1347: Big Caffeine

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 17m
May 16th, 2021
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VAERS
Ophthalmologists Now Ethically Obligated to Denounce Covid-19 Vaccines, as 20,000 New Eye Disorders Are Reported - Stillness in the Storm
Sun, 16 May 2021 12:33
05/14/2021 By Stillness in the Storm Leave a Comment
(Lance D Johnson) In just a few months, the World Health Organization received approximately 20,000 reports of new eye disorders that occurred post covid-19 vaccination. These reports include 303 cases of blindness and 1,625 cases of visual impairment! The European drug monitoring agency had never recorded such a severe spike in eye injuries until after the experimental vaccines were launched. These reports were collected by VigiBase and analyzed by the Uppsala Monitoring Centre in Uppsalla, Sweden.
Related CDC Reports 1,095 Deaths Following Experimental COVID Vaccines While UK Government Reports 294 Deaths
Source '' Natural News
by Lance D Johnson, May 5th, 2021
About half of the new eye disorders were additionally reported to the U.K.'s Yellow Card adverse event reporting system, which was set up to monitor the influx of adverse events that were anticipated during this live, experimental vaccine study. Back in 2020, the vaccine makers had already entered into liability-free contracts with governments around the world. This has enabled mass vaccine injury with no recourse or accountability and set up the framework for a historic, worldwide holocaust.
Ophthalmologists need more training to properly recognize and report vaccine injuryThese experimental vaccines are designed to cause inflammation throughout the body, by reprogramming human cells to produce inflammatory spike proteins that are derived from the bio-weapon itself. Eye damage is merely a symptom of this inflammation, a sign of more serious problems to come with capillaries and autoimmune issues. The inflammatory conditions caused by the vaccines provide a new revenue stream for various industries within the medical system, including ophthalmology.
With mounting evidence of eye injury post-vaccination, ophthalmologists are ethically obligated to denounce these covid-19 vaccines. The vaccines are causing acute eye injuries at scale and are an underlying cause of inflammation for future eye disorders and other health problems. However, ophthalmologists are not properly trained to recognize, diagnose and report vaccine injury.
When the U.S. FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization for these experimental 'vaccines', they did not mention eye disorders specifically. In their fact sheet, they warn, ''additional adverse reactions, some of which may be serious, may become apparent with more widespread use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.''
In the UK's Yellow Card System, vaccine-induced eye damage includes 4,616 cases of severe eye pain, 3,839 cases of blurred vision, 1,808 cases of light intolerance, and 559 cases of double vision. These issues were not prevalent until the vaccine was used. Some of the eye issues are mild but could be a sign of more serious issues within the cardiovascular or nervous systems. There were 768 cases of eye irritation, 731 cases of itchy eyes, 788 cases of ocular hyperemia, 459 cases of eye strain, 400 cases of dry eye, and 653 cases of increased lacrimation.
The covid vaccine holocaust is destroying people's hearing and visionMore serious issues of swelling were documented as well, including swelling around the eye (366 incidences), swelling of the eyelid (360 incidences) eyelid oedema (298) conjunctival haemorrhage or breakage of a small eye vessel (236), periorbital oedema (171), and eye haemorrhage (169). The swelling can be indicative of more serious cerebral, spinal, and/or cardiovascular issues. Blood clots and nervous system disorders are a commonly reported adverse event. The eye disorders provide a window of opportunity to understand just how severe the inflammation is. Ophthalmologists are able to identify early signs of vaccine-induced brain swelling, cardiovascular issues and stroke to help patients seek emergency care before the patient becomes another casualty to these horrid vaccines.
One 33-year-old pilot had severe migraines and sudden vision problems following the Pfizer vaccine. The pain migrated down the back of his neck toward the bottom of his skull. The pain lasted for several days and was accompanied by dizziness, nausea, disorientation, confusion, uncontrollable shaking, and tingling in his toes and fingers. He was ultimately evaluated by doctors. The Pfizer COVID vaccine had increased the pressure in his spinal cord and brain stem, rupturing his left inner ear, and damaging his eyesight.
Stillness in the Storm Editor: Why did we post this?
The news is important to all people because it is where we come to know new things about the world, which leads to the development of more life goals that lead to life wisdom. The news also serves as a social connection tool, as we tend to relate to those who know about and believe the things we do. With the power of an open truth-seeking mind in hand, the individual can grow wise and the collective can prosper.
'' Justin
Not sure how to make sense of this? Want to learn how to discern like a pro? Read this essential guide to discernment, analysis of claims, and understanding the truth in a world of deception: 4 Key Steps of Discernment '' Advanced Truth-Seeking Tools.
Stillness in the Storm Editor's note: Did you find a spelling error or grammatical mistake? Send an email to corrections@stillnessinthestorm.com, with the error and suggested correction, along with the headline and url. Do you think this article needs an update? Or do you just have some feedback? Send us an email at sitsshow@gmail.com. Thank you for reading.
Source:
https://www.naturalnews.com/2021-05-05-ophthalmologists-now-ethically-obligated-denounce-covid-19-vaccines.html
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8,430 dead, 354,177 injuries following COVID-19 experimental 'vaccines' reported in Europe '' We the Pundit
Sun, 16 May 2021 13:43
ATTENTION: Improved Long-term Immune Function with Influenzinum CV30EudraVigilance, a European database of suspicious drug reaction cases, has reported 8,430 deaths and 354,177 injuries following injections of four experimental Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus (COVID-19) shots.
In a statement about their database, said that their report covers data collected through April 24, 2021, for four experimental vaccines currently in use in Europe from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson:
4,524 of the 8,430 deaths were reported following Pfizer vaccine injections, and 184,833 of the 354,177 injuries following AstraZeneca vaccine injections, according to EudraVigilance, which monitors reports of accidents and deaths related to the experimental CCP Virus vaccines.
The following is a rundown of the data through April 24:
Total reactions for the experimental mRNA vaccine Tozinameran (code BNT162b2, Comirnaty) from BioNTech/Pfizer: 4,524 deaths and 151,306 injuries
11,191 Blood and lymphatic system disorders incl. 40 deaths7,372 Cardiac disorders incl. 522 deaths50 Congenital, familial and genetic disorders incl. Three deaths4,183 Ear and labyrinth disorders incl. Three deaths112 Endocrine disorders4,629 Eye disorders incl. Six deaths33,33 Gastrointestinal disorders incl. 227 deaths103,813General disorders and administration site conditions incl. 1459 deaths214 Hepatobiliary disorders incl. 16 deaths3,338 Immune system disorders incl. 20 deaths10,160 Infections and infestations incl. 527 deaths3,950 Injury, poisoning, and procedural complications incl. 89 deaths7,595 Investigations incl. 168 deaths2,564 Metabolism and nutrition disorders incl. 91 deaths53,714 Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders incl. 47 deaths150 Neoplasms benign, malignant, and unspecified (incl cysts and polyps) incl. Seven deaths65,745 Nervous system disorders incl. 425 deaths192 Pregnancy, puerperium, and perinatal conditions incl. Seven deaths80 Product issues6,008 Psychiatric disorders incl. 63 deaths938 Renal and urinary disorders incl. 66 deaths994 Reproductive system and breast disorders incl. One death13,954 Respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders incl. 523 deaths16,171 Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders incl. 35 deaths438 Social circumstances incl. Six deaths124 Surgical and medical procedures incl. Eight deaths8,220 Vascular disorders incl. 165 deathsTotal reactions for the experimental mRNA vaccine mRNA-1273 (CX-024414) from Moderna: 2,283 deaths and 17,625 injuries
839 Blood and lymphatic system disorders incl. 16 deaths1,278 Cardiac disorders incl. 231 deaths7 Congenital, familial, and genetic disorders incl. 2 deaths378 Ear and labyrinth disorders23 Endocrine disorders incl. One death570 Eye disorders incl. Three deaths3,857 Gastrointestinal disorders incl. 80 deaths12,513 General disorders and administration site conditions incl. 1012 deaths77 Hepatobiliary disorders incl. Three deaths476 Immune system disorders incl. Three deaths1,449 Infections and infestations incl. 118 deaths803 Injury, poisoning, and procedural complications incl. 44 deaths1,087 Investigations incl. 60 deaths515 Metabolism and nutrition disorders incl. 47 deaths5,669 Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders incl. 47 deaths48 Neoplasms benign, malignant, and unspecified (incl cysts and polyps) incl. Eight deaths7,489 Nervous system disorders incl. 244 deaths50 Pregnancy, puerperium, and perinatal conditions8 Product issues862 Psychiatric disorders incl. 31 deaths299 Renal and urinary disorders incl. 23 deaths106 Reproductive system and breast disorders incl. One death2,198 Respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders incl. 197 deaths2,163 Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders incl. 19 deaths162 Social circumstances incl. Six deaths109 Surgical and medical procedures incl. 13 deaths1,166 Vascular disorders incl. 74 deathsTotal reactions for the experimental vaccine AZD1222 (CHADOX1 NCOV-19) from Oxford/AstraZeneca: 1,579 deaths and 184,833 injuries
5,319 Blood and lymphatic system disorders incl. 64 deaths7,374 Cardiac disorders incl. 199 deaths76 Congenital, familial and genetic disorders incl. 2 deaths5,011 Ear and labyrinth disorders155 Endocrine disorders incl. 2 deaths7,922 Eye disorders incl. Five deaths56,473 Gastrointestinal disorders incl. 62 deaths141,042General disorders and administration site conditions incl. 495 deaths248 Hepatobiliary disorders incl. 13 deaths1,837 Immune system disorders incl. Seven deaths10,631 Infections and infestations incl. 99 deaths4,341 Injury, poisoning, and procedural complications incl. 18 deaths9,798 Investigations incl. 21 deaths6,977 Metabolism and nutrition disorders incl. 18 deaths82,522 Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders incl. 16 deaths144 Neoplasms benign, malignant, and unspecified (incl cysts and polyps) incl. 4 deaths111,873Nervous system disorders incl. 244 deaths108 Pregnancy, puerperium, and perinatal conditions52 Product issues9,514 Psychiatric disorders incl. 12 deaths1,745 Renal and urinary disorders incl. 11 deaths2,076 Reproductive system and breast disorders15,824 Respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders incl. 171 deaths23,168 Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders incl. 10 deaths364 Social circumstances incl. Three deaths383 Surgical and medical procedures incl. 12 deaths8,706 Vascular disorders incl. 91 deathsTotal reactions for the experimental COVID-19 vaccine JANSSEN (AD26.COV2.S) from Johnson & Johnson: 44 deaths and 413 injuries
11 Blood and lymphatic system disorders45 Cardiac disorders incl. 10 deaths1 Congenital, a familial and genetic disorder20 Ear and labyrinth disorders1 Endocrine disorder20 Eye disorders109 Gastrointestinal disorders incl. One death235 General disorders and administration site conditions incl. 14 deaths3 Hepatobiliary disorders18 Immune system disorders44 Infections and infestations incl. 2 deaths34 Injury, poisoning, and procedural complications incl. One death61 Investigations19 Metabolism and nutrition disorders incl. One death95 Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders incl. One death232 Nervous system disorders incl. Three deaths3 Product issues45 Psychiatric disorders11 Renal and urinary disorders5 Reproductive system and breast disorders80 Respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders incl. Three deaths50 Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders5 Social circumstances3 Surgical and medical procedures96 Vascular disorders incl. Eight deathsThis data is provided by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and anybody can check it using the EudraVigilance framework.
The use of AstraZeneca's experimental CCP Virus shots has been effectively halted in Denmark and Norway.
According to a Norwegian Institute of Public Health statement, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 ''vaccine'' is riskier than the virus itself, particularly for young people.
Article Source: 8,430 dead, 354,177 injuries following COVID-19 experimental 'vaccines' reported in Europe | The BL
1,000 Lawyers and 10,000 Doctors Have Filed a Lawsuit for Violations of the Nuremberg Code | Soren Dreier
Sat, 15 May 2021 19:29
Please notice: Auto translated from Swedish.-SD
Background to the new Nuremberg Trials 2021 :
A large team of more than 1,000 lawyers and over 10,000 medical experts, led by Dr. Reiner Fuellmich, has initiated legal proceedings against the CDC, WHO and the Davos Group for crimes against humanity.
Fuellmich and his team present the incorrect PCR test and the order for doctors to describe any comorbidity death as a Covid death '' as fraud.
The PCR test was never designed to detect pathogens and is 100% inaccurate at 35 cycles. All PCR tests monitored by the CDC are set at 37 to 45 cycles. The CDC acknowledges that tests over 28 cycles are not allowed for a positive reliable result.
This invalidates over 90% of the alleged Covid cases / ''infections'' detected by the use of this incorrect test.
In addition to the incorrect tests and fraudulent death certificates, the ''experimental'' vaccine itself violates Article 32 of the Geneva Convention.
Under Article 32 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, ''mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not required for the medical treatment of a protected person'' are prohibited.
According to Article 147, conducting biological experiments on protected persons is a serious breach of the Convention.
The ''experimental'' vaccine violates all 10 Nuremberg codes '' which carry the death penalty for those who try to break these international laws.
1) Provides immunity to the virus
This is a ''leaky'' gene therapy that does not provide immunity to Covid and claims that they reduce the symptoms, but double-vaccinated are now 60% of patients who need ER or ICU with covid infections.
2) Protects the recipients from getting the virus
This gene therapy does not provide immunity and the double vaccine can still catch and spread the virus.
3) Reduces deaths due to viral infection
This gene therapy does not reduce deaths from the infection. Double-vaccinated people infected with Covid have also died.
4) Reduces the circulation of the virus
This gene therapy still allows the virus to spread because it gives zero immunity to the virus.
5) Reduces the transmission of the virus
This gene therapy still allows transmission of the virus because it does not confer immunity to the virus.
The following violations of the Nuremberg Code apply:
Nuremberg Code # 1: Voluntary consent is important
No person should be forced to take a medical experiment without informed consent.
Many media, political and non-medical people urge people to take the injection.
They do not provide information about the negative effects or dangers of this gene therapy. All you hear from them is '' ''safe and effective'' and ''the benefits outweigh the risks.''
Countries use blockades, coercion and threats to force people to take this vaccine or are banned from participating in free society under the mandate of a vaccine pass or Green Pass.
During the Nuremberg trials, the media were also prosecuted and members were killed for lying to the public, along with many of the doctors and Nazis found guilty of crimes against humanity.
Nuremberg Code # 2: Yields with fruitful results that cannot be produced by other means
As mentioned above, gene therapy does not meet the criteria for a vaccine and does not offer immunity to the virus. There are other medical treatments that give fruitful results against Covid, such as Ivermectin, vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc and strengthened immune system for flu and colds.
Nuremberg Code # 3: Basic experiments as a result of animal experiments and natural history disease
This gene therapy skipped animal experiments and went directly to human experiments.
In mRNA research used by Pfizer '' a candidate study on mRNA with rhesus macaques monkeys using BNT162b2 mRNA and in that study all monkeys developed pneumonia but the researchers considered the risk low because these were young healthy monkeys from 2-4 years of age.
Israel has used Pfizer and the International Court of Justice has accepted a requirement that 80% of recipients with pneumonia should be injected with this gene therapy.
Despite this alarming development, Pfizer continued to develop its mRNA for Covid, without animal testing.
Nuremberg Code # 4: Avoid all unnecessary suffering and injury
Since the launch of the experiment and listed under the CDC VAERS reporting system, over 4,000 deaths and 50,000 vaccine injuries have been reported in the United States. In the EU, more than 7,000 deaths and 365,000 vaccine injuries have been reported. This is a serious violation of this code.
Nuremberg Code # 5: No experiment should be performed if there is reason to believe that injury or death will occur
See No. 4, based on fact-based medical data, this gene therapy causes death and injury. Previous research on mRNA also shows several risks that have been ignored for this current experimental gene experiment. A 2002 study of SARS-CoV-1 nail proteins showed that they cause inflammation, immunopathology, blood clots and inhibit Angiotensin 2 expression. This experiment forces the body to produce this nail protein that inherits all these risks.
Nuremberg Code # 6: The risk should never exceed the benefit
Covid-19 has a recovery rate of 98-99%. Vaccine damage, death, and adverse side effects of mRNA gene therapy far outweigh this risk.
The use of ''leaky'' vaccines was banned for agricultural use by the US and the EU due to the Marek Chicken study which shows ''hot viruses'' and variants appear'... make the disease even more deadly.
Nevertheless, this has been ignored for human use by the CDC aware that the risk of new, more deadly variants arises from leaky vaccinations. The CDC is fully aware that the use of leaky vaccines facilitates the emergence of hotter (more deadly) strains. Yet they have ignored this when it comes to humans
Nuremberg Code # 7: Preparations must be made for even remote possibilities of injury, disability or death
No preparations were made. This gene therapy skipped animal experiments. The pharmaceutical companies' own clinical phase 3 studies will not end until 2022/2023. These vaccines were approved in an emergency
Use only action to force on a misinformed public. They are NOT FDA approved.
Nuremberg Code # 8: Experiments must be carried out by scientifically qualified persons
Politicians, the media and actors who claim that this is a safe and effective vaccine are not qualified. Propaganda is not medical science.
Many stores such as Walmart & drive-through vaccine centers are not qualified to administer experimental medical gene therapies to the uninformed public.
Nuremberg Code # 9: Everyone must have the freedom to end the experiment at any time
Despite the call from over 85,000 doctors, nurses, virologists and epidemiologists '' the experiment does not end. In fact, there are currently many attempts to change laws to enforce vaccine compliance.
This includes mandatory and mandatory vaccinations. Experimental ''sprayers'' are planned every six months without using the growing number of deaths and injuries already caused by this experiment.
These update images will be administered without any clinical trials. Hopefully, this new Nuremberg trial will put an end to this crime against humanity.
Nuremberg Code # 10: The researcher must terminate the experiment at any time if there is a probable cause for injury or death
It is clear from statistical reporting data that this experiment leads to death and injury. But not all politicians, pharmaceutical companies and so-called experts make any attempt to stop this gene therapy experiment from harming a misinformed public.
Legal proceedings are progressing, evidence has been gathered and a large growing group of experts is sounding the alarm.
Source
Related (May 15):
Tucker Calls for Criminal Probe of Fauci'...
Every Time We Follow the Money it Leads us to Bill Gates
Soren Dreier '' Services
Covid Archive
Why is the Nuremberg Code being used to oppose Covid-19 vaccines? - Full Fact
Sat, 15 May 2021 19:58
13 May 2021 | Pippa Allen-Kinross
As the UK Covid-19 vaccine roll out has gathered pace, and the use of ''vaccine passports'' continue to be debated, an increasing number of social media users are voicing their opposition to these moves and claiming they are an infringement of their rights under the Nuremberg Code.
The Nuremberg Code is a set of ethical research principles, developed in the wake of Nazi atrocities'--specifically the inhumane and often fatal experimentation on human subjects without consent'--during World War Two.
We spoke to experts in medical ethics, healthcare law and social epidemiology about the Nuremberg Code and whether its principles are applicable to the current vaccine roll out or vaccine passports. We also discussed whether the code is legally binding and the darker links the claims seem to draw between the current pandemic and the Nazi era.
