Art for episode 1259

1259: Do The Work

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 18m
July 12th, 2020
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Executive Producers: 5ir Paul The Trusted Advisor, Jamie Stinson

Associate Executive Producers: Emily Shade, Dave Fugazzotto, Duke of America's Heartland and the Arabian Peninsula, Lady Butters, Colin Onufrey, Sir Jobiwan of Weekapaug, Sean Negrin, David Medus, Sir Ben Naidus, Baron of San Francisco, Earl Walkman of Buckeye, Eric Harvey, Victoria Pederson

Cover Artist: Jordan_33

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
6:28
Texas COVID-19 Update
Guest producer
32:10
NPR's All Things Considered: 'San Antonio Pre-K Program Seeks To Fix Achievement Gap'
Woodstock
39:48
Brené Brown on Privilege
Woodstock
45:19
Producer Note: Women Hating Men After Lockdown
Woodstock
49:59
Mandatory Masks
Woodstock
51:39
COVID-19 Around The World
Woodstock
1:11:36
COVID-19 Vaccine
Woodstock
1:28:24
Credits
Guest producer
1:57:52
EDU Council Bickering
Guest producer
2:08:29
"Do The Work"
Guest producer
2:16:42
Whole Foods Workers Protest Against Ban of BLM Masks
Guest producer
2:20:17
Kanye West Announces 2020 Presidential Run
Guest producer
2:23:30
Joe Biden
Guest producer
2:31:28
@BrownPeopleCamping
Guest producer
2:33:52
Tech CEO Resigns After Racist Tirade Goes Viral
Woodstock
2:40:00
Donations
Guest producer
2:47:22
Birthdays & Title Changes
Woodstock
2:50:01
Meetups
Woodstock
2:55:00
Film Executive Chris Fenton on the CCP's Influence in Hollywood
Guest producer
3:01:18
Kayleigh's Latest Mic Drop at White House Press Briefing
Guest producer
3:04:15
Turkey President Reconverts Cathedral Hagia Sophia Into a Mosque
Guest producer
3:08:34
NPR's Morning Edition: 'Sports Teams Consider Changing Team Names Amid Racial Reckoning'
Guest producer
3:12:53
End of Show
Guest producer
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PedoBear
Germany uncovers massive online child abuse network
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 17:30
BERLIN (Reuters) - German cyber crime authorities have uncovered a massive online network of at least 30,000 people who share child pornography and exchange advice on how to sedate and abuse minors, law enforcement authorities said on Monday.
Peter Biesenbach, justice minister in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said investigators were stunned by the scale of the network and that a special task-force has been set up to find the suspects and bring them to justice.
"People log on to a chat, not on the dark web, but on messenger services on the normal web," said Biesenbach. "They get instructions from other users on what sedatives one should give children in order to abuse them.
"A discussion ensues on which children can be abused," he added.
Some users admit that they had long wanted to be part of such networks but had never dared to do so. They get encouragement from more experience users.
Biesenbach said the task-force would have to act quickly before the chats were deleted, which would make it almost impossible to identify the suspects.
"I felt sick when I heard it but it has also made us more determined to pursue this inquiry," he said. "I fear it is going to be more than 30,000 suspects."
(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Nick Macfie)
Concerns Over Missing Children, Sex Trafficking Prompts Community Meeting : Big Island Now : Big Island News and Information
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 14:58
The worries over Hawai'i Island's number of runaway children and concerns of sex trafficking have grown over the past several weeks.
To address this unrest, the owner of Umekes will be hosting a community meeting this evening at 5 p.m. at the restaurant's new location by Kona Brewing Company Pub in Kona. Anyone interested should bring a chair.
''My cousin was almost a victim (of sex trafficking),'' Umekes owner Nakoa Pabre said. ''I wanna raise awareness in our community so people that, yes, this happening and what we can do to help.''
As of Tuesday evening, Hawai'i Police Department was not planning on attending.
''We were not asked to attend, so we did not need to decide if we were going or not,'' HPD's Area II Assistant Chief Robert Wagner.
The increase in missing children reports captured the attention of Hawai'i County Councilman Matthew Kaneali'i-Kleinfelder, who requested the police department provide a report on how they handle these incidents.
On June 16, Lt. Sandor Finkey appeared before the council during its public safety committee reporting the county has 152 cases on missing juveniles so far from January-to-date, all of which are classified as runaways.
The statistics show a decrease in cases from the same time period last year when there were 162 kids reported as missing. The reason there appears to be an uptick in missing keiki, Finkey explained, is because detectives with the juvenile aid section have been working with patrol to circulate the information about missing children more quickly.
On June 17, the media alerts for missing children were reclassified as ''runaway.''
''The recent change of our department's media release heading to from 'missing' to 'runaway' is to provide the public with more clarity with regard to the actual case classification,'' Finkey said in an email last week.
Finkey explained the public interpreted the ''missing'' child reports as juveniles being missing.
''With the recent media attention and our testimony before the Hawai'i County Council, we believe that the message has gone out to the public that runaways are vulnerable to exploitation and should not diminish the urgency,'' the lieutenant said. ''If the case is classified as a runaway, it indicates that there is no information to lead police, parents, or guardians to believe that the juvenile was abducted.''
County Prosecutor Mitch Roth was also present during the committee meeting. When dealing with missing teens and runaways, Roth explained, the children usually come from a household where domestic violence is occurring or other trauma. Because of that, it's important to work with nonprofit organizations to help get children the services they need, Roth added.
''We don't have a lot of people being boogie-man snatched, but when you have a child trading sex for a place to stay or drugs, that's technically sex trafficking,'' Roth said during the meeting. ''A lot of times, victims of sex trafficking don't know they're being sex trafficked.''
Testifiers at the meeting were deeply concerned about the number of missing children and the presence of sex trafficking.
Anastasia Ayers, Big Island Services Program Manager for Ho'ōla Nā Pua, said the nonprofit organization, which promotes education advocacy on child sex trafficking, has received many calls from the community surrounding the increase in missing children.
A problem of this scope, Ayers commented, can only be tackled when the community is aware, engaged, and committed to preventing victimization and supporting the comprehensive services that are needed for those who have been victimized.
''I feel it opened up the conversation to continue putting our heads together,'' Ayers added. ''People are ready to talk about it, and we wanted to take the opportunity to speak on it and show our support.''
Overpriced furniture on Wayfair with missing kids names spark human trafficking conspiracies - IBTimes India
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:19
Wayfair found itself at the center of a major conspiracy theory, alleging the furniture retailer could be involved in human trafficking. Wayfair, however, has denied the allegations. Wayfair IBT creative
A new row of conspiracy theories have been running wild on social media platforms, which accuse renowned furniture seller Wayfair of serving as a cover platform for human trafficking. Conspiracy theorists have linked Wayfair to child trafficking based on a series of mere coincidences.
The discussions started on Reddit and then users on Twitter expanded on their Wayfair conspiracies. Pointing out the overpriced furniture on the e-commerce platform, netizens linked the names of the products to the missing children.
The child trafficking conspiracies
"Is it possible Wayfair involved in Human trafficking with their WFX Utility collection? Or are these just extremely overpriced cabinets? (Note the names of the cabinets) this makes me sick to my stomach if it's true," redditor PrincessPeach1987 posted on Thursday. The user posted screenshots of the product listings of four storage cabinets with names Neriah, Yaritza, Samiyah and Alyvia that are priced between $12,699.99 and $14,499.99.
Listings deleted on Wayfair Reddit user
There are other products, including pillows, storage cabinets, shower curtains with exorbitant price tags. One Twitter user even pointed out that one $20,000 pillow on Wayfair had no description except for "no passport required" notification.
'There's no truth'
Reacting to the allegations of child trafficking, Wayfair has strongly denied it. The retailer has also removed the suspicious listings even after rubbishing the overpriced claim.
"There is, of course, no truth to these claims. The products in question are industrial grade cabinets that are accurately priced. Recognizing that the photos and descriptions provided by the supplier did not adequately explain the high price point, we have temporarily removed the products from site to rename them and to provide a more in-depth description and photos that accurately depict the product to clarify the price point," Wayfair spokesperson said in a statement.
Launching an investigation
At this juncture, netizens also drew a connection to last year's incident when 500 Wayfair employees walked out of the company to protest the company's alleged practices of profiting off of selling beds to detention centers that held migrant children along the southern US border. This might all be a coincidence, but some users are not willing to let it go and even urged the US Justice Department to look into the matter.
"They deleted everything off their site an hour or two ago. My friend took screenshots of everything she could. Seems like they are absolutely scrambling at this point. Something is wrong here. Looks like the internet busted a child sex trade front. I really hope they go down," a Reddit user wrote, who said he called the trafficking helpline and "they're opening a case."
Suggested Articles
Wayfair Conspiracy: Viral Social Media Theory Explained | Heavy.com
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 17:11
Twitter Wayfair
Early on July 10, a new conspiracy theory began trending on social media concerning American furniture retailer Wayfair. The conspiracy theory states that some of the cabinets on Wayfair's website were being used for human trafficking because they were listed at high prices and many had strange names. To be clear, there is no evidence to support the conspiracy theory and Wayfair has firmly rejected the claims.
Wayfair told Heavy in an emailed statement: ''There is, of course, no truth to these claims. The products in question are industrial grade cabinets that are accurately priced.'' The company explained why the items in question had been removed from the site:
Recognizing that the photos and descriptions provided by the supplier did not adequately explain the high price point, we have temporarily removed the products from site to rename them and to provide a more in-depth description and photos that accurately depict the product to clarify the price point.
The Conspiracy Theory Originated on a Reddit Conspiracy Thread & Others Shared the Theory on TwitterThe conspiracy theory seems to have originated on the /r/conspiracy subreddit when a user named PrincessPeach1987 said that cabinets listed on Wayfair by vendor WFX Utility were priced over $10,000 and had distinctive names like ''Yaritza'' or ''Samiyah.'' The user suggested that these names could be placeholders for humans and human trafficking.
A Twitter user with the handle @edmmariluna posted about the conspiracy on Twitter and her post has since received over 215,000 likes and 87,000 retweets. Another user posted a series of photos on Twitter of the cabinets side-by-side with news articles about missing children with the same names as the cabinets. However, as Snopes pointed out, ''while this may seem suspicious to those seeking a pattern, it should be noted that roughly 800,000 children are reported missing every year,'' and that some of the names of missing children connected to this theory have already been solved.
One user replied to the original Reddit post and said they had contacted the human trafficking hotline and a case was being opened. Heavy contacted Polaris, the organization responsible for the National Human Trafficking Hotline, who said that due to confidentiality reasons, they could not provide more information or confirm whether they had received tips about the conspiracy.
The Reddit user who first posted about the conspiracy spoke anonymously with Newsweek and said they are ''involved in a local organization that helps victims of human trafficking'' which means they are ''suspicious most of the time now.'' However, they said they weren't directly accusing the brand but just wanted to raise their concerns.
Many People Took to Social Media to Slam the Conspiracy TheoryMany people took to Twitter to share their disbelief at the conspiracy. Reporter Ben Collins wrote:
Pizzagate/QAnon people have Wayfair trending today. They falsely claim price glitches on storage boxes prove that the company is trafficking children. This took off because of a post on Reddit's r/conspiracy subreddit yesterday, which is a clearinghouse for anonymous paranoia. We're living in a second, more profound and politically important Satanic Panic. This time, everyone's in on it. People will look for coincidences as narrow and stupid as pricing glitches on furniture sites as 'proof' a global cabal is eating children and controlling the world.
Journalist Aaron Gouveia wrote: ''The QAnon and Pizzagate morons are working overtime today claiming Wayfair is trafficking children based on high prices on oversized cabinets online. I shit you not. There are people who actually believe this. Ignorance is the far more worrisome disease.'' Another person posted:
This is just implacably ridiculous. No one is delivering huge boxes of live children to you from China. (97% of #Wayfair products come from China.) Find better hobbies, folks. If you are worried about child trafficking, the Trump admin has been doing it at the border since 2017.
'-- Victoria Brownworth #MasksSaveLives (@VABVOX) July 10, 2020
The post reads:
So the latest conspiracy is that #Wayfair is selling trafficked children in armoires off its website. You all never bought anything from Wayfair, did you? Everything arrives in 500 pieces with directions in Chinese to build it yourself. You'd have to build the kid, too. This is just implacably ridiculous. No one is delivering huge boxes of live children to you from China. (97% of #Wayfair products come from China.) Find better hobbies, folks. If you are worried about child trafficking, the Trump admin has been doing it at the border since 2017.
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Wayfair Accused Of Being Involved In Online Child Trafficking
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 16:33
Overnight Wayfair child trafficking has become the most popular topic on Twitter. Users have been swapping evidence and stories about Wayfair. Many accounts linking them to involvement in child trafficking. Not only are these tweets coming in by the thousands, they are concerning.
Update 9:33: Rumors circulating around twitter that the CEO of Wayfair has stepped down.
Update 9:47: Member of our team received this anonymous submission:
This is kind of a lot to take in so I'm going to break this up into 5 main parts:
5. Duplicate Items Of A Cabinet, Only Variation Is A Different Boy/Girl Name In The TitleWhy would the exact same generic cabinet be listed at such a high price so many different times? Each time featuring a different girls name in the title. After all, women get snatched up more than the public realizes.
These secret Wayfair child trafficking listings are hidden across the site in random categories. Zodiac throw pillows (when searched in Google) repeated a similar patter. Repeated use of the same photo. Except the pillows had listings for boys not for girls.
4. Why Are The Cabinets Not On The Front End Of The Site? Here is a video posted by one Twitter user showing how certain ''cabinets'' can be found in Google image search, but not on the actual Wayfair website.
Maybe it was a hiccup on Wayfair's end to not remove the ''secret cabinets'' from Google images. But deleting it definitely made it seem worse and now I'm starting to get on the Wayfair child trafficking awareness moment.
As someone who worked in ecommerce I know that CSV files can go wonky and prices can get mixed up. Duplicate listings with the same pictures is plausible too. But each product listing having it's own unique title (a different boy or girl name)'... I'm having a hard time coming up with a reasonable explanation.
3. The Cabinets May Have Names'...We can only hope that this is just a coincidence. But this is gut wrenching to even think about.
Rapid Fire. Here you go:
One more, but trust me Twitter was posting hundreds of them.
2. Ex-Wayfair Employees Speaking Out On The CabinetsMaybe Wayfair is just facilitating it, not checking boxes and turning a blind eye.
1. Wayfair Child Trafficking SKU NumbersThis one. This is hard to see'...
Twitter users took the next obvious step in this Wayfair child trafficking investigation. They took the UPC and SKU numbers from the products and searched them. On sites such as Bing and Google they either come up with no results or show the same cabinet but at a normal price.
When you go to a specific Russian website however-
There is something going on with Wayfair. They have some sort of involvement with child trafficking and it needs to be looked into now.
Bonus Reason This Could Be LegitThe Wayfair employee walkout that was scheduled was in response to the fact Wayfair was producing furniture for camps for child detainees/refugees under federal government control. A camp by the way that currently has reported 3 thousand children as missing this year alone. They provide little to no reason as to why such a large number of kids are mysteriously going missing from the camp,
(13) random facts girl on Twitter: "@oneunderscore__ As someone who worked at one of the top 3 ecommerce platforms, I can state that extremely overpriced items are certainly a vehicle for money laundering. But usually the products aren't really ever sold
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 21:03
random facts girl : @oneunderscore__ As someone who worked at one of the top 3 ecommerce platforms, I can state that extremely overpric'... https://t.co/YWIbNn2zLt
Sat Jul 11 04:07:52 +0000 2020
Three Types of Merchant Fraud: A Guide For Merchant Acquirers
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 21:25
With all the hype about identity theft and other consumer-side digital crimes, it's easy to overlook the fact that merchant fraud is still one of the most common and costly causes of financial loss for acquirers.
Merchant fraud can be very hard to detect '' especially given the complexity of the digital payments ecosystem. Yet, the work put into detecting and preventing merchant based fraud is nothing compared to the costs involved in dealing with chargebacks, fees and fines. Merchant fraud exposes acquirers to the liability of facilitating criminal activity '' placing them at risk of chargebacks, fines, brand or reputational damage, regulatory sanctions, and even legal action.
When tackling the challenges of merchant fraud, acquirers need to be aware of the many forms this fraud can take. Specifically, acquirers should be on the lookout for these three types of merchant fraud:
1. Bust Out Fraud
In this fraud scheme, a merchant applies for a merchant account without any intention of actually operating a legitimate business. These merchant accounts are then used to process fraudulent transactions or to acquire lines of credit before abandoning the account altogether.
The aim of this type of fraud is simple: process as many fraudulent transactions as possible within a short amount of time, and before being caught, simply abandon the account. In the online world, it is extremely easy to falsify identities and set up fake businesses. For example, in what is probably the biggest synthetic identity fraud scheme to date, criminals managed to create 7,000 fake identities and apply for and receive 25,000 separate credit cards. They also created fake companies that did little or no legitimate business or worked together with other stores to run their credit card transactions. In total, the perpetrators managed to steal $200 million from banks between 2003 and 2013.
Fraudsters will be very careful to not trigger any alerts during the onboarding process, and most traditional KYC programs fail to continuously monitor the status of existing accounts. Once the merchant is approved by an acquirer, fraudsters will immediately start processing fraudulent transactions and will continue doing so for as long as possible.
To convince the banks that they were real individuals that lived at a particular address, the criminals made up social security numbers and even created fake utility bills. The above demonstrates just how easy it is to falsify an identity or set up bogus online storefronts for the purpose of fraud and transaction laundering. A strong KYC program is essential in order to block these bad actors out of the ecosystem. To detect fraudulent merchants, acquirers must conduct enhanced due diligence during the merchant onboarding process and regularly monitor transaction activity.
Bust out merchant accounts are associated with high chargeback rates. Once chargebacks start to pile up, these merchants are usually rapidly shut down by the acquirer. However, at this point the damage is already done. When the merchant escapes, leaving an empty shell of a business behind, the acquirer is stuck with the bill.
Bust out merchant based fraud is a growing problem and despite efforts to fight this crime, the associated losses continue to increase. A lack of proper KYC processes that are geared towards digital identities is one reason why bust out merchant fraud continues to be a salient issue.
2. Identity Swap
Certain individuals, for example individuals on the AML/ATF watch lists, merchants from countries on which economic sanctions are imposed or those belonging to certain extremist groups are prohibited from opening merchant accounts with major acquirers. To circumvent these prohibitions, merchants often use a fake or stolen identity or set up a bogus online storefront in order to secure a merchant account.
In this case, the business itself may be legitimate, and chargebacks won't necessarily be an issue. However, regulators expect acquirers to demonstrate due care and due diligence in preventing merchants from acquiring fraudulent accounts through identity theft. Failure to do so can result in steep fines and severe reputational damage.
3. Transaction Laundering (a.k.a. Factoring)
Although many industry initiatives focus on fraud and identity theft, the reality is that a significant percentage of financial losses are associated with transaction laundering.
An urgent and growing problem in the payments industry, transaction laundering occurs when an unknown business uses an approved merchant's payment credentials to process payments for products and services that the acquirer is not aware of.
Proliferation of micro merchants and instant onboarding, as well as the explosion of different payment methods contribute to data overload and difficulty in monitoring merchant portfolios. According to our estimate, $352 Billion is being laundered this way every year in the US alone.
Criminal merchants can simply lie about the nature of their business if they want to sell high-risk goods or services, or they can adopt questionable business formats forbidden by the acquirer, such as multi-level marketing schemes.
We estimate that, on average, an acquirer will process transactions for an additional 6% of their "known merchant base" without their consent or knowledge. This is a troubling thought, as it means that a significant number of transactions passing through merchant accounts are unknown and illegitimate.
Changing Business Format
One way fraudulent merchants cheat KYC efforts and avoid acquirer scrutiny is by establishing a storefront website that falls into a ''low-risk'' merchant category. After passing the initial KYC checks and establishing their merchant account, these criminals simply change the content on the website and start selling whatever goods, via whatever business methodology they choose. Yet payment providers do not always conduct effective onboarding and continuous content monitoring. This means that they often fail to detect merchants for whom the MCC code does not correspond to actual merchant activity.
Mitigating Merchant Fraud - Tips for Acquirers
To avoid the risk of transaction laundering and other forms of merchant fraud, acquirers need to revise procedures and technology to become as agile and efficient as the fraudsters themselves. Specifically, acquirers should devote special attention to:
1. ''Big Picture'' Risk Management Processes
Fraud prevention programs prevalent today are mostly focused on transaction level monitoring. This is an important element of a risk management program, but in order to identify advanced fraud methods such as transaction laundering, acquirers need to go beyond the transaction level and pay a close attention to the surrounding ecosystem.
At the transaction level, a lot of context is lost - what you see is simply a merchant account interacting with credit cards. You are missing the people and real identities behind these transactions. Looking at a wider online ecosystem can help acquirers to identify a merchant's online fingerprints such as personal information, connections between various merchant accounts and social information.
To get ahead of the fraudsters it is important to place each transaction in a wider context and look at everything that happens before the transaction even occurs. Hundreds or even thousands of relevant data points that can be abstracted to detect fraudulent activity are completely missing from transaction level monitoring solutions.
In today's regulatory climate, comprehensive and integrated transaction laundering monitoring and prevention are a crucial part of overall anti-fraud risk management for acquirers.
2. Continuous Merchant Portfolio Monitoring
Reviewing merchants at onboarding isn't sufficient to eliminate the risk of transaction laundering. As discussed above, merchants can easily change their line of business after they have been accepted to acquirer programs. Companies need to adopt technology that allows them to continuously confirm that each merchant is actually selling what they're supposed to be selling. Merchants need to be monitored in-depth, at both the transaction level and ecosystem level, to spot and resolve problems quickly. To do this, anti-fraud technology needs to continuously analyze hundreds of data points '' flagging suspicious transactions and lowering acquirer liability without raising monitoring overhead.
3. The Need for Big Data
A comprehensive risk management program requires a dedicated platform that can combine transaction level monitoring and ecosystem analysis. This involves dealing with extremely large data sets. Therefore advanced technologies such as machine learning and natural language processing are indispensable in identifying advanced merchant fraud with the help of Big Data.
The value of machine learning for mitigating risk in the financial world is nothing new. Yet today, while any organization can harness the power of machine learning to lower the risk of transaction laundering, many do not. How does this work? Machine learning continuously monitors hundreds of thousands of data points to detect suspicious activity throughout online assets associated with a particular merchant. By monitoring even micro-transactions at a granular level, this technology can identify anomalies and enable acquirers to identify and mitigate the risk of fraud.
The Bottom Line
To fight advanced merchant based fraud, you need advanced solutions. It is important to look at the full context of each transaction, analyze the surrounding ecosystem, continuously monitor merchants in your portfolio and analyze hundreds of thousands of data points. It's simply impossible to find hidden connections between merchants and real identities without taking advantage of Big Data.
The Battle Against Money Laundering
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 21:16
As e-commerce continues to grow in popularity, so has the threat of e-commerce fraud and money laundering cybercrimes. Payment service providers can be the first line of defense against money laundering by playing an important role in prevention, like identifying risk through sophisticated fraud technology, having comprehensive and rigorous KYC infrastructures, and having ongoing consultations with merchants to ensure that your business, and customers, are educated and protected.
Cybercriminals are already a step ahead and have found numerous loopholes in the relatively nascent e-commerce and fintech ecosystems. Data breaches, identity fraud, and stolen card and bank account information are all common entry points for criminals to take advantage of consumers and businesses alike '' and depending on the business vertical and platform, some businesses are more vulnerable than others. Growth in e-commerce, increased money flow, and increased usage of mobile payments, which contribute largely to e-commerce sales, have all made the digital payments landscape vulnerable to criminal activity.
According to recent research, the merchant categories that are most affected by e-commerce fraud were airlines and travel accounting for almost half, or 46%, of all fraudulent transactions This was followed by money transfer businesses at 16% and computers and electronics making up 13%.
Money Laundering
Money laundering is one of the most common types of financial fraud. Illicit drugs, online gambling, counterfeit goods and adult content account for nearly 50-70% of transaction laundering, according to a report by Thomson Reuters on the growing threat of money laundering. In a 2018 report, fake merchants made up $352 billion in laundered money annually in the U.S. alone.
The most common type of online money laundering is transaction laundering and occur in 3 main forms:
Front companies, which use legitimate businesses as a cover for criminal activities.Pass-through companies, which allow illegal businesses to process credit cards through their legitimate business by allowing access to their payments processing account.Funnel accounts, which are legal businesses that accept credit card charges from multiple companies that do not have their own merchant payment account due to illegitimate business dealings.In order to ''clean'' funds, launderers will go through an 'integration stage' where they will pass the money through a variety of channels at which point the illegally obtained funds will appear ''clean.''
One common integration method is selling e-vouchers on marketplaces or auction sites where the clean funds are now in the wallet, bank transfer, or is cashed. Another method is to convert the money into cryptocurrency where it disappears off the radar; once cryptocurrency is sold, the funds from the sale become extremely difficult to trace back to the original source.
What should your payment service provider do to combat money laundering?
Perform merchant due diligence on an ongoing basis throughout the lifetime of the client.Offer tokenizationCap deposits and withdrawals per transactionDelay payout of funds to certain destinations. For example, cash withdrawals or payouts to other accounts.Offer merchants sophisticated fraud toolsProvide ongoing educationIndividuals working in the financial sector, professional services and high-value retainers, assume a criminal liability for failing to report suspicious transactions, so it's in their best interest to have checks in place and are enforced regularly.
What are some things businesses can do to combat fraud and money laundering?
Ongoing KYC of merchants' account holdersRestricting transactionsRestricting the number of deposits and withdrawalsAdopt machine learning technology to identify risk patternsImplement demographic, address, and spend monitoringWork with a PSP that has innovative fraud technology and a strong prevention framework.As companies continue to build new products and features designed for user-friendliness and frictionless experiences, they must also stay a step ahead and consider all fraud implications with their releases. And early-stage companies, who may be eager for business at the onset, have to be particularly careful and set a precedence early on in order to ensure success in the long run.
Want to learn more about how Checkout.com can help protect your business? Get in touch with our payments and fraud experts today for more information.
Written on Mar 19, 2019 by
Vanessa Norhausen
Customer Success Manager
The Wayfair Scandal is More than Cabinets - Beautiful Day Blog
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 21:28
Yesterday I went down a rabbit hole. You know, the same one half of social media is down'...Wayfair and sex trafficking and overpriced cabinets. I recently read that Scott Erskine had died of Covid 19 and reading what he did really rocked me, reminding me of the crazy that is out there. I have boys not much younger than those boys were when they were kidnapped, bound, gagged, assaulted, tortured and murdered'...I've been on edge about it this week. So when I heard child trafficking and kidnapped children '' it got my attention easily, I'll admit it. I've been reading the news articles about Wayfair hoping some new information will come out, but alas they mostly say the same thing. Which is to say, that they completely gloss over some pretty weird stuff.
So by now you know about the $10,000 Cabinets. There were several, and they were named the names of several missing children. It is true that large industrial cabinets actually could cost that much. But what about the names, that's just creepy and weird isn't it? According to Fox News, Wayfair's response was as follows'...which addresses the pricing and acknowledges the need to re-name but did not address the original odd naming:
''Recognizing that the photos and descriptions provided by the supplier did not adequately explain the high price point, we have temporarily removed the products from site to rename them and to provide a more in-depth description and photos that accurately depict the product to clarify the price point,''
Frechette, Wayfair Spokesperson (quote according to Fox News aritcle linked above)The basic conclusion is that it's just conspiracy theory. I normally find Snopes somewhat reliable on this stuff, but they literally conclude ''False'' based on:
The claim that Wayfair is trafficking children is based almost entirely on one person's confusion over an expensive cabinet.
Dan Evon, Snopes ReporterOk so at this point, that's what being reported but humor me and come with me down the rabbit hole for five minutes.
Wayfair Sex Trafficking Scandal Based on Multiple ProductsWhile it all started on Reddit about a cabinet'...in the last day numerous products surfaced that follow the same pattern of odd naming and pricing. I came across this on Twitter. This is important because most news sources only reported the cabinets, which theoretically could cost that much'...but below you'll see pillows. Pillows that are the same brand as the industrial cabinets. Pillows that are, like the cabinets, identical but named various names of missing kids. You can go deeeeeep down the rabbit hole on ''weird'' findings in images from Wayfair, but I'm not going to. Lets just stick to the product naming pattern of duplicate products, priced excessively. Now it is just weird, right?
Wayfair Sets Product PricingWhen I started writing this post, I assumed that Wayfair worked similarly to eBay and Amazon, where sellers manage their listings and set prices. But based on their ''Sell On Wayfair'' page '' I found otherwise. It appears that Wayfair sets the pricing of the products on their site.
I will note, it was pointed out that a number of the kids names that were on some of the products were children who had gone missing and but had already been found. It's a valid point, but in and of itself, doesn't negate the utter bizarreness of products across multiple categories being named kidnapped kids and priced 10x '' 100x their standard retail value.
The Dark WebThe dark web is real '' most of us main stream folks don't run across it at all, hear about it much or even have a realistic idea of what it really entails. Frankly, I don't. I suspect it is far more vast and scarier than I can even imagine. Queue Yandex. Just a whole rabbit hole, and I really don't even know how it related, but it's all over Twitter so I took a few minutes and explored it.
Yandex and The Wayfair Sex Trafficking TheoryTwitter references Yandex above '' I'd never even heard of it before (I may live under a rock, I check my ego at the door). I too found that Wayfair codes brought up pics of children.
Now, this type of weird overpricing of odd products isn't limited to just Wayfair. I have also seen it on Amazon and eBay. Let's look at eBay. Take this $30,000 pillow, for example.
Then enter the product code as the Tweets above indicate. And in the image search you'll get this:
I wondered what the images link to, you know. So I clicked through '' one took me to a crypto currency transfer site (which supports some theories here), and the other one I clicked through linked to someone's blog. As a blogger, red flags are going off everywhere for me. Many of us blogging parents have long known our social media and blog images end up all over'...we accept it'...but staring this in the face gave me some major cause for pause.
So I found a random shelf on wayfair that didn't have wonky pricing, and was only a couple hundred bucks. Ran it in Yandex and got this:
I wondered if all the ''codes'' entered after SRC USA just lead to these types of images? I made up a number and got this:
I really don't have a conclusion on the Yandex thing. To be honest I've been down the rabbit hole too long and I need to read more about the connection. At a minimum it's weird and a little unsettling, especially as a blogger.
Will a Kid Ship with Wayfair's $10,000 Cabinets?Do I think a kidnapped kid will ship to my home in an armoire I purchase on Wayfair? Don't be insane. No. Do I think that someone can negotiate a deal with a sex trafficker on the dark web (or wherever), and then ''purchase'' an item via a high traffic retailer as a clean and tidy way transferring money? It's normal to pay a furniture company tens of thousands of dollars, even hundreds of thousands'...furniture can legit be expensive- clearing through open and clean channels would enable money to move around without triggering much interest from the IRS or AML (anti-money laundering) or whoever else is supposed to be on top of this.
In theory, this could work on eBay or Amazon. Now, the Wayfair site says they set pricing, so I don't know to read into that'...
So is there a Wayfair conspiracy? I honestly have no idea'...but were there product listings with very odd values created by Wayfair? Yes. Were they aware transactions of those items? I have to think yes.
My bottom line takeaway: The names of the excessively priced pillows and cabinets remains weird, unexplained, unaddressed and worth continuing to monitor. I think Wayfair owes the families of the kidnapped children a public apology and explanation of how this happened. At this point, I don't think we can entirely shut down the theory that these product names and prices mean something more. I require more information to draw conclusions.
I will say this, if there's one thing I know 100% for sure '' it's that I'm going to be seeing some WEIRD ads for the next few months based on my recent browsing, LOL!
Thoughts? Do you think the whole thing is insane and made-up? Do you think the naming was random or planted or what other ideas would explain it?? There are lots of possible outcomes here, would love to know what you're thinking!
Masks & Muzzles
N95 MASKS ARE DANGEROUS TO MY HEALTH
Silent Spreaders
"Silent spreaders are violent spreaders."
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 02:37
Hawg Jim : @adamcurry Silent spreaders are violent spreaders.
Fri Jul 10 01:08:02 +0000 2020
Just replace Masks with Vaccine
Google News - Coronavirus deaths tick up in Florida, Texas, California, Arizona as states grapple with growing outbreaks
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 12:00
Language & region English (United States)
As coronavirus surges in Republican territory, so does rage over masks
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 20:48
After waiting hours for his turn to speak to the Montgomery City Council on June 16, pulmonologist Dr. William Saliski spoke slowly and in basic terms about what he had seen on the novel coronavirus front lines in his hospital in an area hit harder than any other in Alabama.
He described emergency units overrun with COVID-19 patients, roughly 90-percent of whom were Black, and warned that if the spread continued, ''we will be overrun.''
He offered a simple partial solution: the council should pass the ordinance it was considering to require people to wear masks in public.
''This mask slows that down,'' Saliski said while waving a piece of fabric. ''Ninety-five percent protection. Something as easy as this cloth.''
But the doctor was met with skepticism, including from a councilman who suggested that to order Montgomery residents to wear masks would be to ''throw our constitutional rights out the window.''
Saliski and other doctors stormed out of the meeting in disgust after the council members voted mostly along racial lines'--Black members for the mandate and white members against it'--and the ordinance failed.
Such combative scenes have increasingly become the norm in parts of the United States, especially as the virus has taken hold in more conservative regions in the South and West. Face masks or coverings of the sort recommended by top health officials to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus have become an unlikely focus of partisanship and racial division, leading to mass refusals to wear them or mandate their use even as government leaders have pushed to reopen the economy.
Local officials voting to require face masks in public have faced lawsuits and have been shouted down by their constituents. Law enforcement leaders have refused to enforce face mask mandates. There have been mask burnings and protests, including one demonstration in which an Arizona council member mimicked victims of police abuse by declaring: ''I can't breathe.''
And as some right-leaning Americans have called masks a tool of oppression, Democratic conspiracy, and even sacrilege, a new genre of viral cell phone video has popped up, featuring verbal or physical scuffles centering on people refusing to cover their faces in Costco, Trader Joe's, or other public places. Shoppers irate about masks have vandalized a store display and spat on a 7-11 counter upon being asked to put on one, and one man pulled a gun because a fellow shopper refused to wear one.
For public health experts, the fissure over masks is yet another unwelcome headache in a battle against the novel coronavirus. With more than 3 million confirmed cases of the virus and upwards of 134,000 deaths, the United States has been by far the world's hardest-hit nation.
''If we're going to move on we've got to get everybody on the same page,'' said Dr. Glen Nowak, a University of Georgia professor who previously ran media relations and communications at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ''Because if we don't, we're going to be dealing with this divisiveness for a long time.''
According to Dr. Michael Baker, a professor of public health at the University of Otago in New Zealand, many western nations that do not have a history of mask-wearing during virus outbreaks have experienced some doubt about the practice's efficacy.
But Baker said that no other country's citizens have taken such a willful stance against masks, and that international health officials have been particularly stunned that American leaders at the highest levels have done relatively little to urge mask-wearing, and at times have even seemed to belittle it.
''This idea that you're going to make a political statement by infecting people around you just seems absolutely outrageous to me and I think to most people who think about it,'' Baker said. ''Why would you do that? Why would you encourage that behavior?''
Baker said the dissent against masks has coupled dangerously with the American rush to reopen businesses even as infection cases reach record levels.
''Not endorsing mask use and also encouraging the country to get back to work just seems like a terrible contradiction because, actually, mass masking would be one of the best tools for helping a country get back to work and it's cheap and effective,'' Baker said. ''You're just creating this perfect storm for yourselves in the U.S. by doing that.''
Nowak said that American distrust of masks was partly the fault of poor messaging by his former agency, the CDC. The agency initially discouraged healthy Americans from wearing masks, in part to prevent hoarding that could've deprived medical professionals of personal protective equipment.
When further research prompted the CDC in April to recommend that nearly every American wear a face covering outside when around other people, Nowak said, the agency billed it as a way of keeping others safe.
That was the wrong message for a portion of the population, Nowak said. He said officials would have had more success with ''messages that resonated with other parts of the population, such as, 'If you wear a mask it gives you the freedom to do other things because we're reducing the spread of COVID-19.'''
The CDC did not respond to a request for comment for this article.
The experts interviewed by USA TODAY said that despite early misgivings by the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) about the protection offered by wearing masks, there is now significant evidence that the practice slows the spread of the virus.
Though there has been speculation that mask-wearing during widespread police brutality protests prevented novel coronavirus numbers from spiking in those cities, Nowak cautioned that it's ''probably impossible to take public events and draw inferences in terms of masks'' and the resulting infection numbers.
President Trump has been the country's most visible waffler on the societal value of wearing a mask. Trump has said ''I'm all for masks,'' and favorably compared his appearance in one to that of the Lone Ranger. But he's shown disdain for them at other times, mocking rival presidential candidate Joe Biden for appearing publicly in a mask and saying that he declined to wear one because he didn't want to give members of the media ''the pleasure'' of seeing it on him.
There were few masks worn among supporters packed closely together at Trump's recent large gatherings in Tulsa, Oklahoma'--which was followed by a rise in novel coronavirus cases there that the city's health director said were ''more than likely'' a result of the rally'--and in front of Mount Rushmore.
Trump also yanked his Republican convention speech from Charlotte, North Carolina, reportedly after officials there wouldn't budge on requiring masks and social distancing, choosing to accept his party's nomination in an arena in Jacksonville, Florida, instead.
Before Trump's upcoming rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire-- which was planned for Saturday but has been postponed due to a tropical storm-- residents have called for Republican Gov. Chris Sununu or Mayor Rick Becksted to mandate mask-wearing, but both have resisted. In a statement, Becksted suggested that to mandate masks would be to ''politicize this important health issue.''
Only a few months ago, it would have been difficult to conceive of a thin layer of protective fabric across one's nose and mouth as a partisan or racially-divided accessory. But in recent weeks there has been no stronger symbol of American in-fighting in the path of the novel coronavirus than the face mask.
When commissioners in Palm Beach County, Florida, mandated face masks in public, an irate crowd of constituents'--who weren't wearing masks'--jeered them for trampling the U.S. Constitution. ''Residents do not take it lightly when arbitrary and capricious rules are forced down their throats for the greater good,'' declared one constituent, who collected 900 signatures against the mandate.
In Wisconsin, a surge of novel coronavirus cases has prompted Gov. Tony Evers to reverse his previous position and consider implementing a statewide mask mandate. But Evers seemed to consider it a futile gesture, saying that he expected the mandate to be challenged, and defeated, in court.
Josh Guillory, the mayor of Lafayette, Louisiana, said that he found the high novel coronavirus numbers ''alarming'' but refused to join other major cities in the state by requiring masks. ''I'm not a king, and I'm definitely not a wizard where I can just press a button and say, 'Masks!' And everybody's cured,'' Guillory said.
Other officials have taken an even more aggressive stance against protective face coverings. Ohio State Rep. Nino Vitale, who has declared that masks obscure ''the image and likeness of God,'' has attempted in vain to stymie Gov. Mike DeWine's mask requirement in several counties in the state.
On Tuesday, DeWine's mandate prompted Vitale to advise his constituents against an even more basic health measure, writing on Facebook: "Are you tired of living in a dictatorship yet? This is what happens when people go crazy and get tested. STOP GETTING TESTED!"
In the same state, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said that Ohioans were sick of the government telling them what to do and that he would not enforce DeWine's mandate. ''I've got a lot of important things to do and being the mask police is not one of them,'' Jones said.
Saliski, the pulmonologist who argued in favor of a mask ordinance in Montgomery last month, later said he had thought that his plea was a ''slam dunk'' and a ''no-brainer.''
Among residents who spoke in favor of the Montgomery ordinance was William Boyd, who said he had lost six family members to COVID-19. Noting the virus's prevalence among the Black population, Boyd said: "The question on the table is whether Black lives matter,"
But successful opposition to the proposal was led by councilman Brantley Lyons, who called it a constitutional breach and said that ''to make somebody do something or require somebody to wear something is an overreach.''
On Tuesday, Saliski'--wearing his white lab coat and a facial expression of masked wrath'--tried again at another meeting. "You guys were voted in to protect your constituents," he told the Montgomery council members. "Damn it, protect them!"
This time, the council was apparently swayed, voting 7-0 to pass a mask mandate in the city.
Councilman Lyons, after parrying with Saliski over ''literature'' he said he read that called into question the efficacy of masks, abstained from voting.
Cincinnati Enquirer reporters Hannah K. Sparling and Jessie Balmert, Lafayette Daily Advertiser reporter Andrew Capps, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters Molly Beck and Mary Spicuzza contributed.
Coronavirus in Austin: Fines possible for violating mask rule | kvue.com
Thu, 09 Jul 2020 22:06
At the city council meeting, council members discussed new ways to enforce state and local orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
AUSTIN, Texas '-- At a special-called Austin City Council meeting Thursday morning, council members voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that states a person who violates a health authority rule during the coronavirus pandemic could face a $2,000 fine through December 31.
This means that Austin residents who refuse to abide by Gov. Greg Abbott's order to wear face masks in public places are subject to the fines. Abbott sent a letter to Mayor Steve Adler Wednesday supporting the measure.
Also mentioned in Abbott's letter to Austin's mayor was the possibility of passing a resolution that would allow the city to take civil action against a person who owns a business that doesn't follow the health standards mandated by the city and state.
Officials say that although police will be able to issue citations, the aim is still to get voluntary compliance.
At the meeting, council members also discussed new ways to enforce state and local orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As coronavirus hospitalizations surge and Travis County nears Stage 5 orders, Austin leaders said they will likely not move into a Stage 5 status Thursday, KVUE's Tony Plohetski confirmed. Here's a breakdown of what Stage 5 status would entail if leaders were to recommend it.
WATCH: Austin-Travis County Stage 5 explained
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UPDATE: Austin City Council gives covid orders more teeth | KLBJ-AM - Austin, TX
Thu, 09 Jul 2020 22:06
2pm Update:
Austin City council make it so breaking Governor Greg Abbott's mask mandate could end up cost you $2000.
In a special council session today City Council did not shut the city down, but it did arm local health officials and police with tools to enforce covid 19 orders. Previous masking orders would have led to a $250 dollar fine but the city leaders upped the fine to $2000. Though they added, they are leaning to voluntary compliance.
The Council also approved a separate ordinance allows the city to hold work sites and businesses accountable, if the operations fail to meet covid order standards like social distancing and mask orders. The order would allow for civil enforcement.
Previously:
Austin City Council is hosting a special session to discuss Covid 19, infections, and restrictions this morning.
In a press conference Wednesday, Austin area health authority Dr. Mark Escott again said, he and other health experts do not want to recommend a second shutdown, ''we know that it hurts people, we know it threatens people's employment, we know it threatens the economy.'' Escott said he and others want to find that balance between a healthy economy and healthy community. He added, there are other options on the table besides another shutdown, describing them as dialing things down as apposed to turning it off.
Austinites still have the power, Dr. Escott explained, city leaders do not necessarily need to order a second stay home order, if we as a community take the steps ourselves and start acting in a more protective way.
Austin City Council's special session starts at 10am.
Gov. Greg Abbott warns of economic shutdown if Texans flout mask order | The Texas Tribune
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:45
Need to stay updated on coronavirus news in Texas? Our evening roundup will help you stay on top of the day's latest updates. Sign up here.
With Texas continuing to break records for new coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations this week, Gov. Greg Abbott reiterated Friday afternoon that things will continue to get worse. And if people keep flouting his new statewide mask mandate, he said, the next step could be another economic lockdown.
''Things will get worse, and let me explain why,'' he told KLBK TV in Lubbock. ''The deaths that we're seeing announced today and yesterday '-- which are now over 100 '-- those are people who likely contracted COVID-19 in late May.
''The worst is yet to come as we work our way through that massive increase in people testing positive.''
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Texans will also likely see an increase in cases next week, Abbott said, and people abiding by his face mask requirement might be the only thing standing between businesses remaining open and another shutdown.
''The public needs to understand this was a very tough decision for me to make,'' Abbott told KLBK of his face mask mandate. ''I made clear that I made this tough decision for one reason: It was our last best effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. If we do not slow the spread of COVID-19 '... the next step would have to be a lockdown.''
Abbott has pushed that message repeatedly in television interviews this week. But he emphasized Friday that another shutdown was not imminent and he pointed to steps he has taken so far to scale back reopening in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including the mask order and a requirement that bars, once again, close their doors. He has also tightened restaurant capacity limits.
Texas reported 100 more coronavirus deaths on Thursday, another record.
In three live television appearances Friday afternoon, Abbott acknowledged that his mask order '-- that Texans in counties with more than 20 cases wear masks in public '-- was neither popular nor convenient, but said it was important for everyone to join in the effort. His plea to Texans comes as nearly 80 Texas counties have opted out of the order order, while others are refusing to enforce it.
''It's disappointing,'' Abbott told CBS Tyler of government entities who defy his mandate.
''I realize that a murderer or rapist or robber is far more serious to concentrate on. However, I know this also: If we do not all join together and unite in this one cause for a short period of time of adopting the masks, it will lead to the necessity of having to close Texas back down,'' he said. ''That should be the last thing that any government wants.''
As of Thursday afternoon, 2,918 Texas had died of COVID-19. The state also reported nearly another 10,000 new cases of the disease.
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Nearly 9,700 people were in Texas hospitals on Thursday, too, the highest number since the pandemic began.
With cases of the virus and related hospitalizations rising at alarming rates, Abbott expanded his ban on elective medical procedures Thursday to cover more than 100 counties across much of the state. On Friday afternoon, he also extended his disaster declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19.
''If we can get people across the state '... to wear face masks, we will be able to keep the state open,'' Abbott said in an interview with KSAT. ''We will be able to reduce hospitalizations. But if this is not encouraged, if people do not adopt the best practice of wearing a face covering, it will lead to an increase in this rapid spread of COVID-19.''
In a statement following Abbott's interviews, the Texas Democratic Party said any further shutdowns would be Abbott's fault.
''By reopening Texas prematurely, Abbott put all of us at risk for rising cases and a second shutdown,'' said spokesman Abhi Rahman. ''That's exactly what has happened so far. Abbott's mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis has made Texas one of the most dangerous states to live in, completely tanked our economy, and shown the entire world just how incompetent Trump and Abbott are.''
Bill Gates-Funded Company Given EPA Approval to Release Thousands of GMO Mosquitoes in Two U.S. States | AltHealthWorks.com
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:51
Former Microsoft Founder Bill Gates has been interviewed extensively in the news recently, mostly about his viewpoints on the ongoing coronavirus situation, which ultimately involve his professed plans to ''vaccinate virtually the entire world population.''
Gates has said that he will need legal protection from governments should his plan go the way he anticipates, and has also estimated that hundreds of thousands of people may experience adverse events from the vaccine.
Despite these concerns, the industry and Gates continue to push on undeterred.
Gates has also donated millions of dollars to several other wide-ranging causes, many of which have drawn controversy from those who believe his influence goes way too far.
In recent years Gates has donated millions of dollars to outfit small farmers with genetically engineered seeds, invested in a project to create lab grown meat from GMO yeast, and has even worked with Harvard University on a project to block out the sun's rays using geoengineering, according to a report from Forbes.com.
Now, it has come to light that Gates has also funded GMO mosquitoes, which have just been given the go-ahead by the United States EPA be released in two states despite previous reports of unintended consequences from Yale University and other scientists.
Report: Gates Foundation Funded GMO Mosquitoes Approved for Release in Two States
According to a ''fact checking'' report from USA Today released earlier this week, alternative media reports of a forthcoming GMO mosquito release in two states have proven to be true.
The release, which will be conducted by Bill Gates funded company Oxitec, has been granted an ''experimental use permit'' to release the novel GMO mosquitoes in the Florida Keys and Harris County, Texas, where Houston is located.
''To meet today's public health challenges head-on, the nation needs to facilitate innovation and advance the science around new tools and approaches to better protect the health of all Americans,'' a news release from the EPA said.
The permit will last for two years and will require the British company to monitor and sample the new population of novel GMO mosquitoes.
Previous attempts to release the lab-created insects have been met with opposition in Monroe County, Florida (the Florida Keys), where city officials ultimately voted against them.
This time around, Oxitec will try again with a new, ''upgraded'' mosquito, utilizing millions of dollars in funding from the Gates Foundation as its source.
Are GMO Mosquitoes Actually Safe?
As is the case with most GMOs, the mosquitoes have not been tested for long-term safety, either in regards to their effects on humans or the local ecosystem.
The mosquitoes were originally created through a $4.1 million grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which led to a new strain of male GMO mosquitoes of the Anopheles albimanus species.
The EPA believes they are safe, but environmental activists aren't so sure.
''We have repeatedly asked for Oxitec to work with us to prove the technology is safe,'' Barry Wray, executive director of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, said in a statement in 2018 after Oxitec applied for its second permit.
''Instead of receiving Oxitec's cooperation to provide this confidence, we have witnessed a pattern of avoidance, misrepresentations, obfuscations and using marketing and political influence to persuade the regulatory and community stakeholders to proceed with what is truly a poorly designed experiment on our public and ecosystems,'' Wray said.
The Texas releases aren't scheduled to happen some time in 2021, but the Florida ones could happen sooner.
Yale University Scientists Find ''Unintended Effects'' of First GMO Mosquito Experiment
Despite the noble intentions of the mosquitoes to combat disease, there is much doubt of whether the experiment will be effective or not, along with potential health and environmental ramifications of releasing a novel organism into an ecosystem.
report this ad ''The idea would be that when these males mated with females, the offspring would die. And therefore the overall population size of the mosquitoes would decline.''said Yale professor Jeffrey Powell.
That didn't appear to go as planned in practice, Powell added.
Recently, scientists at Yale and other universities found that hybrids of the GMO mosquitoes and native mosquitoes were produced in Brazil, where millions of them were released by the aforementioned company, meaning some offspring were not sterile as expected.
In other words, the jury is still out on whether the experiment will backfire or not. The mosquitoes haven't been tested for long-term safety or environmental impact, and they may actually be causing native mosquito populations to become stronger and more menacing in the long run.
''What we found was unexpected. Unpredicted,'' Powell said.
''We don't know what the effect of having this hybrid population is,'' ''These could be stronger mosquitoes, harder to control.''
Comments comments
Another negative COVID-19 result for Rangers OF Joey Gallo raises questions about test accuracy
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 08:17
By Evan Grant
6:11 PM on Jul 7, 2020 CDT
ARLINGTON '-- As Major League Baseball reportedly seeks an additional lab to help ensure COVID-19 test results are returned to teams with expediency, the Rangers may have their own set of issues.
Just how accurate are the tests?
On Tuesday, outfielder Joey Gallo, who has not been allowed to participate in team workouts yet, tested negative for the coronavirus at a private Dallas laboratory using a nasal swab test. It was his second negative test in the last 10 days. But he's also tested positive twice in the same span using the PCR/saliva test that MLB's sanctioned lab '-- Utah-based Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratories '-- uses.
Gallo acknowledged frustration with the system Tuesday but declined further comment. His agent, Scott Boras, said he has submitted documentation to MLB to hopefully expedite Gallo's return. Gallo was awaiting the results of another saliva test Tuesday evening.
''The process has proven that he's negative on a number of occasions,'' Boras said. ''There are mechanisms in place to evaluate these cases individually. The [testing systems] are as accurate as accuracy allows, but there are still going to be false positives for maybe one or two percent of people. The best thing you can do is get as much evidence and testing as possible.''
Most of the concerns about the testing process have been problems related to receiving results, not necessarily accuracy. Several teams had to cancel workouts over the weekend because they did not receive results. In a statement Monday, MLB indicated that a series of logistics issues related to the Fourth of July weekend led to delays in some test results.
''Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp,'' Washington GM Mike Rizzo said in a statement Monday. ''Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 season are at risk.''
On Tuesday, San Francisco suspended workouts at Oracle Park for lack of results, the Chicago Cubs delayed their workout and Philadelphia GM Matt Klentak told reporters that the club has not received any results from outfielder Adam Haseley's intake testing.
Gallo was first tested on June 27 via a saliva test, which indicated the presence of coronavirus, although he's been asymptomatic. He took a nasal swab test two days later, which deemed him negative. He then took another saliva test on July 2, and the Rangers received word Sunday that was positive again.
Gallo, 26, has missed the first five Rangers workouts. The season opener is scheduled for July 24 against Colorado, a mere 16 days away.
Boras said he represented another player who had been in a similar situation to Gallo, but that had since been resolved. The complicating factor are Gallo's two positive results. According to MLB's operations manual for the 2020 season, a player must test negative twice at least 24 hours apart to be cleared to join his team.
''We rightly want to protect these players' health and safety related to the virus,'' Boras said. ''But the other factor is their ability to get ready for the season. We want and need these tests correctly to protect the players from getting the virus and we have to consider that, but we also have to consider the health and safety of the individual player. We need immediacy to the process so it doesn't also impact the player's ability to get ready for the season if there is supporting evidence behind him.''
Find more Rangers stories from The Dallas Morning News here.
Couples should wear face masks during sex, new study insists
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 02:37
Living
By Zachary Kussin
June 2, 2020 | 3:51pm
Sign up for our special edition newsletter to get a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic.
Safe sex during the coronavirus pandemic might soon require protection beyond just the nether regions.
A new study from researchers at Harvard University says that hooking up carries some risk for transmitting COVID-19 from one partner to the other and recommends '-- among other practices '-- wearing a face mask while doin' it.
The research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, ranked frisky situations based on how likely it is to catch coronavirus while in the act. Researchers recommend w earing a mask for the riskiest sexual scenario: sex with people other than those with whom one is quarantined.
If you have an out-of-house coronavirus crush, the study says, besides keeping your mask on, you should avoid kissing, any oral-to-anal act and anything else that involves semen or urine. Shower before and after, and clean the space with alcohol wipes or soap.
The study also mentions that having sex with people who are together in quarantine is safer, but there is still a risk. For instance, if one partner goes outside to run an errand and is exposed to the virus, they can transmit it to the other. Even if that person is ultimately an asymptomatic carrier, they can still infect the other.
The safest approach to sexual activity, according to the researchers, is not having any. Abstinence, they say, is ''low risk for infection, though not feasible for many.'' Another option, they add, is masturbation.
Other recommendations have come out since the coronavirus outbreak in the US, with some of them providing graphics to enhance the lessons. In April, the Oregon Health Authority released a sex guide that went viral, just weeks after the same happened to one released by the NYC Department of Health. The Oregon example stood out for its illustrations of condoms, a fleshlight and a peach, and NYC's with its vivid warning about anal rimming.
California security guard charged with murder after shooting customer who was not wearing mask
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:41
Skip to contentSecurity guard charged with murder after shooting customer who wasn't wearing mask
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated: July 9, 2020 - 4:50 PM
Umeir Corniche Hawkins, 38, got into an argument Sunday with Jerry Lewis, 50, who walked into a market and was not wearing a face mask, prosecutors said.
Lewis left the store then returned. The fight got physical and Hawkins shot Lewis as he was walking to his car, investigators said.
Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hawkins was arrested and charged with murder and possession of a handgun by a felon. His bail was set at $1 million.
Sabrina Carter, Hawkins' wife, was arrested and charged with possession of a handgun by a felon. Her bail was set at $35,000.
Prosecutors said they both were convicted for assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury in 2013.
Their next court appearance is Friday.
(C) 2020 Cox Media Group
LIVE | In Belgi vanaf vandaag mondkapjesplicht in onder meer winkels | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 11:08
Coronacrisis 11 juli 2020
Updated 1 uur geleden
Vandaag, 07:23 in BINNENLAND
Koningin Mathilde en Koning Filip van Belgi doen even voor hoe je een mondkapje voordoet.
''¸ ANP/HH
De eerste piek van het uit Wuhan overgewaaide coronavirus lijkt achter de rug. Maar terwijl steeds meer maatregelen worden versoepeld, leeft het virus op veel plekken weer op. Wereldwijd zijn er inmiddels meer dan 560.000 coronadoden te betreuren. Meer dan twaalf miljoen mensen raakten besmet. In Nederland stierven ruim zesduizend mensen aan Covid-19. Bekijk het laatste nieuws in dit liveblog, dat wordt aangevuld.
Koningin Mathilde en Koning Filip van Belgi doen even voor hoe je een mondkapje voordoet.
''¸ ANP/HH
Het is vanaf zaterdag in Belgi verplicht ook mondkapjes te dragen in winkels en alle ruimten binnen waar veel mensen samenkomen. Het gaat met name om musea, concert- en conferentiezalen, bioscopen, theaters en gebedshuizen. Het was al in het openbaar vervoer verplicht. Kinderen onder de 12 jaar hoeven geen mondmasker op.
Het coronavirus was ook in Belgi wekenlang op de terugtocht. Maar de afgelopen dagen is de daling van het aantal besmettingen gestagneerd. Vervolgens werden weer wat meer besmettingen vastgesteld. Tot de nieuwe verplichtingen is donderdagavond versneld besloten door de regering. Die had de kwestie eigenlijk komende week pas op de agenda staan. Volgens de gezondheidsautoriteiten kunnen de maskers bijvoorbeeld in winkels helpen 'žde bescherming van klanten en verkopers tegen het coronavirus te verbeteren''.
Belgi heeft tot dusver meer dan 62.000 besmettingen met het virus vastgesteld en bijna 9800 patinten zijn er aan bezweken. Het land had eerder een erg strenge lockdown en het sloot de grenzen. Begin mei is een begin gemaakt met de afbouw van coronamaatregelen.
Binnenland:
Minder zittenblijvers door coronacrisisWereldwijde race naar het coronavaccin: dit zijn de scenario'sMeer plek in verpleeghuizen, en toch groei wachtlijstenGGD-testbus aan zee nog toekomstmuziekCoalitie eens over nieuwe coronahulp van 650 miljoen Buitenland:
Weer recordaantal besmettingen in VSVrijwilligers in de rij voor testen coronavaccinMexico nadert 300.000 besmettingen (maar het zijn er meer)Brazili noteert al 70.000 doden door Covid-19Californi laat 8000 gevangenen vrij wegens coronacrisisPremier Johnson hint op mondkapplicht in EngelandChina waarschuwt voor mysterieuze longziekte Kazachstan: 'Dodelijker dan corona' Financieel nieuws:
Ontslaggolg: hier slaat het coronaspook toeBetaalde voetbal voor '‚¬30 miljoen aan staatsinfuusVan voetbalclubs tot KLM; zoveel steun ontvingen bedrijven'Olieprijs herstelt, maar corona grote bron van zorg' Sport:
83 positieve testen op coronavirus vooraf aan herstart MLBDuitse club: 'Vol stadion kan wel, op onze manier'Spelersvrouwen op de tribune; boete voor HeidenheimWim Kieft: 'Coronapauze heeft sterren goed gedaan' Bekijk hier het live-blog van vrijdag.
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County in Ohio establishes hotline to report people not wearing face masks | TheHill
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 10:36
An Ohio county that includes the city of Cleveland has established a hotline to report people who are defying state order by not wearing face masks amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the state.
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced the hotline Friday. The complaints will be sorted by county employees and forwarded to the presiding city or village.
''This is not intended to be going out and finding people not wearing masks. We want people to wear their masks'... We want people to do it voluntarily,'' Budish told Cleveland.com.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) issued an order mandating masks this week. However, the order only applies to the state's seven counties with the most COVID-19 cases.
DeWine's office said that the order, which does not apply to children below the age of 10, will be reassessed every week.
Budish told the newspaper that although officers have the authority to enforce the order, there's not enough resources throughout the county to track down those who are not adhering to it.
Those who are charged with violating the state's order will face second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
Ohio is among a swath of states in the U.S. currently experiencing a surge in cases. On Friday the state reported the highest number of new cases since the start of the pandemic, with 1,525 new infections and 26 deaths.
As of Saturday the state has confirmed over 64,000 cases and 3,036 deaths.
Coronavirus: WHO rethinking how Covid-19 spreads in air - BBC News
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 12:14
Image copyright Reuters The World Health Organization has acknowledged there is emerging evidence that the coronavirus can be spread by tiny particles suspended in the air.
The airborne transmission could not be ruled out in crowded, closed or poorly ventilated settings, an official said.
If the evidence is confirmed, it may affect guidelines for indoor spaces.
An open letter from more than 200 scientists had accused the WHO of underestimating the possibility of airborne transmission.
The WHO has so far said that the virus is transmitted through droplets when people cough or sneeze.
"We wanted them to acknowledge the evidence," Jose Jimenez, a chemist at the University of Colorado who signed the paper, told the Reuters news agency.
"This is definitely not an attack on the WHO. It's a scientific debate, but we felt we needed to go public because they were refusing to hear the evidence after many conversations with them," he said.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Nyka Alexander from the WHO explains what an airborne virus is.Another signatory - Professor Benjamin Cowling of Hong Kong University - told the BBC the finding had "important implications".
"In healthcare settings, if aerosol transmission poses a risk then we understand healthcare workers should really be wearing the best possible preventive equipment... and actually the World Health Organization said that one of the reasons they were not keen to talk about aerosol transmission of Covid-19 is because there's not a sufficient number of these kind of specialised masks for many parts of the world," he said.
"And in the community, if we're thinking about aerosol transmission being a particular risk, then we need to think about how to prevent larger super spreading events, larger outbreaks and those occur in indoor environments with poor ventilation, with crowding and with prolonged close contact."
WHO officials have cautioned the evidence is preliminary and requires further assessment.
Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO's technical lead for infection prevention and control, said that evidence emerging of airborne transmission of the coronavirus in "crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described, cannot be ruled out".
A shifting position? Imogen Foulkes, BBC News in Geneva
For months, the WHO has insisted that Covid-19 is transmitted via droplets emitted when people cough or sneeze. Droplets that do not linger in the air, but fall onto surfaces - that's why handwashing has been identified as a key prevention measure.
But 239 scientists from 32 countries don't agree: they say there is also strong evidence to suggest the virus can also spread in the air: through much tinier particles that float around for hours after people talk, or breathe out.
Today the WHO admitted there was evidence to suggest this was possible in specific settings, such as enclosed and crowded spaces.
That evidence will have to be thoroughly evaluated, but if it is confirmed, the advice on how to prevent the virus spreading may have to change, and could lead to more widespread use of masks, and more rigorous distancing, especially in bars, restaurants, and on public transport.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Coronavirus: The health claims that won't go away
Robert De Niro says coronavirus decimated his finances
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 12:25
Robert De Niro says he's running out of dinero.
The coronavirus dealt a massive blow to the actor's finances, he revealed in court, as his estranged wife asked for an emergency order to raise her monthly American Express card credit limit from $50,000 to $100,000.
The ''The Irishman'' actor appeared on a Skype call in his Manhattan divorce case with Grace Hightower as her lawyer told a judge that De Niro unfairly cut her monthly AmEx allowance from $100,000 to $50,000 and said she and their children had been banned from an upstate compound where De Niro is staying during the pandemic.
But lawyers for De Niro said he cut Hightower's credit card limit because he's taken a huge financial hit as the restaurant chain Nobu and Greenwich Hotel, both of which he has stakes in, have been closed or partially closed for months with barely any business.
De Niro's lawyer, Caroline Krauss, told the judge that Nobu lost $3 million in April and another $1.87 million in May. And he had to pay investors $500,000 on a capital call, which he borrowed money from his business partners to make, ''because he doesn't have the cash,'' Krauss said.
Krauss also explained that under the terms of their 2004 prenuptial agreement, De Niro is only required to pay Hightower $1 million a year as long as he's making $15 million or more in income, and if his income declines, his payments to her proportionally do too.
Robert De Niro and Grace Hightower attend the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival closing night screening of "The Fourth Estate."
WireImage via Getty Images
Robert De Niro leaves 60 Centre St. civil court after a divorce hearing with his wife Grace Hightower.
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''H is accounts and business manager '... says that the best case for Mr. De Niro, if everything starts to turn around this year, '... he is going to be lucky if he makes $7.5 million this year,'' Krauss said.
Krauss added that proceeds from Netflix's ''The Irishman'' have mostly already been paid out and he is likely to get just $2.5 million in 2020 and 2021.
And a movie project that De Niro was scheduled to begin filming this summer in Oklahoma has been put on hold, Krauss explained.
''These people, in spite of his robust earnings, have always spent more than he has earned, so this 76-year-old robust man couldn't retire even if he wanted to because he can't afford to keep up with his lifestyle expense,'' Krauss said, adding that De Niro has begun cutting back spending ''dramatically.''
Hightower's lawyer, Kevin McDonough, fired back that '' the idea that Mr. De Niro is tightening his belt is nonsense.''
''Mr. De Niro has used the COVID pandemic, my words would be, to stick it to his wife financially,'' McDonough said.
''I'm not a believer that a man who has an admitted worth of $500 million and makes $30 million a year, all of a sudden in March he needs to cut down [spousal support] by 50 percent and ban her from the house,'' McDonough said.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper issued a temporary ruling that De Niro should keep Hightower's credit card limit at $50,000 a month and pay her $75,000 so she can find a summer home for their two kids while De Niro and his other children remain in his three-house compound upstate.
''I am not requiring at this point that Mr. De Niro restore the credit card to $100,000,'' Cooper said. ''$50,000 seems to be certainly enough to avoid irreparable harm.''
De Niro '-- who had been with Hightower on and off since 1997 '-- filed for divorce from her in 2018. The pair '-- who share kids Helen, 8, and Elliot, 21 '-- divorced in 1999 and patched things up again in 2004.
Models and Data
3 States Account for 42 Percent of All COVID-19 Deaths in America. Why?
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 15:27
In a recent article in The Atlantic, Thomas Chatterton Williams decried America's handling of the coronavirus.
The words ''utter disaster'' are used, and Williams, an expatriate, contrasts America's response to that of France, where he currently lives.
''As Donald Trump's America continues to shatter records for daily infections, France, like most other developed nations and even some undeveloped ones, seems to have beat back the virus,'' Williams writes.
To be sure, the US response to the coronavirus was far from perfect (more on that later). But the article shows one of the challenges with this pandemic: even as more data is acquired, the picture doesn't always get clearer.
In some ways, COVID-19 data are like a Rorschach blot from which writers, politicians, and experts can glean whatever conclusions they wish to find. Take Sweden, where daily COVID-19 deaths recently reached zero.
According to Newsweek editorial director Hank Gilman, Sweden's ''lighter touch'' approach was a failure because seven times as many people died there than in neighboring Scandnavian countries such as Finland and Norway. He is not alone in the assessment.
On the other hand, Sweden suffered far fewer deaths per capita than several European neighbors that instituted strict lockdowns'--including Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom'--and has avoided some of the economic fallout other nations have endured. Unlike other countries, its currency is growing stronger.
Indeed, Sweden's death rate is remarkably close to that of France, which Williams praised as a model in contrast to the ''utter disaster'' in the US. However, the US actually has a lower per capita death rate than both Sweden and France'--at least for now. (While it's true COVID cases are on the rise again in the US, deaths recently reached three-month lows.)
This raises questions about how we measure success in the age of COVID-19. While most attention is being paid to rising case numbers, death tolls would seem to be the most important metric. While US deaths per capita (401/1M) put the country among the ten highest in the world'--ahead of France and Sweden, but just below the Netherlands'--those numbers also don't tell the entire story.
Few may have noticed that 42 percent of all COVID deaths in the US come from just three states'--New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. These three states account for nearly 56,000 of the nearly 133,000 deaths in the US, even though they represent just 10 percent of the population. If these three states are excluded, the US suddenly finds itself somewhere in between nations such as Luxembourg (176/1M) and Macedonia (166/1M), where some of the better fatality numbers in Europe are found.
3 US states'--New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts'--account for roughly 42% of all #COVID19 deaths in America.These same states represent 10% of the US population. pic.twitter.com/AS6DyG3822
'-- Jon Miltimore (Parler: @Miltimore79) (@miltimore79) July 7, 2020Why have New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts suffered so much more than other US states? We don't yet know the answer to that question, but evidence suggests it could be policy related.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year received a great deal of criticism when the state's policy of prohibiting nursing homes from screening residents for COVID-19 came to light. Cuomo eventually reversed that decision under intense criticism from public health experts and trade group leaders.
This week, the New York State Department of Health issued a report that concluded 6,326 COVID-positive residents were admitted to nursing homes between March 25 and May 8 as a result of the order.
''The data shows that the nursing home residents got COVID from the staff, and presumably, also from those who visited them. Unfortunately, we did not understand the disease early on, we did not realize how widespread it was within our community, and therefore, it was able to be introduced into a vulnerable population,'' said New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.
The report, however, also claimed that ''most patients admitted to nursing homes from hospitals were no longer contagious when admitted and therefore were not a source of infection '... [and] '... nursing home quality was not a factor in nursing home fatalities.''
The report cites the high nursing home fatality rates of Massachusetts and New Jersey as additional evidence that New York was not an outlier in nursing home deaths.
''...an examination of fatalities in our neighboring states'--despite having populations much smaller than New York's'--illustrates fatalities at these facilities were not a New York-specific phenomenon: Connecticut reports 3,124 deaths in these facilities, New Jersey reports 6,617, and Massachusetts reports 5,115, to New York's 6,432 fatalities.''
However, it's worth noting that both New Jersey and Massachusetts had similar policies in place, according to the AARP and other news stories. Moreover, the actual number of nursing home deaths in New York is difficult to know, since New York changed its reporting so that nursing home residents who die of COVID-19 are not counted as a nursing home death if they die at a hospital.
The context of the US numbers matters for several reasons. For one, understanding why New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have suffered so much more from the coronavirus may hold keys to combating the virus.
Secondly, there is currently a great deal of scrutiny on states such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona, which have seen case numbers increase in recent weeks, a spike that began in mid-June after states reopened their economies. The implication is that these states dropped the ball by reopening too soon.
None of these states, however, has a per capita fatality rate that even approaches New Jersey, Massachusetts, or New York. Below are the figures as of July 7.
Deaths per million:New Jersey: 1,728.7New York: 1,660Massachusetts: 1,189Arizona: 265Florida: 179Texas: 94Considering these numbers, one would not expect to see a governor from New Jersey, New York, or Massachusetts lecture these other states on their handling of the coronavirus. But that's exactly what Gov. Cuomo did, claiming his state-ordered lockdown ''saved lives'' and chastening governors who opened their economies.
''I say to them all look at the numbers,'' Cuomo said, referring to leaders in the states seeing rises in COVID-19 cases. ''You played politics with this virus, and you lost. You told the people of this state, you told the people of this country, the White House, 'Don't worry about it. Go about your business.'''
Cuomo makes no mention of the social costs of the economic lockdowns'--mass unemployment, widespread bankruptcy, and surging mental health deterioration, drug abuse, and global poverty. Nor does he mention his state's catastrophically high COVID death toll.
The extent to which policy decisions are linked to the high fatality rates in these states is still unknown. We're in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and still learning about the virus. But that is precisely why lawmakers should exercise caution in their policy prescriptions.
In his 1974 Nobel Prize speech, the economist F.A. Hayek warned against the temptation to use collective action with incomplete knowledge, saying such action would likely cause more harm than good.
''To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm,'' Hayek stated. ''The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men's fatal striving to control society '' a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.''
Hayek saw a world that increasingly seemed to believe central planners could solve any and all social problems. Such a worldview carried the seed of great harm, he believed.
