1306: Antigenic Drift

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

4h 13m
December 24th, 2020
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch and Lower Slobbovia, Cameron Dodd, Gardner Quarton, Tony Cabrera, Sir Donald of the Firebottles, Count of Eastern WA, Sir Mike of Maquoketa Knight all Tradition, Sir Spike Fork, the Wandering Knight, Sir B of the New Republic of Florexas, Dame Brittany of the Swamps, Sir Babulluci, Andrew Panebianco, Zachary Childers, David Michael Beechwood, Paul Hooper, Sircuss Media, Bruce Wayne Fitzgerald, Jacob Kitson, Jason Mageau, Josef Theiler

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Ty of God's Flat Earth & Bear-taria, Dame Anne of Grayrock, Sir Realist in Foolfooters Realm, Dan Pinkerton, Robert Brousseau, Lyndee Pfaffenbach, Francisco Becerra, Stacy DeHart, Michelle Cox, Gummy Nerds Viscount of the Trollroom

Cover Artist: Mountain Jay

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
42:01
Covid Stimulus Bill - BOTCHED!
Guest producer
57:18
JCD giving himself clip of the day
Guest producer
1:24:12
Dickhead
Guest producer
1:48:07
The Big Oval Office Meeting
Guest producer
2:08:10
Start of first donations segment
Guest producer
3:15:55
End Of Donations Segment 1
Guest producer
3:21:13
Walmart Secret Santa
Guest producer
3:25:00
Bill Gates at risk
Guest producer
3:28:17
David Icke on Security
Guest producer
3:36:33
Seattle defund police
Guest producer
3:40:19
More Biden Xmas Cheer
Guest producer
3:42:43
CCP send Princelings to USA
Guest producer
3:44:33
Spotify (i.e. donations lead-in)
Guest producer
3:48:41
Start of 2nd donation segment
Guest producer
4:04:02
End of 2nd donation and meet up sections
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4:05:14
End of ISO selection discussion
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4:09:10
End of Show Clips
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Brexit
Brexit: UK and EU reach trade deal ending months of arguments - BBC News
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 15:27
Published duration 6 minutes ago
The EU and UK have reached a post-Brexit trade deal, ending months of disagreements over fishing rights and future business rules.
Downing Street said: "We have got Brexit done and we can now take full advantage of the fantastic opportunities available to us".
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will shortly hold a press conference, confirming the agreement.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said it was a "fair and balanced" deal.
In a press conference in Brussels, the European Commission president said: "This was a long and winding road but we have got a good deal to show for it."
"It is fair, it is a balanced deal, and it is the right and responsible thing to do for both sides."
She added that now was "time to turn the page and look to the future" and that the UK "remains a trusted partner".
"The EU and the UK will stand shoulder to shoulder to deliver on our common global goals," she said.
Mr Johnson tweeted a picture of himself smiling with both thumbs lifted in the air.
In its statement, Downing Street said: "Everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal.
"We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters."
The UK government had "delivered this great deal for the entire United Kingdom in record time, and under extremely challenging conditions," the statement added.
How will Brexit affect you? Do you have any questions about the trade deal? Get in touch by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways:
If you are reading this page and can't see the form you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or comment or you can email us at HaveYourSay@bbc.co.uk. Please include your name, age and location with any submission.
New strain - vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible LOL
Britain finds itself isolated and uncertain ahead of Brexit | TribLIVE.com
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 23:17
LONDON '-- Hundreds of stranded truck drivers hoped to get the green light to leave Britain on Tuesday as the country found itself increasingly isolated and its trade bottled up, cut off by neighbors afraid of a new strain of the coronavirus circulating in England.
More than 1,500 trucks snaked along a major highway in southeast England near the country's vital English Channel ports or crowded into an unused airport on Day 2 of an ordeal that began when dozens of nations banned flights from the U.K. and France barred entry to its trucks for an initial 48 hours through Tuesday night.
The precautions were prompted by a new variant of the virus that is believed to be more contagious, though experts say it does not appear to be more deadly or vaccine-resistant.
On an island nation that relies heavily on its commercial links to the continent, the travel restrictions have stoked fears of food shortages over Christmastime.
Britain is already facing deep uncertainty over its final exit from the European Union in less than two weeks. The country has yet to work out a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
For the drivers, it has been a grim couple of days, with some complaining about the lack of toilet facilities and food.
''My family is waiting for me, my children, my daughter, my son, my wife,'' said Greg Mazurek of Poland. ''It was supposed to be a very quick trip, three to four days max. I spent in the U.K. 10 minutes in the gas station and 20 minutes unloading, and now I need to wait two days here in the port in Dover.''
Drivers held out hope the ordeal might end within hours. The prospects seemed to improve Tuesday when the EU's executive arm recommended a lifting of the bans.
The European Commission said people returning to their home countries should be able to do so provided they test negative test for the virus or quarantine. It said that ''cargo flows need to continue uninterrupted.''
Discussions continued between Britain and France, with any solution likely to center on the testing of drivers for the virus.
Given that around 10,000 trucks pass through Dover every day, accounting for about 20% of the country's trade in goods, retailers are getting increasingly concerned.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, warned of potential shortages of fresh vegetables and fruit after Christmas if the borders are not ''running pretty much freely'' by Wednesday.
The problem, he explained, is that the empty trucks sitting in England can't reach the continent to pick up deliveries for Britain.
''They need to get back to places like Spain to pick up the next consignment of raspberries and strawberries, and they need to get back within the next day or so, otherwise we will see disruption,'' he said.
The virus is blamed for 1.7 million deaths worldwide, including about 68,000 in Britain, the second-highest death toll in Europe, behind Italy's 69,000.
Over the weekend, Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed strict lockdown measures in London and neighboring areas amid mounting concerns over the new strain, which early indications show might be 70% more transmissible.
Johnson scrapped a planned relaxation of rules over Christmastime for millions of people and banned indoor mixing of households. Only essential travel will be permitted.
Amid questions about whether the vaccines being rolled out now will work against the new strain, Ugur Sahin, chief executive of BioNTech '-- the German pharmaceutical company behind the Pfizer-BioNTech shot '-- said he is confident it will be effective, but further studies are needed to be sure.
In Switzerland, meanwhile, authorities are trying to track an estimated 10,000 people who have arrived by plane from Britain since Dec. 14, and has ordered them to quarantine for 10 days. Switzerland was one of the 40-odd countries to ban flights from Britain over the new strain.
The quarantine order is likely to affect thousands of Britons who may have already headed to Swiss ski resorts. Unlike many of its neighbors, Switzerland has left most of its slopes open, attracting enthusiasts from around Europe.
Categories:Coronavirus | News | U.S./World
Wild Protest
January 6th "wild protest" in DC
DC Jan 5th Meetup
Pence Plans to Confirm Trump's Defeat Then Flee the Country, Says Report
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 13:43
Mike Pence is in a tricky spot'--as vice president, he has to oversee the session of Congress that will formalize Biden's Electoral College victory on Jan. 6, which will likely make Trumpworld extremely angry. But, according to Politico, he's hatched an ingenious plan. The very same day that he affirms Trump's defeat, he's reportedly going to flee the country. Politico states that the vice president is planning to leave Washington immediately after the session for the Middle East and Europe, and he'll stay overseas for nearly a week while Trump's allies unload their wrath. A document seen by Politico shows Pence is expected in Bahrain, Israel, and Poland. ''I suspect the timing is anything but coincidental,'' one Pence ally said. But one Trump administration official said the trip isn't confirmed yet, and is only planned for that date as it's the first gap in his schedule.
Read it at Politico
Donald Trump says "wild" "protest" scheduled for January 6, 2021 in DC | USSA News | The Tea Party's Front Page
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 04:54
January 6, 2021 is the date the full congress is set to certify the stolen election results. Looks like January 6th, 2021 is also going to be a day of wild protests. POTUS Donald Trump tweeted about it last night.. Get ready for the fireworks. If the communists steal this election, and the spineless GOP complies, there is going to be fireworks!
Donald Trump says ''wild'' ''protest'' scheduled for January 6, 2021 in DC Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud 'more than sufficient' to swing victory to Trump https://t.co/D8KrMHnFdK. A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2020
MILLION MAGA MARCH
PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS CALLED FOR ALL OF HIS SUPPORTERS TO BE IN WASHINGTON D.C. JANUARY 6TH '-- THIS WILL BE THE BIGGEST PROTEST IN AMERICAN HISTORY
THE TIME TO TAKE A STAND IS NOW! #MillionMAGAMarch #MARCHFORTRUMP #TRUMP2020 pic.twitter.com/1FfyvN48YQ
'-- Million Maga March (@MilionMagaMarch) December 19, 2020
I am willing to take another home quarantine upon return back to Israel just so I can attend the January 6th protest in Washington! @realDonaldTrump is and will remain the President of the United States of America !
'-- Amir Tsarfati (@BeholdIsrael) December 19, 2020
JUST IN: President Trump says there will be a big protest in D.C. on January 6th.
''Be there, will be wild!''
'-- The Bias News (@thebias_news) December 19, 2020
The post Donald Trump says ''wild'' ''protest'' scheduled for January 6, 2021 in DC appeared first on Pacific Pundit.
Visit the USSA News store!Click this link for the original source of this article. Author: admin
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Trump meets with members of Congress plotting Electoral College objections on Jan. 6 | Fox News
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:46
President Trump Monday huddled with members of Congress to discuss plans to object to President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win and to force a debate on allegations of voter fraud.
Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., attended the White House meeting and said there's growing support for GOP lawmakers from the House and Senate to challenge the election results when a Joint Session of Congress convenes on Jan. 6 to certify the Electoral College result. The vote was 306 to 232 in Biden's favor.
"We will be raising objections to the Electoral College votes for Joe Biden for multiple states," Greene told Fox News.
Rep-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.
Greene said the White House meeting included Trump, Vice President Pence, Trump's legal team and about 15 House members, including GOP Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Louie Gohmert of Texas.
Congressional rules require a House member and senator to simultaneously challenge a state's electoral slate when they jointly convene on Jan. 6. Greene said senators are on board, though she declined to name them publicly.
"Some people just haven't totally gone public yet, but we're going to have a lot of people on board, and we definitely have senators," Greene told Fox News. "This is going to be historic and the amount of evidence is overwhelming."
MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE TAKES ON SHUTDOWNS, FAUCI DURING FIRST WEEK IN WASHINGTON
Alabama Sen.-Elect Tommy Tuberville has raised the possibility of challenging the Electoral College, but GOP Senate leaders have discouraged it.
In this July 14, 2020, file photo, Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville speaks at a campaign event in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)
Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.C. said he hoped Tuberville won't do it because the election has been litigated over and over and it was time to move on. "I don't think it's good for the country," Thune told reporters last week.
Trump, however, is rallying his base to fight for him.
Trump called into a Turning Point USA event where he insisted he "won in a landslide" and encouraged the Justice Department and members of Congress to step up and support him.
"We are fighting, really for the country, because this election, we won this election in a landslide," Trump said. "It's all documented, the problem is we need a party that is going to fight, and we have some great congressmen and women that are doing it. And we have others, some great fighters, but we won this in a landslide. They know it, and we need backing from like, the Justice Department and other people have to finally step up."
BARR: DOJ YET TO FIND WIDESPREAD VOTER FRAUD THAT COULD HAVE CHANGED 2020 ELECTION RESULTS
Trump has repeatedly alleged he beat Biden, and claims there was widespread voter fraud. But states have stood by their results and courts have rejected Trump's legal claims in dozens of cases. Attorney General William Barr said last month his Justice Department has not seen fraud on the kind of scale that could flip the election.
In addition to winning the Electoral College vote, Biden won the popular vote as well by a margin of more than 7 million votes.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed that Trump met with the lawmakers in the Oval Office and they were "preparing to fight back against mounting evidence of voter fraud," Meadows tweeted.
On Jan. 6, the House and Senate convene jointly in the House chamber. Pence would co-preside over the session in his capacity as President of the Senate alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Pence's term doesn't expire until January 20.
President Donald Trump confers with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows while departing the White House September 1, 2020 in Washington, (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
If there is a House and Senate member appealing a state's slate of electors, the Joint Session of Congress is dissolved and the House and Senate meet separately for two hours to debate a contested state's electoral vote.
Each body then votes whether to accept or reject that state's slate of electoral votes. Then the House and Senate reconvene in the Joint Session.
US DOWN A RABBIT HOLE OF QUESTIONING ELECTION INTEGRITY
A state's slate of electoral votes is only tossed if both the House and Senate vote to do so. With Democrats controlling the House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., acknowledging Biden's win, it seems unlikely there would be enough votes to reject any state's certification.
Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks to Trump supporters. (Twitter/@mtgreenee) (Twitter/@mtgreenee)
Greene said she intends to object and during floor debate present evidence of voter fraud. She points to White House advisor Peter Navarro's new report on election irregularities.
"The most important part of the meeting was basically to make sure that everything that we use is accurate, not just a rumor here and there, but actual real evidence of voter fraud," Greene said. "It has to be correct."
She said Trump was in "great" spirits and he was grateful for the members who will be fighting for him in Congress.
"He deserves his day in court, but he's definitely going to have his day in Congress," she said.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
"The people truly believe that they reelected President Trump," Greene added. "And as members of the House, we're doing what the people want."
Fox News' Chad Pergram, Jason Donner and Matt Leach contributed to this report.
How does Congress count electoral votes, and can results be challenged? - CBS News
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 12:13
President-elect Joe Biden's victory is set to be reaffirmed early next month, when the new Congress convenes in a joint session to count each state's Electoral College votes.
Required by the Constitution, the event typically occurs with little fanfare. But the joint session slated for January 6 is already expected to bring heightened drama, as some of President Trump's Republican congressional allies have indicated they plan to challenge the electoral votes in certain states, though these efforts are almost certain to be unsuccessful.
Mr. Trump has refused to concede the election and has lost a slew of legal battles seeking to reverse its outcome, but the march towards Mr. Biden's inauguration continues, with the congressional counting of electoral votes the final step in formally acknowledging his victory.
Click here to view related media. click to expand
Here is the rundown of how Congress will count and certify electoral votes next month:
When does Congress meet to count electoral votes?On January 3, the first meeting of the 117th Congress, the archivist of the United States will transmit the certification of election results from each state governor to both houses of Congress. The date for counting electoral votes is fixed by law as January 6.
Electoral votes will be tallied in a joint session of the House and the Senate, meeting in the House chamber. The president of the Senate '-- the vice president '-- is the presiding officer of the session. If Vice President Mike Pence chooses not to attend the joint session, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, president pro tempore of the Senate, will preside.
As the presiding officer, Pence will have the uncomfortable task of reaffirming Mr. Biden's victory and acknowledging his own defeat, all while Mr. Trump continues to deny he lost the election.
There is precedent for the president pro tempore of the Senate presiding because the vice president was absent. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, Vice President Hubert Humphrey declined to preside over the counting of electoral votes in January 1969, after he lost to Richard Nixon in that election.
How are votes counted?The U.S. Code requires that the presiding officer open and present the certificates of electoral votes in alphabetical order. Then the certificate from each state is read by "tellers." House and Senate leadership will appoint two "tellers" apiece ahead of the joint session to read the certificates, and they are typically members of the Senate Rules and House Administration Committees, which have jurisdiction over election-related matters.
In 2017, when the joint session of Congress convened to count the electoral votes and affirm Mr. Trump's win, Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri and Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota were tellers on the part of the Senate, while GOP Congressman Gregg Harper of Mississippi and Democrat Congressman Bob Brady of Pennsylvania were the House's tellers.
Once the votes have been read, the tellers will record and count them. The presiding officer will then announce if any candidates have received the majority of votes for president and vice president.
This process can be expedited if lawmakers agree to do so. In 2017, the process of reading and counting electoral votes took 41 minutes, according to the CRS report.
How can members of Congress challenge election results?Federal law details the procedures for how lawmakers can make an objection to a state's electoral votes.
After the certificate from each state or the District of Columbia is read, the presiding officer will call for objections, if there are any. An objection must be made in writing and signed by at least one member of the Senate and one member of the House.
It also must "state clearly and concisely, and without argument, the ground thereof."
If an objection is properly made, the joint session suspends, and each chamber of Congress meets separately to consider it. Debate is limited to no more than two hours, and each member can speak only once and for a maximum of five minutes.
The Senate and House both vote on whether to agree to the objection, with a simple majority the threshold to affirming it.
But if a simple majority does not sustain the objection, it fails, and the state's electoral votes are counted.
An objection to a state's votes was last considered in 2005, when Senator Barbara Boxer of California and Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio, both Democrats, objected to the electoral votes cast in Ohio, citing voting irregularities. Both chambers, however, overwhelmingly rejected their objection, and Ohio's electoral votes for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were counted.
Is Mr. Trump likely to succeed in his last-ditch effort to reverse the outcome of the election?It seems highly unlikely any state's electoral votes will be thrown out by lawmakers during the joint session January 6. For one, Democrats will maintain their majority in the House in the next Congress, so any objection is likely to get voted down by the lower chamber. Additionally, while House Republicans have suggested they'll raise objections to the electoral votes cast in some states, their efforts are likely to be hampered by the requirement that an objection must be endorsed by a senator.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked GOP senators last week not to object to the election results when the joint session convenes. Other Republican senators have thrown cold water on the president's hopes Congress will rescue him.
Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, said the attempt to toss out state electoral votes is "just not going anywhere."
"In the Senate, it would go down like a shot dog," the Senate majority whip told reporters.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who is a close ally of Mr. Trump's, said challenging the votes would "probably do more harm than good."
Thune's comments, in particular, made him a target of the president, who claimed the South Dakota senator first elected in 2004 will face a challenger in the Republican primary in 2022.
"Republicans in the Senate so quickly forget. Right now they would be down 8 seats without my backing them in the last Election," Mr. Trump tweeted. "RINO John Thune, 'Mitch's boy', should just let it play out. South Dakota doesn't like weakness. He will be primaried in 2022, political career over!!!"
'Think It Over': Trump Sends Warning to Iran After Rockets Hit US Embassy
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 12:33
President Donald Trump issued a warning to Iran after rockets were fired at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Tweeting a photo of the purported rockets, Trump said that the ''embassy in Baghdad got hit Sunday by several rockets.'' He made the comments as he was traveling to Mar-a-Lago in Florida for Christmas.
''Three rockets failed to launch. Guess where they were from: IRAN. Now we hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq,'' Trump wrote.
Trump then warned: ''Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.''
The photo Trump included appeared to show Katyusha rockets, which are typically used by militia groups in the region. In 2020, Katyusha rockets have been fired by groups at the U.S. Embassy and military bases in Iraq.
About a year ago, U.S. officials confirmed the killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani via a drone strike, saying he was preparing attacks against American assets in the region. They also noted that Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of soldiers and contractors over the years.
After Soleimani's death, Iran launched a barrage of missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq, causing minor injuries to dozens of soldiers.
Suspected Iranian-backed militia groups in the country have launched subsequent missile attacks on U.S. assets, including the embassy in Baghdad, since Iran's missile salvo in January.
'...Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020
But some officials have said it's not clear if Iran was behind the latest rocket attack.
''I do not know the degree to which Iran is complicit,'' Gen. Frank McKenzie told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday. ''We do not seek a war, and I don't actually believe they seek one either.''
However, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said Iran-backed militias were behind the incident.
''The same militias targeting diplomatic facilities are stealing Iraqi state resources on a massive scale, attacking peaceful protesters and activists, and engaging in sectarian violence,'' said Pompeo. No Americans were injured, he said.
The rockets landed in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, which includes the U.S. Embassy, injuring several Iraqi civilians, officials said.
The most prominent Iran-backed group, Kataib Hezbollah, said that it wasn't behind the rocket attack on Sunday.
''The bombing of the embassy of evil at this time is an uncontrolled act, and the relevant authorities should follow up and arrest the perpetrators,'' said a statement from the group, according to VOA News. ''We condemn the indiscriminate shelling of the military barracks of the American Embassy because it is a real threat to civilian lives,'' it said.
Steal the Vote
YouTube Removes Trump Lawyer's Opening Statement From Senate Committee Hearing
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 14:40
One of President Donald Trump's lawyers said YouTube removed his opening statement from a Senate Homeland Security hearing on election fraud.
''YouTube has decided that my opening statement in the U.S. [Senate], given under oath and based upon hard evidence, is too dangerous for you to see; they removed it. To this day, 'our evidence has never been refuted, only ignored.' Why is Google so afraid of the truth? #BigBrother,'' lawyer Jesse Binnall wrote on Twitter.
Another video of his testimony at the hearing, uploaded on Dec. 17 by a separate account, appeared to still be up.
The Epoch Times reached out to YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, for comment.
YouTube has decided that my opening statement in the U.S. Seante, given under oath and based upon hard evidence, is too dangerous for you to see; they removed it. To this day, ''our evidence has never been refuted, only ignored.'' Why is Google so afraid of the truth? #BigBrother
'-- Jesse R. Binnall '­¸ '­¸ '­¸ (@jbinnall) December 20, 2020
Earlier this month, YouTube announced that it would remove ''content alleging widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of a historical U.S. presidential election.'' The Google-owned company said that it would take this action because the ''safe harbor'' deadline on Dec. 8 in the presidential election had passed.
There are still outstanding legal challenges regarding the Nov. 3 election, while alternative slates of electors voted for Trump during the Dec. 14 meeting of the Electoral College.
''We will remove videos claiming that a presidential candidate won the election due to widespread software glitches or counting errors. We will begin enforcing this policy today, and will ramp up in the weeks to come,'' YouTube wrote in the Dec. 9 announcement.
''As always, news coverage and commentary on these issues can remain on our site if there's sufficient education, documentary, scientific, or artistic context.''
It didn't elaborate on the context it requires, and the announcement drew widespread condemnation from conservatives and free-speech advocates. They argued that YouTube's decision was tantamount to censorship of dissenting views.
During the hearing, Binnall, who filed lawsuits on behalf of Trump in Nevada, said the election was riddled with fraud in the Silver State.
''Thousands upon thousands of Nevada voters had their voices canceled out by election fraud and invalid ballots,'' he told senators during the hearing.
''Here is how it happened. On August 3rd, 2020, after a rushed special session, Nevada legislators made drastic changes to the state's election law by adopting a bill known as AB4,'' he said, referring to the state law that relaxed restrictions on mail-in ballots.
Binnall also said that the campaign was denied transparency when it attempted to seek audits of voting machines or ballots.
As they probed the alleged irregularities, Binnall told the hearing that the campaign was refused access by state election officials to the code of voting machines for a forensic review of whether ''they were hooked up to the internet.'' He asserted, ''We weren't allowed near them. '... We weren't allowed a forensic audit.''
''We were denied [transparency] at every single turn'' in Nevada, he said, adding that one Nevada official ''locked himself in his office'' and wouldn't open the door when Trump's lawyers tried to serve him a subpoena.
BREAKING: OFFICIAL PENNSYLVANIA ELECTION DATA: 191,725 Ballot Records Were ALTERED AFTER ELECTION DAY
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 21:19
try { window._mNHandle.queue.push(function (){ window._mNDetails.loadTag("978454934", "728x90", "978454934"); }); } catch (error) {}(function(w,d,s,i){w.ldAdInit=w.ldAdInit||[];w.ldAdInit.push({slot:12447654957523302,size:[0, 0],id:"ld-6780-4374"});if(!d.getElementById(i)){var j=d.createElement(s),p=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];j.async=true;j.src="https://cdn2.lockerdomecdn.com/_js/ajs.js";j.id=i;p.parentNode.insertBefore(j,p);}})(window,document,"script","ld-ajs");By John Paluska, Founder of The Daily Fodder
As the tsunami of evidence of voter fraud percolates, a brand new report based on Pennsylvania's own election data ported straight from the government site found 191,725 ballot records were edited or fixed AFTER election day. The analysis comes from, Here Is The Evidence, a vote fraud and Coronavirus fact-checking watchdog website.
Many of these ballots were absentee ballots with multiple sent dates that changed month-over-month as the data was "updated." Initially, thousands of ballots had impossible and improbable send dates, but it appears those numbers were just a drop in the bucket.
According to Here Is The Evidence:
As laid out in the Texas lawsuit, Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballot anomalies at 118,426 affected ballots. The anomalies from this December 16th data shows include:
161,774 records have alterations128,969 were Returned Dates changes.13,450 ballots have been deleted since Nov 3rd.10,415 Return Date with no Mail Date5,052 Applications Returned after Ballot Mailed1,034 Applications Approved after Application Returned
Totaling: 191,725 mail-in ballots effected by alterations, illegality, or anomalies.
In Pennsylvania’s response to the Texas lawsuit, they did not address the mail-in ballot anomalies.
On the article's page they have the archived datasets and Wayback Machine pages where they are still observable. The data comes straight from the Pennsylvania government's own website, meaning it isn't fake or altered data.
This is huge and proves without a doubt that there was some funny business going on in Pennsylvania.
HELP STOP THE SPREAD OF FAKE NEWS! SHARE our articles and like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!(function(w,d,s,i){w.ldAdInit=w.ldAdInit||[];w.ldAdInit.push({slot:12447653514682726,size:[0, 0],id:"ld-5524-6588"});if(!d.getElementById(i)){var j=d.createElement(s),p=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];j.async=true;j.src="https://cdn2.lockerdomecdn.com/_js/ajs.js";j.id=i;p.parentNode.insertBefore(j,p);}})(window,document,"script","ld-ajs");(function(w,d,s,i){w.ldAdInit=w.ldAdInit||[];w.ldAdInit.push({slot:12502750361790054,size:[0, 0],id:"ld-9203-5412"});if(!d.getElementById(i)){var j=d.createElement(s),p=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];j.async=true;j.src="https://cdn2.lockerdomecdn.com/_js/ajs.js";j.id=i;p.parentNode.insertBefore(j,p);}})(window,document,"script","ld-ajs");(function(w,d,s,i){w.ldAdInit=w.ldAdInit||[];w.ldAdInit.push({slot:12502748482741862,size:[0, 0],id:"ld-6675-4890"});if(!d.getElementById(i)){var j=d.createElement(s),p=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];j.async=true;j.src="https://cdn2.lockerdomecdn.com/_js/ajs.js";j.id=i;p.parentNode.insertBefore(j,p);}})(window,document,"script","ld-ajs");
Trump:''We are actually very close'' to the desired outcome; Pence can overturn 7 states? | Eye Opener - YouTube
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 04:56
Trump turns on Pence, McConnell, Cipollone in desperate final days - Axios
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 04:53
President Trump, in his final days, is turning bitterly on virtually every person around him, griping about anyone who refuses to indulge conspiracy theories or hopeless bids to overturn the election, several top officials tell Axios.
The latest: Targets of his outrage include Vice President Pence, chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Secretary of State Pompeo and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Why it matters: Trump thinks everyone around him is weak, stupid or disloyal '-- and increasingly seeks comfort only in people who egg him on to overturn the election results. We cannot stress enough how unnerved Trump officials are by the conversations unfolding inside the White House.
Top officials are trying to stay away from the West Wing right now.
