Art for episode 1267

1267: Trust Stamp

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 58m
August 9th, 2020
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch and Lower Slobbovia, Tony Cabrera No Agenda Shop, Earl Walkman of Buckeye, Troy Kropog, Sir Julian (Earl of the South Bay and Autonomous Cars), Mr. Seven from Lotusland, Steven Schnuelle

Associate Executive Producers: Colin Preston, Sir Peet, Sir Ever of the What, David Langford, Emma Pilgrim, Radu Purtuc, Dave Basore, Maleka Cook

Cover Artist: Darren O'Neill

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
0:36
Special Zephyr Economic Report
Guest producer
1:49
COVID-19: Crackdown in Melbourne, Australia
Ndragonawa
10:04
Trump signs executive orders
Ndragonawa
31:15
CNN's Allison Cammarata starstruck by Dr. Anthony Fauci
Ndragonawa
34:29
Nancy Pelosi accuses PBS NewsHour's Judy Woodruff of advocating for the Republicans
Ndragonawa
36:20
World Economic Forum: The Great Reset
Ndragonawa
1:01:28
France 24: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Sanctioned
Ndragonawa
1:07:31
WeChat Banned via Executive Order
Ndragonawa
1:10:55
Protests, Investigations, and Chinese Peacekeepers after Beirut Explosion
Ndragonawa
1:15:14
Justin Trudeau's Mother paid 250k for WE Charity Speech
Ndragonawa
1:20:01
COVID-19: Death Toll Update from Democracy Now's Amy Goodman
Ndragonawa
1:20:42
Credits
Guest producer
1:57:55
Joe Biden
Guest producer
2:13:26
Belarus Election
Guest producer
2:19:46
Taxed Billionaires Bill
Guest producer
2:26:56
Donations
Guest producer
2:36:10
No Agenda round table welcomes New Knights
Guest producer
2:41:12
White Mother from Minneapolis Admits Guilt
Guest producer
Suggest a new chapter
Rona Relief
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With UI extension, we are only nine letter away from UBI
Will You Get A Second Stimulus Check In Trump's Executive Order?
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 12:10
Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Will President Donald Trump send you a second stimulus check by executive order?
Here's what you need to know.
Second Stimulus ChecksTrump signed executive orders today for a payroll tax cut, enhanced unemployment benefits, an eviction moratorium and student loan relief. Trump indicated all week that if Congress did not finalize a stimulus deal, he would take executive action to provide relief to the American people. One thing missing from today's executive orders'--second stimulus checks.
There is bipartisan support in Congress for a $1,200 stimulus check, and Trump supports a second round of stimulus checks too. Trump has even said second stimulus checks could be more than than $1,200. However, his executive orders do not include any checks.
Will Trump approve second stimulus checks in an executive order?Many Americans are wondering: ''When will I get a second stimulus check?'' Now that Trump has taken proactive steps to provide financial relief, the next question is whether he will act on stimulus checks. The answer is likely no. Trump has targeted a payroll tax, unemployment benefits, an eviction moratorium and student loan relief as his four areas of focus for an executive order. He never mentioned including stimulus checks as part of his executive order plan. Why? The reason is separation of powers. Presidents can issue executive orders, but typically measures such as stimulus checks must be passed by Congress through legislative action. Congress controls federal spending, which likely would include stimulus payments.
When will you get a second stimulus check?While Congress has stalled on a stimulus package, that doesn't mean you won't get a second stimulus payment. Congress largely agrees on a second round of stimulus payments, although there are four main plans for a second stimulus check. The breakdown centers around other provisions in the Heals Act, which is the $1 trillion stimulus package Republicans proposed. Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) want a stimulus package of at least $2 trillion, although Republicans have rejected this amount. Congress could approve stimulus payments as standalone legislation.
Before the impasse, Congress agreed in principle to $1,200 stimulus checks on the same terms as the Cares Act, the $2.2 trillion stimulus package that included the first round of checks. While Congress did not finalize the amount of dependent payments, Congress did agree in principle on waiving the age cap so that dependents of any age '-- including high school students, college students and adult dependents '-- could qualify for dependent payments. Congress can still approve a stimulus package, including with stimulus payments. However, now with Trump's executive orders, many of the key issues appear to have been addressed. In addition to stimulus payments, Congress also would focus on state and local aid, including funds to reopen schools, as well as potential liability protection for schools and businesses.
Related ResourcesThis second stimulus check would pay the most
When will my second stimulus check come?
Trump suspends student loan payments until December 31
New stimulus today: second stimulus checks, unemployment benefits and more
15 secrets to refinance student loans
Second stimulus checks: 4 plans compared
5 student loan changes for 2020
Trump: Student loans may be extended for ''additional periods of time''
Trump: Second stimulus checks may be higher than $1,200
What the new stimulus package means for your student loans
Stimulus: here are the latest numbers for second stimulus checks and more
Second stimulus checks may be less than $1,200
Second stimulus checks: your questions answered
Trump wants at least $2 trillion for next stimulus
Don't expect student loan forgiveness in next stimulus bill
Student loan refinancing rates are incredibly cheap
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Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here. Zack Friedman is the bestselling author of the blockbuster book, The Lemonade Life. Apple named The Lemonade Life one of "Fall's Biggest Audiobooks" and a "Must-Listen."
'... Read More Zack Friedman is the bestselling author of the blockbuster book, The Lemonade Life. Apple named The Lemonade Life one of "Fall's Biggest Audiobooks" and a "Must-Listen." Zack is the Founder & CEO of Make Lemonade, a leading online personal finance company that empowers you to live a better financial life. He is an in-demand speaker and has inspired millions through his powerful insights, including more than 135 million people who have read his advice. Previously, he was a chief financial officer, a hedge fund investor, and worked at Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, and the White House. Zack holds degrees from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins.
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Trump tees up student loan executive action
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 20:27
President Donald Trump talks to reporters. | Samuel Corum/Getty Images
President Donald Trump said he is preparing executive action as soon as Friday on student loan payments, as emergency relief for nearly 40 million federal student loan borrowers is set to expire in eight weeks.
Trump previously said he was eyeing options for extending the suspension of monthly student loan payments. But the president had not indicated until Thursday whether he would take executive action or work with Congress on legislation to that end.
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''Upon departing the Oval Office for Ohio, I've notified my staff to continue working on an Executive Order with respect to Payroll Tax Cut, Eviction Protections, Unemployment Extensions, and Student Loan Repayment Options,'' Trump tweeted.
The president told reporters later Thursday that he would ''probably'' sign the executive orders Friday or possibly Saturday morning.
"They're being drawn now," Trump said, tying the threat of executive action to the ongoing talks in Congress over coronavirus relief. "We'll see what happens. It's possible we'll make a deal, but it's also possible we won't."
It's not clear what the president's executive action on student loans would entail. Trump in March unilaterally suspended interest on federally held student loans. The CARES Act, H.R. 748 (116), then codified that policy into law in March and took it a step further, automatically suspending monthly payments.
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Trump's threat of executive action comes as negotiations remain stalled on Capitol Hill over another economic rescue package to address the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Congressional Democrats have proposed expanding student loan relief to cover more borrowers and extending the protections for at least another year. Those benefits are otherwise scheduled to expire on Sept. 30.
Senate Republicans' stimulus plan, S. 4320 (116), released last month would allow the CARES Act student loan relief to expire, instead proposing an overhaul of the government's existing income-based repayment options.
But there have been increasing calls from Republicans in recent days to extend the student loan relief granted under the Cares Act this spring.
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Three Republican attorneys general on Wednesday signed onto a letter urging congressional leaders to expand the relief to more borrowers and consider further extending the benefits beyond September.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) also backed an extension of the CARES Act student loan relief earlier this week, saying on the Senate floor that the benefits had been popular with his constituents.
''With so much economic uncertainty, we can't allow that provision to expire,'' Cornyn said on Monday. ''Student loan debt is a real and growing problem in our country, and families should never be in the situation where they're sacrificing their basic needs just to make those student loan payments, especially during the time of a global emergency.''
Prescription Drugs | Trump Research
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 12:01
SUMMARY
Despite making numerous campaign promises to address the high costs of prescription drugs, Trump failed to lower drug prices.
As a candidate in the 2016 Presidential Election and as President, Trump repeatedly promised that he would reduce prescription drug costs. However, despite these promises, drug prices continued to go up every year of the Trump Administration, and Trump has done little to solve the problem.
Drug companies kicked off 2020 with price increases to a wide range of treatments by an average of about 5 percent. Data from the federal government showed a 0.3% uptick in prescription prices between April 2018 and April 2019, with manufacturers of more than 250 drugs hiking prices in early 2019. A 2018 Associated Press fact check found that despite Trump's claims, drug prices have increased during his presidency. An RX Price Watch Report form the AARP Public Policy Institute found that retail prices for over 750 drugs increased by an average of 4.2 percent in 2017 Trump also attempted to take credit for lower pharmacy drug prices, which began in the Obama administration.The Trump administration failed to pass any meaningful prescription drug legislation or enact any policies to reduce drug costs and backed down from the policies he proposed to lower drug prices:
Trump reversed his campaign pledge to allow Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies over drug prices. Trump failed to allow the importation of cheaper drugs from other countries until late 2019. His HHS secretary called importation a ''gimmick.'' After months of negotiations, Trump rejected Democratic proposals to lower prescription drug cost. Trump killed his own rule to eliminate rebates collected by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), a significant part of his administration's plan to lower drug prices.The Trump administration served as a revolving door for big pharma, with numerous high-ranking positions staffed with former pharmaceutical executives including:
HHS Secretary Alex Azar '' Former Eli Lilly executive who oversaw a steep increase in the price of insulin while an Eli Lilly executive. White House 'therapeutics czar' Moncef Slaoui -- Former head of GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine division. FDA Chief of Staff Keagan Resler Lenihan '' Chief lobbyist for McKesson. Former Domestic Policy Council Director Joe Grogan '' Lobbyist for Gilead Sciences. At least 10 other senior appointees at HHS previously lobbied on behalf of the pharmaceutical or medical device industry.A majority of Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of prescription drug prices.
2020 Kaiser Family Foundation Poll: 54 percent of Americans think Trump failed to lower prescription drug prices as promised. 2019 Gallup-West Health Poll: 66 percent of Americans do not think that Trump has made any, or very much progress limiting the rising cost of prescription drugs.¶ As A Candidate And President-Elect, Trump Vowed To Bring Down Drug Prices2016 Presidential-Elect Trump: I Am Going To Bring Down Drug Prices. According to Reuters, ''President-elect Donald Trump took aim at drugmakers on Wednesday by promising in a magazine interview that ''I'm going to bring down drug prices,'' sending shares of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies lower. In a cover story for Time magazine, which named him its Person of the Year, Trump said: ''I don't like what has happened with drug prices. The Republican U.S. president-elect, a wealthy real estate developer who ran a campaign with a populist appeal, did not state in the interview how he would reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Trump previously has suggested he was open to allowing importation of cheaper medicines from overseas.'' [Reuters, 12/7/16]
October 25, 2018: Trump Stated That Lower Drug Prices Were 'One Of [His] Highest Priorities.' According to a transcript of remarks by President on Prescription Drug Prices, ''I've been talking about drug price reductions for a long time. And now we're doing things that nobody was, let's say '-- because I'm speaking on behalf of all of us '-- bold enough to do.And they're going to have a tremendous impact ['...] Since the day I took office, I have made reducing drug prices one of my highest priorities.'' [Transcript of Remarks by President Trump on Prescription Drug Prices, 10/25/18]
¶ Despite Repeated Promises And False Claims, Drug Prices Continued To Rise Under TrumpJanuary 7, 2020: The Year Began With Prices Hikes On Hundreds Of Prescription Drugs. According to the Hill, ''Price hikes on hundreds of prescription drugs to start the year are leading to intensifying calls for action from lawmakers and advocates, putting new pressure on Washington. Drug companies kicked off the year by raising prices on a wide range of treatments by an average of about 5 percent, according to the consulting firm 3 Axis Advisors.'' [The Hill, 1/7/20]
Trump Medicare Cuts Could Raise Prices On Some Prescription Drugs. According to Forbes, ''About 11 percent of the cost savings would come from changes in the Medicare Part D drug benefit. Some beneficiaries would pay more out of pocket for prescription drugs and others less, depending on what medications they take and how much they cost. [Forbes, 3/14/19]
President Trump: Drug Prices Are Coming Down For The First Time In 51 Years Because Of My Administration. According to a Washington Post transcript of Trump's Rose Garden remarks, ''Drug prices are coming down, first time in 51 years, because of my administration. But we can get them down way lower, working with the Democrats. We can solve the problem of the border in 15 minutes if the Democrats would give us a few votes.'' [Transcript of Trump's Rose Garden Remarks - Washington Post, 5/22/19]
PolitiFact: Trump's Claim That Drug Prices Were The Lowest In 51 Years Because Of His Administration As 'Mostly False.' According to PolitiFact, ''President Donald Trump repeated a misleading claim about the cost of prescription drugs under his watch. 'Drug prices are coming down, first time in 51 years because of my administration, but we can get them down way lower working with the Democrats,' Trump said in a May 22 address in the Rose Garden. Trump called a news conference to push back against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comments accusing Trump of a cover-up related to congressional probes of his administration. We fact-checked a similar statement in April by Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, rating it Mostly False. Nothing has changed our conclusion since then.'' [PolitiFact, 5/22/19]
¶ Data From The Federal Government Showed A Uptick In Prescription Prices Between April 2018 And April 2019Data From The Federal Government Showed A Uptick In Prescription Prices Between April 2018 And April 2019. According to PolitiFact, ''In April, the White House directed us to a 2018 report published by its Council of Economic Advisers pointing to efforts by the Trump administration to bring down prescription costs. Also, the White House sent us data suggesting the consumer price index for prescription drugs declined in January 2019 compared with January 2018.The White House sent data stating the cost in January was 11 percent below where trends said it should have been. However, the most recent data from the federal government shows a slight uptick: prescription drug prices increased by 0.3% in April 2019 compared to April 2018.'' [PolitiFact, 5/22/19]
Rx Savings Solutions: In 2019, Over 4,300 Drugs Experienced A Price Hike, With The Average Increase Hovering Around 21 Percent. According to Kaiser Health News, ''In 2019, 4,311 prescription drugs experienced a price hike, with the average increase hovering around 21%, according to data compiled by Rx Savings Solutions, a consulting group. Meanwhile, 619 drugs had price dips.'' [Kaiser Health News, 2/5/20]
Kaiser Family Foundation: Total Spending On Prescription Drug Prices Has Increased During The Past Several Years. According to PolitiFact, ''Other measures of drug costs do not support what Trump said. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows total spending on prescription drug prices has climbed during the past several years. (Kaiser Health News, a PolitiFact partner, is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) In 2018, total spending continued to grow, just at a slower pace. That's a positive trend, experts noted, but it isn't the same thing as spending going down.'' [PolitiFact, 5/22/19]
¶ The List Prices Of Thousands Of Drugs Increased During Trump's PresidencyManufacturers Of More Than 250 Prescription Drugs Hiked Prices In Early 2019. According to Reuters, ''Drugmakers kicked off 2019 with price increases in the United States on more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world's top-selling medicine, Humira, although the pace of price hikes was slower than last year. The industry has been under pressure by the U.S. President Donald Trump to hold their prices level as his administration works on plans aimed at lowering the costs of medications for consumers in the world's most expensive pharmaceutical market.'' [Reuters, 1/2/19]
Trump: As A Result Of My Administration, In 2018 Drug Prices Experienced Their Single Largest Decline In 46 Years. According to the Associated Press, ''TRUMP: 'Already, as a result of my administration's efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years.''' [Associated Press, 02/05/19]
AP Fact Check: Despite Trump's Claims, Drug Prices Increased In 2018. According to the Associated Press, ''THE FACTS: Trump is selectively citing statistics to exaggerate what seems to be a slowdown in prices. A broader look at the data shows that drug prices are still rising, but more moderately. Some independent experts say criticism from Trump and congressional Democrats may be causing pharmaceutical companies to show restraint.'' [Associated Press, 02/05/19]
Drug Prices Increased In 2018, At A Slower Rate Than In Recent Years. According to the Associated Press, ''The Consumer Price Index for prescription drugs shows a 0.6 percent reduction in prices in December 2018 when compared with December 2017, the biggest drop in nearly 50 years. The government index tracks a set of medications including brand drugs and generics. However, that same index showed a 1.6 percent increase when comparing the full 12 months of 2018 with the entire previous year. 'The annualized number gives you a better picture,' said economist Paul Hughes-Cromwick of Altarum, a nonprofit research organization. 'It could be that something quirky happened in December.' Separately, an analysis of brand-name drug prices by The Associated Press shows there were 2,712 price increases in the first half of this January, as compared with 3,327 increases during the same period last year. The size of this year's increases was not as pronounced. Both this year and last, the number of price cuts was minuscule. The information for the analysis was provided by the health data firm Elsevier.'' [Associated Press, 02/05/19]A Report From AARP's Public Policy Institute Found That Retail Prices For A Set Of 754 Widely Used Prescription Drugs Increased An Average Of 4.2 Percent In 2017. According to an AARP Public Policy Institute Report, ''In 2017, retail prices for a combined set of 754 widely used prescription drugs (brand name, generic, and specialty) increased by an average of 4.2 percent; in contrast, the general inflation rate was 2.1 percent over the same period. The average annual increase in retail prices for the AARP combined set of drug products exceeded the corresponding rate of general inflation every year from 2006 through 2017. These findings are attributable primarily to drug price growth among brand name and specialty drugs, which more than offset often substantial price decreases among generic drugs.'' [RX Price Watch Report '' AARP Public Policy Institute, September 2019]
The Trump Administration Claimed Credit For Lowering Pharmacy Drug Prices Despite The Trends Starting During The Obama Administration. According to Politico, ''Prices for drugs bought at the pharmacy counter are still falling at 'historic levels,' the White House's Council of Economic Advisors said in a blog post last week that drew on an October report criticizing media outlets that reported otherwise. Critics of the measurement that CEA uses, the CPI prescription drugs index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, argue that it only shows a slice of the market because it is limited to medicines bought at pharmacies and does not account for newly launched products or Part B medicines '-- often the most expensive. CEA said record-high FDA approvals of generic drugs '-- a trend that started in the Obama administration '-- have driven pharmacy-counter price trends.'' [Politico, 11/12/19]
¶ As A Presidential Candidate, Trump Stated That Medicare Should Be Able To Negotiate Prescription Drug PricesJanuary 26, 2016: Trump Stated That Medicare Should Be Able To Negotiate Drug Prices With Major Pharmaceutical Companies. According to Stat News, ''Republican front-runner Donald Trump says he could save Medicare billions of dollars by getting the massive federal agency to negotiate prices with the major pharmaceutical companies. Trump told an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 people packed into a high school gymnasium Monday night in Farmington, N.H., that Medicare could 'save $300 billion' a year by getting discounts as the biggest buyer of prescription drugs. Said Trump: 'We don't do it. Why? Because of the drug companies.''' [Associated Press, 1/26/16]
Trump Reversed His Pledge To Support Negotiations With Pharmaceutical Companies Over The Price Of Prescription Drugs For Medicare Recipients. According to The Hilltop, ''President Trump is backing off his 2016 campaign pledge to negotiate drug prices for Medicare with pharmaceutical companies, drawing fire from Democrats after months of talks on the issue with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). During his campaign, Trump famously broke with Republican orthodoxy with his support for having the government negotiate lower drug prices. 'When it comes time to negotiate the cost of drugs, we are going to negotiate like crazy,' Trump said in New Hampshire in early 2016. Pelosi's staff spent months over the course of this year trying to get White House support for her measure to allow the government to negotiate prices for up to 250 drugs per year, with tough financial penalties for companies that refused to come to the table. But after months of holding his fire, Trump is now publicly bashing Pelosi's bill. And while Trump still talks about the need to lower drug prices in general, he has not proposed an alternative drug price negotiation plan of his own.'' [Hilltop, 11/24/19]
Despite Accusations Of Breaking Campaign Promises And His Public Criticism Of The Proposed Medicare Drug Price Negation Plan, The White House Insisted Trump Supports Lowering Drug Prices. According to The Hilltop, '''Pelosi and her Do Nothing Democrats drug pricing bill doesn't do the trick. FEWER cures! FEWER treatments!' Trump tweeted on Friday, echoing the traditional Republican argument that negotiation would hinder development of new drugs. 'Time for the Democrats to get serious about bipartisan solutions to lowering prescription drug prices for families.' Trump's tweets came after he met with Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), a leading opponent of Pelosi's bill, on Thursday. But Democrats say Trump is breaking his promise. 'President Trump campaigned on that promise to negotiate Medicare prices, and the House is going to pass a bill that does that, and he will not support it,' said Topher Spiro, vice president for health policy at the liberal Center for American Progress. White House officials argue that Trump is still committed to the overall goal of lowering drug prices. He just wants to focus on a bill that actually has a chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate and being signed into law, they added.'' [Hilltop, 11/24/19]
Trump's Health Care Plan Promoted The Importation Of Prescription Drugs From Overseas As A Way To Lower Prices. According to Stat News, ''Donald Trump released a health care plan late Wednesday that includes common Republican ideas for replacing Obamacare but departs from conventional GOP policies in one major way: it would allow the reimportation of cheaper drugs from overseas. It's the second time that Trump, now the clear front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, has embraced an idea to bring down drug costs that's associated more with Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders than with the party he's trying to lead ['...] However, the last provision of his new seven-point plan is: 'Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable, and cheaper products.''' [Stat News, 3/2/16]
Trump's Health Plan: Allowing Consumers Access To Imported Drugs From Overseas Will Bring More Options to Consumers. According to Stat News, ''However, the last provision of his new seven-point plan is: ''Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable, and cheaper products.'' ''Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America,'' the plan says. ''Though the pharmaceutical industry is in the private sector, drug companies provide a public service. Allowing consumers access to imported, safe, and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.'' [Stat News, 3/2/16]
December 2019: Trump Administration Released A Plan To Green-Light The Importation Of Certain Drugs From Canada. According to Forbes, ''Late last month, the Trump administration released a plan that would green-light the importation of certain drugs from Canada and potentially other foreign countries. The administration's proposal comes on the heels of legislative pushes by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and Democratic Governor Jared Polis of Colorado to import drugs from Canada. Other states are considering similar measures. Drugs tend to be less expensive abroad because foreign governments aggressively control their prices. Importing cheap drugs from Canada would seem to be a straightforward way to bring those lower prices to America.'' [Forbes, 1/6/20]
Azar: Drug Importation Was A 'Gimmick.' According to Secretary Azar's Remarks on Drug Pricing Blueprint, ''I want to raise a final point in the context of competition: Many people may be familiar with proposals to give our seniors access to cheaper drugs by importing drugs from other countries, such as Canada. This, too, is a gimmick. It has been assessed multiple times by the Congressional Budget Office, and CBO has said it would have no meaningful effect.'' [Azar's Remarks on Drug Pricing Blueprint '' HHS, 5/14/18]
After Rejecting Speaker Pelosi's Medicare Price Proposal, The Trump Administration Sought To Quell Criticism About Rising Cost Of Prescription Drugs By Supporting A Bipartisan Senate Bill Which Proposes To Lower Costs.
According to the Associated Press, ''After months of dialogue, the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have parted ways on Medicare price negotiations that Pelosi advocates and Trump '-- unlike most Republicans '-- once supported in principle. Instead Trump is backing a compromise bipartisan bill in the Senate, which does not give Medicare bargaining authority, but forces drugmakers to pay rebates if they raise prices too high. Grogan said the administration is working to line up Republican support for the Senate bill while trying to sweeten its impact by plowing more of the government's savings from reduced drug prices into benefits for seniors.'' [Associated Press, 11/18/19]
The Senate Bill Had No Clear Path To Trump's Desk. According to the Associated Press, ''The bipartisan Senate legislation would cap what Medicare beneficiaries pay out of pocket for medicines and require drugmakers to pay rebates to Medicare if they hike prices above the inflation rate. Its lead authors are Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has made no public commitment to bring it to the floor. The more ambitious House Democratic bill would build on the Senate's foundation but also authorize Medicare to negotiate prices for the costliest drugs. That would limit high launch prices for new drugs, not just price increases. Medicare's discounts would be provided to privately insured people as well. Pelosi is driving toward a floor vote, but right now neither bill has a clear path to Trump's desk.'' [Associated Press, 11/18/19]
Democrats Asserted Trump Failed To Follow Through On Campaign Promises As Prescription Drug Prices See A Begin Of The Year Spike In Cost. According to The Hill, ''Price hikes on hundreds of prescription drugs to start the year are leading to intensifying calls for action from lawmakers and advocates, putting new pressure on Washington. Drug companies kicked off the year by raising prices on a wide range of treatments by an average of about 5 percent, according to the consulting firm 3 Axis Advisors. 'Enough is enough,' Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted, pointing to the hikes and calling on the Senate to pass her signature legislation to lower drug prices 'now.' Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also pointed to the increases to call for action on drug prices. Drug price hikes at the start of a new year are common, but the latest round followed a year in which lawmakers and the administration spoke optimistically about reining in higher prices. Congress, however, ultimately ended 2019 without any major legislation being enacted, to the frustration of advocates. The latest move highlighted the power of the pharmaceutical industry. Pfizer, for example, which has been criticized harshly in the past by President Trump, raised prices on about 27 percent of its drugs by an average of 5.6 percent. Companies note that the list prices of drugs are often well above what consumers pay at the pharmacy counter. But pharmaceutical companies, who are already under fire from both Congress and the administration, can expect more scrutiny, with the hikes certain to fuel the debate over costs in the 2020 election. The drug hikes will be fodder for both parties, who have hammered pharmaceutical companies and those across the aisle. Democrats have accused Trump of failing to follow through on his promises to address the issue, in particular attacking him for backing off a 2016 campaign pledge to support allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices.'' [Hill, 1/6/2020]
Trump Killed His Own Rule To Eliminate The Rebates Collected By Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), A Significant Part Of His Administration's Plan To Lower Drug Prices. According to Axios, ''A big part of the Trump administration's plan to lower drug prices is now dead, White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed to Axios. Why it matters: The administration is backing away from an effort to change the way money flows through federal health care programs '-- one of the most sweeping elements of its drug-pricing blueprint. That's bad news for pharma, and the move will put pressure on other parts of the administration's plan, which is also bad news for pharma.'' [Axios, 7/11/19]
Pharmacy Benefit Managers Or PBMs Were Companies That Managed Prescription Drug Benefits On Behalf Of Health Insurers. According to the Common Wealth Fund, ''Pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are companies that manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers, Medicare Part D drug plans, large employers, and other payers. By negotiating with drug manufacturers and pharmacies to control drug spending, PBMs have a significant behind-the-scenes impact in determining total drug costs for insurers, shaping patients' access to medications, and determining how much pharmacies are paid.'' [Commonwealth Fund, 4/22/19]
¶ The Proposal Would Eliminate Drug Rebates Received By Pharmacy Benefit Managers From Medicare And MedicaidThe Proposal Would Eliminate Drug Rebates Received By Pharmacy Benefit Managers From Medicare And Medicaid. According to Forbes, ''The rule Trump withdrew would've ended rebates paid to health plans and pharmacy benefit managers, known as PBMs, which are middlemen between drug makers and consumers when it comes to purchasing drugs and providing prescription coverage. The PBM's role is in part to leverage its negotiating clout to get the best drug prices on behalf of its diverse base of customers that include large employers as well as Medicare and Medicaid.'' [Forbes, 7/11/19]
Trump's Decision To Kill The Rule Was Good News For The Same 'Middlemen' He Claimed Were Getting Rich Off U.S. Drug Pricing. According to Forbes, ''News that Donald Trump has killed a plan to eliminate rebates health plans receive from the government when negotiating drug purchases for seniors is good news for 'the middlemen' he once said were getting rich off U.S. drug pricing. A check of health insurer stock prices Thursday will tell you they'll still be getting rich off of their drug benefit businesses after the Trump White House reversed course on drug pricing policy.'' [Forbes, 7/11/19]
After News That Trump Killed The Rebate Rule, Share Prices Of Big Health Insurers That Owned PBMs Soared. According to Forbes, ''Wall Street doesn't seem to think health insurers will be less rich now with the share prices of big health insurers that own PBMs soaring on Thursday. Cigna, which owns the big PBM Express Scripts, saw the price of its shares jump $14 on Thursday afternoon while UnitedHealth Group, which owns the PBM OptumRx, saw the price of its shares jump more than $12 per share. And CVS Health, which owns the Caremark PBM, and Humana, which owns its own PBM, also saw big increases Thursday in the price of their shares.'' [Forbes, 7/11/19]
Trump: The Middlemen Became Very, Very Rich. Right? According to Forbes, '''We're very much eliminating the middlemen,' Trump said of his administration's proposed 'American Patients First' blueprint to lower prices unveiled last year. 'The middlemen became very, very rich. Right?' 'Whoever those middlemen were '-- and a lot of people never even figured it out '-- they're rich,' Trump said last year. 'They won't be so rich anymore.''' [Forbes, 7/11/19]
¶ However, Insurers And PBM's Claimed That Trump's Rule Would Have Backfired In The Form Of Higher Premiums For Americans Insurers And PBM's Claimed That Trump's Rule Would Have Backfired In The Form Of Higher Premiums For Americans. According to Forbes, ''But health plans and PBMs said the rules Trump and his team, including U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar were pursuing were going to backfire in the form of higher premiums paid by Americans. The Better Medicare Alliance, which represents CVS Health, Humana and UnitedHealth Group said the proposed rebate rule 'would have had the harmful effect of increased premiums or reduced benefits for millions of beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage.' Health insurers reasoned an end to rebates merely 'takes out negotiated savings without requiring drug makers to lower their prices,' according to information health insurers submitted to the White House and Congress.'' [Forbes, 7/11/19]
America's Health Insurance Plans: The 'Safe Harbor Rebate Rule' Would Have Increased Costs To Taxpayers By 25 Percent. According to Forbes, ''America's Health Insurance Plans, the lobby for health insurers that own PBMs including Cigna, Anthem and Centene, say the proposed Medicare Part D 'safe harbor rebate rule' would have increased the cost or premiums paid by seniors and, in turn, increased costs to taxpayers by 25%, or nearly $200 billion.'' [Forbes, 7/11/19]
June 24, 2019: Trump Signed An Executive Order On Price Transparency In Healthcare Aimed At Lowering Health Care Costs By Showing Prices To Patients. According to NPR, ''President Trump signed an executive order Monday on price transparency in health care that aims to lower rising health care costs by showing prices to patients. The idea is that if people can shop around, market forces may drive down costs. 'Hospitals will be required to publish prices that reflect what people pay for services,' said President Trump at a White House event. 'You will get great pricing. Prices will come down by numbers that you wouldn't believe. The cost of healthcare will go way, way down.''' [NBC News, 6/24/19]
The Executive Order Did Not Spell Out Any Specific Actions But Directed HHS To Develop A Policy Addressing Price Transparency. According to NPR, ''Like several of President Trump's other health policy-related announcements, today's executive order doesn't spell out specific actions, but directs the department of Health and Human Services to develop a policy and then undertake a lengthy rule-making process. 'The president knows the best way to lower costs in health care is to put patients in control by increasing choice and competition,' HHS Secretary Alex Azar said at a phone briefing for reporters Monday morning.'' [NBC News, 6/24/19]
The Healthcare Industry Argued That The Transparency Requirement Would Increase Prices, Rather Than Lower Them. According to NBC News, ''Push back from various corners of the healthcare industry came quickly, with hospital and health plan lobbying organizations arguing this transparency requirement would have the unintended consequence of pushing prices up, rather than down. 'Publicly disclosing competitively negotiated, proprietary rates will reduce competition and push prices higher '-- not lower '-- for consumers, patients, and taxpayers,' said Matt Eyles, CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans in a statement. He says it will perpetuate 'the old days of the American health care system paying for volume over value. We know that is a formula for higher costs and worse care for everyone.''' [NBC News, 6/24/19]
Senior VP For Health Reform At Kaiser Family Foundation: I Am Skeptical That Disclosure Of Health Care Prices Will Drive Prices Down. According to NBC News, ''Some health economists and industry observers without a vested interest expressed a similar view. Larry Levitt, senior vice president for health reform the Kaiser Family Foundation, tweeted that although the idea of greater price transparency makes sense from the perspective of consumer protection, it doesn't guarantee lower prices. 'I'm skeptical that disclosure of health care prices will drive prices down, and could even increase prices once hospitals and doctors know what their competitors down the street are getting paid,' Levitt wrote.'' [NBC News, 6/24/19]
Trump Appointed Eli Lilly Executive Alex Azar To Be HHS Secretary. According to PBS, ''Before joining the Trump administration, Azar was a top executive for drugmaker Eli Lilly. That led to criticism that he would be an industry pawn. But the drugmakers vehemently disagree with some of his other ideas, including an experiment using lower international drug prices to cut some Medicare costs.'' [PBS, 2/1/19]
¶ As A Top Manager At Eli Lilly And Company, Azar Was Responsible For Steep Drug IncreasesAs A Top Manager At Eli Lilly And Company, Azar Was Responsible For Steep Increases On Insulin And Other Drugs. According to the New York Times, ''This week, Mr. Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, is expected to face tough questions at a Senate confirmation hearing over why his own company raised prices. Democratic senators say that, as a top manager at Eli Lilly and Company, he was responsible for steep increases on insulin and other drugs ['...] Patients and members of Congress criticized increases in list prices for insulin while Mr. Azar was the president of Lilly USA, the company's largest affiliate, which is responsible for more than 40 percent of its global revenue.'' [New York Times, 11/26/20]
Type 1 Diabetes Defense Foundation: Azar Condoned Lilly's 'Overpricing Of Insulin' And Patients Suffered As A Result.' According to the New York Times, ''In a letter to the health committee, the Type 1 Diabetes Defense Foundation, a nonprofit group, said that Mr. Azar had condoned Lilly's 'overpricing of insulin' and that some patients had suffered as a result. In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission over the past seven months, Lilly said it had received demands for information about the pricing of its insulin products from offices of the attorneys general in California, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico and Washington State. Drug companies have long said high prices are not a concern because they provide big discounts and rebates on many products. But in the last year, as public outcry has grown, Mr. Azar has acknowledged a problem.'' [New York Times, 11/26/20]
¶ Head Lobbyist For McKesson Served As FDA Chief Of Staff And Former Senior Counsel To HHS SecretaryHead Lobbyist For McKesson, Keagan Resler Lenihan, Served As FDA Chief Of Staff And Was Former Senior Counsel To The HHS Secretary. According to a Buzzfeed News op-ed by Kyle Herrig, ''Keagan Resler Lenihan '-- the chief of staff at the FDA and former senior counselor to the HHS secretary '-- ran lobbying efforts for the pharmaceutical company McKesson as senior director of government affairs from 2011''2016. In November, federal prosecutors launched a new criminal investigation into McKesson's opioid work; the company is currently facing an investor lawsuit regarding drug price-fixing.''[Buzzfeed News, 1/24/20]
Trump's Director Of The White House Domestic Policy Council, Joe Grogan, Was A Lobbyist For The Pharmaceutical Company Gilead Sciences. According to a Buzzfeed News op-ed by Kyle Herrig, ''The director of the Domestic Policy Council for the White House is Joe Grogan. From 2011 to 2017, he was a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. The House Oversight Committee looked into Grogan's conflict of interest; Rep. Elijah Cummings said it appeared to 'run afoul of the Trump Administration's own ethics rules.''' [Buzzfeed News, 1/24/20]
May 24, 2020: Top White House Policy Adviser Joe Grogan Planned To Leave His Post As Head Of The Domestic Policy Council. According to the Wall Street Journal, ''Top White House policy adviser Joe Grogan is leaving his post, the latest sign of turnover as the administration grapples with a coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Grogan, head of the Domestic Policy Council, said in an interview he was leaving on good terms with President Trump and has already stayed in the position longer than he'd planned. He said he would leave on May 24.'' [Wall Street Journal, 4/29/20]
During His Time In The Administration, Grogan Worked To Roll Back Drug Pricing Control Efforts. According to Buzzfeed News op-ed by Kyle Herrig, ''Since joining the administration, Grogan has worked to roll back drug pricing control efforts, including inviting a member of his former employer's advisory board to speak to a working group, ostensibly trying to bring down drug prices. The Atlantic reported that he "seems poised to take his momentum into drug pricing, pushing largely to maintain the 'status quo.''' [Buzzfeed News, 1/24/20]
¶ White House Tapped Former Pharmaceutical Executive And Venture Capitlaist As 'Therapeutics Czar'White House Tapped Moncef Slaoui, Former Head Of GlaxoSmithKline's Vaccine Division To Serve As The Administration's 'Therapeutics Czar.' According to Politico, ''The former head of GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine division will serve as the Trump administration's 'therapeutics czar,' working to speed the development of potential coronavirus vaccines, three individuals with knowledge of the selection told POLITICO. Moncef Slaoui, who left the drugmaker in 2017 and has worked as a venture capitalist, will help coordinate the development of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments in a role shared between the Health and Human Services and Defense departments. President Donald Trump has instructed officials to attempt to rush a vaccine to market this year, part of an effort the administration is calling 'Operation Warp Speed.''' [Politico, 5/13/20]
Trump Medicare Cuts Could Raise Prices On Some Prescription Drugs. According to Forbes, ''About 11 percent of the cost savings would come from changes in the Medicare Part D drug benefit. Some beneficiaries would pay more out of pocket for prescription drugs and others less, depending on what medications they take and how much they cost.'' [Forbes, 3/14/19]
Manufacturers Of More Than 250 Prescription Drugs Hiked Prices In Early 2019. According to Reuters, ''Drugmakers kicked off 2019 with price increases in the United States on more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world's top-selling medicine, Humira, although the pace of price hikes was slower than last year. The industry has been under pressure by the U.S. President Donald Trump to hold their prices level as his administration works on plans aimed at lowering the costs of medications for consumers in the world's most expensive pharmaceutical market.'' [Reuters, 1/2/19]
¶ Health And Human Services Was Staffed With Former Pharmaceutical Industry Lobbyists Kimberly Brandt, The HHS Principal Deputy For Operations Was A Lobbyist For Endo Pharmaceuticals. [Trump Town '' ProPublica, Accessed 5/20/20]
Robert Charrow, General Counsel For The HHS Was A Lobbyist At Greenberg Traurig LLP Representing Health Professionals And Pharmaceuticals And Health Products. [Open Secrets, 6/8/20]
Former White House Liaison For Political Personnel, Timothy Clark, Was Senior Director For Government Affairs For Eisai Inc., A Pharmaceutical Subsidiary. [Open Secrets, Accessed 6/8/20]
Kelly Marie Cleary, Former CMS Chief Legal Counsel, Was A Lobbyist For Johnson & Johnson. [Trump Town '' ProPublica, Accessed 5/20/20]
Eric Hargan, Former Acting Deputy Secretary For HHS, Was A Shareholder At Greenberg Traurig LLP Representing Pharmaceuticals, Health Products, Hospitals, Nursing Homes. [Open Secrets, Accessed 6/8/20]
Jennifer Lynn Healy, Chief Of Staff For The HHS Office Of Global Affairs Was A Lobbyist For Adapt Pharma, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Amerisource Bergen. [Trump Town '' ProPublica, Accessed 5/20/20]
John C. Kalavritinos, Director Of Intergovernment Relations At HHS, Was Director Of Government Affairs At Covidien Ltd., A Surgical Device Company. [Open Secrets, Accessed 6/8/20] [Medtronic, Accessed 6/9/20]
Former HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary For Congressional Relations, Ashley Palmer, Was Director Of Government Affairs For The Health Industry Distributors Association. [Open Secrets, Accessed 6/9/20]
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation Oversight and Investigations Colin Thomas Roskey Lobbied For Adams Laboratories, Inc., Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Bayer Healthcare, Boehringer & Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Retrophin, Roche Diagnostics, U.S. Pharmacopeia, Verax Biomedical, And ZLB Behring LLC. [Trump Town '' ProPublica, Accessed 5/20/20]
Former HHS Policy Advisor Emily Wilkinson Lobbied for Purdue Pharma LLP, And the United States Pharmacopeial Convention. [Trump Town '' ProPublica, Accessed 5/20/20]
¶ A Majority Of Americans Disapproved Of Trump's Handling Of Prescription Drug PricesKaiser Family Foundation Poll: 54 Percent Of Americans Think Trump Failed To Lower Prescription Drug Prices As He Promised. According to the Washington Examiner, ''A majority think President Trump is failing to lower prescription drug prices as promised, according to a new survey, indicating that he may be at a disadvantage on one of the most sensitive election issues. Trump's approval rating for his efforts to lower prescription drug prices fell to 30%, with 54% disapproving, according to new Kaiser Family Foundation polling. The new polling numbers come on the heels of reports that the president lashed out at Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar earlier this month for neglecting to come up with a plan to lower drug prices. Trump told Azar over the phone that he was 'not getting it done' and needed to 'hurry up' on enacting measures to lower drug prices.'' [Washington Examiner, 1/30/20]
¶ KFF: Trump's Net Approval On Healthcare Related Issues Was Lowest On His Handling Of Prescription Drug Costs Kaiser Family Foundation Poll: Trump's Net Approval Rate On Healthcare Related Issues Was Lowest On His Handling Of Prescription Drug Costs.