What is the Nuremberg Code?The Nuremberg Code was created in 1947 in Nuremberg, Germany, following the trial of a group of Nazi doctors accused of conducting inhumane and often deadly experiments on prisoners of concentration camps without their consent. At the conclusion of what's also referred to as 'The Doctors Trial', 16 people were found guilty.
The Nuremberg Code was developed in response to the horrors of this experimentation, with the aim of protecting human subjects in medical research. The Code, and particularly its emphasis on informed consent, has had a profound impact on international human rights law and medical ethics.
The Nuremberg Code consists of 10 principles, the first of which being that the voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential in any experiment on humans.
Other principles include that the experiment should be for the good of society, that all unnecessary physical and mental suffering or injury should be avoided and no experiment should be conducted if there is good reason to believe it may result in death or a disabling injury.
They also say that the human subject should be free to exit the experiment if they are suffering, and that the scientist in charge must be prepared to end the experiment if they have good reason to believe it may cause injury, disability or death to the subject if it continues.
The Nuremberg Code and Covid-19 vaccinesWe have seen several examples of posts on social media claiming that Covid-19 vaccines violate the Nuremberg Code because they are somehow ''experimental'' and, as people receiving the vaccines are not made aware of this, they are unable to give their informed consent.
This claim that the Covid-19 vaccines are experimental is simply not true, and something we have corrected multiple times. The three Covid vaccines currently given temporary authorisation for use in the UK have been shown to be safe and effective in large scale clinical trials.
Dr Alexis Paton, lecturer in social epidemiology and the sociology of health at Aston University, Birmingham, told Full Fact that the Nuremberg Code is ''very specifically about experimentation'' and so although its principles would be applicable when discussing clinical vaccine trials, it is no longer relevant once a vaccine has been authorised.
She said: ''The Nuremberg Code is about the active experimentation on humans, for the most part during some sort of clinical trial of some description. So when we talk about Pfizer or AstraZeneca [vaccines], we're out of the auspices of the Nuremberg Code because this is a product that has been trialled, with appropriate ethics in place, and has been approved and is now in production and being used globally.''
Informed consent is still required for those receiving the Covid-19 or any other vaccine. But Professor Emma Cave, professor of healthcare law at Durham University, explained that the need for this does not come from the Nuremberg Code.
She said: ''The Nuremberg Code relates to research, where the emphasis of informed consent requirements is on preventing the research participants from being used as a means to an end.
''Informed consent for treatment serves a slightly different purpose. It prevents a battery or negligence, and protects the autonomy rights of the patient. So informed consent is doing slightly different things in relation to research and treatment.''
Arguments that the vaccines are experimental usually hinge on the fact that data is being collected on any side effects in recipients, although it is normal that authorities continue to monitor the safety of all vaccines once they are approved. Data on the long term protection and safety of the Covid-19 will continue to be collected over the coming years.
Dr Julian Sheather, special advisor in ethics and human rights to the British Medical Association, told Full Fact it would be ''impossible'' and ''unethical'' to roll out any medical intervention without collecting data on it.
''It's true of all drugs. The same would be true of something like [the anti-depressant] Prozac. There will still be people out there gathering data. Are we going to say that every single drug in circulation is an experiment?''
Other claims about the 'experimental' nature of the vaccines hinge on the fact they were given temporary authorisation to allow them to be distributed faster (although the vaccines still went through extensive clinical testing) and the fact the vaccines were developed so quickly (thanks in part to extra funding made available and ongoing work from before the pandemic).
The Nuremberg Code and vaccine passportsAt the time of writing, the government has said that people who have had both doses of the vaccine can use the NHS app (separate to the NHS Covid-19 app) to demonstrate proof of vaccination when travelling to another country, if the country requires it. No other firm plans for 'vaccine passports' to gain access to certain places or events within the UK have been confirmed by the government, but discussion of their potential use has proved controversial.
A number of posts on social media have claimed that vaccine passports are a violation of the Nuremberg Code, on the grounds that if you have to have a vaccine in order to do something like travel or work, you are not actually consenting but are being forced.
Professor Cave said the Nuremberg Code was not relevant to vaccine passports. ''You could still say it's unethical or it's problematic, but not by focusing on the Nuremberg Code. It's not an experimental product in that context.
''If restrictions are applied in relation to those who haven't been vaccinated against Covid, consideration needs to be taken of the potential impact on people's ability to choose freely and on the possibility that such a policy might discriminate against some groups within society.
''We should be debating these matters, but we need to be accurate about the principles that we're calling upon and the laws that we're calling upon when we're saying whether or not something is justifiable.''
Dr Paton told Full Fact: ''The Nuremberg Code is all about experimental subjects' rights and the responsibilities of those doing the experiment. A vaccine passport is a policy document.
''It's not unprecedented either. For example, anyone who has ever travelled to a lot of the countries in Africa knows that you won't be granted a visa if you don't have proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination. But that's not experimentation. That has nothing to do with us being human subjects of a trial of any kind. It's about the government and politics.''
Is following the Nuremberg Code a legal requirement?Although the Nuremberg Code is not relevant in the case of the current vaccine roll out or vaccine passports, there is still the question of whether a government could be forced by law, to halt or alter its vaccine programme if it is found to be in violation of the Code's principles.
Professor Cave told Full Fact: ''The Code isn't and wasn't legally binding. It's not legally enforceable, it's a guideline rather than law.
''But it is really important because it's a blueprint for many of today's legal and ethical standards, internationally and nationally [...] the Nuremberg Code isn't legally enforceable in itself, but its legacy has changed the way research is conducted and safeguarded to protect the human rights of research participants.''
We've seen multiple claims that various groups are attempting to take legal action using the Nuremberg Code over vaccination. Some international claims about this have already been fact checked. One is that a complaint has been filed with the International Criminal Court against the Israeli government, arguing that its vaccination programme is in violation of the Nuremberg Code, although Reuters has recently disproved claims that the court has ''accepted'' this allegation. Similarly, reports that a Canadian court ruled that anyone who tries to force someone to be vaccinated can be prosecuted under the Nuremberg Code have been debunked.
''Morally grotesque'' It is important to note that the Nuremberg Code is not the only set of ethical guidelines for human experimentation. For example, social media users could have drawn on the more recent Declaration of Helsinki (adopted in 1964, last updated 2013), UNESCO's Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005) or the International Ethical Guidelines for Health-Related Research Involving Humans (fourth version published 2016) to make similar (albeit also incorrect) claims.
But what is specific to the Nuremberg Code is the direct association with the atrocities committed by the Nazis during World War Two, and the emotional response this triggers. Although the social media posts don't explicitly say it, by evoking the Nuremberg Code to talk about the Covid-19 pandemic, they link the horrors of concentration camps to the current vaccine roll out.
Misinformation thrives when feelings are manipulated in this way, as claims which create an emotional response are most likely to be shared.
The Nuremberg Code would only be relevant at the research trial stage of a vaccine's development, not its roll out to the general public. But even then, experts told us they felt it would not be an appropriate link to draw.
Dr Paton said: ''I think it really does a disservice to people who volunteered to be part of the Covid-19 trials. The Nuremberg Code was developed because of really truly horrific atrocities that we found humans can inflict on other humans.
''And to compare volunteers who want to help develop a vaccine, where the risks have been mitigated and they are being closely monitored, with the decisions of Nazi doctors to perform experiments on humans without anaesthetic, without safety, without regard for whether the human subject lived or died, I think is really inappropriate.''
Dr Sheather added: ''It's terrible bad faith, to be honest with you. Because the Nuremberg trials were investigations into the most brutal forms of medical violation of human beings in the name of some form of research. These research subjects were tested to death and destruction.
''Drawing a link between this final roll out of these vaccines and what the Nazi doctors were doing is morally grotesque.''
It's right that medical ethics should be highly scrutinised, especially in cases like the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out where the process has been accelerated. However, it's important not to mix up the atrocities of the past with current debates about medicine and policy.
Full Fact fights bad informationBad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people's health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.
Canada CPSO forbid doctors to spread health misinformation
Adam, this one is almost unbelievable to me. The Canadian College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, posted this gag order on April 30.
Statement on Public Health Misinformation
4/30/2021
There have been isolated incidents of physicians using social media to spread blatant misinformation and undermine public health measures meant to protect all of us. In response, the College released the statement below. The statement is intended to focus on professional behaviour and is not intended to stifle a healthy public debate about how to best address aspects of the pandemic. Rather, our focus is on addressing those arguments that reject scientific evidence and seek to rouse emotions over reason. We continue to recognize the important roles physicians can play by advocating for change in a socially accountable manner.
CPSO Statement:
The College is aware and concerned about the increase of misinformation circulating on social media and other platforms regarding physicians who are publicly contradicting public health orders and recommendations. Physicians hold a unique position of trust with the public and have a professional responsibility to not communicate anti-vaccine, anti-masking, anti-distancing and anti-lockdown statements and/or promoting unsupported, unproven treatments for COVID-19. Physicians must not make comments or provide advice that encourages the public to act contrary to public health orders and recommendations. Physicians who put the public at risk may face an investigation by the CPSO and disciplinary action, when warranted. When offering opinions, physicians must be guided by the law, regulatory standards, and the code of ethics and professional conduct. The information shared must not be misleading or deceptive and must be supported by available evidence and science.
Regards,
Sir DezzyDood
Magneto genetics
Magnets sticking to arms
This is the scariest thing I've found so far with the magnets. Otherwise, personally I saw the magnet thing work twice and not work twice. Both times it worked were Moderna and the two that didn't one was Pfizer and the other J&J. One I saw live, 3 others via FaceTime. This is a very interesting study.
https://galaxysd.github.io/assets/images/2015/Magnetogenetics.pdf
Positive Vibes: Scientists Control Mouse Brains With Magnets | Discover Magazine
Sat, 15 May 2021 16:16
(Credit: Awe Inspiring Images/Shutterstock) A little magnetism unleashed a wave of positive vibes for mice in the lab. Scientists at the University of Virginia developed a technique that uses magnets to control the brains of living mice. Researchers created a hybrid gene '-- they called it Magneto '-- that produces proteins in brain cells that are responsive to magnets. Whenever Magneto-engineered rodents wandered into a magnetic field, the invisible force activated the pleasure centers in their brains. Researchers believe magnetic mind control represents a noninvasive way to manipulate neural pathways and study brain function. It's also, they say, a first step toward developing ''magneto-genetic'' therapies to someday treat brain disorders.
Positive Vibrations To engineer Magneto, researchers used a viral vector to implant a gene that produces ferritin, a protein that stores iron in the body, into the TRPV4 gene, which encodes a calcium protein that helps relay messages in the brain. The hybrid gene produced proteins that were response to weak magnetic fields. Then, the team gathered six mice with the Magneto gene and six without it, and placed them into an enclosure with a magnetic field present at only one end. The engineered mice expressed the Magneto gene in neurons that controlled the release of dopamine '-- the chemical responsible for pleasurable feelings.
Michael Wheeler, left, and Ali Deniz G¼ler engineered a synthetic gene that, used in conjunction with a magnetic field, allows them to control neural circuits. (Credit: Dan Addison/UVA) As expected, the modified mice clustered at the end of the enclosure with the magnetic field '-- it yanked open their pleasure-inducing dopamine channels '-- while the control group milled about at random. When the magnetic field was turned off, modified mice weren't particularly interested in the magnetized side of the cage. Researchers confirmed their findings by measuring brain activity in the modified neurons. They found that Magneto-enhanced neurons fired when mice crossed into a magnetic field, confirming the link between magnetism and neuron activation. ''We may have discovered a major step toward developing a 'dream tool' for remotely controlling neural circuits, by manipulating specific cells using engineered gene products that respond to magnets,'' said Ali G¼ler, a UVA biology professor who led the study, in a statement . They published their research Monday in Nature Neuroscience .
Magnetic Twist on Optogenetics The Magneto method is similar to optogenetics, a technique that genetically modifies brain cells to make them sensitive to light. By flashing lights on brain cells designed to produce light-sensitive proteins, researchers can activate and deactivate specific neural pathways. Optogenetics has one drawback: It requires invasive procedures to implant fiber-optic cables in the brain. This is both inconvenient and time-consuming, and presents an impediment for eventual use in humans. By making neurons receptive to magnetism, the researchers' system requires no surgery at all. For now, the researchers hope to use the technique to study brain development and function. By manipulating targeted parts of the brain, they can determine what, exactly, targeted neurons do. But in the future, researchers see potential therapeutic benefits of magnetic mind control. ''If we can use gene therapy to exert control over neurons, the potential exists to modify or eliminate the effects of certain neurological diseases by controlling ill-firing neural networks. Our method may be one possible approach,'' says G¼ler.
Adverse reaction payoff
my daughter just shared this.. her close friend a (21 y old male) got the 2nd shot and had the pfizer shot after the 2nd shot 4 days ago he had a bad reaction fever / vomiting/ and finally his throat started to constrict and had hard time breathing.. after being treated at hospital in Michigan The hospital gave him $10k and signed a contract to not mention/discuss on social media..
Eric Clapton after COVID vaccination: 'I should never have gone near the needle' - Frontline News
Fri, 14 May 2021 13:15
Monotti Protocol Producer Robin Monotti Graziadei today forwarded a message he received from singer Eric Clapton in which Clapton reports adverse reactions he suffered after submitting to the shot, regrets having undergone the procedure, and asks, "where have all the rebels gone?"
The message reads:
I am an old timer, I have survived, with great help, addiction and alcoholism, and stand now in the greatest dilemma of my life...I have inwardly stood against our 'elected leaders' since brexit, intuitively doubting their integrity and character...With the arrival of C-19 I hoped that C Henegan, S Gupta and Jay B would lead the way, but when imperial college stepped up with their jailers key, I knew we were in deep trouble...I am a man of faith, albeit abstract, and what I felt and saw unfold in March '20 began to lead me away from govt rhetoric and the devotion of the general public to the PM and his cronies...I looked for heroes in the house, and found C Walker, Desmond Swayne, and in unfortunate retirement, Lord Sumption...On YouTube I found Hugotalks and Talk Radio... that was all....Then I was directed to Van M, that's when I found my voice, and even though I was singing his words, they echoed in my heart...I recorded ''stand and deliver'' in 2020, and was immediately regaled with contempt and scorn...In February this year, before I learned about the nature of the vaccines, (and being 76 with emphysema) I was in the avant garde. I took the first jab of AZ and straight away had severe reactions which lasted ten days, I recovered eventually and was told it would be twelve weeks before the second one...About six weeks later I was offered and took the second AZ shot, but with a little more knowledge of the dangers. Needless to say the reactions were disastrous, my hands and feet were either frozen, numb or burning, and pretty much useless for two weeks, I feared I would never play again, (I suffer with peripheral neuropathy and should never have gone near the needle.) But the propaganda said the vaccine was safe for everyone....Then I met a member of this group, who counselled me to be careful and to have a look at what goes on with you guys...I felt like a veil had been lifted, that I was no longer alone, that it was okay, in fact essential, to hold on to my intuition and follow my heart...I continue to tread the path of passive rebellion and try to tow the line in order to be able to actively love my family, but it's hard to bite my tongue with what I now know...I've recorded and will post here another song by Van called ''The Rebels'' it's not aggressive or provocative, it just asks;''Where have all the rebels gone?Hiding behind their computer screensWhere's the spirit, where is the soulWhere have all the rebels gone''I've been a rebel all my life, against tyranny and arrogant authority, which is what we have now, but I also crave fellowship, compassion and love, and that I find here...I believe with these things we can prevailEC"
Vaxxed or Masked
The White House on Twitter: "Big news from the CDC: If you're fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask '' indoors or outdoors, in most settings. We've gotten this far. Whether you choose to get vaccinated or wear a mask, please prote
Thu, 13 May 2021 20:55
The White House : Big news from the CDC: If you're fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask '' indoors or outdoors, in most se'... https://t.co/zlMMQfokJz
Thu May 13 18:18:43 +0000 2021
Firesighn : @WhiteHouse no thanks! people don't know whether or not I've been vaxxed so this can set their minds at ease! mask'... https://t.co/scYRTGdbz6
Thu May 13 20:55:50 +0000 2021
_Loading...ðŸ¤...🏾''‚¸ : @WhiteHouse Vaccinated people get CoVID-19 too. #CDC you're not thinking clearly enough. https://t.co/DOGFjbpSU1
Thu May 13 20:55:49 +0000 2021
Nick Jones : @WhiteHouse Haha never wore a mask or vaccinated still haven't got the governments disease lol must be protecting myself pretty well ðŸ'
Thu May 13 20:55:48 +0000 2021
Poggers : @WhiteHouse Good clickbait image lmao
Thu May 13 20:55:45 +0000 2021
G¶khan TÄ°RYAKÄ° : @WhiteHouse @KamalaHarris We want to Protect Kud¼s & Jerusalem.We are the Turkısh Peace Union.Give us Security Co'... https://t.co/ToNhUWNHTn
Thu May 13 20:55:42 +0000 2021
Never Infringed Upon : @WhiteHouse I don't care what they say. WEAR THE DAMN MASK!!!!
Thu May 13 20:55:37 +0000 2021
AFrazierHenson : @WhiteHouse Thanks I will keep wearing. Don't trust those that want to be dismissive of masks and vaccines to star'... https://t.co/j4OpJZbtRv
Thu May 13 20:55:35 +0000 2021
Coupon Padawan 🐼🧱 : @WhiteHouse #VaccinatedOrNot #ThisIsABigFuckingNoFromMe more #SuperSpreader #EventsIncoming #BlueTrumpStrikesAgain https://t.co/qSBhgssupr
Thu May 13 20:55:28 +0000 2021
723 Epidemiologists on When and How the U.S. Can Fully Return to Normal - The New York Times
Sun, 16 May 2021 11:45
Government mandates are lifting, but these experts say the pandemic won't really end nationally until more people, including children, are vaccinated.
May 15, 2021
Image In a survey, epidemiologists said the pandemic would not be over in the United States until children were vaccinated. A child looked out the window of a restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif., on Thursday. Credit... Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press Covid-19 cases are decreasing in the United States, and masks are no longer required everywhere, but the pandemic is not over '-- and won't be until younger children can also be vaccinated, epidemiologists said in a new survey by The New York Times.
The true end of the pandemic '-- when it becomes safer to return to most activities without precautions '-- will arrive once at least 70 percent of Americans of all ages are vaccinated, they said. Adolescents just began receiving vaccines this week, and those for children younger than 12 are not yet approved.
''Children are key to ending the pandemic,'' said David Celentano, the chair of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University and one of the 723 epidemiologists who participated in the survey this month.
They are optimistic this will happen, even if not as quickly as many Americans hope. In five years, they expect Covid-19 will be more like the flu, circulating at a lower rate and with some deaths every year '-- but no longer a public health crisis necessitating lockdowns.
''It feels like there is a light at the end of the tunnel,'' said Gretchen Bandoli, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. ''We have the tools we need to get there, and it feels within reach.''
Yet it's still unclear if the United States can reach that level of vaccination. And even as cases decline domestically, the global toll of Covid-19 is rising in parts of the world that have not had the same access to vaccines.
