1343: McClintock Effect

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 3m
May 2nd, 2021
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Vaccines and such
The HOT Vaccine Stories
Sat, 01 May 2021 04:24
andre vautour : @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK https://t.co/88pREMN43C
Sat May 01 03:07:39 +0000 2021
Best vaccine: How Pfizer became the ''status'' choice.
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 23:53
Last week, on a phone call with Tom Cox, a former representative in the Kansas state Legislature who now works in government relations, I told him I was soon to get my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
“Welcome to the ruling class,” he replied. Cox had also gotten the Pfizer shot, and with it, he has lately developed—facetiously, he swears—a sense of Pfizer superiority.
It started after he, his closest friends, and his immediate family all happened to get the Pfizer vaccine. “We started calling ourselves ‘double-dosed Pfizer elites,’ ” Cox said. “I will refer to anyone who’s had one dose as a ‘one-doser.’ Like, ‘Oh, you’re a one-doser? OK, well, you’ll reach this enlightened plane soon enough.’ ”
“One of my cousins got Moderna, and I was like, ‘That’s OK. We need a strong middle class. We can’t all be CEOs.’ ”
Cox is likely not the first Pfizerphile you’ve heard sing his vaccine brand’s praises. Pro-Pfizer sentiment is all over TikTok, where you can find skits of bros bonding over their shared Pfizer status, or one creator declaring that the name itself “Sounds rich. Decadent. Luxury!”
Olajide Bamishigbin, a psychology professor in California, was on a similar wavelength recently when he tweeted a GIF of SpongeBob SquarePants dressed in a top hat and monocle alongside the words, “Me when somebody says they got any vaccine other than Pfizer.”
The Pfizer superiority complex is at once a joke and a real phenomenon. But is it affecting the vaccine rollout? “Even though I think that we have this instinct that’s out there”—the belief that Pfizer is the elite shot—“it still feels more playful than really driving outcomes,” said Manuel Hermosilla, a professor of marketing at Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business School who studies the pharmaceutical industry. He said he thinks people understand that getting whatever vaccine you can should trump any brand preference—though it’s unclear how this week’s news about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could change that equation. On Tuesday, U.S. health agencies recommended a pause in administration of the J&J vaccine, after six women developed a rare blood clot disorder within weeks of receiving the shot. In all likelihood, this pause will be temporary. (Hermosilla, like most of this article’s sources, spoke to Slate before the J&J pause took effect.)
With the blood clot scare in the news, it may seem an uncouth time to be a Pfizer snob. Objectively, the Pfizer vaccine may have the best numbers, with an efficacy rate originally reported as 95 percent. But with a 94 percent efficacy rate, the Moderna vaccine was right behind it, and J&J’s efficacy rate of 66 percent was actually quite good, if you understand what the numbers mean. And the J&J shot has one big advantage on the other two, which is that it can be administered in one dose instead of two. Once you’re able to get it again.
As the vaccines have rolled out, many experts have strenuously rejected the idea that there’s any “best” vaccine. “The best vaccine is the one that goes in your arm,” said Mary Hayney, a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy who researches vaccination. “I truly believe that there is not a big difference among the vaccines, or a discernable difference. Whatever one is offered to you, take it.” (Again, Hayney spoke to Slate before the latest J&J news.)
But Lindsey Leininger, a public health scientist at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, took a less hard-line approach. “Brand preference is very real, and it’s very prevalent,” she said. “I think it’s important to really highlight that these feelings are strong and they’re real, and we in public health need to make some time to actually listen to them as opposed to brushing them off.”
This is not to say people don’t make vaccination decisions for silly reasons, too. I, for example, ended up having a choice between the Pfizer and J&J vaccines. By the time I was booking my shot, I had formed an idea of what the “Real Vaccine Experience,” as the guy who runs the vaccine-finding bot TurboVax (aka Vax Daddy) put it, should entail. Vax Daddy’s Real Vaccine Experience meant getting it at New York’s Javits Center; mine did too. When I was making the split-second decision between Pfizer and J&J, because Javits happened to have both when I was booking, two shots instead of one also felt like the Real Vaccine Experience to me. (I don’t know what brand Vax Daddy got.) I can’t say I know what I would have done if Moderna had been an option. After all this, when I found out that a trusted colleague got the J&J vaccine, I briefly regretted my choice. Yes, it occurs to me that I should probably not base my health decisions so much on what my peers are doing.
“I think that’s very typical,” Leininger said after I shared my appointment reasoning with her. People are “emotion-driven in the moment. That’s how we make decisions.”
But where might my—or anyone’s—preference for Pfizer have originated?
For Hermosilla, Pfizer’s first-to-market advantage was significant. Remembering last fall, he said, “Our expectations were very low and we had a lot of time and a lot of interest in a vaccine solution to come up. Then all of the sudden in November, we get Pfizer news. At least in my reading, this was a little bit of a magical moment, when [Pfizer CEO] Albert Bourla had this press conference and said, ‘Hey, we have 95 percent efficacy.’ Remember, the FDA had said, ‘We’ll take it if it is more than 50 or 60 percent.’ I think that that was a very special moment in our collective imagination in that there was a real solution to a real problem that was delivered by science much more quickly than we could have ever imagined or hoped for based on experience. This sequence of events left a very clear mark in our minds on this Pfizer vaccine being something special.”
Leininger had a similar perspective: “I remember exactly where I was when I was reading the news on my phone and I saw the Pfizer headline about the 95 percent efficacy,” she said. “I started crying. I am not a crier. That sticks in our brains. The psychology of this is very important. I don’t remember where I was when I read the Moderna results, and I really don’t remember where I was when I read the J&J results.”
A British publication called Marketing Week that declared Pfizer “the winner of the Covid vaccine brand battle” also cited this moment: “For the first time in my adult life I listened to the World Service news with a mug of coffee and a tear rolling down my cheek,” wrote columnist Mark Ritson.
Pfizer, that hard-to-reach celebrity, didn’t respond to my questions about how it may have kindled this perception itself.
Matthew McLean, a Londoner who works in branded content, told me that part of what he liked about the Pfizer vaccine was its origin story. “There were stories about British people not going to appointments for the Pfizer vaccine when they were made available because they wanted to have ‘the Oxford vaccine,’ because the AstraZeneca vaccine was partly devised by scientists at Oxford,” he said. The Washington Post reported in February that some Brits were deriding the Pfizer vaccine as “the posh one” as opposed to “the English one.” “It’s the worst case of British jingoistic nonsense,” McLean said.
“The reverse are people like me who like Pfizer precisely because it’s European,” he went on. Pfizer is an American company, but BioNTech, the smaller firm the company partnered with on its COVID-19 vaccine, was founded by Turkish immigrants in Germany. “It was a real happy, Sesame Street, pan-European multicultural success story.
“It’s a bit like, which sounds so silly, but it’s a bit like, you know, the best leather goods come out of Italy, and the best steel comes from Sweden,” McLean said. “It feels, in that way, kind of elite and higher quality. The fact that it’s not from the U.K.—which, a lot of right-minded people are feeling more and more embarrassed about this country with Brexit and racism and everything—it’s like, ‘Oh right, we didn’t make this one; the one that comes from Europe is probably better’ is the general perception. Literally the first person who expressed this to me was my friend’s life partner. In his French accent, he was like, ‘Of course ze Pfizer is best.’ ” For what it’s worth, the U.K. is currently ahead of the rest of Europe in vaccination stats.
Hermosilla, of Johns Hopkins, said another factor helping Pfizer might be an edge in manufacturing and distribution. “Pfizer has retained the headlines in the news because they have better manufacturing capabilities abilities, and so they are making more vaccines.” The New York Times reported that “more than 180 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna have been administered” so far in the rollout, as opposed to just 7 million of J&J. These numbers don’t make me personally feel very elite, and they arguably make J&J look like the rare, limited-edition option.
He also noted that while developing the vaccine, Pfizer was already in the midst of a brand overhaul. It recently debuted a new logo that positions it as less consumer-oriented—no more pill shape—and more focused on scientific breakthroughs. He said he is interested to see what Pfizer does with the brand boost it’s gained through its vaccine success—but is surprised it hasn’t really done anything for the company’s stock yet. “Most people would agree that the reputational impact that has been thrust upon Pfizer over the last year has been very positive, brand-wise,” he said, but “there hasn’t been the stock market reaction that you would expect.”
Can the idea of a Pfizer preference be substantiated with, I don’t know, data? Peter Loewen, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, conducted a study of Canadians’ vaccine brand preferences and found that Pfizer and Moderna were tied at the top of the list, with AstraZeneca, after a run of its own negative blood-clotting news, at the bottom, despite its still being quite effective. Loewen’s study was of Canadians, who have a different health system and different norms than Americans. But still, if they like Moderna just as much, how real can the preference for Pfizer be?
It was real enough for McLean, the Londoner, that he went out of his way to secure the shot. “It’s not like I would have been like, ‘I refuse anything but Pfizer!’ but I went the extra mile to get Pfizer,” he said. “I actually got two invitations from two separate bits of the health care network. One was from a sort of local community walk-in center, and one was in a hospital, which was actually much farther away from where I live, so it was more of a big deal to go there. But one of the reasons I went with the hospital option was because I had a hunch that they were gonna give out Pfizer, and the local place would give the other one.”
For Kimberly Vo, a software engineer in the Bay Area who wasn’t yet eligible to make a vaccine appointment when we spoke, it’s mostly just an online joke: “It’s this funny, lighthearted thing that has sprung up over social media,” she said. “My personal perception came mostly from going on TikTok. It’s a lot of Pfizer elitism on there.
“Everyone’s just been bored, and we’ve been locked in our houses,” she said of the way the vaccines have become personified. “We finally have something that is unifying all of us.” There’s been criticism that all this amounts to “stanning” for pharmaceutical companies, players in an industry that is widely acknowledged to be, if not flat-out evil, at least worthy of skepticism. I would give a little more credit to the memers, many of whom I think are playing on that very irony for laughs.
But jokes can shape people’s perceptions, as Cox, the former state representative, discovered. “One of our friends was supposed to get the Pfizer shot, but he messed up his order, and ended up getting Johnson & Johnson,” he said. After so much exposure to Cox’s Pfizer boosterism, the friend had a case of PFOMO. “He has not been following a lot of this, and so he was like, ‘OK, but is this one actually worse?’ ” Cox said he reassured his pal that the J&J shot would protect him.
Leininger, too, came up against the issue not of Pfizer snobbery but J&J sneering, recalling one meme in particular. “There’s one that I find disappointing—understandable, but disappointing. I saw one that said ‘House J&J: Good enough,’ and I was like, ‘Oh man!’ As a public health professional, I wish that weren’t in the zeitgeist.” And if it wasn’t in the zeitgeist widely before—we spoke before the J&J pause—it sure is now.
As much as he knows “it’s all nonsense,” McLean said it could be slightly awkward to compare notes with friends who’d gotten different shots. He recalled trying to comfort a friend who was “downhearted” after getting the AstraZeneca. “It’s a little bit like if you’re comparing exam grades,” he told me. He felt like he’d gotten an A with Pfizer, while his friend had gotten a B or a C—and he didn’t want to make it worse by rubbing it in.
People wear ballgowns, black-tie to get vaccines: 'Biggest event of my lifetime'
Sat, 01 May 2021 11:35
March 16, 2021, 4:10 PM EDT / Source: TMRW
By Kerry Breen
During a year spent staying at home and social distancing, our wardrobes took a turn. Business casual became a lot more casual as officewear was replaced by yoga pants and sweats.
Now some people are breaking out their best looks for their COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
Dolly Parton was an early source of inspiration, donning a midnight blue cold-shoulder blouse to receive her first dose of the Moderna vaccine. And considering there's just one rule when it comes to getting the shot '-- wearing something that allows easy access to your upper arm '-- the possibilities are endless.
For women like Ashlie Atkinson, 43, getting dressed up for the shot became an opportunity to celebrate the possible end of the pandemic.
Actress Ashlie Atkinson wore a sequined, floor-length gown for her first vaccine appointment. "I really wanted to celebrate what felt like a hopeful moment in a year of real stress and trauma and tragedy," said Atkinson, adding that she had bought the dress before the pandemic for an event that was later canceled. She paired the sequined, full-length gown with a pair of comfortable white boots, a set of vintage earrings and a floral matching face mask.
Atkinson's post went viral, and the comments were full of people who said that they were now inspired to dress up for their own vaccine appointments. Amy Aiello Lofgren, whose husband, Nils Lofgren, is a member of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, said that the post inspired her decision to dress up in a glamorous pink ensemble for her 2 a.m. vaccine appointment.
"I got all dressed up," said Lofgren. "My friends were dying, they were laughing so hard. I'm like, 'Are you kidding me? This is the biggest event of my lifetime,' and I've been to some pretty fun stuff in my life!"
Amy Aiello Lofgren spent several days planning out her pink ensemble with sparkly silver sneakers to wear to her vaccination appointment. I also followed in Atkinson's footsteps, donning one of my favorite quarantine purchases '-- the sleek black jumpsuit from the TV show "Fleabag" '-- to get my first dose of the vaccine.
I broke out a jumpsuit and boots purchased in quarantine and wore lipstick for the first time in over a year for my own vaccine appointment. Kerry BreenIn the week leading up to my appointment, I joked with family and friends that this was my major social event of the year, especially since I would be seeing my best friend getting vaccinated at the same time.
It also came from a sense of not having anything exciting to dress up for in so long. After a year of casual clothes and comfortable outfits, wearing a jumpsuit and heeled boots (another quarantine purchase) was exciting and fun on top of the joy that came from getting the coronavirus vaccine in the first place.
Amanda Levendowski, an associate professor of law and the director of the Intellectual Property and Information Policy Clinic at the Georgetown University Law Center, said that a vaccine appointment also gave her an excuse to enjoy some of her favorite quarantine purchases.
"I wore a bright blue, short-sleeved jumpsuit for easy vaccination access, and I wore it with a pair of light pink clogs," Levendowski said. "It was really great, and they were both kind of quarantine purchases, and so I felt very celebratory getting to debut them on such an auspicious occasion."
Dr. Jenny Watts, a lecturer in behavioral sciences at the University of Central Lancashire in England, said that her own vaccine outfit choice came from a mix of wanting to celebrate the occasion and wanting to be practical and warm, since the area she lives in is notorious for rapidly changing weather. In the end, she decided on a vintage lace black-and-white dress, a dark green cardigan, a faux fur wrap, leather gloves and high-heeled leopard print rain boots. Of course, she also perfectly coordinated her face mask.
Dr. Jenny Watts wore multiple layers and a vintage dress for her first vaccine appointment. Jenny Watts"We have had so little to dress up for lately," Watts said. "When I was invited for the vaccine, friends sent messages of congratulations and we even discussed what (to) wear. It was as if a party or university ball was on the horizon. The WhatsApp group was full of questions: 'When are you arriving? What will you wear? Which face mask will you choose for vaccine day?' ... It was a pleasant change to be out of the house and dressed smartly."
Watts wore heeled leopard-print boots for the occasion. Jenny WattsWatts noticed that several other people at her vaccine appointment were also dressed up.
"When I reached the vaccine center, I could also see others who had clearly made an effort," Watts said. "There were colorful masks, new coats and attendees were seeing people they knew and calling greetings across the room ... I spotted a nurse acquaintance and I was practically jumping up and down and waving. We kept our distance for obvious reasons, but it was so nice to see members of the community again."
While Levendowski, Lofgren and Atkinson said that they were the only ones dressed up at their own appointments '-- something I also experienced '-- the vaccination sites still had a celebratory atmosphere.
"It was really lovely," said Levendowski. "All the people who work there are just so excited for everybody and they're super friendly. Everyone was in the waiting area bantering with each other and having casual conversations, the kinds of which we used to have all the time with people in the metro or people waiting for restaurants that we just don't have anymore. It felt so normal. It was such a weird environment for things to feel so normal, and that was really cool."
RelatedAtkinson said that her outfit became a conversation starter. "I chatted with a nurse, who said that she had seen several other people dress up for their own vaccines, and one other woman in the waiting area after we both received our shots, who said that she planned to dress up for her second dose," she said.
Watts said that she was already planning out what to wear for her second shot.
Recommended"I will definitely dress up for the second dose," Watts said. "In fact, I'm already considering outfit possibilities! This time I may add a hat, as if I was going to a wedding or to the races."
Lofgren, who has already received her second dose, said that she hopes to see more people dress up for their vaccine appointments.
"It seems like a solitary journey, but there's millions of us out there making history right now," she said. "It's really a celebratory moment."
Kerry Breen Kerry Breen is a reporter and associate editor for TODAY.com, where she reports on health news, pop culture and more. She holds a master's degree in journalism from New York University.
The Influencers Who Keep Stoking Fears About Vaccines - The Atlantic
Sun, 02 May 2021 12:13
Institutional experts haven't adapted to today's media ecosystem. Other commentators are filling the gap.
April 24, 2021Technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory
Adam Maida / The Atlantic / GettyL ife can go back to normal in the United States only if millions more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19. The problem is that today's communication environment is perfectly engineered to discourage that. Wild claims go viral, and partisans exploit any scientific uncertainty for political advantage. So when the FDA and the CDC paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week, the problem wasn't just that a small number of people who had received it had developed a severe type of blood clot, or that experts openly disagreed about whether the move was justified or an overreaction. The April 13 announcement also created yet another opportunity for influencers to undercut public confidence in vaccination.
Never mind that experiencing a blood clot after receiving the J&J vaccine appears more unlikely than being struck by lightning. ''There are reasons to believe those in fact aren't the real numbers,'' the Fox News host Tucker Carlson speculated hours after the FDA and CDC announcement. His 15-minute segment treated the government's abundance of caution as evidence of nefarious intent. Carlson said:
Now [Anthony] Fauci has declared that because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has injured six people'--and if that's true, by the way, would make that vaccine much safer not just than birth-control pills, but safer than many other vaccines we've distributed in the past'--because this one vaccine has hurt six people out of 7 million, we need to stop using it immediately. Does that make sense to you? No, it really doesn't. It seems possible there may be more going on here.
The segment was a master class in spreading conspiracy theories under the guise of merely asking questions. On a typical night, Carlson has a TV audience of a few million people. He got an additional boost on Facebook, where his video was the most popular post about the Johnson & Johnson pause. Forty-five thousand people shared it on the leading social-media platform'--which was already awash in friend-of-a-friend stories about supposed side effects from COVID-19 shots, aspersions against vaccines more generally, and portrayals of pandemic-related public-health measures as affronts to personal liberty.
Recommended ReadingRead: America is now in the hands of the vaccine-hesitant
After putting off a decision on the J&J vaccine last week, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices lifted the pause yesterday. But health agencies' conclusion that a vaccine is safe is only one factor in individual Americans' decision about whether to get it. When the pandemic began, Gallup polling indicated that confidence in many institutions was at or near a historic low; though initially high, confidence in the government's ability to handle the coronavirus outbreak dropped as the crisis deepened. For better or worse, the United States is never going back to the time when health experts reached a consensus that would then be tidily communicated at press conferences and faithfully summarized on the nightly news to a trusting public. Influencers with huge audiences have amassed enormous power over public perception. And no matter what the official policy happens to be'--toward vaccines, masks, or other precautions'--someone will have the motive and the means to undermine it.
M y team at the Stanford Internet Observatory is part of the Virality Project, a collaborative research effort to track misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout around the world. When we saw a spike in social-media content within anti-vaccine communities portraying the Johnson & Johnson halt as evidence of terrible problems with COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccination writ large, we were not surprised; anti-vaxxer echo chambers are full of conspiracy theories. Although anti-vaccine activists remain few in number, their propaganda occasionally spreads to Pat Buchanan fans, corgi fanciers, neighborhood-swap groups, and other seemingly unrelated niche communities.
The conversation about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines has expanded to include influencers with a following many orders of magnitude larger than that of the average anti-vax activist. These influencers can more easily reach Americans who are genuinely hesitant'--people who have received other shots and have had their children vaccinated but are wary, even under threat from a deadly coronavirus, of getting new medical intervention that lacks a long track record of safety. The drivers of hesitancy are varied: deep-seated aversions grounded in religious beliefs, bad prior experiences, or distrust of the pharmaceutical industry; more immediate doubts about the safety of a specific vaccine relative to the risk of the disease it prevents; and the influence of a person's friends, relatives, and social group. The effect of what one sees or reads, the weight of the prevailing opinion of one's social group, is both powerful and hard to measure. Researchers can't say which tweet or YouTube video tipped someone into a decision not to vaccinate. We can see only which posts people are liking and sharing, and which commentators and news outlets are getting the most attention.
News articles from most media properties, including Fox News, reported on the Johnson & Johnson pause with accuracy and nuance, my colleagues at the Virality Project noted. (In researching this article, I asked Fox for comment about the striking contrast between its reporting and Carlson's commentary and have not yet received a response.) Many publications even described the pause as evidence that the regulatory system was working.
How that news coverage was subsequently interpreted is another matter. Facebook users regularly share links with their own comments on top. Of all such posts about the Johnson & Johnson situation, one of the most popular came from the self-described ''news analyst & hip-hop artist'' An0maly'--an influencer, but not a mainstream media personality by any definition of the term. He reposted a CNN article, adding his own commentary about government dishonesty. An0maly has 1.5 million Facebook followers.
Read: The differences between the vaccines matter
The day after Carlson's video appeared on Facebook, Fauci criticized his comments on CNN as ''a typical crazy conspiracy theory.'' Carlson hit back with another segment declaring that he believed in science and was not anti-vaccine. Then he once again began asking tendentious questions. Alluding to Fauci's calls for continued caution among vaccinated people, Carlson asked of the vaccines, ''If this stuff works, why can't you LIVE like it works? What are you really telling us here?'' (Facebook added a pop-up warning to the second video, with a link to some fact-checks.)
Americans' loss of faith in authority has become highly consequential during the pandemic. In some cases, institutional experts have undercut their own credibility. A year ago, leading health agencies were slow to call for masks. Some experts went so far as to construct a noble lie, downplaying masks' benefits as a way of keeping the general public from buying up equipment that health-care workers needed. Fortunately, some prominent commentators urged people to wear masks before the CDC or World Health Organization did, but that only reinforced the perception of institutional bumbling. In a noisy communication ecosystem within a low-trust social environment, expert opinion becomes just one input among many. Institutional experts' disadvantage is compounded by the fact that many nonexperts are far more visible in health debates, despite having built their following on other topics entirely. The era of the influencer has replaced the era of the expert. If you have a massive audience that trusts you, your opinion'--like Carlson's'--is one that scientists must reckon with, even if it is wrong.
I nstitutional authorities are caught in a quandary: If they acknowledge uncertainty about something important (such as whether masks are helpful) or admit that they are playing for time (because they are still figuring out the cause of a rare blood clot), they risk losing public confidence. Precise explanations may be too complex. Oversimplified but easily grasped messages may backfire'--and create an opening for people bent on discrediting official expertise. Perhaps the most important thing the FDA and the CDC can do is straightforwardly explain what they know as a given situation evolves. This requires communicating with frequent updates and considerable nuance'--not something that state or federal health agencies have been particularly adept at doing during the pandemic.
Competing for attention in the current media ecosystem means doing more than tweeting out official press releases and making Fauci available for cable-news interviews. Public-health authorities can focus on getting information to noninstitutional experts'--people who are not in positions of authority but have developed their own audiences, can convey nuance, and understand the communication techniques of influencers. Research has shown that one of the most effective ways to reduce vaccine hesitancy related to childhood immunizations is via direct conversations between parents and trusted pediatricians. That's difficult to scale, and those interactions tend to be much more limited than one's constant interactions with a peer group or social-media influencers. So pediatricians have made themselves visible on TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, and other online spaces where parents discuss their children's health, growing online communities for which they make videos and reply in the comments. On the subject of COVID-19 vaccines specifically, Black physicians have created Clubhouse rooms to engage directly with their community. They have day jobs but have determined that prioritizing communication is a key vector in improving health outcomes.
Read: A generation of bad blood
We all are living through a transition in how information circulates. Sorting out the new dynamics of influence'--the processes of how media and social media can best curate and promote authoritative information, on health and other matters'--will take years. Research into debunking misinformation consistently reiterates the value of more credible messengers and more tailored messages. The influencers who spread misinformation understand how to gain the confidence of people they will never meet, make content that captures attention, and persuade audiences to take action. Meanwhile, public-health institutions have not evolved, and whether a better institutional communications strategy is the solution at this point isn't clear anyway. An updated model of distributed expertise would empower more trusted local experts and activate community organizations that can engage empathetically with the concerns of vaccine-hesitant groups. Fauci can't personally counter every social-media conspiracy theory about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but family doctors, religious leaders, and other community officials can do plenty to reassure the public.
Most U.S. companies will require proof of Covid vaccination from employees: survey
Sun, 02 May 2021 12:33
A healthcare worker fills out a Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card in the Bronx borough of New York.
Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images
More than 60% of companies in the U.S. will require proof of vaccination from their employees, according to a new survey conducted by Arizona State University with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.
A broad majority of U.S. employers, 65%, plan to offer employees incentives to get vaccinated and 63% will require proof of vaccination, according to the survey. Overall, 44% will require all employees to get vaccinated, 31% will just encourage vaccinations and 14% will require some employees to get vaccinated.
When it comes to consequences for failing to comply with company vaccination policy, 42% of businesses said the employee will not be allowed to return to the physical work environment, and 35% said disciplinary actions are on the table, up to and including possible termination.
The survey, released Thursday, represents the responses of 957 facilities across 24 industry sectors in the U.S. Most of the respondents were businesses with 250 or more employees.
Testing still remains critical to employers with 70% of respondents currently conducting Covid tests that are mostly mandatory.
In terms of employee well-being, the corporate respondents said burnout increased 54% and mental health concerns overall increased 59%. However, morale and productivity also both when up by nearly 50%.
Looking forward, 66% of employers are planning to allow employees to work from home full-time through 2021, and 73% intend to offer flexible work arrangements when the pandemic is over. However, 73% of businesses want employees to work from the office at least 20 hours a week.
"This is not just a bubble that goes back to 'normal', there will be some positive flexibility after the pandemic ends and we go back to in-person work," said Mara G. Aspinall, a professor at Arizona State University's College of Health Solutions and one of the authors of the survey.
Employees are mainly concerned about their personal health, risk of infection and safety of the workplace, according to the survey. Thirty-eight percent of employees want to return eventually but not immediately and about one quarter said they are reluctant to return at all, according to the businesses that responded to the survey.
"The pandemic has changed the traditional office environment in many ways, possibly forever, yet a majority of employers are indicating they see real value in employees continuing to interact face-to-face," Nathaniel L. Wade, a co-author of the study who is also affiliated with ASU's College of Health Solutions. "We really wanted to make sure we're giving public information to help people make good decisions."
Most employees, about 51%, would prefer to wait until the government or health agencies allow them to return to work, and about 47% said they would return to in-person work when the entire workforce is vaccinated.
"Employers have been relatively quiet in the pandemic, we're now entering the next phase where employers are creating their own policies so that employees can go safely and sustainably back to the workplace," Aspinall said. "People want to get back to normal, but they want to do it in a safe way."
Tips to fight pandemic FOGO (fear of going out) and get back to life
Sun, 02 May 2021 13:22
There is no question that the Covid-19 pandemic has done a number on many American's mental health.
According to an American Psychological Association poll of nearly 1,800 psychologists published in November, nearly 30% said they were seeing a bump in patients due to the pandemic thanks largely to more anxiety and depressive disorders.
But now, Covid-19 vaccinations are picking up '-- with nearly 44% of the U.S. population having at least one shot, and more than 30% fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Businesses are opening back up and some people are even heading back to the office after a year at home.
While the momentum has many people excited, the idea of getting back into "normal" life has many others feeling FOGO '-- the fear of going out.
"It's perfectly natural to have FOGO after one year or more in lockdown," Sheva Rajaee, a licensed psychotherapist and the Director of The Center for Anxiety and OCD tells CNBC Make It.
Over the past year it's been ingrained in people's minds that interactions with others, especially in enclosed spaces can be dangerous, if not lethal, so many people may find themselves anxious at the thought of re-entry into society, she says.
But FOGO is more than the fear of getting sick, it can also be influenced "by a kind of situational social anxiety," which many have developed as a result of a year or more in lockdown, says Rajaee.
"The reality is that most of us are out of practice," she says when it comes to socializing.
But Rajaee says its important to note that, for most people, FOGO is likely to be temporary and will subside naturally as the world opens up.
Here are some tips on fighting FOGO and getting back to life, according to three psychologists.
Take things slow and be 'sure enough'When it's deemed safe to attend gatherings and be in close proximity to strangers again, Rajaee says its important to take things slowly and start with small outings.
For instance, you may be more comfortable dining outdoors, so start there and "eventually work your way to dining indoors at a restaurant, if that is deemed safe in your region," she says.
"From there, begin to work your way slowly to higher level exposures, such as spending time with other fully vaccinated people or doing other activities deemed appropriate by the CDC." If that makes you nervous, spend 15 minutes in a group setting and progress to longer spans of time.
Rajaee says you may notice an uptick in anxious thoughts when doing these things, but remember that it is just the residual reaction of your brain's threat response, wanting to keep you safe. "These thoughts are not necessarily true," she says.
In fact, beginning to slowly push yourself back into normal life could actually be beneficial for your mental, physical and social well-being.