[Kaiser Family Foundation, 1/30/20]
Gallup-West Health Poll: 66 Percent Of Adult's Don't Believe Trump Has Made Any, Or Very Much Progress In Limiting The Rising Cost Of Prescription Drugs. According to the Associated Press ''The pressure is on Trump. A Gallup-West Health poll finds that 66 percent of adults don't believe the Trump administration has made any progress, or very much progress, in limiting the rising cost of prescription drugs. 'If I were the president of the United States, facing a very difficult reelection campaign, I would want to have something to show people in this area,' said political scientist Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution.'' [Associated Press, 11/18/19]
Memorandum on Continued Student Loan Payment Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic | The White House
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 21:38
Memorandum for the Secretary of Education
Subject: Continued Student Loan Payment Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section. 1. Policy. The 2019 novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing outbreaks of the disease COVID'‘19, has significantly disrupted the lives of Americans. In Proclamation 9994 of March 13, 2020 (Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak), I declared, pursuant to the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constituted a national emergency (the ''national emergency''). The same day, I also determined that the COVID-19 outbreak constituted an emergency of nationwide scope, pursuant to section 501(b) of the Stafford Act (42 U.S.C. 5191(b)).
On March 20, 2020, my Administration took action to provide immediate relief to tens of millions of student loan borrowers during the pandemic caused by COVID-19 by both suspending loan payments and temporarily setting interest rates to 0 percent. This relief has helped many students and parents retain financial stability. And many other Americans have continued to routinely pay down their student loan balances, to more quickly eliminate their loans in the long run. During this time, borrowers have been able to determine the best path forward for themselves.
The original announcement of this policy specified that it would continue for at least 60 days. In the interim, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act provided this same student loan payment relief, but that program is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2020. Currently, many Americans remain unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many more have accepted lower wages and reduced hours while States and localities continue to impose social distancing measures. It is therefore appropriate to extend this policy until such time that the economy has stabilized, schools have re-opened, and the crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.
Sec. 2. Extension of Student Loan Payment Relief. (a) In light of the national emergency declared on March 13, 2020, the Secretary of Education shall take action pursuant to applicable law to effectuate appropriate waivers of and modifications to the requirements and conditions of economic hardship deferments described in section 455(f)(2)(D) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1087e(f)(2)(D), and provide such deferments to borrowers as necessary to continue the temporary cessation of payments and the waiver of all interest on student loans held by the Department of Education until December 31, 2020.
(b) All persons who wish to continue making student loan payments shall be allowed to do so, notwithstanding the deferments provided pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.
Sec. 3. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(d) You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Executive Order on Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners | The White House
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 21:37
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which originated in the People's Republic of China, continues to pose a significant threat to the health of Americans throughout the United States. As we have since January 2020, with the proactive decision to limit travel from China and the passage of three massive economic relief packages, my Administration will take whatever steps are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and maintain economic prosperity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the Department of Health and Human Services have concluded that ''growing and disproportionate unemployment rates for some racial and ethnic minority groups during the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to greater risk of eviction and homelessness or sharing of housing.''
This trend is concerning for many reasons, including that homeless shelters have proven to be particularly susceptible to outbreaks of COVID-19. CDC has observed that ''[h]omelessness poses multiple challenges that can exacerbate and amplify the spread of COVID-19. Homeless shelters are often crowded, making social distancing difficult. Many persons experiencing homelessness are older or have underlying medical conditions, placing them at higher risk for severe COVID-19''associated illness.'' Increased shared housing is also potentially problematic to the extent it results in increased in-person interactions between older, higher-risk individuals and their younger relatives or friends.
My Administration has taken bold steps to help renters and homeowners have safe and secure places to call home during the COVID-19 crisis. Prior to passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (Public Law 116-136), the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development implemented a foreclosure and eviction moratorium for all single-family mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Furthermore, prior to passage of the CARES Act, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it had instructed the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (the Enterprises) to suspend foreclosures for at least 60 days. FHFA has since announced that the Enterprises will extend the foreclosure suspension until at least August 31, 2020.
The CARES Act imposed a temporary moratorium on evictions of certain renters subject to certain conditions. That moratorium has now expired, and there is a significant risk that this will set off an abnormally large wave of evictions. With the failure of the Congress to act, my Administration must do all that it can to help vulnerable populations stay in their homes in the midst of this pandemic. Those who are dislocated from their homes may be unable to shelter in place and may have more difficulty maintaining a routine of social distancing. They will have to find alternative living arrangements, which may include a homeless shelter or a crowded family home and may also require traveling to other States.
In addition, evictions tend to disproportionately affect minorities, particularly African Americans and Latinos. Unlike the Congress, I cannot sit idly and refuse to assist vulnerable Americans in need. Under my Administration, minorities achieved the lowest unemployment rates on record, and we will not let COVID-19 erase these gains by causing short-term dislocations that could well have long-term consequences.
Accordingly, my Administration, to the extent reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, will take all lawful measures to prevent residential evictions and foreclosures resulting from financial hardships caused by COVID-19.
Sec. 2. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, residential evictions and foreclosures during the ongoing COVID-19 national emergency.
Sec. 3. Response to Public Health Risks of Evictions and Foreclosures. (a) The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of CDC shall consider whether any measures temporarily halting residential evictions of any tenants for failure to pay rent are reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 from one State or possession into any other State or possession.
(b) The Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall identify any and all available Federal funds to provide temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners who, as a result of the financial hardships caused by COVID-19, are struggling to meet their monthly rental or mortgage obligations.
(c) The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall take action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to promote the ability of renters and homeowners to avoid eviction or foreclosure resulting from financial hardships caused by COVID-19. Such action may include encouraging and providing assistance to public housing authorities, affordable housing owners, landlords, and recipients of Federal grant funds in minimizing evictions and foreclosures.
(d) In consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of FHFA shall review all existing authorities and resources that may be used to prevent evictions and foreclosures for renters and homeowners resulting from hardships caused by COVID-19.
Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,August 8, 2020.
Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster | The White House
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 21:37
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
SUBJECT: Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Lightof the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that originated in the People's Republic of China has caused significant, sudden, and unexpected disruptions to the American economy. On March 13, 2020, I determined that the COVID-19 pandemic is of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant an emergency declaration under section 501(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121-5207, and that is still the case today. American workers have been particularly hard hit by this ongoing disaster. While the Department of the Treasury has already undertaken historic efforts to alleviate the hardships of our citizens, it is clear that further temporary relief is necessary to support working Americans during these challenging times. To that end, today I am directing the Secretary of the Treasury to use his authority to defer certain payroll tax obligations with respect to the American workers most in need. This modest, targeted action will put money directly in the pockets of American workers and generate additional incentives for work and employment, right when the money is needed most.
Sec. 2. Deferring Certain Payroll Tax Obligations. The Secretary of the Treasury is hereby directed to use his authority pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 7508A to defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of the tax imposed by 26 U.S.C. 3101(a), and so much of the tax imposed by 26 U.S.C. 3201 as is attributable to the rate in effect under 26 U.S.C. 3101(a), on wages or compensation, as applicable, paid during the period of September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, subject to the following conditions:
(a) The deferral shall be made available with respect to any employee the amount of whose wages or compensation, as applicable, payable during any bi-weekly pay period generally is less than $4,000, calculated on a pre-tax basis, or the equivalent amount with respect to other pay periods.
(b) Amounts deferred pursuant to the implementation of this memorandum shall be deferred without any penalties, interest, additional amount, or addition to the tax.
Sec. 3. Authorizing Guidance. The Secretary of the Treasury shall issue guidance to implement this memorandum.
Sec. 4. Tax Forgiveness. The Secretary of the Treasury shall explore avenues, including legislation, to eliminate the obligation to pay the taxes deferred pursuant to the implementation of this memorandum.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(d) You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 | The White House
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 21:37
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF LABOR
THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY
MANAGEMENT AGENCY
SUBJECT: Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121-5207 (the ''Stafford Act''), and in light of Proclamation 9994 of March 13, 2020 (Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak), which declared a national emergency by reason of the threat posed by the outbreak of the novel (new) coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Protective measures enacted by States and localities across the country to prevent loss of life from COVID-19 have resulted in millions of Americans becoming unemployed and in need of assistance. My Administration, recognizing the acute financial distress affecting families across the country, has worked to quickly provide billions of dollars in relief to supplement unemployment benefits and help businesses keep their workers employed, in addition to zeroing Federal student loan interest and delaying Tax Day. In total, nearly $3 trillion has been appropriated for emergency funding related to COVID-19.
Because many of the relief programs created by the Congress have expired or will shortly expire, my Administration and the Republican leadership in the United States Senate have proposed multiple options to continue to provide needed relief to Americans. But Democratic Members of Congress have twice blocked temporary extensions of supplemental unemployment benefits. Political games that harm American lives are unacceptable, especially during a global pandemic, and therefore I am taking action to provide financial security to Americans.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (Public Law 116-136) included $150 billion appropriated directly to State, territorial, tribal, and some local governments through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to cover costs incurred due to the COVID-19 emergency. As of the latest report from the Treasury Inspector General regarding State expenditures, more than $80 billion of CRF dollars remain available, to supplement the billions of dollars States have received in other Federal assistance, such as the $8.8 billion in emergency assistance provided under the Stafford Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.). In addition, the Department of Homeland Security's Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), has more than $70 billion in emergency assistance funding available.
I am hereby directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist in providing benefits from the DRF, and am calling upon the States to use their CRF allocation, to bring continued financial relief to Americans who are suffering from unemployment due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sec. 2. Providing Disaster Relief Funds. On March 13, 2020, I declared a national emergency recognizing the threat posed by COVID-19. I also determined that same day that the COVID-19 outbreak constituted an emergency, of nationwide scope, pursuant to section 501(b) of the Stafford Act (42 U.S.C. 5191(b)). All States have activated their Emergency Operations Centers and are working to fight the spread of the virus. As of April 18, 2020, I have declared that a major disaster exists in all States and territories as a result of the virus, and have authorized Emergency Protective Measures (Category B) pursuant to section 403 of the Stafford Act (42 U.S.C. 5170b) for each.
To provide financial assistance for the needs of those who have lost employment as a result of the pandemic, I am directing up to $44 billion from the DRF at the statutorily mandated 75 percent Federal cost share be made available for lost wages assistance to eligible claimants, to supplement State expenditures in providing these payments. At least $25 billion of total DRF balances will be set aside to support ongoing disaster response and recovery efforts and potential 2020 major disaster costs.
Sec. 3. State Allocation. I am calling on States to use amounts allocated to them out of the CRF, or other State funding, to provide temporary enhanced financial support to those whose jobs or wages have been adversely affected by COVID-19. These funds, including those currently used to support State unemployment insurance programs, may be applied as the State's cost share with Federal DRF funds. To ensure that those affected by a loss in wages due to COVID-19 continue to receive supplemental benefits for weeks of unemployment ending no later than December 27, 2020, States should also identify funds to be spent without a Federal match should the total DRF balance deplete to $25 billion.
Sec. 4. Assistance Program for Lost Wages. (a) For purposes of this memorandum, ''State'' includes the territories and the District of Columbia, and ''Governor'' includes the chief executive thereof.
(b) To help meet the needs of the American people during this unprecedented and continuously evolving public health crisis, the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary), acting through the FEMA Administrator, is authorized to make available other needs assistance for lost wages, in accordance with section 408(e)(2) of the Stafford Act (42 U.S.C. 5174(e)(2)) (''lost wages assistance''), to the people of a State, including the members of any tribe residing therein, if the Governor requests lost wages assistance and agrees to administer delivery and provide adequate oversight of the program, for a major disaster I declared pursuant to section 401 of the Stafford Act (42 U.S.C. 5170) for COVID-19, under the following conditions:
(i) the Governor requests from the FEMA Administrator a grant for lost wages assistance pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 5174(f)(1)(A) and agrees to the cost-sharing requirement of 42 U.S.C. 5174(g)(2); and
(ii) the Governor administers delivery of financial assistance for lost wages in conjunction with the State's unemployment insurance system.
(c) In exercising this authority, the Secretary, acting through the FEMA Administrator, shall, subject to the limitations above, approve a lost wages assistance program that authorizes the Governor to provide a $400 payment per week, which shall reflect a $300 Federal contribution, to eligible claimants from the week of unemployment ending August 1, 2020.
(d) For purposes of this memorandum, the term ''Eligible claimants'' means claimants who:
(i) receive, for the week lost wages assistance is sought, at least $100 per week of any of the following benefits:
(A) Unemployment compensation, including Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) and Unemployment Compensation for Ex'‘Service members (UCX), under section 8501 of title 5, United States Code;
(B) Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), under section 2107 of the CARES Act;
(C) Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), under section 2102 of the CARES Act;
(D) Extended Benefits (EB), under section 3304 of title 26, United States Code;
(E) Short-Time Compensation (STC), under section 3306(v) of title 26, United States Code;
(F) Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA), under sections 2291 through 2293 of title 19, United States Code; and
(G) Payments under the Self-Employment Assistant (SEA) program, under section 3306(t) of title 26, United States Code; and
(ii) provide self-certification that the claimant is unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
(e) The authority vested in the Secretary, acting through the FEMA Administrator, to approve lost wages assistance shall not be construed to encompass authority to approve other forms of assistance.
Sec. 5. Additional Assistance. The Secretary of Labor shall provide, as appropriate, and consistent with applicable law, technical assistance to the FEMA Administrator and Governors in the implementation of lost wages assistance programs, including timely processing of advances from the Federal unemployment account pursuant to section 1321 of title 42, United States Code 321.
Sec. 6. Termination. (a) The lost wages assistance program described in section 4(b) of this memorandum shall be available for eligible claimants until the balance of the DRF reaches $25 billion or for weeks of unemployment ending not later than December 6, 2020, whichever occurs first, at which time the lost wages assistance program shall terminate.
(b) The lost wages assistance program shall terminate upon enactment of legislation providing, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, supplemental Federal unemployment compensation, or similar compensation, for unemployed or underemployed individuals.
Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Let Us Out!
NYC BOTG Report
In the morning John and Adam,
I was driving through Manhattan today and felt compelled to give you an update of what the city is looking like these days. In the height of the lockdown (late March through early May) Manhattan was an absolute ghost town. The wealthy left to their homes in the Hamptons or Connecticut and the younger folk from outside of the city went back to their hometowns. I rode my bicycle into Manhattan the sight of a desolate Times Square is something I won't soon forget. The streets of Manhattan were completely empty with the exception of homeless. Penn Station had become a safe haven for drug activity with drug dealers manning entrances and drug use running amok inside the actual station.
Some of the younger crowd has since returned but it's still a shadow of what it was. The homeless still own the streets. Many small shops are still boarded up from the looting and businesses in the financial/office areas don't seem like they'll make it through as most offices are not yet open. I have many friends who've packed up and left for good and I can't help but think I'll soon be joining them (hello Austin).
The drive today reminded me that the life has been sucked out of the city and the overall feeling in the air was that we may never get that life back. As a born and raised New Yorker, it's truly sad to see.
On a side note, I met AOC canvassing at a Local farmers market a few weeks back. She was handing out tostadas In a mostly Hispanic area. She has what I would describe as pre-cankles.
Thank you for helping me stay sane in these weird times.
All the best,
Sean
Teacher BOTG Report
I'm not sure I'm going to be helpful but I thought I would share my teacher perspective. I've taught in Nashville, Seattle, Vashon Island, WA and Bowling Green, KY. People will not organize themselves to create homeschools. Some will try but the reality is that far too many people rely on the public school system for food, medical care, babysitting and overall parenting. Plus buying curriculum in 2020 is expensive. Yes upper class families may pull their kids out but I'm at a very upper class school now and 80% of our kids are coming back (if we are allowed to open).
The issue, like always, is the state officials that aren't elected. Our schools have zero say in what's going on. Our principals are scared for their jobs and Gov. Beshear has even threatened superintendents to do his bidding. This is a complete take over and most teachers I work with don't support this crap. I'm one of few in my building who is trying to stand up but I have three kids to feed and my wife stays home. Like everyone else I have to follow in order to make money.
The unions are full of shit. Most liberal states like CA, WA , CT etc force teachers to join the union. They take out dues from our paycheck whether we sign up or not. Please do not think all teachers are supporting this. It's the same liberal douche bags who steal money to support their shitty causes.
Overall schools are a reflection of the society they serve. We do not have a say. Teachers do no choose their curriculum and we definitely didn't get a say in this matter.
I doubt this is helpful but it felt good to rant a little :) As always I appreciate what you and John do! Thank you for your courage.
Nathan
Brooklyn Parents - Too Many Deal Breakers: Prioritizing Safety, Equity, & Compassion
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 20:59
Priorities and Guidelines Circle, a working group of parents
August 6th, 2020
Too Many Deal Breakers: Why NYC Must Prioritize Safety, Equity, and Compassion
As it stands, there are too many deal breakers preventing the safe, equitable reopening of NYC schools. Until the Department of E ducation and city and state governments can ensure the health and safety of students, teachers, school staff, and their families, including those in the hardest-hit neighborhoods [1] , we must not reopen schools across the board , and must instead focus on funding, infrastructure, and training to meet children's academic, social, and emotional needs remotely, with key exceptions to address systemic inequities.
Parents and guardians demand that Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and UFT President Mulgrew:
Acknowledge Deal Breakers ; Cease & Desist Current Planning: Stop premature, unsafe, and financially unfeasible attempts to reopen NYC Public Schools for part-time in-person instruction. Fully Commit to Remote Instruction : Use the limited time before school begins to make remote teaching and learning the most creative, meaningful, and nurturing homegrown experience it can be until it is truly safe to return to schools . [2] [3] Lead with Accountability & Integrity: Be truthful and transparent leaders; create checks and balances including a dedicated COVID safety team assigned to each school that is made up of public health, virus exposure and air quality experts and is answerable to parents and teachers . Address Urgent Parent Needs Separate from Schools: S tep up and provide what our government always should have: a living wage, employee protections, free/subsidized child care, affordable housing, universal healthcare - all the things missing that are putting parents in this untenable situation of choosing between their children's safety and learning vs. making enough money to feed and house them. Seize This Historic Moment: In the words of Shayla R. Griffin: ''The truth is, schooling as we knew it six months ago is over. We are being given the opportunity to re-envision education in a way that works for those we have historically failed.'' [4] Why Can't Most Students Return to School Buildings in September?
Dealbreaker #1: Introducing higher-risk behaviors (e.g., taking public transit, interacting with non-household members indoors, etc.) without the proven capacity for rapid testing and immediate and comprehensive tracing will reverse NYC's hard-won progress against COVID-19. [5] [6] [7]
Dealbreaker #2: Given recent budget cuts, on top of years of broadscale financial neglect, the DOE does not have the money to pay for the high price-tag, resource-intensive safety measures that hybrid learning plans require. In a life-and-death scenario, cutting corners is not an option.
Dealbreaker #3: School buildings cannot be accurately assessed for safety and made physically ready in time, and the current process is neither transparent nor trustworthy . [8] The same issue holds true for the buses necessary for blended learning to occur, especially that serve the more than 150,000 special education students receiving busing. [9]
Dealbreaker #4: The nurses', teachers', principals', and custodial engineers' unions have all said that the DOE's current plans are not sufficient to guarantee safe working or learning conditions. [10] [11] [12] [13]
Dealbreaker #5: By offering the same options to all students, the DOE's plan does not illustrate how they are going to prioritize the students with the highest needs and those most impacted by systemic inequities. [14]
Dealbreaker #6: Remote learning will be a reality most of the time for a vast majority of our students, as even those who select "blended" in the current plan could be in person as little as 20%. of the time. Yet the DOE is primarily focused on planning in-person logistics, which wastes scarce time, energy, and resources. [15]
Dealbreaker #7: NYC does not have sealed borders, so it cannot escape the larger public health crisis that our nation faces. There are 13 states that should be issuing stay-at-home orders, but are unlikely to do so. [16] Even within New York City, i n July, many neighborhoods were reporting infection rates above or close to the mayor's 3% threshold. For instance, several neighborhoods in the Bronx had July infection rates over 5%. [17]
Reality Check : Experts predict that in-person learning, with its numerous rules and vulnerability to closure, will not provide the return to school that everyone is longing for. [18] This is not going to be a positive experience for children, teachers, or parents when we consider the social consequences of the health and safety directives. Consider: When a child is put in the isolation room, how are the staff trained to handle explaining that? How are parents expected to handle the emotions of the child sent home? How will the community deal with bullying, blame, guilt, and judgment? When we add in the risk that beloved teachers or family members might become ill or die, it's clear that no solution is without risk of trauma. [19] [20] The truth is, in-person school only one or two days each week fails at its three stated goals:
It fails to get parents back to work. It fails to support consistent academic progress. It fails to meet social and emotional needs. THE GOVERNOR, MAYOR, AND CHANCELLOR NEED TO CHANGE COURSE NOW.
TO ADDRESS THE URGENCY OF THE CURRENT MOMENT,
CANCEL IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION & DO THESE VERY IMPORTANT THINGS:
Admit that the testing and tracing infrastructure is not sufficient and the necessary precautions are un sustainable and potentially traumatic for children. We lack the infrastructure to protect our city if, and most likely when, cases begin to rise and prohibit in-person learning. For many children and teens, the precautions necessary to ensure a safe reopening, including wearing masks and remaining six feet apart, are anxiety-provoking and developmentally inappropriate , and they have the potential to create high-stress, heavily- and disparately-policed classrooms that further traumatize students. [21] Make the call now to delay reopening buildings. Instead of focusing on making remote learning a more robust experience that centers equity in our communities and builds our children up, we have engaged in an exercise in futility trying to decide whether we're going to use model 1b or 2a. Teachers and parents are spending hours in meetings where they end up with more questions than answers because NO model is safe! With minimal exceptions (see #3) , schools should stay closed and students, teachers, and staff should stay home to keep our school communities and city safe. [22] Find the safest ways to prioritize offering in-person support to students who are most in need and most impacted by systemic inequities. While remote learning may not be ideal for any learner, students with disabilities, multi-language learners, and students who live in temporary housing face additional hardships. We propose using the safest school rooms with the best ventilation or tents as spaces to provide academic, social and/or emotional support for these students. [23] The impacted families should be involved in the decision-making and planning of these services and opportunities. Create opportunities to build relationships and provide social-emotional support within school communities . According to the AQE ''Roadmap to a Just Reopening'', it is more essential now than ever before for school staff members to ''establish and nurture relationships with each child's family.'' [24] This is especially important for our youngest learners, and students transitioning to a new school. Help families gear up and teachers prepare for creative, effective, meaningful, developmentally appropriate, and trauma-informed remote learning. Engage interested teachers in co-creating professional development opportunities for remote teaching to ensure that topics and methods are responsive to teachers' needs. Offer learning opportunities for parents where they can see best practices and learn to troubleshoot technology issues. In addition, t rain all staff in healing-centered, culturally responsive, anti-racist, and non-criminalizing approaches, including community circles and restorative justice. [25] With community-based organizations, develop safe and creative plans over time to support children's socialization in small groups using outdoor space safely and effectively in all communities. Address digital and resource needs and inequities across the system . The DOE must: Provide access to broadband internet and adequate technology, including a laptop or tablet with keyboard for each individual learner in the household, matched to their age group and needs. Make broadband available free of charge in public housing and neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty. Ensure additional counseling and academic services are available in Black, Latinx, and immigrant communities that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. Provide families all resources they need to help children to learn remotely, including devices, books, art supplies, math tools, and even instruments. Authorize parent coordinators or other school staff to be proactive and facilitate this process to relieve the burden on individual parents. Allocate money for robust mental health services made available to teachers, children and families. [26] Expand Regional Enrichment Centers. Share what worked and what didn't and revise their design to make them even safer for staff and students. Acknowledge this historic moment and support schools in implementing the study of social justice across the curriculum and in each grade level. Connect this to history and social studies, science, literacy, math, foreign languages, the arts, and community service. Stop having system-wide information meetings and offer targeted question-and-answer sessions. Avoid having parents who are concerned about their children learning to read in the same system-wide Zoom with parents concerned about their children graduating at the end of the year. Offer information sessions at the Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and High School levels and include time for authentic questions. Use a phase-in approach for any future in-person planning. There is broad consensus that school systems should structure their reopening plans in phases. [27] Most countries brought in their youngest students, for whom remote learning is a particular challenge, first. In NYC, this design would make particular sense because, in most cases, families live near their elementary schools and they have 1-2 teachers. Stop placing COVID safety in the hands of school administrators. School administrators are experts at running school buildings. They are not public health or air quality experts. Develop a comprehensive plan for addressing safety issues in each school and demonstrate to families how these are going to be addressed, including if that's even possible. Demand that pre-K-12 education is fully funded and issue a budget that details everything required to make schools safe for sustained in-person learning so that we ALL can fight for what our schools need at the federal and state level. Insist on fully funding Foundation Aid. Implement revenue raising measures to stave off cuts. [28] Fight for a waiver from high stakes testing so that schools can focus on meeting students where they are and moving them forward without this added pressure. [29] Eliminate all city and district administered standardized tests (eg., MAP). Do all that you can to create health care for all, expand financial support for families in need, and provide accommodations for workers who need to do childcare or for whom in-person work poses high risks for them or their household (including teachers!). [30] This position paper is a labor of love and collaboration of the Priorities and Guidelines Circle, a small group within Back to School Safely NY who came together to prioritize a safe, sensible, equitable, intersectional and inspired reopening of NYC public schools based on science. We will be adding to and revising as we learn new information, but we hope the essence of our views is clear. If you would like to help us translate this into other languages, or for any other inquiries, please reach out to us at prioritize.safe.equity@gmail.com
We would love to know what you think . Want to join our efforts? Fill out this form to let us know.
If what we have written resonates, please share it with all of the families that you can, use it on social media, and/or any time you have an opportunity to speak truth to power. We are @safeschoolsny on twitter, instagram, and facebook.