Already, Americans are beginning to be able to do things they had been advised to avoid for the last 14 months. The Biden administration said Thursday that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks in most places. (The survey was conducted over the last two weeks, before the mask announcement.)
In the survey, about 85 percent of respondents said it was likely that Americans would be able to safely gather for Fourth of July barbecues this summer, as President Biden has called for. A slightly higher share said it was likely that schools would be able to be fully open in the fall, and that families would be able to safely gather indoors for the winter holidays.
Still, the campaign to vaccinate more Americans cannot let up until children are protected, they said. Half of respondents said at least 80 percent of Americans, including children, would need to be vaccinated before it would be safe to do most activities without precautions. Though children are less likely than adults to develop severe cases of Covid-19, the scientists said their immunity was important because they could be hosts for the virus and a way for it to continue to circulate or develop new variants.
''Children cannot be left out of the equation as we reopen,'' said Corinne McDaniels-Davidson, the director of the San Diego State University Institute for Public Health. ''The ideas that they cannot transmit Covid or are immune from disease are pervasive among the lay public. We need education here.''
In assessing when the acute phase of the Covid pandemic could be considered over, they said vaccinations were more relevant than other metrics like new cases, hospitalizations or deaths (because an effective vaccination campaign would lower those rates, they said).
The country is not there yet. Nationwide, 36 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, and the pace of vaccinations has slowed.
Of the 723 epidemiologists who participated in the survey, 35 percent work for governments. The rest are mostly academics. The questionnaire was distributed to two major professional groups, the Society for Epidemiologic Research and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, as well as some individual scientists.
Image Andrew Lai, 12, received his vaccine in Los Angeles on Thursday, the first day that Covid vaccines were available for adolescents. Children under 12 are still not eligible. Credit... Frederic J. Brown/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images The decision to reopen states is based on many factors, including the decisions of governors and the considerations of business owners, and may not align with the recommendations of the survey respondents. Even before the C.D.C. announcement, about half of states had already dropped mask requirements or lifted capacity limits for large group settings, and more may follow suit in the coming days. Also, many public health professionals fear that such a high threshold of vaccinations '-- enough to reach so-called herd immunity '-- may not be achieved.
But the survey responses from the group of scientists suggested that full reopening without high vaccination rates may be associated with continuing outbreaks of the virus, in the United States and worldwide.
''Lack of ability to effectively vaccinate globally may continue to haunt us,'' said Cynthia Morris, an epidemiologist at the Oregon Health & Science University.
Americans' reluctance to accept vaccines is the biggest threat to ending the pandemic, the scientists said. They were also concerned about the rise of new virus variants or a too-quick return of people's prepandemic routines. A substantial share '-- 22 percent '-- worried that the politicization of public health could hamper the fight against the virus.
''The more people refuse vaccinations, the longer Covid will hang around,'' said Ethan S. Walker, an epidemiologist at the University of Montana.
Scott Bartell, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Irvine, said, ''I'm hopeful that someday Covid-19 will be more like measles, mostly eliminated but not eradicated, with sporadic outbreaks and clusters primarily among those not immunized.''
Even if the spread of Covid-19 decreases enough to allow a return of most activities, there are some aspects of pandemic life that epidemiologists say will persist much longer.
In particular, they say that masks are a norm that should continue, even if that view puts them at odds with the new C.D.C. guidance. More than 80 percent of them say people should continue to wear masks when indoors with strangers for at least another year, and outdoors in crowds.
They would like to see the continuation of what they consider the rare silver linings that came from the last year. They hoped that people would have to travel for work less often. They wanted expanded grocery delivery and takeout restaurant options to continue, as well as tele-health visits for routine medical appointments. Many buildings have improved their ventilation, upgrades that will pay off when it comes to other respiratory diseases.
They also hoped people would keep habits that make them healthier in general: avoiding things like going to work when sick, shaking hands and even blowing out birthday candles.
''I cannot believe that we used to celebrate birthdays by eating a cake that someone has blown all over,'' said Brian Labus, an epidemiologist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
In the past year, epidemiologists have found themselves suddenly in the spotlight. One of their challenges, they said, has been communicating to the public a complicated truth of their profession '-- that there are rarely clear right or wrong answers when it comes to risks and benefits.
''We as epidemiologists are constantly dealing with uncertainty, and it's pretty familiar to us,'' said Kevin Martinez-Folgar, an epidemiology Ph.D. student at Drexel University. ''We need to create better ways to communicate this uncertainty to the public to avoid all the misinformation problems that we currently have.''
Most important, they said, they wished they had done a better job of communicating the fact that science evolves, and that by definition, health advice will change as scientists learn new things.
Asked what public health practitioners should have done differently during the pandemic, David Abramson of N.Y.U.'s School of Global Public Health said he wished they had ''reinforced how much science changes daily, and with it the recommendations for protective actions.''
Bill Maher Has Covid; 'Real Time' Scraps Friday's Episode '' Deadline
Fri, 14 May 2021 04:48
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has scrapped this week's episode of Real Time with Bill Maher after the comedian tested positive for Covid-19. Maher, who is vaccinated and asymptomatic, tested positive during the premium cable network's weekly PCR testing ahead of the show.
It is a blow for the late-night show, which was set to entertain astrophysicist and StarTalk podcaster Neil deGrasse Tyson as the top-of-show interview guest, and World War Z author Max Brooks and Hardcore History podcast host Dan Carlin as panelists.
''The Friday, May 14th taping of Real Time with Bill Maher has been cancelled. Bill tested positive during weekly staff PCR testing for COVID. He is fully vaccinated and as a result is asymptomatic and feels fine. Real Time production has taken every precaution following COVID CDC guidelines. No other staff or crew members have tested positive at this time. The show will be rescheduled at a later date,'' an HBO spokeswoman told Deadline.
Real Time with Bill Maher, which is in its 19th season on HBO, was the first major show to bring back a small live audience in September after a Covid break and a number of episodes filmed in Maher's backyard.
Watch on Deadline
The show is exec produced by Maher, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen and Billy Martin.
After the story broke, Maher posted on social media that he was upset about ending his streak, going back to 1993, to have never missed an episode of Politically Incorrect or Real Time.
Thanks to all wishing me get well '' hard to do since I feel perfectly fine, but I appreciate it! Most upset about ending my streak going back to 1993 of never missing a Politically Incorrect or Real Time episode. Oh well, even Cal Ripken had to sit one out at some point.
'-- Bill Maher (@billmaher) May 14, 2021
President Biden on Twitter: "The rule is now simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do. The choice is yours." / Twitter
Thu, 13 May 2021 21:36
President Biden : The rule is now simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do. The choice is yours.
Thu May 13 20:12:40 +0000 2021
Max May : @POTUS Hamas is more compassionate than Senator Joe Biden.
Thu May 13 21:36:30 +0000 2021
tsuhdax : @POTUS https://t.co/2ZHtgVVxvg
Thu May 13 21:36:29 +0000 2021
Hieyeq : @POTUS Arrogance!
Thu May 13 21:36:29 +0000 2021
ð'•ð'•–ð'•¤ð'•¤ : @POTUS HAHAHAHAHAHA no. ðŸ‚🖕🏼
Thu May 13 21:36:28 +0000 2021
dana : @POTUS Lol!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 https://t.co/0FiiHl9SiD
Thu May 13 21:36:28 +0000 2021
Jeri Bailer : @POTUS Please fix the USPS.
Thu May 13 21:36:27 +0000 2021
Michael Trombley : @POTUS #VaxedandRelaxed #MeidasMighty @J_Mei21
Thu May 13 21:36:27 +0000 2021
Colin Q : @POTUS https://t.co/ttZUvvJzUf
Thu May 13 21:36:24 +0000 2021
Asmaa Lotfy (بنت اÙشهيد) : @POTUS The world loses its humanity when the children of Gaza are killed in completesilence.#GazaUnderAttack
Thu May 13 21:36:24 +0000 2021
Justin Emerson : @POTUS The rule is now simple: no.
Thu May 13 21:36:24 +0000 2021
Msaari : @POTUS Ahh freedoms!
Thu May 13 21:36:24 +0000 2021
Cyrion Farrel : @POTUS Inject yourself with a new vaccine still not approved by the FDA or lose your constitutional freedoms.
Thu May 13 21:36:24 +0000 2021
av : @POTUS https://t.co/PNfSdZnjW6
Thu May 13 21:36:23 +0000 2021
Manny : @POTUS Eat a bag dicks
Thu May 13 21:36:22 +0000 2021
StudentOfCrypto : @POTUS https://t.co/2kqFSdhHXh
Thu May 13 21:36:22 +0000 2021
m cass : @POTUS We knew this was the deal last year. Was always a bribe.
Thu May 13 21:36:21 +0000 2021
Asmaa Lotfy (بنت اÙشهيد) : @POTUS The United Nations continues to fail the Palestinians who are being killed by Israel!#GazaUnderAttack
Thu May 13 21:36:19 +0000 2021
Blacksheep 🇺🇸 : @POTUS Mr. Illegitimate President, do the letters F & O bring anything to mind? https://t.co/DQB8Wzjpkr
Thu May 13 21:36:18 +0000 2021
'š¸Bolt Wins Bets'š¸ : @POTUS https://t.co/siGa35pAFf
Thu May 13 21:36:17 +0000 2021
Hundreds of Epidemiologists Expected Mask-Wearing in Public for at Least a Year - The New York Times
Sat, 15 May 2021 15:42
The C.D.C. said Thursday that vaccinated Americans no longer needed masks in most places. Other disease experts recently had a different message: that masks were necessary in public.
May 13, 2021
Image At a cafe in Hudson Yards in New York City early this month. Such indoor gatherings may become more common in response to new federal health guidelines. Credit... Timothy A. Clary/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images When federal health officials said on Thursday that fully vaccinated Americans no longer needed to wear masks in most places, it came as a surprise to many people in public health. It also was a stark contrast with the views of a large majority of epidemiologists surveyed in the last two weeks by The New York Times.
In the informal survey, 80 percent said they thought Americans would need to wear masks in public indoor places for at least another year. Just 5 percent said people would no longer need to wear masks indoors by this summer.
In large crowds outdoors, like at a concert or protest, 88 percent of the epidemiologists said it was necessary even for fully vaccinated people to wear masks.
''Unless the vaccination rates increase to 80 or 90 percent over the next few months, we should wear masks in large public indoor settings,'' said Vivian Towe, a program officer at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
The responses came from 723 epidemiologists, submitted between April 28 and May 10, before the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey asked epidemiologists about being outdoors in groups of various sizes, and about being indoors with people whose vaccination status was unknown. The situations were consistent with the new guidance, which governs behavior in public places, regardless of size, where it is impossible to know the vaccine status of others.
Federal health officials have already said that vaccinated people can be indoors with other vaccinated people, and epidemiologists mostly agreed. But the C.D.C.'s new guidance said masks were no longer necessary for fully vaccinated people regardless of the size of the gathering and whether it was indoors or outside, except in certain situations, like in a doctor's office or on public transit.
Epidemiologists are, on the whole, very cautious when it comes to Covid-19, by nature of their training in understanding risk and preventing the spread of infectious disease. Nearly three-quarters described themselves as risk-averse, and they are likely to have been able to work from home over the past year, unlike many Americans. But they also have the same training as many of the scientists at the C.D.C. who devised the new policy, and about one-third of the survey respondents work in government, mostly at the state level.
They acknowledged that many Americans would not want to continue to wear masks '-- and that many have already stopped.
Wearing masks ''will be a need, which is a very different question than how long will it continue to occur,'' said Sophia K., an epidemiologist at the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council. ''I expect that most people will refuse to wear masks, even in public, by the end of 2021, whether there is still a pandemic or not.''
Many epidemiologists echoed the C.D.C. in saying that as long as people were fully vaccinated, they could gather without precautions. But the C.D.C. went further than the epidemiologists by giving the OK for vaccinated people to stop masking in groups with an unknown number of unvaccinated people.
''It is either you trust the vaccine, or you do not,'' said Kristin Harrington, an epidemiology Ph.D. student at Emory. ''And if we trust the vaccine, that means an unlimited number of vaccinated individuals should be allowed to gather together.''
Others acknowledged that policy decisions are based on many goals, such as invigorating the economy and incentivizing people to get vaccinated.
Yet most said mask-wearing continued to be necessary for now, because the number of vaccinated Americans had not yet reached a level that scientists consider necessary to significantly slow the spread of the virus. Until then, there are too many chances for vaccines, which are not 100 percent effective, to fail, they said.
''Crowded circumstances, indoors or outdoors, necessitate a mask until community levels of Covid are much lower,'' said Luther-King Fasehun, a doctor and an epidemiology Ph.D. student at Temple University.
Sally Picciotto, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said the decision to stop wearing masks indoors ''depends on more people rolling up their sleeves to get the shot.''
Respondents also said that as long as the virus was still spreading, masks were important to protect high-risk people and those who cannot be vaccinated, like children or people who have underlying health conditions.
''Until community transmission is lower, it protects the whole community and the other people in the room to wear masks,'' including children, immunosuppressed people and Black and Latino communities who have been hit harder by Covid-19, said Julia Raifman, an assistant professor of public health at Boston University.
One-quarter of the epidemiologists in the survey said they thought people would need to continue wearing masks in certain settings indefinitely, and some said they planned to continue to wear them in places like airplanes or concert halls, or during the winter virus season.
''Heck, I may wear a mask for every flu season now,'' said Allison Stewart, the lead epidemiologist at the Williamson County and Cities Health District in Texas. ''Sure has been nice not to be sick for over a year.''
Alana Cilwick, an epidemiologist at the Colorado Department of Public Health, said, ''I plan to wear a mask indoors for the foreseeable future given the amount of vaccine hesitancy we are seeing, especially in higher-risk settings like the gym or on an airplane.''
Just one-fifth of epidemiologists said it was safe for fully vaccinated people to socialize indoors without masks in a group of unlimited size. A majority said indoor gatherings should be limited to five or fewer households.
Even outside, where the coronavirus is much less likely to spread, nearly all the epidemiologists said it was necessary to keep wearing masks in crowds, when people are near others whose vaccination status they don't know.
''Masks are the second-most helpful prevention strategy we have to vaccines,'' Professor Raifman said.
Breakthrough cases
UK races to test, vaccinate as virus variant threatens plans
Sun, 16 May 2021 11:46
LONDON (AP) '-- British health workers, aided by the army, distributed coronavirus tests door-to-door Saturday in two towns in northern England, seeking to contain a fast-spreading variant that threatens plans to lift all lockdown restrictions next month.
Cases of a variant first identified in India have more than doubled in a week, defying a sharp nationwide downward trend in infections won by months of restrictions and a rapid vaccination campaign. Government scientific advisers say this variant is likely more transmissible than even the U.K.'s dominant strain, though it's unclear by how much.
''If the virus is significantly more transmissible, we are likely to face some hard choices,'' Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a news conference on Friday. ''I have to level with you that this could be a serious disruption to our progress.''
He said the next stage of lockdown-easing measures would take place as planned on Monday, but warned the variant might delay plans to lift all restrictions, including social distancing and face-covering rules, on June 21.
Johnson said soldiers would help carry out ''surge testing'' in Bolton and Blackburn in northwest England, where pop-up vaccination sites were also being set up to speed the inoculation drive.
The government's scientific advisory committee says there is no evidence so far that the variant causes more severe disease or that existing vaccines won't work against it. More than two-thirds of British adults have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and 37% have had both doses.
The government is shortening the gap between doses for people over 50 from 12 to eight weeks in a bid to give them more protection.
The government's Scientific Group for Emergencies says the Indian-identified variant, formally known as B.1.617.2, could be up to 50% more transmissible than one first recorded in southeast England last year that is now the U.K.'s dominant strain. But they say there is a high level of uncertainty about the exact figure.
Mark Walport, a member of the advisory group, said the new variant had ''intensified'' the race between the virus and vaccines.
''The knife edge on which the race sits has just sharpened,'' he said.
Britain has recorded almost 128,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest reported toll in Europe. But new infections have plummeted to an average of around 2,000 a day, compared with nearly 70,000 a day during the winter peak, and deaths have fallen to single figures a day.
Restrictions that have curbed travel, commerce and daily life for months are gradually being lifted. Starting Monday, restaurants and pubs in England can open indoors, museums, theaters, cinemas and hotels can reopen, and people can once again hug friends and family members they don't live with.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are following similar but slightly different paths. The Scottish government is keeping the city of Glasgow and the northern area of Moray under restrictions because of rising case numbers there.
Critics said the government should have acted sooner to ban travelers from India, which has been gripped by a devastating coronavirus outbreak.
Labour Party lawmaker Yvette Cooper said the government had not barred visitors arriving from India until April 23, a decision that let in ''many hundreds of new variant cases.''
''This was predictable but it was not inevitable,'' she said.
___
Follow all AP stories on the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine.
Vaccine Hesitancy
Pfizer and Moderna did not skip animal trials
Due to the urgent need for a vaccine in a surging pandemic, Pfizer and Moderna were given approval to simultaneously test their vaccines on animals while they were conducting Phase 1 trials on humans. The vaccines were tested on mice and macaques.
“They overlapped preclinical studies with the early phases of the trials,” said Dr. William Moss, executive director for the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University.
Pfizer and Moderna did not skip animal trials
Sat, 15 May 2021 16:38
CLAIM: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNAs vaccines that skipped animal trials because using mRNA vaccines on animals triggers dangerous inflammation.
AP'S ASSESSMENT: False. Pfizer and Moderna did not skip animal trials when testing their COVID-19 vaccines.
THE FACTS: As the race to authorize the use of COVID-19 vaccines continues, posts online are spreading misinformation about vaccine trials.
Recent posts are criticizing Pfizer and Moderna, who both announced that their vaccines were more than 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19. One tweet with more than 4,000 likes suggests that the two companies did not conduct animal trials when testing their vaccines because testing mRNA vaccines on animals could cause dangerous side effects.
The vaccines from Pfizer -BioNTech and Moderna both rely on messenger RNA. MRNA vaccines contain a genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spike protein on the surface of the virus to generate an immune response.
Due to the urgent need for a vaccine in a surging pandemic, Pfizer and Moderna were given approval to simultaneously test their vaccines on animals while they were conducting Phase 1 trials on humans. The vaccines were tested on mice and macaques.
''They overlapped preclinical studies with the early phases of the trials,'' said Dr. William Moss, executive director for the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University. ''In fact one of the reasons we are even talking about vaccines now just 10 months later is that some of the phases in which vaccine development normally occurs were overlapped rather than done sequentially.''
Posts online appeared to suggest that the animal trial phase was skipped completely when testing the two vaccines.
University of Pennsylvania professor of medicine Dr. Drew Weissman, who has been studying mRNA and mRNA vaccines for decades, said they do not cause dangerous inflammation to animals. Along with the vaccines for Pfizer and Moderna both passing animal trials, they also passed clinical trials on humans where they were tested on more than 70,000 people.
''Clinical trials for 75,000 people show it's safe and it's 95 percent effective,'' Dr. Weissman said. ''That's pretty good data to convince people that it is OK.''