And since there is no way to be 100% sure that you will not get sick or get others sick, "complete certainty" about your safety cannot be the goal. "We only need to be sure enough," she says.
Write down your fears and have a mantraPeople often interpret anxiety as a sign that they should not do whatever is making them anxious. In reality, it is sometimes just your body to signaling that a situation is new or different, says licensed clinical psychologist Hannah Weisman, who is the Clinical Director at the virtual group support platform Sesh.
To deal with such anxiety, Weisman says you need to acknowledge and get to the bottom of your fears, and a good way to do that is by writing them down. Naming your fears turns them into "something you can evaluate and prepare for," she says.
Once you've named your fears, think about how accurate those worries actually are and even challenge them. "Our minds are great at jumping to conclusions, exaggerating what might not go well, or falling into black-and-white thinking patterns," she says.
So if you're telling yourself things like: "if I go to this event, I will probably have a terrible time" or "everyone is going to judge me," ask yourself "Is there a chance you might enjoy yourself at the event? Do people really judge you as much as you judge yourself?"
Also come up with more helpful thoughts to replace the negative ones, like "if I go to this party, I might not have a good time, but it's also possible I could have fun" or "I'm going to focus on being confident in myself regardless of what others think," Weisman says.
Having a mantra that you can say to yourself in anxious moments when reintroducing yourself into society, can also help. For example: "It's important to me to connect with friends" or simply "I'm here to have fun."
Finally, Weisman says focusing on your breathe can help ground you. Sesh's website encourages users to breathe all the way into your stomach and slowly let the air out. A longer exhale is a signal to your body that everything is okay and it will help you relax, says Weisman.
Take a few moments and visualizeGabriele Oettingen, professor of psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg, has focused her nearly three decades of research on how people think about the future and set goals.
To fight FOGO, Oettingen suggests taking a few moments to visualize how wonderful it would be to finally be out, with others, in life again. Imagine how free and relieved you would feel, for instance.
"Then ask yourself, 'What is it in me that holds me back from getting into life again? What is my main inner obstacle to taking the first step?'" she says. "Is it an anxiety, an irrational belief, just the habit of the past months hiding away?"
Once you find your inner obstacle, sit with it and vividly imagine it and experience it in your mind, says Oettingen, who is the author of "Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation."
Then figure out an effective but simple "if-then-plan" to get past the obstacle. For instance, tell yourself, "if my anxiety creeps up, I will call my friend and ask her out for dinner or if I feel sluggish sitting on the sofa, then I will get up and [go] buy myself a little treat."
Don't miss: Meet the middle-aged millennial: Homeowner, debt-burdened and turning 40
Regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing severe Covid: study
COVID vaccines: time to confront anti-vax aggression
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 11:57
Nearly one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in less than six months, but anti-vaccine disinformation and targeted attacks on scientists are undermining progress. These threats must be confronted directly, and the authority and expertise of the health community alone aren't enough to do this.
Even before the pandemic, I had a front-row seat to all of this. I have co-led efforts to develop vaccines in programmes, including a COVID-19 vaccine currently being tested in India. I also have an adult daughter with autism; my 2018 book, Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism, became a dog whistle for anti-vaccine activists.
The World Health Organization recognized vaccine hesitancy as a top threat to global health before the pandemic. As COVID-19 vaccines moved through development, the public-health communities anticipated considerable vaccine hesitancy. Teams of experts, including me, began meeting regularly online to discuss how best to amplify evidence-based messages, deliver public-service announcements and address concerns around COVID-19 immunization.
I experienced sinking feelings during our Zoom calls. Although certainly worthwhile, I knew that messaging alone would be inadequate. We'd already seen this inadequacy in our efforts to prevent measles from returning to the United States and Europe in 2019, and to bolster vaccination rates for human papillomavirus to prevent cervical and other cancers. With COVID-19, our pro-vaccine messages would be drops in a vast sea of misinformation, much of it poured in deliberately by anti-vaccine forces.
I have a long-standing disagreement with many of my US public-health colleagues. I admire their commitment to disease prevention, but when I ask for a more direct way to counter anti-vaccine aggression, I'm told, ''that's not our approach; confrontation gives them a platform and oxygen.'' In my opinion, this attitude reflects a time when we had dial-up modems. Today, the anti-vaccine empire has hundreds of websites and perhaps 58 million followers on social media. The bad guys are winning, in part because health agencies either underestimate or deny the reach of anti-science forces, and are ill-equipped to counter it.
Investigations by the US State Department and the UK Foreign Office have described how Russian intelligence organizations seek to discredit Western COVID-19 vaccines. One campaign implies that it could turn people into monkeys. This builds on a longer, well-documented history of Russia-sponsored disinformation, presumably to destabilize the United States and other democratic countries. The administration of US President Joe Biden has warned Russian media groups to halt their anti-vaccine aggression, and announced sanctions tied to disinformation and other behaviour, but we need much more.
The United States hosts the world's largest and best-organized anti-vaccine groups. According to the London-based Center for Countering Digital Hate, these are influential groups, not a spontaneous grass-roots movement. Many far-right extremist groups that spread false information about last year's US presidential election are doing the same about vaccines. Anti-vaccine groups also target Black communities; an anti-vaccine documentary released in March vilifies COVID-19 vaccine testing among African Americans, calling it ''medical racism''.
Global anti-vaccine messaging around the adenovirus vaccines means that more people will die and the pandemic will be prolonged. Extremely rare but life-threatening blood clots caused the United States to pause roll-out of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and many European nations have stopped or restricted use of the Oxford''AstraZeneca vaccine for similar reasons. However, those regions have other vaccine options, which is not the case for many countries. In March, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo halted use of the Oxford''AstraZeneca vaccine, and the African Union has stopped procurement.
Many people in Africa are tapping into anti-vaccine messaging. A rumour-tracking program from the analytics company Novetta in McLean, Virginia, finds that Russia specifically targets African countries to discredit Western vaccines in favour of its own Sputnik V. US-based anti-vaccine groups invoke colonialism and eugenics. Now, tens of thousands of vaccine doses are going unused. Anti-vaccine disinformation has turned reasonable questions and concerns over rare side effects into conspiracy worries, exaggerated fears, and outrage at being treated like 'guinea pigs'.
Accurate, targeted counter-messaging from the global health community is important but insufficient, as is public pressure on social-media companies. The United Nations and the highest levels of governments must take direct, even confrontational, approaches with Russia, and move to dismantle anti-vaccine groups in the United States.
Efforts must expand into the realm of cyber security, law enforcement, public education and international relations. A high-level inter-agency task force reporting to the UN secretary-general could assess the full impact of anti-vaccine aggression, and propose tough, balanced measures. The task force should include experts who have tackled complex global threats such as terrorism, cyber attacks and nuclear armament, because anti-science is now approaching similar levels of peril. It is becoming increasingly clear that advancing immunization requires a counteroffensive.
China Relaxes Entry Restrictions for Foreigners Inoculated with Chinese Vaccines
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 04:04
Update: April 21, 2021China accepts US Travelers inoculated with American-made vaccines. The Chinese Embassy in the United States issued a notice on April 21, 2021, allowing US passengers vaccinated with American-made non-inactivated vaccines to depart from Dallas and enter the Chinese mainland. The accepted American-made non-inactivated vaccines include vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The Notice required that passengers must get all the required shots before their trip to China. China-bound passengers are also required to provide positive IgM antibody test results as well as negative nucleic acid test results. Update: March 17, 2021Several Chinese embassies overseas have now published details of visa applications on their websites. These include Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, Gabon, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Japan, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, the United States, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, as well as the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Hong Kong SAR. Others may shortly follow. Specific facilitation and requirements may vary from one country to another. Please check the China embassy website in your current country of domicile for exact details. Applicants should have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines produced in China, either having received two doses of Chinese-made vaccines with the stipulated time gap in between or having received a single-dose of the Chinese-made vaccine at least 14 days prior to the application and obtained the vaccination certificate.We understand that China requires two-three weeks of quarantine upon arrival as some regions mandate a longer quarantine period from time to time. Travelling between regions is generally allowed but with minor restrictions.Several Chinese embassies recently issued notices on relaxing entry restrictions for passengers who have obtained Chinese COVID-19 shots.
What do the notices say?Chinese vaccine beneficiaries to access visa relaxationsAccording to the notices, starting March 15, 2021, travelers who have received Chinese COVID-19 vaccines and obtained the vaccination certificate will enjoy facilitation for visa applications.
Visa application by foreign nationals to resume work in ChinaWhen applying for a visa, foreign nationals and their family members visiting China for resuming work and production in various fields will only need to provide:
The documents required before the COVID-19 pandemic.The following documents are no longer required:
The Invitation Letter (PU);The Invitation Letter (TE); orThe Invitation Verification Notice issued by the foreign affairs offices or the departments of commerce of the provincial (including autonomous regions and municipalities) governments or the headquarters of central state-owned enterprises are no longer required.Visa application out of emergency humanitarian needsFor those applying for a visa out of emergency humanitarian needs, the scope of eligible applicants will be expanded as appropriate.
The eligible applicants include:
Foreign family members of Chinese citizens or permanent residents of China, including spouse, parents, children, and other close relatives living together (referring to siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren).The purpose of the visit to China can be:
Reuniting with family;Taking care of the elderly;Visiting relatives;Attending funerals; orVisiting critically ill relatives.Visa application by APEC business travel card holdersHolders of valid APEC business travel cards may apply for the M visa by presenting:
The original valid APEC business travel card; andThe invitation letter issued by the inviting party in the mainland of China.To be noted, the above-mentioned visa facilitation applies only to applicants who have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines produced in China (either having received two doses of Chinese-made vaccines with the stipulated time gap in between or having received a single-dose of the Chinese-made vaccine at least 14 days prior to the application) and obtained the vaccination certificate.
A proof of a negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test result and the Health and Travel Record Declaration Form for Visa Application are no longer required.
China's electronic health certificate in the works: What we knowThe embassies' notices were released shortly after March 7, 2021 when Beijing stated its plan to issue electronic health certificates and implement mutual recognition of other countries' COVID-19 tests and inoculations.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Two Sessions, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the digital health certificate program would allow countries to mutually recognize travelers' nucleic acid testing and vaccine histories and achieve ''a healthy, safe, and regulated new order for cross-border exchanges of people.''
Wang mentioned that China is engaging with international partners on the program without disclosing more details on the countries involved and the status of the program.
Last November, China's foreign ministry first revealed that it was working on a system for countries to recognize each other's health information of travelers.
A week ago, right after foreign minister Wang Yi's speech, a mock-up of the digital and print versions of the International Travel Health Certificates was disclosed in the official WeChat account of the Department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Although public concerns remain as to whether personal privacy can be fully protected, this indicates that China may potentially loosen its stringent travel restrictions for people who can prove they are either immune to the virus or not infected with it.
This article was originally published March 16, 2021. It was updated on April 23, 2020.
About Us
China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done so since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.
Dezan Shira & Associates has offices in Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, United States, Germany, Italy, India, and Russia, in addition to our trade research facilities along the Belt & Road Initiative. We also have partner firms assisting foreign investors in The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh.
Pfizer transmission - inhalation or skin contact
Vaccidents - people stroking out after receiving the poke
EU Vax damages and deaths report
* 4293 deaz
* 144.607 injured
* 2094 deaz
* 15.979 injured
* 1360 deaz
* 169.386 injured
Janssen (Johnson & Johnson):
* 19 deaz
* 246 injured
* 7766 deaz
* 330.218 injured
Alex Berenson on Twitter: "Wow. WOW. @cdcgov only wants to examine post-vaccine infections with a PCR threshold of 28 or under. That standard ignores 90+% of #Covid infections. The entire epidemic would have looked very different if it had been used. "An
Sat, 01 May 2021 13:48
Alex Berenson : Wow. WOW. @cdcgov only wants to examine post-vaccine infections with a PCR threshold of 28 or under.That standard'... https://t.co/PUGSeS99pm
Thu Apr 29 17:20:38 +0000 2021
COVID-19 cure: Scientists plan to develop 'self-spreading' coronavirus vaccine - EconoTimes
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 12:50
While some countries are already seeing progress in containing or the slowing down of the spread of the coronavirus, millions of people are still affected by COVID-19 elsewhere. As scientists ramp up efforts in developing a cure for COVID-19, a group of researchers has proposed a kind of vaccine that could be transmitted.
Express reports researchers have proposed developing a kind of vaccine that could be transmitted from person to person. Called ''self-disseminating vaccines,'' they explain that this kind of COVID-19 cure could potentially prevent transmission of coronaviruses between animals and humans. However, this unusual method also comes with risks, such as the possibility of an accidental mutation that could have a negative or fatal effect on humans and wildlife. This risk comes despite the method being economical.
This proposal was in a piece published in Nature magazine called ''Self-disseminating vaccines to suppress zoonoses.'' The authors of the piece noted how advances in genetic engineering can help solve health crises like this through vaccines that could be transmitted from one person to another.
According to the University of Idaho's James J. Bull and Scott L. Nuismer, ''It is now more apparent than ever that we need a better and more proactive approach,'' in stopping coronavirus outbreaks. The two researchers also explain a kind of method of vaccines that could self-transmit through ''wild animal reservoirs'' to keep the disease from potentially infecting human populations. The downside to this method is that it could bring the original virus back to its harmful state among other ''unintended'' effects.
Previously, another group of researchers has made a breakthrough in finding a potential COVID-19 cure. Researchers from the University of Bristol led by Professor Christiane Schaffitzel of the School of Biology and Professor Imre Berger from the Max Planck Bristol Center for Minimal Biology found that the coronavirus has a ''pocket'' on its surface that could be injected with antiviral drugs. This would stop the virus before it even enters a human cell. They found that the virus makes use of a molecule called linoleic acid to bind itself to human cells, and from there it starts replicating.
With these findings, the researchers are now faced with a challenge of how to use this attribute of the virus against itself to end the pandemic.
Shun the unvaccinated: Require COVID-19 vaccine to resume normal life
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 14:26
Michael J. Stern
Has-been rock star Ted Nugent told the world last week that he has COVID-19. Nugent's announcement was an oddity because he previously called the viral pandemic a ''leftist scam to destroy'' former president Donald Trump. As I watched Nugent's Facebook Live post, in which he repeatedly hocked up wads of phlegm and spit them to the ground, I got emotional when he described being so sick he thought he ''was dying.'' But when he trashed the COVID-19 vaccine and warned people against taking it, I realized that the emotion I was feeling was not empathy, it was anger.
For the better part of a year, as the coronavirus racked up hundreds of thousands of American deaths, the flickering light at the end of the tunnel was herd immunity '-- the antibody force-shield that comes when enough people have survived the illness or have been vaccinated against it. "Go get vaccinated, America," President Biden said in his speech to Congress this week, referring to the shot as "a dose of hope.''
Friends don't let friends spread COVIDAnthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor, suggested in December that if 75% to 85% of the population got vaccinated, we could reach herd immunity by June. And with herd immunity, we'd return to a measure of ''normalcy,'' meaning indoor dining, movie theaters and hugs.
But herd immunity is slipping away because a quarter of Americans are refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group recently said: ''There is no eradication at this point, it's off the table. '...We as a society have rejected'' herd immunity. Hmm, no! ''We'' have not rejected anything. A quarter of the country is ruining it for all of us.
It's not just wacky former rockers who have put herd immunity out of reach. It is white evangelicals (45% say they won't get vaccinated). And it is Republicans (almost 50% are refusing the vaccine). In Texas, 59% of white Republicans have said ''no'' to the vaccine. You can slap the euphemism ''vaccine hesitancy'' on the problem, but in the end the G.O.P., and the children of G.O.D., are perpetuating a virus that is sickening and killing people in droves.
A big part of the problem stems from the cultish relationship many evangelicals and Republicans have with former President Donald Trump. They absorbed his endless efforts to downplay the danger of the virus and turn public health precautions into a political freedom movement. But the time for analyzing why these human petri dishes have chosen to ignore the medical science that could save them, and us, is over. We need a different strategy. I propose shunning.
Biden's wildly successful vaccine rollout means that soon everyone who wants a vaccine will have one. When that happens, restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, barbers, airlines and Ubers should require proof of vaccination before providing their services.
And it shouldn't stop there. Businesses should make vaccination a requirement for employment. A COVID outbreak can shut down a business and be financially devastating. And failure to enforce basic health and safety measures is not fair to employees who have to work in offices, factories, and stores where close contact is required. Things should get personal, too: People should require friends to be vaccinated to attend the barbeques and birthday parties they host. Friends don't let friends spread COVID.
Pro-life party:Where are the Republican COVID-19 heroes willing to risk their careers to save lives?
As I'm writing this I can almost see the Twitter rebuttals: ''If people want to risk being microchipped by the deep state, they can protect themselves by getting a vaccine without making me do the same.'' Nope. In its real life application, the vaccine is about 90% effective. Sure, that's impressive, but if the roulette wheels makes you one of the unlucky 10%, it's little consolation.
There have already been several thousand documented ''breakthrough'' cases of COVID-19 infections in people who have been vaccinated. Some have died. And with coronavirus variants popping up across the globe, for which the vaccine is less effective, we should expect to see more infections in vaccinated people.
Half-witted personal autonomyUnwilling to miss an opportunity to flout common sense, Republican leaders from Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arkansas and other states want to prevent businesses from requiring customers to be vaccinated. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has already issued an executive order ''prohibiting businesses from requiring patrons or customers to show vaccine documentation.''
There are decades of state laws that require vaccination before children can attend schools. There are seatbelt and helmet laws, no-texting-while-driving laws, and countless other laws that restrict individual freedoms to ensure safety for the public at large. Despite this, vaccine requirements designed to curb a global pandemic that has cost us more than 570,000 American lives is the hill on which Republicans want to die.
Are we about to hit a vaccine wall? If you have doubts about getting the COVID shot, reconsider.
When states pass these laws, designed to tell private companies how to run their businesses, there should be immediate legal challenges. Surely, if a bakery can refuse to provide its services to a gay couple getting married, they can refuse to bake a cake for people who choose to place themselves, the bakery staff and its customers at risk of contracting a deadly illness.
As a country, America has become too tolerant of half-witted individual autonomy that ignores the existential needs of the vast majority of its citizens. While writing this column I caught a TV promo for a new documentary in which Cher saves an elephant. It made me think of her performance in "Moonstruck." Vaccine hesitancy? We need Cher to slap us in the face and tell us to ''snap out of it.''
Michael J. Stern, a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors, was a federal prosecutor for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @MichaelJStern1
Expert debunks Alberta business' vaccine 'shedding' claim - NEWS 1130
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 22:02
A central Alberta business says it is banning anyone who has had the COVID-19 vaccine in the last four weeks from entering their store, because of the risk, it claims, of so-called ''shedding.'' (CREDIT: Tea Rocks via Facebook)
EDMONTON '' A central Alberta business says it is banning anyone who has had the COVID-19 vaccine in the last four weeks from entering its store, because of the risk, it claims, of so-called ''shedding.''
Scientific experts say the latest in vaccine misinformation is that you shed modified cells''kind of like a cat sheds fur''after getting the vaccine, which could be harmful to others and even cause miscarriages.
''It's conceptually incoherent,'' said Tim Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in public health law and policy.
''It's not supported in science and I think it sends a very dangerous message.''
Caulfield says there's no evidence to support these claims.
He says these types of conspiracy theories are being used to drive vaccine hesitancy by planting the seed of doubt.
The business that posted this sign claims it is to protect a pregnant employee and the move was done at the advice of ''medical professionals and their insurance provider.''
Sizable minority of Canadians believe in COVID-19 conspiracies: pollSurvey shows Albertans more likely to share fake newsThe store did not answer CityNews' request for comment or say which insurance provider gave those instructions.
However, the store wrote on Facebook it's waiting for more scientific evidence.
''You'll find people who say well there's no scientific evidence, that means maybe if they did study it maybe they would find it. It's not even scientifically plausible.''
WATCH: Full interview with Caulfield
Caulfield says it would be an expensive waste of time to study something that has no scientific backing.
It's this type of misinformation Caulfield is hoping to counter with Science Up First, where credible experts take to social media''where misinformation breeds''to break down what's backed by scientific proof and what's not and how to verify your sources.
''You don't have to be a hardcore denier to be influenced by this. To start to question things, to doubt things, and that little bit of doubt can have a real big impact on intention to vaccinate. And that's why countering this misinformation when it happens is so important,'' he said.
Lots of female Gitmo Nation producers confirming menstrual issues
Hi Adam,
Just to follow up on your reporting about the weird period bleeding associated with the vaccinations.
I am a labor and delivery/postpartum nurse. In the past two months I have taken care of several women who casually mention they were recently vaccinated and are admitted for preterm labor/early ruptured membranes.
This includes one woman who had a fever and broke her water withing 24 hours of getting her second shot. She went on to deliver a 35 week infant (which mind you early delivery may contribute to years of issues) This event could not be a coincidence and the doctor even noted it on her H&P.
As always thank you for keeping me sane
Is Period Syncing a Real Thing? Why Women's Periods May Sync Up
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 12:31
Period syncing describes a popular belief that women who live together or spend a lot of time together begin menstruating on the same day every month.
Period syncing is also known as ''menstrual synchrony'' and ''the McClintock effect.'' It's based on the theory that when you come in physical contact with another person who menstruates, your pheromones influence each other so that eventually, your monthly cycles line up.
Some women even swear that certain ''alpha females'' can be the determining factor when entire groups of women experience ovulation and menstruation.
Anecdotally, people who menstruate accept that period syncing is a real thing that occurs. But the medical literature doesn't have a solid case to prove that it happens. Keep reading to find out what we know about menstruation cycles syncing up.
The idea of period syncing has been passed down from mothers to their daughters and discussed in dorms and women's restrooms for centuries. But the scientific community started to take the idea seriously when a researcher named Martha McClintock conducted a study of 135 college women living in a dorm together to see if their menstrual cycles aligned.
The study didn't test other cycle factors, like when the women ovulated, but it did track when the women's monthly bleeding began. McClintock concluded that the women's periods were, indeed, syncing up. After that, period syncing was referred to as ''the McClintock effect.''
With the invention of period tracking apps that store digital records of women's cycles, there's a lot more data available now to understand if period syncing is real. And the new research doesn't support McClintock's original conclusion.
In 2006, a new study and review of the literature made the assertion that ''women do not sync their menstrual cycles.'' This study collected data from 186 women living in groups in a dorm in China. Any period syncing that appeared to occur, the study concluded, was within the realm of mathematical coincidence.
A large study conducted by Oxford University and the period tracking app company Clue was the biggest blow yet to the theory of period syncing. Data from over 1,500 people demonstrated that it's unlikely that women can disrupt each other's menstrual cycles by being in close proximity to one another.
A much smaller 2017 study keeps the idea of period syncing alive by pointing out that 44 percent of participants that were living with other women experienced period synchrony. Period symptoms like menstrual migraine were also more common in women living together. This would indicate that women might influence each other's periods in ways beyond the timing of their menstruation.
The word ''menstruation'' is a combination of Latin and Greek words meaning ''moon'' and ''month.'' People have long believed that women's fertility rhythms were related to the lunar cycle. And there's some research to suggest that your period is connected to or somewhat syncs with the moon's phases.
In one older study from 1986, over 28 percent of participants experienced period bleeding during the new moon phase. If this data set of 826 women held for the entire population, it would indicate that 1 in 4 women have their period during the new moon phase. However, a more recent study conducted in 2013 suggested no connection.
The truth is, we might never nail down how real the phenomenon of period syncing is, for a few reasons.
Period syncing is controversial because we don't know for sure if the pheromones on which the theory hinges can influence when your period starts.
Pheromones are chemical signals that we send to the other humans around us. They signify attraction, fertility, and sexual arousal, among other things. But can the pheromones from one woman signal to another that menstruation should take place? We don't know.
Period syncing is also difficult to prove because of the logistics of women's period cycles. While the standard menstrual cycle lasts for 28 days '-- beginning with 5 to 7 days of your ''period'' during which your uterus sheds and you experience bleeding '-- lots of people don't experience periods that way.
Cycle lengths up to 40 days are still within the realm of what's ''normal.'' Some women have shorter cycles with only two or three days of bleeding. That makes what we think of as ''period syncing'' a subjective metric that depends on how we define ''syncing up.''
Menstrual synchrony might often appear due to the laws of probability more than anything else. If you have your period for one week out of the month, and you live with three other women, odds are at least two of you will be having your period at the same time. This probability complicates research into period syncing.
As with many women's health issues, menstrual synchrony deserves more attention and research, despite how difficult it may be to prove or disprove. Until then, period syncing will probably continue to live on as an anecdotally proven belief about women's periods.
As humans, it's natural to connect our physical experiences with our emotional ones, and having a period that ''syncs'' with a family member or close friend adds another layer to our relationships. However, it's important to note that having a period that's ''out of sync'' with the women you live with doesn't mean anything is irregular or wrong with your cycle or your relationships.
Indian reports that local officials stopped handing out the ivermectin z-pack kits in all areas where 'cases' are spiking
BOTG India
Subject: On the Ground Report - India
Hi both,
Responding to the request for an on-the-ground report from India.
To put this report in context, I don’t really follow the local news on the TV for a myriad of reasons. So, the details in this report come from the various local online user groups, WhatsApps groups and Telegram Groups that I am a part of. These groups span users from across the country and a lot of them are trusted friends and acquaintances that I personally know and have met. Having set that context, this is what I am seeing.
Cases all over the country spiked at the beginning of April. How the whole country sees the spike around the same time is beyond me. However, the same state as last time, where I am, led the tally (we have 28 states). Very soon, the best managed states during the previous spike (1st wave) started spiking. These are the national capital and its surrounding states. Known as the National Capital Region (NCR).
The main difference this time is that there are a lot more hospitalizations and given our population, hospitals are reporting that there are no more Covid beds. Reporting is weak on how many Covid beds we have, but we are out of beds. A number of temporary, dedicated Covid treatment facilities have come up all over the country. Especially near NCR. Ranging from 100 beds to 1000 beds. Most of my friends in the NCR region have some family member infected. Age groups are across the spectrum as far as I can see.
Reason for spread
Political rallies: politicians have been out and about holding campaign allies with thousands of people. Including Modi
Blatant flouting of reopening rules: no one seems to be following the limitations set in place to open up businesses and avoid lockdowns. My state is back in to lockdown.
All the groups are rife with requests to source remdesivir and tocilizumab. Apart from these medicines, oxygen and oxygen concentrators and blood plasma from previously infected individuals are the next most requested items. Hospitals are also reporting shortage of oxygen and these medicines.
Vaccinations are on for all people above the age of 18. However, most locations are out of any brand of vaccine. The tow main ones that we were using were Covaxin and Covishield. We have a massive distribution setup already in place but now we have no Vaccine supplies. This is one of the main points being used to call for Modi to resign. Vaccination centers are literally in every urban locality. I have one right out side my apartment complex and for the last few months vaccination were going on very smoothly. Across the country friends and family were reporting getting their first shot and some getting their second. But now, most of the second dose-ers are struggling to find supply. Last few months, I could walk in, get vaccinate and walk out in 30 mins. Now we have to first figure out where stocks are available.
That's what i could think of so far.
BOTG Semiconductor industry chips supply
I have over 20 years in the semiconductor industry with most of that being in the fab. Fab is the Cleanroom where the in chips are fabricated. I left the semiconductor group for life science when I returned to the USA from China. In China, especially Wuhan, the chip manufacturing is expending. Wuhan will be the site of the worlds largest memory fab once YMTC is fully built out. (Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp).
In Shanghai my main client was SMIC. Once SMIC was placed on the restrictive list by the Trump administration my work in China was severely limited. Imagine a fab trying to keep high volume production with no support from Applied Materials, LAM Research and other US equipment manufacturers. ASML is a Dutch company. I am sure they are restricted as a US ally. How much this plays into the world chip shortage I am not sure. It impacted my work in China so much that I had none!
SMIC's shares began to trade on the OTCQX Market after delisting from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2019.
The removal from the OTCQX is meant to comply with an executive order unveiled by the Trump administration in November banning U.S. investment in companies identified as "affiliated with the Chinese military".
The chipmaker announced on December 4, 2020 that it was added to the list of Chinese military companies by the U.S. Department of Defense and that U.S. persons will be restricted in their dealings in its traded securities or any securities that are derivative underlying such securities. news.cgtn.com Jan 7 20121
SMIC’s more mature nodes are still in high demand for applications from cars to consumer electronics amid a chip shortage caused by the pandemic.
More Microchip shortage intel
I heard you and John discussing the automotive chip shortage on today’s show. I develop National Incentives for a major manufacturer (my LinkedIn below, please keep me anonymous). This is a very real problem but only the tip of the iceberg. We are on the precipice of huge production cuts for most manufacturers and my company is planning on rolling back our incentives on most models starting next month to reduce sales for upcoming supply shortages.
Microchips are a part of it but not the only problem, there are also major shortages of foam seats, resin (used in plastics), and nylon that are currently or will soon be causing many to scale back production in a big way. For microchips, one of the main suppliers had a fire at their factory in Japan. Other microchip makers don’t want to sell to automotive because it’s not as profitable as phones, etc. This is a very significant disruption that I’ve not seen in the 10+ years I’ve been in the industry. If any producers are thinking of buying a new car in the next 6 months, I’d do it today because the incentives are going down across the board for almost all manufacturers. We’re seeing high demand from people that put off purchases during the pandemic, everyone getting stimulus checks, and strained supply from production cuts. Also, since people can’t buy a new house due to the out of control prices there, they will turn to their next biggest purchase, a car.