Also, if you want to learn more about the science of reopening schools, check out What does the SCIENCE say? , a pare nt-planned event that took place on August 6th, featuring Danielle C. Ompad, Phd an infectious disease expert tasked with the safe reopening of NYU, Kaliris Y. Salas-Ramirez, Phd a neurologist who discussed the neurological impacts on socio-emotional health and the impact of staying home, Prof. Jorge E. Gonzales, PhD FASM who explained what we need to know about airborne transmission and Cristina M. Gonzalez, MD, MEd who walked us through the differences in health impacts within urban communities of color. Moderated by Rashida Abuwala, the director of the Redlich Horwitz Foundation and a parent of a proud public ed student.
[1] Data Check: Recent COVID-19 Infection Rates Vary Widely By Neighborhood
[2] We aren't the only ones. Have you seen MORE's petition ?
[3] Remote is not and will never be what in-person learning can be in non-COVID times. We reject Cuomo's fantasy that schools will use distance learning in bigger ways in the future.
[4] Some Students Should Go to School, Most Should Stay Home
[5] 9-Day Waits for Test Results Threaten N.Y.C.'s Ability to Contain Virus
[6] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/29/nyregion/new-york-contact-tracing.html
[8] ''When we asked about ventilation, we were told by the Dept. of School Facilities that having our windows and doors open would be ''safe'' and ''adequate''. Yet, we've had no assessment from an independent environmental engineer or DOE official to determine this. At no point have we been given any scientific or quantifiable data about how the determination was made that our airflow situation is adequate.''(Anonymous Brooklyn School Administrator)
[9] 150,000 NYC families who rely on yellow school buses wait for answers on transportation plans
[10] If you really want to make your head spin check out the questions the union sent the DOE on July 23rd.
[11] Teachers union prepared to fight if NYC forces schools to reopen
[12] If there is evidence that we shouldn't reopen generally, why would we put families at further risk by reopening schools prematurely?
[13] Officials Promise NYC Schools Will Be Cleaned Constantly When They Reopen. Custodians Wonder How
[14] Bklyner Data Check: Recent COVID-19 Infection Rates Vary Widely By Neighborhood
[15] How Can Schools Open Safely This Fall?
[16] Key Metrics for COVID Suppression
[17] Bklyner Data Check: Recent COVID-19 Infection Rates Vary Widely By Neighborhood
[18] I n-person learning, with the necessary safety measures in place will not provide any of these as well as our schools were able to in years past. Ironically, a well designed lesson in a remote context might allow for more conversation and collaboration that will be possible in-person, ''The models rely on unrealistic, developmentally inappropriate expectations of social-distancing and mask-wearing that, while necessary for containing COVID-19, are impossible and unethical to enforce for very young children and for those with special needs.'' Parents and Teachers Agree: It Is Too Soon To Go Back into School Buildings
[19] We have also paid a lot of lip service to our deeper appreciation for how difficult it is to teach. Now is not the time to show that appreciation by asking teachers to teach in a context that poses risks to them and their loved ones. It's no coincidence that many, many teachers plan to select remote only learning for their children. They don't think schools will be safe. Ruth on Twitter: "I hope parents are keeping an eye on the decisions teachers are making for their own kids in @NYCSchools. Many are choosing to keep their children learning remotely, even though we have to be in the building. that's bc we know what schools will be like."
[20] Open schools, risk our health
[21] Parents and Teachers Agree: It Is Too Soon To Go Back into School Buildings
[22] Some Students Should Go to School, Most Should Stay Home
[23] The DOE needs to also ready school hubs that can serve our most vulnerable children asap. Some Students Should Go to School, Most Should Stay Home
[24] AQE, Alliance for Quality Education: A Roadmap to A Just Reopening & Just Schools
[25] Health Justice Agenda
[26] Some Students Should Go to School, Most Should Stay Home
[27] Jumaane D. Williams
[28] AQE, Alliance for Quality Education: A Roadmap to A Just Reopening & Just Schools
[29] NYC councilors ask Albany to support another cancellation of state tests
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Melbourne BOTG Reports
People going apeshit
Don't usually email you both but based on your Australia discussion, thought you might be interested in some feed back I am getting from there.
I made a post on an Instagram story about having to fill out paperwork on return if I went to Virginia to see my family (Mom has Alzheimer's, Dad is cancer survivor, holding down a 40 acre farm-didn't mention this) and if I didn't I could be subject to a maximum of $10,000 fine. This is insane. But this person's response from Melbourne is even more insane.
It was increase of cases
ITM Professor Crank Wistle and Black Jack McGregor,
it is I, Max Dam'aje The Talking Bunyip!
Just wanted to provide a little context from Melbourne after listening to the opening of show 1267.
A month or two ago Australia like many others was beginning to return to some form of normality, as daily cases in all states were either in single numbers or non-existent.
Then suddenly Melbourne cases began to rise.
Once Melbourne started recording hundreds of cases a day we went back into 'stage 3' lockdown for 6 weeks.
After 2 weeks of this lockdown, face masks and 'coverings' (anything that covers your mouth and nose) were made mandatory outside of our homes.
The next week with numbers stabilizing around the 600-700 a day, these new 'stage 4' and curfew laws were brought in as the numbers were not believed to be reducing fast enough.
The premier of Victoria, Dan Andrews, justified the actions on the basis that under stage 3 it would of taken all year to return to an acceptable number of daily cases.
The Victorian outbreak is now being linked to rising cases in New South Wales and Queensland, in which the states are now also scrambling to avoid Melbourne like scenarios.
While the state government is blaming people who have been caught not isolating after tested positive, others suggest the Hotel Quarantine scandal.
Australians returning from overseas were sent to complete 2 weeks quarantine in dedicated hotels, before returning to their homes.
While every state and territory placed Australian Defence Force or Police personnel at these hotels to ensure nobody left, Victoria saw fit to entrust it to a private security company, who hired staff over whattsapp.
These people were untrained and told to bring their own ppe. Local media has also brought to light that several of these 'security personnel' had SEX with quarantined persons.
They f-=ked the guests and the country. A 2 for 1.
Also a Black Lives Matter protest of 10,000 people in Melbourne's CBD was allowed to take place around the same time.
Other side notes:
-Melbourne Nursing homes experiencing outbreaks similar to the US. approximately half to two thirds of the daily deaths atm are linked to aged care.
-Daniel Andrews last year signed Victoria up to China's Belt and Road. The only state to do so.
-While some media in Australia is mildly critical of China atm, China is slowly tightening its grip right across the board, from politics, media, property, business, trade, food and Victoria's state government is all on board!
Melbourne's moniker of the most liveable city in the world, is now a distant memory. Lockdown is Life. Work if you're allowed, the rest of the day is spent at home.
PS. Can't wait to hear John on the Nick The Rat Show!
Thank you for your courage
THE TALKING BUNYIP, Max Dam'aje!
Mad response about Katie Hopkins
Opened with her? She is just the worst. And wrong (again).
I live in Melbourne. It's not closed only for 7 deaths. Many more than that. Today currently 7k cases (from effectively none). I trust our figures.
Lockdown is trying to put the genie back in the bottle. It's all about trying to fix the mess of the hotel quarantine failure.
That was the key to the whole 'success' for Australia. Initially, Aus asked returning travelers (who were the sole source of infections) to self isolate. That proved quickly not to work. So, they then *forced* all returning travelers into 2 week mandatory hotel quarantine at the Govt's expense. That fixed everything! Every other State in Aus worked it out properly except for Vic. They hired Uber drivers to be the security guards (and alot worse stories). The virus got out. I could go on. Nothing to do with Trump.
Melbourne Lockdown: Police Can Enter Homes Without a Warrant to Carry Out 'Spot Checks' '' Summit News
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 12:47
A video out of Melbourne, Australia shows a woman being pinned to the ground and arrested by police for being outside during lockdown, a confrontation that left her with severe bruising.
The clip shows the woman screaming in pain as three male officers try to handcuff her while kneeling on her body.
The woman is then led away as her daughter, who filmed the incident, is threatened with arrest for not producing her ID.
''Yes you are doing something wrong, you're out in contravention of the COVID restrictions,'' states the female officer.
The daughter responds that she is ''walking,'' a form of exercise which is allowed under the rules, but the officer again threatens to arrest her for failure to ID.
You can do this in a disarmed country like Australia, Canada or the UK. You could never do this in the United States '-- at least not in Second Amendment respecting states. Take a good hard look at China-style ''public health''. pic.twitter.com/JFe1gheI3t
'-- Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) August 7, 2020
The video then shows the severe bruising suffered by the woman's mother during the arrest.
''You can do this in a disarmed country like Australia, Canada or the UK,'' commented Ezra Levant. ''You could never do this in the United States '-- at least not in Second Amendment respecting states. Take a good hard look at China-style ''public health''.''
In the vast majority of civilized countries, people who violate arbitrary lockdown laws are hit with fines and are not subjected to arrest or police brutality.
However, the state of Victoria's draconian coronavirus clamp down is being enforced with an iron fist.
In the video below, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton explains how police, ''Had to smash the windows of people in cars and pull them out of there so they could provide us their details because they weren't telling us where they were going, they weren't adhering to the chief health officer guidelines.''
As we previously reported, within moments of the new lockdown rules being announced, eyewitnesses said police surrounded residential tower blocks in Melbourne to prevent people from leaving.
Authorities have also given police new powers to enter people's homes without a warrant and perform 'spot checks' to enforce compliance with new coronavirus lockdown rules.
In addition to an 8pm to 5am curfew, residents can only leave their homes outside those hours to shop for food and essential items, carry out care and caregiving, as well as daily exercise and work.
Fines for violating the law can run as high as $5,000 dollars.
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Coronavirus Australia: How hotel quarantine let COVID-19 out of the bag in Victoria
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 06:12
When the Victorian government decided in late March to put private security contractors in charge of hotel quarantine in Melbourne, it was putting the lives of its constituents in the hands of an industry known for shady operators, wage theft and opaque contracting practices.
The lightning decision was made during the first alarming spread of COVID-19 and just 24 hours after the national cabinet on March 27 had decided to detain returning travellers in hotels for two weeks. From then on three private security operators '' selected without a tender '' would guard the people at the highest risk of carrying the coronavirus.
Hotel quarantine breaches at the Rydges in Carlton (pictured) and the Stamford Plaza in the CBD have been identified as sources of outbreaks. Penny Stephens
Victoria's decision was different to that in NSW, the other state where a significant number of travellers also returned to compulsory hotel quarantine. In that state, police and the defence forces were heavily involved alongside private security. The system has had far fewer problems with outbreaks.
In Victoria, just two months after quarantine began, in late May, the first infection of a security guard was made public. The guard had worked at Rydges on Swanston in Carlton. Now at least 19 guards and their contacts are infected from that outbreak. Even larger issues emerged from another quarantine hotel, the Stamford Plaza in Melbourne's CBD, where an outbreak via security guards had by Friday grown to at least 35 people.
The ramifications are now being felt across the working-class and ethnically diverse northern and western suburbs of Melbourne, where more than 300,000 people have now been locked down for a second time to try to prevent the spread.
The government confirmed this week that genomic sequencing '' a form of testing that outlines which specific variety of the virus is spreading in which clusters '' shows that much of the latest outbreak has emerged from those original cases in hotel quarantine.
While further outbreaks of the virus in Australia were always likely, the high level of community transmission in Melbourne's suburbs is enough to have the Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton declaring himself ''nervous'' for what's next.
'Three minutes' training'Until now Australia and Victoria's response has been an overwhelming public health success with far fewer deaths per capita than nearly every comparable country. And despite the recent outbreak, the virus in Victoria is still not out of control.
But the northern suburbs lockdown has led to tough questions of both the government and the security industry it relied upon.
A key issue, according to industry insiders, was training. Guards were being expected to work with difficult, potentially infectious people, to use personal protective equipment and have a working knowledge of infection control techniques.
In NSW, police escorted people to hotel quarantine. Edwina Pickles
But for some, according to Kazim Shah, a United Workers Union organiser who has worked with Melbourne quarantine hotel guards in recent months, the preparation was severely inadequate.
''Some guards are saying they had no training," Shah said. ''Some were saying they had three minutes' training.''
One trainer had a background in managing security for car parks, Shah said. Until recently security guards had been working at multiple quarantine hotels, adding to infection spread risks.
Details have since emerged of the lax hygiene standards in some Melbourne quarantine hotels and significant breaches of quarantine. Premier Andrews has drawn attention to guards sharing a cigarette lighter, and having "carpooling arrangements".
More lurid rumours have also emerged, but a common story is that there was too little personal protective equipment or it was being worn wrongly or for too long; there was a lack of medical waste bins and that there was insufficient medical oversight.
So bad were the practices in some places that one returned traveller from New Zealand who stayed at a Crown hotel, said he felt more at risk in quarantine than going home.
"I noticed a lot of guards, they'd hug each other or give each other a pat on the shoulder,'' returned traveller Patrick Enright told The Age.
''They were definitely in their personal space. One guard escorted me outside with the mask over his mouth but not his nose."
Patrick Enright (left) finishes his two-week hotel quarantine at the end of June. Justin McManus
Andrews has admitted there has been ''unacceptable infection control breaches in hotel quarantine.''
Then the virus spread. Security workers acquired infections from travellers and then took it home to family members and contacts '' an event that will now be subject to a new government-ordered inquiry amid fierce scrutiny on the Andrews government.
Low pay, insecure workThe pandemic has seen government work at warp speed. Decisions that would normally take months are being made in days. Corners are being cut and mistakes are inevitable.
In Victoria, the Andrews government has moved more than 20,000 people '' many from places with major coronavirus outbreaks '' through the hastily constructed hotel quarantine system, guarded by three security industry players MSS, Wilson and Unified.
The problem that emerged from those contracts has not been one of money. Victoria has already spent tens of millions of dollars on hotel quarantine alone as it hired out more than a dozen hotels to provide rooms for returned travellers.
Rather the problems are similar to those in some other Australian workplaces and industries '' insecure work, exploitation of temporary migrants, inadequate training and decades of de-unionisation.
Recent research from the Fair Work Ombudsman said the private security industry had disproportionate levels of workplace disputes, including issues of contractors bidding down tenders to below the cost of paying employees lawfully.
Some of the quarantine contracts were sub-contracted to smaller operators, a practice that drives down wages and muddles responsibility. A former guard himself, Shah said workers employed directly by big companies typically were paid legal rates and penalties and overtime, but they would then pass off work to sub-contractors that regularly paid migrant workers flat rates of $20 an hour.
''They don't have contracts and sometimes they don't get paid at all,'' he said. ''This is an ongoing issue for the security industry.''
This week The Herald Sun reported claims of taxpayers being charged by security firms for "ghost shifts" '' shifts that were never worked. Workers in the industry are not surprised.
The problems with the industry are well documented. Unions affiliated to the ALP have spoken out about it for years, and the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility's director of workplace rights, Dr Katie Hepworth, said investors and companies needed to urgently review the use of sub-contractors in high-risk areas during the pandemic.
''The failure to provide proper training and personal protective equipment to subcontractors is common practice,'' she said.
''It is the result of years of outsourcing in the security industry, that has seen the hollowing out of wages and conditions, and seen experienced workers locked out of the industry in favour of inexperienced, lower-paid workers.''
Guards and police at the entry of Crown Promenade hotel late in June. Supplied
Buck passing and an inquiryWhat occurred in the hotels and why the private security industry was selected will be key questions for the new $3 million inquiry ordered by the Andrews government and headed by retired judge Jennifer Coate.
Among the issues to be examined include the ''decisions and actions of government agencies, hotel operators and private contractors'' along with contractual arrangements and the training provided to staff. The report is due to be completed by September 25.
The state opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier wants the inquiry to be public and extended to include the earlier Cedar Meats cluster, while state opposition leader Michael O'Brien called for the health minister, Jenny Mikakos, to be sacked.
''This has been a complete and utter debacle,'' Mr O'Brien said. ''There has to be accountability for this, and this means the health minister has to go.''
On Friday Mr Andrews said Ms Mikakos had his support and said as leader he took responsibility for ''these and all matters''.
''I absolutely acknowledge this is unacceptable what has gone on here.''
Ms Mikakos said she welcomed the judicial inquiry and said she had ''no concerns whatsoever'' about the role of her department. She said the decision to award the contracts was not made by her Department of Health and Human Services.
''I'm deeply frustrated by what has happened here,'' she said. ''We have managed this before (virus spread) and we will manage it again.''
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and Premier Daniel Andrews on their way to a COVID-19 press conference on Friday. Joe Armao
Despite days of questions of the government, it remains unclear who made the call to outsource quarantine to the private security industry. Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Thursday the decision to use private security was not his.
"But it was jointly oversighted by emergency management within the Department of Health and Human Services, Emergency Management Victoria and Department of Jobs Precinct and Regions," he said.
The 'reset'A significant overhaul has already begun in what the premier has called a "reset".
No international travellers will arrive in Melbourne for two weeks. Andrews said diverting flights would allow the government to focus on existing cases rather than worry about new returning ones. The state government has also moved to toughen the rules for those in hotels, cancelling outside walks for everyone except those with mental health problems.
The move mirrors the more stringent lockdown already in NSW for quarantine hotels.
At the start of the pandemic, there was a major debacle in NSW over the virus spreading from passengers disembarking from cruise ships. But their hotel quarantine program has had far fewer issues than Victoria's and has been run using a different model.
A NSW Police spokeswoman said they were responsible for that state's hotel quarantine operation along with the Australian Defence Force, NSW Health and a private contractor. People who have stayed in quarantine in Sydney describe strictly enforced rules. This is the model Victoria is now moving to.
On Thursday Police Minister Lisa Neville said that the private security program at 15 quarantine hotels would be stopped by the end of next week.
Corrections Victoria, which runs the state's jails and parole system, recently took over supervision of the quarantine program and will work with the Australian Defence Force to manage the hotels.
The Age has reported that MSS had been guarding the Stamford Plaza hotel in Melbourne's CBD. Unified Security had been responsible for the Rydges on Swanston in Carlton.
The Andrews government said that the security companies ''were bound by the standards of their service agreement with the Victorian government'' and staff were required to complete training programs''.
That may be the case. But given the well-known state of the industry, it still required a leap of faith to believe it could deliver. Now the government is advertising for parole and prison officers, sheriffs and other authorised officers not already deployed to fill hundreds of new quarantine jobs.
The new roles will pay a base rate of $54 an hour. That's more than double what one former guard said he was paid. "I was on a $25 set flat rate, that didn't [move] whether you were on a day or night shift," former guard Sebastian Porter said.
He said guards he worked alongside from other security firms "were on way less than that".
Professor Sutton has conceded there has been "some concern about the distancing between those contracted security guard staff". He also confirmed some of the staff spaces where security guards and healthcare workers were gathering at the quarantine hotels "were too close together".
"Sometimes it was clear that there wasn't as robust an understanding that was required among contractor staff" about social distancing,'' he said.
"Sometimes it was a case of not having embedded all of the procedures for hand hygiene.''
Professor Sutton said he was now confident the system had been ''strengthened'' in recent weeks to a point where they do not expect to see more outbreaks.
The public and the government will be hoping he's right.
Australia: New Coronavirus Lockdown Melbourne Amid Sex, Lies, Quarantine Hotel Scandal
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 06:12
Melbourne is set to again return to empty street scenes of April, as it re-enters a "hard lockdown" ... [+] under strict stay at home orders from around midnight on Wednesday. The Bourke St Mall is usually the bustling hub of the city of some 5 million residents which is being hit by the worst ongoing daily spike in Covid-19 infections since the onset of the pandemic.
Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesA serious outbreak of Covid-19 has sparked a new ''hard'' lockdown in Australia's second largest city, Melbourne, amid a scandal over quarantine and security breaches at hotels.
From midnight on Wednesday, the City of Melbourne will return to strict lockdown for a six-week period, the state Premier Daniel Andrews announced Tuesday. So too will regional Mitchell Shire just north of the city fringe.
The southeastern state of Victoria has been experiencing an alarming spike in Covid infections. Something which is largely put down to serious infection control breaches in the hotel quarantine system.
The lockdown comes after 200 cases were recorded in 24 hours. The worst since the country's onset of the pandemic. As the outbreak intensifies, the state has recorded a double-digit rise in daily cases for 22 consecutive days since around mid-June. There are now 772 active cases from a national total of 839. That's ''up from 60 a month ago'' according to 7 News.
Australia has registered 8,755 Covid cases so far, and 106 deaths. Victoria is contributing greatly ... [+] to the national flare-up. A sharp uptick can be seen in the infections in the state over the past 3 weeks. The source of infection for a number of those new cases is listed by the health department not as ''from overseas'' or ''locally acquired'', but ''under investigation''.
Department Of Health Australia Sex, Lies & Quarantine Hotel ScandalsMelbourne's quarantine hotels have been identified as a major source of the virus escalation. Since the Australia travel ban came into force in March, all travelers returning from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days in their hotel rooms.
''Somehow this virus escaped ... It looks like it all came from one hotel, and a few security guards having a good time,'' said the ABC's chief political correspondent, Laura Tingle. ''It's obviously now escaped hugely,'' Tingle told Late Night Live host Phillip Adams.
The finger is being pointed at private security contractors involved in Victoria's hotel quarantine system. The state leader has launched a $3 million judicial inquiry into the ''bungled quarantine program'', as The Age puts it. Particularly into the role of security guards in ''infection control breach''. Three firms were initially assigned to the job. ''Some of the quarantine contracts were sub-contracted to smaller operators, a practice that drives down wages and muddles responsibility.'' All those guards are under gag orders (though one has broken that to speak out).
The virus containment method, which ''was the envy of the world just a few weeks ago,'' was within 24 hours ''brutally exposed'' notes News.com.au.
All arrivals in Australia must self-isolate for 14 days in their hotel rooms. That's been the case ... [+] since Australia's travel ban saw the country's borders close in March. A number of coronavirus cases in Melbourne and possible source of the recent outbreak have been linked to the hotel quarantine program with accusations of security guards having sex with guests. A judicial inquiry is currently underway into the scandal. According to a statement from the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, evidence points to a number of coronavirus cases arising from the hotels.
AFP via Getty Images31 cases stem from the biggest hotel outbreak at a 5-star luxury hotel in Melbourne The Australian reports. That number continues to grow. Positive Covid tests taken during quarantine include security guards and ''a household contact of a confirmed case.''
Security staff and ''quarantine-hotel insiders'' claim hotel guards slept with guests during quarantine the newspaper says. And that ''security personnel wore personal protective equipment for up to eight hours without changing it.''
''Guards shook hands and shared lifts, some had just six hours of ­infection control training, some were caught sleeping on the job and quarantined families were allowed to go between rooms to play cards and games.'' The revelations were first made to Melbourne newspaper the Herald Sun.
Now The Age claims that the security company at the hotbed virus hotel also provided guards for a Melbourne public housing estate''another Covid hotbed under hard lockdown since Saturday.
42 people including guards, their families and close contacts have so far been infected as a result of that outbreak, it reports. According to the paper's sources, subcontractors for MSS Security possibly worked at the North Melbourne and Flemington public housing estates, which has a cluster of some 53 cases. The health department has refuted such links. The company has so far declined to comment.
As well as sleeping with quarantined guests, Sky News reports, security firms also ''allegedly charged fees for shifts that were never worked, paid security guards in cash and made up names for staffers who never existed.''
The scandal and deteriorating situation in Victoria is undermining the grip on the disease and relatively low level of infection Australia-wide. Australia's Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has told authorities to "throw the book" at anyone who has breached quarantine protocols. The inquiry has been given to September 25 to deliver its findings.
What Does A Return To ''Hard Lockdown'' Mean? Medical staff at public housing flats in Melbourne, Australia. Amid a Covid-19 testing blitz in 12 ... [+] suburbs of the city, nine public housing estates were placed under full stay-at-home orders on July 4, as authorities battle the COVID-19 outbreaks. This followed a flare up among residents of those estates. Now the lockdown in Melbourne has spread from those 12 hotspot postcodes to the whole Greater Melbourne area,
Getty ImagesThe sharp uptick is forcing businesses and industries to shut down again, barely a month after reopening. The health crisis will see Victoria totally isolated from the rest of the country as borders all around close.
Under new stay at home orders coming into effect on Wednesday, most 6.4 million Victorian residents are being urged to work from home. Cafes, restaurants and bars will be allowed to serve takeouts, while cinemas, beauty salons, gyms and swimming pools close their doors completely.
The lockdown will also see Greater Melbourne virtually cut-off. Roadblocks and vehicle checks will prevent people leaving or entering the 9990 km2 (3857 square mile) area to visit friends, or to go to holiday homes.
The ABC lists all the 31 local government areas that fall within the soon to shutdown metropolitan Melbourne.
Four valid reasons for leaving your home are:
For study or work, if you can't do so from home Medical care and caregiving Food shopping Daily exercise including fishing, boating, tennis, golf and surfing within the lockdown area People can visit their ''intimate partner'' the broadcaster states. Including those who live across the 'border' of the restricted government areas or in regional Victoria.
State Border Closes For First Time In 100 years A car drives past a sign in the southern New South Wales border city of Albury, Australia, warning ... [+] of fines for people entering NSW from COVID-19 coronavirus hotspots in Victoria. The border between the two closed midnight Tuesday. This as the 5 million residents of the city of Melbourne and its suburbs return to lockdown for six weeks. The entire state of Victoria will effectively be sealed off from the rest of the country, as all surrounding state borders shut to it.
AFP via Getty ImagesMuch of Australia started relaxing a two-month lockdown in May, though several borders between the states and territories remain shut.
Now for the first time since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1919, the border between New South Wales and Victoria closed at midnight Tuesday. Something that even grabbed the attention of Scotland's First Minister.
The closure will be controlled by both police and drones. People can request permits in order to get an exemption for travel between the two. These apply to a dozen or so categories including residents returning home, seasonal workers, students and carers.
''In effect, Victoria has now been chucked out of the Federation and I'm wondering what the national implications of that are,'' Phillip Adams jibed.
Victoria will be completely shut off, as South Australia too closes its border to all but essential travel. And even then travelers must be prepared to self-isolate.
Risk Of More Border, Business Closure Nationwide Road signs are displayed near a police checkpoint on July 8 in Albury, Australia. The NSW-Victoria ... [+] border closed at midnight, Tuesday due to Victoria's Covid-19 outbreak. It is the first time in 100 years the border between the two states has been closed. NSW residents returning from Victoria will need to self isolate for 14 days, while Victorian residents are banned from travelling to New South Wales unless they have a permit. Special provisions will be in place for border communities such as Albury-Wodonga as well as freight operations and other critical services.
Getty ImagesAs the Northern Territory gets set to open its borders on July 17, its Chief Minister declared the whole of Melbourne a hotspot, and said all visitors from Greater Melbourne will face two weeks' supervised quarantine.
For Laura Tingle, the Victorian scenario raises the spectre of more to come nationally. ''I think it's produced this much harder line ... the fact that we're now talking about border closures right across the country. And if there's one thing that essentially drove the Federation (Australia's coming together as a nation in 1901), it was having open trade between the colonies, so that's all gone incredibly pear-shaped in the interest of trying to lock down this virus and keep it under control.''
But Tingle added, despite the outrage, Australia is trying to keep the state bickering at bay. ''It's interesting that all the states in a way are essentially saying, ''We've got to stop fighting amongst ourselves guys, stop piling it on to each other, we've got to try and keep civil'' ... And It will be interesting to see if we can maintain that tone or not.''
The possibility of more lockdowns and border closures within Australia is hardly good news for those travelers wanting to visit, or leave the country soon.
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Mastercard Digital Wellness Program to Enhance Transparency, Security and Choice for Online Shopping
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:23
AI technology and suite of resources empowers small and independent businesses, makes password-free, online checkouts more secure for cardholders
Mastercard today launched the Mastercard Digital Wellness program, a host of technologies and resources that enable all businesses, especially small and independent merchants, to better serve today's digital-first consumer.As part of this program, Mastercard will deploy EMVCo's specification for fast, click-to-pay check-out for digital commerce. The specification replaces laborious key-entry guest check-out with a consistent, simple and secure guest checkout experience, no matter where a consumer shops online, or which device or card they use.
''We launched Mastercard Digital Wellness today because we believe that businesses shouldn't have to sacrifice safety or choice as they build the best experiences for their customers,'' said Jess Turner, executive vice president, Digital Payments and Labs, North America, Mastercard. ''Any changes to how we shop online must deliver enhanced levels of security, transparency and flexibility for everyone.''
According to a Deloitte study on small businesses in the U.S., enterprises that were more digitally advanced were four times more likely to achieve revenue growth. Mastercard is bringing its resources and knowledge of secure digital commerce to businesses that form the backbone of the U.S. economy.Merchants that enable the click-to-pay standard with Mastercard will automatically get access to an added layer of security through tokenization and NuData, a Mastercard artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. NuData works with retailers around the globe to help anticipate and prevent fraud by monitoring website traffic changes, analyzing sudden changes in browser type, surfing speed and time spent on web pages, allowing businesses to either monitor further or stop access. During the 2018 holiday season, NuData, helped businesses worldwide identify over 1 billion irregular digital activities and stopped 99 percent of these fraudulent attacks, saving them over $500 million.
Importantly, by implementing the Mastercard Digital Wellness program, merchants will benefit from access to tokenization and NuData for both streamlined guest check-out sales as well as their card-on-file business.
Recent market analysis from Mastercard has identified key opportunities for retailers to improve their customer experience. Unease about online payment security and challenging user-account creation experiences were pinpointed as the top reasons consumers abandon a purchase before completion. As a result, shoppers are often cautious of storing their card details with smaller, newer merchants.
Businesses that enable the EMVCo click-to-pay specification with Mastercard can streamline and secure their card-on-file and guest check-out experiences. Mastercard cardholders will no longer be required to enter a password before they pay online, and the suite of products and services available in the Mastercard Digital Wellness program will help to increase approval rates, lower fraud and reduce PCI compliance burden. Mastercard is working with payment processors and payment platforms such as Worldpay, Square, Adyen, Mastercard Payment Gateway Services, and Stripe to make these features available to more businesses more quickly.
''Expanding the availability of a secure, simple and consistent ecommerce guest checkout experience to small businesses brings great potential,'' said Amy Zirkle, interim CEO, Electronic Transactions Association (ETA). ''We share Mastercard's belief that both the acquiring community and payment service providers play a critical role in supporting how merchants connect to the consumer."
Mastercard Digital Wellness, a one-stop resource for all things digital for small business:In addition to the security capabilities of NuData and support for the EMVCo standard, businesses that participate in the Mastercard Digital Wellness program will get access to a diverse set of resources and tools to protect and empower business owners. It includes a cyber toolkit for small businesses to combat online attacks, and access to the Cyber Readiness Program from the Cyber Readiness Institute, an initiative designed to help organizations educate their workforce on issues like phishing, authentication and patching. Additional resources will be introduced over time, providing business owners guidance how to manage and grow their business as well.
Mastercard Digital Wellness will roll out first to all U.S. businesses; the new click-to-pay checkout will be live for U.S. cardholders and merchants during the third quarter of this year.
Africa to Become Testing Ground for ''Trust Stamp'' Vaccine Record and Payment System - Citizen Truth
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:23
A new biometric identity platform partnered with the Gates-funded GAVI vaccine alliance and Mastercard will launch in West Africa and combine COVID-19 vaccinations, cashless payments, and potential law enforcement applications.(By: Raul Diego, Mintpress News) A biometric digital identity platform that ''evolves just as you evolve'' is set to be introduced in ''low-income, remote communities'' in West Africa thanks to a public-private partnership between the Bill Gates-backed GAVI vaccine alliance, Mastercard and the AI-powered ''identity authentication'' company, Trust Stamp.
The program, which was first launched in late 2018, will see Trust Stamp's digital identity platform integrated into the GAVI-Mastercard ''Wellness Pass,'' a digital vaccination record and identity system that is also linked to Mastercard's click-to-play system that powered by its AI and machine learning technology called NuData. Mastercard, in addition to professing its commitment to promoting ''centralized record keeping of childhood immunization'' also describes itself as a leader toward a ''World Beyond Cash,'' and its partnership with GAVI marks a novel approach towards linking a biometric digital identity system, vaccination records, and a payment system into a single cohesive platform. The effort, since its launch nearly two years ago, has been funded via $3.8 million in GAVI donor funds in addition to a matched donation of the same amount by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In early June, GAVI reported that Mastercard's Wellness Pass program would be adapted in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Around a month later, Mastercard announced that Trust Stamp's biometric identity platform would be integrated into Wellness Pass as Trust Stamp's system is capable of providing biometric identity in areas of the world lacking internet access or cellular connectivity and also does not require knowledge of an individual's legal name or identity to function. The Wellness Program involving GAVI, Mastercard, and Trust Stamp will soon be launched in West Africa and will be coupled with a Covid-19 vaccination program once a vaccine becomes available.
The push to implement biometrics as part of national ID registration systems has been ongoing for many years on the continent and has become a highly politicized issue in several African countries. Opposition to similar projects in Africa often revolves around the costs surrounding them, such as the biometric voter management system that the Electoral Commission of Ghana has been trying to implement ahead of their 2020 general election in December. Bright Simons, honorary VP of the IMANI policy think tank, has questioned the ''budgetary allocation'' for the new system, claiming that the ''unnecessary registration of 17 million people all over again'' represents millions of dollars ''being blown for reasons that nobody can explain in this country.''
Masking ulterior motivesTrust Stamp's biometric identity system, largely funded by Mastercard's massive investment in the company in February, utilizes a technology it calls Evergreen Hash that creates an AI-generated ''3D mask'' based on a single photo of a person's face, palm or fingerprint. Once this ''mask'' is created, much of the original data is discarded and encryption keys are created in place of a person's name or other more traditional identifiers.
