21:29:55 +0000 2020
TopJimmy : @TwitterEng 75% of this list is stupid. Count me out.
Fri Jul 03 21:29:53 +0000 2020
deus : @TwitterEng https://t.co/A87p7qRX9M
Fri Jul 03 21:29:52 +0000 2020
Corey Thomas : @TwitterEng Stop
Fri Jul 03 21:29:52 +0000 2020
Connor : @TwitterEng You could just make a fucking edit function.
Fri Jul 03 21:29:45 +0000 2020
Wook_See : @TwitterEng Eat my ass Twitter
Fri Jul 03 21:29:43 +0000 2020
Wait..Wut? : @TwitterEng Add this one: Twitter=Parler
Fri Jul 03 21:29:39 +0000 2020
Tony Dalton : @TwitterEng Grow up.
Fri Jul 03 21:29:37 +0000 2020
Rob McKeithen : @TwitterEng If this is not a violation of the 1st Amendment, there will never be one.You cannot legislate and poli'... https://t.co/JhzOkoeRxt
Fri Jul 03 21:29:37 +0000 2020
MKSwancutt : @TwitterEng STOP. JUST EFFING STOP.
Fri Jul 03 21:29:36 +0000 2020
T.E. Choadymonger : @TwitterEng What the fuck?
Fri Jul 03 21:29:24 +0000 2020
Nirakar Pokhrel : @TwitterEng This right here is dummy value. Virtue signalling morons
Fri Jul 03 21:29:22 +0000 2020
Rhys Morgan : @TwitterEng You guys cannot be fucking serious?
Fri Jul 03 21:29:18 +0000 2020
Patti : @TwitterEng Twats!
Fri Jul 03 21:29:17 +0000 2020
Kyle Brookes : @TwitterEng @PsxGunman now we can't say blacklist can we go to Whitstones chippy again please?
Fri Jul 03 21:29:14 +0000 2020
Andrea : @TwitterEng Twitter who the heck is running this organization, are you only catering for the damn cult group now...'... https://t.co/Cbxlgz69CY
Fri Jul 03 21:29:14 +0000 2020
..... : @TwitterEng Your off your heads
Fri Jul 03 21:29:13 +0000 2020
'' ry // buckle up its missing ajr hours '' : @TwitterEng of all the issues you could tackle with twitter.... this is top priority..?
Fri Jul 03 21:29:12 +0000 2020
Colin Wright on Twitter: "1/ Demands from UC Santa Barbara EEMB graduate students: "Require and prioritize contributions to diversity statements AHEAD OF ALL OTHER STATEMENTS in the application process for all faculty candidates." In other words: DEI >
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 04:43
Colin Wright : 1/ Demands from UC Santa Barbara EEMB graduate students:"Require and prioritize contributions to diversity statem'... https://t.co/a2Q4ZiOzVq
Sat Jul 04 03:29:04 +0000 2020
Mrs. to Ms. : @SwipeWright This is why California legislature just voted to put a repeal of Prop 209 on the ballot in November. I'... https://t.co/RPwdhB7q1q
Sat Jul 04 04:41:38 +0000 2020
Roddy from Cameron Coulee : @SwipeWright This starts in academia. Then moves quickly to regulated professions. People will be compelled to make'... https://t.co/11IGIEEynw
Sat Jul 04 04:25:32 +0000 2020
TimeTimeTime : @SwipeWright What I want to know is how they define what they call "underrepresented groups."Obviously it's not th'... https://t.co/EQDtceTeZT
Sat Jul 04 04:18:38 +0000 2020
Kurt Harris MD : @SwipeWright I live in SB. How embarrassing.
Sat Jul 04 04:11:14 +0000 2020
Kurt Harris MD : @SwipeWright We "demand" our professors sign/write statements.What leverage do they have? Whence comes the auth'... https://t.co/ba4B3jJYt5
Sat Jul 04 04:09:56 +0000 2020
Daniel Povey : @SwipeWright I think some institutions are going to be completely destroyed by this. I.e. it may be a question of'... https://t.co/6V3kWJCucF
Sat Jul 04 04:04:07 +0000 2020
Bunny Watson : @SwipeWright The only response that should be sent is, "Dear UCSB EEMB graduate students, No.Sincerely,The Faculty"
Sat Jul 04 03:55:07 +0000 2020
Jay Eskenazi : @SwipeWright I got my 1st graduate degree at UCSB. How do we push back on this as alumni?
Sat Jul 04 03:32:27 +0000 2020
Colin Wright : 2/ They also demand that every faculty member sign a joint response. If not all faculty can agree to a single respo'... https://t.co/wUEPBe4EPA
Sat Jul 04 03:29:04 +0000 2020
ESPN Profit Plummets As Network Turns Left '' Outkick
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 11:40
Soap Bubbles radvanyifx iStockphotoYesterday afternoon Disney announced its quarterly earnings and something I've been predicting for several years now was at the forefront of most of those stories '-- ESPN's income declined 11% compared to last year. The drag on earnings and revenue from ESPN led to a quarterly miss of estimates for ESPN's parent company, Disney. Fortunately for Disney the company has made smart strategic moves in other arenas '-- buying Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel among others '-- that have helped to defray the coming collapse of ESPN. So while Disney may not suffer terrible consequences thanks to the success of the Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar films and the continuing popularity of its theme parks '-- I'll be spending a ton of money there next week on ''vacation''with my kids '-- ESPN is a dead company walking.
And the story here is simple '-- ESPN is losing millions of subscribers and viewers that add up to billions of dollars a year in losses and is on the hook for tens of billions of dollars in sports rights costs in the years ahead.
That's a bad combination.
Every single day this year ESPN has lost roughly 10,000 cable and satellite subscribers.
Per day!
Think about that for a minute. If your business was losing 10,000 customers every single day how panicked would you be? But that's the exact case with ESPN. Every single day the equivalent of a decent sized American town stops paying ESPN for content. This is the continuation of a trend that began in 2011 when ESPN peaked with 101 million cable and satellite subscribers according to Nielsen. Per Nielsen's most recent estimates ESPN now has 87,859,000 cable and satellite subscribers. That's a loss of over 13 million cable and satellite subscribers in the past several years, costing ESPN in the neighborhood of $1.3 billion dollars per year. ($7.30 a month in affiliate fees x 12 months x 13 million households). That's money that will never return and that's money that is incredibly significant when you consider that ESPN is on the hook for $7.3 billion in yearly sports rights fees, the most any company in the world is paying for content.
Presently ESPN has the following yearly sports rights payments: $1.9 billion a year to the NFL for Monday Night Football plus an additional playoff game which costs the network an additional $100 million, $1.47 billion to the NBA, a deal I told you flat out wasn't sustainable back in July because it meant every single cable and satellite subscriber in the country was paying an average of $30 a year for the NBA whether they watched or not, $700 million to Major League Baseball, $608 million for the College Football Playoff, $225 million to the ACC, $190 million to the Big Ten, $120 million to the Big 12, $125 million a year to the PAC 12, and hundreds of millions more to the SEC.
Add it all up and the amounts are staggering, tens of billions of dollars in yearly fees owed regardless of what revenue looks like. With most companies you can cut costs if your revenue declines. Not ESPN. It owes these tens of billions for the next decade to come and more.
The result of this coming financial calamity has been panic, which has primarily manifested itself in a desperate ploy for relevance. ESPN decided to become a social justice warrior network, treating all liberal opinion makers as those worthy of promotion and casting aside all those who had the gall to challenge the new Disney world order.
ESPN became MSESPN.
You would be astounded by how many people inside ESPN I hear from who have the absolute gall to vote Republican. Yes, they exist. And yes they are terrified of you knowing who they are. In fact, many of them are reading this right now and nodding their heads at the absurdity of this corporate decision.
I'm not saying that ESPN should just stick to sports, but I am saying that if you decide to allow political opinions to flourish from your network's stars that you shouldn't neuter all conservative opinion and allow liberal political opinion to advance unchecked. That's not a marketplace of ideas, that's a totalitarian government. Those with liberal opinions are rewarded and allowed to speak freely, those with conservative opinions are told to keep their mouths shut.
Conservative viewers aren't stupid, they see exactly what's happening.
Even crazier, SPORTS VIEWERS ARE, ON AVERAGE, CONSERVATIVE!
Check out this graphic.
@Outkick Sports fans are conservative. pic.twitter.com/QvsCTz47Z2
'-- Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 24, 2016
The only sports fans with a large fan base in this country that skew liberal in their voting are NBA fans. And that's because of black voters who, guess what, are actually more socially conservative and religious than many white voters. As business plans go ESPN going all in on liberal sports fans is the rough equivalent of Outkick saying that henceforth we will only write articles about hot girls in Saudi Arabia.
Plus, and this is what's really crazy, it's not that hard to be right smack dab in the middle on political issues as it relates to sports. That's exactly where Outkick is. And, guess what, people reward me for that. I'm not an ideologue, I look at facts instead of feelings and treat all people the exact same '-- I'm an asshole to everyone regardless of their race, gender, religion or ethnicity, I don't know how much fairer I can be.
The first time I noticed ESPN's new liberal slant was when the network decided to give an ESPY for courage to Caitlyn Jenner for making the decision to become a woman. Look, I'm all for people pursuing their own individual happiness, but there was nothing courageous about Jenner's decision. To me true courage requires an individual risk either life or liberty. Jenner risked neither.
And, remarkably, just about everyone in sports media was afraid to point out how transparently about ratings this decision was. Hell, they even moved the ESPYS to ABC SO MORE PEOPLE COULD SEE HOW INCLUSIVE ESPN WAS.
It was a blatant attempt to gain viewers for the network.
And that was the jumping off point, the moment ESPN ceased to be about sports and became a mouthpiece of the farthest left reaches of the Democratic party. I'm all for political discussion, but when you ally yourself with one political party and your business ostensibly is to talk about sports, you lose viewers who see what you're doing. That's why I call ESPN MSESPN now, the network is desperate to prop up its ratings and has decided that becoming a shill for the left wing in the country is its best option. Sadly, this is just going to lose more viewers.
Not surprisingly, ESPN's ratings are tanking. Ratings for opinion shows the Monday after the Super Bowl this year, a day that is generally one of the most viewed in the country, were down a whopping 33% on average for PTI, Around the Horn, SportsCenter and others.
Turns out that alienating a large segment of your audience is bad for business.
People still tune into ESPN for the games, but even that's dwindling. This year the signature property for ESPN, Monday Night Football, came close to posting its lowest all-time rating. Worst of all, ESPN is retrenching, tossing ESPN2 on the scrap heap of oblivion and concentrating all original programming content on ESPN in an effort to avoid ESPN tanking as well. First Take, the new SportsCenter show at six, and more are all moving to ESPN. Companies that are confident about the future don't retreat, they advance. ESPN is curling up into the fetal position, a triggered, microaggressed liberal lashing out at the world around it '-- how dare you say something nice about Donald Trump!
And for what gain?
So a few more left wing losers on Twitter sing your praises without actually watching your shows? ESPN has become Deadspin. Congrats. That just means Ted Cruz is going to murder you in the near future too.
It used to be that sports was an escape from the real world. Now, increasingly, ESPN has made sports and politics inextricably intertwined. How else to explain the network's fixation on Tom Brady's friendship with Donald Trump? Did any athlete have to explain his or her friendship with Barack Obama? I don't recall it.
But of course you wouldn't recall it.
Because rather than explain that friendship every athlete was praised to the high heavens for being friends with Obama.
How else to explain the lionization of Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem or the Missouri protesters for their fake protest that has nearly killed the university? How else to explain the continued coverage of each athlete who doesn't visit the White House or the every critical word of the king of triggered millenials, LeBron James? How about the villainization of Peyton Manning for a twenty year old mooning, Ryan Lochte for peeing outside, and Grayson Allen for having the absolute gall to trip someone during a basketball game?
ESPN is so desperate for white guys to behave badly that they treated Manning, Lochte, and Allen like the white horsemen of the apocalypse. How dare these guys moon, pee, and trip?!
MSESPN's agenda is transparent to anyone with a pulse, the creation of a left wing sports network.
It's all a calculated move, but it's not a decision made out of strength, it's made out of weakness, the equivalent of a dead cat bouncing when it falls off a roof. The desperate final rantings of a dying business.
Like Blackberry, only without the Canadians.
ESPN realizes its business is broken and it's desperately floundering for a successful strategy. Only that strategy, becoming a left wing network, is actually hastening its own demise. ESPN becoming MSESPN isn't a strategy that will save the network, it's just a method of choosing its own execution '-- death by extreme left wing liberalism.
At least ESPN will have company there '-- say hello to your new sports fan base '-- Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
Green New Deal
On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare '-- Environmental Progress
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 12:39
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.
Epstein
Germany investigating 30,000 potential suspects in pedophile probe | News | DW | 29.06.2020
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 19:34
German officials say they are investigating thousands of leads as part of a widening investigation into a pedophile network. Some 70 suspects have so far been identified across Germany.
The cybercrime unit of the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia is investigating some 30,000 leads in a massive online child abuse probe, officials said on Monday.
The state justice ministry said the extent of abuse taking place and being shared online was "deeply disturbing."
"I hadn't reckoned with the extent of child abuse on the internet," said state Justice Minister Peter Beisenbach.
Officers are investigating what could lead to around 30,000 unidentified leads. "We want to drag perpetrators and supporters of child abuse out of the anonymity of the internet," said the ministry.
Read more: Reported child sex abuse increases in Germany
Those being investigated were suspected of sharing content that depicted fictitious or real acts of abuse. The investigation began last October with the arrest of a suspect in the Bergisch Gladbach municipality near Cologne.
The first offender, a 27-year-old soldier, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in May and placed in a psychiatric facility for an indefinite period.
Germany has been reeling from a spate of serious cases of child sexual abuse in the past 18 months.
Earlier this month, some 11 people were arrested on suspicion of abusing children and filming their actions after videos and photos were seized from the cellar of a suspect in the western city of M¼nster. Investigators said they had identified at least three victims, aged five, 10 and 12 years old.
In a separate scandal in the town of L¼gde, some 125 kilometers (80 miles) from M¼nster, several men were found to have abused children several hundred times at a campsite over several years.
rc/rs (AFP, dpa, epd)
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify there were 30,000 potential suspects.
Judge Orders Epstein Accuser to Destroy Files Believed to Contain Hundreds of Names
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 04:33
Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre has been ordered by a US District Judge to destroy files believed to contain the names of Epstein's associates '' because they were ''improperly obtained.'
Epstein associates Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak, Prince Andrew and Les Wexner.
Senior US District Judge Loretta Preska said on Wednesday that Giuffre's attorneys would need to provide proof that the documents had been destroyed, adding that ''Counsel shall submit an affidavit detailing the steps taken to do so,'' according to Newsweek.
Preska noted that a protective order governing the 'improperly obtained' documents only applied during a civil lawsuit proceeding which has been settled.
Preska's ruling came after a request by attorney Alan Dershowitz to gain access to the documents. Giuffre has claimed that Dershowitz was one of the men Epstein forced her to have sex with. In response, Dershowitz sued Giuffre for defamation in 2019. Dershowitz claimed that obtaining the Epstein files would be an asset to his defense.
Preska said in her ruling that Dershowitz's desire to see all of the files ''with over a thousand docket entries'' was not a ''targeted strike'' but a ''carpet bombing.'' ''Newsweek
In September 2019, an attorney for Epstein's alleged 'madam,' Ghislaine Maxwell '' who was arrested on Thursday, told Preska that that there are ''hundreds'' of people named in some 2,000 pages of documents.
The lawyer, Jeffrey Pagliuca, told U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska Wednesday that the materials also include an address book with about 1,000 names. Preska is considering how to carry out a ruling by the federal appeals court in New York that she must consider unsealing some of the documents. There was no detail at the hearing as to the identity of the people are named in the documents, and they may include women who say they are victims of Epstein, his friends and others. ''Bloomberg
Epstein died after being taken into custody in July, 2019 on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking. Since his rampant pedophilia became public, his associates '' including Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Ehud Barak, and Victoria's Secret boss Les Wexner have sought to distance themselves from Epstein and his activities.
Other famous names associated with Epstein include LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg, who Musk introduced to the registered sex-offender. Zuckerberg spokesman told Vanity Fair ''Mark met Epstein in passing one time at a dinner honoring scientists that was not organized by Epstein,'' adding ''Mark did not communicate with Epstein again following the dinner.''
Musk told the magazine ''I don't recall introducing Epstein to anyone, as I don't know the guy well enough to do so, Epstein is obviously a creep and Zuckerberg is not a friend of mine. Several years ago, I was at his house in Manhattan for about 30 minutes in the middle of the afternoon with Talulah [Riley], as she was curious about meeting this strange person for a novel she was writing. We did not see anything inappropriate at all, apart from weird art. He tried repeatedly to get me to visit his island. I declined.''
Republished from ZeroHedge.com with permission
Ghislaine Maxwell sits on Queen's throne with Kevin Spacey after 'Prince Andrew invite' - Mirror Online
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 12:31
Smirking socialite Ghislaine Maxwell sat on the Queen's throne next to actor Kevin Spacey during a tour of Buckingham Palace.
A photo has emerged showing Maxwell reclining in a mock royal pose in a ceremonial red velvet chair as Spacey smiles and waves while "pretending to be the Duke of Edinburgh".
It is said the picture was taken in 2002 when the pair were on a private tour of the central London palace organised by Prince Andrew for former US president Bill Clinton.
It emerged after Maxwell, 58, was arrested by the FBI in the US town of Bradford, New Hampshire, on Thursday over allegations she helped paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, her former boyfriend, "identify, befriend and groom" girls, including one as young as 14.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
Prince Andrew with Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts and Maxwell in London in 2001 (Image: REX/Shutterstock)It is not thought that disgraced financier Epstein - Andrew's one-time friend - was on the tour when the picture was taken, reported the Telegraph, the newspaper that obtained the image.
It is said Spacey - the House of Cards actor accused but never convicted of multiple sexual offences - was Clinton's guest and Maxwell was invited by Andrew.
A source claimed: ''They were larking about on the thrones, doing regal waves.
''Ghislaine sat on the Queen's throne with Spacey pretending to be the Duke of Edinburgh.
"No one can recall if Andrew was in the throne room at the time but he was in charge of the visit.''
Maxwell is accused of grooming young girls for her paedophile partner Epstein (Image: Getty)It is thought the picture was taken after Clinton arrived in London in September 2002 on his way to a Labour Party conference in Blackpool, where he was the guest of honour.
Spacey travelled with him to Blackpool. The pair visited Africa with Epstein on his private jet before arriving in the UK.
Epstein has previously visited Sandringham and Windsor Castle along with Maxwell as a guest of Andrew.
Maxwell was also on the flight to Africa, part of a humanitarian trip for the Clinton Foundation.
Andrew has been urged to speak to US investigators (Image: Getty Images)Andrew, 60, has been urged to provide information in relation to the investigation after his friend Maxwell appeared in court accused of facilitating Epstein's sexual exploitation of underage girls.
He has repeatedly denied claims that he had sex on three occasions with one of Epstein's chief accusers, Virginia Giuffre, including when she was 17.
Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, told reporters on Thursday that authorities would "welcome" a statement from the duke.
But a source close to Andrew said: "The duke's team remains bewildered given that we have twice communicated with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the last month and to date we have had no response."
Video LoadingVideo Unavailable
Click to play Tap to play
Lawyers for some of Epstein's alleged victims added pressure on Andrew to speak about his friendship with Epstein, who took his own life in a New York prison last year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.
Spencer Coogan said his clients were "relieved" that Maxwell, daughter of late disgraced media mogul Robert Maxwell, had finally been arrested and urged Andrew to speak up about what he witnessed while visiting Epstein's properties in New York, Palm Beach and the Virgin Islands.
British victims of Epstein, who died aged 66, have yet to come forward, a US lawyer for a compensation fund has said.
US lawyer Jordana Feldman, architect of the programme, encouraged more British women to come forward.
She said: "We believe there are victims yet to come forward around the world, including in the UK."
At a brief hearing on Thursday, a magistrate judge ordered Maxwell to remain in custody while she is transferred to New York for a detention hearing.
Ms Strauss claimed that the socialite had helped Epstein to exploit underage girls and "in some cases" would participate in the abuse herself.