And if Biden decides to do something stupid like Cash for Clunkers 2, that would be like pouring gasoline on an already out of control fire.
Also used prices are going to go through the roof this summer so your decision to hold on to the car you have for a couple months is a good decision.
Let Us Out!
Face mask requirement for planes, buses and trains extended through mid-September
Sun, 02 May 2021 13:44
Passengers, almost all wearing face masks, board an American Airlines flight to Charlotte, on May 3, 2020, in New York City.
Eleonore Sens | AFP | Getty Images
Traveling this summer? Don't forget your mask.
The Transportation Security Administration on Friday extended a federal requirement that travelers on buses, trains, commercial flights and at airports wear face masks. The requirement was set to expire on May 11 and will now be in effect through Sept. 13.
The agency started requiring that people over the age of 2 wear masks during flights, on buses, trains and public transportation in February following an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are exemptions for some disabilities, the TSA said. Fines for refusing to follow the rules start at $250 and go up to $1,500 for repeated violations.
Airlines have required passengers wear masks for much of the past year as Covid-19 continued to spread but labor unions have pushed the Biden administration for a federal mask mandate to back up cabin crews tasked with enforcing the rules. Carriers have banned more than 2,000 passengers for failing to follow mask requirements.
Airlines for America, an industry group that represents most large U.S. carriers, applauded the extension of the mask requirement and said that the "federal face covering mandate has significantly strengthened our flight crews' ability to enforce these requirements onboard."
The Federal Aviation Administration in January unveiled a "zero tolerance" policy for unruly travelers after a spike in incidents, many of them involving in travelers who refused to wear masks.
"Mask compliance is key to confidence in air travel as we climb towards recovery, which includes international travel," Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the labor union that represents cabin crews at United, Spirit and more than a dozen airlines, said in a statement after the decision.
"We also have a responsibility to make sure aviation isn't contributing to the spread of the virus or any variants. We applaud Administrator Pekoske and the Biden Administration for taking action that ensures we can build back better," Nelson said.
About half of U.S. adults are at least partially vaccinated, according to federal data. Airline executives have reported higher bookings since vaccines have rolled out and more tourist attractions reopen.
UK Will Release Digital "Vaccine Passport" & "Green List" Of Travel Destinations Next Month | ZeroHedge
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 11:51
The British government's effort to create a digital "vaccine passport" app has officially been embraced by the UK's former Continental partners.
As the EU scrambles to implement a vaccine-passport system that will enable tourists from wealthy vaccinated countries (like the US and UK) to flock to beaches in Greece and Spain over the summer, British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed in a TV interview Thursday that he will be able to give details on which countries have made it on to the UK's "green list" "in the next couple of weeks".
The introduction of the UK's "Green List" follows a series of US State Department Travel Advisories that placed 80% of the world's countries on the highest level travel advisory. But while the US advisory carries no restrictions, the UK's "green list" will feature all the countries where Britons can travel without being required to quarantine upon their return (though they will still need to be tested for COVID-19 upon their return).
"...in the next couple of weeks, I'll be able to tell you about which countries will have made it into the traffic light system and that 'green' list in particular are the countries where you'll be able to go to without needing to quarantine on your return.
"You will still need to take a pre-departure test and one test on your return.
"I think people are getting very used to testing now, not least because we provide testing up to twice a week for everyone in the country right now. So I don't think a test itself is a big deal.
Shapps also confirmed an NHS app will be used to allow Britons to demonstrate whether they have had a COVID jab, or tested negative for the virus, before traveling abroad.
"It will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you've had a vaccine or that you've had testing," he added.
"I'm working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised."
Government sources clarified the app would not be the NHS COVID app - currently used to "check in" to venues such as pubs and restaurants for contact-tracing purposes - but would instead be the NHS app used to book general appointments.
Shapps added that he was awaiting data from the government's Joint Biosecurity Center, which is necessary to state which countries would be deemed "green", "amber" or "red" under the traffic light system.
He also reiterated that there was a need to be "very cautious" about allowing Britons to freely travel abroad again.
"Beyond our shores we are seeing the highest levels of coronavirus that we have seen so far in the entire pandemic, right now," he added.
"So we do need to make sure we do this very, very carefully - we don't want to throw away the lockdown, we don't want to throw away our remarkable rollout in this country of the vaccination.
Meanwhile, European nations are eager to welcome British tourists as they hope this summer will see a significant improvement over last year. Portugal's ambassador to the UK, Manuel Lobo Antunes, told Sky News he was "hopeful" British travelers would be able to return to Portugal by the middle of next month.
Build Biden Back Better
About Climate Power 2020 | Climate Power
Sun, 02 May 2021 13:19
Why NowIt's time for a reality check. We are living with the reality of what happens when our leaders ignore experts, deny science, and fail to keep our families safe. COVID-19 is a devastating example. Climate change is too. If our elected leaders continue to ignore experts and science, this crisis will quickly morph into the next.
The world's leading scientists, public health experts, and military leaders agree that climate change is an extreme threat'--and immediate action is needed to avoid its fatal impacts. But at every turn, President Trump denies reality and ignores the facts '' and communities of color and low-income communities are suffering the worst impacts of Trump's war against environmental and public health protections.
Trump's failure to save our friends and families' lives from COVID-19 is proof of his inability to protect our nation from other urgent threats'--like climate change.
The science is clear. The warnings are stark. We can no longer look the other way or give our leaders a pass.
It's absolutely critical that the next president and Congress emerge from this year's elections emboldened to take immediate action on climate change and to build a just and equitable economy.
It's time to stop ignoring experts. Months ago, our country's best health experts sent President Trump an urgent memo: ''This pandemic, left unchecked, could kill 1.2 million Americans.'' These experts warned the virus would ''leave Americans defenseless.'' Those dire warnings about COVID-19 are now our reality.
When the CDC first alerted President Trump about the massive risk of this virus, he ignored them for eight weeks. He ignores each and every warning. Refuses to take action. And is making this health crisis worse.
Trump's refusal to heed expert warnings is what allowed COVID-19 to fatally disrupt our country '' and his complete denial of the climate crisis will allow climate change to do the same thing. If we don't change course, we will hit a point of no return. Our chance to take climate action is right now.
It's time to act. We're changing the conversation on climate, getting the facts out, and mobilizing Americans who will hold Donald Trump accountable for his failure to prepare and protect us'--and future generations'--from climate change.
Climate change touches every aspect of our lives'--from the air our kids breathe, to the quality of the water we drink, to the damage done to our homes by extreme weather.
We're elevating the reality of climate change by sharing stories from across our country'--stories of Americans who are fighting for our climate because clean air and safe communities are the path to a more just, equitable future .
We're mobilizing communities against the threats of climate change to create a more just, prosperous, sustainable economy for everyone.
We are a political operation using the same tools and strategies of a campaign to push candidates to campaign aggressively on climate change and a just and equitable economy. That's how we are elevating climate in national and state conversations and building the momentum necessary for bold action in 2021 .
Advisory Board | Climate Power
Sun, 02 May 2021 13:17
National Advisory Board Stacey AbramsFounder of Fair Fight and the Southern Economic Advancement Project
Amanda AguirreFormer Director of Public Engagement at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Mustafa Ali VP of Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization, National Wildlife Federation
Carol BrownerChair, Board of Directors, League of Conservation Voters
Brandi ColanderPrincipal, The Raben Group, and former Deputy General Counsel and Deputy Assistant Secretary during the Obama Administration
Michelle DeatrickFounder and Chair of the DNC Environmental and Climate Crisis Council, Poet, Former County Commissioner
Abdul El-SayedPhysician, Epidemiologist, Progressive Activist. Chair of Southpaw Michigan
Mike FishmanClimate Jobs National Resource Center, and former Secretary Treasurer, SEIU
Rhiana Gunn-WrightCo-Author of the Green New Deal
Abigail Ross HopperPresident and CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association
Jim HunterFormer Director, Utility Department IBEW, and former President, Unions for Jobs & Environmental Progress (UJEP)
Kaniela IngClimate Justice Campaign Director for People's Action, formerly a Hawaii State Legislator
Dr. Ayana Elizabeth JohnsonFounder/CEO, Ocean Collectiv
Bill LiptonWorking Families Party
Thomas L"pezClimate Strike Partnerships Coordinator at the Future Coalition, co-founder of the International Indigenous Youth Council
Greisa Mart­nezDeputy Executive Director, United We Dream
Representative Harold Mitchell Jr. (SC)South Carolina State House, founder of ReGenesis Project
Secretary Ernest MonizFormer United States Secretary of Energy
Tamara Toles O'LaughlinAdvocate for People and Planet and North America Director at 350.org
Bill PedutoMayor of Pittsburgh
John PodestaAdvisor to Presidents Clinton and Obama
Varshini PrakashExecutive Director and Co-Founder, Sunrise
Jamal RaadCo-founder and Campaign Director for Evergreen Action
Senator Harry ReidUnited States Senator from Nevada
Tom SteyerFormer Investor, Philanthropist, and Founder of NextGen America
Nick TilsenPresident and CEO, NDN Collective
Mar­a UrbinaChief of Staff, National Political Director, Indivisible
Jim WilliamsGeneral Vice President, IUPAT
Say YangProgram Coordinator for Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy
Creative Council Advisory Board Cristela AlonzoComedian, Producer, and Actor
Rosanna ArquetteActress, Producer, and Activist
Vic BarrettClimate Justice Activist
Xiye BastidaClimate Justice Activist
Connie BrittonActress, Producer, and Activist
Haven ColemanClimate Activist
Zooey DeschanelActress, Singer, Songwriter, and Activist
Jerome Foster IIVirtual Reality Developer and Executive Director of OneMillionOfUs
Debra MessingActress and Activist
Adam Met6X Platinum Musician, UNDP Advocate, PhD Researcher, Executive Director Sustainable Partners, Inc.
Kevin J. PatelFounder and Executive Director of OneUpAction
Piper PeraboActress and Activist
QuestloveMusician, Producer, Author
Ashley RenneEnvironmental Activist and Sustainability Expert
Ryann RichardsonActivist, Entrepreneur, and Miss Black America
Mj RodriguezActress, Singer, and Activist
Paul ScheerActor, Writer, Director
Stephanie ShepherdEntrepreneur, Advocate, Co-founder of Future Earth
Lauren SingerCEO of Package Free and Founder of Trash is For Tossers
Leah ThomasIntersectional Environmental Activist, Eco-Communicator, and founder of the Intersectional Environmentalist Platform
Opal TometiActivist, Social Entrepreneur, and Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter
Danni WashingtonScience Communicator
State Co-Chair Advisory Board Kirsten Engel, ArizonaState Representative
Stephen Gilman, Arizona10th District Field Service Representative, International Association of Fire Fighters
Alejandra G"mez, ArizonaCo-Executive Director of LUCHA Arizona
Rebecca R­os, ArizonaState Senator
Eduardo Sainz, ArizonaArizona State Director of Mi Familia Vota
Howard Chou, ColoradoVice-Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party
Nicole Johnston, ColoradoMayor Pro-tem and Aurora City Councilwoman
Dr. Kristopher Larsen, ColoradoMayor of Nederland
Ean Thomas Tafoya, ColoradoCo-chair of the Colorado Latino Forum
Dr. Frances Col"n, FloridaFormer Deputy Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State at the U.S. State Department
Valencia Gunder, FloridaFounder of The Smile Trust
Joanne P(C)rodin, MPH, FloridaClimate Justice Program Director, Florida Rising
Jos(C) Javier Rodr­guez, FloridaState Senator
Dr. Philip K. Stoddard, FloridaFormer Mayor of South Miami
Jonathan Webber, FloridaDeputy Director, Florida Conservation Voters
Daniel Blackman, GeorgiaClimate Policymaker, Environmental Justice and Public Health Activist
Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, GeorgiaPastor Emeritus Providence Baptist Church and Board Chair Interfaith Power& Light
Natasha Dyer, GeorgiaSustainable Smyrna board member
Lindsay Harper, GeorgiaArm in Arm National Core Support Team Coordinator
Dr. Na'Taki Jelks, GeorgiaAssistant Professor of Environmental & Health Sciences at Spelman College
Dr. Mildred McClain, GeorgiaCo-Founder and Executive Director of the Harambee House/Citizens For Environmental Justice
Valerie Rawls, GeorgiaDirector of Black Green Agenda with the New Georgia Project
Tyler Olson, IowaCity Councilmember and clean energy business owner
LaTricea Adams, MichiganFounder CEO & President - Black Millennials 4 Flint
Mallory McMorrow, MichiganState Senator
Melissa Hortman, MinnesotaMinnesota State House Speaker
Justin Jones, NevadaClark County Commissioner
William J. Barber III, North CarolinaStrategic Partnerships Manager-Climate Justice Initiative, The Climate Reality Project; Founder and President, The Rural Beacon Initiative, LLC
Jay Chaudhuri, North CarolinaState Senator
DeAndrea Salvador, North CarolinaFounder and Executive Director of RETI -Renewable Energy Transition Initiative
Erica Smith, North CarolinaState Senator
Susannah Tuttle, North CarolinaDirector of North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light
Sara Innamorato, PennsylvaniaState Representative
Malcolm Kenyatta, PennsylvaniaState Representative
Janet Bewley, WisconsinState Senate Minority Leader
David Cieslewicz, WisconsinFormer Mayor of Madison
Darrol Gibson, WisconsinManaging Director of LIT Milwaukee
Jennifer Giegerich, WisconsinGovernment Affairs Director, Wisconsin Conservation Voters
Sarah Godlewski, WisconsinState Treasurer
Chris Larson, WisconsinState Senator
Cory Mason, WisconsinMayor of Racine
Jeff Smith, WisconsinState Senator
Washington Post ripped for ending Biden fact-checking database for rest of his term | Fox News
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 11:24
100 days into Biden presidency, WaPo mothballs fact-checking 'database'Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler drew fierce criticism Monday after saying he did not plan to maintain a "database" for President Biden's falsehoods beyond his first 100 days in office.
"I have learned my lesson," Kessler tweeted. "'Learned my lesson' means who knows what the next four years will bring."
The Post famously maintained a database of former President Donald Trump's falsehoods during his entire term in office. Kessler called it a "wild ride."
"We will keep doing fact checks, just not a database," he added.
In a writeup in the soon-to-be-mothballed database, the Post wrote the "Joe Biden era has offered a return to a more typical pattern when it comes to a commander in chief and his relationship with the facts '-- one that features frequent spin and obfuscation or exaggeration, with the occasional canard."
Kessler said the Post's section was the most "comprehensive" fact-checking outlet of Biden's presidency to date and encouraged readers to send him any Biden falsehoods his team may have missed from the first 100 days.
Critics jumped on Kessler's admission, with some calling it a clear sign of liberal bias to acknowledge it would treat a Democratic president differently.
Fox News reached out to Kessler for comment, but he did not respond.
Kessler came under fire last week for publishing a lengthy "fact check" of Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott's claim of rising "from cotton to Congress," which ultimately awarded zero Pinocchios.
The Post counted 67 falsehoods from Biden in his first 100 days, chief among them his repeated, "Four-Pinocchio" claim that the new Georgia voting law limited early voting hours. Biden also compared the law to racist "Jim Crow" segregation.
TV news ratings, online readership plunge during Biden's first 100 days | TheHill
Sat, 01 May 2021 12:25
Broadcast and cable news ratings, along with website traffic, are all taking a hit in the post-Trump era.
During President Biden Joe BidenAmericans for Prosperity launches campaign targeting six Democrats to keep filibuster Washington's split with Turkey widens '-- but it is up to Turkey to heal the rift Incomes, consumer spending soared in March as stimulus bill boosted recovering economy MORE 's first 100 days in office, weekly full-day cable ratings for CNN and MSNBC have been trending down, according to statistics from ratings company Nielsen.
On average, 1.3 million household viewers were watching MSNBC in the last week of January, shortly after Biden took office. For the week ending April 25, that number was 868,000. At CNN, those figures went from 1.2 million to 749,000.
Even perennial ratings leader Fox News is seeing a decline, though a much smaller one compared to its cable competitors, dipping to just 1.2 million from 1.3 million in late January.
Prime-time cable viewership is also down across the board. In the same time comparisons as the full-day ratings, CNN has lost 792,000 viewers, while MSNBC is down 788,000 and Fox is short 348,000.
Network evening news isn't faring any better. Ratings leader ''World News Tonight'' at ABC had 1.8 million fewer viewers in the seven days ending April 25 compared to the last week of January.
NBC's ''Nightly News,'' in the No. 2 slot, lost 1.7 million viewers in that same period, while CBS is down 1.2 million.
Media experts like Scott Robson, a research analyst with S&P Global Market Intelligence who studies cable news, say viewership this year essentially peaked during the Jan. 6 insurrection and has been going down since.
''We are seeing a similar trend for the broadcast evening news shows,'' he added.
No cable news or broadcast networks provided a comment to The Hill about the declines.
In addition to ratings, website traffic for major news outlets is also down.
The number of total unique viewers is down this year for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News, according to analysis firm Comscore.
Traffic is also down for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, the Los Angeles Times, Reuters, the Boston Globe, Vice, Vox and BuzzFeed.
Some of those sites had more traffic in March than in February, but all are down since the start of the year.
''I'm sort of hearing, seeing the same thing regarding news ratings, digital subscriptions, etc. since [former President] Trump left office,'' said Steve Passwaiter, a vice president and general manager of the campaign media analysis group at media analytics company Kantar.
The declines were not unexpected. Media observers began speculating in late 2020 about how Trump's absence might affect the industry.
A ''change is in the air across a news landscape that has revolved around the president,'' New York Times media columnist Ben Smith wrote just days before the election.
When it comes to cable news, there's little doubt Trump was a ratings bonanza. Nielsen data shows that audiences for Fox News, CNN and MSNBC grew substantially after Trump took office in January of 2017.
From 2010 until 2017, the size of the audience for Fox News, CNN and MSNBC was relatively stable. After Trump took office, however, ratings for all three cable channels rose significantly, reflecting what became known as the ''Trump bump.''
The ratings decline under Biden, however, comes on the heels of more than just Trump's departure from office.
Last year's numbers were higher than the previous three, in large part because of the coronavirus pandemic, nationwide protests after the police killing of George Floyd and a bitter presidential campaign.
''There was a ramp-up in 2020 starting in March with COVID-19 and continuing on,'' Robson said. ''And yes, things have fallen off since January, but they are now consistent with 2019 numbers, and it's hard to say if it was because of Trump leaving office or more because COVID-19 news is slowing down.''
Robson said the recent decline might suggest that ''people are relieved they don't have to check the news every night to see what the latest crisis is.''
And what news they see online isn't necessarily focused on Biden.
According to a recent report from analysis firm Similarweb, Biden-related content on the websites of top news organizations has generally decreased since his Jan. 20 inauguration.
The company also recorded a significant drop in keyword searches for Biden and Trump since January.
But the overall number of keyword searches for both politicians dropped to 9.3 million in March, from more than 57.6 million in January.
Another indicator was the ratings for Biden 's first speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday, which drew 26.9 million viewers , 43.6 percent less than the 47.7 million people who watched Trump's first address in 2017.
The overall declines in ratings and web traffic don't necessarily translate to immediate revenue declines, experts said.
Robson noted that cable networks generally have already ''locked in'' their advertisers for this part of the year, so the recent ratings decline might not have a huge effect for now.
In addition, he added, ''there are other factors on top of that like the reopening of the economy.''
Both Robson and Passwaiter said the improving economy has bolstered demand for TV advertising.
''The general ad business has come roaring back,'' Passwaiter said.
Even when ratings spiked last year '-- whether from Trump, the election or COVID-19 '-- Robson said it didn't always mean more money for news companies.
''Paradoxically, while last year saw an increase in consumption by viewers, there was a decrease in the ad [spending],'' Robson said.
''More people were coming to the news networks to see COVID-19 and political news, but at the same time the networks couldn't capitalize on that viewership as much as they would have liked to because a lot of advertisers were struggling financially,'' he said.
Out There
Tic Tac sightings
Naval fleet projection technology
ONLY seen over water
Pilots believe what they saw with INSTRUMENTS, not naked eye
multi-sensor spoofing
The Navy's Secretive And Revolutionary Program To Project False Fleets From Drone Swarms
Sun, 18 Apr 2021 12:04
The U.S. Navy has been quietly developing what could be one of the most important, transformative, and fascinating advances in naval combat, and warfare in general, in years. This new electronic warfare "system of systems" has been clandestinely refined over the last five years and judging from the Navy's own budgetary documents, it may be operational soon, if it isn't already. This secretive new electronic warfare "ecosystem" is known as Netted Emulation of Multi-Element Signature against Integrated Sensors, or NEMESIS.
NEMESIS is not just some 'paper program.' From publicly available, but obscure documents we've collected, it's clear that, for years, the Navy has been developing and integrating multiple types of unmanned vehicles, shipboard and submarine systems, countermeasures and electronic warfare payloads, and communication technologies to give it the ability to project what is, in essence, phantom fleets of aircraft, ships, and submarines. These realistic-looking false signatures and decoys have the ability to appear seamlessly across disparate and geographically separated enemy sensor systems located both above and below the ocean's surface. As a result, this networked and cooperative electronic warfare concept brings an unprecedented level of guileful fidelity to the fight. It's not just about disrupting the enemy's capabilities or confusing them at a command and control level, but also about making their sensors tell them the same falsehoods across large swathes of the battlespace.
Another way of looking at it is NEMESIS shifts from traditional electronic warfare tactics, in which multiple electronic warfare systems execute individual electronic attacks on multiple enemy sensors to achieve largely individual or localized effects, to a very diverse set of networked electronic warfare systems cooperatively making electronic attacks on huge portions of an enemy's sensor network. That network may stretch across large distances and multiple warfighting domains. In doing so, it achieves a cohesive set of far more unified, powerful, and convincing effects.
It sounds like science fiction, but it is anything but'--it's the next quantum leap in the quiet, but ferocious struggle to control the invisible domain of electronic warfare.
The Invisible WarElectronic warfare (EW) has become an essential part of military strategy over the better part of the last century. This has only become more pronounced in recent decades as military systems have increasingly migrated into the digital age.
NATO's simplest definition of electronic warfare is as follows:
The purpose of EW is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly unimpeded access to the electromagnetic spectrum. EW can be applied from air, sea, land, and space, and target communication and radar systems. It involves the use of electromagnetic energy to provide improved understanding of the operational environment as well as to achieve specific effects on the modern battlefield.
Electronic warfare encompasses a huge variety of operations and tactics, such as disrupting enemy communications and preventing your own from being disrupted. Maybe the most well-known form of EW has to do with jamming enemy radar systems, but there are many forms of electronic warfare that don't involve traditional jamming. These include detecting, spoofing, and distracting enemy sensor systems and denying them the opportunity to successfully target friendly forces to varying degrees.
Cyberwarfare tactics and the ability to actually disrupt enemy sensors, networks, and command and control systems at the software level are a highly critical emerging realm of warfare that in some cases can cross over and become blended with electronic warfare tactics. Even the use of directed energy weapons can be part of a force's electronic warfare bag of tricks.
Although it is the least visible component of a present-day military's order of battle and overall capabilities, and much of the details of exactly what capabilities exist and how they are realized remains in the shadows, electronic warfare is becoming one of the most important facets of modern warfare. As a result, future combat will occur just as much in this invisible spectrum as the visible one.
The Cold War Gave Birth To Modern Electronic WarfareElectronic warfare, as we understand it today, is not new. The U.S. military has been deploying EW technologies that go beyond simple jamming since at least the mid-20th Century. Stealth technology would never have been so successful without electronic warfare backstopping it during combat operations. In fact, the only engagement in which an F-117 was ever shot down occurred on the only night of the aircraft's use during Operation Allied Force when electronic warfare support was not available.
EW, at least how we understand it in modern, advanced terms, dates back much farther, to the height of the Cold War when the CIA launched the PALLADIUM project, which deployed radar spoofing systems and submarine-launched balloons carrying metallic radar reflectors in order to stimulate and probe Cuba's Soviet-made air defenses. The effort was part of a grander objective to understand how vulnerable the A-12 Oxcart'--the CIA's progenitor of the SR-71 Blackbird and the first aircraft to integrate stealthy attributes as a driving factor in its design'--would be to enemy air defenses. You can read all about this fascinating bit of history in this past piece of ours.
Lockheed Martin
An A-12 Oxcart.
Considering that the CIA possessed the capability 65 years ago to clandestinely launch airborne radar reflectors from submarines and combine them with electronic warfare capabilities that could simulate or spoof the presence of American fighter aircraft on the most advanced Soviet radar systems of the era, it isn't hard to use one's imagination to ponder what is possible today. We know that EW capabilities have evolved drastically in step with advances in sensor, emitter, and computer processing technologies and the increasingly potent data networks that integrate and fuse their capabilities with other systems and platforms. NEMESIS is the next evolutionary leap in this regard, and a particularly huge one at that.
Electrons Not BombsThe U.S. Navy's leadership has stated repeatedly that developing a major leap in EW capabilities has been a vital area of research over the last decade. On Oct. 29, 2013, then-Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the service's top officer, said as much when he spoke at a convention of the Association of Old Crows (AOC).
At the conference, Greenert told attendees that the Navy was looking for ways to move away from traditional weaponry and turn instead more heavily towards electronic warfare and information warfare. ''We've got to evolve this paradigm,'' he said, adding that electronic warfare could essentially replace kinetic warfare in many situations:
"We're using the electromagnetic spectrum as a domain and as a means, and we understand and grasp it. We have to figure out how we can beat things electronically first. Why do we spend all this money kinetically if we can jam, spoof, or do otherwise? We need to prepare the fleet to enact an electronic warfare plan the same way they think of a communications or surface warfare plan."
In 2015, the National Interest published an op-ed titled ''Winning the Airwaves: Sustaining America's Advantage in the Electromagnetic Spectrum,'' in which authors Bryan Clark and Mark Gunzinger wrote that America had failed to maintain its electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) superiority since the end of the Cold War. This failure had allowed ''China, Russia and other rivals with an opportunity to field systems that target vulnerabilities in sensor and communication networks the U.S. military has come to depend on. As a result, America's once significant military advantage in the EMS is eroding, and may in fact no longer exist,'' they said.
The same authors produced a 2015 white paper for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) think tank detailing how America could regain EMS superiority, writing that the Department of Defense ''now has the opportunity to develop new operational concepts and technologies that will allow it to 'leap ahead' of its competitors and create enduring advantages in EMS warfare.'' The document lists NEMESIS as one such technology, but does not disclose any further details about the program.
Two years earlier, however, budget documents show that the Navy was beginning to develop a highly integrated constellation of next-generation systems for spoofing or fooling distributed sensors and the platforms that host them.
NEMESIS GenesisAn electronic warfare development program known as Netted Emulation of Multi-Element Signature against Integrated Sensors or ''NEMESIS'' first emerged in Navy Research, Development, Test & Evaluation Budget Item Justification documents in the service's budget proposal for the 2014 Fiscal Year, which it published in April 2013. In that and subsequent budget requests, NEMSIS appeared under the program elements ''PE 0602271N / Electromagnetic Systems Applied Research'' and ''PE 0603271N / Electromagnetic Systems Advanced Technology.''
In these budget documents, the Navy describes NEMESIS as a ''System of Systems (SoS) able to coordinate distributed EW resources against many adversary surveillance and targeting sensors simultaneously" which "will benefit the warfighter by providing platform protection across the battlespace against many sensors, creating seamless cross-domain countermeasure coordination, and enabling rapid advanced technology/capability insertion to counter emerging threats.''
More specifically, the Fiscal Year 2014 Electromagnetic Systems Applied Research RDT&E Budget Item Justification states that NEMESIS ''addresses the need to generate the appearance of a realistic naval force to multiple adversarial surveillance and targeting sensors simultaneously.''
Later in that same document, a more detailed description of the program states that NEMESIS consists of ''reconfigurable and modular EW payloads, Distributed Decoy and Jammer Swarms (DDJS), effective acoustic countermeasures (CM), and Multiple Input/Multiple Output Sensor/CM (MIMO S/CM) for false force generation to both above and below water sensors.''
The 2018 and 2019 budget justifications state that "Nemesis expendable decoys and prototype system hardware will be completed and delivered for field testing" and that demonstrations of these expendable decoys "will be conducted during fleet experimentation, as well as during focused field and laboratory tests."
A Shadowy NEMESISThere is little publicly available information surrounding NEMESIS aside from these unclassified budgetary documents and a few publications and presentations that mention the program, usually to a very limited degree. Many specifics about the NEMESIS system remain unknown, but the documents help add context to the budget line item justifications we've presented above.
On April 9, 2014, Bob Smith, Director of Disruptive Technologies at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) gave a presentation at the National Defense Industrial Association's 15th Annual Science and Engineering Technology Conference that described several innovative Navy prototype research programs, or INPs. A slide from the presentation offered a basic, but absolutely impressive overview of the NEMESIS program while of course stating ''Additional details classified.''
The presentation stated that NEMESIS worked against distributed sensor systems in order to confuse or spoof an enemy force's surveillance and targeting systems. That document also said that the NEMESIS system ''enables rapid advanced technology/capability insertion for emerging threats'', meaning that NEMESIS could be quickly modified and upgraded to counter the latest capabilities that are still under development.