We don't yet know how this pandemic or economic collapse will end, but some have predicted it shaping up to be a blunder of historic proportions.
''The first half of 2020 will go down in history as the largest nationwide public policy failure since the Great Depression,'' the economic historian Phil Magness recently observed. ''A part of that failure derives from the largest wide-scale suppression of economic and social liberties in most of our lifetimes, all executed to negligible effect at solving the problem it intended to target.''
If Magness is correct, the crisis, though tragic, may also offer a healthy dose of an elixir Hayek would say humans desperately need: humility.
''The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men's fatal striving to control society,'' Hayek concluded in his address.
The lockdowns and the nursing home tragedies show just how destructive and fatal such striving to control society can be.
Alex Berenson on Twitter: "Update from a physician in a large Texas city: hospitals have capacity, some high-acuity patients, fear complicating treatment, especially in very old patients. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, this doc asked for anonymity, cit
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 15:39
Alex Berenson : Update from a physician in a large Texas city: hospitals have capacity, some high-acuity patients, fear complicatin'... https://t.co/j7X7wMm4fp
Thu Jul 09 13:27:51 +0000 2020
China Virus Book Banned
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:37
URGENT '-- URGENT '-- URGENT: Amazon just banned the best-selling book, ''China Virus"Amazon has deleted China Virus '-- they banned it.
You can see their terse e-mail to us, by clicking here . They say the book contradicts ''official sources'' of information about the virus.
But the book does not give medical advice '-- it's purely a discussion of Canada-China politics, as the very title makes clear.
Amazon originally refused to upload the book, fighting with us for two months. But then they relented. And the book became an instant bestseller, reaching no. 1 on Kindle in Canada and no. 2 as a paperback. It was a huge bestseller.
And now it's been deleted. It's China-style censorship.
Who did this?
Jeff Bezos, Amazon's owner, who would do anything to ingratiate himself with China, to get access to their huge market?Justin Trudeau, whose connections to Communist China I expose in this book?The United Nations and the World Health Organization, whose corruption I expose?Or maybe all of them?
This is an outrage. But this Chinese-style censorship will not stop us. We've already found another printer to publish soft-cover copies of the book. We hope to have those printed next week, and shipped soon after.
And we've done something that I know will drive the Chinese Communists and Justin Trudeau crazy: we're literally giving away the e-book version of China Virus right now, for any amount, on our website. (We recommend a donation '-- the e-book sold for $7.50 on Amazon. So maybe you can chip in that amount. But right now, it's about showing Amazon, the UN, Trudeau and China that they can't censor us.
This censorship '-- of a no. 1 best-selling book is infuriating. Amazon sells Mao's Little Red Book. They sell Hitler's book, Mein Kampf. But they ban this book '-- that's outrageous.
Well, fight back by clicking here . Get your e-book. And sign up for our printed version, ready very soon.
Thanks my friends '-- we're going to beat these censors. We just have to.
Why did Justin Trudeau wait so long to restrict flights from China? Why did his top health bureaucrat tell us not to wear face masks? Why is there a loophole in Canada's quarantine laws for illegal border-crossers at Roxham Road? Why did the Liberals gather up Canada's medical equipment and ship it to China as a gift? And why on Earth did Trudeau give $838,000 to the Wuhan Virology Institute?
None of these strange facts makes sense '-- until you understand that the true virus threatening our country is Trudeau's life-long infatuation with the Communist Party of China, the country whose ''basic dictatorship'' Trudeau admires.
China Virus was BANNED by Amazon banned for months.
A free-speech lawyer wrote a letter to Amazon '-- but Amazon kept their ban in place for months. Amazon eventually lifted its ban, with no explanation.
What was Amazon trying to hide? You'll have to buy the book to find out!
China Virus documents the comedy of errors that allowed the coronavirus to spread through our communities. But it also reports, in meticulous detail, the Trudeau family's obsession with China that goes back to Pierre Trudeau's support for that Communist dictatorship.
And China Virus warns that Trudeau '-- like his Chinese role models '-- is already trying to take advantage of the pandemic to seize further control in Canada, limiting Parliament, restricting the media, and continuing the globalist agenda that got us into this trouble in the first place.
Maricopa County Medical Examiner at 96% capacity; refrigerator trucks ordered | Coronavirus in Arizona | azfamily.com
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:16
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) '' The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office is close to capacity.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego's office said the City of Phoenix participates in meetings with the Maricopa County Unified Command Center. In the most recent meeting, the command center reported that the medical examiner is at 96 percent capacity and is working to secure a contract for refrigerator trucks.
Fields Moseley, a spokesperson for Maricopa County reports the medical examiner is also looking at additional staffing due to the morgue being near capacity level for body storage. "[The Officer of the Medical Examiner] can expand that capacity to more than 200 cases and will do so if needed. This allows time to implement the plan for adding more cooler space."
According to Gallego, morgue space is nearing capacity and Abrazo has reported their morgue is at capacity.
However, a spokesperson for Abrazo said the opposite. Here is the latest from Abrazo health: "Abrazo hospitals currently have adequate morgue space. The state has requested that hospitals implement their emergency plans. Part of activating our plan includes the ability to handle overflow morgue capacity if needed. Abrazo has taken a proactive approach by ordering refrigerated storage in the event it may be needed during a surge of COVID patients. At this point it is not needed. We do agree with the Mayor's points around promoting awareness around masking, continuing to practice social distancing and seeking medical care in the event of an emergency need."
"We have had a brutal June in Arizona," he said.
On Friday, Arizona reported 4,221 new COVID-19 cases with 44 new deaths. There are currently 116,892 coronavirus cases in the state with 2,082 deaths.
In Maricopa County alone there are over 75,000 cases.
Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Tolleson, and Tempe mayors wrote a letter to Governor Ducey to do more to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Arizona.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego spoke with Arizona's Family Friday morning about the surge in Arizona and her frustrations with Ducey's most recent press conference.
Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Tolleson, and Tempe mayors wrote a letter to Governor Ducey to do more to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Arizona.
"Phoenix is the largest city in the country that has not received federal surge testing. For months, I have been requesting it early on in the outbreak. We got a response from the federal government that we did not have sufficient levels of the virus in our community to warrant a federal testing partnership. Now with us leading the nation unfortunately, I made another push. I appeared on a Sunday TV program this week and as soon as I got off, the White House called and said we want to do more. The next day I was on the phone with the admiral in charge of testing for the country," said Gallego.
Gallego said that she felt like the measures Ducey made in his most recent press conference were really half of what they should have been and believes more needs to be done and soon.
Copyright 2020 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Vaccines and such
Budesonide Success!
Adam,
I'm sitting here flipping out listening to the Texas doctor talk about Budesonide treatments! I got super sick back in March with difficulty breathing. Eventually, I decided it might be asthma and started taking my son's Budesonide nebulizer treatments. I felt better almost instantly and got better after taking it for a few days. I had told myself "see, it was asthma" ... but now I don't know!
By the way, the reason I felt safe taking this medication is because I was sure I wasn't allergic to it because I actually spray Budesonide up my nose every day in the form of a nasal spray to help with allergies. The medicine is called Rhinocort and it's over the counter.
Okay, I'm keeping my eye on this, this is just crazy.
Thanks for finding that clip!
Jim
Case reports study of the first five patients COVID-19 treated with remdesivir in France - ScienceDirect
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 02:41
Highlights'Remdesivir has been found to be an in-vitro potent inhibitor of RNA viruses including SARS-CoV-2 but its in-vivo potency is still under active investigations.
'In this work, we depict the clinical features of 5 hospitalized COVID-19 patients under remdisivir compassionate use.
'Remdisivir infusion was associated with decreasing viral loads from nasopharyngeal samples despite active replication in the lower respiratory tract area evidenced for two patients.
'The treatment had to be interrupted for potential side effects for 4 out 5 patients including two alamine aminotransferase (ALT) elevation and two renal failure cases.
AbstractThe severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been identified as responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide. Data on treatment are scare and parallels are made between SARS-CoV-2 and other coronavirus. Remdesivir is a broad spectrum antiviral with efficient in vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2 and controversial evidence of clinical improvement in severe COVID-19 patients. We aimed to describe the clinical outcome and virological monitoring of the first five COVID-19 patients admitted in ICU for severe pneumonia related to SARS-CoV-2 and treated with remdesivir in the University hospital of Bichat, Paris, France.
SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR in blood plasma, lower and upper respiratory tract were monitored. Among the five treated patients, two needed mechanical ventilation and one high flow cannula oxygen. A significant decrease in SARS-CoV-2 viral load from upper respiratory tract was observed in most cases but two died with active SARS-CoV-2 replication in the lower respiratory tract. Plasma samples were positive for SARS-CoV-2 in only one patient. Remdesivir was interrupted for side effects among four patients, including 2 ALT elevations (3 to 5'‰N) and 2 renal failures requiring renal replacement.
This case series of five COVID-19 patients requiring ICU for a respiratory distress and treated with remdesivir, highlights the complexity of remdesivir use in such critically ill patients.
Abbreviations HIV-1 Human immunodeficiency virus 1
SARS-CoV-2 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
Keywords SARS-CoV-2 viral load
remdesivir
antiviral therapy
viral pneumonia
case reports
View Abstract (C) 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of International Society for Infectious Diseases.
Who should get coronavirus vaccine first? U.S. weighs early access for some '' The Seattle Times
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 04:33
July 9, 2020 at 4:45 am | Updated July 9, 2020 at 7:51 am
This image is currently not available
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), holds up a model of COVID-19 during a Senate hearing on the plan to research, manufacture and distribute a vaccine in Washington, D.C., on July 2. (Saul Loeb / The Associated Press)Federal health officials are already trying to decide who will get the first doses of any effective coronavirus vaccines, which could be on the market this winter but could require many additional months to become widely available to Americans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an advisory committee of outside health experts in April began working on a ranking system for what may be an extended rollout in the United States. According to a preliminary plan, any approved vaccines would be offered to vital medical and national security officials first, and then to other essential workers and those considered at high risk '-- the elderly instead of children, people with underlying conditions instead of the relatively healthy.
Agency officials and the advisers are also considering what has become a contentious option: putting Black and Latino people, who have disproportionately fallen victim to COVID-19, ahead of others in the population.
In private meetings and a recent public session, the issue has provoked calls for racial justice. But some medical experts are not convinced there is a scientific basis for such an option, foresee court challenges or worry that prioritizing minority groups would erode public trust in vaccines at a time when immunization is seen as crucial to ending the pandemic.
''Giving it to one race initially and not another race, I'm not sure how that would be perceived by the public, how that would affect how vaccines are viewed as a trusted public health measure,'' said Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, a group represented on the committee.
While there is a standard protocol for introducing vaccines '-- the CDC typically makes recommendations, and state and local public health departments decide whether to follow them '-- the White House has pressed the agency at times to revise or hold off on proposals it found objectionable. President Donald Trump, who has been pushing to reopen schools, fill workplaces and hold large public events, has been acutely focused on the political consequences of public health guidance.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, almost every aspect of the administration's response has involved scarce resources, high demand and claims that the privileged were receiving unfair advantage. The White House recently created Operation Warp Speed, a multiagency effort to accelerate vaccine development that has invested billions of federal dollars in a growing number of companies. At the public advisory committee hearing, held in mid-June, a Defense Department representative said the operation would address the distribution plans in coming weeks.
To speed distribution, the most promising vaccines will go into production even before they have cleared the final stages of clinical trials and been authorized for public use by the Food and Drug Administration.
But there will be a gap between the first doses coming off the manufacturing lines and a stockpile large enough to vaccinate the U.S. population. ''I would say months,'' Dr. Jos(C) Romero, the chairman of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, predicted.
The committee, which reports to the CDC director, has long played a key role in determining how to implement new vaccines. The group includes 15 voting members selected by the health secretary who come from immunology, infectious disease and other medical specialties, 30 nonvoting representatives from across the health field, and eight federal officials focused on vaccines. Still, it operates largely out of sight.
''It's a backroom kind of thing,'' said Dr. Nancy Bennett, a health professor at the University of Rochester who led the advisory committee from 2015 to 2018.
Romero is among four committee members who have been deliberating on the plans since this spring alongside doctors at the CDC, representatives from the health field, ethicists and other outside consultants. In June, they briefed the full committee on their work, offering a glimpse of the questions being considered.
As they come up with a multitiered schedule for the first 1.2 million vaccine doses and then the next 110 million, they have focused on who should be considered essential workers, what underlying conditions should be taken into account and what kinds of living environments '-- nursing homes, homeless shelters '-- put people at high risk. Among the questions: What should be done about pregnant women? Should teachers go toward the front of the line? Should prisoners be in a top tier?
But for the broader committee, questions of whether to prioritize race and ethnicity sparked the most debate.
Black and Latino people have become infected with the virus at three times the rate of whites, and have died nearly twice as frequently. Many of them have jobs that keep them from working at home, rely on public transportation or live in cramped homes that increase their risk of exposure. They are more likely to suffer from underlying health problems, including diabetes and obesity, that raise the risk of hospitalization and death. Not only do the groups have less access to health services, they also have a documented history of receiving unequal care.
The questions come amid a national uproar over the United States' racist past, which stretches into its response to infectious disease '-- including the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study, when the government deliberately let hundreds of Black men go untreated even when there was a known cure for the disease.
Dr. Sharon Frey, a professor of infectious diseases at St. Louis University, pointed to health disparities among Black and Latino people at the recent meeting.
''I think it's very important that the groups get into a high tier,'' she said. ''Maybe not an entire group but certainly to address people who are living in the urban areas in these crowded conditions.''
Dr. Peter Szilagyi, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles, said he was ''really struggling with what to do about race and ethnicity.''
He wondered if a lot could be accomplished for minority groups by prioritizing people in general with underlying conditions and by trying to improve their access to health care.
Romero, the chairman, was doubtful. ''This will not address the problem that exists now,'' he said. ''I think we need to deal with this issue at this time with the information that we have. And it is: They are groups that need to be moved to the forefront, in my opinion.''
Dayna Bowen Matthew, dean of the George Washington University Law School, who has focused on racial inequality in health care and is serving as a consultant on the prioritization issue, agreed.
''It's racial inequality '-- inequality in housing, inequality in employment, inequality in access to health care '-- that produced the underlying diseases,'' Matthew said in an interview. ''That's wrong. And it's that inequality that requires us to prioritize by race and ethnicity.''
Harald Schmidt, an assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, is not a member of the committee but has been suggesting other ways vaccine prioritization could work. He predicts that courts would strike down any guidelines explicitly based on race and ethnicity. Instead, he has proposed using an index that takes into account education, income, employment and housing quality to rank neighborhoods by socioeconomic disadvantage that he says could serve as a good proxy.
''It's imperative that we pay attention to how COVID has impacted the health of minorities differently; otherwise it compounds the inequalities we've seen,'' Schmidt said.
There may be substantial differences in how racial and ethnic groups view vaccines. A recent Pew survey found that a little over half of Black adults said they would definitely or probably get a coronavirus vaccine if one were available today, while 44% said they would not. Among Hispanic and white adults, 74% said they would get the vaccine, while around a quarter said they would not.
''Because of Tuskegee and structural racism within the health care system, you have to make a case much more strongly to the African American population,'' Schmidt said.
Whoever is prioritized for the first doses, it will not matter if the vaccines don't work for those demographics. And that will not be determined unless the vaccine trials themselves include those groups. So far, several vaccine candidates have entered final Phase 3 trials.
At a Senate hearing last week, Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC director, and Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes for Health, emphasized the need for racial and other diversity within the trials.
''The last thing we want to be is trying to recommend who gets the vaccine and we don't have any data on how the vaccine works in the population that we think really needs this vaccine,'' Redfield said.
''This has got to be a really high priority,'' Collins said. ''This may make it more challenging to run a Phase 3 vaccine trial. When you're trying to enroll a very diverse set of volunteers, it would be much easier just to line up a bunch of 20-somethings who happen to be from the white population, but that is not the only answer. We need to really have this diversity.''
Collins said he and Redfield had pushed to bring the National Academy of Medicine, an independent nonprofit, into the advisory committee's work because people were ''uneasy about the government calling the shots here.''
Romero said that the advisory committee would start holding more frequent public meetings on prioritization later this summer and that it would eventually involve representatives of the communities being considered in its deliberations.
''If we feel that minority populations are important, then certainly we would look at the perceptions of those target groups,'' he said.
At the committee's recent meeting, Col. Matthew Hepburn, the Defense Department's vaccine coordinator in Operation Warp Speed, said the multiagency effort was preparing to focus on prioritization.
''From an Operation Warp Speed standpoint, in our first few weeks, we really focused on the earlier product development and making some of those important decisions to get to accelerate the product development pipeline,'' said Hepburn, who is also a physician.
But now, he said, there were other questions to consider: ''How would these vaccines be distributed based on their induction? Which populations benefit most from vaccinations? Those are critical issues that need to be addressed, and our intention is to address those in the coming weeks.''
This story was originally published at nytimes.com.
Read it here.
White House renews push for emergency authorization of hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug Trump touted - The Washington Post
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 18:23
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is leading a Trump administration effort to demand the Food and Drug Administration reverse course and grant a second emergency authorization for the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Navarro, armed with a controversial new study that he says shows the drug's effectiveness, is being cheered on by President Trump, who has long touted the drug as a ''game changer'' and even used himself as a possible preventive measure. Trump praised the study on Twitter earlier this week, urging the FDA to ''Act Now.'' The campaign also has been promoted by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president's lawyer, and Laura Ingraham's show on Fox News.
But Navarro, an economist known more for his aggressive approach to trade issues and China policy than for his medical credentials, faces serious challenges as he denounces what he calls ''media-induced hydroxy hysteria." Scientists have widely criticized the new study, by Detroit's Henry Ford Health System, as flawed. In addition, just weeks ago the FDA revoked its emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine after major studies found the medication wasn't effective for covid-19. And the unexpected revival of a politically fraught issue comes as FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn tries to shake off criticism he sometimes seems overly deferential to Trump.
''A reversal [on hydroxychloroquine] would be widely seen as bending to the political will of the White House and the hit to Dr. Hahn's credibility would be profound,'' said Steven Joffe, a medical ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania.
The FDA's response to this pressure will be closely watched, not only because the White House has already been criticized for pushing to influence the CDC's guidelines for the pandemic, but also because the agency will take the lead in approving a vaccine for the coronavirus, a decision that could potentially affect millions. Health experts say it is important for the agency, which was criticized for its initial decision to okay hydroxychloroquine in March, to guard its credibility as it prepares to make these landmark decisions for a public sometimes skeptical of vaccines.
The tug-of-war on hydroxychloroquine also is seen by many as a test for the FDA's Hahn. While sympathetic about his difficult position, some health experts say he appears too willing at times to placate Trump. Just last Sunday, Hahn declined repeated opportunities on two different television shows to dispute Trump's statement that 99 percent of covid-19 cases are harmless. On CNN, he said he didn't want to ''get into who is right and who is wrong.''
Hahn did not want to get into a distracting debate about the president's statement, according to an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Navarro says his goal is simple: At a time when the virus is surging in many parts of the country, there are 60 million millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine in the Strategic National Stockpile that can't be distributed unless the FDA issues an emergency authorization. He asserted the Henry Ford study shows the drug works when used as an early treatment and said the FDA should take action ''within days, not weeks or months'' so he could send the shipments.
Trump has told aides that he sees the Detroit study as ''vindication'' of his position and wants the drug sent to hospitals across the country, in the words of another senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. A number of Trump political aides, along with the Republican National Committee and campaign officials, have also promoted the Detroit study.
Navarrao said if the Detroit data is backed up by subsequent studies, ''there is blood on the media's hands'' for sowing doubts about the drug.
Navarro has loudly clashed with medical experts, including Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, over hydroxychloroquine and has become obsessed with promoting the drug, advisers say. While he is viewed by many colleagues as bombastic, sometimes uninformed and temperamental, he has maintained a close adviser spot in Trump's game-of-thrones White House by embracing and promoting issues like hydroxychloroquine and tariffs.
The FDA initially gave emergency use authorization to hydroxychloroquine in March based on scant evidence. The agency in April issued a safety warning about potential cardiac problems before withdrawing its approval last month.
The Henry Ford study, which involved more than 2,400 patients hospitalized between March and May, found death rates were 50 percent lower among the patients treated with hydroxychloroquine, the authors said. They also noted the drug posed no safety problems.
Henry Ford officials said the results were different from other studies that didn't show effects from the drug because they treated patients soon after they were hospitalized and used different dosages. They said they asked the FDA for emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine ''for a clearly defined list of clinical uses,'' including trials. The health system declined to make the authors available and the FDA said it would not comment on any pending submission.
''The FDA needs to very carefully and quickly consider the Detroit request '-- China virus cases are rising, Americans are dying, and hydroxychloroquine appears to be a very effective weapon when used in early treatment with virtually no downside risk,'' Navarro said. He said he had talked to someone at the FDA about the issue but declined to identify the person.
But the Henry Ford study has been sharply criticized by scientists who said it shouldn't be used to change policy. It was an observational study, considered much less rigorous than a randomized trial, in which patients are randomly assigned to receive a treatment or not. And its results fly in the face of three major randomized trials that have found hydroxycloroquine is not effective in treating or preventing covid-19.
Critics also noted that twice as many of the Henry Ford patients who received hydroxychloroquine also got a steroid '-- which has been shown to benefit covid-19 patients '-- compared to those who didn't get hydroxychloroquine. That made it hard to know which drug benefited the patients, they said. The authors made statistical adjustments to account for that, but other scientists said the methodology wasn't clear and that it is very hard to correct studies in that way.
''You want to look at the totality of the data,'' said Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. ''The totality is overwhelmingly in the opposite direction. You have to conclude with the Henry Ford study is an outlier and there's some kind of confounder that is skewing the data and not representing the truth.''
Doctors can still prescribe the drug for covid-19 because it is approved for other illnesses. But Navarro said that the FDA's safety warning and withdrawal of the emergency authorization had effectively killed demand. ''In my discussions with the FDA, they seemed unaware of the massive depressive effect their decisions have had on use of the medicine,'' he said.
Peter McCullough, an internist at Baylor University Medical Center, said he agreed with Navarro that the FDA should change its position. ''This is the public health crisis of the century and doctors should not have barriers,'' he said, noting that some state medical boards are making it hard for doctors to prescribe the drug.
In recent interviews, Giuliani, the president's lawyer, said the studies discounting hydroxychloroquine are bogus. ''They've thrown cold water on it because they are academics,'' he said, adding he has taken the drug three times without side effects.
Test results so far have been ''silly,'' he said, adding that a police officer friend and others in New York have succeeded after taking it. ''They don't know what they're talking about,'' he said of doctors warning against it.,
Hahn, who declined to be interviewed for this story, has said repeatedly that the FDA makes its decisions based on science and data and that he has never felt political pressure to take any specific action. He has said the agency will continue to make decisions based on those factors, not political ones.
Any decision about reauthorizing hydroxychloroquine will be made by FDA career scientists, said an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal processes.
Many scientists said they doubted the FDA would move to reauthorize hydroxychloroquine based on the Detroit study, considering the price the agency might pay in credibility.
''When future coronavirus vaccines come up for FDA approval, the public should have full confidence that the FDA will make the correct decision to protect the public health by ensuring that vaccines are safe and effective,'' said David Boulware, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Minnesota Medical School who conducted one of the major clinical trials on hydroxychloroquine.
Peter Lurie, a former top FDA official during the Obama administration, agreed it was unlikely hydroxychloroquine would be reauthorized. ''That would be an about face of an about face,'' he said. Referring to the Washington suburb where the agency is located, he added, ''White Oak will be suffering from dizziness if that keeps happening.''
Ariana Eunjung Cha contributed to this story.
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68% Have Antibodies in This Clinic. Can a Neighborhood Beat a Next Wave? - The New York Times
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:01
Data from those tested at a storefront medical office in Queens is leading to a deeper understanding of the outbreak's scope in New York.
Some neighborhoods, like Corona in Queens, were so hard hit during the peak of the coronavirus epidemic that they might now have herd immunity. Credit... Victor J. Blue for The New York Times Published July 9, 2020Updated July 10, 2020
At a clinic in Corona, a working-class neighborhood in Queens, more than 68 percent of people tested positive for antibodies to the new coronavirus. At another clinic in Jackson Heights, Queens, that number was 56 percent. But at a clinic in Cobble Hill, a mostly white and wealthy neighborhood in Brooklyn, only 13 percent of people tested positive for antibodies.
As it has swept through New York, the coronavirus has exposed stark inequalities in nearly every aspect of city life, from who has been most affected to how the health care system cared for those patients. Many lower-income neighborhoods, where Black and Latino residents make up a large part of the population, were hard hit, while many wealthy neighborhoods suffered much less.
But now, as the city braces for a possible second wave of the virus, some of those vulnerabilities may flip, with the affluent neighborhoods becoming most at risk of a surge. According to antibody test results from CityMD that were shared with The New York Times, some neighborhoods were so exposed to the virus during the peak of the epidemic in March and April that they might have some protection during a second wave.
''Some communities might have herd immunity,'' said Dr. Daniel Frogel, a senior vice president for operations at CityMD, which plays a key role in the city's testing program.
The CityMD statistics '-- which Dr. Frogel provided during an interview and which reflect tests done between late April and late June '-- appear to present the starkest picture yet of how infection rates have diverged across neighborhoods in the city.
As of June 26, CityMD had administered about 314,000 antibody tests in New York City. Citywide, 26 percent of the tests came back positive.
But Dr. Frogel said the testing results in Jackson Heights and Corona seemed to ''jump off the map.''
While stopping short of predicting that those neighborhoods would be protected against a major new outbreak of the virus '-- a phenomenon known as herd immunity '-- several epidemiologists said that the different levels of antibody prevalence across the city are likely to play a role in what happens next, assuming that antibodies do in fact offer significant protection against future infection.
''In the future, the infection rate should really be lower in minority communities,'' said Kitaw Demissie, an epidemiologist and the dean of the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.
Dr. Ted Long, the executive director of the city's contact-tracing program, said that while much remained unknown about the strength and duration of the protection that antibodies offer, he was hopeful that hard-hit communities like Corona would have some degree of protection because of their high rate of positive tests. ''We hope that that will confer greater herd immunity,'' he said.
Neighborhoods that had relatively low infection rates '-- and where few residents have antibodies '-- are especially vulnerable going forward. There could be some degree of ''catch up'' among neighborhoods, said Prof. Denis Nash, an epidemiology professor at the CUNY School of Public Health.
But he added that even if infection rate were to climb in wealthier neighborhoods, ''there are advantages to being in the neighborhoods that are hit later.'' For one, doctors have become somewhat more adept at treating severe cases.
Image Many residents of neighborhoods like Elmhurst, in Queens, had to continue working during the peak. Credit... Brittainy Newman/The New York Times Some epidemiologists and virologists cautioned that not enough data exists to conclude that any areas have herd immunity. For starters, the fact that 68.4 percent of tests taken at an urgent care center in Corona came back positive does not mean that 68.4 percent of residents had been infected.
''For sure, the persons who are seeking antibody testing probably have a higher likelihood of being positive than the general population,'' said Professor Nash. ''If you went out in Corona and tested a representative sample, it wouldn't be 68 percent.''
So far, the federal government has released relatively little data from antibody testing '-- making the CityMD data all the more striking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for instance, has published limited data that suggested that 6.93 percent of residents in New York City and part of Long Island had antibodies. But that survey was based on samples collected mainly in March, before many infected New Yorkers might have developed antibodies.
New York State conducted a more comprehensive survey on antibody rates, which involved testing some 28,419 people across the state. That survey suggested that roughly 21.6 percent of New York City residents had antibodies. But it also revealed a much higher rate in some neighborhoods. While the state has released little data from Queens, its numbers showed that in Flatbush, Brooklyn, for example, about 45 percent of those tested had antibodies.
The CityMD data provides similar conclusions. At a location in Bushwick, a Brooklyn neighborhood which has a large Hispanic population and where the median household income is below the citywide average, some 35 percent of antibody tests were positive, according to Dr. Frogel.
Image More than 56 percent of patients at one clinic in Jackson Heights, Queens, tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. Credit... Juan Arredondo for The New York Times Dr. Frogel said that across the Bronx, which has had the city's highest death rate from Covid-19, about 37 percent of antibody tests were turning up positive.
The CityMD in Corona, on Junction Boulevard, serves a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood whose residents include many construction workers and restaurant employees. Many had to work throughout the pandemic, raising their risk of infection.
Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, called the high positive rate in Corona ''a stunning finding.'' Epidemiologists said the rate showed the limits of New York's strategy in curtailing the virus: While public health measures may have slowed the spread in some neighborhoods, they did far less for others.
There are reasons parts of Queens were hit so hard. Homes in Elmhurst and parts of Corona are especially crowded '-- the highest rate of household crowding in the city, according to census bureau data from 2014. Given that transmission among family members is a leading driver of the disease's spread, it is unsurprising that crowded households have been associated with higher risk of infection.
For residents of Corona, the main sources of employment are jobs in hospitality, including restaurants, as well as construction and manufacturing, according to a 2019 report by the Citizens' Committee for Children of New York. Many construction workers and restaurant employees showed up to work throughout the pandemic, elevating their risk of infection.
''Our plan did not really accommodate essential workers as it did people privileged enough '-- for lack of a better word '-- to socially distance themselves,'' Professor Nash said. He said that one lesson of the past few months was that the city needed to better protect essential workers '-- everyone from grocery store employees to pharmacy cashiers '-- and make sure they had sufficient protective equipment.
Epidemiologists have estimated that at least 60 percent of a population '-- and perhaps as much as 80 percent '-- would need immunity before ''herd immunity'' is reached, and the virus can no longer spread widely in that community.
But scientists say it would be a mistake to base public health decisions off antibody rates across a population.
''Just looking at seroprevalence alone can't really be used to make actionable public health decisions,'' Dr. Rasmussen, the virologist at Columbia, said.
One reason is that the accuracy of the antibody tests is not fully known, nor is the extent of immunity conferred by antibodies or how long that immunity lasts. Dr. Rasmussen noted that the ''magical number of 60 percent for herd immunity'' assumes that everyone infected has complete protection from a second infection. ''But what about people with partial protection?'' she asked. ''They may not get sick, but they can get infected and pass it along.''
''It is premature to discuss herd immunity, since we are still learning what the presence of Covid-19 antibodies means to an individual and whether, or for how long, that conveys immunity; and we don't know how the level of immunity in a single community translates into herd immunity,'' said Jonah Bruno, a spokesman for the state Department of Health.
He said he was unsurprised by the high rate in Corona, and senior officials with the city's contact-tracing program and public hospital system agree. ''We know this area was disproportionately affected,'' said Dr. Andrew Wallach, a senior official in the city's public hospital system, ''so this just confirms what we've seen clinically.''
MMT
U.S. producer prices unexpectedly fall; underlying inflation stabilizing | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 18:29
Fri Jul 10, 2020 / 10:36 AM EDT
WASHINGTON WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. producer prices unexpectedly fell in June as rising costs for energy goods were offset by weakness in services, pointing to subdued inflation that should allow the Federal Reserve to keep pumping money into the economy to arrest a downward spiral.
Still, deflation remains unlikely as the economy battles depressed demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report from the Labor Department on Friday also showed underlying producer inflation ticked up last month.
Deflation, a decline in the general price level, is harmful during a recession as consumers and businesses may delay purchases in anticipation of lower prices. The economy slipped into recession in February. The Fed is injecting money into the economy through extraordinary measures while the government has provided nearly $3 trillion in fiscal stimulus.
"The message for Fed officials, if they needed convincing at all, is that the worst economy since the Great Depression is keeping inflationary pressures on the back burner for now and that interest rates will need to remain at very low levels for the next few years at a minimum," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.
The producer price index for final demand dropped 0.2% last month after rebounding 0.4% in May. In the 12 months through June, the PPI declined 0.8%, matching May's decrease.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the PPI would climb 0.4% in June and fall 0.2% on a year-on-year basis.
Excluding the volatile food, energy and trade services components, producer prices rose 0.3% in June. That was the biggest gain in the so-called core PPI since January and followed a 0.1% rise in May. In the 12 months through June, the core PPI edged down 0.1%. The core PPI dropped 0.4% on a year-on-year basis in May, which was the largest annual decrease since the introduction of the series in August 2013.
The Fed tracks the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index for its 2% inflation target. The core PCE price index increased 1.0% on a year-on-year basis in May, the smallest advance since December 2010. June's core PCE price index data will be released at the end of this month.
Stocks on Wall Street were trading higher. The dollar .DXY fell against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury prices rose.
SUPPLY DISRUPTIONS
With a record 33 million people on unemployment benefits, inflation is likely to remain soft. Though businesses have reopened after shuttering in mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19, new cases of the respiratory illness have surged in large parts of the country, causing uncertainty and curtailing domestic demand. Overseas demand has also tanked.
Gross domestic product is expected to have declined in the second quarter at its steepest pace since the Great Depression.
"COVID caused global demand to collapse, which is ultimately deflationary, but it also caused all kinds of supply disruptions, which are momentarily inflationary," said Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial in New York. "The result is generally falling prices amidst a great deal more price volatility than has become the norm in the past decade. Both were on display in this morning's PPI".
In June, wholesale food prices decreased 5.2% after surging 6.0% in May. Wholesale energy prices shot up 7.7% in June after rebounding 4.5% in the prior month. Gasoline prices rose 26.3% after accelerating 43.9% in May. Goods prices gained 0.2% last month after jumping 1.6% in May.
Excluding food and energy, goods prices inched up 0.1% last month after being unchanged in May.
The cost of services dropped 0.3% in June after falling 0.2% in the prior month. Services were weighed down by a 1.8% plunge in margins for final demand trade services, which measure changes in margins received by wholesalers and retailers.
A 7.3% drop in margins for machinery and vehicle wholesaling accounted for 80% of the decline in services last month. There were also decreases in the prices for apparel, jewelry, footwear and accessories.
But prices for hospital inpatient care jumped 0.8% after rising 0.4% in May. The cost of healthcare services gained 0.2%after increasing 0.5% in May. Portfolio management fees advanced 2.2%. That followed a 3.9% rebound in May. Those healthcare and portfolio management costs feed into the core PCE price index.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao)
CCP
Pietro Parolin - Wikipedia
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 04:55
Pietro Parolin (Italian pronunciation: [Ëpjɛːtro paroËlin] , Venetian: [paɾoËliŋ] ; born 17 January 1955) is an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church. A cardinal since February 2014, he has served as the Secretary of State since October 2013 and a member of the Council of Cardinal Advisers since July 2014. Before that he worked in the diplomatic service of the Holy See for thirty years, where his assignments included terms in Nigeria, Mexico and Venezuela as well as more than six years as Undersecretary of State for Relations with States.
Ordination history of Pietro Parolin
He speaks fluent Italian, English and French, and near-native Spanish.[1]
Early life Edit Parolin was born in Schiavon, Province of Vicenza, the son of a hardware store manager and an elementary school teacher. He has one sister and a brother. When he was ten years old, his father died in a car accident.[2] After he was ordained on 27 April 1980, he took up graduate studies in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University and in diplomacy at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. He entered the Holy See's diplomatic service in 1986 at the age of 31.
He served for three years in the Nunciature of Nigeria where he became familiar with the problems in Christian-Muslim relations.
At the Nunciature of Mexico from 1989 to 1992, he contributed to the final phase of the extensive work begun by Archbishop Girolamo Prigione which led to the legal recognition of the Catholic Church in 1992 and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Mexico after 130 years. These laborious negotiations led to Mexico officially shedding the country's secular and anti-clerical imprint, which extended to its Constitution.[2][3]
Working in Rome, he was country director for Spain, Andorra, Italy, and San Marino.
Undersecretary of State for Relations with States Edit Parolin was Undersecretary of State for Relations with States from 30 November 2002 to 17 August 2009.
Parolin has also been at the forefront of Vatican efforts to approve and implement the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Addressing the International Atomic Energy Agency on 18 September 2006, at its headquarters in Vienna, Parolin referred to this treaty as "the basis to pursue nuclear disarmament and an important element for further development of nuclear energy applications for peaceful purposes." He said: "Since this treaty is the only multilateral legal instrument currently available, intended to bring about a nuclear weapons-free world, it must not be allowed to be weakened. Humanity deserves no less than the full cooperation of all states in this important matter." Concerning international negotiations with respect to Iran's nuclear program, he said "that the present difficulties can and must be overcome through diplomatic channels, making use of all the means that diplomacy has at its disposal and considers necessary to eliminate all the elements which objectively impede mutual trust."[4]
In September 2007 at the opening of the UN he argued that, "We often hear in the halls of the United Nations of 'the responsibility to protect'. The Holy See believes that applies also in the context of climate change. States have a shared 'responsibility to protect' the world's climate through mitigation/adaptation, and above all a shared 'responsibility to protect' our planet and ensure that present and future generations be able to live in a healthy and safe environment".[5]
Parolin represented the Vatican in a variety of sensitive assignments, including trips to North Korea and Vietnam[6] as well as the 2007 Annapolis Conference on the Middle East convened by the Bush administration to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.[7]
As the Vatican's "deputy foreign minister" he dealt with all the sensitive dossiers on the Holy See's relations with Vietnam (he was partly responsible for paving the way to full diplomatic relations between the two) and the legal issues between the Vatican and Israel which remain unresolved. At the beginning of Pope Benedict's pontificate, direct contact was re-established with China.[2]
During his time as undersecretary Parolin scored some significant breakthroughs, such as cementing ties between the Holy See and Vietnam,[8] re-establishing direct contact with Beijing in 2005 and helping secure the liberation of 15 British navy personnel captured by Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf in April 2007.[9]
Nuncio Edit Monsignor Parolin during a mass in Caracas, July 2012
On 17 August 2009 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Parolin Titular Archbishop of Aquipendium and Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela.[10] He was consecrated a bishop on 12 September 2009 by Benedict, with Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone and William Cardinal Levada as co-consecrators. The Venezuela assignment was expected to be difficult, since conflicts between the State and the Church in Venezuela were on the rise as President Hugo Chavez attempted to advance his socialist revolution.[11]
Secretary of State Edit Obama meets Cardinal Parolin, 27 March 2014
On 31 August 2013, Pope Francis appointed Parolin Secretary of State, replacing Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Parolin took office on 15 October.[12][1]
Parolin became, at 58, the youngest Secretary of State since 1929, when Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) was appointed to the position at the age of 53. He said: "The pope's initiatives have given the secretary of state an impetus and have also created a new diplomatic momentum." When asked if he would be spearheading a new diplomatic offensive for peace, he noted that it was a complicated question but said, "Yes, I hope that we can recoup" that drive. "We have this great advantage in respect to other churches, to other religions: We can count on an international institutional presence through diplomacy," he said.[13]
On 16 December, Parolin was named to a five-year renewable term as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.[14] On 19 February 2014 he was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.[15]
Parolin was made Cardinal-Priest of Santi Simone e Giuda Taddeo a Torre Angela at a papal general consistory on 22 February 2014.[16] He attended meetings of the Council of Cardinal Advisers on a regular basis and in July 2014 became the Council's ninth member.[17]
In 2014 Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro invited Cardinal Parolin to mediate talks between his government and opposition in hopes of stemming violence that has killed dozens in the nation's worst unrest in a decade. He asked that Parolin, a former nuncio to Venezuela be named a "good faith witness" to a dialogue the [parties had agreed upon after two months of protests. Venezuela's opposition coalition had indicated that current nuncio, Archbishop Aldo Giordano, would be attending the first formal talks. Henrique Capriles, the opposition's two-time presidential candidate who narrowly lost an election to Maduro the year before, confirmed he would take part in the discussions.[18]
In December 2014 Cardinal Parolin asked the U.S. to find an "adequate humanitarian solution" for prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, a reflection of Pope Francis' concern that prisoners be treated with dignity and not be subject to inhumane treatment. Parolin made the request during a Vatican meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The Vatican said they discussed the U.S. commitment to closing the facility and that Parolin expressed the Holy See's desire that "favourable attention be paid to finding adequate humanitarian solutions for current inmates".[19]
The Holy See was credited with playing a major role in the reestablishment of U.S.-Cuba relations.[20][21] Parolin moderated the October 2014 meeting between Cuban and U.S. officials as their negotiations neared an agreement.[22] In 2015, Cardinal Parolin was asked whether the normalisation of Cuba '' U.S. relations pointed toward a new "golden age" of Vatican diplomacy. He said that "the president of the United States has already thanked the Pope for the support he has given to this important step" and said: "Holy See diplomacy is always there, to help to build bridges". Parolin also said the Holy See's diplomacy "is now more active'...(not only) waiting, but also proposing (solutions for peace), since there are so many conflicts."[23]
Parolin called for an intervention in Libya to stop a possible alliance between the country's Islamic government and the Islamic State. Parolin spoke about the chaos there after ISIS beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, describing the incident as "terrifying" and the situation "grave". He stressed the need for "a quick response". Parolin added that "any armed intervention must be carried forward under the framework of international law" and "under the umbrella of the United Nations".[24][25]
In May 2015, after the passage of the Marriage Equality Referendum in Ireland, which extended marriage rights to same-sex couples, Parolin said: "I was very saddened by this result. I don't think we can speak only about a defeat for Christian principles, but a defeat for humanity."[26][27] In June 2015, he visited Abu Dhabi to inaugurate Saint Paul's Church in Musaffah, the city's the second Catholic parish .[28]
Cardinal Parolin has stressed the importance of continuity. He believes Pope Francis simply tries to guide the church to be the church of Christ and that he is not starting a revolution. He defends the importance of unchangeable dogmas and asserts the relevance of sacred tradition. He said celibacy is a discipline that could be changed but that it cannot simply be dismissed as outdated.[29] In a keynote speech at the Pontifical Gregorian University in February 2016, Cardinal Parolin defended celibacy as a "gift" that must be received and nurtured with "joyful perseverance" and criticized the suggestion that the shortage of vocations be addressed by modifying the requirement of priestly celibacy.[30]
In May 2016 Parolin visited Estonia to mark the 25th anniversary of the reintroduction of diplomatic relations between Estonia and the Holy See. He spoke at the University of Tartu on the precise meaning of their international relations.[31]
Parolin was appointed a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in October 2016.
Following the resignation of Marie Collins from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Parolin said she quit because she wanted to "shake the tree" in the Vatican. Collins said some members of the Church's administration, the Roman Curia, have hindered and blocked the commission's efforts, naming the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Parolin called the lack of cooperation from some Vatican offices "shameful".[32]
Parolin told Italy's La Stampa the flow of migrants and refugees into Europe is testing "the spirit of solidarity and subsidiarity" of the European Union, and acknowledged the large number of people fleeing to the continent poses a security problem. "Terrorism certainly finds fertile ground in poverty, lack of jobs, and social marginalization", he said, adding that since World War II, Europe has tried to "free itself" from its cultural heritage and values, and this has created a vacuum in which young people cannot find the answers to their existential questions.[33]
In 2017, Parolin became the Vatican's first Secretary of State in 19 years to visit Moscow.[34]
Parolin shakes hands with US Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo in 2019
In a 2018 interview, Cardinal Joseph Zen said "Pope Francis does not know the real Communist Party in China, but Parolin should know. He was there [in the Secretariat of State] so many years, so he must know. He may be happy to encourage the pope to be optimistic about the negotiations ... but that's dangerous. Pope Francis needs someone to calm him down from his enthusiasm." He added that "It seems the Secretary of State wants to have a solution anyway. He is so optimistic. That's dangerous. I told the pope that he [Parolin] has a poisoned mind. He is very sweet, but I have no trust in this person. He believes in diplomacy, not in our faith."[35][36] Parolin countered that "no personal point of view can be considered as an exclusive interpreter of what is good for Chinese Catholics" and said: "If someone is asked to make a sacrifice, small or great, it must be clear to everyone that this is not the price of a political exchange, but falls within the evangelical perspective of a greater good, the good of the Church of Christ."[37]
Parolin has been called papabile, a candidate to succeed Francis as pope.[38][39][40]
Pope Francis raised him to the rank of Cardinal Bishop effective 28 June 2018.[41]
In October 2018, Cardinal Parolin said that, Paul VI rejected a version of Humane Vitae that ''was limited to a rigorous reaffirmation of doctrine to which Christians and all people were asked to adhere docilely and without reservation''. Post-publication debates, Cardinal Parolin said, made it impossible for many people to see its accent on mercy.[42]
In 2019, Cardinal defending the Holy See-China agreement on the appointment of bishops, ''We signed this agreement to help advance religious freedom, to find normalization for the Catholic community there, and then for all other religions to have space and a role to play in society which is recognized,'' Parolin told journalists 3 April. Steve Bannon said he may lead a lawsuit to compel the Holy See to release the text of the deal under the terms of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.[43]
Distinctions Edit Italy: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic[44] Germany: Commander Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Romania: Order of the Star of Romania Mexico: Band of the Order of the Aztec Eagle[45]See also Edit Cardinals created by FrancisReferences Edit ^ a b Povoledo, Elisabetta (31 August 2013). "Pope Appoints Diplomat as Vatican Secretary of State". New York Times . Retrieved 11 July 2017 . ^ a b c "The talents of the priest and diplomat Fr. Pietro Parolin". Vatican Insider. 30 August 2013 . Retrieved 31 August 2013 . ^ "Kard. Parolin otrzymał najwyższe odznaczenie Meksyku '' Artykuł". Niedziela.pl. 11 July 2014 . Retrieved 10 April 2017 . ^ "Holy See Insists on Need for Nuclear Disarmament". Zenit. 5 October 2006 . Retrieved 31 May 2018 . ^ "Intervention by the Holy See at the High-Level Event on Climate Change Entitled 'The Future is in Our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change ' ". Holy See Press Office. 24 September 2007 . Retrieved 31 May 2018 . ^ "Francis reboots Vatican system with new Secretary of State". National Catholic Reporter. 31 August 2013 . Retrieved 11 July 2017 . ^ Allen Jr., John L. (26 November 2007). "Parolin to represent the Holy See at Annapolis". National Catholic Reporter . Retrieved 11 July 2017 . ^ "Religious freedom, diplomatic relations in talks between Holy See and Hanoi". Asia News (PIME). 20 February 2009 . Retrieved 31 May 2018 . ^ "Cardinal Parolin Played Key Role in U.S.-Cuba Negotiations". National Catholic Register. 18 December 2014 . Retrieved 31 May 2018 . ^ "Rinunce e nomine, 17.08.2009" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 17 August 2009 . Retrieved 24 June 2019 . ^ Allen, Jr., John L. (18 August 2009). "Pope sends top diplomat to deal with Chavez". National Catholic Reporter . Retrieved 28 June 2018 . ^ "Il Papa nomina Mons. Pietro Parolin nuove segretario di stato" (in Italian). Vatican Radio. 31 August 2013 . Retrieved 31 August 2013 . ^ Glatz, Carol (9 September 2013). "Vatican's new top diplomat ready to ramp up network for peace". Catholic News Service . Retrieved 11 July 2017 . ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 16.12.2013" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 16 December 2013 . Retrieved 30 May 2018 . ^ "Pope Confirms Cardinal Sandri as Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches". Zenit. 19 February 2015 . Retrieved 30 May 2018 . ^ "Consistoro Ordinario Pubblico per la Creazione dei Nuovi Cardinali: Assegnazione dei Titoli o delle Diaconie ai Nuovi Porporati, 22.02.2014" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 22 February 2014 . Retrieved 30 May 2018 . ^ "Pope and "C9" express esteem for Von Freyberg and changes are on the horizon for the IOR". La Stampa. 2 July 2014 . Retrieved 30 May 2018 . ^ "Venezuela reaches out to Vatican No. 2 to mediate crisis". Reuters. ^ "Vatican asks US to find 'humanitarian solution' for Guantnamo prisoners". The Guardian. 15 December 2014. ^ John Hooper. "Renewed US-Cuba relations biggest success in Vatican diplomacy in decades". The Guardian. ^ "Cardinal Parolin: on Holy See's role in US/Cuba agreement". Vatican Radio. ^ Yardley, Jim; Piangiani, Gaia (17 December 2014). "Pope Francis Is Credited With a Crucial Role in U.S.-Cuba Agreement". New York Times . Retrieved 11 July 2017 . ^ "Top Vatican Official: Washington, NYC likely stops on papal trip". Catholic News Agency. ^ "Vatican Secretary of State urges 'quick response' to crisis in Libya". Catholic News Agency. ^ "Cardinal Parolin: Action needed in Libya, but through the United Nations". Vatican Radio. 18 February 2015 . Retrieved 11 July 2017 . ^ "Vatican says Ireland gay marriage vote is 'defeat for humanity ' ". The Guardian. 27 May 2015. ^ "Vatican cardinal calls Irish gay vote 'defeat for humanity ' ". Financial Times. 27 May 2015. ^ "Second catholic church in Abu Dhabi inaugurated". Khaleej Times. 12 June 2015 . Retrieved 12 November 2015 . ^ Allen Jr., John L. (11 September 2013). "New Secretary of State Parolin on celibacy, democrac". National Catholic Reporter . Retrieved 9 April 2017 . ^ "Cardinal Parolin: scrapping celibacy is no solution to vocations crisis". The Tablet. 9 February 2016 . Retrieved 9 April 2017 . ^ "Card. Parolin defines diplomatic relations of the Holy See". Vatican Radio. 11 May 2016 . Retrieved 9 April 2017 . ^ McElwee, Joshua J. (6 March 2017). "Cardinal Muller responds to Collins and defends not answering survivors' letters". National Catholic Reporter . Retrieved 11 July 2017 . ^ "Top Vatican official says Europe in a 'deep malaise ' ". CRUX. 22 March 2017 . Retrieved 11 July 2017 . ^ "The Vatican's secretary of state visits Moscow for the first time in 19 years". The Economist. 25 August 2017 . Retrieved 26 August 2017 . ^ White, Christopher (16 October 2017). "Cardinal says pope's top diplomat has 'poisoned mind' on China". Crux . Retrieved 30 May 2018 . ^ Collins, Charles (29 January 2018). "Cardinal Zen attacks Vatican efforts to rehabilitate government-appointed Chinese bishops". Crux . Retrieved 30 May 2018 . ^ "Cardinal Parolin defends Vatican's strategy in China". Catholic Herald. 31 January 2018 . Retrieved 30 May 2018 . ^ "Un Cardenal "papabile" visita M(C)xico". AFN Tijuana (in Spanish). Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias. 17 July 2014 . Retrieved 30 May 2018 . ^ Drew, Mark (9 November 2017). "How Cardinal Parolin won the Vatican civil war". Catholic Herald . Retrieved 30 May 2018 . ^ Magister, Sandro (4 October 2017). "E dopo Francesco? ecco tre candidati". L'Espresso (in Italian) . Retrieved 30 May 2018 . ^ "Rescriptum ex Audientia Ss.mi" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 26 June 2018 . Retrieved 28 June 2018 . ^ Wooden, Cindy (19 October 2018). " ' Battlefield' of polemics in writing 'Humanae' clouded stress on mercy". Catholic Philly. Archived from the original on 3 August 2019 . Retrieved 6 July 2020 . ^ Facing criticism of China deal, Vatican's top diplomat says 'be patient' ^ "Dettaglio decorato '' Parolin Rev.mo Mons. Pietro" (in Italian). Presidenza della Repubblica . Retrieved 31 August 2013 . ^ "Diario Oficial de la Federaci"n" (in Spanish). DOF. 14 July 2014 . Retrieved 10 April 2017 . Additional sourcesPentin, Edward (3 September 2013). "Pope Picks Highly Credentialed Diplomat for Vatican Secretary of State". National Catholic Register . Retrieved 4 June 2018 . External links Edit "Parolin Card. Pietro". Holy See Press Office. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017 . Retrieved 23 November 2017 . Interview, Nuncio to Venezuela, 2013
Benedict's End Game is to save the Church from Freemasonry | FromRome.Info
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 17:32
by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
Or, what Sherlock Holmes would say about the case of the Incongruous RenunciationI have always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes, the fictional private detective in late Victorian England, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to popularize the new method of forensic investigation among the public police forces of his day.
As Sir Arthur writes in his Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes: ''It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important''.
This maxim is actually something the great Scholastic Theologians of the Catholic Church would readily agree too, because they held that every individual effect is marked by its causes. Thus, every small detail about everything, says something about the causes of that detail. We have only to study the details to find the clues.
Here at the From Rome blog I have applied this method to the controversies over the vote rigging at the Conclave of 2013, which I have extensively examined. (You can see all the articles at The Chronology of Reports about ''Team Bergoglio''), and to those about Benedict's Renunciation (See the topical Index to Benedict's Renunciation).
In this post, I want to share a lingering doubt I have about Benedict's renunciation which I cannot shake, because it is seemingly confirmed by a host of details which have been overlooked by everyone, but which all point to the same conclusion, namely Benedict's disgust with the College of Cardinals, not just as men, but as an institution.
Anomalies, AnomaliesAs as translator of not a few Papal Bulls and Latin texts, when I examined the Latin of the Declaration of Feb. 11, 2013, the first thing which struck me was the the phrase ab his quibus competit. This phrase stuck me, because in Latin, which is a Language which is eminently laconic, it is a lot easier to write ab Cardinalibus electoribus. Why say, that the new supreme pontiff is to be elected by those who are competent to do so, and not by the Cardinal electors?
This question grows with a sense of significance, when you realize that Pope Benedict, according to the testimony of Archbishop G¤nswein, wrote the text himself. And even more so, when you consider he wrote this text to be read out in the presence of the Cardinals themselves! In the refined halls of power, such a statement is much more than a faux paux, it is a positive insult and reproof. It is as if he is saying that the Cardinal Electors are not competent to elect a supreme pontiff. It is even more like saying, that his successor will not be elected by Cardinals at all!
This one small detail is something over which Sherlock Holmes would have had a panic attack of brain storming, because it is so incongruous of a statement to make in such a situation as a papal resignation, that it has to have causes which are not yet so obvious but which are crucial to understanding what happened and why it happened and what it all means.
I get a lot of guff and criticism for my speculations at this blog, mostly from those who do not appreciate the forensic method or the power of observation. As a trained anthropologist I understand why they do not understand and I understand why they are wrong in being oblivious to small facts. I know from the history of Archeology that entire theories of explanation of ancient, long lost cultures, were over turned by the finding of a single artifact, or a common artifact in a bizarre position or location. So I know professionally, that the methodology of Sherlock Holmes is not a fictional fantasy, but a real life powerful method of investigation and discovery.
If you find one anomaly, look for othersA single anomaly is hard to interpret, because as the Scholastics say, the individual which is the sole member of its species cannot be understood in itself. This means that when you find one anomaly, you need to look for more evidence and try to seek its causes. Other anomalies are the most important things to find, because then they establish a network of causes which can reveal the true meaning behind each anomaly. This is because it is harder to hide something in everything, than in a single thing.
The second anomaly which I noticed as translator of the Declaratio is that the Vatican had falsified all the vernacular translations. I reported this in the Article, The Vatican has known all along that Benedict's Renunciation was invalid as written, and here is the proof. A brief summary translation of which, can be found in Italian at ChiesaRomana.info.
The obvious inference is that those who came into power after Benedict's renunciation were trying to hide the evidence. But the less obvious inference is that Benedict wrote a renunciation which was obviously invalid and they were trying to hide the obviousness of it. And from that we can safely infer that there was a conflict between Benedict and whom he knew or suspected would come into power after his resignation. This final inference supports an understanding of the first anomaly, that Benedict was calling the Cardinal electors incompetent to elect a supreme pontiff.
This leads to an understanding which like a key can be used to decode the Declaratio. Now it is clear why Benedict calls himself the Successor of Saint Peter, but calls the one to be elected the new Supreme Pontiff. ''Supreme'' smacks of dictatorship and thus points to a Peronist. We can be certain that Benedict knew that Bergoglio was going to be elected because Bergoglio was the leading candidate in the previous conclave, and because Benedict was elected in opposition to Bergoglio. That opposition having crumbled in the College of Cardinals, it was obvious who would prevail. Benedict also as Pope had the resources of the Vatican spy network so he probably always knew what Bergoglio was up to prior to the conclave to suborn others and expand his power networks. The recent history of the European Bishops' Conference, written by the the Bishop of St Gallen, shows that Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger knew well of the existence of the St Gallen Group even before 1992. So we can be sure that Ratzinger maintained a dossier on them and kept his eye on them. We know now, that as Pope, most of his Pontificate was in preaching against the very errors, heresies and deviations which Bergoglio is now promoting. We know this by comparing what he was teaching with what Bergoglio is teaching, and it is a direct contradiction of it.
From all this, then, we can say decisively and with great certitude that the Declaratio was written to oppose the St Gallen Mafia and to lay down a maneuver against them. It was not a surrender, but it was made to look like a surrender. I explained my theory about this in the Article entitled, How Benedict has defeated ''Francis''.
And because this was its primary motivation, for it to be successful Benedict had to decide from the beginning to be extremely discrete and divulge his intention with no one, not even G¤nswein. I have long thought that this inference was improbable, but I recently obtained proof that Pope Benedict does not tell his private secretary everything, in the video prepared by Bavarian State TV, entitled, Ein Besuch bei Papst Benedikt XVI. em. Klein Bayern im Vatikan, which aired on January 3 in Germany. For in that video, Benedict reveals that there are things in his office of which he never told the Archbishop. And the Archbishop expresses both surprise and dismay.
The Crown of all AnomaliesIt was only, however, when I took it upon myself to examine the Latin text with the eye of a Latin teacher correcting the homework of a student, that I found the crown of all anomalies. Yes, I found more than 40 grammatical, syntactical and stylistic errors. So many that it seemed to me impossible a pope could write such a thing. Either he was handed it to be signed, or he wrote it in haste, or he intentionally made it sloppy Latin to conceal something from obvious view. For, if you have ever watched British TV, and were a fan of Doctor Who, then you know, that the best place to hide a key is on a wall designed to hang dozens of keys, for there you can not only hide it in plain view, but hide it in such a way that it cannot be found or stolen.
And thus I was led to infer that Benedict was hiding something in the text, something more than just an invalid resignation of ministerium instead of munus. So I re-read the text and looked for anomalies, and now I wish to speak openly of what I found, of which I did not speak openly before in my Articles entitled, Clamorous Errors in the Latin Text of the Renunciation and A Nonsensical Act: What the Latin of the Renunciation really says.
And Benedict hid this anomaly right up front, in the place you would least expect to hide anything. I refer to the very first sentence of the Declaratio:
Non solum propter tres canonizationes ad hoc Consistorium vos convocavi, sed etiam ut vobis decisionem magni momenti pro Ecclesiae vita communicem.
As I said before, I have always thought it significant that Pope Benedict was promoting the study of Saint Bonaventure's Scholastic Theology more and more during the later years of his Pontificate. That Doctor of the Church is an expert on the interpretation of textual statements. But that Doctor of the Church has his own way of using Latin. So being the translator of his Commentarii in Quatuor Libros Sententiarum, I just happened to have a great familiarity with the Latin of Bonaventure. And that made me see something of which I think no other has taken notice.
It is the word decisionem.
Latinists were focusing on the word immediately prior to this, vobis, because the Latin verb communicem takes an object with the preposition cum and thus requires vobiscum not vobis.
They then proceeded to simply fault Benedict for his poor choice of words, in writing decisionem instead of consilium. And in my critique I reported their opinions of this matter.
But what I did not report is my shock at the seeing the word decisionem, because in the writings of Bonaventure this word always means a ''cutting off'', and has the sense of an amputation or pruning, as is done to a vine. Recall that in Scripture, Our Lord Himself says that He has to occasionally prune His people to take away dead branches and promote regrowth and fruitfulness. If you know anything about Joseph Ratzinger, then you know that as a theologian he likes to weave discourses around the meanings of Biblical images and words. Thus, one is led to the conclusion that he chose decisionem for reasons more significant than apparent.
If you combine that meaning with vobis and ignore the presumption that the latter was intended as vobiscum, the entire meaning of the sentence changes to something so radically unexpected, that only one having unraveled the chain of inferences and made a study of the anomalies in the text could possibly be prepared to accept that Benedict might indeed have meant that which the Latin actually says. Which is as follows:
Not only for the sake of three acts of canonizations, have I called you to this Consistory, but also for the sake of the life of the Church to communicate something of great importance: your being cut off.
As I just said, this reading seems incredible, but it explains all the anomalies which I have heretofore found in the text and in the history of the Renunciation. The purpose of the Declaratio was NOT to renounce the papal office, it was to Uproot the College of Cardinals as an institution from the Church, so as to save the Catholic Church from the complete Masonic infiltration of that institution.
We know now, seven years on, that the College of Cardinals has shown perfect compliance with the Freemasonic regime of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and even its most conservative Cardinals have pledged unswerving loyalty to that regime. We also know that it has been a century long project of Freemasonry to infiltrate the College so as to take over the Catholic Church from the top down. We also know that Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI were well informed by Saints and private revelations of the coming battle with the Anti-Church and False Prophet. Finally, we know that both collaborated decisively to renew the canonical penalties of excommunication against Freemasons in the Church (Declaration on Masonic Associations, Nov. 26 1983.) in forma specifica, that is, in the most solemn and authoritative manner of an express Papal approbation of a notice given the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
It makes sense, then, if you know a key fort containing the greatest treasure of your kingdom is going to fall to the enemy, because of a complete treachery and rebellion of the military commanders holding it for you, the wisest council is to allow it to fall, without advising those commanders, while secretly removing the treasure, so that they are deceived in thinking they have triumphed and so that your removal of the treasure can be conducted in safety and during the confusion of their gleeful and exuberant seizing of the fort.
And this is what it seems Benedict did and intended to do. It also explains why Benedict acts the way he does and refuses to clarify his situation. Why he does not even take the Archbishop into his confidence. It also explains a lot of other things, which did not seem entirely anomalous before. For example, in his final year of pontificate, he made both Muller and Ganswein Archbishops, but not Cardinals, as if for his closest of friends he somehow did not want them to be members of that College.
If all these observations and inferences are correct, then one can with great probity conclude that it is the intention of Pope Benedict that after his earthly demise, that the Church of Rome, and not the College of Cardinals, who are held fast in a solidarity of dissent with Bergoglio, elect his successor: a thing about which I speculated about in my Article, Whether with all the Cardinal electors defecting, the Roman Church has the right to elect the Pope? And a thing of which even Pope John Paul II alludes in a most cryptic manner in the papal law on conclaves in his introduction, where he says, that it is a well established fact that a conclave of Cardinals is not necessary for a valid election of a Roman Pontiff (Universi Dominici Gregis, Introduction, paragraph 9).
Indeed, a study of the history of papal renunciations and the canons of the Church shows, that it was Pope John Paul II, in 1983, who by adding munus as the canonically required object of the verb ''renounce'' in canon 332 §2, actually created the canonical possibility of an invalid renunciation in the case of a pope who renounced something other than the petrine munus! A very small alteration, but one which not only prevented the office from being shared, according to the loony and heretical speculations of German theologians, but allowed a Roman Pontiff to give the appearance of a valid resignation, so as to deceive the forces of Freemasonry in the Church.
Now all this seems absurdly immoral, but in truth it is neither illegal nor illicit. For since the man who is the pope has the canonical right to renounce the petrine munus, it follows ex maiore that he has the moral right to renounce anything less than the munus. In cases of grave threat, he also has the moral right to dissimulate. Thus by renouncing the ministerium, not the munus, Pope Benedict posited an act which power hungry men without respect for the law or for the truth or for the person of the pope, would overlook during their rush to convene an invalid conclave. And thus their own fault and sin and haste would result in their canonical separation from the Church through an act of schism and usurpation. Yet, by renouncing the ministerium and not the munus, as required by Canon Law, Pope Benedict left sufficient evidence for all the Catholic faithful in the world to discover the truth, a thing of which he was confident they could do, because the quasi soul of the true Church is the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Inspirer of all truth, Who guides His faithful always to and in the truth.
In this way, both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have acted with great foresight and angelic prudence over the last 4 decades to enable that the Office of Saint Peter pass, not through the hands of men who have betrayed Christ en masse, but through the hands of the faithful of the Church of Rome, who precisely on account of their fidelity to the Roman Pontiff according to the norm of law, recognize what he has done and why he has done it.
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The Vatican has known all along that Benedict's renunciation was invalid as written, and here's the proof! | FromRome.Info
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 17:59
The Falsified Letter of Pope Benedict was not a novelty, the Vatican had already falsified all the translations of Benedict's Act of Renunciation.By Br. Alexis Bugnolo
April 8, 2019 A.D. '-- The Vatican has known all along that Pope Benedict's Act of Renunciation was not in conformity with the requirements of Pope John Paul II's Code of Canon Law, and the documentary evidence to prove it has been published by the Vatican for 6 years.
The Code of Canon Law requires that the man who is Pope resign in a specific manner, in in the Canon 332 §2:
§ 2. Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validitatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero ut a quopiam acceptetur.
The literal English translation of this Canon reads:
§2. If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounce his MUNUS, there is required for validity that the renunciation be made freely and manifested duly, but nto that it be accepted by anyone whomsoever.
But the text of the renunciation in the Latin original reads thus:
Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso renuntiare'...
The correct translation of this key text is:
On which account, well aware of the weight of this act, I declare with full liberty, that I renounce the Ministry of the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter, committed to me through the hands of the Cardinals on the 19th of April 2005, '...
This glaring ERROR of mistaking the ESSENTIAL object of a papal renunciation as regarding the Petrine Ministry instead of the Petrine Munus (office) made the act have no legal effect (cf. canon 126 and 188).
BUT TO HIDE THIS INVALIDITY, the Vatican HAS PUBLISHED FALSIFIED translations into the vernacular of the act, which specifically ALTER the nature of the act and conceal that invalidity. This was one of the key and necessary acts of the Coup d'etat, of February 2013, of which I wrote previously.
The FALSIFICATIONS are these:
In all the translations, the double occurrence of the word MUNUS, in the Latin original is CONCEALED by translating it with the same word used to translate the Latin MINISTERIUM, which occurs thrice in the text.The syntax of the clause of effect which follows the verb RENUNIET in the Latin, has been altered to make it appear to allow a metanymic manner of signification, when in the Latin it permits NO SUCH reading.The syntax of the second independent clause following the DECLARO has been altered to make it appear as definitive command to convene a Conclave.These 2 errors make it appear that in the mind of Pope Benedict there is NO distinction between the Petrine Office (which must be resigned) and the Petrine Ministry (which you can resign without resigning the office).* It also makes it appear that his act of resignation of the ministry effects the loss of office.
Now since ALL the vernacular translations have this error, its clear that the Vatican has DELIBERATELY AND WITH AFORETHOUGHT publicly misrepresented the nature of the Papal Act to make it appear to be in conformity with the Code of Canon Law.
But don't take my word for it, see the Vatican Website to review each translation. In the texts below which I have cut and pasted directly from the Vatican Website, I have colored in RED the falsifications of munus and ministerium, and/or the alterations of the Syntax, and placed in BLUE the correct translations of MINISTERIUM or the syntactical forms where they occur in each.
The Falsified EnglishThe English as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:
Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry . I am well aware that this ministry , due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
The Falsified ItalianItaliano as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:
Carissimi Fratelli,
vi ho convocati a questo Concistoro non solo per le tre canonizzazioni, ma anche per comunicarvi una decisione di grande importanza per la vita della Chiesa. Dopo aver ripetutamente esaminato la mia coscienza davanti a Dio, sono pervenuto alla certezza che le mie forze, per l'et avanzata, non sono pi¹ adatte per esercitare in modo adeguato il ministero petrino . Sono ben consapevole che questo ministero , per la sua essenza spirituale, deve essere compiuto non solo con le opere e con le parole, ma non meno soffrendo e pregando. Tuttavia, nel mondo di oggi, soggetto a rapidi mutamenti e agitato da questioni di grande rilevanza per la vita della fede, per governare la barca di san Pietro e annunciare il Vangelo, ¨ necessario anche il vigore sia del corpo, sia dell'animo, vigore che, negli ultimi mesi, in me ¨ diminuito in modo tale da dover riconoscere la mia incapacit di amministrare bene il ministero a me affidato. Per questo, ben consapevole della gravit di questo atto, con piena libert , dichiaro di rinunciare al ministero di Vescovo di Roma, Successore di San Pietro, a me affidato per mano dei Cardinali il 19 aprile 2005, in modo che , dal 28 febbraio 2013, alle ore 20,00, la sede di Roma, la sede di San Pietro, sar vacante e dovr essere convocato , da coloro a cui compete, il Conclave per l'elezione del nuovo Sommo Pontefice.
Carissimi Fratelli, vi ringrazio di vero cuore per tutto l'amore e il lavoro con cui avete portato con me il peso del mio ministero , e chiedo perdono per tutti i miei difetti. Ora, affidiamo la Santa Chiesa alla cura del suo Sommo Pastore, Nostro Signore Ges¹ Cristo, e imploriamo la sua santa Madre Maria, affinch(C) assista con la sua bont materna i Padri Cardinali nell'eleggere il nuovo Sommo Pontefice. Per quanto mi riguarda, anche in futuro, vorr² servire di tutto cuore, con una vita dedicata alla preghiera, la Santa Chiesa di Dio.
The Falsified Spanish TextThe Spanish as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:
Querid­simos hermanos,
Os he convocado a este Consistorio, no s"lo para las tres causas de canonizaci"n, sino tambi(C)n para comunicaros una decisi"n de gran importancia para la vida de la Iglesia. Despu(C)s de haber examinado ante Dios reiteradamente mi conciencia, he llegado a la certeza de que, por la edad avanzada, ya no tengo fuerzas para ejercer adecuadamente el ministerio petrino. Soy muy consciente de que este ministerio , por su naturaleza espiritual, debe ser llevado a cabo no ºnicamente con obras y palabras, sino tambi(C)n y en no menor grado sufriendo y rezando. Sin embargo, en el mundo de hoy, sujeto a rpidas transformaciones y sacudido por cuestiones de gran relieve para la vida de la fe, para gobernar la barca de san Pedro y anunciar el Evangelio, es necesario tambi(C)n el vigor tanto del cuerpo como del esp­ritu, vigor que, en los ºltimos meses, ha disminuido en m­ de tal forma que he de reconocer mi incapacidad para ejercer bien el ministerio que me fue encomendado. Por esto, siendo muy consciente de la seriedad de este acto, con plena libertad, declaro que renuncio al ministerio de Obispo de Roma, Sucesor de San Pedro, que me fue confiado por medio de los Cardenales el 19 de abril de 2005, de forma que , desde el 28 de febrero de 2013, a las 20.00 horas, la sede de Roma, la sede de San Pedro, quedar vacante y deber ser convocado , por medio de quien tiene competencias, el c"nclave para la elecci"n del nuevo Sumo Pont­fice.
Querid­simos hermanos, os doy las gracias de coraz"n por todo el amor y el trabajo con que hab(C)is llevado junto a m­ el peso de mi ministerio , y pido perd"n por todos mis defectos. Ahora, confiamos la Iglesia al cuidado de su Sumo Pastor, Nuestro Se±or Jesucristo, y suplicamos a Mar­a, su Santa Madre, que asista con su materna bondad a los Padres Cardenales al elegir el nuevo Sumo Pont­fice. Por lo que a mi respecta, tambi(C)n en el futuro, quisiera servir de todo coraz"n a la Santa Iglesia de Dios con una vida dedicada a la plegaria.