A serious safety issue would have surfaced in the trials if there was one, said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.
While mRNA is a new technology, experts have been working on it for years.
''It's not just as though these technologies were just starting to be developed during the pandemic,'' Dr. Moss said. ''There has been a lot of preparatory work.''
After announcing its successful results, Pfizer is now seeking approval for emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration. But as news about the vaccines continues to make headlines, medical professionals warn that misinformation from people who oppose vaccines will continue to spike online.
''Now they are going to go after the COVID-19 vaccine,'' Dr. Hotez said.
__
This is part of The Associated Press' ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
Here's more information on Facebook's fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536
Soon WHICH vaccine you took will matter!
Delay in giving second jabs of Pfizer vaccine improves immunity | Immunology | The Guardian
Fri, 14 May 2021 04:49
Show caption Pfizer-BioNTech vials at a British vaccination centre, January. A Birmingham University blood analysis study of people over 80 found elevated antibodies when the booster was given after a three-month gap. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA
Immunology The UK's decision to delay second doses of coronavirus vaccines has received fresh support from research on the over-80s which found that giving the Pfizer/BioNTech booster after 12 weeks rather than three produced a much stronger antibody response.
A study led by the University of Birmingham in collaboration with Public Health England found that antibodies against the virus were three-and-a-half times higher in those who had the second shot after 12 weeks compared with those who had it after a three-week interval.
Most people who have both shots of the vaccine will be well protected regardless of the timing, but the stronger response from the extra delay might prolong protection because antibody levels naturally wane over time.
Dr Helen Parry, a senior author on the study at Birmingham, said: ''We've shown that peak antibody responses after the second Pfizer vaccination are really strongly boosted in older people when this is delayed to 11 to 12 weeks. There is a marked difference between these two schedules in terms of antibody responses we see.''
In the first weeks of the vaccine programme the UK took the bold decision to delay administering booster shots so that more elderly and vulnerable people could more quickly receive their first shots.
The move was controversial because medicines regulators approved both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines on the basis of clinical trials that spaced out the doses by only three or four weeks.
Researchers from Oxford University showed in February that antibody responses were more than twice as strong when boosters of their vaccine were delayed for 12 weeks. But the latest study is the first to compare immune responses after different timings with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.
The scientists analysed blood samples from 175 over-80s after their first vaccine and again two to three weeks after the booster. Among the participants 99 had the second shot after three weeks, while 73 waited 12 weeks. After the second dose, all had antibodies against the virus's spike protein, but the level was 3.5 times higher in the 12-week group.
The researchers then looked at another arm of the immune system, the T cells that destroy infected cells. They found that T cell responses were weaker when the booster was delayed, but settled down to similar levels when people were tested more than three months after the first shot. Details are published in pre-print form and have yet to be peer reviewed.
''This study further supports the growing body of evidence that the approach taken in the UK of delaying that second dose has really paid off,'' said Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, consultant epidemiologist at Public Health England.
''Individuals need to really complete their second dose when it's offered to them because it not only provides additional protection but potentially longer lasting protection against Covid-19.''
The findings come as new data from Public Health England suggested that the vaccination programme had prevented 11,700 deaths by the end of April 2021 in those aged 60 and over, and at least 33,000 hospitalisations in those aged 65 and over in the same period.
''Overall, these data add considerable support to the policy of delaying the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine when vaccine availability is limited and the at-risk population is large,'' said Eleanor Riley, professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh.
''Longer term follow-up of this cohort will help us to understand which vaccine interval will be optimal in the future, once the immediate crisis is over.''
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Sat, 15 May 2021 16:42
Bill Maher Has Covid; 'Real Time' Scraps Friday's Episode '' Deadline
Fri, 14 May 2021 04:48
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has scrapped this week's episode of Real Time with Bill Maher after the comedian tested positive for Covid-19. Maher, who is vaccinated and asymptomatic, tested positive during the premium cable network's weekly PCR testing ahead of the show.
It is a blow for the late-night show, which was set to entertain astrophysicist and StarTalk podcaster Neil deGrasse Tyson as the top-of-show interview guest, and World War Z author Max Brooks and Hardcore History podcast host Dan Carlin as panelists.
''The Friday, May 14th taping of Real Time with Bill Maher has been cancelled. Bill tested positive during weekly staff PCR testing for COVID. He is fully vaccinated and as a result is asymptomatic and feels fine. Real Time production has taken every precaution following COVID CDC guidelines. No other staff or crew members have tested positive at this time. The show will be rescheduled at a later date,'' an HBO spokeswoman told Deadline.
Real Time with Bill Maher, which is in its 19th season on HBO, was the first major show to bring back a small live audience in September after a Covid break and a number of episodes filmed in Maher's backyard.
Watch on Deadline
The show is exec produced by Maher, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen and Billy Martin.
After the story broke, Maher posted on social media that he was upset about ending his streak, going back to 1993, to have never missed an episode of Politically Incorrect or Real Time.
Thanks to all wishing me get well '' hard to do since I feel perfectly fine, but I appreciate it! Most upset about ending my streak going back to 1993 of never missing a Politically Incorrect or Real Time episode. Oh well, even Cal Ripken had to sit one out at some point.
'-- Bill Maher (@billmaher) May 14, 2021
Amazon verifies it's eliminating for sale NAC supplements
Fri, 14 May 2021 11:57
Amazon confirmed this week it's in the process of removing from its website dietary supplements containing NAC (N-acetyl-L-cysteine).
FDA last year asserted in warning letters that NAC couldn't be lawfully marketed in dietary supplements because it was first studied as a drug in 1963. The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) made legal arguments challenging the agency's position in a 2020 letter to FDA.
The controversy puts an online retail giant like Amazon in a pickle: It must essentially pick a side in the fight between FDA and industry'--Either continue to sell NAC-containing supplements and risk FDA enforcement action, or remove the products from its website.
''Third-party sellers are independent businesses and are required to follow all applicable laws, regulations and Amazon policies when listings items for sale in our store,'' an Amazon spokesperson said late Wednesday in an emailed statement. ''We have proactive measures in place to prevent prohibited products from being listed and we continuously monitor our store. Those who violate our policies are subject to action, including potential removal of their account.''
The spokesperson added, ''We are in the process of removing the [NAC-containing dietary supplement] products in question from our store.''
Amazon also owns Whole Foods Market'--and at least one trade association head acknowledged he wouldn't be surprised if Whole Foods also removes NAC from store shelves. Amazon did not immediately respond Thursday to a follow-up question whether those plans were in the works.
''As the mothership goes, so goes Whole Foods,'' said Dan Fabricant, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Natural Products Association (NPA).
NPA is advising its members to continue selling NAC-containing supplements. FDA hasn't taken final agency action on NAC, and there's been debate on such issues as when NAC came to market as a drug, Fabricant said in an interview.
''Like we've told our members, sell it direct,'' he added. ''Sell it through other vendors because it's not an unlawful ingredient. This is by no way a closed chapter with FDA on NAC.''
Megan Olsen, vice president and associate general counsel of CRN, said she hasn't heard that other retailers plan to stop selling NAC-containing supplements, and she believes many traditional brick and mortar retailers are still selling the products.
''CRN has continued to have discussions with both FDA and Amazon regarding this issue,'' Olsen said in an interview. ''We are very pleased that Amazon is at least continuing to talk with us, though of course they have not committed to '.... change their course of action.''
According to Olsen, Amazon has asked brands to remove NAC-containing supplements from its website.
In April, several industry sources told Natural Products Insider that Amazon had started to remove NAC-containing supplements from its platform. At the time, however, several supplements containing the ingredient remained available for sale.
The executive of a supplement brand, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said its NAC products were removed a few weeks ago, subsequently reinstated last week, then removed again this week.
''We still don't know the full story of 'why' on this, other than Amazon seems to have been spooked and, we think, overreacted regarding the pharma patent on NAC,'' the industry source said.
In response to questions about NAC-containing supplements sold through another e-commerce giant'--eBay'--an eBay spokeswoman responded in an email, ''We regularly work with the FDA and remove listings for products that have received warnings and/or recalls.''
The eBay spokeswoman did not immediately respond to follow-up questions whether eBay has started to remove NAC-containing supplements from its website. As of late Wednesday, such products remained available for sale on eBay's website through several different supplement brands.
In a letter to FDA in December, CRN outlined its reasons for why the agency should ''revert to its long-standing policy of allowing manufacturers to market products containing NAC as dietary supplements.''
Olsen said FDA acknowledged receipt of the letter but hasn't substantively responded to it.
''We would implore retailers that it's not the end of the fight,'' she said in an interview in April. That was the same month an FDA spokesperson disclosed the agency had no ''updates on its position regarding NAC.''
In a follow-up interview Thursday, Olsen added, ''We'll continue to push with Amazon that FDA is still talking to CRN and has indicated that the letter is still under review with the agency.''
Indeed, on Thursday, FDA's acting director of the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs (ODSP), Cara Welch, Ph.D., sent a brief letter to CRN. Welch divulged FDA officials "are closely reviewing" CRN's 2020 letter regarding NAC "and will provide a more substantive response once our evaluation is complete."
John Troup, Ph.D., vice president of scientific affairs and dietary supplements with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), described the NAC controversy as ''a classic example of the need'' for talks related to regulatory reform and modernization of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).
''NAC is a very important drug, but it also has a long history as a dietary supplement, and FDA's recent actions left a lot of ambiguity for NAC in the category,'' Troup said via email. ''It appears that the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) is increasingly taking enforcement action in the dietary supplements category around ingredients used in both drugs and supplements.''
He said CDER and ODSP must communicate and collaborate.
"Our hope is that the ODSP will provide clarity, which is essential for both consumers and industry," Troup added.
Fabricant, who previously directed FDA's Division of Dietary Supplement Programs, questioned FDA's focus on an ingredient that he said did not pose a risk to public health.
''What's the public health risk to NAC?'' he asked. ''There isn't one. NAC has been used safely pre-DSHEA. It's a metabolite of an amino acid, an essential amino acid. It's found in onions and garlic, so this is the hill they (FDA officials) want to die on? I mean if that's the case, this is going to become obvious to people that all they're trying to do is protect pharmaceutical IP.''
In a 2020 interview with Natural Products Insider, Steven Tave, then-director of ODSP, said FDA was simply applying the law to facts and not favoring one commodity over another.
''We don't favor anybody,'' Tave, a lawyer now working in FDA's Office of Regulatory Affairs, said. ''We read the law. We look at the facts. We see what the implication of the facts is in the context of the law, and we make our determination.''
Why I'm Removing All Articles Related to Vitamins D, C, Zinc and COVID-19
Fri, 14 May 2021 12:46
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'Breakthrough' COVID-19 infections in fully vaccinated people are to be expected, CDC and medical experts say / Twitter
Sat, 15 May 2021 14:26
Something went wrong, but don't fret '-- let's give it another shot.
How J&J and AstraZeneca differ from the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna | The Star
Sat, 15 May 2021 17:01
By Melissa Couto Zuber The Canadian Press Tue., April 13, 2021 timer 3 min. read
Johnson & Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine has hit a stumbling block in the United States as regulators begin investigating reports of blood clots, weeks before the first shipment of the jabs are expected to arrive in Canada.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday they were investigating clots in six women that occurred in the days after vaccination. The agencies are recommending pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson jab in the country.
It's the second COVID vaccine to be investigated for a possible link to blood clotting after several European countries temporarily halted use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the same reason last month.
Canada approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccinein early March, but manufacturing issues have delayed shipments.
Health Canada said Tuesday it is investigating the latest reports, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted the country is still on track to receive its first shipment at the end of April.
The company said it's delaying rolling out its vaccine in Europe amid the U.S. investigation.
The Johnson & Johnson reports appear similar to the rare type of clotting disorder that European authorities said last week is possibly linked to AstraZeneca. The European Medicines Agency has said the benefits of receiving the AstraZeneca jab outweigh the potential risks.
More than 6.8 million doses of the shot have been administered in the U.S., with the vast majority reporting no or mild side effects.
Both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca use the same vaccine technology, which differs from the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Here's how the four vaccines work:
VIRAL VECTORS
All of the approved COVID-19 vaccines train the body to recognize the spike protein that coats the outer surface of the coronavirus.
Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca use a harmless version of a cold virus as a vector to give our cells the instructions they need to make the coronavirus's spike protein.
The immune system recognizes the protein and makes antibodies, which then allow us to fend off attack if exposed in the future.
Johnson & Johnson uses a human adenovirus, or a cold virus, to create its vaccine while AstraZeneca uses a chimpanzee version.
Johnson & Johnson's is the first single-dose vaccine approved in Canada. AstraZeneca, like Pfizer and Moderna, requires two doses.
Experts say it takes a couple weeks for the body to build up some level of immunity with any of the vaccines.
MESSENGER RNA VACCINES
Moderna and Pfizer use messenger RNA (mRNA), a novel technology that essentially teaches our cells how to produce the coronavirus's spike protein. That triggers an immune response if we become infected with the virus in the future.
All four of the vaccines basically work the same way, but there's one less component involved with the mRNA versions. Whereas the viral vectors use another virus to give our cells the info they need to make the spike protein, mRNA dumps the genetic code in directly, without using another virus as a vessel.
Pfizer and Moderna use synthetically-produced mRNA that's packaged in a fat coating. The mRNA is dumped into the cell when the vaccine is injected into the arm muscle and it then translated into protein to make the antibody.
The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were the first inoculations approved for humans to use mRNA, but the technology was being worked on for decades before it was adapted to vaccine creation.
Previous research had been done on creating mRNA vaccines against Zika and other viruses, and there were earlier efforts focused on cancer treatments.
Loading... Loading... Loading... Loading... Loading... Loading...
Early pitfalls against the mRNA technology was that it was too unstable and fragile, with the mRNA disintegrating upon entering the body. That problem was solved by packaging it in the fat coating, giving it something to help bind onto cells easier.
'-- With files from The Associated Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021.
Businesses Offer Perks to Vaccinated Customers - The New York Times
Sun, 16 May 2021 13:43
Tossing their masks, jumping on side-by-side treadmills, sharing peanuts next to fellow sports fans, the vaccinated find special freedoms await.
A fan receiving a coronavirus vaccine before a Seattle Mariners home game. Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington recently announced that sporting venues and churches would be able to increase capacity by adding sections for the vaccinated. Credit... Ted S. Warren/Associated Press May 14, 2021
At Fort Bragg, soldiers who have gotten their coronavirus vaccines can go to a gym where no masks are required, with no limits on who can work out together. Treadmills are on and zipping, unlike those in 13 other gyms where unvaccinated troops can't use the machines, everyone must mask up and restrictions remain on how many can bench-press at one time.
Inside Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, where lines not long ago snaked for miles with people seeking coronavirus vaccines, a special seating area allows those who are fully inoculated to enjoy games side by side with other fans.
When Bill Duggan reopens Madam's Organ, his legendary blues bar in Washington, D.C., people will not be allowed in to work, drink or play music unless they can prove they have had their shots. ''I have a saxophone player who is among the best in the world. He was in the other day, and I said, 'Walter, take a good look around because you're not walking in here again unless you get vaccinated.'''
Evite and Paperless Post are seeing a big increase in hosts requesting that their guests be vaccinated.
As the United States nudges against the soft ceiling of those who will willingly take the vaccine, governments, businesses and schools have been extending carrots '-- actually doughnuts, beers and cheesecake '-- to prod laggards along. Some have even offered cold hard cash: In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine this week went so far as to say that the state would give five vaccinated people $1 million each as part of a weekly lottery program.
On Thursday, federal health officials offered the ultimate incentive for many when they advised that fully vaccinated Americans may stop wearing masks.
Now, private employers, restaurants and entertainment venues are looking for ways to make those who are vaccinated feel like V.I.P.s, both to protect workers and guests, and to possibly entice those not yet on board.
Come summer, the nation may become increasingly bifurcated between those who are permitted to watch sports, take classes, get their hair cut and eat barbecue with others, and those who are left behind the spike protein curtain.
Image Soldiers at Fort Bragg in North Carolina have access to a dedicated gym where the vaccinated can work out maskless and in unlimited numbers. Credit... Travis Dove for The New York Times Access and privilege among the vaccinated may rule for the near future, in public and private spaces.
''The bottom line is this interesting question of the conception of our society,'' said Dr. Tom Frieden, a former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the architect of a smoking ban and a tuberculosis control program in New York City, both of which included forms of mandates. ''Are we in some important way connected or not?''
A vaccine requirement to attend school or participate in the military is not a novel concept. But because the three Covid vaccines offered in the United States have yet to receive full approvals by the Food and Drug Administration, the military has declined to insist on inoculation. For their part, public school districts cannot consider mandates until the vaccines are available to most children. The F.D.A. just granted emergency use authorization to Pfizer this week for children ages 12 through 15.
But even without a mandate, a nudge can feel like a shove. The military has been strongly encouraging vaccines among the troops. Acceptance has been low in some branches, like the Marines, with only 40 percent having gotten one or more shots. At Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the country and among the first to offer the vaccine, just under 70 percent have been jabbed.
Image A Paperless Post design for post-pandemic parties: vaccinated only please RSVP. Credit... Paperless Post A podcast designed to knock down misinformation '-- a common misbelief is that the vaccines affect fertility '-- plays around the base. In addition to their freedom gym, vaccinated soldiers may now eat in groups as they please, while the unvaccinated look on as they grab their grub and go.
With soldiers, experts ''talk up to decliners versus talk down,'' said Col. Joseph Buccino, a spokesman at Fort Bragg.
Still, holdouts pose obstacles. For a recent mission to Europe, a handful of unvaccinated troops had to be replaced with those who had gotten shots, because of quarantine rules in countries there. ''What we need to do is restore readiness,'' Col. Buccino said.
Segregating the unvaccinated and limiting access to gyms and dining areas were not measures aimed specifically at getting soldiers vaccinated, he said, ''but there is an enticement.''
The private sector, sometimes with the encouragement of government, is also trying to make life a bit nicer for the vaccinated, emphasizing the privileges '-- rather than perceived infringements on freedom '-- bestowed by the protection of the vaccines.
It's baseball season, and fans have clamored to get back to normal, to a place where the wave used to mean something other than the next surge of the coronavirus. Major League Baseball is heavily promoting inoculations, and stadiums have become a new line of demarcation, where vaccinated sections are highlighted as perks akin to V.I.P. skyboxes.
In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee recently announced that sporting venues and churches would be able to increase their capacity by adding sections for the vaccinated.
Some businesses '-- like gyms and restaurants '-- where the coronavirus was known to spread easily are also embracing a reward system. Even though many gyms have reopened around the country, some still haven't allowed large classes to resume.
Others are inclined to follow the lead of gyms like solidcore in Washington, D.C., which seeks proof of inoculation to enroll in classes listed as ''Vaccine Required: Full Body.'' ''Our teams are now actively evaluating where else we think there will be client demand and will be potentially introducing it to other markets in the weeks ahead,'' said Bryan Myers, chief executive officer of the national fitness studio chain, in an email.