At the time, ONR said that NEMESIS addressed current limitations of traditional EW systems and multiple items on the United States Pacific Command (PACOM) Integrated Priority List (IPL), a list of the Pacific Command's highest priorities for ensuring its forces are capable of accomplishing their missions.
According to the same ONR presentation, NEMESIS consisted of "modular and reconfigurable EW payloads" including "decoy and unmanned air and surface platforms" based on the ONR's Science & Technology and Future Naval Capabilities programs. NEMESIS combined functionality and capabilities from Code 31: Information, Cyber and Spectrum Superiority; Code 33: Mission Capable, Persistent and Survivable Naval Platforms; and Code 35: Aviation, Force Projection and Integrated Defense.
Shortly after that ONR presentation, the publicly available 2015 Navy Program Guide offered a definition of NEMESIS in its appendix, stating that NEMESIS could ''synchronize electronic warfare (EW) affects across a variety of distributed platforms to create coherent and consistent EW effects" and that "NEMESIS emphasis is on the coordination and synchronization of EW capabilities and tactics against sensors in many scenarios.''
That same guide also stated that development of NEMESIS began in 2014 and was an interdisciplinary project involving well-known research centers, such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and ONR:
In 2013 the Navy approved NEMESIS as a FY 2014 INP New Start. Initial NEMESIS activity involved planning discussions among the Office of Naval Research, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, fleet commands and analysts, acquisition programs of record, government laboratories and warfare centers, the Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency, and federally funded research and development centers and university affiliated research centers.
To ensure NEMESIS is addressing current and future threats to naval battle group operations, threat assessments were initiated with the Intelligence Community, and a Navy Warfare Development Command NEMESIS war game will be conducted in 2015.
On Feb. 4, 2015, Dr. Thomas Killion, then-Director of Technology at the Office of Naval Research, gave a presentation at the ONR Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo. In that presentation, NEMESIS is listed as a current Innovative Naval Prototype (INP) program alongside some of the Navy's most important leading-edge weapons development initiatives, including the Electromagnetic Railgun, the Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle, the Integrated Topside information operations and communications suite, and the Autonomous Aerial Cargo Unmanned System.
The Navy's 2015 Program Guide also mentions that the Navy conducted a war game in 2015 to test the NEMESIS system. Another budget document, the 2017 RDT&E Project Justification document for the Navy's "Space and Electronic Warfare (SEW) Architecture/Engineering Support" program, states that this war game took place in late February 2015:
NEMESIS War Game: This Office of Naval Research (ONR) sponsored war game was conducted by NWDC and completed 23-26 Feb 2015. The primary purpose of the war game was to obtain fleet stakeholder input into the requirements for and design of a classified ONR Innovative Naval Prototype. The results of this effort will be used to design prototypes that could eventually be fielded as a Navy program of record.
That document also states that the NEMESIS war game which took place in 2015 "consisted of multiple events designed to explore innovative concepts and technologies associated with EMW", or electromagnetic warfare, and "obtain fleet stakeholder input into the requirements for and design of a classified ONR Innovative Naval Prototype." The descriptions of this war game appear to describe a seminar or "tabletop" exercise designed to formulate initial ideas for developing such a system, but exact details of the war game remain unknown.
The 2017 Navy Program Guide states that dedicated hardware for NEMESIS was developed in 2016 and that NEMESIS was expected to be demonstrated at full capability in late 2018:
NEMESIS has been in development since 2014, including close collaboration with the Office of Naval Research, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, fleet commands and analysts, acquisition programs of record, government laboratories and warfare centers, the Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency, and federally funded research and development centers and university-affiliated research centers. During 2016, NEMESIS capabilities began hardware development, technique and software migration and field testing at the sub-system level. In FY 2017-2018 flight and at-sea testing will be conducted on integrated system level capabilities in preparation for graduation demonstrations in late FY 2018.
The guide goes on to list the NEMESIS system's developers: Georgia Tech Research Institute, Johns Hopkins' Applied Physics Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Lincoln Lab, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the Office of Naval Research, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. The Navy just recently rebranded Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command as the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command.
EW SwarmsWhile the exact components of the NEMESIS system remain unknown, there are some hints about what types of decoys and swarms could make up such a system. In a 2017 Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) white paper titled ''Winning in the Gray Zone: Using Electromagnetic Warfare to Regain Escalation Dominance," authors Bryan Clark, Mark Gunzinger, and Jesse Sloman described the various elements that made up EW ecosystems then in development, such as NEMESIS and DARPA's System of System Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE).
The document described swarms of expendable unmanned aerial systems that ''incorporate cognitive processing and coordinate their actions through communication networks,'' meaning they can share data in real-time and operate semi-autonomously to jam an adversary's sensors, act as or release decoys, gather targeting information, and detect and map air defense networks.
Launching waves of these UAVs could extend U.S. forces' sensor networks, confuse or obscure enemy defenses, provide a resilient communications network, coordinate and assign targets for weapons salvos, and even ''provide targets to hypersonic weapons that have a very short time-of-flight," the paper explained.
Aside from providing fire and communications support, the NEMESIS system was said to be capable of creating viable false targets that would "increase the number of potential targets" an adversary would have to engage. These false targets would "mimic the RF emissions and radar returns of real platforms" and include infrared decoys and "concepts and capabilities to simulate the computer network activity of deployed forces." The NEMESIS system even included underwater "high-fidelity acoustic decoys" which can generate "additional targets for the enemy to investigate or attack," according to the CSBA white paper. These acoustic decoys could include radio emulators and simulate propeller noise or other propulsion systems, as well as specific equipment on surface ships and submarines.
The CSBA said these decoys could increase the size of the forces or amount of munitions an enemy force would have to respond with, ideally making that adversary less willing to risk a larger use of its assets. What that means is that this EW system can not only disrupt an adversary's tactics, but to some extent also dictate his battlefield decision-making.
The CSBA report described how these effects could be achieved using small unmanned EW systems launched from either high altitude balloons or undersea platforms, such as submarines or unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) to create these electronic warfare effects:
Launching EMW expendables at higher altitudes is another approach to extending their ranges and endurance. Launching small EMW UAVs, missiles, or munitions from very high altitude (60,000 to 120,000 feet) balloons could be a less expensive option than using a missile. High altitude balloon technologies are very mature and may cost significantly less than other delivery methods. Furthermore, defeating balloon-delivered EMW expendables would likely require SAMs that can reach very high altitudes. Using these expensive SAMs to defeat large numbers of balloons'--some which might be decoys'--could be costly and operationally impractical for aggressors.
Another innovative delivery method for EMW expendables could be from undersea platforms, which may be the best use of undersea payload capacity in general. [...] Undersea platforms could be one of the most effective methods to deliver EMW expendables because they can closely approach enemy coastlines and targets. This allows shorter-range expendables to be employed, which are less expensive, smaller, and can be carried in higher numbers than larger payloads like cruise missiles.
Numerous sea and submarine-launched UAVs and autonomous swarm systems have already been developed or are in development. Small drone swarms can also be launched from virtually any type of ship and from shore, and even aircraft, as well. In fact, the Navy already has a swarming electronic warfare capability in the form of the ever-evolving Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD). But pairing various platforms, from radar reflector and electronic warfare payload-carrying balloons and swarms of drones of different sizes and performance capabilities, and networking them together to work cooperatively to confuse, spoof, and/or blind enemy sensors dispersed over a wide area is clearly what this system is all about.
The Office of Naval Research has been testing a small, low-cost rotary-wing drone known as Nomad, described as ''a highly affordable expendable design'' that can be deployed without the need to ensure it returns to its parent vessel. The Nomad can be launched from tubes using a CO2 ejection system that can fit on a variety of platforms and tests of this compact UAV have found that ''multiple Nomads can safely operate in the same airspace and fly in a coordinated fashion.''
Nomad undergoing testing.
One of the only non-Navy mentions of the NEMESIS program found online is in a NavalDrones.com article from 2017, which describes the Nomad specifically as being part of the NEMESIS system. While that claim is unconfirmed on an official level, the Naval Research Laboratory has publicly disclosed tests of the Nomad system without mentioning NEMESIS. Still, given that many of the NEMESIS documents state that ''Distributed Decoy and Jammer Swarms (DDJS)'' are an integral part of the system, it's possible, if not probable, that Nomad and swarms of other small drones are part of this highly sophisticated and networked electronic warfare capability.
The 2017 CSBA paper also cites a wide range of other unmanned systems that could hypothetically be integrated into the NEMESIS system, although it remains unknown which specific expendables are used:
Small expendables in development or use today include the Switchblade precision missile, which is in use with Special Operations Forces; small UAVs such as the Coyote UAV, used in the Navy's Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) program; and loitering munitions like the Lockheed Martin Fire Shadow. Expendables have also been integrated with launch platforms. The Navy is developing a submarine-launched version of the Blackwing UAV, which is similar to the Switchblade. Furthermore, the U.S. Air Force has deployed the Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) since the 1990s.
The aforementioned LOCUST would be one of the most obvious platforms to execute major parts of the NEMESIS concept. The Navy has been experimenting with this highly deployable swarming drone capability for years and the airframes are highly adaptable and can be launched from almost anywhere.
Lockheed Martin has been also developing small unmanned aerial vehicles such as the tiny Outrider micro-aircraft, which can be launched from canisters that fit inside submarine missile tubes. The Naval Research Laboratory has tested all-electric folding wing drones designed to launch from torpedo tubes using existing launch systems. Glimpses of other similar systems in development have been offered over the last few years, including ones designed to carry infrared and electro-optical payloads.
Northrop Grumman has tested electronic warfare drones dropped from EA-18G Growlers inside canister deployment systems and air-launched electronic warfare enabled swarming munitions are set to become a major staple of aerial warfare.
Earlier this year, the Office of Naval Research issued a special notice for a research opportunity to develop a ''Long Endurance Advanced Off-board Electronic Warfare Platform,'' or LEAP. This program was listed under two of the same codes as NEMESIS, ONR Code 35: Aerodynamics, Autonomy, Flight Dynamics & Control, as well as Code 31: Electronic Warfare. The proposed vehicle design to be researched was for a ship-launched, long-range expendable decoy that can carry modular EW payloads.
Swarms of small unmanned surface vessels and even undersea vessels seem to fulfill aspects of NEMESIS' cross-domain capability as well. But leveraging swarms of smaller and somewhat expendable aerial drones and munitions that can work in conjunction with larger, less numerous, and more advanced platforms allows the NEMESIS concept to cover large geographical areas associated with modern naval combat and to distribute EW capabilities in a more resilient and decentralized manner than in the past. In doing so, it also allows for these swarms and the various dissimilar nodes that can make up the NEMESIS system at any given time to create fleets of ships and aircraft that aren't really there across a huge area as well as execute more mundane tasks, such as jamming individual enemy emitters or working as sacrificial decoys for enemy weapons themselves.
All of this could, and eventually will, also be networked with existing, more traditional electronic warfare systems such as those mounted on the Navy's surface combatants. In particular, this could be networked with the SLQ-32 SEWIP and the new and shadowy SLQ-59 that has recently arrived on some of the Navy's vessels. The Navy's EA-18G Growler could also act as a major component in this EW ecosystem and as a forward command and control node.
It's also worth remembering that NEMESIS, or at least parts of it, would also be an incredible and obvious intelligence collecting tool when it comes to probing and evaluating an enemy's defenses and recording its electronic order of battle. This could be done even in peacetime, very much in the same vein of PALLADIUM so many years ago, but on a much larger and more elaborate scale.
Evolution Of A RevolutionIn Fiscal Year 2015, the NEMESIS program expanded beyond the Navy's PE 0602271N / Electromagnetic Systems Applied Research program and began appearing in the budget line justification documents of several additional programs in subsequent fiscal years. During the next fiscal cycle, the Navy's Electromagnetic Systems Applied Research program continued to work on NEMESIS as it had in prior years. Then, in Fiscal Year 2017, the program's budget increased significantly ''due to hardware procurement and conducting field experiments of NEMESIS technologies.''
The Fiscal Year 2017 RDT&E Project Justification for the NEMESIS work conducted by Navy program PE 0603271N / Electromagnetic Systems Advanced Technology states that Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018 are dedicated to ''the integration and demonstration of these new technologies''.
In Fiscal Year 2018, NEMESIS appeared on two new Navy research program elements titled ''PE 0602792N / (U)Innovative Naval Prototypes(INP) Applied Research'' and ''PE 0603801N / (U) Innovative Naval Prototypes (INP) Advanced Technology Development.'' Those programs' goals for that fiscal cycle, respectively, were:
PE 0602792N / (U)Innovative Naval Prototypes(INP) Applied Research: Complete the Nemesis project by finishing research efforts to develop and mature technologies in multiple areas that will be used to assess the feasibility of Nemesis to coordinate Electronic Warfare (EW) operations across distributed EW systems. Technologies being matured include swarming vehicle operations, distributed resource mission control, multi-domain coordinated operations and advanced RF component and subsystems technologies. These emerging technologies are being designed and developed for prototype Nemesis systems which will be capable of performing coordinated EW operations across distributed EW systems.
PE 0603801N / (U) Innovative Naval Prototypes (INP) Advanced Technology Development: Complete the Nemesis project, previously funded in 0603271N Electromagnetic Systems Advanced Technology Development, by designing and building prototype Nemesis payloads that implement industry standards for software, hardware, and firmware interfaces. Nemesis expendable decoys and prototype system hardware will be completed and delivered for field testing. Demonstrations of Nemesis platforms and payload will be conducted during fleet experimentation, as well as during focused field and laboratory tests.
These budgetary documents state that the Innovative Naval Prototype programs "represent game-changing technologies with the potential to revolutionize operational concepts. They are disruptive in nature as they would dramatically change the way naval forces fight. INPs push the imagination of our nation's technical talent to deliver transformational warfighting capabilities."
In Fiscal Year 2019, funding continued to decrease in both the PE 0603271N / Electromagnetic Systems Advanced Technology and PE 0602271N / Electromagnetic Systems Applied Research programs due to the fact that the NEMESIS program was now being developed under the Innovative Naval Prototypes programs, suggesting it has advanced beyond research and development and is now working towards an operational state.
Electronic Warfare: The Next GenerationThe very existence of NEMESIS proves that a revolution in electronic warfare is well underway. If the capabilities we've described can be gleaned from scant publicly available information, there are no doubts that more advanced NEMESIS components and capabilities remain classified. It is also likely that some components of the system have existed long before they began to be integrated with other platforms under the NEMESIS program. Above all else, that is what NEMESIS does: it pulls together various leading-edge EW concepts and networks them together for a combined electronic warfare fight the likes of which we have never seen before.
As more nations develop and refine their advanced integrated sensor networks, next-generation EW "systems of systems" such as NEMESIS will become more vital to protecting the U.S. and allied assets and for giving them a leg up by being able to directly manipulate what the enemy believes is occurring on the battlespace based on their own sensors' data. As such, NEMESIS can help level the playing field against increasingly capable sensor networks, whether by blinding certain parts of those networks while spoofing others or by having the enemy fire its treasured weaponry at ghosts in the sea and in the air. Even a formation of what appears to be an incoming bomber force on radar and a puzzling group of bright signatures on infrared sensors could draw the enemy's attention away from critical parts on a real offensive.
Yes, much of this sounds almost like magic, and it is probably the closest thing the military has to it, but going by even the limited information we were able to uncover about NEMESIS, it really does represent the evolutionary next great leap in electronic warfare'--one that will elevate this murky art from a supporting aspect of military operations to a primary offensive and defensive one.
Tyler Rogoway contributed extensively to this feature.
Contact the editor: Tyler@thedrive.com
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Huge rocket looks set for uncontrolled reentry following Chinese space station launch - SpaceNews
Sat, 01 May 2021 18:49
by Andrew Jones '-- April 30, 2021 Liftoff of the Long March 5B rocket carrying the Tianhe core module for the Chinese Space Station. Credit: CCTV/framegrabLong March 5B core stage likely to reenter the Earth's atmosphere in the coming days.
HELSINKI '-- China launched the first module for its space station into orbit late Wednesday, but the mission launcher also reached orbit and is slowly and unpredictably heading back to Earth.
The Long March 5B, a variant of China's largest rocket, successfully launched the 22.5-metric-ton Tianhe module from Wenchang Thursday local time. Tianhe separated from the core stage of the launcher after 492 seconds of flight, directly entering its planned initial orbit.
Designed specifically to launch space station modules into low Earth orbit, the Long March 5B uniquely uses a core stage and four side boosters to place its payload directly into low Earth orbit.
However this core stage is now also in orbit and is likely to make an uncontrolled reentry over the next days or week as growing interaction with the atmosphere drags it to Earth. If so, it will be one of the largest instances of uncontrolled reentry of a spacecraft and could potentially land on an inhabited area.
Most expendable rocket first stages do not reach orbital velocity and reenter the atmosphere and land in a pre-defined reentry zone. Some other larger, second stages perform deorbit burns to lower altitude to reduce time in orbit and lower chances of collisions with other spacecraft or to immediately reenter the atmosphere.
There had been speculation that the Long March 5B core would perform an active maneuver to deorbit itself, but that appears not to have happened. At a Wenchang press conference Thursday, Wang Jue, Commander-in-Chief of Long March 5B launch vehicle, stated ( Chinese ) that this second Long March 5B had seen improvements over the first launch, but a possible deorbit maneuver was not stated.
Ground based radars used by the U.S. military to track spacecraft and other objects in space have detected an object and catalogued it as the Long March 5B rocket body. Now designated 2021-035B, the roughly 30-meter-long, five-meter-wide Long March 5 core stage is in a 170 by 372-kilometer altitude orbit traveling at more than seven kilometers per second.
A possible amateur ground observation of the rocket core showing regular flashes suggests that it is tumbling and thus not under control.
Still no TLEs for the Vega launch. One more TLE for object B from the Tianhe launch, whose slow decay rate confirms it is the CZ-5B core stage pic.twitter.com/0dVkUkcpjA
'-- Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) April 30, 2021
The first launch of the Long March 5B also saw the first stage reach orbit and make an uncontrolled reentry six days later. Reentry occurred over the Atlantic Ocean according to the U.S. Space Force's 18th Space Control Squadron.
Had the event taken place 15-30 minutes earlier debris not destroyed by the heat of reentry could have landed on U.S. soil. The incident drew criticism from then NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Unpredictable reentry Where and when the new Long March 5B stage will land is impossible to predict. The decay of its orbit will increase as atmospheric drag brings it down into more denser. The speed of this process depends on the size and density of the object and variables include atmospheric variations and fluctuations, which are themselves influenced by solar activity and other factors.
The high speed of the rocket body means it orbits the Earth roughly every 90 minutes and so a change of just a few minutes in reentry time results in reentry point thousands of kilometers away.
The Long March 5B core stage's orbital inclination of 41.5 degrees means the rocket body passes a little farther north than New York, Madrid and Beijing and as far south as southern Chile and Wellington, New Zealand, and could make its reentry at any point within this area.
The most likely event will see any debris surviving the intense heat of reentry falling into the oceans or uninhabited areas, but the risk remains of damage to people or property.
Spaceflight observer Jonathan McDowell told SpaceNews that the previous Long March 5B launch saw the most massive uncontrolled reentry in decades and the fourth biggest ever. ''The Long March 5B core stage is seven times more massive than the Falcon 9 second stage that caused a lot of press attention a few weeks ago when it reentered above Seattle and dumped a couple of pressure tanks on Washington state.''
McDowell said he hoped China would have enhanced the core stage to perform a controlled deorbit after separating from Tianhe. ''I think by current standards it's unacceptable to let it reenter uncontrolled,'' McDowell said.
''Since 1990 nothing over 10 tons has been deliberately left in orbit to reenter uncontrolled.'' The Long March 5B core stage, without its four side boosters, is thought to have a ''dry mass'', or when it is empty of propellent, of about 21 metric tons in mass.
Holger Krag, head of the Space Safety Programme Office for the European Space Agency, says from their experience, there is an average amount of mass of about 100 tons re-entering in an uncontrolled way per year. ''This relates to about 50-60 individual events per year.''
''It is always difficult to assess the amount of surviving mass and number of fragments without knowing the design of the object, but a reasonable ''rule-of-thumb'' is about 20-40% of the original dry mass.''
Components made of heat resistant materials, such as tanks and thrusters made stainless steel or titanium, can reach the ground. Surviving objects will fall vertically after deceleration and travel at terminal velocity.
The largest and most famous incident was the 1979 reentry of NASA's 76-ton Skylab, whose uncontrolled reentry scattered debris across the Indian Ocean and Western Australia.
A night time reentry could make for spectacular viewing, as with a recent reentry of a Falcon 9 second stage, with debris fortunately not causing harm.
China's 8-ton Tiangong-1 spacelab made a high-profile uncontrolled reentry in 2018, while the successor Tiangong-2 was deorbited in a controlled manner in 2019.
DEW symptoms to cover for vaccine side effects?
Directed energy weapons = Russia!
DEW on the ellipse will be a way to take out Joe
The ellipse DEW
U.S. troops increasingly vulnerable to directed-energy attacks, Pentagon tells lawmakers
Fri, 23 Apr 2021 11:49
National Guard stand their posts around the Capitol at sunrise in Washington, Monday, March 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) | Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo
The Pentagon warned lawmakers this week about the growing and urgent threat of directed-energy attacks on U.S. troops in the Middle East and elsewhere, according to four people briefed on the matter.
Two Defense Department officials briefed members of the House Armed Service Committee about the phenomenon in a classified setting on Wednesday, the people said, and told lawmakers they are increasingly concerned about the vulnerability of U.S. troops in places such as Syria, Afghanistan and various countries in South America.
AdvertisementBriefers pointed to Russia as a likely culprit, the people told POLITICO, but didn't have a smoking gun, citing difficulties in attributing the attacks.
The Pentagon opened an investigation last year after suspected directed-energy attacks occurred on an unknown number of troops, POLITICO first reported earlier Thursday.
Lawmakers were officially notified on April 15 that the House Armed Services briefing would take place on Wednesday. Committee members heard from Jennifer Walsh, the acting Pentagon policy chief, and Griffin Decker, the Pentagon's director of the emerging threats cell. The official notice, which was obtained by POLITICO, described the briefing as urgent and said it was centered on an ''emerging threat.''
''Due to the nature of the threat, members are highly encouraged to attend,'' the notice stated.
AdvertisementOfficials told lawmakers that the phenomenon of suspected directed-energy attacks on U.S. personnel '-- which cause a mysterious illness similar to the ''Havana syndrome'' reported by American spies and diplomats starting in late 2016 '-- is growing across the world, according to three people who attended Wednesday's briefing.
The briefers also told lawmakers that the origin of the technology required in such attacks is ''more likely than not in Russia,'' one of the people said. One person familiar with the briefing said the briefers also pointed to China as a possible culprit, and didn't know for sure who was behind the attacks.
The briefers said they were concerned about the growing frequency of apparent attacks around the world, but noted that they are especially concerned about the vulnerability of U.S. personnel in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, which includes combat zones from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan, the people said.
The facilities in these regions are not secure or ''hardened in any real way,'' one of the people said. ''That makes them very, very vulnerable.''
AdvertisementA Defense Department official familiar with the briefing, however, said the Central Command region was not a part of the discussion. Representatives of the Armed Services Committee and the National Security Council did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Rep. Jim Banks, an Indiana Republican on the Armed Services Committee, did not comment on any briefings but said the U.S. government isn't doing enough to protect personnel from directed-energy attacks. He noted that the bipartisan Future of Defense Task Force that he co-chaired looked at the issue.
''It came up a lot on our task force last year as a major issue that we have done very little to address,'' he told POLITICO. ''We have failed to take it seriously as a threat.''
Marc Polymeropoulos, a former CIA officer who suffered crippling symptoms in Moscow in December 2017 from a suspected directed-energy attack, called on lawmakers and officials to take the attacks seriously and to immediately treat the victims.
''It is absolutely critical that we find out who did this,'' he told POLITICO in an interview. ''The idea of dismissing it outright is just not acceptable anymore.''
POLITICO first reported on Thursday that Pentagon officials briefed top lawmakers earlier this year about the threat to U.S. troops after an internal investigation launched last year looked into suspected attacks on American personnel around the world. The briefings included information about injuries sustained by U.S. troops in Syria, people briefed on the suspected attacks as part of their oversight duties of the Pentagon said.
However, after the article was published, Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, told lawmakers during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that he has seen "no evidence" of such attacks against U.S. troops in his area of responsibility, which includes the Middle East and Afghanistan.
People affected by attacks report symptoms including acute ringing and pressure in the ears, as well as loss of hearing and balance, fatigue and residual headaches. Some victims have suffered long-term brain damage.
AdvertisementClose to 50 officials have reported such symptoms, known as ''Havana syndrome,'' among U.S. diplomats posted in Cuba since late 2016. The CIA set up its own task force this year to look into the problem, CNN reported in February.
Polymeropoulous also noted the ''insidious nature'' of the attacks in that it ''not only calls into question what happened but also sows all sorts of doubt within the U.S. government community, too.''
''I wish I was shot. I wish it had been an open wound, because then you have something that is visible and treatable and instead this is an invisible wound,'' he said. ''It takes you off the battlefield, it incapacitates you, it doesn't kill you ... ultimately it's a pretty brilliant terror weapon.''
Erin Banco contributed to this report.
MIL-OSI USA: Kaptur, Pascrell, Ocasio-Cortez Lead Colleagues Demanding Support for Postal Banking | ForeignAffairs.co.nz
Sat, 01 May 2021 11:47
Source: United States House of Representatives '' Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Expanded pilot programs can extend financial services to urban and rural communities, reinvigorate beleaguered USPS
Washington, D.C. '' Today, Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), today led 33 House members seeking an expansion of postal banking pilot programs to extend banking services to millions of underbanked Americans and revitalize the Postal Service.
''We write to strongly encourage you to include the below language supporting postal non-bank financial services pilot programs in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations (FSGG) Bill. These pilot programs would help Americans, particularly people of color, lacking access to mainstream financial services,'' the members write the leaders of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.
Millions of Americans in urban and rural areas even live in a 'bank desert' or region without immediate access to a brick and mortar bank. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found in 2017 that some 63 million adults are considered 'underbanked'. Underbanked Americans are geographically, economically, and demographically diverse. Ninety percent of zip codes lacking a bank or credit union are in rural areas. Bank branches are also sparse in low income urban communities, with approximately 46 percent of Latino and 49 percent of African American households underbanked. The USPS Office of Inspector General found in two reports that the Postal Service is well-suited to bring basic nonbank financial services to underbanked communities.
''The pandemic has underscored once again postal workers' deep commitment to serving our communities. But we know that millions still lack access to affordable and reliable financial services. Now's the time to expand postal financial services and the pilots called for in this letter are a critical first step. Postal workers look forward to this important way to better serve the public,'' said American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein.
''Offering expanded financial services through the U.S. Postal Service is a straightforward step that our nation must take toward addressing the problem of unbanked and underbanked Americans who are forced to rely on costly alternatives to meet their basic financial needs,'' said Susan Harley, managing director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. ''By providing funding for pilot projects for expanded financial services, we can get the ball rolling and prove how beneficial these services will be '' not just to the financially vulnerable, but also to shore up the funding for the USPS.''
''Postal banking makes sense for the post office, and it makes sense for America. One in four Americans has limited or no access to a bank. The unbanked are disproportionately Black and Brown, and they pay thousands of dollars a year for fees and services simply because they don't have this access. The last year has reminded us how critical the post office is for our society and democracy. Saving the post office and bolstering it for decades to come will require investing in its future and expanding its offerings. Even expanding basic financial services offered by the post office can bring in over a billion dollars in revenue in the first year, and it will help fill the gap left by banking deserts. This pilot makes sense at every level,'' said Rakim Brooks, senior campaign strategist at the ACLU.
''One in four households in the U.S. doesn't have access to affordable financial services. It's not unusual for people in rural areas to be forced to spend $7.50 to withdraw twenty dollars at a gas station ATM, because it's the only one for miles. But everyone has a post office. Piloting non-bank financial services at the post office would save working families in these communities thousands of dollars and would ultimately bring in over a billion dollars in revenue for the postal service every year. That's why the Save the Post Office Coalition's over three hundred member organizations are proud to endorse this language directing the USPS to pilot postal non-bank financial services in the Fiscal Year 2022 House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations (FSGG) Bill,'' said Porter McConnell of the Save the Post Office Coalition.
The members' demand for postal banking expansion is endorsed by a host of organizations including the American Postal Workers Union, Save the Post Office Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), AFL-CIO, Public Citizen, Consumer Action, Communications Workers of America, SEIU, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Center for Popular Democracy, Patriotic Millionaires, Take on Wall Street, Sierra Club, Common Cause, Americans for Financial Reform, Social Security Works, Alliance for Retired Americans, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), Sunrise Movement, Indivisible, American Family Voices, Center for Common Ground, Democracy Initiative, Farm Aid, Food and Water Watch, Franciscan Action Network, Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project, Jobs with Justice, Main Street Alliance, Mainers for Accountable Leadership, National Farmers Union, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, People for the American Way, Progress America, Strong Economy for All Coalition, True North Research, UNITE HERE, Working Families Party, Progressive Caucus Action Fund, Beneficial State Foundation, Campaign Legal Center, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces, End Citizens United, Friends of the Earth, Lake Oconee Community Church, MoveOn, and the NAACP.