''Only a small percentage of the data that originally existed is in the hash,'' Trust Stamp CEO Gareth Genner has stated. ''What you have is something safer for storing because it can't be used to directly identify you. No one would recognize you in this huge jumble of numbers.'' The result, according to Genner, is an ''irreversible non-personally identifiable information'' system that ''protects privacy, reduces potential for misuse and allows effective inclusion when there is no other form of legal record.''
Genner also explained in a recent press release that the unique ''hash'' is capable of ''evolving'' as a new hash with updated health information is created every time a child or individual gets a vaccine. Trust Stamp's AI algorithms can accurately determine if different hashes belong to the same individual, meaning that ''the hash evolves over time just as you evolve,'' said Genner.
It is unclear how much the Wellness Pass initiative is motivated by public health concerns as opposed to free market considerations. Indeed, the GAVI alliance, largely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, as well as allied governments and the vaccine industry, is principally concerned with improving ''the health of markets for vaccines and other immunization products,'' rather than the health of individuals, according to its own website. Similarly, Mastercard's GAVI partnership is directly linked to its ''World Beyond Cash'' effort, which mainly bolsters its business model that has long depended on a reduction in the use of physical cash.
Trust Stamp also shares this market-focused vision for its digital identity system as the company has stated that it is looking for new commercialization options for its Evergreen Hash technology, specifically with prison systems. Talks with private and public prison systems have revealed an interest in their utilization of Trust Stamp's technology to provide identification for individuals on parole ''without making them pay for pricey ankle bracelets that monitor their every move,'' as Trust Stamp's platform would ostensibly provide that same function but in a ''touchless'' and less expensive manner.
Trust Stamp's interest in providing its technology to both COVID-19 response and to law enforcement is part of a growing trend where numerous companies providing digital solutions to COVID-19 also offer the same solutions to prison systems and law enforcement for the purposes of surveillance and ''predictive policing.''
For instance, contact tracing software originally introduced as part of the COVID-19 response has since been used by police departments across the U.S. to track protesters during the country's recent bouts of protests and civil unrest. Similarly, a controversial Israeli tech firm currently being used in Rhode Island offers AI-powered predictive analytic to identify likely future COVID-19 hotspots and individuals likely to contract COVID-19 in the future, while also offering governments the ability to predict future locations of and participants in riots and civil unrest.
What is perhaps most alarming about this new ''Wellness Pass'' initiative, is that it links these ''dual use'' digital solutions to cashless payment solutions that could soon become mandated as anything over than touchless, cashless, methods of payment have been treated as potential modes for contagion by GAVI-aligned groups like the World Health Organization, among others, since the pandemic was first declared earlier this year.
Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.
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US State Department lifts global 'Do Not Travel' advisory - CNNPolitics
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 20:24
(CNN) After more than four months, the US State Department on Thursday lifted its advisory warning US citizens against traveling abroad.
The department issued the Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory -- the highest level of travel advisory -- on March 19, urging US citizens not to travel overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, "(w)ith health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice (with Levels from 1-4 depending on country-specific conditions), in order to give travelers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions," a Thursday note from the State Department said.
"This will also provide U.S. citizens more detailed information about the current status in each country," the note said. "We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic."
The Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory put into effect in March advised "U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19" and urged Americans "in countries where commercial departure options remain available" to "arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period."
As commercial flight options disappeared and borders were shuttered to combat the spread of the virus, the department undertook an unprecedented repatriation effort to get Americans back home. Between January 27 and June 10, they coordinated the repatriation of 101,386 Americans on 1,140 flights from 136 countries and territories.
Although the guidance from the diplomatic agency has been lifted, American travelers continue to face travel restrictions in countries worldwide due to rising cases of the deadly disease in the United States.
The European Union has blocked entry to US tourists, and the UK requires travelers from the US to quarantine for 14 days.
There are restrictions on non-essential travel between the US and its neighbors to the north and south -- Canada and Mexico -- until at least late August.
CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to reflect that travelers from the US are required to quarantine upon entry to the UK.
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'Corona-kids mogelijk uit huis geplaatst in Duitsland' | Buitenland | Telegraaf.nl
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 21:11
Tumult om lokale maatregelen
Door Onze redactie
Updated Vandaag, 16:42
Vandaag, 16:31 in BUITENLAND
Duitse kinderen bij een basisschool in Dortmund, met mondkapje.
''¸ Hollandse Hoogte / AFP
BERLIJN - Duitse kinderen die het coronavirus hebben opgelopen "f met een besmet vriendje hebben gespeeld, moeten in hun eigen huis gescheiden worden van hun ouders. Daartoe roepen plaatselijke autoriteiten op. 'žPsychisch geweld'', oordeelt de Bond voor Kinderbescherming. Als ouders weigeren, dreigt uithuisplaatsing.
Duitse kinderen bij een basisschool in Dortmund, met mondkapje.
''¸ Hollandse Hoogte / AFP
In Hannover wordt ouders 'een huiselijk isolement' gevraagd. Daarbij verblijft het besmette kind in een afgesloten ruimte, onderneemt niets gezamenlijk met familieleden en nuttigt alle maaltijden alleen.
'žEen kind dat zijn pasta alleen op z'n kamer opeet, alleen omdat hij contact had met een besmette speelkameraad in het kinderdagverblijf: wat klinkt als een trieste corona-dystopie, is op sommige plaatsen al aangevraagd door de gezondheidsautoriteiten'', schrijft dagblad Der Tagesspiegel.
Heinz Hilger, directeur van de Bond voor Kinderbescherming, begrijpt er niets van. 'žEen quarantaine is voor een familie, in het bijzonder voor de kinderen, al belastend genoeg. Om kinderen van hun ouders te isoleren, is een vorm van psychisch geweld.''
De regio Hannover wijst echter naar de Infectiebeschermingswet, die de quarantaine zou rechtvaardigen. 'žDaarnaast is het de mildste manier, tegenover het alternatief van isolatie in bijvoorbeeld een ziekenhuis'', zegt een woordvoerder.
UithuisplaatsingEr zit echter een behoorlijk dreigement in de regels verscholen, schrijft Der Tagesspiegel op kritische toon: werken ouders niet mee, dan kan het kind uit huis worden geplaatst en 'met dwang in een geschikte afgesloten ruimte' terechtkomen. Ouders zijn boos. Een club die zich heeft verenigd, stelt dat sommige mensen hun gordijnen dichttrekken tijdens etenstijd, 'uit angst dat de buren hun familie zal verraden aan de autoriteiten'.
De ouders wijzen op de psychische gevolgen voor kinderen. Volgens de woordvoerder van regio Hannover zijn de richtlijnen zo geformuleerd dat ze 'indien mogelijk' kunnen worden uitgevoerd, maar dat altijd 'naar de specifieke leef- en woonsituatie' wordt gekeken.
'Dreiging gaat te ver'Directeur Hilger van de Bond voor Kinderbescherming stelt dat 'de dreiging met het scherpe zwaard van uithuisplaatsing gezinnen onzeker maakt'. 'žIk roep alle autoriteiten op om bij de bestrijding van de pandemie het welzijn van kinderen voorrang te verlenen.''
Lunch UpdateDagelijks tijdens de lunch een update van het belangrijkste nieuws.
Ongeldig e-mailadres. Vul nogmaals in aub.
Lees hier ons privacybeleid.
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Bernard-Henri L(C)vy interview: coronavirus has sent the world into 'psychotic delirium' | News Review | The Sunday Times
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 02:21
''People keep saying this is an unprecedented pandemic,'' says Bernard-Henri L(C)vy, France's rock-star philosopher. ''It is not true. Humanity has had to deal with many pandemics, often more grave than this one. There seems to be an intention, a collective desire, to panic. It is not as big a disaster as we think.''
L(C)vy, 71, is France's greatest and most outspoken public intellectual. He is also a journalist and a dandy adventurer with expensive clothes and a baroque hairdo. He is brave; he pursues injustice wherever he finds it: when the lockdown came, he was reporting from Bangladesh. He caught the last plane out. He is also rich, worth an estimated £100m, much of it inherited from his father, a timber magnate.
And L(C)vy is
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China
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China wants war between us and Russia, Russia wants war between China and USA.
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Lebanon sees possible 'external interference' in port blast - Reuters
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 16:42
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's president said on Friday its investigation into the biggest blast in Beirut's history would examine whether it was caused by a bomb or other external interference, as residents sought to rebuild shattered homes and lives.
Rescuers sifted rubble in a race to find anyone still alive after Tuesday's port explosion that killed 154 people, injured 5,000, smashed a swathe of the Mediterranean city and sent seismic shockwaves around the region.
''The cause has not been determined yet. There is a possibility of external interference through a rocket or bomb or other act,'' President Michel Aoun said in comments carried by local media and confirmed by his office.
Aoun, who had previously said explosive material was stored unsafely for years at the port, said the investigation would also weigh if the blast was due to negligence or an accident. Twenty people had been detained so far, he added.
One source said an initial probe blamed negligence.
While the United States has said it did not rule out an attack, Israel, which has fought several wars with Lebanon, has denied any role. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the cause was unclear, but compared the blast to a huge 2005 bombing that assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon's powerful Shi'ite group Hezbollah, denied what he said were ''preconceived'' comments both domestically and abroad that the Iran-backed group had arms stored at the port.
At Beirut's Mohammad Al-Amin mosque, next to Hariri's grave, chief cleric Amin Al Kurdi told worshippers in a Friday sermon that Lebanese leaders bore responsibility.
''Who is the criminal, who is the killer behind the Beirut explosion?'' he said. ''Only God can protect, not the corrupt ... The army only protects the leaders.''
Security forces teargassed a crowd in Beirut on Thursday, as anger boiled over at the ruling elite, who have presided over an economic collapse.
The small crowd, some hurling stones, marked a return to the kind of protests that had become a feature of life as Lebanese watched their savings evaporate and currency disintegrate, while government decision-making floundered.
'WHERE IS THE STATE?' ''There is no way we can rebuild this house. Where is the state?'' said Tony Abdou, an unemployed 60-year-old.
His family home is in Gemmayze, a district a few hundred metres from the warehouses where 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored for years near a densely populated area.
A security source and local media previously said the fire that caused the blast was ignited by welding work.
Some port officials have been ordered under house arrest.
Volunteers swept up debris from the streets of Beirut, which still bears scars from a 1975-1990 civil war.
''Do we actually have a government here?'' said taxi driver Nassim Abiaad, 66, whose cab was crushed by wreckage as he was about to get in. ''There is no way to make money anymore.''
Lebanese soldiers are seen near the site of Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area, Lebanon August 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aziz TaherFor many, the explosion was symptomatic of years of neglect and corruption. ''The problem is this government and all governments before it,'' said Dr. Mohammed Kalifa, 31, after Friday prayers.
Officials have said the blast, whose impact was recorded hundreds of miles (kilometres) away, might have caused losses amounting to $15 billion. That is a bill Lebanon cannot pay after already defaulting on a mountain of debt - exceeding 150% of economic output - and with talks stalled on a lifeline from the International Monetary Fund.
Hospitals, many heavily damaged as shockwaves ripped out windows and ceilings, have been overwhelmed.
''I lived through part of the civil war. I saw people being shot in front of me. But never has there been such a horror,'' said Dr. Assem Al Hajj at Beirut's Clemenceau hospital, which he said had treated 400 victims.
HUNTING THE MISSING In the port area, rescue teams set up arc lights to work through the night as families waited, slowly losing hope of seeing loved ones again. Some victims were hurled into the sea because of the explosive force.
One weeping mother called a prime time TV programme to plead with authorities to find her son, Joe. He was found hours later: dead.
Dozens are still unaccounted for.
In Beirut's Karantina district, a Polish rescue team took a break near a once three-storey building that was completely flattened. One woman and her two teenage daughters living in the building were killed, a neighbour said
Charbel Abreeni, who trained port employees, showed Reuters pictures on his phone of killed colleagues. He was sitting in a church where the head of a Virgin Mary statue was blown off.
Slideshow (4 Images) ''I know 30 port employees who died, two of them are my close friends and a third is missing,'' said the 62-year-old, whose home was wrecked and shin bandaged.
''I have nowhere to go except my wife's family,'' he said. ''How can you survive here? The economy is zero.''
After the blast destroyed Lebanon's only major grain silo, U.N. agencies helped provide emergency food aid as well as medical supplies.
Aid offers have also poured in from Arab states, Western nations, the Vatican and beyond. But none, so far, address the bigger challenges facing a bankrupt nation.
Reporting by Michael Georgy, Ellen Francis and Ghaida Ghantous; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Edmund Blair and Andrew Cawthorne
Chinese peacekeepers deliver emergency medical help in Lebanon after Beirut port explosion kills 135 | South China Morning Post
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 17:04
The massive explosion in Beirut on Tuesday flattened much of the city's port, damaging buildings across the capital and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. Photo: AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping sends a message of condolence to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, expressing sorrow over the loss of lifeDeath toll expected to rise and Beirut mayor estimates 300,000 people were made homeless by the blastTopic | Middle East
Published: 5:00pm, 6 Aug, 2020
Updated: 11:35pm, 6 Aug, 2020
The massive explosion in Beirut on Tuesday flattened much of the city's port, damaging buildings across the capital and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. Photo: AP
Protesters storm Lebanese foreign ministry, put up 'capital of the revolution' banner
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 04:07
Dozens of protesters stormed Lebanon's foreign ministry building on Saturday amid anti-government demonstrations in the wake of the deadly Beirut explosion, eyewitness footage showed.
The demonstrators put up banners that read ''capital of the revolution'' and ''Beirut is a demilitarized city.'' They also burned a picture of Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
"We are staying here. We call on the Lebanese people to occupy all the ministries," one demonstrator said on a megaphone.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
The group of protesters who stormed the ministry's building in central Beirut were led by retired Lebanese army officers.
Their takeover of the building, which was aired live on local TV, happened as most of the security forces' attention was focused on a tense demonstration against the ruling elite a few hundred meters down the road.
Thousands of protesters had gathered in the streets of Beirut to voice their anger at the political elite, they hold accountable for turning the capital into a disaster zone.
Police used tear gas against groups of demonstrators hurling rocks and sticks on the fringes of the main gathering.
Lebanon, a country already reeling from an unprecedented economic crisis, and a surge in coronavirus infections, was struck by the massive explosion at the Port of Beirut on Tuesday which killed at least 158 people and injured more than 6,000.
The blast was so intense it smashed masonry, shattered windows, sucked furniture out of apartments onto the streets and left almost 300,000 people in disaster-stricken Beirut without homes fit to live in, according to Lebanese officials.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun had said the explosion was due to a stockpile of 2,750 metric tonnes of the industrial chemical ammonium nitrate, used in fertilizers and explosives, catching fire after having been stored at the port since 2013 without safety measures.
- With AFP and Reuters
Read more:
Lebanese protesters clash with security forces in Beirut, some injuries reported
Fire, blast, mushroom smoke cloud, wreckage: Timeline of Beirut explosion footage
Beirut explosion: Hezbollah 'categorically denies' storing arms at blast site
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Executive Order on Addressing the Threat Posed by WeChat | The White House
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 04:01
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that additional steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain declared in Executive Order 13873 of May 15, 2019 (Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain). As I explained in an Executive Order of August 6, 2020 (Addressing the Threat Posed by Tiktok, and Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency With Respect to the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain), the spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People's Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. To protect our Nation, I took action to address the threat posed by one mobile application, TikTok. Further action is needed to address a similar threat posed by another mobile application, WeChat.
WeChat, a messaging, social media, and electronic payment application owned by the Chinese company Tencent Holdings Ltd., reportedly has over one billion users worldwide, including users in the United States. Like TikTok, WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information. In addition, the application captures the personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the United States, thereby allowing the Chinese Communist Party a mechanism for keeping tabs on Chinese citizens who may be enjoying the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives. For example, in March 2019, a researcher reportedly discovered a Chinese database containing billions of WeChat messages sent from users in not only China but also the United States, Taiwan, South Korea, and Australia. WeChat, like TikTok, also reportedly censors content that the Chinese Communist Party deems politically sensitive and may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party. These risks have led other countries, including Australia and India, to begin restricting or banning the use of WeChat. The United States must take aggressive action against the owner of WeChat to protect our national security.Accordingly, I hereby order:
Section 1. (a) The following actions shall be prohibited beginning 45 days after the date of this order, to the extent permitted under applicable law: any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd. (a.k.a. T(C)ngx¹n K²nggÇ-- YÇ'uxi n GōngsÄ), Shenzhen, China, or any subsidiary of that entity, as identified by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) under section 1(c) of this order.
(b) The prohibition in subsection (a) of this section applies except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted before the date of this order.
(c) 45 days after the date of this order, the Secretary shall identify the transactions subject to subsection (a) of this section.
Sec. 2. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate the prohibition set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 3. For those persons who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to section 1 of this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13873, there need be no prior notice of an identification made pursuant to section 1(c) of this order.
Sec. 4. For the purposes of this order:
(a) the term ''person'' means an individual or entity;
(b) the term ''entity'' means a government or instrumentality of such government, partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization, including an international organization; and
(c) the term ''United States person'' means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.
Sec. 5. The Secretary is hereby authorized to take such actions, including adopting rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to me by IEEPA as may be necessary to implement this order. The Secretary may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of these functions within the Department of Commerce. All departments and agencies of the United States shall take all appropriate measures within their authority to implement this order.
Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,August 6, 2020.
Executive Order on Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok | The White House
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 04:02
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that additional steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain declared in Executive Order 13873 of May 15, 2019 (Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain). Specifically, the spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People's Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by one mobile application in particular, TikTok.
TikTok, a video-sharing mobile application owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd., has reportedly been downloaded over 175 million times in the United States and over one billion times globally. TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information '-- potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.
TikTok also reportedly censors content that the Chinese Communist Party deems politically sensitive, such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China's treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. This mobile application may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, such as when TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
These risks are real. The Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, and the United States Armed Forces have already banned the use of TikTok on Federal Government phones. The Government of India recently banned the use of TikTok and other Chinese mobile applications throughout the country; in a statement, India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asserted that they were ''stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.'' American companies and organizations have begun banning TikTok on their devices. The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.
Accordingly, I hereby order:
Section 1. (a) The following actions shall be prohibited beginning 45 days after the date of this order, to the extent permitted under applicable law: any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd. (a.k.a. Z¬ji(C) Ti od²ng), Beijing, China, or its subsidiaries, in which any such company has any interest, as identified by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) under section 1(c) of this order.
(b) The prohibition in subsection (a) of this section applies except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted before the date of this order.
(c) 45 days after the date of this order, the Secretary shall identify the transactions subject to subsection (a) of this section.
Sec. 2. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate the prohibition set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 3. For the purposes of this order:
(a) the term ''person'' means an individual or entity;(b) the term ''entity'' means a government or instrumentality of such government, partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization, including an international organization; and
(c) the term ''United States person'' means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.
Sec. 4. The Secretary is hereby authorized to take such actions, including adopting rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to me by IEEPA as may be necessary to implement this order. The Secretary may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of these functions within the Department of Commerce. All departments and agencies of the United States shall take all appropriate measures within their authority to implement this order.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,August 6, 2020.
Trump Signs Executive Order That Will Effectively Ban Use Of TikTok In the U.S. : NPR
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 04:54
President Trump speaks during a briefing with reporters at the White House on Monday. Alex Brandon/AP hide caption
toggle caption Alex Brandon/AP President Trump speaks during a briefing with reporters at the White House on Monday.
Alex Brandon/AP President Trump on Thursday invoked his emergency economic powers to impose broad sanctions against TikTok, a move that was expected but ratchets up pressure on the Chinese-owned app to sell its U.S. assets to an American company.
In the order, which takes effect in 45 days, any business transactions between TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, and U.S. citizens will be outlawed for national security reasons.
In practice, experts told NPR the order likely will mean the viral video service could no longer receive advertising from American companies and the app could be removed from Apple and Google's app stores.
"When we talk about sanctions against Russian oligarchs and kleptocrats, well, the sanctions are that no American can do business with them," Stewart Baker, the former general counsel at the National Security Agency, told NPR last month when speculation about the order first began to spread.
Now, that same sanction has been used against TikTok.
For the more than 100 million Americans who have downloaded TikTok, experts say the app may no longer be sent software updates, eventually becoming impossible for the company to manage.
In the order, the White House says TikTok captures vast swaths of information from its users, including location data and Internet search history, data the administration fears could be shared with authorities in Beijing.
"This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information '-- potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage," the order reads.
TikTok has downplayed its ties to Beijing, saying data it captures on U.S. users is stored mostly in Virginia. Officials at TikTok also insist the company has never turned over any data to Chinese authorities, despite the county's broad powers to request such data from private companies.
A federal class-action lawsuit involving dozens of American families claims an independent security review of TikTok revealed that the app is harvesting data, including the facial profiles of American users, and sending it to Chinese servers, though the suit does not provide evidence any information has ever been transferred to the Chinese Communist Party.
TikTok is open about what data it collects, an amount that is on par with what is captured by apps owned by American tech companies Google, Facebook and Apple, yet what is different, according to the White House, is the theoretical possibility of TikTok handing over data to Chinese authorities.
Since the Trump administration began turning up the heat on TikTok, software giant Microsoft has confirmed it is in early talks to acquire the short-form video service.
For Microsoft, a $1.5 trillion company that has focused its business mostly on corporate clients by selling software and cloud computing services, buying TikTok would be its first major foray into a social media platform popular among young users.
Microsoft also owns game console company Xbox, networking site LinkedIn and messaging service Skype.
Officials at Microsoft say it is examining a TikTok acquisition that would potentially buy TikTok's American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand services, but officials close to the deal say the final offer may include services in even more countries.
Trump's executive order comes on the same day Facebook launched a new product Reels, a video-sharing app that could to tap into TikTok's success.
TikTok has accused Facebook of introducing a "copycat" service, accusing the social network of trying of capitalize on the administration's zeal to punish China for its own benefit.
Trump on Thursday also signed an executive order to restrict the business between China-based Tencent Holdings, the owner of WeChat, and U.S. citizens.
More than a billion people in China use WeChat, an all-in-one app used for messaging, social media and making mobile payments.
"Like TikTok, WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users," Trump's separate executive order reads. "In addition, the application captures the personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the United States, thereby allowing the Chinese Communist Party a mechanism for keeping tabs on Chinese citizens who may be enjoying the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives."
Also on Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a bill to ban TikTok on government-issued devices, as the view that the app could pose a national security threat to the U.S. gains new bipartisan support in Washington.
A spokeswoman for TikTok did not immediately return a request for comment about the executive order.
Editor's note: TikTok helps fund NPR content that appears on the social media platform.
'War on gamers?!' Twitter freaks out fearing Trump's ambiguous 'Tencent ban' could hit Fortnite, League of Legends, PUBG & others '-- RT USA News
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 13:08
A vaguely worded White House executive order targeting WeChat '' owned by Chinese digital entertainment giant Tencent Holdings '' has triggered panic online that the move could deal a death blow to the global video gaming industry.
US President Donald Trump signed the order late on Thursday evening, banning American firms from doing business with Tencent '' or at least any transactions ''related to'' its messaging app, WeChat. The move kicked off a frenzy of speculation from netizens, who pointed to the fact that Tencent holds large stakes in a series of major game developers. That roster includes full ownership of Riot Games '' creator of 'League of Legends' '' a 40 percent holding in Epic Games of 'Fortnite' fame, as well as percentages of Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft.
READ MORE: 'National security threat'? Trump signs executive orders on TikTok & WeChat, bans transactions with Chinese owners in 45 days
''Gamers are about to wake up to just how many game companies Tencent owns,'' one user observed on Twitter following Trump's order, which was joined by a similar directive banning transactions with the Beijing-based owner of video sharing app TikTok.
Because if it's TenCent ... they own 40% of Epic Games. Which, among other things, makes Fortnite, one of the most popular games *in the world*
'-- James Palmer (@BeijingPalmer) August 7, 2020I won't even pretend to understand how this could potentially impact esports - Tencent owns 100% of Riot Games (publisher of League of Legends/Valorant), 40% of Epic Games (Fortnite) & has stakes in several other major game publishers.
'-- Ian Thomas (@byIanThomas) August 7, 2020Some went as far as to claim the Trump administration had declared a ''war on gamers,'' while others predicted an uprising by controller-wielding rebels in retaliation.
BREAKING NEWS: The United States declares war on gamers
'-- Lucy Kwiatek (@MandHF) August 7, 2020Much of the concern about the order stemmed from confusion over its wording, leading some to believe Tencent, as well as its many subsidiaries and partially owned enterprises, would be entirely banned in the US. Such a move would have far-reaching consequences for the gaming industry worldwide, likely disrupting business ties between a vast international network of companies.
The EO is vague on what constitutes a ''transaction.''Riot games is one company wholly owned by Tencent. This may prevent riot from operating.Other companies with minority Tencent ownership may not directly ''transacting'' since they are US majority owned. No clarity. https://t.co/XoobU9zAR5
'-- Grummz (@Grummz) August 7, 2020Concerning the Executive Order on WeChat and Tencent. It's vague, and there's a few ways to interpret the order. It's unclear if Tencent's entire USA portfolio is involved. With this said, this is a huge wake up call for the gaming industry and social media. China owns our data.
'-- Trent Lapinski (@trentlapinski) August 7, 2020A reporter with the LA Times, Sam Dean, later weighed in, however, dispelling the outpouring of predictions of an imminent gamer-pocalypse, noting that a White House official had confirmed to the paper that the order would not affect Tencent's long list of gaming-related companies. Dean noted the order itself was indeed vague, but summed up the White House's position as ''we just mean WeChat.''
This was pretty much impossible to tell from the EO itself'--I also had a 🲠moment that they were roping in Riot et al when I first read it'--but "we just mean WeChat" is the WH line for tonight.But banning all transactions on/with WeChat alone is still WILD.
'-- Sam Dean ðŸ...… (@SamAugustDean) August 7, 2020Following Thursday's executive order, Tencent stock tumbled by some 10 percent on Hong Kong's Hang Seng market index, its largest drop in nearly 10 years, according to Bloomberg. The move also helped to wipe out a week of gains on mainland China's tech-heavy ChiNext Index, which took a hit of around 2.6 percent.
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Trump banning WeChat would be devastating blow to some Chinese families
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 16:28
Published Fri, Aug 7 2020 10:20 AM EDT
Updated an hour ago
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President Donald Trump issued an executive order Thursday night that would place a ban on business transactions with WeChat.WeChat is the primary service people in the U.S. use to talk with friends and family in China, since U.S.-based apps are already banned there.If Trump's executive order goes through, people in the U.S. would have effectively no free way to talk to friends and loved ones in China.A smart phone with the icons for the social networking apps WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger FaceTime, and others are seen on a smartphone screen.
S3studio | Getty Images News | Getty Images
When President Donald Trump late Thursday issued an executive order to effectively ban WeChat in 45 days, it was a devastating blow to the U.S. users who rely on the app to communicate with family and friends in China.
WeChat operates a slew of services, such as ride hailing and making payments, within the app in China, but its flagship service is its messaging platform. It's picked up little traction in the United States compared with China, but the Chinese-owned messaging service is key for people who need to communicate between the two.
Banning the app would give those who use it with no other option to quickly communicate for free with friends and family in China. It's impossible for users to just switch over to U.S.-based messaging platforms, since China has already blocked the apps that Americans rely on, such as Facebook's Messenger and Instagram, Google and Snapchat.
WhatsApp, another popular global messaging service owned by Facebook, is also blocked in the country. Users can access the apps by going through a virtual private network, or VPN, but that's often inconsistent and not an easy fix.
The bans of U.S.-based apps in China have allowed WeChat to swoop in and become a key service for funneling communication between the two countries.
For example, I didn't realize the prevalence of WeChat until four years ago, when a good friend went to visit her family in China for a month. Instead of relying on our usual Apple iMessage or Facebook Messenger to chat, we moved to WeChat. She explained that it's the only way for her to message family members daily updates or have regular calls with them. A ban would effectively cut off easy communication between millions of families.
The executive order has already scared investors. WeChat is owned by the tech giant Tencent, which saw shares fall 5.04% on Friday. Tencent is also a titan in the video gaming space, with stakes in companies such as Activision Blizzard and Riot Games, so the repercussions could extend beyond WeChat.
"We are reviewing the executive order to get a full understanding," a Tencent spokesperson told CNBC in an email.
The United States has recently ramped up its rhetoric against Chinese tech companies, with most of the attention going to TikTok, a social media platform operated by ByteDance. But Microsoft has already emerged as a strong contender to acquire TikTok's U.S. business. There are no apparent leaders looking to save WeChat's business in the U.S., meaning it could get left behind.
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What happened after India banned TikTok.
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 20:14
Right now, thanks to President Donald Trump, American TikTok users are facing the real possibility that their favorite app could disappear from their phones in mid-September if the Chinese-owned social network doesn’t sell its U.S. operations to Microsoft or another domestic firm. Indian TikTok users have been living in that reality for more than a month. On June 29, the country’s government officially banned the app. It was the second time this has happened, but unlike the first attempt, which was struck down by a state court after six days, this one has stuck.
It’s not an overstatement to say this has been a tragedy for Indian users. Despite its myriad flaws, TikTok’s dominance of Indian social media was a nearly unalloyed good for many of the less well-off people who enjoyed it. In a highly stratified society, a video app with a notoriously addictive algorithm happened to cut across castes, faiths, and other gulfs, all so Indians could watch each other’s lip-syncs and skits. When the government pulled the plug—the app disappeared from the Apple and Google app stores, and users in the country can no longer access any videos—it deprived users of entertainment, a budding alternative media source, and in many cases income.
While the first prohibition was spurred by officials’ concerns over illicit and exploitative content on the platform (which the app then attempted to moderate by flagging and taking down millions of videos), this one followed India’s mid-June clashes with China stemming from decades-long border disputes. In a move that month befitting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative, the Indian government removed 59 Chinese-made apps, TikTok among them, citing national security concerns. Soon after, 60 more were banned, and still more apps, often variants on the ones originally banned, are being removed (including a knockoff app called TikTok Lite).
In lieu of an actual war between two nuclear powers, India appears to have escalated an economic one—which could have its own consequences. Certainly, though there are potential cybersecurity concerns about TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, the national security justification didn’t quite square: TikTok is now banned, but another popular app owned by ByteDance, Resso, is currently allowed in India. Yet a protectionist argument doesn’t make much sense, either: It’s not like India is keeping out Instagram’s new Reels feature, which is seen as a “TikTok clone” and had one of its first launches in the country. Reels is rapidly gaining fans—no surprise, since Instagram and Facebook are widely used in India. What seems most likely is that India was chiefly concerned not with Chinese competition or even data-hoovering, but the Chinese government’s cultural influence (as seen with recent Indian actions targeting its Confucius Institutes).
TikTok was huge in India, and its removal has left hundreds of millions of Indian users without any sort of comparable platform. As of April, TikTok had had 610 million downloads and 600 million active users within India—about 44 percent of the population and over a quarter of total worldwide TikTok downloads. Not only did Indians love TikTok, but the app had recently become an effective tool to mobilize for protests and other forms of social education and organization. And like in the U.S., the joyous, creative content that people shared served as a relief during this period of haphazard economic lockdowns and health risk.
In a country that contains such diverse, sprawling cultures and languages—as well as oppressive systems against those of different ethnicities, religions, castes, abilities, and social classes—TikTok achieved ubiquity, even transcending many of India’s societal divides. You can see why: The short, visual format is welcoming and easy to learn; the app supported 15 different tongues in the country, transcending language and literacy barriers; and it could also be used on cheaper, budget-friendly phones. The huge scale of the platform, meanwhile allowed TikTok to act as an untraditional media outlet. In this it was similar to YouTube, where people could feel free to express themselves without (as much) worry of the government censorship that has pressured so many other print and TV media outlets. In its way, TikTok was a populist salve in a country where more than half the population lives in poverty and 5 percent lives in extreme poverty, where more than a quarter of people are illiterate, where various classifications beyond your control may disadvantage you throughout life.
No surprise, in this jingoistic, technological skirmish between China and India, the ultimate impact of the TikTok ban falls most heavily on the marginalized. As Kian Vesteinsson notes in the Diplomat, the TikTok ban is right in line with India’s oppressive internet policies, which have historically affected residents of Jammu and Kashmir, dissidents, and anyone else the government doesn’t exactly care for. In India, structural discrimination has long left the poor, the nonurban, women, Dalits, Muslims, and other religious minorities without an adequate voice. TikTok, however briefly, was able to help change that. Rural women who previously lacked access to any big platform found some measure of fame, fun, and newfound confidence in the face of oppressive societies. Independent musicians, long suffocated by the Bollywood complex’s stranglehold on India’s music industry, found a way to get their creations more curious listeners and sometimes recording deals. Some Indian TikTok influencers even managed to partner with Bollywood studios to promote new movies, a lucrative marketing opportunity that suddenly became available to industrious, phone-wielding Indians who had found a following on the platform. And much like how TikTok has allowed American workers to show off their jobs and cooks in the Chinese countryside to display their craft, Indians were able to show off their various skills and talents and find large followings as paths out of dour situations, because now they could be sponsored by brands. The app also helped overcome social stigmas: As user Ankush Bahguna told the New York Times: “TikTok is one of the most accepting platforms when it comes to embracing different people. … I’ve never seen a platform celebrate so many male belly dancers or male makeup artists or gay couples.”