Image At Dragon's Den in New Orleans, customers were induced to get vaccinated on site. Credit... Emily Kask for The New York Times The Bayou, a restaurant in Salt Lake City, will open its doors only to those who have had their shots, according to Mark Alston, one of the owners.
''It was entirely driven by the fact that I work at the Bayou seven days a week,'' he said. ''I do not work from a comfy office and send staff off to work in unsafe conditions, but work there alongside them.''
The ''vaxxed-only'' policy has flooded his voice mail with rancorous messages. ''One in particular accuses us of running some kind of pedophile beer cult,'' he said. ''It's a bit unhinged.''
Even private citizens are deploying the practice in their homes. A spokesperson for Evite said 548,420 guests had received online invitations to events mentioning ''fully vaccinated'' or using other vaccinated-related terms since March 1, 2021, and invitations with the exact term ''fully vaccinated'' had been sent to 103,507 people. A similar company, Paperless Post, has created specific invitation designs with the inoculated in mind, vaccinated only please RSVP.
Not everyone endorses this type of exclusion as good public policy. ''I worry about the operational feasibility,'' said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. ''In the U.S., we don't yet have a standard way to prove vaccination status. I hope we'll see by fall such low levels of infection in the U.S. that our level of concern about the virus will be very low.''
But few dispute that it is legal. ''Having dedicated spaces at events reserved for vaccinated people is both lawful and ethical,'' said Lawrence O. Gostin, an expert in health law at Georgetown Law School. ''Businesses have a major economic incentive to create safer environments for their customers, who would otherwise be reluctant to attend crowded events. Government recommendations about vaccinated-only sections will encourage businesses and can help us back to more normal.''
Image The gym for vaccinated soldiers at Fort Bragg. The perks of vaccination don't stop there: For a recent mission to Europe, a handful of unvaccinated troops were replaced with those who had gotten shots. Credit... Travis Dove for The New York Times Large employers with a few notable exceptions have been reluctant so far to impose vaccine mandates for workers, especially in a tight labor market. ''Our association came out in favor of masks,'' said Emily Williams Knight, president of the Texas Restaurant Association. ''We probably will not be taking a position on mandates, which are incredibly divisive.''
But some companies are moving that way. Norwegian Cruise Line is threatening to keep its ships out of Florida ports if the state stands by a law prohibiting businesses from requiring vaccines in exchange for services.
Public health mandates '-- from smoking bans to seatbelt laws to containing tuberculosis outbreaks by requiring TB patients to take their medicines while observed '-- have a long history in the United States.
''They fall into a cluster of things in which someone is essentially making the argument that what I do is only my business,'' said Dr. Frieden, who is now chief executive of Resolve to Save Lives, a program designed to prevent epidemics and cardiovascular disease. ''A lot of times that's true, unless what you do might kill someone else.''
Dr. Frieden was the main official who pushed for a smoking ban in bars and restaurants in 2003 when he was the New York City health commissioner under former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Other senior aides at the time felt certain the ban would cost Mr. Bloomberg a second term. ''When I was fighting for that, a City Council member who was against the ban said of bars, 'That is my place of entertainment.' And I said, 'Well, that's someone's place of employment.' It did have impact.''
Mr. Duggan, the bar owner in Washington, said protecting his workers and patrons are of a piece. ''As we hit a plateau with vaccines, I don't think we can sit and wait for all the nonbelievers,'' he said. ''If we are going to convince them, it's going to be through them not being able to do the things that vaccinated people are able to do.''
Free Canada!
Shaming Manitoba for code red
Sir Pitter of the Red River Rebellion reporting:
Update from the province of Manitoba. We remain in code red lockdown: can't have people in our private residences inside or outside. I see some people riding their bikes and walking outside with masks on. BUT, the kids are shooting hoops without masks or distancing and the neighbourhood narcs are posting pictures in our community Facebook page in the hopes of shaming them.
BUT, here is an interesting court case that is proving the PCR tests are lies and the government doesn't care. Here are the juicy parts.
Chief Microbiologist and Laboratory Specialist Dr. Jared Bullard is a witness for the Manitoba government in this hearing. Questioned under oath by Justice Centre lawyers on Monday May 10, Dr. Bullard acknowledged that the PCR test has significant limitations. The head of Cadham Provincial Laboratory in Winnipeg, Dr. Bullard admitted that PCR test results do not verify infectiousness, and were never intended to be used to diagnose respiratory illnesses.
Dr. Bullard testified that PCR tests can be positive for up to 100 days after an exposure to the virus, and that PCR tests do nothing more than confirm the presence of fragments of viral RNA of the target SARS CO-V2 virus in someone’s nose. He testified that, while a person with Covid-19 is infectious for a one-to-two week period, non-viable (harmless) viral SARS CO-V2 fragments remain in the nose, and can be detected by a PCR test for up to 100 days after exposure.
Dr. Bullard testified that the most accurate way to determine whether someone is actually infectious with Covid is to attempt to grow a cell culture in the lab from a patient sample. If a cell culture will not grow the virus in the lab, a patient is likely not infectious. A study from Dr. Bullard and his colleagues found that only 44% of positive PCR test results would actually grow in the lab.
However, despite Dr. Bullard’s findings and recommendations in his two peer-reviewed studies, Manitoba still does not consider Ct values as a proxy for infectiousness in its public health response to Covid-19. Both Dr. Bullard and Manitoba Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brent Roussin confirmed under cross-examination that Ct values are not provided to public health officials by laboratories. Dr. Roussin admitted that he could mandate that the Ct value be provided to him, but that he has not done so.
Manitoba Chief Microbiologist and Laboratory Specialist: 56% of positive ''cases'' are not infectious | Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
Sun, 16 May 2021 12:31
WINNIPEG: The Justice Centre represents churches and individuals who are challenging government lockdown restrictions in the Court of Queen's Bench as unjustified violations of the Charter freedoms to associate, worship, and assemble peacefully. The hearing commenced on May 3, 2021 and is continuing this week.
The onus is on the Manitoba Government to justify its restrictions on Charter rights and freedoms as being reasonable, necessary and beneficial.
One of the crucial issues in this trial is the operation and reliability of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test that is used by governments across Canada, including the Manitoba Government, to diagnose Covid and measure its spread.
The Westphalian Times explains PCR tests as follows:
The current COVID testing is based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) '' ''a fast and inexpensive technique used to 'amplify' '' copy '' small segments of DNA.'' Many internationally recognized experts on virology and PCR testing are questioning if the tests have been made overly sensitive and many positives are the result of long dead and no longer contagious virus or even contamination in labs. PCR testing was invented to find genetic viral material in a sample and has not traditionally been used as the sole method for identifying people suffering from a viral or bacterial disease.
COVID testing is typically performed using a nasopharyngeal swab, a 6-inch long swab inserted deep into the nostril. The swab is rotated for a while and then it is sent to a lab where a PCR test will dramatically amplify the amount of genetic material captured and then compare it to the DNA or RNA of a particular segment of the COVID virus (reference RNA).
To get enough genetic material to test, the PCR process increases the genetic material present by copying it and then copying it again, over and over. Each of these increasing steps is called a ''cycle'' and the genetic material in the solution is reacted against the reference DNA to determine a positive. If the sample contains a large amount of COVID virus it will react positive after only a few cycles, while a sample with small amounts of genetic material will require more cycles to amplify enough genetic material to get a positive result.
Since the PCR test amplifies traces of COVID-19 through cycles, a lower number of cycles needed to get a positive suggests the presence of a higher viral load for the person being tested and therefore a higher contagion potential.
The number of cycling required to identify viral material in a given sample is called the cycle threshold (Ct).
The Justice Centre's expert medical witnesses, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, world-famous epidemiologist and Professor of Medicine from Stanford University, and Dr. Thomas Warren, infectious disease specialist and medical microbiologist, both provided evidence that the PCR test is unreliable in determining whether a person is infectious with the actual Covid-19 disease.
Chief Microbiologist and Laboratory Specialist Dr. Jared Bullard is a witness for the Manitoba government in this hearing. Questioned under oath by Justice Centre lawyers on Monday May 10, Dr. Bullard acknowledged that the PCR test has significant limitations. The head of Cadham Provincial Laboratory in Winnipeg, Dr. Bullard admitted that PCR test results do not verify infectiousness, and were never intended to be used to diagnose respiratory illnesses.
Dr. Bullard testified that PCR tests can be positive for up to 100 days after an exposure to the virus, and that PCR tests do nothing more than confirm the presence of fragments of viral RNA of the target SARS CO-V2 virus in someone's nose. He testified that, while a person with Covid-19 is infectious for a one-to-two week period, non-viable (harmless) viral SARS CO-V2 fragments remain in the nose, and can be detected by a PCR test for up to 100 days after exposure.
Dr. Bullard testified that the most accurate way to determine whether someone is actually infectious with Covid is to attempt to grow a cell culture in the lab from a patient sample. If a cell culture will not grow the virus in the lab, a patient is likely not infectious. A study from Dr. Bullard and his colleagues found that only 44% of positive PCR test results would actually grow in the lab.
Dr. Bullard's findings call into question the practice used in Manitoba (and elsewhere in Canada) of the results of classifying positive PCR tests as ''cases,'' which implies infectivity. Equating positive PCR tests to infectious cases, as so many provinces have done over the course of the past 13 months, is incorrect and inaccurate, according to this Manitoba Government witness.
Dr. Bullard acknowledged that he has been closely studying the correlation between Cycle threshold (Ct) value and infectiousness since at least May 7, 2020. Dr. Bullard acknowledged that Manitoba has known for some time that a given PCR test's Ct value is inversely correlated with infectiousness. This means that testing for Covid at higher threshold levels can result in false positives as explained in this article. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that careful interpretation of weak positive results is needed.
Weak results are those run at higher thresholds (more cycles). For example, someone with a positive PCR test that is run at 18 cycles is more likely to be sick and infectious than someone who has a test run at a Ct value of 40.
Dr. Bullard confirmed this was one of the first studies of its kind linking Ct value to infectiousness, and his study confirmed the findings of other studies in France and elsewhere.
Dr. Bullard also testified that Ct value (how many amplification cycles were used in a given PCR test to reach a positive test result) is significant as a proxy or indicator for infectiousness.
However, despite Dr. Bullard's findings and recommendations in his two peer-reviewed studies, Manitoba still does not consider Ct values as a proxy for infectiousness in its public health response to Covid-19. Both Dr. Bullard and Manitoba Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brent Roussin confirmed under cross-examination that Ct values are not provided to public health officials by laboratories. Dr. Roussin admitted that he could mandate that the Ct value be provided to him, but that he has not done so.
Some jurisdictions, for example Florida, do consider Ct value in their public health response to Covid.
Finally, it should be noted that some Canadian news agencies have quoted Dr. Bullard as testifying that a positive PCR tests indicates infectivity 99.9% of the time. This is incorrect. Rather, Dr. Bullard testified that a PCR test will detect any viral RNA that is present in a sample 99.9% of the time. However, Dr. Bullard testified that determining whether or not a sample is actually infectious (containing a viable virus, capable of replicating) needs to be confirmed by lab culture. As noted, only 44% of the ''positive'' samples using a Ct of 18 returned a viable lab culture. Samples tested at a Ct of over 25, according to Dr. Bullard's report, produced no viable lab cultures.
Manitoba has confirmed that it utilizes Ct's of up to 40, and even 45 in some cases. This indicates ''cases'' resulting from such tests (above a Ct of 25) are almost certainly not actually infectious.
The hearing into Manitoba's response to Covid and its violation of Charter rights and freedoms continues this week.
Ransomware
The Second energy company is Texas has already been hacked
Cybersecurity tycoon Kaspersky claims CIA hackers could actually be behind US Colonial Pipeline attack blamed on Russian group '-- RT Russia & Former Soviet Union
Fri, 14 May 2021 12:26
A cyberattack that crippled fuel supplies on the East Coast of the US and sent gas prices soaring could have been an inside job conducted by American spooks, rather than foreign hackers, a prominent Russian IT expert has claimed.
After a massive systems failure caused the Colonial Pipeline to shut down, Natalya Kaspersky, the founder and former CEO of security software firm Kaspersky Lab, as well as one of Russia's wealthiest women, made the explosive suggestions in an interview with RIA Novosti on Friday. She alleges that the US' top foreign intelligence agency, the CIA, has a crack team of digital warriors who are able to masquerade as overseas hacking groups.
According to her, the group, known as UMBRAGE, is adept at hiding its online footprints. The existence of the team first came to light in a series of documents published by WikiLeaks in 2017 and subsequently picked up by American media. At the time, USA Today said that the shadowy operatives ''may have been cataloguing hacking methods from outside hackers, including in Russia, that would have allowed the agency to mask their identity by employing the method during espionage.''
Also on rt.com Russia had absolutely nothing to do with Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, despite Biden's claims to contrary, says Kremlin spokesman On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that the devastating blow to America's infrastructure had been dealt from abroad. ''We do not believe the Russian government was involved in this attack, but we do have strong reason to believe that the criminals who did the attack are living in Russia, that's where it came from,'' he said.
However, Kaspersky pointed to the list ''of the countries under whose hacker groups this UMBRAGE is disguised '' Russia, North Korea, China, Iran.'' She claimed that ''therefore, it cannot be said with certainty that the attack was carried out by a hacker group from Russia, and that it was not a provocation made themselves from there, or from some other country,'' she said.
The day before, the operators of the Colonial Pipeline said that service had resumed, and that ''we can now report that we have restarted our entire pipeline system and that product delivery has commenced to all markets we serve.'' However, they added, it could take several days before gas supply issues were fully resolved.
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FACT SHEET: President Signs Executive Order Charting New Course to Improve the Nation's Cybersecurity and Protect Federal Government Networks | The White House
Fri, 14 May 2021 13:27
Today, President Biden signed an Executive Order to improve the nation's cybersecurity and protect federal government networks. Recent cybersecurity incidents such as SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange, and the Colonial Pipeline incident are a sobering reminder that U.S. public and private sector entities increasingly face sophisticated malicious cyber activity from both nation-state actors and cyber criminals. These incidents share commonalities, including insufficient cybersecurity defenses that leave public and private sector entities more vulnerable to incidents. This Executive Order makes a significant contribution toward modernizing cybersecurity defenses by protecting federal networks, improving information-sharing between the U.S. government and the private sector on cyber issues, and strengthening the United States' ability to respond to incidents when they occur. It is the first of many ambitious steps the Administration is taking to modernize national cyber defenses. However, the Colonial Pipeline incident is a reminder that federal action alone is not enough. Much of our domestic critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, and those private sector companies make their own determination regarding cybersecurity investments. We encourage private sector companies to follow the Federal government's lead and take ambitious measures to augment and align cybersecurity investments with the goal of minimizing future incidents.
Specifically, the Executive Order the President is signing today will:
Remove Barriers to Threat Information Sharing Between Government and the Private Sector. The Executive Order ensures that IT Service Providers are able to share information with the government and requires them to share certain breach information. IT providers are often hesitant or unable to voluntarily share information about a compromise. Sometimes this can be due to contractual obligations; in other cases, providers simply may be hesitant to share information about their own security breaches. Removing any contractual barriers and requiring providers to share breach information that could impact Government networks is necessary to enable more effective defenses of Federal departments, and to improve the Nation's cybersecurity as a whole.
Modernize and Implement Stronger Cybersecurity Standards in the Federal Government. The Executive Order helps move the Federal government to secure cloud services and a zero-trust architecture, and mandates deployment of multifactor authentication and encryption with a specific time period. Outdated security models and unencrypted data have led to compromises of systems in the public and private sectors. The Federal government must lead the way and increase its adoption of security best practices, including by employing a zero-trust security model, accelerating movement to secure cloud services, and consistently deploying foundational security tools such as multifactor authentication and encryption.
Improve Software Supply Chain Security. The Executive Order will improve the security of software by establishing baseline security standards for development of software sold to the government, including requiring developers to maintain greater visibility into their software and making security data publicly available. It stands up a concurrent public-private process to develop new and innovative approaches to secure software development and uses the power of Federal procurement to incentivize the market. Finally, it creates a pilot program to create an ''energy star'' type of label so the government '' and the public at large '' can quickly determine whether software was developed securely. Too much of our software, including critical software, is shipped with significant vulnerabilities that our adversaries exploit. This is a long-standing, well-known problem, but for too long we have kicked the can down the road. We need to use the purchasing power of the Federal Government to drive the market to build security into all software from the ground up.
Establish a Cybersecurity Safety Review Board. The Executive Order establishes a Cybersecurity Safety Review Board, co-chaired by government and private sector leads, that may convene following a significant cyber incident to analyze what happened and make concrete recommendations for improving cybersecurity. Too often organizations repeat the mistakes of the past and do not learn lessons from significant cyber incidents. When something goes wrong, the Administration and private sector need to ask the hard questions and make the necessary improvements. This board is modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board, which is used after airplane crashes and other incidents.
Create a Standard Playbook for Responding to Cyber Incidents. The Executive Order creates a standardized playbook and set of definitions for cyber incident response by federal departments and agencies. Organizations cannot wait until they are compromised to figure out how to respond to an attack. Recent incidents have shown that within the government the maturity level of response plans vary widely. The playbook will ensure all Federal agencies meet a certain threshold and are prepared to take uniform steps to identify and mitigate a threat. The playbook will also provide the private sector with a template for its response efforts.
Improve Detection of Cybersecurity Incidents on Federal Government Networks. The Executive Order improves the ability to detect malicious cyber activity on federal networks by enabling a government-wide endpoint detection and response system and improved information sharing within the Federal government. Slow and inconsistent deployment of foundational cybersecurity tools and practices leaves an organization exposed to adversaries. The Federal government should lead in cybersecurity, and strong, Government-wide Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) deployment coupled with robust intra-governmental information sharing are essential.
Improve Investigative and Remediation Capabilities. The Executive Order creates cybersecurity event log requirements for federal departments and agencies. Poor logging hampers an organization's ability to detect intrusions, mitigate those in progress, and determine the extent of an incident after the fact. Robust and consistent logging practices will solve much of this problem.
###
Ransomware Attacks Are Only Going to Get Worse - The Atlantic
Sat, 15 May 2021 15:29
In pandemic terms, Galactica was an island that no one could travel to.
Our software infrastructure is not built with security in mind. That's partly because a lot of it depends on older layers, and also because there has been little incentive to prioritize security. More operating systems could have been built from the start with features such as ''sandboxing,'' in which a program can play only in a defined, walled-off area called a ''sandbox'' that is unreachable by anything else. If that program is malicious, it can do damage only in its sandbox. (This is analogous to the idea of ''air gapping,'' in which crucial parts of a network are unplugged from a network's infrastructure.)
Read: How ransomware became a billion-dollar nightmare for businesses
Adding security after the fact to a digital system that wasn't built for it is very hard. And we are also surrounded by ''technical debt,'' programs that work but were written quickly, sometimes decades ago, and were never meant to scale to the degree that they have. We don't mess with these rickety layers, because it would be very expensive and difficult, and could cause everything else to crumble. That means there is a lot of duct tape in our code, holding various programs and their constituent parts together, and many parts of it are doing things they weren't designed for.