Trump is lashing out, and everyone is in the blast zone: At this point, if you're not in the ''use the Department of Homeland Security or the military to impound voting machines'' camp, the president considers you weak and beneath contempt.Trump is fed up with Cipollone, his counsel. Some supporters of Cipollone are worried that Trump is on the brink of removing him and replacing him with a fringe loyalist. A source who spoke to Trump said the president was complaining about Pence and brought up a Lincoln Project ad that claims that Pence is "backing away" from Trump. This ad has clearly got inside Trump's head, the source said.
Trump views Pence as not fighting hard enough for him '-- the same complaint he uses against virtually everybody who works for him and has been loyal to him.Pence's role on Jan. 6 has begun to loom large in Trump's mind, according to people who've discussed the matter with him.
Trump would view Pence performing his constitutional duty '-- and validating the election result '-- as the ultimate betrayal.A new fixation: Trump has even been asking advisers whether they can get state legislatures to rescind their electoral votes. When he's told no, he lashes out even more, said a source who discussed the matter with the president.
And in an Oval meeting Monday night, Trump spoke with House Republicans about voting to overturn the result on Jan. 6 '-- a desperate vote that even Trump has privately acknowledged he's bound to lose.The person who has the worst job in Washington, according to multiple administration officials: the incoming head of the Justice Department, Jeffrey Rosen.
The consensus is he has no earthly idea the insanity he is in for. The next month will be the longest of his life.Obtained by AxiosAnother reflection of Trump's state of mind:
As Axios reported Monday night, the president got his personal assistant to email Republican lawmakers a PowerPoint slide (above) attacking McConnell for being "the first one off the ship," and absurdly claiming credit for the Senate majority leader's victory in his Kentucky re-election.That's quite a message to send two weeks out from crucial runoff races in Georgia, where Republicans need to stay unified.Where's Jared? A source told Axios that Kushner, who yesterday participated in a tree-planting ceremony in Jerusalem Forest's Grove of Nations, "is focused on the Middle East."
It's a perfect visual encapsulation of Kushner's absence '-- on the other side of the world, planting a tree with Bibi and accepting plaudits, while Trump discusses mayhem with Sidney Powell.
Rudy Giuliani: 'Big revelations' coming about Georgia voting machines
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 04:53
| December 22, 2020 10:54 AM
Rudy Giuliani said he expects "big revelations" about voting machines in Georgia in the coming days.
The former New York City mayor, who is spearheading President Trump's legal challenge to the 2020 election results, made the prediction on Steve Bannon's War Room podcast on Monday.
"I happen to know we have one or two, my fingers crossed, big revelations for Georgia within the next day or two with regard to the machines that we've had some more information about," he said. "So, maybe a little more additional information about the fraud and the cheating would be enough to push this over the top."
Georgia is one of several states Trump lost to President-elect Joe Biden in which Giuliani and his allies claim the election was "stolen" from the president and have fought to get the election results decertified. Giuliani previously appeared before Georgia state lawmakers to make claims of voting fraud.
Over the weekend, Giuliani said the Trump team will refocus its strategy on claiming that voting machines in several battleground states that Trump lost were used to flip votes to Biden. These allegations have not held up in court. Federal and state officials said they have not seen evidence of widespread voter fraud, and the electronic voting machine companies targeted by the allegations are threatening litigation.
In addition, Trump huddled at the White House on Monday with conservative lawmakers who plan to contest Biden's Electoral College victory when the new session of Congress meets to certify the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6.
The Georgia House Governmental Affairs Committee is set to hold a virtual hearing on voting processes and elections in the state on Wednesday.
Memorandum on the Attorney General's Authority to Use Classified Information in Connection with Review of Intelligence Activities | The White House
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 04:20
December 18, 2020
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATETHE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURYTHE SECRETARY OF DEFENSETHE ATTORNEY GENERALTHE SECRETARY OF ENERGYTHE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITYTHE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCETHE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCEAGENCY
SUBJECT: Attorney General's Authority to Use Classified Information in Connection with Review of Intelligence Activities Relating to the 2016 Presidential Campaigns
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Authority of the Attorney General. The Attorney General is currently conducting a review of intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters. On May 13, 2019, the Attorney General directed John Durham to conduct that review, which subsequently developed into a criminal investigation. On October 19, 2020, the Attorney General appointed Mr. Durham to conduct that investigation pursuant to the powers and independence afforded by the Special Counsel regulations of the Department of Justice.
In a memorandum of May 23, 2019, I directed the heads of elements of the intelligence community, as defined in 50 U.S.C. 3003(4), and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community, to assist the Attorney General in connection with that review, and authorized the Attorney General to declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to his review. In addition, the Attorney General is authorized to use classified information as he deems necessary in connection with his review, including in a grand jury or other proceeding.
Sec. 2. 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) The authority in this memorandum shall terminate upon the conclusion of the Special Counsel's investigation, unless expressly extended by the President. In addition, the authority of the Attorney General under the May 23, 2019, memorandum is hereby extended to terminate only upon the conclusion of the Special Counsel's investigation, unless expressly extended by the President.
(d) 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
BREAKING! Huge Move to DECERTIFY Election Coming out of Georgia!!! - Choice Clips
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 14:31
'…'…'… A NEW CONSERVATIVE AGE IS RISING '…'…'… Alright, gang, we've got some breaking news here; the Georgia State Senate Judiciary committee is officially recommending the decertification of the electors in Georgia! In this video, we're going to take a look at the report that the judicial committee produced, how 2 other state legislatures are on the verge of doing the same, and how all three states could in fact completely overturn this election in just a matter of days; you are NOT going to want to miss this!
election 2020 voter fraud
Ted Cruz has an Idea that Trump Needs to Execute Now
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 16:40
As streiff pointed out yesterday, barring some Deus ex Machina moment, what's left of Joe Biden (see Joe Biden's Shows His Dementia is Going Strong After Triggering Hunter Biden Question) will be sworn in at the end of January.
Despite the smell of fraud in the air and an incredibly unfair media environment where blatant censorship of damaging Biden stories took place, the current reality must be faced. Given that, what Trump does next may be the most important stretch of his presidency. Handcuffing Biden must become the priority, especially since redistricting alone will likely hand Republicans the House in just two years.
On that front, Ted Cruz has an excellent idea that Trump needs to execute now.
Last night I urged POTUS to submit the Iran Deal & Paris Agreement to the Senate as treaties. By submitting these disastrous deals to the Senate, we can provide advice & consent if a future administration attempts to revive them.
Read my letter 👇 pic.twitter.com/0Qa8Fps5Yb
'-- Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) December 22, 2020
Support for this move poured in immediately after Cruz made the suggestion. If Trump submits these deals, allowing McConnell to bring them for a vote where they will be rejected, Biden can be backed into a corner in regards to reinstating them. It will also make it clear that any deal he enters into after will have no teeth or enforcement mechanism. This is especially true for the Paris Accords, which is nothing but a pointless giveaway to China. The United States already leads the world in carbon reductions, to the extent that we should even care about such a thing.
The Iran deal is probably more complicated, as Republicans stupidly (notice the trend) passed a compromise bill back in 2015 that would allow Obama to override Senate disapproval with only 41 votes. Traditionally, a treaty is supposed to garner 2/3s of the Senate to be approved. Whether that would apply to Biden's attempt at reinstating the deal is not something I know the answer to.
Regardless, McConnell, if he truly cares about stopping Biden's worst impulses, should be going to Trump right now to ensure Cruz's idea comes to fruition. Biden has already pledged to enter back into both terrible agreements, both of which should legally require the consent of Congress as treaties. Republicans can't miss an opportunity like this, nor is any supposed honeymoon period due to Biden.
Cruz is right. Submit both the Iran Deal and Paris Accords to the Senate now, before it's too late.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)
Georgia GOP and Texas firm challenge eligibility of more than 364K voters ahead of Senate runoffs
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 21:09
| December 23, 2020 03:21 PM
A Texas voting rights organization is working with Georgia Republicans to challenge the voter eligibility of more than 364,000 people who may have moved, potentially disqualifying their ballots in the state's Senate runoff elections.
"True the Vote announced today it is submitting 364,541 Elector Challenges on behalf of Georgia voters representing all 159 counties," the organization wrote in a press release.
An elector challenge is a "unique feature in Georgia Law" that allows any voter to "challenge the eligibility of any other voters in his or her county if probable cause exists to show that the challenged voter does not meet the qualifications legally required to cast a ballot."
True the Vote said its analysis of the U.S. Postal Service's National Change of Address system and Georgia voter registers identified "124,114 registered voters who no longer reside in the county of record" and another 240,427 who no longer reside in the state at all.
"Ongoing debates about the November election throughout the country have Americans focused intently on improving the integrity of our elections and restoring the faith of voters. Today, we assisted concerned Georgia voters in taking a stand for the sanctity of every legal vote," True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht said in a statement. "It is our hope that this historic challenge marks the beginning of the great awakening of American voters to serve our democracy by getting involved in the process."
The organization has submitted challenges in every Georgia county and gained steam in Forsyth County outside of Atlanta and Columbus's Muscogee County '-- which together have already filed challenges forcing more than 9,000 voters to use a provisional ballot when they appear to vote and prove their residency, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
An elector challenge does not automatically remove a voter's name from the registry. If voters whose eligibility has been challenged are able to provide evidence of their residency, their provisional ballots will be counted in the Jan. 5 election.
Following the 2020 general election, which involved two recounts, lawsuits, and violent threats against election officials and their families, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made a number of appeals to restore confidence in the state's election system.
Earlier this month, Raffensperger announced Georgia would conduct a "forward-looking" statewide audit of mail-in ballot signatures that would inform how the state election board moved forward with conducting elections.
On Wednesday, Raffensperger told the Georgia Assembly that he supported eliminating no-excuse absentee ballot requests after 15 years despite affirming the "vast majority of claims" alleging voter fraud "are simply unfounded," according to Fox News. Asked to explain his stance, Raffensperger said that "it's harder to provide confidence" in the electoral process without stricter policies.
Raffensperger's office did not respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment, but the secretary of state told True the Vote that he supported "any effort that builds faith in our election system that follows the proper legal procedure."
Other voting rights groups have argued that the move is an attempt to disenfranchise voters, calling True the Vote's reliance on NCAS data "inexact and unverified."
American Civil Liberties Union for Georgia attorney Sean Young called the move "one of the oldest tricks in the voter suppression playbook."
"It's unsurprising that political operatives would pull this out in the middle of a contentious election,'' Young told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "There's no shortage of conspiracy theories in this election. Mass voter challenges attempt to make those conspiracies real and disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters in the process."
The Brennan Center for Justice, a New York University policy institute, said relying on change-of-address lists "isn't a reliable way to cull voter registration lists without additional information." The Brennan Center pointed to 2,203 voters on True the Vote's list of challenges who participated in the Nov. 3 election, which means they showed a photo ID and have already proven their residency.
GA Senate Committee Releases Damning Report On Election Fraud '' Election 'Untrustworthy''...Recommends Decertifying Electors | DJHJ Media
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 13:32
The Georgia Senate Committee released its report on the election irregularities and quite possibly fraudulent activity when it came to counting the votes. They had listened to witnesses telling what they saw and other evidence that shakes people's ability to trust the election report. They voted to rescind their certification.
Georgia had over 16,000 more absentee ballots than they counted on election night. Just enough extra votes to put Biden in the lead by about 12,000 votes. In Fulton County, they threw the Republicans and the press out because they said they were done counting for the night. As soon as the coast was clear, they pulled out suitcases full of votes.
President Trump had a huge lead election night but the four suitcases narrowed the gap and the additional absentee ballots gave Biden just enough to win. The committee wrote a 15-page review that was extremely critical of the entire election process.
But, we have just found out that SOS Brad Raffensperger's Brother Ron works for Huawei Enterprise Storage Solutions based in Shenzhen, China, a China government-owned company. Isn't it funny how all roads lead to China? China went all out to get Biden elected. So has Raffensperger.
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THE_FINAL-REPORT-1
The November 3, 2020 General Election (the ''Election'') was chaotic and any reported results must be viewed as untrustworthy. The Subcommittee took evidence from witnesses and received affidavits sworn under oath. The Subcommittee heard evidence that proper protocols were not used to ensure chain of custody of the ballots throughout the Election, after the opening of ballots prior to the Election, and during the recounts.
The Subcommittee heard testimony that it was possible or even likely that large numbers of fraudulent ballots were introduced into the pool of ballots that were counted as voted; there is no way of tracing the ballots after they have been separated from the point of origin.
The Subcommittee heard testimony of pristine ballots whose origin looked suspicious or which could not be verified and the inability of poll workers to distinguish between test ballots and absentee ballots. Signatures were not consistently verified according to law in the absentee balloting process.
Poll watchers on Election Night testified that they had noted that ballots were not secured, that seals and security tags were not used, and the chain of custody was often lax or non-existent. During the recount process, the monitors observed similar patterns of unsecured ballots that had broken seals and open cases of ballots laying around for hours or overnight in unsecured locations.
There was a lack of enforcement of the law, sloppy handling of the ballots by those counting, deliberate covering-up of voting numbers by workers, lack of following the process during the recount, unsafe handling of military ballots, and insecure data such as on laptops and flash drives.
According to submitted testimony, there were also many equipment failures when ballots would not go through the machines and other times when ballots were counted more than once.
SolarWind
SolarWinds Hack Victims: From Tech Companies to a Hospital and University - WSJ
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 15:46
The suspected Russian hackers behind breaches at U.S. government agencies also gained access to major U.S. technology and accounting companies, at least one hospital and a university, a Wall Street Journal analysis of internet records found.
The Journal identified infected computers at two dozen organizations that installed tainted network monitoring software called SolarWinds Orion that allowed the hackers in via a covertly inserted backdoor. It gave them potential access to much sensitive corporate and personal data.
Among them: technology giant Cisco Systems Inc., chip makers Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. , accounting firm Deloitte LLP, cloud-computing software maker VMware Inc. and Belkin International Inc., which sells home and office Wi-Fi routers and networking gear under the LinkSys and Belkin brands. The attackers also had access to the California Department of State Hospitals and Kent State University.
The victims offer a small window into the sweeping scope of the hack, which could have ensnared as many as 18,000 of Austin-based SolarWinds Corp.'s customers, the company said, after hackers laced a routine software update with malicious code.
SolarWinds said that it traced activity from the hackers back to at least October 2019 and that it is now working with security companies, law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate the attack.
Cisco confirmed that it found the malicious software on some employee systems and a small number of laboratory systems. The company is still investigating. ''At this time, there is no known impact to Cisco offers or products,'' a company spokesman said.
Intel downloaded and ran the malicious software, the Journal's analysis found. The company is investigating the incident and has found no evidence the hackers used the backdoor to access the company's network, a spokesman said.
Deloitte, infected in late June according to the Journal's analysis, said it ''has taken steps to address'' the malware but hasn't ''observed indications of unauthorized access to our systems at this time.''
VMware said it found ''limited instances'' of the malicious software in its systems, but its ''internal investigation has not revealed any indication of exploitation,'' a spokesman said.
Belkin said in an email that it removed the backdoor immediately after federal officials issued an alert last week. ''There has been no known negative impact identified to date,'' a company spokeswoman said.
A Kent State University spokeswoman said the school ''was aware of the situation and are evaluating this serious matter.''
The California Department of State Hospitals installed the backdoor by early August, according to the Journal's analysis. State officials are working with federal and state agencies to address the impact of the SolarWinds backdoor, according to a spokesman for California's Governor's Office of Emergency Services, who declined to comment on specific agencies affected.
An Nvidia spokesman said the company has ''no evidence at this time that Nvidia was adversely affected and our investigation is ongoing.''
The Journal gathered digital clues from victim computers collected by threat-intelligence companies Farsight Security and RiskIQ and then used decryption methods to reveal the identities of some of the servers that downloaded the malicious code. In some cases, the analysis led to the identity of compromised organizations and showed when the code was likely activated'--indicating that the hackers had access.
It isn't yet known what the hackers did inside the various organizations, or if they even used the backdoors for many of the companies. But investigators and security experts say that besides internal communications and other government secrets, hackers may have sought emails of corporate executives, files about sensitive technologies under development, and other ways to compromise more systems later.
The uncertainty has left SolarWinds' customers'--which include major technology companies, more than 400 Fortune 500 companies and many government agencies'--scrambling to determine the fallout and whether the hackers remain inside.
The attack blended extraordinarily stealthy tradecraft, using cyber tools never before seen in a previous attack, with a strategy that zeroed in on a weak link in the software supply chain that all U.S. businesses and government institutions rely on'--an approach security experts have long feared but one that has never been used on U.S. targets in such a concerted way.
Government agencies and cybersecurity experts are still working to piece together the massive suspected espionage operation. At least six federal agencies, including the departments of State, Homeland Security, Commerce and Energy, were hacked as part of the campaign.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency last week published an alert that said the hack was ''grave'' and ongoing. SolarWinds has released an update that closes the backdoor, and Microsoft Corp. has taken control of part of the hackers' infrastructure to prevent the attack from spreading.
Federal investigators have concluded that the Russian government is likely responsible for the hack in part because of the level of skill involved. Several senators who have received briefings in recent days have openly referred to it as a Russian operation. And on Friday Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became the first Trump administration official to publicly blame Moscow, although President Trump in a tweet Saturday suggested without evidence that China could be responsible.
Moscow has denied responsibility.
''Customers are definitely freaking out,'' said David Kennedy, whose company, TrustedSec LLC, is investigating the hack. For many companies the concern is whether the attackers stole data or remain undetected within corporate networks, he said. What's more, because the attack dates back many months, some companies may no longer have the forensic data needed to do a complete investigation.
''If this is indeed SVR, as we believe it is, those guys are incredibly hard to kick out of networks,'' said Dmitri Alperovitch, a cybersecurity expert and co-founder of the Silverado Policy Accelerator think tank, referring to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.
Some organizations that maintain better records of activity on their systems will likely be able to determine whether somebody walked through the Russian backdoor onto their networks, said Mr. Alperovitch, who also co-founded cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. But for others, especially smaller or midsize companies, it will be a difficult and expensive task that many are likely to ignore'--meaning Russia could maintain a presence in some networks indefinitely.
''They probably are just going to remove the backdoor and move on,'' Mr. Alperovitch said.
For many corporate victims, the looming fear now is that the hackers could use them as an avenue to get to their clients. For example, Microsoft found in research released Thursday that nearly half its more than 40 customers hit in the attack were information technology service companies, which often have broad access to their customers' networks.
Microsoft, itself a SolarWinds customer, said last week it had also detected malicious software related to the hack on its own network but ''no indications that our systems were used to attack others,'' a company spokeswoman said. The company's investigation continues.
Write to Kevin Poulsen at Kevin.Poulsen@wsj.com, Robert McMillan at Robert.Mcmillan@wsj.com and Dustin Volz at dustin.volz@wsj.com
A second hacking group has targeted SolarWinds systems | ZDNet
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 13:43
As forensic evidence is slowly being unearthed in the aftermath of the SolarWinds supply chain attack, security researchers have discovered a second threat actor that has exploited the SolarWinds software to plant malware on corporate and government networks.
Details about this second threat actor are still scarce, but security researchers don't believe this second entity is related to the suspected Russian government-backed hackers who breached SolarWinds to insert malware inside its official Orion app.
Also: Best VPNs
The malware used in the original attack, codenamed Sunburst (or Solorigate), was delivered to SolarWinds customers as a boobytrapped update for the Orion app.
On infected networks, the malware would ping its creators and then download a second stage-phase backdoor trojan named Teardrop that allowed attackers to start a hands-on-keyboard session, also known as a human-operated attack.
Image: Microsoft But in the first few days following the public disclosure of the SolarWinds hack, initial reports mentioned two second-stage payloads.
Reports from Guidepoint, Symantec, and Palo Alto Networks detailed how attackers were also planting a .NET web shell named Supernova.
Security researchers believed attackers were using the Supernova web shell to download, compile, and execute a malicious Powershell script (which some have named CosmicGale).
However, in follow-up analysis from Microsoft's security teams, it's been now clarified that the Supernova web shell was not part of the original attack chain.
Companies that find Supernova on their SolarWinds installations need to treat this incident as a separate attack.
According to a post on GitHub by Microsoft security analyst Nick Carr, the Supernova web shell appears to be planted on SolarWinds Orion installations that have been left exposed online and been compromised with exploits similar to a vulnerability tracked as CVE-2019-8917.
This is excellent analysis of a webshell!However, SUPERNOVA & COSMICGALE are unrelated to this intrusion campaign.You should definitely investigate them separately bc they are interesting '' but don't let it distract from the SUNBURST intrusions.Details: https://t.co/6FA6VlABV3
'-- Nick Carr (@ItsReallyNick) December 17, 2020The confusion that Supernova was related to the Sunburst+Teardrop attack chain came from the fact that just like Sunburst, Supernova was disguised as a DLL for the Orion app '-- with Sunburst being hidden inside the SolarWinds.Orion.Core.BusinessLayer.dll file and Supernova inside App_Web_logoimagehandler.ashx.b6031896.dll.
But in an analysis posted late Friday, on December 18, Microsoft said that unlike the Sunburst DLL, the Supernova DLL was not signed with a legitimate SolarWinds digital certificate.
The fact that Supernova was not signed was deemed extremely uncharacteristic for the attackers, who until then showed a very high degree of sophistication and attention to detail in their operation.
This included spending months undetected in SolarWinds' internal network, adding dummy buffer code to the Orion app in advance disguise the addition of malicious code later, and disguising their malicious code to make it look like SolarWinds devs wrote it themselves.
All of this seemed like too much of a glaring mistake that the initial attackers wouldn't have done, and, as a result, Microsoft believes that this malware is unrelated to the original SolarWinds supply chain attack.
Trump Officials Deliver Plan to Split Up Cyber Command, NSA - Defense One
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:44
Trump administration officials at the Pentagon late this week delivered to the Joint Chiefs of Staff a proposal to split up the leadership of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. It is the latest push to dramatically reshape defense policy advanced by a handful of key political officials who were installed in acting roles in the Pentagon after Donald Trump lost his re-election bid.
A U.S. official confirmed on Saturday that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley '-- who along with Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller must certify that the move meets certain standards laid out by Congress in 2016 '-- received the proposal in the last few days.
With Miller expected to sign off on the move, the fate of the proposal ultimately falls to Milley, who told Congress in 2019 that the dual-hat leadership structure was working and should be maintained.
Military officials have watched warily as Miller, his chief of staff Kash Patel, and Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Ezra Cohen-Watnick '-- all installed since Election Day '-- have sought significant policy changes with just over a month remaining in office. Recent outgoing administrations have declined to push through major changes during the transition period.
The post of NSA director and CYBERCOM commander are held by one person '-- currently, Gen. Paul Nakasone '-- in a "dual-hat" arrangement. For years, cybersecurity and national security policy leaders have debated how and when to split that job into two positions. The Trump administration's proposal, if approved, ''would mark a significant shift in policy, and without the proper analysis and certification would run contrary to law,'' a House Democratic aide said Saturday, calling the potential change ''severe.''
The Cyber Command proposal also comes as the United States is grappling with a massive cyberattack on at least a half-dozen federal agencies. Investigators are still working to understand what data may have been taken or compromised. Although Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has publicly linked the attack to Russia, Trump on Saturday attempted to downplay the attack and attribute it to China.
The move may be a signal that Trump might remove Nakasone as the leader of one or either agency amid frustration over the handling of the recent cyberattack, according to some officials speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
An administration official defended the recent spate of changes during the transition.
''Miller is looking to set the department and force up for success in the future,'' that person said. '''Do no harm' is his motto. He's here for a short time and isn't afraid to tackle the issues that would leave a typical secretary open to more baggage over the longer term.''
Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for Milley, said Saturday that the chairman has not officially reviewed or endorsed the proposed split. Until now, Milley has managed to maintain both his job and a public image of independence from the White House. But if he does buck the effort, it could put the chairman in a fragile position with Trump, who has dismissed multiple cabinet-level national security officials since his loss at the polls, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
While the abrupt timing of the proposal to split up the NSA-CYBERCOM leadership structure is unusual, the debate over the policy decision itself is hardly new. Supporters of the split argue that Cyber Command, created in 2009, is able to stand on its own without NSA and is sucking needed resources away from the intelligence agency. Critics of the move argue that Cyber Command isn't yet ready to stand on its own, and that the relationship between the agency and the command is symbiotic.
''NSA and CYBERCOM are uniquely intertwined and share many of the same resources,'' Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote in a letter to Milley and Miller protesting the proposed move that was released Saturday. ''Any action to sever the dual-hat relationship could have grave impacts on our national security, especially during a time that the country is wrestling with what may be the most damaging cyber-attack in our country's history.''
The Democratic House aide said that the House Armed Services Committee ''became aware'' of the plans this week.
It has long been accepted that Cyber Command and the National Security Agency will eventually separate. They operate out of Fort Meade, in Maryland, under separate legal authorities and are responsible for distinct missions. The NSA is responsible for signals intelligence collection '-- seen by many as the crown jewels of U.S. intelligence gathering '-- while Cyber Command is responsible for conducting military operations. Initially, placing the nascent Cyber Command under the same command as the NSA made sense because of the technical similarities of the two missions.
But as Cyber Command matured and rumors of the split began to circulate during the Obama administration, lawmakers laid out a series of recently-updated conditions in the annual 2017 defense policy bill that senior Pentagon leaders would have to certify have been met in order to carry it out. At their simplest, they require both the Joint Chiefs chairman and the defense secretary to certify that neither organization will be harmed by the split. That includes determinations that Cyber Command has the tools it needed to do its job, and that NSA and Cyber Command have ''robust command and control systems and processes...for planning, deconflicting, and executing military cyber operations.''
Supporters of the split argue that keeping the two organizations under the dual-hat arrangement creates inefficiencies.
''The missions of NSA and Cyber Command will continue to compete for priority and advocacy under the dual hat,'' Andrew Schoka, an active duty Army cyber operations officer assigned to Cyber Command, wrote in War on the Rocks in 2019.
Should Milley and Miller make the necessary certifications to Congress, the practical implications of the move will be neither immediate nor irreversible.
''If anything, I'd imagine a direction of a breakup but with an implementation period of six to twelve months,'' the administration official said. ''Leaves space to reverse it but puts a marker down for CYBERCOM to get off the NSA teat.''
Massive data breach may have been discovered due to 'unforced error' by suspected Russian hackers - CNNPolitics
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 16:44
By Zachary Cohen and Jeremy Herb, CNN
Updated 11:11 AM EST, Wed December 23, 2020
(CNN) US officials and private sector experts investigating the massive data breach that has rocked Washington increasingly believe the attackers were ultimately discovered because they took a more aggressive "calculated risk" that led to a possible "unforced error" as they tried to expand their access within the network they had penetrated months earlier without detection, according to a US official and two sources familiar with the situation.
Investigators still haven't confirmed the motives of the attackers as they work both to uncover the full scope of the attack and assign blame for the campaign that impacted at least half a dozen government agencies and potentially hundreds of private companies. The incursion was first uncovered by the cybersecurity firm FireEye after its own network was breached.
FireEye was tipped off to the hackers' presence when they attempt to move laterally within the firm's network, according to the sources, a move that suggested the hackers were targeting sensitive data beyond emails addresses or business records. Whether that exposure was the result of a mistake by the attackers or because they took a calculated risk remains unclear, the sources said.