With the ban, much of these gains are lost. Many influencers have completely lost the revenue they earned from partnerships. No wonder the Observer has called this ban “class warfare,” an especially apt description considering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s billionaire-friendly economic policies. Without TikTok, some users are going back to Instagram and YouTube and asking their followers to reconvene there. Still, it’s not what they had. According to Indian business news publication Mint, “top influencers like Riyaz Aly who had 42.3 million followers on TikTok [now have 9] million followers on Instagram.”
This is not to say that the reasons for banning TikTok are a total smoke screen. Like any social network, TikTok was not a universal good. There were legitimate concerns about sexually exploitative content as well as misinformation, particularly targeted at Muslims and those of lower castes. Some teens posted horrifically violent videos, including suicides and acid attacks (though these were far from the majority of Indian videos on the platform). In India, as in the U.S. and elsewhere, the app has received multiple censorship requests from the government. And considering China and India’s historic enmity, not all fears about surveillance and data collection were rooted in xenophobia (though conspiracy theories rooted in racism have certainly taken root). In the end, no matter how much it complied with Indian government’s requests and concerns regarding such issues, TikTok’s fixes were no match for a culture and border war.
Other apps are stepping in. Indian technology executives, who mostly celebrated the ban, are either promoting or hurriedly producing their own apps. Some are hoping to capitalize on anti-China sentiment and a nationalist impulse in order to help domestic apps have more of an appeal than TikTok. (Nevertheless, many Indian users are also fine sticking with Chinese-made apps, welcoming them as a way to break U.S. and Western domination of social media.) There’s Chingari, run by the company InMobi, which is similar in design to TikTok but “homegrown” and hopefully “more responsible,” as CEO Naveen Tewari says. The app is also trying to lure influencers with money, offering cash prizes for those who participate in “talent hunts.” There’s Instagram Reels, which not only has a brand advantage but also lucrative Facebook deals with major Indian music labels—although, as one Indian marketing executive claims, “Brands will not be looking at Reels the way they are looking at TikTok, as the brand story won’t come out in 15 seconds.” (Reels are 15 seconds long, while TikTok videos can be 1 minute.) There’s Roposo, which launched in 2014 but garnered 75 million downloads right after TikTok was banned; it touts itself as an “ethical” and “clean” platform. There’s Mitron, which has also gained tens of millions of downloads but has gained controversy for its bugs and its alleged ties to Pakistan through its source code. There’s even a native “Tik Tik” app that popped up, which was downloaded en masse but was missing TikTok’s appealing duet feature. And there are fake apps sprouting up as scams.
Most of TikTok’s most popular Indian influencers are now shifting to these apps, losing followers, influence, and revenue. (It’s estimated that India’s top 100 influencers have collectively lost over the equivalent of $15 million since the ban.) Still, what choice do they have? Many are not happy about it, but they’re adjusting, as the return of TikTok becomes less likely. Some less tech-savvy users are having more trouble, as services like YouTube or other competitors don’t have the same ease of use. The ground is moving, but so far no service has captured TikTok’s universal appeal.
Then there’s Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man and majority owner of the wide-ranging tech company Reliance Industries—which includes dominant mobile network and internet provider Jio—who’s looking into buying TikTok’s Indian operations for use in his own company. Or, as some have speculated, he could also make his own version: “If tomorrow Jio launches a Tiktok-like app, nobody will be able to compete with their monopolistic power,” said Sandeep Mertia, an NYU Ph.D. candidate in media studies, to Technode. As it is, Ambani is facing competition from Microsoft, which now seems to want to buy India’s and Europe’s TikTok operations in addition to the United States’. Already, influential Indian think tanks have demanded that the Microsoft deal not include Indian user data if it does indeed go through. (Incidentally, data protection is a cause of Ambani’s, and something he has clashed with his erstwhile ally Modi about.)
But all of this misses the point of why TikTok captured so many Indians’ hearts. Despite its many faults, the app seemed to offer a form of liberation to Indian users. Arriving at a time of newfound suppression due to Modi’s oppressive, Hindu nationalist–friendly regime—not to mention the sloppy, inhumane nature of India’s coronavirus response—TikTok promised a world beyond the misery hundreds of millions had become accustomed to. If it did anything, this joyful, easy-to-use app delivered validation to people who had been denied it. There can be a replacement; there can be many. But a post-TikTok India will never be the same. As famous TikTok user Deepak Ghubade told Technode when asked if there would be a sufficient Indian-made substitute for the app, “So far, I haven’t found it!”
Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.
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Andrew Lloyd Webber: 'The Chinese want to buy up our West End theatres'
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 04:11
Chinese investors are poised to take over West End theatres if the Government does not get the industry back up and running, Lord Lloyd-Webber has warned.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Lord Lloyd-Webber said there is ''no clarity'' on how or when the Government's £1.57 billion will be distributed. Without urgent funds and a clear timeline for reopening, he said, theatre owners will be forced to put the buildings up for sale.
Lord Lloyd-Webber owns six theatres including the London Palladium, and said his company will not ''be able to survive in the current form beyond January and February next year'' unless Covid restrictions are eased.
He said: ''There are major buyers circling around who are not British and would like to own West End theatres.
''The huge price paid for the Theatre Royal Haymarket [a reported £45 million, paid by the billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik] was because there was another bidder - from China.
"So it might not just be Chinese phone networks the Government has to worry about.''
On Thursday, Lord Lloyd-Webber staged a performance (pictured below) at the London Palladium before an audience of 640 people - 30 per cent of its usual capacity - in the first mass-attended live indoor theatre even since lockdown.
The show featured Beverly Knight, the singer and actress, and was part of Lord Lloyd-Webber's ongoing trials of Covid-compliant performances.
He has spent more than £150,000 on measures at the Palladium including temperature checks at the main entrance, one-way signage and self-sanitising door handles.
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Taiwan's `Red Virus' online game takes aim at Xi Jinping | Taiwan News
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 23:32
China's leader is visualized as the Wuhan coronavirus, which must be shot down in the creative and fun game By Sophia Yang, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2020/08/06 17:46
Red Virus screenshot Red Virus screenshot
Red Virus screenshot Red Virus screenshot
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) '-- An online game called "Red Virus" developed by a Taiwan company visualizes the face of Chinese leader Xi Jinping (ç'è‘å¹") as the Wuhan coronavirus.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang (èç½), spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華æ¥ç‘(C)), and World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom are all depicted as villains in the game.
The independent game developer Leonard H. said the purpose of the game is to warn the world about the danger of Red Virus. This refers not only to the deadly COVID-19, but also to China's influence and its attempts to control the world.
Since the outbreak in early 2020, scientists around the world have been trying to understand the origin of the virus and determine what caused it. In July, a Chinese virologist and whistleblower alleged the virus came from a People's Liberation Army (PLA) lab.
(Red Virus screenshot)
To win the game '-- and save the world from Red Virus '-- players have to team up to get into "NMSLand,'' which implies communist China. This is a codeword and a play on words meaning "ni ma si le" (ä½ åª½æ­>>了) "your mom is dead", or an action has been completed. This mocks pro-China netizens, also known as "wumao" (äº--毛), China's "50 cent army," which is paid to support the communist country online.
To survive, players have to shoot the flying virus and protect themselves from contagion. The cure for Red Virus is hidden in NMSland and finding it wins the game.
A comment left under the game's official trailer reads: "This game will never be copied by Chinese game company." It is probably the second Taiwanese online game to mock Xi Jinping after the popular horror game, "Devotion," which embeds messages linking Xi to "Winnie the Pooh" (the Chinese leader's nickname).
The game will be available on Steam and Itch.lo.
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Chinese Police Dynamite Christian Megachurch - The New York Times
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 20:04
Image The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi Province was destroyed this week by paramilitary police officers, according to local news reports and foreign activists. Credit... ChinaAid, via Associated Press HONG KONG '-- Chinese police officers demolished one of the country's largest evangelical churches this week, using heavy machinery and dynamite to raze the building where more than 50,000 Christians worshiped.
The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi Province was one of at least two Christian churches demolished by the authorities in recent weeks, part of what critics describe as a national effort to regulate spiritual life in China.
Under President Xi Jinping, the government has destroyed churches or removed their steeples and crosses as part of a campaign that reflects the Communist Party's longstanding fear that Christianity, viewed as a Western philosophy, is a threat to the party's authority.
Image The church in 2009. Credit... Andy Wong/Associated Press Global Times, a state newspaper, described the building's destruction as part of a ''citywide campaign to remove illegal buildings,'' and quoted an unidentified official as saying that the church had been ''secretly'' constructed without proper permits and was initially disguised as a warehouse.
Members of the megachurch, however, have previously clashed with the authorities, including in 2009 when the police confiscated Bibles and imprisoned several of the congregation's leaders.
On Tuesday, officers of the People's Armed Police, a state paramilitary organization, detonated explosives in the church's underground sanctuary and destroyed the rest of the building, according to ChinaAid, an American watchdog group that monitors religious freedom in China.
''The repeated persecution of Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights,'' said Bob Fu, the group's founder.
Image The authorities used dynamite and heavy machinery to raze the Protestant megachurch. Credit... ChinaAid, via Associated Press ChinaAid said that the building was built by the married evangelists Wang Xiaoguang and Yang Rongli with nearly $3 million in contributions from local Christians, but that it had never been registered with the authorities, a legal requirement.
Officially, Chinese citizens are free to practice the religion of their choice, but the government tightly controls spiritual life, and in some cases bans certain groups, like Falun Gong.
On Dec. 27, the authorities also demolished a Catholic church in Shaanxi Province, southwest of Shanxi Province, destroying an altar and confiscating vestments, according to ChinaAid.
More than 60 million Christians live in China, at least half of whom worship in unregistered churches.
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Masks & Muzzles
Nashville police pledge mask order enforcement, make arrest | WATE 6 On Your Side
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 12:06
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) '-- People who refuse to wear masks in downtown Nashville can now end up behind bars. A man was charged with violating health regulations after Tennessee authorities said they twice spotted him defying the capital city's mask order on the same day that police committed to stricter enforcement.
Joseph Bryant, 61, was booked into the Davidson County Sheriff's Office jail at around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, news outlets reported, citing an arrest warrant.
Metro Nashville officers first cited him in the popular Broadway area, where he was warned to put a mask on, but walked away without doing so, Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said. Bryant had two masks in his pocket at the time, Aaron added.
He was arrested less than two hours later when officers again witnessed him without a mask, and believed the ''defiant behavior would continue'' if Bryant was only given a second citation, according to Aaron.
Knox Sheriff: Got a problem with a bar? Don't call the lawBryant had not posted his $500 bond Thursday morning but did have an attorney representing him, according to records obtained by The Tennessean.
Nashville's mask order mandates the use of face coverings in public settings to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Metro Police Chief Damien Huggins pledged to city council members Wednesday that officers would increase enforcement.
''We're beyond the just educational role and are going into the citation and arrest phase,'' The Tennessean quoted Huggins as saying.
Previously, the department issued verbal warnings and handed out informational flyers, the newspaper said. The agency plans to increase its presence in the tourist area this weekend, with officers patrolling Broadway on foot and all-terrain vehicles, according to a city statement.
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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.
Models and Data
UK - Thousands of Covid-19 deaths 'to be wiped off the government's official toll' after counting fiasco
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 20:17
By Connor Boyd Health Reporter For Mailonline 08:30 06 Aug 2020, updated 17:36 06 Aug 2020
Public Health England was miscounting coronavirus death, official review foundCounted victims if they died from any cause months later after beating diseaseCould see up to 4,000 deaths removed from overall death toll, or 10 per cent Thousands of coronavirus deaths are set to be wiped from the government's official count, it was claimed today.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month ordered an urgent review into how daily death counts are calculated in England because of a 'statistical flaw'.
Academics found Public Health England's methods meant ministers count victims as anyone who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 '-- even if they were hit by a bus after beating the disease months later.
It would've meant that, technically, no-one could ever recover from the virus and all 265,000 of England's confirmed patients would eventually have had their deaths attributed to the disease.
The blunder could see up to 4,000 deaths removed from England's official toll of 41,749, according to reports. One of the leading experts who uncovered the flaw told MailOnline his 'best guess' was that more than 1,000 people have had their deaths wrongly recorded as caused by Covid-19.
Mr Hancock is set to bring the figures in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which only attribute deaths to Covid-19 if it occurs within a month of their diagnosis.
The Health Secretary is expected to announce the new measurement by the end of the week following the two-week review into the counting fiasco.
The statistical flaw was uncovered by Oxford University's Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr Yoon Loke, from the University of East Anglia.
Professor Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the prestigious university, told the Sun: 'It is a sensible decision. There is no point attributing deaths to Covid 28 days after infection.
Click here to resize this module
The statistical flaw was uncovered by Oxford University's Professor Carl Heneghan WHAT OTHER BLUNDERS HAVE PHE MADE IN THE COVID CRISIS? Public Health England has come under fire for the way it has handled the UK's coronavirus testing system, for which it was responsible at the start of the Covid-19 crisis.
Its directors have tried to divert blame, explaining that major decisions are taken by Government ministers in the Department of Health, but the body has been accused of being controlling.
These are some of the mis-steps for which PHE has been blamed:
Stopping mass testing and tracing
On March 12 the Government announced it would no longer test everybody who was thought to have coronavirus, and it would stop tracking the contacts of the majority of cases to try and stop the spread of the disease.
As a result, Britain effectively stopped tracking the virus and it was allowed to spiral out of control.
Conservative MP David Davis said that was 'precisely the wrong thing to do'.
Professor Yvonne Doyle, PHE's medical director, told MPs in May: 'It was a decision that was come to because of the sheer scale of cases in the UK.'
She added: 'We knew that if this epidemic continued to increase we would certainly need more capacity.'
PHE said: 'Widespread contact tracing was stopped because increased community transmission meant it was no longer the most useful strategy.'
Lack of contact tracing capacity
Papers published by Government scientists on SAGE revealed that PHE only had the capacity to cope with five new cases a week on February 18.
Only nine cases had been diagnosed at the time.
PHE experts said modelling suggested capacity could increased ten-fold to 50 new cases a week '-- allowing them to contact 8,000 people a day.
SAGE said: 'When there is sustained transmission in the UK, contact tracing will no longer be useful.'
Britain's cases jumped started to jump by 50 each day at the beginning of March.
Pledged antibody tests in March
PHE's Professor Sharon Peacock said on March 25 that the UK was on course to have antibody tests available to the public that month.
She confirmed the Government had bought 3.5million of the tests and was evaluating their quality.
They could be available to the public 'within days', she said at a Downing Street briefing.
Three months later, however, and they are still not a reality. Officials have since decided there are no tests good enough available, and there is no proof that the results will be of any use to the public.
Testing efforts slowed by 'centralised' lab approach
Scientists in private labs, universities and research institutes across the country said in April that their offers to help with coronavirus testing had fallen on deaf ears.
Only eight PHE laboratories and some in NHS hospitals were being used to analyse tests during the start of the crisis.
'Little ship' labs had tools to process tests and could have increased testing capacity rapidly if officials had agreed to work with them, they said.
But it took Britain until the end of April to manage more than 100,000 tests in a day. Germany had been managing the feat for weeks by utilising private laboratories.
Number 10 was eventually pressured into abandoning the centralised approach and urged the wider science industry to help boost capacity.
One top scientist said NHS hospitals could have devised their own coronavirus tests but were 'fearful of upsetting Public Health England'.
But PHE says it did not 'constrain or seek to control any laboratory either public, university or commercial from conducting testing for Covid-19'.
It claimed that it requested officials changed testing methods in January to allow for any testing facility to conduct diagnostic tests.
'All it does is muddy the water. While deaths are falling in Scotland, PHE data suggests matters are worse in England.
'But if it's someone who picked up the virus in a care home in March and recovered, and last week died of a heart attack, what does that actually tell us?'
Professor Heneghan said the 28 day measure employed by the rest of the UK allowed experts to compare the outbreak on previous months with more precision, which helps inform policymakers about what steps need to be taken.
He added: 'If deaths are going down, great. And if they are up, then we need to act. But at the moment, the figures are just confusing.'
The Office for National Statistics, another Government agency, also records Covid-19 deaths, and is considered the most reliable source.
The ONS '-- which is not affected by the counting method '-- has confirmed at least 51,596 people have died in England and Wales up to July 24.
Its calculations are based on death certificates with Covid-19 as a suspected contributor.
Public Health England told MailOnline last month that the World Health Organization has not defined a time limit for counting a death as caused by Covid-19, and said it 'continues to keep this under review'.
It admitted that a coronavirus death is one that happens to anyone who has previously tested positive, regardless of how long ago the test happened. It said the 'vast majority' of Covid-19 deaths were correctly identified.
Dr Loke added at the time: 'This statistical flaw arose because PHE chose a quick and easy technique.
'Their statistical method is reasonably accurate at the beginning of the pandemic, when there were not yet many people in the community who had survived Covid.
'However, PHE did not '-- and have not yet '-- realised that glaring inaccuracies arise when tens of thousands of frail older people are discharged from hospital, and these Covid survivors unfortunately die from other, non-Covid related causes.'
Ministers are thought to be planning a huge reform of PHE following a series of failings by the beleaguered agency during the crisis.
PHE was blamed for the initially chaotic coronavirus testing regime as well as the decision made early in the epidemic to abandon widespread tracking of the virus.
The move was seen by many scientists as one of the central mistakes in Britain's handling of the pandemic. The UK has the highest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe.
PHE '' an executive agency of the Department of Health '' was also criticised for refusing the offer of help from universities and private labs to carry out tests.
The Prime Minister has not named PHE specifically, but he told the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs in May that he was planning a review of 'a number of institutions' after the pandemic is over.
The health secretary last month admitted that he didn't realise what the agency's limits were until the crisis exposed them.
Speaking to a committee of MPs, Mr Hancock was pressed on whether he was reforming PHE.
He said: 'There will be a time for that. My priority now is on controlling the virus and preparing for winter... we need a public health agency that isn't only brilliant at science but also able to go to scale quickly.'
Meanwhile, the UK recorded another 65 coronavirus deaths yesterday '-- taking the official number of victims in Britain to 46,364.
Around 58 Brits are now succumbing to the life-threatening infection each day, on average.
The deaths data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours '-- it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
And the figure does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland and Northern Ireland are out of sync.
The count announced by NHS England every afternoon, which only takes into account deaths in hospitals, does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.
For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities 'as soon as they are available'.
But the fatality curve is no longer flattening as quickly as it was, with the rolling seven-day average number of daily deaths having been in the sixties since July 18.
It can take infected patients several weeks to die, meaning any spike in deaths won't be immediately apparent in government figures.
It is currently impossible to know how many of the deaths announced by the Department of Health were not actually caused directly by Covid-19.
Separate figures '-- released on Tuesday '-- revealed overall deaths in England and Wales are still below the number usually expected at this time of year, based on an average from the previous five years.
Department of Health bosses say 820 Britons are now being struck down with the life-threatening virus every day, on average. The rate has been rising since dropping to a four-month low of 546 on July 8.
The figures add to mounting fears of a second wave in Britain, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson understood to be 'extremely concerned' about cases bubbling up in the UK and in other European nations that have relaxed tough lockdown measures. France today warned it could lose control of Covid-19 'at any moment'.
But the number of patients being admitted to hospital has yet to spike, bolstering claims from top scientists that the outbreak is not getting worse and cases are only rising because more patients are being tested.
Just 109 coronavirus patients were admitted for NHS care across the UK on August 2 '-- a figure which has barely changed throughout July. During the darkest days of Britain's crisis in April, around 3,500 patients were needing hospital treatment every day.
Glitch causes California COVID-19 cases to be under reported
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 22:17
Glitch causes California COVID-19 cases to be under reported
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EMILY: SITTING OUTSIDE BOTTLE AND BARLOW IN MIDTOWN, THIS BAR AND BARBERSHOP OWNER IS FRUSTRATED. >> IT'S HEARTBREAKING. I SPENT 15 YEARS BUILDING MY CAREER. EMILY: THE BARBERSHOP HAS BEEN CLOSED FOR A MONTH. THE BAR SHUTDOWN SINCE MARCH. WHEN HE READ ABOUT THE DROP IN CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-9, IT WAS A BREAK OF GOOD NEWS THAT QUICKLY WENT AWAY. >> I WAS FEELING PRETTY GOOD. AND THEN SOUL CRUSHING WHEN I SAW THAT IT'S NOT ACCURATE. >> WE ARE LIKELY TO SEE THOSE NUMBERS -- EMILY: GAVIN NEWSOM REPORTED THE STATE'S LOWEST NUMBER OF COVID-19 CASES IN TWO WEEKS. >> THERE'S A SPECIFIC COMPONENT THAT FEEDS INFORMATION. EMILY: HEALTH OFFICIALS BACKTRACKED, SAYING A GLITCH IN THE SYSTEM LED TO UNDERREPORTING OF N CASES, MAKING IT TOUGHER BUSINESS OWNER STRUGGLING TO STAY AFLOAT TO TRUST THE NUMBERS. I TRY TO LEAVE IT UP TO THE PROFESSIONALS. IT DEFINITELY STARTS TO MAKE YOUR CONFIDENCE WAYNE. MAKES YOU QUESTION, DO THEY KNOW WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT? >> THE LIKELIHOOD THAT YOU WILL RUN INTO SOME DATA QUALITY ISSUES IS VERY COMMON. EMILY: THE CHAIR OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND BUSINESS ANALYTICS AT SAC STATE. HE SAYS ANY TIME DATA IS BEING COLLECTED ON SUCH A LARGE SCALE AT SUCH A FAST-PACED, ERRORS ARE NORMAL. >> THE BAD NEWS IS, WE DON'T KNOW THAT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT THIS HAPPENED. WE DON'T KNOW THAT IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN. WE ARE DEALING WITH SYSTEMS THAT ARE BEING USED IN WAYS THEY WERE NEVER DESIGNED TO BE USED. EMILY: THERE IS GOOD NEWS. THE INACCURACIES WERE CAUGHT QUICKLY. >> IS BEING ADDRESSED. THE THINGS THAT CAUSE THESE TYPES OF ERRORS TO COME UP ARE PART OF THIS TYPE OF SYSTEM. >> WE KNOW THE INADEQUACIES. EMILY: IT'S FRUSTRATING. NOT JUST THESE -- BECAUSE THESE ARE THE NUMBERS THAT WILL REOPEN HIS BUSINESS, BUT FOR THE PEOPLE AFFECTED BY THE VIRUS. STATISTICS MATTER TO THOSE FAMILIES AS WELL. IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THE BUSINESSES.
Glitch causes California COVID-19 cases to be under reported
As California works to slow the spread of the coronavirus, top doctors said they have discovered a technical glitch in the system. That means the infection rate could be higher. The problem is causing a lag in the tally of novel coronavirus test results, which is making it more difficult for county health officials to track its spread. This is one of the metrics used by state and county health officials to set policies and plans to reopen. A Sacramento business owner said it makes him question what officials are saying.Get the full story in the video above.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. '--As California works to slow the spread of the coronavirus, top doctors said they have discovered a technical glitch in the system.
That means the infection rate could be higher.
The problem is causing a lag in the tally of novel coronavirus test results, which is making it more difficult for county health officials to track its spread. This is one of the metrics used by state and county health officials to set policies and plans to reopen.
A Sacramento business owner said it makes him question what officials are saying.
Get the full story in the video above.
San Mateo County health officer assails 'fundamentally flawed' state watch list - SFGate
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 22:17
San Mateo County health officer Scott Morrow speaks during a press conference headed by public health directors spanning six Bay Area counties on March 16, 2020, in San Jose. (Dai Sugano/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)
lessSan Mateo County health officer Scott Morrow speaks during a press conference headed by public health directors spanning six Bay Area counties on March 16, 2020, in San Jose. (Dai Sugano/MediaNews Group/The
... more Photo: MediaNews Group/The Mercury News/MediaNews Group Via Getty Images Photo: MediaNews Group/The Mercury News/MediaNews Group Via Getty Images
San Mateo County health officer Scott Morrow speaks during a press conference headed by public health directors spanning six Bay Area counties on March 16, 2020, in San Jose. (Dai Sugano/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)
lessSan Mateo County health officer Scott Morrow speaks during a press conference headed by public health directors spanning six Bay Area counties on March 16, 2020, in San Jose. (Dai Sugano/MediaNews Group/The
... more Photo: MediaNews Group/The Mercury News/MediaNews Group Via Getty Images After his county landed on the state's COVID-19 watch list and was forced to close many indoor businesses over the weekend, San Mateo County health officer Dr. Scott Morrow lambasted the watch list and its criteria in a Thursday message to the community.
"I wish to apologize to all the businesses that were closed this week," he wrote. "I am not supportive of these actions and, for San Mateo County, I believe they are misdirected and will cause more harm than good. This action is a bit like looking for your lost keys under a streetlight even though you lost them miles away. If you have read my previous statements, you know I put great import on balance. We have to minimize spread while not destroying everything else in the process."
Morrow noted that the spread of the virus is in a "relatively stable state" in the county, and the previous health order that mandated face coverings and physical distancing measures at reopened businesses appeared to be working. In addition, Morrow noted that the spread of the virus is "not primarily from barber shops, nail salons, or the other businesses that were targeted in this most recent closure," but rather from private gatherings.
"For those who want to drive the spread to zero, this is simply not possible," he said. "Even with the very restrictive measures put into place in the Spring, we could only drive the Re at that time to about 0.9. The best point estimate we currently have for Re is about 0.98. Our Re has also been slowly dropping for at least 4 weeks ... Over the last few weeks, our hospitalizations are stable and/or decreasing. Recently, our deaths have been low. Even with the current data meltdown at the State related to the counting of new cases, I remain of the same opinion."
San Mateo County landed on the watch list due to an increase in cases, and Morrow believes the criteria is flawed. Counties qualify for the list if they record over 100 cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period for three consecutive days, and Solano County health officer Dr. Bela Matyas previously stated it may be impossible for counties on the watch list to satisfy the case criteria.
"The brand new, arbitrary and constantly changing framework that the State has set up to put counties on the watch list and to determine closures (beyond the State ''floor'') is fundamentally flawed in several ways," Morrow wrote. "This wouldn't matter so much, and I wouldn't pay that close attention to it, if there weren't so much economic and societal damage at stake, economic and societal damage without a concomitant reduction in spread. To me it feels like some newly created bureaucratic box is just itching to be checked."
Among other things, Morrow cites data inconsistencies as well as state-imposed hospital transfers and testing restrictions as evidence the watch list criteria is unfair. However, Morrow's "biggest problem" is "in the application of public health law."
"While it is true the State Health Officer and the Local Health Officer have partially overlapping statutory authorities, it is generally understood, and there is very long precedence, that the State Health Officer doesn't take action against the Local Health Officer unless there is an ask to do so, the Local Health Officer can't take action because of extenuating circumstances, or the Local Health Officer is negligent," he wrote. "I didn't ask for these actions to be taken, I'm certainly capable of taking these actions if warranted, and I do not believe I'm being negligent."
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'--Solano County: COVID patients may return to work after 10 days, even with 'lingering symptoms''--This Jon Gruden COVID-19 story is too Jon Gruden to be true'-- Interactive tool tells you how likely it is someone at an event with you has COVID'--Why scientists are worried about a 'Warp Speed' COVID-19 vaccine'--Popular SF bakery and sister brewery close due to COVID exposure
Eric Ting is an SFGATE reporter. Email: eric.ting@sfgate.com | Twitter:@_ericting
The Great Reset
WEF Great Reset - Zoom call for reptiles
BLM
Nike factory Portland trashed
(Not IRL) Pride Summit - Lesbians Who Tech & Allies
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 22:25
Stacey AbramsFounder, Fair Fight Action
Kara SwisherCo-founder, Recode
Angelica RossFounder, TransTech
Megan RapinoeCo-captain, USWNT
Alicia GarzaPrincipal, Black Futures Lab
Elizabeth WarrenU.S. Senator, Massachusetts
Kamala HarrisU.S. Senator, California
Arlan HamiltonFounder, Backstage Capital
BOZOMA SAINT JOHNCMO, William Morris Endeavor
BETH FORDCEO, Land O'Lakes
MEGAN SMITH3rd U.S. CTO and CEO, shift7
JEN WONGCOO, Reddit
VALERIE JARRETTSenior Advisor to President Obama
NANCY PELOSISpeaker, U.S. House of Representatives
ILENE CHAIKENTelevision Writer and Producer
JENNIFER BEALSActress, The L Word
KATE MOENNIGActress, The L Word
LEISHA HAILEYActress, The L Word
QUINN WILSONCreative Director, Lizzo
CHANI NICHOLASAstrologer & Author
MADAME GANDHIActivist and Musician
TINA TCHENCEO, Time's Up
STEPHENIE LANDRYVP, Amazon
STEPHANIE MEHTAEditor-in-Chief, Fast Company
SUE BIRDPro Basketball Player, WNBA
GLENNON DOYLEAuthor and Founder, Together Rising
LAFAWN DAVISVP of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, Indeed
CAMERON ESPOSITOComedian
LONDON BREEDMayor, City of San Francisco
MOJ MAHDARAFounder, Beautycon
LEILANI FAROLSVP of Cybersecurity, Bank of America
SHARICE DAVIDSU.S. Congresswoman, Kansas
PAMELA RICECTO, Earnest
LEANNE PITTSFORDFounder, Lesbians Who Tech & Allies
DARA TRESEDERCMO, Carbon
DANIELLE MOODIEHost, #WokeAF
JACQUELINE GUICHELAARGroup CIO, Cisco
ROSANNA DURRUTHYVP, LinkedIn
SHEREE HAGGAND&I Manager, Google
IRMA OLGUIN JR.CEO, Bitwise Industries
MONIQUE WOODWARDFounder, Something New
LISA SULLIVAN-CROSSHead of Growth Marketing, Pinterest
JANA RICHCEO, Rich Talent Group
CINDY FINKELMANCIO, FactSet Research Systems
ANDREA BARRICAFounder, O.school
INGRID DAHLSenior Director, Capital One
ROZ FRANCUZ-HARRISDirector of Talent Acquisition, WarnerMedia
VIVIENNE MINGCo-founder, Socos Labs
SHANTELL MARTINVisual Artist
KELLY BUSH NOVAKFounder & CEO, ID
AMY ERRETTCEO, Madison Reed
STEPHANIE TANCISO, Marcus by Goldman Sachs
PAOLA RAMOSHost, Vice News
NELLWYN THOMASCTO, Democratic National Committee
JAZMINE HUGHESStory Editor, The NY Times
+ MOREThis is a free community event '' if you would like to support our work please donate to Lesbians Who Tech & Allies here.
As Lesbians Who Tech & Allies' exclusive hiring partner, include is the best way to get your jobs in front of their community of 60,000 LGBTQ women, trans and non-binary Techies as well as include's own pool of diverse technical talent.
Noodlegun
Trolls Doll Pulled After Complaints It Promotes Child Abuse - The New York Times
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 22:18
Business | Trolls Doll Pulled After Complaints It Promotes Child AbusePAWTUCKET, R.I. '-- A Trolls doll is being pulled off store shelves amid complaints it promotes child abuse.
Toymaker Hasbro said Wednesday that it's in the process of removing the ''Trolls World Tour Giggle and Sing Poppy'' from the market and will be offering customers a replacement doll of the popular female character.
The doll had been designed to giggle when placed in a sitting position, but some parents complain the sound activation button is inappropriately placed under the doll's skirt and between her legs.
An online petition suggests the doll is "conditioning our children to think pedophilia is OK.''
''This is not okay for a child's toy! This toy needs to be removed from our stores," the petition by Jessica McManis reads in part. "What will this toy make our innocent, impressionable children think? That it's fun when someone touches your private area?"
The petition is addressed to major retailers including Target, Walmart and Amazon.
Hasbro spokeswoman Julie Duffy told The Providence Journal that the Rhode Island-based company recognizes the sensor's placement ''may be perceived as inappropriate.''
''This was not intentional and we are happy to provide consumers with a replacement Poppy doll of similar value through our consumer care team," she told the newspaper. "We are in the process of removing the item for purchase.''
Hasbro is the maker of Transformers, G.I. Joe, Monopoly and other beloved children's toys and games.
Joe Veyera on Twitter: "KNKX has announced it will no longer run weather segments with UW Atmospheric Sciences Professor Cliff Mass, saying his blog post comparing recent events in Seattle to Kristallnacht, "does not reflect who we are and what we stand f
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 02:15
Joe Veyera : KNKX has announced it will no longer run weather segments with UW Atmospheric Sciences Professor Cliff Mass, saying'... https://t.co/mf0T5I36q0
Fri Aug 07 01:02:32 +0000 2020
Robert Cardona : @JoeVeyera And yet Chuck Todd keeps his platform.
Sat Aug 08 01:50:24 +0000 2020
The Ginger Ninja : @JoeVeyera Prepare for the double down.
Fri Aug 07 16:37:25 +0000 2020
Bike Store Cancels Contract With Austin Bike Police After 'Woke' Employees Complain '' Summit News
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 05:24
Black Portland police officer Jakhary Jackson has gone public to detail the racist abuse he has received from white leftist protesters while pointing out that there are often more minorities on the police side than those demonstrating.
Jackson made the comments in a 27 minute video released by the Portland Police Department.
Noting that he has been repeatedly attacked with explosive devices, Jackson described the protests as ''bizarre.''
''It says something when you're at a Black Lives Matter protest and you have more minorities on the police side than you have in a violent crowd,'' he explained. ''You have white people screaming at black officers, 'you have the biggest nose I've ever seen!' You hear these things and you go, 'are they gonna say something to this person?' No.''
Jackson also detailed how leftists try to demoralize black police officers by telling them that they are hurting black people.
This US black police officer beautifully describes woke racism.