The letter is signed by Reps. Kaptur, Pascrell, Ocasio-Cortez, Alma Adans, Andy Kim, Ayanna Pressley, Barbara Lee, Bobby Rush, Darren Soto, Diana DeGette, Dina Titus, Donald Payne, Jr., Earl Blumenauer, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Frank Pallone, Jr., Ilhan Omar, Jackie Speier, Jamaal Bowman, James McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Jason Crow, Jesus ''Chuy'' Garcia, Jimmy Panetta, Marie Newman, Mark DeSaulnier, Mike Doyle, Mikie Sherrill, Mondaire Jones, Nikema Williams, Paul Tonko, Peter DeFazio, Raºl M. Grijalva, Ritchie Torres, Ro Khanna, Salud Carbajal, and Sylvia Garcia.
Rep. Pascrell has been a leader in Congress seeking to protect the Post Office. On January 25, 2021, Pascrell became the first member of Congress calling on President Biden to fire the entire Postal Board of Governors for their silence and complicity in Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's ongoing sabotage of postal operations. On March 18, Pascrell and Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) led over 50 House Democrats urging Biden to immediately remove the entire sitting USPS Board of Governors.
Pascrell is also a strong supporter of widespread postal banking, and in June 2019 his bipartisan amendment allocating $1 million to begin funding a postal banking system was passed by the House of Representatives. In March 2020, Reps. Pascrell and Ocasio-Cortez wrote to the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services requesting the inclusion of report language supporting the creation of a postal banking pilot program in the Fiscal Year 2021 House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations (FSGG) bill. Their request was ratified by the full House in July of last year. On April 15, 2021, Pascrell joined U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Reps. Ocasio Cortez and Kaptur in calling for Congress to implement postal banking pilot programs.
The text of the members' postal banking letter is provided below.
April 28, 2021
The Honorable Mike Quigley The Honorable Steve Womack
Chairman Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Services
and General Government and General Government
House Appropriations Committee House Appropriations Committee
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Quigley and Ranking Member Womack,
We write to strongly encourage you to include the below language supporting postal non-bank financial services pilot programs in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations (FSGG) Bill. These pilot programs would help Americans, particularly people of color, lacking access to mainstream financial services. These individuals are often ineligible for banking options due to poor credit or are unable to afford the fees associated with bank accounts and maintain bank account minimums. Millions of Americans in urban and rural areas even live in a 'bank desert' or region without immediate access to a brick and mortar bank. [i]
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found in 2017 that some 63 million adults are considered 'underbanked'.[ii] Underbanked Americans are geographically, economically, and demographically diverse. Ninety percent of zip codes lacking a bank or credit union are in rural areas. Bank branches are also sparse in low income urban communities, with approximately 46 percent of Latino and 49 percent of African American households underbanked.
Individuals lacking access to a mainstream financial service are often forced to use nontraditional financial providers for regular or emergency financial needs. These predatory lenders routinely charge customers rapacious interest rates sometimes as high as 20 times more than the average credit card and can push borrowers into a cycle of poverty.[iii] Every year, approximately 12 million borrowers spend more than $7 billion on fees associated with payday loans.[iv] Often, it is the most vulnerable Americans that take out these loans, including those without a college degree, home renters, African Americans, those earning below $40,000 annually, and those who are separated or divorced.[v] The COVID-19 pandemic has only underscored the critical need for expanded financial services to receive stimulus checks, unemployment insurance, and other federal relief programs.
In two recent reports, the USPS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that USPS is well-suited to help bring financial services products to underbanked communities. In 2014, the USPS OIG determined that USPS ''is well-positioned to provide non-bank financial services to those whose needs are not being met by the traditional financial sector''. [vi] The report found there is significant demand for these services from underbanked populations that USPS could fill because of its vast network of 35,000 locations across every zip code. In 2015, the USPS OIG concluded that expanding the current financial services offerings at USPS facilities is permissible under current statutory authority and could generate $1.1 billion in additional revenue for USPS annually after five years.[vii]
Expanding statutorily permitted financial services at local Post Offices would help both USPS and the individuals they serve. The American people thankfully have high trust in USPS. According to Gallup, 74 percent of Americans view USPS as excellent or good, while 61 percent of Americans lack faith in traditional financial institutions.[viii] Additionally, some of our closest allies including Spain, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom already deliver forms of financial services to their citizens through their postal services.
We thus request that the Committee include the following report language for non-bank financial services pilot programs in the FY22 House FSGG Appropriations Bill:
Postal Non-Bank Financial Services Pilot Programs '' The Committee recognizes that USPS is well-suited to provide affordable non-bank financial services. The Committee recognizes the benefits of non-bank financial services to provide critical assistance to tens of millions of unbanked and underbanked Americans. The Committee notes that the USPS is already the largest single provider of paper money orders in the United States, and additionally already provides electronic funds transfers and U.S. Treasury check cashing. The Committee thus directs USPS, in collaboration with the U.S. Treasury and/or Federal Reserve, to carry out pilot programs (in at least five urban zip codes and at least five rural zip codes) to expand its current non-bank financial services to surcharge-free automated teller machines, wire transfers, check cashing, and bill payment to the fullest extent permitted under current statutory authority as described in the 2015 USPS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Report entitled 'The Road Ahead for Postal Financial Services' (RARC-WP-15-011). The Committee directs USPS, in collaboration with the USPS OIG, to provide a report to the Committee within one year of the enactment of this Act regarding its findings.
Additionally, we request the Committee include bill language appropriating $6,000,000 to USPS in FY22 to carry out these pilot programs to expand non-bank financial services offerings.
Thank you for your attention to and consideration of this request.
Noodle Gun
(2) Casey Newton on Twitter: "About one-third of Basecamp employees accepted buyouts today after a contentious all-hands meeting. I'm told more are coming." / Twitter
Sat, 01 May 2021 12:36
Casey Newton : About one-third of Basecamp employees accepted buyouts today after a contentious all-hands meeting. I'm told more are coming.
Fri Apr 30 19:23:38 +0000 2021
ninja savant : @CaseyNewton Sounds like Basecamp was forced to do something about the toxic political climate, That the radicals i'... https://t.co/383JNYLFRl
Sat May 01 11:59:54 +0000 2021
Corey Evans : @CaseyNewton Does this affect Hey! as well or are they two separate entities?
Sat May 01 11:57:44 +0000 2021
ðŸ•ðŸ‡¨ðŸ‡­ðŸ--¸ Aarefrank ðŸ>>🥨 : @CaseyNewton Does that equal "Abfindung"?(leave for money, giving up all legal rights) ?
Sat May 01 11:56:13 +0000 2021
A third of Basecamp's workers resign after a ban on talking politics. - The New York Times
Sun, 02 May 2021 11:17
Technology | A third of Basecamp's workers resign after a ban on talking politics. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/30/technology/basecamp-politics-ban-resignations.html ''Every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant,'' Jason Fried, Basecamp's chief executive, wrote in a blog post. Credit... Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images About a third of Basecamp's employees have said they are resigning after the company, which makes productivity software, announced new policies banning workplace conversations about politics.
Jason Fried, Basecamp's chief executive, detailed the policies in a blog post on Monday, calling ''societal and political discussions'' on company messaging tools ''a major distraction.'' He wrote that the company would also ban committees, cut benefits such as a fitness allowance (with employees receiving the equivalent cash value) and stop ''lingering and dwelling on past decisions.''
Basecamp had 57 employees, including Mr. Fried, when the announcement was made, according to a staff list on its website. Since then, at least 20 of them have posted publicly that they intend to resign or have already resigned, according to a tally by The New York Times. Basecamp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Fried and David Hansson, two of Basecamp's founders, have published several books about workplace culture, and news of their latest management philosophy was met with a mix of applause and criticism on social media.
After the newsletter Platformer published details of a dispute within the company that contributed to the decision to ban political talk, Mr. Hansson wrote in another blog post that Basecamp had offered severance of up to six months of salary to employees who disagreed with the founders' choice.
''We've committed to a deeply controversial stance,'' Mr. Hansson, Basecamp's chief technology officer, wrote. ''Some employees are relieved, others are infuriated, and that pretty well describes much of the public debate around this too.''
Coinbase, a start-up that allows people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, announced a similar ban last year, with a similar offer to give severance to employees who disagreed. The company said 60 of its employees had resigned, about 5 percent of its work force.
🚨 What really happened at Basecamp - Platformer
Sun, 02 May 2021 11:33
The controversy that embroiled enterprise software maker Basecamp this week began more than a decade ago, with a simple list of customers.
Around 2009, Basecamp customer service representatives began keeping a list of names that they found funny. More than a decade later, current employees were so mortified by the practice that none of them would give me a single example of a name on the list. One invoked the sorts of names Bart Simpson used to use when prank calling Moe the Bartender: Amanda Hugginkiss, Seymour Butz, Mike Rotch.
Many of the names were of American or European origin. But others were Asian, or African, and eventually the list '-- titled ''Best Names Ever'' '-- began to make people uncomfortable. What once had felt like an innocent way to blow off steam, amid the ongoing cultural reckoning over speech and corporate responsibility, increasingly looked inappropriate, and often racist.
Discussion about the list and how the company ought to hold itself accountable for creating it led directly to CEO Jason Fried announcing Tuesday that Basecamp would ban employees from holding ''societal and political discussions'' on the company's internal chat forums. The move, which has sparked widespread discussion in Silicon Valley, follows a similar move from cryptocurrency company Coinbase last year.
Fried's memo was revised and updated several times; co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson followed with one of his own. Together, they are two of the most outspoken leaders in the entire tech industry on issues related to company culture, remote work, and collaboration. The company has published five books, one of which was a New York Times bestseller.
But both of their posts avoided discussing the actual series of events that had led up to the policies, which were related directly to the workplace. In fact, the events all took place on Basecamp's own software, which it sells to other companies on the promise of improving cohesion and reducing stress in the workplace.
Employees say the founders' memos unfairly depicted their workplace as being riven by partisan politics, when in fact the main source of the discussion had always been Basecamp itself.
''At least in my experience, it has always been centered on what is happening at Basecamp,'' said one employee '-- who, like most of those I spoke with today, requested anonymity so as to freely discuss internal deliberations. ''What is being done at Basecamp? What is being said at Basecamp? And how it is affecting individuals? It has never been big political discussions, like 'the postal service should be disbanded,' or 'I don't like Amy Klobuchar.'
Interviews with a half-dozen Basecamp employees over the past day paint a portrait of a company where workers sought to advance Basecamp's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by having sensitive discussions about the company's own failures. After months of fraught conversations, Fried and his co-founder, David Heinemeier Hansson moved to shut those conversations down.
''In the end, we feel like this is the long-term healthy way forward for Basecamp as a whole '-- the company and our products,'' Fried wrote in his blog post.
Several employees, though, are already making their exit plans.
Basecamp, which makes workplace collaboration tools and launched the email service Hey last year, has long been recognized for producing ''opinionated software.''
''We've hired opinionated people, we've created opinionated software, and now basically the company has said, 'well, your opinions don't really matter '-- unless it's directly related to business,''' one told me. ''A lot of people are gonna have a tough time living with that.''
In December, a new hire at Basecamp volunteered to help the company work on diversity issues. Posting on a long-dormant thread in the Basecamp software, which resembles a message board, the employee sought other volunteers to begin working on DE&I issues.
There was reason to believe that the co-founders would be receptive. In 2017, after Basecamp had been around for 18 years, Fried wrote an essay in Inc. about the company's weak record on diversity issues. ''I believe a company is at its best when it reflects those it serves,'' Fried wrote. ''If you fill a room with 20 random employees and 20 random customers, an outside observer should have trouble telling them apart.''
Last year, in the wake of the racial justice protest that swept the country, Hansson had encouraged employees to read Between the World and Me, a memoir by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander's exploration of the racist nature of mass incarceration. Both founders are also active '-- and occasionally hyperactive '-- on Twitter, where they regularly advocate for mainstream liberal and progressive views on social issues.
While Basecamp does not publish diversity statistics, it is still, like most tech companies, majority white and male, employees said. But the idea of worker-led efforts on diversity issues got a frosty reception from the founders last year, employees told me. They were allowed to work on the project, but did not feel as if the founders were particularly invested in the outcome.
Nonetheless, the DE&I council attracted significant support. More than a third of the company '-- 20 out of roughly 58 employees '-- volunteered to help. They began examining Basecamp's hiring processes, which vendors the company works with, how Basecamp employees socialize, and what speakers they might invite to one of the all-remote company's twice-yearly in-person gatherings.
In the aftermath of these discussions, employees began to discuss the list of customer names. On April 13, two employees posted an apology on the internal Basecamp for having contributed to the list in the past. The employee responsible for initially creating it had left the company. But while previous versions of the list had been deleted, copies had resurfaced.
The employees noted that there had never been an internal reckoning over the list, and said it was important to discuss why making fun of customers' names had been wrong. The apology included an image of ''the pyramid of hate,'' an illustration created by the Anti-Defamation League to show how the most extreme acts of extremist violence are enabled by a foundation of biased attitudes and acts of bias.
A day later, Hansson responded with a post of his own. He had conducted a forensic analysis of who created the document and how it had spread around the company. He called it a systemic failure on the company's part. In a conversation with me today, he acknowledged that he and Fried had known about the list for years.
''There was some awareness at the time within the company that that list had existed and it wasn't acted upon. That is squarely on Jason's and my record.'' The list, he said, ''in itself is just a gross violation of the trust '... It's just wrong in all sorts of fundamental ways.''
Employees responded mostly positively to the first part of this note. But Hansson went further, taking exception to the use of the pyramid of hate in a workplace discussion. He told me today that attempting to link the list of customer names to potential genocide represented a case of ''catastrophizing'' '-- one that made it impossible for any good-faith discussions to follow. Presumably, any employees who are found contributing to genocidal attitudes should be fired on the spot '-- and yet nobody involved seemed to think that contributing to or viewing the list was a fireable offense. If that's the case, Hansson said, then the pyramid of hate had no place in the discussion. To him, it escalated employees' emotions past the point of being productive.
Hansson wanted to acknowledge the situation as a failure and move on. But when employees who had been involved in the list wanted to continue talking about it, he grew exasperated. ''You are the person you are complaining about,'' he thought.
Employees took a different view. In a response to Hansson's post, one employee noted that the way we treat names '-- especially foreign names '-- is deeply connected to social and racial hierarchies. Just a few weeks earlier, eight people had been killed in a shooting spree in Atlanta. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent, and their names had sometimes been mangled in press reports. (The Asian American Journalists Association responded by issuing a pronunciation guide.) The point was that dehumanizing behavior begins with very small actions, and it did not seem like too much to ask Basecamp's founders to acknowledge that.
Hansson's response to this employee took aback many of the workers I spoke with. He dug through old chat logs to find a time when the employee in question participated in a discussion about a customer with a funny-sounding name. Hansson posted the message '-- visible to the entire company '-- and dismissed the substance of the employee's complaint.
Two other employees were sufficiently concerned by the public dressing-down of a colleague that they filed complaints with Basecamp's human resources officer. (HR declined to take action against the company co-founder.)
Less than two weeks later, Fried announced the new company policies.
When Coinbase announced its ban on internal political discussions last year, some managers I spoke with praised the move for the clarity it brought to the workplace. By making workplace chat a politics-free zone, Coinbase was freeing employees to do the work they were hired to, rather than wage partisan warfare on the job. It's no surprise, then, that Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong was among those who praised Basecamp's moves this week: ''Another mission focused company,'' he tweeted, followed by the emoji for applause. ''It takes courage in these times.''
What that view misses, I think, is how confusing rules like these are to employees. One Basecamp worker I spoke with today, who requested anonymity, wondered the extent to which parenting issues could be raised at work. ''How do you talk about raising kids without talking about society?'' the employee said. ''As soon as I bring up public schools, then it's already political.''
Jane Yang, a data analyst at the company, told me that restricting internal conversations would negatively affect diversity and inclusion efforts. For example, she said, the company's profit-sharing plan gave more profits to people who have longer tenure '-- a group that is majority white and male. Making that discussion off limits internally could ensure that inequality in profit sharing becomes a structural feature of the company. (Yang also wrote an open letter to the founders about her experiences at the company.)
That confusion is compounded by the fact that, for a small company, Basecamp has taken an outsized number of political stances '-- all of which employees are encouraged to discuss. Most prominently, the company and its founders have been vocal critics of Apple's 30 percent tax on in-app purchases. But it has also involved itself in politics at a much lower level: in 2018 Basecamp let a candidate for Chicago mayor use its office in the West Loop as a campaign headquarters.
Basecamp employees are encouraged to discuss the company's own political positions '-- or, perhaps more accurately, the founders' political positions '-- as much as they like. Keeping track of which issues of the moment are up for discussion thus becomes one more chunk of mental overhead for employees who are already struggling.
Hansson told me that the rules are not draconian '-- no one is going to be bounced out the door for occasionally straying out of bounds. The founders' goal is to reset the culture and focus on making products, he said, not to purge political partisans from the workforce.
But to employees, the move was received more as a shift to willful ignorance '-- about the world around them, and about the lived experiences of the employees who occupied it.
''There's always been this kind of unwritten rule at Basecamp that the company basically exists for David and Jason's enjoyment,'' one employee told me. ''At the end of the day, they are not interested in seeing things in their work timeline that make them uncomfortable, or distracts them from what they're interested in. And this is the culmination of that.''
Bonus linksAn abbreviated list of stories today that I managed to read in between phone calls.
'­ Congress had a welcome but largely unproductive hearing about algorithmic amplification on Tuesday. Here's Makena Kelly at The Verge:
Congress' slow walk was particularly notable compared with the expert panelists, who presented algorithmic disinformation as an existential threat to our system of government. ''The biggest problem facing our nation is misinformation-at-scale,'' Joan Donovan, research director at Harvard's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, said Tuesday. ''The cost of doing nothing is democracy's end.''
Donovan expressed frustration about the hearing on Twitter afterward, saying lawmakers should have pressed the platforms for more information about the specific mechanisms used to rank content. ''The companies should have been answering questions about how they determine what content to distribute and what criteria is used to moderate,'' Donovan said. ''We could have also gone deeper into the role that political advertising and source hacking plays on our democracy, or the need for curatorial models for information integrity.''
How Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature will boost its ad business. Apple's first-party data will be more valuable to advertisers buying keywords on App Store search than what is available to third parties, experts say. (Patience Haggin / Wall Street Journal)
Related: Apple will reportedly face antitrust charges in the European Union this week. The EU has been investigating App Store policies. (Tom Warren / The Verge)
Spotify is launching paid podcasts with partners including NPR. And it's free to podcasters until 2023. Competition '-- you love to see it! (Sarah Perez / TechCrunch)
On the other hand: top Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan suggested in his most recent episode that ''healthy'' young people should not get the COVID-19 vaccine. Ugh. (Alex Paterson / MediaMatters)
Mark Zuckerberg teased several new upcoming features for creators in a live conversation with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri. Among them: creator-branded shops, an affiliate marketplace, and a marketplace for matching brands with creators. (Salvador Rodriguez / CNBC)
Read Facebook's internal report about its role in the Capitol attack. I really wish Facebook found a way to release reports like these publicly without them having to leak first '-- it's hard to think of more consequential public-interest work being done at the company. (Ryan Mac, Craig Silverman, and Jane Lytvynenko / BuzzFeed)
Those good tweets Talk to meSend me tips, comments, questions, and Basecamp threads: casey@platformer.news.
Changes at Basecamp
Sun, 02 May 2021 11:18
At Basecamp, we treat our company as a product. It's not a rigid thing that exists, it's a flexible, malleable idea that evolves. We aren't stuck with what we have, we can create what we want. Just as we improve products through iteration, we iterate on our company too.
Recently, we've made some internal company changes, which, taken in total, collectively feel like a full version change. It deserves an announcement.
In the product world, not all changes are enjoyed by all customers. Some changes are immediately appreciated. Some changes take time to steep, settle in, and get acquainted with. And to some, some changes never feel quite right '-- they may even be deal breakers.
The same is true when changing your company, except that the customers are the employees. And when you get to a certain count '-- customers or employees or both '-- there's no pleasing everyone. You can't '-- there are too many unique perspectives, experiences, and individuals.
As Huxley offers in The Doors of Perception, "We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude."
Heavy, yes, but insightful, absolutely. A relevant reminder. We make individual choices.
We all want different somethings. Some slightly different, some substantially. Companies, however, must settle the collective difference, pick a point, and navigate towards somewhere, lest they get stuck circling nowhere.
With that, we wanted to put these directional changes on the public record. Historically we've tried to share as much as we can '-- for us, and for you '-- so this transmission continues the tradition.
1. No more societal and political discussions on our company Basecamp account. Today's social and political waters are especially choppy. Sensitivities are at 11, and every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy, or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant. You shouldn't have to wonder if staying out of it means you're complicit, or wading into it means you're a target. These are difficult enough waters to navigate in life, but significantly more so at work. It's become too much. It's a major distraction. It saps our energy, and redirects our dialog towards dark places. It's not healthy, it hasn't served us well. And we're done with it on our company Basecamp account where the work happens. People can take the conversations with willing co-workers to Signal, Whatsapp, or even a personal Basecamp account, but it can't happen where the work happens anymore. Update: David has shared some more details and more of the internal announcement on his HEY World blog.
2. No more paternalistic benefits. For years we've offered a fitness benefit, a wellness allowance, a farmer's market share, and continuing education allowances. They felt good at the time, but we've had a change of heart. It's none of our business what you do outside of work, and it's not Basecamp's place to encourage certain behaviors '-- regardless of good intention. By providing funds for certain things, we're getting too deep into nudging people's personal, individual choices. So we've ended these benefits, and, as compensation, paid every employee the full cash value of the benefits for this year. In addition, we recently introduced a 10% profit sharing plan to provide direct compensation that people can spend on whatever they'd like, privately, without company involvement or judgement.
3. No more committees. For nearly all of our 21 year existence, we were proudly committee-free. No big working groups making big decisions, or putting forward formalized, groupthink recommendations. No bureaucracy. But recently, a few sprung up. No longer. We're turning things back over to the person (or people) who were distinctly hired to make those decisions. The responsibility for DEI work returns to Andrea, our head of People Ops. The responsibility for negotiating use restrictions and moral quandaries returns to me and David. A long-standing group of managers called "Small Council" will disband '-- when we need advice or counsel we'll ask individuals with direct relevant experience rather than a pre-defined group at large. Back to basics, back to individual responsibility, back to work.
4. No more lingering or dwelling on past decisions. We've become a bit too precious with decision making over the last few years. Either by wallowing in indecisiveness, worrying ourselves into overthinking things, taking on a defensive posture and assuming the worst outcome is the likely outcome, putting too much energy into something that only needed a quick fix, inadvertently derailing projects when casual suggestions are taken as essential imperatives, or rehashing decisions in different forums or mediums. It's time to get back to making calls, explaining why once, and moving on.
5. No more 360 reviews. Employee performance reviews used to be straightforward. A meeting with your manager or team lead, direct feedback, and recommendations for improvement. Then a few years ago we made it hard. Worse, really. We introduced 360s, which required peers to provide feedback on peers. The problem is, peer feedback is often positive and reassuring, which is fun to read but not very useful. Assigning peer surveys started to feel like assigning busy work. Manager/employee feedback should be flowing pretty freely back and forth throughout the year. No need to add performative paperwork on top of that natural interaction. So we're done with 360s, too.
6. No forgetting what we do here. We make project management, team communication, and email software. We are not a social impact company. Our impact is contained to what we do and how we do it. We write business books, blog a ton, speak regularly, we open source software, we give back an inordinate amount to our industry given our size. And we're damn proud of it. Our work, plus that kind of giving, should occupy our full attention. We don't have to solve deep social problems, chime in publicly whenever the world requests our opinion on the major issues of the day, or get behind one movement or another with time or treasure. These are all important topics, but they're not our topics at work '-- they're not what we collectively do here. Employees are free to take up whatever cause they want, support whatever movements they'd like, and speak out on whatever horrible injustices are being perpetrated on this group or that (and, unfortunately, there are far too many to choose from). But that's their business, not ours. We're in the business of making software, and a few tangential things that touch that edge. We're responsible for ourselves. That's more than enough for us.
This may look like compression. A reduction, an elimination. And it is. It's precisely that. We're compressing X to allow for expansion in Y. A return to whole minds that can focus fully on the work we choose to do. A return to a low-ceremony steady state where we can make decisions and move on. A return to personal responsibility and good faith trust in one another to do our own individual jobs well. A return to why we started the company. A return to what we do best.
Who's responsible for these changes? David and I are. Who made the changes? David and I did. These are our calls, and the outcomes and impacts land at our doorstep. Input came from many sources, disagreements were heard, deliberations were had. In the end, we feel like this is the long-term healthy way forward for Basecamp as a whole '-- the company and our products.
When you've been around 20 years, you've been through change. You're used to it, and comfortable with it. These changes are part of a continuum in the experiment of independence that is Basecamp (and 37signals before that). We'll eventually run headlong into big change again. This is what we've done, and this is what we'll do '-- time guarantees it.
We're very much looking forward to this new version of the company. Once the construction site is cleaned up, and the dust settles, we believe we'll see a refocused, refreshed, and revitalized Basecamp. Here we go, again.
Students claim soap dispensers are proof of systemic racism. Here's my rebuttal. | The College Fix
Sun, 02 May 2021 12:42
OPINION: Why systemic racism is akin to a conspiracy theory
What comes to mind when you hear the term systemic racism? Perhaps Jim Crow-era laws or banks' redlining policies?
Well, I've got a new one you can add to the list: soap dispensers.
Yes, you read that correctly. According to a recent online debate on ''systemic racism'' put on by the Bruin Republicans that I attended, soap dispensers are proof that white people are systemically racist against black people, according to some of my peers.
But it's not just any dispensers, mind you. It's those high-tech automatic ones. The reason is simple. As one UCLA student claimed during the debate, automatic soap dispensers ''don't see her hands'' due to the dark pigment of her skin. As another student reiterated, soap dispensers are racist because they force ''black and brown bodies'' to show their palms '-- ''the only light areas of the skin'' '-- in order to get soap out.
I'm not joking.
First of all, let me just debunk the basis of this claim: for anyone who doesn't know, the sensors on soap dispensers don't see human hands; they don't have eyes. They work using a simple device called a PIR sensor that recognizes infrared light, which is emitted by all people, regardless of color (as long as they're not dead). Also, I don't know about you, but those darn things never work for me. I can't remember how many times I've banged on one to try to get soap out (yet it never occurred to me to blame anti-Semitism as the cause).
But I digress. The point here isn't how a soap dispenser works. It's the idea that students at UCLA actually thought that they were designed with white supremacy in mind.
This, and other claims like it, were not unique perspectives shared by one lone student, but rather a world-view that was reiterated and supported by the over 80 students who attended, or more accurately zoom-bombed, the debate.
Wild dispenser-eque claims abounded: from the argument that ''white people fed black babies to crocodiles'' to ''I had a racist teacher who was racist because she asked me where I was from.''
The scary thing about these claims aren't the ideas themselves, but rather the world-view that informs them: that systemic racism and white supremacy is all around us, and in everyone, and everything, a person encounters.
These students go about their daily lives and when anything goes even slightly wrong, they immediately conclude that white supremacy, systemic racism, or racism is to blame.
They don't contend that it is some people who are racist to varying degrees. Nor do they allow that there is a difference between real racism and perceived racism.
No, for them the ''feeling'' that anything at all ''negative'' is racist, that all ''negative'' outcomes are from a racist design, and that all ''good'' ones must be anti-racist, has become a default setting.
For them, racism is not a viewpoint held by shrinking group of misguided individuals, but rather a secret force that exists everywhere, permeates all things, and wields power over society. Sound familiar? That's because it has a name: conspiracy theory.
Merriam-Webster defines a conspiracy theory as ''a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.''
The obvious objection is that systemic racism isn't a conspiracy because it doesn't fit the definition. But followers of systemic racism blame it on everything, like it's an omnipresent boogeyman. They use it to explain any outcome they dislike, facts and data aside. Its believers cite their ''lived experience'' as proof enough. I hear it on campus all the time.
The worst part about this ideology is that it obscures real racism and actual problems we continue to face as a nation, including the continued marginalization of many groups across this country, including so-called ''black and brown'' people.
When people rant and rave about soap dispensers, it delegitimizes claims of racism when racism actually occurs. Of course there are still racists in this country''I have met some myself. In fact, I have faced real anti-Semitism throughout my life.
What separates believers in systemic racism from people like me is not the belief that there is still racism, or that it continues to guide some peoples' lives. It's the idea that all things that have an unfair outcome, from measurable things like standardized test scores, to immeasurable things like ''upsetting experiences'' can all sweepingly be chalked up to racism alone.
I would argue that systemic racism, as well as its connected tenants like critical race theory, need to be added to the list of modern conspiracy theories.
There are, after all, no institutions left in this country which by law are permitted to promote or allow racist rules, unless you count racial promotion through quotas. Often, as I saw at the UCLA debate, there is little point in arguing with the theorists themselves. They have become so entrenched in their far-fetched beliefs that they consider all opposition to be inherently evil (many of the pro-systemic racism students claimed all opponents to their ideas were simply racist themselves).