Four of the six charges cover Maxwell's dealings with Epstein from 1994 to 1997, when she was in an "intimate relationship" with him, according to the indictment.
Maxwell was arrested at this property in New Hampshire last week (Image: Reuters)These include conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.
She is further charged with conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
According to the indictment, three unnamed minors were allegedly "induced and enticed" by Maxwell, who "facilitated" for them to be groomed by Esptein at properties he owned.
These include residences in New York City, Palm Beach in Florida and Santa Fe in New Mexico, as well as Maxwell's personal residence in London, prosecutors allege.
Top news stories from Mirror OnlineThe court papers claim that Maxwell "developed a rapport" with the alleged victims, before encouraging them to give massages to Epstein, which often resulted in him sexually abusing the girls.
One of the girls was allegedly groomed and abused in London between 1994 and 1995, with prosecutors claiming this included a period of time when Maxwell knew she was under the age of 18.
Authorities also claim that Maxwell, who is also charged with two counts of perjury, lied when being questioned under oath in 2016.
She has previously denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of sexual misconduct by Epstein.
One of his alleged victims, Ms Giuffre (nee Roberts), claims she had sex with the duke at the socialite's London townhouse in 2001.
Maxwell, who has known Andrew since university and introduced him to Epstein, features in the background of a picture which apparently shows the duke with his arm around a teenage Ms Giuffre, now 36 and living in Australia.
Ms Giuffre, who grew up in Florida, has claimed she was trafficked by Epstein and alleges the duke had sex with her on three separate occasions, including when she was 17, still a minor under US law.
Andrew categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre, while his lawyers have insisted the duke has repeatedly offered to provide a witness statement to the investigation.
Prince Andrew: More FBI pressure as Ghislaine Maxwell arrested | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 13:58
Prince Andrew is said to be 'bewildered' over the lack of response from US justice officials as the Royal Family brace themselves for new revelations after the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell.
Andrew's six-month standoff with the FBI deepened after Maxwell was detained for allegedly helping to lure underage girls who were then sexually abused by Epstein.
Her arrest in Bradford, New Hampshire, will now intensify calls for Andrew to be quizzed about any involvement he may have had, despite him denying wrongdoing.
Andrew has previously claimed he has offered three times to be a witness in the case, but US prosecutors say he has declined their request to schedule an interview.
A source close to the Duke's working group said: 'The Duke's team remains bewildered given that we have twice communicated with the DOJ in the last month and to-date, we have had no response.'
Royal author Robert Jobson has suggested Andrew must now be living in fear that Maxwell will implicate him in the 'gruesome' activities of paedophile Epstein.
Mr Jobson who has written several books about the Royal family said that the arrest of Maxwell had to be a 'cause for concern' and an 'embarrassment' for the Queen's 60-year-old son.
'He keeps protesting his innocence, but her arrest has brought everything more sharply into focus. It is certainly a very worrying development for him,' Mr Jobson said.
'It is obviously a cause concern for him as nobody knows what she is going to say. She could strike a deal with prosecutors for a lesser sentence in return for implicating others.
'I would have thought that in order to open up the case, she is going to be asked to name other names. That is where it could become even more difficult for Andrew.
'If she says anything about him, and she is bound to be asked about him, it could implicate him or cause trouble for him. Whatever happens, it is an embarrassment because she was clearly close to him and there are some pretty gruesome charges against her.
'If nothing else, it will bring into question his judgment when it comes to friendships as these are pretty unsavoury charges that she faces.'
Maxwell lived for years with Epstein, whose victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre claimed she arranged for her to have sex with the Duke of York at her London townhouse.
Andrew denied her story and claimed last month he was being treated as a second-class citizen by the US justice system, and it was untrue that he had not co-operated.
Gloria Allred, who is based in Los Angeles and represents 16 accusers of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, said the Queen's 60-year-old son must 'contact the FBI immediately'.
Andrew and Virginia Roberts, aged 17, at Ghislaine Maxwell's townhouse in London in 2001
She said today: 'The arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell is a major development and demonstrates that the criminal investigation is serious and that it continues.
'It is long overdue for Prince Andrew to stop making excuses and to stop playing the victim. He should contact the FBI immediately and agree to appear for an interview.'
Asked what 58-year-old Maxwell's arrest could now mean for the Duke, a spokesman for his legal team told MailOnline this afternoon: 'We won't be commenting.'
Today, Audrey Strauss, acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said she would 'welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us to have the benefit of his statement' but would not comment further on him in relation to the probe.
Ms Strauss said the FBI would be 'seeking detention' for Maxwell and that her team would be 'in dialogue with the Bureau of Prisons about it'.
When asked if she would be willing to hear evidence from Maxwell concerning others involved despite the perjury charges against her, Ms Strauss said: 'This sometimes happens when there are perjury charges and people can go on from there and become co-operators if that is what you are asking, so I'm not concerned about that.
Epstein is pictured with Ghislaine Maxwell in New York in 2005. Lawyers for Maxwell have previously said she denies any wrongdoing
'In the event that she were to become a co-operator, I think that we can deal with that.'
Andrew has previously said he became friends in 1999 with Epstein - who killed himself in jail last August - after being introduced to him through Maxwell.
The Duke, who stayed at Epstein's house in 2010 after the financier's conviction, said in a disastrous BBC interview last November that he did not regret their friendship.
Epstein and Maxwell were at a party hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle in June 2000, and also attended a party for Maxwell at Sandringham in December that year.
Royal author Mr Jobson said he believed that the Duchess of York had first introduced Andrew to Ghislaine, the daughter of crooked newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell who plunged to his death from his yacht in mysterious circumstances in 1991.
Ghislaine in turn introduced Andrew to billionaire Epstein who jumped at the chance of ingratiating himself with a member of the Royal family.
Mr Jobson said: 'Andrew was clearly close to them both. He invited them to Royal enclosure at Ascot and a party hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle in 2000 as well as a shooting weekend in Sandringham later in the same year.
'It is the case that Ghislaine has also associated with other members of the Royal family, so people are going to become quite concerned.
'She has ben in the Royal circle so it becomes more and more embarrassing because it is all getting closer and closer to the Queen.
'Andrew has tried to distance himself a bit from Epstein and can say that more was made of their friendship than what there actually was, but it was clear that he was still friends with Ghislaine after his friendship with Epstein ended.
'He was in touch with her long after he severed his ties with Epstein.'
Mr Jobson said Andrew's closeness to Ghislaine was illustrated by the infamous photograph of him with his arm around 17-year-old Virginia Roberts which was said to have been taken in Ghislaine's flat in London in 2000.
He said: 'While some close to Andrew have said the photograph was fabricated, the key problem is that it was allegedly taken at Ghislaine's home and she is there in the picture lurking in the background.
'The photograph is being used all the time, so now that she has been charged with procuring under age girls, it has become even more of an embarrassment and potentially damaging for him.'
Lawyer Gloria Allred, who is based in Los Angeles and represents 16 accusers of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, is pictured outside Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on February 21
Andrew is photographed with the disgraced Epstein in New York's Central Park in 2010
The US Department of Justice has formally asked the Home Office for help to question the Duke, which could see him grilled in court about his links to Epstein.
But Andrew's lawyers said it was a cynical publicity stunt, accusing US officials of breaking their own rules, telling untruths and trying to mislead the global public.
Today, an indictment claimed Maxwell 'assisted, facilitated and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein's abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse' girls under the age of 18.
Mr Jobson who has written books on Prince Charles and Princess Diana also said that Maxwell's arrest made it an even more distant prospect that Andrew would ever be able to return to public life as a working Royal.
He said: 'At this moment in time, until this matter is completely cleared up and people are satisfied that he is telling the truth and is completely innocent, as he says he is, there is no way back for him because there is so much hanging over him.
'It would be impossible for him to carry out his duties. The fact that the whole Epstein saga is now on Netflix and there is a new book about it doesn't help his case.
'But I don't think he is going to put himself in a position where he could be charged. I don't see him going to America.
'The only way he can start to clear his name is to present himself for questioning to the FBI. I don't think his lawyers will want him to do that because it could leave him exposed.
'It means he is between the devil and the deep blue sea because he can't expose himself and risk becoming the next central focus of the Epstein inquiry.'
Epstein killed himself in a federal prison in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Maxwell was accused by women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured into sex.
The indictment included counts of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury.
Maxwell has previously repeatedly denied wrongdoing and called some of the claims against her 'absolute rubbish'.
She was described in a lawsuit by another Epstein victim, Sarah Ransome, as the 'highest-ranking employee' of Epstein's alleged sex trafficking ring. The lawsuit claimed she oversaw and trained recruiters, developed recruiting plans and helped conceal activity from police.
The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York will announce charges later today against Maxwell 'for her role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein'.
Federal prosecutors said in court papers she had 'enticed and caused minor victims to travel to Epstein's residence in different states' and that Maxwell would assist in their 'grooming for and subjection to sexual abuse.'
Prosecutors charged that Maxwell was well aware of Epstein's preference for minor girls, and that he intended to sexually abuse them.
Maxwell has kept a low profile since the death of Epstein, a financier who was accused of raping and trafficking underage girls over nearly two decades.
Some of Epstein's alleged victims have said Maxwell lured them into his circle, where they were sexually abused by him and powerful friends. Maxwell was an ex-girlfriend of Epstein who became a longtime member of his inner circle.
Andrew had promised last year, after a disastrous Newsnight interview, to 'help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations' into Epstein.
According to Andrew, the first he heard from the FBI in their 16-year investigation into Epstein was on January 2.
And he was just beginning the process of suggesting how he might answer their questions when, according to his friends, the Americans 'went nuclear'.
On January 27, Geoffrey Berman, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, stood outside Epstein's New York mansion and publicly accused the prince of reneging on his pledge by offering 'zero assistance' to the FBI.
On March 9 he claimed the royal had 'completely shut the door' on cooperating.
One of Epstein's victims, Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, alleges she had sex with the Duke of York three times when she was 17 at the behest of the billionaire paedophile
Andrew (second left) has said he became friends with Jeffrey Epstein (right) in 1999, after being introduced to him through Ghislaine Maxwell. Pictured: Melania Trump, Andrew, Epstein's friend Gwendolyn Beck and Epstein at a party at the Mar-a-Lago in Florida in 2000
But on June 8, as Epstein's victims demanded he 'end the cat and mouse game', Andrew's City law firm Blackfords issued a 604-word statement effectively calling the Americans liars.
It called Mr Berman's claims 'inaccurate' and said it had agreed to cooperate with the Department of Justice on the basis 'our discussions and the interview process would remain confidential', insisting it was given an unequivocal assurance on this point.
Blackfords said: 'The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the DoJ.
'Unfortunately, the DoJ has reacted to the first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the Duke has offered zero cooperation. In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered.'
The statement by Andrew's lawyers continued: 'It is a matter of regret that the DoJ has seen fit to breach its own rules of confidentiality, not least as they are designed to encourage witness cooperation.
'He is being treated by a lower standard than might reasonably be expected for any other citizen. Those same breaches of confidentiality by the DoJ have given the global media - and, therefore, the worldwide audience - an entirely misleading account of our discussions with them.'
But Mr Berman hit back by saying: 'Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate with an ongoing federal criminal investigation into sex trafficking and related offences committed by Jeffrey Epstein and his associates, even though the prince has not given an interview to federal authorities, has repeatedly declined our request to schedule such an interview, and nearly four months ago informed us unequivocally - through the very same counsel who issued today's release - that he would not come in for such an interview.
'If Prince Andrew is, in fact, serious about cooperating with the ongoing federal investigation, our doors remain open, and we await word of when we should expect him.'
Andrew spoke to the BBC's Emily Maitlis for a Newsnight interview in November last year
Andrew is being represented by Clare Montgomery, a leading QC in extradition cases. She represented the Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet and also the Swedish state in its 2012 attempt to extradite Julian Assange.
Last month it was also revealed that the DoJ formally applied to the Home Office in May under a 1994 treaty between the two countries to provide Mutual Legal Assistance.
The request from the Americans - a 'diplomatic nightmare' which has yet to be granted, according to Whitehall sources - means Andrew could be forced to answer FBI questions in a British court.
He would in theory be entitled to 'plead the 5th' Amendment, remain silent to avoid incriminating himself.
Asked previously during a Fox News interview whether the US had asked Britain to hand over Andrew, attorney general William Barr said: 'I think it's just a question of having him provide some evidence.' Asked if he would be extradited, Barr replied 'No'.
Gloria Allred, who represents two women treated as sex slaves by the late Epstein, previously said: 'By refusing to voluntarily answer questions posed by law enforcement, Prince Andrew has demonstrated disrespect for the victims and their need to know the truth.
'It is time for the prince to stop this cat and mouse game and stand before the bar of justice'.
Miss Roberts, 36, who claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew three times when she was 17, previously retweeted a comment calling on the Home Office to extradite him to America.
Andrew vehemently denies any wrongdoing and says he does not even recall Miss Roberts.
Jeffrey Epstein 'statue' installed in front of Albuquerque's City Hall | Fox News
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 16:50
Published July 03, 2020
Last Update an hour ago
Workers on Wednesday morning quickly removed itA piece of guerrilla artwork meant to represent pedophile Jeffrey Epstein showed up in front of Albuquerque's old City Hall in the middle of the night.
Workers on Wednesday morning quickly removed the gold-painted mannequin, which looked nothing like the notorious financier.
It came with a plaque bearing Epstein's name, according to reports.
JEFFREY EPSTEIN'S EX GHISLAINE MAXWELL APPEARS BEFORE NH JUDGE, EXPECTED TO FACE SEX-CRIME CHARGES IN NY
''He had a home in New Mexico, Zorro ranch,'' the plaque read. ''He was also a rapist who died in prison.''
It also listed the captions from 17 court cases in which Epstein was a defendant.
PRINCE ANDREW'S LEGAL TEAM 'BEWILDERED' OVER CLAIMS ROYAL WON'T COOPERATE IN EPSTEIN INVESTIGATION: SOURCE
A group calling itself the Antlion Entertainment Art Collective claimed responsibility, Fox affiliate KRQE-TV reported.
The station reported that with controversial statues coming down across the country, the group said it wanted to make its own political statement.
''We think we need an Epstein statue in every school because otherwise how are students even going to learn they even existed?'' a member of the group told the station. ''You know those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it, and so if we don't have statues of Epstein up, how can we prevent predatory behavior.''
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The statue appeared after Epstein's former confidant Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested on multiple sex-abuse charges, including conspiracy to entice minors to engage in sexual acts.
The Ghislaine Maxwell I know | Spectator USA
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 23:07
Life US Politics
Like every other arrested person, she must be presumed innocentGhislaine Maxwell in 2003 (Getty)
My wife and I were introduced to Ghislaine Maxwell by Sir Evelyn and Lady Lynne de Rothschild, and we subsequently met her on several occasions '-- generally in the presence of prominent people such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Nobel Prize-winning scientists, presidents of universities, and prominent academic and business people. We never saw her do anything inappropriate. We knew her only as Jeffrey Epstein's thirty-something girlfriend.
Now she stands accused of serious crimes allegedly committed a quarter of a century ago. Like every other arrested person, she must be presumed innocent. Many in the public however, will presume her guilty because of the portrayal of her in the Netflix series about Jeffrey Epstein. But no one should believe anything they saw in that series, because it was based largely on the accounts of two women with histories of making dubious accusations.
Let's begin with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has alleged she was trafficked to Prince Andrew by Epstein and Maxwell, for which she claims she was paid $15,000. But she also has said '-- as I argue in a civil action against her '-- that she met Al and Tipper Gore on Epstein's island (for this and other revelations she was paid $160,000). She describes the incident in great detail, but the truth is that neither of the Gores have ever met Epstein and were certainly never on his island. She has also made accusations against former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, former majority leader of the US Senate George Mitchell, former US Representative to the UN Bill Richardson, owner of L Brands Limited Leslie Wexner, and many others who have categorically denied these accusations. Her own lawyer has acknowledged that an 11-year investigation disproved the accusations against these prominent people.
Finally, she claimed to have sex with me on six or seven occasions, although she had previously admitted in her own words that she never met me or even heard of me. Her own lawyer has admitted that she was 'wrong'...simply wrong' in accusing me, since my travel records prove that I could never have been in the places she claimed to have met me. She admitted to her best friend that she was pressured to falsely accuse me by her lawyers who were trying to secure a billion-dollar settlement from Leslie Wexner.
*** Subscribe to The Spectator and get a free copy of A Convenient Death, the explosive new book detailing the demise of Jeffrey Epstein ***
I presented all this documentation to Netflix and they promised to show it to their viewing audience, but they broke their promise and withheld it.
Another Netflix witness is a woman named, Sarah Ransome. But Netflix failed to disclose that in the run-up to the 2016 election Ransome wrote dozens of emails to the New York Post claiming to have sex tapes of the two 'pedophiles' who were running for president, namely Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, as well as sex tapes of Richard Branson and others. She also claimed that Hillary Clinton ordered the CIA to kill her and to destroy her tapes. The Post of course did not run that story. She subsequently admitted she had 'invented' that story; there were no sex tapes.
Netflix also had all this information and promised to show it, but again they refused because they did not want their viewers to see anything that challenged the credibility of the lying witnesses who were central to their one-sided narrative.
So everyone should keep an open mind about Maxwell as they should about others who have been accused by Epstein's alleged victims. The truth-testing mechanisms of cross-examination and confrontation must be employed against these witnesses, as they are against other accusers. Only after a full trial, in which both sides are presented should reasonable people come to conclusions about Ghislaine Maxwell.
In addition to presenting factual defenses, Maxwell's lawyers may argue that the Statute of Limitations have expired on these 20-plus year allegations. They may also argue that Maxwell is protected by Epstein's original plea deal that expressly included Maxwell as someone who received immunity. So stay tuned. The case against Ghislaine Maxwell is far from over.
*** Subscribe to The Spectator and get a free copy of A Convenient Death, the explosive new book detailing the demise of Jeffrey Epstein ***
Show comments
OTG
Big OTG Win for producer
Anyway, onto why I emailed at all. The gf was having a bad day and wanted to go onto a hike near a local lake (Lake Belton). The battery on my phone was low and so, with my fresh return to NA in mind, I decided to plug it in and go without it.
Long story short it ended up amazing. We hiked for several miles through the day, found a super sketchy wire bridge, had to cross a river and eventually found an awesome waterfall that we swam around in and sat under for quite a while.
We weren’t alone either, lots of people were out and hiking (no masks were seen the entire day) and at the waterfall. As I sat on the bank and was enjoying the sun and taking in how gorgeous the scene was... I noticed something. Phones. People, adults and children, were absorbed in their phones. SEVERAL PEOPLE made the entire hike to take pics then immediately leave. It was so surreal.
I realized the amount of fun and enjoyment was INCREASED by leaving the phone for a number of reasons. I wasn’t worried about checking it, didn’t care about losing it or getting it wet, didn’t care about taking pics, didn’t care about social media seeing it and so on. I had fun. I sat on a bench and watched the trees... and enjoyed it. Granted I did bring my THC vape pen so I was really well lubricated to enjoy it.
Anyway, It ended up being a super fun day that I owe an enormous thank you to you for. For the first time I’m rethinking my stance on your OTG thing.
Don’t need anything, just thought you’d enjoy the story. Hope that we can meet up in Austin some time, I’d love to smoke you out.
Your Road Slave
Richard Beavers
Google Photos is asking me if these are the same people. Adam and Siegfried?! Jon
Linux Marketshare Climbed to All-Time High in June, Stats Show
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 04:54
A new month means new Linux marketshare stats from net analytics company NetMarketshare and they show Linux and Ubuntu usage is up for the fourth consecutive month in a row.
The share of Linux desktops monitored by the firm's technology has grown consistently and continually for several months. The figures for June 2020 don't prove the exception with Linux rising from 3.17 percent in May 2020 to 3.61 percent in June 2020:
Linux marketshare from the past 12 monthsI think we can more confidently say that increase is now a trend and not an aberration or random error in the data (which wouldn't be the first time). Or to put it another way, if its an error it's a consistent one!
Still, when viewed against NetMarketShare's historical data for desktop Linux (which only goes back as far as 2016, but still) this figure represents an all-time high for desktop Linux.