"At some point, you have to risk some level of exposure when you're going laterally to get after the things that you really want to get. And you're going to take calculated risks as an attacker," one source familiar with the investigation said.
Multiple entry pointsLast week, FireEye acknowledged in a statement that the breach "occurred when the hackers, who already had an employee's credentials, used those to register their own device to FireEye's multi-factor authentication system so they could receive the employee's unique access codes."
FireEye has declined to provide additional details about how the hackers were ultimately discovered after evading detection for months, citing an ongoing investigation into the matter. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency also declined to comment. US officials and experts warn the hackers used multiple entry points to breach these networks, some of which have not yet been identified.
Now, the hackers are attempting to salvage what access they can as the US government and private sector are "burning it all down," sources said, referring to their complete overhaul of networks, which will force the attackers to find new ways of getting the information they seek.
Meanwhile, US officials continue to grapple with the fallout and assess just how successful the operation was, the US official said, noting that it is clear the nation-state responsible invested significant time and resources into the effort.
While the scope of the hacking campaign remains unclear, government agencies that have disclosed they were impacted have said there is no evidence to date that classified data was compromised.
But the way the hackers were discovered suggests the operation was intended to steal sensitive information beyond what was available on unclassified networks and sought to establish long-standing access to various targeted networks, the sources said.
The fact that FireEye -- not the federal government -- discovered the breach has also raised questions about why the attack went undetected at US government agencies.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, President-elect Joe Biden knocked President Donald Trump's administration over hack, charging that "the Trump administration failed to prioritize cybersecurity."
"This assault happened on Donald Trump's watch when he wasn't watching," Biden said. "It is a grave risk, and it continues. I see no evidence that it's under control. I've seen none."
Biden also charged that the Pentagon is failing to brief his transition team on the extent of the hack. On Wednesday, a senior defense official denied that was the case.
'Damage done'"The question of the damage done remains to be determined," Biden said Tuesday. "We have to look at very closely the nature of the breaches, how extensive they are and what damage has been done."
When Biden takes office next month, the hack will pose an immediate challenge, as it's expected to take weeks or months to truly understand the extent of the damage to US agencies. Biden is also likely to have to decide how to respond if the federal government formally attributes the hack to Russia, which members of Trump's administration and lawmakers have said is likely.
"I believe that when I learn the extent of the damage, and in fact who's formally responsible, they can be assured that we will respond," Biden said Tuesday. "We'll probably respond in kind. We have many options, which I will not discuss now."
Lawmakers on the relevant committees are also pushing to learn more about the extent of the hack, why it took so long to be discovered, and why it was a private company that ultimately unearthed the breach. Congressional committees have been briefed both by US officials from the intelligence community and other agencies, as well as by FireEyes, a sign of the company's importance to understanding the data breach, lawmakers and aides say.
"If the public reporting is accurate that it was the private sector that discovered this, that's another big question that our agencies are going to have to answer, which is, why didn't you catch this?" House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said on MSNBC.
While a private company spotted the breach, a private sector contractor, SolarWinds, was at least one of the entry points hackers used to break into government networks. The software that the suspected malware was delivered with, SolarWinds Orion, has as many as 18,000 global customers, including government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
"The government itself may have pretty good protections, but when you have a software firm you're contracting with and they send you a patch and you install it, turns out to not really be a patch but a back door for the Russians or Chinese or whoever wants to do something like this," said Sen. Angus King, a Maine Independent who co-chaired a congressional commission, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, to improve US cyber defenses.
Much of the federal government only learned of one of the country's worst-ever cybersecurity incidents from public reporting and disclosures from private firms. Lawmakers predict there will be efforts next year both to strengthen the US defenses and improve government partnerships with the private sector.
ComplicatedBut that remains a complicated proposition.
"It's very clear from this that we're going to need to set up more partnerships between government and private companies," Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN. "We're going to need to have a tough conversation about whether we want to make it easier for the government to look at private companies' networks and products. That's a very tough conversation because there's civil liberties in the mix there."
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Senate Intelligence Committee Democrat, told CNN's Poppy Harlow on Tuesday there should be a reexamination of reporting requirements after data breaches for both private companies and government agencies.
"If you are a public company, you have to report at the end of the quarter, but there is no immediate requirement to report" for government entities, Warner said. "These are all things that leave us much more vulnerable."
Dominion
Dominion Voting Systems Employee Sues Trump Campaign And Allies, Alleging Defamation : NPR
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 05:08
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, with lawyer Sidney Powell last month in Washington. They, the Trump campaign and others face a lawsuit by an employee of Dominion Voting Systems, a vendor that has been the subject of disinformation from Trump and his allies. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption
toggle caption Jacquelyn Martin/AP Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, with lawyer Sidney Powell last month in Washington. They, the Trump campaign and others face a lawsuit by an employee of Dominion Voting Systems, a vendor that has been the subject of disinformation from Trump and his allies.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP A version of this story was originally published by Colorado Public Radio.
A top employee of Dominion Voting Systems, who has gone into hiding after becoming the subject of conspiracy theories on the right since the election, is suing the Trump campaign, a number of campaign surrogates and pro-Trump media outlets, alleging defamation.
Eric Coomer, director of product strategy and security for the Denver-based company, has been baselessly accused of using his position to mastermind a high-tech plot to steal the election for President-elect Joe Biden. Biden's victory has been certified in the states by officials of both parties with no evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities.
Coomer's suit, filed Tuesday in Colorado state district court in Denver, accuses those responsible of spreading the falsehoods of intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy.
The lawsuit says the claims made about Coomer have led to death threats, constant harassment and "untold damage to his reputation as a national expert on voting systems." Coomer was forced to leave his home one week after the presidential election ended and move to a safe undisclosed location where he remains.
Among those being sued, along with the president's campaign, are his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and outside lawyer Sidney Powell, who has been spotted at the White House in recent days as the president has continued to look for ways of overturning the election, including a meeting with conservative lawmakers who are planning an ill-fated push to challenge state electors when Congress certifies their votes on Jan. 6.
Coomer is also suing figures in right-wing media, including the networks Newsmax and One America News Network, OANN reporter Chanel Rion, blogger Michelle Malkin and others.
"Today I have filed a lawsuit in Colorado in an effort to unwind as much of the damage as possible done to me, my family, my life, and my livelihood as a result of the numerous false public statements that I was somehow responsible for 'rigging' the 2020 presidential election," Coomer said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
"The widespread dissemination of false conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election has had devastating consequences both for me personally and for many of the thousands of American election workers and officials, both Republican and Democratic, who put aside their political beliefs to run free, fair, and transparent elections. Elections are not about politics; they are about accurately tabulating legally cast votes," Coomer said.
Dominion Voting Systems provides election equipment and software to 28 states, including the majority of the equipment used in the swing states on which President Trump has focused most of his post-election ire. The company has also started to take legal action against its detractors; it recently demanded that Powell retract baseless claims about the company and its voting systems.
Coomer said the allegations against him began with a conservative Colorado activist and podcaster, Joe Oltmann, who is also named in the suit. Several days after the election Oltmann said that he'd infiltrated an earlier call with Denver-area antifa members and heard a man identified as "Eric from Dominion" say he would make sure Trump wouldn't win the election. According to Oltmann, the man said, "Don't worry about the election. Trump is not going to win. I made effing sure of that."
Oltmann has never provided a recording of that call, but the allegation spread rapidly through right-wing social media, making its way to pro-Trump media outlets now included in the lawsuit.
Coomer said that conversation never took place and that he has no association with left-wing groups.
"I have a personal political opinion. I may share that with friends and family, but I have never participated, or belonged to, any political groups, political action groups, social justice groups. I do not donate to political campaigns. I don't donate to any PACs or anything like that," he told CPR News.
In addition to his own information, Coomer said the personal addresses of everyone from his parents and siblings to his ex-girlfriends have been posted online. Some have also received threatening letters.
He said he's hopeful this lawsuit will help him reclaim his personal and professional reputation, "While I intend to do everything I can to recapture my prior lifestyle, I have few illusions in this regard."
China
EXC: Top U.S. Tech Execs Attended Conference Sponsored By Chinese Communist Group Which Pushed COVID DisInfo Campaign
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 03:14
Executives from American tech giants such as Facebook and Google attended an annual conference organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the body responsible for leading the Chinese Communist Party's digital campaign to censor factual narratives and push fraudulent information about COVID-19.The unearthed attendance of U.S. tech leaders to the World Internet Conference follows leaked documents from the Chinese Communist Party revealing that its Cyberspace Administration '' which spearheaded the conference '' was tasked with deploying legions of hundreds of thousands of people online.
These individuals, comprising China's ''wu mao'' army, were deployed to combat negative narratives about the Chinese government and peddle misinformation to create a facade that China was adequately containing the virus.
Firewall Fealty. Conceived in 2014, the annual World Internet Conference is organized by Chinese Communist Party bodies including the Cyberspace Administration of China, the State Council Information Office, and several municipal governments.
In addition to Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping speaking at the conference, companies that have been identified by the Department of Defense as assisting the Chinese military for over two decades such as Huawei, China Telecom, and China Electronics Technology Group, have routinely attended.
China Telecom has collaborated with the Chinese military since 1999 per the Department of DefenseOther Chinese companies such as Tencent and ByteDance, whose own the controversial WeChat and TikTok apps, have participated in the conference alongside a bevy of high-level Chinese Communist Party officials.
And the conference's goal of increased technological collaboration between China and the U.S. is misguided, as the prospect presents a hotbed for government-sanctioned intellectual property theft, espionage, hacking, and cyberattacks.
Despite this, American companies including Microsoft, LinkedIn, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon have participated in the state-run event. In 2017, Apple Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai took high profile speaking roles at the event.
Chinese Communist Party Leader Xi's first stop during the 2015 conference was to meet with Alibaba CEO Jack MaFacebook executives have attended the conference for over half a decade. In 2016, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg also took up a speaking role alongside Vaughan Smith, Vice President of Facebook's Corporate Development.
Zuckerberg on panel next to Alibaba's Jack Ma.These corporates offered their support to their conference even after a 2014 controversy where the conference allegedly attempted to have attendees ratify a 3-page declaration advocating for ''enhanced cyberspace connectivity.''
Of paramount concern was collaboration on thwarting breaches of ''cybersecurity and cyber terrorism,'' a blistering display of hypocrisy in light of the Chinese Communist Party leading the world in sanctioning these attacks.
In The (Think) Tank for China. Also collaborating on the venture are a host of D.C.-based think tanks that advocate for closer U.S.-China ties such as the Brookings Institution and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
Brookings has repeatedly sent delegations to the conference to participate in forums alongside Chinese Communist Party administered bodies such as the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies, an affiliate of the body that sanctioned COVID-19 misinformation.
In 2019, the institute co-hosted a panel on the ''interaction of civilizations and role of think tanks in the information age,'' and in 2017, Director of the institute's China Center Li Cheng spoke on a forum advocating for greater collaboration between U.S. and Chinese tech companies.
Brookings listed alongside Chinese Communist Party body as panel co-hostAnother mainstay in the pro-China lobby group, the National Committee on U.S. China Relations, also sent its President Stephen Orlins to speak at the conference. In 2017, for example, Orlins wanted to ensure that ''the internet serves the complementary, rather than the conflicting, interests'' of China and the U.S.
Conferences & Collaborators. American tech companies liaising with Chinese Communist Party linked firms and party members at the World Internet Conference is not an isolated incident.
This expos(C) follows a long list of National Pulse reporting calling out the same companies for attending a host of conferences bankrolled by the Chinese Communist Party with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and ByteDance in attendance.
Natalie Winters Natalie Winters is a Senior Reporter at the National Pulse and producer of The National Pulse TV show.
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Behind the CCP's Fervent Denial of Interfering in the US Election
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 15:24
Commentary
On Dec. 17, a report published on the homepage of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-run media Xinhua website was very eye-catching. It stated, ''The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Refutes Influencing U.S. Presidential Elections: Completely Fabricated.''
Chinese state media reports on the U.S. presidential election, and their stated attitudes toward the two candidates, have fluctuated greatly. Of course, the Party has its eyes on Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden. But as allegations of election fraud and Chinese interference surfaced, the Party is worried that the truth could be spilled soon.
CCP media has been cautious in general in their coverage, for fear of being implicated in election fraud, which will attract a strong U.S. counterattack.
However, Xinhua's denial of CCP interference in the U.S. election at a time around the same time the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs holds a hearing on election irregularities is in fact indirectly hinting at its guilty plea.
The core of Xinhua's report can be summarized with these words from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin: ''China is committed to the principle of non-interference. Claims about China influencing U.S. presidential elections are completely fabricated.''
Wang was responding to a Bloomberg reporter's question during a regular press briefing.
The reporter asked, ''A statement from the Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Radcliffe said on Wednesday night that a deadline to submit a classified report to Congress on foreign efforts to sway the November 3rd election will not be met. That's because director Radcliffe is said to be refusing to sign off on the report, unless it more fully reflects the national security threat posed by China. Does the ministry have any comment on this situation?''
The reporter carefully thought out how to phrase the question, to elicit an impromptu answer from the spokesperson. And indeed, that appears to have happened.
Wang said, ''Not long ago the U.S. Director of National Intelligence called China ''national security threat no.1,'' referring to Ratcliffe's op-ed penned for the Wall Street Journal. Then Wang added, ''China is committed to the principle of non-interference. Claims about China influencing U.S. presidential elections are completely fabricated.''
The reporter's question actually did not directly mention election interference, but Wang took the initiative to address the topic'--a mistake on his part. This question was not arranged in advance, as is often the case with Chinese media journalists who attend the Chinese regime's press briefings. Instead, Wang just blurted out those words without preparing a script. The reporter's question successfully caught something big.
Wang's response was a slip of the tongue, but as long as no one mentions it deliberately, the moment will pass. However, what is strange is that Xinhua made it the focus of an article, and deliberately emphasized the statement. On the surface, it seems illogical, but in essence, it reflects the real concerns of the CCP leadership. Wang's response was clearly the result of repeated warnings by the CCP's high-level officials: you must categorically deny intervening in U.S. elections at all times. Wang naturally kept this in his mind, but he accidentally ''copy and pasted'' the answer to the wrong question.
A growing list of U.S. sanctions on Chinese companies and officials must have triggered fierce debates within the Party, as regime leader Xi Jinping's authority is once again being challenged. And the U.S. counterattack has not ended. This is what the CCP leadership is most worried about. They cannot stop the United States from counterattacking, but the top officials do not want to take responsibility for the consequences. Wang's panic-stricken denial reflects the Party's internal state.
People within the CCP know that such moves are part of the CCP's playbook to deflect attention from their mistakes: blame the United States for the continued deteriorating U.S.-China relations; incite nationalism and play tough to maintain its authority in the country.
Wang's gaffe and the Party media's overly zealous denial only expose how the CCP leadership is running out of ideas on how to deal with the United States.
Zhong Yuan is a researcher focused on China's political system, the country's democratization process, human rights situation, and Chinese citizens' livelihood. He began writing commentaries for the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times in 2020.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Newsom's coronavirus-mask deal with Chinese firm draws concern - Los Angeles Times
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 12:18
Gov. Gavin Newsom's decision to spend almost $1 billion in taxpayer funds to buy protective masks drew national attention as an aggressive move by California to solve one of the most nagging problems of the coronavirus crisis.
But almost two weeks after he announced the deal during a cable TV interview, very few details have been disclosed. The governor's advisors have so far declined requests for information about the agreement with BYD, the Chinese electric car manufacturer hired to produce the masks, though the state has already wired the company the first installment of $495 million.
Newsom, who has been praised for his efforts to slow the spread of the disease, bristled on Saturday at suggestions that his administration has been too slow to explain a deal that will cost California taxpayers 30% more than his January budget would spend on infectious disease prevention for an entire fiscal year.
''I'm for outcome here,'' Newsom shot back when asked by a reporter about withholding the contract's details. ''Some are consumed by process, personality, intrigue. Who's up, who's down. We are for actually solving a major, major problem '-- not only for the state but potentially a template for the country.''
But a bipartisan chorus of concerns has emerged in the Legislature. Lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated that the governor's advisors have asked only for expedited approval to spend money without briefing them on what has been agreed to.
''I must emphasize, that's a big deal,'' state Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) said of the agreement during a legislative oversight hearing on Thursday. ''And what is in the contract that ensures the deliverability '-- timely '-- is going to be really, really important. At the least, we cannot be just throwing out a false hope to people.''
BYD, a Shenzhen-based company whose initials stand for ''Build Your Dreams,'' has staked its reputation on building electric vehicles. It has a U.S. subsidiary based in Los Angeles, with a vehicle manufacturing facility in Lancaster. The company currently employs about 1,000 people in California, a company spokesman said.
Exactly how BYD has converted some of its manufacturing efforts in China to begin producing protective masks is unclear. On March 13, it touted the creation of ''the world's largest mass-produced face masks plant'' in a news release posted on the company's website. The company announced that it would make 5 million masks a day '-- far surpassing the 100 million masks a month promised by 3M, the company best known for producing N95 masks, used to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
A spokesman for BYD referred all questions about negotiations over the purchase of masks to Newsom's office.
Newsom and other top officials have described the gambit as straightforward: Leverage the state government's purchasing power, backed up by a multibillion-dollar cash surplus, to buy 200 million masks a month. The masks would then be distributed to healthcare and emergency workers across California, a supply chain that would continue through the end of June.
Administration officials have said that each monthly shipment from BYD will contain 150 million N95 masks and 50 million surgical masks.
''We made a big, bold bet on a new strategy, and it is bearing fruit,'' Newsom said on April 8.
That same day, The Times asked for a copy of the contract to purchase the masks. On Monday, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services delayed responding to the request until May 4.
BYD is well known in California government circles. In 2013, then-Gov. Jerry Brown announced the company's decision to build electric buses in Southern California during a trade mission to China. It was a key component of the state's efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, he said.
''I think it's very important that we start replacing the bus fleet with electric buses,'' Brown said during a tour of BYD's Shenzhen facility.
But there were criticisms of BYD's work in California. Problems with some of the company's electric buses were chronicled in a Times investigation in 2018. The former chief counsel of a competing company said in a 2013 letter to Long Beach officials that BYD had ''a history of overpromising and underdelivering.''
Workplace conditions have also come under scrutiny. California safety officials investigated the BYD facility four times between the summer of 2014 and last spring, according to records reviewed by The Times, alleging 20 different workplace violations.
Among the violations alleged at the Lancaster electric car plant last year were errors in the proper use of respirators '-- safety masks '-- for its employees.
A company spokesman declined to comment on any of the workplace citations because of pending legal action.
In the years since it set up shop in California, BYD has quietly but steadily ramped up its governmental and political presence. The company has spent more than $1 million lobbying state officials since 2014 and made a $50,000 contribution to the 2018 ballot measure campaign to keep in place California's new taxes on gas and diesel sales.
In 2015, the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development awarded BYD a $3-million tax credit to expand its manufacturing in California to other kinds of electric vehicles. But the company forfeited more than $1 million of the incentive.
''The tax credit was based on an optimistic business forecast that was ultimately revised,'' company spokesman Frank Girardot said in an email.
The announcement of new mask production by BYD leadership in China came at just the right moment for California, as the Newsom administration scrambled for protective gear while cases of the novel coronavirus began to mount.
''Look, we've been competing against other states, against other nations, against our own federal government'' for safety equipment, Newsom told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on April 7. ''We're not waiting around any longer.''
The next day, the governor's director of emergency services, Mark Ghilarducci, told reporters that BYD's California-based subsidiary was key to the $990-million deal.
''This is an organization that has a manufacturing capability that is specifically designed to meet this need,'' Ghilarducci said, citing BYD's operations in China.
But almost immediately, lawmakers wondered why the Newsom administration wouldn't allow them to review the contract before asking for the first payment to BYD.
''We would never approve a budget this way,'' Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, said in an interview on April 9, two days after the deal was announced. ''The whole reason we don't do a budget one request at a time is we want to know the big picture.''
That same day, a letter from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee demanded details, including the performance standards expected of BYD, the price per mask and delivery timelines. But none of those specifics have, so far, been provided to legislators.
On April 13, three days after the initial $495-million payment, Ghilarducci said that the state was still ''in the final negotiation phases'' and that the agreement would be kept private until that process was complete.
Three days later, Newsom advisors offered a different explanation. During testimony before a special state Senate budget hearing examining the pandemic's impact on California's economy and government finances, lawmakers were told that revealing the contract's details too soon could mean someone else '-- not California '-- might get the masks. Similar problems have arisen in other states, including seizures of supplies by the federal government.
''We have concerns about releasing too many details of it because, again, our goal is to get the supply into California for the people who need it,'' said Tina Curry, deputy director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. ''There are a lot of things that could come into play to disrupt that, to influence that or interfere with that in some way.''
During a taped appearance on ''The Ellen DeGeneres Show'' that aired on Friday, Newsom voiced similar concerns.
''We haven't yet seen the benefits of those efforts,'' he said of the mask purchase. ''I'm not holding my breath. We have backups to that backup.''
On Saturday, while visiting Santa Clara County to discuss efforts to help COVID-19 patients who are homeless, Newsom insisted the BYD contract is complete and that he's revealed an ''appropriate'' amount of information given the difficulty in actually getting protective gear to its final destination.
''I recognize everybody's desire to have everything out there tomorrow,'' he said. ''And we look forward to all those details becoming public very, very shortly.''
Stimulus
The COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Would Make Illegal Streaming a Felony
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 02:28
Congress looks to provide relief to U.S. citizens and small businesses, but the omnibus bill includes some legislative priorities for the entertainment industry as well.
Providing relief via direct assistance and loans to struggling individuals and businesses hit hard by COVID-19 has been a priority for federal lawmakers this past month. But a gigantic spending bill has also become the opportunity to smuggle in some other line items, including those of special interest to the entertainment community.
Perhaps most surprising, according to the text of the bill being circulated, illegal streaming for commercial profit could become a felony.
It's been less than two weeks since Sen. Thom Tillis released his proposal to increase the penalties for those who would dare stream unlicensed works. In doing so, the North Carolina Republican flirted with danger. About a decade ago, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) made a similar proposal before it ended up dying as people worried about sending Justin Bieber to jail. (No, seriously.) But Tillis' attempt has been winning better reviews for more narrowly tailoring the provisions toward commercial operators rather than users. That said, it's had very little time to circulate before evidently becoming part of the spending package. If passed, illegal streaming of works including movies and music tracks could carry a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.
That's not the only change to copyright law, either.
The spending bill also appears to adopt a long-discussed plan to create a small-claims adjudication system within the U.S. Copyright Office.
Advocates have long sought to give copyright owners some recourse to infringement outside of the expensive federal court system, though the so-called CASE Act has engendered some pushback from those weary of throwing certain disputes to unaccountable bureaucrats working for an agency suspected of favoring industry. Some critics believe the alternative dispute system to be unconstitutional, though by making the system opt-in and non-compulsory, advocates hope that it will survive any legal challenge and ultimately lead to swifter resolution over takedown notices for copyright material posted online. The CASE Act previously passed the House by a 410-6 vote before being blocked in the Senate by Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Among the other parts of the omnibus bill of interest to Hollywood is an extension of Section 181, a tax provision that allows for immediate deduction of television and film production costs up to $15 million. That incentive was scheduled to expire at the end of the year, but would now get an additional five years. (More analysis on that coming.)
Lawmakers will hold a vote later today on the package.
Covid stimulus update: Trump threat could force shutdown, unemployment lapse
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 19:20
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Trump's opposition to a more than $2 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding package raised the prospect of 12 million people losing unemployment aid and the government shutting down.Trump has not explicitly said whether he would veto the bill, and Congress would likely have enough support to override his move.The president has pushed for $2,000 direct payments instead of $600, a sum his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin supported.The president was not involved in the talks around the bill, and Democrats repeatedly pushed for larger direct payments than Republicans wanted.President Donald Trump at the United Nations, September 24, 2019.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
President Donald Trump's last-second opposition to a coronavirus relief and federal funding bill already passed by Congress threatens to torch jobless benefits for millions of Americans and shut down the government during a deadly public health crisis.
After weeks of no involvement in congressional efforts to pass another aid package, the outgoing president shocked Washington on Tuesday night by calling the bill a "disgrace" and pushing lawmakers to increase $600 direct payments to $2,000.
While he did not explicitly say whether he would veto the bill or simply refuse to sign it, Trump said the "next administration will have to deliver a Covid relief package" if Congress does not send him revised legislation.
Any delay in the measure becoming law threatens financial ruin for already struggling Americans. The $900 billion coronavirus relief portion of the bill extends pandemic-era expansions of jobless benefits that cover 12 million people. The provisions expire Saturday '-- the day after Christmas.
The $1.4 trillion appropriations piece of the legislation would keep the federal government running through Sept. 30. The government would shut down Tuesday if it doesn't become law before then.
A federal eviction moratorium '-- which the legislation would extend through Jan. 31 '-- would expire at the end of the year. Tens of millions of people could face the threat of losing their homes if the measure lapses.
With Congress failing to pass new federal aid for most of the year, millions of people fell into poverty. The package would send temporary help in the form of a weekly federal unemployment supplement of $300 through mid-March, the $600 payments and $284 billion in Paycheck Protection Program small business loans. It also contains more than $8 billion for Covid vaccine distribution, $25 billion for rental assistance, $82 billion for education and $45 billion for transportation '-- including funds to help airlines keep employees on staff.
If Trump vetoes the bill, Congress could reconvene after Christmas to override it. The measure got through both chambers with veto-proof majorities. Lawmakers have already planned for the possibility of returning if the president vetoes a national defense bill.
As it takes days for Congress to formally send Trump a bill of that size '-- 5,593 pages '-- it has not even come to his desk yet. The president could kill the legislation through a so-called pocket veto if it does not get to him until Thursday or later. He could let the full 10-day window to sign the bill (which excludes Sundays) wind down before the new session of Congress starts on Jan. 3.
Trump had weeks to shape the bill to his liking before Congress wrote and passed the rescue package and left Washington for the holidays. Instead, he spent the last six weeks spreading conspiracy theories that widespread fraud cost him the Nov. 3 presidential race against President-elect Joe Biden.
Democrats welcome bigger stimulus checksDemocrats would have welcomed an earlier push for $2,000 direct payments from Trump as Republicans tried to limit the size of the spending package. Indeed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., quickly backed a $2,000 check on Tuesday night. They supported it as a measure separate from the $900 billion rescue package.
They still want the president to sign that bill into law. Before Trump changed his tune, his own Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, signed off on the $600 payments. Republican congressional leaders did not at first back checks as part of the latest round of talks.
House Democrats hope to approve $2,000 payments by unanimous consent during a pro-forma session on Thursday. Any representative who decides to return to the Capitol on Christmas Eve could block the measure. The GOP-held Senate may not approve it even if the House passes it.
"If the President truly wants to join us in $2,000 payments, he should call upon [House Minority] Leader [Kevin] McCarthy to agree to our Unanimous Consent request," Pelosi wrote to House Democrats on Wednesday.
"The entire country knows that it is urgent for the President to sign this bill, both to provide the coronavirus relief and to keep government open."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office has not responded to Trump's gambit. However, at least one member of the Kentucky Republican's caucus got behind Trump's push for $2,000 payments.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted Wednesday that he would support the provision along with a conservative-backed measure to scrap legal liability for internet platforms.