Instead, the most we can do is confidently defy their claims publicly to prevent more unknowing people from falling into their grip. This dangerous ideology is no longer confined to debates on college campuses, but has already permeated many aspects of our lives and is seeping into many more, from the news media's insistence on framing every story to fit its predetermined narrative, to creating biased Ethnic Studies curriculums for public schools (to see the real world ramifications that this is already having, I suggest you read the recent works of some courageous Asian American activists such as Asra Q. Nomani, Wenyuan Wu, and Kenny Xu).
Especially here, in California, we can see this change occurring rapidly, evidenced by the recent approval of the new ethnic studies model curriculum, which still contains many flaws despite going through three edits, and which at its core promotes the Balkanization of California students through race, rather than making them all proud Americans first, not to mention the fear many parents have toward standing up against it.
In order to stop the advance of these ideologies stemming from the toxic and abusive orthodoxy of critical race theory, systemic racism and its proponents must be pushed out of the center of American discourse.
The first step is labeling it for what it is: a conspiracy theory.
MORE: Meet the Poster Child for 'White Privilege' '' Then Have Your Mind Blown
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Noel Clarke: ITV drops drama Viewpoint finale after allegations - BBC News
Sun, 02 May 2021 12:51
image copyright ITV
image caption Noel Clarke played a surveillance detective in Viewpoint, which has been on ITV every night this weekITV has decided to pull the final episode of the drama Viewpoint after allegations of sexual harassment were made against its star, Noel Clarke.
The broadcaster said it was "no longer appropriate to broadcast the final episode" on Friday as planned.
Sky has also "halted" its work with Clarke, including on the fourth series of crime drama Bulletproof.
The Kidulthood and Doctor Who star, 45, has said he "vehemently" denies "any sexual misconduct or wrongdoing".
In a statement on Thursday, he said he intended to "defend myself against these false allegations".
The Guardian newspaper reported allegations from 20 women, all of whom knew Clarke in a professional capacity, on Thursday.
On Friday, ITV said it had "a zero tolerance policy to bullying, harassment and victimisation".
"We strongly believe that everyone deserves to work in a supportive and safe environment," it added.
"In light of the very serious nature of the allegations against Noel Clarke raised by 20 women in the Guardian's report, ITV has decided it is no longer appropriate to broadcast the final episode of the drama Viewpoint on ITV main channel this evening."
However, the finale will be available on its streaming service ITV Hub from Friday night for a limited time "for any viewers who wish to seek it out, and watch its conclusion".
image copyright Sky
image caption Clarke has starred in three series of Sky drama BulletproofClarke played a surveillance detective in the show, which has been on ITV every evening this week. It was watched by 3.5 million people on Thursday.
He is also known for his role in Bulletproof, which Sky commissioned for a fourth series in January.
But following the allegations, Sky said: "Effective immediately, we have halted Noel Clarke's involvement in any future Sky productions."
The broadcaster said it had not received any reports of sexual misconduct or harassment during or since the show's production. "Sky stands against all forms of sexual harassment and bullying and takes any allegations of this nature extremely seriously," it added.
Bulletproof's production company Vertigo Films also said: "Effective immediately, Noel Clarke is removed from any Vertigo Films production."
A spokesperson for the company said it had "launched an urgent investigation to find out if any [alleged incidents] apply to any Vertigo Films productions", but that "no issues have been flagged to us".
image copyright Getty Images
image caption He said he had "never had a complaint made against me" in 20 yearsFellow Bulletproof actor Ashley Walters responded to the allegations against his co-star by saying he was "in shock and deeply saddened by what I have heard on a multitude of levels".
He said he "could never condone behaviour of this nature" and while "Noel has been a friend and a colleague for several years, I cannot stand by and ignore these allegations".
He added: "Sexual harassment, abuse and bullying have no place in our industry."
In his statement on Thursday, Clarke added: "In a 20-year career, I have put inclusivity and diversity at the forefront of my work and never had a complaint made against me.
"If anyone who has worked with me has ever felt uncomfortable or disrespected, I sincerely apologise."
Bafta defends award
Clarke has also been suspended by Bafta, weeks after he received one of the British film and TV academy's top awards. He was given the outstanding British contribution to cinema prize at a ceremony on 10 April.
In a letter sent to its members on Friday, Bafta defended its decision to go ahead with the presentation despite having received emails about Clarke's behaviour before the ceremony.
"These were either anonymous or second or third-hand accounts via intermediaries," it said. "No first-hand allegations were sent to us. No names, times, dates, productions or other details were ever provided.
"Had the victims gone on record as they have with The Guardian, the award would have been suspended immediately. Noel Clarke's counsel received a legal notice to this effect. It was always very clear what our intentions would be."
image copyright PA Media
image caption Clarke won his first Bafta for Rising Star in 2009The organisation described the allegations as "extremely serious" and said the alleged behaviour was "contrary to Bafta's values and everything it stands for".
"We completely understand why the individuals were extremely fearful to identify themselves to us, and we recognise how hard it is for victims to speak up," it said. But Bafta added that it was "an arts charity that is not in a position to properly investigate such matters".
Actor, writer and director Michaela Coel was among those praising the women who spoke out in the Guardian, and the journalists for their investigation.
"Speaking out about these incidents takes a lot of strength," she wrote on Friday.
Meanwhile, production company All3Media, which backs Clarke's own company Unstoppable Film and TV, said: "We take allegations of this kind extremely seriously and are looking into this as a matter of urgency."
'Damning indictment'
Paul Fleming, general secretary of arts union Equity, said it had been "a difficult day for those who run the industry".
"It's a phenomenally embarrassing and traumatic 24 hours if you're a gatekeeper and in charge of what goes on in our members' workplace," he told BBC Radio 4's PM Programme.
"It really does take something to be here, [the] best part of four years on from #MeToo and still be asking these questions.
"And for big bosses, big producers to have not put in place the polices practises and cultures in workplaces that allow these things to be considered credible'...
"This is a really, really damning indictment of how intimidating some workplaces and some producers are for our members to raise concerns."
Have you been affected by the issues raised in this story? Share your experiences 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:
Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.
VIDEO - (2) Wiz Chadwick 🇺🇸 on Twitter: "The Biden Shit show continues....His supporters are turning on him after his fake 100 days! ðŸ†ðŸ‚🤣 #100DaysWithBiden https://t.co/WH7U61M2ve" / Twitter
Sun, 02 May 2021 12:44
Wiz Chadwick 🇺🇸 : The Biden Shit show continues....His supporters are turning on him after his fake 100 days! ðŸ†ðŸ‚🤣 #100DaysWithBiden https://t.co/WH7U61M2ve
Thu Apr 29 22:49:41 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (110) Biden asks Americans to mask for 100 days to fight Covid-19 - YouTube
Sun, 02 May 2021 12:35
VIDEO - Media Bowled Over By Biden's ''Bold,'' ''Ambitious'' Agenda | MRCTV
Sun, 02 May 2021 12:27
Bill D'AgostinoApril. 29. 2021
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TV journalists are enthusiastically promoting the six trillion-dollar spending package that President Biden proposed last night in his address to Congress. Talking heads on both cable and broadcast networks marveled at the ''bold'' and ''ambitious'' proposal, with some excitedly comparing Biden to former Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.
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VIDEO - (110) Paralyzed after 2nd COVID shot - YouTube
Sun, 02 May 2021 12:22
VIDEO - (1) Pundit Class on Twitter: "Steven Guilbeault struggles to justify #BillC10 in disaster interview @davidcommon #cdnpoli https://t.co/e7j9cw6RES" / Twitter
Sun, 02 May 2021 12:21
Pundit Class : Steven Guilbeault struggles to justify #BillC10 in disaster interview @davidcommon #cdnpoli https://t.co/e7j9cw6RES
Fri Apr 30 23:50:48 +0000 2021
Mark Jurgeneit : @punditclass @davidcommon Bill-C10 is an attempt to dislodge freedom of expression entrenched in the Charter.
Sun May 02 08:40:40 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (110) Gates: Millions could die from bio-terrorism - YouTube
Sun, 02 May 2021 12:01
VIDEO - Coronavirus border ban: Australians trying to fly from India face jail and fines
Sun, 02 May 2021 11:42
Australian citizens in virus-stricken India could face hefty fines up to $66,000 and even jail time if they try to return home. The penalties are being invoked under the Biosecurity Act to stop people coming here from India via other countries such as Singapore or the United Arab Emirates.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed Australian citizens in virus-stricken India could face hefty fines up to $66,000 and even jail time if they try to return home. (Chris Hopkins) Mr Hunt today confirmed the new measures will take effect from Monday.
"The pause will come into effect at 12.01am on Monday, May 3, 2021," he said.
"The risk assessment that informed the decision was based on the proportion of overseas travellers in quarantine in Australia who have acquired a COVID-19 infection in India.
"Failure to comply with an emergency determination under the Biosecurity Act 2015 may incur a civil penalty of 300 penalty units, five years' imprisonment, or both."
The act empowers Mr Hunt to do whatever is necessary to stop the spread of a listed disease. Penalties include five years jail or a $66,000 fine.
"The government does not make these decisions lightly. However, it is critical the integrity of the Australian public health and quarantine systems is protected and the number of COVID-19 cases in quarantine facilities is reduced to a manageable level."
The Federal Government is worried that arrivals from India are putting Australia's strict quarantine system at risk. (AP) The move was prompted after two people circumvented travel bans from India, returning to Australia via Doha in a loophole that has since been closed.
With over 9000 Australians in India, the Federal Government has indicated they will restart repatriation flights as soon as they can, but with coronavirus rampant in India, that could be months away.
"We have to be able to continue to do two things '' protect Australia and bring Australians home," Mr Hunt said earlier this week.
Mr Hunt has said Australians left stranded in India by the federal government's flight ban are a "top priority". The Federal Government said it wants flights from India to resume as soon as possible. (AP) Australia's travel suspension with India, announced earlier this week, had temporarily ended all direct flights from the coronavirus-ravaged nation.
The ban will remain in place until at least May 15 - after which, Mr Hunt said, the aim was to resume repatriation and commercial flights as soon as possible.
The pause on flights had "lifted pressure" on the quarantine system, Mr Hunt said.
VIDEO - (110) Government sets its sights on large scale Covid vaccine venues to boost jab numbers - YouTube
Sun, 02 May 2021 11:40
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VIDEO - New Rule: Crypto Mania! | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) - YouTube
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VIDEO - 2021 Charlie Munger on Bitcoin - YouTube
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VIDEO - Shedding Woo Too ! Contagious Vaccinosis !
Sat, 01 May 2021 13:52
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#vaxxx#contagious#vaccinosisDescription of the potential causes & some of the effects of contagious vaccinosis in humans.
Description of the potential causes & some of the effects of contagious vaccinosis in humans.
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VIDEO - What All Women and Girls Need to Know [VIDEO] |
Sat, 01 May 2021 12:32
ER Editor: We're running a short video by a high profile women's doctor as well as an article by Children's Health Defense on the topic of the female reproductive symptoms post-vaccination, and among those who haven't been vaccinated yet hang around those who have. It is clear there is a problem unfolding.
We remind readers of a piece we ran early last December 2020 by Drs. Mike Yeadon and Wolfgang Wodarg, who anticipated that the proteins essential for maintaining pregnancy, Syncitin-1 and -2, would be adversely affected by Covid vaccination. Their reaction was to call for a halt to Covid vaccine trials with the European Medicines Agency (EMA). See Dr. Wodarg and Dr. Yeadon Request a Stop of ALL Corona Vaccination Studies, Call to SIGN THE PETITION. Their call was, of course, ignored.
Gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr. Christiane Northrup begins the video below with her highly impressive biography, among which are books, TV appearances and other accolades, only to inform us that in 2021, she's now become one of the 'Twelve Disinformation Dozen'.
Do COVID Vaccines Disrupt Women's Menstrual Cycles? Experts say it's plausible COVID vaccines could disrupt menstrual cycles, and call for clinical trials to track and monitor changes. MEGAN REDSHAWResearchers are calling for clinical trials to track and document menstrual changes in vaccinated women after some women reported changes to their menstrual cycles after receiving a COVID vaccine.
Women have reported hemorrhagic bleeding with clots, delayed or absent periods, sudden pre-menopausal symptoms, month-long periods and heavy irregular bleeding after being vaccinated with one or both doses of a COVID vaccine.
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''In terms of why women would have a heavier cycle, I think clearly we don't know the answer to that,'' Dr. Heather Huddleston, a reproductive endocrinologist at University of California, San Francisco, told ABC7News.
''However, we do know in addition to hormones being really important in a menstrual cycle, that there is a role for the immune system in the uterus,'' she said. Huddleston suggested ''if there are changes, perhaps due to a vaccine, maybe that would subtly affect the behavior of the immune system in the uterus.''
A researcher at the University of Illinois described her own experience on Twitter and asked if others experienced menstrual changes after vaccination. The response was robust, so she and her colleague at Washington University in St. Louis turned it into a formal survey.
So far, there's no data linking COVID vaccines to changes in menstruation. But two Yale University experts wrote in The New York Times last week there could be a connection.
''There are many reasons vaccination could alter menstruation,'' wrote Alice Lu-Culligan, an M.D. and Ph.D. student at Yale School of Medicine, and Dr. Randi Epstein, writer in residence at Yale School of Medicine.
''Every month the lining of the uterus thickens, driven by a steady increase in estrogen, so that a fertilized egg can implant. If there is no conception, levels of progesterone plummet, causing most of the uterine layer to slough off, causing the bleeding,'' Lu-Culligan and Epstein explained.
But periods also involve the immune system, as ''the thickening and thinning of the uterine lining are facilitated by different teams of immune cells and signals moving in and out of the reproductive tract.''
Vaccines are designed to ignite an immune response, and the female cycle is supported by the immune system, so it's possible vaccines could temporarily change the normal course of events, Lu-Culligan and Epstein said.
''For example, an activated immune system might interfere with the usual balance of immune cells and molecules in the uterus,'' they explained in the op-ed. ''These types of disturbances have been found in studies to contribute to changes in periods, including heavy menstrual flows.''
Forbes health contributor Alice G. Walton agrees. She said a connection between the vaccine and menstrual irregularities is plausible given the interplay between the menstrual cycle and the immune system '-- the building up and shedding of the uterine lining are processes that each rely on immune function.
When the body mounts an immune response, either to an illness or to a vaccine, it can extend to the uterus and affect immune cells that help control menstruation. A number of doctors have explained how this might work, including fertility specialist Dr. Natalie Crawford.
''We know that the COVID vaccine causes an immune response to make antibodies very similarly to how a COVID infection would in your body, and there is actually a study talking about COVID infection and what it does to your period,'' Crawford said.
A study in the Reproductive BioMedicine Journal, ''Analysis of Sex Hormones and Menstruation in COVID-19 Women of Child-bearing Age,'' retrospectively looked at women in China who had acquired COVID naturally and the affect of the infection on sex hormones, ovarian reserve and period.
The study found that 28% (or 1 in 4) women had a change in their menstrual cycle length, 25% had a change in their menstrual cycle volume and hormone concentrations were altered.
''If a quarter of women who get COVID are experiencing menstrual cycle changes, it is most likely from a cellular immunity response,'' said Crawford. She said it would not be surprising if women experienced this from the vaccine as well, as it causes a similar immune response.
To find out whether the COVID vaccine truly disrupts the menstrual cycle, experts say there would need to be a controlled study with a placebo group. Currently, clinical trials omit tracking menstrual cycles, so there's no evidence to put the women's reports in context.''Menstruation is something we don't know enough about,'' said Dr. Hugh Taylor, chair of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine. ''It's an important indicator of a person's health, like any other bodily function.''
If so many factors can affect periods, and periods are such an important indicator of health, why don't we know more about how vaccines affect menstruation?
It's part of a long history of medicine not taking women's bodies seriously, Lu-Culligan and Epstein said. They explained that it wasn't until 1993 that a federal law mandated the inclusion of women in government-funded research, which may account for why so little is known about how new drugs and treatments affect women's health.
Rather than treat menstrual cycles as unimportant or too complicated, researchers should view tracking periods in future studies as a potential opportunity, they said. Clinical trials should track and document menstrual changes as they do other possible side effects.
For now, scientists are still in the dark about so much of female health, Lu-Culligan and Epstein said. But a conversation has begun, thanks to women speaking out.
Source Published to The Liberty Beacon from EuropeReloaded.comhttps://www.thelibertybeacon.com/what-all-women-and-girls-need-to-know-video/
VIDEO - We now have the technology to develop vaccines that spread themselves -- Science & Technology -- Sott.net
Sat, 01 May 2021 12:29
(C) Michelle D'Urbano
Prevention is better than cure, so we should start using genetic techniques to stop dangerous animal diseases jumping to humans, say Scott Nuismer and James Bull
A famous quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin is "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". The world is now discovering the cost of its pound of cure for covid-19. But what would an ounce of prevention look like?
For infectious diseases that originate in wild animals, like covid-19, SARS, MERS and Ebola, one solution is to prevent the transmission to humans in the first place. To achieve this, an important first step is to change our behaviour to reduce contact with the wildlife species that harbour such diseases.
A complementary approach is to target the infectious agents that carry these diseases by reducing their prevalence or eliminating them within wildlife populations. Although this isn't a new idea, advances in technology mean we may have a better chance of it succeeding than ever before.
The classic example of this is rabies: we vaccinate dogs and many wild carnivores to suppress rabies in those populations and so reduce our own risk of catching it. Although these vaccination campaigns have virtually eliminated human rabies in the US and Europe, the disease still kills more than 55,000 people annually across Africa and Asia, where the cost of wildlife vaccination projects is a barrier to maintaining a sufficient level of immunity.
Using wildlife vaccination to target other dangerous pathogens that circulate within bats and rodents - such as Ebola, Marburg, SARS and Lassa viruses - faces similar obstacles, which is compounded by the rapid population turnover and large population sizes of these animals.
A possible solution is to create vaccines that spread themselves through an animal population.
These "self-disseminating vaccines" can be developed in at least two ways. The conventional approach relies on applying a vaccine to the fur of captured animals and releasing them. When these animals return to their natural homes, social grooming results in the vaccine being ingested by other individuals, magnifying the level of immunity that can be achieved.
This shows promise for reducing the threat of rabies transmitted to humans from vampire bats, for example.
A more radical approach relies on inserting a small piece of the genome of the infectious disease agent into a benign virus that spreads naturally through the animal population. As this transmissible vaccine spreads from animal to animal, it immunizes them against the target infectious disease, vastly increasing immunity within the animal population and reducing the risk of spillover to humans.
The technology for developing transmissible vaccines now exists, and field trials focused on protecting wild rabbits from a viral haemorrhagic fever using this technique have showed promising results. Efforts are now under way to develop prototypes for several important human pathogens, such as the Lassa and Ebola viruses.
Self-disseminating vaccines could be a revolutionary technology for reducing the threat of human infectious diseases that jump to us from wild animals. In addition to making wildlife vaccination feasible and cost-effective, this technology reduces the motivation to cull or exterminate ecologically important disease reservoir species, such as bats.
However, there is still much work to do. Lab and field trials need to check how effective this approach is and look for possible unexpected consequences of self-disseminating vaccines. But as the costs of our ongoing attempts to find a "cure" for covid-19 continue to accumulate, an ounce of prevention seems to be a better investment with each passing day.
VIDEO - Roughly 40% Of Post Offices Operate In The Red. Could Banking Offer Them A Way Out? : NPR
Sat, 01 May 2021 11:40
The U.S. has more than 31,000 post offices, but a recent report found that 42% of them were underwater in 2019. Here's a post office in Mission, S.D. Stephen Groves/AP hide caption
toggle caption Stephen Groves/AP The U.S. has more than 31,000 post offices, but a recent report found that 42% of them were underwater in 2019. Here's a post office in Mission, S.D.
Stephen Groves/AP America has a lot of post offices '-- over 31,000 in fact. Most sell enough stamps and other services to cover their costs, but many, especially those in rural areas, do not.
Some 42% of the nation's post offices were underwater in 2019, not generating enough revenue to cover their expenses, according to a report released last month by the U.S. Postal Service inspector general. Half of those that didn't cover their costs are within 5 miles of another post office.
So, are there too many post offices?
"The short answer is no," says Paul Steidler, a senior fellow at the right-leaning Lexington Institute who studies the U.S. Postal Service. He says the agency looked at the issue a decade ago.
"Patrick Donahoe, the postmaster general at the time, proposed closing 3,700 post offices, about 12% of the number that are in the country today. And frankly, there was a firestorm of bipartisan, intense congressional opposition to this."
One reason for the bipartisan backlash is because rural post offices tend to be situated in red state America.
Rather than shutter offices, the Postal Service settled instead for service cutbacks, according to James O'Rourke, a professor at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.
"What they did was leave them open and reduce operating hours, to about six hours, in some cases four and even as few as two hours at some post offices," O'Rourke says.
The inspector general's report says the Postal Service hasn't taken any further steps to make more money at its retail operations but does have several options at its disposal.
There is a congressional subsidy available for rural post offices of $460 million per year, but the inspector general report says the agency hasn't requested the reimbursement since fiscal year 1982. The Postal Service told the inspector general it does not request the subsidy because it prefers to be financially self-sufficient, and that even if it did, the amount would not be enough to cover the cost of providing service to rural customers.
The search for new lines of revenue
Experts say there are other services it could be providing, such as selling hunting and fishing licenses, leasing parts of its buildings, or O'Rourke says, getting into banking.
"Access to safe and affordable financial services I think is vital, particularly among low-income families," he says. "It's something the Postal Service could do very easily. They've got the locations. They have clerks that are trained in accepting and managing money, and they have a focus on customer service."
The Postal Service already sells money orders, and a group of Democrats in Congress has proposed expanding this service through a pilot project to provide low-cost check cashing and fee-free ATMs at six rural and six urban post offices.
At a recent news conference, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., celebrated the work of the Postal Service and spoke about a plan to find new sources of income.
"The Postal Service is awesome. We love the Postal Service, Americans love the Postal Service, they want to protect the Postal Service, they want to expand the Postal Service."
The proposal, Ocasio-Cortez says, would raise more than $1 billion for the Postal Service, "so everyone from our babies to our seniors can continue to enjoy the services that they provide."
It's not clear how much support the Democratic plan has in Congress. The Lexington Institute's Steidler says he thinks the proposal is ill-advised but says post offices have a value beyond their profit margins.
Post offices, he says, "especially in rural areas, tend to be a part of the town's identity" and "part of the town's history." He says many are old and "have very iconic and, you know, beautiful architecture. So there's a value there beyond, how much they make or don't make."
The Postal Service is also a crucial lifeline for many people in rural America. Mail carriers often deliver packages the last mile for other shippers, along with prescriptions. In many rural areas, post offices can also serve as a town gathering place.
In response to the inspector general's report, the Postal Service says current law forbids it from closing small post offices just because they're operating at a deficit, although the agency's recently released 10-year plan says it might propose consolidating a small number of post office branches in urban areas.
VIDEO - (VIDEO) Exclusive Investigation: Separating rumor from fact on Covid-19's origin | Sharyl Attkisson
Sat, 01 May 2021 11:22
Sharyl Attkisson investigates Covid-19 originsNumerous scientific insiders are signing onto the ''lab origin'' theory for Covid-19 and a link to controversial research funded by your tax dollars. High profile health figures who have worked to ''debunk'' lab origin questions are linked to funding and vaccine research partnerships with China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).The U.S.- Chinese research involved genetically engineering bat coronavirus to make it infect human airway cells in mice, in order to invent vaccines and other therapeutics.U.S. taxpayer money supported the controversial vaccine research with Chinese scientists through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Some support came from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), led by Dr. Anthony Fauci. Transcript and additional information follow the video.Transcript with additional info. Clean transcript without additional info is here.When the former head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Robert Redfield, recently said Covid-19 likely leaked from a Chinese research lab, news headlines called it ''shocking."
Dr. Robert Redfield on CNN: ''I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory'-- you know, escaped.''
That was followed by a flurry of media reports ridiculing the notion; insisting that Covid-19 probably jumped from bats to people through an unexplained, natural route. But there's new information that hasn't been widely reported. A sizable segment of the research community has formed the same opinion as Dr. Redfield: that Covid-19 leaked from experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
Jamie Metzl, World Health Organization International Advisory Committee on Human Genome Editing: ''There are scientists all around the world who have told me that they believe the most likely origin of COVID-19, of the pandemic, is an accidental lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.''
Jamie Metzl is a member of the World Health Organization International Advisory Committee on Human Genome Editing.
Additional info: About Jamie Metzl: Metzl served as Deputy Staff Director of the Foreign Relations Committee under then-Sen. Joe Biden (2001-2003); on the National Security Council (1997-99); and at the State Department (1999-01) under President Bill Clinton.
Sharyl (to Metzl): ''What have you been told, and what have you found about scientists who feel like they can't step forward?''
Metzl: ''Many of these people are afraid to step forward. They've called it career suicide, because there are so many contentious issues, because the stakes are so high. Because the Chinese government, in collaboration, or conjunction, or maybe not even association, but with some very high-level and prominent scientists have put forward this story that I think is wrong.''
Two scientists with knowledge of the matter told me the U.S. government conducted genome sequencing almost immediately in the pandemic. Among other things, they say Covid-19 shows clear hallmarks of man's intervention.
French virologist Luc Montagnier, a Nobel Prize recipient, arrived at the same conclusion a year ago. He says Covid-19's genetics reveal ''manipulation.'' ''Someone added sequences,'' he said. ''It's the work of professionals, of molecular biologists'...a very meticulous work.''
Additional info: Analysis saying Covid-19 is lab-derived: Dr. Stephen Quay, M.D., PhD., CEO of Atossa Therapeutics conducted a Bayesian analysis that he says concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that Covid-19 is lab-derived.
Genetic analysis alone isn't 100% conclusive, because results must be compared to viruses from the Wuhan lab. And sources confirm: ''We never got the sample from China.''
But scientists who spoke with me say genome sequencing, coupled with what's known about research conducted by a U.S.-Chinese partnership, leaves them with little doubt that Covid-19 is a product of experiments.
The scientists I talked to don't want to be quoted by name for fear of repercussions in today's politically-charged environment. They're highly critical that a U.S. research collaboration was allowed with China'-- a communist nation that has an active bioweapons program and, is arguably, our biggest world competitor and foe.
Scientists from the U.S. and the Wuhan lab joined up on experiments that involved making bat coronavirus more infectious, to try to invent a vaccine.
It's called ''gain of function'' research, and it's controversial because it could create a lethal virus that escapes and causes a pandemic. So risky, the U.S. temporarily halted such studies in 2014.
But an exception was made. The ''gain of function'' research underway by the U.S. and Wuhan scientists was ''reviewed and approved for continued study by [the National Institutes of Health]'' or ''NIH.''
Above: Excerpt from controversial 2015 Gain of Function study funded by NIH and approved to continue beyond publication dateNIH didn't only approve the research, it paid for it with six grants of tax dollars, including from the ''National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,'' led by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
More taxpayer money from Fauci's institute and the U.S. Agency for International Development was funneled to the coronavirus research with China through EcoHealth Alliance, a New York based nonprofit led by Peter Daszak, a zoologist who specializes in viruses transmitted from animals to people.
Additional info: EcoHealth Alliance: EcoHealth Alliance describes its mission as: ''Protecting global health by preventing the outbreak of emerging diseases.'' According to tax records, the nonprofit brought in $18.5 million in 2018, almost entirely from U.S. government agencies. Its biggest single, reported expense was about $5.43 million in grants to foreign governments. About 1/3 of that total, $6.3 million, was spent on salaries and other employee-related costs.
EcoHealth Alliances' Top 5 contributors in 2018
$11.5 million: from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)$2.5 million: from U.S. Dept. of Defense$601,474: from U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS)$783,412: from U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS)$900,000: from Johnson and JohnsonAdditional info: Johnson and Johnson: Vaccine maker Johnson and Johnson did not reply to multiple requests for information on its contribution to EcoHealth Alliance.
Source: EcoHealth Alliance's 2018 IRS filingAlso working on the research, Ralph Baric at the University of North Carolina. His work centered on genetically manipulating coronavirus in part to allow for ''rapid and rational development'...[of]'...vaccines and therapeutics.''
Additional info: Vaccine tests: Baric's 2015 NIH-funded Gain of Function study with the lead virologist from China's WIV involved infecting mice with genetically modified bat coronavirus and testing a "live-attenuated virus vaccination" on them: "For vaccination, young and aged mice were vaccinated by footpad injection'...then boosted with the same regimen 22 d later and challenged 21 d thereafter...All experiments were conducted contrasting two experimental groups (either two viruses, or vaccinated and unvaccinated cohorts)."
Together, they teamed up with the renowned Chinese virologist nicknamed ''bat woman,'' at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Shi Zhingli. They engineered genetic hybrids of bat coronaviruses, successfully getting them to infect human airway cells grafted in mice.
Additional info: China-U.S. research genetically-maniuplated bat coronavirus to make it infect human airway cells: ''...plasmids containing wild-type, chimeric SARS-CoV and SHC014-CoV genome fragments were amplified, excised, ligated and purified. In vitro transcription reactions were then preformed to synthesize full-length genomic RNA, which was transfected into Vero E6 cells '...Synthetic construction of chimeric mutant and full-length SHC014-CoV was approved by the University of North Carolina Institutional Biosafety Committee and the Dual Use Research of Concern committee.''
Peter Daszak, EcoHealth Alliance: ''You can manipulate them in the lab pretty easily'...''