Black people can't think or talk for themselves. Woke white people want to patronise us and treat us like children.
We BELONG to them. pic.twitter.com/Ko4zSb49TC
'-- Katharine Birbalsingh (@Miss_Snuffy) July 17, 2020
''Having people tell you what to do with your life, that you need to quit your job. Saying you're hurting your community but they're not even part of the community. And you as a privileged white person telling a person of color what to do with their life '' and you don't even know what I've dealt with or what these white officers that you're screaming at '-- you don't know them. You don't know anything about them,'' he said.
The police officer also revealed how white leftists try to prevent black protesters from talking to black police officers.
''Every time I try to have a conversation with someone that looks like me, someone white comes up and tells them not to talk,'' he said.
Jackson also defended his white colleagues who have consistently defended him and also put their own safety at risk to help black people.
''They're accused of being racist when I've seen those officers helping people of color, getting blood on them, trying to save someone's life that's been shot in gang violence,'' he said.
''They're truly trying to help save someone's life and they're turned around and called a racist by people who have never had to put themselves out there. It's disgusting,'' added Jackson.
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NASA to remove offensive names from planets and other heavenly bodies
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 20:12
August 8, 2020 | 2:36am
Enlarge Image The Eskimo Nebula, or as it's now referred to as NGC 2392 UPI
Political correctness has now expanded to space, where NASA says planets, galaxies and other heavenly bodies will no longer be referred to by ''offensive'' nicknames.
In a press release Thursday, the space agency said that all planets and heavenly bodies will be referred only to by their scientific names, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Under the new rules, the ''Eskimo Nebula,'' discovered in 1787 by William Hershel, will only be referred to as NGC 2392.
The so-called ''Siamese Twins Galaxy'' will likewise be known only as NGC 4567 and NGC 4568.
''As the scientific community works to identify and address systemic discrimination and inequality in all aspects of the field, it has become clear that certain cosmic nicknames are not only insensitive but can be actively harmful,'' the agency said in a news release.
''NASA is examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.''
NASA's Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Stephen T. Shih agreed, saying ''These nicknames and terms may have historical or culture connotations that are objectionable or unwelcoming, and NASA is strongly committed to addressing them.''
2020
Biden clarifies comments comparing African-American and Latino communities | TheHill
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 02:11
Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden Joe BidenGOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe Trump outraises Biden in July, surpasses billion for the cycle Duckworth: Republican coronavirus package would 'gut' Americans With Disabilities Act MORE in a Thursday night tweet clarified his comments comparing African American and Latino communities.
The former vice president acknowledged statements he made on Wednesday in an interview during the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference after President Trump Donald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE and his campaign condemned him for them
"What you all know, but most people don't know, unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community, with incredibly different attitudes about different things,'' Biden said on Wednesday.
In his tweet, Biden said he ''in no way'' meant ''to suggest the African American community is a monolith'--not by identity, not on issues, not at all.''
''Throughout my career I've witnessed the diversity of thought, background, and sentiment within the African American community,'' Biden posted. ''It's this diversity that makes our workplaces, communities, and country a better place.''
''My commitment to you is this: I will always listen, I will never stop fighting for the African American community and I will never stop fighting for a more equitable future,'' he added.
Throughout my career I've witnessed the diversity of thought, background, and sentiment within the African American community. It's this diversity that makes our workplaces, communities, and country a better place.
'-- Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 7, 2020 Trump and his campaign pounced on the former vice president's statements, with the president tweeting that Biden ''lost the entire African American community'' with his remarks.
The president addressed the interview before leaving the White House for Ohio, saying Biden ''totally disparaged and insulted the Black community.''
''What he said was incredible and I don't know what is going on with him, but it was a very insulting statement he made,'' Trump said earlier Thursday.
The Trump campaign also released a statement from campaign senior adviser Katrina Pierson saying, ''The condescending white liberal racism that oozes out of Joe Biden is disgusting.''
"Now he arrogantly tells a group of Black reporters that 'you all know' that Black people think alike,'' she said. ''There's a reason Joe Biden can't count on the support of Black voters and it's because of his plantation owner mentality."
Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders Symone SandersBiden campaign plans red-state media blitz GOP official says Elizabeth Warren 'endorses voter fraud' after joke about Bailey voting for Biden Sunday shows - Bolton's bombshell book reverberates MORE told The Hill in response that "If you look at the full video and transcript, it's clear that Vice President Biden was referring to diversity of attitudes among Latinos from different Latin American countries.''
''The video that is circulating is conveniently cut to make this about racial diversity but that's not the case,'' she said.
Several polls have shown that Black voters plan to side with Biden in the upcoming election, with a recent Economist-YouGov poll finding 76 percent of Black participants said they'd vote for Biden, compared to 12 percent who said they'd vote for Trump.
New U.S. Postal Service chief warns of 'dire' finances as quarterly loss narrows | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 16:38
Fri Aug 7, 2020 / 10:19 AM EDT
WASHINGTON WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on Friday said the agency faces a "dire" financial position even as it posted a slightly narrower third-quarter loss amid soaring package demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said USPS has a "broken business model" and is in need of organizational changes. "Without dramatic change, there is no end in sight and we face an impending liquidity crisis," DeJoy said.
USPS said quarterly revenue rose to $17.6 billion, up $547 million. The quarterly net loss shrank to $2.2 billion from $2.3 billion in the same quarter last year.
First-class mail volume declined by 1.1 billion pieces, or 8.4%. Shipping and packages revenue increased by $2.9 billion, or 53.6%, on a volume increase of 708 million pieces, up 49.9%.
Democrats Thursday called on DeJoy to reverse changes that they say are resulting in delayed mail.
"We believe these changes, made during the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, now threaten the timely delivery of mail'--including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers, and absentee ballots for voters'--that is essential to millions of Americans," wrote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
Voting by mail is expected to increase dramatically this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump has claimed without evidence that absentee voting leads to rampant fraud.
"We are not slowing down election mail or any other mail," DeJoy, a Trump supporter, said Friday.
The Postal Service has faced financial woes with the rise of email and social media, and a measure passed in 2006 requiring it to prefund 75 years of retiree health benefits over the span of 10 years at a cost of more than $100 billion.
DeJoy said the Postal Service is eliminating inefficiencies, including "unnecessary overtime." The Postal Service has lost $80 billion since 2007.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
BNY Productions in Sioux City, Iowa, Controls Remote Live Streaming Using Waves eMotion LV1 FOH | Front of House Magazine
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 21:06
L-R: Ben Kristijanto and Bill Kristijanto, Owners of BNY Productions
SIOUX CITY, IA '' Bill Kristijanto, co-owner of BNY Productions, has been using Waves eMotion LV1 Live Mixer and Waves plugins for remote broadcast streaming. BNY Productions performs live streams for diverse events such as political rallies and speeches. Among their clients are recent presidential candidates and former presidents of the U.S. Pictured here, from left, are BNY Productions owners Ben and Bill Kristijanto.
More details from Waves (www.waves.com):
BNY remote setup
''We were out on the road with a client,'' Kristijanto says, ''using the Waves eMotion LV1 mixer and also supplying video, lighting, staging, and room accessories such as stanchion, flags, pipe and drape, and more. However, due to COVID-19, the client had to stop doing all live events. They came to us for a solution to be able to do broadcast, without a crew in the room. Subsequently, we needed to build a TV/broadcast studio that was able to handle the client's needs, such as phone interviews, podcast, video conferencing, direct to camera recording, live network TV interviews, and live virtual events, while being controlled/produced off site.''
He adds, ''To clarify, the only person accompanying the client is his personal assistant, so everyone else '' the audio engineer, lighting engineer, video engineer, shader, producers, and everything in-between '' is off site and in a different state. To make things a little more complicated, the client has a team of people who are involved in producing/directing the events who are scattered in different states, and they too need to monitor the feed at near-zero latency!''
He continues, ''Little did we know that our decision to move to the eMotion LV1 in 2016 was the best choice we could have made for a situation such as this, and today we own ten Waves eMotion LV1 mixers. We are now able to easily remote into the mixer from states away. This is definitely a feature that wouldn't be as easy to do with any other console on the market! The LV1's strengths and capabilities continue to reaffirm that we made the right decision four years ago.''
Kristijanto comments on their setup: ''We call our studio here at the BNY headquarters the Control Studio, which includes two SoundGrid Extreme Server-Cs and an Apogee Symphony I/O Mk II 8—8+8MP, and the studio we built for our client, the Remote Studio, includes two SoundGrid Extreme Server-Cs and 3 DiGiGrid IOX I/O interfaces. The Remote Studio audio signal chain starts with either a DPA 4017B shotgun mic or a DPA lavalier mic, into a DiGiGrid IOX I/O interface. The client has an option of monitoring through an IFB or a wedge, depending on the event. Out of the console, the audio gets embedded into the video system, which then goes into a custom server that takes care of the point-to-point streaming over to our Control Studio for low-latency monitoring. Once the data is decoded by another custom server in the Control Studio, the audio then goes into a Waves LV1 system using an Apogee Symphony I/O, feeding into the Meyer Bluehorn System.''
He continues, ''One of the big advantages of this setup is that we are able to have different engineers/operators control part of the system from different locations. For example, we can have a video engineer in Pennsylvania, a shader in Washington D.C., and an audio engineer in Iowa, all run an event from their homes.''
On choosing the LV1, he comments, ''There are several unique benefits using the LV1 system. As an audio engineer, I like that I'm able to make a custom signal flow to the individual channel strip. Other consoles don't have that capability. Typically, the channel strips, such as the EQ, dynamics, effects, etc., are predetermined in other consoles. The Waves eMotion LV1 allows us to integrate easily with plugins so I can precisely shape the sound to my liking.''
''Waves plugins are an integral part of our workflow,'' he says. ''We are currently using the Mercury, SSL 4000 Collection, Abbey Road Collection, Dugan Automixer + Dugan Speech, Pianos & Keys, API Collection, and the CLA Classic Compressors bundles. If I would have to choose only 4-5 must-have plugins, I would start with the Waves WNS Noise Suppressor, since rather than only having one control, the WNS lets me have control in several frequency bands, allowing me to suppress some bands, without affecting others. The Primary Source Expander (PSE) would be next '' it is unique in that the talent doesn't always want to mess with IFB and would prefer to use a wedge instead. The PSE really helps minimize the wedge noise into the talent's feed. I would also include Vocal Rider, which is a true timesaver, as we required something that could keep up with a dynamic speaker. The talent can sometimes talk very softly followed by a dramatic change in volume. By putting this plugin on top of the signal chain, it helps keep the level consistent down the chain, so it hits the dynamics at about the same level. That way, the presenter's voice is always present regardless of the volume changes. And of course, the F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ '' since we can't be there physically to do things like properly place microphones, we have to rely on personnel with limited production knowledge and mic placement isn't always optimal. Thanks to the F6, proximity effects due to poor mic placement are taken care of automatically. It also allows for easy transition between our female talent and male talent vocals as well as quick turnarounds.''
About using the LV1, Kristijanto adds, ''Another great feature is that the console is extremely compact in size. When working in a residence where space is limited but we do not want to sacrifice sound quality, the LV1's size makes it easy for us to maintain our high-quality audio standard, without taking up the large amount of space that most mixers of that caliber require. To further this point, the backup capabilities are similar to what you'd find in 'big-boy' consoles, which leads me to another benefit '' stability. The issue of stability is something that we cannot compromise on, and currently our LVfly system has been running continuously for months without a single glitch. A final feature that I would like to highlight is the overall design and scalability of the LV1: the flexibility of being able to add an additional I/O whenever and wherever is unprecedented!''
''In these challenging times'', Kristijanto concludes, ''it is becoming a requirement to support live streaming and remote events, and the Waves eMotion LV1 has proven to be indispensable. We are fortunate to have it at the heart of our remote streaming systems.''
How To Explain 'Unmasking' To Your Facebook Friends | Crooks and Liars
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:55
This whole fake "unmasking" fake "scandal" from Hannity is easy to understand, actually. It's about pizza delivery guys.
There's a US SPY in the National Security Group. We find out about it because we are listening in on RUSSIAN SPY conversations.
The Government is not allowed to report on US Citizens except when there's evidence that SPYING is going on. So if RUSSIAN SPIES order a pizza, that pizza guy is not going to be put on a watch list. But if the RUSSIAN SPIES talk secrets with someone at THE PENTAGON, people like THE PRESIDENT need to know that.
That's called "unmasking." The President gets to know the name of the US citizen AT THE PENTAGON who is trading secrets with RUSSIAN SPIES. This protects pizza guys but "unmasks" US citizens who are doing SPY stuff.
Michael Flynn was CAUGHT when his voice was taped listening in on RUSSIAN SPY conversations. This was such a huge deal that the CIA went through channels to "unmask" Michael Flynn, and tell the president that there's this guy trying to make deals with RUSSIAN SPIES for natural gas stock holdings. It was about money and giving Flynn natural gas stock in exchange for dropping sanctions by the way.
So the court says OMG yes warn the president about this US citizen because OMG and on INAUGURATION DAY Obama sits down with the new president, Trump, and one of the things he tells Trump is OMG don't hire Michael Flynn because yeah he's doing Russian Spy stuff. Trump hires him anyway and he is IN CHARGE OF NATIONAL SECURITY for like 9 days before the spy stuff catches up with him.
Now in May 2020 Donald Trump and Fox News are scared Trump might not be reelected because let's face it -- he's a big fat FAIL on Covid because in January he put the stock market ahead of people dying of a virus. Easy mistake to make when you call Lou Dobbs "The News."
Now Hannity rolls into action and makes "unmasking" which he NEVER explains what that IS but it sounds bad as some sort of "Obama crime." It isn't. It's just a distraction from 88,000 dead American citizens. The End.
[If you want to share this with your conservative relatives on Facebook, it's here.]
Bret Weinstein on Twitter: "Why would a sane person like me make a crazy prediction like this? Find out Saturday at 12:30pm Pacific time on the DarkHorse Podcast live stream with @HeatherEHeying. We will also have an update on #Unity2020 and much more, so
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 12:32
Bret Weinstein : Why would a sane person like me make a crazy prediction like this? Find out Saturday at 12:30pm Pacific time on the'... https://t.co/GPvqwhZYKY
Sat Aug 08 07:37:42 +0000 2020
James Whitaker : @BretWeinstein @HeatherEHeying I love your crazy predictions and the fact that they keep coming true goes to show w'... https://t.co/CYB9grly6u
Sun Aug 09 09:39:33 +0000 2020
OTG
Microsoft: Updates to our terms of use
Millennial on captions (redux)
Millennial here, and I often have subtitles on.
1/3 of the issue is my ear drums are fried due to ear buds and head phones
1/3 of the issue dialogue is muffled on my TVs audio
1/3 of the issue is, when I watch British tv shows and movies, I need the subtitles because what in the hell are they saying?
Approach '-- Content Authenticity Initiative
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 12:09
IntroductionWith the increasing velocity of digital content and the democratization of powerful creation and editing techniques, robust content attribution is critical to ensure transparency, understanding, and ultimately, trust.
We are witnessing extraordinary challenges to trust in media. As social platforms amplify the reach and influence of certain content via ever more complex and opaque algorithms, mis-attributed and mis-contextualized content spreads quickly. Whether inadvertent misinformation or deliberate deception via disinformation, collectively inauthentic content is on the rise.
Currently, creators who wish to include metadata about their work (for example authorship) cannot do so in a secure, tamper-evident and standard way across platforms. Without this attribution information, publishers and consumers lack critical context for determining the authenticity of media. This is especially true for users of creative tools that enable augmenting reality with AI or even authoring fully synthetic content who need to be empowered to use their tools responsibly.
Ultimately, the solution to the problem of inauthentic content and the erosion of trust it causes will rely on efforts in three distinct areas:
First is detection of deliberately deceptive media. Through a combination of algorithmic identification and human-centered verification of intentionally misleading content the amount of inauthentic content can be reduced. However, as techniques for creating misleading content become more sophisticated and accessible we foresee an escalating arms race impeding progress on this front. As malicious purveyors of content become faster and better, detection techniques will struggle to keep pace.
Second, education is essential. Well-intentioned creators and consumers will need to understand the danger of disinformation and the use of techniques to eradicate it. They must also understand ways to use sophisticated creative tools responsibly. These are skills that must be learned and passed on through media literacy campaigns and formal education. We must all understand why and when to trust what we see, hear and read. And we must be equipped with the tools and knowledge to do so.
Finally, we must consider content attribution, which is the focus of this paper. Often referred to as provenance, attribution empowers content creators and editors, regardless of their geographic location or degree of access to technology, to disclose information about who created or changed an asset, what was changed and how it was changed. While detection can help address the problem of trust in media reactively by identifying content suspected to be deceptive, attribution proactively adds a layer of transparency so consumers can be informed in their decisions. Content with attribution exposes indicators of authenticity so that consumers can have awareness of who has altered content and what exactly has been changed. This ability to provide content attribution for creators, publishers and consumers is essential to engender trust online.
At the same time, it is critically important that those same content creators be able to protect their privacy when necessary. Any solution attempting to restore trust must be globally viable across technology contexts and minimize opportunities to cause unintended harms or risks. It must also have freedom of creative expression in media production at its core.
We seek to address the issue of content authenticity at scale. To accomplish this, we propose an open, extensible approach for content attribution and have begun working toward establishing standards with broad, cross-industry collaboration.
U.S. Government Contractor Embedded Software in Apps to Track Phones - WSJ
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 12:36
WASHINGTON'--A small U.S. company with ties to the U.S. defense and intelligence communities has embedded its software in numerous mobile apps, allowing it to track the movements of hundreds of millions of mobile phones world-wide, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Anomaly Six LLC a Virginia-based company founded by two U.S. military veterans with a background in intelligence, said in marketing material it is able to draw location data from more than 500 mobile applications, in part through its own software development kit, or SDK, that is embedded directly in some of the apps. An SDK allows the company to obtain the phone's location if consumers have allowed the app containing the software to access the phone's GPS coordinates.
App publishers often allow third-party companies, for a fee, to insert SDKs into their apps. The SDK maker then sells the consumer data harvested from the app, and the app publisher gets a chunk of revenue. But consumers have no way to know whether SDKs are embedded in apps; most privacy policies don't disclose that information. Anomaly Six says it embeds its own SDK in some apps, and in other cases gets location data from other partners.
Anomaly Six is a federal contractor that provides global-location-data products to branches of the U.S. government and private-sector clients. The company told The Wall Street Journal it restricts the sale of U.S. mobile phone movement data only to nongovernmental, private-sector clients.
Numerous agencies of the U.S. government have concluded that mobile data acquired by federal agencies from advertising is lawful. Several law-enforcement agencies are using such data for criminal-law enforcement, the Journal has reported, while numerous U.S. military and intelligence agencies also acquire this kind of data.
Many private-sector companies in the advertising and marketing world buy and sell geolocation data, sometimes reselling it to government agencies or contractors. But the direct collection of such data by a business closely linked to U.S. national security agencies is unusual.
Anomaly Six was founded by defense-contracting veterans who worked closely with government agencies for most of their careers and built a company to cater in part to national-security agencies, according to court records and interviews.
The firm's capabilities were described in documents prepared for military officials that were reviewed by the Journal. The company also explained its business practices in a recent briefing to the office of Sen. Ron Wyden, whose staff then described it to the Journal. The Oregon Democrat has been conducting a probe into the sale of Americans' location data.
''Anomaly Six is a veteran-owned small business that processes and visualizes location data sourced from mobile devices for analytics and insights,'' the company said in response to questions for this article. ''We leverage detailed location data from numerous first-party sources to provide insights into groups, behaviors, and patterns.'' The company said it acknowledged the ''intense scrutiny'' around the government use of such data, but said all the data it works with is commercially available and compliant with all laws.
Anomaly Six said it would support regulation to require more disclosure by apps of how data is collected and used. The exact apps the company partners with couldn't be determined and the company declined to comment, citing confidentiality agreements. The partnerships between data brokers and app makers are typically closely held trade secrets within the world of commercial-data sales.
Asif Khan, a marketing expert and founder of the Location Based Marketing Association, a trade group representing advertising and marketing companies who deal in location data, said the government acquisition of consumer location data has been a longstanding issue for the industry. He said app-makers should be more transparent with consumers about how the data may be used once it is collected.
''You could argue that the government has the right, just like any commercial entity, to buy the data, if the data is available from a commercial supplier,'' said Mr. Khan. ''But you also need to be able to clearly say 'this data could be used by government.'''
''I think the average consumer doesn't have a clue,' he said.
In the data drawn from apps, each cellphone is typically represented by an alphanumeric identifier that isn't linked to the name of the cellphone's owner. But the movement patterns of a phone over time can allow analysts to deduce its ownership'--for example, where the phone is located during the evenings and overnight is likely where the phone-owner lives.
Consumers world-wide are often in the dark about governments' acquisition and use of such data. Despite collecting data from consumer apps, Anomaly Six doesn't have a privacy policy on its website, nor is it registered as a data broker in California, where a state law passed in 2018 typically requires companies to detail how they are acquiring and using consumer data. The company says it doesn't meet the definition of a data broker under California law and isn't required to register. The California attorney general's office didn't respond to a request for comment.
According to interviews with numerous people in the industry, there is little regulation in the U.S. about the buying and selling of location data, leading to what one industry veteran called ''the Wild West.'' Consumers have come to expect free apps, and app makers have turned to selling user data to pay for the costs of developing and running the software, people familiar with the industry.
Anomaly Six's offerings are similar to those of a company called Babel Street, which provides social-media monitoring services to the intelligence community and law-enforcement agencies. A lawsuit filed by Babel Street two years ago against Anomaly Six and its founders offers a window into the competitive and largely secretive market of providing consumer location products to the U.S. government.
The two founders of Anomaly Six formerly worked for Babel Street and left in 2018, according to the lawsuit.
Brandan Huff, a former Army counterintelligence officer, had managed Babel Street's relationship with the Defense Department and had also worked for numerous other defense contractors. The other, Jeffrey Heinz, was also previously in the U.S. Army and had managed Babel Street's relationships with the Justice Department, U.S. Cyber Command, civilian federal agencies and the intelligence community, court records show.
One of Babel Street's products, called ''Locate X,'' includes the location records of millions of cellphones, drawn from consumer apps. The two former employees set out to build a product to compete with it, according to Babel's lawsuit. Anomaly Six declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was settled out of court last year.
Babel Street doesn't publicly advertise Locate X and binds clients and users to secrecy about even its existence, according to contracts and user agreements reviewed by the Journal. Developed with input from U.S. government officials, according to court records, Locate X is widely used by military intelligence units who work on gathering ''open source'' intelligence, or information taken from publicly available sources. Babel Street also has contracts with the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and many other civilian agencies, federal contracting data shows. Babel Street didn't respond to a request for comment.
Both Babel Street's and Anomaly Six's products can be used to combine intelligence gathered in more traditional ways, from clandestine human sources to secret intercepts, with social media data, satellite imagery, and consumer data from the private sector, according to interviews with people familiar with the process and documents reviewed by the Journal.
The information, gathered into what's known as a ''pattern of life'' analysis, can provide a richer understanding of the habits and behaviors of potential intelligence targets, and to possibly predict their future behavior.
The U.S. isn't alone in attempting to use mobile-location data for strategic advantage. The National Security Agency this month warned military and intelligence community personnel to sharply limit the location-tracking features on their mobile devices, out of concern that the data could be used by adversaries to reveal sensitive national security information about U.S. operations.
A group of academic researchers using Babel Street's software were able to monitor the movement of devices at Russian military facilities as part of a project for the U.S. Army, the Journal also reported last month.
Such revelations showcase the power of even commercial data to reveal sensitive information about some of the most secure facilities in the world'--and raise privacy concerns about the blurring the lines between corporate marketing and government surveillance.
''It's really alarming to learn about companies like this that claim to have years' worth of location data from all over the world. Revelations like this just keep coming,'' said Laura Moy, a law professor at Georgetown University and director of the school's Communications & Technology Law Clinic.
''Users have no idea that when they install a weather app, a game, or any other innocuous-seeming app that their private location data is going to be harvested and sold. Apparently that's what's happening here, and we have no transparency into the practice,'' said Ms. Moy.
Anomaly Six isn't listed in any public spending contracts, and many of Babel Street's sales to government entities aren't reflected in public documents either. Anomaly Six said its contracts with the U.S. government were unclassified but confidential, and that it couldn't reveal which agencies it was working with without permission from those agencies.
Write to Byron Tau at byron.tau@wsj.com
A Private Equity Firm Bought Ancestry, and Its Trove of DNA, for $4.7B
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 20:05
The genealogy company Ancestry has been acquired by investment firm Blackstone for $4.7 billion, changing ownership of the company and its trove of user-submitted DNA from a set of investment firms to another private equity firm.
The announcement was made in a press release published earlier this week by Blackstone, which shared it had ''reached a definitive agreement to acquire Ancestry from Silver Lake, GIC, Spectrum Equity, Permira, and other equity holders for a total enterprise value of $4.7 billion.''
Ancestry is known for its genealogy and home DNA testing services. According to its website, the company has 3 million paying subscribers, 27 billion records, and 100 million family trees. The website also says that over 18 million people have been DNA tested through the company.
''To be crystal clear, Blackstone will not have access to user data and we are deeply committed to ensuring strong consumer privacy protections at the company,'' a spokesperson for Blackstone told Motherboard in an email. ''We will not be sharing user DNA and family tree records with our portfolio companies.''
A spokesperson from Ancestry also said the company's relationship with its users would remain the same.
''Ancestry's terms and conditions and privacy statement that is in effect for our users remains the same and Ancestry's commitments to protect our customers' personal data has not changed,'' the spokesperson said.
Privacy concerns regarding data collected through home DNA kits have grown in recent years, specifically, that they could be used in ways not originally anticipated. For example, serial killer Joseph James DeAngelo was caught as the result of one of his relatives submitting their DNA to an open-source genetic database, which was then used by law enforcement to match DNA left at one of the crime scenes.
''Since the Golden State killer case kind of exploded, we've seen there are risks to law enforcement authorities wanting to have access to that data,'' said Jen King, Director of Consumer Privacy at the Center for Internet and Society.
King said consumers should ask themselves whether it is worth it to hand over their genetic code to a consumer testing company, especially since the data they are providing isn't just about themselves, but also about the people they are genetically related to.
''Ultimately there's no specific protections for that data. So you kind of just have to rely on the companies to say they'll do what they're going to do and honor their promises and not sell off your data to the highest bidder if they go bankrupt or what have you,'' King said.
With regards to Blackstone's acquisition of Ancestry, King doesn't think it is necessarily a question of privacy, since ownership is essentially going from one set of investment firms to Blackstone. In her mind, the question is what Blackstone would find appealing in a company like Ancestry, since by many accounts the market for consumer genetic companies has seen a slow down in growth over the last year.
Both Ancestry and 23andMe, another company in the home DNA space, were forced to make layoffs earlier this year.
''Companies really seek profit at a high level. So it's kind of in my mind curious that you'd be diving into an industry that suddenly is experiencing some slower growth,'' King said.
Ultimately, the multi-billion dollar trading of Ancestry between investment companies is another reminder that when you hand over your DNA, you never know who might eventually own it.
POSTAL OFFICIALS TRY TO STAMP OUT 2-CENT SCHEME - Sun Sentinel
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 20:45
Diamond Jim's touts a doctor, a sheik and a colonel as its operators, but authorities say its business is to cheat Uncle Sam.
In the past three months, the Fort Lauderdale firm has offered consumers a $100 information package that it claims shows how to get away with using 2- cent stamps instead of the proper 25-cent postage on first-class mail, U.S. Postal Inspection Service officials said.
Postal authorities are investigating Diamond Jim & Associates Inc. and at least 100 people across the country for possible mail fraud, saying they are illegally encouraging consumers to use insufficient postage.
These people charge between $5 and $100 for the information packages, but their letters fail to say that buyers will receive only a copy of a section of a federal law that was eliminated in the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, Postal Inspector Tom Hudson said.
The now-defunct regulation said that postage for first-class mail weighing two ounces or less was 2 cents plus the regular rate, which was 6 cents at the time.
"It never said it was OK to use 2-cent stamps," Hudson said.
"They're misrepresenting a law that's obsolete," he said. "I would classify what they're doing as downright nasty. People think they can get something for nothing, but we hope to bring some legal action against them."
Authorities warn recipients of the offer not to buy the bogus information packages or to start selling the material to others. They urge consumers who receive the offer or the package to forward it to their postmaster or postal inspector.
"What makes it illegal is the scam that's enclosed," Postal Inspector Bill Posey said. "It meets all the mail fraud elements: money, usage of the mail and the devising and implementing of a scheme."
The maximum penalty for mail fraud is a $1,000 fine and five years in prison, per letter, Posey said.
None of the operators listed on Diamond Jim's offer letter -- Dr. James T. Brodie, Sheik Abdullah Ali Akbar and Col. Marvin T. Smith -- could be located for comment. The company's phone has been disconnected and no one answered at the address listed in the telephone directory, 307 Tarpon Drive.
The company is not registered with the state, and it does not have the licenses required by the city and Broward County.
Diamond Jim's and other promoters have successfully sent an undetermined number of letters bearing 2-cent stamps around the country. The fact that the letters were delivered without collection of the postage due tends to bolster their claims, Posey said.
"You received my letter with (2-cent) postage didn't you!" Diamond Jim's offer letter says.
The promoters have gotten away with mailing letters carrying inadequate postage because no one checks the mail until it reaches the carriers, Posey said. The carriers often do not have time to look at every letter, he said.
And even careful carriers may not spot the insufficient postage, Hudson said, because the 2-cent Mary Lyon commemorative stamp used resembles the 25-cent Jack London stamp.
Postal officials said they have alerted mail carriers nationwide to watch for inadequate postage on first-class mail.
"We want to stop this scheme because we don't want consumers to have to pay 23 cents in postage due to pay for a mail fraud scam," Posey said.
Postmasters in several states, including New York, North Dakota and South Carolina, in the past 1 1/2 months have returned between 200 and 300 letters mailed by Diamond Jim's, said Tom Snell, manager of the New River Station post office in Fort Lauderdale.
"The carrier might have taken them out and tried to collect postage due from the customer," Snell said. "When they refused, they tried to send the letters back here."
Snell said postal authorities have been unable to recoup any of the postage due from Brodie, who lists himself as Diamond Jim's president.
Posey said authorities traced the origins of the mail operation to a Los Angeles man who apparentlyh came across the now-defunct federal law in April.
"He sent out 1,000 letters bearing 2-cent stamps figuring that some of them would be delivered," Posey said. "Then the snowball effect began."
Recipients of the California man's letter ordered his information package for $10, then made their own copies of the letter and law and began to promote the offer to others, Posey said.
"Someone out there said, 'Gee, I can mail my own mail at 2 cents and save some money,' but where the big bucks is, is to Xerox this and do the same thing," Posey said.
Mastercard Digital Wellness Program to Enhance Transparency, Security and Choice for Online Shopping
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:23
AI technology and suite of resources empowers small and independent businesses, makes password-free, online checkouts more secure for cardholders
Mastercard today launched the Mastercard Digital Wellness program, a host of technologies and resources that enable all businesses, especially small and independent merchants, to better serve today's digital-first consumer.As part of this program, Mastercard will deploy EMVCo's specification for fast, click-to-pay check-out for digital commerce. The specification replaces laborious key-entry guest check-out with a consistent, simple and secure guest checkout experience, no matter where a consumer shops online, or which device or card they use.
''We launched Mastercard Digital Wellness today because we believe that businesses shouldn't have to sacrifice safety or choice as they build the best experiences for their customers,'' said Jess Turner, executive vice president, Digital Payments and Labs, North America, Mastercard. ''Any changes to how we shop online must deliver enhanced levels of security, transparency and flexibility for everyone.''
According to a Deloitte study on small businesses in the U.S., enterprises that were more digitally advanced were four times more likely to achieve revenue growth. Mastercard is bringing its resources and knowledge of secure digital commerce to businesses that form the backbone of the U.S. economy.Merchants that enable the click-to-pay standard with Mastercard will automatically get access to an added layer of security through tokenization and NuData, a Mastercard artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. NuData works with retailers around the globe to help anticipate and prevent fraud by monitoring website traffic changes, analyzing sudden changes in browser type, surfing speed and time spent on web pages, allowing businesses to either monitor further or stop access. During the 2018 holiday season, NuData, helped businesses worldwide identify over 1 billion irregular digital activities and stopped 99 percent of these fraudulent attacks, saving them over $500 million.
Importantly, by implementing the Mastercard Digital Wellness program, merchants will benefit from access to tokenization and NuData for both streamlined guest check-out sales as well as their card-on-file business.
Recent market analysis from Mastercard has identified key opportunities for retailers to improve their customer experience. Unease about online payment security and challenging user-account creation experiences were pinpointed as the top reasons consumers abandon a purchase before completion. As a result, shoppers are often cautious of storing their card details with smaller, newer merchants.
Businesses that enable the EMVCo click-to-pay specification with Mastercard can streamline and secure their card-on-file and guest check-out experiences. Mastercard cardholders will no longer be required to enter a password before they pay online, and the suite of products and services available in the Mastercard Digital Wellness program will help to increase approval rates, lower fraud and reduce PCI compliance burden. Mastercard is working with payment processors and payment platforms such as Worldpay, Square, Adyen, Mastercard Payment Gateway Services, and Stripe to make these features available to more businesses more quickly.
''Expanding the availability of a secure, simple and consistent ecommerce guest checkout experience to small businesses brings great potential,'' said Amy Zirkle, interim CEO, Electronic Transactions Association (ETA). ''We share Mastercard's belief that both the acquiring community and payment service providers play a critical role in supporting how merchants connect to the consumer."