"Let's vote," he said.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., had joined Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in pushing for $1,200 direct payments in the year-end relief bill. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who was one of six Republican senators to vote against the package, blocked both lawmakers' attempts to approve the checks.
Sanders and other progressives embraced Trump's new call for larger direct payments. On Tuesday night, the Vermont senator '-- who backed a monthly $2,000 payment proposal early in the pandemic '-- urged Trump to "get Mitch McConnell and your Republican friends to stop opposing" a larger check.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., noted that she and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., already wrote a legislative amendment for $2,000 payments.
Despite their support for bigger checks, some Democrats still questioned Trump's motives in pushing for them now after sitting out the legislative talks.
"Trump took no interest at all in the negotiations. None. It was his own party that insisted the checks be $600," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., tweeted Wednesday.
"If you think he cares about the size of the checks, I've got a bridge to sell you. All this is is a middle finger to America on his way out the door."
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AOC Anyways tweet
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 16:47
🇺🇸Bernard Sirr🇺🇸 : @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK https://t.co/rlLkl7uALr
Wed Dec 23 12:07:03 +0000 2020
Pork City: Here Are The Most Ridiculous Pet Projects In $900 Billion Stimulus Package | ZeroHedge
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 15:02
As Congress prepares to pass a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill rolled into a consolidated appropriations package - with funding for assistance for households and businesses, along with vaccine distribution and other pandemic-related measures, the bill also includes a ton of pork per usual.
We already know about the $600 checks for each adult and dependent. This time, however, 'mixed-status' households where eligible citizens live with illegal immigrants, will not only receive payments - they can retroactively claim benefits after being left out of the last round.
Family members of unauthorized immigrants are now eligible to get stimulus checks under the $900 billion deal reached last night. That eligibility is retroactive, so adults excluded last time could get up to $1800 now https://t.co/UEyVqvPd4f
'-- Michelle Hackman (@MHackman) December 21, 2020The bill also includes $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits, and would extend unemployment to 50 weeks for both state and federal programs, vs. the standard 26 weeks.
Illustration via WSJ.comAnd now, on to the pork... which includes billions to foreign countries, US military weapons purchases which go above and beyond their budgets, $40 million for the Kennedy Center, and nearly $200 million so that federal HIV/AIDS workers overseas can buy cars and car insurance, among other things.
FOREIGN HANDOUTS:
A minimum of $3.3 billion in grants to Israel.
NEVER MIND $3.3 BILLION IN GRANTS TO ISRAEL pic.twitter.com/AqXzPjaL7o
'-- based tomboy respecter (@inteldotwav) December 21, 2020Also included is $453 million to Ukraine, on top of the $400 million Trump eventually released. No word on how much of that goes to the 'big guy.'
COVID RELIEF SENDS $453m TO UKRAINE pic.twitter.com/1WoPRUl3E9
'-- The_Real_Fly (@The_Real_Fly) December 21, 2020$10 million for "gender programs" in Pakistan.
The Covid relief bill also includes $10 million for ''gender programs'' in Pakistan pic.twitter.com/7kivucCjvY
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020$1.3 billion to Egypt, and $700 million to Sudan.
$130,265,000 to fucking backwoods-ass Nepal pic.twitter.com/MosD3HJJ8O
'-- based tomboy respecter (@inteldotwav) December 21, 2020SEVEN HUNDRED MILLION TO SUDANONE POINT THREE BILLION TO EGYPT
IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ECONOMIC CRISIS pic.twitter.com/NPWpq6Xyuq
'-- based tomboy respecter (@inteldotwav) December 21, 2020$135 million to Burma, $85.5 million to Cambodia, $1.4 billion for an "Asia Reassurance Initiative Act," and $130 million to Nepal.
The Stimulus Bill:The gov't closes the economy. You lose your job. You face eviction.
$600 for all your troubles.
Meanwhile they send:
$135 million to Burma
$85.5 million to Cambodia$1.4 billion for "Asia Reassurance Initiative Act"$130 million to NepalThey hate you. pic.twitter.com/95U2Qt4uNa
'-- Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) December 21, 2020BOMBS AWAY
$4 billion for Navy weapons procurement, $2 billion for Space Force and $2 billion for Air Force missiles.
$4 billion for Navy weapons procurement. pic.twitter.com/luzf8EPMwm
'-- Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) December 21, 2020$2 billion for Space Force! pic.twitter.com/SBcSCKSIh4
'-- Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) December 21, 2020BUREAUCRATIC BONANZA AND OTHER MALARKEY
$208 million to upgrade the Census Bureau's computer systems (which couldn't have waited until the next count in 2030?).
This is just a massive spending bill loaded with pork. Billions and billions to government agencies that received normal budget allocations this year. Vote them all out. https://t.co/6jKL9JmYkj
'-- GW (@GregBW12) December 21, 2020$40 million for the Kennedy Center, and funding to discourage teenagers from drinking and hooking up.
The Covid relief bill provides $40 million for the Kennedy Center pic.twitter.com/aHt8UEkYWA
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020$193 million for federal HIV/AIDS workers to buy cars and car insurance overseas, and a feminist museum.
The Covid relief bill includes $193 million for federal HIV/AIDS workers stationed abroad to buy new cars pic.twitter.com/y16iyK2aJF
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020Funding for a commission to educate consumers "about the dangers associated with using or storing portable fuel containers for flammable liquids near an open flame." (What?)
The Covid relief bill creates a commission tasked with educating ''consumers about the dangers associated with using or storing portable fuel containers for flammable liquids near an open flame." pic.twitter.com/W3Qc6B7CRG
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020Just remember, $600 is a significant amount...
Dear @SpeakerPelosiYou know what's even better than giving us back our own money, pork to your friends, and astronomically increasing our debt?Opening up businesses and freedom. https://t.co/RFZdPu2mXm
'-- 1776 Gwendolyn (@scvbuckeye) December 21, 2020
COVID-19 stimulus bill proposes up to 10 years in prison for "unauthorized streaming"
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 15:30
The recently unveiled COVID-19 stimulus bill contains a series of measures that not only have nothing to do with the coronavirus but could lead to prison time and huge fines for creators and providers of video sharing services that are accused of copyright infringement.
The controversial copyright-related amendments to the bill are listed under ''TITLE II'--INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY.''
The first of these amendments is ''2319C. Illicit digital transmission services'' which will make it illegal for a person to ''willfully, and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain'' provide a ''digital transmission service'' to the public that is ''primarily designed or provided for the purpose of publicly performing works protected under title 17 without the authority of the copyright owner or the law.''
Existing copyright law contains a provision for fair use that allows copyrighted material to be used without permission from the copyright holder in certain circumstances (for example, if the use is deemed to be ''transformative'' because it adds new expression or meaning to the original work).
However, because creators have to prove fair use in court, copyright holders often abuse the system and use copyright claims to take down content that meets the criteria for fair use.
This ''Illicit digital transmission services'' amendment could open the door for similar types of abuse that are targeted at the providers of video-sharing platforms and leave them facing the threat of prison time unless they remove content that meets the criteria for fair use but has been hit with questionable copyright claims.
Another controversial amendment is the inclusion of the ''Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020'' (the CASE Act). This amendment proposes the introduction of a Copyright Claims Board (CCB) within the US Copyright Office which makes it easier for copyright holders to file copyright claims and collect damages. The bill also proposes fines of up to $30,000 per case.
The CASE Act was first proposed last year and has faced heavy criticism. Digital rights groups the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has warned that the bill makes it almost impossible for those accused of copyright violations to appeal and that it could bankrupt regular internet users.
Digital rights group Fight for the Future slammed the inclusion of the CASE Act in this COVID-19 stimulus bill:
''This is atrocious. We're facing a massive eviction crisis and millions are unemployed due to the pandemic, but Congressional leaders could only muster $600 stimulus checks for COVID relief, but managed to cram in handouts for content companies like Disney? The CASE Act is a terribly written law that will threaten ordinary Internet users with huge fines for everyday online activity. It's absurd that lawmakers included these provisions in a must-pass spending bill.''
Fight for the Future also called House and Senate leaders to ''remove the copyright provisions from the Continuing Resolution and move them through regular order so we can have transparent and open debate about the right balance'' and urged lawmakers to ''create a fair system that protects human rights and ensures artists are fairly compensated instead of ramming through poorly crafted legislation that could punish ordinary Internet users for engaging in everyday activities like sharing memes and downloading images online.''
Congress gave tax breaks to industry and special interests in massive stimulus bill - The Washington Post
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 20:36
A snowstorm develops in Washington on Dec. 16. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
Congress on Monday unveiled a 5,593-page spending bill and then voted on it several hours later, with lawmakers claiming urgent action was needed to rescue an ailing economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
But tucked in the bill was over $110 billion in tax breaks that strayed far from the way the bill was marketed to many Americans. These giveaways include big tax cuts for liquor producers, the motorsports entertainment sector and manufacturers of electric motorcycles.
These measures, added onto the broader spending bill, are known as ''tax extenders'' '-- tax breaks targeted at specific, sometimes niche industries. And routinely extending these ''temporary'' measures has become something of a year-end tradition, despite loud complaints from some lawmakers who allege the votes largely benefit special-interest groups who stand to gain financially from the outcome.
These tax extenders are designed to be temporary but are frequently renewed, often at the urging of industry lobbyists, and done so during late-night votes at the end of the year. (The Senate vote Monday took place shortly before midnight.) The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated the extenders benefiting industry and special interests included in the stimulus bill would cost over $110 billion over 10 years.
How the stimulus deal came together
Tax experts and good governance advocates have criticized such short-term tax relief extensions, arguing they hide the true cost of the cuts and advantage industries with the most well-connected lobbyists.
''They are a gravy train for members and lobbyists, who repeat the same exercise every year or two,'' Howard Gleckman, a tax policy expert at the Urban Institute, said in an email. ''The lobbyists get to keep billing hours. The members get campaign money from the same people. Many of these are classic special interest tax breaks that do not benefit the overall economy in any way.''
The federal government collected $3.4 trillion in taxes in the 12 months that ended September 30, but it typically allows more than $1.5 trillion in annual tax breaks, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Some of these are locked into the tax code. Others, however, were initially designed to only last a year or two but continue wining extension after extension because of intense lobbying.
President-elect Joe Biden has been critical of the plethora of tax giveways, but he will find that both Democrats and Republicans have been steadfast in their supportive of certain tax breaks. And in order to win passage each year, the tax breaks are bundled together into one package for votes to draw maximum support.
The enormous new bill packages together emergency economic relief, government funding and tax cuts. The economic relief component of the bill is worth around $900 billion. The legislation included a slew of provisions that had nothing to do with coronavirus relief or funding the government, including many of the tax extenders.
One measure, for instance, makes permanent a cut in excise taxes for producers of beer, wine and distilled spirits, which first became law in 2017 as part of the Republican-led tax cut package. The cuts were due to expire without congressional action, and the alcohol industry had pushed hard for their renewal, arguing that their businesses had been decimated by the pandemic. The industry has supporters among both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, who in turn pushed their leaders to include a bill making the cuts permanent ''in the next appropriate legislative package.''
Anheuser-Busch, the Distilled Spirits Council, Bacardi North America and the Brewers Association all lobbied Congress in recent months on the excise tax issue, lobbying records show.
''I wrote this law for one purpose: to help small brewers and wineries and everybody in this space because the rules, the regulations, and the taxes were practically from Prohibition,'' Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in an interview.
The excise tax cut has won praise in some corners. An analysis by the Progressive Policy Institute published last month argued that the cut helped fuel an expansion in brewery employment, a rare bright spot amid overall U.S. manufacturing decline.
Another extension, of a tax credit aimed at helping the wind industry, sparked impassioned speeches Monday night as the Senate debated the bill. Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) introduced an amendment to strip the credit from the bill and was backed by Republican colleagues Kevin Cramer (N.D.) and James Lankford of (Okla.). They argued that the credits benefit a mature industry that doesn't need the extra help, and that its benefits and harms had not been fully debated by lawmakers.
Lankford said the wind production tax credit was a ''zombie" that legislators had agreed years ago should be ended, only for it to be resurrected by lobbyists. Cramer called the credit a ''market-destroying atrocity,'' and called for an end to all tax extenders.
''Let them all expire," Cramer said. ''K Street wouldn't like it, but it would be one less section in this giant package,'' he said, referring to lobbyists.
The American Wind Energy Association, the trade group for the wind industry, pushed back on the criticism.
''We are surprised that wind energy was singled out amid a federal tax landscape that currently includes support for all types of energy sources,'' said Bree Raum, the trade group's vice president of federal affairs. ''Wind energy provides significant economic benefits to America's heartland, with states like North Dakota and Oklahoma generating over a quarter of their electricity from this clean energy resource.''
Hoeven's amendment was ultimately not approved.
Another extension benefits the motorsports entertainment industry, such as NASCAR, by allowing for the faster write-down of costs related to their complexes. That provision, which has appeared in prior legislation going back to 2004, helps those companies lower their overall tax bills and has now been extended until 2025.
A spokesman for NASCAR, which has lobbied Congress on the extension, did not respond to a request for comment.
Another extender grants a tax credit to buyers of ''two-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles'' '-- that is, electric motorcycles. That credit is worth 10 percent of the cost of the motorcycle, up to $2,500. Manufacturers of the bikes, such as Energica and Zero, advertise the tax credit on their websites.
- Jeff Stein contributed to this article.
"Three-martini lunch" tax break draws outrage. It also may fall short for restaurants. - CBS News
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 23:19
Tucked inside the $900 billion stimulus bill passed by Congress on Monday night is a provision that's sparking ire from some lawmakers and taxpayers: A tax break for business meals. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, called the deduction "corporate socialism for the rich" that would allow CEOs to write off "a 3-martini lunch."
It's a tax break that has been championed by the White House, with President Donald Trump in April calling for the deduction as a way to revive the restaurant industry amid the coronavirus pandemic . Prior to the change, business meals were deductible at 50% of their cost. The provision will lead to $5 billion in foregone tax revenue, according to the Tax Foundation, an independent think tank on tax policies.
Mr. Trump, who owns hotels and restaurants such as the Trump Grill in New York City '-- where a Bloody Mary called "You're Fired" will set you back $18 '-- said the provision would "really bring life back to the restaurants; I think make them hotter than before." With the bill now passed by Congress, it has headed to the White House for Mr. Trump's signature.
Click here to view related media. click to expand
While Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans refused to provide adequate relief for working families facing economic desperation, they had no problem giving a $5 billion, 100% tax deduction to CEOs for a 3-martini lunch. You got it. The GOP loves corporate socialism for the rich.
'-- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 21, 2020While the provision has become a lightning rod for critics, there's a bigger issue at hand: A lack of business clients willing to pay for a three-martini lunch during a pandemic.
Many restaurants are struggling to keep their doors open amid a plunge in customers and state- and city-imposed restrictions. Employers across the nation continue to allow their employees to work from home, while business travel has plummeted as coronavirus rates are surging to new records. In other words, even though the tax break for meals is included in the bill, it may not help restaurants anytime soon.
"We have exactly zero business clients other than vendors and partners we work with showing us mercy and stopping by," said Ashwin Deshmukh, owner of Short Stories, an all-day cafe and bar in New York City's Bowery district.
Before the pandemic, his all-day cafe and bar had plenty of business clients. But that dried up with the crisis, and he doesn't expect his business clientele to return until later in 2021. The tax break for business meals could help at that point, but, he added, "We just have to make it until then."
"Down payment"The stimulus bill includes other provisions that will certainly provide more immediate help to restaurant owners and employees, such as a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program, which was refreshed with $284 billion.
Aside from new PPP loans, other provisions that could help restaurants include the deductibility of operating expenses paid with PPP loans, the enhancement of the Employee Retention Tax Credit as well as the tax deduction for business meals, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA).
But the stimulus bill failed to include some aid that the industry group had been pushing for, such as a dedicated $120 billion fund to help restaurants and other hospitality companies survive the pandemic. Already, 10,000 restaurants around the country having closed temporarily or permanently since the start of September, according the NRA.
The latest stimulus bill represents a "down payment" said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the NRA, in a statement. The industry group said it will continue to press for additional support in 2021.
Vaccines and such
Russian scientist working on COVID-19 vaccine plummets to death
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 14:27
December 20, 2020 | 1:28pm | Updated December 21, 2020 | 7:56am
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A prominent Russian scientist who was working on a COVID-19 vaccine was found dead with a stab wound after plummeting out his window in St. Petersburg, according to news reports.
Alexander ''Sasha'' Kagansky, 45, was in his underwear when he fell to his death from his 14th-floor apartment, according to the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.
The scientist also suffered a stab wound, police said.
Police believe there was a scuffle before Kagansky fell from the building, reports said.
Russian police say they are investigating Kagansky's death as a possible homicide and questioning a 45-year-old man as a potential suspect, e2news.com said.
Alexander ''Sasha'' KaganskyKagansky, best known for his work on cancer research, was an assistant professor in Vladivostok and had spent 13 years working in Edinburgh, Scotland, until 2017, the outlet said.
He was most recently working as director of the Center for Genomic and Regenerative Medicine at Russia's Far Eastern Federal University.
He had been working on developing a vaccine against the coronavirus, e2news said.
Kagansky's body was found by a neighbor on Zamshin Street, the report said.
mohamad safa on Twitter: "NOW: There's an enormous protest going on at Stanford Hospital carried out by staff, who are enraged by the decision by hospital execs to give themselves the covid vaccine and administrators who are AT HOME before giving it to
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 21:18
mohamad safa : NOW: There's an enormous protest going on at StanfordHospital carried out by staff, who are enraged by the decisio'... https://t.co/bALpeh68Zy
Fri Dec 18 21:45:11 +0000 2020
This is how they kill him? Joe Biden receives Covid-19 vaccine on live TV, Kamala Harris to wait a week '-- RT USA News
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 21:20
US President-elect Joe Biden has received the first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, following the current vice president and congressional leaders. His running mate Kamala Harris will reportedly wait for her shot.
Biden was vaccinated in a photo-op at a hospital in Delaware on Monday afternoon, as his wife Jill looked on.
The first vaccinations in the US began last week, with healthcare workers considered the highest priority.
Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams also received vaccines at a White House event on Friday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) also lined up for their shots the same day.
Harris will ''likely'' get the vaccine a week after Biden, Reuters reported citing a Biden-Harris transition official.
Also on rt.com Tulsi Gabbard breaks with other lawmakers, won't take Covid-19 vaccine until seniors get it, blasts 'heartless bureaucrats' at CDC Both US-made vaccines '' one by Pfizer and the other by Moderna '' were developed and approved in record time at taxpayer expense, in what the Trump administration dubbed 'Operation Warp Speed'. While a number of prominent Democrats insisted they were uncomfortable with the vaccines given their development and distribution by the Trump administration, Biden apparently didn't have a problem with that.
''The administration deserves some credit getting this off the ground,'' Biden said after receiving the jab.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci will reportedly be vaccinated on Tuesday, at an event held by the National Institutes of Health.
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Now That Grandma Has Been Vaccinated, May I Visit Her? - The New York Times
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 11:09
The start of a mass coronavirus vaccination campaign at U.S. nursing homes has brought hope to many families. But it may be a while before restrictions loosen. Here are answers to common questions.
Vera Leip, 88, of Pompano Beach, Fla., received the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine at the John Knox Village retirement community last week. Credit... Joe Raedle/Getty Images A watershed moment has arrived for many families: This week health care workers from CVS and Walgreens, under contract from the federal government, will fan out to nursing homes across the country to begin vaccinating residents against the coronavirus. The shots not only will help protect the nation's elderly and infirm '-- and the staff who care for them '-- but they raise the prospect of ending the devastating isolation many residents have felt for months.
Family members are hopeful that before too long, they will return to visiting parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles and other loved ones regularly again. We checked with experts on some common questions.
Will restrictions on visiting be lifted soon?Probably not in a big way. Restrictions vary by state, and the federal government's guidance on what it considers safe stands for now. They already allow visits under certain conditions. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or C.M.S., recommended in September that outdoor visits with residents be allowed and indoor visits, too, if the facility has been free of cases for 14 days.
Some medical experts have said that those guidelines are too lax and that visits should be severely restricted, even banned. However, some of these experts are now saying that the vaccine changes the equation, somewhat.
''Once all residents are vaccinated, it opens the door for loosening of restrictions,'' said Dr. Michael Wasserman, the immediate past president of the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine, a geriatrician and former executive at nursing home chains.
To allow visits, Dr. Wasserman recommends all residents of a nursing home should be vaccinated (unless they have some condition or allergy that would discourage vaccination on medical grounds); all staff members should be vaccinated; and the nursing home should have the ability to ensure that visitors test negative for the coronavirus and have been disciplined about wearing a mask in public settings.
Is the vaccine safe and effective for old and frail residents of nursing homes?The clinical trials of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine included people over 65, and results showed it to be safe and to work as well in older people as in younger ones.
''This vaccine has gone through testing and clinical trials to ensure it meets the highest safety standards. It also is safe to get if you already had the virus,'' says a campaign to encourage people to get the shots by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, a combined trade group representing nursing homes and assisted-living communities.
The lead administrator for C.M.S., Seema Verma, reinforced the confidence in the shot for older patients, including those with health conditions, in a statement last week: ''I urge states to prioritize nursing homes and vulnerable seniors in their distribution of the vaccine.''
The point is echoed by Dr. Sabine von Preyss-Friedman, chief medical officer of Avalon Health Care Group, which operates nursing homes, who said the new vaccines appear ''safe and effective.''
Covid-19 Vaccines 'ºAnswers to Your Vaccine QuestionsWith distribution of a coronavirus vaccine beginning in the U.S., here are answers to some questions you may be wondering about:
If I live in the U.S., when can I get the vaccine? While the exact order of vaccine recipients may vary by state, most will likely put medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities first. If you want to understand how this decision is getting made, this article will help.When can I return to normal life after being vaccinated? Life will return to normal only when society as a whole gains enough protection against the coronavirus. Once countries authorize a vaccine, they'll only be able to vaccinate a few percent of their citizens at most in the first couple months. The unvaccinated majority will still remain vulnerable to getting infected. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines are showing robust protection against becoming sick. But it's also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing they're infected because they experience only mild symptoms or none at all. Scientists don't yet know if the vaccines also block the transmission of the coronavirus. So for the time being, even vaccinated people will need to wear masks, avoid indoor crowds, and so on. Once enough people get vaccinated, it will become very difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people to infect. Depending on how quickly we as a society achieve that goal, life might start approaching something like normal by the fall 2021.If I've been vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask? Yes, but not forever. Here's why. The coronavirus vaccines are injected deep into the muscles and stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. This appears to be enough protection to keep the vaccinated person from getting ill. But what's not clear is whether it's possible for the virus to bloom in the nose '-- and be sneezed or breathed out to infect others '-- even as antibodies elsewhere in the body have mobilized to prevent the vaccinated person from getting sick. The vaccine clinical trials were designed to determine whether vaccinated people are protected from illness '-- not to find out whether they could still spread the coronavirus. Based on studies of flu vaccine and even patients infected with Covid-19, researchers have reason to be hopeful that vaccinated people won't spread the virus, but more research is needed. In the meantime, everyone '-- even vaccinated people '-- will need to think of themselves as possible silent spreaders and keep wearing a mask. Read more here.Will it hurt? What are the side effects? The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is delivered as a shot in the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection into your arm won't feel different than any other vaccine, but the rate of short-lived side effects does appear higher than a flu shot. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines, and none of them have reported any serious health problems. The side effects, which can resemble the symptoms of Covid-19, last about a day and appear more likely after the second dose. Early reports from vaccine trials suggest some people might need to take a day off from work because they feel lousy after receiving the second dose. In the Pfizer study, about half developed fatigue. Other side effects occurred in at least 25 to 33 percent of patients, sometimes more, including headaches, chills and muscle pain. While these experiences aren't pleasant, they are a good sign that your own immune system is mounting a potent response to the vaccine that will provide long-lasting immunity.Will mRNA vaccines change my genes? No. The vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer use a genetic molecule to prime the immune system. That molecule, known as mRNA, is eventually destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse to a cell, allowing the molecule to slip in. The cell uses the mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any moment, each of our cells may contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce in order to make proteins of their own. Once those proteins are made, our cells then shred the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules our cells make can only survive a matter of minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is engineered to withstand the cell's enzymes a bit longer, so that the cells can make extra virus proteins and prompt a stronger immune response. But the mRNA can only last for a few days at most before they are destroyed.If restrictions are eased, should I visit right away?The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require two injections '-- the initial shot and a booster three or four weeks later. Dr. von Preyss-Friedman recommends waiting at least two weeks after the second shot to have a visit.
''You hope these vaccines work, but these are elderly patients,'' she said. ''You want to err on the side of protection.''
She said that, ideally, the visitor would also be vaccinated as well. Since shots won't be widely available for a few months, it may be best to wait until you get your vaccine. Until then, she believes nursing homes should consider visits on a case-by-case basis.
Would visitors still need to wear a mask?Absolutely, medical experts said. This is particularly true if they are not vaccinated, but even after they are vaccinated ''until rates in the community go down,'' said Dr. Joshua Uy, a geriatrician and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and the medical director of Renaissance Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home in Philadelphia.
Dr. Uy said that he hopes that the federal government would supply enough personal protective equipment so that all visitors and residents could be properly gowned for such visits.
What is being done to encourage nursing home residents to get vaccinated?The combined nursing-home and assisted-living trade group has started a program aimed at helping nursing homes and other care facilities to explain to residents the essential need to get the vaccine. The campaign, #getvaccinated, notes: ''The elderly population has a much higher risk for getting very sick, being hospitalized, or dying from Covid-19. The vaccine has been shown to provide a great deal of protection against serious illness due to Covid-19.''
But the people they love most may have more effective persuasive powers. Families can help, Dr. Uy said, by encouraging their parents and grandparents in nursing homes to get vaccinated.
''The vaccine,'' he said, ''is going to be our way out.''
Researchers Warn Some Covid-19 Vaccines Could Increase Risk Of HIV Infection
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 15:02
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Disturbing: The Vatican Approves Of Aborted Babies Being Used In New COVID-19 Vaccine
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 16:10
This is hypocrisy at the highest level!
The Vatican in the past has publicly denounced abortions but it looks like things have changed.
A letter from the Vatican has just announced they approve the killing of unborn babies as long as they are used for a new COVID-19 Vaccine.
Trending: Nancy Pelosi's Stimulus Bill Gives You $600 Dollars'...But $10 MILLION To Pakistan For ''Gender Studies''
To be more precise the letter was quoted saying ''It is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process''.
How insane is that!
They're basically saying it's moral to kill babies if there is use in their dead bodies, how disgraceful.
The Vatican says it's "morally acceptable" to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even if its research or production involved using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses, due to the "grave danger" of the pandemic.https://t.co/noaUEJHs3z
'-- NPR (@NPR) December 22, 2020
The Vatican's doctrinal office said that when alternative vaccines are not available, it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines developed or tested using cell lines originating from aborted fetuses. https://t.co/IkdMKl7fdl
'-- U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (@USCCB) December 21, 2020
VATICAN: ''morally acceptable'' to get virus vaccines using abortion cell lines https://t.co/F2mrxXeuIK pic.twitter.com/84ayMsUB0u
'-- Newsmax (@newsmax) December 22, 2020
Newsmax covered the disturbing story and released these details:
The Vatican on Monday declared that it is ''morally acceptable'' for Roman Catholics to receive COVID-19 vaccines based on research that used cells derived from aborted fetuses, guidance that came after some churchmen in the United States argued that such products were immoral.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's watchdog office for doctrinal orthodoxy, said it had received several requests for ''guidance'' during recent months. The doctrinal office pointed out that bishops, Catholic groups and experts have offered ''diverse and sometimes conflicting pronouncements'' on the matter.