When viewed against historical data this figure represents an all-time high for Linux desktop share
As before the bump appears tone driven by Ubuntu. It's Ubuntu-based systems that make up the bulk of Linux's marketshare according to this company. The orange-tinged OS was up from 2.11 percent of all desktop Linux systems in May to 2.57 percent in June.
For reference, Linux Mint is tracked separately. Based on the same stats its current share sits on 0.0%.
Does this mean Linux marketshare is increasing, and increasing hugely? No; it's still a small fish in the sea (much less a pond). But the share of Linux users is clearly growing among the sample base of this specific company (which says its tracks hundreds of millions of visits to a score of undefined but apparently popular websites, so counts for something).
But while the trend is exciting I must also point out that it is not being reported elsewhere.
Here is desktop Linux marketshare for the same 12 month period, this time furnished with figures from web analytics company StatCounter:
A more sober chart showing few gainsHmm. Virtually no movement at all '-- and certainly no post-April spike.
However, it's not ''proof'' nothing is happening. Methodologies and sample bases of analytics company are different. It's expected that they'd have different results. No spike in company B's stats doesn't mean there wasn't a spike in company A's.
Why is the increase happening (if it is happening)?
Sadly, that's even more difficult to discern!
It could be because of more people working from home (and thus their own computers, which run Linux). It could simple be that their tracking software is now much better at identifying Linux. It could be {insert your favourite theory here}.
Either way, with little else to go on, these stats are interesting and encouraging if not universally conclusive.
We'll never know the exact marketshare of Linux on the desktop but based on other data (like Distrowatch rankings, ISO downloads, Snap app installs, and other) it's certainly north of most people's assumptions.
big thanks @fabidotsh
Yamato becomes Japan's first city to 'ban' use of phones while walking | The Japan Times
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 12:23
YOKOHAMA '' Yamato on Thursday became the first municipality in Japan to attempt to stop people using their smartphones while walking outside in public places.
Following the passage of a draft ordinance in the city's assembly in Kanagawa Prefecture, the rule will come into effect next Wednesday. It does not, however, carry any penalties for those who ignore it.
The city said it hopes people will recognize that ''smartphones should be used when not in motion.''
According to the ordinance, pedestrians should stop at a place where they are not obstructing traffic if they want to use their smartphones in public spaces, such as on streets and in parks.
In January, the city conducted a study at two locations, observing a total of about 6,000 pedestrians, and found that roughly 12 percent of pedestrians were using their smartphones while walking. Following the survey, the draft ordinance was submitted to the city's assembly on June 1.
The Walkman, Forty Years On | The New Yorker
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 14:25
Even prior to extended quarantines, lockdowns, and self-isolation, it was hard to imagine life without the electronic escapes of noise-cancelling earbuds, smartphones, and tablets. Today, it seems impossible. Of course, there was most certainly a before and after, a point around which the cultural gravity of our plugged-in-yet-tuned-out modern lives shifted. Its name is Walkman, and it was invented, in Japan, in 1979. After the Walkman arrived on American shores, in June of 1980, under the temporary name of Soundabout, our days would never be the same.
Up to this point, music was primarily a shared experience: families huddling around furniture-sized Philcos; teens blasting tunes from automobiles or sock-hopping to transistor radios; the bar-room juke; break-dancers popping and locking to the sonic backdrop of a boom box. After the Walkman, music could be silence to all but the listener, cocooned within a personal soundscape, which spooled on analog cassette tape. The effect was shocking even to its creators. ''Everyone knows what headphones sound like today,'' the late Sony designer Yasuo Kuroki wrote in a Japanese-language memoir, from 1990. ''But at the time, you couldn't even imagine it, and then suddenly Beethoven's Fifth is hammering between your ears.''
The initial incarnation of the Walkman, the TPS-L2, was envisioned as a toy for Japanese high-school and college students to use as they studied. (Sharp-eyed fans will recognize the distinctive silver and blue TPS-L2 as the model carried by Peter Quill in Marvel's ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' films.) Sony's chairman at the time, the genial Akio Morita, was so unsure of the device's prospects that he ordered a manufacturing run of only thirty thousand, a drop in the bucket compared to such established lines as Trinitron televisions. Initially, he seemed right to be cautious. The Walkman d(C)buted in Japan to near silence. But word quickly spread among the youth of Tokyo about a strange new device that let you carry a soundtrack out of your bedroom, onto commuter trains, and into city streets. Within a year and a half of the appearance of the Walkman, Sony would produce and sell two million of them.
While the Walkman was far smaller and lighter than any tape deck that had come before, it remained stubbornly large. The technology of the day precluded Sony's engineers, who were renowned as wizards of miniaturization, from whittling their portable stereo down to anything smaller than the size of a paperback book. Oversized for a pocket, the Walkman obligated the user to carry it by hand or sling it in an included belt holster. Even stranger, by current portable-listening standards, were the Walkman's headphone ports'--plural'--and a built-in microphone. The Walkman was initially designed to be used in tandem: a ''hot line'' button paused the music and activated the mic, letting two users chat even with headphones on. This specification had come at the insistence of Morita, who had irritated his wife by not being able to conduct a conversation while testing early prototypes at home.
The canny Morita, the architect of Sony's sleek image both inside Japan and abroad, was right to fear the isolating nature of the Walkman. What he was wrong about was how, for the Walkman's growing numbers of users, isolation was the whole point. ''With the advent of the Sony Walkman came the end of meeting people,'' Susan Blond, a vice-president at CBS Records, told the Washington Post in 1981. ''It's like a drug: You put the Walkman on and you blot out the rest of the world.'' It didn't take long for academics to coin a term for the phenomenon. The musicologist Shuhei Hosokawa called it ''the Walkman effect.''
Hosokawa noted how listeners used the devices to tame the unpredictability of urban spaces, with all of their unexpected intrusions and loud noises. Wearing headphones functioned both as a personal ''Do Not Disturb'' sign and an alternate soundtrack to the cacophony of the city. This was a new form of human experience, engaged disengagement, a technological shield from the world and an antidote to ennui. Whenever nerves frayed or boredom crept in, one could just hit Play and fast-forward life a little. One of the first Westerners to grasp the import of this new human capacity was the author William Gibson, a pioneer of the genre of science fiction called cyberpunk, who wrote years later that ''the Sony Walkman has done more to change human perception than any virtual reality gadget.''
The Walkman instantly entrenched itself in daily life as a convenient personal music-delivery device; within a few years of its global launch, it emerged as a status symbol and fashion statement in and of itself. ''We just got back from Paris and everybody's wearing them,'' Andy Warhol enthused to the Post. Boutiques like Bloomingdale's had months-long waiting lists of eager customers. Paul Simon ostentatiously wore his onstage at the 1981 Grammys; by Christmas, they were de-rigueur celebrity gifts, with leading lights like Donna Summer dispensing them by the dozens. There had been popular electronic gadgets before, such as the pocket-sized transistor radios of the fifties, sixties, and seventies. But the Walkman was in another league. Until this point, earphones had been associated with hearing impairment, geeky technicians manning sonar stations, or basement-dwelling hi-fi fanatics. Somehow, a Japanese company had made the high-tech headgear cool.
Steve Jobs, then the young C.E.O. of a fledgling Silicon Valley startup called Apple Computer, had personally received a Walkman from Morita on a business trip to Japan, where Jobs went in search of disk-drive suppliers in the early nineteen-eighties. When Jobs returned home, he didn't even bother listening to a cassette on the Walkman; instead, he opened and dissected the machinery piece by piece, reading tiny gears, drive belts, and capstans like tea leaves, to divine how he might, someday, make something so epically world-changing himself. ''Steve's point of reference was Sony at the time,'' his successor at Apple, John Sculley, recalled. ''He really wanted to be Sony. He didn't want to be IBM. He didn't want to be Microsoft. He wanted to be Sony.''
Jobs would get his wish with the d(C)but of the iPod, in 2001. It wasn't the first digital-music player'--a South Korean firm had introduced one back in 1998. (That Sony failed to exploit the niche, in spite of having created listening-on-the-go and even owning its own record label, was a testament to how Morita's unexpected retirement after a stroke, in 1993, hobbled the corporation.) But Apple's was the most stylish to date, bereft of the complicated and button-festooned interfaces of its competitors, finished in sleek pearlescent plastic and with a satisfying heft that hinted at powerful technologies churning inside. Apple also introduced a tantalizing new method of serving up music: the shuffle, which let listeners remix entire musical libraries into never-ending audio backdrops for their lives. Once again, city streets were the proving ground for this evolution of portable listening technology. ''I was on Madison [Ave],'' Jobs told Newsweek, in 2004, ''and it was, like, on every block, there was someone with white headphones, and I thought, 'Oh, my God, it's starting to happen.' ''
That happening never really stopped, even after the advent, in 2007, of the iPhone'--a direct descendant of the iPod and Walkman'--made stand-alone portable music players obsolete. The iPhone added the intraocular drip of always accessible Internet, a new way of escaping the cacophonies that surround us. But the headphones were here to stay. iPod sales have dwindled to the point that Apple stopped reporting them in 2014, but, that very same year, the company purchased the headphones company Beats by Dre for more than three billion dollars. At the time, this marked the single biggest acquisition in Apple's history'--proof of Sony's prescience in discovering and stoking an incandescent hunger for auditory escapes in our daily lives. The Walkman wasn't the end of meeting people, but it paved the way for surviving an unthinkable era in which we would find ourselves unable to meet at all.
Your next BMW might only have heated seats for 3 months - Roadshow
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 15:13
Things are about to get weird in here.
BMW German luxury cars are renowned for the breadth of their options sheets. On one hand, this means you can get your next BMW 5 Series configured exactly how you want it. On the other hand, it means you'll often wind up paying for extra for seemingly basic things like, say, a spare tire. Now, BMW is raising the ante by making many car options into software services enabled whenever you want them. The disconcerting part? They can be disabled, too.
In a VR presentation streamed from Germany today, BMW ran through a series of digital updates to its cars, including more details on the new BMW digital key service announced with Apple at last week's WWDC and confirming that current model cars will be fully software upgradeable over the air, a la Tesla. The first such update will hit BMW Operating System 7 cars in July. Packages are said to be approximately 1GB in size and will take roughly 20 minutes to install.
But, the most notable part of the day's presentation was the new plan to turn many options into software services. BMW mentioned everything from advanced safety systems like adaptive cruise and automatic high-beams to other, more discrete options like heated seats.
These options will be enabled via the car or the new My BMW app. While some will be permanent and assigned to the car, others will be temporary, with mentioned periods ranging from three months to three years. Some, presumably, will be permanent, but during the stream's Q&A portion BMW representatives demurred on the details.
So, yes, you could theoretically only pay for heated seats in the colder months if you like, or perhaps save a few bucks by only enabling automatic high-beams on those seasons when the days are shortest.
You may recall, BMW already demoed a program like this in 2018 by charging for limited-time access to Apple CarPlay . At the time I called this "next-level gouging" and I wasn't in the minority, the reaction being so negative that BMW eventually scrapped the program.
Yet this new move basically takes that approach and brings it to another level. Imagine pressing the seat heater button only to be prompted to renew your subscription, or having to pay extra to get an engine note on your new M4 that suits your sensibilities. All this is possible -- and likely. And, frankly, ugly.
This "vehicle as a platform" approach may indeed save some consumers money, particularly in the lease-heavy luxury sedan space where average ownership intervals are measured in months, not years. Also, this approach could open the door even further into letting consumers get exactly the specification they want, instead of bundling discrete options into packages in the name of streamlining manufacturing processes.
However, the potential downsides are troubling, particularly when it comes to used car sales. BMW representatives indicated that upgraded features will apply to the car, not the user, but indicated that all the details on used car sales are still being worked out. Again, there are some positives here, like being able to have a better-equipped second-hand car than the original owner, but it's hard to not see this as simply another shot of revenue for BMW in a transaction that might otherwise not involve the company at all.
Tesla recently found itself in hot water for disabling Autopilot on a used car. This is just the beginning, and how consumers react will be key, though at the end of the day this sort of thing feels inevitable. Service-based pricing is taking over everything from what we're watching tonight to what we're having for dinner. Why not what's sitting in our driveway, too?
Goldman Sachs releases new font you're not allowed to criticize Goldman Sachs with - The Verge
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 15:14
'The User may not use the Licensed Font Software to disparage Goldman Sachs'
By James Vincent on June 25, 2020 10:23 am Investment bank Goldman Sachs has released its very own typeface: an inoffensive set of sans-serif fonts dubbed Goldman Sans. But in the spirit of bankers everywhere, these fonts come with a catch in the contract. As their license states, you're free to use Goldman Sans for just about anything you like so long as you don't use it to criticize Goldman Sachs.
Just by downloading the package of fonts, you agree to these terms and conditions. And although Goldman Sans is nominally a free font, Goldman Sachs retains complete control over the license, allowing it terminate usage for any reason it likes.
Here are the relevant passages from the license:
C.c. The User may not use the Licensed Font Software to disparage or suggest any affiliation with or endorsement by Goldman Sachs.
D.2 This License shall terminate and become null and void for any use that does not comply with any of the conditions in this License. Further, Goldman Sachs may terminate this License, without notice to the User, for any reason or no reason at all and at any time, completely at Goldman Sachs's sole discretion
For the pedants in the comments: Goldman Sans is a typeface with 10 fonts of differing weights and styles.
It's a fitting bit of low-grade legal shithousing from a company that was most memorably described as ''a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.'' This little contractual clause was spotted by Twitter user Matt Round and picked up by BoingBoing, where The Verge saw it.
Of course, no one should be particularly surprised that a bit of marketing fluff to bolster Goldman Sachs' brand doesn't actually mean the company is engaging with egalitarian design principles. But the license raises an interesting question: how much disparagement will Goldman Sachs allow before it terminates the font's use?
What if you took, for example, the noticeably lengthy ''Controversies and legal issues'' section of Goldman Sachs' Wikipedia page and rendered that in Goldman Sans? Is that disparagement? I mean, I would personally have my feelings hurt if you talked about how I defrauded customers for profit during the 2008 financial crisis or about my involvement in a ''brazen scheme to loot billions of dollars from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.'' Then again, I'm not one of the world's most powerful, long-lived, criticized and maligned but seemingly bulletproof financial institutions. I don't even have my own font.
Serious Warning Issued For Millions Of Google Gmail Users
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 04:39
07/04 Update below. This post was originally published on July 2
While Google has dropped some Chrome bombshells in recent weeks, Gmail users have had a tougher time. And it just got a lot worse.
dangerous messages direct to users' inboxes
PA Images via Getty Images
MORE FROM FORBES Google's New Tab Groups Reinvigorate Chrome Browser By Gordon Kelly Picked up by the always-excellent Android Police, Gmail appears to be suffering from a widespread problem with its email filters which is causing potentially dangerous, exploitative and NSFW messages to be sent directly to users' inboxes. Furthermore, while Google has recently recognized Gmail problems ''affecting a significant subset of users'' it now lists the service as fully operational, when one look at Reddit or Twitter makes it clear this is far from the case.
''Why did the gmail spam filters break?!'' '' source
''Did gmail's spam filter and category function just completely shut down for anyone else? Everything's now going straight to the primary inbox.'' '' source
''Are @gmail's spam filters broken? I've had a sudden influx of some crazy #NSFW spam in my inbox! What's going on #Gmail?'' '' source
''It is a strangely comforting thing that I can just search for ''gmail'' and immediately Twitter provides me with evidence that yes, others are getting weirdly hit with spam right now'' '' source
07/04 Update: Google has responded to my inquiry and acknowledged the problem, surprisingly pointing out that the spam flaw was actually part of a bigger issue which caused Gmail emails to be delayed, both when sent and received. The consequence of this was ''some messages were delayed enough that they resulted in delivery without all spam checks completing.'' Most importantly, Google states that ''During this time, scans to filter malware and the most egregious spam and harmful content remained fully operational.'' Google says the issue has now been resolved. That said, it is worth nothing that some users are still reporting spam problems in Gmail (1,2,3,4,5,6,7 etc) so you should remain cautious, both when opening unfamiliar new email and going through older messages that may have arrived during the main outage.
For the tech savvy, a flurry of spam hitting your inbox is something which can be navigated. But everyday users could be caught out by some of the more sophisticated malware and exploitation strategies these emails can contain. After all, there's a reason Gmail (usually) works so hard to keep these messages from your inbox.
I have contacted Google about this and will update the post when I know more.
___
Follow Gordon on Facebook
More On Forbes
Microsoft Releases Troubled Windows 10 Update, Despite Warnings
Google Chrome Has Spectacular MacBook Problems, Apple Silent
I am an experienced freelance technology journalist. I have written for Wired, The Next Web, TrustedReviews, The Guardian and the BBC in addition to Forbes. I began in
'... Read More I am an experienced freelance technology journalist. I have written for Wired, The Next Web, TrustedReviews, The Guardian and the BBC in addition to Forbes. I began in b2b print journalism covering tech companies at the height of the dot com boom and switched to covering consumer technology as the iPod began to take off. A career highlight for me was being a founding member of TrustedReviews. It started in 2003 and we were repeatedly told websites could not compete with print! Within four years we were purchased by IPC Media (Time Warner's publishing division) to become its flagship tech title. What fascinates me are the machinations of technology's biggest companies. Got a pitch, tip or leak? Contact me on my professional Facebook page. I don't bite.
Read Less
Over 30,000 Israelis ordered into quarantine as coronavirus digital tracking resumes - Israel News - Haaretz.com
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:00
The Health Ministry sent messages on Thursday and Friday instructing more than 30,000 people to self-quarantine after the Shin Bet security service digital tracking system reported that they had been in close proximity to confirmed coronavirus patients.
However, some of those who were ordered into quarantine say they were at home at the time in question and were not in contact with anyone, but that they have no means of appealing the order.
0:00
-- : --
LISTEN: Bibi's bonanza, arresting activists and the death of God TV Credit: Haaretz
The messages were sent after the Knesset on Wednesday passed a temporary legislation allowing the Health Ministry to avail itself of Shin Bet assistance to locate people who had been in the vicinity of confirmed patients.
>> Coronavirus in Israel: Live updates
By law, a person who receives such a notification can ask the Health Ministry to ''re-examine the data,'' and the ministry is required to respond to the request within three days. But people say the ministry is not answering their calls, and those who have been able to reach the ministry say they were told that for the time being there is no means of appeal.
''I got a message on Friday to go into quarantine,'' a resident of southern Israel said. ''I checked the time that I was supposed to have been near a coronavirus patient, and it was late at night when for sure I was home sleeping. But when you try to reach the ministry nobody answers, the line disconnects and that's that.''
A man wearing a protective mask walks in Jerusalem, June 28, 2020. Credit: Emil Salman
Knesset Passes Temporary Law Allowing Digital Tracking of Coronavirus Patients by Security Service Israel's Security Service Opposes Tracking Citizens to Fight Coronavirus, but Government at a Loss Knesset Gives Initial Approval for Comprehensive Digital Tracking by Security Service in Coronavirus Fight ''I've tried to reach them three times and now I've been waiting for 40 minutes on the line for somebody to pick up,'' a resident of central Israel said, who received notice on Saturday that he had been exposed a week ago to a confirmed coronavirus patient and had to self-quarantine. ''It simply can't be. On that day I slept until 1 P.M. and I only left the house at 3 P.M. It's depressing that there's no way to appeal, because I have plans for the rest of the week and everyone around me is under pressure. Still, as long as I'm not cleared by the Health Ministry, I'll stay home.''
Another man from central Israel, who got a message on Saturday ordering him into quarantine for the next 11 days, said he was with his family at the time he had supposedly been exposed. ''I have no intention of staying in quarantine, especially without any way to appeal. Whoever heard of such a thing in a democratic country, that they send you into quarantine with no means of appeal?''
The Health Ministry responded by saying that ''beginning Thursday many text messages were sent from the Health Ministry following Shin Bet tracking. As a result, numerous calls were made to the ministry's hotline. Waiting times are very long and some of the calls get disconnected. The Health Ministry is working to improve the availability and level of the service soon. The Health Ministry emphasizes that receipt of the text message requires immediate quarantine, and the directions in the message must be followed until officially informed otherwise.''