The Falsified FrenchThe French as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:
Fr¨res tr¨s chers,
Je vous ai convoqu(C)s ce Consistoire non seulement pour les trois canonisations, mais (C)galement pour vous communiquer une d(C)cision de grande importance pour la vie de l'‰glise. Apr¨s avoir examin(C) ma conscience devant Dieu, diverses reprises, je suis parvenu la certitude que mes forces, en raison de l'avancement de mon ge, ne sont plus aptes exercer ad(C)quatement le minist¨re p(C)trinien. Je suis bien conscient que ce minist¨re , de par son essence spirituelle, doit ªtre accompli non seulement par les Å'uvres et par la parole, mais aussi, et pas moins, par la souffrance et par la pri¨re. Cependant, dans le monde d'aujourd'hui, sujet de rapides changements et agit(C) par des questions de grande importance pour la vie de la foi, pour gouverner la barque de saint Pierre et annoncer l'‰vangile, la vigueur du corps et de l'esprit est aussi n(C)cessaire, vigueur qui, ces derniers mois, s'est amoindrie en moi d'une telle mani¨re que je dois reconna®tre mon incapacit(C) bien administrer le minist¨re qui m'a (C)t(C) confi(C). C'est pourquoi, bien conscient de la gravit(C) de cet acte, en pleine libert(C), je d(C)clare renoncer au minist¨re d'‰vªque de Rome, Successeur de saint Pierre, qui m'a (C)t(C) confi(C) par les mains des cardinaux le 19 avril 2005, de telle sorte que , partir du 28 f(C)vrier 2013 vingt heures, le Si¨ge de Rome, le Si¨ge de saint Pierre, sera vacant et le conclave pour l'(C)lection du nouveau Souverain Pontife devra ªtre convoqu(C) par ceux qui il appartient de le faire.
Fr¨res tr¨s chers, du fond du cÅ'ur je vous remercie pour tout l'amour et le travail avec lequel vous avez port(C) avec moi le poids de mon minist¨re et je demande pardon pour tous mes d(C)fauts. Maintenant, confions la Sainte ‰glise de Dieu au soin de son Souverain Pasteur, Notre Seigneur J(C)sus-Christ, et implorons sa sainte M¨re, Marie, afin qu'elle assiste de sa bont(C) maternelle les P¨res Cardinaux dans l'(C)lection du Souverain Pontife. Quant moi, puiss(C)-je servir de tout cÅ'ur, aussi dans l'avenir, la Sainte ‰glise de Dieu par une vie consacr(C)e la pri¨re.
The Falsified PortugueseThe Portuguese as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:
Car­ssimos Irm£os,
convoquei-vos para este Consist"rio n£o s" por causa das trªs canoniza§µes, mas tamb(C)m para vos comunicar uma decis£o de grande importncia para a vida da Igreja. Depois de ter examinado repetidamente a minha consciªncia diante de Deus, cheguei certeza de que as minhas for§as, devido idade avan§ada, j n£o s£o id"neas para exercer adequadamente o minist(C)rio petrino. Estou bem consciente de que este minist(C)rio , pela sua essªncia espiritual, deve ser cumprido n£o s" com as obras e com as palavras, mas tamb(C)m e igualmente sofrendo e rezando. Todavia, no mundo de hoje, sujeito a rpidas mudan§as e agitado por questµes de grande relevncia para a vida da f(C), para governar a barca de S£o Pedro e anunciar o Evangelho, (C) necessrio tamb(C)m o vigor quer do corpo quer do esp­rito; vigor este, que, nos ºltimos meses, foi diminuindo de tal modo em mim que tenho de reconhecer a minha incapacidade para administrar bem o minist(C)rio que me foi confiado. Por isso, bem consciente da gravidade deste acto, com plena liberdade, declaro que renuncio ao minist(C)rio de Bispo de Roma, Sucessor de S£o Pedro, que me foi confiado pela m£o dos Cardeais em 19 de Abril de 2005, pelo que , a partir de 28 de Fevereiro de 2013, s 20,00 horas, a sede de Roma, a sede de S£o Pedro, ficar vacante e dever ser convocado , por aqueles a quem tal compete, o Conclave para a elei§£o do novo Sumo Pont­fice.
Car­ssimos Irm£os, verdadeiramente de cora§£o vos agrade§o por todo o amor e a fadiga com que carregastes comigo o peso do meu minist(C)rio , e pe§o perd£o por todos os meus defeitos. Agora confiemos a Santa Igreja solicitude do seu Pastor Supremo, Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo, e pe§amos a Maria, sua M£e Sant­ssima, que assista, com a sua bondade materna, os Padres Cardeais na elei§£o do novo Sumo Pont­fice. Pelo que me diz respeito, nomeadamente no futuro, quero servir de todo o cora§£o, com uma vida consagrada ora§£o, a Santa Igreja de Deus.
The Falsified GermanThe German as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:
Liebe Mitbr¼der!
Ich habe euch zu diesem Konsistorium nicht nur wegen drei Heiligsprechungen zusammengerufen, sondern auch um euch eine Entscheidung von groŸer Wichtigkeit f¼r das Leben der Kirche mitzuteilen. Nachdem ich wiederholt mein Gewissen vor Gott gepr¼ft habe, bin ich zur GewiŸheit gelangt, daŸ meine Kr¤fte infolge des vorger¼ckten Alters nicht mehr geeignet sind, um in angemessener Weise den Petrus dienst auszu¼ben. Ich bin mir sehr bewuŸt, daŸ dieser Dienst wegen seines geistlichen Wesens nicht nur durch Taten und Worte ausge¼bt werden darf, sondern nicht weniger durch Leiden und durch Gebet. Aber die Welt, die sich so schnell ver¤ndert, wird heute durch Fragen, die f¼r das Leben des Glaubens von groŸer Bedeutung sind, hin- und hergeworfen. Um trotzdem das Schifflein Petri zu steuern und das Evangelium zu verk¼nden, ist sowohl die Kraft des K¶pers als auch die Kraft des Geistes notwendig, eine Kraft, die in den vergangenen Monaten in mir derart abgenommen hat, daŸ ich mein Unverm¶gen erkennen muŸ, den mir anvertrauten Dienst weiter gut auszuf¼hren. Im BewuŸtsein des Ernstes dieses Aktes erkl¤re ich daher mit voller Freiheit, auf das Amt des Bischofs von Rom, des Nachfolgers Petri, das mir durch die Hand der Kardin¤le am 19. April 2005 anvertraut wurde, zu verzichten, so daŸ ab dem 28. Februar 2013, um 20.00 Uhr, der Bischofssitz von Rom, der Stuhl des heiligen Petrus, vakant sein wird und von denen, in deren Zust¤ndigkeit es f¤llt, das Konklave zur Wahl des neuen Papstes zusammengerufen werden muŸ .
Liebe Mitbr¼der, ich danke euch von ganzem Herzen f¼r alle Liebe und Arbeit, womit ihr mit mir die Last meines Amtes getragen habt, und ich bitte euch um Verzeihung f¼r alle meine Fehler. Nun wollen wir die Heilige Kirche der Sorge des h¶chsten Hirten, unseres Herrn Jesus Christus, anempfehlen. Und bitten wir seine heilige Mutter Maria, damit sie den Kardin¤len bei der Wahl des neuen Papstes mit ihrer m¼tterlichen G¼te beistehe. Was mich selbst betrifft, so m¶chte ich auch in Zukunft der Heiligen Kirche Gottes mit ganzem Herzen durch ein Leben im Gebet dienen.
This German translation is even more falsified than the others, becuase it INVERTS the translations for Munus (Amt) and Ministerium (Dienst) to make it appear that the resignation was a resignation of office!
Finally, I concede that I cannot read Arabic or Polish, but perhaps you can bet how those texts were also falsified?
____________________________
FOOTNOTE
* See my Scholastic Question: ''Why the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI must be questioned,'' (English, Espanol) for the philosophical, theological and canonical explanation. As for renunciations of ministry, Priests, Bishops and even Deacons resign the ministry when they retire or lose the clerical state. In such cases they may or may not retain the faculties of the priesthood, but continue to be Priests, Bishops or Deacons. Before Vatican II, when Bishops continued in office until death, it was very common to see reigning Bishops who could not exercise the episcopal ministry in matters of governance or liturgical functions, because they became totally senile or bed ridden or incapacitated. The modern concept of a co-Adjutor Bishop reflects this reality, wherein a reigning Bishop no longer feels capable of exercising the ministry which flows from the office, which he, however, continues to hold. '-- Note, however, that there is no Canon in the Code of Canon Law which regards a papal renunciation of ministry, because, since the Office of Peter is necessary for the Church by Divine Promise, the exercise of its ministry is a necessary good for the Church and consequently a grave obligation for the one who holds it. Thus, he who holds the munus can always exercise the ministry, even if he personally renounces it. Furthermore, its not really necessary even to declare such a renunciation, as the Pope can delegate many of his powers to Cardinals, Vicars and Legates apostolic, even as his physical powers fail him. '-- For all the rest, see the Scholastic Question in which I consider in its second part, all the reasons for holding the act of renunciation as it appears in the Latin original, and refute them point by point.
China Virus Book Banned by Amazon
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:37
URGENT '-- URGENT '-- URGENT: Amazon just banned the best-selling book, ''China Virus"Amazon has deleted China Virus '-- they banned it.
You can see their terse e-mail to us, by clicking here . They say the book contradicts ''official sources'' of information about the virus.
But the book does not give medical advice '-- it's purely a discussion of Canada-China politics, as the very title makes clear.
Amazon originally refused to upload the book, fighting with us for two months. But then they relented. And the book became an instant bestseller, reaching no. 1 on Kindle in Canada and no. 2 as a paperback. It was a huge bestseller.
And now it's been deleted. It's China-style censorship.
Who did this?
Jeff Bezos, Amazon's owner, who would do anything to ingratiate himself with China, to get access to their huge market?Justin Trudeau, whose connections to Communist China I expose in this book?The United Nations and the World Health Organization, whose corruption I expose?Or maybe all of them?
This is an outrage. But this Chinese-style censorship will not stop us. We've already found another printer to publish soft-cover copies of the book. We hope to have those printed next week, and shipped soon after.
And we've done something that I know will drive the Chinese Communists and Justin Trudeau crazy: we're literally giving away the e-book version of China Virus right now, for any amount, on our website. (We recommend a donation '-- the e-book sold for $7.50 on Amazon. So maybe you can chip in that amount. But right now, it's about showing Amazon, the UN, Trudeau and China that they can't censor us.
This censorship '-- of a no. 1 best-selling book is infuriating. Amazon sells Mao's Little Red Book. They sell Hitler's book, Mein Kampf. But they ban this book '-- that's outrageous.
Well, fight back by clicking here . Get your e-book. And sign up for our printed version, ready very soon.
Thanks my friends '-- we're going to beat these censors. We just have to.
Why did Justin Trudeau wait so long to restrict flights from China? Why did his top health bureaucrat tell us not to wear face masks? Why is there a loophole in Canada's quarantine laws for illegal border-crossers at Roxham Road? Why did the Liberals gather up Canada's medical equipment and ship it to China as a gift? And why on Earth did Trudeau give $838,000 to the Wuhan Virology Institute?
None of these strange facts makes sense '-- until you understand that the true virus threatening our country is Trudeau's life-long infatuation with the Communist Party of China, the country whose ''basic dictatorship'' Trudeau admires.
China Virus was BANNED by Amazon banned for months.
A free-speech lawyer wrote a letter to Amazon '-- but Amazon kept their ban in place for months. Amazon eventually lifted its ban, with no explanation.
What was Amazon trying to hide? You'll have to buy the book to find out!
China Virus documents the comedy of errors that allowed the coronavirus to spread through our communities. But it also reports, in meticulous detail, the Trudeau family's obsession with China that goes back to Pierre Trudeau's support for that Communist dictatorship.
And China Virus warns that Trudeau '-- like his Chinese role models '-- is already trying to take advantage of the pandemic to seize further control in Canada, limiting Parliament, restricting the media, and continuing the globalist agenda that got us into this trouble in the first place.
Amazon Says Email Ordering Employees to Delete TikTok Was Sent in Error - WSJ
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 21:55
Amazon.com Inc . on Friday afternoon reversed a demand that employees delete the TikTok app from company mobile devices, a shocking turnabout from a dictate that just hours before had stoked concern about the app's security and ties to China.
The first message was dramatic enough, as the email directive to employees appeared to buttress recent scrutiny of TikTok security issues from governments in the U.S. and India.
Then, the second message, in which a spokesman called the email an error, backed away from what briefly appeared to be a major policy change. It was a rare instance in which such a shift played out in public for one of the world's most valuable and closely watched companies.
What remained unclear late Friday was how many people within Amazon, if anyone, harbor concern about TikTok to such a degree that would have prompted the memo in the first place.
The now-retracted email was sent as an alert to thousands of Amazon employees early in the business day in Seattle: ''Due to security risks, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email. If you have TikTok on your device, you must remove it by 10-Jul to retain mobile access to Amazon email. At this time, using TikTok from your Amazon laptop browser is allowed.''
News of the decision broke and quickly went viral after it was reported by The Information tech news site, and within hours two U.S. senators responded enthusiastically.
''Now the whole federal government should follow suit,'' Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) said in a tweet.
Amazon had reversed itself by midafternoon on the West Coast. ''This morning's email to some of our employees was sent in error,'' the Amazon spokesman said late Friday. ''There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.''
The Amazon spokesman declined to comment further.
Earlier this week, U.S. bank Wells Fargo & Co. also asked employees to delete TikTok from their company devices.
''We have identified a small number of Wells Fargo employees with corporate-owned devices who had installed the TikTok application on their device,'' a Wells Fargo spokesman said in a statement. ''Due to concerns about TikTok's privacy and security controls and practices, and because corporate-owned devices should be used for company business only, we have directed those employees to remove the app from their devices.''
A spokeswoman for TikTok said the company hasn't been contacted by Wells Fargo but the company is open to discussing its data security measures with the bank. ''Our hope is that whatever concerns Wells Fargo may have can be answered through transparent dialogue so that their employees can continue to participate in and benefit from our community,'' she said. The Wells Fargo employee request was earlier reported by the Information.
The Amazon memo initially appeared to be the latest high-profile setback for the short-form video app. Earlier this week its owner, Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., said it would pull TikTok out of Hong Kong in the midst of concern about a new national-security law. That was its second market exit after India banned the app and others from Chinese companies, citing cybersecurity concern, as part of an escalating border conflict between Beijing and New Delhi.
ByteDance in May hired a top Walt Disney Co. executive, Kevin Mayer, to be TikTok's new chief executive officer and navigate its global expansion.
Meanwhile, President Trump has said his administration is considering limiting U.S. users' access to TikTok. In Washington, some lawmakers have called for an outright ban, saying data in the smartphone app would be available to Beijing, a claim TikTok has denied.
TikTok's security has come under scrutiny in recent months. In March, security researchers found that TikTok was one of several dozen iPhone apps that were silently accessing data copied into the phone's clipboard without authorization. The clipboard is software that stores data in the phone's memory whenever someone copies and pastes information using the iPhone.
The security issue could give TikTok a way of accessing any sensitive information that might have been copied, such as passwords or email messages or banking information, said Tommy Mysk, one of the researchers who discovered the clipboard issue.
After his research into TikTok's clipboard was published in March, Mr. Mysk and a colleague took another look at TikTok and discovered that it was sending videos without using a standard internet encryption protocol'--a design decision that could give hackers a way of spoofing TikTok videos from legitimate users. TikTok has since fixed this issue, Mr. Mysk said, but according to him, it was another sign that the product's security was substandard.
Last month, TikTok said that the data access was part of an anti-spam feature and that no such information left users' devices, adding that it had removed that tool.
A TikTok spokeswoman on Friday said that it is currently reviewing a number of claims made in recent weeks about its security practices and that it has already determined that many are inaccurate or outdated.
TikTok is known for its often lighthearted user-made videos featuring pranks, dancing and cats. For much of its history, the company aggressively curated its content to avoid topics that were controversial, though in recent months it has become more permissive and begun featuring more political videos.
In the U.S., the app was second in downloads to Zoom Video Communications Inc. 's namesake video-chat app in the first half of 2020, according to market-research firm Sensor Tower, which said TikTok has racked up 184.7 million U.S. downloads to date across the App Store and Google Play. The U.S. was TikTok's third-largest market in new users in the first half of the year, after India and Brazil.
A new survey of 2,200 U.S. adults found that Americans were divided over whether TikTok should be barred from operating in the U.S., with 29% saying yes, 33% saying no and 38% unsure. Among the youngest respondents, considered the most common users of the app, 25% said they would be more likely to use TikTok if they learned that the U.S. was looking to ban the app. Just 9% said they would be less likely to use it, according to the survey's creator, the data-intelligence company Morning Consult.
Users made their concerns about a potential shutdown of TikTok known on the app, where the hashtag #savetiktok was viewed more than 170 million times as of early Friday afternoon.
TikTok is currently under a national-security review by Washington through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. after lawmakers raised concerns that the app was censoring content to comply with Chinese government requests. TikTok has denied these allegations.
The U.S. military has banned its members from using TikTok, signaling concern about possible security risks related to the app.
India late last month banned TikTok as part of a wider move requiring internet service providers to block access to 59 Chinese apps. New Delhi imposed the ban after a border clash between troops from the two countries left 20 Indian soldiers dead last month, citing cybersecurity concerns.
TikTok is among scores of mobile apps to share or make available private information about their users with third parties, said Kirsten Martin, professor of technology ethics at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. ''If we're going to ban TikTok, why not ban all other apps on our phones?'' she said. ''China's involvement is what makes it so adversarial.''
'--Robert McMillan and Dana Mattioli contributed to this article.
Write to Sarah E. Needleman at sarah.needleman@wsj.com
Waarom pepermunt veiliger is dan een Chinese paracetamol - Zembla - BNNVARA
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 13:21
Waarom pepermunt veiliger is dan een Chinese paracetamolGisteren
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leestijd 8 minuten
Medicijnen In China geproduceerde paracetamol kan vervuild zijn met de kankerverwekkende stof PCA, ontdekten NRC en tv-programma Zembla. 'Er is te weinig controle en toezicht, ook vanuit Europa.'In februari reist het Chinese staatspersbureau Xinhua naar de stad Anqiu in het oosten van China om verslag te doen van de hero¯sche strijd tegen het coronavirus. "We werken in ploegendiensten terwijl de machines blijven draaien", zegt Zhou Guanjun van Anqiu Lu'an Pharmaceutical tegen Xinhua. "Zelfs in de lentevakantie hebben we doorgewerkt."
Anqiu Lu'an is de grootste producent van paracetamol-grondstof ter wereld. Sinds de virusuitbraak schreeuwt de wereld om de koortsremmer en pijnstiller. Bij Anqiu Lu'an is de vraag met meer dan dertig procent toegenomen, zegt Guanjun. Het bedrijf "beweegt hemel en aarde" om vierentwintig uur per dag paracetamol te maken.
Volgens de website van Anqiu Lu'an gaat 80 procent van de jaarcapaciteit van 40.000 ton naar het buitenland. De "meeste multinationale farmaceutische bedrijven" worden "betrouwbaar en regelmatig door ons bediend!" De paracetamol is dan ook "van uitstekende kwaliteit" en voldoet aan de strengste eisen van westerse toezichthouders dankzij een "gevalideerd proces, een strikte kwaliteitscontrole en de beste technologie".
KankerverwekkendTerwijl Anqiu Lu'an de wereld aan de beste paracetamol helpt, openen medewerkers van een gecertificeerd laboratorium in Duitsland de verpakking van monsters van vier verschillende partijen ('batches') paracetamol-grondstof uit China. Drie monsters van Anqiu Lu'an, een vierde monster '' ter controle '' van een kleinere Chinese producent, Hebei Jiheng Pharmaceutical.
Een paar weken later stuurt het laboratorium de resultaten van de analyse naar de opdrachtgevers. Het monster van Hebei Jiheng vertoont geen relevante afwijkingen. De drie monsters van Anqiu Lu'an wel. Ze bevatten 4-chlooraniline, afgekort PCA. De chemische stof is kankerverwekkend en genotoxisch, waardoor directe schade aan het menselijk DNA kan ontstaan.
Anqiu Lu'an verkoopt dus paracetamol met een kankerverwekkende vervuiling. De monsters komen van drie partijen, samen zo'n 18.000 kilo. Dat zijn 36 miljoen vervuilde pillen van 500 milligram.
De opdrachtgevers van het laboratorium zijn NRC en televisieprogramma Zembla. Ze doen samen onderzoek naar de betrouwbaarheid van geneesmiddelen sinds de wereldwijde crisis rond bloeddrukverlagers vorig jaar. Toen moesten miljarden pillen, waaronder valsartan,
worden teruggeroepen nadat een particulier laboratorium per toeval had ontdekt dat ze vervuild bleken met kankerverwekkende stoffen.
Die vervuiling kwam van fabrieken in China, India en Mexico. Vooral de grondstof van een Chinese producent bleek zwaar vervuild. Veel westerse farmaceuten waren er klant. De vervuiling was niet opgevallen bij de toezichthouders in Europa en de Verenigde Staten.
Het onderzoek van NRC en Zembla naar paracetamol '' de meest geslikte pijnstiller ter wereld '' begon vorig jaar. Een bron in China had alarm geslagen tijdens de crisis met de bloeddrukverlagers. Er waren meer problemen met vervuilde medicijnen uit China. "Goedkoop heeft zijn prijs", zei de bron. "Het toezicht is slecht, de kwaliteit te wisselend."
De bron wees naar paracetamol. Het middel wordt sinds 1893 gebruikt, maar is pas sinds de jaren zestig van de vorige eeuw populair als pijnstiller en koortsremmer. Bij de oorspronkelijke productiemethode, op basis van fenol, kon het kankerverwekkende PCA niet ontstaan. Later werd echter een goedkopere methode gebruikt, die begint met chloorbenzeen.
De Europese autoriteiten hebben de methode goedgekeurd, al blijkt er een risico aan te kleven: de vorming van PCA. De meeste producenten in China, India en Turkije volgen de goedkope methode, met Anqiu Lu'an als marktleider. Het bedrijf heeft sinds 2002 in Europa een toelating om grondstof te leveren.
BedrijfsgeheimIn Nederland worden jaarlijks twee miljard tabletten, poeders, infuusvloeistof en drankjes paracetamol verkocht. Dat zijn er 115 voor iedere Nederlander. Zeker de helft hiervan komt van (C)(C)n leverancier, pillenfabrikant Apotex in Leiden, melden bronnen rond dit bedrijf.
Levert Anqiu Lu'an aan Apotex en andere firma's in Nederland? De naam staat op geen enkele bijsluiter. Het College ter Beoordeling van Geneesmiddelen (CBG) laat weten dat Anqiu Lu'an inderdaad geregistreerd staat als grondstofleverancier van firma's in Nederland. Van welke firma's precies, dat wil de toezichthouder die de kwaliteit van de geneesmiddelen bewaakt, niet zeggen. "Dat is bedrijfsgeheim", zegt de woordvoerster door de telefoon. "Dat hebben we zo afgesproken in de Europese Unie."
Itali ligt ook in de Europese Unie, maar daar zijn de namen van de fabrikanten van de werkzame stof gewoon openbaar. Ze staan in de Gazzetta Ufficiale, het Staatsblad, bij elke afgegeven handelsvergunning voor een medicijn. Iedereen mag weten dat Anqiu Lu'an grondstof levert aan pillenfabrikanten als B. Braun Melsungen, Fresenius Kabi, Sandoz, SALF en Galenica Senese.
Deze farmaceuten verkopen hun paracetamol ook in Nederland. Maar de grootste afnemer van Anqiu Lu'an in Nederland is inderdaad Apotex. Bronnen rond het Leidse bedrijf, dat onderdeel is van het Indiase concern Aurobindo, melden dat de Chinese fabriek afgelopen jaren veruit de belangrijkste toeleverancier was. Aurobindo wil geen commentaar geven.
Apotex produceert onder meer de (huis)merken van Albert Heijn, Etos, Jumbo, Trekpleister, DA en Kruidvat. Dat de paracetamol bij de drogist of de super om de hoek vervuild is, is daarmee niet gezegd. De 36 miljoen vervuilde pillen kunnen immers overal ter wereld liggen.
Anqiu Lu'an weet waar. Maar de Chinezen zwijgen in alle talen als drie keer per e-mail om een reactie wordt gevraagd. Daarom belde NRC-correspondent Garrie van Pinxteren het bedrijf. De zegsman van Anqiu Lu'an, die zijn naam niet wilde noemen, was kort: "Je kunt ons als buitenlands medium niet zomaar ergens van beschuldigen. Wij hebben dat probleem niet." Waarna de hoorn op de haak ging.
Een andere vraag is of er nog meer vervuilde paracetamol in omloop is. Niemand die het weet. Autoriteiten controleren niet structureel op PCA. Europese richtlijnen verplichten grondstoffabrikanten wel om PCA uit hun productieproces te "elimineren" of "op passende wijze te controleren".
Levertumoren bij proefdierenHoe risicovol is de vervuiling? In Europa hebben twee gezaghebbende toezichthouders hier een mening over: het Europees Geneesmiddelenbureau EMA en de Europese voedselveiligheidsautoriteit EFSA. Beide kwalificeren PCA als genotoxisch carcinogeen. Het is een stof die onder meer levertumoren bij proefdieren kan veroorzaken door aantasting van het genetisch materiaal. Het RIVM concludeerde twintig jaar geleden al dat directe DNA-schade door PCA "niet kan worden uitgesloten".
Het laboratorium analyseerde voor NRC en Zembla monsters van grondstoffen (de werkzame stof) en niet de pillen die in de winkel liggen. Hiervoor werd gekozen om een vervuiling aan (C)(C)n producent te kunnen koppelen.
De analyse laat zien dat twee onderzochte monsters van Anqiu Lu'an een concentratie PCA bevatten van 6 milligram per kilo, het derde monster 5 milligram per kilo. De toezichthouders blijken de risico's hiervan verschillend in te schatten. Als je de gevonden concentraties afzet tegen de richtlijn die EMA (ICH Guideline M7) hanteert, blijkt iemand die dagelijks niet meer dan zes vervuilde tabletten slikt, binnen de 'žtoelaatbare dagelijkse inname'' van PCA te blijven.
Omdat het DNA aangetast kan worden, hanteert EFSA echter een meer beschermende "blootstellingsmarge". De ontdekte concentraties liggen een factor achttien boven het niveau dat EFSA veilig acht. Kort gezegd: terwijl EMA zes vervuilde pillen per dag acceptabel vindt, is volgens EFSA bij meer dan (C)(C)n vervuilde pil per dag al een onacceptabel risico op kanker.
"Ik sluit mij aan bij EFSA", zegt emeritus hoogleraar toxicologie Martin van den Berg (Universiteit Utrecht) na bestudering van de analyseresultaten. Hij adviseert organisaties als de International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC). "EFSA hanteert naar mijn idee terecht het voorzorgprincipe. Uitgangspunt is dat er voor genotoxische stoffen geen veilige grens is vanwege de mogelijke DNA-schade."
Extra voorzichtigheid is volgens Van den Berg geboden omdat h(C)(C)l veel mensen paracetamol gebruiken en omdat paracetamol vrij verkrijgbaar is. "Gebruikers slikken soms meer dan de aanbevolen maximale dosis per dag. Dan is het ook volgens de EMA-richtlijn mis. En dan gaat het hier om drie gemeten monsters, de besmetting kan in andere partijen hoger of lager zijn."
Niet verbaasdIn zijn laboratorium op de negende verdieping van een gebouw van de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven kijkt professor Jan Tytgat zijn bezoek bezorgd aan. Op tafel liggen de analyseresultaten. Ook hij hanteert de veiligheidsmarge van EFSA. "Boven deze marge is er een bewezen risico dat PCA kankerverwekkend is. PCA hoort helemaal niet thuis in een pijnstiller die zoveel mensen slikken."
Tytgat is een autoriteit. Hij leidt de afdeling toxicologie en farmacologie van zijn universiteit en is hoofd van het laboratorium voor forensische toxicologie van het Belgische ministerie van Justitie. Tytgat was jarenlang voorzitter van de Europese afdeling van de International Society on Toxicology.
Hij zegt niet verbaasd te zijn over de uitkomst van de analyse. "Er is te weinig controle en toezicht, ook vanuit Europa."
De hoogleraren wijzen er nog op dat de blootstelling aan genotoxische carcinogenen zo laag zou moeten zijn als redelijkerwijs haalbaar is. In Europa mogen stoffen die zowel genotoxisch als carcinogeen zijn niet aan levensmiddelen worden toegevoegd. Ze mogen ook niet bij de productie gebruikt worden als ze in levensmiddelen achterblijven.
Dat paracetamol vervuild is met PCA kan dan ook niet, vindt hoogleraar Tytgat. Hij roept de toezichthoudende instanties op om de vervuilde partijen te traceren en uit de markt te nemen. Ook zou paracetamol van fabrieken die dezelfde productiemethode gebruiken als Anqiu Lu'an getest moeten worden op PCA.
Veilige paracetamolSoms is een lichte vervuiling van een medicijn acceptabel, bijvoorbeeld omdat er geen veilig alternatief is. Dat blijkt bij paracetamol niet het geval. Er is immers een alternatief: paracetamol z"nder kankerverwekkend PCA.
Opnieuw juicht een website over "hoogwaardige paracetamol" die "ongevenaard is in de branche". Dit keer is het de website van Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in de Verenigde Staten. De Amerikanen maken hun paracetamol niet via de risicovollere chloorroute van Anqiu Lu'an, maar via de oorspronkelijke fenolroute.
Op de website beschrijft Mallinckrodt het "unieke" productieproces dat ervoor zorgt dat de paracetamol geen "gechloreerde onzuiverheden" bevat. Mallinckrodt maakt "de veiligst mogelijke" paracetamol, zonder PCA. Het bedrijf zegt te leveren aan meer dan honderd landen.
Wie in Nederland wil weten welk paracetamolmerk gemaakt is van PCA-vrije grondstof, heeft pech. Zoals gezegd: de namen van grondstofleveranciers en hun productieproces zijn geheim. Op zijn website prijst Mallinckrodt wel het merk Tylenol aan. Groothandels in Nederland zeggen dat niet op voorraad te hebben. Er is geen vraag naar. Tegen goedkope fabrieken als Anqiu Lu'an is het moeilijk concurreren.
Hoogleraar Martin van den Berg: "Ik denk dat we maar eens een kwartje extra moeten gaan betalen voor een doosje paracetamol bij de drogist om de hoek."
'Ruim' onder de limietNRC en Zembla informeerden de Inspectie Gezondheidszorg en Jeugd (IGJ) en het College ter Beoordeling van Geneesmiddelen (CBG) over de aangetroffen vervuiling. Samen waken ze in Nederland over de veiligheid van geneesmiddelen. Beide toezichthouders kregen de analyseresultaten en een uitnodiging voor een gesprek om meer informatie te delen.
De inspectie '' verantwoordelijk voor het terugroepen van medicijnen met een 'kwaliteitsdefect' '' liet in een e-mail weten "geen rol" voor zichzelf te zien. Behoefte aan een gesprek was er ook niet. Daarvoor zou het "te vroeg" zijn. De inspectie: "Het CBG is als geneesmiddelenautoriteit de eerst aangewezen partij om mee in gesprek te gaan."
Het CBG liet zich wel bijpraten, maar ziet geen reden om de vervuilde partijen op te sporen of om breder onderzoek te doen. De geraadpleegde hoogleraren zien het helemaal fout, kan opgemaakt worden uit een schriftelijke verklaring van het CBG. De onderzochte batches vallen volgens het CBG "ruim" onder de limiet die geneesmiddelenbureau EMA hanteert. "Deze limiet is gebaseerd op een verwaarloosbaar risico." Over de genotoxiciteit van PCA spreekt het CBG niet, de stof zou enkel "mogelijk kankerverwekkend" zijn.
Het CBG volgt voedselautoriteit EFSA niet: geneesmiddelen zijn geen voedingsmiddelen, ook al krijgen mensen dezelfde kankerverwekkende concentraties binnen.
Hoogleraar Van den Berg: "Was paracetamol een pepermuntje, dan waren de normen w(C)l overschreden en de schappen nu leeg."
Door Joep Dohmen, Jos van Dongen en Annette Sch¤tzle
Bijbehorende documenten en wederhoor:Reactie CBG:
Reactie IGJ:
Reactie Aurobindo:
Verschillende posities EMA en EFSA 2015:
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Late Seoul mayor was outspoken liberal who eyed presidency
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 15:21
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) '-- Park Won-soon, the three-term mayor of South Korea's capital, a fierce critic of economic inequality who was seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2022, was found dead early Friday. He was 64.
Police said Park's body was found near a restaurant nestled in wooded hills stretching across northern Seoul after a more than seven-hour search involving hundreds of police officers, firefighters, drones and dogs.
They said there were no signs of foul play, but gave no further details on the cause of death.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government earlier said Park did not come to work on Thursday and had canceled his schedule for the day.
His daughter reported him missing Thursday afternoon, saying he had given her a ''will-like'' verbal message and left home. He was last seen on security video entering a park at the mouth of the hills late Thursday morning.
It wasn't immediately clear what caused Park's disappearance and death. When asked about local media reports that one of his secretaries had filed a complaint against him involving alleged sexual harassment, Seoul police official Choi Ik-su confirmed that a complaint against Park had been filed with police on Wednesday but didn't specify what he was accused of.
Park, a liberal human rights lawyer who once led two of South Korea's most influential civic groups, was credited with winning the country's first sexual harassment conviction as an attorney. He was elected Seoul mayor in 2011, upsetting his conservative opponent as an independent candidate backed by opposition liberals. He became the city's first mayor elected to a third term in June 2018 and had been considered a potential presidential candidate in the next election in 2022.
Park mostly maintained his activism as mayor, lamenting the country's growing gap between rich and poor, gender inequality, and corrupt ties between large businesses and politicians.
He was also a vocal critic of Japan, which ruled the Korean Peninsula as a colony from 1910 to the end of World War II, over what he described as Tokyo's refusal to sincerely repent for atrocities such as forced labor and a system of sexual slavery for Japanese troops.
Despite positioning himself as a champion of the poor and powerless, Park was criticized for pushing ahead with aggressive redevelopment projects that razed old commercial and housing districts and drove out tenants who couldn't afford the spike in rents.
During his first terms, Park established himself as a fierce opponent of former conservative President Park Geun-hye and openly supported the millions of protesters who flooded the streets of his city in late 2016 and 2017 calling for her ouster over a corruption scandal. Months after her impeachment, Park Geun-hye was formally removed from office by a court ruling in March 2017 and is currently serving a decades-long prison term for bribery, abuse of power and other charges.
Full Coverage: South KoreaIn recent months, Park Won-soon led an active campaign against the coronavirus as it spread in the city, shutting down thousands of nightspots and issuing an administrative order banning rallies in major downtown streets.
South Korea has seen the sudden deaths of key political figures before.
Former liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, who was a close friend and mentor of current President Moon Jae-in, leapt to his death in 2009, a year after leaving office, amid allegations that family members had taken bribes from a businessman during his presidency. Former military dictator Park Chung-hee, the father of Park Geun-hye, was assassinated by his spy chief during a late-night drinking session in 1979.
Did China Steal Canada's Edge in 5G From Nortel? - Bloomberg
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 20:44
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Chinese Banks Preparing For "Worst Case" Scenario: Being Cut Off From SWIFT, Hong Kong Bank Runs | Zero Hedge
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 12:17
In the latest escalation over China's de facto annexation of Hong Kong, Reuters reports that Chinese state lenders are "revamping contingency plans" in anticipation of the soon to be enacted U.S. legislation (just waiting for Trump's signature) that would penalize banks for serving officials who implement the new national security law for Hong Kong.
In a "worst-case scenario" under consideration by Chinese commercial megabanks Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the lenders are said to be looking at the possibility of being cut off from U.S. dollars or losing access to U.S. dollar settlements, two Reuters sources said.
The worst-case scenario also envisions what would happen in the event of a run on its branches in Hong Kong if customers feared that it would run out of U.S. currency, one of the sources said (this is the scenario discussed in "If 500,000 Rich Hong Kongers Leave The City, The HKD Peg Would Surely Collapse"). The scenario was also looking at the experience of banks in Iran, the same person said. Iranian banks have been hit from time to time by U.S. sanctions dating back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
"We are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. You never know how things will turn out," one of the sources said.
In a milder scenario being looked at by the Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank), lenders would need to find ways to address the problem of clients blacklisted by the United States, especially those who might face a sudden loss of liquidity.
As Reuters adds, the contingency planning has been initiated by the banks themselves, who have the most to lose should the US effectively trigger a massive dollar bank run.
As Reuters calculates, Bank of China, the country's most international lender, had the biggest exposure of the country's big four lenders to the greenback at the end of 2019, with about $433 billion in liabilities. China's top four banks, which also include ICBC, China Construction Bank and AgBank, had a combined 7.5 trillion yuan ($1 trillion) in U.S. dollar liabilities at the end of 2019, annual reports show.
According to the report, at least three state-run leasing firms, including an ICBC unit and CSIC Leasing, are also making contingency plans. Leasing firms are often heavily reliant on dollar borrowing to fund purchases of aircraft, machinery and facilities.
China's contingency plans are in response to the unanimous passage in the House and Senate of a bill last week which seeks to impose financial sanctions on Chinese banks in response to the National Security Law. It has yet to be signed into law by President Donald Trump. The bill calls for sanctions on Chinese officials and others who help violate Hong Kong's autonomy and on financial institutions that do business with them. But it does not spell out what the sanctions would look like.
"There are sanctions in this bill which could be interpreted to prevent a bank from clearing some dollar transactions via U.S. institutions, but unlike other congressional sanctions bills there are not specific provisions mandating it," said Nick Turner, a lawyer specialising in sanctions and anti-money laundering at Steptoe & Johnson in Hong Kong.
Aside from its contingency planning, China has said it would "launch a counterattack against US hegemony" if Trump was to block access of Chinese banks to dollar funding and the SWIFT payment system
SGH Macro have noted that countermeasures from China could include a speeding up of the use of the Renminbi for China's own parallel Cross-border Interbank Payment System (CIPS), a surge in issuance of RMB denominated loans to Belt and Road Initiative countries, a push for greater RMB use through the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE) crude oil futures, and an acceleration of the implementation of China's Digital Currency Electronics Payment (DCEP), the first digital currency issued by a central bank.
COVID & The Church
Pope names NIH director to Vatican think tank | National Catholic Reporter
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 04:42
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, to the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Collins, 59, is the geneticist who led the Human Genome Project, the international research project that mapped out the body's complete genetic code in 2003. Among his other accomplishments, he was part of the team that in 1989 identified the gene causing cystic fibrosis.An evangelical Christian, Collins is also prominent for his efforts to reconcile scientific knowledge with religious faith.
His best-selling book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2006), argued for the compatibility of Darwin's theory of natural selection with the existence of a creator God. Rejecting both creationism and intelligent design, Collins espoused "theistic evolution" as an explanation for the existence of the universe and life.
Collins' well-known religious views reportedly aroused criticism from some fellow scientists after President Obama chose him to head the NIH in July.
Collins is a supporter of embryonic stem cell research, which the Catholic Church forbids.
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences was founded in 1603 and claims to have been the "first exclusively scientific academy in the world." Its 80 members, who include many Nobel laureates and other luminaries including the physicist Stephen Hawking, meet for a plenary session at the Vatican every two years.
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Pontifical Academy of Sciences - Wikipedia
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 04:45
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences (Italian: Pontificia accademia delle scienze, Latin: Pontificia Academia Scientiarum) is a scientific academy of the Vatican City, established in 1936 by Pope Pius XI, and thriving with the blessing of the Papacy ever since.[2] Its aim is to promote the progress of the mathematical, physical, and natural sciences and the study of related epistemological problems. The Academy has its origins in the Accademia Pontificia dei Nuovi Lincei ("Pontifical Academy of the New Lynxes"), founded in 1847 as a more closely supervised successor to the Accademia dei Lincei ("Academy of Lynxes") established in Rome in 1603 by the learned Roman Prince, Federico Cesi (1585''1630), who was a young botanist and naturalist, and which claimed Galileo Galilei as its president. The Accademia dei Lincei survives as a wholly separate institution.[3]
The Academy of Sciences, one of the Pontifical academies at the Vatican in Rome, is headquartered in the Casina Pio IV in the heart of the Vatican Gardens.[4]The academy holds a membership roster of the most respected names in 20th century science, including such Nobel laureates as Ernest Rutherford, Max Planck, Otto Hahn, Niels Bohr, Erwin Schr¶dinger, and Charles Hard Townes.
History Edit Cesi wanted his academicians to adhere to a research methodology based upon observation, experimentation, and the inductive method. He thus called his academy "dei lincei" because its members had "eyes as sharp as lynxes," scrutinizing nature at both microscopic and macroscopic levels. The leader of the first academy was the famous scientist Galileo Galilei.
Academy of Lynxes was dissolved after the death of its founder, but was re-created by Pope Pius IX in 1847 and given the name Accademia Pontificia dei Nuovi Lincei ("Pontifical Academy of the New Lynxes"). It was later re-founded in 1936 by Pope Pius XI and given its current name. Pope Paul VI in 1976 and Pope John Paul II in 1986 subsequently updated its statutes.
Since 1936, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences has been concerned both with investigating specific scientific subjects belonging to individual disciplines and with the promotion of interdisciplinary co-operation. It has progressively increased the number of its academicians and the international character of its membership. The Academy is an independent body within the Holy See and enjoys freedom of research. The statutes of 1976 express its goal: "The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has as its goal the promotion of the progress of the mathematical, physical, and natural sciences, and the study of related epistemological questions and issues."[3]
Activities Edit Since the Academy and its membership is not influenced by factors of a national, political, or religious character it represents a valuable source of objective scientific information which is made available to the Holy See and to the international scientific community. Today the work of the Academy covers six main areas:
fundamental sciencethe science and technology of global questions and issuesscience in favor of the problems of the Third Worldthe ethics and politics of sciencebioethicsepistemologyThe disciplines involved are sub-divided into eight fields: the disciplines of physics and related disciplines; astronomy; chemistry; the earth and environmental sciences; the life sciences (botany, agronomy, zoology, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, the neurosciences, surgery); mathematics; the applied sciences; and the philosophy and history of sciences.
Principal among the many publications produced by the Academy are:
Acta '' proceedings of the Plenary SessionsScripta Varia '' major works such as full reports on Study Weeks & Working Groups held at the Academy; some, due to their special importance, have been taken up by foreign publishersDocumenta & Extra Series '' for quick publication of summaries and conclusions of Study Weeks and Working Groups; also for rapid diffusion of Papal addresses to the Academy, and of significant documents such as the "Declaration on the Prevention of Nuclear War"Commentarii '' notes and memoirs as well as special studies on scientific subjects.[5]With the goal of promoting scientific research, the Pius XI Medal is awarded by the Academy every two years to a young scientist who is under the age of 45 and shows exceptional promise. A few of the winners have also become members of the Academy.[6]
Goals and hopes of the Academy Edit The goals and hopes of the Academy were expressed by Pope Pius XI in the motu proprio "In multis solaciis" which brought about its re-foundation in 1936:
"Amongst the many consolations with which divine Goodness has wished to make happy the years of our Pontificate, I am happy to place that of our having being able to see not a few of those who dedicate themselves to the studies of the sciences mature their attitude and their intellectual approach towards religion. Science, when it is real cognition, is never in contrast with the truth of the Christian faith. Indeed, as is well known to those who study the history of science, it must be recognized on the one hand that the Roman Pontiffs and the Catholic Church have always fostered the research of the learned in the experimental field as well, and on the other hand that such research has opened up the way to the defense of the deposit of supernatural truths entrusted to the Church.... We promise again that it is our strongly-held intention, that the 'Pontifical Academicians', through their work and our Institution, work ever more and ever more effectively for the progress of the sciences. Of them we do not ask anything else, since this praiseworthy intent and this noble work in the service of the truth is what we expect of them."[7]Forty years later (10 November 1979), John Paul II once again emphasized the role and goals of the Academy, on the 100th anniversary (centenary) of the birth of Albert Einstein:
"The existence of this Pontifical Academy of Sciences, of which in its ancient ancestry Galileo was a member and of which today eminent scientists are members, without any form of ethnic or religious discrimination, is a visible sign, raised amongst the peoples of the world, of the profound harmony that can exist between the truths of science and the truths of faith.... The Church of Rome together with all the Churches spread throughout the world attributes a great importance to the function of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The title of 'Pontifical' given to the Academy means, as you know, the interest and the commitment of the Church, in different forms from the ancient patronage, but no less profound and effective in character.... How could the Church have lacked interest in the most noble of the occupations which are most strictly human '' the search for truth?"[8]"Both believing scientists and non-believing scientists are involved in deciphering the palimpsest of nature which has been built in a rather complex way, where the traces of the different stages of the long evolution of the world have been covered over and mixed up. The believer, perhaps, has the advantage of knowing that the puzzle has a solution, that the underlying writing is in the final analysis the work of an intelligent being, and that thus the problem posed by nature has been posed to be solved and that its difficulty is without doubt proportionate to the present or future capacity of humanity. This, perhaps, will not give him new resources for the investigation engaged in. But it will contribute to maintaining him in that healthy optimism without which a sustained effort cannot be engaged in for long."[8]On 8 November 2012 Pope Benedict XVI told members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:
"Dialogue and cooperation between faith and science are urgently needed for building a culture that respects people and the planet.... Without faith and science informing each other, the great questions of humanity leave the domain of reason and truth, and are abandoned to the irrational, to myth, or to indifference, with great damage to humanity itself, to world peace and to our ultimate destiny.... (As people strive to) unlock the mysteries of man and the universe, I am convinced of the urgent need for continued dialogue and cooperation between the worlds of science and of faith in building a culture of respect for man, for human dignity and freedom, for the future of our human family, and for the long-term sustainable development of our planet."[9]Members Edit The new members of the Academy are elected by the body of Academicians and chosen from men and women of every race and religion based on the high scientific value of their activities and their high moral profile. They are then officially appointed by the Roman Pontiff. The Academy is governed by a President, appointed from its members by the Pope, who is helped by a scientific Council and by the Chancellor. Initially made up of 80 Academicians, 70 who were appointed for life. In 1986 John Paul II raised the number of members for life to 80, side by side with a limited number of Honorary Academicians chosen because they are highly qualified figures, and others who are Academicians because of the posts they hold, including: the Chancellor of the Academy, the Director of the Vatican Observatory, the Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library, and the Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives.
President Edit The president of the Academy is appointed from its members by the Pope. The current president is Joachim Von Braun,[10] as of 21 June 2017. who takes over from Nobel laureate Werner Arber,[11] who is a Nobel Prize Laureate and was the first Protestant to hold the position.
Current ordinary members Edit Current honorary members Edit Jean-Michel Maldam(C), O.P. (1997'' )Current ex officio members Edit Chancellor of the Academy: Marcelo Snchez Sorondo (1998'' ) Director of the Vatican Observatory: Guy Consolmagno, S.J. (2015'' ) Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library: Cesare Pasini (2007'' ) Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Archive: Sergio Pagano, B. (1997'' )Nobel Prize-winning members Edit During its various decades of activity, the Academy has had a number of Nobel Prize winners amongst its members, many of whom were appointed Academicians before they received this prestigious international award.
Ernest Rutherford (Chemistry, 1908)Guglielmo Marconi (Physics, 1909)Alexis Carrel (Physiology, 1912)Max von Laue (Physics, 1914)Max Planck (Physics, 1918)Niels Bohr (Physics, 1922)Werner Heisenberg (Physics, 1932)Paul Dirac (Physics, 1933)Erwin Schr¶dinger (Physics, 1933)Peter J.W. Debye (Chemistry, 1936)Otto Hahn (Chemistry, 1944)Sir Alexander Fleming (Physiology, 1945)Chen Ning Yang and Tsung-Dao Lee (Physics, 1957)Joshua Lederberg (Physiology, 1958)Rudolf M¶ssbauer (Physics, 1961)Max F. Perutz (Chemistry, 1962)John Carew Eccles (Physiology, 1963)Charles H. Townes (Physics, 1964)Manfred Eigen and George Porter (Chemistry, 1967)Har Gobind Khorana and Marshall W. Nirenberg (Physiology, 1968)Christian de Duve (Physiology, 1974)George Emil Palade (Physiology, 1974)David Baltimore (Physiology, 1975)Aage Bohr (Physics, 1975)Abdus Salam (Physics, 1979)Paul Berg (Chemistry, 1980)Kai Siegbahn (Physics, 1981)Sune Bergstrom (Physiology, 1982)Carlo Rubbia (Physics, 1984)Klaus von Klitzing (Physics, 1985)Rita Levi-Montalcini (Physiology, 1986)John C. Polanyi (Chemistry, 1986)Yuan Tseh Lee (Chemistry, 1986)Jean-Marie Lehn (Chemistry, 1987)Joseph E. Murray (Physiology, 1990)Gary S. Becker (Economics, 1992)Paul J. Crutzen and Mario J. Molina (Chemistry, 1995)Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (Physics, 1997)Ahmed H. Zewail (Chemistry, 1999)G¼nter Blobel (Physiology, 1999)Ryoji Noyori (Chemistry, 2001)Aaron Ciechanover (Chemistry, 2004)Theodor W. H¤nsch (Physics, 2005)Gerhard Ertl (Chemistry, 2007)Ada Yonath (Chemistry, 2009)Shinya Yamanaka (Physiology, 2012)[12]Other eminent Academicians include Padre Agostino Gemelli (1878''1959), founder of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and President of the Academy after its re-foundation until 1959, Mons. Georges Lema®tre (1894''1966), one of the fathers of contemporary cosmology who held the office of President from 1960 to 1966, and Brazilian neuroscientist Carlos Chagas Filho.
See also Edit Catholic Church & scienceNotes Edit References Edit Based on The Pontifical Academy of Sciences: A Historical Profile [permanent dead link ] (in PDF)External links Edit Official website Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Evolution by Pope John Paul II, 22 October 1996HistoryPhoto GalleriesPontifical Academies '' Website of the Holy SeeArticle about inner workings and relationship to other councils
Vatican '' NIH Director's Blog
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 04:48
Attending Unite to Cure Conference Posted on April 30th, 2018 by Dr. Francis Collins
While at the Unite to Cure Conference, I met Peter Gabriel (left), the rock music legend and a former member of the band Genesis, and Dr. William Li (right), president of the Angiogenesis Foundation, Cambridge, MA. The photo was taken on April 27, 2018 at the Vatican in Rome, Italy. Credit: The Angiogenesis Foundation
Receiving 2018 Pontifical Scientific Award Posted on April 27th, 2018 by Dr. Francis Collins
It was truly a humbling experience to receive the 2018 Pontifical Key Scientific Award. Presenting the award is His Eminence Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi (right), president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia (left) and Dr. Robin Smith (far right), president of the Cura Foundation, look on during the Unite to Cure conference on April 26 at the Vatican. Credit: John Burklow, NIH
For a decade, Francis Collins has shielded NIH'--while making waves of his own | Science | AAAS
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 04:57
Francis Collins has led the National Institutes of Health with a firm hand.
STEPHEN VOSS By Jocelyn KaiserAug. 15, 2019 , 9:30 AM
For months after President Donald Trump's inauguration in January 2017, biomedical scientists were on edge. The White House had asked geneticist Francis Collins to stay on as director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, but nobody knew for how long. Some unconventional candidates for the NIH post, including a surgeon-turned-entrepreneur and a Tea Party member of Congress, provoked "major angst," recalls NIH observer Tony Mazzaschi, policy director for the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health in Washington, D.C. Soon, Trump proposed slashing the agency's budget by 22%.
But in early June 2017, relief came when the White House announced that Collins would remain NIH director. Two years later, biomedical scientists are counting themselves lucky. Collins has helped shield NIH from threatened budget cuts as well as the upheaval that has shaken many other federal agencies under the Trump administration. As he completes a decade as NIH director this month, Collins, 69, has been a survivor'--he's one of a few top-level holdovers from former President Barack Obama's administration and has served longer than any other NIH head in 50 years. Observers say Collins has also been one of the most influential directors ever to shape NIH, which with a budget of $39 billion this year is the world's largest biomedical research agency.
The plainspoken, guitar-playing, motorcycle-riding scientist'--who took the helm of NIH after 15 years as director of NIH's genome institute'--has used charm to rally Congress to restore growth to NIH's budget after more than a decade of stagnation. He has launched ambitious research initiatives in cancer, neuroscience, and precision medicine. He has tackled, with mixed results, vexing community problems, such as a lack of minorities in science, the struggles of young scientists to gain funding, and sexual harassment. With two key exceptions'--the recent curtailment of fetal tissue research by Trump officials and pressure to scrutinize foreign scientists' ties to their home countries'--NIH has largely escaped political interference during his tenure.
"He's had multifaceted successes. '... He's always probing to do bigger and better things," says Anthony Fauci, director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. "He likes large initiatives that challenge the status quo, which is exactly what you want in an NIH director," says Elias Zerhouni, Collins's predecessor.
Yet Collins has detractors on NIH's campus and among the 300,000 researchers supported with NIH grants. Beneath a relaxed, affable public persona and a knack for conveying excitement about biomedical research in simple terms to the public and lawmakers, he is driven to achieve his priorities, whether pushing basic discoveries toward treatments or crafting policies to promote diversity in science. That drive has sometimes meant charging ahead without buy-in from those around him.
He likes large initiatives that challenge the status quo.
Early in his tenure, he ruffled feathers by shuttering a workhorse NIH research center and creating a new one to speed drug development. Some academic researchers have complained that his centrally managed projects aimed at generating large amounts of data drain resources from curiosity-driven individual grants. Still, even some former critics have come around. University of California (UC), Berkeley, evolutionary biologist and eLife Editor-in-Chief Michael Eisen, who had decried Collins's "big science" initiatives and called for him to be replaced soon after Trump was elected, has changed his mind. "He is trying to do the right thing for the institution. You also appreciate that he's probably a bulwark against worse things for science," Eisen says.
Collins's intense focus on what he believes in can come across as arrogance, says biochemist Mark Lively of Wake Forest University's School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. But overall the biomedical research community has benefited from his leadership, Lively says: "I'm glad he's still there."
And Collins is, too. "I didn't expect to [still] be here," he says. But, he adds, "It is a privilege, indeed, to be able to stay at the helm of this remarkable institution with such an incredible mission. So I'm happy to be here. I hope I'm still doing a good job."
On a warm July day as Collins prepares to hand out employee awards in an NIH auditorium, he reaches for his guitar, decorated with silver strands representing DNA. He has just told the story of a young man pictured on a giant screen behind him, who died this spring at NIH after 4 years of treatment for a rare kidney cancer. Collins says the patient's death shows that "our solutions don't always work." He then sings an Andy Grammer song that the patient liked: "I'm not givin' up, I'm not givin' up, givin' up." After applause, he tells his staff: "You don't give up. '... You figure out how to move science forward."
It's "vintage Francis Collins," says veteran NIH cancer researcher Stephen Chanock at a reception after the ceremony. "He's wonderful, an old-fashioned kind of person," Chanock says. Collins grew up home-schooled in rural Virginia in a family that sang and staged plays. After earning a Ph.D. in chemistry and then a medical degree, he headed a lab at the University of Michigan, where he and collaborators used a gene-hunting technique he'd developed to identify the cystic fibrosis gene. At NIH, he led the Human Genome Project to its completion in 2003. But Collins drew criticism then'--and still occasionally does'--for hyping the payoff from genomic medicine. When Obama named him NIH director, some researchers worried Collins would favor data-intensive, big biology projects; another concern was that his outspoken Christian faith would influence his leadership.
Francis Collins has led the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through lean times and plenty, always following a personal compass toward big biology and translational research.
(Scroll right to see more.)N. DESAI/SCIENCE
His religion never became an issue'--he followed Obama's order to loosen rules for stem cell research, which some Christians oppose, and has defended fetal tissue research despite criticism from antiabortion groups. But he has run NIH with the same firm hand with which he led the genome institute's sequencing projects. ("It's Francis's way or no way," says an NIH senior scientist who asked not to be named.) In 2010, with almost no discussion, he proposed dismantling the National Center for Research Resources, a cherished NIH center that helped pay for expensive resources such as primate centers and electron microscopes. In its place, he launched a new center that would "reengineer" drug development. The creation of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) rankled investigators, lawmakers, and some NIH institute directors. Drug company executives scoffed at the idea that NIH could improve on the success rate of industry, which spends billions of dollars on drug development.
"I'm a physician [and] also a basic scientist. I'm impatient about figuring out how basic science discoveries can find their way into clinical benefits," Collins says now. He maintains that 7 years after its launch, NCATS "has a pretty strong track record."
Former Eli Lilly scientist Bernard Munos agrees. NCATS is hampered by having to spend most of its budget on a program it inherited that funds large translational grants at academic health centers. Even so, he says, it has produced tools, such as tissue chips, 3D bioprinting, and stem cell technologies, that will help industry. NCATS is "still a work in progress," but "much of the early opposition has waned," says Munos, now a consultant in Indianapolis.
Even scientists who spoke out against abolishing the National Center for Research Resources say its programs, now managed by other institutes, are running smoothly. The reorganization "wasn't necessary, but it worked out," Lively says.
Collins's legacy also includes three big biology projects announced by Obama, starting in 2013 with the 10-year Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Neuroscientists conceived of the project, which develops tools to probe how neural circuits control thoughts and movement. So far, its fruits include a brain cell census and a device that converts brain activity into speech.
"BRAIN seized the moment extremely well" by bringing together scientists from various disciplines to harness new approaches, says neuroscientist Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. "The field has become even more complex and exciting."
The Cancer Moonshot, launched in 2016 at the behest of then''Vice President Joe Biden after his son Beau died from brain cancer, also emphasizes large collaborations and big data. Collins's signature project, however, is the 2015 Precision Medicine Initiative that led to All of Us, an effort to amass a trove of data on the genomic basis of disease by collecting health records and DNA sequences from 1 million volunteers.
"I am totally over-the-moon excited about All of Us and the transformation that it's going to create as a platform for figuring out how do people stay healthy and how do you manage chronic illness when it happens," says Collins, who first proposed the project in 2004 as head of the genome institute. Zerhouni, who vetoed that proposal because of costs, says it's unclear whether All of Us, which is pooling disparate health records and could see a high dropout rate, will measure up to similar projects run by U.S. health providers and the United Kingdom's national health system. All of Us has so far enrolled more than 180,000 participants, and NIH says it is on schedule.
Francis Collins's good relationships with key congressional leaders have led to a string of healthy budget increases for the National Institutes of Health since 2016, reversing a 12-year erosion.
CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES Although some scientists grumble that Collins prioritizes such projects over investigator-initiated grants, the criticism has subsided as the NIH budget has improved. The numbers were bleak in the first years of Collins's leadership. In 2011, after years of flat budgets, NIH was funding less than one in five of the grant applications it received, a record low. Two years later, as part of a governmentwide retrenchment, the agency's budget fell by 5%. But in 2016, Congress began to ease tight overall spending caps. The 21st Century Cures Act, passed by Congress that year, created a $4.8 billion fund over 10 years for Obama's three science initiatives. And since Trump's election, Collins has helped persuade Congress to reverse repeated presidential proposals to slash NIH's budget. In June, the House of Representatives voted to give NIH its fifth consecutive $2 billion raise, which would bring its budget to $41 billion in 2020.
Collins has been "able to gain and maintain the support of Congress," says biologist Keith Yamamoto of UC San Francisco. Adds Kathy Hudson, a consultant in Washington, D.C., who was Collins's policy chief until late 2016: "He has managed to cultivate a huge number of very important friends on [Capitol] Hill, and I think that has to do with personal interactions."
Collins has also shaped the agency's leadership and policies. "One of his legacies will be that he will have appointed a huge number of institute directors," says Story Landis, a former director of NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Mazzaschi says Collins has "had just a stellar record of recruiting noted scientific minds." Of the current 27 institute and center directors, Collins has appointed 16, six of them women.
Addressing a lack of diversity among NIH investigators became a Collins priority in 2011, when a study reported that from 2000 to 2006, black investigators, who submitted only 1.3% of all grant proposals, were 13 percentage points less likely than whites to win NIH's standard R01 awards. NIH responded by pouring $250 million over 5 years into a new investigator mentoring network and an undergraduate program for minorities. Collins also created a Scientific Workforce Diversity office headed by Hannah Valantine, a black cardiologist and researcher who had led diversity efforts at Stanford. At a meeting of Collins's board in June, Valantine reported modest improvements: The difference in grant success rates between black applicants and whites dropped to seven points in the years 2013 to 2018, and the annual number of awards to black investigators more than doubled over that period to 113.
"There is progress being made, but '... there's still way, way, way more to do," said Roy Wilson at the board meeting. Wilson chairs NIH's diversity working group and is president of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. But Collins is encouraged: "For the first time, it made me feel like we may be on the right track," he says.
Francis Collins (left) works with Idowu Aimola, a postdoctoral fellow from Nigeria participating in a new training program for African researchers.
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH Another stubborn problem is that the average age of first-time Ph.D. investigators has hovered at 42 years for 2 decades, up from 36 in 1980. Collins's remedy starting in 2017 was to set aside money each year to fund 200 additional young investigators' first research grants. For each of the past 2 years, the number of early-stage investigators supported by the agency has risen, reaching 1287 awards last year.
But that approach is a "Band-Aid," says Gary McDowell, who recently stepped down as executive director of Future of Research, a nonprofit in Abington, Massachusetts, that represents young scientists. The grants do nothing to address what McDowell says is the deeper problem: an oversupply of young scientists with little hope of winning tenure track jobs, who often serve as cheap labor in labs. "What I really would have liked Collins to do is pivot away from this constant expansion and address how to make things sustainable" by limiting the number of trainees NIH supports, McDowell says. "There is no long-term view."
The #MeTooSTEM movement criticized Collins last year for failing to beef up NIH's policies after news reports of several alleged incidents of sexual harassment by NIH-funded investigators. After months of criticism, Collins announced tougher measures in June, saying he hopes to follow a working group's recommendation that institutions and grant applicants be required to report sexual harassment findings to NIH. "I am regretful that we did not take firmer action sooner," he says, for which he partly blames legal advice that such cases be left to investigators' institutions. "I think people who look at it now ought to be feeling somewhat reassured that we get it," he says.
Collins recently won praise for vowing not to serve on all-male panels at scientific meetings. Diversity in science is "associated with greater productivity," he says. His dismissal of "manels," he says, is not "just a nice thing to do. '... It's driven by a desire to see science flourish."
Collins's strategy for protecting NIH in the Trump era has been to keep a low profile'--and it has largely succeeded, agency observers say. But Collins suffered a rare loss in June, when the Trump administration clamped down on research that uses fetal tissue donated after elective abortions. In December 2018, Collins had defended the research as ethical when done properly and called it a mainstay. Instead, the Department of Health and Human Services, NIH's parent agency, announced it was ending intramural studies using fetal tissue and would require lengthy special ethics reviews for new extramural grants and renewals.
Reports that the White House overruled him and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar are "basically accurate," Collins says. He adds that even applications for a new $20 million NIH program to find alternatives to fetal tissue in research, which "the pro-life community very much wanted us to do," will need to go through the ethics review because the studies will use fetal tissue as a comparator. Although he opposed the policy, he adds, "I understand the sincerity and the passion of those who felt that fetal tissue research crosses an ethical line."
Collins has also faced pressure from Congress and the Trump administration to crack down on foreign scientists believed to be stealing the fruits of federally funded research, with China portrayed as a major threat. After NIH called out more than 60 grantee institutions for possible violations of NIH rules, at least two universities dismissed faculty members, all of Asian descent, for allegedly failing to report foreign funding or sharing confidential grant proposals. "This has been a painful experience," he says. "Foreign nationals who are wonderful contributors to our medical workforce '... are feeling as if they are being targeted or even profiled." But, he adds, "I don't think people are getting fired for trivial reasons."
Many researchers, however, fear that the campaign'--perceived to target foreign-born scientists'--will damage U.S. science in the long run. One former NIH official suggests that instead of pushing back against the White House, Collins "caved" to keep his job.
After 10 years, Collins has plenty on his to-do list. He wants to expand NIH's support of artificial intelligence and machine learning and is looking to hire a data czar, probably from Silicon Valley. He's also excited about gene therapy, which is finally reaching the clinic for some inherited childhood diseases. Collins has used NIH's Common Fund, a pot of money that Zerhouni created for initiatives that cut across institutes, to support industry and academic scientists who are devising better ways to get gene-editing tools such as CRISPR into patients' tissues.
Investigators may not be inclined to propose such applied research, but Collins says it's "something we should pull out all the stops to do." It's an example of why he still works 100-hour weeks. "You do have the ability to steer science in pretty powerful ways, by identifying things that just aren't going to happen without a push."
Who Francis Collins should you be concerned? | Berean Beacon
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 10:52
By Greg Bentley and Dr. Lucija TomljenovicDoctor Francis Collins is a world renowned physician-geneticist specializing in biomedical science. In 2009, Dr. Collins was appointed Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)[1] and is the supervisor of Dr. Anthony Fauci[2].
Not only is Dr. Collins a famous scientist, he is a self-professed Evangelical Christian having a conversion experience while reading the C.S. Lewis novel Mere Christianity[3], which has long been regarded a classic exposition of the Christian faith. Oddly enough, not one Bible verse is quoted in the first half of the book and only three partial verses are found in the latter half. There are no Bible references in the entire book. Now, how can we present Christianity without its foundation '' the Word of God? In fact, it is precisely because of his extremely low view of Scripture that C.S. Lewis has been a bridge to Rome.[4]
Moreover, his novel is a cornerstone credited for the conversion of other famous ecumenical figures such as the late Charles Colson. Mr. Colson saw the light in Mere Christianity during a jail house conversion while serving time for the Watergate scandal of the 1970's.[5] He went on to form Prison Fellowship International and in 1994, he drove a stake into the heart of the Evangelical Church by orchestrating Evangelicals and Catholic Together (ECT) for the sake of political ecumenism and the demise of the Protestant Reformation[6]. In essence he went from Watergate to the Wide gate.
C.S. Lewis would have no doubt been very proud of his disciple Colson, given that Lewis congratulated himself for having helped to bridge the chasm between Protestant denominations and Roman Catholicism[7]. An apple evidently does not fall too far from the tree, and as we are about to show, Dr. Francis Collins much like Charles Colson followed in the footsteps of his spiritual father C.S. Lewis. Both C.S. Lewis and Dr. Collins in fact share three things in common which are utterly destructive of true Evangelical Christianity '' rejection of Scripture inerrancy, commitment to ecumenism and Darwin's evolutionary theory. And, since the Whore of Rome will waste no ally, it is not in the least surprising that the Pope in 2009 appointed Dr. Francis Collins to the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences[8].
Collins had been active in orchestrating a form of scientific ecumenism by forming BioLogos[9] with funding from the Templeton Foundation[10]. The same foundation just awarded Collins the $1.3 million Templeton prize boasting, ''his endeavors to encourage religious communities to embrace the latest discoveries of genetics and the biomedical sciences as insights to enrich and enlarge their faith.''[11] The Templeton foundation is world renowned for its embrace of evolutionary theodicy derived from Carmelite monastic tradition[12]. Many may not be aware but the Roman Catholic Church affirms evolution.[13]
Accordingly, the current Jesuit Pope tells us that it is very easy to misinterpret the creation in which God created Heaven and Earth in six days and rested on the seventh:
''When we read the creation story in Genesis we run the risk of imagining that God was a magician, with a magic wand which is able to do everything.''[14] [emphasis ours]
It appears quite plain that in the opinion of Pope Francis, Genesis chapter 1 is a story, not history!
In his best-selling book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2006), Collins therefore speaks the very language of Rome when he argues for the compatibility of Darwin's theory of natural selection with the existence of a creator God.[15] Rejecting both creationism and intelligent design, Collins espoused ''theistic evolution'' as an explanation for the existence of the universe and life.''[16] Moreover, consistent with his scientific ecumenism, ''Dr. Collins urges believers to trust more in the power of science, saying that it answers the ''how?'' questions, while Christianity answers the ''why?'' questions.''[17] Dr. Collins thus says we should trust the science-falsely-so-called according to which God did not really mean what He said when He declared that He created the world and all the plant and animal life as well as the first human couple in six literal days (Genesis 1:3-31). Dr. Collins here speaks the very same language of the serpent, ''Yea, hath God said. . .?'' (Genesis 3:1).
Further, according to Dr. Collins, God was evidently mistaken when He ''saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good'' (Genesis 1:31). But how could everything be ''very good'' when Dr. Collins and his ilk say that death, decay and disease entered the world billions of years before there ever was a man! Moreover, that first man allegedly evolved from an ape-like ancestor and was thus no more than a highly evolved animal and hence not a unique creature created in the image of God as the Bible affirms (Genesis 1:26-27).
Dr. Collins' spiritual mentor C.S. Lewis likewise had no objection to the notion that ''man is physically descended from animals.''[18] And according to BioLogos, he ''was not even committed to the most basic element of a belief in a literal Adam and Eve, namely, that it was precisely two humans who fell and from whence our species came. He writes, ''We do not know how many of these creatures God made, nor how long they continued in the Paradisal state.''[19]
We beg to digress here from both C.S. Lewis and BioLogos; maybe they do not know how many humans God originally made, but we do know because the Bible most plainly tells us it was only two (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:7, 18, 21-22), and we believe it! And while we can only guess whom C.S. Lewis had in mind when he said ''we do not know. . .'', yet one thing is certain, he had not spoken here as a representative of true Evangelical Christianity because we who consider ourselves as legitimate Evangelicals (rather than Romanist apostates) never appointed him.
Now, Dr. Collins' associates at BioLogos do realize that their commitment to the evolutionary theory brings them in conflict with the ''traditional reading of the Fall.''[20] In attempting to reconcile the existence of animal death due to carnivorousness in the pre-human period of Earth's history with God's judgment of His creation as ''very good'', they however offer us no solution but simply state the matter remains an open question '' ''The question of how we should understand the violence of the pre-human evolutionary process remains an open one.''[21] The Bible however does not regard this question as ''an open one'' but as thoroughly closed and settled '' there was no carnivorousness and no animal death before the Fall because in the beginning, to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, God gave every green herb for meat (Genesis 1:30). It seems then that the ''science'' that Dr. Collins urges us to trust does not agree at all with the Bible and we should then just replace the Bible with the theories of modern science! In fact, according to Professor Pete Enns, who is the Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University and a contributor for Dr. Collins' brainchild BioLogos[22], most Christians already understand that, ''even though the Bible assumes a certain way of looking at the cosmos, from a scientific point of view the Bible is wrong.''[23] [emphasis his] Now, this man who unabashedly ascribes errancy to the Word of God has the impudent audacity to claim that his is ''The Only God-Ordained Podcast on the Internet.''[24]
C.S. Lewis would certainly have agreed with Professor Enns and with the Pope in maintaining that the Bible is not scientifically authoritative, which is why BioLogos so often invokes and defends his fundamental heresies, including the idea that death pre-existed humanity:
''In The Problem of Pain, Lewis discusses the problem of non-human animal pain prior to the fall. [emphasis ours] If evolution happened, it means that throughout millions of years non-human creatures experienced vast amounts of suffering that had nothing to do with human sin. Lewis recognized this: ''The origin of animal suffering could be traced, by earlier generations [i.e., those that unlike Lewis and Collins' believed in the inerrancy of the Bible], to the Fall of man'--the whole world was infected by the uncreated rebellion of Adam. This is now impossible, for we have good reason to believe that animals existed long [i.e., millions and millions of years] before men. Carnivorousness, with all that it entails, is older than humanity.''[25] [emphasis ours]
We are very grateful to BioLogos for actually acknowledging that there is a problem with the thesis that animal death and suffering predated the Fall. According to BioLogos' founder however, we can apparently safely ignore that problem and ''trust more in the power of science.''[26] However we cannot but wonder '' if the Bible is so fatally wrong on such fundamental issues such as the origin of life and the account of creation, what else is it wrong about? And if we cannot trust the Biblical record concerning the first Adam, why should we trust what it says about the second Adam, that is Christ?