The Catholic Church's teaching says that abortion is a grave sin.
The Vatican concluded that ''it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses'' in the research and production process when ''ethically irreproachable'' vaccines aren't available to the public.
Raise your hand if you will not get any vaccine made using cells from babies killed in abortions!
ðŸ‹''‚¸ðŸ‹ðŸ‹''¸
'-- LifeNews.com (@LifeNewsHQ) December 21, 2020
Vatican OKs getting Covid-19 vaccines that used cell lines from aborted fetuses https://t.co/LWiNnEgT5r
'-- FOX Carolina News (@foxcarolinanews) December 22, 2020
NPR covered the story also:
The Vatican says that it's ''morally acceptable'' to receive a vaccination for COVID-19, even if the vaccine's research or production involved using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses, given the ''grave danger'' of the pandemic.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office charged with promoting and defending church morals and traditions, said in a document released Monday that ''when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available '... it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.''
Pope Francis approved the text on Thursday, Vatican News reported.
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Would you take a Vaccine that contained aborted fetuses in it?
Let us know in your comments down below.
COVID-19 vaccines are being given 'slower' than expected: officials
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 12:06
The federal government is close to delivering 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine during the month of December, as promised, but states are taking longer than expected to get those doses into people's arms, officials admitted Wednesday.
About 15.5 million doses will be delivered by the end of the year, with the remaining 5 million arriving between Jan. 4-6, said Gen. Gus Perna, who co-leads Operation Warp Speed, the federal effort to develop and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests.
But only about 1 million of the 9 million doses distributed so far have been reported administered, his co-lead Moncef Slaoui confirmed during a news conference.
The death rate from COVID-19 in the U.S. reached an all-time high in the week ending Tuesday, and an American is dying of the virus every 32 seconds.
Reporting of the shots can take 3-4 days, Slaoui said, so the vaccination figures are probably better than they appear '' but there's still a substantial lag.
Where's the COVID-19 vaccine? Who's been vaccinated? Here's how we'll know.
"Exactly how fast the ramp-up of immunizations '' shots in arms '' is happening is slower than we thought it would be," Slaoui said.
He offered federal help to states to accelerate that process. "It's important that the states are able to increase the cadence of immunization, but it's also important that they do it at a pace where they are in control, that no mistakes are made and no accidents are happening," he said. "That's super important."
The lag is likely caused by a variety of factors, including the logistical challenge of starting a new program, the difficulties of administering these vaccines, and the fact that many hospitals are nearly overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients right now.
"I don't think the rollout went as well as many of us would have hoped, said Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease specialist at ProHEALTH Care in New York.
At first, the shots were not where the workers needed them to be, he said. The first week the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was available, he was offered a shot at 7:30 a.m. at a hospital 45 minutes from where he works. Weekends were not an option.
This week, the arrival of the second vaccine, made by Moderna, has made a difference, he said. Griffin, who treated 30 COVID-19 patients on Wednesday, was able to get his first of the two-dose vaccine the same day.
Griffin said he imagined the vaccinations would be like the flu shot, where someone would walk over to him while he was seeing patients, he'd roll up his sleeve and get the shot. But with these vaccines, the person vaccinated has to wait around for 15 minutes to make sure they're not having a bad reaction.
Your vaccine questions, answered: I had COVID, should I still get vaccinated? What are the side effects? What are its 'ingredients?'
He hopes things will go more smoothly with the next round of vaccinations, which will be distributed in the community, rather than at hospitals where the first priority has to be taking care of the sick.
The story is much the same at other hospitals.
"I suspect the efficiency of everybody's system will go up over time but I'm not surprised that the injections aren't quite keeping up with the supply," said Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
UCSF is vaccinating about 650-700 people per day, he said. So far, 4,000 workers have been given shots out of 11,000 doses received.
"You need enough people trained to do the shots, and a variety of other people to keep track of the flow," he said. Before getting vaccinated, people have to sign consent forms, which takes a few minutes, and then there's the 15-minute waiting period.
View | 33 Photos
Potential side effects from the vaccines also mean hospitals have avoided vaccinating a whole department on the same day, to ensure workers don't all get sidelined at the same time, he said.
It's a logistical challenge to deliver the vaccine, agrees Dr. Otto Yang, a professor of infectious diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
"There needs to be staffing to give the vaccine, pharmacies set up to store the vaccine and distribute it to the clinic, as well as scheduling to have people come in and get the vaccine," he said.
Although the pace of vaccination may seem slow, it's actually astonishingly fast, considering that the first vaccine was only authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration 11 days ago, Yang said.
"If you do the math, since FDA approval, assuming an 8-hour work day, including weekends, that's 11,363 doses given per hour in this country," he said. "It's hard to imagine it going any quicker than that."
Hospital workers have been extremely eager to get vaccinated, said Dr. Paul Biddinger, medical director of Emergency Preparedness, Mass General Brigham, a Boston-based hospital system.
''Our spots are filling as quickly as we receive the vaccine and interest remains very high," he said.
Deliver a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year? Meet Moncef Slaoui.
Also Wednesday, Slaoui said studies will begin soon looking at whether the Moderna vaccine could be stretched by giving people lower doses. Right now, people are given 100 micrograms in each of two doses, he said, but early indications suggest that the 50-microgram dose might be equally effective.
Although a single dose of the vaccine appears to be very effective, he warned people against getting just one shot. A second dose usually trains the immune system to fight off a disease for longer, so the protection from one shot is not likely to last as long, he said.
Johnson & Johnson is testing a vaccine that could be given in just one dose. Their large trial is now fully enrolled and the first hints of its effectiveness should be available within a few weeks, Slaoui said. If that vaccine proves safe and effective, it is likely to win FDA authorization in February, adding 100 million doses to the U.S. supply.
A candidate vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University is also nearing full enrollment of its crucial American trial, he said, with authorization likely in late February or early March, if it proves safe and effective.
More US supply? FDA says Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine vials may hold extra 'obtainable' doses
Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have each promised to deliver 100 million doses in the first quarter of 2021 and another 100 million each in the second quarter.
If all those doses come through, the adult population will be more than covered by next summer, Slaoui said, noting that most of the 80-million Americans younger than 18 may have to wait until later in the summer, because trials on teenagers need to be completed before vaccine makers will extend their studies into younger children. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for use in 16-17-year-olds.
Slaoui and Perna ended their talks Wednesday by thanking all the people who have been involved in developing, manufacturing and delivering the vaccines, as well as those who volunteered for the clinical trials.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you to the men and women who are on the front lines in our hospitals, emergency rooms, ICU's '' the doctors, the nurses, the people who support them 24/7, the people really on the front lines," Perna said. "Our hats are off to everything they do."
Contributing: Mike Stucka, USA TODAY
Contact Karen Weintraub at kweintraub@usatoday.com.
Health and patient safety coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.
View | 15 Photos
Claims that Tennessee nurse died after vaccine are baseless
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 13:15
CLAIM: Tiffany Dover, a nurse manager in Chattanooga, Tennessee, who fainted after receiving her first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, is now dead.
AP'S ASSESSMENT: False. Claims of Dover's death have no basis in reality. She was alive and working a shift at CHI Memorial Hospital on Monday, according to Lisa McCluskey, the hospital's vice president of marketing communications.
THE FACTS: Groundless theories continue to circulate online about a nurse who fainted after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, despite confirmation from the hospital that she is alive and well.
Over the weekend, social media users widely shared Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube posts claiming Dover died. The claim also appeared on Reddit, on a subreddit devoted to conspiracy theories, and on a website claiming to show obituaries of deceased people.
Some posts used screenshots of Dover's Facebook and Instagram accounts to claim she must be dead because she hadn't posted in several days.
Others shared screenshots from a public records website, suggesting the appearance of Dover's name in search results somehow indicated she had died.
These claims are bogus, McCluskey confirmed to The Associated Press. Dover was doing well and working a shift at the hospital on Monday, McCluskey said.
Dover received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday and fainted on camera several minutes later. When she was back on her feet, she told reporters she has a condition that can cause her to faint when she feels pain.
''It's common for me,'' she told reporters. ''I feel fine now.''
Two days later, CHI Memorial Hospital tweeted to confirm Dover was fine.
''UPDATE: Nurse Tiffany Dover appreciates the concern shown for her,'' the tweet read. ''She is home and doing well. She asks for privacy for her and her family.''
In another tweet on Monday, the hospital confirmed Dover was still doing well and shared a video of the nurse posing with colleagues on Monday afternoon.
The CDC offers guidance on fainting after vaccination, which can be common. It says that although fainting has a variety of possible causes, ''it is usually triggered by pain or anxiety.''
The AP has debunked other misinformation circulating online about the first people in the United States to get the COVID-19 vaccine, including false claims that an Alabama nurse died after getting the shot.
___
This is part of The Associated Press' ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
Here's more information on Facebook's fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536
HCQ
Unexplained explosion and fire destroy world's second largest pharmaceutical factory producing precursors for hydroxychloroquine - American Thinker
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 16:06
'); googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1455834208841-0'); }); } Prepare for supplies to tighten for the cheap, effective therapeutic treatment for early stage Covid-19 infection, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). Just as the medical establishment in the US is relaxing its absurd and lethal suppression of the cheap, generic drug, following President Trump's endorsement of it early in the pandemic, HCQ's continued availability may suffer. The world's second largest pharmaceutical facility producing the precursors for HCQ has been destroyed by an explosion and fire.
'); googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1345489840937-3'); }); } Taiwan English News reports:
An explosion at a pharmaceutical factory in Taoyuan City left two injured and caused a fire early this afternoon, December 20.
People as far as Tamsui District in New Taipei City reported hearing the massive blast shortly after noon. Immediately after the blast, thick black smoke could be seen pouring out of the SCI Pharmtech factory. (snip)
The cause of the explosion is currently under investigation.
Liberty Times reported that the factory produces hydroxychloroquine APIs [active pharmaceutical ingredients - TL], and is the world's second largest HCQ raw material supplier.
Photo via Taiwan English News
A subsequent report indicates that one of the injured workers, a Filipino guest worker who suffered third degree burns over 90% of his body, has died. The explosion broke out around noon and set off subsequent explosions in volatile substances nearby.
The Taipei Times reports that company spokesmen state, '''... it would take at least six months to rebuild the plant, as most production lines were damaged by the fire'....''
Supplies may be tight, as the SCI Pharmtech had already expanded production and sales of HCQ APIs to meet growing demand:
The company reported cumulative revenue of NT$2.61 billion in the first 11 months of this year, up 18.19 percent from NT$2.21 billion in the same period last year, thanks to steady shipments of APIs for hydroxychloroquine
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Given the explosive character of some of the ingredients, there may well be a perfectly innocent explanation for the fire. But a six-month delay in resuming production may delay HCQ supplies to early stage Covid-19 patients, who could otherwise treat their affliction with it, combined with zinc and an antibiotic like azithromycin.
I've been to Taoyuan and visited industrial facilities there. It is very close to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, the major international airport serving Taipei and Taiwan, and also to Hsinchu Science Park, a high-tech mecca, housing over 400 companies. This area is highly sophisticated and prosperous, and has a bullet train station connecting it to central Taipei in about half an hour's travel time. It is not at all some third world backwater; quite the contrary.
Let Us Out!
Indianapolis bars open past COVID deadline plagued by violence | WTTV CBS4Indy
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:57
INDIANAPOLIS'' In an attempt to keep Indianapolis residents safe from the ravages of COVID-19, in September Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County Public Health Director Dr. Virginia Caine mandated that bars in Marion County close at midnight.
Recent shootings and assaults, and more than two dozen police citation referrals later, it's obvious not all of Indianapolis' bars are following those rules as some bar owners argue they've lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenues and may go out of business.
This past weekend, a woman reported she was assaulted inside a bar in the 200 block of South Meridian Street at 1:45 a.m., one week after two men were shot on the sidewalk on the same area at 2 a.m.
Each case occurred after those downtown bars should have shut their doors at midnight.
''The police reports will speak for themselves,'' said IMPD Lt. Bill Carter who estimates he has written up as many as 30 bars for after-hours violations since the MCPHD order was issued. ''If we go there at 1:20 and there's two people shot on the sidewalk, well, obviously they couldn't have closed at midnight if those people are shot at 1:20.''
A CBS4 News photographer shot video of many patrons spilling onto the street between two and three a.m. after a night at downtown bars this past weekend.
''I send those reports to the health department. I do know they have filed a legal case on one of those bars down there,'' said Carter. ''We've had a lot of activity downtown, those locations, we've done sweeps down there, usually if we're down there we're doing sweeps then we notice that at midnight they suddenly close at midnight as they're supposed to do.''
One downtown bar owner, who didn't want to be identified, told CBS4 News that his business has suffered as a result of following the rules while neighboring bars do not.
As part of a lawsuit filed by bar owners against the City and the Health Department, several bars claimed they have lost six figure revenues and are in danger of shutting down completely because of COVID-19 restrictions.
In court documents filed last month, the owners of Tiki Bob's and INVY Nightclub claim both bars lost $1.5 million apiece as the result of MCPHD orders.
Coaches Tavern reported $500,000 in losses, two Whiskey Business locations suffered a total of $831,000 in losses, business at Basey's is off $450,000, the Average Joe's family of bars in Broad Ripple reports $735,000 in losses, sales at Courtside Convenience are down $900,000 and Joe's Grille Castleton claims a sales downturn of $600,000.
But one man's setback is another man's opportunity in the Indy bar business, according to Lt. Carter.
''Some of the businesses are closing at midnight because of the COVID order, but what we are also finding out is that some locations are opening at midnight to partake in all the people leaving the bars that are closing within the guidelines are going to the other locations that are open at midnight,'' said Carter. ''And I will tell you 95% of those locations are not licensed at all.''
Such was the case in the 5400 block of Massachusetts Avenue in mid-August when three people were shot to death at an illegal after-hours bar that was shut down after the building's owner evicted the operators.
Carter said that a northwest side bar where IMPD officers shot an armed man in the parking lot after midnight in November was cited for violating the health department closure rule.
When asked for statistics on its issuance of violation notices and whether inspectors would be out over the weekend monitoring downtown bar activity, MCPHD issued the following statement:
''MCPHD continues to seek compliance and investigates complaints related to the public health order whenever possible using available resources.
''Businesses that are found to be out of compliance of the public health order will receive a notice of violation and the matter will be filed for court seeking a $1000 fine.
''MCPHD anticipates issuing notices of violation related to the public health order for establishments in Marion County from over the weekend, but it takes some time to process the paperwork and issue them.''
Carter said he has heard bar owners are willing the risk the uncertainty of being fined in pursuit of post-midnight revenues while continuing their lawsuit against the health department's authority to issue closure rules.
''Some of those bars have very high occupancy levels in there anyway,'' he said, ''so I agree that a thousand dollars isn't enough really that's going to break them.''
Carter said his only option may be to document violations and raise those issues at liquor license renewal hearings.
With just a week before New Year's Eve, MCPHD has given no indication whether it will relax bar closing hours for revelers wanting to say goodbye to 2020 and ring in 2021.
Freedom Pass
REPORT: Passengers Told Mid-Flight That Travel Rules Have Changed, They'll Be Sleeping On Cots | The Daily Caller
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:58
Passengers on a United Kingdom flight to Stuttgart, Germany, were told mid-flight that they would be sleeping on cots at the airport when they arrived.
Travelers without a German passport on a EuroWings flight from London were originally supposed to have to take a coronavirus test upon arrival in Stuttgart. They would then go straight to a designated hotel to quarantine while they waited for their results, The Independent reported.
However, passengers were told mid-flight that, ''passengers without a German passport need to be aware that there are no more hotel rooms available, all hotels reached maximum occupancy in Stuttgart,'' according to audio obtained by Bild, a German publication, Business Insider reported. (RELATED: American Removes Mother, Child From Flight When 2-Year-Old Refuses Face Covering)
A man rolls his trolley in Terminal 1 of the airport in Stuttgart, southern Germany, where very few passengers are seen on March 16, 2020. (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP) (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images)
The pilot then went on to state, ''German citizens continue to be able to enter the country without any limitations,'' according to Business Insider.
A Stuttgart airport spokesman told reporters at The Independent that the passengers onboard the flight ultimately did not have to sleep on the cots.
''After the arrival of the last flight from LHR at 9.45pm yesterday, all passengers were guided to the airport test centre in small groups. After approximately two hours, the testing procedure for all passengers had been completed and all of them had been allowed to leave the airport. As far as we know, the authorities didn't register any positive testing results,'' he said according to The Independent.
Several European nations that have temporarily imposed travel bans on the United Kingdom after a new strain of the virus was detected in the country.
Germany has restricted all passenger flights to and from the United Kingdom from Dec. 20 until Dec. 31.
Firms start work on 'freedom passports' | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 20:56
Firms start work on 'freedom passports': Documents would allow people who have tested negative for Covid-19 to enter pubs, schools and workplacesTwo firms awarded Government contracts for exploratory work on a new app The Dep of Health said no decisions had been made on introducing the passportThe contracts envisage a system under which people are assigned a QR code By Daniel Martin Policy Editor For The Daily Mail
Published: 18:11 EST, 21 December 2020 | Updated: 02:59 EST, 22 December 2020
Work is being carried out to develop coronavirus freedom 'passports' that will allow those who have tested negative to enter pubs, schools and workplaces.
Two firms have been awarded Government contracts for exploratory work on a new app that would allow people to prove they do not have Covid.
The Department of Health said no decisions had been made on introducing the passport.
The contracts envisage a system under which people are assigned a QR code on their smartphones linking to a digital passport that includes a photo of them.
After a Covid test, this would be updated at the test centre and when people want to enter a venue they could present their QR code as proof of their negative status.
Work is being carried out to develop coronavirus freedom 'passports' that will allow those who have tested negative to enter pubs, schools and workplaces
After scanning in the code, the venue could refuse entry to those without a recent negative result.
The idea is controversial and critics argue it would in effect create an 'apartheid' system between those who have the virus and those who do not.
It is not clear how those without smartphones would be able to prove they were negative.
The Department of Health source said the scheme was 'exploratory work' and the system was not being introduced imminently. 'It is about looking at ways we could use this in future,' the source added. 'It is looking at whether it would be possible.
'There are no plans to introduce immunity passports.'
The contracts envisage a system under which people are assigned a QR code on their smartphones linking to a digital passport that includes a photo of them
Ministers have previously ruled out introducing passports for those who have had a vaccine. This had led to fears that those who declined to have the jab would be discriminated against.
The proposal for the 'negative Covid-19 test certification' system was revealed on the Government's contracts checker.
It shows a £42,000 contract was signed with Netcompany UK for a 'Covid-19 Certification/Passport MVP' in November.
The contract is described as being to 'develop a negative Covid-19 test certification minimum viable product' '' a simple version of the app to prove it would be feasible to go forward with.
A similar contract '' worth £34,000 '' was awarded to the Hub Company. Under its scheme, individuals would sign up to an app giving them a personal QR code.
The contracts seen by the Mail refer only to Covid test passports.
The Department of Health and Social Care said it was 'continually exploring ways in which we can return to normality', including through technology.
A spokesman added: 'We have no plans to introduce immunity passports following this vaccination programme.'
Advertisement
Delta unveils COVID-free flight schedule to the Netherlands | Delta News Hub
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 14:45
Delta has unveiled the schedule for its dedicated COVID-tested flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam. The flights are the first of their kind for a U.S. airline, allowing eligible customers to be exempt from quarantine upon entry into the Netherlands.
The flights will begin on Dec. 15 from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and will initially operate for a three-week trial period. Delta will operate flights in conjunction with its trans-Atlantic partner KLM with both carriers operating two frequencies each per week. Delta will operate on Tuesdays and Fridays, and KLM flights will depart on Mondays and Wednesdays. All flights are available to book on delta.com.
''The start of these flights represents a pivotal moment in meaningfully restarting international travel,'' said Delta's Steve Sear, President '' International and Executive Vice President - Global Sales. ''Air travel is critical in supporting the global economy and enabling quarantine-free travel through rigorous testing protocols means customers can travel for essential purposes.''
Delta's dedicated testing trial will exempt eligible customers '' those permitted to travel to the Netherlands for essential reasons such as work, health and education '' from quarantine on arrival in the Netherlands. To fly, customers must obtain a negative PCR test five days before travel, as well as a negative rapid test at Atlanta Airport prior to boarding. A second PCR test will then be carried out upon landing at Schiphol Airport. Once a negative result is received, customers will not need to quarantine. COVID tests taken at the airport are included in the ticket price.
The airline has engaged expert advisors from Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex healthcare, to review and assess the customer-testing protocols needed for Delta to conduct this flight program.
''Based on the modeling we have conducted, when the recommended testing protocols are combined with multiple layers of protection, including mask requirements, proper social distancing and environmental cleaning, we can predict that the risk of COVID-19 infection '' on a flight that is 60 percent full '' should be nearly one in a million,'' said Henry Ting, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Value Officer '' Mayo Clinic.
Delta and KLM's COVID-free flights operate as follows:
Carrier
Flight number
Departure
Arrival
Frequency
Delta
DL76
Atlanta at 21:55
Amsterdam at 12:10 (next day)
Tuesday, Friday
KLM
KL0632
Atlanta at 22:10
Amsterdam at 12:10 (next day)
Monday, Wednesday
To further enhance customers' wellbeing during travel, Delta has put in place more than 100 safety and cleanliness initiatives across its operation based on key insights from experts at Mayo Clinic, Purell, Emory University and Lysol. As part of the Delta CareStandard, the airline is blocking middle seats through March 30, 2021, ensuring rigorous mask compliance, electrostatically cleaning cabins before every flight and more.
Later this month, Delta will also launch COVID-tested flights from Atlanta to Rome Fiumicino Airport, enabling quarantine-free entry for all customers permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons following three negative test results '' two prior to travel and one upon arrival.
Meanwhile, Delta will become the first U.S. airline to partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep international customers informed of potential COVID-19 exposure through contact tracing.
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Step Aside, PCR: CRISPR-based COVID-19 Tests Are Coming - IEEE Spectrum
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 13:04
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Ministry of Truthiness
Deborah Birx announces intent to retire, citing treatment of family over Thanksgiving trip
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 03:34
Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the leading public health experts on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, said she intends to retire in the near future, citing the treatment of her family after it was reported she traveled for Thanksgiving.
Birx, 64, has served as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator for President Barack Obama and President Trump since 2014. She announced her intention to step down shortly in an interview with Newsy's Amber Strong.
''I want the Biden administration to be successful," she said. "I've worked since 1980 in the federal government, first through the military, then through [the Department of Health and Human Services], and then detailed to the State Department and detailed here, where I hope I was helpful. I will be helpful in any role people think I can be helpful in, and then I will retire."
Birx addressed her Thanksgiving weekend trip to one of her vacation homes in Delaware with three generations of her family from different households. Her travel plans went against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation for people not to travel over the holidays or to partake in indoor activities with those who live in different households.
In a statement after reports revealed her trip, Birx insisted that the purpose of the gathering wasn't for ''celebrating Thanksgiving'' but did acknowledge she shared a meal with family while she was there.
''I will be helpful through a period of time, and then I will have to say this experience has been a bit overwhelming," she said. "It's been very difficult on my family. I think what was done in the last week to my family, you know, they didn't choose this for me."
"You know, they've tried to be supportive, but to drag my family into this, when my daughter hasn't left that house in 10 months, my parents have been isolated for 10 months, they've [be]come deeply depressed, as I'm sure many elderly have as they've not been able to see sons, their granddaughters. My parents haven't seen their surviving son for over a year," Birx said. "These are all very difficult things."
The coronavirus has infected over 17 million people in the U.S., and more than 300,000 have died with their deaths attributed to the virus.
VIDEO-Birx traveled over Thanksgiving weekend after warning Americans to limit celebrations to household | TheHill
Sun, 20 Dec 2020 22:33
White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx Deborah BirxThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress slogs toward COVID-19 relief, omnibus deal 'Saturday Night Live' features its own Fauci and Birx to explain vaccine rollout The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress moves to avert shutdown as virus talks stall again MORE traveled to her Delaware vacation home during the Thanksgiving weekend despite advising people to celebrate the holiday with only those in their immediate household.
The Associated Press reported that Birx traveled with family members from two other households. Birx told the AP in a statement the purpose of the trip was to winterize the property before an upcoming sale.
''I did not go to Delaware for the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving,'' Birx said, adding that her family shared a meal while in Delaware.
Birx said that all of the gathered family members belonged to her "immediate household" but also said they lived in two different homes.
According to federal guidelines, Birx's role makes her an "essential worker." Her position requires her to travel across the country, and she has visited 43 states, often at coronavirus hot spots, the AP reported. She also maintains an office at the White House, where several COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred.
Birx has stated that she keeps herself and her family safe through isolating, mask-wearing and regular testing.
She is among the lawmakers and officials who have been criticized for traveling or dining out despite sending similar warnings to people to stay at home.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D) apologized after facing backlash for traveling to Mississippi over the Thanksgiving weekend despite telling his residents to stay put.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom Gavin NewsomCalifornia appeals court order allowing strip clubs to remain open during pandemic California battles skyrocketing coronavirus cases FEMA to reimburse California hotels used to protect vulnerable populations during pandemic MORE (D) faced condemnation for attending a 12-person party after urging people to avoid such gatherings. The governor later apologized for his attendance.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Andrew CuomoNYC advances bill protecting fast food workers from being fired without valid reason On The Money: Sweeping COVID-19, spending deal hits speed bumps | Deal set to include smaller stimulus checks, jobless benefit support | Biden, Powell praise progress toward agreement Cuomo signs bill banning sale of Confederate flag on New York state grounds MORE (D) altered his in-person Thanksgiving plans after he received backlash for saying his 89-year-old mother and two daughters were traveling to Albany to celebrate the holiday.
SJW
Toxic Positivity Is on the Rise. Are You Guilty of Spreading It?
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 15:17
I'm a highly anxious person, whose brain turns every minor issue into a full-blown catastrophe. Over the years, I've grown accustomed to friends rolling their eyes at my latest concern-of-the-day. But when my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 58, loved ones treated it like another one of my ''silly'' problems. Instead of real support, I was bombarded with messages telling me to: "Think positive!"
When I tried to talk about my mom's prognosis, my feelings were swept aside with statements like, "Everything will be OK!" and "Sending good vibes!" I know that no one really knows what to say at times like this, but I felt like I was being gaslit. The worse things in my life became, the more inane platitudes were sent my way. Friends were well-intentioned, but trying to suppress my pain with hyper-happy statements wasn't helpful; it was toxic.