According to the digital tracking bill, the Shin Bet will provide the Health Ministry with location data of anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 and people who had been in contact with carriers within the 14-days prior to diagnosis. The information is expected to include data on individuals' identities, location and whom they have had contact with, in accordance with the country's wiretapping laws, but not their phonecalls. The Shin Bet and the Health Ministry would be required to submit weekly reports to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee regarding their joint activities.
2020
At Mount Rushmore, Trump digs deeper into nation's divisions
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 13:43
MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL, S.D. (AP) '-- At the foot of Mount Rushmore and on the eve of Independence Day, President Donald Trump dug deeper into America's divisions by accusing protesters who have pushed for racial justice of engaging in a ''merciless campaign to wipe out our history.''
The president, in remarks Friday night at the South Dakota landmark, offered a discordant tone to an electorate battered by a pandemic and seared by the recent high-profile killings of Black people. He zeroed in on the desecration by some demonstrators of monuments and statues across the country that honor those who have benefited from slavery, including some past presidents.
Four months from Election Day, his comments amounted to a direct appeal to the political base, including many disaffected white votes, that carried him to the White House in 2016.
''This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore,'' Trump said. He lamented ''cancel culture'' and charged that some on the political left hope to ''defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.'' He said Americans should speak proudly of their heritage and shouldn't have to apologize for its history.
''We will not be terrorized, we will not be demeaned, and we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people,'' Trump added. ''It will not happen.''
The speech and fireworks at Mount Rushmore came against the backdrop of a pandemic that has killed over 125,000 Americans. The president flew across the nation to gather a big crowd of supporters, most of them maskless and all of them flouting public health guidelines that recommend not gathering in large groups.
The discord was heightened as the Trump campaign confirmed during the president's speech that Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fundraiser for the campaign and the girlfriend of Trump's eldest son Donald Trump Jr., had tested positive for the coronavirus while in South Dakota. Both Guilfoyle and Trump Jr., who serves as a top surrogate for the president, are isolating themselves and have canceled public events, according to Sergio Gor, chief of staff to the Trump campaign's finance committee.
During the speech, the president announced he was signing an executive order to establish the National Garden of American Heroes, a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the ''greatest Americans to ever live.''
Amid the campaign headwinds, the president has sharpened his focus on his most ardent base of supporters as concern grows inside his campaign that his poll numbers in the battleground states that will decide the 2020 election are slipping.
Trump in recent weeks has increasingly lashed out at ''left-wing mobs,'' used a racist epithet to refer to the coronavirus and visited the nation's southern border to spotlight progress on his 2016 campaign promise to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The event, while not a campaign rally, had the feel of one as the friendly crowd greeted Trump with chants of ''Four more years!'' and cheered enthusiastically as he and first lady Melania Trump took the stage.
''They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive,'' Trump said. ''But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country and all of its values, history and culture to be taken from them.''
Republican Gov. Kristi Noem echoed Trump's attacks against his opponents who ''are trying to wipe away the lessons of history.''
''Make no mistake: This is being done deliberately to discredit America's founding principles by discrediting the individuals who formed them,'' she said.
The small town of Keystone, which lies a couple of miles from the monument, was buzzing with people Friday hoping to catch a glimpse of the fireworks and the president. Many wore pro-Trump T-shirts and hats. Few wore masks.
''This is going to rank up in the top Fourth of Julys that I talk about,'' said Mike Stewhr, who brought his family from Nebraska.
Mike Harris of Rapid City, who said he was a Republican, wore a mask and waved an anti-Trump flag. He also was sporting a handgun on each hip. He said he was worried the event would spark a COVID-19 outbreak.
''I think it's a bad example being set by our president and our governor,'' Harris said.
Leaders of several Native American tribes in the region raised concerns that the event could lead to virus outbreaks among their members, who they say are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because of an underfunded health care system and chronic health conditions.
''The president is putting our tribal members at risk to stage a photo op at one of our most sacred sites,'' said Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
Some Native American groups used Trump's visit to protest the Mount Rushmore memorial itself, pointing out that the Black Hills were taken from the Lakota people.
More than 100 protesters, many Lakota, lined the road leading from Keystone to the monument holding signs and playing Lakota music in 95-degree heat. Some held their fists in the air as cars loaded with event attendees passed by. Others held signs that read ''Protect SoDak's First People,'' ''You Are On Stolen Land'' and ''Dismantle White Supremacy.''
''The president needs to open his eyes. We're people, too, and it was our land first,'' said Hehakaho Waste, a spiritual elder with the Oglala Sioux tribe.
About 15 protesters were arrested after blocking a road and missing a police-imposed deadline to leave.
Several people who once oversaw fire danger at the national memorial had said setting off fireworks over the forest was a bad idea that could lead to a large wildfire. Fireworks were called off after 2009 because a mountain pine beetle infestation increased the fire risks.
Noem pushed to get the fireworks resumed soon after she was elected, and enlisted Trump's help. The president brushed aside fire concerns earlier this year, saying: ''What can burn? It's stone.''
Trump has presided over a several large-crowd events '-- in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and at an Arizona megachurch '-- even as health officials warn against large gatherings and recommend face masks and social distancing. He plans a July Fourth celebration on the National Mall in Washington despite health concerns from D.C.'s mayor. Trump and Melania Trump plan to host events from the White House South Lawn and from the Ellipse.
___
Madhani reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Washington and Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.
Trump's Mount Rushmore stunt will backfire | TheHill
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 14:04
From the moment Donald Trump descended the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his presidential aspirations, he has been very concerned about the appearance of his political events. But his decision to speak at an Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore will surely backfire.
Trump's rallies were once filled with adoring supporters often wearing red hats associated with his campaign. Meetings with world leaders, such as North Korea's Kim Jong Un at the DMZ, were orchestrated for maximum visual effect.
Recently, however, Trump's ability to visually communicate the right message has failed him. His first rally since the COVID-19 pandemic began showed Trump surrounded by empty seats in a large arena, not the message of support he wanted to right his floundering campaign.
Likewise, Trump's June 1 walk across Lafayette Square to St. John's Church through protesters did not communicate a message of presidential leadership, but one of a bully. That particular stunt is now under congressional investigation.
Trump won't do himself any favors by standing in front of a monument to great and beloved leaders on July 3, as the messages he sends with this event will damage his short-term and long-term aspirations.
Trump's immediate problem is declining approval ratings and poll numbers that show him significantly behind Democrat Joe Biden in his reelection bid.
But beyond getting reelected, the president has long been concerned about his legacy. Since being elected, President Trump has often spoken about Mount Rushmore, and has even commented to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem about his dream of being the fifth president on Mount Rushmore.
The rally at Mount Rushmore will not help Trump get his visage carved into the rock face - and it certainly won't help him get reelected.
The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is much more than a clich(C) in politics, especially in an era of viral photographs and videos. The current protests for racial justice were, in part, triggered by the repeated showing of George Floyd being killed at the knee of the Minneapolis police. Questions about the viability of Trump's reelection have been amplified by the viral photograph of a disheveled president getting off Air Force One after the Tulsa, Okla., rally.
Speaking in front of the granite faces of the four presidents is a bad visual for a president concerned about being the biggest presence in any space. No matter how the president's advance team positions the stage, Trump will be dwarfed by the 60-ft carvings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. This visual diminishment cannot be overcome with thousands of supporters or a fireworks display.
The visual association with the four presidents invites viewers to compare Trump's accomplishments to the presidents in the background. Mount Rushmore creator and sculptor Gutzon Borglum stated Washington was chosen because he fought for and protected liberty, Jefferson for inspiring democracy, Lincoln for preserving the Union, and Roosevelt for domestic and foreign policy accomplishments.
Trump speaking during an expanding pandemic, economic devastation and civil unrest has little to offer Americans, who are increasingly dissatisfied with the direction of the country. No amount of boasting by the president can overcome recent polling results that show that only 17 percent of Americans feel proud of the United States while 71 percent report feeling angry. No matter what Trump hopes the setting of this rally will accomplish, the direct visual comparison with the Mount Rushmore honorees will only further damage his image.
Trump's rhetorical ability to posture and lie cannot overcome the recognition that more than 125,000 Americans have died due to COVID-19, the unemployment rate is almost three times what it was in February and racial unrest continues to sweep the country. The anger and dissatisfaction that Americans feel about the current situation will only be amplified by the visual reminders of what the presidents on Mount Rushmore did during their presidencies.
Years ago, presidential adviser David Gergen commented that every president begins his tenure in office with an eye toward getting the alleged fifth spot on Mount Rushmore. Trump's misuse of this monument to presidential leadership is a strong indicator that he will not take his place among the four presidential figures.
David McLennan is a professor of political science at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., and the director of the Meredith Poll.
AF-1 Fly over
ye on Twitter: "We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States 🇺🇸! #2020VISION" / Twitter
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 04:29
ye : We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am runni'... https://t.co/MySzN3vjIB
Sun Jul 05 00:38:13 +0000 2020
Helen *WTF* O'Peel : @kanyewest Oh goodie... Another narcissist running for president...
Sun Jul 05 04:29:32 +0000 2020
Dr Raj Shekhar Tiwari : @kanyewest Black magic wuhooo
Sun Jul 05 04:29:32 +0000 2020
Ò Ò½ÓÓÕ¾ 🆠: @kanyewest is this where we ask for your birth certificate? we aren't falling for your *distraction* bs
Sun Jul 05 04:29:32 +0000 2020
Dru : @kanyewest Kanye trying to rig the election for Trump. Wow.
Sun Jul 05 04:29:31 +0000 2020
Deb Schense : @kanyewest It's a little late for this year. Try in 4 years. The ballots are already being printed and mailed out b'... https://t.co/w1jI4785B6
Sun Jul 05 04:29:30 +0000 2020
michele coue : @kanyewest Is THIS why the president says the world is laughing at Fake News?
Sun Jul 05 04:29:30 +0000 2020
H : @kanyewest Idk why y'all are acting surprised by this. He legit told us years ago
Sun Jul 05 04:29:30 +0000 2020
TheAmbassadors Closet : @kanyewest You will do well man.Go get the Job Done .We will retweet your tweets as a sign of support .
Sun Jul 05 04:29:28 +0000 2020
fezzikthepug : @kanyewest Yo pass the joint i want some of the shit youre on
Sun Jul 05 04:29:28 +0000 2020
Tameka Sheline : @kanyewest Instead of blowing your money on this how about you use that exact money to help chi town?
Sun Jul 05 04:29:28 +0000 2020
Msangelv : @kanyewest I wish you would go sit your confused and delusional behind down somewhere.
Sun Jul 05 04:29:27 +0000 2020
Steven James : @kanyewest Oh please. Go back to TV Land for your attention.
Sun Jul 05 04:29:26 +0000 2020
molly mac // ''ŠðŸ>>''ŠðŸ¼''ŠðŸ½''ŠðŸ¾''ŠðŸ : @kanyewest y'all it's not even funnyðŸ'
Sun Jul 05 04:29:26 +0000 2020
rachaeltrummel : @kanyewest Please go all the way away.
Sun Jul 05 04:29:26 +0000 2020
Tucker Carlson's presidential campaign bandwagon is leaving the station - Business Insider
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:01
Fox News's Tucker Carlson is riding a ratings high and fueling speculation he may be poised to make his own 2024 presidential campaign run. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images This story is available exclusively on Business Insider Prime. Join BI Prime and start reading now. Tucker Carlson's rise to the king of cable news aligns with growing chatter he could run for president in 2024.Republican donors in New York last month began talking up the possibility of recruiting Carlson to make a White House run, according to a source familiar with the talks."He's taking a moment when the GOP is lacking vision or any sort of moral clarity '-- and he's providing it," the conservative activist Jon Schweppe said. "Naturally, his following is growing. It's unlike anything I've ever seen. I hope the president is watching."As Carlson spent the past month deriding Black Lives Matter protesters as an effort to overthrow the federal government, his ratings soared. And Republican operatives have taken notice."Tucker has more impact than anybody, including Hannity," a Republican familiar with the White House and Carlson said.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.Tucker Carlson has unequivocally ditched the bow tie. Not the literal one '-- he lost that years ago '-- but the figurative smarmy one slapped on his career by the cable-TV funnyman Jon Stewart.
In the thick of the 2004 race for the White House, Stewart appeared as a guest on Carlson's CNN's show, "Crossfire." The Comedy Central star ripped Carlson and cohost Democrat Paul Begala for their partisan sniping and pleaded with them to "stop hurting America." He singled out Carlson as being disingenuous, and went after his trademark wardrobe attire to make the point.
Carlson responded by calling Stewart a "butt boy" for John Kerry.
It was the moment that defined Carlson for a generation, then a 35-year-old shining star among Washington and New York's conservative intelligentsia. It ultimately set him on a path a decade later when he became the king of cable news during the era of Donald Trump, riding a wave of racial anger and a historic global pandemic to blockbuster ratings.
It's the new, more serious Carlson, freed of the bow tie and smarm, who has captured the eyes of Manhattan donors, Insider has learned. And now conservatives across the country '-- ahem '-- are saying that maybe the Fox News megastar ought to be running for president himself in 2024 once Trump is out of the picture.
They have a point.
Look across the field of openly ambitious politicians and it's littered with people in search of "moments." The 2016 campaign amounted to a perpetual stream of them, from Trump's early-morning phone calls to his favorite TV pundits, to his late-night rallies and constant tweeting. California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris created her own moment in 2017 by grilling then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. More recently, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, someone widely viewed as a likely 2024 GOP candidate, grabbed the ultimate moment on the right when his op-ed calling for military action against rioters and other "miscreants" led to the resignation of The New York Times' opinion-page editor.
Every "moment" has one thing in common: grabbing the attention of cable news shows. But Carlson doesn't need to create any moments. He is the moment, live at 8 p.m. day in and day out.
"What we are seeing now is Tucker at his absolute best," said Jon Schweppe, a policy director for the conservative group American Principles Project and diehard Carlson fan. "He used to employ the typical prime-time cable-news tactics '-- mocking left-wing politicians for their gaffes or journalists for their bias. That was entertainment, and he was good at it.
"But something changed with Tucker when the country began to suffer after COVID-19 hit," Schweppe said. "His show is no longer entertainment. These are sermons. He's taking a moment when the GOP is lacking vision or any sort of moral clarity '-- and he's providing it. Naturally, his following is growing. It's unlike anything I've ever seen. I hope the president is watching."
Carlson declined several requests for interviews for this story, and a Fox News spokeswoman declined to comment for this story.
Carlson 2024?Tucker 2024 is itself a media creation. He's a guy who has made his name in journalism, writing print and saying things on television, the son of the Ronald Reagan-appointed director of the Voice of America and longtime friend of the one and only Roger Stone, the GOP provocateur and felon who probably had more to do with nudging Trump's political ambitions into reality than anyone else.
Anyone watching Carlson now can see he's clearly using his platform speaking to millions of people to seize his conservative Howard Beale "mad as hell" moment. What's remarkable is that it is happening as the Trump White House he once championed looks to be in its own 2020 death spiral and the nation writhes in an economic free fall spurred by a pandemic.
Whether Carlson himself has his own White House ambitions, he isn't saying. Last July he did joke he would be "insane" to run for president, but then posited that, if he did, a possible winning platform for a Republican would be talking about a social issue, like the challenges of raising kids in the current US economic climate.
Predictably, the idea of a pundit president has the pundits pontificating.
Last fall, New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo suggested a Carlson presidency was not only possible but would be infinitely more effective than Trump's tumultuous term. Writing about a hypothetical future that has Carlson as the country's chief executive, Manjoo envisions a nightmare scenario "where Trump was a chaotic, undisciplined narcissist, the Carlson who wins in 2024 is a canny political strategist who makes good on Trump's forgotten promise to embrace anti-corporate economic policies."
From the far right, longtime activist Michelle Malkin relishes the concept. "I wish Tucker Carlson were president!" she tweeted last June. Over on Facebook, the "Draft Tucker Carlson for President 2024" page regularly posts highlights from Carlson's show, including his early warnings from January about the coronavirus.
Even The Washington Post has gotten in on the action. Its early 2024 GOP rankings, published two weeks after Insider did its own version, had Carlson registering in the "also receiving votes" category, like the smattering of college-football hopefuls who haven't quite cracked the AP preseason top 25 but still merit mentions as national championship contenders.
That chatter, plus Carlson's regularly televised performances, have piqued the interest of GOP strategists and the party's moneyed class. His decision to formally cut ties with The Daily Caller, the conservative news outlet he started a decade ago, struck operatives interviewed for this story as another sign he could be positioning himself for a run. A small group of New York donors also began talking at the start of June about running him for president in 2024, according to one source familiar with the discussions.
Carlson spent much of June criticizing not just Democrats aligned with Black Lives Matter protesters but also Republicans he could run against in 2024. Fox News
Grabbing the bully pulpit and attacking potential 2024 rivalsCarlson's ascension as someone who should at least be in the conversation for the next presidential cycle stems in no small part from what he says on his TV show.
Veteran operatives watching the nascent 2024 Republican field have listened closely as the prime-time Fox host has trained his fire not only on the Democrats most closely aligned with Black Lives Matter protesters but also on the Republicans he could run against in 2024.
When Carlson launched into his month-long campaign against the BLM protesters and rioters, he opened by blasting Republicans for their inaction, including former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who's widely expected to run in 2024.
"Someone in America needed to tell the truth to the country. Instead, almost all of our so-called conservative leaders joined the left's chorus," Carlson said. "No one jumped in more forcefully, or seemed angrier at America, than former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley."
After Haley tweeted that George Floyd's death should be felt as "painful" for every American, Carlson said, "What Nikki Haley does best is moral blackmail."
On his show earlier this week, Carlson sounded like the ultimate political outsider wooing voters from across the right to abandon the GOP hacks who've led them astray.
"Middle-class families have no national spokesman. They have no lobby in Washington. Republicans pretend to be their champion '-- you know by now they are not," Carlson said Tuesday night. "Instead of improving the lives of their voters, the party feeds them a steady stream of mindless symbolic victories, partisan junk food to make them feel full even as they waste away."
Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, the liberal watchdog group that tracks cable news voluminously, said he noticed the shift in Carlson's monologues a few months ago. There's more "urgency" in the Fox host's message, with less of the breathless hyperbole that marks other cable shows.
That got him wondering if Carlson is indeed laying the groundwork for a White House run too.
"I am more afraid of him than most others because he can make the very worst things palatable," Carusone said. "Trump would say 'Black people are being racist to white people,' whereas Tucker would say 'We need to adhere to equal justice under the law.'"
Carlson's big gamble, Carusone said, is betting there will be a white backlash in America against the Black Lives Matter protests. That could reinvigorate a white nationalist populist base for him in 2024 similar to what carried Trump through the wide-open field of Republicans at the start of the 2016 contests.
Practically speaking, Carlson has to keep threading the needle for at least four more months. Openly running for president now would look terrible and taint his image as a fearless nationalist outsider, Carusone said. But the idea becomes much more acceptable after the 2020 election results are in and the world knows whether Trump and his unique brand of presidential governing is going to be around for four more years.
Carlson himself has not seriously broached the topic, according to several sources. There are practical reasons for that. Even thinking about it aloud could derail his cable stardom a second time. Fox News has famously spiked talent for working with Trump, not to mention after its paid pundits launched bids for president or even considered bids, including when Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich considered their own 2012 White House runs.
Carlson's second-quarter 2020 ratings broke the record for the most-watched show, clocking in at an average of 4.3 million viewers and just edging out Sean Hannity. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
'Tucker has more impact than anybody, including Hannity'"They're coming for you," Carlson said to kick off his show at the start of June, opening up a month-long onslaught of coverage on protesters and rioters in response to the police killing of George Floyd.
The country, and his show, were going split screen.
Building off the scary nonstop headlines about the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, cities around the US were seeing newfound energy coalescing around the fight to resolve over two centuries of racial injustice. On Fox, Carlson aired footage of rioters bashing store owners in the head with two-by-four planks. He showed one man being beaten on the street while curled up in a ball trying to protect himself.
Using his powerful platform night after night, Carlson laid the blame for the protests not with the police but with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Haley, and all the Republicans who had yet to stand firm against the chaos.
He continued banging this drum for days, but one comment captured the attention of progressive activists above all others.
On his June 8 show, Carlson said: "This may be a lot of things, this moment we're living through, but it is definitely not about black lives. And remember that when they come for you. And, at this rate, they will."