Our global network isn't built for digital security. As I wrote in 2018, the early internet was intended to connect people who already trusted one another, such as academic researchers and military networks. It never had the robust security that today's global network needs. As the internet went from a few thousand users to more than 3 billion, attempts to strengthen security were stymied because of cost, shortsightedness, and competing interests.
Even putting aside the security of our networks, our ordinary devices are sometimes shipped with passwords that are drawn from a preexisting list that includes the very-hard-to-crack ''password,'' ''1234,'' and ''default.'' In 2019, I explained how vulnerable that leaves us, using the example of interlinked zombie baby-monitors being used to cripple infrastructure (such as by bringing down cell communication infrastructure in Liberia) or to censor journalists:
Most of our gizmos rely on generic hardware, much of it produced in China, used in consumer products worldwide. To do their work, these devices run software and have user profiles that can be logged into to configure them. Unfortunately, a sizable number of manufacturers have chosen to allow simple and already widely known passwords like ''password,'' ''pass,'' ''1234,'' ''admin,'' ''default'' or ''guest'' to access the device. In a simple but devastating attack, someone put together a list of 61 such user name/password combinations and wrote a program that scans the Internet for products that use them. Once in, the software promptly installs itself and, in a devious twist, scans the device for other well-known malware and erases it, so that it can be the sole parasite. The malicious program, dubbed Mirai, then chains millions of these vulnerable devices together into a botnet'--a network of infected computers. When giant hordes of zombie baby monitors, printers and cameras simultaneously ping their victim, the targeted site becomes overwhelmed and thus inaccessible unless it employs expensive protections.
Many problems like these aren't fixed, because of what economists call ''negative externalities'': Shipping software or devices like these is free, and fixing any issues that come up is expensive. Taking the latter, more expensive route provides no immediate reward. It's like telling factories that they can pollute as much as they want, dumping their waste into the air or a nearby river, or they can choose to install costly filtering systems, in a setup where the pollution isn't quickly visible through smell or appearance. You can guess what happens: The companies don't worry about it, because they don't have to.
Cybercriminal Group Blamed for Colonial Pipeline Hack Says It Is Disbanding
Sat, 15 May 2021 16:22
The cybercriminal outfit that U.S. authorities have said infiltrated the network of a major pipeline operator, leading to gas shortages and rising prices, is claiming that it is disbanding.
DarkSide, which operates ransomware as a service, announced Thursday they were stopping operations.
In an announcement in Russian, the group said they lost access to part of its infrastructure, along with some of their financial assets, after an apparent raid by law enforcement authorities.
Affiliates that use DarkSide's ransomware were told they will be given tools so victims can regain access to data that attackers held hostage in return for payment.
''In view of the above and due to the pressure from the US, the affiliate program is closed. Stay safe and good luck. The landing page, servers, and other resources will be taken down within 48 hours,'' the announcement read, according to a translation by Intel 471, a group of intelligence operators.
The attack on Colonial Pipeline earlier this month prompted the Georgia-based company to shut down certain parts of its network. That led to a major U.S. pipeline going offline, which in turn led directly and indirectly to gas shortages and rising prices at the pump.
Reports suggested Colonial paid millions of dollars to get a tool to regain access to system parts the hackers invaded, but the company has declined to confirm that publicly, as has the U.S. government.
The FBI this week said the DarkSide ring was responsible for the compromise of Colonial networks. DarkSide appeared to acknowledge that much in an earlier statement, saying they are apolitical with the goal of making money and not creating problems for society.
''From today we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future,'' it said.
Traffic on I-95 passes oil storage tanks owned by the Colonial Pipeline Company in Linden, N.J., in a file photograph. (Mark Lennihan/AP Photo)DarkSide utilizes a highly targeted approach to attacking victims by using custom ransomware and a corporate-like method of communication throughout their attacks, according to Digital Shadows, a cybersecurity firm. DarkSide previously claimed it did not attack companies in certain sectors, like education.
Security researchers expressed skepticism of DarkSide's new announcement.
Robert Lee, co-founder and CEO of Dragos, said on Twitter that the move ''is almost certainly a rebranding attempt to avoid the heat.''
DarkSide and another ransomware group, Babuk, which said it was shifting operations on Thursday after taking credit for obtaining and leaking information from Washington's police department, took the actions in reaction to ''the high-profile ransomware attacks covered by the media this week,'' Intel 471 said.
''However, a strong caveat should be applied to these developments: it's likely that these ransomware operators are trying to retreat from the spotlight more than suddenly discovering the error of their ways. A number of the operators will most likely operate in their own closed-knit groups, resurfacing under new names and updated ransomware variants,'' it added.
President Joe Biden told reporters earlier Thursday that the U.S. government has ''strong reason'' to believe the Colonial hackers were based in Russia but were not backed by the Russian government.
''We have been in direct communication with Moscow about the imperative for responsible countries to take decisive action against these ransomware networks,'' he said. ''We're also going to pursue a measure to disrupt their ability to operate. And our Justice Department has launched a new task force dedicated to prosecuting ransomware hackers to the full extent of the law.''
An international task force that included officials from Microsoft, Amazon, New York state, and the U.S. government, said in a report sent to the Biden administration last month that the United States should ''execute a sustained, aggressive, whole of government, intelligence-driven anti-ransomware campaign, coordinated by the White House.''
Build Back Better
Partijen GroenLinks en Arnhem Centraal stellen vragen over miljoenenwinst miljonair Soros met Arnhemse huurwoningen: 'Dit is absurd' | Arnhem | gelderlander.nl
Sat, 15 May 2021 14:20
Privacy
The Big Lie
Exclusive Preview: "Significant Discrepancies" Revealed In Maricopa Audit; Up To 17.5% Ballot Error Rate; "Likely Joe Biden Did Not Win." - The True Reporter
Fri, 14 May 2021 04:24
First hints of the Maricopa audit are emerging. The results will eliminate all doubts.
Join Our Telegram channel here: https://t.me/TheTrueReporter
However, the scale and wide range came as a surprise even for us! The political analyst and strategist, Boris Epshteyn, said that the first audit in the U.S. had exposed discrepancies as high as 17.5 %.
Boris Epshteyn confessed that Biden didn't win Arizona according to the audit's numbers!The allegations are grave, as well as the evidence. The Maricopa audit has been rescheduled to end on June 30, 2021.
If you think a little bit, at the beginning of the audit, the auditors felt that they would finish it even before the deadline. But now, numerous discrepancies have been revealed, so the auditors want to take their time to check everything. The audit's end is extended by several weeks.
Maricopa County Audit Evidence Reveals a Directory of Election Databases Was Suspiciously Deleted Before Audit Commenced '' such Deletion is wrong.BREAKING: Ballot Batches Off by 17.5%, 'Likely Joe Biden Did Not Win Arizona' '' CD Media https://t.co/KC9PC1paur via @getongab
'-- Equal Justice & no discrimination by USA Gov't (@JusProphet) May 13, 2021
Guess what: it's an undeniable fact now that the 2020 election was rigged in Arizona.
Maricopa County officials deleted a directory full of election databases right before the election equipment was delivered to the audit.
And now they deny they have the router passwords.
'-- Emerald Robinson '''¸ (@EmeraldRobinson) May 13, 2021
Breaking Update: As we open boxes of ballots delivered by Maricopa County, we are discovering significant discrepancies between the number of ballots therein and the batch reports included in the boxes.
'-- Maricopa Arizona Audit (@ArizonaAudit) May 13, 2021
Maricopa County and the Dems did everything in their power to stop the audit from happening. Their actions made me think twice. If the 2020 election was as fair and transparent as the Dems claim, what are they afraid of?
The National File also said what Epshteyn's claims of error rates as high as 17.5 %.The ongoing audit of ballots cast in Maricopa County, Arizona, has uncovered ''significant discrepancies'' in the number of ballots versus the supposed number of ballots that were supposed to exist. Political strategist Boris Epshteyn adds that the discrepancies may be as high as 17.5%, and it is ''likely Joe Biden did not win Arizona.''
Arizona Senate President recently sent a letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, outlining the major issues discovered already in the audit and offering to settle them without additional subpoenas or compulsory action. In the letter, says Epshteyn on Steve Bannon's podcast, it reveals, ''Pallet five, batch 2976, 200 pink slip total, actual total 165. They are missing 35 ballots out of that batch.'' He added, ''35 out of 100 is 17.5%. 10 out of 200 is 5%.''
''Do you know how shocking that is? 17.5% discrepancy in a batch is beyond belief.'' He added, ''In one, they've got 18 more than there's supposed to be, which is a 9% discrepancy. Again, if we are to have any confidence in elections in this country, how can we possibly be okay with discrepancies of double-digit percentages? It's absolutely mind-boggling, anything above a tiny fraction of a percentage is unacceptable, by the way, unacceptable according to the Federal Elections Commission.''
Ephsteyn explained that several databases subpoenaed for the purpose of the audit had been removed, including files that contain the election results and how they were tallied. ''There's evidence these databases were removed as recently as March, right before handed over, and while being subject to a subpoena. That's criminal activity.''
''We now know why the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors have been fighting this subpoena so hard, why Perkins Coie has come in, why the Democrats are pushing back, why you've got mainstream media melting down,'' he explained, ''Because they're hiding this. They're hiding the disaster in which they handled this election, and likely, the fact that Joe Biden did not win in Arizona.''
Let's say that the Maricopa County audit continues without any additional interruptions. In this case, we will have the results and significant updates on June 30, 2021. But, until then, I won't be surprised if a couple of leaks come out.
The 17.5% error rate represents only the visible part of an iceberg. God knows what is hidden below the water!
I want to know what the Dems are hiding.
Why did Maricopa County elections officials delete the 2020 election main database from voting machines just before the equipment was delivered for audit?
ðŸ¤--
'-- Paul A. Szypula, US Senate Candidate for NY in '22 (@Bubblebathgirl) May 13, 2021
This coin is a symbol of President Trump's victory and success. This item sells for $39.95 on Amazon. Today's special promotion is offering a massive discount on this item. President Trump 2020 Coin (Gold & Silver Plated) - Claim 1 Free OR Claim a Discount + Free Shipping Get Your Coin HERE Or Click on the image below. 2020 Election Integrity: Arizona '' Senate Forensic Audit '' Audit Team Offers Passwords & Equipment Access to Clear Up A Misunderstanding
In direct contrast to Maricopa County Officials withholding previously subpoenaed equipment & passwords they now claim not to have. https://t.co/lM0x9I25be
'-- Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) May 12, 2021
More fraud and corruption found in Antrim County, Michigan, Which is exactly why the democrats are battling @mdeperno, and the audit in Maricopa County Arizona. https://t.co/xVO71hvehW
'-- Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) May 8, 2021
It's Brakey Time: John explains how this audit is allowing for the development of new systems. The hybrid system includes a hand count audit and a ballot image audit. pic.twitter.com/mSU3XLHqUu
'-- Maricopa Arizona Audit (@ArizonaAudit) May 6, 2021
At this point, Maricopa represents the battlefield of the political universe. However, it surprised me that the mass media have been reluctant to cover this story.
But. I doubt that they will remain loyal to transparency if something terrible leaks.
The Epoch Times reported on the Arizona audit.Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, asked Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers, also a Republican, on Wednesday to cooperate with the Senate to resolve the issues, including the county's noncompliance with earlier subpoenas.
The county is refusing to supply routers or even images of routers used in connection with last year's election, claiming doing so would pose a security risk. A Senate lawyer said last week the body would issue fresh subpoenas unless the requested material was produced, but instead, Fann wrote a letter to Sellers seeking to convince him to cooperate voluntarily.
Fann is proposing having CyFIR, one of four firms hired to carry out the audit in Maricopa County, review virtual images of the relevant routers in county facilities with representatives from the county's sheriff's office present.
''Such an arrangement would permit Maricopa County to retain custody and monitor the review of router data while ensuring that the Senate may access the information it requires'--and to which it is constitutionally entitled'--to successfully complete its audit. The Senate has no interest in viewing or taking possession of any information that is unrelated to the administration of the 2020 general election,'' she wrote in the new letter.
Fann also expressed concern that the county either does not have or will not provide passwords to access administrative functions on vote tabulation machines. She told Sellers that ''it strains credulity to posit that the County has no contractual right to obtain (i.e., control of) password information from Dominion.''
Dominion has not returned requests for comment.
Auditors, the top senator continued, have ''become aware of apparent omissions, inconsistencies, and anomalies relating to Maricopa County's handling, organization, and storage of ballots.'' That includes a lack of chain-of-custody documentation for the ballots; bags in which the ballots were stored not being sealed; and a disparity between the actual number of ballots in a batch and the total listed a pink report slip accompanying the batch, which the county provided.
In one case, the discrepancy was 35 votes. Batches are supposed to contain 200 ballots.
Additionally, the audit teams found an entire database directory deleted from an election machine even though the details appear to have been covered by the subpoena. Combined with not finding the main database for the election management software, ''this suggests that the main database for all election-related data for the November 2020 General Election has been removed,'' Fann said.
She told Sellers that she hopes the issues can be resolved without additional subpoenas and invited him and any other county officers or employees who know about the outlined matters to attend a meeting at the Arizona State Capitol on May 18. The hearing will be live-streamed.
''I'm looking forward to the County coming to the AZ Capitol to answer these important questions related to the audit,'' state Sen. Warren Petersen, a Republican, said in a statement.
A Maricopa County spokesman declined to comment early Thursday, indicating the county would respond later in the day.
The county's Elections Department, Sellers, and a Sellers aide did not respond to inquiries.
As you know, we are only reporting the truth, regardless if it's good or bad.
I think that only a few days separate us from revealing the truth behind the actual 2020 Presidential election results.
Join Our Telegram channel here: https://t.me/TheTrueReporter
Sources:
nationalfile.com
theepochtimes.com
Trump
British spy recruited by Erik Prince ran 'honeypot ops' with female spies to discredit Trump enemies | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 14 May 2021 17:53
Donald Trump's allies were so intent on rooting out a 'deep state' working against him that they employed a British spy to recruit women as 'honeytraps', intent on ferreting out critics of the then-president while on dates at DC restaurants.
The spying scheme was orchestrated in part by Project Veritas, according to The New York Times. It targeted members of the FBI, the State Department and even Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster. It's unclear if Trump knew about it when it was going on in 2017 .
Former British spy Richard Seddon trained the women at the Wyoming ranch of Erik Prince - Betsy DeVos' brother.
Various women were recruited for it, including Texas journalist Tarah Price and former Survivor contestant Anna Khait, who was among Trump supporters at the Capitol on January 6.
Their job was to go to dinner with government officials and agents in DC and try to record them disparaging Trump. They'd then report back to Project Veritas. Richard Seddon, a former MI6 agent, hired glamorous women to seduce high profile targets.
The Times reports that Price was paid $10,000 to try to seduce McMaster - often seen as more loyal to the country than he was to Trump.
Khait was tasked with seducing State Department employees into admitting, on fake dates, filmed undercover, that they disliked Trump and wanted to thwart him.
Khait has admitted taking part in the project but says she 'never kissed anyone'.
Russian-born pro poker player and former contestant on the television program Survivor, Anna Khait (pictured) was tasked with seducing State Department employees
Texas journalist, Tarah Price (pictured), was paid $10,000 to try to seduce McMaster into revealing information to a hidden camera
Richard Seddon, a former MI6 agent, hired glamorous women to seduce high profile targets including H.R. McMaster (pictured with Trump in 2017)
After the report emerged in the Times on Thursday night, she tweeted that she'd taken part but done nothing wrong.
'It's not illegal to investigate the people who are SUPPOSED to be transparent with the American people,' Khait tweeted on Thursday night.
Price didn't respond to the Times' request for comment; a message sent to her social media account by DailyMail.com also wasn't returned.
Former Navy SEAL Erik Prince founded the private military firm Blackwater
The women were given codenames like 'Brazil' and 'Tiger', and housed in a $10,000-a-month six bedroom Georgetown mansion in Washington DC - a place so secretive they were told to have Ubers drop them off a distance from the residence.
Before being selected, they were flown to Wyoming, to a vast ranch owned by the family of Erik Prince, the founder of private military company Blackwater, whose sister Betsy DeVos was Trump's education secretary.
Prince's name frequently crops up in relation to Trump - meeting the then-candidate in 2016 to 'talk about Iran policy'; meeting representatives of the UAE and Russia in the Seychelles allegedly on behalf of Trump; and meeting President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, potentially at Trump's behest.
Prince had hired former British spy, Richard Seddon, to oversee the recruitment of the women, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
Prince's sister Betsy DeVos was Trump's education secretary
The women were trained on Prince's ranch in Cody, Wyoming
Khait, seen at the Capitol on January 6, was recruited to film State Dept officials undercover revealing their thoughts about Donald Trump.
Khait with a cut-out of President Trump. She says she did nothing wrong
Khait admitted to working for Veritas but said she didn't 'investigate' the FBI as claimed. When asked if she'd been a 'hooker' for them on Instagram, she said she never 'kissed anyone'
The pair worked in association with media watchdog Project Veritas, which specializes in undercover sting operations, The New York Times claimed.
Project Veritas said the Times was writing a 'smear piece' on them, but did not answer specific questions about the operation.
Prince and Seddon asked the women, at the Wyoming ranch, who their dream dinner party guests would be, and where they obtained their news - both questions designed to assess their political leanings.
Khait's social media shows her to be avowedly pro-Trump, while Price appears to now write for The Blaze, where she describes herself as: 'love guns, and despise feminism'.
The women were then trained in how to entice their targets to speak out, and how to film the results.
One role-playing exercise, detailed in documents obtained by The New York Times, involved a trainee being interrogated by a law enforcement officer and having to 'defend their cover' and 'avoid exciting' the officer.
Another exercise instructs trainees in how to target a person in an elevator.
The students were encouraged to think of their 'targets as a possible future access agent, potential donor, support/facilities agent.'
'The student must create and maintain a fictional cover,' one document read.
All the recruits were told to burn the training manual after the course finished.
Some of the women targeted FBI agents. Others, such as Khait, went after State Department staff and other targets.
Barbara Ledeen, pictured, relayed information about McMaster's schedule
Price was told she was 'going to get paid $10,000 to go undercover and set up some big-name political figure in Washington,' according to a May 2018 email sent by her former boyfriend to the website Project Veritas Exposed.
Sources told The New York Times that McMaster was the target.
McMaster was in the spotlight following a November 2017 BuzzFeed article, which reported that he made disparaging remarks about Trump at a dinner with business executives, calling the then-president an 'idiot' and a 'dope' with the intelligence of a 'kindergartner'.
Their work was aided by Barbara Ledeen, an aide to the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose husband wrote a book with Flynn and who herself worked with him to try and find Hillary Clinton's deleted emails.
Ledeen, who has since retired, provided details of McMaster's schedule. She met an unknown person, who she believed used a fake name, and handed over the information, showing that McMaster frequently dined at an Italian restaurant, Tosca, in Washington DC.
'Somebody who had his calendar conveyed to me that he goes to Tosca all the time,' she said.
She insisted that she was merely a messenger.
'I am not part of a plot,' she told the paper.
The plan involved sending the recruited women to talk to McMaster at Tosca whenever he was alone to strike up a conversation with him over a drink and seduce him into making disparaging remarks about the president, which could then be used as grounds to fire him.