If Dr. Collins and his fellows at BioLogos are truly Christians they would have avoided ''profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called'' (1 Timothy 6:20), for had they done so they would not have ''erred concerning the faith'' (1 Timothy 6:21). Dear reader, if the Bible is not inerrant then it is not the Word of God, and if it errs on the first page we may as well throw out all the rest! Now such an outcome would certainly please Popery who appointed Collins to its own Scientific Pontifical Academy! For as long as in the minds of men the Bible has predominant sway, Popery cannot have her diabolical tyrannical way!
It is no wonder then that Rome saw most fit to make peace with Darwin's theory, for Darwin with his Origins of Species in one single blow achieved that which Rome strove for centuries '' he undermined the Bible's authority transculturally and globally. Popery is indeed a symbiotic parasite that will ally itself with anyone or anything that can help fulfill her megalomaniacal and insatiable ambition for global dominion over the minds and the souls of nations and peoples. And more often than not, she paves her hellish way with most noble intentions, telling us that, ''science can purify religion from superstition''[27] [emphasis ours] '' especially, as we gather, those of the Protestant kind such as our stubborn belief in the inerrancy of the Scriptures and the literal interpretation of the Genesis 1-2 account of creation. And here again BioLogos (and C.S. Lewis) come faithfully to the aid of Popery in endorsing the modern Biblical textual critics '' or more accurately '' utter and plain heretics '' according to whom the first three chapters of Genesis are clearly and simply a regurgitation and amalgamation of other ancient pagan creation myths and traditions!!
''Ever since George Smith discovered and published the ancient Babylonian creation story, Enuma Elish, in 1876, theologians, biblical scholars and informed laypeople have been aware of the fact that the book of Genesis was not written in a literary or cultural vacuum. As other ancient Near Eastern creation stories have been brought to light we have come to know a lot more about the intellectual, cultural, theological, and literary milieu within which Genesis was written, giving us an unprecedented opportunity to assess just what sort of text Genesis is [emphasis ours]. Taking all of this new evidence onboard, the majority report among contemporary biblical scholars is that the ancient texts which Genesis chapters 1-3 resemble the most are ancient Near Eastern myths'--an observation which suggests that that is probably the best way to read Genesis, as well. In fact, most mainstream biblical scholarship today would understand Genesis to be an Israelite revision or version of prior mythical creation stories.
This critical consensus had more or less already been settled within mainstream scholarship by Lewis's day, and Lewis directly addresses these matters in chapter XI of Reflections on the Psalms. He begins by dispelling the misperception that he believes ''that every sentence of the Old Testament has historical scientific truth.''. . .Lewis was perfectly happy to grant the emerging scholarly consensus about the genre and origins of Genesis. He writes, ''I have therefore no difficulty in accepting, say, the view of those scholars who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical. . .Lewis's belief that Genesis, as we presently have it, was fashioned out of an extended, divinely guided oral and written tradition of telling, modifying, and retelling ''earlier Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical'' and that Genesis itself is ''mythical'' fits squarely within Lewis's incarnational and sacramental understanding of Scripture.''[28] [emphasis ours]
Do you see then dear reader that evolutionary scientism eventually leads all the way back to the gross superstitions of Romanism?
Further, in anticipating the obvious objection to the aforecited heretical proposition, BioLogos skillfully attempts a copout:
''It should be clear by now that for Lewis ''myth'' is not a bad word [we beg to differ!]. It does not necessarily carry connotations of falsehood or contrivance or deception or muddle-headedness. Being a ''myth'' or a ''folktale'' does not, for Lewis, disqualify Genesis as the most sublime articulation of the doctrine of creation found anywhere. . .For Lewis, ''myth'' hardly means false. Lewis had no trouble calling Genesis mythological, not because he had a low view of Genesis, but because he had a high view of mythology. . .So, what follows from this for our understanding of what Lewis means when he says that Genesis 1-3 is myth? Two things are clear: First, Lewis is not using the word ''myth'' as a loose term of opprobrium, connoting falsehood or silliness or any such thing. Rather, he means by ''myth'' a very specific literary genre, which he takes to be the genre of the stories of Orpheus and Eurydice, of Narcissus and the pool, of Icarus and Daedalus, and also of Adam and Eve.''[29]
We see then that according to C.S. Lewis and his attorney BioLogos, the notion of Genesis being a myth of the likes of Greek myths ought not in the least upset us, for after all, Lewis had a ''high view of mythology''! And so, if he calls Genesis a myth, supposedly he is paying the Bible a great compliment!!
Nonetheless, BioLogos digs even deeper into absurdity to rescue and legitimize not only C.S. Lewis' but also theirown commitment to non-literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation:
''Moreover, Lewis makes it quite clear that Christianity, mere Christianity, depends ultimately on the miracle of the Incarnation, which Lewis takes to be the fundamental Fact at the core of human history. So there is no reason whatsoever to think that if Lewis takes Genesis to be myth, he is on a slippery slope towards taking the whole Bible to be myth as well. That's a silly argument and people need to stop making it, whether they agree with Lewis or not.''[30]
Now, whether, as we in fact do maintain, rejecting the authenticity of one part of the Bible leads eventually to rejecting essentially the authenticity of the whole Bible is a silly argument or not we shall examine presently. And perhaps it is best to address this question with another question '' namely, how would you dear reader describe a man who:
Rejected the inerrancy of the Scriptures;Did not confine his religious views to the Bible but recognized God's revelation ''in literary masterpieces, in other religions, in ancient world myths, and through human reason and intuition''[31];Was of the opinion that the Apostle John did almost as well as James Boswell in getting the facts straight, and that the Gospel of John was either a reportage, ''pretty close up to the facts'', though undoubtedly containing errors, or, the product of a ''novelistic realistic narrative'' by some unknown writer of the 2nd century[32];Characterized some of the Psalms as ''fatal confusion,'' ''devilish,'' ''diabolical,'' ''contemptible,'' petty and vulgar[33];Maintained that: ''Naivety, error, contradiction, even (as in the cursing Psalms) wickedness are not removed. The total result is not 'the Word of God' in the sense that every passage, in itself, gives impeccable science or history''[34];Rejected one of the cardinal doctrines of the Gospel '' the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement[35];Defended Popery's utterly superstitious blasphemy of transubstantiation[36];Believed in his own peculiar version of Purgatory and in praying for the dead[37];Believed that sincere and good-willed pagans who never heard of Christ could be saved (as did also John Wesley[38], Billy Graham[39] and as does Rome to this day '' in fact, this is the official teaching of the Catholic Church[40]);And last but certainly not the least, he maintained that certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible is Mark 13:30 '' Christ's own personal utterance:''Despite his pious words about Christ being the true word of God, Lewis rejected the Biblical view of both Christ and the Bible. In fact, he asserted that Christ, as well as the Scriptures, erred. Lewis referred to Mark 13:30, ''Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place,'' as ''certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.'' He continued: ''The one exhibition of error and the one confession of ignorance [Mark 13:32] grow side by side. That they stood thus in the mouth of Jesus himself, and were not merely placed thus by the reporter, we surely need not doubt. . .The facts, then, are these: that Jesus professed himself (in some sense) ignorant, and within a moment showed that he really was so.'' [emphasis ours]
It appears then, from the facts of the case, safe to say that C.S. Lewis was a perfect example of how a little leaven leavens the whole lump (1 Corinthians 5:6). For as ''the serpent, wherever she gets in her head, she will wriggle in her whole body, sting and all''[41], so also, if one gives to erroneous and compromising principles but the least admission, soon enough all that such principles logically carry along with them will also have to be swallowed.
We would therefore ask again the reader to judge for himself from here whether or not rejecting the inerrancy of Genesis logically leads to the rejection of the inerrancy of the Bible as a whole. BioLogos would have us think otherwise. With all due respect, we maintain that what they propose is plain hogwash and the facts prove it so to be whether they are willing to admit it or no. The Scripture is an organic whole, and therefore, Answers in Genesis is most correct in pointing out that if one essentially takes Genesis as a myth they will likewise take the New Testament as a myth also[42]. For our blessed Lord and Savior Himself stated that if one does not believe Moses, neither will they believe Him. The case of Lewis proves Christ's judgment impeccably correct, and of course, this could not be otherwise, let the textual critics and religious hypocrites say what they will, they are the ones which justify themselves before men; but God knows their hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among them is most abominable in His sight (Luke 16:15).
''In John 5:45''47, Jesus says, ''Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you'--Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?'' In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that one must believe what Moses wrote.'' [emphasis ours; of course we should here expect another copout by BioLogos along the lines of '' but modern textual criticism gives strong support to the idea that Moses was not the author of Genesis!]
''Now, one might argue that a person can still go to Heaven even though he disbelieves portions of the Bible and rejects the doctrine of verbal inerrancy. The authors of the Westminster Confession seem to disagree, saying, ''By this [saving] faith, a Christian believes to be true whatsoever is revealed in the word, for the authority of God himself speaking therein. . .'' They reject the notion that the Apostle John made errors, that some of the Psalms are diabolical, that there are contradictions between Biblical statements, and that mythology is part of the Old Testament.''[43] [emphasis ours]
Those therefore who have been truly renewed by the Spirit of regeneration believe that Truth is whatsoever in the Bible is written, for they believe by the faith which is not of man's ''free-willed'' machination but that which is of God's own effectual operation (Ephesians 1:19; Ephesians 2:1, 4-5, 8; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 2:5). And while it is certainly true that none of us were born again with a perfect understanding of Scripture, and many of us in fact began our new life in Christ as theistic evolutionists, yet, the Spirit of Truth guides Christ's own sheep in all Truth (John 16:13), and none that are truly born of Him will ever have such a disdain for His Word so as to regard any part of it as a mere myth.
Have therefore nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11) of religious hypocrites: evolutionists and textual critics, for they are but blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch (Matthew 15:14).
''The fundamental question of how we know anything accurate about Christ apart from an unerring, revealed Scripture is not a question that Lewis considers.''[44] [And we may add: nor does BioLogos.]
It seems then that both C.S. Lewis with his Mere Christianity and Dr. Collins with his BioLogos stand as very useful servants of Romish religious harlotry, since they were both able to make a good case for a kind of ''Christianity'' that is wholly divested of Biblical authority!
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. '' Isaiah 8:20.
Other than discrediting the historical credibility of the Bible, Dr. Collins has also been very busy in discrediting its moral authority. For example, working through BioLogos, he has made great strides in assuaging evangelical fears of the horrors of experimenting with aborted babies[45]. His pioneering research has and continues to involve the use of fetal tissue and he is strongly in favor of therapeutic human cloning.[46] ''Collins, the Obama-appointed director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that human fetal tissue from elective abortions ''will continue to be the mainstay'' for federal research.''[47]
Moreover, according to Dr. Collins, ''There is strong evidence that scientific benefits can come from fetal tissue research, which can be done with an ethical framework'' [emphasis ours]. ''Even for somebody who is very supportive of the pro-life position, you can make a strong case for this being an ethical stance. . .That if something can be done with these tissues that might save somebody's life downstream, perhaps that's a better choice than discarding them.''[48]
Collins' reasoning here boils down essentially to this: since we already have tons of aborted human embryos readily available, we may as well make some good use of them rather than just wasting them! And while we thus doubt not that fetal tissue research can indeed be made perfectly compatible with the humanistic ethical framework, we positively deny that it will ever be consistent with the Biblical ethical framework. One can just imagine the pro-abortionists latching onto this one '' hey, it is OK to kill your unborn baby because you may end up saving countless others by advancing medical therapies research that could not be done otherwise!
The idea that ''the end justifies the mean'' advocated here by Dr. Collins does not belong to the Bible but to the most ethically corrupt, devilish and repugnant of all Roman Catholic religious orders '' the society of Jesus, better know as the Jesuits![49], which ever used this maxim to justify the most heinous crimes and immoralities ever perpetrated on the face of the Earth in the name of religion[50] '' or, as they themselves are fond of saying '' for ''The Greater glory of God'' (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)[51].
We can therefore no more agree with Dr. Collins than with 'St.'' Ignatius. Rather, along with Kristian Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, we believe that, ''We should no longer allow abortion vendors to profit from selling the body parts of infants who did not survive a visit to Planned Parenthood. . .A civil society does not traffic in human remains.''[52]
Should this bother you?Dr. Francis Collins, a known evolutionists and fetal tissue researcher has a different understanding of the origins of life and the precious gift that God has created. The river of evolution and its disregard for human life flows towards genocide. Famous evolutionist of the past such as Margaret Sanger[54] are a testimony to this. There is much more to Dr. Collins than science just as there is more to the Vatican[55] than religion. Collins is a government employee who has control over human life driven by a religious agenda and on the other hand the Vatican is a religion with control over spiritual lives driven by a governmental agenda. Dr. Collins is responsible for mixing Christianity with another religion using biblical and philosophical terminology, he is practicing and promoting syncretism! Dr. Collins has spent the last two decades systematically trying to overturn the outstanding work of solid Evangelical creation ministries. He is a government employee who spends his time at the Vatican and has daily exchanges with known Jesuits of the short robe. He is a deep state operative for the Roman Catholic Church.
It is bad enough that Dr. Collins believes as he does and willingly collaborates with the Vatican all the while pretending to be a Bible believing Christian. What is extremely troubling is the fact that Dr. Francis Collins overseas a multitude of government agencies that are responding to Covid-19 and the development of a world-wide vaccination program. He is intimately involved in Operation Warp Speed[56] which will deploy the U.S. Military in the distribution of the vaccine once it becomes available. Christians of all people should know that their body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. And furthermore, Christians ought to be asking themselves whether or not it is right for them to take the vaccine. To some this question may seem relatively straightforward but in reality this is not at all the case. And in order to answer it properly other questions will need to be addressed, chiefly: Who exactly are the entities that are advocating mass vaccination against Covid-19 and whose interests do they really represent? A more detailed investigation into this topic, which will be the subject of our next article, reveals a warrant for serious concern.
[1] About the NIH Director, available from nih.gov.
[2] Who is Dr. Fauci and should you be concerned? Available from us15.campaign-archive.com.
[3] 'Mere Christianity' makes sense, scientist tells CS Lewis Foundation, August 2, 2008, available from christianitytoday.com.
[4] J. Saunders, C.S. Lewis: A Bridge to Rome, June 2008, available from bereanbeacon.org.
[5] Chuck Colson, Thirty-Five Years in the Light: Reflections on My Conversion, August 12, 2008, available from descant.wordpress.com.
[6] Richard Bennett, Evangelicals and Catholics Together'...ECT, available from bereanbeacon.org.
[7] J. Saunders, C.S. Lewis: A Bridge to Rome, June 2008, available from bereanbeacon.org.
[8] Francis X. Rocca, Pope names NIH director to Vatican think tank, Oct 15, 2009, available from nrconline.org.
[9] Lita Cosner, Evolutionary syncretism: a critique of BioLogos, September 7, 2010, available from creation.com.
[10] Ken Ham, Is BioLogos Promoting Heresy? February 29, 2016, available from answersingenesis.org.
[11] Templeton Prize Laureates, Francis Collins Geneticist and Physician, available from templetonprize.org.
[12] John Templeton Foundation, Does self-giving love require an evolutionary world? Evolutionary theodicy in light of the mystical tradition, available from templeton.org.
[13] Matthew Cserhti, The Vatican Endorses Evolution and Rejects Genesis, available from bereanbeacon.org.
[14] Lizzy Davies, Pope Francis: evolution and creation both right, October 29, 2014, available from theguardian.com.
[15] Francis X. Rocca, Pope names NIH director to Vatican think tank, Oct 15, 2009, available from nrconline.org.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Francis Collins on science and faith, May 23, 2020, available from economist.com.
[18] David Williams, Surprised by Jack: C.S. Lewis on Mere Christianity, the Bible, and Evolutionary Science, December 10, 2012, available from biologos.org.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Bethany Sollereder, Challenging C.S. Lewis on Evil and Evolution, January 17, 2017, available from biologos.org.
[21] Ibid.
[22] Pete Enns, BioLogos, available at biologos.org.
[23] Pete Enns, Evangelicals, Evolution, and the Bible: Moving Toward a Synthesis, The BioLogos Foundation, available at recursos.facultadseut.org.
[24] Pete Enns, What is the Bible and what do we do with it? Available at peteenns.com.
[25] Bethany Sollereder, Challenging C.S. Lewis on Evil and Evolution, January 17, 2017, available from biologos.org.
[26] Francis Collins on science and faith, May 23, 2020, available from economist.com.
[27] John L. Allen Jr., Genesis isn't a science book: Vatican to study evolution; Benedict's trip to France; and Pius XII, September 19, 2008, available from nrconline.org.
[28] David Williams, Surprised by Jack: C.S. Lewis on Mere Christianity, the Bible, and Evolutionary Science, December 10, 2012, available from biologos.org.
[29] Ibid.
[30] Ibid.
[31] John W. Robbins, Did C. S. Lewis Go to Heaven? The Trinity Review, November, December 2003, available from trinityfoundation.org.
[32] Ibid.
[33] Ibid.
[34] Ibid.
[35] Ibid.
[36] J. Saunders, C.S. Lewis: A Bridge to Rome, June 2008, available from bereanbeacon.org.
[37] Ibid.
[38] John Hunt, Religious Thought in England From the Reformation to the End of the Last Century, A Contribution to the History of Theology, Volume III, Chapter XV, The Methodists, Strahan & Co., 56 Ludgate Hill, London, 1873, pg. 293-294, available from googlebooks.
[39] Robert E. Kofahl, Billy Graham Believes Catholic Doctrine of Salvation Without Bible, Gospel, or Name of Christ, available from the Bible Bulletin Board.
[40] Ibid.
[41] John Owen, A Display of Arminianism, Owen's Note to the Right Honourable the Lords and Gentlemen of the Committee for Religion, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1967, available from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, CCEL.
[42] Ken Ham, Did Jesus Say He Created in Six Literal Days? December 20, 2007, available from answersingenesis.org.
[43] John W. Robbins, Did C. S. Lewis Go to Heaven? The Trinity Review, November, December 2003, available from trinityfoundation.org.
[44] Ibid.
[45] Maggie Fox, Conservative Reps Urge Trump to Fire NIH Chief Francis Collins Over Stem Cells, May 22, 2017, available from nbcnews.com.
[46] Catholic News Agency, Human genome and embryology experts named to Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 12, 2009, available from catholicnewsagency.com.
[47] Susan Berry, The Obama-appointed director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that human fetal tissue from elective abortions ''will continue to be the mainstay'' for federal research, available from breitbart.com.
[48] Ibid.
[49] Hurlbert J. Beaufort, The end justifies the means : proven from Jesuit authors to have been taught for 350 years, Montreal 1890, available from archive.org.
[50] Edmond Paris, Secret History of the Jesuits, 1982, published by Chick Publications Ontario Canada, available from amazon.com.
[51] Rebecca Ruiz, Living ''Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam'', available from ignatianspirituality.com. See also: What distinguishes the Jesuits ''The Jesuit Charism, available from blessedsacramenthollywood.org.
[52] Susan Berry, The Obama-appointed director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that human fetal tissue from elective abortions ''will continue to be the mainstay'' for federal research, available from breitbart.com.
[53] Ken Ham, The Evils of Evolution, January 1, 1987, available from answersingenesis.org.
[54] Jerry Bergman, Birth control leader Margaret Sanger: Darwinist, racist and eugenicist, December 2008, available from creation.com.
[55] Vatican Global Agenda, available at bereanbeacon.org.
[56] Lauran Neergaard and Zeke Miller, US begins 'warp speed' vaccine push as studies ramp up, May 15, 2020, available from apnews.com.
An 'epic scientific misadventure': NIH head Francis Collins ponders fallout from CRISPR baby study | Science | AAAS
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 04:59
National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins says he has ''a hard time seeing many examples'' where germline gene editing would be justifiable: ''Most of them are pretty far out there.''
Stephen Voss By Jon CohenNov. 30, 2018 , 11:50 AM
A ''profoundly unfortunate,'' ''ill-considered,'' ''epic scientific misadventure'' that ''flout[ed] international ethical norms'' and was ''largely carried out in secret'' with ''utterly unconvincing'' justifications. Those are the words in a statement issued by Francis Collins, head of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, in response to the claim by He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, that he used CRISPR to genetically modify two embryos, resulting in the recent birth of twin girls.
The scathing condemnation from the typically measured NIH chief, who has done landmark genetic research himself, came hours after He first described his work at the second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday. ''The need for development of binding international consensus on setting limits for this kind of research, now being debated in Hong Kong, has never been more apparent,'' Collins wrote.
The next day, the meeting's prominent organizing committee'--convened by academies of science and medicine from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong'--issued its own statement about what it called He's ''deeply disturbing claim.'' It concluded that the risks were still ''too great to permit clinical trials of germline gene editing at this time,'' but it didn't call for a moratorium; instead it suggested a responsible way forward to clinical trials of the technique, provided there is ''strict independent oversight.''
In 1975, at the behest of its then-director, NIH set up just such a strict independent oversight process for another revolutionary technology that caused equal measures of great promise and deep concern: genetic engineering. The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) initially regulated test tube experiments with bacteria and viruses; its role became particularly important with the advent of gene therapy trials in the 1980s, for which RAC weighed the risks and benefits. Its importance waned as gene therapies'--which often use harmless viruses to shuttle healthy genes into cells to override mutated ones'--became commonplace and institutional review boards, institutional biosafety commissions, and the Food and Drug Administration began to provide more oversight. Recently, RAC has evaluated so few proposals that some have called for severely limiting its scope.
With the international furor about the CRISPR babies, NIH'--and its director'--may once again have to take a leading role in the oversight of a fraught new technology. ScienceInsider spoke with Collins yesterday. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: What should ''independent strict oversight'' for germline editing intended for reproduction look like?
A: How do we have an enterprise that is not just one country at a time, but actually has the opportunity to develop and then enforce some kind of international consensus about where the boundaries should be? Frankly that's something we've never had in bioethics. Is every country going to have to come up its own framework? At the moment that's sort of what we've got. Maybe this is the moment to try to discuss whether there could be a more effective international oversight umbrella, but nobody seems to quite know what that would look like.
Q: Should NIH set up a RAC-like oversight for this type of germline editing?
A: NIH does embrace the role that we may need to play there, and we are not going to step into the wings and wait for somebody else. We have been restructuring the RAC in a fashion that is trying to make it more suited for the current era. Maybe what we need is a new version of the RAC that allows a public, intense, scientific debate about areas of some scientific potential where there are many unknowns. This would certainly be one of them.
Q: Are you concerned, as many people were back in the recombinant engineering days, that if you don't do something at a federal level, Congress will become more aggressive about policing science?
A: I wouldn't necessarily blame Congress if members felt there was a vacuum and there were serious risks of rogue scientists carrying out experiments that the rest of the world thinks are unethical. Maybe Congress would find it necessary to step in and say, ''Oh no you don't.'' In certain ways they already have in this particular area of genome germline editing. There's a statute that currently prohibits the Food and Drug Administration from even looking at an application that includes human germline modification of an embryo with the intention to reimplant and make a baby. So Congress already has spoken.
Q: Do you think there will be a proposal in the near future to do germline editing with embryo implantation in the United States?
A: Not while it's illegal. It would be pretty crazy for someone to propose something at the present time that would be immediately seen as cause for criminal prosecution. Are there examples that could be imagined at some future point where this kind of germline intervention with intention to reimplant would somehow be justifiable on the basis of pressing medical need? I have a hard time seeing many examples of that, and most of them are pretty far out there. But that kind of conversation needs to happen.
Q: Science recently published a CRISPR experiment in a dog model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It was done after they were born, so these were somatic, not germline, edits. But germline editing is possible.
A: I'd love to see that pursued by somatic gene editing and I don't think that presents ethical dilemmas. Let's talk about the germline approach. You'd have to have a circumstance where you knew you had a family at risk. So you're worried about having an affected boy. How would you go about doing gene editing? Well, you'd have to do in vitro fertilization [IVF], you'd have to do preimplantation genetic diagnosis [PGD] to identify an embryo that has the mutation. You'll have at that point multiple embryos and there will be amongst them plenty that are unaffected. Why don't we just reimplant those and you're done? You have to do PGD in order to get to the point of being able to do germline gene editing, so it's PGD alone or it's PGD plus some highly risky procedure.
Q: But what if you have a situation where there aren't any healthy embryos to implant? (As a 2017 U.S. report on human gene editing noted, this can happen if both parents only carry the mutant gene, which is possible with β-thalassemia, or if inheriting only one mutant gene can cause a disease, as happens with adult-onset Huntington disease.)
A: Remember, I said there might be some extremely rare, and difficult outlier kind of arguments. And that's going to drive a decision about doing something that alters the very essence of humanity? I'm sorry, that's not very compelling. It's hard to see how reasonable people would say, ''Sure, let's just break down all the barriers that we thought were pretty impenetrable in the name of this thing that might happen three times in the world.''
Q: You can't imagine anything right now where germline gene editing makes any sense?
A: I can't go so far as to say I can't imagine any, but right now I can't see it.
Q: But at the Hong Kong meeting, George Daley, dean of Harvard Medical School in Boston, explicitly said we need to keep the door open here. And the meeting's organizing panel, of which he was a member, called for a ''translational pathway'' for clinical trials of germline engineering.
A: I don't agree with George. I thought what was put forward there, which was kind of ironic given the circumstance, was a subtle shift from, ''We don't believe that the arguments exist to do this right now'' to ''OK, let's identify a translational pathway so we can.'' I don't think George is reflecting the consensus of a lot of other people and he took some criticism.
Q: Do you think there should be a moratorium on this type of research, given that Daley and others think there could potentially be valid reasons to do it?
A: I think effectively we have one. Certainly, in the U.S. it's not just a moratorium, it's illegal. That's the strongest form of a moratorium. And we won't fund it. [The Dickey-Wicker Amendment forbids NIH from funding this research.] In other countries, especially after this eruption, including in China, it sounds like they're declaring a moratorium.
Q: IVF clinics often don't receive NIH funding, and they have done all sorts of things that people look askance at. Are you at all concerned about what they might do, given that they're central to any of this happening?
A: It's a good point. IVF clinics have had a bit of a reputation of being cowboys, and it's certainly possible that if this kind of rogue behavior was going to happen in the U.S., it would have to involve IVF and therefore those clinics might be significant players. If they chose to go down this road, they'd be bringing on a world of pain in terms of the consequences. I'd hope they wouldn't be so ignorant not to realize that.
Q: Do you think the legal consequences for He should include criminal prosecution?
A: I'm hard pressed to say that without knowing more about exactly how he conducted his research, how many people did know about it, and was there a possible wink and a nod from authorities saying, ''Well, you probably shouldn't, but it would be really cool if you did.'' I think he did a really bad thing. I think he had a bit of messiah complex that he could save these families from a terrible tragedy of stigma from HIV. But the logic he used to justify [the experiment] in these two little girls is so twisted that it's really hard to understand.
Q: Do you think what he did will have an impact on using gene editing in therapies that alter somatic cells, but not the germ line?
A: I do hope that this very visible misadventure does not cause a cloud over the entire area of gene editing for therapeutic benefit. When it comes to somatic applications, I'm extremely excited about the potential to come up with not just treatments, but cures for hundreds and maybe thousands of diseases that currently have no available treatment'--and this could be the best hope. If for any reason the noise about this misadventure would result in reduced enthusiasm, including politically or financially, to press forward on those very promising frontiers, that would be a terrible outcome.
Curious Catholic Context of the Head of CDC | Berean Beacon
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 10:54
Curious Catholic Connections of Dr. Redfield, Head of the CDCBy Greg Bentley and Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic
''But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.''1
On March 15, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) banned gatherings of 50 or more people in the United States. Governors across America closed most church gatherings for months. They discarded the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty. In effect, states put the whole nation under house arrest.
Entrusted at the helm of the CDC is Dr. Robert L. Redfield, a devout Jesuit trained Roman Catholic.
Ironically only 11 days later, on March 26th, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article coauthored by Dr. Robert Redfield and Dr. Antony Fauci. Both concluded that the '''...overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza'...''2
In the meantime, America is suffering major devastation due to the lockdown. As head of the CDC, Dr. Redfield owns responsibility for this state of affairs. Indeed, m ost Americans trust the CDC to give them accurate information on COVID '' much more so than the rest of the Federal Government.3
It begs the question: who exactly is Dr. Redfield? What is his background and track record? Should we trust him with the serious task of leading the CDC?
The Vital Role of Dr. Redfield's Jesuit Faith and EducationRedfield's pastor and friends testify that his years of work studying viruses along with his deep Catholic faith will help guide the country through the crisis.4
Redfield is an active member of Baltimore's Cathedral of Mary Our Queen where his parish priest, Richard Woy, recently remarked that ''the CDC director is 'not shy about his Catholic faith''' and that both he and his wife are serving as extraordinary ministers of holy Communion.5
Dr. Redfield was born and raised in a Roman Catholic family. Both of his parents worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Intrigued by Jesuit traditions and teaching, he enrolled at Georgetown University, the nation's oldest educational Roman Catholic Jesuit institution. He received both his BA and MD. 6
Dr. Redfield has been sitting under the wings of his Jesuit masters from an early age. He admits that ''Georgetown was critical in terms of my formation as a young adult and young physician.''7
This is an unfortunate development, especially for one of the four key leaders of the national effort to fight COVID.
One of the foundational principles of Jesuit teaching is the ''ends justify the means''. 8 This teaching contradicts Biblical ethics.9 People devolve into lawlessness. Leaders sacrifice integrity for pushing their own interests.
The Book of Judges shows the oppression and misery of the people of Israel at a time when ''every man did that which was right in his own eyes.''10
The Jesuit Order was created by Spanish soldier Ignatius de Loyola in 1533. Their primary goal was to serve the Pope by taking whatever means necessary to convert people. In fact, the Jesuits were Rome's response to the success of the Protestant Reformation. They were known as agents for the ''Counter Reformation.''11
'''Military obedience is not the equivalent of Jesuitic obedience; the latter is more extensive as it gets hold of the whole man and is not satisfied like the other, with an exterior act, but requires the sacrifice of the will and laying aside of one's own judgment.' Ignatius wrote in his letter to the Portuguese Jesuits: 'We must see black as white, if the Church says so.'''12
Dr. Redfield sees his Jesuit training as vital to his work. Hence, we should scrutinize his pronouncements as head of the CDC.
''The Jesuit tradition is important to me'--women and men for others and a commitment to health justice and equity, seeing the gifts of science applied equitably. Georgetown taught me that science and medicine are made to impact public health.''''13
Dr. Redfield's Merciless Approach to AIDSImpacting the public is exactly what Dr. Redfield vigorously pursued once he was placed in a position of authority.
During the AIDS epidemic in the late eighties and early 1990's, Dr. Redfield headed up the US military's response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He introduced harsh measures: quarantining infected soldiers, investigating their sexual histories, and spreading their diagnoses across the chain of command with little concern for soldiers' privacy.14
I was a personal witness to this cruelty as a young Captain in the US Army. My troops were forced to suffer through public testing and weeks of anxiety until getting their test results. Many tests resulted in false positives.
Those who tested positive were segregated from other service members and treated like prisoners. Some were dishonorably discharged. Others even attempted suicide!15 One of them was John O. Brisbois.
''The trouble came after a blood test showed that he carries the virus that causes AIDS. 'The Army did everything possible to make me want to leave,' said Brisbois, who, after three months absent without leave, surrendered and tried to kill himself. He was discharged last month. 'I feel I don't have a future anymore. I don't want to die, but I get so depressed.' Brisbois, 24, fled a special barracks wing, known on the base as the 'HIV hotel' and 'the leper colony,' to which he and scores of other soldiers had been transferred.'' 16
The military rationalized these harsh measures as necessary to control the AIDS epidemic.
''''The reason we have done what we have done,' said Maj. Robert Redfield, of Rockville, Md., chief scientist for the Army's AIDS research effort, ''is that we think it's good medicine''and it's medicine that might work in the civilian sector, as well.''17
Should You Trust Dr. Redfield's Track Record?No wonder much concern arose when President Trump appointed Dr. Redfield to lead the CDC. Dr. Peter Lurie stated 3 grave concerns:
''First, he has no experience running a public health agency, and does not have the all-important relationships with state and local public health officials such experience would bring. Second, based on work I conducted with Sidney Wolfe at Public Citizen in the mid-1990s, he has been credibly accused of scientific misconduct for exaggerating the benefits of a putative HIV vaccine, for which he was investigated by the military. Third, he has supported a variety of policies related to HIV/AIDS that are anathema to the great majority of public health professionals: mandatory HIV testing, reporting of positive HIV results to public health authorities without the patient's consent, and quarantining of HIV-positive individuals in the military.''18
Drs. Peter Lurie and Sidney M. Wolfe show that Dr. Redfield and his team ruthlessly engaged in a ''systemic pattern of data manipulation, inappropriate statistical analyses and misleading data presentation'....in apparent attempt to promote the usefulness of the GP160 AIDS vaccine.'' 19
A committee of Air Force doctors in 1992 in San Antonio reached similar conclusions:
''The committee agreed the information presented by Dr. Redfield seriously threatens his credibility as a researcher and has thus the potential to negatively impact AIDS research funding for military institutions as a whole. His allegedly unethical behavior creates false hope and could result in premature deployment of the vaccine.'' 20
Although the Army acknowledged there were issues about the accuracy of the data, Redfield was ultimately cleared of any allegations of scientific misconduct.
Dr. Redfield actually confessed that his analyses were deceptive and agreed to publicly correct them. Yet, he did not keep his word:
''Afterward, he continued making his false claims at three subsequent international HIV conferences, and perjured himself in testimony before Congress, swearing that his vaccine cured HIV. Their gambit worked. Based upon his testimony, Congress appropriated $20 million to the military to support Redfield and Birx's research project. Public Citizen complained in a 1994 letter to the Congressional Committee's Henry Waxman 21 that the money caused the Army to kill the investigation and 'whitewash' Redfield's crimes. The fraud propelled Birx and Redfield into stellar careers as health officials.'' 22
Observers remain concerned about Dr. Redfield's appointment to lead the CDC.
''. . .one of the whistleblowers who raised the issue of the trial data to the Army told Kaiser Health News (KHN) that he remains concerned about what happened. 'Either he was egregiously sloppy with data or it was fabricated,' said former Air Force Lt. Col. Craig Hendrix, a doctor who is now director of the division of clinical pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, to KHN. 'It was somewhere on that spectrum, both of which were serious and raised questions about his trustworthiness.''' 23
It is tragic indeed that the Trump Administration ignored Dr. Peter Lurie's appeal against Dr. Redfield's appointment at the head of CDC.
''What one wants in a director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a scientist of impeccable scientific integrity. What one would get in Robert Redfield is a sloppy scientist with a long history of scientific misconduct and an extreme religious agenda. We urge the administration not to appoint Dr. Redfield.'' 24
Should You Trust Dr. Redfield's ''Religious Agenda''?Dr. Redfield's cruelty and falsification of results should cause concern. Given his Jesuit training, they might not be all that surprising.
''''Liguori, in his treatise on oaths, Question 4, asks if it is allowable to use ambiguity, or equivocal words, to deceive the judge when under oath, and at No. 151 he answers: 'These things being established, it is a certain and a common opinion amongst all divines that for a just cause it is lawful to use equivocation in the propounded modes, and to confirm it (equivocation) with an oath.'... Now a just cause is any honest end in order to preserve good things for the spirit, or useful things for the body'. . .''''
To add insult to injury, the mainstream media trumpets the Jesuit Dr. Redfield as a Bible-believing Christian. 26
In reality, he practices the mystical techniques, or ''spiritual exercises'', of his Jesuit teachers.
The head of the CDC revealed this recently during a radio interview on April 1st, 2020 when he emphasized the ''powerful weapon'' of social distancing. He told listeners that he understood that staying home is a sacrifice, but asked them to ''close their eyes'' and think of the vulnerable people whose lives they could save if they did their part to break the chain of transmission. 27
Dr. Redfield merely parrots his living Jesuit master, Pope Francis, who also uses this technique. 28 They both denigrate God's Word in favor of their own imaginations.
On the contrary, Scripture exhorts the Christian ''to cast down vain imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, for we are to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.'' 29
Conclusion: Trust in God, Not in ManWithout a doubt, we live in challenging times. What are the people of God to do?
First, let us not put our trust in vaccines or any man. ''Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.'' 30
Secondly, let us not live in fear but in God's strength. ''For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.'' 31
Finally, let us look at life through the perspective of truth: we will not live here forever, and we should not panic because of death. Indeed, we await a better, perfect, and future home: ''But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He hath prepared for them a City.'' 32
Dedicated to Lynn Bennett, faithful wife, mother, sister in Christ, and editor of the Berean Beacon.
1 Matthew 5:37. Unless otherwise cited, all Scriptures come from the King James Version.
2 A.S. Fauci, H.C. Lane, and R.R. Redfield, Covid-19 '' Navigating the Uncharted. The New England Journal of medicine, 2020: 382(13), 1268''1269, available from nejm.org.
3 Nathaniel Rakich, Who do Americans trust on COVID-19?, April 16, 2020 on https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/americans-trust-the-cdc-on-covid-19-trump-not-so-much/
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
6 Jacques Kelly, What you should know about Dr. Robert Redfield, the Baltimore resident heading the CDC's coronavirus effort, March 14, 2020, available from the Baltimore Sun.
7 Jupiter El-Asmar, Alumni in the Field: Robert Redfield, Georgetown Medical Magazine Fall-Winter 2019, available from alumni.georgetown.edu.
8 J. Beaufort Hurlbert, The end justifies the means: proven from Jesuit authors to have been taught for 350 years, Montreal 1890, available from archive.org.
9 For example, see the history of Asa, King of Judah in 2 Chr. 14-16 in his bribing the heathen king of Syria to fight against Israel. God does not justify the wicked means Asa uses even for a ''good end''.
10 Judges 21:25b.
11 See https://bereanbeacon.org/the-counter-reformation-and-the-jesuit-order/ .
12 Selections from Ignatius de Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, available from http://homepages.neiu.edu/~wbsieger/Art316/316Read/Loyola.pdf
13 Jupiter El-Asmar, Alumni in the Field: Robert Redfield, Georgetown Medical Magazine Fall-Winter 2019, available from alumni.georgetown.edu.
14 Russ Choma, Trump's CDC Director Has a History of Controversial Opinions on Controlling Viruses, March 7, 2020, available from motherjones.com.
15 Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Who Is Robert Redfield Jr.? Monday April 9, 2018, available from allgov.com.
16 Laurie Garrett, AIDS in the Military: Soldiers Tell of Army Base 'Leper Colony', March 12, 1989, available from latimes.com.
17 Ibid.
18 Statement of CSPI President Dr. Peter Lurie: CSPI Urges Administration Not to Appoint Dr. Robert Redfield, with History of Scientific Misconduct, as CDC Director, March 21, 2018, available from cspinet.org.
19 Peter Lurie MD, MPH, and Sidney M. Wolfe MD, Public Citizen's Health Research Group, June 7, 1994, available from Keiser Health News '' khn.org.
20 Ibid.
21 You can access the full letter from Freedom of Information Act here.
22 Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Redfield and Birx: Can they be trusted with COVID? Available from thechildrenshealthdefense.org.
23 Elizabeth Renstrom, AIDS Researcher Robert Redfield Is the New CDC Director. Here's Why the Pick Is Controversial, March 22, 2018, available from time.com.
24 Statement of CSPI President Dr. Peter Lurie: CSPI Urges Administration Not to Appoint Dr. Robert Redfield, with History of Scientific Misconduct, as CDC Director, March 21, 2018, available from cspinet.org.
25 Alfonse de Liguori, Moral Theology, tom. ii. lib. iii. cap. iii. p. 116, n. 12. Mech. 1845
26 Heather Digby Parton, Is the Christian right now in charge of public health inside the Trump administration? March 9, 2020, available from salon.com.
28 Darius Tahir, How the CDC director became the MAGA whisperer on coronavirus, April 9, 2020, available from politico.com. politico.com.
29 Richard Bennett, Pope Francis: Master of Jesuit Spiritual Exercises, available from bereanbeacon.org.
29 2 Cor. 10:5
30 Ps. 20:7
31 2 Tim. 1:7
32 Heb. 11:16
CDC director reveals his son was almost killed by cocaine laced with fentanyl | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 12:40
The new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that his son almost died from taking cocaine laced with fentanyl.
Dr Robert Redfield Jr, who was named the head of the nation's top public health agency in March, said the event is a big reason why the opioid epidemic is one of his top priorities.
'For me, it's personal. I almost lost one of my children from it,' he said in a speech to National Association of County and City Health Officials.
Speaking at the annual conference in New Orleans on Thursday, Redfield outlined the CDC's biggest concerns. The opioid epidemic was listed first, which he called: 'the public health crisis of our time'.
Dr Robert Redfield Jr (pictured), the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed in a speech on Thursday that his son almost died from taking cocaine laced with fentanyl
According to public health records viewed by the Associated Press, his son, a 37-year-old musician, was charged with drug possession in Maryland in 2016.
It is unclear if the charges were dropped or if he served any kind of sentence, or if this is around the time of the overdose.
Redfield declined to speak about his son further but, in a statement, he said: 'It's important for society to embrace and support families who are fighting to win the battle of addiction - because stigma is the enemy of public health.'
Dr Umair Shah, the head of Houston's county health department, applauded the CDC director's moment of candor.
'It was definitely an intimate moment that grabbed the audience of public health professionals,' said Shah, who just finished a term as president of the association.
According to preliminary numbers released by the CDC last week, about 70,000 American died from drug overdoses last year - a 10 percent increase from the previous year.
Overdose deaths are now the leading cause of death among young Americans, killing more in a year than were ever killed annually by HIV, gun violence or car crashes.
The majority involved opioids with growing numbers attributed to fentanyl, a man-made opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine.
WHY WOULD ANYONE MIX FENTANYL AND COCAINE?Cocaine, a schedule II drug, is known as an 'upper', since it is a stimulant that makes users alert and energized.
Fentanyl, also schedule II, is known as a 'downer', since it is a powerful sedative that triggers a state of relaxation.
Combining the two is not new: according to the DEA the drugs are mixed to create a 'speedballing' effect, triggering a 'rush' of cocaine with the numbness of fentanyl.
'The desired outcome is for the user to experience the ''high'' from the cocaine with the depressant (heroin or fentanyl) helping ease the otherwise sharp comedown after the effects of the cocaine subside,' the DEA explained in its latest report.
However, some believe dealers may be lacing cocaine with fentanyl, not for its effect, but to capitalize on its addictive qualities, luring users back for more.
Others believe it may be something of an accident.
Either way, fentanyl is incredibly lethal and likely fatal for users who have not taken opioids before.
The drug is often sold in place of high-grade heroin - referred to as 'China White' - or added to drugs such as heroin and cocaine to amplify the high.
A CDC report released in March found that cocaine deaths were providing a huge uptick in overdose deaths in the US, with a 52.4 percent increase in 2016 from the year before.
Health officials believe the increase was due to a boom of cocaine being cut with fentanyl.
Some believe it's not purposeful, while other say it's a move carried out by cartel leaders to get more people addicted to opioids because fentanyl is highly addictive.
While cocaine is a stimulant, meant to energize users, fentanyl is a depressant, inducing feelings of euphoria and relaxation.
According to the 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the two are mixed together to create a 'speedballing' effect.
The user will feel the 'high' from the cocaine and the fentanyl will ease the 'sharp comedown'.
According to an analysis released in February, the growing opioid epidemic has cost the US more than $1trillion from 2001 through 2017.
Around the same time, the US Senate announced it has allotted $6billion for the opioid epidemic over a two-year period.
Last October, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency and the federal government is expected to spend a record $4.6 billion this year to fight the opioid crisis.
In March, the president unveiled a new anti-opioid abuse plan to fight the epidemic but it has gained little support from drug abuse and judicial experts due to the focus on tougher penalties for drug offences.
The majority of the plan calls for mandatory minimum offences for trafficking fentanyl and other opioids 'that are lethal in trace amounts'.
The president also called for the death penalty for drug traffickers 'when appropriate'.
Two other steps of the plan include a goal of cutting down on prescriptions by one-third over the next three years and boosting treatment, although the latter fails to mention details or how much funding treatment will cost.
Lurie v. Department of Army, 970 F. Supp. 19 (D.D.C. 1997) :: Justia
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 13:25
970 F. Supp. 19 (1997)Peter LURIE, et al., Plaintiffs,v.DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, Defendant.Civil Action No. 95-1085(JHG).United States District Court, District of Columbia.
July 15, 1997. *20 *21 *22 *23 *24 *25 Eric Robert Glitzenstein, Meyer & Glitzenstein, Washington, DC, for plaintiffs.
*26 Lisa Sheri Goldfluss, U.S. Attorney's Office, Robert Lawrence Shapiro, Spriggs & Hollingsworth, Washington, DC, for defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDERJOYCE HENS GREEN, District Judge.
Presently pending is the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Upon consideration of this motion, the plaintiffs' opposition, the defendant's reply, the plaintiffs' Notice of Recent authorities and the defendant's response thereto, and after reviewing the withheld documents which were submitted for in camera review pursuant to this Court's Orders of September 27 and November 12, 1996, the motion will be denied in part and granted in part. Disclosure will be ordered as set out in this opinion.
I. BackgroundThis FOIA suit stems from research that the Department of the Army conducted into a potential vaccine for the HIV virus, which causes AIDS. In 1991 and early 1992, researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research ("WRAIR"), led by Lieutenant Colonel ("Lt.Col.") Robert Redfield, M.D., Chief of the Department of Retroviral Research, reported to Congress and published in well-known medical publications that, based on certain clinical trials, a vaccine known as gp160 appeared to have salutary effects on persons infected with HIV. See Ten Years of AIDS: Hearing before the Subcomm. on Health and the Environment, Comm. on Energy and Commerce ("Ten Years of AIDS Hearing"), 102d Cong., 1st Sess. 96 (June 6, 1991) (testimony of Lt.Col. Redfield) ("the individuals that have been immunized appear not to have a fall in their CD4 cells as opposed to historical controls"); AIDS Research Opportunities: Hearing before the Subcomm. on Health and the Environment of the Comm. on Energy and Commerce ("AIDS Research Opportunities Hearing"), 102d Cong., 2d Sess. 95 (testimony of Lt.Col. Redfield) ("I am part of the research team that may, in fact, provide a treatment for all people with early HIV infection."); Robert R. Redfield, et al., A Phase I Evaluation of the Safety and Immunogenicity of Vaccination with Recombinant gp160 in Patients with Early Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection, New England J. of Med. (June 13, 1991), reprinted in AIDS Research Opportunities Hearing, supra, at 83-90; see also AIDS Research Opportunities Hearing, supra, at 81 (Feb. 24, 1992) (testimony of Colonel ("Col.") Donald Burke, M.D., Director, Division of Retrovirology, WRAIR) ("we showed unequivocally that vaccine therapy with gp160 was safe and that it did indeed boost the natural levels of antibodies and cellular immunity").
Dr. Redfield described the imitative at the Defense Department's Walter Reed Army Medical Center:
Well, the long-term goals of the Defense Department have been trying to develop a vaccine for treatment and prevention, and for a great actually, about a century ago the concept of using vaccines as therapeutic was actually originated.What we attempted to do at Walter Reed over the last several years was to see if you could modify the immune response of patients that are chronically infected to boost it so maybe they can control it better by actually using an AIDS vaccine to treat. And next week, there is also that original Phase I feasibility trial that will be published, and, in fact, it is feasible. You can actually use a vaccine in an individual with a chronic infection and change the entire immune response and defense that they have against that virus, and it is safe. At present, it is intriguing because the individuals that have been immunized appear not to have a fall in their CD4 cells as opposed to historical controls.Ten Years of Aids Hearing, supra, at 96.
Lt.Col. Redfield's prediction of a potential breakthrough in the war on AIDS aroused extraordinary interest in Congress, in the news media and in the medical community. See, e.g., AIDS Conference to Unleash Research Covering Vaccines and Gene Therapy, Wall St. J., at B4 (July 15, 1992) ("Dr. Redfield has been testing vaccines as a type of immune therapy in people who are infected with the AIDS virus. This spring he forecast that his data will show the treatments *27 lower virus levels and stabilize infection-fighting immune cells."); Multiple Mutating HIV Strains Stymie Researchers Seeking a Vaccine for AIDS, Wall St. J., at B6 (May 26, 1992) ("Robert Redfield, a researcher at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington will soon have 600 volunteers enrolled in his studies of AIDS vaccines as immune-boosters. He is testing such vaccines not for purposes of prevention but as treatment for people who are already HIV-infected."); Bernie Ankey, U.S. Medicine Interviews Robert R. Redfield, U.S. Medicine, at 8 (April 1992) (Dr. Redfield: "I personally believe it holds the key to converting HIV infection to a prolonged, subclinical disease within my lifetime."); 137 Cong.Rec. S17663 (Nov. 22, 1991) (statement of Sen. Dodd) ("Last summer, the distinguished New England Journal of Medicine published the first results of a study conducted by Dr. Robert Redfield of Walter Reed.... [These interim test results] give us some reason for hope that we can develop a way to effectively help HIV infected people maintain their immune system function and stay healthy or at least stay healthy for a longer period of time.").
In July 1992, Lt. Col. Redfield made a presentation to the Eighth International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam which was widely interpreted as a bold assertion that there had been statistically significant decreases in the amount of HIV in the blood of those patients who received the gp 160 vaccine as opposed to those in a control group. As were his previous public statements, Redfield's Amsterdam presentation was widely covered by the media. See, e.g., At AIDS Talks, Hope is Weighed Down by the Hard Reality, N.Y. Times, at 1, 15 (July 26, 1992) ("Dr. Robert R. Redfield, of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, said patients receiving the vaccine had lower amounts of H.I.V. and a reduced rate of decline of one of the monitoring tests of the immune system."); Richard A. Knox, New Problems, New Hopes at AIDS Parley, Bost. Globe (July 26, 1992) ("`There is no doubt in my mind that next year we will be on first base in terms of showing that human HIV infection can ultimately be a self-limited disease that never proceeds to immune system collapse,' Dr. Robert Redfield of the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research in Maryland said in an interview. `I think AZT was a bunt down the foul line.'"); 257 Science, at 605 (July 31, 1992) ("Robert Redfield of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research claimed that he's reduced the amount of HIV in the blood cells of infected people who have been treated for two years with a vaccine made from the HIV surface protein gp160."). In the same article, the Boston Globe reported on the Army's program and the pressure for its expansion:
The U.S. Army is spending $15 million on a trial in progress of GP-160 compared with a dummy vaccine in 600 H.I.V.-infected patients. Studies so far, which indicate GP-160 is apparently harmless are generating pressure by AIDS activists and doctors to let the experimental vaccine be tried in a bigger group, perhaps 2,000 HIV-infected volunteers while waiting for definitive evidence."Can we let the next three years go by without some kind of wider acceptance to GP-160?" said Dr. Calvin Cohen of Boston, research director of the Community Research Initiative of New England. "Clinical researchers like me need to meet with the Food and Drug Administration and try to make it happen."Knox, New Problems, New Hopes at AIDS Parley, supra.
On September 18, 1992, Senator Sam Nunn introduced Amendment No. 3094 to the bill that became the 1993 National Defense Authorization Act. This amendment provided $20 million for further testing of gp160:
Mr. President, I offer this amendment that would add $20 million for AIDS and research at the Department of Defense medical research facilities.This amendment would provide for the third phase of testing for a new vaccine which has shown great promise as a way of delaying the onset of the deadly implications of the AIDS virus. This advantage is now seen in stage 2 testing in Walter Reed Medical Center. According to Army medical experts, phase 2 has shown that the *28 vaccine should go to phase 3 as soon as possible.This research and other fine medical work at Walter Reed are excellent examples of our military research facilities which can and are helping to solve the problems that are important and crucial to civilian society.Mr. President, I urge adoption of the amendment on behalf of myself and Senator Warner, and I also say former Senator Russell Long has brought this matter to our attention.* * *Mr. President, in the case of this kind of research, time literally means saving the lives of people now sick with this deadly disease. The sooner we get these tests completed, the better off so many people in our Nation will be.138 Cong.Rec. S14156, S14159-60 (Sept. 18, 1992), reprinted at 1992 WL 229956 (Cong. Rec.).
The $20 million rider to the Defense authorization act set off a firestorm of debate in the scientific research community because it circumvented the normal process for federal funding of scientific and medical research. See Jon Cohen, Did Political Clout Win Vaccine Trial for MicroGeneSys?, 258 Science, at 211 (Oct. 9, 1992). Bernadine Healy, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), commented that it was unprecedented for Congress to direct research to a specific experiment. Id. And, as it had before, this development in the testing of gp160 received significant press coverage. See, e.g., Lobbyists and Drug Tests, The Wash. Post, Oct. 28, 1992, at A24, reprinted at 1992 WL 2159626; Lawmakers' Approval of $20 Million for Aids Vaccine Tests Draws Protest, The Courier-Journal, Oct. 26, 1992, reprinted at 1992 WL 7863278 ("several scientists said it was extremely rare for lawmakers to appropriate money for testing a specific treatment"); Scientists Protest AIDS Vaccine Trials, Houston Chron. (Oct. 26, 1992), reprinted at 1992 WL 11453801 ("The federal government's top scientists are angrily protesting a recent decision by Congress to bypass medical researchers and approve $20 million for human trials of an experimental AIDS vaccine."); AIDS Vaccine Decision Disputed Government Scientists Say Congress Was Out of Line, The Kansas City Star, Oct. 26, 1992, reprinted at 1992 WL 6474184 (same); AIDS Research Bill Angers Scientists Critics Say Congress Went Too Far When Approving Trials on Humans For Vaccine, L.A. Daily News, Oct. 26, 1992, reprinted at 1992 WL 8197562 (same); Approval of AIDS Drug Trial Protested: Researchers Claim They Were Bypassed, The Raleigh News & Observer, Oct. 26, 1992, reprinted at 1992 WL 80334415 (same); Federal Scientists Fuming Over $20 Million AIDS Appropriation, The Sacramento Bee, Oct. 26, 1992, reprinted at 1992 WL 9779290 (same); $20 Million for AIDS Creates Furor, The S.F. Chron., Oct. 26, 1992, reprinted at 1992 WL 6286748 (same); Congressional AIDS Measures Worry Public Health Advocates, Med. & Health, Oct. 26, 1992, reprinted at 1992 WL 2790128 (discussing "earmark[ of] $20 million of the defense budget for Phase III clinical trials of experimental AIDS vaccine gp160"); Jon Cohen, Lobbying for an AIDS Trial, 258 Science, at 536 (Oct. 23, 1992) (same); AIDS Drug Trial is Result of Lobbying, NIH Charges, Wall St. J., Oct. 20, 1992, at B5, reprinted at 1992 WL-WSJ 631178 (same); Old-fashioned Lobbying Wins Funding For Human Tests of New AIDS Drug, The Baltimore Evening Sun, Oct. 20, 1992, at A14, reprinted at 1992 WL 9543586 (same); Lobbyist Wins Trial for AIDS Drug, Chicago Sun-Times, Oct. 20, 1992, at 29, reprinted at 1992 WL 3491765 (same); AIDS Vaccine Goes Political, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Oct. 20, 1992, at 4A (same); Lobbyist Gets Congress to Fund Research for Rebuffed AIDS Vaccine, Portland Oregonian, Oct. 20, 1992, at A12, reprinted at 1992 WL 7357733 (same); Lobbying in Senate Gets AIDS Drug Rushed to Testing, The Seattle Times, at A2, reprinted at 1992 WL 5052966 (same); Ex-Senator's Lobbying for AIDS Drug Assailed, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct. 20, 1992, at 9A, reprinted at 1992 WL 3561935.
At approximately the same time that Congress awarded millions of dollars in taxpayer funds for testing the gp160 vaccine at Walter *29 Reed, allegations surfaced that Lt.Col. Redfield had distorted the results of his research. In mid-October 1992, a memo from the previous August, which had criticized Redfield's methodology and his conclusions, was obtained by the press. See Statement of William F. McCarthy (Dec. 7, 1992), attachment 3 to Plaintiffs' Ex. G; Phyllida Brown, Memo Suggests U.S. Army HIV Vaccine Oversold, New Scientist, at 8 (October 24, 1992) ("Claims for a vaccine therapy that the U.S. Army is testing in HIV-positive patients may have been exaggerated, according to data in an internal memo obtained by New Scientist."). Thus, the debate about the gp160 testing, which had been raging within the military medical research community for several months, became public. Id.
Dr. McCarthy's criticism was not the only challenge to Lt.Col. Redfield's conclusions and methodology. In a memorandum to Col. Burke (Redfield's supervisor), Major ("Maj.") Craig W. Hendrix, M.D., the Director of the HIV Program in the Air Force and Col. R. Neal Boswell, M.D., the Associate Chief of the Division of Medicine in the Air Force complained about "[t]he problem of misleading or, possibly, deceptive presentations by Dr. Redfield, which overstate the GP160 phase I data." Memorandum of Oct. 21, 1992, at ¶ 1, attachment 2 to Plaintiffs' Ex. G. This memorandum indicates that Redfield's presentations had been subjected to severe and substantial criticism within the military medical research community since at least late July 1992 when Dr. Maryanne Vahey "first questioned Dr. Redfield's Amsterdam talk." Id. ¶ 1. Maj. Hendrix and Col. Boswell described the Amsterdam presentation as "[t]he most serious example of potential scientific misconduct." Id.
Noting that the scientific credibility of the military medical research was at risk, the two senior military doctors who authored the memorandum described their concerns in no uncertain terms:
Last week, at the 32nd Annual ICAAC meeting in Anaheim, CA, Dr. Redfield again presented data in an incomplete and misleading fashion, despite assurances to the MMCARR[1] in several recent meetings that he understood his past presentations to be in error and that he would refrain from repeating that error. If these actions are an intentional deception, it is an error of the most serious kind in science that betrays the trust of colleagues, patients and sponsors.Id.
In their memorandum, the authors set forth in detail their evidence of "potential scientific misconduct." That evidence included:
Overselling the GP160 phase I data may date back as early as the New England Journal of Medicine publication (N Engl J Med 1991: 324:1677-84). Oral presentations of the phase I continuation data over the last year and a half have repeatedly shown only a few selected "home run" patients. The data from the entire study group has not been well represented by these selected patients. Data analysis has been either sloppy or, possibly, deceptive with use of inappropriately chosen "control" groups, unorthodox statistical methods that abuse the data to come up with the desired CD4 trend conclusions, failure to include appropriately performed analyses that fail to support the desired conclusion and badgering of statisticians and colleagues by Dr. Redfield, sometimes successfully, to agree to data analyses against their better professional judgment.Id. ¶ 3.
Dr. Redfield's professional peers sought specific action from Col. Burke:
Accordingly, we insist that further action be taken immediately to: (1) publicly correct the record in a medium suitable for widespread dissemination to our civilian scientific colleagues, (2) censure Dr. Redfield for potential scientific misconduct which should at least include temporarily suspending his involvement on the current immunotherapy protocols, and (3) initiate *30 an investigation by a fully independent outside investigative body, such as the Office of Scientific Integrity of the N.I.H. to evaluate the facts of the case and recommend appropriate actions.Id. ¶ 4.
They also raised their "serious concern" regarding Lt. Col. Redfield's connection to a non-profit organization called "Americans for a Sound AIDS Policy" or "ASAP," which had lobbied Members of Congress for gp160 funding at the same time that Redfield was a member of ASAP's Advisory Board. The memorandum's authors alleged that ASAP's President, Shepherd Smith, had attempted to influence Dr. Vahey, the doctor who had assisted Redfield in analyzing the "viral load" of the patients receiving the vaccine and who later criticized his Amsterdam presentation:
Smith also contacted Dr. Vahey prior to her 31 AUG 92 presentation of the GP160 phase I data which was to be the first public presentation of the data in a nonselective, appropriately analyzed fashion. According to Dr. Vahey, Mr. Smith had intimate knowledge of the GP160 phase I data and offered detailed suggestions for how Dr. Vahey should present the incomplete data with the control groups, coincidentally as Dr. Redfield had done in Amsterdam, to favor further development of the vaccine. He also insisted that she needed to know of the increasing pressures on her due to: (1) the millions of dollars at stake, (2) Army-NIH vaccine competition, and (3) upcoming congressional testimony on GP160 vaccine studies. We are suspicious of Mr. Smith's access to GP160 data, his involvement at the most basic level of data analysis on this study, and his motivations in raising issues of financial and congressional pressure which are scientifically immaterial and have, on the surface, the appearance of a very gross impropriety.Id. ¶ 5.
Two days after Col. Boswell and Maj. Hendrix submitted their memorandum to Col. Burke, the "Institute Review Committee's Subcommittee on Potential Scientific Misconduct in GP160 Phase I Immunotherapy Study" convened to consider the subject matter of that memorandum. See Meeting Minutes, attachment 1 to Plaintiff's Ex. G. The subcommittee "agreed that the information presented by Dr. Redfield seriously threaten[ed] his credibility as a researcher and ha[d] the potential to negatively impact AIDS research funding as a whole. His allegedly unethical behavior create[d] false hope and could result in premature deployment of the vaccine." Id. at 2.
On October 22, 1992, the Army convened an informal investigation pursuant to Army Regulation ("AR") 15-6 ("AR 15-6 informal investigation"). See Memorandum for Colonel Harry G. Dangerfield, U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, attached as Plaintiffs' Opp. at Ex. N. Major General ("MG") Richard T. Travis, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, appointed Col. Dangerfield to "investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding alleged scientific misconduct associated with the Army HIV Program" and charged him with "determin[ing] whether any Command personnel acted in violation of Federal law or Army regulation." Id.; Declaration of Charles H. Bowers, FOIA Officer, Office of the Surgeon General, Department of the Army ("Bowers Decl.") ¶ 6. The AR 15-6 informal investigation generated widespread media coverage. See, e.g., U.S. Investigates AIDS Researcher, N.Y. Times, Nov. 5, 1992, at A28; Officials Investigate Researcher in Connection With AIDS Vaccine, Portland Oregonian, Nov. 5, 1992, at B4 Jon Cohen, Army Investigates Researcher's Report of Clinical Trial Data, 258 Science, at 1568 (Dec. 4, 1992), reprinted at 1992 WL 11304481; Susan Katz Miller, Is Congress Backing the Wrong AIDS Vaccine?, New Scientist, at 11 (Nov. 14, 1992); CBS, Transcript from the CBS Evening News at 4-5 (Nov. 11, 1992), attached to Plaintiff's Opp. at Ex. P.
On February 22, 1993, Col. Dangerfield completed his AR 15-6 informal investigation, concluding that the "evidence does not support the allegations of scientific misconduct." Memorandum for Major General Richard T. Travis, Commander, U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command ("Dangerfield Report"), at section iv (Findings), ¶ 1. In section v of his report, *31 Col. Dangerfield recommended that no adverse actions be taken and that "[i]n fairness to Lt.Col. Redfield, the HIV Research Program, the Army and scientific community, a press release correcting the record is warranted." Id. at section v (Recommendations), ¶ 2.
MG Travis reviewed Col. Dangerfield's investigation, neither approving it nor disapproving it. See id. at section viii (Action by Appointing Authority), ¶ 1; Bowers Decl. ¶ 8. Finding it to be incomplete, see Dangerfield Report at section viii, ¶ 2, MG Travis appointed Col. Garland McCarty to "continue an informal investigation [into] the facts and circumstances surrounding the participation of personnel in the Retrovirology Division at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in an organization known as `Americans for a Sound AIDS Policy.'" Memorandum for Colonel Garland E. McCarty, U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, at ¶ 1 (Mar. 9, 1993), attached to Plaintiffs' Opp. at Ex. T.
On April 6, 1993, Col. McCarty completed his investigation, including therewith all of Col. Dangerfield's investigation and exhibits. See Bowers Decl. ¶ 9. Col. McCarty made specific findings and recommendations, all of which MG Travis approved. Id.; Report of Proceedings by Investigating Officer, DA Form 1574 ("McCarty Report"), at section viii (Action by Appointing Authority), attached to Plaintiffs' Opp. at Ex. T. In his findings, McCarty concluded that ASAP had probably received scientific information that was not widely disseminated. See McCarty Report at section iv (Findings), ¶ 7. In one of the two recommendations publicly disseminated, he recommended that relationship between Walter Reed and ASAP be terminated. See id at section v (Recommendations), ¶ 4.[2]
Like Redfield's presentations of the gp160 data, the debate within the military medical research community and the allegations of scientific fraud, the results of the Army's inquiry, including criticism of it, was reported by the media. See, e.g., Jon Cohen, Army Clears Redfield but Fails to Resolve Controversy, 261 Science, at 924 (Aug. 13, 1993), reprinted at 1993 WL 12231028; Phyllida Brown, Anger Over `Selective Data' on HIV Therapy, New Scientist, at 4 (July 17, 1993); AIDS Vaccine Cover-up Alleged, MarketLetter (Aug. 9, 1993), reprinted at 1993 WL 2827289.
On July 5, 1994, Plaintiffs Peter Lurie, M.D., and the Public Citizen Health Research Group requested the disclosure of records under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552 (1994), regarding the McCarty and Dangerfield informal investigations. See Compl. ¶ 6. Their FOIA request specifically described the records they sought:
The full unredacted versions (with all attachments) of the reports of Colonel Henry (sic) Dangerfield on the GP160 AIDS vaccine trial and Colonel Garland McCarty on the relationship between the Armed Forces researchers and Americans for a Sound AIDS Policy (ASAP).Public Citizen letter of July 5, 1994, attached to Plaintiff's Opp. at Ex. Y
On September 14, 1994, the Army released some of the records that the plaintiffs requested, but withheld others (or portions of others) based on an assertion of FOIA Exemptions 5 (deliberative process), 6 (personal privacy) and 7(C) (law enforcement records). See MG Thomas R. Tempel, Acting Deputy Surgeon General, letter of Sept. 14, 1991, attached to Plaintiffs' Opp. at Ex. AA; Bowers Decl. ¶¶ 3 & 12-14, attached to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment at Ex. 1; Compl. ¶ 7. In particular, the Army withheld portions of McCarty's findings and recommendations, while releasing all of Dangerfield's. Other records, such as witness statements submitted by Dr. Hendrix, Dr. Boswell and Dr. McCarthy were heavily redacted. On the other hand, the majority of Dr. Redfield's statement was released.
On November 1, 1994, the plaintiffs appealed, see Plaintiffs' Ex. BB; Compl. ¶ 8, which the Army denied on April 17, 1995. *32 See Bowers Decl. ¶ 5; Compl. ¶ 10. Thereafter, the plaintiffs filed suit in this Court in this Court pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a) (4) (B) and 28 U.S.C. § 1331. They now seek:
(1) a declaration that the Army's refusal to disclose the records was unlawful;(2) a court order directing the defendant to disclose the requested records;(3) an award of costs and reasonably attorneys' fees; and(4) such other relief as this Court may deem just and proper.Compl. at 3-4.
The defendant later moved for summary judgment, submitting an index under Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C.Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977, 94 S. Ct. 1564, 39 L. Ed. 2d 873. However, because the Vaughn index and the Bowers Declaration were insufficiently detailed and too conclusory in nature to afford an adequate review of the claimed exemptions, the Court directed the Army to submit the withheld documents, in unredacted form, for in camera review. See Order of Sept. 27, 1996; Order of Nov. 12, 1996. The Court has now reviewed each document in light of the exemptions claimed by the Army and rules as described below.
II. DiscussionA. The Freedom of Information Act.FOIA's core purpose is to shed light on the operation of government. Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749, 773, 109 S. Ct. 1468, 1481-82, 103 L. Ed. 2d 774 (1989). This purpose is effectuated by "facilitat[ing] public access to Government documents," Department of State v. Ray, 502 U.S. 164, 173, 112 S. Ct. 541, 547, 116 L. Ed. 2d 526 (1991), and by "pierc[ing] the veil of administrative secrecy and [] open[ing] agency action to the light of public scrutiny." Id., at 173, 112 S. Ct. at 547 (quoting Department of Air Force v. Rose, 425 U.S. 352, 361, 96 S. Ct. 1592, 1599, 48 L. Ed. 2d 11 (1976)); see also McCutchen v. Department of Health and Human Servs., 30 F.3d 183, 184 (D.C.Cir. 1994).
Nonetheless, FOIA does not provide unfettered access to government files and papers. McCutchen, 30 F.3d at 184. Nine categories of documents are exempt from disclosure. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a) (2), (b); see Reporters Committee, 489 U.S. at 755, 109 S. Ct. at 1472; Beck v. Department of Justice, 997 F.2d 1489, 1490 (D.C.Cir.1993). The agency makes the original determination regarding the applicability of the FOIA exemptions to the particular request, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a) (6) (A), but "the primary interpretative responsibilities rest on the judiciary." Association of Retired R.R. Workers, Inc. v. United States R.R. Retirement Bd., 830 F.2d 331, 334 (D.C.Cir.1987). The agency bears the burden to demonstrate that a claimed exemption applies, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a) (4) (B); see McCutchen, 30 F.3d at 185, and courts are to interpret the exemptions narrowly and de novo, recognizing that "[d]isclosure, not secrecy, is the dominant objective" of FOIA's statutory scheme. Rose, 425 U.S. at 361 & 379, 96 S. Ct. at 1599 & 1607; see also Reporters Committee, 489 U.S. at 755, 109 S. Ct. at 1472.
B. The Standard of Review.Summary judgment is appropriate in FOIA cases when there is "no genuine issue as to any material fact and ... the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Petroleum Info. Corp. v. Department of the Interior, 976 F.2d 1429, 1433 (D.C.Cir.1992); Alyeska Pipeline Serv. v. EPA, 856 F.2d 309, 314 (D.C.Cir.1988). "The inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is a need for trial whether, in other words, there are any genuine issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986). In considering a motion for summary judgment, the "evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [its] favor." Id. at 255, 106 S. Ct. at 2513. At the same time, however, Rule 56 places a burden on the nonmoving party to "go beyond the pleadings and by [its] own affidavits, or by the `depositions, answers to *33 interrogatories, and admissions on file,' designate `specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986) (citation omitted). "When an agency seeks to protect material which, even on the agency's version of the facts, falls outside the proffered exemption, summary judgment in favor of the FOIA plaintiff is appropriate." Petroleum Info. Corp., 976 F.2d at 1433.
C. The Motion for Summary JudgmentThe Army has moved for summary judgment as to its withholding of portions of 26 records.[3] Of those records, the defendant has invoked Exemptions 5 (deliberative process),[4] 6 (personal privacy) and 7(C) (law enforcement records) to justify nondisclosure for each record, save two. For those two records, the Army has claimed only Exemption 6 for Document No. 3 (the McCarty Investigation Report), and it only claims Exemptions 5 and 6 as to Document No. 78 (Lt. Col. Redfield memorandum dated Nov. 17, 1992).[5] After briefly outlining the general principles of law applicable to the exemptions claimed, those principles are applied to each document withheld.