Mastercard Digital Wellness, a one-stop resource for all things digital for small business:In addition to the security capabilities of NuData and support for the EMVCo standard, businesses that participate in the Mastercard Digital Wellness program will get access to a diverse set of resources and tools to protect and empower business owners. It includes a cyber toolkit for small businesses to combat online attacks, and access to the Cyber Readiness Program from the Cyber Readiness Institute, an initiative designed to help organizations educate their workforce on issues like phishing, authentication and patching. Additional resources will be introduced over time, providing business owners guidance how to manage and grow their business as well.
Mastercard Digital Wellness will roll out first to all U.S. businesses; the new click-to-pay checkout will be live for U.S. cardholders and merchants during the third quarter of this year.
NWO
An American Version of the Eurovision Song Contest Is Coming '' Variety
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 12:02
Jose Sena Goulao/EPA-EFE/REX/Shu
The ''Eurovision Song Contest,'' Europe's popular music competition, one of the world's biggest televised events and the platform that helped launch ABBA, is coming to America. ''The American Song Contest'' is set to debut during the 2021 holiday season.
Hoping to siphon off some of the magic of the beloved six-decade-old show, which draws over 200 million viewers to its grand finale, the premise for ''The American Song Contest'' will remain similar to the European version. Professional musical artists '-- solo singers, duos or groups up to six members '-- from each of the 50 states and across every musical genre will perform all original songs on the live televised event.
The format, as it is currently conceived, will position the artists head-to-head against other states' representatives in a series of televised qualifier competitions, leading to semi-finals and the ultimate primetime Grand Finale March Madness-style. Propagate Content will create The American Song Contest Academy, a group consisting of music professionals based in the U.S. that represent all genres and backgrounds, from which juries of artists and music industry notables who, along with the regional audiences, will select top talent from all 50 states to compete.
Not unlike Will Ferrell's character in the recent Netflix hit ''Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,'' producer Christer BjoÌrkman was himself a fan of the show who ended up competing in 1992, representing his home country of Sweden. ''Eurovision has been a dream project ever since I was a child,'' BjoÌrkman tells Variety, who moved behind the scenes as contest producer and creative director. Of the American version, BjoÌrkman adds: ''To have a chance to use everything you know about the format and redo it from the beginning and to bring it to an audience that has no history with it is such a privilege.''
Popular on Variety
Ben Silverman serves as executive producer and it's not the first show he's imported from Europe. With ''The Office,'' ''Big Brother'' and ''The Weakest Link'' among his credits, the self-professed Anglophile cites the Eurovision concept as the hardest to bring to American audiences. ''I've spent 20 years trying to pursue this,'' says Silverman. ''When I was chairman of NBC, when I was an agent at William Morris and when I started at Reveille. I just love the format.''
Anders Lenhoff who will also serve as a producer adds, ''It's a great product on so many levels. You want to use all your expertise and bringing it to the biggest market in the world is so exciting.''
Silverman points to the unifying power of the show and how its arrival couldn't be better-timed. ''When America is more fractionalized than ever and we are dealing with so many issues that divide us, the one [thing] that truly unites us is our culture. '... It can unite it by celebrating its diversity, its distinctions and in pulling everyone around its love of music and its love of song.''
Lenhoff agrees. ''We've had countries at war with one another and when the contestants come on, we've seen them hug or cry afterward,'' he says.
Offers BjoÌrkman: ''It's a competition where you root for your home state and your home town and there isn't another show out there that does that.''
Watch a promo for ''American Song Contest'' below:
Pipelines
Belarus Threatens To Tap Oil From Russian Pipeline
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 21:27
MINSK -- President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said Belarus would start taking oil from a transit pipeline if Russia does not supply its neighbor with the required volumes of crude, the state news agency BelTA reports.Russian oil flows to Belarus have dwindled since the beginning of the year, as Minsk and Moscow failed to agree terms for oil supplies for 2020.Lukashenka, whose country is heavily reliant on Russia for cheap oil and billions in annual subsidies to prop up its Soviet-era economy, said on February 14 that Belarusian refineries received 500,000 tons of Russian crude in January instead of a planned 2 million tons."If Russia doesn't supply oil in necessary volumes, we would start taking it from the transit pipeline," the Belarusian leader said, referring to the Druzhba pipeline, which crosses Belarusian territory and supplies about 1 million barrels of Russian oil to Europe.The dispute over Russian oil supplies is part of wider political discord between Russia and Belarus over forming a union.Lukashenka, who has been in power in Belarus for more than 25 years, has faced growing pressure from Moscow recently to agree to deeper integration under a 1999 unification agreement, which envisaged close political, economic, and military ties but stopped short of forming a single nation.On a visit to southeastern Belarus on February 14, Lukashenka told officials of his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi last week.The Russian side hinted "at the incorporation of Belarus in return for unified energy prices," Lukashenka said, adding that he is "convinced that neither Russians nor Belarusians will ever want to follow this path.""They understand integration as swallowing up Belarus. This isn't integration. It's incorporation. I will never go for this," he also said.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
Belarus Gas Pipelines
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 21:28
Major Gas Pipelines of Belarus and Comments to Russia-Belarus Gas Dispute
The following major gas pipelines run through Belarus.
- Torzhok-Kondratki-Frankfurt/Oder (Yamal pipeline), 1420 mm (56-in)
- Torzhok-Minsk-Ivatsevichi, 3 x 1220 mm (48-in)
- Ivatsevichi-Kobrin-Dolina, 2 x 1220 mm (48-in)
- Kobrin-Brest-Warsaw, 1020 mm (40-in)
- Minsk-Vilnius, 1220 mm (48-in)
- Torzhok-Dolina, 1420 mm (56-in)
The Yamal pipeline supplies gas to Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. If the flow via Belarus is cut, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium can receive gas via Ukraine. There is enough gas stored in underground storage facilities of Ukraine and Germany.Combination of mild winter and long Russian holiday (from December 30 to January 8) means there is spare capacity in gas pipelines of Russia and Ukraine. The holiday period reduces daily gas consumption for power generation alone by about 50 million cubic meters.
In 2005 Poland imported 3.2 bcm of Russian gas via Belarus and 3.9 bcm via Ukraine. The flow through Drozdovichi can be increased only by 15%, which is not enough to substitute the loss if the flow via Belarus is turned off. Underground gas storage facilities of Poland have maximum withdrawal rate of about 7 million cubic meters per day. It is not enough to replace the flow from Belarus. On top of that, storage gas is needed to meet regular peak-load demand in winter period.
The Russian region of Kaliningrad depends on supplies of gas through Belarus. Lithuania also receives most of its gas via the Minsk-Vilnius pipeline.
Gazprom blocks access of Belarus and other states to Central Asian gas. Gas from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan can be bought only through designated brokers - ZMB (Schweiz) AG and Rosukrenergo. Brokerage services are extremely expensive. For instance, from January 2007, ZMB will buy gas at the border of Turkmenistan at $100/mcm and resell it to Georgia at $235. Note that the official transit fee from Turkmen border to Georgia and Azerbaijan is about $30/mcm. Nevertheless, Gazprom expects Ukraine, Belarus and other European states to provide transit services for Russian gas.
Theoretically, Belarus can stop selling transit services to Gazprom and become a broker for all Russian gas that gets into its territory. Russia's non-ratification of the Energy Charter Treaty opens interesting opportunities for brokers of Russian gas in Belarus, Ukraine and other countries of Eastern Europe.
Environmental authorities of Belarus may use the approach of their Russian colleagues to the evaluation of environmental damage caused by pipeline projects. It would be easy to find sections of the Yamal-Europe pipeline that do not meet the environmental regulations of Belarus. For instance, ROW of the section shown in thissatellite photo substantially exceeds the regulated maximum width of 45 meters.
In general, the formal introduction of gas export monopoly of Gazprom has reduced security of supplies to Europe. In a similar conflict in January 2004, when Gazprom stopped gas sales to Belarus, the flows were replaced by independent traders Itera and Trans-Nafta. Now Russian independents and Central Asian producers are unable to export gas out of Russia.
Mikhail Korchemkin, December 30, 2006
Click here to download the scheme in PDF format.
Reproduction is allowed only with the reference to East European Gas Analysis or www.eegas.com.
Out There
Shocking Research Finds DNA From an Ancient, Unidentified Ancestor Was Passed Down to Humans Living Today '' SciTechDaily
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 20:29
New algorithm suggests that early humans and related species interbred early and often.
A new analysis of ancient genomes suggests that different branches of the human family tree interbred multiple times, and that some humans carry DNA from an archaic, unknown ancestor. Melissa Hubisz and Amy Williams of Cornell University and Adam Siepel of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory report these findings in a study published today (August 6, 2020) in PLOS Genetics.
Roughly 50,000 years ago, a group of humans migrated out of Africa and interbred with Neanderthals in Eurasia. But that's not the only time that our ancient human ancestors and their relatives swapped DNA. The sequencing of genomes from Neanderthals and a less well-known ancient group, the Denisovans, has yielded many new insights into these interbreeding events and into the movement of ancient human populations.
In the new paper, the researchers developed an algorithm for analyzing genomes that can identify segments of DNA that came from other species, even if that gene flow occurred thousands of years ago and came from an unknown source. They used the algorithm to look at genomes from two Neanderthals, a Denisovan and two African humans. The researchers found evidence that 3 percent of the Neanderthal genome came from ancient humans, and estimate that the interbreeding occurred between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago. Furthermore, 1 percent of the Denisovan genome likely came from an unknown and more distant relative, possibly Homo erectus, and about 15% of these ''super-archaic'' regions may have been passed down to modern humans who are alive today.
The new findings confirm previously reported cases of gene flow between ancient humans and their relatives, and also point to new instances of interbreeding. Given the number of these events, the researchers say that genetic exchange was likely whenever two groups overlapped in time and space. Their new algorithm solves the challenging problem of identifying tiny remnants of gene flow that occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago, when only a handful of ancient genomes are available. This algorithm may also be useful for studying gene flow in other species where interbreeding occurred, such as in wolves and dogs.
''What I think is exciting about this work is that it demonstrates what you can learn about deep human history by jointly reconstructing the full evolutionary history of a collection of sequences from both modern humans and archaic hominins,'' said author Adam Siepel. ''This new algorithm that Melissa has developed, ARGweaver-D, is able to reach back further in time than any other computational method I've seen. It seems to be especially powerful for detecting ancient introgression.''
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Reference: ''Mapping gene flow between ancient hominins through demography-aware inference of the ancestral recombination graph'' by Hubisz MJ, Williams AL, Siepel A, 6 August 2020, PLOS Genetics.DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008895
MJH and AS were supported by US National Institutes of Health grant R35-GM127070 (to AS), and MJH was additionally supported by National Science Foundation GRFP DGE-1650441. ALW was supported by an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and a seed grant from Nancy and Peter Meinig. This work used the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which is supported by National Science Foundation grant number ACI-1548562. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the US National Institutes of Health. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
BTC
Hardcore PORN & rap music interrupt virtual court hearing for teen accused of massive Twitter hack & bitcoin scam '-- RT USA News
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 23:25
A virtual bail hearing for the Florida teen charged for a sweeping hack of high-profile Twitter accounts came to a screeching halt after pranksters disguised as journalists flooded the video feed with pornography and rap music.
The online hearing for 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark saw some unusual interruptions on Wednesday, with 'Zoom bombers' posing as reporters from CNN and the BBC gaining access to the virtual chat and disrupting the proceedings with graphic porn videos, shouting, movie dialogue and music.
Also on rt.com Apparent Twitter hack takes over accounts of Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Mike Bloomberg & other A-listers At one point, Hillsborough County Judge Christopher Nash was forced to temporarily pause the hearing, but the pranksters '' somehow allowed to remain in the chat '' were undeterred, continuing the disruptions after the process resumed. Nash did ultimately hand down a ruling over the noise, however, keeping the teen's bail at $750,000. He remains in custody.
Clark was arrested last Friday and charged on 30 felony counts '' 17 for communications fraud, 11 for fraudulent use of personal information and two other charges linked to fraud and hacking '' with prosecutors stating the teen was the ''mastermind'' behind a massive July 15 Twitter hack. The intrusion targeted dozens of high-profile accounts, including former US President Barack Obama and 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden, as well as a series of billionaires, corporations and celebrities. The compromised accounts tweeted deceptive bitcoin offers, ultimately scamming users out of some $120,000 in crypto currency.
Also on rt.com Twitter admits hackers read private messages of 36 VIP users in massive breach, hopes only one 'elected official' among them The teen was charged alongside fellow Floridian Nima Fazeli, 22, and UK national Mason Sheppard, 19, who stand accused of ''aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer'' and ''conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the intentional access of a protected computer,'' respectively. Clark's next virtual hearing is set for October '' which the judge made sure to note would be password protected.
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Clips
VIDEO-TODAY on Twitter: "Protesters in Lebanon are calling for a sustained uprising to topple the government, days after an explosion killed over 150 people in Beirut. The prime minister has offered early elections, but some local leaders say that's not
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 12:56
TODAY : Protesters in Lebanon are calling for a sustained uprising to topple the government, days after an explosion killed'... https://t.co/kggrt7w7TP
Sun Aug 09 12:36:33 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Pelosi: Payroll Tax Cut Deal Will 'Boost' Economy - YouTube
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 12:51
VIDEO-TODAY on Twitter: "After two weeks of failed talks by Congress with the goal of new action coronavirus relief, President Trump signed a series of orders that bypass Congress. But does he have the legal authority to do so? @KellyO has the details. ht
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 12:28
TODAY : After two weeks of failed talks by Congress with the goal of new action coronavirus relief, President Trump signed'... https://t.co/OAR0jEnDo9
Sun Aug 09 12:13:05 +0000 2020
StanStepak : @TODAYshow @KellyO Dems have done nothing the president has to save people himself...today show liberals wake up
Sun Aug 09 12:27:57 +0000 2020
Cloudydays16 need PPE now : @TODAYshow @KellyO Trump essentially did nothing. Without the States help he cannot give out the unemployment money'... https://t.co/zW8TRtiwCK
Sun Aug 09 12:27:19 +0000 2020
Impatient Cat #BlackLivesMatter #Biden2020 : @TODAYshow @KellyO It was a campaign stunt
Sun Aug 09 12:22:52 +0000 2020
Tiff : @TODAYshow @KellyO Money was thrown at corporations whose coffers were already overflowing. But when the people nee'... https://t.co/y7dBog9sGE
Sun Aug 09 12:21:56 +0000 2020
DumpsterFireGroupie : @TODAYshow @KellyO How many times is the media going to both-sides this?? The House PASSED A BILL MONTHS AGO. The R'... https://t.co/8hgIA91jV3
Sun Aug 09 12:21:55 +0000 2020
* smiley * : @TODAYshow @KellyO He has a pen & a phone. ðŸ
Sun Aug 09 12:20:59 +0000 2020
Impatient Cat #BlackLivesMatter #Biden2020 : @TODAYshow @KellyO 3 memos and an order. Be precise.
Sun Aug 09 12:19:46 +0000 2020
Canvas Homes USA : @TODAYshow @KellyO ...these rich people have to go...and estimated $127T dollars are locked up in the wealthiest o'... https://t.co/jhBT7Orkjq
Sun Aug 09 12:19:18 +0000 2020
Colleen : @TODAYshow @KellyO #PayrollTaxCut means No payment to @SocialSecurity
Sun Aug 09 12:17:19 +0000 2020
Stella Kelly : @TODAYshow @KellyO I wonder how much vodka Pelosi consumed last night? ðŸ‚ðŸ‚🂠#TermLimits
Sun Aug 09 12:17:03 +0000 2020
The sum of 1984 : @TODAYshow @KellyO If Trump was helping illegals rather than struggling AMERICANS. This EO would be no problem
Sun Aug 09 12:16:00 +0000 2020
BigGirlGolfer : @TODAYshow @KellyO Wow, just can't say THANK YOU and wish well that at least something got done. So sad you take this road
Sun Aug 09 12:15:36 +0000 2020
Mari/DC4L : @TODAYshow @KellyO No
Sun Aug 09 12:15:33 +0000 2020
IDK : @TODAYshow @KellyO trump doesn't have the legal authority to be president. He is a lie, plain and simple.
Sun Aug 09 12:15:25 +0000 2020
VIDEO-TODAY on Twitter: "President Trump took executive action on coronavirus relief, but bypassing Congress could have legal issues; will people see these $400 checks? Plus, the list of Joe Biden's picks for a running mate has been narrowed down. Who a
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 12:20
TODAY : President Trump took executive action on coronavirus relief, but bypassing Congress could have legal issues; will p'... https://t.co/R97xdHmkpm
Sun Aug 09 12:16:25 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Austin ISD parents hold discussion on what they want to see in return to school plans
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 12:16
Austin ISD parents hold discussion on what they want to see in return to school plans
Parents and community leaders at Saturday's roundtable discussion are pleading with Austin ISD to provide more communication on their return to in-person classes plans. (Photo: CBS Austin)
Less than two days after the Austin ISD Board of Trustees voted to push the first day of school from August 18 to September 8, parents and community groups gathered over a Zoom meeting for a roundtable discussion on what plans they want to see from the district when it comes to returning to the classroom.
The meeting was organized by community groups MEASURE, Community Resilience Trust, Austin Latino Coalition, and the City of Austin Equity Office.
"We are here today to address a serious concern about our children's education during this global pandemic," said MEASURE President Meme Styles, one of the event hosts.
During the meeting, which comes exactly one month before the new school start date, parents praised the district for delaying the school year, but said they needed to see concrete plans for the rest of the year.
Under guidelines from the Texas Education Agency - or TEA - the district is allowed to have online classes for up to 8 weeks, as long as it provides an option for students without the necessary technology to take in-person classes. AISD has applied for the waiver to provide online classes for the full 8 weeks.
After these 8 weeks, districts need to provide some form of in-person instruction in order to get fully funded.
Parents and community leaders worry this will cause districts to prematurely bring students back to school, which could disproportionately affect students of color in the same way the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color.
"Today our hope is we support the children on the margin. We don't want them to be further marginalized if we don't get schools right," said Excellence & Advancement Foundation Founder Dr. Courtney Robinson, another host of Saturday's meeting.
Community leaders in the meeting pointed to stats that show people of color are three times more likely to be infected by COVID-19 and twice as likely to die from the virus than white people.
Because of these statistics, teachers said they have been pushing the district to make equity a top priority alongside safety.
"I've been trying to educate them on how reopening would negatively impact people of color and people without needs," said Courtney Perry, a teacher with AISD.
AISD Superintendent finalist Dr. Stephanie Elizalde and district staff listened in on this meeting.
Students and parents let them know the lack of communication on plans has been frustrating.
"My school has been making a bunch of decisions, but not letting the students know or asking us what we need. I think that's something we can help find solutions for," said Francesca Abbruzzese, a student in AISD.
Abbruzzese's mother, Diana Haggerty, said she had to actively reach out to district leaders to get any answers on plans.
"I just started asking people who has these answers. Is it the administrators? Is it our city officials? Is it our trustees? Is it our superintendent? I just started asking the questions and just showing up. I think that has yielded some amazing results," Haggerty said.
Another parent pointed to a recent community meeting with the principal of her child's school, where she was not able to get any specific plans.
"What's hard is there was little content. It was nice to have an opportunity to share our needs, but it's very clear to me our principal does not feel she has the space. She was anticipating getting directives from the vote," said Nikkie Shubitz, a parent of a student in AISD.
One school board member echoed these frustrations of parents and students.
It's something I'm excruciatingly aware of and have been intensely frustrated by the communications that have been coming out. It's something I have been hammering and hammering on, to the point where we, as trustees, have been drafting our own communications the past few weeks," said AISD board member Yasmin Wagner.
Austin Public Health Director Stephanie Hayden participated in this event. She said her department has been in communication with superintendents in the area, and has been helping build return to school guidance.
"We are putting together a guidance. That document is with all of the superintendents. Our plan is to get that guidance to the community and be a help," said Austin Public Health Director Stephanie Hayden.
AISD leaders also said they would continue working on these plans and improving communications.
"Our plan includes connecting our families to the city and county resources that are needed, and continue our partnership," said AISD Supervisor of Parent Programs Leonor Vargas.
VIDEO-Advocates put Austin City Council, APD 'on trial' | kvue.com
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 12:15
The calls for cutting the Austin Police Department budget continued on Saturday night. Demonstrators put City Council "on trial" in a mock display.
Author: kvue.com
Published: 10:15 PM CDT August 8, 2020
Updated: 10:13 PM CDT August 8, 2020
VIDEO-After Trump's gaffe it emerges that Yosemite Sam is Jewish and named Samuel Rosenbaum | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:59
President Trump's verbal gaffe - in which he mispronounced Yosemite as 'Yo-semites' - is reminding people that famed cartoon character Yosemite Sam is actually a Jew.
Since his first appearance in a Looney Tunes cartoon in 1945, the hot-headed, gun-slingin', pint-sized character, who hates rabbits, has taught generations of children how to pronounce 'Yosemite' - as in the famed national park.
On Tuesday, while signing the Great American Outdoors Act, Trump was caught flubbing the pronunciation of Yosemite as 'Yo-semites' during his speech, prompting Twitter users to burst out with jokes about what happened.
Looney Tunes character Yosemite Sam (pictured) has been teaching generations of children how to pronounce 'Yosemite' since his first appearance in 1945
During a Tuesday speech about the Great American Outdoors Act on Tuesday, Trump flubbed the pronunciation of Yosemite, saying 'Yo-semites' instead
After tweeting that Trump's pronunciation is 'Me, greeting a crowded room at my synagogue,' historian and The Atlantic editor Yoni Applebaum - among others - took a moment to remind social media denizens of Yosemite Sam's Jewish origins.
'It being a strange world, Yosemite Sam is actually Jewish,' Applebaum tweeted. 'He bore more than a passing resemblance to his creator, Isadore Freleng, and his full name is given in one episode as Samuel Rosenbaum.'
Applebaum added: 'But until today, it never occurred to me to pronounce his first name like that.'
Yosemite Sam's full name was first revealed in an episode of Looney Tunes that aired in 2013, nearly 70 years after being created by Jewish animator and cartoonist legend, 'Friz' Freleng, who was also a Warner Bros. director and the man behind Bugs Bunny.
Although it doesn't appear that Freleng ever specifically stated that Yosemite Sam - the self-described 'roughest, toughest, he-man stuffest hombre who's ever crossed the Rio Grande' - is Jewish, he was reported as having admitted to having modeled the character after himself.
'I have the same temperament,' Freleng told The Associated Press, according to his 1995 New York Times obituary. 'I'm small, and I used to have a red mustache.'
Yosemite Sam was created by legendary animator and cartoonist, Isadore Freleng (left in 1981), who was Jewish. Freleng also created Bugs Bunny (pictured at right with Yosemite Sam)
Freleng is pictured with Warner Bros. characters while being honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Freleng's daughter said that her father purposely hired Jewish voice actor Mel Blanc (pictured left in 1947 and right in the 1960s) to do Yosemite Sam's growling voice
Social media users were quick to point out Yosemite Sam's Jewish origins after Trump's flub
In the wake of Trump's verbal Yosemite slip up, Freleng's daughter, Hope Freleng Shaw, confirmed the visual relationship between Freleng and his famous cowboy character.
Although she says that Freleng never saw the resemblance, 'everybody else thought that Yosemite Sam was absolutely my father. He had red hair when he was a kid. And he was very tiny '-- only 5-foot-4,' she told MEL magazine.
She also told the magazine that while she couldn't positively confirm whether her dad intended for Yosemite Sam to be Jewish, she 'used to tell my friends, "All these characters that my father created are Jewish. Because we're Jewish!"'
Shaw also said that her father purposely hired Jewish voice actor Mel Blanc to do Yosemite Sam's growling voice.
''There weren't too many Jewish people in the industry at the time,' Shaw told the magazine. 'And [my father] gave Mel Blanc his job because he was a kid from Seattle and he was Jewish and he kept wanting to get a job and nobody would hire him.'
The website Jew or Not Jew pointed out in 2016 that while 'A name like Rosenbaum doesn't have to be Jewish' and 'could be goyishe German!'
Still, the site ultimately, and apparently reluctantly, decreed Yosemite Sam as a 'Borderline Jew' because 'Sam's looks were modeled after Warner Bros animator and director Friz Freleng, real name: Isadore Freleng. Jew.'
Trump's 'Yo-semites' mispronunciation also has another Jewish connection.
The National Museum of American Jewish History noted that it received a substantial bump in merchandise sales of its park-themed 'Yo Semite' t-shirts - on sale since 2011 - after Trump's speech.
Within 30 hours, the museum said that it made $30,000 in sales - the equivalent of what it had sold for the entire month of June, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
The museum said that they typically only sell 100 of the t-shirts a year, but that within three days this week after Trump's speech, they sold about 1,500 of the t-shirts.
VIDEO-Jim Jordan Flips Out When Colleague Notes His 'Conspiracy Theories' In House Meeting | Crooks and Liars
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:53
Never forget that Michael Flynn was caught working out a bribe and quid pro quo -- removal of Russian sanctions in exchange for natural gas stock in his own pocket, just before Trump took office. He lasted twenty-two DAYS as Trump's first National Security Advisor.
Informing Congress that the American citizen in the transcripts of phone calls with Russians is Michael Flynn? That's called unmasking. It happens all the time. I explained it in this post.
And here's Jim Jordan, with a real opportunity to talk about trust-busting and the actual control social media has on our economy and politics, instead making squeaky noises about "silencing conservatives" and "unmasking Michael Flynn." Because Jim Jordan's ONLY JOB is to provide brainwashing soundbites for Fox News viewers.
JIM JORDAN: We have the history of what Google has done and the history of 2016, where they obviously, according to one of your marketing executives, tried to help Clinton. And here we are 97 days before the election and we want to make sure it's not going to happen again. Can you assure us you're not going to tailor or configure your platform to help Joe Biden? And second, that you're not going to use your search engine to silence conservatives? Can you give us those two assurances today? ...Can you assure us you're not going to silence conservatives and assure us that you're not going to configure your features as you did for Clinton in '16, can you assure us you're not going to do the same thing for Joe Biden in 2020?
Thank the moon for Pennsylvania Democrat Mary Gay Scanlon, who has been a rock star this week.
MARY GAY SCANLON: Thank you, gentlemen. I'd like to redirect you to antitrust law rather than fringe conspiracy theories.
And then Jim Jordan freaked out and started yelling. "Mr. Chairman, we have the email! There is no fringe conspiracy theory!"
And when a colleague asked Jordan to put his mask on, Jordan said, "Talk about masks. Why would the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury unmask Michael Flynn's name?"
And no one said "Because Michael Flynn was committing treason against the United States," which is the only answer you should ever give that question, the end.
Jim Jordan says the dumbest fucking shit all the time but he yells it so the right always thinks it's brilliant.
'-- Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) July 31, 2020
UPDATE: In case you think Jim Jordan ISN'T engaged in fake theater:
VIDEO-Neighbors confront destructive Portland protesters, get splattered with paint - YouTube
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 02:01
VIDEO-Balance of Power: Dr. Anthony Fauci - Bloomberg
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 17:34
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VIDEO-The W.H.O. and the NIH Must Be Criminally Charged For Blocking Effective Treatment '' CELIA FARBER '' The Truth Barrier
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 16:01
DONATE TO CELIA'S WORKSubscribe to my BlogRecent Posts Courageous Senior Woman Stands Alone Against Antifa Mob To Protect Portland Police Precinct, As Heartbreaking Abuse Ensues August 7, 2020 BREAKING: MASSIVE BLASTS DEVASTATE BEIRUT, KILLING SCORES, INJURING THOUSANDS August 4, 2020 Citizen Journalism August 3, 2020 Planned Parenthood Finally Faces Facts About Margaret Sanger August 3, 2020 The W.H.O. and the NIH Must Be Criminally Charged For Blocking Effective Treatment August 2, 2020 This Train (Is A Clean Train) August 2, 2020 Let me Just Say One Thing About Epstein August 2, 2020 Tony Fauci Unable To Answer Simple Question From Jim Jordan: Nation Wonders Why This Man Was Permitted To Crash The Country August 2, 2020 Germans Prove Themselves Least Good Germans in The World: Somewhere between A ''Few Thousand'' and 1.3 Million Take To The Streets in Berlin To Protest Covid Totalitarianism August 1, 2020 Another MD Testifies He Has Cured All Patients, Outpatient, With HCQ, Azithromycin, Zinc, and CBD July 28, 2020 Archives Archives ADVERTISEMENT
VIDEO-AIDS - Fauci's First Fraud - YouTube
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 15:06
VIDEO-Alisyn Camerota Asks Dr. Fauci About Brad Pitt AT LENGTH
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 14:01
CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota took a lighthearted moment with Dr. Anthony Fauci into awkward territory when her questioning about actor Brad Pitt's portrayal of the superstar epidemiologist went on a little bit too long.
On Thursday morning's edition of CNN's New Day, anchor John Berman tossed to Camerota after interviewing Fauci on the raging coronavirus pandemic by telling Fauci ''my co-anchor has some important questions for you.''
''I have been listening with rapt attention, but I feel like John didn't get to the really burning question that America has for you,'' Camerota said, ''and that is: Did you hear that Brad was nominated for an Emmy for playing you?''
''Yes I did,'' Fauci aid with a laugh. ''What a surreal world we're living in, Alisyn. I mean I hope he wins. He's a great actor, I mean he's one of my favorite actors so I really do hope he wins.''
Fauci had a similar reaction when he learned, last week, that Pitt was nominated for his portrayal of the anti-viral sensation on NBC's Saturday Night Live.
''Have you spoken to him since he played you?'' Camerota asked.
''You know, I have not,'' Fauci said. ''I would love to meet him because I've been such a great admirer of him and his talent, but I have not spoken to him.''
''I feel like we can make that happen, Dr Fauci,'' Camerota joked, to an amused Fauci. ''I feel like we, you know, you and I have the power to have you meet Brad because I sort of feel like anything you and I suggest, he does.''
It was Camerota who first suggested to Fauci that Pitt portray him on the sketch comedy mainstay back in April.
''We'll see. We'll see. Thanks Allison,'' Fauci replied.
''Oh, I'm not done with you, Dr Fauci,'' Camerota said, and asked ''Would you like to go up on stage when he wins, would you like to be there to help accept the Emmy award?''
''Yeah. You know, Allison, the only reason I have hesitancy about that is that we're in the middle of an outbreak, a bad pandemic, and I think that if that association with that kind of show business thing might be misinterpreted that I'm not serious about what I'm doing. So I'd rather focus on my job and really wish him well that he wins,'' Fauci replied earnestly.
''I was afraid there was going to be a point that I pushed you too far,'' Camerota said with a laugh. ''And I feel that we have just gotten up to that point. But we really appreciate how playful you have been on the lighter note with all of that, and it was just great, it was just a great moment to watch, obviously Brad Pitt is a fan of yours and all your information as well.''
''Yeah, thanks thanks Alison, appreciate it,'' Fauci said.
''Not handsome enough, Brad Pitt. That's the one thing I will say. The one inaccurate point there Brad Pitt. Not quite good looking enough,'' Berman joked.
Watch the clip above via CNN.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]
VIDEO-Clyburn: Trump Campaign Is Helping Kanye West to Get on State Ballots to Take Biden Votes
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 12:58
Friday on MSNBC's ''Andrea Mitchell Reports,'' House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) said there was no question President Donald Trump's campaign was working on getting entertainer Kanye West on state ballots to peel away votes from Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden.
Mitchell said, ''I want to ask you about Kanye West. I never thought I would be saying that to you, Mr. Leader, but there we are. He's now on the ballot in Colorado and Oklahoma. We're told that a Republican operative from the Trump campaign delivered his petitions in Wisconsin. Now, I know his family has said he suffers from bipolar and that this is not serious, but let's face it, what happened in three states in 2016 by, you know, 80,000 votes, decided an election, decided a presidency, Jill Stein on the Green Party ticket. Could this be a Trump campaign effort to try to siphon off votes from Joe Biden in battleground states?''
Clyburn said, ''I don't think there's any question about that. I think we all saw what was going on there in Wisconsin, where he was getting help getting on the ballot. But, you know, African-Americans, most especially, know what this campaign is all about. They've seen these kinds of tactics before.''
He continued, ''We saw that here in South Carolina. I have been saying for years now that this whole Russia influence, I think their trial run was in the United States Senate race right here in South Carolina. So we've seen this before. We fell victim to it when we didn't know where it was coming from or what was going on. We now know, and we're not going to make that mistake again. If you fool me once, that shame is on you. You fool me twice, that shame would be on me. We ain't going to be shamed in this election.''
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN
VIDEO-WOW!! Finally, African Pastors Are Getting Wiser!! Covid-19 Is In the Vaccine, Do Not Take It - YouTube
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 06:11
VIDEO-Angela ðŸ(C)º on Twitter: "Media: ''Why are there people in here not wearing a mask?'' MY President: ''Its a peaceful protest...'' ðŸŽðŸ--¥ Americans are fed up with the hypocrisy. #PressConference #Trump #MyPresident #PeacefulProtest #MaskDebate
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 01:50
Angela ðŸ(C)º : Media: ''Why are there people in here not wearing a mask?'' MY President: ''Its a peaceful protest...'' ðŸŽðŸ--¥ American'... https://t.co/22g6EjTZNw
Sat Aug 08 00:36:56 +0000 2020
VIDEO-San Mateo County Health Officer Blasts State's Watch List | KCBS 740AM | 106.9 FM
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 22:15
Related: San Mateo Latest Bay Area County To Threaten Fines Over Refusal To Mask Up
San Mateo's County Health Officer isn't mincing words when it comes to the state's COVID-19 watch list and his county's place on it.