"When people use or demand positive emotions or optimism in a way that causes people to feel oppressed or disregarded, that's toxic positivity,'' Stephanie Preston, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Michigan explains. ''It ranges from people actively trying to maintain their own spirits or sticking their heads in the sand, to forcefully preventing others from voicing uncomfortable concerns.'' No matter how well meaning, such blind positivity can feel ''repressive or invalidating to others,'' Preston adds.
Friends were well-intentioned, but trying to suppress my pain with hyper-happy statements wasn't helpful; it was toxic.
In a year with a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and widespread social unrest, toxic positivity'--where negative emotions like sadness, anxiety, worry, and disappointment are viewed as inherently wrong rather than just a normal part of the human experience'--is rampant. "During the pandemic, we're all struggling to deal with a situation we've never before experienced, and although we're all going through it at the same time, not all of us are going through it the same way,'' says Natalie Dattilo, Ph.D., Director of Psychology at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
When Lynsey, 34, was laid off from her job of 10 years this summer, she found herself a target of toxic positivity. "I was terrified about the future, but my friends told me I should be grateful for my health, or be thankful that no one I loved had caught the virus." She understood that even with her job loss she was still faring far better than some, but the lack of support from her friends impacted her mental health. "I got depressed and withdrew from people because I wasn't able to talk to them without being sent 'good vibes,''' Lynsey says. ''I'm single, with no family support, and as much as I want my friends to be rooting for me, positive thoughts can't pay my bills."
Dattilo explains why blanket positivity can be invalidating to those experiencing hardship.
"During times of adversity, we rely on whatever we can to cope. But 'looking on the bright side' in the face of tragedy or dire situations like illness, food insecurity, unemployment, or racial injustice is a privilege not all of us have,'' she says. ''Spreading messages of positivity denies their genuine sense of despair and hopelessness, and may only serve to alienate and isolate those who are struggling."
"I'm single, with no family support, and as much as I want my friends to be rooting for me, positive thoughts can't pay my bills."
Ariel, 37, was living in Rome when it became the coronavirus epicenter in the spring. At first, she felt like finding moments of joy in the experience was crucial to maintaining her sanity during the strict lockdown. But soon, the forced positivity caused her to feel burned out. Then, on September 24th, her dad died suddenly. "The situation was so nightmarish that I think it made people uncomfortable,'' Ariel says. ''Some messages were really sensitive and supportive, but many were inappropriately casual or full of forced positivity. I had one friend message me on Instagram offering to 'cheer me up' with cat memes. Many other people told me not to be sad, to be 'strong,' or said that my dad wouldn't want me to be upset."
In fact, she suspected her father would encourage the opposite. They had just had a conversation in July where they both laid out all of their negative feelings. "We just complained to each other for an hour or two,'' Ariel says. ''At the end of it, just before hanging up, he said, 'You know, I feel a lot better now!' We weren't trying to force any positivity into the conversation. But just by listening to each other and understanding, we actually succeeded in feeling more positive."
Clinical psychologist Jaime Zuckerman believes the pressure to be productive during the pandemic is another form of toxic positivity. "It's important not to overload yourself with brand new tasks that you think will make you feel more positive,'' she says. ''During times of stress, our brains do not always have the mental ability to tackle something with a heavy learning curve. In fact, it can set us up for failure." Instead of overwhelming yourself with learning a new skill Zuckerman suggests sticking with what you know. She says, "If you love doing yoga, try a different type of yoga. If you love reading, pick a different genre. Doing things to make you feel better protects you from setting, and ultimately not meeting, unrealistic expectations."
Research has shown that accepting negative emotions, rather than dismissing them, may be more beneficial for a person's mental health in the long run.
Research has shown that accepting negative emotions, rather than dismissing them, may be more beneficial for a person's mental health in the long run. As Zuckerman says, ''Feel your feelings. Sit with them. Do not avoid them. Avoiding discomfort only prolongs its existence." One 2018 study tested the link between emotional acceptance and psychological health and found people who regularly avoid acknowledging challenging emotions can end up feeling worse.
So, instead of spreading toxic positivity, we should try to spread validation and hope. Most of the time, those well-worn optimistic sayings come from a good place. I know my friends couldn't find the words when my mum was dying; the situation was just too grim. But by speaking in clich(C)s instead of taking the time to listen, they made me feel my pain was abnormal or wrong. As a result I spent the last few months of her life feeling utterly isolated.
People contain a full spectrum of emotions, and the sooner we acknowledge that all feelings are valid, not just the happy ones, the better. The simple truth is we can't heal grief with cat memes or fix heartbreak with ''Good vibes!'' Instead of trying to be positive or diffusing other people's emotions, we should listen and reserve judgment. Because sometimes the most powerful thing you can say when a friend shares something painful is, "Wow, that sucks. I'm here for you."
Catherine Renton Catherine Renton is a UK-based freelance writer specializing in mental health, sex, sobriety, relationships and culture. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
NYC School's 8-Page Anti-Racism Manifesto Sparks Backlash - LaCorte News
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 15:56
The Dalton School in Manhattan is mired in controversy after it was revealed that its teachers are proposing a list of radical changes in an effort at equality.
The story: Several teachers at the private school signed a manifesto that contained numerous suggestions that would purportedly ensure the school keeps its promise of being an anti-racist institution. However, parents are opposing the proposed changes that were reportedly triggered by the anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests earlier this year, following the death of George Floyd.
The proposed changes include covering the student debt of black staffers after hiring them, paying students of color for being featured in any promotional material for the school, and mandating that all staffers issue ''anti-racism'' statements, according to The New York Post.
Teachers also want the school to hire diversity officers and psychologists to work with students of color and help them with their ''race-based traumatic stress,'' and one staffer to teach black students how to ''navigate a predominantly white institution.''
The manifesto also lists suggestions that would remodel the curriculum, such as removing any high-level academic courses by 2023 if black students aren't as successful at them as white students, introducing courses that highlight ''Black liberation'' and ''challenges to white supremacy,'' and a complete change of all materials in a way that they promote diversity.
Some parents say that the battle for racial equality has gotten out of control.
''My ancestors experienced white supremacy by being slaughtered. The idea that being white automatically means you are privileged or a white supremacist is ridiculous. My child comes from people who had to fight for everything they got. ''It's just about skin color now,'' one parent, who's Jewish, said.
''It's completely absurd and a total step backwards,'' a father, who pulled his children out of the school, said. ''This supposed anti-racist agenda is asking everyone to look at black kids and treat them differently because of the color of their skin. The school is more focused on virtue-signaling this nonsense than it is in actually helping students of color. More parents are going to be pulling their kids out.''
The school claims that these are just ideas that teachers believe might improve ''Dalton's commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution.
''The school does not support all the language or actions it contains.'' a spokesperson for the school said. ''Dalton's commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism is grounded in our deep appreciation for the dignity of all community members, an understanding of differing life backgrounds, empathy for one another, and the ability to engage and listen with respect across differences.''
Worthnoting: Naked Dollar blogger Scott Johnston, who first reported on the manifesto, said these were demands and not proposals. He said teachers ''are refusing to come back until they are met.''
The school denied the allegation.
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Your Search History Will Determine Your Financial Credit Score In Future, Says IMF | GreatGameIndia
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 14:45
A new white paper by the IMF calls for linking your search history to your financial credit score, which would in effect lower your score if you visit websites marked harmful by their fact-checkers.
COVID-19 Assassination: Top Russian Scientist Alexander 'Sasha' Kagansky Working On COVID-19 Vaccine Assassinated In St Petersberg
Your Search History Will Determine Your Financial Credit Score In Future, Says IMFIn a new blog post for the International Monetary Fund, four researchers presented their findings from a working paper (read below) that examines the current relationship between finance and tech as well as its potential future.
The researchers propose using the data from your browsing, search, and purchase history to create a mechanism for determining the credit rating of an individual or business.
The plan is outlined in a blog written by Arnoud Boot, Peter Hoffmann, Luc Laeven and Lev Ratnovski, pitching the Orwellian notion as a breakthrough in financial technology (Fintech).
Fintech resolves the dilemma by tapping various nonfinancial data: the type of browser and hardware used to access the internet, the history of online searches and purchases. Recent research documents that, once powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, these alternative data sources are often superior than traditional credit assessment methods, and can advance financial inclusion.
Overall, while much of the technological progress in finance is evolutionary, its pace is accelerating fast. Fintech's potential to reach out to over a billion unbanked people around the world, and the changes in the financial system structure that this can induce, can be revolutionary.
Governments should follow and carefully support the technological transition in finance. It is important to adjust policies accordingly and stay ahead of the curve.
Gizmodo commented on the proposal and its mortifying consequences if it were actually implemented on a grand scale.
The researchers acknowledge that there will be privacy and policy concerns related to incorporating this kind of soft-data into credit analysis. And they do little to explain how this might work in practice. The paper isn't long, and it's worth a read just to wrap your mind around some of the notions of fintech's future and why everyone seems to want in on the payments game.
As it is, getting the really fine soft-data points would probably require companies like Facebook and Apple to loosen up their standards on linking unencrypted information with individual accounts. How they might share information with other institutions would be its own can of worms.
However, the policy seems to be designed to bring an end to alternate news media with grave consequences for those engaged with the organisation.
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GreatGameIndia is a journal on Geopolitics and International Relations. Get to know the Geopolitical threats India is facing in our exclusive book India in Cognitive Dissonance.
Our Alliance · Better Than Cash Alliance
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 14:54
Alliance has 75 members committed to digitizing payments. These include national governments from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, global brands across the agriculture, garment and fast-moving consumer good sectors, UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs.
As we are based at the United Nations, our Alliance is neutral on what types of digital payment platforms or channels are appropriate in each market. We recognize that digital payment solutions will vary across geographies and that, as innovation is a constant in this sector, digital payment options will also change quickly. What matters to us is that the shift from cash to digital payments is done responsibly and builds the foundations for inclusive growth. We do not want to abolish physical cash, but rather ensure that people have choice in how they make and receive payments. It is important for people to have digital payment options which are responsible and ''better than cash'' so, for example, a woman can have a payment account in her own name, which she manages.
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We need to make money more human - how next-gen apps can deliver truly personalized finance | ITProPortal
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 13:42
HomeFeatures(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/wrangler)For many of us, personal finance just means performing arithmetic. The traditional attitude to tackling our money encourages us to treat income, spending, savings, and debt as targets to be set during abstract calculation. Once we've set our targets and made sure they're viable, we then make changes to our lifestyle so as to follow the budget we've set for ourselves.
Personal finance apps like Money Dashboard or Yolt succeed amazingly in helping us to quantify our spending and track our spending habits through numbers. These track values that are easy to quantify, like totals of income and spending, and organize them to help people set budget goals and notify them when they overspend. These apps help people set gamified targets for themselves - such as paying off debt by a particular date, or accruing a specific savings total ahead of a deadline. If human beings were entirely rational, such a quantity-focused approach to personal finance would be perfect. But human beings are not entirely rational.
Emotions have a major role to play in how we save and spend: they are often the ultimate reason we're motivated to pursue our financial goals in the first place, while also often being responsible for why we fall short in meeting our financial targets. With four in ten adults now missing multiple credit payments, the issue of managing personal finances is growing more and more pressing and it's clear the current arithmetic-heavy approach isn't fit for our needs. We need a more nuanced approach to personal finance, which should involve taking into account our emotional states and how they correspond with our financial habits - how we feel about certain purchases, what our emotions are when we spend on certain things, and how we can feel motivated to follow through our spending habits
Thankfully, new technologies that are hitting the market promise a future where personal finance apps can follow this nuanced approach. Through understanding the relationship between our emotions and our spending, these apps can help people set and maintain realistic financial plans while also improving their quality of life.
There are many innovations that will help the next generation of personal finance apps break into the mainstream. Through using AI, we can both discern people's emotional responses through using now-ubiquitous sensors combined with AI, while also being able to use increasingly sophisticated techs like chatbots to process a user's sentiments around their financial choices.
How IT is shaping the finance function of tomorrowSensing emotionWe're seeing an increasing use of technologies that can be used to register our physiological and emotional states. The last decade has seen the widespread deployment of many new technologies, such as heart monitors and facial recognition tech, which can be used to recognize the unconscious and subtle signals we give of our underlying emotional states.
To understand how this can be leveraged by personal finance apps, let's consider an example. Imagine you're pressured into making a purchase by your friends, which you instantly regret. You'll likely feel a range of conflicting emotions - such as shame, anxiety, doubt, and remorse - that you might have trouble making sense of at the time.
When it comes to reviewing your spending later on, you might find it hard to understand why you made that purchase and why you feel the way you do about it. However, making use of the heart rate monitor in your watch and of automated shots of your face from your phone's selfie camera from around the time, we can then leverage AI to infer what your emotional state was around the time of your purchase.
With this information, a sophisticated personal finance app can then associate that spending decision with negative emotions, helping to nudge a person to avoid choosing a similar course of action in the future - bolstering the person's financial decision-making, along with giving them confidence in their decisions.
Further down the road, mind-machine interfaces such as Neuralink promise to offer even more sophisticated and nuanced looks at our current emotional states. If we choose to give our devices sensory access to the brain itself, we may reach a point where personal finance apps can make detailed inferences of our motivations for spending decisions. This promises not just to help us meet our targets, but set targets with a better sense as to our motivations and to better align them with our interests. In the meantime, and to supplement this, there are other ways to help people make sense of their motives and sentiments around their finances.
Discussing sentimentsText-based therapy has been popularized through apps such as Talkspace, and there's good reason to think we can leverage the structure of these platforms when creating new apps to make sense of our personal finances. Through integrating financial chatbots with the model provided by text-based therapy, people can be offered the opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings, and reactions in writing to their spending in a private and accessible way.
Financial text-based therapy does more than just offer people a chance to talk through their emotions around their finances, but it also allows for an opportunity to collect data around their transactions. Through extracting parsed text, hashtags, emojis, and particular phrases via natural language processing - artificial intelligence applied to the domain of human language - an app can conduct sentiment analysis of our thoughts and feelings about and around transactions. Looking at the things users explicitly say, along with how they say them, an app can help inform a user about their emotional states and how it corresponds to spending.
There's a lot of ways that next-generational personal finance apps are going to generate data and present conclusions. However, there's one important part of the equation that needs to be considered - how should it be presented to users to help guide their decisions?
Why finance models are outdated in an age of digital transformationPresenting the qualitative parts of spendingNext-generation personal finance apps will have a tremendous amount of data to present - both quantitative and qualitative - to their users. This means that they'll have to tread a fine line between providing informative insights to their users versus overwhelming them with too much data. Creating intuitive ways to visualize data will be key to making these apps work at personalizing and delivering their financial and psychological insights.
If done right, the next generation of personal finance apps can help millions of people make better sense of their spending and tailor their financial plans to match everybody's unique needs. More profoundly, however, they should change how people look at their finances in the first place. By helping people build their awareness of how their emotions correspond with spending, this next generation of apps will help people better understand and become more aware of their spending and saving behavior - and with themselves. Ultimately, this can help people to better align their actions with their values, their true natures, and their long-term goals.
Five ways Artificial Intelligence is transforming financeRoxanne Ravago, Senior Product Designer, argodesign
OTG
Microsoft: 2021 is the year passwords die - Neowin
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 14:03
Microsoft has been a proponent of passwordless technology for quite some time, saying that it wants traditional and unsafe passwords to die. To that end, it has invested in various solutions over the past few years such as Windows Hello, Microsoft Authenticator, FIDO2 security keys, and a palm vein authentication system, among other things.
Now, the company has highlighted the strides it made to kill off passwords in 2020, and has stated that it plans to make them a thing of the past for all its customers in 2021.
Image via Trend MicroMicrosoft noted that almost 80% of all cyberattacks target passwords, and one in 250 corporate accounts get compromised each month due to this. That said, the company is making an effort to transition people to passwordless solutions. In November 2019, 100 million people were using Microsoft's passwordless sign-in. This number grew to 150 million by May 2020, which goes to show how millions of people are ready to ditch passwords due to the inconvenience of remembering them, coupled with how insecure they can be.
Throughout 2020, Microsoft participated in various conferences to share its vision of a passwordless future and a Zero Trust environment. It also unveiled a preview of Azure Active Directory support for FIDO2 security keys in hybrid environments, as well as a new passwordless wizard via the Microsoft 365 Admin Center. The firm engaged with multiple security partners in the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA) to drive passwordless solutions too.
The Redmond tech giant highlighted the following statistics from 2020:
Passwordless usage in Azure Active Directory is up by more than 50 percent for Windows Hello for Business, passwordless phone sign-in with Microsoft Authenticator, and FIDO2 security keys.More than 150 million total passwordless users across Azure Active Directory and Microsoft consumer accounts.The number of consumers using Windows Hello to sign in to Windows 10 devices instead of a password grew to 84.7 percent from 69.4 percent in 2019.2021 is the year in which Microsoft plans to make passwords obsolete for all its customers. It is currently developing new APIs and a UX for managing FIDO2 security keys, and is also aiming to deliver a "converged registration portal", where customers can manage their passwordless credentials. While it hopes that 2021 marks a return to the "old normal", the company has emphasized that going passwordless will make online lives significantly easier.
Go Podcasting!
Comedian Joe Rogan's podcast signs advertising deal with cbdMD | Reuters
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 12:27
Dec 22 (Reuters) - CbdMD Inc on Tuesday signed a one-year partnership with Joe Rogan that will make the cannabis-based gummies and bath-bombs maker the only company to advertise cannabidiol products on the comedian's Spotify podcast.
The company is the latest to tie up with a celebrity as traditional advertising and marketing avenues have remained off-limits for cannabidiol makers, even as sales jumped during the coronavirus-induced lockdowns.
''We stepped up to the plate and committed to Joe for next year, which is a win-win for both of us,'' cbdMD Chief Executive Officer Martin Sumichrast told Reuters.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis which is legally allowed to be sold in the United States. It has found increased use in relaxatives and beauty products.
Rogan's podcast, ''The Joe Rogan Experience'', has featured several high-profile guests including Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
It routinely featured among the top podcasts on Apple Inc's charts, before moving to Spotify Technology SA's platform in September.
CbdMD, which posted a 23% jump in fourth-quarter sales to $11.7 million, did not disclose financial details of the agreement with Rogan's show.
Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman, rapper Jay-Z, lifestyle guru Martha Stewart and singer Willie Nelson are among celebrities who have partnered with or launched their own CBD product lines. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)
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VIDEO-Level 5 restrictions likely to stay for two months, says Varadkar
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 13:38
Renewed Level 5 restrictions announced by the Government to contain Covid-19 are likely to be in place for more than two months, the Tnaiste said on Tuesday, though they are due to be reviewed in January 12th.
''It will probably be towards the end of February or early March before a critical mass of the population is vaccinated and I think we need to operate on the basis that these restrictions will be in place until then,'' Mr Varadkar told a press conference after the Taoiseach's announcement earlier in the day.
Mr Varadkar said that we were seeing ''exponential growth'' in the numbers of people infected with the virus which would, ''on its current trajectory'' see case numbers at 1,000 a day before Christmas and ''perhaps 2,000 a day before New Year's Eve''.
''We don't know if the new variant is circulating in Ireland but we're operating on the basis that it is,'' Mr Varadkar said, adding that it would make it very difficult to get the R number '' the rate at which the virus spreads per person infected '' below one.
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Under the restrictions, restaurants and pubs serving food will close at 3pm on Christmas Eve. Hairdressers and personal services will close from Christmas Eve. Non-essential retail will be permitted to stay open, but shops will be asked not to hold sales.
Visits from two households will be allowed until St Stephen's Day, but that will then be reduced to one household until December 31st, and home visits will be banned completely in the new year.
Mr Varadkar said that while retail was being exempted from the closures, if numbers continued to climb they could face closures in the future. The Government has also decided to widen and extend a variety of Covid-19 supports for business, including a double payment of Covid Restrictions Support Scheme payment '' paid to businesses forced to shut '' for the next two weeks, with weekly payments resuming after that. Hotels will also be included in the payment even if they are open for a small number of guests.
The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme will also be continued, and there will be a commercial rates holiday in the first quarter of the year. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the briefings from public health officials were ''very sobering''.
Taoiseach Michel Martin said that the third wave of the virus was different to the second wave seen in October and November, and the Government was concerned following advice from public health officials that the hospital system could be put under pressure.
The second wave saw limited hospital admissions and low mortality, but Mr Martin said that infections among older people meant that this wave could be very different.
Asked if this would be the last time Level 5 restrictions would be imposed, Mr Martin said: ''I can't say whether this is the last or not.''
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VIDEO-Anonymous 'layaway angels' pay off balances at Indianapolis Walmart store - WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather | Indiana Traffic
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 13:28
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) '-- A couple of secret Santas have made the holidays a lot brighter for some Hoosiers, with a heartfelt gesture. For the recipients, it was totally unexpected!
''I think it's a Christmas miracle!'' Letoya Lee, one of the layaway payoff recipients, told News 8 Tuesday.
It started with a call and email from Walmart on Dec. 8. that Letoya Lee didn't see it coming.
''Stating that my layaway was paid off and I could come pick up my items. I told her, I said, 'Is this a scam? Is this the wrong account?''' Lee explained.
It was definitely the correct account. An anonymous woman paid off her entire $233 layaway bill that was full of Christmas gifts for her daughter.
''It was amazing! I could't believe it! I was asking the Walmart associate, do you know who she is? Can I send her a thank you card? Can I get her information, just to say thank you? I know other families want to do the same,'' Lee said.
There were actually two ''layaway angels'' Walmart tells News 8; they wanted to pay what they could to bless other customers.
''It's especially touching when customers pay off others' layaways during the holiday season and serves as another example of the generosity our customers show year-round. There were two layaway angels who wanted to pay what they could to bless other customers. They came in on separate days with the same mission in mind '' to bless others. We're honored to play a small role in these acts of kindness, and we love seeing the joy it brings to our customers this time of year,'' Walmart told News 8 in a statement.
''We're so blessed. There's people out here that really are generous,'' Lee said.
Lee has no idea who the anonymous woman is who helped her family, but she wants to tell her this: ''That you really helped out so many needy families. During the pandemic, times are really hard. People don't have jobs, people are on unemployment. People are working part-time jobs because schools are closed. So, you really helped out families that were in need. I just want to say thank you.''
Now, some Hoosier families will have a holiday that's a little brighter and extra special, thanks to the kindness of a stranger.
Lee told News 8 that she plans on paying it forward by volunteering, to give back to her community.
(C) 2020 Circle City Broadcasting I, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO-George Clooney Gushes Over 'Very Smart, Wise' Biden: 'This Is Joe Biden's Moment'
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 13:17
Hollywood star George Clooney is gushing about the prospect of a Joe Biden presidency, saying that the president elect is a ''very smart, wise man'' who projects compassion and kindness.
In an interview with USA Today, George Clooney radiated pure optimism about Biden. ''I feel like we're in so much better shape because I do think this: Moments meet the man or woman. And this is Joe Biden's moment,'' he said. ''He is a compassionate, kind man. And we're going to need that after we've lost probably close to 400,000 people by the time we get [the coronavirus pandemic] in our rear-view mirror.''
Watch below:
The Batman & Robin star said that Biden is the right fit for the moment.
''We're going to need compassion through this and [Biden] is every bit of that, on top of being a very smart, wise guy, wise man,'' he said, adding that Biden will have ''a really effective presidency,'' but will likely deal with resistance from Senate Republicans.
The Hollywood star made no mention of the festering Biden family scandal involving Hunter Biden's alleged use of his father's political office to score lucrative business deals.
USA Today entertainment writer Brian Truitt didn't ask Clooney about the scandal during the video interview. Instead, the journalist talked to Clooney about his new Netflix movie The Midnight Sky, his pet dog, and his Christmas plans.
Hunter Biden is currently under investigation by the Justice Department. Joe Biden continues to downplay the scandal, claiming without evidence that it is ''Russian disinformation.''
George Clooney was a fundraiser for Biden's presidential campaign, participating in a virtual conversation with former president Barack Obama to raise money for the then-candidate.
Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at dng@breitbart.com
VIDEO-Mike Lindell: Election Integrity Is Bigger Than 'Right' and 'Left' | Crossroads - YouTube
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 13:01
VIDEO-Flappie: An English translation of a Dutch Christmas classic
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 12:58
American singer Todd Rundgren has released an English version of a classic Dutch Christmas song, made famous here in the Netherlands by comedian Youp van 't Hek.
It was Christmas morning, 1961'...Dutch national treasure Youp van 't Hek has been on stage for decades. He wrote his alternative Christmas song, Flappie, in the 1970s for his sister's cabaret group before it was released in 1978. At first, the song didn't prove particularly successful. However, with time, Flappie would become one of the most beloved Christmas songs in the Netherlands, and this time of year it's difficult to escape it.
Maybe you've heard the song, and always wondered what Youp was singing about. Well, wonder no longer! This year, Todd Rundgren was asked to release a Christmas single. He was looking for something original that no one had ever heard before when he came across Flappie.
Todd made practically no changes to the track, directly translating the lyrics from Dutch into English. Even though Youp and his team didn't know an English version was in the works, he responded enthusiastically on social media, telling Het Parool: ''Everyone is free to record their own version of it, of course. I also think he did well. When I heard him sing Flappie, I thought: well, not a bad song at all.''
Find out what happened to FlappieCurious about the song? Find out what Youp has been singing about all these years in Todd's version below!
What do you think? What's your favourite Christmas song? Let us know!
VIDEO-Opinion: Here's what's worrying about the coronavirus variant - CNN
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 12:17
Opinion by William Haseltine
Updated 6:27 AM EST, Thu December 24, 2020
Editor's Note: (William Haseltine, PhD, is chair and president of the global health think tank, ACCESS Health International. He is the author of numerous books, including his recently released autobiography, My Lifelong Fight Against Disease: From Polio and AIDS to COVID-19. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN.)
(CNN) The UK government has sounded the alarm about a variant strain of SARS-CoV-2 -- the virus that causes Covid-19 -- which appears to spread more easily than previous versions.
William Haseltine
While much is still unknown, what we do know about this new variant tells us important things about the virus: it can adapt to become more easily transmissible and may be able to become more difficult to neutralize and may possibly be able to outsmart the vaccine to a small extent.
To date, SARS-CoV-2 has mutated at a fairly steady rate, with just one or two variations per month. Some variations have given scientists pause, at times mutating to become more transmissible and at other times mutating to become more effective at avoiding detection by our immune systems. But with this new variant, called B.1.1.7, the virus has acquired 17 mutations all at once that change the virus' proteins, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which affect four different viral proteins: the spike protein, ORF1ab, Orf8 and the N protein, the major nucleocapsid.
While the sheer number of mutations in one variant is worrying, what is perhaps more worrisome is how the mutations, taken together, could change how the virus operates. One of the mutations, N501Y, increases how tightly the spike protein binds to the human ACE2 receptor, which may make it easier for the virus to take root in those infected. This mutation is likely why this new variant, first isolated in the UK in late September, now accounts for more than 60% of new infections in and around London.
A second mutation to the spike protein, 69-70del, deletes two amino acids, the removal of which may allow the virus to evade some immune responses and, combined with another mutation, may make it more transmissible. The 69-70del mutation has been found in other variant strains -- including the strain in minks in Denmark -- and seems to occur when patients carry the virus for several months under immune pressure, not necessarily from the patient's own immune system but from treatments like convalescent plasma that pump antibodies into the patient's system.