1. Exemption 5 Deliberative ProcessExemption 5 of FOIA protects from disclosure "inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party ... in litigation with the agency." 5 U.S.C. § 552(b) (5). This exemption encompasses all documents that are shielded from civil discovery, including those that are protected by the "deliberative process" privilege. NLRB v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 421 U.S. 132, 149, 95 S. Ct. 1504, 1516, 44 L. Ed. 2d 29 (1975); Petroleum Info. Corp., 976 F.2d at 1433. Its purpose is to shelter "documents reflecting advisory opinions, recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated." NLRB, 421 U.S. at 150, 95 S. Ct. at 1516 (internal quotation and citation omitted).
Like all FOIA exemptions, this exemption must be construed as narrowly as is consistent with the efficient operation of the agency. Mapother v. Department of Justice, 3 F.3d 1533, 1537 (D.C.Cir.1993); Army Times Publishing Co. v. Department of Air Force, 998 F.2d 1067, 1069 (D.C.Cir.1993). The deliberative process privilege, therefore, protects only those documents that are both predecisional and deliberative. EPA v. Mink, 410 U.S. 73, 88, 93 S. Ct. 827, 836, 35 L. Ed. 2d 119 (1973). To determine whether a document is predecisional, a court must examine whether it was prepared "`to assist an agency decisionmaker in arriving at his decision,' rather than to support a decision already made." Petroleum Info. Corp., 976 F.2d at 1434 (quoting Renegotiation Bd. v. Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp., 421 U.S. 168, 95 S. Ct. 1491, 44 L. Ed. 2d 57 (1975)). The material sought must be "antecedent to the adoption of an agency policy." Jordan v. Department of Justice, 591 F.2d 753, 774 (D.C.Cir.1978). An agency is not obligated to demonstrate a specific final decision, but must only establish "what deliberative process is involved and the role played by the documents in the course of that process." Coastal States Gas Corp. v. Department of Energy, 617 F.2d 854, 868 (D.C.Cir. 1980). The agency must provide sufficient information about its decisionmaking process to establish that the document withheld was actually a part of that process. Senate of Puerto Rico on Behalf of Judiciary Committee v. Department of Justice, 823 F.2d 574, *34 586 (D.C.Cir.1987); Bristol-Meyers Co. v. FTC, 598 F.2d 18, 28 n. 20 (D.C.Cir.1978). Merely claiming that a record was part of its decisionmaking process is not enough. Safe-Card Serv. v. SEC, 926 F.2d 1197, 1204 (D.C.Cir.1991); see Coastal States Gas Corp., 617 F.2d at 868.
While not always determinative, the deliberative nature of a document is frequently determined through the "simple test that factual material must be disclosed but advice and recommendations may be withheld." Wolfe v. Department of Health and Human Services, 839 F.2d 768, 774 (D.C.Cir. 1988) (en banc). This fact/opinion distinction cannot be applied mechanically because Exemption 5 protects from disclosure predecisional materials, even though factual, if disclosure of that material would "reveal an agency's or official's mode of formulating or exercising policy-implicating judgment." Petroleum Info. Corp., 976 F.2d at 1435.
The agency is required to make a "segregability" determination, see 5 U.S.C. § 552(b), stating that "all reasonably segregable" non-exempt (i.e, factual) information has been disclosed to a requester unless the "non-exempt portions of a document ... are inextricably intertwined with exempt portions." Krikorian v. Department of State, 984 F.2d 461, 466 (D.C.Cir.1993); see also Church of Scientology v. Department of Justice, 30 F.3d 224, 229 (1st Cir. 1994); Army Times Publishing Co., 998 F.2d at 1068; PHE, Inc. v. Department of Justice, 983 F.2d 248, 252 (D.C.Cir.1993).
The fundamental purpose of Exemption 5 is to protect the agency's decisionmaking process. Thus, while opinions and recommendations contained in a memorandum or other document are protected, "a report does not become part of the deliberative process merely because it contains only those facts which the person making the report thinks material. If this were not so, every factual report would be protected as part of the deliberative process." Playboy Enterpr. v. Department of Justice, 677 F.2d 931, 935 (D.C.Cir.1982). Similarly, material is not protected merely because the choice of facts reflects the declarant's viewpoint. See, e.g., Wayland v. NLRB, 627 F. Supp. 1473, 1476-77 (M.D.Tenn.1986).
Witness statements obtained in the course of an agency investigation are subject to withholding under FOIA's Exemption 5, provided such statements otherwise satisfy the criteria of Exemption 5. United States v. Weber Aircraft Corp., 465 U.S. 792, 798, 104 S. Ct. 1488, 1492, 79 L. Ed. 2d 814 (1984) (statements of Air Force witnesses "are unquestionably `intra-agency memorandums or letters'"); Badhwar v. Department of the Air Force, 829 F.2d 182, 184 (D.C.Cir.1987). However, absent a promise of confidentiality or some other privilege, facts contained in statements by agency witnesses are subject to disclosure. See Weber Aircraft, 465 U.S. at 799, 104 S. Ct. at 1492 (approving application of the privilege set forth in Machin v. Zuckert, 316 F.2d 336 (D.C.Cir.), cert. denied, 375 U.S. 896, 84 S. Ct. 172, 11 L. Ed. 2d 124 (1963), under Exemption 5 of FOIA); Badhwar, 829 F.2d at 184-85 (deciding between disclosure and nondisclosure turns upon whether material is obtained based on a promise of confidentiality or "otherwise reflects `deliberations or recommendations as to policies that should be pursued.'") (quoting Machin, 316 F.2d at 339); Martin v. Office of Special Counsel, MSPB, 819 F.2d 1181, 1186 (D.C.Cir.1987) (facts protected as "work product"); Wayland, 627 F. Supp. at 1476-77 (M.D.Tenn.1986) ("witness statements [are not] inextricably intertwined with deliberative material merely because the choice of facts reported or questions asked necessarily reveal the reporter's viewpoint").
Witness statements, like those withheld by the Army here, raise Exemption 5 questions where the witnesses include among their version of the facts their opinions and recommendations. Unless the factual portions cannot be reasonably segregated from the opinions or where disclosure would otherwise reveal the agency's deliberative process, the facts must be disclosed under FOIA. EPA v. Mink, 410 U.S. at 87-89, 93 S. Ct. at 837; National Wildlife Fed'n v. U.S. Forest Serv., 861 F.2d 1114, 1118 (9th Cir.1988); Wolfe, 839 F.2d at 774; Weber Aircraft Corp. v. United States, 688 F.2d 638, 645 (9th Cir.1982), rev'd on other grounds, *35 465 U.S. 792, 798, 104 S. Ct. 1488, 1492, 79 L. Ed. 2d 814 (1984); Montrose Chemical Corp. v. Train, 491 F.2d 63, 71 (D.C.Cir. 1974); see Providence Journal Co. v. Department of the Army, 981 F.2d 552, 568-69 (1st Cir.1992). Of course, the agency still carries the burden to demonstrate that the opinion or recommendation played a definite role in the agency's deliberations, Coastal States, 617 F.2d at 868, because the deliberative process is inapplicable to material that could not reasonably be said to reveal the agency's policymaking judgment. Petroleum Info. Corp., 976 F.2d at 1429.
2. Exemption 6 personal privacyExemption 6 permits the withholding of "personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy." 5 U.S.C. § 552(b) (6). The primary purpose of Exemption 6 is to protect individuals from the injury and embarrassment that can result from the unnecessary disclosure of personal information. Department of State v. Washington Post Co., 456 U.S. 595, 599, 102 S. Ct. 1957, 1960, 72 L. Ed. 2d 358 (1982). Exemption 6 does not, of course, protect against every intrusion of a person's privacy only those that are "clearly unwarranted." Rose, 425 U.S. at 382, 96 S. Ct. at 1608-09.
To fall within the scope of the protection of Exemption 6, the records sought "must first satisfy the threshold requirement of being a `similar file.'" New York Times Co. v. NASA, 920 F.2d 1002, 1004 (D.C.Cir.1990) (en banc). This threshold is minimal and includes information that "applies to a particular individual." Washington Post Co., 456 U.S. at 602, 102 S. Ct. at 1961; see New York Times Co. v. NASA, 920 F.2d at 1006. The Supreme Court has consistently rejected a narrow interpretation of this provision. Washington Post Co., 456 U.S. at 600, 102 S. Ct. at 1960-61. Purely personal details pertaining to government employees, such as personal addresses, e.g., Federal Labor Relations Authority v. Dep't of the Treasury Fin. Mgt. Serv., 884 F.2d 1446, 1453 (D.C.Cir.1989), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 1055, 110 S. Ct. 863, 864, 107 L. Ed. 2d 947 (1990); National Assoc. of Retired Federal Employees v. Horner, 879 F.2d 873, 879 (D.C.Cir.1989), cert. denied, 494 U.S. 1078, 110 S. Ct. 1805, 108 L. Ed. 2d 936 (1990), evaluation reports, e.g., Ripskis v. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 746 F.2d 1, 3-4 (D.C.Cir.1984), and employment applications, e.g., Core v. United States Postal Serv., 730 F.2d 946, 948 (4th Cir.1984), fall within the scope of the files protected under Exemption 6.
Once it is determined that the information sought is of a type that is subject to protection under Exemption 6, determining whether that information is, in fact, exempt from disclosure requires a balancing of the harm to the individual whose privacy would be breached against the public interest served by disclosure. See Rose, 425 U.S. at 372, 96 S. Ct. at 1604. Through Exemption 6, "Congress sought to construct an exemption that would require a balancing of the individual's right of privacy against the preservation of the basic purpose of the Freedom of Information Act `to open agency action to the light of public scrutiny.' The device adopted to achieve that balance was the limited exemption, where privacy was threatened, for `clearly unwarranted' invasions of personal privacy." Id., at 372, 96 S. Ct. at 1604 (citations omitted). As with FOIA generally, the fundamental question in evaluating the public interest is whether disclosure would provide a view of the agency's activities, thereby revealing what our "government is up to." Reporters Committee, 489 U.S. at 773, 109 S. Ct. at 1481.
3. Exemption 7(C) law enforcement recordsExemption 7(C) allows an agency to withhold from disclosure information compiled for law enforcement purposes that "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." 5 U.S.C. § 552(b) (7) (C); see, e.g., Reporters Committee, 489 U.S. at 749, 109 S. Ct. at 1468; Nation Magazine v. United States Customs Serv., 71 F.3d 885, 893 (D.C.Cir. 1995). Material is exempt under Exemption 7(C) if "the privacy interest at stake outweighs the public's interest in disclosure." *36 Nation Magazine, 71 F.3d at 893 (citing Reporters Committee, 489 U.S. at 776, 109 S.Ct. at 1483); Davis v. Department of Justice, 968 F.2d 1276, 1281 (D.C.Cir.1992). A record is exempt from disclosure not merely because it pertains to an individual but because, after balancing the interests, it is determined that disclosure would result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Nation Magazine, 71 F.3d at 893-95. Law enforcement records pertaining to a specific individual may "be cloaked with the public interest if the information would shed light on agency action." Quinon v. FBI, 86 F.3d 1222, 1231 (D.C.Cir.1996) (quoting Nation Magazine, 71 F.3d at 895).
In contrast to the standard applicable to Exemption 6, the threshold for withholding under Exemption 7(C) is lower. A record, or segregable information contained therein, is protected from disclosure under Exemption 7(C) if it "could reasonably" be expected to constitute an "unwarranted" intrusion. On the other, under Exemption 6 withholding is permitted only if the intrusion "would be clearly unwarranted." Reporters Committee, 489 U.S. at 756, 109 S. Ct. at 1473.
To be subject to the protections of Exemption 7(C), the material must have been "compiled for law enforcement purposes." The general internal monitoring by an agency of its own employees is not shielded from public scrutiny under Exemption 7, because "protection of all such internal monitoring under Exemption 7 would devastate FOIA." Stern v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 737 F.2d 84, 89 (D.C.Cir.1984). An agency investigation is considered to be for law enforcement purposes if it "focuses `directly on specifically alleged illegal acts, illegal actions of particular identified officials, acts which could, if proved, result in civil or criminal sanctions."' Id. (quoting Rural Housing Alliance v. Department of Agriculture, 498 F.2d 73, 81 (D.C.Cir.1974), r'hg denied, 502 F.2d 1179 (1974)).
The AR 15-6 informal investigations at issue here focused directly on the conduct of Lt.Col. Redfield and other government employees. Upon conducting an investigation and finding a violation of law or regulation, the Army has the option of conducting disciplinary proceedings against active duty military personnel under Title 10, United States Code, including Article 15 (Non-Judicial Punishment) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. § 815. For both its civilian employees and military members, the Army could pursue administrative action for the violation of Army regulations. See, e.g., DA 600-50 (conflict of interest regulations).
Because the Army has made a colorable claim of a rational law enforcement purpose in connection with both the Dangerfield and McCarty investigations, the Court finds that the records at issue here, the McCarty Investigation Report and certain enclosures thereto (or portions thereof) were compiled for law enforcement purposes. Keys v. Department of Justice, 830 F.2d 337, 343 (D.C.Cir.1987); see Pratt v. Webster, 673 F.2d 408, 421 (D.C.Cir.1982) (which established the test in this Circuit prior to removal of the "investigatory" threshold requirement in the 1986 FOIA amendments).
D. Identifying the relevant interests.Although the standard applicable to Exemption 7(C) is different than that applied under Exemption 6, the same balancing formula applies in comparing the public interest with the privacy interest at stake. Of course, the privacy interests cognizable under Exemption 6 are also cognizable under Exemption 7(C). Stern, 737 F.2d at 91. Under both Exemptions 6 and 7(C), the Court has a responsibility to identify the relevant interests and then balance them.
1. The privacy interests. The first step is to examine the privacy interests implicated by disclosure to third parties of material contained in investigatory files under Exemption 7(C), see Nation Magazine, 71 F.3d at 894; Dunkelberger v. Department of Justice, 906 F.2d 779, 781 (D.C.Cir.1990), or which is contained in personnel, medical or similar files under Exemption 6. An individual has a privacy interest in the fact that he or she was the subject or target of a government investigation. See, e.g., Nation Magazine, 71 F.3d at 894; Dunkelberger, 906 *37 F.2d at 781; Stern, 737 F.2d at 91; Fund for Constitutional Gov't v. National Archives & Records Serv., 656 F.2d 856, 864 (D.C.Cir. 1981). While a federal employee does not surrender his or her privacy by accepting federal employment, see Bast v. Department of Justice, 665 F.2d 1251, 1255 (D.C.Cir. 1981), the employee's privacy interest is diminished where that employee has been investigated for criminal misfeasance relating to the performance of his or her official duties. Providence Journal v. Department of the Army, 981 F.2d at 568; see Stern, 737 F.2d at 94. Cf. Carter v. Department of Commerce, 830 F.2d 388, 390-91 (D.C.Cir. 1987) (distinguishing Stern in holding that private individuals whose names appear in connection with Patent and Trademark Office disciplinary proceedings have a substantial privacy interest in having their identifies withheld).
Individuals whose names appear in agency investigative records also have a privacy interest, because "the mere mention of an individual's name in a law enforcement file will engender comment and speculation and carries a stigmatizing connotation." Fitzgibbon v. CIA, 911 F.2d 755, 767 (D.C.Cir.1990); see also Dunkelberger, 906 F.2d at 781; King v. Department of Justice, 830 F.2d 210, 233 (D.C.Cir.1987). This Circuit recognizes a categorical exclusion for information withheld under Exemption 7(C) if disclosure could reasonably identify a private individual whose name appears in government files "unless there is compelling evidence that the agency denying the FOIA request is engaged in illegal activity, and access to the names of private individuals appearing in the agency's law enforcement files is necessary in order to confirm or refute that evidence." SafeCard Serv., 926 F.2d at 1205-06. Provided that a redaction serves a useful purpose to protect an individual's privacy, see Nation Magazine, 71 F.3d at 896, the name and identifying information of a private individuals can be redacted. If the redaction reasonably protects the privacy interest, the record should be released. See Reporters Committee, 489 U.S. at 768-69, 109 S.Ct. at 1479-80; Rose, 425 U.S. at 379, 96 S. Ct. at 1608; Nation Magazine, 71 F.3d at 896.
2. The public interest. The next step is to evaluate the public interest at stake which, under Reporters Committee, is limited to FOIA's core purpose to "shed light on an agency's performance of its statutory duties." 489 U.S. at 773, 109 S.Ct at 1482. Disclosure of the information related to "an agency investigation serves the public interest to the extent that it sheds light on the agency's performance of its official duties." Providence Journal v. Department of the Army, 981 F.2d at 568; see also New England Apple Council v. Donovan, 725 F.2d 139, 144 (1st Cir.1984) ("The public has a significant, enduring interest in remaining informed about actions taken by public officials in the course of their official duties."); Carter, 830 F.2d at 390 n. 8 ("The public does have an interest in the proper functioning of [agency] investigations...."). Moreover, the higher the rank and the more prominent the position of the official accused of wrongdoing, the greater the public interest in disclosure. Providence Journal v. Department of the Army, 981 F.2d at 568-69; Stern, 737 F.2d at 92-94; see also Beck, 997 F.2d at 1493 (disclosure of information regarding low-level wrongdoers reveals little or nothing about an agency's conduct); Carter, 830 F.2d at 390 n. 8 (acknowledging strong public interest in the disclosure of information related to the performance of public officials acting in their official capacities). "There may be a greater public interest in disclosure where the allegation [of wrongdoing] although determined unsubstantiated by the agency-may nevertheless be true." Providence Journal v. Department of the Army, 981 F.2d at 569. The public interest also extends to knowing whether an investigation was comprehensive and that the agency imposed adequate disciplinary measures. Dunkelberger, 906 F.2d at 781. Any claim of a public interest must be "based on known facts." Beck, 997 F.2d at 1494.
E. The documents withheld.1. Document No. 3Document No. 3 is the McCarty Report, a 13-page document, D Form 1574, which is continued on an attachment and is *38 entitled "Report of Proceedings By Investigating Officer/Board of Officers." See Vaughn Index at 1. The Army has partially released this document, redacting only Finding # 4 and Recommendations # 2, # 3, # 5 and # 6 on the DA 1574 and, on the attachment, redacting only Finding # 4.B, Facts # 7.A.2, # 7.A.3, # 7.A.6 (in major part), # 7.A.7, and Findings # 7.B.1 (in part), # 7.B.2 (in part), and # 7.B.3 through # 7.B.5 (in whole). The McCarty Report was approved without exceptions, amendments or substitutions by the approving official, Major General Travis.
To satisfy its burden of proving that nondisclosure is justified under FOIA, the Army offers the following:
The withheld portion is pre-decisional in nature in that it provides recommendations for action to the deciding official, including findings of violations of Army regulations concerning standards of conduct and associations with private organizations, expresses personal opinions of the investigating officer, and release of the information would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Vaughn Index at 1.In its reply, the Army withdrew its reliance upon Exemption 5; therefore, the only remaining exemption is Exemption 6.[6]See Reply at 8. While offering no argument that is specific to Document No. 3, other than the conclusory statement in its Vaughn Index, the Army contends generally that:
The individuals at issue obviously have a privacy interest in having the information [withheld]. As explained above,[7] the information includes statements concerning assessment of individuals' behavior, competence and personal relationships. Indeed, the statements at issue are in many respects even more sensitive than an employee's performance appraisal.Motion for Summary Judgment at 8.
The plaintiffs do not challenge, nor could they, that the information sought in Document No. 3 is of a type that is subject to protection under Exemption 6. The Court's role, therefore, is to balance the harm to the individual whose privacy would be breached against the public interest served by disclosure. See Rose, 425 U.S. at 372, 96 S. Ct. at 1604. Where privacy is threatened due to clearly unwarranted invasions of personal privacy, the record sought may be withheld. Id, at 372, 96 S. Ct. at 1604.
In assessing the privacy interest(s) at stake in the redacted portions of this record, it is important to make clear what is at issue in Document No. 3 and what is not. First, unlike Stern, 737 F.2d 84 (D.C.Cir.1984), and Carter, 830 F.2d 388 (D.C.Cir.1987), the Army has made almost no redactions to protect the identity of anyone associated with the investigation. This is most clear with respect to Document No. 3, since the unredacted portions of this document, as well as in other unredacted documents (or portions of other redacted documents), witness identifies are freely disclosed. See Document No. *39 3, Index of Exhibits (unredacted listing of individuals who provided statements). Second, other than its generalized arguments, the Army has not made clear whose privacy interests are at stake or how disclosure would constitute an "unwarranted intrusion" upon those privacy interests. By failing to specifically identify these interests or the potential impact resulting from disclosure, the Army has, of course, undermined its reliance upon the personal privacy exemption.
Turning to Document No. 3, it is evident that while minimal, certain privacy interests would be implicated through the release of the redacted material therein. Lt.Col. Redfield and other targets of the investigation have, of course, "at least a minimal interest in not having it known whether [the McCarty Report] contain[s] or do[es] not contain a letter of reprimand." Dunkelberger, 906 F.2d at 782. They also have a minimal interest in whether the McCarty Investigation Report contains a recommendation that adverse action should be taken against them. Similarly, a non-target, whether a witness or an individual whose name merely appears in the record, has a privacy interest in both not being associated with an investigation and in the substance of redacted material where disclosure of that material could reasonably lead to embarrassment, harm or retaliation. See McCutchen, 30 F.3d at 189 (Exemption 7(C)).
While Lt.Col. Redfield's privacy interests implicated in Document No. 3 are generally minimal, the public interest at stake is substantial. The record makes clear that the gp 160 vaccine testing conducted at WRAIR, for which the Army received an appropriation of $20,000,000 of taxpayer funds, was indeed a public issue. Lt.Col. Redfield testified at least twice before the United States Congress, and Senator Nunn's introduction left no doubt that the vaccine testing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center involved issues well beyond what the Army describes as mere "interpersonal relationships and personal conflicts" in the Retrovirology Division at WRAIR.[8] The public interest reflected in the plaintiffs' request is not one of mere curiosity regarding internal matters of no public consequence. The public interest, outlined by the plaintiffs based on known facts, involves the core purpose of FOIA: shedding light on how the Army conducted its AID testing, what actions it took in response to allegations of scientific misconduct and improper associations with a non-governmental organization, and its ability to investigate itself in a matter of high public profile including the role of mid-to-high level agency personnel who promoted an AIDS vaccine before Congress and at international meetings; alleged misrepresentations and scientific misconduct regarding the results of that gp160 testing; the channeling of taxpayer funds to a particular form of AIDS research at the exclusion of other types; and the relationship between Army personnel and a private organization that was given special access to government information and personnel.
Upon reviewing Document No. 3 and considering the Army's stated justification for the redactions therein, the balance generally tilts towards disclosure. Given the substantial public interest at stake, the intrusions, if any, on Lt.Col. Redfield's privacy interests are warranted.[9] Redfield is not a low-level government employee who was "inadvertently" caught up in a public health controversy. See Stern, 737 F.2d at 87. Appearing in his capacity as a mid-to-high level officer in the United States Army and as a military medical researcher and Chief of WRAIR's Department *40 of Retroviral Research, Lt. Col. Redfield made specific representations, on the record, to the United States Congress. His representation appears to have played a significant role in at least Senator Nunn's decision to introduce the amendment appropriating an additional $20,000,000 in taxpayer dollars to the United States Army for gp160-related research. Redfield also made numerous public statements including one before an international body regarding the research and testing of gp160 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The public has, therefore, a well-documented, legitimate, and extensive interest regarding the inquiries into Redfield's taxpayer-funded gp 160 vaccine research at WRAIR, as well as into the results of the Army's inquiries into the relationship between WRAIR personnel and a non-government organization that lobbied Congress for gp160 funding. This legitimate and compelling public interest into the Army's actions clearly outweighs the minimal privacy interests, if any, in concealing the substance of a small portion of the factual findings in the McCarty investigation or regarding Col. McCarty's recommendations, which were approved without change, amendment or modification by MG Travis. Moreover, not only is Redfield's privacy interest diminished by the Army's selective disclosures, thereby associating him (and others) in major respects with the Dangerfield and McCarty investigations, but the Army has failed to justify with sufficient specificity those redactions that it decided to make. As set out below, the motion will be denied in part.
While any intrusions on Lt.Col. Redfield's privacy are warranted, the same cannot be said for the other target(s) of the investigation who played a lesser role in the gp 160 testing, in the testimony before Congress, in the presentations at inter-service, medical research and international meetings, and in connection with ASAP. Even if the other person(s) was (were) sufficiently high-ranking to justify disclosure of the relevant personnel recommendations, if any, redaction of the identity(ies) would not adequately protect the privacy of that (those) individual(s). Consequently, disclosure of even redacted material would result in a clearly unwarranted intrusion under Exemption 6. Thus, as set out below, the motion will be granted in part.
Finally, although the Army has offered the Court no great assistance in this regard, it does appear that the privacy interests of Dr. Lucey, Dr. Vahey, Col. Boswell, Col. Burke and Mr. Shepherd Smith could be implicated by disclosure of the information contained in paragraphs 7.A.2, 7.A.3, 7.A.6 and 7.A.7. As previously noted, the Army has almost completely refrained from protecting the identity of any persons associated with the investigation and has freely disclosed the names of witnesses to the investigation. The Army's decision to disclose these identities is, of course, not dispositive as to whether specific redactions should be disclosed, because such material could nevertheless warrant protection under an applicable exemption. Nevertheless, it is relevant when evaluating individual privacy interests at stake.
Upon reviewing the information contained in these paragraphs, it is clear to the Court that the intrusion, if any, upon the remaining personal privacy interests that might result from disclosure of the balance of Document No. 3 would be, at most, de minimis. The information here is generally factual. Even where Col. McCarty has characterized his facts as witnesses's opinions, those opinions do not concern sensitive or personal matters. While disclosure would be unlikely to lead to harm, embarrassment or retaliation, the material does pertain to matters of substantial public interest: the relationship between WRAIR personnel involved in the gp 160 vaccine study and ASAP. Except as noted previously, the balance tilts heavily towards disclosure.
Accordingly, the motion for summary judgment will be denied in part and granted in part as to Document No. 3. Disclosure will be ordered as to the following redactions:
1. DA 1574, Section IV, Findings, ¶ 4, first sentence;2. DA 1574, Section V, Recommendations, ¶ 2;3. DA 1574, Section V, Recommendations, ¶ 5 except for the last clause of the first *41 sentence beginning with the word "and" and ending with the word "regulations;"4. DA 1574, Section V, Recommendations, ¶ 6;5. Attachment to DA 1574, ¶ 4.B.1, Findings;6. Attachment to DA 1574, ¶ 7.A.2 through and including ¶ 7.A.3, Facts;7. Attachment to DA 1574, ¶ 7.A.6 through and including ¶ 7.A.7, Facts;8. Attachment to DA 1574, ¶ 7B.1 (last sentence); and9. Attachment to DA 1574, ¶ 7B.2 through 7.B.5.[10]And, the motion for summary judgment will be granted as to the following redactions, which may continue to be withheld under Exemption 6:
1. DA 1574, Section IV, Findings, ¶ 4, second sentence;2. DA 1574, Section V, Recommendations, ¶ 3; and3. Attachment to DA 1574, ¶ 4.B.2, Findings.2. Document No. 12.This record is a "Memorandum for Record," dated April 2, 1993, which reflects a telephone conversation between Col. McCarty and Dr. Daniel Lucey, a witness to the informal investigation whose identity the Army has previously disclosed. The record itself has been fully disclosed except for six sentences.
In claiming Exemptions 5, 6 and 7(C), the Army offers the following:
Document pertains to conduct of investigation and personal information obtained from telephone conversation. The withheld portion discusses provides (sic) personal information, expresses personal opinions, and contains attorney-client privileged material. Disclosure of these portions could have a chilling effect on open agency communications, as well as constitute an unreasonable and unwarranted invasion of privacy.Vaughn Index at 3-4.
Upon reviewing the redacted material in camera, the motion for summary judgment will be granted as to Document No. 12, because the redacted material offers plaintiffs nothing probative of "what the Army was up to" in the vaccine testing, in its relationship with ASAP or when it conducted its informal investigation.
Having said that, the Court notes that the Army's claim of Exemption 5 protection under the attorney-client privilege is simply bizarre.[11] And, contrary to the Army's boilerplate, the Court cannot find "any" personal opinions in the redacted material to justify invoking the deliberative process privilege. Nor has the Army explained the role, if any, that this redacted material played in its deliberations, see SafeCard Serv., 926 F.2d at 1204, or how disclosure would "chill" open and frank discussion within the Department of Defense when those who are most likely to retaliate against Dr. Lucey already have the information. See Army Times, 998 F.2d at 1070-71.
*42 While Dr. Lucey may have, at most, a minimal privacy interest in the redacted conversation, the bottom line is that this redaction falls well outside the core purpose of FOIA: it sheds absolutely no light on the operation of a government agency. The information in the redacted material was compiled for law enforcement purposes making Exemption 7(C) applicable. After balancing Dr. Lucey's de minimis privacy interest with nothing of public interest, the redaction will be upheld under Exemption 7(C).[12]See Beck, 997 F.2d at 1494 ("something outweighs nothing" every time).
3. Document No. 13.This record is a Memorandum for Record reflecting Col. McCarty's interview of ASAP's Shepherd Smith on April 6, 1993. The record has been released except for two sentences for which the Army relies upon Exemptions 5, 6, and 7(C).[13] While it is doubtful that the redaction would be upheld based upon the claim under the "deliberative process" exemption, the Court need not reach that issue because the redaction is appropriate under both Exemptions 6 and 7(C). The redacted material sheds de minimis light, if any at all, on the operation of the Army or its relationship to ASAP. On the other hand, disclosure would subject the witness to embarrassment. Given this balancing, disclosure would be a clearly unwarranted intrusion on Smith's personal privacy. The motion for summary judgment will be granted as to Document No. 13.
4. Document No. 58.This record is a statement dated November 17, 1992, by Lt.Col. Redfield to the AR 15-6 investigating officer (who was then Col. Dangerfield). The document has been substantially released, but contains a number of redactions. The Army has attempted to justify those redactions based on Exemptions 5, 6 and 7(C):
The withheld portion discusses departmental or project management topics, employee relations, statements as to credibility and interpersonal relations, and expresses personal opinions. Disclosure of these portions would have a chilling effect on open agency communication, as well as constitute an unreasonable and unwarranted invasion of privacy.Vaughn Index at 15.
In this witness statement, which provides Redfield's version of the facts, the redactions are a "mixed bag." The Army's redaction of matters relating to the performance and management of personnel in the Department of Retroviral Research will be upheld based on Exemption 6 since disclosure of these redactions would shed little, if any, light on how the agency performed its gp 160 vaccine testing or its other missions. On the other hand, disclosure could reasonably constitute an unwarranted intrusion on the personal privacy of the numerous employees discussed by Lt.Col. Redfield (including a discussion regarding his own performance evaluations). Consequently, the motion for summary judgment will be granted regarding the redactions of paragraph 1 on page 1 (in its entirety), paragraph 3 on pages 2-A, and paragraphs 1-3 on page 10 of the statement.
On the other hand, the remainder of the redactions represent Redfield's version of the facts related to the Army's conduct of the gp 160 testing an issue of compelling public interest. The Army has neither justified its "cherry picking" by providing a specific explanation why these redacted facts warrant protection whereas the disclosed facts did not. And, the Court is unable to discern why disclosure of these facts would result in an intrusion, clearly unwarranted or otherwise, of anyone's privacy any more than would *43 those facts that the Army has previously disclosed. Offering little more than boilerplate as clarification, the Army has not met its burden to withhold the factual material. Nor has it justified its failure to segregate the factual material. Of course, information identifying private citizens, if any, may be redacted under Exemption 7(C). See Safe-Card Serv., 926 F.2d at 1205-06. Accordingly, except for information identifying private citizens, if any, disclosure will be ordered of the previously redacted material on pages 6, 7, 8, 9 and the first four lines of page 10. The motion for summary judgment will therefore be denied in part and granted in part.
5. Documents No. 46 48.Although the Army withheld these documents based upon Exemptions 5 and 6, it withdrew its claim that the material was exempt and has represented to the Court that the documents have been disclosed to the plaintiffs. See Reply at 8.
6. Documents No. 59 63, 65 & 67 77 (witness statements).The witness statements in Documents No. 59 through 63, 65, and 67 through 77
U raise similar issues; they were all withheld on the same general bases (Exemptions 5, 6 and 7); and they will be each dealt with in this category.[14] In each partially redacted statement, the Army has released the identity of the witness declarant but generally redacted large segments of material. The Court's in camera review reveals that while certain withholdings are justified, the substantial redaction of the factual material in those statements is not.
The Army has broadly claimed the "deliberative process" exemption for the vast quantities of redacted material in these statements, even though much of the material is factual in nature. Although certain factual material was released in what may have been an effort to satisfy its obligation to release factual material that is reasonably segregable, the Army has not satisfactorily explained what makes the material it released different from much of what it has redacted. See Army Times, 998 F.2d at 1071-72. Such selective disclosures undermine the Army's claim that the material in the witness statements is worthy of a claim of privilege under Exemption 5. Id. at 1071. Contrary to the defendant's argument, selective factual disclosures, which our Court of Appeals has defined as "cherry picking," see id. at 1072, may cause more of a "chilling effect" than full disclosure because a witness has no control over which part of his or her statement the agency will, for whatever reason, decide to release. Significantly, the Army has not claimed, nor can this Court find, that the facts are inextricably intertwined with exempt material such that disclosure of the facts would expose the Army's deliberative process.
While the broad claims the Army asserts are unjustified, certain redactions, such as those dealing with personnel performance issues and employee relations are appropriate under Exemption 7(C). Compare Document No. 58 at ¶ 2 (redaction of purely factual discussion regarding the gp 160 program) with id ¶ 4 (redaction of material dealing primarily, if not exclusively, with employee performance and internal relations). The withholding of certain information in the witness statements, which were compiled in the course of a law enforcement investigation, will be upheld because such information reveals little, if anything at all, regarding the gp 160 vaccine testing or WRAIR's relationship with ASAP; disclosure of this material could reasonably be expected to subject the witness declarant (or another individual) to embarrassment, harm or retaliation. In these limited circumstances, balancing the relevant interests tilts towards withholding under Exemption 7(C).[15] Similarly information that identifies private citizens may be *44 withheld even though the individual's identity might be pieced together independently or as a result of previous disclosures. Other than this, however, as detailed below, the Army has simply not met its burden to justify the massive factual redactions under any the three exemptions upon which it relies.
Nor does Exemption 7(C) justify withholding when the declarants' privacy interests in having the remainder of the factual portions of their statements withheld is balanced with the substantial public interest regarding the Army's gp160 vaccine testing program and/or its relationship with ASAP. Disclosure of the "rest of the story" could not reasonably be expected to cause these witnesses (or other individuals) harm, embarrassment or expose them to the potential for retaliation, and the Army has not carried its burden to demonstrate to the contrary.[16]
Accordingly, as to Document No. 59 (statement of Lt.Col. Birx), the following previously redacted material shall be disclosed:
1. paragraph 2 on page 1;2. the first full paragraph on page 2 (which commences with the phrase "On 1 July");3. commencing with the remainder of the third paragraph on page 2, the material that follows up to and including the second paragraph on page 6;4. except for the first sentence (which commences with the word "This"), the remainder of the third paragraph on page 6; and5. commencing with the fourth paragraph on page 6, the material that follows up to and including the fifth full paragraph on page 9, which commences with the word "We."For the reasons stated above, the following material in Document No. 59 may continue to be withheld under Exemption 7(C):
1. on page 1, paragraphs 1 and 4 (which continues onto page 2);2. the name of the private individual in paragraph 2 on page 2;3. the first sentence of the third paragraph on page 6 (which commences with the word "This" and ends with the word "possess");4. the last paragraph on page 9 (which commences with the word "This.").As to Document No. 60 (the statement of Col. Burke), the following previously redacted material shall be disclosed:
1. the first sentence of the first paragraph on page one;2. the first six sentences of the first fill paragraph on page 4 (the sixth sentence ends with the word "etc.");3. paragraph 2 on page 4; and4. except for the first fill paragraph on page 7, the redactions on pages 7-8 shall be disclosed.For the reasons stated above, the following material in Document No. 60 may continue to be withheld under Exemption 7(C):
1. other than the first sentence, the remainder of the first paragraph on page 1 and the material that follows up to and including the first four lines on page 4;2. other than the first six sentences of the first full paragraph on page 4, the remainder of the paragraph, commencing with the words "On July 10" and ending with the word "straight;"3. the third sentence of the second full paragraph on page 6; and4. the first full paragraph on page 7.As to Document No. 61 (statement of Dr. Vahey), the following previously redacted material shall be disclosed:
1. the material on pages 3 and 4, except for the third sentence of the first full paragraph on page 4;2. the name of the reporter in the first sentence of the first full paragraph on page 5; and3. the third full paragraph on page 5 in its entirety.The following material in Document No. 61 may continue to be withheld under Exemption 7(C):
*45 1. the third sentence of the first fill paragraph on page 4; and2. except for the disclosures ordered above, the material on page 5.As to Document No. 62 (the statement of Capt. Mayers), the following previously redacted material shall be disclosed:
1. the material on pages 2 and 3, except for the third sentence of the last paragraph on page 3 (which commences with the word "The" and ending with the word "differences" (on page 4)); and2. except for the sentence described in ¶ 1 above and the first fill paragraph on page 4 (commencing with the word "COL"), the material on page 4.For the reasons stated above, the following material in Document No. 62 may continue to be withheld under Exemption 7(C):
1. the material on page 1;2. the third sentence of the last paragraph on page 3 (which commences with the word "The" and carries over to page 4, ending with the word "differences"); and3. the first full paragraph on page 4 (which commences with the word "COL" and ends with the word "trial").As to Document No. 63 (the statement of Dr. Eddy), the following previously redacted material shall be disclosed:
1. the second full paragraph on page 2 (which commences with the word "To").For the reasons stated above, the remainder of the material in Document No. 63 may continue to be withheld under Exemption 7(C).
As to Document No. 65 (the statement of Maj. Michael), the following previously redacted material shall be disclosed:
1. commencing with the material in the first full paragraph on page 3 up to and including the redacted sentence in the first fill paragraph on page 4;2. the fifth sentence of the third full paragraph on page 4 (which commences with the words, "I described" and ends with word "vaccine");3. the material in the fourth full paragraph on page 5 continuing over onto page six;4. the material on page 6, including that which carries over onto page 7; and5. except for the third sentence (which commences with the word "I" and ends with the word "manner"), the second full paragraph on page 7.For the reasons stated above, the following material in Document No. 65 may continue to be withheld under Exemption 7(C):
1. the material on pages 1, 2 and the continued paragraph onto page 3;2. Except for the redaction noted in ¶ 2 above, the material in the third full paragraph on page 4 (which carries over onto page 5 and ends with the word "workshop");3. The first full paragraph on page 7 (which commences with the word "MAJ" and ends with the words "as well"); and4. the third sentence of the second full paragraph on page 7.As to Document No. 67 (the statement of Dr. William McCarthy), the following previously redacted material shall be disclosed:
1. the last sentence in paragraph 2 on page 1;2. the material on page 1, commencing with paragraph 3 up to and including the first full paragraph on page 2;3. the material in the fourth full paragraph on page 2;4. the material in the first paragraph on page 3;5. the material in the third paragraph on page 3;6. the material in the fourth paragraph on page 3, which carries over to page 4;7. the material in the second full paragraph on page 4, which carries over to page 5; and8. the material on pages 5 and 6, except for the last paragraph on page 6 which carries over onto page 7.For the reasons stated above, the following material in Document No. 67 may continue to be withheld under Exemption 7(C):
1. the first two sentences of the first paragraph on page 1;2. the second paragraph on page 1; *46 3. the last paragraph on page 6 which carries over onto page 7; and4. the two paragraphs on page 7.As to Document No. 68 (the statement of John Lowe), except for the last sentence of the paragraph 4, the material in paragraph 4 on page 1 shall be disclosed. The remaining portions of Document No. 68 may be withheld under Exemption 7(C) since the remaining material is non-factual and is comprised of opinions regarding performance and personnel management, disclosure of which would shed almost no light on the operation of government and could reasonably result in an unwarranted intrusion of personal privacy.
As to Document No. 69 (the statement of Dr. Edmund Tramont), the following previously redacted material shall be disclosed:
1. the remaining material in paragraph 3 on page 1;2. the first, second, sixth and seventh sentences of paragraph 4 on page 1;3. the first sentence of paragraph 5 on page 1;4. the first half of the first sentence of the first full paragraph on page 2 up to the words "and repeated;" and5. the last paragraph on page 2.The remaining portions of Document No. 69 may be withheld under Exemption 7(C) because disclosure would shed almost no light on the operation of government, but could reasonably cause embarrassment leading to an unwarranted intrusion of personal privacy. This consists of the following:
1. the third, fourth and fifth sentences of paragraph four on page 12. the second and third sentences of paragraph 5 on page 1;3. the sixth paragraph on page 1 which carries over onto page two; and4. the last half of the sentence in the first full paragraph on page two (commencing with the word "and" and ending with the word "research").As to Document No. 70 (the statement of Dr. John F. Brundage), the material on pages 1 and 2 shall be disclosed. The last paragraph on page 3 may be withheld under Exemption 7(C): disclosure would shed no light on the operation of government but could reasonably cause embarrassment.
As to Document No. 71 (the statement of Dr. Kenneth Wagner), the following material shall be disclosed:
1. the second full paragraph on page 2 (which commences with the word "I"), except for the last sentence;2. the third and the fourth paragraphs on page 2 which carries over to page 3;3. the second full paragraph on page 3 (which commences with "Rumors") up to and including the first full paragraph on page 4 (which commences with the word "I"); and4. the seven-page attachment of notes involving analysis of gp160 data which immediately follows Dr. Ruiz's memorandum of June 10, 1992.[17]The remaining material in this document may be withheld under Exemption 7(C) because it sheds insufficient light upon the gp160 program or the Army's investigation to warrant any intrusion on personal privacy that might result.
As to Document No. 72 (Statement of Dr. Karney), the redacted material on page 1 shall be disclosed. The single paragraph on page 2 may be withheld under Exemption 7(C); the material sheds no light on the conduct of the agency and, while the privacy interests are, at best, de minimis, something outweighs nothing every time.
As to Document No. 73 (Statement of Dr. Hendrix), the following material shall be disclosed:
1. paragraph 2 on page 1 up to and including the fourth full paragraph on page 9; and2. the first (full) and second paragraphs on page 10. *47 The last paragraph on page 9 (which carries over onto page 10) sheds no light on the Army's gp160 vaccine testing program, its relationship to ASAP or its investigation into scientific misconduct, and it may be withheld under Exemption 7(C).
As to Document No. 74 (Statement of Dr. R. Neal Boswell), the following material shall be disclosed:
1. paragraph 2 on page 1 up to and including paragraph 4 on page 1, which carries over to page 2;2. the second full paragraph on page 2 up to and including the first sentence of the fourth paragraph on page 2 (which ends with the word "misinterpreted"); and3. the last paragraph on page 2 which carries over to page 3.Because the first full paragraph on page 2 and the last two sentences of paragraph 4 on page 2 are of a non-factual nature and shed no light on the Army's gp160 vaccine testing program, its relationship to ASAP or its investigation into scientific misconduct, that material may continue to be withheld under Exemption 7(C).
As to Document No. 75 (Statement of Dr. Charles Davis), the single sentence that is redacted may be withheld under Exemption 7(C). The material sheds no light on the operation of a government agency, but disclosure could reasonably lead to an unwarranted intrusion upon personal privacy.
As to Document No. 76 (Statement of Dr. Charles Oster), the following shall be disclosed:
1. the material on page 1, which carries over onto page 2;2. the first full and second paragraphs on page 2; and3. the last paragraph on page 2 which carries over to page 3 up to and including the first two sentences in the first fill paragraph on page 3. (The second sentence in the first full paragraph on page 3 begins with "The first" and ends with the words "no change.")The following material may be withheld under Exemption 7(C):
1. the identities redacted on page 2;2. the last sentence of paragraph 5 on page 2; and3. the third sentence in the first full paragraph on page 3 (which commences with the words "The other is") up to and including the fifth paragraph on page 3.As to Document No. 77 (Statement of Dr. Daniel Lucey), the following shall be disclosed:
1. the second paragraph on page 6; and2. the second and third paragraphs on page 7.[18]Because the following material involves only personnel matters and would shed no light on government operations, it may withheld under Exemption 7(C):
1. the material on page 2 (part of the fourth paragraph); and2. the material on page 3 (parts of the second and third paragraphs);7. Document No. 78 (Redfield memorandum).This document, which contains only four redactions, is a memorandum authored by LTC Redfield providing a chronology of events from April 27, 1992 until November 12, 1992. While the redactions of July 31, 1992, shall be disclosed, the Army may withhold the redactions in the July 15, 1992, entry (regarding a derogatory comment about a peer) and the last entry (regarding Lt.Col. Redfield's "Officer Evaluation Report") under Exemption 6.
*48 8. Document No. 79 (Redfield OER response).This document is Lt.Col. Redfield's response regarding his Officer Evaluation Report. It may be withheld under both Exemptions 6 and 7(C), since it sheds no light on the operation of the Army and disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of Lt.Col. Redfield's personal privacy.[19]
9. Documents No. 81 82 (witness interview memoranda).Document No. 81 is a summary of an interview with Col. Burke in a question/answer format. Only three answers (or portions thereof) were redacted. All three redactions shall be disclosed. The answer to question # 25 bears directly upon the conduct of the gp160 vaccine testing and Lt.Col. Redfield's representations. While under other circumstances such disclosure might be an intrusion upon an individual's personal privacy, here such an intrusion is not unwarranted. The redactions in the answers to questions # 28 and # 29 bear directly upon the Army's relationship to ASAP. The public interest is substantial and no cognizable privacy interest would be implicated given the broad disclosures already made by the Army in this document.
Document No. 82 is a similar summary of an interview with Dr. Vahey, whose answers were redacted in questions # 11, # 13, # 14 and # 23. Each answer relates Dr. Vahey's version of the facts and each answer bears directly upon matters of public interest at issue here. As with Document No. 81, any intrusion upon personal privacy is not unwarranted. The redactions shall be disclosed.
Document No. 84 is a similar summary of an interview with Dr. Redfield, whose answer to question # 12 was redacted. While the question relates to the relationship between ASAP and WRAIR, the answer is non-responsive and provides no insight into the operation of a government agency. While the privacy interest is weak, at best, it outweighs nothing. The material may be withheld under Exemption 7(C).
III. ConclusionAccordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that the defendant's motion for summary judgment is denied in part and granted in part. The Army shall disclose the material outlined above within 30 days of this Order, filing a copy thereof with the Clerk of Court; it is
FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Fed.R Civ.P. 58, partial judgment shall be entered in favor of the defendant and partial judgment shall be entered in favor of the plaintiffs by separate judgment page filed this date;
FURTHER ORDERED that the defendant shall file the praecipe described at page 47 n. 18 of this opinion within twenty (20) days of this Order; it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the defendant's in camera submission shall be filed under seal pending final action in this matter, after which such submission shall be returned sealed to the defendant without further order by this Court; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that in accordance with Local Rule 215, the parties shall meet and confer, and attempt to reach agreement regarding the plaintiffs' request for attorneys' fees and costs. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a) (4) (E); Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433, 103 S. Ct. 1933, 1939, 76 L. Ed. 2d 40 (1983); Maynard v. CIA, 986 F.2d 547, 568 (1st Cir.1993); Weisberg v. Department of Justice, 745 F.2d 1476, 1495-1500 (D.C.Cir.1984). After such meeting, but on or before September 15, 1997, the parties shall file a joint memorandum advising the Court of the status of their discussions and as to any agreements that they have reached or are unable to reach; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that, should the parties be unable to agree, the time within which to file a motion for fees under Fed. R.Civ.P. 54(d) (2) (B) will be extended for thirty (30) additional days until October 15, 1997; the defendants' opposition will be due on or before October 29, 1997; the plaintiffs' *49 reply, if any, shall be filed on or before November 5, 1997.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
NOTES[1] Although the precise meaning of this acronym was not identified in the parties' papers, given the context, it appears that "MMCARR" is a committee representing the military medical research community.
[2] In the other recommendation that has been disclosed, he recommended that report be approved as submitted.
[3] 30 records, or portions thereof, were originally withheld and 54 records were disclosed. After it moved for summary judgment, the Army withdrew its claims of exemption for four records and stated that it would provide copies of those records to the plaintiff. See Reply at 8.
[4] For Document No. 12, the Army has staked its claim on both the deliberative process and the attorney-client privilege prongs of Exemption 5.
[5] Initially, the Army had also invoked Exemption 5 for Document No. 3 (the McCarty Investigation Report), see Vaughn Index at 1, but later withdrew that claim. See Reply at 8. Also in its Reply, the defendant withdrew its claim that the deliberative process exemption protected documents 46 through 48 and 66 (letters and a statement by W. Shepherd Smith, Jr., President of ASAP and a non-employee of the Department of Defense). Id.
[6] Unlike the majority of the documents it has withheld, the Army has not relied upon Exemption 7(C) (law enforcement records) to justify withholding Document No. 3.
[7] The only "explanation above" in the Motion for Summary Judgment that is specific to Document No. 3 is factual in nature, stating:
[Col. McCarty's] factual findings were a compilation and summarization of the voluminous information obtained during the investigation and include numerous references to individuals working in the Retrovirology Division. COL McCarty made specific findings regarding whether any personnel assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command acted in violation of U.S. law or Army regulation. After review of the investigation, MG Travis approved all of COL McCarty's findings and recommendations.
Motion for Summary Judgment at 4.
Although unclear, it may be that the Army is relying upon the following general discussion in its argument regarding Exemption 5, which is inapplicable to Document No. 3:
Second, the withheld documents are deliberative. As described above and exhibit 1, the witness statements and interviews reflect the witnesses' analysis and assessment of the circumstances surrounding a sensitive research program at the Army. The statements and memoranda necessarily reflect the witness' assessment as to what incidents were noteworthy for the purposes of the investigation. In addition, the statements and memoranda reflect numerous opinions of the witnesses of the credibility, behavior, competence and roles of other individuals involved in the program.
Id. at 6-7.
[8] Upon introducing the $20M amendment to the 1993 Defense Department Authorization Act, Sen. Nunn, relying upon statements by "Army medical experts [who stated] that phase 2 has shown that the vaccine should go to phase 3 as soon as possible," said: "Mr. President, in the case of this kind of research, time literally means saving the lives of people now sick with this deadly disease. The sooner we get these tests completed, the better off so many people in our Nation will be." See supra at pp. ___ - ___ (quoting 138 Cong.Rec. § 14156, 15159-60 (Sept. 18, 1992)).
[9] While it is far from clear that all of the redactions would implicate any cognizable privacy interests of anyone identified in connection with the investigation, see, e.g., Findings # 7.A.3, # 7.A.6 and # 7.A. 7, even accepting arguendo that some privacy interest is implicated, any intrusion would nevertheless be warranted.
[10] In the in camera submission of what should have been wholly "unredacted" copies of the Army's withholding, the beginning of the second sentence in paragraph 7.B.2 was redacted. While this omission was likely an error, in light of the surrounding material which the Court has ordered disclosed, the Army has not met its burden to demonstrate that missing words fall within Exemption 6. This paragraph shall therefore be disclosed to the plaintiffs in its entirety.
[11] The mere fact that a military lawyer responds to a question from a military officer conducting an informal investigation does not enshrine that conversation or the accompanying factual discussions with the broad and important protections offered by the attorney-client privilege. See Brinton v. Department of State, 636 F.2d 600, 604 (D.C.Cir.1980); Mead Data Central v. Department of the Air Force, 566 F.2d 242, 254 (D.C.Cir. 1977). While claiming attorney-client privilege, the Army has offered nothing to indicate that the conversation here was intended to be a confidential communication in order to obtain legal advice. See Tax Analysts v. Internal Revenue Serv., 117 F.3d 607, 618 (D.C.Cir.1997). In fact, both the subject and context of the brief conversation make clear that it was not. For a general discussion of the applicability of this privilege and its limits, see Edna Selan Epstein, The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work-Product Doctrine (3rd ed.1997). The Army's naked claim of attorney-client privilege in the Vaughn Index, a claim which is unsupported in law and in fact, makes clear why this Court ordered in camera review.
[12] Because the material is exempt under the lower standard applicable to Exemption 7(C), the Court need not, and does not, balance the relative interests under Exemption 6.
[13] The Vaughn Index provides:
Document relates Mr. Smith's personal information and beliefs. The withheld portion relates to information of a personal nature and expresses personal opinions. Disclosure of these portions could have a chilling effect on open agency communication, as well as constitute an unreasonable and unwarranted invasion of privacy.
Id. at 4.
[14] While the Army's Vaughn Index uses similar language to justify each withholding, the Court recognizes the slight differences regarding each document. Where those differences make a difference in the Court's analysis, they have been taken into account.
[15] The Court does not, therefore, reach the applicability of Exemption 6 for this material.
[16] Were the Court to accept the Army's view that a witness' version of the facts constitutes an "opinion" merely because it is based on the witness's perspective, facts would never be disclosed a result clearly at odds with FOIA's mandate.
[17] While the seven-page attachment is not specifically identified, Dr. Ruiz's memorandum, which immediately precedes it, refers to a "Memo of 23 April 92." Other than the boilerplate in the Vaughn Index, the Army has offered no argument specific to why the seven-page attachment should be exempt from disclosure.
[18] On page 8, immediately before the concluding paragraph of Dr. Lucey's statement, there is a large space (of approximately 4-6 lines in width). The implicit representation is that this space did not contain material that has been redacted. However, the Court desires that the Army make explicit what is implicit. Within twenty (20) days of the issuance of this Memorandum Opinion, the Army shall, by praecipe filed with the Clerk, confirm that this space did not contain text that was previously redacted. If the space did contain redacted text from Dr. Lucey's statement, the praecipe shall so state, attach a copy of the redacted text, and provide an explanation as to why such material was not included in the original submission.
[19] The Court does not reach the Army's claim that this material is exempt under Exemption 5.
Alex Azar - Wikipedia
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 13:11
Alex Michael Azar II (; born June 17, 1967) is an American attorney, former pharmaceutical industry lobbyist and executive, and current Presidential cabinet member who serves as the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Azar was nominated to his post by President Donald Trump on November 13, 2017, and confirmed by the United States Senate on January 24, 2018. He was also Chairman of the White House Coronavirus Task Force from its inception in January 2020 to February 2020, when he was replaced by Vice President Mike Pence.
Alex Azar
24th United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Assumed office January 29, 2018PresidentDonald TrumpDeputyEric Hargan Preceded by Tom PriceChairman of the White House Coronavirus Task Force In office January 29, 2020 '' February 26, 2020PresidentDonald Trump Preceded by Office established Succeeded by Mike PenceUnited States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services In office July 22, 2005 '' February 4, 2007PresidentGeorge W. Bush Preceded by Claude Allen Succeeded by Tevi TroyGeneral Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services In office August 8, 2001 '' July 22, 2005PresidentGeorge W. Bush Preceded by Harriet S. Rabb Succeeded by Daniel MeronPersonal detailsBornAlex Michael Azar II
( 1967-06-17 ) June 17, 1967 (age 53) Johnstown, Pennsylvania, U.S.Political partyRepublicanSpouse(s)Jennifer Reist[1]Children2EducationDartmouth College (BA)Yale University (JD)Net worth$8.7 million[2]Azar served as General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 2001 to 2005. On July 22, 2005, he was confirmed as the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services; he served in that capacity until his January 2007 resignation.
From 2012 to 2017, Azar was President of the U.S. division of Eli Lilly and Company, a major drug company, and a member of the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a large pharmaceutical trade association.
Early life Edit Azar was born on June 17, 1967, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the son of Lynda (Zarisky) and Alex Michael Azar.[3][4] His father, also named Alex Azar, is a retired ophthalmologist who practiced ophthalmology in Salisbury, Maryland, for more than 30 years, and taught at Johns Hopkins Hospital. His grandfather emigrated from Lebanon in the early 20th century.[5]
Azar attended Parkside High School in Salisbury, Maryland, from 1981 to 1985. He received a B.A. degree summa cum laude in government and economics from Dartmouth College in 1988. He belonged to the Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity. He earned a J.D. degree at the Yale Law School in 1991, where he served as a member of the executive committee of the Yale Law Journal.[6][7]
Early career Edit Law career Edit After law school, from 1991 to 1992, Azar served as a law clerk for controversial Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Azar left after six weeks, and was replaced in Kozinski's chambers by Brett Kavanaugh.[8] Azar subsequently clerked for the remainder of the term for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. From 1992 to 1993, he served as a law clerk for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court.[9]
From 1994 to 1996, he served as an Associate Independent Counsel for Ken Starr in the United States Office of the Independent Counsel, where he worked on the first two years of the investigation into the Whitewater controversy.[10][11] At the time of Azar's appointment, he was working as an associate in Starr's law firm.[10]
Between 1996 and 2001, Azar worked for Wiley Rein, a Washington, D.C., law firm, where he achieved partner status.[12]
Health and Human Services Edit Official Deputy Secretary portrait
On August 3, 2001, Azar was confirmed as General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.[13][14] George W. Bush's first HHS Secretary, Tommy Thompson, said Azar played an important role in responding to the 2001 anthrax attacks, ensuring there was a vaccine ready for smallpox, and dealing with outbreaks of SARS and influenza.[5]On July 22, 2005, Azar was confirmed as the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services.[15][16] He was twice confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate.
Working under Secretary Mike Leavitt, Deputy Azar supervised the operation of HHS, which would grow to annual budget of over $1 trillion by 2017 when he was appointed Secretary. Azar led the development and approval of HHS regulations, led U.S. government efforts to encourage worldwide pharmaceutical and medical device innovation, and was in charge of the HHS response to an initiative implemented by President George W. Bush to improve government performance.[5] Azar resigned in January 2007.[17]
Eli Lilly & Co. Edit In June 2007, Azar was hired by Eli Lilly and Company chief executive officer Sidney Taurel to be the company's top lobbyist and spokesman as its Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications.[5][18] Azar left the position after the 2008 United States presidential election was won by Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama and the corporation wanted to replace Azar with a Democrat in that role.[citation needed ]
In April 2009, Azar became Vice President of Lilly's U.S. Managed Healthcare Services organization and its Puerto Rico affiliate.[19] In 2009, the company paid $1.415 billion to settle criminal charges regarding its promotion of antipsychotic drug Zyprexa (olanzapine) for off-label uses between 1999 and 2005.[18]
Effective January 1, 2012, Azar became President of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest division of Eli Lilly and Company, and was responsible for the company's entire operations in the United States.[19] Prices for drugs rose substantially under Azar's leadership, including the tripling of the cost of the company's top-selling insulin drug. Also under Azar's watch, Eli Lilly was one of three companies accused in a class-action lawsuit of exploiting the drug pricing system to increase profits for insulin. Eli Lilly was also fined in Mexico for colluding on the price of insulin.[20][21] In connection with the position, Azar served on the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a pharmaceutical lobby.[22]
In January 2017, Azar resigned from Eli Lilly "to pursue other career opportunities" as a result of a company reorganization.[23] He also resigned from the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. In his last year at the corporation he earned $2 million.[24]
Secretary of Health and Human Services Edit Nomination and tenure Edit On November 13, 2017, President Trump announced via Twitter that he would nominate Azar to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.[22][25]
Many health care advocates raised concerns about the nomination, citing Azar's track record of raising drug prices and his opposition to Obamacare; his preferences, that is, for a "free market" to meet all Americans' health care needs.[26] Critics noted that Azar approved a tripling of the price of insulin while CEO of Eli Lilly.[27][28] Speaking in favor of his nomination were two former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders, Democrat Tom Daschle and Republican Bill Frist. Both those endorsers were affiliated with the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington D.C. think-tank which receives support from Eli Lilly.[29]
In spite of objections, his nomination was relatively smooth. Azar was confirmed on January 24, 2018, with a vote of 55''43,[30] with most Democrats opposed. Voting against him, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, said that while Azar was at Eli Lilly, he "never, not one time, signed off on a decrease in the price of a drug.[31] Senator Bernie Sanders said in a press release, "The nomination of Alex Azar, the former head of Eli Lilly's U.S. operations, shows that Trump was never serious about his promise to stop the pharmaceutical industry from 'getting away with murder'." "The last thing we need is to put a pharmaceutical executive in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services." During that tenure, Eli was fined for colluding to maintain high drug costs in Mexico.[27]
Azar had additionally consulted with numerous other biopharmaceutical and health insurance corporations regarding government policy, product access, sales and marketing, pricing, reimbursement and distribution.[27] He was confirmed by the Senate on January 24, 2018 and sworn in by Vice President Pence on January 29, 2018.[32]
From March to December 2018, Azar sat on the Federal Commission on School Safety.[33]
Healthcare policy Edit Affordable Care Act Edit Azar has been a critic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and predicted in 2017, "There will be a piece of legislation passes this year that is called the repeal of Obamacare. I don't know what's going to be in the substance of it, but there will be a piece of legislation that says that."[25] Also regarding the ACA, Azar said the Department of Health and Human Services has latitude to "make it work a little better".[21]
Abortion Edit Azar opposes abortion. In a written response to Senator Patty Murray regarding future HHS policy, he said, "The mission of HHS is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, and this includes the unborn."[34]
Regulations Edit According to The New York Times, Azar differed with his predecessor, Tom Price, in terms of their approach to regulations. Writing in May 2018, The Times said, "in a sharp break from his predecessor '-- and from most Trump cabinet secretaries '-- he seems to be relishing the chance to write new regulations, rather than just crossing out Obama-era ones."[35]
Coronavirus Edit Outbreak Edit Azar informed associates that he had alerted Trump on January 18, 2020, regarding the potential danger from COVID-19,[36] but that the president thought he was being "alarmist" as Azar struggled to get Trump's attention to focus on the issue.[37] Despite Azar's warnings, four days later, Trump announced, "We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China."[38] On January 28, 2020, Azar stated that the Trump administration had no plan to declare a public health emergency as the COVID-19 virus spread in China. He asserted that the risk to Americans was minimal, but admitted that authorities in 30 states were monitoring potential cases and added that he would not "hesitate at all to invoke any authorities I need to, to ensure we're taking all steps to protect the American people, but I'll do it when it's appropriate." U.S. Senator Rick Scott and U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan, as well as other Republicans, demanded the declaration of a public health emergency as a means of budgeting necessary federal funding to deal with the potential pandemic. At the time, Azar said, there were just five confirmed cases in the U.S., there was no known person-to-person transmission, and every confirmed U.S. victim had traveled to Wuhan, China (the outbreak's place of origin). "This is potentially a very serious public health threat, but at this time Americans should not worry about their own safety," Azar said. At that point, the disease had killed at least 106 people in China, with more than 4,500 cases confirmed.[39] On January 29, 2020, Azar told Trump that the COVID-19 epidemic was under control.[36]
On February 27, U.S. Representative Jimmy Gomez of California revealed that he had been contacted by a whistleblower from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who had been dispatched to deal with the arrivals of travelers exposed to the coronavirus. There were allegations made that those sent from the HHS to California quarantine sites lacked both sufficient protective clothing and the training necessary to prepare them to deal with the contagion, though they were working alongside CDC personnel who had adequate protective gear.[40] The whistleblower also said that professionals raising concerns about the unsafe practices were subjected to retaliation.[40] Azar responded to the issues raised by Gomez by saying, "Urgency does not compensate for violating isolation and quarantine protocols" and adding, "I'd want to know the full facts and would take appropriate remedial measures."[40][41] Azar insisted that careful protocols were being observed by all CDC employees.[40]
On February 28, 2020, United States Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden wrote Azar to ask why employees of the HHS Administration for Children and Families were involuntarily dispatched to California to meet with quarantined travelers despite lacking expertise in the field and lacking proper information, equipment and training. Wyden also asked why said employees were not cleared to ensure that they had not become carriers of the disease before they were returned to their home stations.[42]
On April 25, 2020, multiple media outlets reported that the White House was weighing a plan to oust Azar due to frustrations over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[43][44][45][46] The following day, President Trump tweeted that such reports were "Fake News" and that he has no plans to replace Azar.[47][48][49]
Azar picked Brian Harrison, a 37-year old former labradoodle breeder who had no formal education in public health or related fields, as HHS's main coordinator for the government's response to the coronavirus.[50]
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Edit As Secretary of Health and Human Services, Azar is responsible for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a key institution in charge of containing contagious diseases. On January 28, 2020, Azar requested that the Chinese government allow a CDC expert team into their country to help them learn more about the virus. Referring to the SARS epidemic 17 years earlier, Azar said, "I can say that the posture of the Chinese government levels of cooperation and interaction with us is completely different from what we experienced in 2003 and I want to commend them for such assistance". The World Health Organization had already agreed to supply international experts to visit China "as soon as possible." Seventy-three possible cases were being monitored in the U.S. Simultaneously, the CDC had ramped up coronavirus screenings of travelers coming into the U.S. at 20 airports. Azar said it might be possible to ban any travelers arriving from China, and all options had to be considered. "Diseases are not terribly good at respecting borders," he added.[51]
Congressional testimony and requests for funding Edit On February 25, 2020, Azar appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee to testify on the danger of and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy asked both Azar and Chad Wolf about the fatality rate in victims. Azar said that the fatality rate of seasonal influenza was about 0.1%, and that the fatality rate of COVID-19 was estimated at between 1% and 2%; however, Azar added that the latter figure was uncertain because there might be many mild coronavirus cases yet unreported.[52] Chad Wolf said that the fatality rate for COVID-19 was between 1.5% and 2%, and that the fatality rate for influenza over the last 10 years in America was similar (about 2%).[53][54] Kennedy was unhappy with the briefing, saying afterwards, "I thought a lot of the briefing was bullshit... They would answer the question but dodge, bob and weave. I understand there's a lot they don't know. I get that. But they need to answer the questions straight up. They all talk about a task force, a committee '-- a committee's not going to solve this problem."[55]
Trump's officials tried to allay concerns that their request for $2.5 billion was insufficient to address the epidemic. Some Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing the funds requested and found transparency lacking with regard to a coherent strategy to contain the virus. Another Republican, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby of Alabama, told Azar: "If you lowball something like this, you'll pay for it later."[56][57][58] Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman Brendan Boyle asked Azar how he could defend "draconian cuts" in the CDC budget ''at the same time we are facing a unique worldwide health crisis".[58] Two years earlier, a coalition of global health organizations opposed Trump's plans to reduce the CDC's operations in 39 of 49 countries in which it had been helping to rapidly identify and suppress outbreaks of diseases. The coalition wrote to Azar, contending, "These programs are essential to our national defense".[58][59] In 2018, National Security Adviser John Bolton dismantled the task force charged with responsibility for planning and response to epidemics. The team's leader, Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, was the leader of the anti-malarial efforts under presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.[58] White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert, who had advocated a comprehensive biodefense strategy against both pandemics and potential biological attacks, departed from the White House on the same day Bolton arrived.[58]
HHS purchase of 500,000 doses of Remdesivir Edit On June 29, 2020 it was announced that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had agreed to buy 500,000 remdesivir treatment courses. The announcement mentioned that each five-day course of remdesivir -- (for treatment of a patient with coronavirus) -- would cost at least USD $2,340.00.[60] HHS Secretary Alex Azar was quoted, and had said (in a press release) that "To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it".[60]
Testing Edit On March 2, 2020, Azar was criticized for unpreparedness that may have accelerated the spread of the virus. Some critics focused on the lack of definitive testing of those who might be spreading the virus. China had tested over 1,000,000 people, while the CDC had tested less than 500 and its results had been undermined by problems with accuracy and potential contamination. There was substantial internal feuding with regard to formulation of policy at HHS and the CDC.[61]
Vaccine Edit Azar argued that the pharmaceutical industry was best poised to discover, manufacture, and market a vaccine for coronavirus. When asked about the cost of vaccines, Azar responded that the price might be high, but that an important vaccine would be created even if many Americans could not afford it.[62]
Personal life Edit Azar is an Antiochian Orthodox Christian and formerly Episcopalian.[63][64] He is of Lebanese, Ukrainian, English and Swiss descent and, before his nomination, lived in Indianapolis with his wife and two children.[32][65] Azar served for two years on the board of HMS Holdings.[66] He is currently on the board of the American Council on Germany, where he is Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.[12]
He has previously served on the board of directors of the Healthcare Leadership Council, where he was Treasurer; the National Association of Manufacturers; and the Indianapolis International Airport Authority, where he was Chairman of the Human Resources Committee.[12]
Azar is a Republican and has contributed to the campaigns of Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander, Jeb Bush, and Donald Trump according to the Center for Responsive Politics.[5]
See also Edit List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United StatesReferences Edit ^ "Jennifer Azar former Deputy Secretary Alex Azar's Wife". Daily Entertainment News . Retrieved April 30, 2020 . ^ Dixon, Kim (November 20, 2017). "HHS nominee Azar made millions working for drugmaker Lilly" . Retrieved January 24, 2018 . ^ " ' Only in America': Trump nominates Salisbury's Azar for top Cabinet post" . Retrieved February 3, 2018 . ^ "Obituary of ZARISKY, Sarah L. (Lamb), Cambria County, PA". camgenpa.com. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018 . Retrieved February 3, 2018 . ^ a b c d e Groppe, Maureen (November 13, 2017). "Who is Alex Azar? Former drugmaker CEO and HHS official nominated to head agency". USA Today . Retrieved January 25, 2018 . ^ "Biography of Alex Michael Azar II, Deputy Secretary". United States Department of Health & Human Services. June 19, 2006. Archived from the original on February 6, 2007 . Retrieved December 31, 2018 . ^ Aviv, Diana (October 21, 2005). "Faculty Biographies - 3rd Annual Washington Healthcare Summit" (PDF) . American Bar Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 31, 2018 . Retrieved December 31, 2018 . ^ Mystal, Elie. "Could HHS Secretary Alex Azar Derail Brett Kavanaugh?". Above The Law . Retrieved September 25, 2018 . ^ Newman, Katelyn (January 29, 2018). "10 Things You Didn't Know About Alex Azar". U.S. News & World Report . Retrieved March 15, 2020 . ^ a b Risen, James (September 13, 1994). "Starr Names His First Whitewater Aides: Investigation: Independent counsel announces appointments to fill out prosecution team. He names a Fiske holdover as a top deputy". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved January 25, 2018 . ^ Schmidt, Susan (September 13, 1994). "Whitewater Counsel Assembles Team". The Washington Post . Retrieved January 25, 2018 . ^ a b c "Alex M. Azar II - Biography". World Congress. ^ "PN492 - Nomination of Alex Azar II for Department of Health and Human Services, 107th Congress (2001-2002)". United States Congress. August 3, 2001. ^ "Presidential Nomination: Alex Michael Azar". November 2, 2002. Archived from the original on November 2, 2002 . Retrieved July 7, 2018 . ^ "PN430 - Nomination of Alex Azar II for Department of Health and Human Services, 109th Congress (2005-2006)". United States Congress. July 22, 2005. ^ "Presidential Nomination: Alex Michael Azar". November 22, 2006. Archived from the original on November 22, 2006 . Retrieved February 3, 2018 . ^ "Azar resigns as HHS deputy secretary". BioCentury. January 17, 2007. (subscription required) ^ a b Mathis-Lilley, Ben (November 13, 2017). "Trump Health Secretary Nominee Left Job Overseeing Eli Lilly Investigation to Become Eli Lilly's Top Lobbyist". Slate. ^ a b "Lilly Announces Changes in Senior Management" (Press release). PRNewswire. October 11, 2011. ^ Karlin-Smith, Sarah. "Trump's HHS secretary nominee boosted drug prices while at Eli Lilly". POLITICO. ^ a b Nisen, Max (November 13, 2017). "Alex Azar Is a Friend to Health-Care Companies". Bloomberg L.P. ^ a b Vazquez, Maegan (November 13, 2017). "Trump picks former pharma exec, ex-Bush official to lead HHS department". CNN. ^ "Lilly to Adjust Organization and Leadership Structure to Better Align with Growth Opportunities" (Press release). PRNewswire. January 5, 2017. ^ CRONYISM AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST IN TRUMP'S CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE, The Intercept, Sharon Lerner, February 29, 2020. Retrieved March 12, 2020. ^ a b Mangan, Dan (November 13, 2017). "Trump nominates former drug company executive Alex Azar as next Health and Human Services secretary". CNBC. ^ Advocacy Groups Slam Azar Ahead of Committee Hearing, HEALTHCAREDIVE, David Lim, January 4, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2020. ^ a b c What You Need to Know about Alex Azar, Trump's HHS Nominee, Scientific American, Dina Fine Maron, November 28, 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2020. ^ HHS Secretary Alex Azar now wants the Trump administration to import cheaper drugs from Canada, Newsweek, Alexandra Hutzler, July 31, 2019. Retrieved February 28, 2020.] ^ PUNDITS FUNDED BY DRUG COMPANY APPLAUD ITS TAKEOVER OF TRUMP HEALTH DEPARTMENT, The Intercept, Zaid Jilani, November 29, 2017. Retrieved March 12, 2020. ^ "Senate Confirms Trump Nominee Alex Azar as Health Secretary". January 24, 2018 . Retrieved January 24, 2018 . ^ Meet HHS Secretary Alex Azar, the Official Chairing the Coronavirus Task Force, Time Magazine, Tessa Berenson, February 27, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2020. ^ a b Mangan, Dan (January 29, 2018). "Alex Azar sworn in as Trump's new health-care chief". cnbc.com . Retrieved March 29, 2019 . ^ "Federal Commission on School Safety". United States Department of Education . Retrieved April 25, 2020 . ^ "There's a New Health Secretary. What Will He Mean for Women's Health?". Time . Retrieved January 25, 2018 . ^ "Trump's New Health and Human Services Secretary Is a Joyful Regulator". The New York Times. May 18, 2018 . Retrieved May 19, 2018 . ^ a b "Health Chief's Early Missteps Set Back Coronavirus Response". The Wall Street Journal. April 22, 2020. ^ The Worst President. Ever., The Washington Post, Max Boot, April 5, 2020. Retrieved April 6, 2020. ^ "Trump says he trusts China's Xi on coronavirus and the US has it 'totally under control ' ". CNBC. January 22, 2020. ^ What the best public health minds know '-- and don't know '-- about Wuhan coronavirus, Politico, Joanne Kenen, January 28, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2020. ^ a b c d Whistleblower Feds helping evacuees lacked virus protection, The Washington Post, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar'‰(AP), February 27, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2020. ^ Coronavirus updates: WHO increases risk to 'very high,' tells governments to 'wake up', USA Today, Adrianna Rodriguez, February 28, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2020. ^ Sen. Ron Wyden asks HHS how agency employees are tested for coronavirus, Axios, Orion Rummler, February 28, 2020. Retrieved February 29, 2020. ^ https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/25/white-house-replace-alex-azar-208151 ^ https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/25/politics/white-house-health-and-human-services-secretary-alex-azar/index.html ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-azar/white-house-considering-replacing-hhs-chief-azar-reports-idUSKCN22801B ^ https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-in-talks-to-replace-health-and-human-services-secretary-alex-azar-11587860458 ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/26/trump-alexazar-replacement/ ^ https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-tamps-down-azar-departure-speculation-11587949831 ^ https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-hhs-secretary-alex-azar-excellent-job-reports-fired-false ^ "Special Report: Former Labradoodle breeder was tapped to lead U.S. pandemic task force". Reuters. April 24, 2020 . Retrieved May 16, 2020 . ^ HHS chief: No plans to declare public health emergency over coronavirus, The Hill, Nathaniel Weixel, January 28, 2020. Retrieved February 27, 2020. ^ "02 25 20 Kennedy questions Secretary Azar on coronavirus during Appropriations Committee hearing; 3:24". ^ "02 25 20 Kennedy questions Acting Sec. Wolf on coronavirus during Appropriations Committee hearing; 2:21". ^ "Trump's DHS head has a brutal exchange on coronavirus '-- courtesy of a GOP senator". The Washington Post. February 25, 2020 . Retrieved March 2, 2020 . ^ "Coronavirus's spread in U.S. is 'inevitable,' CDC warns". Washington Post. ^ Coronavirus triggers swift bipartisan backlash against Trump, Politico, Rachel Roubein and Alice Miranda Ollstein, February 25, 2020. Retrieved February 26, 2020. ^ Coronavirus's spread in U.S. is 'inevitable,' CDC warns, The Washington Post, Erica Werner, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Lena H. Sun and Lenny Bernstein, February 25, 2020. Retrieved February 26, 2020. ^ a b c d e Trump says he can bring in coronavirus experts quickly. The experts say it's not that simple, The Washington Post, Beth Reinhard, Emma Brown and Neena Satija February 27, 2020. Retrieved February 29, 2020. ^ White House sidelines Azar from coronavirus response, Politico, Dan Diamond, Sarah Owermohle, and Meridith Mcgraw, March 5, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2020. ^ a b Keane, Sean (June 29, 2020). "US to buy 500,000 remdesivir coronavirus treatment courses at $2,340 each". cnet (cnet.com). CBS Interactive (ViacomCBS). Archived from the original on June 29, 2020. The US Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to buy 500,000 remdesivir treatment courses, in the wake of clinical trials revealing the drug can help patients recover more quickly from the coronavirus. A five-day course will cost $2,340, or $3,120 for commercially insured patients, biotech firm Gilead Sciences said.Early last month, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization for remdesivir to be used in cases of COVID-19 when patients were "hospitalized with severe disease," shortly after the drug showed "clear-cut positive effect" in a US trial. [...]