Carlson never precisely defined who the "mob" was, but left-leaning observers said they heard a clear dog whistle: wild Black rioters intent on tearing down American society. Judd Legum, a former Democratic opposition research director turned journalist, and the anonymous online collective Sleeping Giants led an advertiser boycott of Carlson's show. Disney, Papa John's, T-Mobile, and others quickly dropped their sponsorship.
"Over the last several days, Fox News host Tucker Carlson has used his platform to repeatedly attack and denigrate the Black Lives Matter movement," Legum wrote in his newsletter, Popular Information. He also flagged Carlson's history of downplaying the threat of white supremacy in the country: "None of this is out of character for Carlson. He has a long history of using white nationalist rhetoric."
Punching back in characteristic Fox News fashion, the conservative network issued a statement saying activists and advertisers had misinterpreted Carlson's comments as racially charged.
Carlson, his corporate employer said, was not a racist.
"Tucker's warning about 'when they come for you' was clearly referring to Democratic leaders and politicians," a Fox News spokesperson in a statement said.
Something interesting was also happening during this same period. Carlson soared in the ratings. Earlier this week, Fox triumphantly announced their second-quarter ratings, and Carlson broke the record for the most-watched show, clocking in at an average of 4.3 million viewers, just edging out the prior ratings king, Sean Hannity.
Ever since securing the coveted prime-time slot Bill O'Reilly once held, Carlson had served as a prominent lead-in for the highest-rated show on television hosted by Sean Hannity. Now some say the order of their programs might be worth flipping.
"Tucker has more impact than anybody, including Hannity," one Republican familiar with the White House and Carlson said.
Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show," pleaded with Tucker Carlson and his CNN "Crossfire" cohost, Paul Begala, in mid-October 2004 to "stop hurting America" with their partisan bickering. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
Jon Stewart's slap-downFor years, Carlson worked as a creation of the elite on the right. He came up under the guidance of Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard, before securing a prime spot at Tina Brown's much-touted operation, Talk magazine, in 1999.
There, he lit up Washington with his interview of George W. Bush, featuring the Bush family scion back when he was the governor of Texas mocking a death-row inmate pleading to him for her life. (Bush's advisers vehemently denied Carlson's accounts.)
Carlson parlayed his reporting and writing success into on-air slots at CNN, just as cable was rising as the dominant medium in politics. And in 2001, alongside former Bill Clinton adviser Paul Begala, he took over "Crossfire," the bombastic talk show that featured polar-opposite partisans fighting over policy and politics.
By Trump-era standards, the partisan bickering of "Crossfire" now seems tame, bordering on civil even. But in the moment, as cable news was growing into a dominant force in American politics before the venomous battlegrounds of Twitter and Facebook emerged, their showdowns were stunning.
Enter Stewart, who was then just a couple of years into his own rising stardom as the host of "The Daily Show," the satirical late-night program that made its mark by pointing out the absurdities of the George W. Bush administration. Stewart made a guest appearance on "Crossfire" in mid-October 2004, just as John Kerry and Bush were in the home stretch of their presidential campaign. What Stewart had to say surprised everyone watching, the hosts included, with his blatant appeal for the show to tone down its toxicity.
"I have privately amongst my friends, and also in occasional newspapers and in television shows, mentioned this show as being bad," Stewart said, to the laughter of the studio audience. "And I felt that wasn't fair, and I felt I should come here and tell you it's not so much that it's bad as it's hurting America."
Then Stewart slapped the bowtie on Carlson for the next 16 years.
"This is theater, this is '-- how old are you?" Stewart asked Carlson.
Carlson said "35."
Stewart hit back: "And you wear a bowtie?"
A year later CNN took "Crossfire" off the air.
'Whatever you think of his politics, it isn't a put-on'In 2010, Carlson created The Daily Caller to compete with liberal news aggregator Huffington Post. He had startup money from Republican mega-donor Foster Friess and a mission to scour his conservative colleagues for leaning too hard on disinformation and inaccurate reports to make their arguments. He said they needed facts and muckraking at their back.
Carlson went on to build a generation of conservative journalists who would move from his operation out into the wider media ecosphere and, in some cases, migrating with him to his Fox News production team. He also sharpened the nationalist populist message he'd been increasingly moving toward.
"The mistake people make is thinking that he's an opportunist who suddenly changed what he believes because of Trump '-- or that he sold out to Fox. Some people fit that mold, but not Tucker," said Matt Lewis, a columnist for The Daily Beast and one of the veteran conservative activists Carlson hired in 2010 to write for The Daily Caller.
"The truth is that he has been increasingly populist for at least a decade, and probably longer. Whatever you think of his politics, it isn't a put-on," Lewis added.
That strident nationalist tone also sounded a lot like a veteran Republican operative who was running Trump for president: Roger Stone. Stone and Carlson have been close for more than a decade, according to former Carlson colleagues.
After he started The Daily Caller, Carlson enlisted Stone to write occasionally under the title "Daily Caller Men's Fashion Editor," a playful dig at the New York gossip class and homage to Stone's fashion sense. Stone in turn counseled Carlson in a 2015 profile that he should have never lost the bow tie.
"I don't know if some image consultant at Fox told him to do that," Stone told The New York Times. "Everybody said, 'Oh, yeah, it's the guy with the bow tie.' It was like a trademark. I wouldn't have given the bow tie up.'"
The Stone-Carlson relationship grew more serious during the Trump era as congressional and federal investigators examined the longtime political adviser to the president over his public boasts that he'd spoken with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about the stolen emails surfacing during the 2016 campaign to damage Hillary Clinton.
Before his arrest, in early 2019, Carlson gave Stone valuable airtime to make his case. Then after a Washington, DC, jury convicted Stone, in November, of lying to Congress and witness tampering, Carlson directly asked Trump to pardon Stone.
All of Carlson's Stone coverage hasn't gone without notice. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple accused Carlson in February of being a "shill" for the longtime GOP operative, and wrote that Carlson was effectively running a campaign to get Stone's conviction thrown out.
After sparring on-air with John Stewart, Tucker Carlson stopped wearing the bow tie that he had made into a personal fashion statement. Richard Ellis/Getty Images
The COVID warriorIn January, as the Trump impeachment trial subsumed Congress and much of America, Carlson spotted a brewing storm. He turned his focus to the novel coronavirus ravaging China, a threat that seemed imminent to touching down in the US.
"Why am I watching impeachment coverage all day?" Carlson asked Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton in January during a segment on China's failed attempt to control the coronavirus. "I'm totally opposed to alarmism '-- there's already enough of that. But we should identify the real risks and focus on them. And this is a real risk."
In March, Carlson visited Trump's private club, Mar-a-Lago, with a personal plea that the president take the public-health threat seriously. He delivered that message a couple of days before the country largely shut down.
"When you live in a country where everything is political and people are seeing, you know, every development through an ideological lens, either as a way to gain advantage or as a threat to their current advantage, it's very hard to tell a straightforward story," Carlson later said of his thinking in a Vanity Fair interview.
Through the start of the pandemic, while other Fox News hosts played down the severity of the crisis, Carlson stayed on it. Academics noticed. A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in June found that Carlson's viewers took protective measures against the virus much earlier than Hannity's because they were exposed to less misinformation.
But as the debate turned from protecting lives and stopping the spread of the virus to salvaging the economy, Carlson turned, too. He attacked top federal health official Dr. Anthony Fauci as the "chief buffoon of the professional class" and argued that, since Fauci had missed the severity of the pandemic months earlier, he could not be trusted when he said the country should remain shut down longer.
"Fauci says that children should stay home or countless people will die '-- that's the message," Carlson said in May. "So I'm going to ask a very simple question: How does he know this exactly? Is Tony Fauci right about the science?"
It was time to reopen the country cautiously, Carlson said. He referenced Georgia, which had reopened at the start of May, and maintained that hospitalizations were "lower than ever" despite "much hysteria and finger-wagging from the press."
Around this time, faithful Carlson viewers noticed his show changing, too. He shifted from throwing predictable darts at the left and at the press, and began sharpening his opening monologues. As the Black Lives Matter protests swept the nation, the new Carlson emerged as the leader of an angry white middle class.
His searing monologues, la the outraged fictional news anchor Howard Beale from the 1976 film "Network," warned that America was already in the middle of a race war and his supporters were not racists. Carlson said Black Lives Matter was not about ending police brutality but about a Soviet-style revolutionary takeover of the country. He said the protesters had merged with the "deep state" and were prepared to depose the president.
As Carlson led the far-right opposition to the protests, the president himself followed suit, moving from avoiding comment on the protests and sheltering in the White House to teargassing protesters and threatening to throw them in jail for defacing monuments.
Trump was following Carlson's lead, Republicans said. And as Trump followed Carlson's lead, the chatter among some in the GOP and his conservative-media brethren started wondering if maybe Carlson ought not be the one in the Oval Office.
Loading Something is loading.
More: BI Prime Tucker Carlson Fox news Fox News Channel Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
An open letter to Michelle Obama - The Martha's Vineyard Times
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 21:41
Dear Ms. Obama,
I take you at your word that you have no wish to be a candidate for vice president on the ticket with Joe Biden. No one can fairly blame you. You have already given eight years of your life to serving the country and our people with self-sacrifice and devotion. And remembering the mud, the indecent, almost inhuman campaign they dragged you through last time, no one should ask you to reconsider, except '...
I have a dream in which I ask you '-- one Martha's Vineyard resident to another '-- what if we reframe the question?
Would you rather be vice president for the next four years under Joe Biden '... or a private citizen with Donald Trump as president?
You are admired, even beloved, both at home and globally. You are universally respected for your character and values and commitment. While there are other qualified possible candidates, most people believe you are our best chance to prevent Trump's re-election, by far.
The stakes are much too important to take a chance.
Please, help make America America again.
An important moment in American history '...
In 1944, it was clear that President Franklin D. Roosevelt's health had deteriorated badly. Ordinarily the most robust of men, he now often looked tired, drawn, gray. His famous energy had become a sometime thing.
A fourth term promised to be singularly stressful. He said repeatedly he didn't want to run '-- not everyone believed him '-- but he made clear that after 12 extraordinarily arduous years as president, fighting the Great Depression, the war, and dealing with other responsibilities beyond number, ''all that is in me cries out to go back to my home on the Hudson River, to avoid public responsibilities, and to avoid also the publicity which in our democracy follows every step of the nation's chief executive.''
But the war was still to be won, as was the peace to follow, and FDR was unwilling to entrust those responsibilities to the Republican nominee, Thomas E. Dewey, for whom he had unvarnished disdain. He knew he might not survive another term in the most demanding job in the world, but he ran.
He told a concerned friend, ''In war, the life of any one person means nothing.''
Ten weeks after his fourth Inauguration, on April 12, 1945, FDR died. By then the war was virtually won '-- Germany would surrender within a month, Japan less than four months after that '-- and in the brief time left to him, he had successfully negotiated with Stalin and Churchill the creation of the United Nations, leaving the world a better, safer place.
Today we are again at war. Unmistakably so.
We have a president hellbent on dismantling or betraying everything that unites us, all that we care about and believe in. If he is not stopped at the ballot box, he has given fair warning the next four years will be even worse. Far, far worse. And this may be one time he is telling the truth.
How much more can America endure and still be America?
As long as there is even the remotest chance Trump could win re-election, we must lead with all our strength, which means you.
Biden has said that if you were willing, he'd take you as his running mate ''in a heartbeat. She's brilliant. She knows her way around. She is a really fine woman. The Obamas are great friends.'' He worries only that you wouldn't agree. ''I don't think she has any desire to live in the White House again.''
Still, it could be an opportunity only you could take fullest advantage of. You could ask him to make you responsible for children, say, for their health and nutrition and safety and education and student loans and opportunities in life. You could make an enormous difference in millions of lives.
In 2008, my wife and I went to Iowa to campaign for Barack Obama. There we met Joe Biden's mother, a remarkable and lovely woman, still vibrant in her wheelchair at age 90, beating the drum for her son. We loved the time we spent with her, and mourned when she died two years later, age 92.
In 2012 we attended a small fundraiser where now''Vice President Biden was campaigning for re-election. Passing through the obligatory reception line for a quick greeting and photo, we took our moment to say how much we had admired his mother, how proud and happy she had been to be his mother, and how sorry we were to hear of her passing.
The vice president said to his aide, 'Please stop the line. I want to talk to these people.'
He escorted us a few feet away for privacy: ''Wasn't she wonderful! And do you know, in addition to everything else, I wouldn't be here tonight, wouldn't be vice president, without her.''
In 2008, he went on, after Obama had secured the nomination, he asked Biden to run as his vice president. Biden thanked him but said no. He didn't want to be vice president, but more than that, he told Obama, he could be more useful to him in the Senate where, after six terms, he had risen to the top of the critical committees on Justice and Foreign Relations, where he would always have Obama's back.
All well and good, Obama said, but first he had to be elected. His feeling was the 2008 election might hinge on one state, Pennsylvania, which was very much in play; having Biden, who'd been born in Scranton and had kept close connections with the state, on the ticket with him could make the difference. He asked Biden to reconsider but Biden again said thank you but no.
Obama persisted. He knew Biden discussed every big decision with his family. Would he talk to them, and then, if the answer was still no, Obama promised to accept it.
That Sunday Biden sat with his wife and children and mother around the breakfast table, and told them about Obama's offer and his refusal. As he finished, Biden said, ''My mother was looking at me strangely, I thought.''
''There's something I'm not understanding, Joe. When you graduated from college and law school, you had offers for good jobs, good salaries, good opportunities. But you decided to go into public service, and I'll never forget why. You said the reason you were getting all these wonderful opportunities was that your background had made it possible, and those who had unfairly not been given the same chances you had '-- because they were black, say, or couldn't afford college '-- would in other circumstances be equally deserving and equally qualified. And you wanted to work to see they had that chance. I thought that was wonderful.
''Now a black man you love and admire has come to you and asked your help in getting a job '-- a very important job '-- and you're telling him no. And I don't understand why.''
Biden said, ''I looked at my mother for what I'm sure seemed a long time before I picked up the phone.
'''Barack? It's Joe. I'm in.'''
I have a dream, Ms. Obama. You are sitting around the kitchen table talking to your husband and daughters and your mother. Then you go to the phone and dial.
''Joe? It's Michelle. I'm in.''
David W. Rintels is past president of the Writers Guild of America West, and a three-time Emmy Award winner. His hit Broadway play ''Clarence Darrow'' was scheduled to be revived at the Vineyard Playhouse this summer, until COVID-19 had other ideas. He and his wife, writer Victoria Riskin, are year-round residents of West Tisbury.
Michelle Obama says making progress on race is 'up to all of us'
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 21:44
Michelle Obama has felt the same confusion, fear and anger that many of us have experienced over the past several weeks, as the country simultaneously grapples with the coronavirus pandemic and racial injustice following George Floyd's death.
In a new interview for Harper's Bazaar magazine, the former first lady spoke with TV producer and writer Shonda Rhimes about the importance of voting this fall. But she also delved into why this moment in American history is giving her hope for the future.
"With everything that's gone on over these past few months, I know a lot of folks out there have been confused, or scared, or angry, or just plain overwhelmed, and I've got to be honest. I count myself among them. I think we've all been there," the mother of two began.
"Our foundation has been shaken '-- not just by a pandemic that stole more than 100,000 of our loved ones and sent tens of millions into unemployment, but also by the rumbling of the age-old fault lines of race, class, and power that our country was built on," she continued. "The heartache and frustration that boiled over after the losses of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others has caused a lot of us to grapple with the very essence of who we are '-- the kind of people we want to be."
But that new mindset is exactly what makes the "Becoming" author hopeful.
"I think a lot about the younger generation growing up right now, about how they're seeing just how fragile even the best-laid plans can be," she said. "In this tumultuous period, they've been learning something that often took previous generations years, or decades, to understand: that life can be unfair. It can be unjust. And more than anything is always uncertain."
As a result, Obama said, we should "live by foundational truths '-- like honesty, compassion, decency '-- and if you channel your frustration into our democracy with your vote and your voice, you can find your true north even in times of crisis."
She also spoke about generational differences and the responsibility of young people to better society.
"Because of all this upheaval, this generation is learning those lessons faster than folks our age did. They're learning it together and making their voices heard," she explained. "So even while there's a lot of pain out there, and that pain is very real, that's something that gives me hope '-- the hope that this generation will not only learn these lessons earlier than ours ever did, but apply them in ways that we never could."
This work must cross cultural and demographic barriers in order to be successful, Obama said.
"Let me be clear. Making progress on these issues isn't just on the shoulders of young people. It isn't just on people of color. It's up to all of us, no matter what we look like or where we come from," she said. "We've all got to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting out racism and fighting for real justice. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own."
She added, "I hope we all have the strength to take that first step."
The former first lady has spoken candidly about racism and the challenges the country is facing on her Instagram page. In a recent post about Juneteenth, she praised the Black community for "(finding) something to celebrate."
"Even though the story has never been tidy, and Black folks have had to march and fight for every inch of our freedom, our story is nonetheless one of progress," she wrote Friday. "Both of my grandfathers were the grandchildren of enslaved people. They grew up in the Jim Crow South and migrated north in search of a better life.
"But even then, they were still shut out of jobs and schools and opportunities because of the color of their skin. But they pressed forward with dignity and with purpose, raising good kids, contributing to their communities, and voting in every election," she continued.
In a post in late May, Obama said she was "pained" and "exhausted" following the recent deaths of Floyd, Arbery and Taylor.
"It just goes on, and on, and on," she wrote. "Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can't just be on people of color to deal with it. It's up to all of us '-- Black, white, everyone '-- no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out."
Trump angers Neil Young by using three of his songs at controversial Mount Rushmore event | The Independent
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 11:15
Donald Trump has angered Neil Young by using three of his songs during his controversial visit to Mount Rushmore on Friday (3 July).
The musician also said he ''stands in solidarity'' with Lakota Sioux, who have long claimed the land as their own.
Mount Rushmore sits on territory that was unceded in treaties in the Black Hills from 1851 and 1868.
Download the new Independent Premium appSharing the full story, not just the headlines
Despite protests breaking out ahead of the president's arrival, he proceeded with the Independence Day event and used Young's songs ''Rockin' in the Free World'' and ''Like a Hurricane''.
''This is NOT ok with me'...'' a tweet posted from Neil Young Archives wrote alongside footage from the event.
He added in a follow-up post: ''I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me.''
Trump also played ''Cowgirl in the Sand'', but Young is yet to comment on its usage.
The music of Young, who called Trump a ''disgrace to my country'' in a searing open letter written in February, has previously been used without his permission.
In 2015, he played ''Rockin' in the Free World'' while announcing his presidential bid without seeking musician's permission.
''Donald Trump was not authorised to use 'Rockin' In The Free World' in his presidential candidacy announcement,'' an official statement from Young's camp said to The Hollywood Reporter.
Ahead of Trump's arrival, the Ogala Sioux tribal council voted to ban the president and the South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem from attending.
The tribe said the lack of government-to-government consultation on the event was a primary motivator for the vote.
Every penny donated will fund public-interest reporting you value most
Support More about:The best in film, music, TV & radio straight to your inbox
Trump has a plan to stay in the White House if he loses election, former senator says | The Independent
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 12:01
President Donald Trump is scheming to retain power in the event of an electoral loss in November, according to a former Senator from Colorado.
Tim Wirth published an op-ed in Newsweek where he lays out his theory, apparently inspired in-part by HBO's adaptation of the Philip Roth novel The Plot Against America.
The former Democratic senator begins with an allegation that Mr Trump will attempt to retain power through voter suppression. Mr Wirth alleges there is a strategy to suppress voter turnout by purging voters - especially inner-city voters - from registration rolls and to suppress mail-in voting. He also believes physical polling locations will be limited, especially in urban areas, in an effort to create long lines on Election Day and discourage voting.
Download the new Independent Premium appSharing the full story, not just the headlines
Mr Wirth's allegations that there has been an effort in Republican-led states to remove people from the voter-roll is accurate.
According to data compiled by Mother Jones, between 2016 and 2018, more than 17 million names have been removed from the voter rolls. While names are removed from voter rolls every year due to deaths or citizens leaving the state, the number of voters removed from the rolls since 2016 has significantly increased.