A third mutation, P681H, occurs in what's called the cleavage site of the spike protein, which is an area known to affect how readily the virus can enter and kill cells. Changes to this part of the virus could potentially increase its ability to cause disease -- and its lethality -- though there is not yet any evidence that shows this new variant is more dangerous to humans. This mutation alone is enough to be disquieting. The fact that it is combined in this variant strain with another mutation to the Orf8 protein which may also increase pathogenicity, is cause for alarm indeed.
The mutations that affect the two other proteins -- ORF1ab and the N protein -- are also suspected of allowing the virus to replicate more rapidly and evade the immune system, though much more research is needed to see how each of these 17 mutations affects how the virus works. Still, we know enough to make a few assumptions.
First, SARS-CoV-2 knows how to adapt and adapt quickly, much like the flu virus. We must therefore be prepared for the possibility that the virus will be with us for the long haul. Like a flu vaccine, a Covid-19 vaccine might not be a one and done affair. We already know from a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that the half-life of the neutralizing antibodies of at least one of the vaccines, the Moderna vaccine, decreases relatively rapidly over a period of three months in those who respond most vigorously and shorter in those who mount a less vigorous response. Though the study was small, it calls into question whether a vaccine taken today would remain effective 12 months, 18 months, or longer into the future. B.1.1.7 tells us something new -- not only might immunity fade, but the potency of the vaccine itself may shift if the virus changes. This is not to say that modern medicine can't keep up with an evolving Covid-19 virus, as it does with the flu. But it may not be as simple or as easy as many have hoped.
Second, with the 69-70del mutation we may be facing a medical paradox. In an effort to save the lives of the immunocompromised who were infected with the virus, providers sometimes administered multiple rounds of antibody treatments to their patients. In some cases, patients would recover after one round of treatment only to fall ill again and require another dose. Even in a single patient, immune suppression over a period of weeks and sometimes months gives the virus a multitude of opportunities to learn our best defenses and to mutate to become more effective at evading our immune system. While administering antibody treatments may save one human life, a UK study hypothesized that it could also facilitate the creation of new strains of the virus.
Finally, the variant suggests that we must immediately begin to plan for the next generation of Covid vaccines to respond more effectively to a changing virus. It should provide some hope that the authorized vaccines are already being tested against the new variant. The companies have expressed confidence that their vaccine could protect against it, with BioNTech noting that its vaccine could be altered to fight the new variant.
Still, it is worth further studying alternative vaccine targets that could prove more effective at protecting the population against virus variants. Right now, the majority of vaccines under development target the spike protein. This includes the Moderna, Novovax, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well as adenovirus-based vaccines like AstraZeneca's. These vaccines may work against today's version of the virus, but if we want to stay ahead of the spread of disease, we need to expand the targets for vaccines to include other proteins like the ORF1ab, Orf8 and N proteins or the ORF3b protein, which others have studied. Other countries have developed vaccines with more traditional methods, using inactivated whole virus. This type of vaccine, or other vaccines that target multiple proteins at the same time, may be the best approach moving forward.
I often liken viruses to code-cracking machines, continuously running the numbers until they find a new way to exploit whichever ecological niche they inhabit -- trillions of copies of a single virus each changing and adapting to every new challenge. Sometimes, we run up against a virus that learns how to crack our defenses faster than we can rebuild them. I fear SARS-CoV-2 may be one of them.
VIDEO-Brexit trade deal: UK-EU nearing possible agreement, with announcement expected Thursday - CNN
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 12:08
London(CNN) The United Kingdom and the European Union are closing in on a post-Brexit trade agreement after months of fraught negotiations, sources told CNN.
A deal is expected to be announced on Christmas Eve, a UK government source and a European diplomatic source told CNN. News of a potential deal was also reported by the UK's PA Media news agency.
The announcement would come ahead of the December 31 deal deadline.
A senior source at No. 10 Downing Street told CNN that the UK cabinet was briefed on negotiations in a late-night call Wednesday. Following that briefing, the source told CNN: "Expecting talks over the legal text to last into the early hours."
European Commission Chief spokesman Eric Mamer then hinted at final details being ironed out. At about midnight local time he tweeted: "#brexit work will continue through the night. Grabbing some sleep is recommended to all brexit-watchers at this point. It will hopefully be an early start tomorrow morning..."
Earlier on Wednesday, a No.10 adviser told CNN that talks were "moving but not there" yet. An EU diplomat agreed, telling CNN on Wednesday a deal could come "today or tomorrow but was not there yet."
Talks have been deadlocked for months after the two sides were unable to reach agreement in areas such as fishing quotas, how the UK would use state aid to support British businesses post-Brexit, and legal oversight of any deal struck.
Any potential deal would subsequently face a ratification process before coming into effect on January 1, 2021, when the Brexit transition period ends and the UK will no longer be subject to EU rules.
There were once concerns that the deal would not be ratified before the transition period expired; however, European institutions, including the European Parliament, have agreed to sit extra hours towards the end of the year in order to get the agreement approved in time.
Fears of any holdups in the deal's approval in time for the end of the transition period have been mostly allayed by the fact that it's largely possible to provisionally implement trade deals before they are ratified, meaning that in a worst-case scenario, the most serious damage could still be avoided.
News of a potential agreement comes against the backdrop of surging coronavirus cases in the UK. Meanwhile, thousands of trucks from across Europe faced a third day stuck at the English port of Dover after the now-lifted closure of the border by France over a potentially more contagious variant -- a preview of the type of border chaos that could have resulted from a "no deal" Brexit.
But the breakthrough marks a major milestone in the saga that began with the UK voting to leave the EU in 2016.
Brexit debate will continueIn the UK itself, any agreement is unlikely to end the years of toxic political debate over the country's relationship with Europe.
Euroskeptic lawmakers are already organizing efforts to ensure that a deal does not leave room for the UK to drift back into the EU's orbit. Pro-Europeans, meanwhile, will be hopeful that at some point in the future, the UK, perhaps under new leadership, will be able to strengthen ties with Brussels.
Without a trade agreement, UK companies would lose tariff- and quota-free access to the EU's market of more than 400 million consumers, who buy nearly half of the country's exports and provide a similar share of its imports. For the EU, the UK is much less important, accounting for just 4% of the bloc's exports in 2019 and 6% of imports.
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister insisted that regardless of what the deal looked like, the UK would go on to "prosper mightily as an independent nation."
Even though any deal was likely to be less economically damaging than no deal at all, the UK will still be poorer in the long run than if it had remained in the EU, the independent agency that produces economic forecasts for the government said in November.
For the time being, neither side has the appetite for more negotiations after years of painful disagreement.
Hanna Ziady contributed to this report.
VIDEO-New mutated coronavirus from South Africa is "highly concerning" - BBC News - YouTube
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 05:02
VIDEO-Austin-Travis County moves to Stage 5 of COVID-19 risk-based guidelines
Thu, 24 Dec 2020 01:48
PfISD suspends sub-varsity sports, keeps 14-day quarantine period ...
www.kxan.com 'º news 'º local 'º travis-county 'º pfisd-suspends-sub-varsity...
6 hours ago · List: Stage 5 cancellations, closings in Austin-Travis County. by Russell Falcon / Dec 23, 2020. AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- On Wednesday, Dec. 23, ...
VIDEO-Five Minutes of Pink Oyster Mushroom Playing Modular Synthesizer - YouTube
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 21:04
VIDEO+News - Sidney Powell Appointed Special Counsel & Deep State Panics
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 19:17
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VIDEO-Is the United States in the Midst of an Unprecedented Cyber War? with Special Guest Lee Stranahan - YouTube
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 17:45
VIDEO-Montage: The 20 Most Mortifying Media Moments of 2020 - YouTube
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VIDEO-Mike on Twitter: "HOLY MIKE PENCE! https://t.co/NaXGoul77q" / Twitter
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 15:58
Sin City RAIDERS : @FuctupMike I swear that every time I hear Pence talk the Stone Cold Steve Austin music starts playing inside of my'... https://t.co/d6LRufL78K
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VIDEO-Special Message from President Trump - YouTube
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VIDEO-Nurse in UK blows the whistle.
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 15:03
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VIDEO-Georgia moves to DECERTIFY Election Results! - YouTube
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 04:57
VIDEO-Freakwincy: "@adam The show inspired a new song from me yester'..." - No Agenda Social
Wed, 23 Dec 2020 04:19
@ adam The show inspired a new song from me yesterday. Could have had something to do with the age of Aquarius as well. 🅠thanks for all you do adam. I'm still a douchebag and don't know how to submit an end of show mix, but i wanted to share it with you and lend my talent in case you like it. times are tough for musicians in the treasure department right now. anywayyyyzzz, i call this "Illusions of Freedom"
VIDEO-Our banker surprised us by calling in our loan '-- we need to raise $380,000 immediately - YouTube
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 16:26
VIDEO-Tiffany Dover with nursing leadership - YouTube
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VIDEO-U.K, Covid strain: 'This is already in the U.S.,' says Dr. Gottlieb
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:59
Former FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned that the highly contagious, new mutation of Covid-19 found in the United Kingdom "is already in the U.S." as more than 40 countries ban travel to and from the U.K. for 48 hours or more.
"I don't think a travel ban, at this point, is going to prevent this mutated strain from coming into the United States," Gottlieb said. "We're going to have an epidemic that continues to build over the course of the next three or four weeks, we'll reach a peak, and then we'll start to see infection rates decline as we see vaccinations get rolled out."
The new variant of Covid-19 is forcing parts of the United Kingdom back into lockdown. The government imposed the tightest restrictions in London as well as other areas in southeast England, and families are no longer able to gather during Christmas, as previously planned. In an interview on CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith" on Monday evening, Gottlieb explained that the new mutation is likely a result of selective pressure on the virus itself.
"As the virus continues to spread around the world, we're going to start to see more of these variants, and that's why it's important to get the population vaccinated and snuff out these infections," Gottlieb said. "The more infections you have, the more chances that these variants start to propagate."
Scientists in the U.K. suggested the Covid variant makes the virus 50% more transmissible, however, there's currently no sign that it makes the disease worse. Both Eli Lilly and Regeneron, which make the antibody drugs to treat Covid, said their medicines should be effective against the variant. According to Reuters, BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin said his company would investigate the mutation, but looked at the situation with "with a degree of soberness." BioNTech is Pfizer's partner on the Covid vaccine. Gottlieb explained to host Shep Smith why he thinks vaccines will need to eventually adapt.
"The question is, is this virus going to change the surface proteins in a way that can obviate either the vaccines or prior immunity, and there's no indication that it's doing that right now, but over time it will evolve in ways where it can probably obviate prior infection or vaccines to some degree, so we'll probably need to adapt our vaccines over time," Gottlieb said.
The first shipments of Moderna's Covid vaccine hit hospitals across the U.S. today. Moderna's vaccine is the second one, after Pfizer's, to be authorized by the FDA. Moderna's rollout is expected to be double the size with the company planning to ship six million doses out this week compared to Pfizer's 2.9 million doses last week. Pfizer's vaccine requires a temperature of minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 70 degrees Celsius. Moderna can store its vaccine for up to six months at minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gottlieb said that the current logistics for vaccine distribution are "good," but that some challenges may come as the population getting the vaccine widens.
"I think the challenge is going to be the last mile, trying to distribute these vaccines in the community," said Gottlieb. "Right now, in the month of December, we're distributing these vaccines largely to healthcare workers through medical institutions, the academic hospitals, community hospitals, they know how to distribute a vaccine, know how to find their health care workers."
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus and biotech company Illumina. Pfizer has a manufacturing agreement with Gilead for remdesivir. Gottlieb also serves as co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings'² and Royal Caribbean's "Healthy Sail Panel."
VIDEO-Elaine Chao's CCP Ties Exposed | Mitch McConnell acknowledged Biden as president-elect - YouTube
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 13:52
VIDEO-Dvorak's TED Talk ticket price: "NEWSMAX / DOMINION 🤪 '-- CLIP ''Newsmax just aired '..." - No Agenda Social
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 13:14
FollowNEWSMAX / DOMINION 🤪 '-- CLIP
''Newsmax just aired this note to "clarify" its coverage of Smartmatic and Dominion.''
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Title: "NEWSMAX Cucks Out After Seeing How Well It Worked For Fox"
VIDEO-Liberal MP Accidentally Tells the Truth - YouTube
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 13:10
VIDEO-Cyber Pearl Harbor: @SidneyPowell1 reveals groundbreaking new evidence indicating our Presidential election came under malssive cyber-attack orchestrated with the help of Dominion, Smartmatic, and foreign adversaries. - Choice Clips
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 06:15
Top Vids Right Wing Protesters STORM Oregon Capitol Building Calling For Democrat Governor's ArrestRight Wing Protesters STORM Oregon Capitol Building Calling For Democrat Governor's Arrest. Police beat back and sprayed right wing and Trump supporting protesters as people called them out for breaking their oath...
VIDEO-Senator Ron Johnson on Twitter: "2) And @senrobportman got Chris Krebs to acknowledge his claims about election security were about CYBER security, not fraud. https://t.co/IGcGJkQSOH" / Twitter
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 06:09
Senator Ron Johnson : 2) And @senrobportman got Chris Krebs to acknowledge his claims about election security were about CYBER security,'... https://t.co/l9stXmcIot
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ðŸ' zlbub : @SenRonJohnson @realDonaldTrump @senrobportman https://t.co/Qvz3rXq4Xf
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imganna : @SenRonJohnson @realDonaldTrump @senrobportman 🤥🤥🤥🤥🤥
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VIDEO-russ shakelford on Twitter: "@PeteButtigieg @jaredpolis @adamcurry #BuildBackBetter" / Twitter
Tue, 22 Dec 2020 02:26
russ shakelford : @PeteButtigieg @jaredpolis @adamcurry #BuildBackBetter
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VIDEO-Hosting HamNation & FreeDV Digital Voice Over HF! - YouTube
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VIDEO-Jesse Binnall's Opening Statement During Senate Hearing on Election Security and Administration
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 14:09
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VIDEO-Boris Johnson holds crisis meeting on new coronavirus variant as countries cut UK off - CNN
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 13:52
(CNN) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to chair an emergency meeting with ministers Monday after the announcement of a potentially fast-spreading new coronavirus variant prompted a chaotic border shutdown.
Alarm over the new variant, which was first identified in England, has resulted in British travelers being cut off from much of Europe and other parts of the world as countries imposed restrictions on travel from the UK.
France announced a temporary ban on all travel and accompanied freight on Sunday night, a potential disaster for UK exporters who rely on trade with Europe. The border closure exacerbated pre-Christmas delays, with trucks backed up from the port of Dover in the southeast of England, a key crossing point for hauliers.
Worse, the move has sparked fears that European exporters would be reluctant to send goods to the UK, for fear of not being able to return. The timing of the restrictions, just days before Christmas and the end of the Brexit transition period, raised concerns about food and medicine shortages in the UK at a critical time.
In the UK, Kent Police closed sections of England's M20 motorway to "avoid gridlock" in the area surrounding the Eurotunnel. Operation "Stack" -- a contingency plan that allows part of the highway to be allocated to parked trucks -- has been put in place.
Trucks parked on the M20 near Folkestone, Kent, as part of Operation Stack after the Port of Dover was closed and access to the Eurotunnel terminal suspended.
France said it was working to bring in a European-wide health protocol that would allow freight to start flowing again. "In the next few hours, at the European level, we are going to put in place a solid health protocol so that flows from the United Kingdom can resume," Secretary of State for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari tweeted Monday. "Our priority is to protect our nationals and our citizens," he added.
Representatives of the road haulage industry called on the UK government to deploy rapid testing for truck drivers to restore confidence in the French authorities that they are Covid-free. "Right now there will be concern around a backup if this persists for longer than 48 hours because eventually there will be a position where the delays on the exit journey will be quite substantial," said Alex Veitch, general policy manager for Logistics UK, on BBC Radio 4.
British supermarkets said that warehouses were well stocked at present. Sainsbury's warned that shortages of perishable goods could start to appear in the coming days, if the situation is not resolved quickly. A Sainsbury's spokesperson told the PA Media news agency: "All products for the Great British Christmas lunch are already in the country and we have plenty of these. If nothing changes, we will start to see gaps over the coming days on lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruit -- all of which are imported from the continent at this time of year."
Travel restrictionsBy Monday, dozens of countries across Europe, the Middle East and the Americas had announced travel bans for the UK. Others, such as Greece and Spain, have imposed restrictions that require travelers arriving from Britain to undergo coronavirus tests or quarantine.
Canada announced a travel ban from midnight Sunday for at least 72 hours. In a Tweet Sunday night, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the decision was made to keep Canadians across the country safe.
In South America, Argentina, Chile and Colombia have all suspended direct flights to and from the UK, and El Salvador has banned anyone entering the country from Britain.
Police and port staff turn away vehicles from the Port of Dover in Kent, southeast England.
Hong Kong became the first place in Asia to restrict British travelers on Monday, halting all passenger flights from the UK from Tuesday and banning all passengers who stayed in the UK for more than two hours in the past 14 days from arriving in the city.
In the Middle East, flights from the UK were barred in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel.
And across Europe, countries have closed their borders to travelers from UK, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Republic of Ireland, Estonia and the Czech Republic.
Monday's emergency meeting of UK government officials is expected to focus on the international restrictions, and "in particular the steady flow of freight into and out of the UK," the Prime Minister's spokesperson told CNN. "Further meetings are happening this evening and tomorrow morning to ensure robust plans are in place," the spokesperson added.
On Monday, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tried to allay fears on disruption to food supplies, saying the Eurotunnel from Dover to Calais only accounts for about 20% of goods going in and out of the country.
"It's not the mainstay, most goods come in and out in unaccompanied containers and those will continue to flow," he said.
The travel restrictions followed the announcement by the British government on Saturday that the new coronavirus variant appeared to spread more quickly.
In a hastily called press conference Saturday, Johnson said the new variant appeared to "be up to 70% more transmissible," and was responsible for a significant rise in cases in London and southeastern England. Those areas were placed under heightened restrictions.
The tougher lockdown was the latest disruption to a holiday period overshadowed by the pandemic. Governments from Asia to Europe have tightened social-distancing rules and reintroduced lockdown measures to counter a surge in Covid-19 cases. The discovery of the new variant has deepened concerns major restrictions will now continue long into the new year.
Outside of the UK, the new variant has already been identified in Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Australia.
Australian health authorities said two cases of the variant had been found in managed quarantine in Sydney, while Italy's Health Ministry reported Sunday that a patient had been infected with the variant and placed under isolation in Rome.
All viruses mutate over time and new variants are a common emergence, including for the novel coronavirus. A similar variant to the one identified in the UK has also been identified in South Africa, where scientists say it is spreading quickly along coastal areas of the country.
What do we know about the new variant?England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned Saturday that the new UK variant "can spread more quickly" and was responsible for 60% of new infections in the capital, which have nearly doubled in the last week alone.
Whitty cautioned that there was presently no evidence to suggest that the new variant is more deadly, or would neutralize the effectiveness of the newly approved vaccines. However, a more easily spread virus could result in more cases, which in turn could lead to more hospitalizations and potentially more deaths. Even with a vaccine, this could make controlling the virus's spread far less manageable.
Backwards tracing using genetic evidence suggests the new UK variant emerged in September and then circulated at very low levels in the population until mid-November, according to Public Health England (PHE).
"The increase in cases linked to the new variant first came to light in late November when PHE was investigating why infection rates in Kent were not falling despite national restrictions. We then discovered a cluster linked to this variant spreading rapidly into London and Essex," the agency said.
Multiple experts have suggested that this new variant could have been amplified because of a superspreader event; it could be the mutation somehow makes it spread more easily without causing more serious illness; or it could have been by chance.
Scientists at EPH have yet to identify the exact mechanism for the likely increase in transmission, though typically a mutation in the spike protein, the part of the virus that attaches itself to host cells, can increase its transmissibility, the agency said.
CNN's Amy Woodyatt, Amy Cassidy, Fanny Wang and Stephanie Halasz contributed reporting
VIDEO-CEO Of Cybersecurity Company Lays Out Scope Of Cyberattack On U.S., Suggests Culprit Not Yet Known | The Daily Wire
Mon, 21 Dec 2020 05:06
The CEO of FireEye, a cybersecurity company based out of California, suggested during an interview on Sunday that the culprit of the massive cyberattack was not yet officially known as he laid out the scope of the attack, which many experts have suggested could be among the worst in U.S. history.
FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia's interview on CBS News's ''Face The Nation'' comes after the company noticed that it had been hacked and, after investigating, discovered that the hackers breached the software company SolarWinds, which they used to gain access to U.S. government agencies and departments, as well as numerous private firms.
''There's a lot of ways to look at this intrusion, and first and foremost, it's different than other ones that we commonly respond to,'' Mandia said. ''We respond to over a thousand breaches a year. And what separates this is who did it, how they did it, and what they did when they got in.''
''This was not a drive-by shooting on the information highway,'' Mandia continued. ''This was a sniper round from somebody a mile away from your house. This was special operations. And it was going to take special operations to detect this breach. So the '-- how they did it was in a way that was utterly clandestine, very difficult to tell, and quite frankly, it was a backdoor into the American supply chain that separates this from thousands of other cases that we've worked throughout our careers.''
Mandia said that the attack started in October 2019 and that those responsible injected ''malicious code'' into the corrupted systems in March of this year.
Mandia tried to put the attack in perspective and appeared to suggest that it was not as massive as some were making it out to be.
''It's important to note everybody says this is potentially the biggest intrusion in our history. The reality is the blast radius for this, I kind of explain it with a funnel. It's true that over 300,000 companies use SolarWinds, but you come down from that total number down to about 18,000 or so companies that actually had the backdoor or malicious code on a network,'' he said. ''And then you come down to the next part. It's probably only about fifty organizations or companies, somewhere in that zone, that's genuinely impacted by the threat actor.''
When pressed about who he thinks was behind the attack, Mandia said, ''I think that [it's] definitely a nation behind this.''
''You just heard me say the attack started with a dry run in October of 2019. This wasn't a ransomware attack, not a drive-by shooting where somebody breaks in and it's kind of like a brick through your window, and it's pretty obvious, hey, they broke in with a brick through the window and then they stole your jewels. This is more like a case where somebody came in through a trapdoor in your basement that you never knew about, put on an invisibility cloak, and you just got the sense they [were] in your networks, but you weren't even sure how.''
He said that he thinks that the attack was consistent with what they see coming out of Russian intelligence, but added: ''We're going to get attribution right.''
''The amount of resources inside the government, inside the private sector, and the reach that we have, we can speculate it or we can do some more work and put a neon sign on the building of the folks that did this,'' he said. ''And I'm very confident as we continue the investigation, as it gets broader, as more people learn the tools, tactics, and procedures of this attack, we're going to bring it back and we're going to get attribution. Not ninety-two percent right, not consistent with, but a hundred percent. Let's just get it right so that we can proportionately respond, period.''
WATCH:
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  • 0:00
    Adam: Got a box that took off the Truckee for you?
  • 0:02
    Unknown: Adam Curry,
  • 0:03
    John Dvorak, December
  • 0:04
    24 2020 this is your award winning gitmo-nation Media assassination Episode 13 106 This
  • 0:10
    is no agenda and
  • 0:15
    Adam: broadcasting live from opportunity zone 33 here in the frontier of Austin, Texas capitol of the drone star staying in the morning, everybody. I'm Adam Curry,
  • 0:24
    John: and from Northern Silicon Valley where we're into year two of COVID. And where's the crackin? And Jessie devorah
  • 0:35
    Adam: Oh, forget COVID in the crackin we got a Brexit situation going
  • 0:39
    John: down. Good. Take it
  • 0:41
    Adam: deal is done. And we have no idea. exactly what's in the deal.
  • 0:49
    John: I'm sorry. You're cracking me up.
  • 0:50
    Unknown: Yes.
  • 0:55
    Adam: I watched some of the live announcement this morning. And, and man a lot comes to mind here. But the devil will be in the details. Boris is running around like he's got like his. It's a peacock strutting his stuff. Oh, yes, we've got it done. And the first thing I read in like the first release notes is well, at least for the next five years, fish will be safe in North Sea. So this is you know exactly what's going on here. I think the EU somehow put the squeeze on Boris. And this happened in between shows. So I'm just surmising stuff that has happened in the past week. They had this very contagious new variant all of a sudden, still not captured, proven. I mean, it's very iffy as to what that is. Everyone's talking about
  • 1:49
    Unknown: me cold.
  • 1:50
    Adam: And right away. The EU locked down the UK, I thought on the eve of the Brexit negotiations ending, this had to be some kind of pressure tactic. Oh, really? You don't you want to see what it's like when when we're not friends? Watch this bitch. And they just shut it down. You could see the trucks from space. That's how many trucks were lined up trying to get across the, the channel. And then all of a sudden, it's like, Well, okay, we're gonna ease it up a little bit two days later. And then Brexit announced, tell me that's that's a coincidence. Am I just? I think not. I don't think so either.
  • 2:31
    John: It's too much of a tumor too weird of a coincidence now. Anyway, and this and this phony baloney second strand of COVID, which is the common cold.
  • 2:41
    Adam: It's a very variants, my friend. It's a variant.
  • 2:44
    John: A variant? Yeah, that's what the common cold is I
  • 2:46
    Adam: have. I have a couple of clips regarding the variants, because I think this pet seeing is how well it worked in the UK. might as well use it on the rest of the slaves of gitmo-nation. This might be a good little tool. Just tell people there's a new variant that's much more contagious and
  • 3:05
    John: be afraid to come in cold is much more contagious.
  • 3:08
    Unknown: This variant of the virus is stoking some alarm with some countries temporarily blocking travel from the UK. But so far, experts are saying it's no more lethal or transmissible than the current strain.
  • 3:19
    Adam: This is ABC World News tonight.
  • 3:21
    Unknown: So what do we need to know?
  • 3:23
    Yeah, I mean, on such a day of such optimism with the vaccine, now we're dealing with this new variant, and there is some cause for concern. And I'll give some reasons why scientists are sort of concerned about this, this particular one, this version is replacing rapidly other versions of the virus. And we've seen this rapid increase in cases in some regions of England. This variant has mutations actually 17 mutations with 70 of variants that we've seen historically. And they wait a minute
  • 3:52
    Adam: isn't a mutation, a variant? I don't understand now. Now, this variant has seven mutations of its own. That doesn't sound that sounds weird is just gobbledygook. Well, they they're really pushing a john really pushing the shit
  • 4:07
    Unknown: on the part of the viruses spike protein that is entered that use that is used for entry into the cells. So these mutations potentially are creating increased transmissibility of the virus. But there's some important caveats. One, we see variants like this emerge all the time. And the data is very early. And so it could be biased with the fact that we saw increased mobility and travel. And so maybe we're just seeing artifacts of data. And there's really no evidence that this virus is more lethal.
  • 4:37
    Adam: Okay, so this is no evidence yet. It was used in the UK and everyone got freaked out. I'm gonna go back and forth between ABC and CBS for a moment to show you some differences or similarities. That's ABC. Now we have CBS with Michael osterholm. This is the guy who I think is responsible for freaking a lot of people out early on in March, when I was on Joe Rogan show He came on right after me. And he was the guy saying it's going to be two and a half million dead. This is horrible. You have no idea what's going on and he was rewarded. He is now in the Coronavirus team for the president apparent here is talking about to this new strain. It's It's It's not just in the UK.