"To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a release.
^ Azar in the crosshairs for delays in virus tests, Politico, DAN DIAMOND and ADAM CANCRYN, March 2, 2020. Retrieved March 2, 2020. ^ Relman, Eliza (February 26, 2020). "The Trump administration reversed course after saying the coronavirus vaccine might not be affordable for all Americans". Business Insider . Retrieved April 3, 2020 . ^ "Senate Hearing 115-438". Congress.gov. Library of Congress. January 9, 2018 . Retrieved April 23, 2020 . Religious memberships: Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church....Saint John's Episcopal Church....Episcopal Church at Yale ^ "Obituary of Dr. Alex Azar". Holloway Funeral Home. April 6, 2020 . Retrieved April 23, 2020 . When he moved to Salisbury, he joined St. Peter's Episcopal. ^ Delkic, Melina (November 13, 2017). "Who is Alex Azar? Trump's New HHS Secretary Pick Lobbied for Big Pharma". Newsweek. ^ Braun, Stephen (November 20, 2017). "Health secretary nominee reaped big earnings from drug industry tenure". Stat News. Associated Press . Retrieved January 24, 2018 . External links Edit Health and Human Services biographyAppearances on C-SPAN
AP: Catholic Church lobbied for taxpayer funds, got $1.4B
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:21
NEW YORK (AP) '-- The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups.
The church's haul may have reached -- or even exceeded -- $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the U.S. government's pandemic relief efforts, an Associated Press analysis of federal data released this week found.
Houses of worship and faith-based organizations that promote religious beliefs aren't usually eligible for money from the U.S. Small Business Administration. But as the economy plummeted and jobless rates soared, Congress let faith groups and other nonprofits tap into the Paycheck Protection Program, a $659 billion fund created to keep Main Street open and Americans employed.
By aggressively promoting the payroll program and marshaling resources to help affiliates navigate its shifting rules, Catholic dioceses, parishes, schools and other ministries have so far received approval for at least 3,500 forgivable loans, AP found.
The Archdiocese of New York, for example, received 15 loans worth at least $28 million just for its top executive offices. Its iconic St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue was approved for at least $1 million.
In Orange County, California, where a sparkling glass cathedral estimated to cost over $70 million recently opened, diocesan officials working at the complex received four loans worth at least $3 million.
And elsewhere, a loan of at least $2 million went to the diocese covering Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, where a church investigation revealed last year that then-Bishop Michael Bransfield embezzled funds and made sexual advances toward young priests.
Simply being eligible for low-interest loans was a new opportunity. But the church couldn't have been approved for so many loans -- which the government will forgive if they are used for wages, rent and utilities -- without a second break.
Religious groups persuaded the Trump administration to free them from a rule that typically disqualifies an applicant with more than 500 workers. Without this preferential treatment, many Catholic dioceses would have been ineligible because -- between their head offices, parishes and other affiliates -- their employees exceed the 500-person cap.
''The government grants special dispensation, and that creates a kind of structural favoritism,'' said Micah Schwartzman, a University of Virginia law professor specializing in constitutional issues and religion who has studied the Paycheck Protection Program. ''And that favoritism was worth billions of dollars.''
The amount that the church collected, between $1.4 billion and $3.5 billion, is an undercount. The Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference, an organization of Catholic financial officers, surveyed members and reported that about 9,000 Catholic entities received loans. That is nearly three times the number of Catholic recipients the AP could identify.
The AP couldn't find more Catholic beneficiaries because the government's data, released after pressure from Congress and a lawsuit from news outlets including the AP, didn't name recipients of loans under $150,000 -- a category in which many smaller churches would fall. And because the government released only ranges of loan amounts, it wasn't possible to be more precise.
Even without a full accounting, AP's analysis places the Catholic Church among the major beneficiaries in the Paycheck Protection Program, which also has helped companies backed by celebrities, billionaires, state governors and members of Congress.
The program was open to all religious groups, and many took advantage. Evangelical advisers to President Donald Trump, including his White House spiritual czar, Paula White-Cain, also received loans.
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'TRULY IN NEED'
There is no doubt that state shelter-in-place orders disrupted houses of worship and businesses alike.
Masses were canceled, even during the Holy Week and Easter holidays, depriving parishes of expected revenue and contributing to layoffs in some dioceses. Some families of Catholic school students are struggling to make tuition payments. And the expense of disinfecting classrooms once classes resume will put additional pressure on budgets.
But other problems were self-inflicted. Long before the pandemic, scores of dioceses faced increasing financial pressure because of a dramatic rise in recent clergy sex abuse claims.
The scandals that erupted in 2018 reverberated throughout the world. Pope Francis ordered the former archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to a life of ''prayer and penance'' following allegations he abused minors and adult seminarians. And a damning grand jury report about abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses revealed bishops had long covered for predator priests, spurring investigations in more than 20 other states.
As the church again reckoned with its longtime crisis, abuse reports tripled during the year ending June 2019 to a total of nearly 4,500 nationally. Meanwhile, dioceses and religious orders shelled out $282 million that year '-- up from $106 million just five years earlier. Most of that went to settlements, in addition to legal fees and support for offending clergy.
Loan recipients included about 40 dioceses that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past few years paying victims through compensation funds or bankruptcy proceedings. AP's review found that these dioceses were approved for about $200 million, though the value is likely much higher.
One was the New York Archdiocese. As a successful battle to lift the statute of limitations on the filing of child sexual abuse lawsuits gathered steam, Cardinal Timothy Dolan established a victim compensation fund in 2016. Since then, other dioceses have established similar funds, which offer victims relatively quick settlements while dissuading them from filing lawsuits.
Spokesperson Joseph Zwilling said the archdiocese simply wanted to be ''treated equally and fairly under the law.'' When asked about the waiver from the 500-employee cap that religious organizations received, Zwilling deferred to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A spokesperson for the bishops' conference acknowledged its officials lobbied for the paycheck program, but said the organization wasn't tracking what dioceses and Catholic agencies received.
''These loans are an essential lifeline to help faith-based organizations to stay afloat and continue serving those in need during this crisis,'' spokesperson Chieko Noguchi said in a written statement. According to AP's data analysis, the church and all its organizations reported retaining at least 407,900 jobs with the money they were awarded.
Noguchi also wrote the conference felt strongly that ''the administration write and implement this emergency relief fairly for all applicants.''
Not every Catholic institution sought government loans. The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy based in Stamford, Connecticut, told AP that even though its parishes experienced a decline in donations, none of the organizations in its five-state territory submitted applications.
Deacon Steve Wisnowski, a financial officer for the eparchy, said pastors and church managers used their rainy-day savings and that parishioners responded generously with donations. As a result, parishes ''did not experience a severe financial crisis.''
Wisnowski said his superiors understood the program was for ''organizations and businesses truly in need of assistance.''
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LOBBYING FOR A BREAK
The law that created the Paycheck Protection Program let nonprofits participate, as long as they abided by SBA's ''affiliation rule.'' The rule typically says that only businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including at all subsidiaries, are eligible.
Lobbying by the church helped religious organizations get an exception.
The Catholic News Service reported that the bishops' conference and several major Catholic nonprofit agencies worked throughout the week of March 30 to ensure that the ''unique nature of the entities would not make them ineligible for the program'' because of how SBA defines a ''small'' business. Those conversations came just days after President Trump signed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which included the Paycheck Protection Program.
In addition, federal records show the Los Angeles archdiocese, whose leader heads the bishops' conference, paid $20,000 to lobby the U.S. Senate and House on ''eligibility for non-profits'' under the CARES Act. The records also show that Catholic Charities USA, a social service arm of the church with member agencies in dioceses across the country, paid another $30,000 to lobby on the act and other issues.
In late April, after thousands of Catholic institutions had secured loans, several hundred Catholic leaders pressed for additional help on a call with President Trump. During the call, Trump underscored the coming presidential election and touted himself as the candidate best aligned with religious conservatives, boasting he was the ''best (president) the Catholic church has ever seen,'' according to Crux, an online publication that covers church-related news.
The lobbying paid off.
Catholic Charities USA and its member agencies were approved for about 110 loans worth between $90 million and $220 million at least, according to the data.
In a statement, Catholic Charities said: ''Each organization is a separate legal entity under the auspices of the bishop in the diocese in which the agency is located. CCUSA supports agencies that choose to become members, but does not have any role in their daily operations or governance.''
The Los Angeles archdiocese told AP in a survey that reporters sent before the release of federal data that 247 of its 288 parishes -- and all but one of its 232 schools -- received loans. The survey covered more than 180 dioceses and eparchies.
Like most dioceses, Los Angeles wouldn't disclose its total dollar amount. While the federal data doesn't link Catholic recipients to their home dioceses, AP found 37 loans to the archdiocese and its affiliates worth between $9 million and $23 million, including one for its downtown cathedral.
In 2007, the archdiocese paid a record $660 million to settle sex abuse claims from more than 500 victims. Spokespeople for Los Angeles Archbishop Jose M. Gomez did not respond to additional questions about the archdiocese's finances and lobbying.
In program materials, SBA officials said they provided the affiliation waiver to religious groups in deference to their unique organizational structure, and because the public health response to slow the coronavirus' spread disrupted churches just as it did businesses.
A senior official in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which worked with the SBA to administer the program, acknowledged in a statement the wider availability of loans to religious organizations. ''The CARES Act expanded eligibility to include nonprofits in the PPP, and SBA's regulations ensured that no eligible religious nonprofit was excluded from participation due to its beliefs or denomination,'' the statement said.
Meanwhile, some legal experts say that the special consideration the government gave faith groups in the loan program has further eroded the wall between church and state provided in the First Amendment. With that erosion, religious groups that don't pay taxes have gained more access to public money, said Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania professor and attorney who has represented clergy abuse victims on constitutional issues during bankruptcy proceedings.
''At this point, the argument is you're anti-religious if in fact you would say the Catholic Church shouldn't be getting government funding,'' Hamilton said.
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CASHING IN FAST
After its lobbying blitz, the Catholic Church worked with parishes and schools to access the money.
Many dioceses -- from large ones such as the Archdiocese of Boston to smaller ones such as the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin -- assembled how-to guides to help their affiliates apply. The national Catholic fiscal conference also hosted multiple webinars with legal and financial experts to help coach along local leaders.
Federal data show that the bulk of the church's money was approved during the loan program's first two weeks. That's when demand for the first-come, first-served assistance was so high that the initial $349 billion was quickly exhausted, shutting out many local businesses.
Overall, nearly 500 loans approved to Catholic entities exceeded $1 million each. The AP found that at least eight hit the maximum range of $5 million to $10 million. Many of the listed recipients were the offices of bishops, headquarters of leading religious orders, major churches, schools and chapters of Catholic Charities.
Also among recipients was the Saint Luke Institute. The Catholic treatment center for priests accused of sexual abuse and those suffering from other disorders received a loan ranging from $350,000 to $1 million. Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, the institute has at times been a way station for priests accused of sexual abuse who returned to active ministry only to abuse again.
Perhaps nothing illustrates the church's aggressive pursuit of funds better than four dioceses that sued the federal government to receive loans, even though they entered bankruptcy proceedings due to mounting clergy sex-abuse claims. Small Business Administration rules prohibit loans to applicants in bankruptcy.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico -- once home to a now-closed and notorious treatment center for predator priests -- prevailed in court, clearing the way for its administrative offices to receive nearly $1 million. It accused the SBA of overreaching by blocking bankruptcy applications when Congress didn't spell that out.
Yet even when a diocese has lost in bankruptcy court, or its case is pending, its affiliated parishes, schools and other organizations remain eligible for loans.
On the U.S. territory of Guam, well over 200 clergy abuse lawsuits led church leaders in the tiny Archdiocese of Agana to seek bankruptcy protection, as they estimated at least $45 million in liabilities. Even so, the archdiocese's parishes, schools and other organizations have received at least $1.7 million as it sues the SBA for approval to get a loan for its headquarters, according to bankruptcy filings.
The U.S. church may have a troubling record on sex abuse, but Bishop Lawrence Persico of Erie, Pennsylvania, pushed back on the idea that dioceses should be excluded from the government's rescue package. Approximately 80 organizations within his diocese received loans worth $10.3 million, the diocese said, with most of the money going to parishes and schools.
Persico pointed out that church entities help feed, clothe and shelter the poor -- and in doing so keep people employed.
''I know some people may react with surprise that government funding helped support faith-based schools, parishes and dioceses,'' he said. ''The separation of church and state does not mean that those motivated by their faith have no place in the public square.''
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Data journalist Justin Myers contributed from Chicago.
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Contact AP's global investigative team at investigative@ap.org.
___
Contact the reporters on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ReeseDunklin or https://twitter.com/MikeRezendes.
Arrest made in Ocala, Florida Catholic church burning
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 10:46
CNA Staff, Jul 11, 2020 / 07:14 pm MT (CNA) .-
A Florida man has been arrested after he reportedly admitted to crashing a minivan into a Catholic Church and then setting it on fire.
Stephen Anthony Shields, 24, of Dunnellon, Florida has been charged with attempted murder, arson, burglary, and evading arrest, after he was apprehended by police July 11.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office reported Saturday morning that deputies were called at about 7:30 am to Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, which was set aflame while parishioners inside prepared for morning Mass.
According to a Saturday evening statement from the sheriff's office, Shields poured gasoline in the church's foyer and ignited it, after crashing his minivan through the parish's front door. Shields then drove away in the minivan, leading officers on a short chase before he was stopped.
According to local media, Shields told police he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia but is not currently taking prescribed medication. He said that he awoke on Saturday morning with a ''mission,'' and that he purchased the gas at a nearby gas station, according to Ocala-News.
Shields also quoted scripture, especially the Book of Revelation, to officers, and telling them his objections to the Catholic Church, Ocala-News reported. He reportedly told officers that he understood the consequences of his action, nevertheless saying the arson was ''awesome'' and referring to himself as ''king.''
In 2019, Shields was arrested after swinging a crowbar at a woman and saying he wanted to kill her. Shields said he wanted to kill the woman with his crowbar so he wouldn't ''dirty his blades,'' according to Ocala-News.
In a July 11 statement, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said: ''Our freedom of worship granted in the Constitution is a freedom that we all hold dear. My deputies and I are sworn to protect that right and will always ensure our citizens can worship in peace. I'm proud of my deputies for capturing this man so quickly and we appreciate the assistance from all of the state and federal agencies that worked alongside of us during this investigation.''
Earlier today, the Diocese of Orlando told CNA that Masses would resume in a nearby parish hall as ordinarily scheduled.
''We praise God that no one was injured. We join in prayer for Father O'Doherty, the parishioners of Queen of Peace Catholic Church, our first responders and the gentleman who caused this damage. May we come to know the Peace of the Lord,'' the Orlando diocese told CNA Saturday afternoon.
In addition to its other liturgies, the parish is one of few in central Florida to offer the extraordinary form of the Mass, otherwise known as the Traditional Latin Mass, which is celebrated weekly by a priest of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter who drives to Ocala from a church in Sarasota.
The fire came at almost the same time that outside of Los Angeles, a mission church founded by St. Junipero Serra caught fire and was structurally destroyed.
Tags:Catholic News, Arson, Diocese of Orlando
California mission founded by St. Jun­pero Serra burns in overnight fire
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 10:45
CNA Staff, Jul 11, 2020 / 12:40 pm MT (CNA) .-
A massive fire devastated an eighteenth century mission church in San Gabriel, in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, July 11. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles called the fire at San Gabriel Mission church, founded by St. Junipero Serra, ''devastating.''
The fire began early Saturday morning around 4 a.m. and destroyed the roof and interior of the 249-year-old structure. Local firefighters said they responded to an initial alarm at 4:24. By the time they arrived, smoke and flames were visible from outside the church '' which is a California Historical Landmark.
Our beloved #SanGabrielMission, founded in 1771, devastated by fire before dawn. St. Jun­pero Serra, pray for this land that you helped to found. pic.twitter.com/aX0X4qCvJ7
'-- Abp. Jos(C) H. Gomez (@ArchbishopGomez) July 11, 2020Battling the four-alarm fire eventually involved 50 firefighters, according to the Los Angeles Times. Local fire department spokesman Captain Antonio Negrete called the damage ''heartbreaking.''
''The roof of the mission is completely gone and the interior up to the altar is completely destroyed,'' Negrete said, noting that it was not yet possible to establish the cause of the fire because of concerns over the building's structural integrity.
''We're going to have building engineers come in and see if we can shore up some walls to make it as safe as possible for the investigators to go in and start investigating this fire,'' he said, according to the Times.
Adrian Marquez Alarcon, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said that because of renovations underway at the church ahead of its 250th anniversary, historic paintings and artifacts had been removed and were not in the building at the time of the fire.
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez visited the church Saturday morning, saying on Facebook that ''[he] woke up before dawn this morning to news that our beloved San Gabriel Mission, founded by St. Jun­pero Serra in 1771, was burning.''
''Thank God no one is hurt,'' Gomez said. ''I'm here to pray with the people. The roof is destroyed and there is much damage in the old church. St. Jun­pero, pray for this city, this state, and this country that you helped to found.''
The San Gabriel mission was the fourth mission founded by St. Jun­pero Serra, a Franciscan priest who founded a trail of missions across California. Serra helped to convert thousands of native Californians to Christianity, and taught them new agricultural technologies.
Many of Serra's missions form the cores of what are today the state's biggest cities'-- such as San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
An advocate for native people and a champion of human rights, Serra was often at odds with Spanish authorities over the treatment of native people, from whom there was an outpouring of grief at his death in 1784.
Serra was canonized by Pope Francis during a visit to the United States in 2015.
''Jun­pero sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it,'' the pope said in his homily at the Mass of canonization.
Despite Serra's record defending indigenous peoples, statues of the saint have become focal points for protests and demonstrations across California in recent weeks, with images of the saint being torn down or vandalized in protest of California's colonial past.
Rioters pulled down a statue of St. Serra in the state capital of Sacramento on July 4, during which one man burned the face of the statue with an ignited spray can, before a crowd pulled the statue from its base and struck it with a sledgehammer and other objects, dancing and jumping upon it.
Another statue of the saint was torn down in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, on June 19 by a crowd of about 100 people, and on the same day a statue of the saint was torn down in Los Angeles. The following week the San Juan Capistrano Mission and its neighboring church removed statues of Serra from their outside displays to preserve them from being targeted.
The July 11 fire came at nearly the same time a Florida man set fire to a Catholic parish as parishioners prepared for morning Mass.
BLM
CORONA AND BLM ARE DESTROYING MEN
I am not able to give a donation as to get this read. But I still wanted to write to you before my phone is cut off tomorrow and I no longer have access to internet.
I wanted to give you and John a eyes on the ground report from Eastern Kentucky about what this virus has done to the poor. Since the virus began, my life has been turned upside down.. My wife filed for divorce and became a lesbian, I got the virus and missed work and lost my job. And now as "they" say I am suffering from homelessness.
This is happening to many i know especially the divorce rate surging. I feel some how the powers that be has found away to create a record setting single parent homes. And get rid of all dads.
You and John have keep me sane these last few months. So I wanted to say thank you. I dont know when I will finally find a job and get unternet again to be able and listen. But the 1st thing I am going to do is download the missed shows.
Bryan
How This Leadership Researcher Became the Secret Weapon for Oprah, Pixar, IBM, and Melinda Gates | Inc.com
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 19:38
Bren(C) Brown knows how to pause. She knows how to take in a question, take in a breath, and ...
... really, really pause.
It's a killer conversational tool, especially if you speak, and listen, to people for a living. Which is what Brown--a licensed social worker and academic researcher turned TED Talk viral celebrity, turned best-selling author and leadership guru, and now turned founder and CEO--fundamentally does.
Her pause confers reflection and authority. It makes you feel heard. Each prolonged silence is flattering to both Brown and her conversation partner: "What a great question," the pause says, before imbuing her eventual response with thoughtful weight.
Sitting in the airy, two-story Houston headquarters that Brown's book sales and speaking fees have allowed her business to occupy--and to decorate with cushy Restoration Hardware furniture and the fresh flowers she buys her staff twice a month--the founder casts her mind back to life before fame. Hands clasped before her mouth and blond head bowed, as if in prayer, an occasional shake of her head punctuating her process, Brown thinks, a lot, before she speaks.
"I don't mourn anything," Brown says, "because--" and here she stops, for 11 silent seconds--"I am unapologetically ambitious, and I'm not any more ambitious now than I was then."
However--and here she pauses again--"I don't like being a public person."
She is, and she isn't. An Oprah-endorsed leadership consultant to the likes of Pixar, IBM, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Brown, 52, is extremely well known in some circles. "Bren(C) taught me that leadership requires admitting what you don't know instead of pretending to know everything," Melinda Gates says in an email. "I love her message that vulnerability is the key to building trust." Other avowed fans include Hollywood celebrities Reese Witherspoon, Amy Adams, and Kristen Bell; Laverne Cox, star of Orange Is the New Black, recently told Vanity Fair that Brown is one of her favorite writers--along with bell hooks, James Baldwin, and Shakespeare.
But Brown's name still gets blank looks in many quarters. She's working on changing that this year, with a new book and a business reinvention and some other big plans to promote her work to people who don't usually go for research that, as Brown acknowledges, sometimes gets dismissed as "touchy-feely" stuff.
A PhD and research professor at the University of Houston's Graduate College of Social Work, Brown spent years studying the concepts of shame and vulnerability. Through her "grounded theory" research--a methodology of collecting and coding interviews and other data sets--she started finding patterns of behaviors and drawing some basic but uncomfortable conclusions, including: We all fail. But ignoring, or just recognizing, those failures isn't enough. Real leadership can happen only when we embrace our imperfections, work to overcome them, and take risks--when we are brave, in Brown's parlance, and when we "challenge the false stories we make up when we experience disappointment."
Part of what makes Brown's work appealing is how she frames her call for intense self-reflection, by acknowledging that she struggles with this process as much as anyone else. "It's much easier to talk about what we want and need than it is to talk about the fears, feelings, and scarcity that get in the way," she writes in her latest sure-to-be-bestseller, Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
It was that sort of personal admission that made her famous. In 2010, a few months before the publication of her first non-academic book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown gave a20-minute TEDxHouston Talk about her research, and the emotional breakdown it caused her. Her performance was funny, touching, honest--and soon viral, watched by some 35 million people. It launched Brown on a trajectory of advising CEOs, entrepreneurs, and the book-buying public--and figuring out how she would turn her research into a business.
Brown has spent the past few years trying to build a profitable but mutable company that practices what she preaches. As with any self-help journey, it's a work in progress. During my visit to the Bren(C) Brown Education and Research Group in steamy mid-July, Brown is overseeing an organizational reboot tied to the publication of Dare to Lead. The new book, she says, collects 20 years of research, as well as new data on working with senior executives, to propose four skill sets of better leadership.
Dare to Lead is scheduled for release in early October, and Brown has basically quarantined herself to write it all summer under what's partially a self-imposed crash deadline. She wants her guide to good leadership to appear before the midterm elections in November. "We have just about the worst models of leadership that I have ever seen in my life," she says. "When you ask me, 'Is anyone getting it right?' I'd say certainly not political leadership right now. Certainly not this administration."
Which is another part of Brown's authenticity: A white Christian living in the middle of the country, she takes firm, outspoken political stands--including for the Women's March and Black Lives Matter, and against the president's immigration policies--which is more than you might expect from a peddler of leadership advice to a corporate audience. "She's just so thoughtful, and so intentional about how she tackles these really difficult issues," says Maisha Walker, founder and president of digital marketing firm Message Medium, and an African American woman who was impressed by Brown's response to the deadly white supremacist riots in Charlottesville last year. "She doesn't shy away from the hard stuff."
Some people, on both ends of the political spectrum, walked out of events during Brown's book tour last year for Braving the Wilderness, which addressed navigating the hyperpartisan Trump-era political climate. But that hasn't stopped Brown from doubling down on the hard stuff--or kept her from the perpetual state of intense conversation and self-reflection she brings to her growing role as founder and CEO.
It's a process that's involved false starts, the shutting down of successful products, and being honest--or what Brown would call being courageous--about what she wants, and doesn't want, to spend her time doing. "When I first started, I didn't say no to anything, because I wanted to prove I could do it," says Brown. Now, five years into turning her expertise into a real business, she says this will be the year of "saying no to a lot of things, and getting really clear on who I want to be."
Telling the story of a woman used to writing her own can be a tricky proposition. Brown grounds her books in biographical details, including her childhood as Cassandra Bren(C) Brown, oldest of four kids who grew up moving from San Antonio to New Orleans and back to Texas. There were her wild days bartending her way through UT Austin, getting sober from her "take the edge off" beer- and-cigarette habit, and finally finishing her bachelor's degree at age 29. There's her loving, mindfully communicative marriage to a pediatrician named Steve Alley, whom she met when they were both lifeguards, and their life raising two children.
Brown got her PhD in 2002 at the University of Houston and stayed on as a research professor, teaching courses ranging from feminist practice to social-welfare policy analysis. Then that 2010 TEDx Talk forever changed the course of her career. It was followed by her 2012 book Daring Greatly, partially about her resulting vulnerability "hangover" and the downsides--and opportunities--of her instant celebrity. The related TED Talk she gave that year now has had more than nine million views.
Then, in 2013, Brown gained the only fan who matters in the book industrial complex: Oprah. An invitation for Brown to appear on Oprah's SuperSoul Sunday TV show turned into an interview feature in O magazine, and a business relationship with the OWN network, where Brown gave an online course (which is still available). By the end of that year, Brown had recruited a couple of friends, so she could strike out on her own and figure out how to turn her cult of personality into a sustainable business.
The company today remains very much a friends-and-family affair. Brown employs her twin younger sisters as her chief of staff and the head of her nonprofit operation. Charles "Chaz" Kiley, Brown's friend since their college days waiting tables, is now her chief financial officer. "Bren(C) has a pretty good tolerance for risk--and a pretty good tolerance for failure," he says.
A white Christian living in the middle of the country, she takes outspoken political stands, including for the Women's March and Black Lives Matter.
But figuring out the right business for Bren(C) Inc. hasn't been straightforward. Brown's company, which now has 27 employees, has always sold some sort of training for therapists and coaches, who can get certified in Brown's methods and licensed to use her intellectual property. Then, in 2015, Brown started up her own direct-to-consumer online-education business. The "Courage Works" course was immediately successful, according to Brown and Kiley, who say that it generated $6 million in revenue and 100,000 customers in its first year.
Yet Brown has turned down offers of outside investment that could help her expand quickly. Instead, she's financed her business mostly through her book sales and corporate speaking fees of up to $90,000 (though she says 30 percent of her work is pro bono). The company also earns revenue from training and certifying facilitators, who use Brown's methods to run their own workshops, and from Brown's occasional consulting gigs.
It's money well spent, big companies say. "She talks about concepts that are incredibly relevant for transformational leadership, in a way that's science-based and very human," says IBM's Deb Bubb, who runs the tech giant's corporate leadership, learning, and inclusion efforts, and who brought Brown into IBM's internal development program. Dheeraj Pandey, CEO and co-founder of public cloud-computing company Nutanix, which has a market cap of about $10 billion, hired Brown to speak at the company's customer conference this year and work with some senior leaders. "She's become a competitive advantage, and a secret weapon for our culture," says Pandey, who now sometimes catches his engineers discussing vulnerability on Slack: "When it gets a little too ani­mated, Nutanix employees will defuse the tensions by saying, 'Hey, you have to be vulnerable here.' " Or as Megan Tamte, co-CEO of apparel retailer Evereve, puts it: "To the people I hang around with, she's like Oprah."
But as Brown built out her business, she became uncomfortable with a big part of it--including the prospect of scaling. Running a for-profit online-education portal required salespeople and software engineers and marketing, and focusing on "getting bums in seats ... and having to feel particularly salesy," Kiley says. "It felt a little outside of her ethics to be pushing that hard on the marketing side." Adds Brown, "I realized that education should be a nonprofit."
So by late last year, Brown had finally forced herself to confront a choice many founders are faced with. Running a large-scale consumer operation simply wasn't compatible with what she calls her "joy list," a mixture of physical and emotional health, connection with her loved ones, and "the biggest unrenewable resource in the world"--time. "I've talked to a lot of founders [and] very successful senior leaders who are deeply unhappy," working long hours and never enjoying the fruits of their labors," Brown says.
"I don't want to wake up one day and have 150 people working here, and five of them are researchers and 145 of them are software engineers and learning platform people. That's not what I want to do," she says. "Running that business and my joy list are mutually exclusive."
"Fuuuuuuuck." Sighing sotto voce, head falling into her hands, Brown is responding to the obvious question: How does she prioritize her load of researching, speaking, writing, and running her company?
As soon as she utters the exasperated expletive, Brown regrets it--and starts negotiating to erase it. It's a perplexing reaction from a self-described "fifth-generation Texan with a family motto of 'lock and load,' " who even admits to me that the F-word is "very comfortable. That's my cuss word." So isn't using it authentic and on-brand for Bren(C) Brown?
Yes and no. "It's on-brand for me, but not for the work," she says, noting that being known for profanity risks alienating a wider audience. "Here's the tension: Not being my authentic self is incredibly dangerous to the work." She pauses. "My language can sometimes not serve the work."
It's a dichotomy between Brown's ambition and her reluctant relationship with celebrity; between the woman who preaches vulnerability and the one who's built a wall of protection against the outside world. When her first TEDx Talk went viral in 2010, "my first thought was not 'Hell, yeah!' but 'Get the toothpaste back in the tube,' " she recalls. "You know? 'Control this, control this, control this.' "
"I will feel like it's a massive failure if this work doesn't live beyond me."
With some justification. As Brown learned, to be female on the internet is to become a target for nasty comments. "If you're in public and you're a woman, put a system in place. I don't care if you make $40,000 a year or $40 million a year," she advises. "Hire someone to give you three comments that are worth responding to, and delete the shit that's not."
There are other things she can control. In December, Brown shut down the Courage Works online learning business. She started converting one arm of her company into a nonprofit, which will continue training mental health professionals and others in Brown's research and methods and soon teach them in schools and perhaps colleges.
Brown's remaining for-profit operations--the consulting-and-workshops business once known as Brave Leaders Inc.--will now share the name of her new book: Dare to Lead. The re-branding underlines a recent realization: "We've tried different businesses in order to be effective in scaling and never paid attention to the books," she laughs. "How did the books become a side hustle?"
Especially when, according to Nielsen BookScan, The Gifts of Imperfection (2010) sold more than a million copies, Daring Greatly (2012) sold half that, and the two subsequent books have sold more than 250,000 each. (Brown says that U.S. sales are more than four million, total.) She's now trying to tie her books more directly to her business operations. Instead of selling "18 hours' worth of courses, I'm going to put everything I've learned in a book and just give it away [for] 20 bucks," she says.
The renamed company will continue to consult with big corporations. And it will continue to train other professionals in Brown's IP, so they can be certified consultants to the 95 percent of business clients Brown doesn't have the time or mental energy to visit herself.
Five years in, it's finally starting to come together. But Brown is looking forward to the day when her company has moved beyond the startup chaos. When she can definitively say she's chosen the right path for her business--and can even take some time off.
That may be an impossible goal for an organization so clearly centered on a celebrity founder. Still, "I will feel like it's a massive failure if this work doesn't live beyond me," she reflects. And if anyone can work through the struggles of starting, reinventing, and leading a business, it's probably the woman who's literally written the books on how to do it. As Brown quips: "Researcher, heal thyself."
From the October 2018 issue of Inc. Magazine
Laverne Cox Explains Why She's a "Stan" of Bren(C) Brown | Hollywood Reporter
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 16:43
CULTURE5:11 PM PDT 4/17/2019 by Kirsten Chuba
Brown sat down with the 'Orange Is the New Black' star to talk politics and the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements: "Why do we need those movements? Because in the hearts and minds of many people, those lives have been pushed out of the circle of humanization."Bren(C) Brown has written best-selling books, given TED Talks with millions of views, and become a leadership guru to Oprah Winfrey and Melinda Gates. Now, she has her sights set on conquering Netflix, with her first special, A Call to Courage, bowing Friday.
Ahead of her special's release, Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, on Tuesday sat down with Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox at Netflix's Los Angeles headquarters to talk life, politics, trauma and the #MeToo movement. Cox is among Brown's legion of superfans, and admitted she was unintentionally at the show that Brown recorded for the streaming service. "I had no idea they were shooting a Netflix special, I just happened to be there because that's how I stan," the actress said.
Brown, who has written nine books on courage, shame, vulnerability and compassion, admitted that, at times, it's been a difficult adjustment to a sudden life in the Hollywood spotlight. "I'm a research professor, and I had a photo shoot today on the Netflix roof. They don't teach that shit in my doctorate program," joked Brown, saying she struggles with her own insecurity surrounding her newfound fame. "I have the too-big-for-your-britches, who-do-you-think-you-are thing going on right now a lot."
Much of the 30-minute conversation between the two centered on the current political climate and the volatile divide between liberals and conservatives, with Brown arguing that the use of shame and humiliation are tools of oppression, not tools of social justice, and are being used to push the two sides even further apart.
"I will not participate in the dehumanization of people, regardless if their ideology is completely in opposition to mine; I'm not going to participate in it, because we have lost sight of what is happening," she told Cox and the small audience. "When we have a leader who is saying, 'These aren't refugees, these are animals,' when we have people that fight that back that say, 'You're a pig,' we have devolved into the type of language and dehumanization that has been the beginning of every genocide in recorded history."
As for how to fight against harassment, inequality and racism in the age of Trump, Brown said that it is important to remember that there is no neutrality anymore, and people's actions only either help create a new system or enable the old one. "The #MeToo movement, Time's Up movement, Black Lives Matter, Trans Lives Matters, why do we need those movements?" she asked. "Because in the hearts and minds of many people, those lives have been pushed out of the circle of humanization '-- they've been pushed out, and we either participate in dismantling the systems that have done that or we are propping them up."
The two also spoke about the importance of language when Cox pointed out that many of Brown's teachings describe men and women but apply to gender non-binary people as well. Brown said she first noticed that mistake when recording an audiobook and added, "As I go back and rewrite and update books, I'm being very mindful because for me, it's not about political correctness. As long as language is being used to beat up anybody in the schoolyard, I'm not for it."
Cox, who is trans, spoke in turn about the fight liberals and conservatives have over acceptance of the transgender community, and said that at the base level, the two sides are having completely different conversations and are not agreeing on the same set of facts. "There's so much resistance to the world changing, and the world changing is that for a long time trans people were in the shadows and now we're saying we don't want to be in the shadows anymore, we want to exist in the light," she said. "And then people are freaking out and banning us from the military and all of the things we're doing."
Throughout the talk, Cox was open about her deep love and knowledge for Brown's work, admitting that she used to read specific passages of her book every day and would fall asleep listening to her speeches. At times, Cox recited long passages of Brown's books from memory, much to the professor's surprise.
"It's the most amazing experience to hear someone that I love and respect and look up to so much, you really know it better than me!" Brown joked. "I have sweaty palms, I'm like, 'Don't ask me any questions, you know it yourself!'"
Shame Resilience Theory
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 16:47
Shame Resilience Theory (SRT) was developed by Dr Bren(C) Brown. Bren(C) wrote about the theory in her book I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from ''What Will People Think?'' to ''I Am Enough'' and has spoken about it several times in her talks, including ''
2010 TED Talk The Power of Vulnerability has been seen over 23,230,436 times,2010 Price of Invulnerability talk has over 783,129 views, and2012 Listening to Shame talk has been over 5,948,051 times.Bren(C)'s first TED Talk '' the Power of Vulnerability is the fourth most watched TED talk in the world (although Bren(C) actually hasn't watched it).
What is the Shame Resilience Theory?In her book I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from ''What Will People Think?'' to ''I Am Enough'', Bren(C) discusses shame as a silent epidemic and something everyone experiences. Shame is associated with depression, grief, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction and violence.
According to Brown ''
''Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging. Women often experience shame when they are entangled in a web of layered, conflicting and competing social-community expectations. Shame creates feelings of fear, blame and disconnect.'' (p.29).
The shame resilience theory is a grounded theory and is based on building resilience to shame by connecting with our authentic selves and growing meaningful relationships with other people. Shame resilience involves moving towards empathy (courage, connection and compassion) when we are experiencing shame and away from shame (fear, blame and disconnection).
According to Dr Brown, the four (4) elements of Shame Resilience are ''
Recognising shame and understanding our triggers (e.g. physical responses like our heart racing or tightness in our chest),Practising critical awareness (i.e. knowing why something exists, how it works, how our society is impacted or impacting on that something and who benefits from it),Reaching out and telling our story (i.e. by reaching out to our support network and sharing our story, we can increase our resilience and create change), andSpeaking shame is so important as its survival depends on going undetected (i.e. through secrecy and silence). Subsequently, if we recognise and understand our triggers, practice critical awareness and reach out to others, we can grow our resilience as we practice communicating about our shame with our most-trusted advisors who use their own compassion and courage whilst listening and supporting us.Common Reactions to ShameIn her research, Bren(C) found that when people don't recognise their shame and the expectations and messages that trigger shame, we put up shame screens. A shame screen is a defence mechanism that we use to protect ourselves as it triggers our primal fight, flight and freeze response. It means we either ''
moving against shame by trying to gain control or power over others or being aggressive,move away from shame by withdrawing, hiding, keeping secrets or staying silent, andmoving towards shame by seeking approval and belonging.By recognising our shame screens, we can make alternative choices as shame screens do not work and can cut us off from what we want most in life '' authentic connection with ourselves and others (which is why developing empathy is important).
The Power of EmpathyBefore we discuss the power of empathy, let's identify what empathy is ''
''the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.'' ~ Google and Oxford Dictionaries''the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings'' ~ Merriam-Webster''the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another'' ~ Dictionary.comIn her research Bren(C) found that by developing empathy through practicing shame resilience we can create the things in life that we want the most '' to be valued, seen and acknowledged as a worthwhile person.
Simply '' shame isolates and separates. Empathy builds connection, courage and compassion. The choice is yours'...
If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?
References ''Brown, B. (2007). I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from ''What Will People Think?'' to ''I Am Enough''. New York, USA: Penguin.
Brown, B. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. USA: Hazelden.
Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. New York, USA: Penguin.
Page Reference ''I have had many people want to reference this page, so here is the correct reference. Thanks in advance for honouring the work on Habits for Wellbeing ðŸ‚
Taylor, J. (2016) Shame Resilience Theory by Bren(C) Brown. [WWW] Available from: https://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/shame-resilience-theory/ [Accessed '...'..... ]
'Wish I was that oppressed': Colin Kaepernick's lucrative Disney deal mocked on social media (with a hefty helping of envy) '-- RT USA News
Thu, 09 Jul 2020 23:22
Ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has signed with Disney to produce a documentary about his life for ESPN Films. His growing net worth isn't sitting well with those sick of his victim persona, however.
While no dollar amount was given regarding the first-look docuseries deal, it's safe to say that the agreement '' which includes ''scripted and unscripted stories that deal with race, social injustice and the quest for equity'' and will ''work to showcase directors and producers of color'' '' has the potential to make Kaepernick a very rich man (though as the face of Nike, he's presumably loaded already).
The agreement extends across all Disney's platforms including Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, Pixar, and ESPN's racial-issues-focused spinoff The Undefeated. Kaepernick announced his ''historic partnership'' with the entertainment megacorporation on Monday in a somewhat stilted statement, promising ''many other culturally impactful projects'' aside from the documentary series on his transition from up-and-coming quarterback to civil rights activist. The series will focus on the last five years, starting with his ''taking a knee'' during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and continuing through his exile from the NFL and rise to social justice stardom.
Also on rt.com 'No longer activism, just marketing': NBA mocked after list of approved 'social justice' slogans for jerseys leaked to media The athlete is partnering with former ESPN host Jemele Hill, who left the network in 2018 (accompanied by a $5 million golden parachute) to write about politics for the Atlantic after her anti-Trump tweeting became too much for the network. Apparently, they have had a change of heart '' as has the NFL with Kaepernick. The league's commissioner, Roger Goodell, suggested last month that a team should sign the former San Francisco QB.
Many on social media rolled their eyes at what they saw as Kaepernick wringing millions of dollars out of his supposed ''oppression,'' including former Trump administration official Sebastian Gorka, who likened ''one of the richest sportsmen in America'... complaining about racial division'' to a ''bad Monty Python skit.''
Colin Kaepernick is the face of Nike, last week he signed a deal with Netflix, today he announced a partnership with DisneyNike, Netflix, and Disney are three of the largest companies in America by revenueRemind me again how "oppressed" he is?ðŸ¤--
'-- Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) July 6, 2020Others snarked that they were getting whiplash from the quickness with which Kaepernick had stashed his principles to work with the big-dollar media conglomerate.
Disney celebrated July 4th.Kaepernick says July 4th is a celebration of white supremacy.Today, Disney announced a partnership with Kaepernick.So Kap gets $$$ off white supremacists.And Disney gets woke points from an America-hater. pic.twitter.com/RUhEBvm5am
'-- Alex Marlow (@AlexMarlow) July 6, 2020And others had less than complimentary things to say about the former quarterback's athletic prowess.
Next thing you know there will be a Colin Kaepernick ride at Disneyland. The ride will consist of sitting on a bench for 60 minutes.
'-- Rob Laurie (@roblaurie75) July 6, 2020Anyone else find it weird how Kaepernick only became 'oppressed' once his stats started tanking and he got benched?
'-- Rogan O'Handley 🇺🇸 (@DC_Draino) July 6, 2020Even those who took no issue with Kaepernick's decision had a few chuckles at his expense, with one commenter noting he ''pretends not to be shrewed [sic] businessman using the 'black experience' to build his wealth.''
Of course, not everyone was critical. Fellow celebrities congratulated him on his success.
This is amazing. And so well deserved.
'-- Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) July 6, 2020At least someone is willing to sign him.The things that don't break you make you stronger. The very thing for which the league tried to punish Kaepernick is accruing to his benefit. Meanwhile, the league is struggling to reopen.https://t.co/DFsODRgapy
'-- Larry Middleton (@l78lancer) July 6, 2020Like this story? Share it with a friend!
"150 Minneapolis police officers seeking disability for PTSD following riots
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 04:04
FOX 9 : 150 Minneapolis police officers seeking disability for PTSD following riots https://t.co/usrGSXQYVW
Fri Jul 10 02:25:29 +0000 2020
Monique : @FOX9 That's one way to defund the police. They all go out on worker's compensation 🤷''¸.
Fri Jul 10 04:03:46 +0000 2020
Just another bloke : @FOX9 ðŸ I'm sure drawing 60-100% salary for the next 20 years will help them sleep real good at night. What a crock.
Fri Jul 10 04:00:05 +0000 2020
CD5 55423 : @FOX9 They should be restricted from working any off duty job them since they are so stressed out.
Fri Jul 10 03:42:10 +0000 2020
House repeals deadline to ratify Equal Rights Amendment - CBS News
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 04:21
The House voted to eliminate the nearly forty-year-old deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which would explicitly provide women with equal rights under the Constitution. Virginia last month became the 38th state needed to ratify the amendment, passed by Congress in 1972. But states were only given seven years to ratify the amendment. It was set to expire in 1979 but was then extended to 1982.
The repeal was approved with a vote of 232 to 183, with five Republicans joining all Democrats in voting in favor of the legislation.
Several Democratic congresswomen wore white during the vote, in honor of the suffragist movement which led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote in 1920. Others wore purple, traditionally a color associated with the women's rights movement. Many visitors watching the proceedings in the gallery also were clad in white, adorned with green buttons promoting the ERA. When the resolution received enough votes to pass, some on the House floor and in the visitors' gallery cheered.
"Nearly 100 years ago, Alice Paul, a Republican, introduced the Equal Rights Amendment," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a speech on the House floor ahead of the vote. "But today, in this year that marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment, it is a shameful reality that the Equal Rights Amendment has not been enshrined in the Constitution."
"The ERA will strengthen America. It is not just about women, it is about America," Pelosi said. She received a round of applause from the Democrats in the chamber after she spoke.
Nevada became the first state to ratify the amendment after the 1982 deadline in 2017, followed by Illinois in 2018.
Ratifying the ERA was a priority for the Virginia legislature after Democrats gained control of both state houses, and the amendment was approved in January .
However, even with the repeal of the ratification deadline in the House, it's uncertain if the amendment will be added to the Constitution. It's unclear whether the repeal will be approved in the Senate and signed by President Trump, and even if it were, five states have rescinded their earlier ratification. Supporters argue that these ratifications are invalid, due to precedent and statutory language.
Moreover, most Republicans argue that Congress does not have the authority to eliminate the long-expired deadline, and say that the process should begin all over again with ratification by two-thirds of Congress and then by 38 states. This argument received support from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a longtime advocate of the amendment, who said she would "like to see a new beginning" at an event at Georgetown University law school on Monday.
"There's too much controversy about latecomers," Ginsburg said. "Plus, a number of states have withdrawn their ratification. So if you count a latecomer on the plus side, how can you disregard states that said 'we've changed our minds?'"
Ginsburg's comments are an indication that if this repeal was challenged in the Supreme Court, it would almost certainly be struck down. The Department of Justice has also issued guidelines saying an amendment whose deadline for ratification has passed cannot be added to the Constitution.
However, Democrats say that the original deadline was not part of the amendment, but was a resolution passed by Congress, and therefore could be undone by Congress. Speaking on the House floor ahead of the vote, Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier called out Republicans for hypocrisy, saying that those who say the process should restart aren't being honest.
"You're the same people who admit you won't vote for it!" Speier said. "There can be no expiration date on equality."
Republicans also argue that the amendment is unnecessary, as the 14th Amendment provides equal protection under the law, and would be used to undo state abortion restrictions. GOP Congresswoman Jackie Walorski called the vote a "political stunt."
"Let's be honest: this is not about equality or women's rights, this is about enshrining unrestricted abortion in the constitution," Walorski said.
However, Pelosi countered in her speech that abortion was an "excuse, not a reason" to oppose the ERA.
"This has nothing to do with the abortion issue," Pelosi said. "It has everything to do with the respect for women."
Valentina Sampaio: Sports Illustrated features first transgender model | Ents & Arts News | Sky News
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 19:55
Victoria's Secret star Valentina Sampaio has become Sports Illustrated's first transgender model.
The Brazilian-born model and activist said she hopes her appearance in the "groundbreaking issue" will open people's eyes to the issues facing LGBTQ+ people in her nation.
Sampaio has long been vocal in her support of Brazil's trans community.
The 23-year-old announced her appearance in the famed swimsuit issue on Instagram where she also shared a bikini shot captured for the magazine by photographer Josie Clough on Scrub Island in the British Virgin Islands.
Sampaio wrote: "Brazil is a beautiful country, but it also hosts the highest number of violent crimes and murders against the trans community in the world - three times that of the US."
The model was born in a remote fishing village in northern Brazil, to a teacher mother and fisherman father.
She went on: "Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples' hearts and minds."
Sampaio said people faced "insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing".
"Our options for growing up in a loving and accepting family, having a fruitful experience at school or finding dignified work are unimaginably limited and challenging," she said.
Sampaio has described her own upbringing as supportive.
While she said she was "excited and honoured" to be an SI Swimsuit 2020 rookie, she acknowledged she was one of "the fortunate ones".
Previous models to have featured in Sport's Illustrated in the early stages of their career include Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, and Ashley Graham.
Sampaio made history back in 2017 when she became the first trans model to make the cover of a Vogue edition, appearing on Vogue Paris, Vogue Brasil and Vogue Germany.
She has also previously graced the covers of Vanity Fair Italia and Elle Mexico.
She became Victoria's Secret's first openly transgender model in August 2019.
:: Listen to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
The fashion industry has faced criticism over the years due to its narrow definition of beauty, with calls for it to become more diverse and inclusive.
Editor in chief at Sport's Illustrated, MJ Day, said the magazine strives to hire "the most inspiring, interesting, and multidimensional women that we can find".
She said: "We are deeply moved that Valentina was willing to put her trust in us.
"We didn't think twice about wanting to amplify her voice and message and give her a platform to advocate from on behalf of her personal aspirations and the trans community."
Noodle Gun
The Leaders Of Sleeping Giants Are Splitting Over A Dispute On Credit And Titles
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 02:24
Zachary Ares / BuzzFeed News; Shutterstock; MisinfoCon / YouTubeSince 2016, copywriter Matt Rivitz and marketer Nandini Jammi have run Sleeping Giants, a social media campaign group that has pressured companies to stop financially supporting far-right media. They persuaded more than 4,000 companies to pull ads from Breitbart. They helped drive Bill O'Reilly from Fox News. They have independently run affiliates in nearly a dozen countries.
And today, they are splitting up over a dispute centered on titles, credit, and equality.
''It was clear that even though I was doing the same level of work as Matt, he did not consider me an equal.''''My life has revolved around Sleeping Giants for nearly four years now, and I had accepted that this movement was more important than whatever I've been going through,'' Jammi told BuzzFeed News. ''But it was clear that even though I was doing the same level of work as Matt, he did not consider me an equal.''
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Sleeping Giant's decentralized structure '-- in which Jammi and Rivitz initially split duties without one of them formally being in charge '-- allowed it to move quickly and win impressive victories. But the conflict over the public face of the group would never be resolved '-- and eventually broke it apart. Jammi said that she treated Sleeping Giants as a full-time job and led several of its successes, but Rivitz never properly recognized her leadership.
Social media has made it easier for activist groups '-- from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter '-- to take decentralized forms, lowering the barriers to participation. ''It is the ultimate form of early 21st-century activism. It can be three people in a basement in a laptop,'' Fabio Rojas, a professor of sociology at Indiana University Bloomington, told BuzzFeed News. But decentralization comes with its own problems.
Jammi is now leaving the organization she helped build at a moment when the activist group is urging advertiser boycotts against Facebook. In an all-volunteer organization where no one is paid, titles and credit took on an even greater significance.
''I'm still going to be here working everyday to solve the issues we first brought awareness to when we first started this campaign,'' Jammi said. ''I will still be here supporting the activists and organizations who are fighting this fight around the world.''
Awnewyork / AWNewYork / ShutterstockMatt Rivitz
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''For better or worse, every organization needs a leader and that role in Sleeping Giants has belonged to me, regardless of title,'' Rivitz told BuzzFeed News.
''Nandini and I have had multiple discussions around what a founder is and have a fundamental disagreement on what construes that title,'' Rivitz said. But he added, ''I consider Nandini to be a partner and collaborator, and a great one.''
''Nandini and I have had multiple discussions around what a founder is and have a fundamental disagreement on what construes that title.''(Disclaimer: I first met Jammi at the University of Maryland, where we worked on the student newspaper together. We've been in occasional contact on social media in the years since.)
According to the many published accounts of Sleeping Giants' genesis, and interviews with Rivitz, Jammi, and others who worked with the group, its story goes like this:
Rivitz, an ad industry veteran who lives in California, started Sleeping Giants on Nov. 16, 2016, with a Twitter account. In its first two weeks of operation, the account quickly amassed more than 1,000 followers and successfully pressured six brands to stop advertising on Breitbart, he said.
Jammi, who lives in the Washington, DC, area, had the same idea later that month, arguing on Twitter that Old Navy should stop advertising on Breitbart. (It was the first ad she saw when she went to the site.) Rivitz messaged Jammi after reading a post she published on Medium on Nov. 24 in which she laid out her case, and the two began talking about a collaboration.
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They soon developed a rough division of labor. Rivitz ran the Twitter account, which today has nearly 300,000 followers, and Jammi the smaller Facebook page, which today has more than 71,000. Along with a small group of volunteers, they began notching victories, pressuring major advertisers from Audi to Zillow to add Breitbart to their advertising blacklists. In April 2019, Steve Bannon, the former executive chair of the site, said Breitbart's ad revenues fell 90% as a result of the campaign.
Jammi and Rivitz worked together, but also took the lead on different projects, both said. Jammi led a campaign targeting Robert Mercer, the former co-chief executive of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, and also pressured Stripe, PayPal, and other platforms to stop processing payments for far-right activists and groups. She also pushed for Bank of America to stop doing business with private prisons, among other campaigns.
Rivitz vetted and organized international chapters of Sleeping Giants, set up driving billboards around Amazon and Facebook campuses to pressure them to sever ties with Breitbart News, campaigned against YouTube and Facebook giving a platform to Infowars' Alex Jones, and set up and ran the e-commerce store among other projects.
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On July 16, 2018, conservative news site the Daily Caller outed Rivitz as what it called the group's founder: "Sleeping Giants was founded by Matt Rivitz, an award-winning ad copywriter based in San Francisco, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found," the site wrote.
Two days later, the New York Times presented a different account. In a profile titled, in the plural, "Revealed: The People Behind an Anti-Breitbart Twitter Account," the paper described Rivitz as having been "identified as the account's creator,'' and that he "runs the account with Nandini Jammi, 29, a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant, along with other still anonymous contributors."
"Shortly after Mr. Rivitz started the account, it caught the attention of Ms. Jammi, an American who lives in Berlin," the New York Times wrote.
Jammi said she had asked Sapna Maheshwari, the Times reporter writing the profile, to call her a cofounder, but that Rivitz overruled her, telling Jammi that she would be interviewed as a ''member of Sleeping Giants,'' according to Twitter direct messages that Jammi shared with BuzzFeed News.
''Given that we never discussed her title previously, I was definitely surprised to hear that she had named herself cofounder,'' Rivitz said. ''As I did not believe that was her role, having come on after I had already established the campaign, I corrected the record according to this belief.''
In the end, the article ran without specifying a title for either Rivitz or Jammi. (Maheshwari, who previously worked as a reporter at BuzzFeed News, declined to comment.)
For Jammi it was the first signal that their relationship might not have a happy future.
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In August 2018, Jammi told Rivitz she was worried about being ''sidelined.''
''Having a title represents opportunities '-- to write, speak and be invited to the table to contribute to a discussion we have both been helping to shape ... I've been working with you on this from the start and I imagined that we were partners on the project,'' Jammi wrote in an email to him on Aug. 12. ''However, I'm starting to feel wary of being sidelined. I'm wary that this above ambiguity could keep me from realizing my ambitions and the impact I want to have as a pro marketer/WOC in my space.''
''Jesus. I feel horrible about this and had no idea, but I'm glad you reached out and let's talk about roles and titles and all of that stuff,'' Rivitz wrote in response. ''As you said, we've never talked about it and it's time now that everything is out in the open. You deserve a ton of credit for all of this and you'll get it. Promise.''
Rivitz said he later told her that although he was the founder, ''Sleeping Giants is a flat organization,'' and that she could choose her title.
They initially agreed she'd be called ''founding organizer.''
More than a year later, after Jammi and Rivitz had privately fallen out, she began publicly calling herself a cofounder, including on her LinkedIn and Twitter pages, because she felt it was the only way to remain visible.
But whatever her exact title, a number of people who worked with Sleeping Giants told BuzzFeed News they thought Jammi was one of the organization's leaders, if not a founder in her own right.
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''I would consider them both founders.''''I would consider them both founders,'' EJ Gibney, a researcher who has volunteered on and off for Sleeping Giants since December 2016, told BuzzFeed News. ''To my knowledge, they have both been involved since the very beginning.''
Gibney added that he had never seen Jammi have to seek approval for an idea from Rivitz. Both people, he said, appeared to hold the same level of responsibility.
But Britton Taylor, another early volunteer, thought Rivitz had a better claim to the title of founder, even though, he said, ''I know for a fact that [Jammi] has done a shit ton of work '... and she's been instrumental to the success of the organization.''
''When I think of a term like founder, even that is a little murky for me,'' Taylor added. ''If you have a startup, there's a document that says you own shares in the company. But because this is decentralized, because it started anonymously, because there's a bunch of people involved, there's no such contract.''
Others disagreed. One longtime volunteer and friend of Rivitz's, who goes by the online handle Barret Williams, told BuzzFeed News they saw Rivitz as the sole founder.
Regardless of her title, Jammi was a major part of the organization.
Jammi's unhappiness came to a head in June 2019, when Sleeping Giants was shortlisted for an award from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France. Rivitz did not tell her he had entered Sleeping Giants into the competition or invite her to go with him. She found out by noticing pictures of the south of France on his Instagram.
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Sleeping Giants ended up winning the award.
''People started reaching out to me, congratulating me, asking me why I was not there,'' Jammi said. ''I didn't even have the opportunity to go.''
''It was the worst week of my adult life,'' said Jammi. ''I stopped eating, I couldn't even function. I mean, Sleeping Giants is my entire life. I have spent every day on this. It's my second job, I have put in tireless amounts of effort '-- as much as he has at least.''
Jammi was at a loss, wondering why she had never been informed about the trip. Rivitz said he mainly traveled to Cannes on his own dime for a speaking engagement and never expected Sleeping Giants to be shortlisted, much less win. ''Cannes does not pay for travel for any nominees or winners of awards,'' he said.
A few days later, Jammi tweeted about the experience, along with her headshot and an offer to do public speaking.
''Hey guys, I co-run @slpng_giants with Matt. Sadly I could not join him at #CannesLions last week to pick up our award,'' she wrote. ''WoC are rarely seen or heard in tech and marketing, but we deserve a seat at the table too.''
Jammi also commented sarcastically on Rivitz's Instagram page, ''Incredible how much you've achieved all by yourself!''
After the posts, Rivitz called her to reprimand her for airing their private grievances in public, Jammi said. She said Rivitz accused her of wanting to hog the spotlight and being involved in Sleeping Giants for the wrong reasons.
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''I asked her repeatedly what she wanted out of this campaign, as the attacks against me [on social media] were ongoing,'' Rivitz said. ''I asked Nandini if she was in this for personal reasons rather than the mission itself.''
Jammi took the call while she was visiting Laura Calabrese, a close friend who lives in New York. Calabrese told BuzzFeed News she overheard Jammi's side of the call in her living room.
After the call, Jammi looked stunned, Calabrese said.
''She was clearly defending herself against some accusation that she wasn't in this for the right reasons,'' said Calabrese. ''I heard her say she wanted a seat at the table and wanted to make connections so she could keep doing the work she was doing more effectively.
''I definitely remember she said he accused her of being in it for the glory.''
Since their fight last June, Jammi and Rivitz have communicated only sporadically. Jammi had doubts about breaking from Rivitz formally, thinking that the work of Sleeping Giants was more important than her personal struggles.
"It became clear that we had an expanding gulf of trust."The relationship further soured because Rivitz declined to give Jammi access to the organization's official email inbox, which she said would have helped her see speaking opportunities and media requests that were related to Sleeping Giants' work, but came only to Rivitz. Jammi felt that not being able to use a Sleeping Giants email address made her seem less official.
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Jammi said she asked for access to the inbox repeatedly over months. Rivitz said that in one instance he refused to give her the password after a thread she tweeted on Dec. 8, 2019, in which she wrote, ''I let myself be gaslighted by a progressive male activist who made me question my worth and the value I bring to our movement.''
Rivitz thought it was obvious who she meant.
''It became clear that we had an expanding gulf of trust after Nandini's public attacks on me on social media,'' Rivitz said. ''Right or wrong, this resulted in my reluctance to share the email account password.''
The two temporarily reconciled in January, during a phone call in which Rivitz said he apologized for their argument.
But the gulf between them proved too much, leading to the final rupture.
Jammi said she now plans to work on new campaigns related to Facebook and Fox News with other activist groups.
But she wants to make clear the contributions she made to Sleeping Giants.
''I don't want Matt being the one to tell my story to the world,'' Jammi said. ''I'm not a helper. I'm not an assistant. I'm not an optional part of the story. Sleeping Giants wouldn't be what it is today without me.'' '—
Jul 9, 2020, 4:51:45 PM GMTThis story has been updated to clarify Jammi's contribution to the creation of Sleeping Giants, as well as her title and email account access.
UPDATE Jul 9, 2020, 10:32:02 PM GMTNandini Jammi published a post on Medium on July 9 on why she left Sleeping Giants and "why taking credit matters and why you must fight for yourself as hard as you do for your cause."
Megha Rajagopalan is a world correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in the Middle East.
Contact Megha Rajagopalan at megha.rajagopalan@buzzfeed.com.
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I'm leaving Sleeping Giants, but not because I want to | by Nandini Jammi | Jul, 2020 | Medium
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 02:17
How my white male co-founder gaslighted me out of the movement we built together.Nearly four years after I began building Sleeping Giants, the campaign to make bigotry and sexism unprofitable, I'm leaving '-- but not because I want to.
I want to share with you my journey with Sleeping Giants, why taking credit matters and why you must fight for yourself as hard as you do for your cause. I want to show you how a woman of color almost disappeared from the movement she built, and what you can achieve when you refuse to follow the rules your white male ''leader'' sets for you.
I hope other brilliant WoC and marginalized folks see yourselves in me and don't wait as long as I did. The stakes are too high for you to disappear.
Matt will never admit this, but we are equals.
We independently had the exact same idea one week apart. He found me less than a day after I published a Medium post urging marketers to add Breitbart to their exclusion list, and after I had tweeted a screenshot at Old Navy. We hit it off, and began working together immediately.
It was the start of an incredible collaboration through our two social media accounts: I run Sleeping Giants FB. He runs Sleeping Giants Twitter.
How it workedSleeping Giants quickly became popular because we brought good news everyday. Each day, advertisers would drop Breitbart or some other horror show. Best of all, anyone could participate.
Together, we built a community of 400,000+ followers, who helped us lose Breitbart 90% of its ad revenues, put Bill O'Reilly out of a job and deplatform hate figures like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos.
Behind that magical flow of daily wins? I was working behind the scenes to identify which advertisers needed an extra push. I was creating actions for our Facebook community: first testing email addresses privately, then writing email templates for our followers to send. This became a core tactic that helped us move fast.
My work got Facebook VP Carolyn Everson on the record for the first time in 2017 about their partnership with Breitbart. I also masterminded the strategy that resulted in Robert Mercer stepping down as co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies.
And I never expected or desired credit for any of it. This was all a truly inspiring experience. It was a collective environment where the stakes were high and all that mattered were the results.
My relationship with Matt was positive, friendly and respectful, and we never had any disagreements. He asked me to always send press requests to him so we wouldn't ''muddle the message.'' I thought it was odd, because I run our Facebook account full-time and he was never worried I'd muddle the message there. But he was a nice guy, and I respected his wishes.
When Matt and I came out in July 2018 on the front page of the business section of the New York Times, I believed it was as equal partners. It was through Matt's subsequent media appearances I realized he considered me an optional part of the story.
In the weeks after we went public, he positioned himself as Founder of Sleeping Giants and went on to take interviews with Pod Save America, Kara Swisher and AdWeek. In AdWeek, I ended up portrayed as ''one of the individuals who helps him run the accounts.''
Without my knowledge, my story was being defined by someone else '-- a white man who could use his platform to exclude me, diminish me, or disappear me entirely. He never once invited me to join him. I never had any idea he was doing any of these interviews until it was too late.
I called a meeting with Matt in August 2018, after watching a slew of these articles come out. I said I needed a title, that I didn't want to step on his toes, didn't want to be famous, but we needed to figure something out so I could have a voice too.
I explained: going public was my chance to start influencing the advertising industry directly.
I wanted Matt to know I was just here to work, not take credit. He could go on TV, get famous, and do all the big stuff if that's what he wanted. I just wanted to be in the background quietly getting things done.
He told me I could pick any title but co-founder, because he was the founder. We agreed on the title ''founding organizer.''
I had no problem with this. He was the leader, I would be the #2. I asked him to make me a Sleeping Giants email address, so I could look more official. (He didn't). He asked me to continue sending all press requests to him. (I did).
We continued to work together, and I continued to send Matt all press requests that came in through Facebook.
No longer anonymous, he was now being quoted by name in the media. These media mentions began appearing in his bios, for conferences like SXSW and 3% Conference. On Twitter, he began to replace what was once a collective ''we'' with ''I'' and ''my'', frequently referring to himself and his family.
The work I had done for Sleeping Giants was also appearing on his conference bio. The vagueness that once helped us look like a mysterious group bigger than we were was now being claimed solely by him.
I didn't have the media attention or connections that Matt did. I wasn't 45, white and I certainly didn't know anyone in advertising. I was young, unknown and invisible.
But I wanted to speak publicly on the issues too. How was I going to do it without a little help? I asked Matt if he could maybe give me a heads up so I could join him at some of the bigger conferences, like SXSW. I was tired of finding out about these things on Twitter.
He agreed, saying he would keep me in the loop in the future. We remained in frequent contact.
In June, I saw Matt posting from France on Instagram. ''Are you in'...Europe?'' I asked. He said yes, I'm speaking at Cannes. Days later, he sent me a DM of him accepting a Cannes Gold Lion, the ad industry's biggest award:
I went into a downward spiral when I realized what a big deal this was: What have I been spending every single day working on? Did anyone know I existed? That I was working on this too? Why didn't he ever mention this to me?
I felt humiliated. I spent the week unable to eat, sleep, or function '-- I had put on my personal website that I'm ''founding organizer'' of Sleeping Giants. Would people think I was lying about my involvement?