Between 2016 and 2018, states on average removed 7.6 per cent of their voters from the rolls. However, the purge in some states went much further.
Indiana purged the greatest number of voters, removing 22.3 per cent of the state's voters from its rolls. Both Virginia and Wisconsin removed 14 per cent, and Maine, Oklahoma and Massachusetts removed between 11 and 12.1 per cent.
Mr Wirth's theory about Mr Trump trying to retain power following the 2020 US election doesn't end at the ballot box, however. He believes that - should the president lose - he will claim the vote was rigged and rely on a complicated gambit involving emergency powers and the compliance of Republican legislators to stay in the White House.
According to Mr Wirth, should Mr Trump lose in a scenario where challenger Joe Biden beats him by "decent but not overwhelming" margins in the swing states of Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, Mr Trump will declare that the vote was rigged.
He will supposedly blame mail-in ballots and Chinese election interference for the loss and invoke emergency powers to launch a Justice Department investigation into alleged "election hacking" in the swing states.
No hype, just the advice and analysis you need
From there, Mr Wirth claims Mr Trump will stall until 14 December, which is the date when states must appoint their US Electoral College electors. Because the swing states are each controlled by Republicans, Mr Wirth believes the state legislatures will refuse to certify their electors until the election hacking investigation is finished.
He then claims the Democrats will challenge the investigation and the challenge to the election, which will eventually be taken to the US Supreme Court. Mr Wirth believes the Supreme Court will rule against the Republicans, but will concede that Mr Trump's emergency powers authorise him to continue his investigation. The Supreme Court will also maintain that should the swing states not be able to certify their selectors by 14 December - for any reason - then the Electoral College will have to meet and vote for the president without the swing states included.
Under Mr Wirth's theory, the Electoral College will then meet without the swing states under investigation, and neither candidate will receive enough votes to secure the presidency. According to Mr Wirth, the contested election would then move to the House of Representatives, where each delegation gets to cast one vote towards the presidency.
Since there are more Republican controlled House delegations than Democratic controlled delegations - 26 Republican to 23 Democrats - the Republicans will be the victors of the vote and Mr Trump will remain in office.
Mr Wirth claims the plot is not far-fetched, and points to Mr Trump's threat to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 to use the US military against demonstrators at the George Floyd protests, but notes later on that the "recent resistance of our military establishment is an encouraging sign and necessary component of the 'people's firewall'".
'Medium' to 'lower' confidence: US spy agencies express doubts over 'Russian bounties' allegations, says new report '-- RT World News
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 12:56
A fresh intelligence memo casts doubts on the media-pedaled story that US spy agencies were dead sure that Russia supposedly offered to pay Afghan militants to kill Americans, a new report says.
The two-and-a-half-page memo was prepared by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and is dated July 1, the New York Times reported, citing officials.
The document said that the CIA and the National Counterterrorism Center had ''medium confidence'' in the reports that Moscow offered bounties for attacking Western troops in Afghanistan. However, the National Security Agency (NSA) and other spy agencies admitted that they could not support that conclusion on the same level, expressing ''lower confidence'' in the report.
The news seems to back the words of US President Donald Trump's spokesperson, Kayleigh McEnany, who said that there is ''no consensus'' within the intelligence community on the strength of the allegations against Russia. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the NSA did not support the CIA's confidence in its assessment of these allegations.
Last week, multiple US mainstream media claimed '' citing unnamed officials '' that Russia had paid Taliban-linked militants to conduct attacks on American and allied personnel in Afghanistan. These reports were said to have been included in the daily briefs prepared for Trump.
The news prompted a wave of criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, who accused Trump of inaction towards Russia. Trump, for his part, denied ever being briefed on the matter, insisting said that he was unaware of the reports on the bounties until they were leaked to the press.
Also on rt.com Who REALLY funded the Taliban to kill Americans? The Taliban denied receiving money from Russia. Moscow vehemently denied offering bounties to kill Western troops as well. In an interview with NBC, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov bluntly called these allegations ''100-percent bulls**t.''
Like this story? Share it with a friend!
Anti-Trump super PAC has paid over $3 million to communications firm owned by PAC's treasurer | Just The News
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 15:01
A prominent, recently formed anti-Trump political action committee has sent over $3 million in independent expenditures to a firm run by the treasurer of the committee itself, an arrangement that raises the specter of what finance experts refer to as "self-dealing."
The Lincoln Project was first formed late last year. The super PAC states on its website that its mission is to "defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box." Among the group's advisers are numerous former Republicans who have publicly broken with the party over its support for Trump.
The committee is unabashed in its opposition not just to Donald Trump but to any Republican it feels is insufficiently opposed to him.
"Electing Democrats who support the Constitution over Republicans who do not is a worthy effort," the group's website states.
Though the group was only formed in November, it has already spent a considerable amount of money. Filings indicate it has disbursed well over $4 million in independent expenditures this election cycle so far. Yet the majority of those funds have gone to a single firm, one owned and operated by the Lincoln Project's own treasurer.
FEC filings show that over $3 million of the committee's independent expenditures since January have been distributed to a group called Summit Strategic Communications.
The owner of Summit Strategic Communications, Reed Galen, is listed in FEC filings as the Lincoln Project's treasurer. His LinkedIn page states that he's been the owner of Summit since January of 2018.
Galen is described on the Lincoln Project's website as "an independent political strategist" who has "spent the last three years dedicated to the political reform movement, creating a better system for all voters."
A filing submitted June 27 to the FEC shows that one the group's latest round of expenditures to Summit, totaling nearly $440,000, were for "media buys." The "person completing form" on those expenditures is listed as Reed Galen.
The conservative nonprofit Club for Growth recently launched a new ad campaign opposing the Lincoln Project, declaring it a "get rich quick scheme" advocating Joe Biden's presidential campaign.
"Legitimate PACs on either side of the aisle" will "spend their money through basically media vendors '-- people who put together the ads, buy the airtime, etc.," David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, told Just the News. "Those are almost always independent. You contract at arm's length, and they deliver a service."
Contrasting that practice with the Lincoln Project's largely in-house expenditures, McIntosh accused the committee of being a "Democratic front group" whose leaders have been "funneling donations to their own organizations to line their pockets."
He also expressed doubts about the ultimate efficacy of the project itself, citing the committee's "Mourning in America" ad, which aired last month. The advertisement earned the very public ire of President Trump, leading to widespread viewing and a flood of donations.
"The Mourning in America ad was targeted at the elite political establishment," McIntosh said. "You kind of get the feeling that they're trying to goad the president into saying something so they can make more money. Because when he tweets about it, 40 million people hear about it."
"But I don't think it has a real impact in the battleground states," he added.
Those sentiments were echoed this week at the New Republic, a progressive media outlet. "To a large extent, the Lincoln Project's raison d'ªtre is simply to annoy Trump and his closest allies," writer Alex Shepherd observed.
"The resulting controversy," Shepherd said, "bring[s] it attention and money," though he acknowledged that those public spats "might possibly aid in its ultimate mission, removing Trump from office."
Shepherd also noted how a significant majority of the group's budget stays within the small circle of its members.
Reed Galen did not respond to requests for comment regarding the expenditures. The Lincoln Project also did not respond to emails seeking comment.
Andrew Mayersohn, a committees researcher at the watchdog Center for Responsive Politics, told Just the News it is "not at all uncommon for a group to have a single dominant vendor."
CRP's website OpenSecrets noted in May that the Lincoln Project's spending had recently "come under scrutiny," in part due to its payments to Summit. Mayersohn argued that the issue is more complex than that, however.
"At one end of the spectrum, some groups spend almost exclusively on payments to fundraising firms tied to the PAC's operators, which is pretty clearly a red flag," he said. "The Lincoln Project is not one of those, since almost all their spending is on media."
"What caught our eye was the fact that they spend so much money on media production, rather than airing the ads themselves," Mayersohn said.
"But it's hard to say that that strategy didn't pay off, since they earned more media attention by making their ad go viral than they could have by buying airtime," Mayersohn added referring to the "Mourning in America" ad.
Summit Strategic Communications appears to have little in the way of a public front. The group is incorporated in Park City, Utah, and does not appear to have a website of any kind.
Galen himself, per his LinkedIn page, appears to also own a bar called the Cloak Room in Austin, Texas. The website CultureMap states that the bar is "rumored to be frequented by politicos past and present while the Texas legislature is in session."
Behind Summit, the Lincoln Project's second-largest recipient of outlays appears to be TUSK Digital, which has received around $1.2 million from the group. The owner of that firm, Ron Steslow, is also an advisor for the Lincoln Project.
Palantir Affiliation Disappears from Biden Adviser Avril Haines's Bio
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 12:02
In the run-up to the 2020 election, former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign is putting together a foreign policy team for a potential future administration. Among those described as being part of the team is Avril Haines, former deputy director of the CIA during the Obama administration. According to an NBC News report from last week, Haines has been tapped to work advising on policy, as well as lead the national security and foreign policy team.
In addition to her past national security work and impressive presence in the D.C. think tank world, Haines has in the past described herself as a former consultant for the controversial data-mining firm Palantir. Haines's biography page at the Brookings Institute, where she is listed as a nonresident senior fellow, boasted of this affiliation until at least last week, when it suddenly no longer appeared on the page.
The nature of the consulting work that Haines did for Palantir is not clear. As of press time, requests for comment to her, the Biden campaign, Palantir, and Brookings were not answered. Prior to being removed from the Brookings page, the connection to the data-mining company was listed alongside a long list of other affiliations that were similarly pared down.
The affiliation '-- and its apparent disappearance '-- raises questions for a campaign that has posed itself as the antithesis to President Donald Trump's far-right governance. Co-founded by a far-right, Trump-supporting tech billionaire, Palantir, whose business has benefited from a slew of government contracts, has been accused of aiding in the Trump administration's immigration detention programs in the U.S. and helping the Trump administration build out its surveillance state.
''Palantir's information technology systems have given the Trump administration the ability to carry out mass deportations that have been tearing apart and terrorizing our immigrant communities,'' said Yasmine Taeb, senior policy counsel at Demand Progress, a group that marshals support for causes ranging from human rights to transparency.
Haines's biography on the Brookings site was captured by the Wayback Machine, which archives websites, on May 9. At that time, the page showed the Palantir affiliation. A printout of the Google cache of the page as recorded on June 20 '-- the same day that Biden's campaign announced Haines as an adviser '-- shows the affiliation. By June 25, the Google cache shows the Palantir affiliation has disappeared; it is not clear when between those dates the listing was removed.
The ties to the Trump administration aren't the only aspect of Palantir's history that raises questions. The company has also been accused in the past of plotting to intimidate journalists involved in reporting documents released by WikiLeaks. And Palantir has also provided services to police '-- another move that appears to put the company out of step with the current political moment. The company also aided the National Security Agency by creating the tools to facilitate worldwide spying.
The firm's co-founder, Peter Thiel, is a billionaire libertarian financier with close links to the Republican Party. A rare, prominent Silicon Valley supporter of Trump's 2016 presidential bid, Thiel spoke at the Republican National Convention that year. He has emerged as a generous contributor to a variety of right-wing causes across the country. In 2020, however, the Daily Beast reported that Thiel has been privately grumbling about Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis and has so far withheld public or financial support for the president's reelection campaign. Thiel's political giving in this cycle has been limited to supporting Kris Kobach, a Kansas politician, Trump ally, and immigration hard-liner who is running for the U.S. Senate.
In recent months, the Biden campaign seems to have capitalized from Trump's collapsing national popularity. Polls across the country, including in key battleground states, show Biden taking impressive leads over the incumbent. As his campaign gains relative momentum, the composition and affiliations of his transition team is looking more like an early indicator of how he would govern once in office.
Obamagate
Exclusive from Gen. Flynn: If We Don't Act, 2% of the People Are About To Control the Other 98%
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 11:44
I was once told if we're not careful, 2 percent of the passionate will control 98 percent of the indifferent 100 percent of the time.
The more I've thought about this phrase, the more I believe it. There is now a small group of passionate people working hard to destroy our American way of life. Treason and treachery are rampant and our rule of law and those law enforcement professionals who uphold our laws are under the gun more than at any time in our nation's history. These passionate 2 percent appear to be winning.
Despite there being countless good people trying to come to grips with everything else on their plates, our silent majority (the indifferent) can no longer be silent.
If the United States wants to survive the onslaught of socialism, if we are to continue to enjoy self-government and the liberty of our hard-fought freedoms, we have to understand there are two opposing forces: One is the ''children of light'' and the other is the ''children of darkness.''
As I recently wrote, the art and exercise of self-governance require active participation by every American. I wasn't kidding! And voting is only part of that active participation. Time and again, the silent majority have been overwhelmed by the ''audacity and resolve'' of small, well-organized, passionate groups. It's now time for us, the silent majority (the indifferent), to demonstrate both.
TRENDING: Fox News Fires Veteran Anchor After Sexual Misconduct Allegation
The trials of our current times, like warfare, are immense and consequences severe and these seem inconquerable.
As a policewoman from Virginia told me, ''People don't feel safe in their homes and our police force is so demoralized we cannot function as we should. In my 23 years with my department, I have never seen morale so low.''
Another woman from Mississippi told me that we need our leaders to ''drop a forceful hammer. People are losing patience. It simply must be stopped! Laws MUST be enforced '... no one is above the law.''
Don't fret. Through smart, positive actions of resolute citizen-patriots, we can prevail. Always keep in mind that our enemy (these dark forces) invariably have difficulties of which we are ignorant.
Do you think America is at risk of becoming a socialist country?
89% (6697 Votes)
11% (826 Votes)
For most Americans, these forces appear to be strong. I sense they are desperate. I also sense that only a slight push on our part is all that is required to defeat these forces. How should that push come?
Prayers help and prayers matter, but action is also a remedy. Our law enforcement professionals, from the dispatcher to the detective and from the cop to the commissioner, are a line of defense against the corrupt and the criminal. It is how we remain (for now) in a state of relatively peaceful existence.
We must support them with all our being. They are not the enemy; they bring light to the darkness of night through their bravery and determination to do their jobs without fanfare and with tremendous sacrifice.
The silent majority (the indifferent) tend to go the way of those leading them. We are not map- or mind-readers; we are humans fraught with all the hopes and fears that flesh is heir to. We must not become lost in this battle. We must resoundingly follow our God-given common sense.
Seek the truth, fight for it in everything that is displayed before you. Don't trust the fake news or false prophets; trust your instincts and your common sense. Those with a conscience know the difference between right and wrong, and those with courage will always choose the harder right over the easier wrong.
RELATED: Exclusive from Gen. Flynn: Forces of Evil Want To Steal Our Freedom in the Dark of Night, But God Stands with Us
I believe the attacks being presented to us today are part of a well-orchestrated and well-funded effort that uses racism as its sword to aggravate our battlefield dispositions. This weapon is used to leverage and legitimize violence and crime, not to seek or serve the truth.
The dark forces' weapons formed against us serve one purpose: to promote radical social change through power and control. Socialism and the creation of a socialist society are their ultimate goals.
They are also intent on driving God out of our families, our schools and our courts. They are even seeking the very removal of God from our churches, essentially hoping to remove God from our everyday lives.
Remember, we will only remain united as ''one nation under God.''
And yes, there is a ''resistance movement'' by the forces of darkness. However, we must also resist these onslaughts and instead take an optimistic view of our situation. Like war, optimism can be pervasive and helps to subdue any rising sense of fear.
We must, however, be deliberate about our optimism. Otherwise, we may get lost in discouragement and despair of any failings we encounter. We must be tenacious in the ultimate end we wish to gain. That end is to remain an unwavering constitutional republic based on a set of Judeo-Christian values and principles. We must not fear these and instead embrace each.
Our path requires course corrections. To move our experiment in democracy forward, we should fight and reject the tired and failed political paths and instead pursue a more correct path that shines a bright light on liberty, a path with greater and greater control of our livelihoods instead of being controlled by fewer and fewer of the too-long-in-power politicians. They have discarded us like old trash.
Our will, our individual liberties and freedoms, remain powerful forces and must be understood and applied smartly. We must not be overly stubborn. Following the Constitution as our guide and adapting to change as we have throughout history, we learn more about what freedoms humans desire.
At times, however, we have to fall back on what got us here. We cannot afford to lose our God-given human rights and the strong inner desire for freedom to choose and to breathe the fresh air of liberty. We must stand up and speak out to challenge our so-called ''leaders'' of government. We put them in charge; we can remove them as well.
It is through our rights and privileges as American citizens that we challenge the political class and leverage our election process so ''we the people'' can decide who will govern.
We must not allow a small percentage of the powerful to overtake our position on America's battlefield. We, as free-thinking and acting individuals, must control how we will live and not allow a few passionate others to change our way of life.
To the silent and currently indifferent majority: Wake up. America is at risk of being lost in the dustbin of history to socialism. The very heart and soul of America is at stake.
In war, as in life, most failure comes from inaction. We face a pivotal moment that can change the course of history of our nation.
We the people must challenge every politician at every level.
We also must stand and support our law enforcement professionals: They are the pointy end of the spear defending us against anarchy.
Now is the time to act.
The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
No Hope Pope
Italian prelate to Vigan²: We would like to 'accompany your sure steps along the path of truth' | Blogs | LifeSite
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 13:15
June 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) '' Today, Italian Archbishop Luigi Negri published on his website and on the website of Italian journalist Marco Tosatti a public letter to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigan², in which he gives him his full support for his ''message which seems to me to have aptly expressed the living heart of our ecclesial experience.'' Speaking about ''elements of degradation both in the life of the Church as well as in civil society,'' this recently retired Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio now endorses Archbishop Vigan²'s work and says he would like to ''accompany'' his ''path of truth.''
Archbishop Negri clarified that his praise referred to Vigan²'s early May interventions, not his June interventions on Vatican II.
Archbishop Vigan² has made in recent months several statements that caught international attention. First, at the end of April, he opposed Pope Francis' call to obey Italy's continued coronavirus restrictions that continued a ban on Mass. The archbishop called this not only ''undue, but is also a violation of conscience and harmful to the health of souls.''
On May 7, Archbishop Vigan² issued, together with Cardinals Gerhard M¼ller, Joseph Zen, and Janis Pujats, as well as many scholars and journalists, an appeal concerning the dangers of the corona crisis being used to restrict our freedoms and those of the Catholic Church.
Then, on June 6, Archbishop Vigan² published an open letter to President Donald Trump, in which he describes the recent corona crisis and the ongoing political crisis in the U.S. as a battle between the children of light and the children of darkness. That letter was subsequently endorsed by President Trump himself.
Please see here the letter written by Archbishop Luigi Negri, with Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigan²'s own response, reprinted here with kind permission.
Archbishop Luigi Negri writes to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigan²Most Dear Excellency,
As the present circumstances are continually revealing to us elements of degradation both in the life of the Church as well as in civil society, I would like [to] send you a message relating my adhesion to your message, which seems to me to have aptly expressed the living heart of our ecclesial experience. This living heart of ecclesial experience carries with it the daily awareness that the time that has been given to us is fleeting and that our existence remains strongly conditioned by the temporary nature of events and facts.
It seems to me that the Church, bit by bit, often by fits and starts, is recovering awareness of her own identity and the missionary task that characterizes her life and her history.
Each day we feel ever more keenly the pressure of events that demand to be judged according to the clarity of the Word of the Lord and lived out as obedience to His Will. In the midst of all this we are happy; we are happy because we abandon ourselves each day to the Lord, with the profound awareness that His presence sustains us at every moment, and that it is impossible for our existence to ever be separated from the companionship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our strength is truly found in abandoning our lives to His will and above all in the desire that our life be alive with the great vibrancy of mission. Our life looks to the future as a reality in which to invest every moment, aware of the presence of Christ, asking that this presence of Christ run with us each day in the adventure of mission. Each morning our life opens in this and for this, with a great desire to sustain our own Christian life and that of our fellow men; each evening it closes with the awareness of having contributed poorly, but always sincerely, to the maturation of the Christian conscience in the world.
We embrace you, Your Excellency, and as disciples we would like to be able to accompany your sure steps along the path of truth, beauty, and goodness. May the Lord make his presence in the Church and among men a presence full of truth, the capacity for sacrifice and good will towards all men; thus may we be seen to correspond in a poor but real way to the great invitation of the liturgy at every moment: not to waste time but to give it back each day with our whole will and with great openness to the very heart of God, because in everyday life each of us is called to experience the greatness of God and the desire to contribute in some real way to bringing about the Kingdom of God in the world.