Daszak talked about the collaboration in this interview [Virology Today] just before the Covid-19 outbreak. He said the team's research was designed to stop coronavirus from crossing into people, and to help develop a vaccine for the resulting illness: SARS.
Daszak: ''The logical progression for vaccines is, if you're going to develop a vaccine for SARS, people are going to use Pandemic SARS, but let's try to insert some of these related...and get a better vaccine.''
Additional info: From Peter Daszak Virology Today interview: In the interview published online on Dec. 9, 2019, EcoHealth Alliance's Daszak discussed testing of modified coronaviruses on human cells and humanized mice in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). EcoHealth Alliance, which receives most of its funding from U.S. federal agencies, has provided funds for bat coronavirus research with the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Phase 1 of a study Daszak coordinated with Shi Zhengli at WIV to catalog bat coronaviruses in China is reported to have taken place from 2014 to 2019.
Above: 2017 study partnership between Daszak and Chinese scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)Above: Funding notice for the 2017 China-US studyAs far back as 2015, numerous independent scientists objected to the ''gain of function'' research with China. In a published paper, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris (Simon Wain-Hobson) noted the research had produced an engineered novel coronavirus that ''grows remarkably well'' in human cells and ''If the virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory.'' A biodefense expert (Richard Ebright, Molecular biologist, Rutgers University) added: ''The only impact of this work is the creation, in a lab, of a new, non-natural risk.''
Additional info: Coronavirus used as "vaccine vector": Scientists have long conducted research into the "potential of coronaviruses as vectors for vaccine development" noting that, "[s]everal features make these viruses attractive as vaccine and therapeutic vectors." Some research has involved "recombinant" coronaviruses altered in a lab, "bringing together genetic material from multiple sources." Scientists have also noted "unique safety issues associated with virus-vectored vaccines," warning that such vaccines could mix with wild strains of coronavirus and "theoretically generate a more pathogenic strain."
Additional info: How viral vector vaccines work: "Viral vector vaccines use live viruses to carry DNA into human cells. The DNA contained in the virus encodes antigens that, once expressed in the infected human cells, elicit an immune response.''
In 2018, the year before China's outbreak, U.S. State Department science diplomats visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology. They said the research conducted on bat coronaviruses was critically important. But they were so concerned about safety issues at the lab, they dispatched sensitive cables to Washington D.C. warning that the work posed a possible risk of a new SARS-like pandemic. Josh Rogin at the Washington Post later obtained and published the cables.
Additional info: About the State Dept. cables: According to sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, published by the Washington Post last July, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) took 11 years to build the highest level biosafety lab, level 4, to research ''among the most virulent viruses that pose a high risk of aerosolized person to person transmission.'' Construction was finished Jan. 31, 2015 and the lab was accredited by the Chinese in Feb. 2017. The cables, dated Jan. 19, 2018, the year before the Covid-19 outbreak, found, ''The new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.'' According to the cables, the Wuhan lab ''has scientific collaborations'' with the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston'-- supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is led by Dr. Fauci. Further, according to the cables, Fauci's institute and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) had supported a five year study (2017) on bat coronaviruses with the Chinese scientists from the Wuhan lab and Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: ''Obviously, there are a number of theories'...''
For his part, Fauci responded to Redfield's opinion'-- that Covid-19 escaped from the Wuhan lab'-- without addressing his agency's funding of research at issue.
Fauci: ''So Dr. Redfield was mentioning that he was giving an opinion as to a possibility. But again there are other alternatives, others that most people hold by.''
Additional info: Fauci comments about Redfield: ''The alternative explanation which most public health individuals go by, is that this virus was actually circulating in China, likely in Wuhan, for a month or more before they were clinically recognized at the end of December of 2019. If that were the case, the virus clearly could have adapted itself to a greater efficiency of transmissibility over that period of time, up to and at the time it was recognized.''
Fauci declined our interview request.
Additional info: Fauci documents: The federal government has failed to lawfully respond to multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests I made regarding Fauci's emails, which are public documents. The documents are required by law to be produced within 30 days. It's been over a year.
Above: NIH has failed to provide a lawful response to FOIA requests made over a year ago.So did Baric, the researcher at the University of North Carolina as did Daszak'-- the researcher who leads EcoHealth Alliance.
Additional info: About Ralph Baric's vaccine-related work: Baric lists his specific areas of interest as: Coronavirus Reverse Genetics and vaccine development. "We have developed infectious cDNAs from two coronaviruses," he writes on his bio page. "Specific applications include...rearranging the coronavirus gene... development of coronavirus replicon RNAs and coronavirus replicon particles for vaccine development... Most of the research in our laboratory has used coronaviruses as models to study the genetics of RNA virus transcription, replication, persistence, and cross species transmission. We have also been using alphavirus vaccine vectors to develop novel candidate vaccines against caliciviruses."
On Twitter, Daszak called the idea that Covid-19 links to his research'-- ''rabbit hole conspiracies.''
''The same gang of right wing media outlets are also posting fraudulent claims about my work,'' Daszak tweeted. ''Pure politics w/out a care for how this ultimately puts public health at risk.''
Despite Daszak's research partnership with Wuhan lab scientists, the World Health Organization raised eyebrows by inviting him to help investigate the origins of Covid-19. That team recently issued a report saying it's ''extremely unlikely'' the virus came from a lab.
Additional info: WHO findings: In February, a World Health Organization (WHO) team claimed: ''The findings suggest that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population.''
Additional info: Risk of experiments: Daszak acknowledged in a 2015 presentation that experimenting on coronavirus with the ''humanized'' mice have the highest degree of risk.
Sharyl to Metzl: ''Do you have any idea who was behind the effort in the United States to controversialize the mere asking of the question about whether it came from a lab early on?''
Metzl: ''Absolutely. I have repeatedly called for Peter Daszak to be removed from the WHO Organized International Advisory Committee looking into the origins of the pandemic, and the reason why I have done so is Peter has a tremendous conflict of interest as someone through his organization, the EcoHealth Alliance, who is a significant funder of Gain of Function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.''
Metzl says Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance were a driving force behind efforts to discredit questions about a lab origin of Covid-19 as ''crackpot theories.''
Additional info: Attempts to discredit China lab link: Early in the pandemic, as reporters followed the Covid-19 trail, medical journals added ''Editors' notes'' on the bat coronavirus studies involving China in an attempt to debunk any lab ties at the outset. The notes read: "March 30, 2020, We are aware that this article is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus.''
They helped orchestrate a letter signed by prominent scientists labeling talk of lab origins as ''conspiracy theories.'' Their own ties to the Chinese lab in question were omitted.
Metzl: ''This letter was considered at the time, very credible. There were a number of Nobel laureates who signed it. And only later did it come out through a Freedom of Information request that the entire process had been managed and manipulated, and it really took the better part of a year.''
As the question is debated, five scientists who spoke with me said the sensitive U.S. research with China should never have been allowed.
One source, a medical doctor, says it was ''irresponsible'' to ''partner with China on how to make [coronavirus] more infectious.'' Another, also a medical doctor and biodefense expert says, ''Hell, no, it's not a good idea'...[China has] an active bioweapons program, a very good one'...and you're going to cooperate with them on gain of function research? Somebody's IQ dropped sharply when that decision was made.''
Additional info: State Department Fact Sheet Jan. 15, 2021: On January 15, shortly before the end of Trump's presidency, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a Fact Sheet about the origins of Covid-19. It said ''several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019 . . . with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.'' It also stated that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had not disclosed all of its related work, and collaborated on secret projects with China's military. In public statements, Pompeo has said there's ''enormous evidence'' supporting the idea that Covid-19 leaked from the Wuhan lab.
Shi, of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has been firm in her denial of anything to do with Covid-19 calling the virus, ''nature's punishment on the human race.'' ''I swear on my own life that the virus has no connection with the laboratory,'' Shi said in a statement. ''To those people who believe in and are spreading the rumours perpetrated by third-rate media outlets'... I would like to give this advice: Shut your dirty mouths!"
Additional info: Biden administration: The Biden administration has called on the Chinese government to be more transparent and asked WHO to complete a full and independent investigation.
Additional info: Petition: About 1,000 people have signed onto a petition created by independent scientists asking WHO and EcoHealth Alliance's Peter Daszak to explain more about the 2019 research that was taking place during the time the pandemic broke out.
Additional info: Ongoing U.S. funding for China's WIV and EcoHealth Alliance: With the Wuhan Institute of Virology's (WIV) possible role in the Covid-19 outbreak an open question, the Trump Administration cancelled remaining funding for the EcoHealth Alliance research with WIV on April 27, 2020. After receiving political backlash for the cancelled funding, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reinstated the grant, but made China receiving additional funds contingent upon WIV answering questions about the lab's practices and the Covid-19 outbreak; and providing a virus sample. EcoHealth Alliance criticized the conditions saying it made the research ''impossible." On Aug. 27, 2020, it was announced that the National Institutes of Health had awarded an even larger grant of taxpayer money, $7.5 million, to EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance is now reportedly one of 11 institutions and research teams approved to receive part of an $82 million bundle of U.S. tax money to study viruses crossing from nature into people, and rapid response strategies.
Clean-Transcript:When the former head of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Robert Redfield, recently said Covid-19 likely leaked from a Chinese research lab, news headlines called it ''shocking."
Dr. Robert Redfield on CNN: ''I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory'-- you know, escaped.''
That was followed by a flurry of media reports ridiculing the notion; insisting that Covid-19 probably jumped from bats to people through an unexplained, natural route. But there's new information that hasn't been widely reported. A sizable segment of the research community has formed the same opinion as Dr. Redfield: that Covid-19 leaked from experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
Jamie Metzl, World Health Organization International Advisory Committee on Human Genome Editing: ''There are scientists all around the world who have told me that they believe the most likely origin of COVID-19, of the pandemic, is an accidental lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.''
Jamie Metzl is a member of the World Health Organization International Advisory Committee on Human Genome Editing.
Sharyl (to Metzl): ''What have you been told, and what have you found about scientists who feel like they can't step forward?''
Metzl: ''Many of these people are afraid to step forward. They've called it career suicide, because there are so many contentious issues, because the stakes are so high. Because the Chinese government, in collaboration, or conjunction, or maybe not even association, but with some very high-level and prominent scientists have put forward this story that I think is wrong.''
Two scientists with knowledge of the matter told me the U.S. government conducted genome sequencing almost immediately in the pandemic. Among other things, they say Covid-19 shows clear hallmarks of man's intervention.
French virologist Luc Montagnier, a Nobel Prize recipient, arrived at the same conclusion a year ago. He says Covid-19's genetics reveal ''manipulation.'' ''Someone added sequences,'' he said. ''It's the work of professionals, of molecular biologists'...a very meticulous work.''
Genetic analysis alone isn't 100% conclusive, because results must be compared to viruses from the Wuhan lab. And sources confirm: ''We never got the sample from China.''
But scientists who spoke with me say genome sequencing, coupled with what's known about research conducted by a U.S.-Chinese partnership, leaves them with little doubt that Covid-19 is a product of experiments.
The scientists I talked to don't want to be quoted by name for fear of repercussions in today's politically-charged environment. They're highly critical that a U.S. research collaboration was allowed with China'-- a communist nation that has an active bioweapons program and, is arguably, our biggest world competitor and foe.
Scientists from the U.S. and the Wuhan lab joined up on experiments that involved making bat coronavirus more infectious, to try to invent a vaccine.
It's called ''gain of function'' research, and it's controversial because it could create a lethal virus that escapes and causes a pandemic. So risky, the U.S. temporarily halted such studies in 2014.
But an exception was made. The ''gain of function'' research underway by the U.S. and Wuhan scientists was ''reviewed and approved for continued study by [the National Institutes of Health.]'' or ''NIH.''
NIH didn't only approve the research, it paid for it with six grants of tax dollars, including from the ''National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,'' led by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
More taxpayer money from Fauci's institute and the U.S. Agency for International Development was funneled to the coronavirus research with China through EcoHealth Alliance, a New York based nonprofit led by Peter Daszak, a zoologist who specializes in viruses transmitted from animals to people.
Also working on the research, Ralph Baric at the University of North Carolina. His work centered on genetically manipulating coronavirus in part to allow for ''rapid and rational development'...[of]'...vaccines and therapeutics.''
Together, they teamed up with the renowned Chinese virologist nicknamed ''bat woman,'' at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Shi Zhingli. They engineered genetic hybrids of bat coronaviruses, successfully getting them to infect human airway cells grafted in mice.
Peter Daszak, EcoHealth Alliance: ''You can manipulate them in the lab pretty easily'...''
Daszak talked about the collaboration in this interview just before the Covid-19 outbreak. He said the team's research was designed to stop coronavirus from crossing into people, and to help develop a vaccine for the resulting illness: SARS.
Peter Daszak: ''The logical progression for vaccines is, if you're going to develop a vaccine for SARS, people are going to use Pandemic SARS, but let's try to insert some of these related, and get a better vaccine.''
As far back as 2015, numerous independent scientists objected to the ''gain of function'' research with China. In a published paper, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris (Simon Wain-Hobson) noted the research had produced an engineered novel coronavirus that ''grows remarkably well'' in human cells and ''If the virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory.'' A biodefense expert (Richard Ebright, Molecular biologist, Rutgers University) added: ''The only impact of this work is the creation, in a lab, of a new, non-natural risk.''
In 2018, the year before China's outbreak, U.S. State Department science diplomats visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology. They said the research conducted on bat coronaviruses was critically important. But they were so concerned about safety issues at the lab, they dispatched sensitive cables to Washington D.C. warning that the work posed a possible risk of a new SARS-like pandemic. Josh Rogin at the Washington Post later obtained and published the cables.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: ''Obviously, there are a number of theories'...''
For his part, Fauci responded to Redfield's opinion'-- that Covid-19 escaped from the Wuhan lab'-- without addressing his agency's funding of research at issue.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: ''So Dr. Redfield was mentioning that he was giving an opinion as to a possibility. But again there are other alternatives, others that most people hold by.''
Fauci declined our interview request. So did Baric, the researcher at the University of North Carolina as did Daszak'-- the researcher who leads EcoHealth Alliance. On Twitter, Daszak called the idea that Covid-19 links to his research'-- ''rabbit hole conspiracies.''
''The same gang of right wing media outlets are also posting fraudulent claims about my work,'' Daszak tweeted. ''Pure politics w/out a care for how this ultimately puts public health at risk.''
Despite Daszak's research partnership with Wuhan lab scientists, the World Health Organization raised eyebrows by inviting him to help investigate the origins of Covid-19. That team recently issued a report saying it's ''extremely unlikely'' the virus came from a lab.
Sharyl to Metzl: ''Do you have any idea who was behind the effort in the United States to controversialize the mere asking of the question about whether it came from a lab early on?''
Metzl: ''Absolutely. I have repeatedly called for Peter Daszak to be removed from the WHO Organized International Advisory Committee looking into the origins of the pandemic, and the reason why I have done so is Peter has a tremendous conflict of interest as someone through his organization, the EcoHealth Alliance, who is a significant funder of Gain of Function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.''
Metzl says Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance were a driving force behind efforts to discredit questions about a lab origin of Covid-19 as ''crackpot theories.''
They helped orchestrate a letter signed by prominent scientists labeling talk of lab origins as ''conspiracy theories.'' Their own ties to the Chinese lab in question were omitted.
Metzl: ''This letter was considered at the time, very credible. There were a number of Nobel laureates who signed it. And only later did it come out through a Freedom of Information request that the entire process had been managed and manipulated, and it really took the better part of a year.''
As the question is debated, five scientists who spoke with me said the sensitive U.S. research with China should never have been allowed.
One source, a medical doctor, says it was ''irresponsible'' to ''partner with China on how to make [coronavirus] more infectious.'' Another, also a medical doctor and biodefense expert says, ''Hell, no, it's not a good idea'...[China has] an active bioweapons program, a very good one'...and you're going to cooperate with them on gain of function research? Somebody's IQ dropped sharply when that decision was made.''
Shi, of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has been firm in her denial of anything to do with Covid-19 calling the virus, ''nature's punishment on the human race.'' ''I swear on my own life that the virus has no connection with the laboratory,'' Shi said in a statement. ''To those people who believe in and are spreading the rumours perpetrated by third-rate media outlets'... I would like to give this advice: Shut your dirty mouths!"
Fight government overreach. Support free speech and free press. Donate to Attkisson v. DOJ here.
VIDEO - (99) Trump Trashes the Oscars, Tucker Carlson Cries ''Child Abuse'' & Biden Loosens Mask Mandates - YouTube
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 12:52
VIDEO - FED Chairman J. Powell - HUGE Freudian Slip. Says "Financial Crisis" then corrects it too "Pandemic Crisis". Does it twice in same speech. - GreatAwakening - WWG1WGA!
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 12:43
So r/superstonk found this, and its blowing up. The comments show the apes on reddit are joining the great awakening, even if they dont realize it yet.
Freudian Slip #1: https://youtu.be/cdRdjIJrh1I?t=2432
Freudian Slip #2: https://youtu.be/cdRdjIJrh1I?t=2828
Reddit thread: https://old.reddit.com/r/Superstonk/comments/n10gh7/to_be_fair_financial_crisis_and_pandemic_are/
Archive link of reddit thread: https://archive.is/79lec
Relevant link - The Stock Market Is Just One Hedge Fund Blowup Away from a Crash. Here's the Ugly Math: https://wearethene.ws/notable/218139
Evidence of redditors joining the great awakening (never thought we would see this kinda comment highly upvoted on reddit): https://archive.is/3AFHM
Heres the best comment...likely from an anon: "Damn SuperStonk, when did you guys become more based than /pol/?" https://files.catbox.moe/k2ygm5.jpg
This comment takes 2nd place: "I used to care about not sounding crazy in this sub, we're so deep in the end game I don't care anymore. WHY DOES COVID ONLY EFFECT COUNTRIES IN THE MIDDLE OF POLITICAL/economic TURMOIL? Look where it started for gods sake."
Maybe we have already reached critical mass, but the (silent) majority are still too scared to admit these things out loud.
Also...Got your GME yet?
Found the 3rd place comment: "Just got to examine the facts. The Fed chair conducts a public interview to say they're fine... If this were true, there would be no need for the interview."
VIDEO - Weekly average of new Covid-19 deaths in US hits lowest point since October - CNN
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 12:39
(CNN)The seven-day average of new Covid-19 deaths in the United States hit its lowest point since October 2020, a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data found Thursday.
As of Wednesday, 684 new deaths were reported, the JHU data showed, which is about an 80% drop since January. Since the beginning of 2021, the seven-day average number of Covid-19 deaths appears to have regularly decreased, according to JHU data.
The fall in deaths is at least partly due to vaccinations, experts said.
Covid-19 vaccinations are already having a significant impact on death rates among certain groups in the United States, such as older adults, Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told CNN on Thursday.
"If you look, for example at populations that have been highly vaccinated like nursing home residents, you will see that deaths in nursing homes have plummeted, and overall, the death rate has been falling over time," Adalja said. "It's really a function of how many of the high-risk individuals have been vaccinated and that is becoming more evident,"
Yet, experts warn that to defeat the virus, more Americans need to get vaccinated, notably young people, some of whom still are hesitant or may think they don't have as much to fear from the virus.
Everyone 16 and older is currently eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine. But a recent Quinnipiac University poll
found 36% of adults under the age of 35 don't plan on getting one.
Here's why it matters that young groups sign up for the shots: When Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky
warned of a rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations earlier this month, that increase was predominantly among younger adults, most of whom were not vaccinated.
Some experts estimate that to suppress the spread of the virus, somewhere between
70% to 85% of the US population needs to be immune. So far, roughly 43% of the country has received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose and about 29.5% is fully vaccinated,
according to CDC data. About 35% of the US population has been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19, the CDC said Thursday. The agency estimates the virus has led to 114.6 million infections, 97.1 million symptomatic illnesses and 5.6 million hospitalizations from February 2020 to March 2021.
The more people are vaccinated, the fewer opportunities the virus has to not only transmit but to further mutate. And we already know what those mutations could mean. One coronavirus variant, for example, which
became the dominant strain in the US, helped fuel recent Covid-19 spikes in several states,
including Michigan. That strain, the B.1.1.7 variant, is more contagious
and hit younger people particularly hard. And there's another major reason young people shouldn't turn away from the shot: long-term consequences of Covid-19.
"One critical way to prevent long Covid is to prevent Covid itself," National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.
"Even for young people who consider their risk of severe Covid to be low, the long-term consequences can be quite serious," he added. "So long Covid represents one more reason to encourage everyone age 16 and over to get vaccinated as quickly as possible."
And those long-lasting symptoms can develop even in people who have mild cases of Covid-19. Americans
have reported dozens of persistent symptoms that last months after their infection, including fatigue, headaches, memory loss, gastrointestinal problems, muscle aches, heart palpitations
and loss of smell or taste. Decrease in vaccine demand leads officials to scale down size
Despite the push for more vaccinations, state and local leaders are seeing a decrease in demand. As a result, they're asking vaccine manufacturers to scale down the size of vials and how much is distributed.
"Many of our health departments, especially those in rural America, are providing feedback that they either need smaller dosage vials or we may have to contend with waste," said Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
Pfizer said Thursday it will begin offering smaller shipment sizes of its Covid-19 vaccine at the end of May to give vaccine sites more flexibility.
The current shipment size is a 195-vial pack that contains 1,170 doses. The smaller shipment sizes will come in three 25-vial packs which contain a total of 450 doses. Vaccination sites will have the option to order either size.
'How many people are going to have to die?'
In a bid to encourage young people to get vaccinated, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice
has said the state will offer a $100 savings bond to each person between 16 and 35 years old who gets the vaccine.
"West Virginians from 16 to 35 years of age are transmitting this thing faster than anyone," the governor said. "How many people are we going to have to put in body bags? How many people are going to have to die?"
The governor said roughly 52% of the state's eligible population has received at least a dose of vaccine and his goal is to get to more than 70% of eligible residents fully vaccinated.
That, he said, will mean "we'll be able to get rid of the masks and get life back to normal."
"Our young people have had to stand up a lot of times over the years in West Virginia," the governor said. "Most of the time they were standing up to go to war. I'm not asking for you to go to war. I'm asking you to do something that could very well save your life, or save the life of your mom, your dad, your grandparents and all your loved ones."
Governors offer road maps to normalcy
Other governors hope to incentivize vaccinations by offering a timeline for a return to normal or looking to those who are vaccinated to encourage others to get a shot.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said residents of Ferry County, about 100 miles northwest of Spokane, "ignored clear science" after a superspreader event led to Covid-19 infections for more than one out of every 100 people in the rural county in the last two weeks.
"It is a terrible thing to think we would have vaccines that could save people's lives, and not see it in people's arms," Inslee said.
With vaccine hesitancy now a serious concern, Washington health officials are asking people who already have been fully vaccinated to continue helping their communities by actively encouraging others to get their shots.
"We really want you to encourage those around you -- your parents, your family, your coworkers," said Umair Shah, Washington Secretary of Health.
In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper
lifted the outdoor mask mandate and said the state hopes to lift the indoor mask mandate once two-thirds of adults are vaccinated with at least one vaccine dose.
About half of the state's adults currently have gotten at least one shot, he said.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also
lifted the state's outdoor mask mandate and said he expects to take "additional actions" in the coming weeks as more people get vaccinated and the Covid-19 metrics improve.
"The fastest way to put this pandemic behind us once and for all is for every single eligible Marylander to get vaccinated as soon as possible," Hogan said.
The governors' announcements follow
new guidance issued by the CDC this week on outdoor mask use for fully vaccinated Americans. The agency said fully vaccinated people can unmask at small outdoor gatherings or when dining outside with friends from multiple households -- activities the CDC said unvaccinated people still need to wear a mask for.
CNN's Ryan Prior, Jacqueline Howard, Michael Nedelman, Rebekah Riess, Jamiel Lynch, Andy Rose and Hannah Sorisohn contributed to this report.
VIDEO - Chicago's Top Doc Discusses Plans for Vaccine Pass for Summer Events '' NBC Chicago
Fri, 30 Apr 2021 12:23
Chicago's top doctor discussed Thursday how a possible new vaccine pass could impact summer events in the city.
During a press conference, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady clarified what the Vax Pas, potentially coming to the city in May, would mean for residents.
"People took this to mean 'I am going to need to show I am vaccinated to get into any restaurant in Chicago, this is going to be a requirement.' We are not talking about a vaccine passport here," Arwady said. "The Vax Pass concept is to really have activities and events that are incentives for people who choose to get vaccinated."
Coronavirus PandemicFull coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
She added that there could be neighborhood vaccination events, where should residents choose to receive the COVID vaccine, they will get tickets concerts and events.
A vaccine passport will not be required of Chicago residents, according to Arwady, but people are still encouraged to get vaccinated in order for the city to reopen.
"So certainly, as we build vaccine confidence and convenience, we're interested in thinking about ways to incentivize people to get the vaccine," Arwady said this week. "I would hope that for most people, their their main incentive is to be able to stay healthy, keep their families healthy, keep their communities healthy. But we also know, younger people in particular, may be excited about the idea of getting into events."
Although she said non-vaccinated people will still be eligible to attend concerts this summer, those with the Vax Pass could receive limited access, along with other "incentives."
The city's new "Vax and Relax" campaign could also extend to barber shops and salons, giving people the chance to get a free haircut or discount on treatments, according to Arwady. She said vaccinated people could also be allowed to get a closer spot in lines at area driving facilities, grocery stores and laundromats.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday announced that the city will loosen its current COVID-19 restrictions as the city has both improved its metrics to reopen and increased vaccinations.
''Despite the unimaginable challenges that were thrown our way last year, we were still able to persist and come together to slow and stop the spread of this virus and put our city on the right path toward a safe reopening," Lightfoot said in a statement.
The new changes to the current Phase 4 guidelines include:
Restaurants and bars: Indoor capacity can increase to the lesser of 50% or 100 people.Spectator events, theater, and performing arts: Large indoor venues, including the United Center, can now operate at 25% capacity.Meetings, conferences, and conventions: Large indoor venues can now operate at the lesser of 25% or 250 people.Places of worship: Large indoor venues can now operate at 25% capacity.Festivals and general admission outdoor spectator events: Operate at 15 people per 1,000 sq. ft.Flea and farmers markets: Operate at 25% capacity or 15 people per 1,000 sq. ft.Under the new guidelines, some regulations remain in place, officials said, like the requirement to keep six feet of social distancing and that face coverings can be removed only in limited circumstances.
City officials also said Thursday that people who are fully vaccinated - 14 days after receiving their final vaccine dose - will not count toward capacity limits at private events like weddings. Officials said the city would consider expanding the exemption to other industries in the coming weeks if metrics continue to improve.


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  • 0:00
    John: You'd like us band x granny
  • 0:02
    Adam: Adam Curry Jhansi devore ashes so they may 2 2021 this is your award winning gima Nation media assassination Episode 1343
  • 0:10
    Unknown: This is no agenda,
  • 0:13
    Adam: stopping the buzz and broadcasting live from opportunity zone 33 here at the frontier of Austin, Texas Capitol on the drone Star State. Morning everybody.
  • 0:23
    John: I'm Adam Curry and from Northern California where our horse did not win place or show and Jhansi Dvorak
  • 0:32
    Unknown: skills
  • 0:34
    Adam: you mean known agenda?
  • 0:37
    John: What I thought it was no agenda. They kept saying no agenda. I know it sounded like
  • 0:43
    Adam: it. That was like that was the number two thing tweeted to me this weekend. Oh man your horse. No, not really. So the horse didn't even run.
  • 0:54
    John: Hey, Ronnie, I think Kevin seven or eight Okay,
  • 0:57
    Adam: so that's it didn't show no prizes. No
  • 1:00
    John: didn't win place to show and nothing in fact, that favorite horse which was owned by that horrible guy that runs Dubai who kidnapped his daughter it's a terrible story shouldn't even be been in the race for wait
  • 1:13
    Adam: a minute which guys this?
  • 1:15
    John: I forget was it just prints from Dubai? Dubai? Check him out. Take Just look at him.
  • 1:20
    Adam: And he's Oh, I remember the story about his, his daughter was she locked up in? Like,
  • 1:28
    Unknown: two or three times? I do remember
  • 1:30
    John: that. He sends a bunch of spooks out to go grabber. And now from all at least from all reports. She's a prisoner in the palace. Wow. Not dead.
  • 1:41
    Adam: Right?
  • 1:42
    John: Right. Human rights groups have tried to get her you know, checked find this just say hello or anything and can't be done. Meanwhile, this guy gets to run a horse in the Kentucky Derby. There's no no consequences whatsoever. Of course, people can check your slides
  • 1:57
    Adam: red state. They love death and destruction. They don't care. You know what the number one most tweeted an email. The comment was to me.
  • 2:07
    John: Divorce last? No.