Was I just here performing free labor in service of a white man's personal brand? I went rogue. I posted a passive aggressive note on his Instagram '-- and then I did what I wasn't supposed to: take a press request.
After I spoke to the New York Times reporter, Matt called me, furious that I had dared to shade him on Instagram. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, and I remember what he said perfectly:
''This is a betrayal. This is worse than anything that Breitbart could do. This is worse than being doxxed by The Daily Caller.''''I'm older than you and I know more people than you. I've been working for like 20 years, and I used to work at an ad agency. I'm sorry you're not getting the jobs you want. I'm sorry you don't have the connections I have.''''You're such a pain in the ass. Every three months, like clockwork, you call me wanting something. No one does this to me, not my wife, not my business partner, not my friends.''''Everything I do is for the movement. What about you? You're in it for the glory aren't you?''''I did not deserve what you did to me. The way you chewed me out in front of all my friends. They were all saw what you said, they were all asking who this person is saying these things about me.''''I took a huge risk just by starting this account and I do a million things you don't even know about.''He told me he didn't know if he could trust me again. When I asked him why he couldn't just tell me about Cannes, I will never forget what he said: ''I don't owe you anything.''
I felt worthless. I ended up apologizing to him for what I had done, and got him off the phone. I figured he would call me and apologize to me in the next few days or weeks. He didn't call me again for 7 months, until January 2020.
In the months after this devastating call, I would discover Matt had created an LLC and an email, Speaking@slpnggiants[dot]com that only he could access.
It was painfully clear that this movement was a platform for him, and no one else.
He was having conversations with people I had no idea about. Some of those people would come to me, assuming I knew what was going on because they had already spoken to Matt. This had never been the case, even before our fight. Matt never cc'ed me into anything or made any introductions. I was always clueless, and it made me look bad at a time when I was trying to raise my profile.
I seriously considered quitting Sleeping Giants at this time. I had always cared so much about not stepping on Matt's toes, but this man couldn't care less about me.
But leaving Sleeping Giants would be the end of the road for me. It would mean walking away from my chance to fix the adtech industry. If I left, I would go back to being ''just'' a copywriter '-- the person I was before November 2016.
I decided I would stay, but I would make one big change: I stopped waiting for permission. I had been running the other half of Sleeping Giants right from the start. If I was getting pushed out of the story, I had to write myself back in.
I no longer forwarded media requests or event opportunities to him unless they specifically asked for him. I started posting my research under my own name, instead of feeding it to Matt to tweet out as Sleeping Giants.
A few months later, I gave my first big talk at TuringFest (which you can watch here). When they changed my title on their website from Founding Organizer to Co-Founder, I didn't correct them. The conference organizers also set me up with a reporter from The Drum, who I learned later was writing a profile on me. It was my first profile!
Days later, PayPal suspended the KKK from their service thanks to my research and the BBC called me for a quote. From there, I never looked back.
Matt and I DMed on a strictly as-needed basis to keep the campaign going, but would never speak on the phone again until seven months later '-- this January.
When Matt called me in January to ''reconcile'' as Buzzfeed reports, he was no longer in a position of power over me. I didn't need a Sleeping Giants email account to look official anymore. I didn't need anything from him at all.
He told me he wanted us to work together again and have things be ''not weird'' between us. He promised to be a better collaborator. I agreed, and asked him one last time to make me a Sleeping Giants email address, knowing he would not. I asked him one last time for access to the General Inquiries email, knowing he would not (and he never did).
By now, I had started taking meetings as co-founder of Sleeping Giants. I met industry leaders and allies, who made introductions and championed me to others. I was being recommended for conferences and interviews. People were coming directly to me, Nandini Jammi. Not Sleeping Giants.
The simple act of calling myself co-founder changed so much. People looked up to me as a leader and respected what I had to say. Doors were opening and I had a pathway into the adtech industry that allowed me to start building the next thing.
I have been using my capacity as a leader to personally pressure adtech exchanges to drop hate sites around the world. I also represented Sleeping Giants at Mastercard's shareholder meeting last year.
I have become a source for countless tech and business reporters. I bring people together, I collaborate and I even launched a new business, Check My Ads.
Last year, I was interviewed for a PBS documentary on fake news. I was genuinely astonished at the invitation, and asked the filmmaker how he found me. He said he was specifically seeking out underrepresented people for his film.
I loved that. It costs nothing to make space for me .It costs nothing to cc me in. It costs nothing to empower other people to achieve their goals.
Matt and I never appeared anywhere together. He never shared invitations with me. He shut doors on me, instead of bringing me in. It would cost Matt exactly nothing to have two leaders. It would only have made us more powerful.
Throughout all this, I continued running the Facebook account because I care deeply about our community and our mission.
A few weeks ago, I told Matt I was researching ways to put pressure on Facebook. He told me he had just gotten off a call with the ADL about a potential campaign. He was having meetings about what they would later announce as the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Once again, he was leaving me out of the room.
I'm sorry I have to leave Sleeping Giants. There was always space for both of us, just not on this campaign.
EXCLUSIVE: Dean fired after saying 'EVERYONE'S LIFE MATTERS' in email
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 19:21
University of Massachusetts-Lowell Dean of Nursing Leslie Neal-Boylan issued an email on June 2 to the Solomont School of Nursing in light of the recent anti-racism demonstrations across the country, sources told Campus Reform. In the message, Neal-Boylan told students that "everyone's life matters." Days later, Neal-Boylan was out of a job.
The sources shared with Campus Reform the email over which Neal-Boylan was allegedly fired.
"if we do not stand up against violence against anyone. BLACK LIVES MATTER, but also, EVERYONE'S LIFE MATTERS"
''I am writing to express my concern and condemnation of the recent (and past) acts of violence against people of color,'' Neal-Boylan wrote in the email. ''Recent events recall a tragic history of racism and bias that continue to thrive in this country. I despair for our future as a nation if we do not stand up against violence against anyone,'' she added.
"Dear SSON Community," the email provided to Campus Reform begins. "I am writing to express my concern and condemnation of the recent (and past) acts of violence against people of color. Recent events recall a tragic history of racism and bias that continue to thrive in this country. I despair for our future as a nation if we do not stand up against violence against anyone. BLACK LIVES MATTER, but also, EVERYONE'S LIFE MATTERS."
''No one should have to live in fear that they will be targeted for how they look or what they believe," the provided email continues.
This sparked controversy among many who received her email. The letter was posted to Twitter by a student who expressed disappointment in the Dean's "everyone's life matters" statement.
[RELATED: UCLA lecturer's job in jeopardy after refusing 'accommodations' for black students]
An upsetting statement made by the Dean of Nusing at UMass Lowell, including the statement 'all lives matter' was uncalled for and shows the narrow minded people in lead positions. A sad day to be a nursing student at UML. Dean Leslie Neal-Boylan your words will not be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/a9rTd4NGVP
'-- haley #BLACKLIVESMATTER (@psychohighrep) June 4, 2020 ''An upsetting statement made by the Dean of Nursing at UMass Lowell, including the statement 'all lives matter' was uncalled for and shows the narrow minded people in lead positions,'' the tweet read.
This quickly caught the attention of the school, which replied from its official account thanking the student for "bringing this to our attention.'"
Sources familiar with the situation told Campus Reform that the dean's employment had been terminated just days after her "everyone's life matters" email.
University spokesperson Christine Gillette told Campus Reform Wednesday that the University acted in students' best interest.
''The university ended the employment of Dr. Neal-Boylan on June 19 after 10 months in her role as dean of the Solomont School of Nursing. As with all such decisions, it was made in the best interest of the university and its students," Gillette said.
One document provided to Campus Reform was allegedly written by Neal-Boylan and sent to Provost Julie Nash. The letter, dated June 19, begins, "As you know, I was fired from my position as dean in the Solomont School of Nursing..." The author claims that an exit interview was requested, but not granted.
"It is important to point out that no one ever gave me an opportunity to share my views of how the college and school were interacting nor explain myself regarding the BLM email. My meeting with you, [Dean] Shortie [McKinney], and Lauren Turner was clearly not intended to give me an opportunity to defend my actions. I was condemned without trial," the letter obtained by Campus Reform reads.
McKinney did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Campus Reform.
Another document provided to Campus Reform, dated June 16, is addressed to UML Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney and Provost Joseph Hartman. That letter states, in part, ''It seems clear that College Dean McKinney used my email regarding Black Lives Matter (BLM) as rationale to fire me. This is attributable to one phrase in my initial email that otherwise was very clearly a message to NOT discriminate against anyone...It is clear that Dean McKinney used this as an excuse because my performance as dean has otherwise been without fault and has, in fact, strengthened the SSON. You might be interested to know that I have NEVER (in a 40 year career) been accused of racism."
The same letter went on to list 13 "accomplishments" from the "past 10 months."
Campus Reform spoke with one faculty member who asked to remain anonymous. The source said the faculty was "totally dismayed" and "completely floored" by Neal-Boylan's termination. It was allegedly determined that her firing was not due to performance, the source said.
''The Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Shortie Mckinney, had a meeting the day after [the incident], a town meeting'... People wanted to know why [she was fired], and what was confirmed is it wasn't a performance issue,'' the source told Campus Reform.
The employee said that the faculty discovered the backlash against Neal-Boylan on Twitter and "put two-and-two together," determining the reason behind her firing, adding that it was not performance-based.
''After some investigation, we found the [tweets], and some of the comments that were posted, and put two-and-two together,'' the source said. ''She [Neal-Boylan] was a wonderful woman'... When she came on board, it was like a ray of sunshine.''
[RELATED: Ivy League law students BOYCOTT conservative professor who criticized Black Lives Matter]
The same source expressed to Campus Reform the "sheer injustice" Neal-Boylan received, adding that the staff feels "unsafe" to speak up.
''The sheer injustice that has been done to her is, it's just so upsetting'... In the meetings that we've had in the last week, people feel unsafe for their jobs if they have a differing opinion or they say something the wrong way,'' adding that the faculty has been "absolutely" outraged.
''I suspect there are going to be exits,'' the source said.
''The school has a couple candidates that were supposed to start in September. Not sure that's going to happen. Both have expressed dismay. They were coming because Leslie was there. And, ironically, one of them is an African-American faculty member who actually had more, had a problem with the college Dean and no problem with Leslie,'' the staff member added.
''This is as most unjust as I've come across. I understand that I work for a system that is very liberal'... Until you experience firsthand, it's shocking,'' the source said. ''The real travesty in all of this is the woman who has built a wonderful career-- 40 years... This could ruin her career, and it's not right.''
UMass-Lowell by Campus Reform on Scribd
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Addison_Smith49
Indiana University Professor Apologizes for Triggering Medical Students With 'I Can't Breathe' Exam Question '' Reason.com
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 19:22
Campus Free Speech
"We understand that the context in which this phrase was used resulted in a very painful trigger for many of you." Robby Soave | 6.17.2020 5:00 PM
(Screenshot)
An assistant professor at Indiana University School of Medicine apologized after an exam question that used the phrasing "I can't breathe" drew complaints from some students who found it upsetting and insensitive in the wake of George Floyd's death under the knee of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
"We understand that the context in which this phrase was used resulted in a very painful trigger for many of you," wrote Daniel Corson-Knowles, an assistant professor of clinical medicine, in a message to his students.
Screenshots of the message, and of students discussing it in an online chat forum, were obtained by Reason. The College Fix also reported the incident.
The exam question was as follows: "A patient who missed dialysis suddenly becomes pale, diaphoretic, and screams, 'I can't breathe!' You glance at the monitor and notice the following rhythm. You are unable to palpate a pulse and initiate immediate CPR. The most appropriate next step in therapy is'..."
According to Corson-Knowles, the question was written long before the phrase "I can't breathe" became associated with police violence or #BlackLivesMatter activism, and reflects "phrasing we might hear in a clinical setting from patients."
The professor apologized for not removing the question from the exam and vowed to review course materials for intrinsic bias, microaggressions, and other problematic or traumatizing content.
It's not clear how many students complained about the phrasing. In the forum messages I reviewed, most students did not seem personally offended by it, but rather were worried that others were offended.
The student who shared the professor's apology with The College Fix and Reason thought shielding would-be doctors from the phrase "I can't breathe" was more than a little ridiculous. It's hard to disagree. Having difficulty breathing is a relatively common medical ailment: If hearing this declaration is going to cause you to have a panic attack, you probably need to overcome that before you earn your medical license.
It's doubtful, of course, that any of the students are actually so bothered by "I can't breathe" that hearing the phrase would debilitate them. But in that case, professors shouldn't need to bend over backward to satisfy unreasonable demands for emotional comfort. Unfortunately, my 2019 book, Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump, is full of examples of academics forced to do exactly that.
Hypersensitivity to traumas and triggers has become quite common on elite campuses, but research has repeatedly shown that trying to avoid psychological harm by accommodating or forewarning students is ineffective. Indeed, yet another recent study on trigger warnings reach this same conclusion.
Update: The initial photo accompanying this article depicted a different branch of Indiana University, and has been updated.
Stop Firing the Innocent - The Atlantic
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 19:22
America needs a reckoning over racism. Punishing people who did not do anything wrong harms that important cause.
June 27, 2020 Contributing writer at The Atlantic
The AtlanticA s companies and organizations of all sorts have scrambled to institute a zero-tolerance policy on racism over the past few weeks, some of them have turned out to be more interested in signaling their good intentions than punishing actual culprits. This emphasis on appearing rather than being virtuous has already resulted in the mistreatment of innocent people'--not all of them public figures or well-connected individuals with wealth to cushion their fall.
What happened to Emmanuel Cafferty is an especially egregious example. At the end of a long shift mapping underground utility lines, he was on his way home, his left hand casually hanging out the window of the white pickup truck issued to him by the San Diego Gas & Electric company. When he came to a halt at a traffic light, another driver flipped him off.
Then, Cafferty told me a few days ago, the other driver began to act even more strangely. He flashed what looked to Cafferty like an ''okay'' hand gesture and started cussing him out. When the light turned green, Cafferty drove off, hoping to put an end to the disconcerting encounter.
But when Cafferty reached another red light, the man, now holding a cellphone camera, was there again. ''Do it! Do it!'' he shouted. Unsure what to do, Cafferty copied the gesture the other driver kept making. The man appeared to take a video, or perhaps a photo.
Two hours later, Cafferty got a call from his supervisor, who told him that somebody had seen Cafferty making a white-supremacist hand gesture, and had posted photographic evidence on Twitter. (Likely unbeknownst to most Americans, the alt-right has appropriated a version of the ''okay'' symbol for their own purposes because it looks like the initials for ''white power''; this is the symbol the man accused Cafferty of making when his hand was dangling out of his truck.) Dozens of people were now calling the company to demand Cafferty's dismissal.
By the end of the call, Cafferty had been suspended without pay. By the end of the day, his colleagues had come by his house to pick up the company truck. By the following Monday, he was out of a job.
C afferty is a big, calm, muscular man in his 40s who was born and raised in a diverse working-class community on the south side of San Diego. On his father's side, he has both Irish and Mexican ancestors. His mother is Latina. ''If I was a white supremacist,'' he told me, ''I would literally have to hate 75 percent of myself.''
After finishing high school, Cafferty bounced from one physically demanding and poorly paid job to another. For most of his life, he had trouble making ends meet. But his new job was set to change all that. ''I was very proud of my position,'' Cafferty told me. ''It was the first time in my life where I wasn't living check to check.''
Read: Brands have nothing real to say about racism
When Cafferty was wrongly accused of being a white supremacist, he fought hard to keep his job. He said he explained to the people carrying out the investigation'--all of them were white'--that he had no earthly idea some racists had tried to appropriate the ''okay'' sign for their sinister purposes. He told them he simply wasn't interested in politics; as far as he remembered, he had not voted in a single election. Eventually, he told me, ''I got so desperate, I was showing them the color of my skin. I was saying, 'Look at me. Look at the color of my skin.'''
It was all to no avail. SDG&E, Cafferty told me, never presented him with any evidence that he held racist beliefs or knew about the meaning of his gesture. Yet he was terminated.
The loss of his job has left Cafferty shaken. A few days ago, he spoke with a mental-health counselor for the first time in his life. ''A man can learn from making a mistake,'' he told me. ''But what am I supposed to learn from this? It's like I was struck by lightning.''
After Cafferty told his side of the story, the initial social-media vilification he had experienced gave way to a kind of embarrassed silence. The man who had posted a picture of the encounter on Twitter deleted his account and admitted to Priya Sridhar, a local news reporter, that he ''may have gotten 'spun up' about the interaction and misinterpreted it.'' Repeatedly asked whether they had any evidence that Cafferty was a white supremacist, had known the meaning of the inverted ''okay'' symbol, or had previously been reprimanded for his performance, SDG&E refused to answer. Nor did the company respond to my request for confirmation that the team that had investigated Cafferty was all white.
A company representative did provide a generic statement: ''SDG&E employees are held to a high standard and are expected to live up to our values every day, whether in interactions with fellow employees or the public. The company did more than simply react to the photo. Multiple factors led to the decision to terminate. We conducted a good faith and thorough investigation that included gathering relevant information and multiple interviews, and took action in line with those values. While we are not able to reveal the full circumstances surrounding our investigation, we stand by our decision and will not be commenting any further.''
Read: A workplace-diversity dilemma
As for Cafferty, his only desire, even now, is to get his job back. When I asked him whether he'd like to share anything else with me at the end of a long interview, his first thought was for the company that had fired him: ''I feel like SDG&E is a victim in this as well. Some guy sent a Twitter mob after them and they were just trying to defend themselves. Perhaps I'm naive and loyal to a fault, but they were put in a bad position.''
E mmanuel Cafferty's story is not one of a kind. Other companies, trying to prove to the public that they take racism seriously, have also sacrificed business partners or employees who likely did nothing wrong.
David Shor, for example, was until recently a data analyst at a progressive consulting firm, Civis Analytics. (Emerson Collective, the majority owner of The Atlantic, is an investor in Civis Analytics.) Shor's job was to think about how Democrats can win elections. When Omar Wasow, a professor at Princeton, published a paper in the country's most prestigious political-science journal arguing that nonviolent civil-rights protests had, in the 1960s, been more politically effective than violent ones, Shor tweeted a simple summary of it to his followers.
Post-MLK-assasination race riots reduced Democratic vote share in surrounding counties by 2%, which was enough to tip the 1968 election to Nixon. Non-violent protests *increase* Dem vote, mainly by encouraging warm elite discourse and media coverage. https://t.co/S8VZSuaz3G. pic.twitter.com/VRUwnRFuVW
'-- (((David Shor))) (@davidshor) May 28, 2020Because the tweet coincided with the first mass protests over the killing of George Floyd, it generated some pushback. After a progressive activist accused Shor of ''concern trolling for the purposes of increasing democratic turnout,'' a number of people on Twitter demanded that he lose his job. Less than a week after he tweeted the findings of Wasow, who is black, Civis's senior leadership, which is predominantly white, fired Shor.
Reached for comment, Civis denied that the tweet led to the firing: ''We have not, nor would we ever, terminate employees for tweeting academic papers. These rumors are incorrect and unsubstantiated. Civis was founded on the principles of free speech and the pursuit of truth through objective scientific research, and that has not changed. This is an internal personnel matter, and out of respect for our employees and alumni, we won't be commenting further.''
When I pressed Civis for evidence that Shor had been, despite appearances, fired for wrongdoing unrelated to his tweet, the company asked me to publish a new statement. It was almost identical to the original, but it omitted the first sentence asserting that Civis would never terminate employees for tweeting academic papers.
Read: It's not callout culture. It's accountability.
One Civis employee, who requested anonymity for fear of professional repercussions, told me, the only reason for the firing ''that was communicated that I heard were the client and staff reactions to the tweet.'' The employee also said that at ''our company-wide meeting after Shor's firing blew up on Twitter, [CEO] Dan [Wagner] said something along the lines of freedom of speech is important, but he had to take a stand with our staff, clients, and people of color.''
(Civis chose not to comment on this anonymous description of its company-wide meeting.)
M ajdi Wadi's life is a testament to the opportunities America offers immigrants and refugees. He came to Minneapolis from Palestine and started a business, Holy Land, a food and catering company that now employs nearly 200 people. The local press is full of articles lauding his achievements and his determination to give back to the community. On the company's 25th anniversary, Representative Keith Ellison, now the attorney general of Minnesota, celebrated it in a short speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.
''Where I came from, you have no right to dream,'' Wadi told me. ''Here, after a while, I realized you can dream. And then I realized you can achieve your dreams. And then I realized the sky is the limit. And then I realized beyond the sky is the limit.''
But Wadi's American dream came crashing down to Earth on June 4, when his 24-year-old daughter admitted to him that she had written a series of deeply racist and anti-Semitic posts on Twitter and Instagram starting when she was 14 years old until she was 18. An activist had drawn public attention to these posts after stumbling across an especially noxious one. That same day, Wadi did what he describes as ''one of the toughest things I've ever had to do in my life'': he fired his daughter from her position as the company's catering director.
Neither Wadi's long standing in the community nor his quick action to sever his company's ties with his daughter are likely to salvage his company. Nearly all of his business partners have canceled their contracts. His landlord terminated the bakery's lease.
Read: I got fired over Zoom
After he saw his life's work evaporate in a few days, Wadi reluctantly told me, he has struggled to sustain his belief in the American dream. ''All that I'm asking is that everyone who canceled our lease, who threw out our products, who is calling for a boycott of our produce give us a chance to prove that this is not who we are.''
Cafferty was punished for an offense he insists he did not commit. Shor was punished for doing something that most wouldn't even consider objectionable. Wadi was punished for the sins of his daughter. What all of these rather different cases have in common is that none of the people who were deprived of a livelihood in the name of fighting racism appear to have been guilty of actually perpetuating racism.
T hese cases do not negate the good that can, and hopefully will, come from America's newfound determination to root out racial injustice. Given the gravity of police misconduct in this country, there is little doubt in my mind that the overall thrust of the changes set in motion by the protests over the murder of George Floyd is highly positive. Nevertheless, it would be a big mistake'--especially for those who deeply care about social justice'--to dismiss the fate of people such as Cafferty, Shor, and Wadi as a minor detail or a necessary price for progress.
First, these incidents damage the lives of innocent people without achieving any noble purpose.
Second, such injustices are liable to provoke a political backlash. If a lot of Americans come to feel that those who supposedly oppose racism are willing to punish the innocent to look good in the public's eyes, they could well grow cynical about the enterprise as a whole.
Third, those of us who want to build a better society should defend the innocent because movements willing to sacrifice justice in the pursuit of noble goals have, again and again, built societies characterized by pervasive injustice.
One of the core tenets of liberal democracy is that people should not be punished for accusations against them that are unsubstantiated, for actions that are perfectly reasonable, or for offenses that were committed by others. No matter how worthy the cause they invoke, you should not trust anyone who seeks to abandon these fundamental principles.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.
Yascha Mounk is a contributing writer at
The Atlantic, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and a senior adviser at Protect Democracy. He is the author of
The People vs. Democracy.
Carina Adly MacKenzie Out as 'Roswell, New Mexico' Showrunner (Exclusive) | Hollywood Reporter
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 21:53
July 10, 2020 10:00am PTby Bryn Elise Sandberg
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images
Carina Adly MacKenzie
Carina Adly MacKenzie's is departing The CW drama she created ahead of the show's third season.
Carina Adly MacKenzie is out as the showrunner of The CW's Roswell, New Mexico.
According to multiple insiders, the first-time showrunner's relationship with studio Warner Bros. Television had been strained for some time. One of the latest points of contention came late last month when MacKenzie, who created the soapy drama, which renewed for a third season in January, fired off a series of tweets. One source, in particular, says that Warner Bros. had to do "damage control" with a foreign distributor after MacKenzie accused ITV in the U.K. of homophobia, biphobia and bigotry for cutting selective sex scenes from her show.
Really, really, REALLY upset to hear that @itv cut out a (pretty tame) love scene between two men and kept a (much more raunchy) heterosexual sex scene in their airing of an episode of #RoswellNM tonight. There are a lot of angry tears happening at my house tonight.
'-- carina adly mackenzie (@cadlymack) June 24, 2020It's just blatant homophobia/biphobia/bigotry and I'm so, so sorry and so, so angry. Frankly I'd be fine never watching another straight white couple bone on TV EVER AGAIN.
'-- carina adly mackenzie (@cadlymack) June 24, 2020A spokesperson for ITV2, the channel that aired the episode of Roswell in the U.K., disputes MacKenzie's characterization of the editing, however. "During our compliance process on episode two, we edited love scenes featuring the characters of Alex and Michael and Max and Jenna," said the rep. "Editing is only ever undertaken to ensure content is suitable for scheduling in a pre watershed time slot when younger age groups may be watching. Scenes involving sexual content were edited in keeping with the regulator, Ofcom's, guidelines."
For two-plus years, MacKenzie had co-run Roswell with Christopher Hollier (The Originals, Once Upon a Time) but was the show's sole creator and its chief creative voice. During her time on the show, she is said to have fostered a working environment that was rife with tension. Among the issues, according to insiders, is that MacKenzie would spend an unusual amount of time on the set in New Mexico, away from the show's Los Angeles-based writers room '-- a move that was said to frustrate some of the writers.
Showrunners typically spend the bulk of their time during the writing process in the room (or at least they did pre-COVID), and though Hollier was technically in charge in MacKenzie's absence, some point to the fact that MacKenzie did a lot of rewriting and often turned scripts in late as proof the show may have been run more smoothly were she around in person more. Sources note that the situation improved some in the second season when the writers room was given more lead time before production started.
There was also said to be friction at times between MacKenzie and some of the actors, including series star Jeanine Mason. Multiple sources say that Warner Bros. HR looked into the matter last year. The results of that probe, which MacKenzie, Mason and Warner Bros. all declined to comment on, are not clear, but what is known is that MacKenzie was able to continue running the show.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, a Warner Bros. TV spokesperson would say only, "Carina Adly MacKenzie has departed as executive producer/co-showrunner of Roswell, New Mexico. The third season of the series will return to The CW as part of the network's 2021 midseason lineup."
MacKenzie, for her part, told THR: "I have made the difficult decision to resign from my role on Roswell, New Mexico. I do not take this decision lightly, but ultimately due to fundamental differences, I must depart and entrust Roswell, New Mexico to capable hands. I am so proud of what we built over the last two years, and I believe in the heart and soul of the show: asking tough questions, striving to make the world better, amplifying marginalized voices, and fighting the good fight."
Her departure comes just as writing for the upcoming third season is beginning. Roswell, a steady performer for The CW, follows the daughter of undocumented immigrants (Mason) as she discovers her teenage crush is an alien who's kept his unearthly abilities a secret. Warner Bros. is likely to make a formal announcement about a succession plan in the coming weeks, though co-showrunner Hollier is expected to stay on and take full responsibility for the show.
MacKenzie, a former TV journalist who wrote about The Vampire Diaries at the now defunct Zap2It.com, transitioned to a career as a TV writer after that show's creator, Julie Plec, took her under her wing. MacKenzie started as a writers' assistant on Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals, quickly rising through the ranks to become a writer and story editor on the series. Her credits also include an episode of The Flash. In April 2018, she inked her own two-year development deal with Warner Bros. TV. Sources say she is no longer under a deal with the studio.
Harvard Professor Under Fire In Latest Attack On Free Speech '' JONATHAN TURLEY
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 10:05
By any measure, Harvard Professor Steven Pinker, who holds the Johnstone Family Chair of Psychology, is one of the most influential intellectual leaders in the world. He is also someone who believes in robust intellectual discourse and free thought and speech. That propensity for academic freedom has now made him a target of hundreds of academics and graduate students who are seeking his removal from the Linguistic Society of America. The letter is one of the most chilling examples of the new orthodoxy that has taken over our academic institutions. The signatories seek his removal for holding opposing views on issues like underlying causes of police shootings and other research. The cited grievances are at best nuanced and at worst nonsensical. Yet, hundreds signed their names and academic affiliations to try to punish a professor for holding opposing views to their own. We have been discussing these cases across the country including a similar effort to oust a leading economist from the University of Chicago. It is part of a wave of intolerance sweeping over our colleges and our newsrooms '-- a campaign that will devour its own in the loss of academic freedoms and free speech. (I should note that I do not know Dr. Pinker and, to the best of my knowledge, I have never met him).
The campaign against Pinker is based on a small number of tweets where he dares to challenge the views of his colleagues and others on issues related to police shootings. There was a time when it would have been viewed as a shameful betrayal of our profession to retaliate against a fellow academic in this way. Now, hundreds (shown below) seek to have their names associated with an effort to punish a professor for his challenging a new orthodoxy in academia.
As a blog focused on free speech and academic freedom issues, the merits of these disagreements is less important than the effort to silence or punish opposing views. However, the underlying postings (and Pinker's apparent viewpoints) are relevant to understanding the growing intolerance for conflicting viewpoints. We will briefly discuss the six objections below. In so doing, I will have spent more written analysis addressing the attacks on Pinker than these academics and students spent in accusing him of the most vile predilections. My complaint is not that his views are beyond criticism. My objection is to the lack of substantial evidence or analysis, and, most importantly, the effort to remove him from a key academic group. Indeed, the letter states many of the signatories want him to be effectively barred from academic discourse.
Pinker has been vocal in his opposition to the level of police shootings in our society and has recognized their devastating impact on the African American community. He has however suggested that the level of police shootings may be the result of poor training and the excessive use of force generally by police in the United States. He is not alone in raising that issue. We have previously discussed how the United States has far greater use of lethal force that virtually any other nation. Pinker, and others, have not denied that racism plays a role or that we have systemic racist problems in society. Rather he has suggested that, if we want to reduce police shootings, we may want to consider whether they are being driven by a police culture and common training that tend to escalate the level of force used in these situations.
Thus, in the first cited tweet (from 2015), Pinker is chastised for linking to a New York Times articles that suggests that ''Police don't shoot blacks disproportionately'' but rather says that there are larger societal and structural issues at play in these studies. The critics used this tweet as their first example of Pinker's unacceptable viewpoints and state:
''Let the record show that Dr. Pinker draws this conclusion from an article that contains the following quote: ''The data is unequivocal. Police killings are a race problem: African-Americans are being killed disproportionately and by a wide margin.'' (original emphasis) We believe this shows that Dr. Pinker is willing to make dishonest claims in order to obfuscate the role of systemic racism in police violence.''
The carefully edited quote reveals not just intellectual intolerance but intellectual dishonesty. Here is the full quote:
'' The data is unequivocal . Police killings are a race problem : African '' Americans are being killed disproportionately and by a wide margin. And police bias may be responsible. But this data does not prove that biased police officers are more likely to shoot blacks in any given encounter.
Instead, there is another possibility: It is simply that '-- for reasons that may well include police bias '-- African '' Americans have a very large number of encounters with police officers. Every police encounter contains a risk: The officer might be poorly trained, might act with malice or simply make a mistake, and civilians might do something that is perceived as a threat. The omnipresence of guns exaggerates all these risks.''
That is precisely what Pinker was saying in the tweet, but the signatories falsely suggest that he misrepresented the article.
In the second tweet, the signatories do not even try to quote from a linked article that Pinker cites:
Again, the article itself adopts the same balanced analysis that does not deny the role of racism in shootings but also highlights that training and cultural issues could be driving the high number of fatal shootings:
''Police violence is tangled up with racism and systemic injustice. We desperately need to do more to address that, foremost by shoring up the criminal-justice system so that it holds police officers accountable when they kill. But it's also true that deadly mistakes are going to happen when police officers engage in millions of potentially dangerous procedures a year. What aviation teaches us is that it should be possible to ''accident proof'' police work, if only we are willing to admit when mistakes are made.''
Rather than acknowledge that nuanced intellectual point, the signatories adopt a common attack on free speech today: Pinker is guilty of ''both-sides'' rhetoric.'' We saw this attack succeed recently in the infamous decision of the New York Times to apologize for publishing the opposing views of a United States Senator and then forcing out the editor who approved the opinion editorial. (Indeed, these Times articles were a painful reminder of the journalistic integrity that once defined that newspaper).
The third objection concern Pinker referring to New York subway shooter Bernhard Goetz as ''mild mannered.'' The critics refer to his racist views and insist that Pinker is being impermissibly ''casual.'' However, a search on Lexis found dozens of similar references to Goetz. CNN, the New York Times, and others include descriptions of Goetz as a ''mild mannered'' individual. One can be mild mannered and still be a criminal and a racist.
The fourth objection is that Pinker claimed that it was ''statistically obtuse'' to claim that the killings of a deranged California student was proof of a pattern of violence against women. His point appears to be a classic correlation versus causation critique. One can easily disagree with this observation but he seems to be objecting to taking the case itself as proof of the pattern. What is fascinating is that the letter is premised originally on the fact that this student killed six women. In reality, the student killed 2 women and 4 men. Even though twice the number of men were murdered, the letter corrects the error but not conclusion: ''Regardless of the identities of the victims, the murderer was driven by misogyny.''
The fifth objection is truly mind blowing. Pinker is attacked for ''publicly co-opt[ing] the academic work of a Black social scientist to further his deflationary agenda.'' It may require a linguistics degree to fully appreciate what coopting academic work to advance a deflationary agenda actually means. This is made more difficult by the fact that these academics and students do not actually see the need to explain how Pinker ''misrepresents the work.'' He is just declared dishonest. However, these signatories seem to double up on the fifth and sixth objections since the link is directed to the study by Lawrence D. Bobo, the W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University.
So let's go to the sixth objection over these tweets:
The signatories insist that even using the term ''urban crime/violence'' is a ''dogwhistle'' for racists. However, again, a search of that terminology has been used dozens of times by civil rights leaders and Democratic leaders.
Once again, there is plenty to challenge in these viewpoints. Indeed, I would have seen this letter as an excellent foundation for a debate on campus. Pinker seems to want to have such academic discourse in making these points. The problem is not that he is being challenged on these points but that they are being used as an effort to remove him from an intellectual society. These six objections are used as the basis to claim that Pinker has shown ''a pattern of downplaying the very real violence of systemic racism and sexism, and, moreover, a pattern that is not above deceitfulness, misrepresentation, or the employment of dogwhistles.''
What makes this even more dubious is the following statement from these signatories:
Really, the foregoing language was not a ''desire to judge Dr. Pinker's actions in moral terms, or claim to know what his aims are''? Moreover, I am not sure what ''cancelling'' means if it does not include stripping Pinker of his association with the leading intellectual group in his field. It is also worth noting that ''many'' of the signatories did want him barred for being able to work with other academics in the field. Rather than simply engage Pinker in honest academic debate, they want him barred from being able to share or defend his views in the linguistic or LSA communities.
Below is their open letter, which I encourage you to read.
This is an open letter by members of the linguistics community calling for the removal of Dr. Steven Pinker from both our list of distinguished academic fellows and our list of media experts. We, the undersigned, believe that Dr. Pinker's behavior as a public academic is not befitting of a representative of our professional organization, that the LSA's own stated goals make such a conclusion inevitable, and that the LSA should publicly reaffirm its position and distance itself from Dr. Pinker.
Induction into the list of LSA fellows is one of the highest signals of prestige in the linguistic community. Often, fellows are seen as the first line of academic linguistic authority, and trustworthy sources of linguistic knowledge. Lay people and members of the press reach out to fellows and media experts for official statements. We feel that fellows therefore have a responsibility that comes with the honor, credibility, and visibility allotted them by their distinguished appointment. Dr. Pinker does not live up to this standard.
As we demonstrate below, Dr. Pinker's behavior is systematically at odds with the LSA's recently issued statement on racial justice, which argues that ''listening to and respecting [the experience of students of color] is crucial, as is acknowledging and addressing rather than overlooking or denying the role of the discipline of linguistics in the reproduction of racism.'' Instead, Dr. Pinker has a history of speaking over genuine grievances and downplaying injustices, frequently by misrepresenting facts, and at the exact moments when Black and Brown people are mobilizing against systemic racism and for crucial changes.
Though no doubt related, we set aside questions of Dr. Pinker's tendency to move in the proximity of what The Guardian called a revival of ''scientific racism'', his public support for David Brooks (who has been argued to be a proponent of ''gender essentialism''), his expert testimonial in favor of Jeffrey Epstein (which Dr. Pinker now regrets), or his dubious past stances on rape and feminism. Nor are we concerned with Dr. Pinker's academic contributions as a linguist, psychologist and cognitive scientist. Instead, we aim to show here Dr. Pinker as a public figure has a pattern of drowning out the voices of people suffering from racist and sexist violence, in particular in the immediate aftermath of violent acts and/or protests against the systems that created them.
Below, we document six relevant occasions that show how Dr. Pinker's behavior is systematically and directly at odds with the LSA's stated aims. We believe that these examples show that Dr. Pinker is untenable as an LSA fellow and should not be allowed to retain that status.
Let the record show that Dr. Pinker draws this conclusion from an article that contains the following quote: ''The data is unequivocal. Police killings are a race problem: African-Americans are being killed disproportionately and by a wide margin.'' (original emphasis) We believe this shows that Dr. Pinker is willing to make dishonest claims in order to obfuscate the role of systemic racism in police violence.
We believe our appeal to remove Dr. Pinker from the LSA fellows list and the list of media experts falls within the purview of the LSA because of the goals that the LSA has set for itself. In its public statement on race, the LSA ''encourag[es] linguists to critically reflect on the changing nature of academic, social, cultural, and linguistic understandings of race'', and explicitly states that ''there is no linguistic justice without racial justice'... [this stance] requires that linguists actively work to promote equity and social justice in ways that benefit underrepresented scholars and communities of color''. We believe that the examples above show that Dr. Pinker's established pattern of behavior stands in direct opposition to the LSA's publicly stated aims, and the work they call for.
We want to note here that we have no desire to judge Dr. Pinker's actions in moral terms, or claim to know what his aims are. Nor do we seek to ''cancel'' Dr. Pinker, or to bar him from participating in the linguistics and LSA communities (though many of our signatories may well believe that doing so would be the right course of action). We do, however, believe that the examples introduced above establish that Dr. Pinker's public actions constitute a pattern of downplaying the very real violence of systemic racism and sexism, and, moreover, a pattern that is not above deceitfulness, misrepresentation, or the employment of dogwhistles. In light of the fact that Dr. Pinker is read widely beyond the linguistics community, this behavior is particularly harmful, not merely for the perception of linguistics by the general public, but for movements against the systems of racism and sexism, and for linguists affected by these violent systems.
(If you would like to add your name to this open letter, please sign using this google form. All signatures will be alphabetized by last name, and added to the document at regular intervals. Everyone who identifies as a linguist is welcome, and encouraged to sign. For comments, or questions, please reach out to lettertothelsa2020@gmail.com.Addendum: Unfortunately, due to the form being abused both to threaten the editors, and to interfere with the signing process, we can, at this point, only accept signatures via email, and will only accept signatures from valid .edu addresses, or equivalent.)
Errata:The UCSB incident involved the murder of 2 women and 4 men, not 6 women as stated in the text. Regardless of the identities of the victims, the murderer was driven by misogyny, as demonstrated both by his manifesto and the fact that the perpetrator targeted a sorority house. Dr Pinker's tweet either ignores or denies this aspect of the event.
#NameAffiliationRole1A, PranavScience Park, Hong KongNLP Engineer2Abner, NatashaUniversity of MichiganAssistant Professor3Abramovitz, RafaelMITPhD student4Ackerman, LaurenNewcastle University5Adamson, LukeHarvard UniversityPostdoctoral Researcher6Adger, DavidQueen Mary University of LondonProfessor of Linguistics7Ahmed, Ana¯s8Ahmed, Samuel9Ahn, ByronPrincetonAssistant Professor10Alam ,Marghoob11Alden, PaulUniversity of Maryland12Altshuler, DanielUniversity of OxfordAssociate Professor13Ananthanarayan, SunkulpThe University of Texas at Austin14Anderson, CarolynUniversity of Massachusetts, AmherstPhD candidate15Anderson, CatherineMcMaster UniversityAssociate Professor16Andersson, SamuelYale UniversityPhD Student17Antonenko, AndreiStony Brook UniversityLecturer18Aravind, AthulyaMIT LinguisticsAssistant Professor19Arehalli, SuhasJohns Hopkins UniversityPhD student20Arnett, CatherineUC San DiegoGraduate Student21Arregi, KarlosThe University of ChicagoAssociate Professor22Arunachalam, 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Professor61Bigelow, LaurenUniversity of TorontoPhD Student62Bisnath, FeliciaUniversity of Michigan, Ann ArborPhD student63Bjorkman, BronwynQueen's UniversityAssistant Professor64Blamire, EmilyUniversity of Toronto65Blaxter, TamsinGonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge66Blix, HagenNew York UniversityPhD Candidate67Blum, EileenRutgers UniversityPhD Candidate68Blum, MirellaUniversity of EdinburghStudent69Bl¼mel, AndreasUniversity of G¶ttingenPostdoctoral researcher70Bodeveryy, LiseVanderbilt UniversityAlum71Borer, HagitQueen Mary University of LondonDepartment chair72Bossi, MadelineUC Berkeley73Bouavichith, Dominique A.University of MichiganPhD Candidate74Bourgerie Hunter, MariePrivate sector computational linguist75Bowen, CarolineMacquarie UniversityResearch Fellow76Bowern, ClaireYale universityProfessor77Bowie, DavidUniversity of Alaska AnchorageProfessor78Bowman, Samuel R.New York UniversityAssistant Professor79Bradley, EvanPenn State UniversityAssociate Professor of Psychology80Brickhouse, ChristianStanfordPhD candidate81Brodkin, DanUC Santa CruzPhD Student82Brown, Meredith83Brunetto, ValentinaUniversity of Leeds84Buchwald, AdamNew York University85Bui, ThuyHoa Sen UniversityAssistant Professor86Burkholder, RossCalvin UniversityAffiliate Professor87Butler, BeckyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillAdjunct Assistant Professor88Byrd, AndrewUniversity of KentuckyAssociate Professor of Linguistics89Cable, SethUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAssociate Professor90Callesano, SalvatoreUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignAssistant Professor91Campbell-Kibler, KathrynOhio State University92Campolong, KelseyUlster UniversityPhD Researcher93Canjura, JulianNorthern Arizona UniversityGraduate student94Canning, DominiqueUniversity of MichiganPhD Candidate95Carmichael, KatieVirginia Techassociate professor96Carruthers, BrendanCognitive Science B.A.97Catlin, SaraStony Brook University98Chac"n, Dustin A.New York University Abu DhabiResearch Scientist99Chadwick, Stacie100Chambers, SummerUniversity of VirginiaLinguistics MA101Chang, Charles B.Boston UniversityAssociate Professor102Chatten, AliciaNew York University103Chemey, NatashaRutgers UniversityGraduate Fellow104Chen, DanielCU BoulderPhD student105Chen, Tingchun106Cheng, Hung-ShaoNew York University Department of Communicative Sciences and DisordersPhD student107Chong, AdamQueen Mary University of LondonLecturer108Christofori, UlrikeSan Joaquin Delta CollegeInstructor109Clare, Emily110Clark, McKenzieStudent111Clauss, MichaelUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst112Clem, EmilyUniversity of California, San DiegoAssistant Professor113Clemens, LaurenUniversity at AlbanyAssistant professor114Clevenger, JoannaCalifornia State University, San BernardinoGraduate Student115Clifford, LilyStanford UniversityPhD Student116Clopper, CynthiaOhio State UniversityProfessor117Cockrum, PaulThe Ohio State UniversityGraduate Student118Conner, KatherineThe Ohio State UniversityPhD Student119Connor, JanetUniversity of ChicagoPhD Candidate120Conrod, KirbyUniversity of Washington121Coon, JessicaMcGill UniversityAssociate Professor122Coons, CaitlinThe University of Texas at AustinPhD student123Copeland, SamanthaUniversity of North TexasStudent124Cornall, Termy125Cotter, WilliamUniversity of Arizona126Cournane, Ail­sNew York UniversityAssistant Professor127Cowper, ElizabethUniversity of Toronto128Cox, Julia129Cox, TaylorArizona State UniversityResearch Technician130Craft, Justin T.University of MichiganPh.D Student131Craioveanu, RaduUniversity of TorontoPhD candidate132Crouch, CarolineUC Santa Barbaragraduate student133Crowley, ArchieUniversity of South CarolinaPhD Student134Culbertson, JenniferUniversity of EdinburghReader135Cunningham, EmmaSoftware Engineer136D'Angelo, JasonGeorgetown UniversityPhd. Candidate137D'Arcy, AlexandraUniversity of VictoriaProfessor138Dahlberg-Dodd, Hannah139Daitya, PatrickMonash University Linguistics SocietyPresident140Daland, RobertApple, Inc.Software Engineer141Dale, Christopher142Danis, NicholasWashington University in St. LouisLecturer143Davidson, Diana144Davidson, LisaNYUProfessor145Davis, EmoryJohns Hopkins UniversityPostdoctoral Fellow146Davis, JennyUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignAssociate Professor147de Haas, NynkeUtrecht UniversityLecturer148De Santo, AnielloUniversity of UtahAssistant Professor149de Vries, HannaLeiden UniversityLecturer150DeGiulio, StephenSanta Fe Community CollegeProfessor151DeMarco, StephanieBirmingham City UniversityEducation Developer152Denis, DerekUniversity of Toronto MississaugaAssistant Professor153DeRoma, Cynthia ZoccaYale UniversityLector154Devlin, KerriUCLAGraduate Student155DiCanio, ChristianUniversity at BuffaloAssistant Professor156Dinkin, AaronSan Diego State UniversityAssistant Professor157Dockum, 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RobertUniversity of Manitoba235Hall-Lew, LaurenUniversity of EdinburghReader236Hall, Daniel CurrieSaint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotiaassociate professor; LSA member237Halpert, ClaireUniversity of MinnesotaAssociate Professor238Hansen, DanielUniversity of ChicagoPhD Student239Hao, YidingYale UniversityPhD Candidate240Hara, YurieHokkaido UniversityAssociate Professor241Harley, HeidiUniversity of ArizonaProfessor242Harper, SarahUniversity of Southern CaliforniaPhD Candidate243Harvey, MegUniversity of Arizona244Hauk, Bryn245Heap, DavidUniversity of Western OntarioAssociate Professor246Heath, JevonUniversity of PittsburghDirector of Undergraduate Studies247Heaton, HayleyUniversity of MichiganLinguistics PhD248Heider, PaulMedical University of South CarolinaSenior Research Scientist249Henderson, RobertUniversity of ArizonaAssociate Professor of Linguistics250Hendery, RachelWestern Sydney University, AustraliaAssociate Professor251Henley, Katherine252Henry, CassidyUniversity of Maryland253Hetherington, RebeccaUniversity of Melbourne254Hill, AngelicaUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstPhD student255Holgate, EricUniversity of Texas at AustinPhD. Candidate256Hoops, TracieCSU FullertonMA student257Hope, MaxwellUniversity of DelawarePhD student258Horesh, UriAchva Academic College259Hou, LynnUniversity of California, Santa Barbara260Hughes, BrianneMA Linguistics261Hyett, JamesUniversity of TorontoAlum262Irvine, Melissa263Jacobs, CassandraUniversity of WisconsinPostdoctoral Researcher264Jaggers, ZacharyUniversity of OregonPostdoctoral Scholar265Jamieson, EUniversity of Edinburgh266Janoff, Arianna267Jenks, PeterUC BerkeleyAssociate Professor268Jensen, MonicaUniversity of WashingtonPhD Student269Jent, BrandonUniversity of KentuckyAlumnus, MA Linguistic Theory and Typology270Jeong, SunwooSeoul National UniversityAssistant professor271Jeretic, PalomaNew York UniversityPhD Candidate272Jerro, KyleUniversity of EssexLecturer273Jones, Kyra274Jones, TaylorUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhD Graduate275Joyce, TaylorThe University of Texas at AustinPhD Student276Kalin, LauraPrinceton UniversityAssistant Professor277Kane, AuroraUniversity of California, BerkeleyPhD Student278Karlin, RobinUW-MadisonPostdoctoral researcher279Kasstan, JonathanUniversity of WestminsterAssistant Professor280Kastner, ItamarUniversity of Edinburgh281Kennedy, RobertUniversity of California, Santa BarbaraSenior Lecturer282Khan, Sameer ud DowlaReed CollegeAssociate Professor283Kiesling, Scott F.University of PittsburghProfessor & Chair284Kim, ChristinaUniversity of KentSenior lecturer285Kim, JudyYale UniversityPostdoc286Kimper, WendellUniversity of ManchesterLecturer287Kirchner, JessicaGoogleSenior Linguist288Klassen, JeffreyUniversity of SaskatchewanSessional Lecturer289Klausner, Lukas DanielSt. P¶lten University of Applied SciencesResearcher290Klecha, PeetLinguist291Kolozsvari, Robyn292Konnelly, LexUniversity of TorontoPhD Candidate293Kosse, MaureenCU BoulderGrad Student294Kostyszyn, KalinaStony Brook UniversityPhD student295Kotek, HadasComputational Linguist296Koulidobrova, HelenCentral Connecticut State UniversityAssociate Professor297Koval, 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KatharinaUniversity of Viennastudent322Levi, SusannahNYU323Levinson, LisaUniversity of MichiganLecturer324Lewis, RebeccaUniversity of ConnecticutPhD Student325Lewis, TomGeorgia Southern UniversityVisiting Instructor326Li, Neh GnetnemtJinggangshan University 井å†å±±å¤§å­...Research Scientist327Li, Noriyasu328Lilley, KevinThe Ohio State UniversityPhD Student329Lindsey, KateBoston University330Liter, AdamUniversity of MarylandGraduate student331Litovsky, CeliaJohns Hopkins UniversityPhD candidate332Love-Nichols, JessicaMacalester CollegeVisiting Assistant Professor333Lowry, CassThe Graduate Center, City University of New YorkPhD student334Lu, Deedee335Lu, JiayiStanford UniversityPhD student336Lucek, StephenUniversity College DublinPostdoctoral Fellow337Lukyanenko, CynthiaGeorge Mason UniversityTerm Assistant Professor338Lund, GunnarHarvardPhD candidate339MacGregor, CaidenLa Trobe UniversityGraduate student340MacKenzie, JordanGeorgetown UniversityPhD Candidate341MacKenzie, LaurelNew York UniversityAssistant Professor342Macknick, AnnaPrinceton UniversityUndergraduate student343Mahan, HeatherUCSCMA Linguistics graduate344Maier, Erik HansUC BerkeleyPhD Candidate345Mailhot, FredericDialpad, Inc.Computational Linguist346Malamud, Sophia A.Brandeis UniversityAssociate Professor347Maldonado, MoraUniversity of EdinburghPostdoctoral researcher348Manetta, EmilyUniversity of VermontProfessor and Chair, Department of Anthropology349Mangold, Ina RunaUniversity of EdinburghPostgraduate Student350Manke, ChristineCalifornia State University, NorthridgeAlumna351Manning, EmmaGeorgetown UniversityPhD Student352Mansfield, CourtneyUniversity of WashingtonPhD Candidate353Mantenuto, IaraUniversity of California, Los AngelesPhD Candidate354Marino, D.McGill UniversityGrad Student355Mart­, LuisaQueen Mary University of LondonSenior Lecturer356Martin, FabienneHumboldt-Universit¤t zu Berlin357Martin, KatieMITGraduate student358Martin, TyreeUniversity of ArizonaPh.D. Student359Martinez del Rio, 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student406Niedzielski, NancyRice UniversityAssociate Professor407Nielsen, KunikoOakland UniversityAssociate Professor408N¶lle, JonasUniversity of EdinburghPhD Candidate409Noonan, MireUniversit(C) de Montr(C)al & Universit(C) du Qu(C)bec Montr(C)al,course lecturer410Norris, Mark411Nowlan, Melody412Nycz, JenniferGeorgetown UniversityAssociate Professor413O'Gorman, TimUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstPostdoctoral Researcher414O'Hara, CharlieUniversity of Southern California415O'Meara, CarolynUniversidad Nacional Aut"noma de M(C)xicoAssociate Research Professor416O'Neill, BrittneyYork UniversityPhD student417Orfitelli, RobynUniversity of SheffieldLecturer418Ostrove, JasonUC Santa CruzLecturer419Overfelt, Carly420Pabst, KatharinaUniversity of TorontoPh.D. Candidate421Palma, PaulineMcGill UniversityPhD student422Papillon, MaximeUniversity of Maryand423Parrish, AliciaNew York UniversityGrad student424Parrott, Jeffrey KeithDepartment of English and American Studies, Palack½ University in 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UniversityAlum499Sherley-Appel, ClaraUCSC, UVALinguistics MA500Showers-Curtis, KatkaUniversity of Wisconsin '' MadisonGraduate Student501Shukla, Mohinish502Shulist, SarahQueen's UniversityAssociate Professor503Sichel, IvyUC Santa CruzAssociate Professor504Sicoli, Mark AUniversity of VirginiaAssistant Professor505Simpson, ErinUCL Institute of EducationPhD student506Sims, NandiOhio State UniversityPhD Candidate507Singerman, AdamDepartment of Linguistics, University of ChicagoPostdoctoral Teaching Fellow508Sirna, SarahMichigan State University509Skilton, AmaliaUniversity of Texas at AustinPostdoctoral Researcher510Slayton, AliyaUniversity of Hawai'i at MānoaPhD student511Slobe, TyannaUniversity of California Los AngelesPhD Candidate512Smith, Alexander D.University of North Texas513Smith, BarryUniversity at BuffaloProfessor & Chair514Smith, James515Smith, KaylinMichigan State UniversityPhD candidate516Sneller, BetsyMichigan State UniversityAssistant Professor517Snider, ToddPostdoctoral Research Fellow518Soldaini, LucaAmazonApplied Scientist519Sommerlot, Carly J.University of Texas at ArlingtonPh.D. Candidate520Sprenger, Anna-MarieUChicagograduate student521Staicov, AdinaHiroshima UniversityAssistant Professor522Stalley, Sean523Stephens, HeatherUniversity of TorontoPhD Candidate524Stickles, EliseUniversity of British ColumbiaAssistant Professor525Stromdahl, LarsUniversity of DelawarePhD Student526Strother-Garcia, KristinaBloomsburg UniversityAssistant Professor527Subtirelu, NicholasGeorgetown UniversityAssistant Professor528Sullivant, RyanUniversity of Texas at Austin529Sundaresan, Sandhya530Sunil Arvindam, Vishal531Surbatovich, AmyEditor532Sutherland, PaulAmerican Philosophical SocietyArchivist, Linguist533Szab", Ildik" EmeseNew York UniversityPhD candidate534Tabachnick, GuyNew York Universitygraduate student535Talmina, NataliaJohns Hopkins UniversityPhD student536Taniguchi, AiUniversity of Toronto MississaugaAssistant Professor537Taylor, KatherineThe Ohio State UniversityAlum538Thomas, AiricaNorthwestern UniversityPhD Student539Thomas, JenelleUniversity of Oxford540Thomas, WilliamThe Ohio State UniversityPhD Student541Thompson, AnieH5/University of California Santa CruzConsulting Linguist and PhD alum542Thompson, EllenFlorida International UniversityProfessor543Thompson, KatrinaUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonProfessor544Thoms, GaryNew York UniversityAssistant Professor545Tomlin, NicholasUC BerkeleyPhD Student546Torbert, BenjaminUniversity of Missouri-St LouisAssociate professor547Torgersen, HenrikUniversity of OsloMA student548Tran, MarcellinUniversity of TorontoStudent549Travis, LisaMcGill UniversityProfessor Emeritus550Tulsyan, Purnima551Turnbull, RoryNewcastle UniversityLecturer552Turner, GerryYork UniversityPhD Candidate553Turner, RobinUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignPhD student554Twiner, NicholasStanford UniversityGraduate Student555Tyler, MatthewYale UniversityPhD candidate556Tyrone, MarthaLong Island UniversityAssociate Professor557Ulfsbjorninn, ShantiUniversity of Deusto, Bilbao.Associate Professor558Umbal, PocholoUniversity of TorontoPhD Candidate559Usta, Bet¼l SedaUniversity of StirlingPhD student560Valentinsson, Mary-CaitlynAppalachian State UniversityVisiting Assistant Professor561van den Akker, M.Radboud University Nijmegen, The NetherlandsUndergraduate562VanderStouwe, ChrisBoise State UniversityLecturer563Vaughan, AlfieUniversity of CambridgeUndergraduate564Vihman, MarilynUniversity of YorkProfessor565Vihman, VirveUniversity of TartuAssociate Professor566Villanueva, Mercedes Eileen567Vittalbabu, ChandruSunnyvale School DistrictSpeech-Language Pathologist and Linguistics graduate568Vu, Mai HaUniversity of DelawareAlum569Walkden, GeorgeUniversity of KonstanzProfessor of Linguistics570Warner, NatashaUniversity of ArizonaProfessor and Head571Warren, IsaacGeorgetown UniversityMS Student572Wassink, AliciaUniversity of Washington573Weinberg, MirandaSwarthmore CollegeVisiting Assistant Professor, Linguistics574Wells, AlexusGeorgetown University575Whitcomb, Kathleen576Williams, AdinaResearch Scientist577Wilson, BriannaUniversity of ChicagoPhD Student578Wilson, FionaUniversity of TorontoGraduate Student579Wilson, Scott KeohookalaniPukyong National UniversityLecturer580Wing, DakotaYork UniversityPhD Candidate581Wingett, HannahGeorgetown UniversityAlum, BA Linguistics + MS Theoretical Linguistics582Winterstein, Gr(C)goireUQAMProfessor583Wolf, SimonUnaffiliatedIndependent Researcher and Consultant584Wood, SkyeVirginia TechAlum585Wright, Kelly ElizabethUniversity of MichiganPhD Candidate586Yeaton, JeremyUC IrvinePhD student in Language Science587Yoshida Nuttall, KellyBoise State University588Young, ErisWriter589Yuan, MichelleUniversity of California, San DiegoAssistant Professor590Zaitsu, AnissaStanford UniversityPhD student591Zimman, LalUC Santa BarbaraAssociate Professor of Linguistics592Zompi, Stanislao593Zweig, EytanUniversity of YorkLecturer
Writers and Academics Call For Removal Of Chicago Professor For Criticizing BLM and Defunding Police '' JONATHAN TURLEY
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 10:18
It seems that University of Chicago professors are much in the news this week. We recently discussed the controversy of posting by University of Chicago Professor Brian Leiter saying that military leaders should ''depose'' President Donald Trump and jail him. Now another Chicago professor is under fire. Notably, while no one called for Leiter to be fired for wistfully discussing a military coup, there is a chorus of writers and academics calling for the canning of Harald Uhlig, the senior editor of the prestigious the Journal of Political Economy. Uhlig is also the Bruce Allen and Barbara Ritzenthaler Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. The reason is that Uhlig had the audacity to criticize Black Lives Matters and the movement to Defund The Police. Joining this effort is New York Times' Paul Krugman, who is striking out at someone for giving his opposing view '-- an intolerant position that now appears to be official policy at the New York Times. It is all part of the new order where writers call for censorship, academics call for removing academic freedoms, artists call for art removal, and politicians call for dismantling police.
Uhlig wrote on Twitter Monday night: ''Too bad, but #blacklivesmatter per its core organization @Blklivesmatter just torpedoed itself, with its full-fledged support of #defundthepolice.''
He added:
''Suuuure. They knew this is non-starter, and tried a sensible Orwell 1984 of saying oh, it just means funding schools (who isn't in favor of that?!?).But no, the so-called 'activists' did not want that. Back to truly 'defunding' thus, according to their website. Sigh. #GeorgeFloyd and his family really didn't deserve being taken advantage of by flat-earthers and creationists. Oh well. Time for sensible adults to enter back into the room and have serious, earnest, respectful conversations about it all: e.g. policy reform proposals by @TheDemocrat and national healing.''
His comments immediately led to an effort to get him fired including the ever-present online petition where viewpoint intolerance is some how strengthened by numbers. Leading this ignoble, anti-free speech effort are academics like University of Michigan professor Justin Wolfers who teaches in the Ford Public Policy school but appears to have a strikingly low tolerance for opposing views on public policy.
Uhlig is accused of ''trivializing the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement'' and ''hurting and marginalizing people of color and their allies in the economics profession.'' He is also being denounced because he did not support the NFL kneelers. In 2017, he wrote
'In any case, it is pretty clear, that the current kneeling and the current defense-of-freedom-of-speech is not about some courageous act of standing up for democratic values.
'I would so love that to be true, really. Instead, it is all just Anti-Trump-ism.'
A letter calling for Uhlig's ouster states 'Prof. Uhlig's comments published on his blog and Twitter posts dated June 8th, trivializing the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and drawing parallels between the BLM movement and the Ku Klux Klan, are outrageous and unacceptable.''
The KKK accusation appears to be derived from a blog post in which he asked: ''Would you defend football players waving the confederate flag and dressing in Ku Klux Klan garb during the playing of the national anthem?'' That does not ''draw a comparison'' between the movements. It makes a standard comparison between acts of expression, a typical ''slippery slope'' argument used in countless academic and legal works.
Krugman however does not seem even slightly interested in the context and instead cried ''white privilege'' '' a label that now routinely precedes terminations of editors, academics, and others who disagree with a new orthodoxy:
Krugman called him 'yet another privileged white man' in a series of tweets
Uhlig was called a racist by academics like University of Victoria economist Rob Gillezeau who wrote: ''Racists shouldn't be allowed to gatekeep our profession.''
I understand that Uhlig's writings upset people. Academics often upset people, sometimes by design, in advancing unpopular perspectives. I can also understand why people would be uniquely ticked when they read a posting mocking the protests like this one:
''Look: I understand, that some out there still wish to go and protest and say #defundpolice and all kinds of stuff, while you are still young and responsibility does not matter. Enjoy! Express yourself! Just don't break anything, ok? And be back by 8 pm.''
Much like a recent controversy of a UCLA professor it was a mocking tone that many would not have taken. However, this is a political debate that is raging around the country and many on both sides are using superheated or ironic or mocking language. What we have not seen are demands to can academics using such language on the other side like fellow Chicago Professor Leiter.
Nevertheless, Uhlig issued an apology:
''My tweets in recent days and an old blog post have apparently irritated a lot of people. That was far from my intention'... My tweets in recent days and an old blog post have apparently irritated a lot of people. That was far from my intention: let me apologize for that. Did I choose my words and comparisons wisely? I did not. My apology, once again. Let me also make clear that all these are just my views, not pronouncements by the JPE and most certainly not the @UChicago or my department.''
The attack on Uhlig as ''white privilege'' has become a common refrain. We recently discussed how the President of the Minneapolis City Council dismissed anyone who voices concerns over defunding or dismantling the police as just voicing their bias from a ''place of privilege.'' Thus, to object to this radical proposal is now proof of privilege.
None of this matter with the wave of intolerance sweeping over our campuses, where academics call for the punishment of fellow academics for voicing opposing views. Professors like Jennifer Doleac , an economics professor at Texas A&M University, tweeted ''Yep, lead editor at a top journal. Hopefully not for much longer.'' It is that simple.
Figures like Klugman are not just the loudest voices, they are now the only voices that seem to appear on the pages of newspapers like the New York Times. What was striking about the recent controversy over the column by Sen. Tom Cotten was not just the writers at the New York Times calling for the resignation of their editors and barring future columns with such opposing views. It was the silence of the other writers who did not utter a word as their newspaper yielded to these demands. As I discussed earlier, however, history has shown that today's rebels often become tomorrow's reactionaries. Such attacks on individuals like Uhlig will not stop with him. It becomes an insatiable appetite as the intolerance for opposing views grows.
Recently, protesters took over a precinct in Seattle and declared it the People's autonomous zone. I was struck by one flier of one of the protesters that read ''I support this, but what's next?''
For those who are joining calls for sack editors and fire academics, it is a question that should concentrate their minds.
2020
Kanye West in Midst of Bipolar Episode, Family Concerned
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 01:36
Kanye West In Midst of Serious Bipolar Episode ... Family Very Concerned 7/9/2020 1:00 AM PT Exclusive
Kanye West is in the throes of a serious bipolar episode, our Kanye sources say, and those around him are concerned it has impacted his decision-making and some of the things he's said in the last week ... sources close to Kanye tell TMZ.
Our Kanye sources tell us, he suffers a serious bout with his bipolar disorder, usually once a year ... and our sources say Kanye's in the midst of one now.
As you know, Ye announced he's running for president via Twitter over the weekend, and also did a rambling interview with Forbes ... which drew harsh criticism, confusion and concern.
Our sources say his family and those close to him are worried, but they believe things will stabilize as they have in the past. The problem here, we're told -- Kanye's proclamations are causing problems.
Of course, Kanye's apparent bipolar episode hasn't kept him from garnering presidential campaign support from the likes of Elon Musk ... who hung with the rapper just days prior to his announcement.
Others are much more skeptical, and that skepticism likely grew in the wake of Kanye's wide-interview with Forbes ... in which he dumped Trump, slammed Biden, revealed he's running as part of a new party called the "Birthday Party," claimed he had COVID-19, pushed an anti-vaxx narrative and talked a lot about God.
What the interview didn't touch on, weirdly, was Kanye's mental health.
TMZ.comYou'll remember, it was in October 2018 when Kanye came on "TMZ Live" and said he was not taking his bipolar medication. He'd also previously stated he doesn't take his medication because it stifles his creativity.
Trump's Fortune Could Be In Jeopardy With Supreme Court Decision : NPR
Thu, 09 Jul 2020 22:01
President Trump is not pleased with the Supreme Court's decision on Thursday that his financial records have to be turned over to a New York grand jury. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images President Trump is not pleased with the Supreme Court's decision on Thursday that his financial records have to be turned over to a New York grand jury.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Supreme Court cases are complicated, and their implications can be muddy.
But a few things are clear from what the court decided Thursday about the President Trump's financial records. Presidents do not have absolute immunity from having to release financial records, and more specifically to Trump, we likely won't see his taxes until after the presidential election.
That, though, may be beside the point, because allowing a New York grand jury '-- and motivated district attorney '-- to mine his records could jeopardize his brand, the fortune he built and even possibly his children, who work for the Trump Organization.
Here are some key questions answered about what the court decided and what it means politically.
Will I see Trump's taxes?
Maybe eventually, but not before the November presidential election. That's for a couple of reasons. Take the congressional case '-- the Supreme Court said that the case has to go back to the lower courts and that Congress has to better define what it is looking for from the president.
That could mean more hearings and appeals and the case eventually finding its way back to the Supreme Court. That would certainly not happen before November.
The other case involves a New York grand jury that is seeking Trump's financial records, including his taxes, from third parties, like banks and accountants, and not from the president directly.
Little is known about that New York investigation, led by New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance. The only way Trump's taxes or other financial records would be made known to the public is if people were indicted, the case went to trial and the financial records were used as evidence. That would take months, if not longer.
Is this a win or loss for the president?
Overall, it's a big loss. Details of his financial dealings are likely to eventually be made public '-- something Trump has long tried to avoid.
Now, he and his allies could argue that it's not all bad, given that none of the information is likely to come out before November and, therefore, won't have an impact on his potential reelection.
But given the country's polarization, unless something provably criminal came out, it's probably unlikely that it would have had much impact on the presidential election anyway. But that may not be the point. (More on that below.)
After all, the Access Hollywood tape, which showed Trump engaged in a lewd conversation about women, came out in October 2016, and Trump still won. And when it comes to taxes, Trump has said before that it made him "smart" to figure out how not to pay them. His base has never abandoned him.
All that said, look at how Trump is reacting to what were big decisions from the court '-- and in a 7-to-2 manner '-- that, bottom line, said a president does not have categorical immunity to block a subpoena just because he's president.
Trump tweeted that it's "not fair" that he has "to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York" and that, in the past, the court has given "broad deference" to presidents.
The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution. I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2020Setting the record straight, though: The high court has never said a president has immunity from all forms of subpoenas. While the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel has advised that a president should not be indicted while in office, the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Nixon forced the release of secret White House tape recordings that eventually led to Richard Nixon's resignation.
Do we know what the New York grand jury is investigating?
We don't know exactly what the grand jury is investigating '-- it's a secret. But it could be anything and everything related to Trump, the Trump Organization and people around him. That was made pretty clear by the reaction from Vance after the ruling.
"This is a tremendous victory for our nation's system of justice and its founding principle that no one '-- not even a president '-- is above the law," Vance said in a statement. "Our investigation, which was delayed for almost a year by this lawsuit, will resume, guided as always by the grand jury's solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead."
"Wherever they may lead" is pretty expansive and shows why Trump is so irritated by all of this.
There are some clues from last year's congressional testimony from Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen.
"It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes," Cohen said.
That's just one example. A mysterious $50 million loan for a project in Chicago is also under scrutiny.
With all that, whether this matters to the presidential election might be beside the point. His financial records being fully investigated has the potential to imperil the organization he built and the people who work for it, including himself '-- and his children.
Remember, Trump was already ordered last year to pay $2 million in damages for misuse of funds from his foundation, and it was in the process of dissolving because of that.
How does Biden try to leverage this?
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has already been trying to make this a matter of corruption and transparency.
It certainly helps blunt Trump's attacks on Biden for his son Hunter's role in sitting on an energy company board in Ukraine while Ukraine was part of Biden's portfolio as vice president.
Biden has gone after Trump on his taxes, pointing out that he himself has released 21 years of tax returns.
On Thursday, after the court's ruling, Biden tweeted that point again: "As I was saying."
Build Back Better - Wikipedia
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 04:07
Build Back Better was firstly defined and used officially in the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which was agreed at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction on 14-18 MARCH 2015, held in Sendai, Japan. This document was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 3 June 2015.
During the negotiation period for the Sendai Framework, the concept of "Build Back Better" was proposed by the Japanese Delegation as a holistic concept as follows:
"The principle of ''Build Back Better'' concept is generally understood to use disaster as a trigger to create more resilient nations and societies than before through the implementation of well-balanced disaster risk reduction measures, including physical restoration of infrastructure, revitalization of livelihood and economy/industry, and the restoration of local culture and environment." This holistic concept was fully agreed among the negotiation delegates of each states and embedded into the Sendai Framework as one of the most important concepts.
At the opening speech of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, The Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Abe Shinzo, clearly spoke about this concept, saying
"The word of Build Back Better sounds like a new concept but this is common sense to the Japanese people, coming from our historical experiences in recovering from disaster and preparing for the future, and it has become an important part of the culture of Japan".
This concept was included in "Disaster Risk Reduction for Economic Growth and Livelihood, Investing in Resilience and Development" Edited by Ian Davis, YANAGISAWA Kae and Kristalina Georgieva, in Chapter 7 "Recovery and reconstruction An opportunity for sustainable growth through ''build back better'' by MATSUMARU Ryo and TAKEYA Kimio, which was published June 2015 by Routledge. Pre-printing, an abstract explanation was delivered for the UN Sendai meeting and the concept was proposed for the UN document by the Japanese government delegation based on chapter 7 of this book.
The concept of "Build Back Better" had been used by people involved in the recovery process from natural disaster, but had not been clearly defined as a holistic concept before this book.
During the reconstruction from the earthquake of Central Java in March 2006, the Japan International Cooperation Agency Reconstruction team used this concept to recover houses, using earthquake resistant engineering, with a subsidiaries delivering system, and achieved more than 100,000 strengthened houses within 2 years together under the leadership of Java Special Province.