May the Lord bless us and comfort us on our daily path.
+Luigi Negri '' Archbishop Emeritus of Ferrara '' ComacchioMilan, 16 June 2020
Abp. Carlo Maria Vigan² replies to Abp. Luigi NegriMost Reverend Excellency,
I read your words with great emotion; they were truly touching for me. It is a consolation to see that Your Excellency has grasped the heart of the problem with that acumen and lucidity that have always distinguished your judgment.
The present time, especially for those who have a supernatural perspective, brings us back to the most basic things of life: to the simplicity of the Good and the horror of Evil, to the necessity of choosing which side we are on as we fight our daily battles, both small and large. There are those who see this as a banalization, as if the clarity of the Gospel was no longer capable of giving satisfying answers to a complex and articulate humanity. And yet, while some of our brother bishops are concerned almost obsessively with inclusiveness and green theology, hoping for the New World Order and a ''Common Home'' for the Abrahamic religions, the people and priests have an ever greater sense of being distant from their Pastors '' fortunately, not all of them '' right at the moment of epochal confrontation.
It's true: time is slipping through our hands, Your Excellency, and as it does, the sandcastles of almost initiatory rhetoric are crumbling, sandcastles built by those who have wanted to base their own success on the fleetingness of time and the fragility of the contingent. There is something inexorable at work in what is happening today: the ephemeral mirages that were supposedly going to replace eternal truths are now revealing, in the harsh light of reality, their artificial and false squalor, their ontological and inexorable falsity. We discover that we are children, according to the words of Our Lord; we recognize almost instinctively those who are good and those who are evil, reward and punishment, merit and fault. But can we consider the serenity of the child resting on its mother's breast, the strong trust of the child who grips his father's hand, to be banal?
How many fatuous words have been spoken to us, how many useless sedatives have been delivered to us, thinking that the Eternal Word of the Father was inadequate, that it was necessary to update it in order to make it more seductive to the deaf ears of the world! Yet it would have been enough to simply make that Word our own, and we would have needed nothing else. If up until now we have allowed ourselves to be confused by the din of this present age, we can now abandon ourselves with filial trust and allow ourselves to be led, because we recognize the voice of the Divine Shepherd, and we follow Him where He wishes to lead us '' even when others, who should speak, are silent.
Our poverty is not an obstacle, but rather a help in these situations: the more humble we are, the more the skill of the Artist shines through us, holding us as an instrument in His skilled hands, like the pen with which the Scribe wisely writes the story.
I ask Your Excellency to pray that all of us, who in the fullness of the Priesthood are called by the Lord not servants but friends, may succeed in making ourselves docile instruments of His Grace, rediscovering the divine simplicity of the Faith that He has commanded us to preach to all the nations. Everything else of our own that we would add through pride is a pathetic tinsel, which we must now learn to get rid of if we do not wish it to be done by the flames of Purgatory, in which our few gold flakes will be purified of their slag in order to make us worthy of the beatific vision. May we not waste the precious days in which illness and old age give us the opportunity to expiate our faults and the faults of others: they are blessed days which we can offer to the Majesty of God for the Church and her Ministers.
Most Dear Excellency, receive this expression of my profound gratitude for your inspired words, with the assurance that I remember you in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. And pray for me.
Nunc dimittis servum Tuum,Domine, secundum verbum Tuum in pace'...
+ Carlo Maria Vigan², Archbishop17 June 2020
Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino @pellegrino2020
War on Weed
Austin police won't make arrests for possessing small amounts of marijuana | The Texas Tribune
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 21:22
The Austin Police Department has essentially decriminalized the possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana, according to a Thursday police memo.
''APD will no longer cite or arrest individuals with sufficient identification for Class A or Class B misdemeanor 'possession of marijuana' offenses, unless there is an immediate threat to a person's safety or doing so as part of the investigation of a high priority, felony-level narcotics case or the investigation of a violent felony,'' police Chief Brian Manley wrote in a memo to the Austin mayor and City Council.
With the policy change, unless it is part of one of those higher-level investigations, officers who suspect someone possesses a misdemeanor amount of marijuana are instructed to seize the substance, write a report and release the person with no pending charges.
The move comes more than a year after the Texas Legislature legalized hemp and, in the process, complicated marijuana prosecutions across the state.
Under the new law, the definition of marijuana was narrowed from parts of the cannabis plant to cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive ingredient in the plant. The distinction caused numerous prosecutors to drop hundreds of marijuana cases and stop accepting new ones, arguing they could not tell the difference between the two without unavailable lab testing.
In six months, the number of new marijuana cases filed by prosecutors in the state dropped by more than half.
In part because of the new law, the Austin City Council in January approved a resolution to stop arresting or ticketing people for most low-level marijuana possession offenses. But the next day, Manley said that marijuana was still illegal and he would continue to enforce the law, even though the council banned the department from using city funds to conduct lab testing the county prosecutor required.
At the time, Manley said that although cracking down on those possessing a small amount of marijuana was never a priority, police would continue to cite or arrest people if officers ''come across it.'' On Thursday, that policy changed.
''After reviewing the current protocols for handling marijuana cases at all of the relevant County and District Courts and Attorney Offices and/or conferring with representatives from those respective entities, APD has revised our marijuana-enforcement [policies] to comply with Council's resolution and align with present practices within the local judicial system,'' Manley wrote in the memo.
City Council member Greg Casar applauded the decision in a statement Thursday and credited the chief's decision to people who organized for racial justice. He noted that Black Austinites were much more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white residents.
"When people organize for racial justice, they can make real change," Casar wrote in a statement. "Although the Police Chief should have made this change the day after City Council passed my resolution directing this back in January, it finally happened today because of continued community advocacy."
Since late May, when protests against police brutality and racial injustice erupted across the nation after the Minnesota in-custody death of George Floyd, criticism against Austin police actions has heightened. The department has been knocked for the fatal police shooting of Mike Ramos, an unarmed Black and Hispanic man killed in April, and violent tactics used in recent protests that have critically injured young people of color. Calls for the city to fire Manley, already existent before Floyd's death, grew increasingly loud. The city manager said last month Manley was staying in power.
In his memo, Manley reiterated that marijuana enforcement had not been a priority for the department, noting that his force enacted a "cite-and-release" policy for marijuana arrests more than a decade ago and has used it more and more frequently over arrests. Such policies allow officers to issue citations instructing defendants to appear in court instead of arresting them for some suspected offenses. In the first three months of 2020, he said, only three arrests were made for suspected misdemeanor marijuana crimes, "all of which were made in the interest of public safety."
Boeing vs Airbus
Boeing's 737 Max is Being Readied for a Comeback. What Travelers Need to Know - The New York Times
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 15:57
Travel | Boeing's 737 Max is Being Readied for a Comeback. What Travelers Need to KnowThe plane has been grounded since March 2019 after two deadly crashes, but could fly again by the end of the year. Answers to questions about the process.
Boeing has completed test flights for the recertification of the 737 Max. Credit... Jason Redmond/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images This week, Boeing completed test flights of its troubled 737 Max airplane to demonstrate that it can fly safely with new flight control software. The Max was grounded in March 2019 after a pair of fatal crashes '-- in Indonesia and Ethiopia '-- that killed 346 people.
Even as the company began testing the planes for recertification, a federal inspector general's report said that Boeing had kept information from federal regulators about the flawed computer system that brought down the two jets during the plane's initial approval process.
The Max is the most recent model of Boeing's 737, a type of aircraft with many variants over the decades. More than 10,000 737s have been built. The Max was released in 2017 in four lengths to accommodate up to 230 seats. The Max has larger, more fuel-efficient engines than the older models.
If the Federal Aviation Administration is convinced that Boeing has corrected the problems that led to the crashes, the planes will return to service, but no timeline has been announced.
The agency said in a statement that it ''will lift the grounding order only after we are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.''
Boeing's chief executive, David Calhoun, flew on the plane in February. The head of the F.A.A. and longtime Delta pilot, Stephen M. Dickson, told a Senate committee that he would fly the Max himself and must be satisfied that he would put his family aboard before he would lift the grounding order.
Industry experts said that it could still take several months before the agency and its counterparts in Europe, Canada and Brazil give the green light to certify the Max '-- possibly as late as 2021. All told, this likely means that the Max won't return to service until this fall at the earliest.
Here's what travelers who might be contemplating flying again around that time need to know.
What happens when the F.A.A. certifies the aircraft?The airlines need to ready the planes and their pilots, and the F.A.A. needs to approve a new training regime for pilots.
The grounded planes are parked at airplane storage facilities around the United States. They undergo periodic maintenance even while grounded. When the F.A.A. provides its approval, an airline's maintenance teams and pilots will fly the aircraft (with no passengers on board) to airline maintenance facilities, said R. Eric Jones, an associate professor of Aviation Maintenance Sciences at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and an experienced airline maintenance lead. There, the aircraft will undergo extensive evaluations and maintenance of systems, including hydraulics and avionics, and of the wings and landing gear. ''Assuming no anomalies are found, it could take as little as two weeks to a month to return a parked Max to operational service,'' Professor Jones said.
Boeing has recommended to the F.A.A. that pilots undergo training on flight simulators combined with computer-based training ''before returning the MAX safely to service.'' This training could be similar to the intense annual checks every airline pilot undergoes regardless of what aircraft they fly. It could take several days per pilot on a tablet, coupled with simulation of the new flight control system on a full-motion flight simulator. The details of the training have not been announced. Many pilots who fly the Max have trained on flight simulators every three months since the plane was grounded to maintain their knowledge of how it flies.
What airlines fly the Max?Since it was introduced, Boeing has delivered 370 Max aircraft to 47 customers worldwide.
Southwest Airlines was the largest U.S. operator of the Max, with 34 in its fleet. American Airlines has 24 and United Airlines has 14. Delta Air Lines is the sole major U.S. carrier not to have ordered the jet to date. While the Max represents a small percentage of the fleets of these carriers, hundreds more were on order before the crashes.
Internationally, dozens of airlines are slated to take delivery of the Max over the coming years. In North America, Air Canada, WestJet and Aerom(C)xico fly the aircraft and have orders for more. Ryanair, the European low-cost carrier, will eventually fly more than 100 Max aircraft.
What routes does the Max normally fly?The Max is the latest generation of Boeing's 737, which was designed to fly medium-range flights like New York to Austin or San Francisco to Chicago. None fly trans-Atlantic.
With Covid-19 slowing airline travel, what's the hurry?The Max is about 17 percent more fuel-efficient than its older Boeing 737 siblings. The fuel savings are huge for cash-strapped airlines. Airlines want to deploy the jets as soon as they can, even during this period of depressed travel demand.
How can I tell when I'm booking whether the plane will be a Max?When you book your ticket online, airlines display the type of aircraft slated to fly the route. You might have to click a link to reveal this information. For example, American Airlines previously listed the Max on its website booking page as the ''7M8'' aircraft, which stands for Boeing 737 MAX 8. (There are 7, 8, 9 and 10 numbered variants, depending on the seating capacity). Southwest has a webpage that lets you identify what plane you are scheduled to fly on. However, the plane that is scheduled to fly a route can change for myriad reasons, ranging from run-of-the-mill maintenance issues to poor weather causing network delays.
Has any other commercial aircraft been successfully rehabilitated?Aviation authorities grounded the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for four months in 2013 because of smoking lithium-ion batteries in two separate incidents. For a time, passengers were skittish about flying the then-new aircraft. That moment has long passed; the Dreamliner is key to many airlines' international routes. But the Dreamliner had not been involved in fatal crashes.
How can I tell if I'm flying on a Max?If you're waiting at the gate and see your plane, look for large and pointy fins extending above and below the wingtips called winglets. Winglets come in all manner of similar designs, but the Max's stand out.
Will airlines allow me to rebook or get a refund if I don't want to fly on the Max?Rebook? Yes. Refund? No. U.S. carriers have not yet announced policies related to the return of service of the Max. However, in a statement this week to The New York Times, a United Airlines spokeswoman said that the company ''will be transparent '-- and communicate in advance '-- with our customers who are booked to fly on a Max aircraft, will rebook those who do not want to fly on a Max at no charge.'' Expect other airlines to follow United's lead.
Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places list.
Feet in the water
No one knows why decapitated sea lions keep turning up in Vancouver Island | Live Science
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:20
HomeNewsSea Lions enjoying the last light of the day during sunset at La Jolla beach near San Diego, California.
(Image: (C) ShutterRunner.com (Matty Wolin) via Getty Images)
The decapitated bodies of at least five sea lions found on the shores of Vancouver Island, Canada, over the past few months hint that there may be a marine-mammal serial killer on the loose, or perhaps someone who is lopping off the heads of already dead sea lions, according to news sources.
It's unclear how these animals died, but after looking at photos of the dead animals, Anna Hall, a marine mammal zoologist at Sea View Marine Sciences, a company that uses acoustics to monitor marine animal movement, said that humans are likely to blame.
"To me, this looks intentional, whether it's by a single person or a group of people," Hall told the Canadian news outlet CTV News. "I sincerely hope that Fisheries and Oceans Canada pursues this case to determine who is doing this and to bring them to justice because this is a violation of federal law."
Related: Images: Sea lion pups make a splash
The images also indicate that the species is a Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), Hall added. These animals, which live along parts of the Pacific Coast of North America, Japan and Russia, are near-threatened, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are the fourth largest pinniped (a group that includes seals, sea lions and walruses), as males can reach lengths of up to 10.8 feet (3.3 meters) and weigh an average of 2,200 lbs. (1,000 kilograms), according to the 2009 Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals (Second Edition).
Deborah Short, a resident of Nanaimo, a city on Vancouver Island, said she noticed a headless sea lion while walking her dog along the shore in April, and decided to take some photos. "At first I thought it was a log and then as I got closer, I realized it was a sea lion," Short told Vice. "I immediately walked over in that direction, only to discover that its head had been severed. I was just sick to my stomach."
In June, Short came across another headless sea that was near the body of a skinned seal, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Other people who have found decapitated sea lions in the area have since sent their photos to Short. In some instances, it appears that the creature's clean skull was left next to the body. As of now, the body count is at least five, Short said.
During her online research into sea lions, Short learned that several First Nations groups were proposing that they be allowed to harvest or cull local sea lions, because as sea lion populations have boomed, the numbers of some salmon and other protected and endangered fish, which the sea lions eat, have plummeted. However, there's no indication that the beheaded sea lions are related to the First Nations' proposal, according to CTV News.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) said it was looking into the pinniped matter.
"From time to time, individuals may tamper with the animals once beached," a DFO spokesperson told CTV News. "If this is determined to have been done in an effort to knowingly tamper with evidence, this would be an offense under the Criminal Code of Canada."
More than 70% of Steller sea lion births happen on the small islands off the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island, Vice reported.
If a wild animal carcass is discovered in Canada, people should call 1-800-465-4336 to report it to the government. In Canada, sea lions are protected by the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act. Sea lions are also protected in the United States under the 1972 federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Hall said she hopes that government officials will order a necropsy (an animal autopsy) to learn more about the deceased sea lions. "It's absolutely horrific and appalling that there's anybody on this coastline that would feel that this is an appropriate course of action with regard to a marine mammal or any animal at all," Hall told CTV News.
This isn't the first time that headless pinnipeds have washed ashore. Four headless sea lions were found on Vancouver Island in 2013, and at least 12 seal carcasses were found on the banks of the St. Lawrence in Quebec in 2014, the CBC reported. It's still unclear why these animals were targeted; while sea lion skins and whiskers are sometimes used to create items such as drums and masks, these activities require a permit, and each kill has to be reported to the DFO, the CBC reported in 2013. However, no such reporting or permit application surfaced in any of the sea lion deaths.
The headless seals, on the other hand, were possibly the target of a wild scavenger, St(C)phane Lair, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Montreal, told the CBC in 2014. "Scavengers attack a carcass quickly, and they go for orifices '-- the nose, the mouth, the nostrils. So it's the head that comes away from the body first," Lair said.
Originally published on Live Science.
Clips
VIDEO - Worst is Yet to Come - Tedros Theme - Gus Augustine - 7.4.20.mp3
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 12:56
VIDEO - YouTube
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 12:22
VIDEO - M.A.S.K. Opening Theme Extended - YouTube
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:50
VIDEO - Jeffrey Epstein's ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell arrested and charged by FBI - BBC Newsnight - YouTube
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:37
VIDEO - Discover Your Dog's Story With Embark! - YouTube
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:35
VIDEO - Trump angers Neil Young by using three of his songs at controversial Mount Rushmore event | The Independent
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:29
Donald Trump has angered Neil Young by using three of his songs during his controversial visit to Mount Rushmore on Friday (3 July).
The musician also said he ''stands in solidarity'' with Lakota Sioux, who have long claimed the land as their own.
Mount Rushmore sits on territory that was unceded in treaties in the Black Hills from 1851 and 1868.
Download the new Independent Premium appSharing the full story, not just the headlines
Despite protests breaking out ahead of the president's arrival, he proceeded with the Independence Day event and used Young's songs ''Rockin' in the Free World'' and ''Like a Hurricane''.
''This is NOT ok with me'...'' a tweet posted from Neil Young Archives wrote alongside footage from the event.
He added in a follow-up post: ''I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me.''
Trump also played ''Cowgirl in the Sand'', but Young is yet to comment on its usage.
The music of Young, who called Trump a ''disgrace to my country'' in a searing open letter written in February, has previously been used without his permission.
In 2015, he played ''Rockin' in the Free World'' while announcing his presidential bid without seeking musician's permission.
''Donald Trump was not authorised to use 'Rockin' In The Free World' in his presidential candidacy announcement,'' an official statement from Young's camp said to The Hollywood Reporter.
Ahead of Trump's arrival, the Ogala Sioux tribal council voted to ban the president and the South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem from attending.
The tribe said the lack of government-to-government consultation on the event was a primary motivator for the vote.
The best in film, music, TV & radio straight to your inbox
VIDEO - July 4th Protest: 1000 Armed Blacks March on Stone Mountain - SHOW OF FORCE - YouTube
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 11:21
VIDEO - So Sand DIY Satisfying Station - YouTube
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 10:57
VIDEO - Opinion | Why Some Black Americans Are Arming Themselves - The New York Times
Sun, 05 Jul 2020 00:29
Opinion | I'm a Black American. I Need a Gun to Feel Safe in This Country.Some Black Americans never considered buying a gun. Until now.
By Chloe Brown , Tarikh Brown , Nylah Burton , Anubis Heru , Lawrence Taylor and Kat Traylor
July 1, 2020
Video by Sanya Dosani and Chai Dingari
Videotranscript
transcript
I'm a Black American. I Need a Gun to Feel Safe in This Country.
Some Black Americans never considered buying a gun. Until now.
I grew up really anti-gun. I grew up in a pretty liberal California family. I wasn't into firearms. I was kind of opposed to them. My parents were never really into firearms. I actually really don't like guns. But I 100% for certain will be buying a gun or two or three. Owning a firearm is important to me. When you look outside, you can kind of see that there's a need for people protecting themselves, buying firearms, being conscious. Black people, we live in a very violent country. And this country doesn't give us good options. I parked my bike over here to take a break real quick. Got a white guy out here pointing a gun at four Black men. Look at this. All we're doing is standing here. This lady literally just pulled a gun because we're out here and didn't have reservations. Guns are dangerous. I never wanted one in my home. But a month ago, I bought a handgun and I learned how to shoot it. Right now, I need a gun to be safe in this country. We see heavily armed folks showing up at the capitals across the nation and demanding that their constitutional rights were being violated. And then we had the back-to-back murders of Black folks. We are not safe. Three years ago, I was driving with my children. We were pulled over to a stop by a police officer. And the police officer brandished a gun on me, with my children crying in the back. That was a turning point for me, understanding that the people that are supposed to take care of us and keep us safe may not always be there for us. Black America has never been safe, but we have always fought back. Black abolitionists, like Harriet Tubman, carried weapons to protect themselves from slave catchers and police. And during the civil rights movement, even activists like Martin Luther King owned guns to protect themselves. We have a cultural, historical, you know, like '-- Connection. '-- connection to firearms too. Most of the gun stores and gun ranges are owned by white people. My first experience going to a gun range, I walked out in tears because I was so uncomfortable. All eyes were on us. And people were letting us know that they didn't want us there. Unfortunately, we have no choice but to own firearms. Right now, it's a very key time to get you a firearm, get you some training. We're not going to live with stigmas. We're not going to live with fear, period. My experience buying a gun is something unique. This was actually a buildup that got me here. I've been fighting for gun regulation in my state for eight years. Regardless of who was in office, our lives didn't get any better for our Black and brown communities. In fact, they just stayed the same. That's when the realization hit. Until we have legislation and all the wrong people don't have guns, you need a gun. When I tried to get a firearm for my house, my wife was very adverse. Like opposed. Really going out to the range, really learning about firearms was what kind of got me understanding that it's not so much scary. It's more a tool and it's more protection. All Black people pretty much, we need guns to protect ourselves. Go buy a gun. Arm yourself. And just make sure you get some training. I think that's the mentality that every African-American should have given the history and the current climate. My personal goal for gun ownership is never to hurt anyone. But if, in fact, my life is threatened, my family is threatened, I probably wouldn't hesitate.