  • 2:10
    Adam: Your sound is all wrong. your microphone sounds horrible. Oh my god. It sounds like you're talking through a metal straw out of your anus. Yeah, that was disastrous. It was disastrous. It wasn't that bad. It was it was and you know, it was worse. Because after it's what happened was I've had these microphone problems, big problems. I've replaced microphones. There's some buzz that just occurred once when I hit it once when I hit it, and then another one, just just it just occurred again. I think I'm under attack from direct directed energy weapons, which is on Vogue, as you know,
  • 2:48
    John: a lot of they just blow up the house. I don't get weather fooling around your mic. Well,
  • 2:54
    Adam: so I had a very bad night, Thursday night because people were saying on my site, and of course I had recompressed by accident. So that made possible
  • 3:02
    John: that's. That's
  • 3:05
    Adam: what that's what made it. Like, john sounds good clip sound good. What's wrong? Too much trouble. That's my favorite. You got too much trouble anyway. It's much appreciated, because everyone knows how much you care about it. And they care. So Thursday night, as I was ready to rip everything apart. And listen, I'm going to sleep on this. When I wake up. I got up at five in the morning, straight upstairs. And I start to reconfigure the replacement microphone, the procaster. And then is that what you're on now? No, no, I'm not. I'm checking it out. So then I'm just walking around, it's dark. I'm drinking coffee and think, wait a minute. And because, you know, we're looking to sell our house and to move a little bit further out of Austin. So I'm a little more. I'm thinking a bit more about floor plans. I say, you know, this studio is above the kitchen. So I like you know, could it maybe it's some lights, it's possible. So Tina turns, I'm yelling
  • 4:05
    John: down to Tina's down there or the show start. I'm going to turn on the blender and that'll fix him.
  • 4:13
    Adam: So after some sleuthing, it turns out there's one light switch if you put the dimmer in just a very specific spot.
  • 4:21
    John: Oh, dimmers are noisy.
  • 4:23
    Adam: And it's downstairs. It's downstairs and so you know she turns light and I said nothing's moved the dimmer and also flies past it and so now it's just one spot so what happened was I because I usually tuned the dimmer put it in some specific spot or maybe that's the spot where I was put it now the you know something's a little dirty in that spot on the dimmer slider. And that was the whole problem. So now I have two beautiful electro voice mics, working perfectly.
  • 4:53
    John: What about the third one the original.
  • 4:55
    Adam: Now that one I just threw out I thought that was really
  • 4:59
    Unknown: threw it out.
  • 5:00
    Adam: I don't know where it is. I have no idea where that one went. Oh, but that I think that was a different issue. I think it was different. Anyway, I'm very happy to be back in full force. It makes me a happy man. And I apologize for all the horrible sounds everybody had to listen to. And to make it up. I think we should start off today with the latest Pfizer marketing for the vaccine. It's just it's too good. It's too much fun. It brings a smile to everybody's face.
  • 5:32
    Unknown: What do you think?
  • 5:34
    John: I love marketing
  • 5:36
    Adam: in case so the great reset the great marketing reset. Pfizer has pretty much gotten rid of every single one of its its competitors. It is taking over globally it is running large countries by telling them that they need to give them their military bases as some kind of collateral for soon
  • 6:01
    John: be its own country.
  • 6:03
    Adam: Yes, if it isn't already, and we know that they are that they've been paying influencers on Instagram that tik tok is really the place where it most of it happens though. Up to a couple $1,000 if you actually show that the poke the jab sinking into your arm that can be extra and from time to time one of them just goes so super viral is beautiful.
  • 6:44
    No, I think she should get a little bonus. Very good. pop it up our search when you need it. I'm hopped up on Pfizer. And then this one was a little longer with with the whole dance routine. This is Missy shot Vax. And she does a whole a whole thing with with with her influencer cash
  • 7:10
    Unknown: herd immunity implant a signal sign up on the
  • 7:14
    accardi as a nation will begin immunization maybe by the Fourth of July. Giving you a
  • 7:24
    Adam: little antibody inoculate me at the lyrics
  • 7:37
    a little over modulated but that's how it ended up on. So good. These guys are genius. And they really they don't even know how smart they are by doing this. And it's always interesting that it's not disclosed as per FTC rules.
  • 7:53
    John: They're pouring this by the way, this is very getting galling every every show we do we keep bringing this up and we and the FTC does nothing.
  • 8:02
    Adam: No. Why would they is this just to say
  • 8:05
    John: you made the rules. I mean, if you want to just say there's no rules, do whatever you want, go play what you want, take the money and run. That would be fine. But that's not what they said. People have been busted for plugging stuff. And now this goes on.
  • 8:18
    Adam: Just like the scientists felt that we didn't need a control group and we should vaccinate the people who received the placebo. These circumstances are a little different, john. Sorry, you don't see it that way. But they're making big, big mistakes. I think they did. They'd still believe even though all the award shows have proven true that celebrities the traditional mainstream Hollywood celebrities have no more influence. They are not the influencers. They are not the ones who were influencing people to do things they could not do it during the lockdowns they were not taken seriously no one wanted to see them in their million dollar mansions telling him to stay home and
  • 9:01
    John: we forget we forgot that episode.
  • 9:03
    Adam: Yeah and and just look at the award shows no one cares. There's no more industry around it. Who do we care about? We care about the fitness models on Tick Tock on on Instagram. We care about the singing Pfizer girls on tick. This is what this is what entertainment is. You've lost it Hollywood has lost it and still still the traditional marketing over there at Pfizer they have oh well. Let's break listen people we need some black people vaccinated bring in Latif Ah, where's the queen? For too long
  • 9:34
    Unknown: black community health concerns have been ignored, under resourced, underappreciated, undervalued. COVID-19 is highlighted deep racial and ethnic disparities across the United States. But now
  • 9:49
    Hello, people from all backgrounds and needed in clinical research, especially our black communities, be represented, go to Pfizer comm slash clinical trials. To learn more about our commitments, all communities are represented
  • 10:04
    Adam: their magic. So you got the queen,
  • 10:06
    John: like, it's like, it's like night and day comparing the two methodologies. And I think this is we hear the tick tock, tick tock girls, they're up to date. It's happening sounds spontaneous, partly. But it's, it's current.
  • 10:23
    Adam: It's now it's today's sound
  • 10:25
    John: is today sound. You got this other thing.
  • 10:29
    Adam: It gets worse. It gets worse. Right? Now, if you could think of the perfect black pitch man, according to a Hollywood mainstream, who's the guy who can really tug the heartstrings Who's the man who can get black America to take this shot to have the Poke in their arm?
  • 10:47
    John: Bill Cosby
  • 10:52
    Adam: close close that close. Oh, man, john legend, of course. Oh, that
  • 11:00
    John: horrible guy shot. Our opportunity.
  • 11:04
    Adam: COVID-19 has taken so much from so many. But this is our shot.
  • 11:10
    Unknown: Turning to the faces
  • 11:11
    John: and places we love and miss.
  • 11:16
    Adam: The COVID-19 vaccines are reading that Reto is Walgreens with pharmacists, you know,
  • 11:23
    John: who know you. So when you're ready, they'll be
  • 11:26
    Adam: ready to give it to you safely for free. This is bringing our communities back together. Providing healing, not just for some. But for all. This is our shot. This is our show.
  • 11:43
    Unknown: This is our shot
  • 11:45
    Adam: at reconnecting with the ones we love. With the world huge. We've lost.
  • 11:51
    Unknown: This is our shot.
  • 11:54
    John: That's very cute. Dr. Shot Yeah, but but this idea that you go to the pharmacy, even though it's people do it to get a shot, I just keep thinking of that guy's grandma who went and shot went into her bone.
  • 12:11
    Adam: And well, by now about half of all eligible Americans have gotten the shot. So we finally know at least half of all Americans aren't stupid. We just don't know which half yet. We'll know in a couple of years probably. But this is another failed marketing exercise. We had all these piano voiceover together we can do it our shot we were this was being thrown in our face incessantly during the lockdown. Now all these corporations now Walgreens has to go and get john legend. Please, please now I think Detroit they've got a, you know, a kind of more pragmatic idea
  • 12:58
    Unknown: about it. About 10 million Americans are now getting vaccinated every day but that's down from a high of 4 million per day many cities are offering incentives destroyed is paying drivers $50 for each person that's
  • 13:12
    Adam: that's how you do it.
  • 13:14
    John: Come on. If anybody's got it, unless they're idiots you just wait waited out and take 100 bucks and get the shot if you really want to get the shot.
  • 13:22
    Adam: You got a question though? How important is this shot really that they're paying you to take it now one free is one thing but they're paying you to take it okay.
  • 13:30
    John: If you're gonna take it, you might have to get paid.
  • 13:32
    Adam: But we still have Dr. de mujer. osterholm the liar the liar of the of the county out there telling us what we need to do. They just they just keep bringing him back. It doesn't matter how many times he overstates something happening. Two and a half million dead we're in the mouth of the monster the hurricane is upon us.
  • 13:52
    Unknown: We're sort of at a vaccine clip where supply is outweighing demand. What's happening?
  • 13:58
    You know, we knew that this
  • 13:59
    Adam: would happen eventually, when the vaccine first rolled out when was the last mile getting the vaccine to the locations that needed to be so that it could be given to people and during that period we had many more arms that wanted vaccine, then the vaccine was available. Now it's no longer the last mile it is solely down to the last inch getting the needles in people's arms, the last inch it's just incredible. So we talked a lot on the last episode about women and their menstrual cycles reigniting being heavy, severe clumping, all kinds of stuff. I am always surprised or maybe it's it's been the past year. How many women and girls listen to this podcast? I don't think it was like that. In the past.
  • 14:54
    John: Yeah, we always had it wasn't like it is now but we always had a higher audience. Yeah, and when I mean, listen to
  • 15:01
    Adam: Yeah, but it's just all of a sudden they're coming out of the Woodworks. Lots of reporting all similar here just to follow up on your porting about the weird period bleeding associated with the vaccinations. I'm a labor and delivery postpartum nurse. In the past few months, I've taken care of several women who casually mentioned they were recently vaccinated and were admitted for preterm labor slash early ruptured membranes. This includes one woman who had a fever and broke her water within 24 hours of getting her second shot. She went on to deliver a 35 week infant which is it's early, and they can have issues. This week. This event could not be a coincidence and the doctor even noted it on her. h NP good for him. What's an H NP?
  • 15:44
    John: Is that like a for ages today, it's a thing you write on.
  • 15:50
    Adam: One of those You mean like a tablet? Okay,
  • 15:52
    John: now? Here's I don't know why a pregnant woman would get a shot in the first place. It just seems like because
  • 15:58
    Adam: because the medical community told them that it was safe. That's why
  • 16:04
    John: most pregnant women when I've known women who are pregnant, very cautious about just about anything.
  • 16:11
    Adam: Yes. Well, I
  • 16:12
    John: don't think I can eat that sauerkraut. Oh, no.
  • 16:15
    Adam: Yeah, but that's different this time around the you know, they're being told you really needed to keep your child safe. I mean, this is funny. This came out of Joke's on them. That's not a joke.
  • 16:26
    John: So here's the here's something that's a little I want to do a little counter programming here. Oh, all out of the blue. Amy Goodman comes up with this story about you know, all these all these ministration problems that might just be caused by tear gas.
  • 16:43
    Adam: Do you have a clip of this? I do. And I want you
  • 16:46
    John: to listen to it carefully because there's a funny line in here. Yes, story. Oh,
  • 16:51
    Adam: you got a lot of clips here.
  • 16:52
    John: Okay. Many
  • 16:53
    Unknown: medical researchers have found a link between police tear gas and abnormal menstrual cycles. Some 900 people exposed to tear gas during protests last year in Portland, Oregon, reported being affected with symptoms, including increased cramping, unusual spotting, or increased bleeding.
  • 17:11
    Adam: And this is all of a sudden out of the blue.
  • 17:14
    John: Yeah, huh. Okay. Well, and by the way, some things you listen to it carefully know, what kind of coverage is increased crapping?
  • 17:24
    Adam: I was gonna make the joke. But I knew what she said. And I refrained. And still you took it home, john, I'm proud of you. I was not gonna be that juvenile 17 minutes into she said, she said, cramping? Crap. I did do a little bit of research and people have been sending me stuff and even even the menstrual synchrony as it's known, is not proven by any science. So the idea that
  • 17:54
    John: no women, it's just 1000 years of experience it every woman will tell you this, I know.
  • 18:00
    Adam: But if you look for any articles, you know, it's like, well, it's the the McClintock effect. McClintock did a famous paper. And and she's the one that said, Hey, it looks like women are synchronizing could be the pheromones they exude to their armpits, or their pubic hair hair, I think specifically. And that's just always kind of been pushed off as well. Maybe I couldn't find any proof for it. But somehow it plays into the now debunking. It's down to terms that we don't know. And this is and I we need some real experts on this.
  • 18:36
    John: We have the Wikipedia.
  • 18:38
    Adam: Yeah, sure. So the debunking of what is happening with women goes like this. That's that's anti vaxxer propaganda. You can't share the vaccine. And you know, there's some people say it's prions. There's all these different things. It's just not enough
  • 18:54
    John: to prey on one is the one is the farthest out. I don't Where'd that come from? I don't
  • 18:59
    Adam: know. But it's, it's all over. Now, at the same time Pfizer, in their, in their clinical trials made very specific mention of women and adverse side effects they would have coming into contact with women who had been vaccinated, and either through inhalation or skin contact. So does that mean that you they're getting it through their skin or it's on your skin that you rub your nose that it didn't it doesn't say that in the actual paper? So it's hard to say, other than anecdotally, a lot of people I know have have witnessed this or know someone very close who who has had the same thing. And we I think we both liked What's your name, Christine. What's her last Northrop? Northrop. Now christianna is a Christiana. Okay, Christina, thanks.
  • 19:57
    John: So I think it's christianna.
  • 19:59
    Adam: So the clip gusto came across an earlier clip of hers. And when you so just take into, we have to play this because you can't say, Oh, I just played the stuff that I agree with. Here's what she was talking about. I think in December of 2020, this was a webcam chat she was on but I really want to get across to everybody and you just
  • 20:22
    Unknown: got the so well, but I'm so it's making
  • 20:25
    this COVID vaccine is like nothing we've seen before. Am I correct in that? That is correct.
  • 20:31
    Nothing. We have no experience with this at all. A nanoparticle is a tiny, tiny, tiny
  • 20:43
  • 20:45
    that collects your biometric data, your heart rate, your breathing your relationships, whether you have sex, what drugs, wait
  • 20:52
    for it, where you're going, who are you going with, and sends that data up to the cloud?
  • 20:59
    And then they want to use that data to at the very best, you know, sell you stuff.
  • 21:05
    Adam: Like By the way, that's, that is such a good answer. Like, why do they want to do this? Usually, the answer is to track you and control you. And she just says, nah, nah, it's probably just to sell you stuff. That part I appreciate that. She got
  • 21:18
    John: the right, the right reasons.
  • 21:22
    Adam: It Gets Better
  • 21:23
    Unknown: to at the very best, you know, sell you stuff like know your every move, so that they can send you emails to get whatever products,
  • 21:32
    but at the very worst, this one about connecting you to cryptocurrency, so that we have a cashless society, facial recognition, the ability to control a whole population and, and there are aspects of this that are very nefarious,
  • 21:49
    which is that with 5g then rolled out, which is being rolled out in some places, that 60 gigahertz, and that that vibration, that radiation can literally adversely affect the hemoglobin in our bodies making it very hard to be oxygenated. And that looked like what was happening, by the way, in China at the beginning, and also in New York City where people would come in unable to, you know, blue, unable to get enough oxygen. And then they were put on respirators and field that way, because that wasn't necessary.
  • 22:27
    Adam: So individually, all of these pieces are interesting to look at when you string it all together like that you're this taking is nuts. I don't want to say She's nuts. I will come on. So I don't
  • 22:39
    John: know if they're, by the way, let's go over the 5g, the 60 gigahertz.
  • 22:44
    Adam: That's not this is not
  • 22:44
    John: at 60. totally right. It can't be can barely penetrate your skin. The problem that you have with it in terms of is danger to human health is that it possibly causes cataracts or other corneal issues, because it's right on the surface and it heats your skin out. Yeah. Where does it go into your body and can't get in there? And it's not gonna do anything. The hemoglobin is just technologically? Well, the
  • 23:09
    Adam: only thing thing to say the only thing I would say is that the other side of 5g is what you have in your pocket. I'm not so sure right next year balls. Yeah, I'm not so sure I'm ready. Good thing real happy about that. I think that that's probably a bigger problem is what the 5g handset is doing.
  • 23:27
    John: And what I have in my pockets a couple of nickels that my phone is in the drawer downstairs.
  • 23:33
    Adam: Now, but let's just let's just stay with some of this. We have to look at we still need to look at this thing as a bio weapon. And a lot of people sent me two different pieces of information, reminding me about things that we've discussed. One is that you recall, the Dutch embassy sent out a note that said, Okay, if you've had the Pfizer or Madonna vaccines or I think any Western vaccine, you are not allowed to go into China. So that was sent back to me is hey, you know, maybe they know what's going on with this vaccine. And so that's why people weren't who had been vaccinated by these, whatever they are mRNA were not allowed back in that order has actually since been rescinded. So I have links in the show notes showing that you are allowed to enter China if even if you've had Western vaccines, including Pfizer moderner. So that's not it. There was an ol slew of articles around August of 2020 where scientists were working on self transmitting vaccines and I guess it couldn't really come up with a it was big magazines like science and nature. And I Someone must have sent out a press release at the time saying oh, you know we can have these these vaccines they'll love they'll vaccinate people on site. Maybe that's in there? I don't know.
  • 25:04
    Unknown: possible.
  • 25:07
    Adam: And then there's the obvious, which is Bill Gates is involved somehow. And one of our producers said, Hey, Bill was talking about this at the Munich Security Conference back in 2017. And I went and pulled the clip. And the Munich Security conferences were all douchebags of the world in the military industrial complex, get together to do hookers and blow and sign some orders. But yeah, I will buy some of those from you. And Dr. Bill for some reason he was there, he can't think it's just a coincidence, we also
  • 25:44
    Unknown: face a new threat that the next epidemic has good chance of originating on a computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus or a contagious contagious and highly deadly strain of flu. So the point is that we ignore the strong link between house security and international security at our peril. Whether it occurs by the quirk of nature at the hand of a terrorist, epidemiologists show through their models that any respiratory spread pathogen would kill more than 30 million people in less than a year. And there is a reasonable probability of that taking place in the years ahead
  • 26:31
    Adam: of coincidental a.
  • 26:35
    John: b.
  • 26:37
    Adam: What do you mean, Colin's? No, bill doesn't show up somewhere
  • 26:41
    John: in the 1980s they're writing novels about this, but this is Bill Gates for a number of years. closer in 2017 Yeah, but it's not as though it was not in the air and air in the wind that this thought was floating around and gates came up with it. I think he's late to the party to be honest about it.
  • 27:01
    Adam: What do you mean late to the party?
  • 27:03
    John: I like I said there were books written about it papers. People talked about this in the 80s.
  • 27:08
    Adam: Right, but he's the one making money on it.
  • 27:10
    John: Oh, he's and he's not making money on anything. The guys makes money. That's what he does.
  • 27:15
    Adam: But it's I'm just saying 2017 isn't all that long ago to be saying it could be a deadly version of the flu.
  • 27:22
    John: Right? I'm just thinking it's a coincidence. Oh,
  • 27:24
    Adam: wow. You should join the Surgeon General Listen,
  • 27:27
    Unknown: new concerning reaching those who haven't yet received a shot.
  • 27:31
    This is an all hands on deck after we've all got a chip.
  • 27:33
    Adam: We all got a chip in.
  • 27:36
    John: I thought he said we all get a chicken.
  • 27:39
    Adam: We all got a chip in man. chip in. chip in. chip in Yeah, instead of $3 chip in now. You got to chip in get get the jab chip in.
  • 27:50
    John: By the way, if you want to go into conspiracy things. So since we're, you know, we're still doing the poppy thing. I bug Manny. And you know, I've been bitching about this is that all began a year ago. The constant showing of people getting shots. Yeah. And you said it was the desensitized? Yes, it is desensitizing them to shooting heroin.
  • 28:12
    Adam: I think that's exactly what we what we discussed. Of course, the pharmaceutical industry is around us in everything. Everything. Everything that they touch is death and destruction of George George Floyd, opioids, it's all destruction. It's and it comes from the pharmaceutical companies. They're the opioids. It just kind of went by all of that during the roadshow lockdown. No one really talked about it. But there were big, big lawsuits, big convictions. No one goes to jail. big fines paid. No one talks about it because the same people buy off the media. And this is the the never ending story have no agenda. And many people who probably weren't listening at the time, but we brought back twice the 1979 60 minutes. documentary one time you did it. And then I brought it back thinking it was new. But we actually we had played this. About five years ago. I think maybe even during swine flu, or SARS, one of the two.
  • 29:16
    John: It's a classic, classic, it keeps coming you have it ready to play. Well, I
  • 29:20
    Adam: have a clip that we typically don't play from it, which someone sent to me. And I you know, and I appreciate it that they Oh, you got to play this. Here's all the clips. Well, again, we've kind of played that a million times, but call back to celebrities and promoting the jab. Well, that's not all that new. As part of informing Americans about the swine flu threat.
  • 29:43
    Unknown: Dr. Spencer CDC also helped create the advertising to get the public to take the shot.
  • 29:49
    Adam: That'd be read to you from one of your own agencies. memos planning the campaign to urge Americans to take the shot. The swine flu vaccine has been taken by many important persons He wrote, example, President Ford, Henry Kissinger, elton john, Muhammad Ali,
  • 30:05
    John: Mary Tyler Moore,
  • 30:07
    Adam: Rudolph an array of Walter Cronkite, Ralph Nader, Edward Kennedy, et cetera,
  • 30:11
    Unknown: et cetera. True.
  • 30:14
    I'm not familiar with that particular piece of paper. But I do know that at least of that group, President Ford to take
  • 30:20
    Adam: the vaccination, did you talk to these people beforehand to find out if they plan to take this? I
  • 30:24
    John: did not know that anybody? I do not
  • 30:26
    Adam: know. Did you get permission to use their names in your campaign?
  • 30:29
    John: I do not know. Mary, did
  • 30:33
    Unknown: you take a swine flu shot? No,
  • 30:35
    I did not.
  • 30:36
    John: Did you give them permission to use your name saying that you
  • 30:39
    Unknown: had or we're going to absolutely not? Never did?
  • 30:42
    Adam: Did you ask your own doctor about taking this one flu shot? Yes. And
  • 30:45
    Unknown: at the time, he thought it might be a good idea.
  • 30:49
    But I resisted it because I was leery of having the symptoms that sometimes go with that kind of inoculation.
  • 30:54
    So you didn't know I didn't? Have you
  • 30:57
    John: spoken to your doctor said yes. And
  • 30:59
    Unknown: he's delighted that I didn't take that shot.
  • 31:01
    Adam: I never heard that part with the celebrities.
  • 31:03
    John: I didn't either.
  • 31:05
    Adam: This Mary Tyler Moore. She's like, no, they just use my name. This just reset it. That's pretty outrageous. They were already powerful then. And notice that she didn't say I sued them over that. Or I objected.
  • 31:18
    Unknown: Hmm.
  • 31:19
    Adam: There was I think
  • 31:21
    John: this was in the 70s. I think 7676 is when? Yep. And which is the first swine flu trial balloon. And so people didn't hear this original big clip, it turned out that the whole thing was a giant scam. Yes. And these shots were it was a trial run. I think they did it and they tried to the swine flu again, during our era of the no agenda show the no agenda era. Yeah. And they, you know, they keep you know, they keep working on this. And they've got it down now. And I think I'm a bit wiser I should show the way.
  • 32:00
    Adam: Well, there was some counter programming, and it was from a local Nashville news program.
  • 32:06
    Unknown: And here is the story. Brandi Parker McFadden is confined to her hospital bed at Vanderbilt to walk right back No.
  • 32:14
    Less than 24 hours after receiving her second Pfizer COVID shot, she explains that she lost her ability to move from her shoulders down. I thought maybe if anything, I'd probably get like flu like symptoms, because I'd already had COVID. But I've never in a million years thought I would never be able to get up and go to the bathroom, or get up and walk
  • 32:37
    out the room or
  • 32:39
    save up. My kids. The usually active mother of three is speaking out not with the intent of causing fear and not saying don't get your vaccine. I'm just saying that COVID is really real and still really new. She continues including the vaccine, which is why she feels that any possible adverse side effect should be investigated. Even if it is extremely rare. There's been I don't know how many people have been vaccinated and then fine, right. But we have to tell everything otherwise, we will get nowhere in this thing of COVID
  • 33:13
    Adam: All right, wow. I can't believe that they're doing that. And they did reach out to Pfizer for comment.
  • 33:19
    Unknown: In the meantime, Brandy is focused on the positive. I have gotten some movement my toes which is great. She will start intensive physical therapy this week. Alex Dennis news too.
  • 33:30
    We reached out to Pfizer, the company spoke to us by phone they said they are closely monitoring side effects and released a statement would read in part. To date more than 200 million people around the world have been
  • 33:42
    vaccinated with our vaccine. It is important to note that serious adverse events that are unrelated to the vaccine
  • 33:50
    are likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population
  • 33:54
    Adam: as you just your body was defective young lady We're sorry. It's your bodies your body your problem your body your your fault. It's unrelated to say
  • 34:03
    John: reshot, I say I reached out to Pfizer for more advertising money. So I think that's gonna start happening. By the way. That's the way the media operates.
  • 34:14
    Adam: So it was phenomenal to see four different publications with the following type story. Atlantic magazine, the hot person vaccine, the internet has decided that Pfizer is significantly cooler than materna
  • 34:32
    John: Hmm, that's an Atlantic. Uh huh. Under the technology magazine, he has fallen from grace. It's that is pandering to an extreme. That whole article needs to be at is unbelievable, but it doesn't surprise me Atlantic, which is owned by Lauren jobs and is run by a bunch of liberal douchebags. It's a horrible magazine. The whole article is worth
  • 34:55
    Adam: reading and the bottom line is and from the Atlantic The problem is white Republicans. That's the problem. That's why we're all gonna die because what and this it says it's usa today did the same thing. White Republicans, and all of a sudden this is highly politicized. I think we identified from the get go how the media was politicizing this let's go to the next one Slate Magazine how Pfizer became the status Vax the double dose Pfizer elites insists they're joking. Not everyone is so sure. You see this is this, I think is native advertising from Pfizer.
  • 35:35
    John: Slate is the washington post to get Bay Sherwin knows
  • 35:38
    Adam: Yahoo News. from NBC there they kind of republish only hot people get the Pfizer vaccine. vaccine rivalries descend onto Tick Tock Hello Pfizer marketing and the final one is the new york times when vaccines become an internet personality test. Yeah, if you have the Pfizer you're cool you're happening you're a good influencer because that's where the money is.
  • 36:06
    John: I mean, if you're writing native advertising, it has to be native to far over the top not to be
  • 36:12
    Adam: caught was this one this was this also from the Atlantic online now this is from a USA Today. No, that's the today show. People were both show. The Today Show today, today and the today show. Yeah,
  • 36:29
    John: yeah. The today's show
  • 36:30
    Adam: Coleman. People wear black or bear ball gowns black tie to get vaccines quote, biggest event of my lifetime. I mean, when you propagate this stuff on
  • 36:40
    Unknown: Crocker shit,
  • 36:43
    Adam: it starts to work. Yeah, this this was Oh, yeah, this was actually the one you want to get the vaccine to fight fogo which is fear of going out as a new one you see. Fight fogo with the Vax. This is the Atlantic article that was so egregious. So it was this one the I do a photo from my yogo the anti vaccine influencers who are merely asking questions, and this is pretty much about Tucker Carlson I would say they got a real hard on for him.
  • 37:19
    John: Do they hate him?
  • 37:20
    Adam: Oh my gosh, they want him so so gone. So gone. Alright, let's, let's go to our favorite topic. What is happening in India and this clip is related. I By the way, do you
  • 37:33
    John: have a rundown? I want to get out of the way.
  • 37:35
    Adam: Well, let me let me do the intro clip. And then you get your rundown.
  • 37:39
    Unknown: There's growing fear and desperation for 1000s of Australians tonight over the government's threat to jail or fine anyone who tries to come home from India. The Treasurer insists as a temporary measure, but it's left many feeling abandoned in a country where the crisis is only deepening. India Today recorded more than 400,000 new COVID cases.
  • 38:04
    Adam: It wasn't that long ago when Australian passport was like a gold a guarantee of protection. But as of last night if an Australian citizen in India tries to come home, our government is threatening to lock them up I really need to put in place the secure measures with respect to people coming from India to Australia. Travel is forbidden from India as the country faces or COVID catastrophe aliens who try to get around the band by transiting through other countries face five years jail a $66,000 fine or both a measure never imposed when the US or UK were in a similar bars I play that just to show the severity of the global system coming together to make this sound really bad with a lot of cases. k cases
  • 38:58
    John: all right but let's say you discuss that to an extreme in the last night this is pathetic that would clip you just played the Australian should be up in arms. Yeah. What kind of what what what's the value of your citizenship if you're an Australian citizenship if they like out of your own country?
  • 39:15
    Adam: Well, it's like they they lock people up in their own country too. I think they already kind of figured out what the value is. I mean I have only two clips regarding this so you do whatever you want.
  • 39:27
    John: I have my clips about India and
  • 39:30
    Adam: I'm saying that my case cases cases my clips are about India too. That's what I'm saying. Oh, I don't really have the oh let's do
  • 39:37
    John: this. Just a rundown is pretty good. You're gonna have a getting kicked out of it. This is COVID. India update one.
  • 39:45
    Unknown: India's recorded 3500 new Coronavirus deaths record 386,000 new confirmed cases, as the world's second most populous nation faces a catastrophic collapse of its health care. And with hospitals running out of beds and oxygen, Is