After this mega disaster happened, international donors cooperated to produce a report, Post Disaster Needs Assessment, PDNA. In the PDNA for Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng 2009 in the Philippines, TAKEYA Kimio from Asian Development Bank, who was involved in this PDNA team, strongly recommended that the Build Back Better concept should be used for recovery, so that this word and concept was first used in the Philippines government reconstruction policy document. The Build Back Better concept was also clearly written as a catch phrase on the first page of the document, which was titled "Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda" and released on 16 Dec. 2013, thanks to strong conceptual support from Japan International Cooperation Agency.
After the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was finalized, the indicators for checking achievement were defined, with the terminology of "Build Back Better" defined as: "The use of the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phases after a disaster to increase the resilience of nations and communities through integrating disaster risk reduction measures into the restoration of physical infrastructure and societal systems, and into the revitalization of livelihoods, economies and the environment. Annotation: The term ''societal'' will not be interpreted as a political system of any country."
Building Back Better (BBB) is an approach to post-disaster recovery aimed at increasing the resilience of nations and communities to future disasters and shocks.[1] The Build Back Better approach integrates disaster risk reduction measures into the restoration of physical infrastructure, social systems, and shelter and into the revitalization of livelihoods, economies, and the environment.[2] As a guiding principle uniting post-disaster recovery with sustainable development, it was adopted by the UN Member States as one of four priorities for disaster risk reduction in the Sendai Framework.[3]
Concept Edit The concept of building back better has its roots in the improvement of land use, spatial planning, and construction standards through the recovery process. The concept has broadened to represent a broader opportunity, to not just restore what was damaged or lost to the impact of disasters, but to build greater resilience in recovery by systematically addressing the root causes of vulnerability. Building back better can help to reduce the impact of future disasters, and facilitate a faster recovery process.[4] The term build back better first caught international attention in 2006 during the recovery from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, where the UN Special Envoy Report offered Ten Key Propositions for Building Back Better:[5]
Governments, donors, and aid agencies must recognize that families and communities drive their own recovery.Recovery must promote fairness and equity.Governments must enhance preparedness for future disasters.Local governments must be empowered to manage recovery efforts, and donors must devote greater resources to strengthening government recovery institutions, especially at the local level.Good recovery planning and effective coordination depend on good information.The UN, World Bank, and other multilateral agencies must clarify their roles and relationships, especially in addressing the early stage of a recovery process.The expanding role of NGOs and the Red Cross/ Red Crescent Movement carries greater responsibilities for quality in recovery efforts.From the start of recovery operations, governments and aid agencies must create the conditions for entrepreneurs to flourish.Beneficiaries deserve the kind of agency partnerships that move beyond rivalry and unhealthy competition.Good recovery must leave communities safer by reducing risks and building resilience.Although it did not explicitly use the term "build back better", the reconstruction from the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake embodies this concept through the Phoenix Plan, 'creative reconstruction' that implements Twelve Key Actions:
Developing safe, secure urban communitiesCreating a 'symbiotic society'Making further progress in administrative decentralization and reconstruction spearheading by local organizationsPromoting active participation and cooperation of ordinary citizensEstablishing effective risk management systemsImproving emergency aid systems and support mechanisms for rebuilding lives and homesResponse with respect to the elderly and other vulnerable social elementsFostering revitalization and prosperity in the regionUsing local culture, local cityscapes, and local scenery to create distinctive urban communitiesInter-regional coordination and interactionPromoting international cooperation in disaster reductionPassing on and disseminating information on the experience gained and lessons learned from the earthquakeBenefits of Building Back Better Edit There is growing body of literature seeking to define the benefits of building back better. Recently reports such as the Triple Dividend of Resilience,[6] and the World Bank report Building Back Better: Achieving resilience through stronger, faster, and more inclusive post-disaster reconstruction have estimated the benefits quantitatively in terms of losses avoided - as much as USD $173 billion per year, or 31 percent of well-being losses can be avoided. Case studies have defined quantitative and qualitative benefits of building back better.[4]
Preventing Losses Edit In India, super-cyclone BOB06 claimed over 10,000 lives in 1999. During recovery, the state government established the Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA) to help facilitate building back better though programs such as adding over 1,500 km of new evacuation roads, 30 bridges to better connect vulnerable communities, and 200 km of improvements to existing coastal embankments. Additionally, the OSDMA invested in advanced early warning systems. When Odisha was hit by another powerful cyclone (Phailin) in 2013, 50 people lost their lives, but it was less than 1 % of the prior event's toll.
Stimulating Local Economy Edit In Madagascar, farmers benefited as much as 4.5 times of income after the risk of flooding was reduced through watershed protection in Mantadia National Park.[7] Furthermore, in India, following the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) set up learning centers for local women to make recovery faster and less painful, including tools, techniques and information about government schemes. These centers sustained the economic activities of women, and have served as focal points during flood recovery since the earthquake.[8]
Creating Other Benefits Edit The benefits of build back better extend beyond risk reduction. In Malaysia, the government not only saves an estimated cost of USD300,000/km (i.e. cost of rock walls/km) by maintaining the mangrove swamps intact for storm protection and flood control, it has also lowered temperature in the area.[9]
Edit In 2015, the Sendai Framework[3] explicitly identified building back better in recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation as a priority for action and recommended the following actions to promote building back better:
Plan and prepare for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction (recovery preparedness ahead of disaster)Capacities are in place for effective response and recoveryDevelop guidance for preparedness for disaster reconstruction (land-use planning, structural standards improvement, and exchange knowledge and lessons)Integrate disaster risk reduction in preparedness for recoveryShare experience in pre-disaster recovery planning and monitoring at the national, local, and community level with clear roles and responsibilitiesEnsure that capacities are in place for effective and efficient recoveryUpdate disaster preparedness and contingency plansShare case studies on social and economic recoveryPromote key actions for rapid and efficient response to disasters including international cooperation in post-disaster reconstructionEnforce legislative frameworks and regional protocols to facilitate response capacities, facilitation, and regulation of international disaster reliefApply lessons learned in land use planning and structural standardsLocalize best practices on post-disaster reconstruction programsPromote resilience of new and existing critical infrastructure (water, transportation, educational facilities, and hospitals)Integrate disaster risk management into post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation processConsider relocation of public facilities and infrastructure to areas outside the risk rangeIntegrate risk management into post-disaster recovery processesIntegrate post-disaster reconstruction into economic and social development that ensures sustainabilityEmpower women and persons with disabilitiesStrengthen capacity of local authorities in recoveryPromote recovery schemes for psychosocial support and mental health servicesIn support of countries and communities in implementing Priority Four, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction has issued a volume of its Words into Action guidelines for building back better. While there can be no standardized blueprint for building back better, the guidelines instead offer step-by-step guidance on developing disaster recovery frameworks, pre-disaster recovery planning, and post-disaster needs assessment[10] - steps viewed as critical enablers to faster, more efficient, and more effective recovery.
References Edit ^ "Building Back Better in Post-Disaster Recovery" (PDF) . World Bank/GFDRR . Retrieved 19 January 2020 . ^ UNISDR. "Report of the open-ended intergovernmental expert working group on indicators and terminology relating to disaster risk reduction" . Retrieved 19 January 2020 . ^ a b UNISDR (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) (2015). endai framework for disaster risk reduction 2015''2030. UNISDR . Retrieved 19 January 2020 . ^ a b Hallegatte, Stephane; Rentschler, Jun; Walsh, Brian. "Building Back Better: Achieving resilience through stronger, faster, and more inclusive post-disaster reconstruction" (PDF) . World Bank/GFDRR . Retrieved 19 January 2020 . ^ Clinton, William J. "Lesson Learned from Tsunami Recovery:Ten Key Propositions for Building Back Better" (PDF) . Retrieved 19 January 2020 . ^ Tanner, Thomas; Surminski, Swenja; Wilkinson, Emily; Reid, Robert; Rentschler, Jun; Rajput, Sumati. "The triple dividend of resilience". Overseas Development Institute . Retrieved 19 January 2020 . ^ Kramer, Randall; Richter, Daniel D.; Pattanayak, Subhrendu; Sharna, Narendra P. (March 1997). "Ecological and Economic Analysis of Watershed Protection in Eastern Madagascar". Journal of Environmental Management. 49 (3): 277''295. doi:10.1006/jema.1995.0085. ^ Price, Gareth; Bhatt, Mihir. "The role of the affected state in humanitarian action: A case study on India" (PDF) . Overseas Development Institute . Retrieved 19 January 2020 . ^ "Guidance Notes on Recovery: Environment" (PDF) . International Recovery Platform . Retrieved 19 January 2020 . ^ UNISDR. "Words into Action guidelines: Build back better in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction". UNISDR . Retrieved 19 January 2020 .
Build Back Better: The UK Coronavirus Recovery Campaign
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 04:07
The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down, exposing major weaknesses in our economy and the deep-seated inequalities in our society that mean the most vulnerable people have been hit the hardest.
But what we do next could change everything. As the world recovers, we have a chance to reset the clock and build back better than before.
Ted Cruz Slams Trump's 'Road to Citizenship' Claim for Pending DACA Executive Order: 'HUGE Mistake'
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 18:11
(C) Tom Williams/Pool via Reuters Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asks a question during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled "Police Use of Force and Community Relations" in Washington, D.C., June 16, 2020. Senator Ted Cruz warned the Trump administration not to include a ''road to citizenship'' for DACA recipients, after Trump implied one was coming in a new executive order on immigration he plans to sign ''over the next few weeks.''
''There is ZERO constitutional authority for a President to create a 'road to citizenship' by executive fiat,'' Cruz tweeted. ''It was unconstitutional when Obama issued executive amnesty, and it would be a HUGE mistake if Trump tries to illegally expand amnesty.''
Cruz's reaction came after Trump revealed in an interview with Telemundo that he would give DACA recipients ''a road to citizenship'' through an executive order.
''We're working out the legal complexities right now, but I'm going to be signing a major immigration bill as an executive order, which . . . because of the DACA decision, has given me the power to do that,'' Trump said. He then seemed to contradict himself, saying that ''we put it in, and we're probably going to then be taking it out,'' in an apparent reference to DACA.
But when pressed by Jose Diaz-Balart on the order, Trump appeared to double-down.
''One of the aspects of the bill is going to be DACA, we are going to have a road to citizenship. If you look at the Supreme Court ruling, they gave the president tremendous powers when they said that you could take in, in this case 700,000 or so people,'' Trump claimed. ''So they gave powers, based on the powers that they gave, I'm going to be doing an immigration bill '-- one of the aspects of the bill that you'll be very happy with, and that a lot of people will be, including me, and a lot of Republicans by the way, will be DACA. We'll give them a road to citizenship.''
The comments clash with reports that emerged this week claiming that the Trump administration was restarting its attempt to end President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program '-- which grants participants renewable deportation deferrals, but not a path to citizenship
The reported move came after the Supreme Court said last month in a 5-4 decision that the Trump administration's previous attempt to end DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act's ''arbitrary and capricious'' standard and could not move forward. In response, Trump said ''nothing was lost or won'' in the decision, adding that the court had ''punted.'' He has previously said that ''a deal will be made'' with Democrats over the status of DACA's participants if his administration's attempt to end the program was successful.
More on National Review
Immigration and Our National Crisis of ConfidenceLet Hong Kongers Come to the United StatesWalls WorkVideo: House Democrats announce cuts that would slash DHS deportation operation, block hiring of new border patrol agents (FOX News)
Vape Wars!
Philip Morris says cigarette sales in many places could end in a decade and they've got a 'safer' product to replace them - MarketWatch
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 20:50
Published: July 11, 2020 at 3:23 p.m. ET The Marlboro maker wants to move cigarette smokers to its heated tobacco products in the years ahead Philip Morris executives are encouraging groups, including investors, to work with them to move smokers to cigarette alternatives Getty Images Philip Morris International Inc. thinks the sale of cigarettes could come to an end in countries around the world in the coming years, but have no fear, because they've got another product ready to sell that offers a ''safer'' nicotine fix.
Philip Morris PM, +4.02% and the Food and Drug Administration announced this week that the company's IQOS ''electrically heated tobacco system'' has been given the green light to market as a safer alternative to cigarettes.
Now designated as a ''modified risk'' product, the company can promote these items ''as containing a reduced level of or presenting a reduced exposure to a substance,'' according to the FDA statement.
Philip Morris, the company behind Marlboro cigarettes, describes these alternative products as heating rather than burning tobacco, which a cigarette does. Burning tobacco, which reaches 600 degrees Celsius, ''contains high levels of harmful chemicals,'' according to the company's website. The tobacco heating system (THS) heats tobacco to 350 degrees Celsius.
Read: After his latest firing, this cannabis entrepreneur raised $150 million, for a hemp venture -- during a pandemic
''However, THS is not risk-free and delivers nicotine which is addictive,'' the site says. Philip Morris has turned its focus to the IQOS product, with Philip Morris' Chief Operating Officer Jacek Olczak saying at the Deutsche Bank dbAccess Global Consumer Conference last month that the company is committed to ''working towards realizing [the] potential of this opportunity,'' according to a FactSet transcript.
The development comes at a time when Philip Morris is preparing for the end of cigarette sales.
''I am convinced that it is possible to completely end cigarette sales in many countries within 10 to 15 years, but for that to happen, manufacturers and governments need to work in the same direction,'' said Andr(C) Calantzopoulos, chief executive of Philip Morris, in a letter to stakeholders published with the company's report on its environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts.
Calantzopoulos notes the ''skeptical stakeholders'' like international organizations and the media that ''doubt that harm reduction through smoke-free alternatives is sound public health policy or argue that our purpose-driven strategy is nothing more than window dressing.''
He highlights other areas where advice to reduce a hazardous activity is accepted, such as lowering sugar intake for better health.
''I feel strongly that people who smoke cigarettes, the most harmful nicotine-containing product, should not be denied the opportunity to switch to better alternatives,'' Calantzopoulos wrote.
In 2019, Philip Morris sold 706.7 billion cigarettes, down 4.5% from 2018, according to a June CFRA report. Over the next few years, CFRA forecasts that cigarette consumption will fall 3% each year.
Shipments of heated tobacco products, on the other hand, soared 44.2% to 59.7 billion units in 2019.
Watch:How to keep emotions out of your portfolio with systematic investing
There had been discussions about merging Philip Morris and Altria Group Inc. MO, +4.32% , however those talks ended without a deal. This is a good thing for Philip Morris ''given heightened regulatory and legal headwinds surrounding e-cigarettes in the U.S., as Philip Morris' IQOS product underwent a lengthy FDA review process before getting the green light for sale in the U.S. in April 2019,'' CFRA said.
CFRA rates Philip Morris stock buy with a 12-month price target of $95.
''Despite declining cigarette consumption in developed markets, we look for pricing gains and growth in emerging markets to support revenues,'' CFRA said. ''We think the launch of Philip Morris' heated tobacco product, IQOS, will lead to market share gains and help offset cigarette volume weakness.''
The company reported earnings and revenue that beat expectations in the most recent quarter. The stock is down 15.1% for the year to date while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.43% has fallen 9.3% for the period.
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While the cigarette business was hurt by restrictions imposed by coronavirus-related lockdowns and plummeting duty-free demand at global travel hubs, Olczak said on the April earnings call that device and heated tobacco sales were showing the potential to regain pre-COVID momentum.
Philip Morris' goal now is to move into a ''smoke-free future,'' said Huub Savelkouls, the company's chief sustainability officer, in a post on LinkedIn. Philip Morris has cut its cigarette portfolio by more than 700 SKUs (stock-keeping units) over the last four years and aims to move 40 million smokers of its cigarettes over to smoke-free products.
Savelkouls says engagement, including between the company and the investment community, is needed to achieve change.
''Making cigarettes obsolete can be achieved much more rapidly through inclusivity and openness,'' Savelkouls wrote. ''Our goals are really not that different and that is where the potential for creating impactful change lies: working together towards making the world smoke-free.''
Obamagate
'It can't come close to happening again': Biden tells Poroshenko in alleged 2016 call on Ukrainian sabotage operations in Crimea '-- RT World News
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:31
Petro Poroshenko acknowledged that Ukraine carried out a sabotage operation in Crimea but promised it would never happen again, in what appears to be a 2016 phone call with the then-US Vice President Joe Biden.
Released by Ukrainian MP Andrii Derkach, the recording, allegedly from August 19, 2016, begins with 'Biden' expressing frustration over ''Ukrainian intelligence operations'' which occurred earlier that month in Crimea.
Derkach previously disclosed a batch of audio recordings of what sounded like Biden and Poroshenko discussing a range of topics. The leaked tapes have been interpreted by some as proof of corruption.
In the new recording, the alleged Biden reminds the alleged Poroshenko that the United States had previously disapproved of a Ukrainian plan to ''sabotage military targets inside Russian territory.''
He then chides Poroshenko, stressing that ''military and sabotage operations'' should not be used against Moscow.
''Every time the CIA screws up in the United States, it's the president's responsibility. Period,'' Biden says.
''I fully understand that Joe,'' replies Poroshenko, adding that he has ordered a ''very thorough investigation'' into the matter. The Ukrainian president then insinuates that the ''operation'' had not been carried out with his approval or knowledge.
Also on rt.com Hunter's millions: Ukrainian MP reveals new 'Biden-Poroshenko' tapes, claims VP's son was paid 'protection money' by Burisma The Ukrainian leader goes on to say that he wanted to force out Valery Kondratyuk, then the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (HUR MOU), but that his removal would be too suspicious.
''Anybody could interpret that as a recognizing of any responsibility,'' Poroshenko said in broken English.
Later in the conversation, Biden takes issue with Poroshenko's assertion that his administration has acted responsibly and transparently.
''Whether you knew they were going forward in Crimea or not, and I believe you said you didn't know, okay I believe it, but we had no idea what you were about to do. It wasn't fully transparent and it causes a gigantic problem,'' he told the Ukrainian leader.
Biden then laments that ''it's a whole lot more difficult now for me to make my case for you in this country, and I don't want to sugarcoat it,'' adding that whatever happened in Crimea, ''it cannot come close to happening again.''
Also on rt.com Russian FSB foils terrorist attacks plotted by Ukrainian intel agents in Crimea ''I guarantee you that this is not happening again,'' Poroshenko pledges. ''Nothing like that. Not only this, but nothing like that.''
The US vice president closes the call by telling Poroshenko that he hopes that his ''intelligence services figured out that any provocation like the one that occurred'' would only serve as a ''pretext'' for Russia to retaliate against Ukraine.
The pair were likely discussing a foiled attack in Armyansk in northern Crimea between August 6-8, 2016. On August 10, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) announced that it had prevented terrorist attacks in Crimea that were planned by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's intelligence agency. The FSB claimed that the HUR MOU was preparing to target the Russian peninsula's critical infrastructure. An operation to apprehend the saboteurs resulted in several firefights, which resulted in one FSB agent and one Russian soldier being killed. Several members of the Ukrainian cell were captured and later confessed, according to the Russian agency.
Responding to the incident, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Kiev of ''practicing terror.''
Poroshenko had vigorously denied any involvement, describing Russia's description of the events as ''senseless and cynical.''
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Ukraine crisis: What's going on in Crimea? - BBC News
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:29
Image copyright AP Image caption Ukraine has placed its army on combat alert close to the de facto border with Crimea Tensions between Ukraine and Russia have escalated again, more than two years after Russia's annexation of Crimea.
Russia has accused Ukraine of trying to stage armed incursions in the southern peninsula, but Ukraine denies that and says Russia has massed tens of thousands of soldiers there.
In eastern Ukraine, sporadic clashes continue in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk, where pro-Russian rebels face Ukrainian government troops.
What sparked the latest crisis? Russia says that a group of Ukrainian saboteurs entered Crimea on 7 August with the aim of carrying out "acts of terrorism" ahead of parliamentary elections next month. Two Russians - a soldier and a federal security agent - were killed in two nights of clashes and explosives recovered, the foreign ministry says.
Ukraine's president says the claims are preposterous. There have been credible reports of gunfire at the border on one night, although one Kiev official blamed the incident on drunken Russian forces.
Image copyright AP Image caption Russia's FSB security service said it had recovered explosives and ammunition from the "saboteurs" Russian state TV has produced video of a former volunteer fighter named Yevhen Panov apparently confessing to the sabotage. In the video he was handcuffed and had a recent cut above his right eye. His family say he was abducted.
Ukrainian officials believe that Russia is creating a pretext for something far more serious.
Could they be on the brink of war?It seems unlikely, however the signs are worrying.
There are fears, especially in Ukraine, that Russia has built up its forces in Crimea for an August offensive, while the West's eyes are turned towards the Rio Olympics. It happened before, during the Beijing Games of 2008, when Russian troops entered Georgia.
Russia is holding big military exercises in Crimea this month and said on Friday that it had deployed S-400 air defence missiles there.
Ukraine has responded by raising its alert to red on the de facto border with Crimea, as well as near the front line in the east, where there is a fragile ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and the rebels.
Ukrainian and Russia media assess flare-up
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption President Putin (C) has met President Poroshenko (right) several times during "Normandy format" talks Could Russia benefit from renewed conflict? Image copyright BBbc Some analysts believe President Vladimir Putin is looking to create a military diversion from Russia's faltering economy and imminent parliamentary elections, even though the main opposition forces are barred from contesting them.
Perhaps Russia is planning to seize a land corridor via Mariupol, it has been argued. A 19km (12-mile) bridge from southern Russia to Crimea, being built across the Kerch Strait, is at least two years from completion and the peninsula relies on Ukraine for its power supply.
Few expect such a dramatic escalation, however. Others suggest Mr Putin's main aim was to tear up the fragile Minsk agreement that keeps the tentative truce in eastern Ukraine from falling apart.
Already, Mr Putin has written off a key meeting on the Minsk deal planned for next month in Beijing with Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and the leaders of France and Germany - the so-called "Normandy format" talks.
And what about Ukraine?On 24 August Ukrainians celebrate their 25th year of independence.
Russia argues that the Kiev government is trying to divert attention from Ukraine's very real economic and political problems by stirring up unrest in Crimea.
Russia seized the peninsula from Ukraine after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was deposed in Kiev in February 2014, and the loss of Crimea is a deep wound for Ukrainians.
Ukrainians, on the other hand, argue that Russia is trying to ruin the 25th anniversary party.
So why did Russia annex Crimea in the first place?Ostensibly, President Putin took control of the Ukrainian peninsula to protect ethnic Russians from the far-right extremists whom Russia said had overthrown President Yanukovych. Even now he sees Ukraine's leaders as illegitimate, referring to them as "the people who seized power in Kiev".
In a 2015 documentary he said he took the decision on 23 February, at the end of an overnight emergency meeting, hours after the Ukrainian leader had fled Kiev.
"We finished about seven in the morning," he said. "When we were parting, I told all my colleagues, 'We are forced to begin the work to bring Crimea back into Russia'."
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption "Little green men" appeared in Crimea before the disputed March 2014 referendum Putin admits Crimea takeover plot
Little green men or Russian invaders?
But Russia did not at first admit its involvement. "Little green men" in unmarked uniforms suddenly appeared and took control and then a disputed local referendum sealed the deal.
For most Russians Crimea is a historic part of their country anyway. It has an ethnic Russian majority but was transferred to Ukraine in 1954 by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
After Ukraine's independence in 1991 Russia kept control of the Sevastopol naval base in Crimea, home of the Black Sea Fleet. Russia also agreed with the UK and US, under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, to respect Ukraine's borders and not threaten it with force, in return for Ukraine transferring its Soviet-era nuclear arms to Russian territory.
Why was President Yanukovych deposed? Image copyright AFP Image caption For months protesters demanded President Viktor Yanukovych's resignation Protests broke out in Ukraine's capital after President Yanukovych's government rejected a far-reaching accord with the European Union in November 2013 in favour of stronger ties with Russia.
Thousands of people, outraged that a long-standing aspiration for integration with Europe had been ditched overnight, poured into central Kiev for peaceful protests.
For months they occupied Independence Square, known as Maidan, and the demonstrations spread, with many Ukrainians arguing the president was serving the interests of his own close circle and Moscow rather than their country.
Unloved president, radicalised country
Ukraine crisis timeline
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Gabriel Gatehouse witnessed the clashes up closeBut the protests became violent in January, and on 18 February 2014 and by 20 February 88 people had been killed in 48 hours. Video showed police snipers targeting protesters.
The next day President Yanukovych appeared to have salvaged a deal with opposition leaders after talks with three EU foreign ministers in Kiev.
But hours later he fled, his armed guard melted away and parliament later voted to remove him from power.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Independence Square resembled a battlefield after the 20 February clashes Ukraine's turbulent transitionThe euphoria felt by supporters of the revolution soon turned to crisis as Crimea was annexed by Russia and pro-Russian protests broke out in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv.
While Ukrainian authorities established control of Kharkiv, near the eastern border with Russia, events spiralled out of control in Luhansk and Donetsk, and in mid-April the Kiev authorities declared an anti-terrorist operation against the separatists.
The rebels held their own pseudo-referendums and declared independence in both regions.
Russia was accused of stirring the conflict by sending its own forces and military hardware to bolster the separatists, but it always denied the allegations, insisting that any Russians fighting there were "volunteers".
It has fiercely denied that a Russian Buk missile launcher shot down a Malaysian Airlines flight on 17 July 2014 with 298 people on board.
The EU and US imposed sanctions on Russia after the Crimea annexation, and repeatedly ratcheted them up as fighting in eastern Ukraine escalated.
So when did the fighting stop?It never really has.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Drone footage shows the war-torn remains of Donetsk's airportThe first attempt at a ceasefire was signed in Minsk in September 2014 and never took hold, with the conflict symbolised by the long-running battle for Donetsk airport.
What became known as Minsk Two was then signed in February 2015 with a commitment to remove heavy weapons.
The battle for Donetsk airport
The ceasefire only began to take hold in reality in September 2015. While there has been some semblance of peace in the area, there are regular clashes and reports of civilian casualties.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Tom Burridge on the front line of the Ukraine conflict in MayEight civilians were killed and 65 wounded in July 2016, according to UN figures, the highest for a year. The suburbs of Donetsk, recently a thriving modern city, still come under shellfire.
Since April 2014, 9,553 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine, including 2,000 civilians. Another 22,137 have been wounded and 1.1 million others externally displaced.
Directed Energy Weapons
Havana syndrome | EurekAlert! Science News
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 11:57
Dozens of embassy staff reported an array of complaints that have baffled the medical community, the most prominent being concussion-like symptoms without head trauma. U.S. Government physicians have promoted the theory that the diplomats and their families were the victims of a sonic attack. Studies of the embassy patients have been inconclusive. In their book Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria, the authors Robert W. Baloh and Robert E. Bartholomew observe that the outbreak is notably similar to the appearance of 'shell shock' and other combat syndromes. The two medical experts conclude that neurological complaints from an overstimulated nervous system have been misdiagnosed as concussions and brain damage when the real cause is stress.
The book is a case study in how inadequate, deliberately false or misleading information can lead to real physical suffering, and in the case of the Havana illnesses, can have global political consequences. The authors observe that a signature feature of shell shock was concussion-like symptoms, which, like today, initially baffled physicians until a more careful review of the evidence revealed that they were seeing an outbreak of psychogenic illness. Remarkably, some of the descriptions from 100 years ago are virtually identical to those of today, including the use of the phrase 'concussion-like symptoms.' Recordings of the 'sonic attacks' have now been identified as the mating calls of crickets and cicadas.
Havana Syndrome reflects "an extraordinary tale of international intrigue, flawed science, political ineptitude, and the mating habits of two most unlikely suspects: crickets and cicadas", state the authors. They describe different types of psychogenic illnesses from the 18th-century belief that listening to certain musical instruments made people ill, to telephone sickness and Wind Turbine Syndrome as they analyse mass hysteria through the ages. Throughout its 11 chapters, the book illustrates how government and journalistic institutions have failed and thereby highlights not just the power of individuals, but the responsibility of the media.
This book is an important reference for professionals in journalism, political professions and medical personnel. It also addresses a lay audience who seeks to gain an insight into the reality of how today's mass media work. Ultimately, it is an excellent source for anyone interested in ways how to digest and evaluate information critically.
About the authors
Robert W. Baloh, MD is a distinguished professor of Neurology and Head and Neck Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. Author of 11 books and over 300 articles in peer-reviewed science journals, he is a pioneer in the study of the vestibular system: the part of the inner ear which helps people to maintain their sense of balance and spatial awareness. He has developed tests of vestibular function that are used by inner ear specialists around the world.
Robert E. Bartholomew, PhD is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland. He completed a doctorate in Medical Sociology from James Cook University in Australia and his Master's in Sociology from the State University of New York at Albany. He has published in over 60 peer-reviewed journals, has been featured in a National Geographic series on modern myths and has appeared on The History and Discovery Channels. A Fellow with the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York, he teaches History at Botany College in Auckland.
###
Baloh, Robert W., Bartholomew, Robert E.
Havana Syndrome 2020, 210 p.Softcover 27,99 '‚¬ | £24.99 | $18.99ISBN 978-3-030-40745-2eISBN 978-3-030-40746-9
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
War on Cash
U.S. Moves Closer To Digital Dollar
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 12:33
On June 30th, 2020, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on the future of the digital dollar. The pressures to create a digital USD are mounting as China recently began testing its own digital currency - the DCEP, which will be included in popular applications like WeChat and AliPay. Of particular concern is widespread adoption of a digital yuan in emerging markets and in international trade.
TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA - 2018/12/12: In God We Trust. Macro of a US dollar lettering in the back ... [+] of a bank note. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LightRocket via Getty ImagesThe idea of a dollar-backed digital currency gained mainstream media attention last year during the Libra congress hearings, where Facebook introduced a new type of digital unit backed by a basket of currencies and commodities.
Although David Marcus insisted that Libra users will not have to put their trust in Facebook and that Libra was a decentralized currency, regulators weren't buying it and expressed concern over the long-term threat to the traditional financial system. On July 9, 2019, regulators requested a moratorium on the project.
In December, Libra released a new roadmap, proposing several digital-fiat currencies deriving their values from the USD, British Pound, Swiss Franc and others, thus creating an efficiency layer on top of the current financial system. Users would be able to access these digital currencies through a wallet installed on their phone, and potentially through WhatsApp chat and Facebook Messenger.
Distribution issues of the $1200 COVID stimulus checks, created new momentum for the digital dollar (and a more efficient financial distribution machine). It is no secret that many are still waiting for their stimulus checks, while $1.4 billion in stimulus was sent to dead people.
Most recently, Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) introduced a new stimulus proposal of $2,000 per month to residents through the Automatic BOOST to Communities Act (ABC Act). Under the ABC Act, Congress would authorize the Federal Reserve to create ''FedAccounts,'' or ''Digital Dollar Account Wallets,'' which would allow U.S. residents and business to access financial services through an app on their phone.
Building on this momentum, the Senate Banking Committee continued the discussion of the digital dollar yesterday.
Some highlights from the hearing include:
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) stated, ''The U.S. needs a digital dollar...The U.S. dollar has to keep earning that place in the global payments system. It has to be better than bitcoin '... it has to be better than a digital yuan.'' Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) expressed concerns of regulator oversight for stable-coins. Charles Cascarilla of Paxos testified advocating for stable-coins, stating that they address the ''antiquated plumbing'' of our financial system as well as financial inclusion. ''Blockchain based stable-coins allow everyone access''. Nakita Cuttino, visiting assistant professor of law at Duke University, discussed the friction in the current payday cycle and the rising demand for costly advanced-payment apps which could be resolved with digital currencies. ''In the absence of public policy addressing open access payments and real-time payments, low-income and moderate-income Americans will continue to have limited resources needed, whether by traditional fringe services like payday loans or some novel fringe service.'' Former CFTC Chairman Chris Giancarlo and head of the Digital Dollar Project, emphasized the ''social and national'' benefits such as increased speed, lower costs and issues of financial inclusion. ''Darwin said the most adaptable survive. And I think that is true when we transition to a new architecture. To adapt to it, will help bring benefits to the society at large.'' It is unclear how soon the digital dollar will come into existence, although increasing competition from China may be the push U.S. regulators needed.
Clips
VIDEO-Trust Index: Do hospitals get more money from Medicare for COVID-19 patients?
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 12:28
Sign up for our NewslettersLatest NewsHOUSTON '' You've probably seen the headlines making the social media rounds. Claims that ''hospitals get paid more to treat COVID-19 patients'' and ''is medicare paying hospitals $13,000 for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and $39,000 for those on ventilators?''
In a recent post to the KPRC 2 Facebook page, a woman claimed discharge papers showed her mom had COVID-19 when she ''absolutely did not have it,'' and her husband told her hospitals get $30,000 per patient.
She's not alone in asking Channel 2 Investigates about this, so we decided to put two claims through our Trust Index.
Is Medicare paying hospitals more for COVID-19 patients? Here's how Medicare, which is funded through your tax dollars, works.
When patients are discharged, hospitals assign them a code on their diagnosis and treatment, and Medicare pays hospitals a set amount based on that code. But when Congress drew up the CARES Act, it created a 20% ''add on'' for treatment of COVID-19 patients.
''The key component of it was an additional reimbursement for patients who had COVID to offset the revenue the would've made for their typical procedures,'' explained hospital billing expert Shawn Fry. ''Depending on the severity of the patient, you could make double, or even four or five times as much on that COVID patient.''
Politifact looked at an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation which found the average Medicare payment for a less severe COVID-19 hospitalization was just over $13,000, and for a hospitalization requiring a ventilator it was just over $40,000. This includes the 20% ''add on'' through the CARES Act. That increases the hospital's standard payment for similar treatment of non-COVID patients.
We rate the claim that hospitals make more money from COVID-19 patients as true.
Are hospitals falsely tagging patients with COVID-19 to make money?''It is a possibility, any time you're dealing with billing and coding, there is a possibility for error,'' said Jennifer Salazar with the Better Business Bureau's Texas Senior Medicare Patrol. She advises that patients be proactive in tracking their diagnoses and treatments.
''When you got to the hospital or you see your doctor, write it down, write down what you've had done,'' Salazar said.
And always review your discharge papers.
''If you see anything that looks suspicious or incorrect, if your not sure about, call us at the Texas Senior Medicare Patrol,'' she said.
But there's no hard evidence that hospitals are fraudulently identifying patients as ''COVID positive''.
''To my knowledge, and I've talked to several different hospitals, no doctor has ever been incentivized to add the COVID-19 diagnosis to any patient's file,'' Fry said.
There are protocols in place to prevent that, including frequent audits, and harsh penalties for those who are caught doing it.
We rate the claim that hospitals are falsely tagging patients with COVID-19 to make money as false.
Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.
VIDEO-Bill Nye the Science Guy is Back with 'Wear A Mask' Awareness on Coronavirus - YouTube
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 12:20
VIDEO-Social Distancing and Lockdown is Bogus WHO Says Asymptomatic Are Not Infectious (Banned by YouTube)
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 12:14
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First published at 12:17 UTC on July 5th, 2020.
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VIDEO - A liberal society??? - YouTube
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 12:07
VIDEO: Chinese Communist Party Opens Dams Releases 'Flood Accelerator' on Wuhan - DJHJ Media
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 11:56
China is under siege of the Chinese Communist Party, who has released a number of dams simultaneously causing dangerous flooding and which threatens to destroy the level 4 bio lab in Wuhan that is suspected to be home of the worldwide pandemic over virus concerns and leading the Chinese people to question the Party's loss of authority and loss of the Mandate from Heaven.
''Within several months, Wuhan experienced Chinese virus outbreak and flood due to releasing water from three gorgeous dam by CCP. CCP is a trouble maker, not only caused global pandemic by Chinese virus but also damaged cities by flood,'' Jennifer Zeng, a Chinese Journalist wrote.
#Wuhan. æ­...汉æ­...æŒèŽæ"‰¼Œä'å(C)华都 pic.twitter.com/44nyH8kLEq
'-- Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferatntd) July 5, 2020
The Mandate from Heaven is an ancient philosophy being discussed today because it teaches that the Communist Party are the rightful rulers over the people, especially as they had gained the land through conquest, and violent death.
Many freedom fighters in Hong Kong, where there have been violent uprisings over the past year, believe that the mayhem by the party is a signal that the Communists have lost the authority to rule, they have lost the Mandate from Heaven.
#Emperor of the #Middle #Kimgdom with a #Mandate from #Heaven https://t.co/nXElEtynYD
'-- Dr Arvind Virmani (@dravirmani) July 3, 2020
This is especially noteworthy because at a time when Whistleblowers are coming forward to expose the deadly deeds of the Communist Party, who are accused of lying and corrupt behavior surrounding the CCP virus, the countryside is filled with other deadly events.
In this video, a reporter for China In Focus talks about a ''social injustice incident'' where a Bus driver is seen deliberately driving passengers to a watery grave, in a reservoir. 21 people died in a stunt that appears to be revenge for the Communist party destroying his home and neighborhood.
''Suspicion rose online about the accident, in social media posts claiming that the local government destroyed his home, a common occurrence when the government decides to use the land for new projects,'' the reporter said.
Full Video:
A long time tactic of the Chinese Communist Party is to control the Chinese people by dominating their religious pursuits, demanding allegiance to the Communist Party over their own spiritual exploration by destroying their churches.
At the time of the release of the dams, the Communist Party was also demolishing Christian Churches and repurposing other churches for use by the party.
#Chinese officials have plenty to keep them busy. But that's not stopping their persecution of people's #faith.
They have #demolished several #churches. One of them, was converted into a ''Party Members' Activity Center.''
FULL VIDEO👉https://t.co/lQ19fBInzd pic.twitter.com/1MwopAjoiV
'-- China in Focus '' NTD (@ChinaInFocusNTD) July 9, 2020
Destroying what they can not control, and what can cause embarrassment to the Communist Party is, indeed, a pattern of behavior for the Communist Party.
Oddly at the same time, In Northern and Central China, in the most important agriculture centers for the country is having a locust problem where they are eating crops, causing increased fears over food supplies.
#Locusts have emerged, decimating crops in #China's Guangxi province, one of the country's most important regions for agriculture.
State-run media said 16 acres of farmland were affected, but locals say the area is far-larger than 16 acres.
Full video 👉https://t.co/AighF98xJ9 pic.twitter.com/jmPDNxvBV7
'-- China in Focus '' NTD (@ChinaInFocusNTD) July 4, 2020
HAPPY STORY
The Communist Party, however, is focused on happiness and optimism in the storm, and released a video of Farmers Dancing in the Floods.
#ChinaStory This village couple's "rural-style shuffle dance" goes viral online. They often dance happily in the fields after busy farming day. What a lively and optimistic couple! pic.twitter.com/zDa0Z7p11v
'-- China Daily (@ChinaDaily) July 9, 2020
Kari is an ex-Community Organizer who writes about Voter Engagement, Cultural Marxism and Campaigns. She has been a grassroots volunteer with the GOP, on and off for 18 years. She is a Homeschool Mom in North Carolina and loves Photojournalism and Citizen Journalism.
VIDEO - Bill Gates warns coronavirus vaccine shouldn't go to highest bidder
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 11:55
Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Saturday said that Covid-19 medication and future vaccines should be distributed to people who need them the most and not to "the highest bidder."
"If we just let drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidder, instead of to the people and the places where they are most needed, we'll have a longer, more unjust deadlier pandemic," Gates, a billionaire philanthropist, said during a remote Covid-19 conference hosted by the International AIDS Society.
"We need leaders to make these hard decisions about distributing based on equity, not just on market-driven factors," he added.
As countries and companies race to bring a vaccine to the market, concerns have risen about wealthier nations receiving more drugs than developing countries. There have been calls for future coronavirus vaccines to be treated as public goods for everyone, without profit.
The World Health Organization said that 21 candidate vaccines are currently in clinical trials being tested on human volunteers, three of which are in the third phase of those trials.
U.S. biotech firm Moderna, U.K. pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and China's Sinovac Biotech have made the most progress towards developing vaccine candidates for the coronavirus. However, Moderna, which is working with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, recently said that its late-stage trial for a vaccine will be delayed, possibly by a few weeks.
A potential vaccine being developed by the drug giant Pfizer and the biotech firm BioNTech has garnered immune responses in healthy patients, but also caused fever and other side effects.
Gates said a main takeaway from the battle against HIV/AIDS two decades ago is the significance of creating a fair global distribution system to make drugs available for everyone. He said the AIDS crisis serves as a model in making Covid-19 drugs more equally and widely available, pointing to the 2002 Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria as an example.
"Global cooperation, a resolve to invent the tools and get them out where they're needed most is critical," Gates said. "When we have those things, nations, institutions and advocates working together on this collective response, we do see remarkable impact."
VIDEO - Lt.Gov Dan Patrick Says BLM Is A Communist Organization Bent On Turning Kids Against Their Parents - YouTube
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 10:53
VIDEO - Stairway To Gilligan's Island - Led Zeppelin - Classic TV theme - YouTube
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 10:47
VIDEO - Coronavirus update: Crossroads Hotel patrons between 3 and 10 July told to self-isolate | ABC News - YouTube
Sun, 12 Jul 2020 10:34
VIDEO-MASKS EXPOSED - (short version) - YouTube
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 23:23
VIDEO-Coronavirus : La rentr(C)e ne sera pas normale>>, avertit le pr(C)sident du Conseil scientifique
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 23:05
La rentr(C)e ne sera pas normale>>, a pr(C)venu jeudi soir le pr(C)sident du Conseil scientifique, Jean-Fran§ois Delfraissy, alors que la France enregistre une forte hausse des appels SOS M(C)decins pour suspicion de Covid-19. La rentr(C)e va ªtre aussi normale que possible mais pas tout fait normale. On sera encore dans cette ambiance de Covid>>, a-t-il d(C)clar(C) au micro de BFMTV. Selon le m(C)decin, 500 nouveaux cas de coronavirus sont diagnostiqu(C)s par jour en France, probablement la moiti(C) de la r(C)alit(C)>>, a-t-il assur(C), (C)voquant un manque de tests.
Les mesures de distanciation sociale et les mesures barri¨res sont en train de s'(C)vanouir>>, a (C)galement d(C)plor(C) l'expert. Mais les Fran§ais ne voudront pas revivre>> un confinement g(C)n(C)ralis(C), a-t-il estim(C). Faisons attention qu'il n'y ait pas un retour du virus d¨s les mois d'(C)t(C)>>, a mis en garde le scientifique, tout en affirmant que d(C)sormais la France est capable de d(C)pister les clusters>>, les isoler et tracer les cas contacts. Notre avenir est dans nos mains. Nous sommes nos propres m(C)decins. Plus on prendra les mesures de distanciation, plus la rentr(C)e sera normale>>, a-t-il martel(C).
Interrog(C) sur la possibilit(C) d'une nouvelle fermeture des fronti¨res, l'immunologue a certifi(C) que la question est sur la table>>. Elle se pose>>, a-t-il ajout(C), proposant de d(C)pister les binationaux leur arriv(C)e ou leur d(C)part du territoire fran§ais.
Abordant la probl(C)matique de la Mayenne, o¹ plusieurs clusters ont (C)t(C) d(C)tect(C)s, Jean-Fran§ois Delfraissy a dit approuver la strat(C)gie des 300.000 tests pr(C)vus dans la zone. Mais, il faut voir comment elle va ªtre accept(C)e par la population, car elle ne sera pas obligatoire>>, a-t-il temp(C)r(C).
voir aussi - Nous ne pouvons pas vaincre cette pand(C)mie en tant que monde divis(C)>>, pr(C)vient l'OMS
VIDEO - Hagia Sophia: Turkey's Erdogan orders the conversion of museum back into a mosque - CNN
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:42
(CNN)Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the conversion of the city's historic Hagia Sophia back into a mosque after a court annulled a 1934 presidential decree that made it a museum.
Shortly after Turkey's top administrative court released its long-anticipated decision, Erdogan issued a presidential decree transferring the management of the site from the Ministry of Culture to the Presidency of Religious Affairs, paving the way for its conversion. Erdogan has been a major proponent of the move.
The Turkish leader used a televised speech Friday to urge people to respect the decision.
The Hagia Sophia will open for Friday prayers on July 24, Erdogan said.
"Since its status as a museum is changed, we are canceling the entrance fees," he said.
"Like all our mosques, its doors will be open to everyone -- Muslim or non- Muslim. As the world's common heritage, Hagia Sophia with its new status will keep on embracing everyone in a more sincere way."
"We will be treating every opinion voiced on the international stage with respect. But the way Hagia Sophia's will be used falls under Turkey's sovereign rights. We deem every move that goes beyond voicing an opinion a violation of our sovereignty," Erdogan said.
Ibrahim Kalin, Turkey's presidential spokesperson, told the country's Anadolu news agency that the building would always play a part in the world's heritage.
"Opening up Hagia Sophia to worship doesn't keep local or foreign tourists from visiting the site," Kalin said.
"So a loss from the world's heritage is not in question," he added.
Kalin said Turkey would preserve the Christian icons in the building.
Greece's culture minister decried the move earlier on Friday, calling it "an open provocation to the entire civilized world."
The Hagia Sophia was the Roman Empire's first
Christian cathedral and is among the best-known Byzantine structures in the world. It switched from a Greek Orthodox
cathedral to a mosque in
1453, when the Ottomans conquered Constantinople and renamed the city Istanbul.
The historic site then became a
museum in 1935 as part of a decree by modern Turkey's secularist founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The building is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Erdogan has positioned himself as a friend of conservative Islamists in Turkey, moving the country further from those secularist roots.
Ä°smail Kandemir, head of the Association for the Service of the Historical Foundations and the Environment, said after the hearing that "using Hagia Sophia as a museum hurts conscience of people," according to Turkish news agency Anadolu.
The association filed a lawsuit to the Council of State in 2005 calling for the site to return to being a mosque, but it was rejected in 2008, according to Anadolu.
It filed another lawsuit in 2016 saying freedom of religion had been violated but the Supreme Court rejected the case in 2018, Anadolu reported.
UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" Turkey's decision and that the choice was made without the organization receiving prior notification.
"Hagia Sophia is an architectural masterpiece and a unique testimony to interactions between Europe and Asia over the centuries. Its status as a museum reflects the universal nature of its heritage, and makes it a powerful symbol for dialogue," said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.
UNESCO member states are obligated to ensure that any modifications to sites on the World Heritage List do not affect their outstanding value, according to the organization.
"It is important to avoid any implementing measure, without prior discussion with UNESCO, that would affect physical access to the site, the structure of the buildings, the site's moveable property, or the site's management," said Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO's assistant director-general for culture.
Erdogan has expressed annoyance at international opposition to the plan, led by neighbor Greece. "They say 'don't convert Aya Sofya into a mosque,'" he said in an interview with state broadcaster TRT on July 5. "Are you ruling Turkey or us? Turkey has institutions. If that step [is] to be taken It is obvious who has authority to do that."
Many analysts say Erdogan's move could be intended to consolidate his voters as the country deals with a shrinking economy and rising unemployment. Turkish-Greek relations are also tense due to geopolitical tensions in the
Eastern Mediterranean, including the long-running dispute over Cyprus and around migrants crossing the
border between the countries
.In a
statement released Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Turkey to maintain the UNESCO World Heritage Site "as an exemplar of its commitment to respect the faith traditions and diverse history that contributed to the Republic of Turkey, and to ensure it remains accessible to all."
He said the site's museum status had enabled people from all over the world to see a "magnificent achievement."
"This extraordinary'¯site'¯is a testament to religious expression and to artistic and technical genius, reflected in its rich and complex 1,500-year history," he said.
"The United States views a change in the status of the Hagia Sophia as diminishing the legacy of this remarkable building and its unsurpassed ability -- so rare in the modern world -- to serve humanity as a much-needed bridge between those of differing faith traditions and cultures."
A spokesman for Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was "astonished" by Pompeo's statement.
Hami Aksoy said that Turkey guaranteed "freedom of religion and belief" for its citizens and protected "all cultural properties that we own without any distinction, including Hagia Sophia, within the framework of the tradition of tolerance stemming from our culture and history."
"Turkey has been delicately cherishing the historical, cultural and spiritual value of Hagia Sophia since its conquest," he said.
"On this occasion, we remind once again a reality that we have to repeat constantly. The Hagia Sophia is the property of Turkey, like all our cultural assets located on our land.
"Every kind of power disposition regarding Hagia Sophia is also an issue concerning our internal affairs within Turkey's sovereignty rights.
"Naturally, everyone is free to express their own opinion. However, it oversteps the mark to talk about our sovereignty rights using a language of 'warning and imposition.'"
VIDEO - Eminem disses Drew Brees, COVID-19 deniers in explosive new song
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:40
Eminem is back with plenty to say, as usual.
On Friday, the controversial rapper released a new collaboration with Kid Cudi, "The Adventures of Moon Man and Slim Shady," featuring plenty of topical lyrics ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to Black Lives Matter.
"That's New Orleans (what?) / f--- Drew Brees," Eminem raps at the start of his verse, referencing the New Orleans Saints quarterback who drew backlash for suggesting that NFL players shouldn't kneel in protest of racial injustice.
He then goes in on COVID-19, specifically calling out people who choose not to wear masks to help slow the spread of the virus and thereby endanger others.
"Don't wanna wear a mask and they're just scoffing," he raps. "And that's how you end up catching the s--- off 'em / I just used the same basket as you shopping / Now I'm in a f------' casket from you coughin'."
Eminem ends his verse by offering up "prayers" for George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, two unarmed black men whose deaths sparked nationwide protests over police brutality.
"How the f--- is it that so many cops are dirty? (huh?)" he says. "Stop, man, please, officer, I'm sorry / But I can't breathe when I got you on top of me / Your g------ knee's on my carotid artery."
The "Lose Yourself" artist debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in January with his 11th album "Music to Be Murdered By." He also celebrated the 20th anniversary of his seminal album, "Marshall Mathers LP," in May.
VIDEO - New facts of international corruption and external governance of Ukraine - YouTube
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:34
VIDEO - АудіозаÐис Ñозмови Ð--жо Байдена та ПетÑа ПоÑоÑенко від 19 сеÑÐня 2016 Ñоку - YouTube
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:27
VIDEO - Apple warns webcam covers cause damage - YouTube
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:25
VIDEO - (51) MSNBC on Twitter: "Phoenix Mayor Gallego says Maricopa Co. has requested refrigerated trucks because one health system in the region has run out of morgue beds. https://t.co/uCeHfzjjLk" / Twitter
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:17
MSNBC : Phoenix Mayor Gallego says Maricopa Co. has requested refrigerated trucks because one health system in the region h'... https://t.co/asH279LoTz
Fri Jul 10 18:04:03 +0000 2020
VIDEO - Phoenix Mayor: Maricopa County Medical Examiner at 96% capacity, adding refrigerated trucks
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:14
PHOENIX '-- Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego says one Abrazo location is nearing capacity in its morgue and may be requesting refrigerated trucks. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's office is also reportedly near capacity.
ABC15 spoke with Mayor Gallego Friday morning when she said the Abrazo location, which was not identified, is "near capacity" in their morgue space and they are looking at options to prevent problems.
''It's specific just to one area'...this is not a statewide problem,'' Mayor Gallego said. "Maricopa County... is looking at everything they can do..."
FULL COVERAGE: Coronavirus cases surge across Arizona
"We are losing too many Arizonans," Mayor Gallego said. She continued to urge Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to require mask usage throughout the state.
Mayor Gallego's office released an additional statement Friday, detailing information from the city's meetings with the "Maricopa County Unified Command Center."
The command center team shared that the Maricopa Office of the Medical Examiner is at 96% capacity and is working to "secure a contract for refrigerator trucks."
Read the latest statement from Mayor Gallego's office below:
''The City of Phoenix participates in meetings with the Maricopa County Unified Command Center. It was reported this week that morgue space is nearing capacity in some cases here in Arizona. An Abrazo liaison reported their morgue is at capacity.
The command center has also reported that the Maricopa Office of the Medical Examiner is at 97% capacity and is working with the Maricopa Department of Emergency Management to secure a contract for refrigerator trucks. For further information contact Abrazo Health or the Maricopa Department of Emergency Management directly.''
"I'm heartbroken...it's been a rough week for me," Mayor Gallego said to ABC15, citing that the White House officials have said everything is under control and that she has been asking for too much support amid the fight against coronavirus.
When Mayor Gallego spoke with ABC15 Friday morning, she shared that an unknown Abrazo location is "near capacity," but officials from Abrazo's hospitals later released a statement, saying they have "adequate morgue space."
Subsequently, in the latest statement from Mayor Gallego's office, it is stated that "an Abrazo liaison reported their morgue is at capacity."
Abrazo officials confirmed that they have ordered refrigerated storage space as part of their emergency plans, but say it is not yet needed.
Read the full statement from the Abrazo hospital network below:
"Abrazo hospitals currently have adequate morgue space. The state has requested that hospitals implement their emergency plans. Part of activating our plan includes the ability to handle overflow morgue capacity if needed. Abrazo has taken a proactive approach by ordering refrigerated storage in the event it may be needed during a surge of COVID patients. At this point it is not needed. We do agree with the Mayor's points around promoting awareness around masking, continuing to practice social distancing and seeking medical care in the event of an emergency need."
Additionally, Mayor Gallego mentioned that Phoenix is hoping to receive federal testing support by July 16.
Copyright 2020 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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VIDEO - Harbingers of Fear: A Showcase of Historically Significant Warning Sirens - YouTube
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 21:54
VIDEO - Houston arrest video goes viral for all the good reasons | khou.com
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 21:36
A video of an HPD arrest has gone viral even being shared by musician, Timbaland. It shows officers asking onlookers to assist them in an arrest.
HOUSTON '-- It's a Houston Police Department arrest that's going viral for all the right reasons. It shows cops and the community working together. The video was taken July 6 outside a gas station on Fuqua Street in southeast Houston.
Ulerick Fields was the photographer, who was going to the businesses to buy some gum. His video shows panicked customers running out because of a disturbance in the store. One person is heard saying, ''He's got a knife! A butcher knife!"
Next, the video shows police arrive at the scene and go inside. Through the windows, the suspect can be seen struggling with police. The suspect is then tased. With the suspect on the ground, halfway out the door, police tried to handcuff him but were unsuccessful. One officer had his knee on the suspect's back.
''Don't get on his neck now,'' Fields said to the officer, who then explained his tactics.
''I'm on his back. I'm on his back. It's right here, all right?''
The officer then asked Fields and the other witnesses to assist them in the arrest. Fields told the suspect to calm down and not resist, while others freed his hands so the officers could put on the handcuffs. The suspect was eventually taken to a hospital for what appeared to be a mental episode and charges were never filed, according to HPD.
For Fields, the whole situation was personal.
''I used to be a career criminal and I used to be on 'that' side.''
Fields said that for 15 years he was involved with drugs, stealing and lying. But, since 2015, he's carried a crumpled piece of paper in his wallet, an acquittal from a jury. A day that changed his life.
''A jury of 12 people shook my hand and told me they see something in me.''
Now he tries to see the good in all on both sides of the law.
''I'm a man of God. I'm a man about right and wrong.''
Field's video has hundreds of thousands of views. On Thursday, musician Timbaland shared it on his Instagram page with the comment, ''They got it right this time'¼¸ ðŸðŸ½HPD.'' Snoop Dogg replied to the video with a blue heart.
At the end of Fields' video, you can hear him say to officers, ''I appreciate y'all, man. Letting us help y'all.''
Officers in turn respond with, ''Thanks, guys. Thanks.''
Fields said he's thankful for how the officer who asked for help responded to the incident.
''That's a good guy. He's a good officer,'' Fields said.
It's an arrest that has become an example of what working as one can do.
This is why I love Houston, TX! We may not be perfect, but @houstonpolice & HTX have relationship second to none.Thank you Lauren and all involved for showing what community is all about. We will be recognizing the officers and community members soon. #RelationalPolicing https://t.co/NbHak93W8N
'-- Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) July 10, 2020
VIDEO - Comedians CALL OUT PC/CANCEL CULTURE (Bill Burr, Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais) - YouTube
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 20:51
VIDEO - Going to National Parks Is Racist, Declares ABC News
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 20:49
In the six weeks since a multiracial group of Minnesota cops killed George Floyd, America has learned all sorts of things about what caused the crime. It wasn't just those cops' fault, you see. It wasn't just the responsibility of the city of Minneapolis or even the state of Minnesota. As it turns out, every white person in the world is responsible for Floyd's death. That's why we now need to tear down any statue of any historical figure who was Caucasian, even the guy who signed the Emancipation Proclamation. That's why any white person who voices a black character on a cartoon show needs to step aside now. That's why we need to expunge that episode of The Golden Girls where they wore mud masks and the dumb one said, ''We're not really black.'' All of those things are racist. All of those things made those cops kill that guy.
And we're just getting started. Everything that white people enjoy is racist, because they're white people. Even going to national parks is racist now, because most of the people who go to national parks are white.
Seriously.
As millions of Americans escape home quarantine to the great outdoors this summer, they'll venture into parks, campgrounds and forest lands that remain stubborn bastions of self-segregation.@devindwyer reports. https://t.co/Xzmouf4bwM pic.twitter.com/e8PckJcVqn
'-- ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) July 1, 2020
Did you get all that? It's racist to go to national parks, even though you're not keeping anybody else from going there. It's ''self-segregation,'' even though the parks are open to anyone who wants to go. And if you're a white person, it's your fault if people of color don't want to go to the parks, especially if you've never done anything to hurt anybody. None of the black people interviewed by ABC News can point to any specific instance of racism, which is what's so nefarious about white people. There's nothing more racist than not being a racist.
The message is clear: Mother Nature is a white supremacist.
But seriously, folks. Speaking as a white person '-- Sorry! '-- I have no interest whatsoever in going to a national park. I know they're there, and that's fine. If other people want to go there, fine. If other black or brown people want to go there, fine. And also'... it's fine if they don't! I really don't understand why anybody should care about the racial breakdown of national park attendees, or what will be solved if we somehow force non-white people to go to national parks. This is just some white journos who are expected to file a story about racism, even if there's no racism.
The authors. pic.twitter.com/3TxfOXzHT5
'-- I didn't vote for him, so think of a new retort (@jtLOL) July 2, 2020
''If white people are bad, and lots of white people go to national parks'... Hey, national parks are racist now!'' It's the opposite of journalism.
But let's say you're dumb enough to believe this crap. Can you really blame people of color for avoiding national parks? Not only would they see a bunch of white faces there, but some of those faces are 60 feet tall!
Mount Rushmore was built on land that belonged to the Lakota tribe and sculpted by a man who had strong bonds with the Ku Klux Klan. It features the faces of 2 U.S. presidents who were slaveholders.https://t.co/pHmJScnYbb
'-- The New York Times (@nytimes) July 1, 2020
Even just a month ago, if you had told me the libs would want to take down Mount Rushmore, I'd say you were imagining things. Now I'm just waiting for Congress to vote on it.
Mind you, I'm ambivalent about making statues and sculptures of any politician, even the relatively good ones. I've always been leery of such graven images. But I'm even more leery of any political movement that thinks the path to the future is somehow blocked by evidence of the past. That we can't move forward without trashing what's behind us. But then, there's no logic or reason to any of this. It's driven entirely by emotion. Crowd psychology has migrated online, and extremes of thought and behavior are rewarded more extremely.
Somebody tells you that Lincoln didn't really free the slaves? Well then, you need to one-up them and blurt out that Lincoln was an outright racist. Now tear down his statue or you're a racist! It's completely insane.
This is all going to have the opposite of the intended effect. Americans were already tired of being called racist for things we didn't do, and now there's no escaping it wherever we go. We're fed up.
Dear Libs: You aren't going to shame Americans into accepting collective responsibility for crimes they didn't commit. You're just going to alienate them, and they're not going to listen to you when there are real problems to solve.
I guess you want a Trump landslide in November, huh?
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VIDEO - Epstein Victim Maria Farmer Exposes jewish Supremacist Child Rape Gang
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 20:41
Maria Farmer is very open about the jewish nature of the child rape gang and how they view the lowly ''goyim,'' which is why the mainstream media wouldn't touch her story.
The following has excerpts from the interview. It was apparently compiled by A'...
Maria Farmer is very open about the jewish nature of the child rape gang and how they view the lowly ''goyim,'' which is why the mainstream media wouldn't touch her story.
The following has excerpts from the interview. It was apparently compiled by Adam Greenberg, who I do not endorse.
Link to Full JewTube version 👇https://youtu.be/MGtDj8drWvE
Learn More About The Jews Visit "Fuck The Jews" Website.https://fuckthejews.com
They Get Kicked Out Video (Must See)https://www.bitchute.com/video/d2VZ0vCN4x3e/
THE GEORGE COLLECTION.Episode 1.https://www.bitchute.com/video/YRDirOuI6NMV/Episode 2.
https://www.bitchute.com/video/cCT2fQyYIBpW/Episode 3.
https://www.bitchute.com/video/DH4pI8FDZH6d/Episode 4.
https://www.bitchute.com/video/r5yZVTFIG3fU/Episode 5.
https://www.bitchute.com/video/ntq5F2YmvNJl/Episode 6.
https://www.bitchute.com/video/B1bJ15pbuiVy/
Kalergi's Jewish Plan for European Genocide.http://www.renegadetribune.com/kalergis-jewish-plan-for-european-genocide/?doing_wp_cron=1559619722.4094820022583007812500
The Greater Israel Project.http://www.renegadetribune.com/the-refugee-crisis-and-the-creation-of-greater-israel/
Ovadia Yosef - ''Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world '' only to serve the People of Israel.''https://www.timesofisrael.com/5-of-ovadia-yosefs-most-controversial-quotations/
Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is Only One Example of Chosenite Supremacism and Hate.http://www.renegadetribune.com/chief-rabbi-ovadia-yosef-prima-facie-example-jewish-supremacism-hate/
Christopher Jon Bjerknes - Chosenite Racism.http://jewishracism.blogspot.co.uk
Angela Merkel and the Kalergi Plan.http://www.renegadetribune.com/angela-merkel-kalergi-plan-destruction-white-race/
The Racist and Supremacist Roots of the Ideology behind the European Union. http://balder.org/judea/Richard-Coudenhove-Kalergi-Practical-Idealism-Vienna-1925.php
Below is a long list of facts refuting the Greatest Lie Ever Told:https://holocaustdeprogrammingcourse.com/
Justice For Germans.https://justice4germans.wordpress.com/
Before and after the ''Holocaust'': Chosenite population numbers in 1933 and 1948.http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=85432
International Red Cross Report Confirms the Holocaust of Six Million Chosenites is a Hoax.http://www.renegadetribune.com/international-red-cross-report-confirms-holocaust-six-million-jews-hoax/
Auschwitz: Myths and Facts.http://www.ihr.org/leaflets/auschwitz.shtml
Holohoax 101 - The Fundamentals of the Holocaust Hoax.http://www.holohoax101.org
HELLSTORM WWII Documentary.http://www.hellstormdocumentary.com/
HELLSTORM - The Rape And Mass Murder Of German Women After WWII.http://smoloko.com/?p=10753
Trumps Four Generations of Chosenite Ties.https://wideawakegentile.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/the-trumps-four-generations-of-jewish-ties/
Trump Is On An Israeli Commemorative Coin Celebrating His Prophethood.http://www.renegadetribune.com/uncle-donnie-is-on-an-israeli-commemorative-coin-celebrating-his-prophethood/
The Greatest Story Never Told.https://thegreateststorynevertold.tv/
The Palestine - Israel Map.http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/mapstellstory.html
A Comprehensive History of Zionist Crimes.http://www.takeourworldback.com/zionistcrimes.htm
The Satanic Verses of the Chosenite Talmud.https://hshidayat.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/the-satanic-verses-of-the-jewish-talmud-and-zionism/
The Talmud Exposed - Facts Are Facts.http://rense.com/general86/talmd.htm
Kabbalah Exposed.http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Kabbalah/kabbalah_exposed.htm
THE PROTOCOLS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION.http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/przion1.htm
The Protocols of Zion in Modern English.http://hugequestions.com/Eric/TFC/Protocols-in-Modern-English.htm
109 Locations whence Chosenites have been Expelled since AD250.https://www.biblebelievers.org.au/expelled.htm
Chosenites Behind Race Mixing.https://katana17.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/jews-behind-race-mixing/
Chosenite Involvement In Slavery.https://m.imgur.com/a/BFtyz
Eisenhower's Evil Deception: http://www.renegadetribune.com/eisenhowers-evil-deception-exterminating-german-pows-abroad-portraying-pows-u-s-soil-pampered/
After The Firestorm '' Debating the Dresden Death Toll.http://www.renegadetribune.com/firestorm-debating-dresden-death-toll/
The USS Liberty: A Test For Americans.http://www.renegadetribune.com/uss-liberty-test-americans/
Turning Children Into Sexual Degenerates.http://www.renegadetribune.com/turning-children-sexual-degenerates
VIDEO - (12) LBC on Twitter: "Greg Clark MP skilfully sets a trap for Huawei boss Jeremy Thompson to force him to comment on the controversial new security law in Hong Kong. @GregClarkMP https://t.co/LCKtGkT4hR" / Twitter
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 20:32
LBC : Greg Clark MP skilfully sets a trap for Huawei boss Jeremy Thompson to force him to comment on the controversial ne'... https://t.co/QJs42WIzIt
Thu Jul 09 12:51:44 +0000 2020
VIDEO - (9) 🍭 carlye wisel on Twitter: "adding video to explain the full issue, which is more than just the above line. there were also TWO MORE lanes of pedestrian traffic in the SAME walkway. It's not a fluke, either - we were directed straight int
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 20:30
🍭 carlye wisel : adding video to explain the full issue, which is more than just the above line. there were also TWO MORE lanes of'... https://t.co/FMAAL3Y3Hv
Sat Jul 11 14:46:04 +0000 2020
Ben Garton : @carlyewisel The people attending opening day knew the risks and that there would be logistical issues. You have to'... https://t.co/eqb1PDgikY
Sat Jul 11 20:25:04 +0000 2020
Meredith Bandy : @carlyewisel so sad and unacceptable ðŸ¥
Sat Jul 11 20:19:12 +0000 2020
jojo : @carlyewisel Get out of there!!! No surprise this happened
Sat Jul 11 20:13:39 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Newspapers squabble behind the scenes over Trudeau's huge media bailout - YouTube
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 20:10
VIDEO-Brene Brown Clips 2
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 19:43
Brene Brown Clips 2by Dave JonesThis is from a Facebook Live she did after Charlottesville.
VIDEO-AIDS 2020: Virtual DAILY - Episode One ft. Dr Anthony Fauci & Community Members - YouTube
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 19:25
VIDEO-Fauci - AIDS 2020 Virtual Conference
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 19:22
Fauci - AIDS 2020 Virtual Conference
VIDEO-Coronavirus: Louisiana judge temporarily halts city's mask order
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 12:26
Skip to contentCoronavirus: Louisiana judge halts Shreveport mayor's mask order
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated: July 10, 2020 - 7:36 PM
SHREVEPORT, La. '-- A judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday blocking a mask mandate issued in Shreveport.
Caddo Parrish Judge Craig Marcotte ruled that the city does not have the authority to issue an executive order requiring masks, KTAL reported.
Five Shreveport businesses filed the lawsuit.
Marcotte said the order by Mayor Adrian Perkins can not be enforced, including conducting searching or taking actions against businesses that might be in violation of it, KTAL reported.
A court hearing July 20 will determine if the temporary order will become a preliminary injunction, KTAL reported.
FILE PHOTO: A judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday blocking a mask mandate issued in Shreveport. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
(C) 2020 Cox Media Group
VIDEO-Expert warns the US is approaching 'one of the most unstable times in the history of our country' - CNN
Sat, 11 Jul 2020 11:59
By Madeline Holcombe, CNN
Updated 6:18 AM EDT, Sat July 11, 2020
(CNN) With rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations sending many states backward in their reopening plans, one health expert warns that if the US continues on its current path it will reach "one of the most unstable times in the history of our country."
"We will have hospitals overwhelmed and not only in terms of ICU beds and hospitals, and that's bad, but exhausted hospital staff and hospital staff that's getting ill themselves," Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "So, we won't have enough manpower, human power, to manage all of this."
Only five states are seeing a decrease in the number of new cases reported compared with last week, and the US set a record for the highest single day of new cases for the second time this week with 66,627 cases on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The resurgence has many local leaders returning to actions taken in March and April to slow the virus' spread.
At least 26 states have paused or rolled back their plans to reopen.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms sent the city back to Phase I of its reopening plan in response to the "alarming" increase in cases, which means the city's residents should leave the house only for essential trips. Residents also are required to wear masks.
To free up the capacity for more testing and hospital care in a surge, Georgia's Gov. Brian Kemp reactivated a makeshift hospital Friday at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Meantime, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott renewed a disaster declaration first issued March 13 to mitigate spread in his state and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requested the extension of National Guard use through December for humanitarian missions such as running mobile screenings, distributing food and medical supplies and disinfecting public spaces.
"All people who study these viruses, think that the summer is the quiet time. Think about that. This is the quiet time for coronavirus," Dr. William Haseltine, a former professor at Harvard Medical School, told Cooper Friday. "If this is the quiet time, I hate to think what winter is going to be like this year."
A record setting day to end a record setting weekThe US has set records for coronavirus infections and hospitalizations this summer -- and this week was has been no different.
Georgia set a record for the number of new cases in one day on Friday with 4,484 new cases, according to the state's department of health. The state's previous record was set on June 26.
Also on Friday, the US reported its highest number of new cases in one day for the second time this week. The previous record for the US was set just one day earlier.
The Louisiana Department of Health reported 2,642 new cases Friday, making it the highest day of new cases since the pandemic began.
California, which has held rank as one of the hardest hit states, continued to set records in coronavirus hospitalization and ICU rates this week with over 6,000 patients being treated.
Hospitals stretched thinHospital capacity -- a concern in many places when the pandemic first broke out -- is being raised as a pressing issue once again.
An ICU nurse at Banner Health in Arizona said the staff and the three coronavirus ICUs at the hospital where she works are already stretched thin.
"Now, we're kind of at the point where we are stretched so thin, we are at the point of compromising patient safety," Lauren Leander told CNN on Thursday.
It's a familiar story. In Riverside County, California, 10 out of 17 hospitals are at or above 100% capacity of licensed ICU beds, county spokesperson Brooke Federico said.
Florida has also reported a rise in hospitalizations.
A total of 6,991 people with Covid-19 are currently hospitalized in Florida, the state's Agency for Health Care Administration said Friday.
And of the coronavirus cases in Miami-Dade County, Florida, 74% more are being hospitalized. There has also been an 88% increase in the number of ICU beds being used and an 123% increase in the use of ventilators, according to the latest data released by Miami-Dade County Government.
Florida governor: 'No justification not to move forward'Though the increase in cases and hospitalizations has been cause for concern for some state and local leaders, Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis has reiterated his stance that the state can handle the incoming surge.
DeSantis told reporters Friday that no major hospital system in the state "has even gone to like a surge level."
In response to reports that the state has many hospitals reaching or at capacity, DeSantis told reporters "you've got a lot of beds available."
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci cited Florida as one of the states that opened too quickly, saying on Podcast-19 Thursday that the state "jumped over a couple of checkpoints."
DeSantis responded Friday telling reporters that the state had a "very low prevalence" of the virus in May and early June and that "there was no justification not to move forward."
And though the governor did not acknowledge the 11,433 new cases that day, he said the rise across the Sunbelt "is something that we're dealing with."
CNN's Sarah Moon, Melissa Alonso, Kay Jones, Rebekah Riess, Cheri Mossburg and Pierre Meilhan contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Texas Governor Gregg Abbott addresses the rise in Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations
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