"I wish to apologize to all the businesses that were closed this week," Dr. Scott Morrow said in a statement posted to San Mateo County's COVID-19 website Thursday. "I am not supportive of these actions and, for San Mateo County, I believe they are misdirected and will cause more harm than good."
Dr. Morrow likened the process that led to the restrictions on specific businesses to "looking for your lost keys under a streetlight even though you lost them miles away."
"Our numbers indicate we are in a relatively stable state in regards to the spread of the virus. For those who want to drive the spread to zero, this is simply not possible," wrote Dr. Morrow. He added that health officials "have a good idea of what's causing the spread and it's not primarily from barber shops, nail salons, or the other businesses that were targeted in this most recent closure."
Dine-in restaurants, places of worship and nail salons were among the businesses forced to close last Saturday when the county was not able to move above the state's required new case threshold after a three-day period. T he county's case rate, based on a 14-day rolling average, was over 110 positive cases per 100,000 residents at the time.
That's well over the case rate of 100 for counties on the monitoring list.
In the statement, Dr. Morrow addressed those benchmarks, which the state has put in place to monitor as counties are considered as additions to the watch list, which he said "feels like some newly created bureaucratic box'...just itching to be checked."
Concerns on that specific issue range from unachievable time frames at a local level, state actions impacting local case counts and perceived overreaching by the state in placing San Mateo on the watch list, when he wouldn't have done so.
"I do not believe I'm being negligent," Dr. Morrow explained.
Dr. Morrow went on to call a newly-revealed glitch in California's coronavirus case counting a "data meltdown."
According to the county's COVID-19 dashboard, San Mateo's hospitalizations have been steadily decreasing over the last few weeks. There have been 120 deaths related to the virus in the county and confirmed cases are approaching 6,000.
See Dr. Morrow's list of "concerning issues" below.
VIDEO-TRUMP: "I have a lot of rich enemies. You won't see me for awhile" - YouTube
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 22:13
VIDEO-Raising a generation of anti-fragile white children; one critical step in combating racism - YouTube
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 22:12
VIDEO-WE Day Canada - Margaret Trudeau speaks at WE Day Canada in Ottawa - YouTube
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 22:06
VIDEO-Thousands take part in banned opposition rally in Belarus - YouTube
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 16:43
VIDEO-The mystery of Dr. Birx (opinion) - CNN
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 16:36
Opinion by Kent Sepkowitz
Updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri August 07, 2020
Editor's Note: (Kent Sepkowitz is a CNN medical analyst and a physician and infection control expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN. )
(CNN) As the Covid-19 debacle continues to worsen, Dr. Deborah Birx, who entered the scene in March as Corona Task Force Chair Vice President Mike Pence's "right arm," has emerged as a new person to blame.
Kent Sepkowitz
Initially, and widely, viewed as someone of experience, savvy and integrity, she currently finds herself in a crossfire hurricane, equally disparaged by President Donald Trump, who called her "pathetic," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who announced she had "lost confidence" in Birx, and a number of professional peers who once welcomed her appointment. (At times, it seems that the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, once her mentor and now a frequent White House outcast, continues to support her.)
This type of reputational crash is common enough with politicians but not in the medical world. Birx and I graduated medical school in the same year, both became infectious disease specialist specialists with a career focus on HIV infection, and know many of the same people. But I have never met her, nor have I heard anything -- good or bad -- to allow me to determine whether she indeed is responsible for some large part of the disaster.
So, to sort this out, I did what academic doctors (like Birx and me) always do: I searched her published scientific work in PubMed, the National Library of Science database.
I had found this approach useful several years ago when the ophthalmologist, Rand Paul, ran for the United States Senate. A PubMed review showed just one article by Dr. Paul, a report that reflected his fascination with the cornea, the single area in the body that lies outside the reach of what is called "immune surveillance" -- the happy place for a libertarian.
Dr. Birx emerges in the medical literature as extremely serious and accomplished. In her 233 articles published across almost four decades of professional life, she has written on HIV vaccines, on genetic mutations of HIV, and then, in 2005, in her role as director of CDC's Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA), on the challenges of providing treatment to areas of the world, including Africa, South America and Southeast Asia, that lacked a reliable health care delivery infrastructure.
Among other interests, she appeared to be concerned that adolescent girls and young women have access to HIV prevention and treatment. In 2017, she envisioned a world that provided "a supportive social environment that enables young women to grow up into young adults who are free to graduate from high school and plan their pregnancies (emphasis mine), ultimately entering adulthood safe, healthy, and free from HIV."
Of particular interest in these Covid-19 times, she was an ardent champion of testing, testing and more testing for HIV. She stressed "routine access to routine viral load monitoring [a blood test] in all settings" and "analysis of HIV [drug resistance] data [via blood test] to monitor the success of mitigation strategies."
Plus she worried that the world was not ready for the challenge this much testing would pose to laboratories, voicing her concern in an article entitled, "Laboratory systems and services are critical in global health: time to end the neglect?" In other words, she was a loud voice for aggressive testing and collection of practical data to inform next steps.
Her work was not without controversy. For example, she led a trial of an HIV vaccine that was so unpromising that a group of scientists, including Dr. Robert Gallo, wrote to Science to "question the wisdom" of moving forward. In medicine, writing this sort of letter to Science is a very rare, very serious business.
Birx and her team held their ground, citing the "formidable challenge" of HIV vaccine development. The study went forward and was published five years later, showing that the vaccine demonstrated "only a modest benefit."
All of her work shows Birx to be a sophisticated physician-scientist with genuine interest in the health of vulnerable and underserved populations. Global health is not an area of medicine for slackers or clock punchers. Progress is slow, recognition is slight, financial reward completely absent.
And it takes a person of tremendous patience and emotional intelligence to work effectively for more than two decades in country after country led by a variety of leaders, some corrupt, others scoundrels, and still others looking to make an American buck off the crisis occurring in their country.
Looking at her decision to enter the Covid-19 crisis, my guess is that she figured her global experience prepared her for the White House vortex, reasoning that though the administration leaders might be a bit more difficult than what she had seen, they were still a breed quite familiar to her. Based on her experience, she trusted that once again she could prevail with street smarts, honesty, hard work, a little flattery and an articulation of the common good.
Oh, well.
Unfortunately, in my view, she truly has made a real hash out of the entire effort, with a series of poor decisions -- changing hospital data reporting protocols for coronavirus patients to cut out the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and report directly to Health and Human Services, painting a rosy picture of the problem and of the President's engagement and still developing no national plan for testing, tracking, opening schools and businesses.
Sure, she has been set up as the fall-guy by the dark arts of her West Wing suitemates but, no matter how she got here, she has become the face of the failure.
To which I say to Dr. Birx: It is not too late to help the country. The cruelest trick of Trump and his group is this: they rely on the decency and the sense of historic order of those whom they destroy to keep their secrets secret.
But the time long ago passed when maintaining silence was the surest sign of integrity and patriotism. Tight lips sink ships. By speaking up about what you have witnessed, you can save more lives than you ever will save by continuing on your current path.
VIDEO-Mandated Vaccinations, Get Ready To Say "NO!" - YouTube
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 13:18
VIDEO-What is white privilege? - BBC Bitesize
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 12:23
John: We've been engaged in a global conversation about race and racism. You've probably had discussions at home, at school or at work, and in those conversations you've probably heard the term white privilege. You maybe even had this term used in a way that felt like an insult or an accusation. Others will have told you that it's all just made up to make white people feel bad... and none of this is right.
Privilege is a hard concept for people to understand, because normally when we talk of privilege we imagine immediate unearned riches and tangible benefits for anyone who has it. But white privilege and indeed all privilege is actually more about the absence of inconvenience, the absence of an impediment or challenge, and as such when you have it, you really don't notice it, but when it's absent, it affects everything you do.
There are lots of types of privilege out there, the privilege of being born into a wealthy family versus a poor family is kind of obvious, but then there's the privilege of being able-bodied versus having or acquiring a disability that most of us take for granted. I have two very close friends who are wheelchair users and I'll be honest, when I first met them I was completely ignorant about the everyday ways their lives are made harder through no fault of their own. Some of these ways are simply thoughtless, but some of them are just the way we live, just the way we build infrastructure, just the way everything works that just makes their life harder than mine. That's just one of the ways that I am privileged and understanding that, embracing that, doesn't make me a bad person, but ignoring it raises the chance that my friends will be excluded in ways that are not obvious to me and as their friend I can't allow that.
There's a good chance, as a white person watching this, your life is already hard. Every day you have to overcome some difficulty or challenge just to get by, but you can still have white privilege. White privilege doesn't mean you haven't worked hard or you don't deserve the success you've had. It doesn't mean that your life isn't hard or that you've never suffered. It simply means that your skin colour has not been the cause of your hardship or suffering.
There is nothing but a benefit to understanding our own privileges, white and otherwise. It brings us closer to those who are different. It helps us be vigilant about the ways we treat others different than us. It helps us make a society that is fairer and more equal. Having white privilege doesn't make your life easy, but understanding it can help you realise why some people's lives are harder than they should be.
VIDEO-Sorrento Therapeutics on the company's Covid-19 saliva test - YouTube
Fri, 07 Aug 2020 04:05
VIDEO-Lester Holt is a bitch-Watch live: World Health Organization holds Q&A on the coronavirus
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 23:40
[The stream is slated to start at 10:45 a.m. ET. Please refresh the page if you do not see a player above at that time.]
The World Health Organization is holding a panel discussion with NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt on Thursday on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 18.8 million people worldwide and killed at least 708,301, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The WHO said Monday there may never be a magical cure for the coronavirus even as scientists and drugmakers across the globe race to find a safe and effective vaccine.
Scientists have made progress in identifying treatments that can help people with the most severe forms of Covid-19, and a number of vaccines are in late-stage trials, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference. "However, there is no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be."
For now, world leaders can stop new outbreaks by practicing the "basics" of public health and disease control, Tedros said. "Testing, isolating and treating patients and tracing and quarantining their contacts. Do it all. Inform, empower and listen to communities. Do it all."
Read CNBC's live updates to see the latest news on the COVID-19 outbreak.
VIDEO-Pelosi says GOP still doesn't recognize 'gravity' of coronavirus crisis - YouTube
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 21:34
VIDEO-Eddie Zipperer on Twitter: "Pelosi flips out at Judy Woodruff here because Woodruff isn't trying to bury the evidence that Democrats are purposely obstructing the stimulus bill because they'd rather see Republicans take a loss than see people receiv
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 21:33
Eddie Zipperer : Pelosi flips out at Judy Woodruff here because Woodruff isn't trying to bury the evidence that Democrats are purpos'... https://t.co/ltzAXUgAvS
Thu Aug 06 12:22:20 +0000 2020
Blake : @EddieZipperer Term limits
Thu Aug 06 21:33:10 +0000 2020
thinkfree 🇬🇧🇺🇸 : @EddieZipperer They are just not used to normal questions a journalist should ask
Thu Aug 06 21:32:46 +0000 2020
Aaron M : @EddieZipperer Democrats passed a bill to do all this shit 11 weeks ago. They're not obstructing help for Americans'... https://t.co/plrb9ZZxzJ
Thu Aug 06 21:31:55 +0000 2020
Mr.Crispy : @EddieZipperer Republicans:Anything we say is truth no matter what and anything anyone else says is blasphemous ag'... https://t.co/qnyAFo1YPE
Thu Aug 06 21:31:27 +0000 2020
Nanette Gulfan-DeSuze : @EddieZipperer @AdamBaldwin You can always tell Nancy is super pissed when her martini hand starts flailing around when she speaks.
Thu Aug 06 21:31:17 +0000 2020
Floplag : @EddieZipperer @AdamBaldwin omg someone in the media didnt asked a softball question and she loses it! lol
Thu Aug 06 21:29:35 +0000 2020
RandolphPenna : @EddieZipperer Sickened by the elitist trash. She really needs to go. Please take the house back so we don't have to see her anymore.
Thu Aug 06 21:29:29 +0000 2020
VIDEO-NYS Attorney General filing a lawsuit to dissolve NRA | WSYR
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 20:32
(Associated Press) '-- New York's attorney general sued the National Rifle Association on Thursday, seeking to put the powerful gun advocacy organization out of business over allegations that high-ranking executives diverted millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures.
Attorney General Letitia James' lawsuit, filed in state court in Manhattan after an 18-month investigation, highlighted misspending and self-dealing allegations that have roiled the NRA and its longtime leader, Wayne LaPierre, in recent years '-- from hair and makeup for his wife to a $17 million post-employment contract for himself.
The troubles, which James said were long cloaked by loyal lieutenants and a pass-through payment arrangement with a vendor, started to come to light as the NRA's deficit piled up and it struggled to find its footing after a spate of mass shootings eroded support for its pro-gun agenda. The organization went from a nearly $28 million surplus in 2015 to a $36 million deficit in 2018.
James, a Democrat, argued that the organization's prominence and cozy political relationships had lulled it into a sense of invincibility and enabled a culture where non-profit rules were routinely flouted and state and federal laws were violated. Even the NRA's own bylaws and employee handbook were ignored, she said.
''The NRA's influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,'' James said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. ''The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.''
A message seeking comment from the NRA about the lawsuit was left Thursday.
James is taking aim at the NRA after her office last year dismantled President Donald Trump's charitable foundation and fined him $2 million to settle allegations he used donations meant for worthy causes to further his own business and political interests. Though it is headquarters in Virginia, the NRA was chartered as a non-profit in New York in 1871 and continues to be incorporated in the state.
James also named LaPierre and three other current and former executives as defendants: corporate secretary and general counsel John Frazer, retired treasurer and chief financial officer Wilson Phillips, and LaPierre's former chief of staff Joshua Powell. While the lawsuit accuses all four men of wrongdoing and seeks fines and remuneration, none of them have been charged with a crime.
LaPierre, who has been in charge of the NRA's day-to-day operations since 1991, is accused of spending millions of dollars on private travel and personal security, accepting expensive gifts such as African safaris and use of a 107-foot yacht from vendors and setting himself up with a $17 million contract with the NRA, if he were to exit the organization, without board approval.
The lawsuit said LaPierre, 70, spent millions of the NRA's dollars on travel consultants, including luxury black car services, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on private jet flights for himself and his family, including more than $500,000 on eight trips to the Bahamas over a three-year span.
Some of the NRA's excess spending was kept secret, the lawsuit said, under an arrangement with the organization's former advertising agency, Ackerman McQueen.
The advertising firm would pick up the tab for various expenses for LaPierre and other NRA executives and then send a lump sum bill to the organization for ''out-of-pocket expenses,'' the lawsuit said.
Frazer, the corporate secretary and general counsel, is accused of aiding the alleged misconduct by certifying false or misleading annual regulatory filings, failing to comply with governance procedures, failing to enforce a conflict of interest policy, and failing to ensure that board members were reviewing transactions or that the the organization was following the law.
Phillips is accused of overseeing the pass-through arrangement. The lawsuit said he ignored or downplayed whistleblower complaints and made a deal to enrich himself in retirement '-- a bogus $1.8 million contract to consult for the incoming treasurer and a deal worth $1 million for his girlfriend.
Powell, the former LaPierre chief of staff, is accused of getting his father a $90,000 photography gig through an NRA vendor, arranging a $5 million contract for a consulting firm where his wife worked and pocketing $100,000 more in housing and relocation reimbursements than the organization's rules allowed. He was fired after 3½ years for allegedly misappropriating NRA funds.
The lawsuit comes at a time when the NRA is trying to remain relevant and a force in the 2020 presidential election as it seeks to help President Donald Trump secure a second term.
There has been an ongoing factional war within organization, pitting some of its most ardent gun-rights supporters and loyalists against one another. The NRA has traded lawsuits with Ackerman McQueen, which crafted some of its most prominent messages for decades, eventually severing ties with it last year and scrapping its controversial NRA-TV, which aired many of its most controversial messages.
The internal battles reached a fevered pitch at its 2019 annual meeting where its then-president, Oliver North, was denied a traditional second term amid a tussle with LaPierre as he sought to independently review the NRA's expenses and operations. He accused LaPierre of exerting ''dictatorial'' control.
Chris Cox, the NRA's longtime lobbyist and widely viewed as a likely successor to LaPierre, left after being accused of working behind the scenes with North to undermine LaPierre.
Click the player below to watch the entire press conference:
VIDEO-CNBC Politics on Twitter: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighs in on an eviction moratorium, relief for state and local governments, the need for ''comprehensive strategic testing'' and more. https://t.co/4btN9RhFXl https://t.co/qwpQTtGzr7" / Twitte
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 20:17
CNBC Politics : House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighs in on an eviction moratorium, relief for state and local governments, the need fo'... https://t.co/O5P0a9NJ2w
Thu Aug 06 14:24:38 +0000 2020
LFD4920 : @CNBCPolitics https://t.co/FThMTbj1Dg
Thu Aug 06 20:14:11 +0000 2020
👽Î--Î '…TΗ'ƒR Î--L'‡•'ƒÎ 👽ðŸ·ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ : @CNBCPolitics Rapid tests are not accurate enough to base opening schools upon and will absolutely (if counted) ske'... https://t.co/6pW6qji7yj
Thu Aug 06 20:12:31 +0000 2020
Sourface : @CNBCPolitics She is so old looking ...how do we allow these old people run are country
Thu Aug 06 20:10:31 +0000 2020
BubblesLaPrincesa : @CNBCPolitics Was that a real question? Of course a majority of Americans know how serious this situation is.
Thu Aug 06 19:55:09 +0000 2020
GeorgeDaAnimal : @CNBCPolitics Gotta love her laughing at this shit. Shes fucking sick
Thu Aug 06 19:50:11 +0000 2020
VIDEO-Cities go to extremes with coronavirus quarantine crackdowns: Checkpoints, power shutoffs, steep fines | Fox News
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 20:15
Published August 06, 2020
Last Update 4 hrs ago
Some travelers will be stopped in NYC. The interstate in Chicago has signs warning about quarantine requirements
With the daily number of coronavirus cases in the United States still hovering at about 50,000 and American deaths from the disease approaching 160,000, cities across the country are taking increasingly severe measures to force the curve of the outbreak downward -- including power shutoffs, fines and more.
In perhaps the most striking example of a city's coronavirus response, Los Angeles sent police to a large house party in the Beverly Crest neighborhood after complaints from neighbors about the number of people there. CBSLA sent a news chopper -- the kind normally used to document high-speed car chases -- to relay video of the party from above. Police cited and impounded some of the cars in the area, CBSLA reported, but determined there were no noise violations and left. There was later a shooting at the party, which prompted even more scrutiny of the incident.
In response, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday that private residences that repeatedly host large gatherings will have their power and water shut off, according to FOX 11 Los Angeles
'TARGETED ENFORCEMENT' OF CORONAVIRUS FASK MASKS, ISSUING FINES TO BEGIN IN CALIFORNIA CITY
"These large house parties have essentially become nightclubs in the hills,'' he said. ''These large parties are unsafe and can cost Angelenos their lives."
Outside of private homes, Los Angeles is cracking down hard on businesses potentially in violation of the city's public health restrictions. A July 23 news release outlined the city's actions, including shutting down 26 restaurants, a grocery store, a pool and 67 other businesses for health order violations.
"Beginning at the end of August, fines will be issued to businesses that are non-compliant that can range from $100 for the first offense to $500 and a 30 day permit suspension for multiple offenses. This includes businesses licensed and permitted by the department and those that are not," the city's public health department said.
NEW YORK SHERIFF DEPUTIES TO SET UP CORONAVIRUS CHECKPOINTS FOR TRAVELERS
Los Angeles itself -- despite efforts by one politician, according to the Los Angeles Times -- does not have a fine system for individuals not wearing masks yet. But many other jurisdictions in Southern California do, according to FOX 11 Los Angeles. In Beverly Hills, not wearing a mask will cost you $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for the third. Calabasas will also fine those who are maskless in public
In Costa Mesa, Manhattan Beach, and Santa Monica, first offenses for not wearing a mask will cost $100. It's $300 in West Hollywood, according to Fox 11, and the highest in Glendale: $400 for a first offense, $1,000 for a second and $2,000 for a third.
Mask fines are gaining popularity outside of California as well. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Monday announced that his city will slap $250 fines on people going maskless in his city. And the entire state of New Mexico is subject to a $100 fine for not wearing a mask, something the New Mexico Supreme Court upheld just this week, according to KRQE. Washington, D.C. is doling out fines up to $1,000.
HOUSTON LATEST CITY TO FINE MASKLESS RESIDENTS IN EFFORT TO CONTROL CORONAVIRUS SPREAD
But cities' coronavirus measures go beyond that. Many places, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York City and others now have rules requiring people coming from coronavirus hotspots to self-quarantine for 14 days after their arrival. In Chicago, this is communicated by ubiquitous variable-message road signs above the highway warning travelers that if they are arriving from a place with elevated coronavirus case counts, they are not welcome until they isolate for 14 days.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the isolation requirement includes 22 states plus Puerto Rico, as of Wednesday.
According to the Chicago Tribune, this is enforced with fines of between $100 and $500, per day.
FAUCI SAYS CORONAVIRUS VACCINE DOSES COULD ARRIVE IN EARLY 2021; CLAIMS NO WH SPEED-UP PRESSURE
New York is taking a more direct approach, setting up checkpoints at many of the city's entry points, using the sheriff's office to stop travelers and, if they are coming from one of 35 jurisdictions that are in New York's mandatory quarantine list, having them fill out a "traveler form."
"The checkpoints I think are going to send a very powerful message that this quarantine law is serious and important and crucial and people have to follow it," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The information required by the form includes what states travelers have been to recently and when, the address of where they are going, how long they plan to stay there, how they are traveling into New York, birth date, gender, name and whether they are bringing children with them.
According to The New York Times, the checkpoints almost certainly will not be set up at every entrance to the city and not every traveler will be stopped -- city sheriff Joseph Fucito told the paper cars will be stopped randomly.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Washington, D.C., and multiple other jurisdictions have also instituted mandatory quarantines on travelers coming from certain coronavirus hotspots.
With parts of the country apparently backsliding in containment of the coronavirus, it's unclear when such orders and enforcement measures might be rescinded without the widespread administration of a yet-to-be-developed vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top epidemiologist, agreed on CNBC Wednesday that the U.S. has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, saying, "the numbers don't lie."
Officials, including Fauci, have stressed that widespread mask-wearing by Americans, along with social distancing and good hand hygiene, is the best way to open the economy while keeping people at least somewhat safe as the country waits for scientific developments that can help put the coronavirus, at least partially, in the rearview mirror.
Fox News' Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.

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All Clips

Biden Jingle - pop goes the weasel - Rad Grand Dad.wav
Andrea Mitchell brings out Clyburn to beat down Kanye.mp3
Thousands take part in banned opposition rally in Belarus.mp3
Courthouse confusion continues - Court clerk claims it's racist to ask 'why.mp3
Larry Elders Unlce Tom Trailer.mp3
Leo Terrell Civil Rights Lawyer is not drinking the kool-aide any more.mp3
Minneapolis White Fragility Believer -1- is doing the work on her children.mp3
Minneapolis White Fragility Believer -2- reading the book.mp3
Oprah Hosts White Guilt Session - Whiteness Gives You an Advantage No Matter What.mp3
A Conversation with Ayanna Pressley on the Grio John Lewis OG BLNM founder LOL.mp3
Bret Weinstein’s DarkHorse Podcast - Black Intellectual Roundtable kick-off.mp3
Summary_of_U.S.-UK_Negotiating_Objectives.pdf
Brexit - UK-EU trade deal looking unlikely, says Michel Barnier.mp3
Revolution arises in Lebanon Huge Banners.mp3
Elliott Abrams headed to Iran according to Chinese news.m4a
Biden diverse gaffe.mp3
Biden its real ISO.mp3
Biden on justice reform Ask Adam.mp3
Covid deaths update.mp3
Exec order banning WeChat irony f24.mp3
Georgia sgtudent busted.mp3
Homg Kong sanctions targets F24.mp3
Homg Kong sanctions TWO F24.mp3
Joel Gilbert Trayvon hoax.mp3
Lebanon ionvestiagtion refused.mp3
Marrianne Williamson on Hot mic.mp3
Mars report BBC.mp3
mat taibbit boitching about dems.mp3
More Noam.mp3
substance abuse 1.mp3
substance abuse 2 voice.mp3
substance abuse 3.mp3
substance abuse 4.mp3
Tax billionaires bill DN.mp3
trump exec order for money.mp3
Trump presser friday on relief and pelosi.mp3
Trump vs TVA news clip.mp3
vetting a VP WBUR.mp3
weird Italian prosecution.mp3
Amy teases Trump book DN.mp3
another bad UW prediction DN.mp3
Belarus eletion f24.mp3
Biden answer.mp3
Biden Ch 16 47 million.mp3
Pelosi says payroll tax cut and UI extension will boost the economy (2012).mp3
Today Show PROMOTES Trump EO's.mp3
Trump - It's a peaceful protest to mask question.mp3
Trump Yosemite Sam.mp3
DeBlasio sets up check points law in NYC.mp3
Judy pisses off Pelosi.mp3
CNN’s Alisyn Cameron Asking Dr. Fauci About Brad Pitt.mp3
Eat Kale not Donuts - ISO.mp3
Great Economic Reset -1- Intro from Adrian Monk.mp3
Great Economic Reset -2- Chairman Klaus explains the lay of the land.mp3
Great Economic Reset -3- António Guterres (UN Sec Gen) does his pitch.mp3
Great Economic Reset -4-Prince Charles.mp3
Great Economic Reset -5- Mastercard is ready for the data.mp3
The 2.5 mintes speech Trudeau's Mom got $250K for.mp3
Boston Marathon bomber's death sentence vacated, former police Marty Walsh chief reacts.mp3
  • 0:00
    i can't believe these pharma companies
  • 0:02
    aren't
  • 0:03
    doing this pro bono adam curry
  • 0:06
    john c devorah it's sunday august 8th
  • 0:08
    2020. this is your award-winning
  • 0:10
    giveaway nation media assassination
  • 0:11
    episode 1267.
  • 0:13
    this is no agenda
  • 0:18
    and broadcasting live from opportunity
  • 0:19
    zone 33 here in the frontier of austin
  • 0:22
    texas capital of the drone star
  • 0:24
    state in the morning everybody i'm adam
  • 0:26
    curry and from northern silicon valley
  • 0:28
    where we can't find a reset button
  • 0:31
    i'm looking i'm john c divora
  • 0:36
    let's get right to the news at hand we
  • 0:38
    cannot delay we just had a special
  • 0:40
    zephyr report the economics of the
  • 0:42
    country and the world depend on it john
  • 0:44
    c devorak what are you learning
  • 0:45
    well i saw the zephyr go by eight cars
  • 0:48
    plus
  • 0:49
    a a one of those bonus cars at the end a
  • 0:53
    uh rented uh very classic
  • 0:57
    old whistle stop kind of a pullman from
  • 1:00
    the 20s that had the back do you get on
  • 1:03
    back
  • 1:03
    back there and you give the speeches
  • 1:05
    yeah it's got the flags
  • 1:06
    old cars got it had a bunch of flags
  • 1:08
    hanging off the back it was dynamite
  • 1:10
    looking all right so for the squawk box
  • 1:12
    and for the trading floor
  • 1:14
    the trading desk everybody this means
  • 1:16
    economy stable but we have a surprise on
  • 1:18
    the horizon could be
  • 1:20
    related to roosevelt
  • 1:25
    i was roosevelt to see biden on the back
  • 1:26
    there waving that now that would that
  • 1:29
    that would be his jam he is mr
  • 1:32
    uh a cella he's mr train he's mr amtrak
  • 1:36
    yeah yeah he'd be perfect that would be
  • 1:38
    fantastic but no
  • 1:40
    no no no
  • 1:43
    wow um a lot of things to discuss
  • 1:48
    uh i would i would like to start just
  • 1:51
    with a couple of different
  • 1:53
    diverse reports we're getting from
  • 1:54
    melbourne australia
  • 1:59
    now melbourne i mean this this is
  • 2:03
    they've gone nuts down there they really
  • 2:06
    have
  • 2:06
    um people the police can now
  • 2:10
    enter homes in melbourne without a
  • 2:12
    warrant to carry out
  • 2:13
    spot checks and all this just so you
  • 2:17
    know is being blamed
  • 2:18
    on a uh on some uh
  • 2:23
    independent security company you see
  • 2:26
    when
  • 2:26
    when the lockdown order came wherever
  • 2:29
    you were
  • 2:30
    you had to stay in place for six weeks
  • 2:32
    at that address including
  • 2:34
    uh towers of apartment building towers
  • 2:37
    hotels and apparently
  • 2:40
    uh six weeks yes yes
  • 2:44
    and apparently with just what i'm
  • 2:46
    reading in uh
  • 2:48
    in victoria there was you know some
  • 2:52
    obviously shady security company was
  • 2:54
    supposed to you know keep people
  • 2:55
    inside the hotel and and they had 18
  • 2:59
    cases amongst themselves and spreading
  • 3:01
    it and i think
  • 3:02
    they were having sex with people and it
  • 3:03
    was always a mess so that's where the
  • 3:06
    problem comes from
  • 3:07
    but the responses have been very
  • 3:10
    interesting from our producers boots on
  • 3:12
    the ground and and very diverse actually
  • 3:16
    which kind of shows you how differently
  • 3:19
    people can
  • 3:20
    it's not it's let's put it this way it's
  • 3:21
    not just trump
  • 3:23
    in the u.s um so our first producer here
  • 3:29
    was mad just mad that we even
  • 3:32
    dared to play katie hopkins
  • 3:37
    [Music]
  • 3:38
    he's horribly mad and he said this is
  • 3:41
    not true what she said
  • 3:45
    i live in melbourne it's not only closed
  • 3:47
    for seven
  • 3:48
    deaths many more than that today
  • 3:50
    currently seven thousand
  • 3:51
    cases from effectively none i
  • 3:54
    trust our figures okay well that's
  • 3:55
    mistake number one
  • 3:57
    to trust any figures at this point
  • 3:59
    lockdown is trying to put the genie back
  • 4:01
    in the bottle it's all about trying to
  • 4:02
    fix the mess of the hotel quarantine
  • 4:04
    failure
  • 4:06
    that was the key to the whole success
  • 4:08
    for australia the media
  • 4:09
    is pushing that that merit that's the
  • 4:12
    narrative security failure
  • 4:14
    yeah uh australia asked returning
  • 4:16
    travelers
  • 4:17
    who were the sole source of infections
  • 4:19
    to self-isolate that proved quickly not
  • 4:21
    to work
  • 4:22
    so then they forced all returning
  • 4:24
    travelers into two-week mandatory hotel
  • 4:26
    quarantine not too weak
  • 4:27
    at the governor's ex at the government's
  • 4:29
    expense
  • 4:31
    that was just for the hotel that's
  • 4:32
    before this big lockdown i guess
  • 4:35
    that's where it went wrong so they had
  • 4:38
    people coming back into the country
  • 4:39
    they were supposed to quarantine for two
  • 4:42
    weeks and then this
  • 4:43
    security company or they actually they
  • 4:46
    hired uber drivers let's go back to the
  • 4:48
    death toll
  • 4:49
    you said there were seven and he said
  • 4:51
    you're a liar yes
  • 4:53
    what is the number he doesn't have a
  • 4:54
    number for me he says many more than
  • 4:56
    that he'll be a liar if he hasn't got a
  • 4:57
    better number
  • 5:00
    i don't trust any numbers from anywhere
  • 5:01
    at this point but here's the story
  • 5:04
    that i guess is is being blamed on this
  • 5:06
    uh the security company hired
  • 5:08
    uber drivers to do to be security guards
  • 5:12
    and the virus got out okay
  • 5:15
    i'm sure uh then we have a note
  • 5:19
    from uh who was this uh
  • 5:22
    max uh the talking bunyip
  • 5:27
    a little more context for melbourne
  • 5:29
    after listening to the show opening of
  • 5:31
    1266 a month ago australia had like many
  • 5:34
    others
  • 5:34
    being to return to some form of normal
  • 5:36
    normality as daily cases in all states
  • 5:38
    were either in single numbers
  • 5:40
    non-existent then suddenly
  • 5:41
    melbourne cases began to rise again it's
  • 5:44
    the cases story
  • 5:45
    so none of our producers have given me
  • 5:47
    any feedback
  • 5:48
    on increase in testing or anything like
  • 5:52
    that
  • 5:53
    uh but after the two-week lockdown that
  • 5:55
    was the original the original
  • 5:56
    uh uh be quiet slave
  • 6:00
    face mass and coverings were made
  • 6:02
    mandatory outside of the homes the next
  • 6:04
    week the numbers stabilized around six
  • 6:06
    to seven hundred a day these are just
  • 6:08
    cases
  • 6:08
    cases uh the premier victoria dan
  • 6:11
    andrews justified the action of the
  • 6:12
    basis that under stage three it would be
  • 6:14
    it would have taken all year to return
  • 6:16
    to acceptable number of daily cases
  • 6:18
    they're even more clueless than we are
  • 6:20
    here they're still trying to figure out
  • 6:22
    what cases are and what it means
  • 6:28
    well i have one more i got it we got a
  • 6:30
    nasty note from somebody one of our
  • 6:32
    uh another producer is a knight so you
  • 6:35
    have to take him seriously
  • 6:36
    of course and he goes on and on about
  • 6:38
    somebody in his family died and
  • 6:40
    you know we're just assholes for
  • 6:42
    suggestions
  • 6:44
    and everything is a conspiracy it's
  • 6:45
    actually it's