The operation was abandoned when they got when they wanted, as McMaster resigned in March 2018 in a move which avoiding Trump firing him.
It was unclear whether Price ever met McMaster.
He has not commented on the report, nor has Price or Prince.
But Khait said she was proud of her work.
'I never kissed anyone during a Project Veritas investigation but fake news gonna fake.
'Investigating and keeping our government in check is what JOURNALISTS are supposed to do. Instead, the New York Times attacks those who are doing THEIR job! Unbelievable.'
And she mistakenly accused The New York Times of claiming she targeted FBI agents.
'As always the NYT is FAKE NEWS,' she said.
'I never investigated the FBI when I worked undercover for Project Veritas. These baseless accusations are LOL.'
Secret Sharers: The Hidden Ties Between Private Spies and Journalists - The New York Times
Sun, 16 May 2021 11:18
Some journalists are happy to knock on the doors of strangers. I was never one of them, but Christopher Steele, the ex-British spy behind the infamous Trump dossier, left me no choice.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Steele had been hired by an investigative firm called Fusion GPS to gather dirt about Donald J. Trump and Russia. The firm's founders, two former Wall Street Journal reporters, made it clear they would not talk to me for a book I was writing about the business of private intelligence. So on an early summer morning in 2019, I arrived at Mr. Steele's home in Farnham, a picturesque English village.
In photographs, the retired MI6 agent was always dressed impeccably in business suits, his graying hair freshly coifed. When he opened his door, he was wearing plaid boxer shorts and a blue T-shirt and had a serious case of bed head. ''I can't talk today,'' he said. ''It's my birthday.''
At the time, those involved with the dossier were intent on controlling its narrative and eager to capitalize on their fame. Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the founders of Fusion GPS, wrote a book about the dossier that became a best seller. Mr. Steele sold his life rights to a Hollywood studio owned by George Clooney. When a guest at a private dinner party hosted by Vanity Fair asked him for his business card, he thought it was a fan who wanted his autograph, so he picked up his place card and signed it.
Now the glow has faded '-- from both the dossier and its promoters. Russia, as Mr. Steele asserted, did try to influence the 2016 election. But many of the dossier's most explosive claims '-- like a salacious ''pee'' tape featuring Mr. Trump or a supposed meeting in Prague between Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump's former attorney, and Russian operatives '-- have never materialized or have been proved false. The founders of Alfa Bank, a major Russian financial institution, are suing Fusion GPS, claiming the firm libeled them. (Fusion has denied the claims.) Plans for a film based on Mr. Steele's adventures appear dead.
Beneath the dossier's journey from media obsession to slush pile lies a broader and more troubling story. Today, private spying has boomed into a renegade, billion-dollar industry, one that is increasingly invading our privacy, profiting from deception and manipulating the news.
Big law firms in New York and London are clamoring for the services of firms like Black Cube, an Israeli company that worked for Harvey Weinstein. Dictators are using private spies as freelance intelligence agents, and off-the-shelf technology is making it easier for them to monitor cellphones and hack emails. Over the past decade, spies for hire have become more emboldened '-- just as their power to influence events has become more pervasive.
While I was examining the private intelligence business, it became clear that I needed to look at another profession, the one where my career had been spent '-- journalism. Reporters and private investigators long have had a symbiotic relationship that is hidden from the public. Hired spies feed journalists story tips or documents and use reporters to plant stories benefiting a client without leaving their fingerprints behind.
The information they peddle is often sensational. It can also be impossible to verify or be untrue.
When Mr. Trump, an ex-MI6 agent and two former reporters were thrown into the mix, the ingredients were in place for a media debacle of epic proportions. And in a news business that is fragmented and hyperpartisan, a similar fiasco may lie dead ahead.
Image Credit... Lincoln Agnew The private intelligence business is home to a scattershot of figures '-- ex-government spies, former law enforcement officials and others. As the newspaper industry has shrunk, a growing number of reporters like Mr. Simpson and Mr. Fritsch have joined their ranks.
The two men, who did not respond to my requests for comment, started Fusion GPS a decade ago. There, they worked for nonprofits, hedge funds and companies they might have investigated during their Wall Street Journal careers.
In 2015, Mr. Fritsch sent an email to a former colleague at the newspaper, congratulating him and others there on winning a Pulitzer Prize for articles that exposed how doctors were draining Medicare.
''First, big congrats on the big P. Has Rupert had you on his yacht yet?'' Mr. Fritsch wrote to the colleague, John Carreyrou, referring to the paper's owner, Rupert Murdoch.
Mr. Fritsch then explained that his firm was examining companies that did blood and other medical tests, and that he was eager to get Mr. Carreyrou's impression of an industry whistle-blower. ''I caught him lying to me about something and just wanted to reach out and get your read of this dude,'' Mr. Fritsch wrote, according to copies of the emails reviewed by The New York Times.
As it happened, Mr. Carreyrou had just started investigating Theranos, a high-flying start-up that claimed to have developed a revolutionary blood testing technology.
Once Theranos caught wind of Mr. Carreyrou's interest, its lawyers hired Fusion GPS. Mr. Fritsch acknowledged in a follow-up email that he was working on the company's behalf, and he told Mr. Carreyrou that he was urging Theranos to let him interview its founder, Elizabeth Holmes.
But as weeks passed and the reporter pressed to interview Ms. Holmes and another top Theranos executive, with whom she was suspected of having an affair, Mr. Fritsch's tone turned combative and condescending.
''i think you are playing this a lot harder than it needs to play,'' Mr. Fritsch wrote. ''i get the tactic and have used it myself but usually only after I had the abu ghraib photos in my hand, so to speak.''
Their exchange quickly ended, and while the Journal reporter continued to investigate Theranos, Mr. Fritsch started a different inquiry '-- one aimed at Mr. Carreyrou, who would eventually expose flaws in the start-up's technology and the lengths it went to hide them.
To monitor reporters, Fusion GPS used an outside contractor who submitted open-record requests to government agencies asking for inquiries made by journalists for public documents. In mid-2015, emails show, Mr. Fritsch asked the contractor about ways to frame requests for inquiries by Mr. Carreyrou for Theranos records ''so it doesn't look like we are targeting him specifically?''
''I would like to not mention carreyrou by name,'' Mr. Fritsch wrote. ''the reason is obvious: if we name him and he sees that, he'll know who you are working for/with etc.''
When the contractor rejected one proposal about how to disguise their interest, Mr. Fritsch suggested another approach. ''to mask it, let's also include the new york times,'' he said.
'Journalism for rent'Mr. Simpson loved holding court with reporters, regaling them with war stories and presenting himself as a journalistic wise man. At a conference of investigative journalists in 2016, he said he and Mr. Fritsch had started Fusion to continue their work as reporters who righted wrongs.
''I like to call it journalism for rent,'' he said.
Fusion GPS, like its competitors, belonged to a wider web of enablers '-- lawyers, public relations executives and ''crisis management'' consultants '-- who serve the wealthy, the powerful and the controversial. For their part, private intelligence firms take on jobs that others don't know how to do or don't want to get caught doing.
Information gathered by private investigators is often laundered through public relations firms, which then shop the material to journalists. Jules Kroll, who created the modern-day private intelligence industry in the 1970s, broke that mold by leaking information directly to reporters. Mr. Simpson took it a step further. He sold Fusion GPS to clients by emphasizing his connections at major media outlets and assured journalists that he was really still one of them.
''People who have never been a reporter don't understand the challenges of printing what you know, right, because you can't just say what you know '-- you have to say how you know, and you have to prove it,'' Mr. Simpson remarked at the 2016 conference. ''When you're a spy, you really don't have to get into a lot of that stuff.''
Fusion GPS also mined a field that other private intelligence firms avoided '-- political opposition research. And when Mr. Trump emerged in 2016 as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, lawyers for Hillary Clinton's campaign hired Fusion to dig into ties between Mr. Trump and Russia.
In the fall of 2016, Fusion GPS invited selected reporters from The Times, The New Yorker and other news organizations to meet Mr. Steele in Washington and receive briefings on what he had uncovered about the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. As is often the case in the world of private intelligence, the meetings came with a catch: If news organizations wrote about the dossier, they had to agree not to disclose that Fusion GPS and the former British agent were the sources of the material.
Mr. Steele was described to journalists as having played a pivotal role in breaking huge cases, including the 2006 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a former K.G.B. agent, and the F.B.I.'s investigation into bribery at FIFA, soccer's governing body. And when speaking about Mr. Trump and Russia, he came across as calm, understated and confident, according to reporters who attended the meetings.
Mr. Steele said his information about Mr. Trump and his associates had been gathered by an unnamed, highly skilled operative with Kremlin connections referred to as his ''collector.'' In memos, the ex-agent referred to his collector's informants using code names like ''Source A'' and ''Source B.''
It was easy for many journalists to believe that Mr. Trump would do anything to win, even '-- given his stance with President Vladimir Putin '-- collude with Russia. And while Mr. Steele said that his information needed to be confirmed, he left little doubt that he was right.
''He described Trump as a kind of Manchurian candidate,'' recalled one reporter who met with him.
Mr. Steele had talents. And as with many private spies, his past was his big selling point. But his purported achievements were hard to examine since they were by nature secretive.
The best friend of Mr. Litvinenko, the murdered ex-K.G.B. agent, said neither he nor Mr. Litvinenko's wife had heard of Mr. Steele. Neither had a former Times reporter, Alan Cowell, who wrote a book about the Litvinenko case. Ken Bensinger, a BuzzFeed reporter who wrote a book about the FIFA scandal, said that after speaking with Mr. Steele, he concluded that Mr. Steele really didn't know much about it.
'Brave enough to believe' Image Credit... Lincoln Agnew Investigative journalists normally rely on court records, corporate documents and other tangible pieces of evidence. But the dossier took them down a very different path, one into the shadow lands of intelligence, a realm where documents don't exist and where reporters often can't independently confirm what their sources are saying.
After BuzzFeed posted the contents of the dossier in early 2017, countless articles, television shows, books, tweets and blog posts about it appeared. Then the music started to stop. Robert S. Mueller III, who led a Justice Department inquiry into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow, barely mentioned the dossier in his 2019 report. A separate review that year by the inspector general of the Justice Department, Michael E. Horowitz, also threw cold water on the dossier and raised the possibility that Russian agents might have fed disinformation to Mr. Steele's sources, a suggestion the former British agent rejected.
Over dinner in Moscow in 2019, Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, offered her take on the matter. Ms. Veselnitskaya had worked alongside Mr. Simpson when she represented a Russian-owned real estate firm called Prevezon Holdings and said she regarded him as a skilled investigator. As for Mr. Steele and the dossier, she had nothing but contempt.
''If you take this fake stuff for real, then you just have to be brave enough to believe, to completely dismiss all your special services, all your intelligence staff,'' she said rapidly through an interpreter. She suggested how odd it was that all those people and agencies ''were never able to find out what that talented person found out without ever leaving his room.''
Ms. Veselnitskaya was embroiled in her own legal drama. The Justice Department had indicted her in connection with her work for Prevezon, a charge she denied. Still, she raised an issue that reporters who embraced the dossier had blown past: How did Christopher Steele know more about Donald Trump and Russia than the C.I.A. or MI6?
The dossier's latest blow came last year when the identity of Mr. Steele's collector was revealed. He turned out to be a Russian-born lawyer, Igor Danchenko, who now lived in the United States. Mr. Danchenko, like others in the private intelligence business, had stumbled into it after other pursuits failed. His contacts within Russia appeared to be not Kremlin A-listers but instead childhood friends, college buddies or drinking pals.
In 2017, Mr. Danchenko claimed to the F.B.I. during a secret interview that Mr. Steele had ''misstated'' the information and had ''exaggerated'' its reliability. But after that interview was released in 2020, Mr. Danchenko flip-flopped. He told one newspaper that he stood by the dossier; he told another newspaper that he wasn't so sure about it.
By then, a few reporters who had written about the dossier had backed away from it. ''Some people have wanted to maintain that the dossier is checking out when, as far as I can tell, it hasn't,'' said Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News. He was in the minority. When Erik Wemple of The Washington Post wrote a series of columns about the media infatuation with the dossier, most journalists he contacted either defended their work or ignored his inquiries.
In an article for Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi cast the media's handling of the dossier as a replay of a press disaster: the reporting before the Persian Gulf war, which claimed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. ''The W.M.D. affair showed what happened when we don't require sources to show us evidence, when we let political actors use the press to 'confirm' their own assertions,'' Mr. Taibbi wrote. ''Are we never going to own up to this one?''
The short answer is no. To learn from the dossier episode, news organizations would have to examine their ties to private intelligence agents, including why they so often granted them anonymity. But as long as the media allows private spies to set the rules, journalists and the public will continue to lose.
In a recent book, Luke Harding, an investigative reporter at The Guardian, described how Mr. Steele had dispatched his ''collector'' to surreptitiously approach a real estate broker, Sergei Millian, who was a peripheral figure in the Trump/Russia saga. ''Millian spoke at length and privately to this person, believing him or her to be trustworthy '-- a kindred soul,'' Mr. Harding wrote.
But the trouble for Mr. Harding, who is close to both Mr. Steele and Mr. Simpson, was that he wrote those lines before the release of the F.B.I. interview of Mr. Danchenko.
In the interview, the collector said that he and Mr. Millian might have spoken briefly over the phone, but that the two had never met.
Mr. Harding did not respond to requests for comment.
Barry Meier is a former reporter for The New York Times and the author of the forthcoming book ''Spooked: The Trump Dossier, Black Cube and the Rise of Private Spies,'' from which this article is adapted.
Secret Sharers: The Hidden Ties Between Private Spies and Journalists - The New York Times
Sun, 16 May 2021 11:18
Some journalists are happy to knock on the doors of strangers. I was never one of them, but Christopher Steele, the ex-British spy behind the infamous Trump dossier, left me no choice.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Steele had been hired by an investigative firm called Fusion GPS to gather dirt about Donald J. Trump and Russia. The firm's founders, two former Wall Street Journal reporters, made it clear they would not talk to me for a book I was writing about the business of private intelligence. So on an early summer morning in 2019, I arrived at Mr. Steele's home in Farnham, a picturesque English village.
In photographs, the retired MI6 agent was always dressed impeccably in business suits, his graying hair freshly coifed. When he opened his door, he was wearing plaid boxer shorts and a blue T-shirt and had a serious case of bed head. ''I can't talk today,'' he said. ''It's my birthday.''
At the time, those involved with the dossier were intent on controlling its narrative and eager to capitalize on their fame. Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the founders of Fusion GPS, wrote a book about the dossier that became a best seller. Mr. Steele sold his life rights to a Hollywood studio owned by George Clooney. When a guest at a private dinner party hosted by Vanity Fair asked him for his business card, he thought it was a fan who wanted his autograph, so he picked up his place card and signed it.
Now the glow has faded '-- from both the dossier and its promoters. Russia, as Mr. Steele asserted, did try to influence the 2016 election. But many of the dossier's most explosive claims '-- like a salacious ''pee'' tape featuring Mr. Trump or a supposed meeting in Prague between Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump's former attorney, and Russian operatives '-- have never materialized or have been proved false. The founders of Alfa Bank, a major Russian financial institution, are suing Fusion GPS, claiming the firm libeled them. (Fusion has denied the claims.) Plans for a film based on Mr. Steele's adventures appear dead.
Beneath the dossier's journey from media obsession to slush pile lies a broader and more troubling story. Today, private spying has boomed into a renegade, billion-dollar industry, one that is increasingly invading our privacy, profiting from deception and manipulating the news.
Big law firms in New York and London are clamoring for the services of firms like Black Cube, an Israeli company that worked for Harvey Weinstein. Dictators are using private spies as freelance intelligence agents, and off-the-shelf technology is making it easier for them to monitor cellphones and hack emails. Over the past decade, spies for hire have become more emboldened '-- just as their power to influence events has become more pervasive.
While I was examining the private intelligence business, it became clear that I needed to look at another profession, the one where my career had been spent '-- journalism. Reporters and private investigators long have had a symbiotic relationship that is hidden from the public. Hired spies feed journalists story tips or documents and use reporters to plant stories benefiting a client without leaving their fingerprints behind.
The information they peddle is often sensational. It can also be impossible to verify or be untrue.
When Mr. Trump, an ex-MI6 agent and two former reporters were thrown into the mix, the ingredients were in place for a media debacle of epic proportions. And in a news business that is fragmented and hyperpartisan, a similar fiasco may lie dead ahead.
Image Credit... Lincoln Agnew The private intelligence business is home to a scattershot of figures '-- ex-government spies, former law enforcement officials and others. As the newspaper industry has shrunk, a growing number of reporters like Mr. Simpson and Mr. Fritsch have joined their ranks.
The two men, who did not respond to my requests for comment, started Fusion GPS a decade ago. There, they worked for nonprofits, hedge funds and companies they might have investigated during their Wall Street Journal careers.
In 2015, Mr. Fritsch sent an email to a former colleague at the newspaper, congratulating him and others there on winning a Pulitzer Prize for articles that exposed how doctors were draining Medicare.
''First, big congrats on the big P. Has Rupert had you on his yacht yet?'' Mr. Fritsch wrote to the colleague, John Carreyrou, referring to the paper's owner, Rupert Murdoch.
Mr. Fritsch then explained that his firm was examining companies that did blood and other medical tests, and that he was eager to get Mr. Carreyrou's impression of an industry whistle-blower. ''I caught him lying to me about something and just wanted to reach out and get your read of this dude,'' Mr. Fritsch wrote, according to copies of the emails reviewed by The New York Times.
As it happened, Mr. Carreyrou had just started investigating Theranos, a high-flying start-up that claimed to have developed a revolutionary blood testing technology.
Once Theranos caught wind of Mr. Carreyrou's interest, its lawyers hired Fusion GPS. Mr. Fritsch acknowledged in a follow-up email that he was working on the company's behalf, and he told Mr. Carreyrou that he was urging Theranos to let him interview its founder, Elizabeth Holmes.
But as weeks passed and the reporter pressed to interview Ms. Holmes and another top Theranos executive, with whom she was suspected of having an affair, Mr. Fritsch's tone turned combative and condescending.
''i think you are playing this a lot harder than it needs to play,'' Mr. Fritsch wrote. ''i get the tactic and have used it myself but usually only after I had the abu ghraib photos in my hand, so to speak.''
Their exchange quickly ended, and while the Journal reporter continued to investigate Theranos, Mr. Fritsch started a different inquiry '-- one aimed at Mr. Carreyrou, who would eventually expose flaws in the start-up's technology and the lengths it went to hide them.
To monitor reporters, Fusion GPS used an outside contractor who submitted open-record requests to government agencies asking for inquiries made by journalists for public documents. In mid-2015, emails show, Mr. Fritsch asked the contractor about ways to frame requests for inquiries by Mr. Carreyrou for Theranos records ''so it doesn't look like we are targeting him specifically?''
''I would like to not mention carreyrou by name,'' Mr. Fritsch wrote. ''the reason is obvious: if we name him and he sees that, he'll know who you are working for/with etc.''