  • 5:21
    Unknown: I do want to ask you about this new strain of the Coronavirus
  • 5:23
    being identified in both the UK and South Africa. What does it mean for us here in the United States?
  • 5:29
    Well, first of all, let me just say that I don't speak for the Biden Harris transition team. These are my own professional. Okay, I'm very concerned about this. I think that it does represent a real challenge to us globally. And that this particular variant, which is very different than any of the previous variants we've seen,
  • 5:46
    Adam: how can we didn't hear the previous varies, we were saying hey, it looks like
  • 5:52
    John: there's a bunch of things about this guy one is just got the vote. He's got an incredible voice of authority. Oh, yeah, he's got the right tone. He doesn't stammer he's not all excited. Now he's just got a beautiful voice of authority this guy could do some damage.
  • 6:08
    Adam: This is why I like when he starts off by saying just so you know, I don't speak for the Biden Harris transition team.
  • 6:13
    John: Hold on, hold on.
  • 6:15
    Unknown: Gentlemen. Here we go. 4567
  • 6:18
    John: Same, same old same old going at moderate speed
  • 6:20
    Adam: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Zephyr report report whereas seven is the new normal it used to be eight but we know in the mail wagon is no longer attached. Please alert the guys at Squawk Box CNBC we have a stable economy. We're running forward into the new year Bitcoin $23,212. Oh, my God. Bitcoin has kind of benefited, you might have noticed
  • 6:47
    John: a bit
  • 6:48
    Unknown: twist kicking ass, could very well substantially increase transmission of this virus. And for the fact of how the vaccines and others may protect us is really unclear at this point.
  • 6:58
    I find that interesting, because a lot of people are asking this morning, we've said that this virus is potentially 70% more contagious. What
  • 7:05
    does that actually mean? How does a virus become more contagious? Well, what
  • 7:10
    happens is a heart attack.
  • 7:15
    wasn't that good?
  • 7:21
    How does it happen? How does it work?
  • 7:24
    What does that actually mean? How does a virus become more contagious? Well, what
  • 7:30
    happens is in part, the virus actually may grow to a much higher level and an individual's throat and respiratory tract. And there's actually data from England supporting that, that the infected with this strain actually have more virus, which then might very well make them more infectious. If that's all you have to do is increase, even marginally the number of people that any one individual infects, and then you have potentially very rapid growth of the virus in the community that wouldn't have happened otherwise. And that I think, is what's actually being seen right now in England.
  • 8:03
    I'm gonna give you the whole load, baby, the
  • 8:06
    Adam: new variant gonna give you the whole load. Let's go back to ABC to dr. john Brownstein. And let's see if there's going to be a problem with the vaccines.
  • 8:15
    Unknown: I think the question on everyone's mind, you mentioned the good news about the vaccine. So could this impact the efficacy of the vaccines that have now been deployed in any way?
  • 8:24
    So so far, scientists don't believe so. We think that it takes years for these mutations to build up in a way that they would have an impact on the vaccine. Unlike monoclonal antibodies, vaccines make actually what we call polyclonal antibody response and that means that there are multiple ways that the vaccine can protect you. So a few mutations of the virus will not impact the the ability for the vaccine to prevent you from getting severe COVID disease. The bigger concern is around what we call antigenic drift and this is the
  • 8:55
    Adam: time this is what to hold on a second what do you call that anthropogenic antigenic drift? eautiful? Can I do that in my sports car?
  • 9:04
    John: And you put that down? Is it possible
  • 9:06
    Adam: Showtime Anto genic who said he said anti antigenic drift antigenic drift. This is awesome word. And I said it and I mean it. We can use this. You can pick up chicks with this word. The bigger concern is around what we call antigenic drift, but not with that voice. And this is the change in the virus over time.
  • 9:26
    Unknown: This is what the flu viruses undergo, which means that we need a new flu virus vaccine every year. And so what we're thinking more is the long term needs of vaccines and how we may need to change this vaccine over time. But their concern immediately over the existing vaccines are just not there. And we should be proceeding as we have been thinking that we're going to really have an impact on this virus with mass vaccinations over the coming months.
  • 9:50
    Adam: Right. So then you go over to CNN and Sanjay Gupta has a whole produced piece explaining kind of but he leaves A lot open again, I feel this variant or new variants or whatever they want to do is going to be used in the future against us to keep us locked down and I think to get a vaccine every year.
  • 10:16
    Unknown: mutation is a word that conjures up all kinds of images, radioactive waste, viruses, they're generally not pleasant. But the truth is, mutations aren't always dangerous. For viruses, they're actually pretty mundane. Usually, we have genetic material DNA in all of ourselves. As cells multiply and DNA gets copied, mistakes get made. In fact, your DNA mutates all the time, and you almost never notice. But sometimes those changes do matter. They can be good changes linked, for example, to lower risk of diabetes, or they can be harmful. For example, the mutations that can cause cancer, viruses mutate as well, especially those with genetic material made of RNA. RNA is one strand instead of two strands, and it mutates even more easily than DNA does. Usually, these mutations are neutral or even harmful to the virus, possibly making it less lethal. But this also explains why there's a new flu vaccine every year, flu viruses constantly change. And these changes can eventually make the virus unrecognizable to the immune system, meaning the antibodies we had from last year's flu shot, no longer really protect us. The novel Coronavirus has mutated in a way that affects it spike protein, that's a protein that allows it to enter human cells. And while this mutation may make it spread more easily from person to person, it doesn't seem to make people any sicker.
  • 11:44
    Adam: Okay, there you go. We might need a new vaccine just like the flu vaccine. But don't worry, it doesn't really seem like it makes anybody sicker. But you know what, if you have a city that needs bailing out, excuse me, if you have a stimulus relief bill on the table, possibly coming through which benefits your town your city, you know, you might just want to say this variant is here and good to go. Tonight bruisin locking down again, with more than 40 countries banning travel to and from the UK.
  • 12:18
    Unknown: This after a new potentially more contagious mutation of the virus was confirmed and is spreading rapidly.
  • 12:26
    As soon as we were briefed in in UK government on the the fast transmissibility of this new strain, we took prompt
  • 12:36
    and decisive action. What has people alarmed is how infectious this version may be. Early estimates indicate that it could be as much as 70% more contagious than who also seeing an increase in the infection rate. But scientists around the world aren't convinced yet saying more studies needed the head of operation warp speed, saying they're now awaiting more evidence. I think scientifically to date, there is no hard evidence that this virus is actually more transmissible despite dozens of countries banning flights from the UK planes are still coming into the US without government restrictions.
  • 13:16
    The authorities say they haven't found the strain here yet.
  • 13:21
    Adam: I believe intuitively it's already here. There you go. This will be used against the city of New York. New strain new variants careful stay home until we have some money. Yeah, everything is a
  • 13:40
    John: certain way I see it. There's three things going on. Okay. One you've got the ABC CBS thing we show the comparison. You see one network getting more money. Yes.
  • 13:53
    Adam: Yeah, whatever. Yep.
  • 13:56
    John: So there's there's a bad vibe involved?
  • 13:59
    Unknown: Definitely
  • 14:00
    John: trying there's normalized ad bias between the two networks. The other one is there have been a lot of articles before that been going on for about a month discussing the possibility of needing a shot a year. Yes. Because that's his money in the bank. Because he flew guys What did they do they make all the money we can have more expensive product and make it harder just aren't the
  • 14:25
    Adam: flu guys the same as the COVID guys it's the same guys So
  • 14:29
    John: guys, it's kind of I think they branched off into just specialists they just
  • 14:32
    Adam: Oh, it's actual flu guys now call the flu guys.
  • 14:36
    John: Yeah, they call the flu guys and they also will clean your chimney
  • 14:40
    Adam: for an extra fee.
  • 14:43
    John: And the other one is I think that there's there's an element of the vaccine doesn't work. In this report, that is in other words, you get the shot you get the shot, you get the vet you get do you end up getting COVID No, no, no, you got the variant.
  • 15:00
    Adam: Yeah, that's a good one. Oh, no, man, you got the variance. Sorry.
  • 15:05
    John: And back to square one to be just a backstop for, for if it fails active vaccine. Oh, it must. Wow. Okay. Now pretty good trick. It's another once you give people a shot, that's useless. Yeah. And then when they get to COVID, which is probably still low opportunity for getting it as low, especially at the end of the cycle here, there's nothing going around except for these tests. Tests indicate a lot of stuff. That's bullcrap. And so you get into getting COVID. After the vaccine, you need some they need to tell you something. Why did I spend all this Why did you watch it? Yeah.
  • 15:42
    Adam: There was there was something that a lot of our producers caught in the last show just regarding the vaccine that we need to ask questions about this was the Fauci clip with the kids where he's talking about Santa Claus. And then he went and he vaccinated them that he vaccinated Santa. But there was something he said here, which both of us missed because, you know, we were so incensed by this a whole
  • 16:06
    Unknown: line.
  • 16:09
    How did Santa
  • 16:10
    get the vaccine? And is
  • 16:13
    it safe for him to go? South? She's
  • 16:15
    Adam: answer I'm just playing this for context.
  • 16:17
    Unknown: isn't me and Coronavirus a season. But if he can go to anyone's house or near Israel, India?
  • 16:26
    Well, I have to say I took care of that for you because I was worried that you'd all be upset. So what I hit a little while ago, I took a trip up there to the North Pole. I went there and I vaccinated Santa Claus myself, I measured his level of immunity.
  • 16:42
    Adam: Right there. What's this? I measured his level of immunity. I have not heard this
  • 16:50
    John: good catch by whoever caught it,
  • 16:52
    Adam: and multiple producers, whatever was catchable and and can you give someone a vaccine fictional or not? And then I can't believe we're actually discussing this. And then check their immunity right away. Is that a thing? He's lying to children? He's lying. Lying is
  • 17:10
    John: just a lie. Well, he's lying anyway, because he never gave Santa shot, right? So just ignore that and assume he gave somebody a shot. Some real person has shot that was outside of the North Pole. Somebody who lived in the United States and maybe was a nurse, gave her a shot and then checked her level of immunity.
  • 17:31
    Adam: But how do you do that? I've
  • 17:33
    John: never heard of this bullcrap.
  • 17:35
    Adam: Okay, thank you. I'm just wanting to make sure it's concerning that Fauci would throw that out there. Maybe
  • 17:42
    John: you know what, maybe somebody does some studies early on, and as the more sore your arm is, the more painful the shot is, the more your immunity is going on. There was some guy who was getting a shot on one of these shows and he actually said that they are they said, he said all my they were discussing it the guy I got my shot this morning, the guy says, Well, how do you feel? He says, Well, my arms really sore. And the other guy, or he said one of them said, Oh, that means it's working.
  • 18:11
    Adam: The pain means is this the the severe pain means it's working. There are bad science
  • 18:18
    The science is in. vaccine is working when it hurts like crap. Well, it finally happened. We we reach stage five here in Austin, Texas. And now in California, we'd be locked down and you'd be you'd be just they'd be welding the door. Shane's welding the door shut. Now Abbott, our governor has said I'm not going to lock down the state come hell or high water. Adler our mayor has an obvious problem. He needs to virtue signal he needs to show that he's concerned. He needs to say something but not too much. Because you know, he's kind of on the ropes with his timeshare visiting Cabo where family timeshare, where he was telling everyone to shut up and stay indoors. Here's a quick report.
  • 19:06
    Unknown: hexus just reported a record high number of new Coronavirus, infections,
  • 19:11
    Adam: infections, nut cases now it's infections
  • 19:15
    Unknown: and we have reached the highest local risk level
  • 19:18
    stage five hospitalizations are spiking and Christmas spiking days away. Enhanced restrictions are recommended.
  • 19:25
    Recommended. Aha, you see, here's where it gets interesting. In the Austin Travis County area. Here's
  • 19:30
    what that means. businesses including restaurants are advised to move to a curbside pickup and delivery. Do
  • 19:37
    Adam: you see what's happening here advice, they're being asked to do something there is no mandate. He can't do it only model
  • 19:45
    John: and that's kind of what it is around here too. I disagree.
  • 19:49
    Adam: They're not telling rest. They're not giving restaurants citations. If they stay open, and the restaurants every smile I need to play the report. They're all saying yeah We'll be extra careful. They're not going to close down. They're not doing it anymore. They're not going to be destroyed this, this Christmas.
  • 20:08
    John: No, I'm just saying that's the same as the same part. That's the part that's the same as it is here is if you really look into it, these are all advisories. The fact that they shut down the restaurant is different.
  • 20:23
    Adam: But is the restaurant shut down? Is that mandatory? I thought that was mandatory in California.
  • 20:29
    John: The only thing that's mandatory is you can't have indoor dining,
  • 20:31
    Adam: right? So so they have not done any of that here. You can have it they say please do
  • 20:37
    John: it. Apparently a bunch of scofflaws. They're in Texas. There's they're risking the health as a public.
  • 20:43
    Adam: The public is okay.
  • 20:45
    John: In fact, Florida is the same way they've done nothing I've talked to Horowitz about this. They've done nothing. Everything's not wide open go to the beach. The beaches are open and
  • 20:55
    Adam: how does he feel about it?
  • 20:57
    John: Well, he's is he think it's nice? He has mixed feelings about it because he's really turned into a kind of a liberal Oh, man,
  • 21:05
    Adam: you're gonna do that again on the show at the end of the year. He's gonna kick you off that deal. It's just gonna be it's gonna be unplugged.
  • 21:13
    John: I'm gonna tell you what I'm going to let share and his sister make the final determination. But his politics are.
  • 21:18
    Adam: I pulled the clip, a classic clip from almost 10 months ago. I think this was yours. Just to remind you what we're headed into. And, and it's, it's a tad bit frustrating, where we called so many things happening and saw them so early from the PCR, which is not a test. The cycle count stayed on that for a long time. The death count remits. Oh my God, I've got a couple of the tick tock doctors on that one. But one thing we said very early on is get ready for it. Because this is where we're headed. We're going into a different place, which is a new normal,
  • 21:56
    Unknown: a new normal, normal,
  • 21:57
    the new normal,
  • 21:58
    a new normal, a new normal, embrace the new normal, the new normal,
  • 22:02
    the new normal, the new normal, the new normal, this new normal is going to look very, very different. not normal, but a new normal, the
  • 22:09
    new normal,
  • 22:10
    normal, there will be a new normal,
  • 22:12
    a new normal, new normal, a new normal, the new normal, our new normal,
  • 22:16
    this is the new normal,
  • 22:17
    this is our new normal,
  • 22:19
    our new normal, a new normal, our new normal, new normal, the new normal,
  • 22:23
    our new normal,
  • 22:24
    we will transition into the new normal, this
  • 22:27
    will be the new normal until the vaccine is developed.
  • 22:35
    Adam: And we have the vaccine and your new normal is about to show up. That's exactly what they promised us until the vaccine then we get the real new normal. And that's what it's going to be it's going to be freedom passes. It's going to be all kinds of groups pass.
  • 22:49
    Unknown: Oh yeah. Oh,
  • 22:50
    Adam: no. I have I have freedom pass stuff. Oh, yeah. Oh, it's it's coming baby.
  • 22:54
    Unknown: Oh man.
  • 22:55
    Adam: This is NBC News. With an update on that. Well, I think they call it the health pass. Don't worry. Freedom passes a better name
  • 23:02
    Unknown: proving you've been vaccinated will be vital and tech companies are designing ways to show it can test more than
  • 23:09
    with vaccines on the horizon. new health apps are springing to life. IBM and cloud apps are springing to life. Here. The tech company known for expediting security screenings at airports are both creating new apps to take in real time vaccination information, they could eventually be used for admission to concerts and live sports. So here's how it works. The app gives you a health path to show before you go into big stadiums like that to streamline the process to make it safer and faster for you to get to your seats. It'll flash green if your health information meets requirements, the stadium or venue would not see your personal health data. Everything is opt
  • 23:47
    in and you control your information.
  • 23:49
    But how much information will clear have even though the stadium may only see the green to secure identity platform,
  • 23:56
    we don't hold your health data, the LA
  • 23:59
    Adam: football club. Notice how notice how they chopped up what must have been a 20 minute interview into the most important things. Hey, listen, as you're making this report, I just want you to cut it up just also we need to have from her if she says we don't have your data, your data safe. That's I just it's the obligatory part in the report. Make it seven seconds at me only see the green to secure identity platform.
  • 24:21
    Unknown: We don't hold your health data. The LA Football
  • 24:24
    Club, a major job per team says health pass is part of their reopening plan next year. How much do you need technology like this to be able to fill these seats again,
  • 24:34
    it's going to be a must. It's an expectation of government officials that ultimately will decide when and how we can bring fans back. We also want to know that when we get up to go to a concession stand when we walk into the team store that the officer
  • 24:54
    Adam: noticed that he's saying whenever you spend money of us, we want to make sure that you're safe doing it. We want to to come back and do it again,
  • 25:01
    Unknown: when and how we can bring fans back. We also want to know that when we get up to go to a concession stand that we walk into the team store. The other people that came through the gates and are here with us are also safe.
  • 25:17
    For live events. Ticketmaster is exploring several options including a smartphone verification system for vaccination status and negative tests. The Australian Government has also said it may require proof of vaccination in the future for entry into the country. A glimpse into a vaccinated future and a new normal NBC.
  • 25:39
    Adam: We are at a new normal, the new normal baby we are in a technology pharma controlled biosecurity state. And you'll have to learn to live with it your new normal. Now, if you are on the wrong side of things, we may have to punish you with the new normal. This is Anna Navarro.
  • 25:59
    Unknown: There's something that really gets stuck I think at micron other people's people who have been enabling Donald Trump downplaying the Koch COVID virus, calling it a hoax, who have attended, spoken at encouraged, promoted and participated in so many of his reckless rallies where people have been packed like sardines, and have spoken at these rallies, knowing people are there maskless, who have attended super spreader events at the White House. I've seen, you know, so many people get infected with COVID at them. And then and then after they've been selfish, after they've been reckless after then they've been survival to Donald Trump, then they get to the line and go in front of people who are in nursing homes, and go in front of people who've been risking their lives for 10 months.
  • 26:53
    John: bigoted creep, That woman is
  • 26:55
    Adam: supported Donald Trump, no vaccine for you, we're gonna kill you. And that goes pretty much unchallenged.
  • 27:04
    John: Course now I was just gonna challenge you. I
  • 27:06
    Adam: love it. I love it. It's really good. This is a fun time to be a podcaster. It's just beautiful. This is, oh, yeah, this was a good one. And we have a real problem. We need to get 300 million people to take this vaccine. And there's some apprehension, most notably amongst our black community, it's a community people go find the zip code, let me know where it is. And they have good reason from the Tuskegee experiments. And this needs to be addressed stuff it needed to be there's a lot of stuff, but this needed to be addressed. So we roll out the Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, and he's, of course, he's a member of the black community. So he's the one to convey the message, and he does a great job.
  • 27:55
    Unknown: People talk about Tuskegee all the time. But a lot of people don't know what happened in 1932, black men who had syphilis were recruited into a government study and told they would be treated for their syphilis. Unfortunately, there was never an intent to treat these men it was intended to follow them. But what's really horrific is that 15 years into that study, they actually came up with a treatment for syphilis and effective treatment. And it was not given to these men. And this study went on for 40 years. And what people don't know is the Office of the Surgeon General, actually oversaw that study the United States Public Health Service. So every day I walk into my office, I walk past a wall of men who actually did this to people like me. And I'm sorry, it makes me a little bit emotional when I when I talk about this, but this is something that we have to acknowledge. We have to acknowledge that this has happened to people and that mistrust comes from a historical place.
  • 28:56
    Adam: I don't know if that really helped any
  • 28:59
    John: helped at all, but yours, there is a twist that they could employ if they had some sense. Okay. Which is that the thing that happened in Tuskegee, Tuskegee, which is what he mentioned, is that the is that the treatment was withheld?
  • 29:13
    Adam: Yes.
  • 29:15
    John: They weren't. They weren't experimented on like Dr. Mango.
  • 29:19
    Adam: They had zero treatment. They were told they
  • 29:21
    John: were given no treatment. So the way to play it is that Oh, it looks do we don't want to give the black community the vaccine. We want to withhold it. We want to withhold it once again. And they would demand the vaccine and they would all take it
  • 29:35
    Adam: I once I have the zip code or the area, the area zip code of the black community. I'll send you there and is it black?
  • 29:44
    Unknown: in Oakland?
  • 29:46
    Adam: No. This is white as hell these days. What are you talking about? No community in Oakland anymore. way past
  • 29:53
    John: 35th Avenue. It's all black. And it's called the black community is a sign
  • 30:00
    Adam: So the Chinese Communist Party, I mean, the world health organization that has decided to use Tick Tock a fine Chinese platform to deploy the TIC Tock doctors we've spoken about it before Newsday, Australia. I guess that's the, the the Murdoch station. There's some disdain for China in general in Australia. Did I yeah, did quite a piece on these Tick Tock doctors.
  • 30:33
    Unknown: Explaining how a vaccine works isn't easy. So these tech talking scientists have got creative, got to come.
  • 30:43
    Adam: Dancing, obviously,
  • 30:46
    Unknown: questions to allay vaccine concerns and promote confidence. That part of Team Halo, an international group of experts put together by the UN, and they've generated more than 20 million views on Tick Tock.
  • 31:02
    We've been working almost exclusively on making a comeback.
  • 31:05
    Adam: Do you think that they're popular and they've generated more than 20 million views? Or do you think the Chinese algorithm has been generating 20 million views by forcing it in front of people don't worry. In China,
  • 31:16
    John: you know, it doesn't take much more than a couple of blinks and you get 20 million. Right? But
  • 31:21
    Adam: this is the US version.
  • 31:24
    John: It's probably an algo
  • 31:25
    Adam: us and worldviews. It's an algo and it's pushing it in front of everybody,
  • 31:30
    John: as us and world is. Yeah, believe me wouldn't take much
  • 31:34
    Unknown: un and they've generated more than 20 million views By
  • 31:38
    Adam: the way, that's what Tick Tock success is. Tick Tock algo is its success it whether it's manual or not, they they pick the hits the ones that are great, and they just throw them at everybody. It's it's a very it's a very sticky algo
  • 31:53
    Unknown: on Tiktok
  • 31:54
    tear we've been working almost exclusively on making a COVID-19 vaccine manual.
  • 32:00
    Adam: Pick one of these out This is Dr. Cat we've played some of her stuff before very irritating woman from Team Halo. She's got the the big, exaggerated glasses. I think that you know read sometimes they're white, so you really know that's the crazy doctor Lady Doctor cat from the TIC tocs. Yeah. And she's gonna tell us how we're wrong wrong wrong about the death toll. It's,
  • 32:23
    Unknown: you'd have no
  • 32:24
    idea what you're talking about you idiots. Hey, Dr. Ken epidemiologist, I've been talking since the summer and in videos like this one about excess mortality and how we have more deaths than expected in 2020 versus previous years. Despite this, there are people committed to spreading the misinformation that we're actually fewer deaths in 2022 arrive at this conclusion, they're using provisional death counts. And comparing those back to final death counts from previous years. So
  • 32:55
    Adam: it's okay for everybody else to look at numbers and report them at the moment on the spot is true. But it's not true because it's provisional. And you're being dishonest. Okay.
  • 33:07
    Unknown: I talked in this video about why that is not inappropriate method. Okay. So now in 2020, it's been announced that we are on track for the first time in US history to have more than 3 million deaths in a single year. It's kind of what epidemiologists have been saying all along. I'm hoping now we can all get on board that this virus is not a hoax and that people are dying, and they're dying in greater numbers than expected. Thank
  • 33:34
    you very much. Well,
  • 33:35
    Adam: if you really look at the numbers, Dr. Cat, sure it went from 2.8 5 million to 3 million to 250,000. More we didn't take into account any population growth. Did we doctor cat? No, of course not.
  • 33:53
    John: This is also the aging population. There's a lot of things a lot
  • 33:56
    Adam: of things in here, but
  • 33:57
    John: they but they did Amy Goodman did the same thing. And the way she did I'm trying to see if I can find the clip would be labeled with a had a very similar thing she went on about this, but she Oh, 3 million dead.
  • 34:11
    Adam: Is that the one? No?
  • 34:13
    John: Yeah, That must be it. Now listen to it. The reason I clip this is because they're just they're starting to push this and that you just confirmed it with that clip with the cat clip. Mm hmm. Which, which is that they're now trying to equate the total death count of the country with COVID to confuse the public. I'll bet you if you went up to demand on the street and asked him at some point, did you hear about 3 million dead from COVID?
  • 34:38
    Adam: They'd say Oh, yeah, yes, bad. Yeah, I know. Horrible.
  • 34:44
    John: I absolutely think that's what they're trying to do here because there's no other reason to be discussing this.
  • 34:49
    Unknown: Well, the United States hit the grim milestone of the worst day yet of the coronavirus pandemic this week with 3350 COVID related deaths Tuesday alone, this comes to Mr. reports that 2020 has been the deadliest year in US history. United States is on track to top 3.2 million deaths this year with 40,000 more deaths than in 2019.
  • 35:17
    Wow,
  • 35:19
    Adam: that just throwing the 3 million out there.
  • 35:23
    Unknown: Yeah.
  • 35:25
    John: Yeah. And, and this the same thing, this, there's no difference in this sort of, I would call jargon creep, or whatever you want to call it, where they changed the rules of like, all of a sudden we go from cases to infections, or test positive test positive equals cases, cases, he goes infections, test positives equals infections. Yep. They keep doing this, this sort of thing. It's just a way of from day one. It's very dishonest from day one. They've
  • 35:55
    Adam: been changing numbers, changing graphs, flatten the curve. I mean, hospitalization rates, save the NHS. You know, and I want to say something to Australia. I was talking to James Cridland he, he does pod news. By the
  • 36:12
    John: way, Merry Christmas, Australia.
  • 36:14
    Adam: Yes, indeed. Merry Christmas, Australia. And, and I said, Yeah, so how's it how's it going over there? That's actually it's not too bad. We're open everywhere. I think he said Sydney has a few problems. But here's where here's where they're at in Australia. They think that it's done that they've succeeded. They don't understand Australia, you are three months behind us. Please learn. I've been trying to warn you every step of the way. So this is what we had. This was the summer months, everyone's like, it's gonna be okay, we're letting up and then your flu season comes which is opposite ours down under two, you're going to be locked down in a couple of months. Just be ready for it or be ready to counter the bullcrap. But already, Australia has their system where wherever you go, any restaurant, any building, anywhere you enter, you have to scan a QR code, which then leaves your contact information. So it's their, their high tech version of writing down in Austin, we had that a couple times, write down your contact information. So since people obviously were falsifying that information, you now have to log into a queue called QR code anywhere you go to sit down. To which I said, congratulations, Australia, you've just reinvented Foursquare, you should gamify it. Hey, I'm the mayor, the mayor of Starbucks. But the biggest problem they have right now and again, I warn our friends down under Be careful. The biggest problem they have is there is a shortage of
  • 37:56
    Marmite. Which Oh, yeah, there's no more to do.
  • 38:02
    John: It's, it's I think it's called our shriveling up. It's