Some Black Americans never considered buying a gun. Until now.What does it take for Black Americans to feel safe right now?
For some, it's owning a gun. Even if that's not something they may have ever wanted to do. In the video above, a chorus of Black voices from across the country '-- a schoolteacher in Oakland, Calif., a political strategist in Aurora, Colo., and others '-- have an urgent message: ''Go buy a gun. Arm yourself. And just make sure you get some training.''
This is by no means the first time many Black Americans have felt the need to arm themselves for self-preservation. But with a white couple pulling guns on Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis, right-wing extremists increasing attacks and co-opting rallies to advance their own messaging and half of Black Americans already feeling that they can't trust the police to treat them equally, some Black Americans are saying they now have no choice but to exercise their Second Amendment right.
VIDEO - MSNBC Quick Cut - YouTube
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 17:36
VIDEO - Gravitas: China claims ownership of a Russian city - YouTube
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 15:27
VIDEO - Dozens protest at local Whole Foods after workers sent home for wearing Black Lives Matter masks - YouTube
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 14:54
VIDEO-Air Force One does a flyover at Mt. Rushmore - YouTube
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 12:32
VIDEO-What is QAnon? - CNN
Sat, 04 Jul 2020 11:24
(CNN) Since its origin three years ago, QAnon has festered in the darker corners of the internet. Now the group's followers, who call themselves "believers," have found a niche on social media and within the Republican Party.
QAnon began as a single conspiracy theory. But its followers now act more like a virtual cult, largely adoring and believing whatever disinformation the conspiracy community spins up.
Its main conspiracy theories claim dozens of politicians and A-list celebrities work in tandem with governments around the globe to engage in child sex abuse. Followers also believe there is a "deep state" effort to annihilate President Donald Trump.
But followers of the group have expanded from those beliefs and now allege baseless theories surrounding mass shootings and elections. Followers have falsely claimed that 5G cellular networks are spreading the coronavirus.
There's no evidence that any of what QAnon claims is factual. '‹
Followers make unfounded claims and then amplify them with doctored or out-of-context evidence posted on social media to support the allegations.
The anarchical group's birth, and its continued seepage into mainstream American life, comes on the coattails of the Russian disinformation campaign that targeted US elections in 2016. '‹
While the Russian campaign had an apparent objective -- influence voters to elect Trump -- QAnon is decentralized, having no clear objective aside from its popular slogan, "Question everything."
Anyone can create a conspiracy, offer evidence to support it and tag it with QAnon hashtags to spread it. But no one is held responsible for the trail of chaos and disinformation it leaves behind.
How QAnon beganQAnon's origins are emblematic of what it has evolved into: An unfounded, out-of-context claim made to support an allegation, which is easily discredited.
It all goes back to a cryptic, anonymous post on October 28, 2017 on 4chan, an online message board that frequently features extremist and bigoted content. The individual, which followers would later call "Q," claimed that Hillary Clinton was going to be arrested.
There was no arrest.
But similar posts pushing baseless claims of arrests and "deep state" action kept appearing on 4chan. It's unclear who was behind the posts, or if the ones that followed were posted by the same person -- 4chan posts are anonymous.
Believers claim that their "Q" is so knowledgeable because of their claim to security clearance within the US government.
QAnon supporters have likened the initial posts, and subsequent ones, to Hansel and Gretel-like breadcrumbs, or "drops," as they call them now.
Since then, the group has injected itself into the mainstream by creating communities on Reddit and finding footholds on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. In a series of videos posted online in 2018, QAnon targeted Cemex, a Mexican cement company, because it reportedly owned an abandoned camp in Arizona, which conspiracy theorists erroneously believe is the location of a human trafficking site.
Earlier in 2020, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks were both targets of QAnon conspiracies.
At the time, CNN reached out to Cemex and representatives for Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey but never received a response.
Believers claimed on several social media sites that a Boca Raton, Florida, house belonging to Oprah was seized by police in a child sex trafficking sting and roped off with red tape.
Another person on Twitter made a post, which garnered thousands of shares, falsely claiming that Tom Hanks, who tested positive for coronavirus in Australia, was actually arrested for pedophilia. The post said that other A-list celebrities would soon be arrested.
QAnon conspiracy theories have been further elevated through high-profile figures and organizations. In March 2018, before being fired from her sitcom, actress Roseanne Barr tweeted about the pedophilia conspiracy theory, alluding to a baseless claim that President Trump "has broken up trafficking rings in high places everywhere." Barr later deleted the tweet.
The GOP and QAnonQAnon nearly reached the main stage of the Republican Party at President Trump's July 31, 2018 rally in Tampa, Florida, where signs reading "We are Q" and "Q" appeared near the front of the crowd during the President's speech.
Four months later, Vice President Pence posted -- and then deleted -- a photo on Twitter with a law enforcement officer wearing a QAnon patch on his uniform.
And in July 2019 the White House invited a QAnon supporter to an event billed by the White House as a "social media summit" with conservative influencers.
Today the GOP has three candidates that have been sympathetic or supportive of the group and could see themselves in Congress in January: Jo Rae Perkins, a candidate for a US Senate seat in Oregon; Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Congressional candidate for Georgia's 14th district seat; and Lauren Boebert, who beat a Trump-backed, five-term incumbent during primary elections to become a candidate for Colorado's 3rd district. '‹
"Everything I heard of Q -- I hope that this is real because it only means America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values, and that's what I am for," Boebert, the front runner for the House seat, said in a May interview.
Her campaign manager, Sherronna Bishop, told CNN in a statement that despite those comments, Bishop "does not follow QAnon."
CNN has reached out to the Republican National Committee and President Trump's campaign for comment on QAnon and the GOP candidates' comments on the group but has not heard back.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the date of a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida. It was held July 31, 2018.
VIDEO-Daily Caller on Twitter: "CUOMO: Trump retweeted the video of Mark McCloskey because "he liked the image of white resistance to this [black lives matter] movement." MCCLOSKEY: "I'm glad you're a mind reader because no one else thinks you are." https
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 21:24
Daily Caller : CUOMO: Trump retweeted the video of Mark McCloskey because "he liked the image of white resistance to this [black l'... https://t.co/FbVs2I33yC
Wed Jul 01 02:08:42 +0000 2020
VIDEO-[Opinion] NYC is in a lot of trouble - nyc
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 20:40
level 2 Bay Ridge -2 points · 1 hour ago Lower police presence equals lower crime, this was already proven the last time the NYPD tried to strike. Don't let their propaganda fool you, they are nothing but agitators.
VIDEO - Prof. Werner brilliantly explains how the banking system and financial sector really work. - YouTube
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 14:43
VIDEO - Enough with the ANTI WHITE NARRATIVE - YouTube
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 13:12
VIDEO-Speak For Yourself on Twitter: ".@MarcellusWiley breaks down why the NBA's plan to paint 'Black Lives Matter' on courts is a bad idea. https://t.co/EoCJNf7ho1" / Twitter
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:07
Speak For Yourself : .@MarcellusWiley breaks down why the NBA's plan to paint 'Black Lives Matter' on courts is a bad idea. https://t.co/EoCJNf7ho1
Tue Jun 30 20:34:49 +0000 2020
Emma : @SFY @marcelluswiley It's a hate group
Fri Jul 03 12:06:39 +0000 2020
Greg 'Zink' Czinke : @SFY @stillgray @marcelluswiley Remember when the NBA exec said something in support of the #HongKong People and th'... https://t.co/qZeKiGZgBE
Fri Jul 03 12:05:33 +0000 2020
Randall Kuett : @SFY @marcelluswiley @JoeGibb40573081
Fri Jul 03 12:04:49 +0000 2020
VIDEO-TODAY on Twitter: "Chauntae Davies is an actress who says Jeffrey Epstein raped her when she was 21-years old. She responds to the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell who introduced her to Epstein. ''I would love to see her take some responsibility and jus
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:04
TODAY : Chauntae Davies is an actress who says Jeffrey Epstein raped her when she was 21-years old. She responds to the arr'... https://t.co/5NsYxd6Ohc
Fri Jul 03 12:03:33 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Speaker Pelosi: 'The president himself is a hoax'
Thu, 02 Jul 2020 20:36
Congressional leaders are hoping they will get the answers they're looking for this morning when Trump administration officials brief them on intelligence that Russia allegedly paid bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be in that briefing and joins Stephanie Ruhle to discuss what she is expecting. July 2, 2020

Art

Image
Load image
Image
Load image

All Clips

Mt Rushmore is divisive.m4a
Pelosi - Trump is himself a hoax - Taliban hit payments.mp3
Trump Mt Rushmore - Canel culture and the cult destroying America.mp3
July 4th Protest - 1000 Armed Blacks March on Stone Mountain - NotFuckingAroundCoalition.mp3
NYTimes - I’m a Black American. I Need a Gun to Feel Safe in This Country.mp3
Black NRA - NAAGA -1- INTRO.mp3
Black NRA - NAAGA -2- Creating a PAC.mp3
The Officer Tatum - I've Had Enough of ANTI WHITE NARRATIVE - It is insulting.mp3
Marcellus Wiley (FS1) -1- BLM misisoin is no good.mp3
NYC youtuber - Crimes unit is gone and this is the result in the city NSFW.mp3
Doggie DNA advertisement.mp3
Derschowitz BBC -2- Tough to porcescute statute and the deal.mp3
Derschowitz BBC -1- Lord EVILine introduced him to Maxwell.mp3
Coronavirus claims French Prime Minister.m4a
Angela Davis FINALE DN.mp3
Angela Davis Four DN.mp3
Angela Davis ONE DN.mp3
Angela Davis TWO DN.mp3
Biden 4th July Message PBS.mp3
Bill Cosby Update WHYY.mp3
COVID Brasil report PBS.mp3
COVID cases versus deaths PBS.mp3
COVID report UK new.mp3
COVID REPORT UK PBS ONE.mp3
Cute Middle Schooler rant.mp3
Guns and rugs in chicago PBS.mp3
Lahota Sious on Mt Rushmore PBS.mp3
New Migration halt 325 NPR.mp3
Nobel scientist on science QQQ.mp3
Oakland fireworks remedy.mp3
response.mp3
Tamika Mallory rant DN.mp3
Taylor swift irked about census.mp3
Trump Ad defund.mp3
Trump at Rushmore PBS.mp3
Trump at Rushmore TWO PBS.mp3
young Pharoh on Veronica BAY One.mp3
young Pharoh on Veronica BAY Two.mp3
100 degrees in Sibeeria.mp3
Afghanistan makes sensereport PBS.mp3
Angela Davis Feminist DN.mp3
Miami Mayor says curfew is liberty.m4a
NA Jingles - You Can Leave Your Mask On - Jingle.mp3
Zach Bush -2- medical mentality is all wrong.mp3
Zach Bush -3- Weed eradication comparison.mp3
Zach Bush -4- Dignostics are all wrong tools - CORONA SURVIVORS HAVE THE DNA OS UPDATE.mp3
Zach Bush -5- Connect to UNPOLLUTED nature - It's Carbon Toxicity.mp3
Zach Bush -1- Medical Community is very complicit in the fear mongering.mp3
Redskin is like the N Word NBC.m4a
  • 0:00
    I think is an insult to my manhood from
  • 0:25
    the Silicon Valley where I saw the best
  • 0:27
    fireworks display in my life and it was
  • 0:29
    done by the public I'm John Cena more
  • 0:32
    [Music]
  • 0:36
    typically fourth of July if I recall
  • 0:39
    correctly in San Francisco is a big dud
  • 0:43
    it's a big loser because of the low
  • 0:46
    hanging cloud and you can't see it and
  • 0:48
    it's just no good and that was a limit
  • 0:50
    yeah I go yep yep yep except for one
  • 0:52
    thing every 20 years or so the fog never
  • 0:57
    shows up and this was the year huh this
  • 1:00
    was the year you look at it was clear it
  • 1:03
    would have been a great fireworks
  • 1:05
    display but the idiots canceled it on
  • 1:08
    the one day where you could actually see
  • 1:10
    it's the one the one time in 20 years
  • 1:13
    yeah and so there was no fireworks
  • 1:16
    display because they're all cowering in
  • 1:18
    place yeah and meanwhile the town of
  • 1:21
    Richmond who are guests they've kind of
  • 1:23
    had a wink-wink nudge-nudge going on
  • 1:25
    there must have been 1,000 people
  • 1:27
    shooting off fireworks and it would and
  • 1:30
    it was sounded like just a war zone it
  • 1:32
    was constable bum bum it looked like a
  • 1:35
    finale it looked like a finale of a
  • 1:37
    regular fireworks show only it was for
  • 1:40
    three and a half hours yeah it's just
  • 1:42
    nothing but nice non-stop bombs and I
  • 1:45
    guess la had the same phenomenon because
  • 1:47
    there's a music there's a video going
  • 1:50
    around or some helicopter flying over la
  • 1:52
    that looks like a war zone
  • 1:54
    and we had a lot of a lot of personal
  • 1:56
    fireworks a lot of booms going off for
  • 1:59
    most to me this is very reminiscent of
  • 2:02
    Amsterdam around New Year's in the
  • 2:06
    Netherlands where you can't do anything
  • 2:08
    you can't have gone
  • 2:09
    nothing it's everything is for boating
  • 2:11
    in the Netherlands anything fun you
  • 2:12
    can't have but New Year's then
  • 2:15
    everyone's allowed to go crazy and so
  • 2:17
    they they buy up just so much in a week
  • 2:20
    before up until sometimes two days after
  • 2:23
    New Year's it's just all day long as if
  • 2:27
    you live and it's traumatizing for some
  • 2:28
    people and now you know this dogs oh
  • 2:32
    yeah some guy I was outside on the deck
  • 2:35
    this morning pitchblack Boston I hear
  • 2:38
    right whoa hello and his dog had run I
  • 2:42
    jumped his car and crossed the the
  • 2:44
    Greenbelt and felt kind of bad it was
  • 2:48
    only a 8 month old German Shepherd so
  • 2:50
    it's like uh don't know if that one's
  • 2:52
    gonna be okay but otherwise completely
  • 2:56
    uneventful here in Austin if anything
  • 2:59
    bit just demure and sad why well it
  • 3:05
    wasn't the road any more sad than normal
  • 3:07
    it wasn't a great 4th of July you know
  • 3:10
    it was just it wasn't it wasn't a lot of
  • 3:12
    fun I mean certainly not compared to the
  • 3:16
    evening before when we went to our
  • 3:19
    cocktail party here in Austin yes this
  • 3:22
    is a photo I put your photo in the
  • 3:24
    newsletter yes there you were did you
  • 3:28
    not like my photo well I'd like to have
  • 3:32
    been it was it was it looked like kind
  • 3:34
    of a if there was any such thing as a
  • 3:36
    full body mug shot that's kind of what
  • 3:38
    it looked like okay you wanted an all
  • 3:40
    that was missing was like to scale
  • 3:42
    behind you how hot and tall you were you
  • 3:44
    didn't want an accent you wanted an
  • 3:45
    action shot or something I wasn't an
  • 3:48
    action shot I wasn't gonna put my I'm
  • 3:50
    not gonna okay let me tell you what's
  • 3:52
    going on because this was quite an
  • 3:53
    interesting experience so to to review
  • 3:59
    we had received an invitation a very
  • 4:04
    nice couple we're good friends with them
  • 4:05
    now they happen to live in Tarrytown
  • 4:07
    here in Austin that now they they have
  • 4:10
    about 100 employees they've got I think
  • 4:13
    six different locations for their
  • 4:14
    business throughout Austin and I believe
  • 4:17
    maybe Houston so it's always interesting
  • 4:21
    to find out how they've been doing
  • 4:22
    especially with a lot of employees and
  • 4:24
    you know limitations etc so we're
  • 4:26
    looking forward to seeing them but we
  • 4:28
    were told hey you know if you come on
  • 4:31
    Friday then please when you pull up to
  • 4:34
    the house park down by the garage and
  • 4:37
    then walk on the path that is their kind
  • 4:38
    of month built on a hill it's a it's
  • 4:41
    multi-million dollar home built on a bit
  • 4:43
    of a hill so you're kind of down below
  • 4:44
    and please walk on the path to the left
  • 4:46
    all the way around to the backyard
  • 4:48
    and as I think I'd reported previously
  • 4:51
    the the male of the two and I had
  • 4:54
    conversed privately and he said man were
  • 4:56
    full-on hazmat suit here so we were
  • 4:58
    ready we had our masks on I had my
  • 5:00
    world's best dad cup on a string around
  • 5:02
    my neck as promised and so we we walk up
  • 5:06
    and there and they're out there in the
  • 5:07
    back and it's just it's just the four of
  • 5:09
    us and there and they have one side of a
  • 5:11
    picnic table and there's plastic glasses
  • 5:16
    and we're on the other side we didn't
  • 5:18
    you know hug or shake hands or anything
  • 5:20
    but they said oh you don't need the mask
  • 5:23
    and take the mask off now
  • 5:24
    and they weren't met wearing masks now
  • 5:27
    July 3rd in Austin Texas at 8 p.m. it's
  • 5:33
    about 93 degrees and as the Sun starts
  • 5:38
    to go down the mosquitoes come out who
  • 5:40
    love my the keeper she is so sweet
  • 5:43
    so I'm a and I have my no agenda neck
  • 5:46
    gaiter I have that around my neck still
  • 5:49
    and so this just this just sweat
  • 5:51
    dripping down my face I'd look at him
  • 5:53
    and he's his sweats dripping dripping
  • 5:55
    down and you know finally and and Tina's
  • 5:59
    getting bitten by mosquitoes it's like
  • 6:01
    it's what it's it's not a great vibe and
  • 6:06
    and then she's complaining like how it
  • 6:09
    was his nose oh good and he says I vote
  • 6:11
    we go inside I'm like oh okay can I vote
  • 6:16
    to understand what was happening long
  • 6:20
    story short this whole charade was
  • 6:24
    because of the neighborhood the
  • 6:27
    neighborhood which it's called Terry
  • 6:29
    town I affectionately call it Karen town
  • 6:32
    the neighbors are consistently
  • 6:34
    monitoring everybody to make sure that
  • 6:38
    you don't have people in your house to
  • 6:40
    make sure that everyone who arrives at
  • 6:42
    your house is socially distance that
  • 6:44
    they have Matt this was because of the
  • 6:46
    neighborhood not them the neighborhood
  • 6:49
    we went indoors like it was nice and
  • 6:52
    cool you know we drank out of real
  • 6:54
    glasses we were chatting we had a great
  • 6:56
    evening until we had to leave and then
  • 6:59
    I've been there many times I've always
  • 7:01
    come and gone through the front door but
  • 7:03
    no we were taken downstairs through the
  • 7:05
    basement area the mudroom to leave via
  • 7:08
    the garage so no one would see us
  • 7:10
    walking out of the front of the house
  • 7:12
    that's what this was all about that's
  • 7:17
    pathetic ah but that neighborhood man
  • 7:19
    there's stuff going on there apparently
  • 7:22
    there were a couple of like
  • 7:23
    fourteen-year-old girls or something
  • 7:24
    they've done some video and they were