When the contractor rejected one proposal about how to disguise their interest, Mr. Fritsch suggested another approach. ''to mask it, let's also include the new york times,'' he said.
'Journalism for rent'Mr. Simpson loved holding court with reporters, regaling them with war stories and presenting himself as a journalistic wise man. At a conference of investigative journalists in 2016, he said he and Mr. Fritsch had started Fusion to continue their work as reporters who righted wrongs.
''I like to call it journalism for rent,'' he said.
Fusion GPS, like its competitors, belonged to a wider web of enablers '-- lawyers, public relations executives and ''crisis management'' consultants '-- who serve the wealthy, the powerful and the controversial. For their part, private intelligence firms take on jobs that others don't know how to do or don't want to get caught doing.
Information gathered by private investigators is often laundered through public relations firms, which then shop the material to journalists. Jules Kroll, who created the modern-day private intelligence industry in the 1970s, broke that mold by leaking information directly to reporters. Mr. Simpson took it a step further. He sold Fusion GPS to clients by emphasizing his connections at major media outlets and assured journalists that he was really still one of them.
''People who have never been a reporter don't understand the challenges of printing what you know, right, because you can't just say what you know '-- you have to say how you know, and you have to prove it,'' Mr. Simpson remarked at the 2016 conference. ''When you're a spy, you really don't have to get into a lot of that stuff.''
Fusion GPS also mined a field that other private intelligence firms avoided '-- political opposition research. And when Mr. Trump emerged in 2016 as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, lawyers for Hillary Clinton's campaign hired Fusion to dig into ties between Mr. Trump and Russia.
In the fall of 2016, Fusion GPS invited selected reporters from The Times, The New Yorker and other news organizations to meet Mr. Steele in Washington and receive briefings on what he had uncovered about the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. As is often the case in the world of private intelligence, the meetings came with a catch: If news organizations wrote about the dossier, they had to agree not to disclose that Fusion GPS and the former British agent were the sources of the material.
Mr. Steele was described to journalists as having played a pivotal role in breaking huge cases, including the 2006 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a former K.G.B. agent, and the F.B.I.'s investigation into bribery at FIFA, soccer's governing body. And when speaking about Mr. Trump and Russia, he came across as calm, understated and confident, according to reporters who attended the meetings.
Mr. Steele said his information about Mr. Trump and his associates had been gathered by an unnamed, highly skilled operative with Kremlin connections referred to as his ''collector.'' In memos, the ex-agent referred to his collector's informants using code names like ''Source A'' and ''Source B.''
It was easy for many journalists to believe that Mr. Trump would do anything to win, even '-- given his stance with President Vladimir Putin '-- collude with Russia. And while Mr. Steele said that his information needed to be confirmed, he left little doubt that he was right.
''He described Trump as a kind of Manchurian candidate,'' recalled one reporter who met with him.
Mr. Steele had talents. And as with many private spies, his past was his big selling point. But his purported achievements were hard to examine since they were by nature secretive.
The best friend of Mr. Litvinenko, the murdered ex-K.G.B. agent, said neither he nor Mr. Litvinenko's wife had heard of Mr. Steele. Neither had a former Times reporter, Alan Cowell, who wrote a book about the Litvinenko case. Ken Bensinger, a BuzzFeed reporter who wrote a book about the FIFA scandal, said that after speaking with Mr. Steele, he concluded that Mr. Steele really didn't know much about it.
'Brave enough to believe' Image Credit... Lincoln Agnew Investigative journalists normally rely on court records, corporate documents and other tangible pieces of evidence. But the dossier took them down a very different path, one into the shadow lands of intelligence, a realm where documents don't exist and where reporters often can't independently confirm what their sources are saying.
After BuzzFeed posted the contents of the dossier in early 2017, countless articles, television shows, books, tweets and blog posts about it appeared. Then the music started to stop. Robert S. Mueller III, who led a Justice Department inquiry into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow, barely mentioned the dossier in his 2019 report. A separate review that year by the inspector general of the Justice Department, Michael E. Horowitz, also threw cold water on the dossier and raised the possibility that Russian agents might have fed disinformation to Mr. Steele's sources, a suggestion the former British agent rejected.
Over dinner in Moscow in 2019, Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, offered her take on the matter. Ms. Veselnitskaya had worked alongside Mr. Simpson when she represented a Russian-owned real estate firm called Prevezon Holdings and said she regarded him as a skilled investigator. As for Mr. Steele and the dossier, she had nothing but contempt.
''If you take this fake stuff for real, then you just have to be brave enough to believe, to completely dismiss all your special services, all your intelligence staff,'' she said rapidly through an interpreter. She suggested how odd it was that all those people and agencies ''were never able to find out what that talented person found out without ever leaving his room.''
Ms. Veselnitskaya was embroiled in her own legal drama. The Justice Department had indicted her in connection with her work for Prevezon, a charge she denied. Still, she raised an issue that reporters who embraced the dossier had blown past: How did Christopher Steele know more about Donald Trump and Russia than the C.I.A. or MI6?
The dossier's latest blow came last year when the identity of Mr. Steele's collector was revealed. He turned out to be a Russian-born lawyer, Igor Danchenko, who now lived in the United States. Mr. Danchenko, like others in the private intelligence business, had stumbled into it after other pursuits failed. His contacts within Russia appeared to be not Kremlin A-listers but instead childhood friends, college buddies or drinking pals.
In 2017, Mr. Danchenko claimed to the F.B.I. during a secret interview that Mr. Steele had ''misstated'' the information and had ''exaggerated'' its reliability. But after that interview was released in 2020, Mr. Danchenko flip-flopped. He told one newspaper that he stood by the dossier; he told another newspaper that he wasn't so sure about it.
By then, a few reporters who had written about the dossier had backed away from it. ''Some people have wanted to maintain that the dossier is checking out when, as far as I can tell, it hasn't,'' said Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News. He was in the minority. When Erik Wemple of The Washington Post wrote a series of columns about the media infatuation with the dossier, most journalists he contacted either defended their work or ignored his inquiries.
In an article for Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi cast the media's handling of the dossier as a replay of a press disaster: the reporting before the Persian Gulf war, which claimed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. ''The W.M.D. affair showed what happened when we don't require sources to show us evidence, when we let political actors use the press to 'confirm' their own assertions,'' Mr. Taibbi wrote. ''Are we never going to own up to this one?''
The short answer is no. To learn from the dossier episode, news organizations would have to examine their ties to private intelligence agents, including why they so often granted them anonymity. But as long as the media allows private spies to set the rules, journalists and the public will continue to lose.
In a recent book, Luke Harding, an investigative reporter at The Guardian, described how Mr. Steele had dispatched his ''collector'' to surreptitiously approach a real estate broker, Sergei Millian, who was a peripheral figure in the Trump/Russia saga. ''Millian spoke at length and privately to this person, believing him or her to be trustworthy '-- a kindred soul,'' Mr. Harding wrote.
But the trouble for Mr. Harding, who is close to both Mr. Steele and Mr. Simpson, was that he wrote those lines before the release of the F.B.I. interview of Mr. Danchenko.
In the interview, the collector said that he and Mr. Millian might have spoken briefly over the phone, but that the two had never met.
Mr. Harding did not respond to requests for comment.
Barry Meier is a former reporter for The New York Times and the author of the forthcoming book ''Spooked: The Trump Dossier, Black Cube and the Rise of Private Spies,'' from which this article is adapted.
Republican Arizona election official says Trump "unhinged"
Sun, 16 May 2021 12:19
PHOENIX (AP) '-- The Republican who now leads the Arizona county elections department targeted by a GOP audit of the 2020 election results is slamming former President Donald Trump and others in his party for their continued falsehoods about how the election was run.
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer on Saturday called a Trump statement accusing the county of deleting an elections database ''unhinged'' and called on other Republicans to stop the unfounded accusations.
''We can't indulge these insane lies any longer. As a party. As a state. As a country,'' Richer tweeted.
Richer became recorder in January, after defeating the Democratic incumbent.
The former president's statement came as Republican Senate President Karen Fann has demanded the Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors come to the Senate to answer questions raised by the private auditors she has hired. The Senate took possession of 2.1 million ballots and election equipment last month for what was supposed to be a three-week hand recount of the presidential race won by Democratic President Joe Biden.
Instead, the auditors have moved as a snail's pace and had to shut down Thursday after counting about 500,000 ballots. They plan to resume counting in a week, after high school graduation ceremonies planned for the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, which they rented for the recount.
Trump's statement said, in part, that ''the entire Database of Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED! This is illegal and the Arizona State Senate, who is leading the Forensic Audit, is up in arms.''
Richer and the board say that statement is just plain wrong. In recent days, both he and the board have begun aggressively pushing back at what they see as continuing falsehoods from Republicans who question Trump's loss.
''Enough with the defamation. Enough with the unfounded allegations,'' Richer tweeted Thursday. ''I came to this office to competently, fairly, and lawfully administer the duties of the office. Not to be accused by own party of shredding ballots and deleting files for an election I didn't run. Enough.''
The board, led by Republican Chairman Jack Sellers, have been aggressively using Twitter in recent days to push back, firing off a series of messages slamming the private company doing the audit. The board plans to hold a public hearing Monday to further to refute lies and lay out facts about these issues.''
''I know you all have grown weary of lies and half-truths six months after 2020 General Elections,'' Sellers said Friday in announcing Monday's meeting.
Fann sent Sellers a letter on Wednesday requesting that county officials publicly answer questions at the Senate on Tuesday, but she stopped short of her threat to issue subpoenas.
Fann repeated the Senate's demand for access to administrative passwords for vote-counting machines and internet routers. County officials say they have turned over all the passwords they have and have refused to give up the routers, saying it would compromise sensitive data, including classified law enforcement information held by the sheriff's office.
Fann proposed allowing its contractor to view data from the routers at county facilities under supervision of the sheriff's office. ''The Senate has no interest in viewing or taking possession of any information that is unrelated to the administration of the 2020 general election,'' she wrote.
The county says the passwords the Senate is seeking are maintained by Dominion Voting Systems Inc., which makes the vote-counting machines and leases them to the county. The company said in a statement Thursday that it cooperates with auditors certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and did so for two prior audits of 2020 results in Maricopa County, but won't work with Cyber Ninjas.
Fann has hired Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based cybersecurity firm, to oversee an unprecedented, partisan review of the 2020 election in Arizona's largest county. They are conducting a hand recount of all 2.1 million ballots and looking into baseless conspiracy theories suggesting there were problems with the election, which have grown popular with supporters of Trump.
___
Associated Press reporter Jonathan J. Cooper contributed.
Out There
More bogative NAVY footage NEMISIS instrument projection
Two US Navy UFO sightings leak in one day ahead of publication of Pentagon report | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 15 May 2021 16:13
A new video has leaked showing US Naval personnel having a close encounter with a UFO - this time a spherical object that makes a controlled descent into the ocean.
The object was filmed by a camera aboard the USS Omaha as it sailed off the coast of San Diego in July 2019.
Two unidentified crew members could be heard exclaiming: 'Wow, it splashed,' after the ball made a controlled flight over the ocean, then splashed into the sea and disappeared underwater.
They filmed the object making a controlled flight above the water for an extended period of time before it finally entered the ocean. Investigative filmmaker Jeremy Corbell shared the footage on Friday with Mystery Wire.
It was released the same day that a US Navy pilot told of how he and his colleagues saw UFOs off the Virginia coast so regularly they grew used to the ultra-capable aircrafts' presence.
Still images from a newly released video show a spherical object diving into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California
A map shows the region where fighter jets encountered the UFOs off the coast of Virginia
Former Navy Lieutenant Ryan Graves, who regularly witnessed UFOs in restricted airspace, called them a threat to national security
Former Navy Lieutenant Ryan Graves - who refers to UFOs as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) - called them a threat to national security in an interview with 60 Minutes that will air on Sunday.
He and his colleagues spotted the objects hundreds of times in protected air space between 2015 and 2017, and also recorded an encounter off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, during the same time period.
The 60 Minutes report comes as the government is expected to release a report in June on UFO sightings after unclassified videos of them were leaked to The New York Times in 2017.
Sen. Marco Rubio called for the detailed analysis after he viewed classified briefings on UAP while he was the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee and asked the Director of National Intelligence for an unclassified report.
Respected former government officials have conceded that the sightings are credible, and that the UFOs' origins remains unknown.
John Ratcliffe, the former director of national intelligence, told Fox News that these are not just eyewitness accounts - they're videos and measurements taken after 'multiple sensors that are picking up these things.'
'When we talk about sightings, we are talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery, that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain, movements that are hard to replicate, that we don't have the technology for, or traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom,' he said.
John Ratcliffe, the former director of national intelligence, told Fox News that these are not just eyewitness accounts - they're videos and measurements taken after 'multiple sensors that are picking up these things'
USS Omaha in 2019 in restricted waters off the coast of southern California (leaked May 2021)
The USS Omaha filmed a round object making a controlled flight above the water for an extended period of time before it finally entered the ocean. Investigative filmmaker Jeremy Corbell shared the footage on Friday with Mystery Wire.
Still images from that video were first released in April as the Pentagon confirmed that a set of images and videos showing unidentified flying objects buzzing over Navy warships off the coast of California in 2019 'were taken' by branch personnel.
Staff could be heard exclaiming excitedly as the object made a controlled, gradual descent into the Pacific Ocean, before disappearing with a splash.
No explanation for the spherical object has been given...
The USS Omaha filmed a round object making a controlled flight above the water for an extended period of time before it finally entered the ocean
One of the images appears to be a pyramid-shaped object while others were thought to be drones or balloons; however, the Navy has listed them as unknowns.
In a statement, a Pentagon spokesperson told Mystery Wire: 'I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel. The UAPTF has included these incidents in their ongoing examinations.'
The confirmation came a week after Admiral Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, admitted that he has no idea where the swarm of mysterious Tic Tac-shaped drones that menaced four US destroyers in July 2019 originated.
Gilday led an investigation into the incident in which a group of what some have called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) chased the destroyers for up to 100 nautical miles off the coast of California.
The Independence Class littoral combat ship USS Omaha (LCS 12) transits the Pacific Ocean
F/A-18E Super Hornets assigned to the Tomcatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31 returned to their home base at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia Beach
Flight logs revealed as many as six mystery aircraft swarmed the warships close to a sensitive training area at the Channel Islands at speeds of up to 40mph and with a greater maneuverability than US military drones.
When asked directly if the Navy had confirmed the identity of the drones at a media event, Gilday responded: 'No, we have not.'
The Drive revealed in February that US Navy warships stationed off the coast of Los Angeles had encountered swarms of mysterious drones, which pursued them at high speed in low visibility.
The outlet obtained ship logbooks and internal emails from the Navy under the Freedom of Information Act, and eyewitness descriptions from the staff on board, to establish the UAVs had a far greater aeronautical capability than any previously known drones.
Former US Navy Lieutenant Ryan Graves in a F/A-18 fighter off the Virginia coast between 2015 and 2017
Graves' F/A-18 fighter squadron spotted the 'maneuverable' spherical objects flying in restricted airspace near Virginia Beach almost every day from 2015 to 2017, he said.
'I am worried, frankly. You know, if these were tactical jets from another country that were hanging out up there, it would be a massive issue,' Graves told 60 Minutes.
'But because it looks slightly different, we're not willing to actually look at the problem in the face. We're happy to just ignore the fact that these are out there, watching us every day.'
He said pilots for the U.S. Navy saw UFOs off the coast of Virginia so frequently they got used to them despite them 'watching us' every day
Graves' F/A-18 fighter squadron spotted the 'maneuverable' objects flying in restricted airspace near Virginia Beach almost every day from 2015 to 2017
He said that pilots who have witnessed what the government calls 'unidentified aerial phenomena' have speculated that they might be anything from a secret U.S. technology to an enemy spy plane.
Graves also conceded the aircraft could be something else entirely.
'This is a difficult one to explain. You have rotation, you have high altitudes. You have propulsion, right? I don't know. I don't know what it is, frankly,' Graves told 60 Minutes while viewing one of the unclassified videos.
'I would say, you know, the highest probability is it's a threat observation program.'
A color image shows one of the unidentified aerial phenomena. Their technical capabilities far exceed that of any known aircraft, sparking fears for US national security
Pilots have speculated that they might be anything from a secret U.S. technology to an enemy spy plane
The outlet noted that Graves did not rule out the possibility they could be some sort of Russian or Chinese technology.
Luis Elizondo, a former official with the Defense Department, told 60 Minutes that the UAPs appear to have 'far superior' technology to anything the United States currently has in its known inventory.
'Imagine a technology that can do 600 to 700 G-forces, that can fly 13,000 miles an hour, that, that can evade radar and can fly through air and water and possibly space,' Elizondo said.
'And oh, by the way, has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces and yet still can defy the natural effects of Earth's gravity. That's precisely what we're seeing.'
Pyramid shaped objects spotted by hovering above the USS Russell, July 2019 (footage leaked April 2021)
Footage filmed around the same time as the spherical ball sighting - but released two months earlier - showed multiple pyramid-shaped objects hovering around 700 feet above the USS Russell Navy Destroyer.
It is also believed to have been filmed off the southern California coast, although it is unclear why Mystery Wire leaked this sighting before the sphere.
The April photos were leaked from a Pentagon investigation of UFOs by the UAP Task Force, which has been gathering evidence for a report for Congress that's due in June, according to Mystery Wire.
The image show unidentified objects flying above four US destroyers, including the USS Kidd Navy destroyer.
The outlet had also previously released video reportedly taken in July 2019 by naval officers using a night vision device, which showed pyramid shaped objects hovering 700 feet above a Navy destroyer
Mystery Wire says the triangular objects are part of the same incident as the spherical object diving into the sea
The video was taken in July 2019 by naval officers using a night vision device
US Navy pilot made visual contact with object on November 14, 2004
At least six Super Hornet pilots made visual or instrument contact with the UFO on November 14, 2004.
The encounters, which are documented in numerous interviews with first-hand witnesses, remain a mystery, and the object's incredible speed and movements have led to speculation that it was extraterrestrial in origin.
The original FLIR video from the USS Nimitz encounters leaked online as early as 2007.
Witnesses say that clips of the video had been circulated widely on the Navy's intranet - used to communicate between ships in the carrier group - and an unknown sailor in the group likely first leaked it.
The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea in formation during a Strait of Hormuz transit on September 18, 2020
Navy Commander David Fravor and Lieutenant Commander Jim Slaight had been flying about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego (pictured) in each of their F/A-18F Super Hornets (pictured) when they encountered an unidentified flying object described as a 'Tic Tac'
The USS Nimitz, a US Navy aircraft carrier, was at the center of a bizarre UFO sighting saga in 2004.
The clip became one of the most-touted pieces of evidence in the UFO community when the Pentagon confirmed its authenticity in 2017.
In January, Chad Underwood, the former Navy aviator who shot the famous leaked video clip, broke his silence in an interview with New York Magazine.
He said the oblong, wingless 'Tic Tac' shaped object was spotted off the coast of Mexico over the Pacific.
He also revealed that for about two weeks, the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Princeton, part of Carrier Strike Group 11, had been tracking mysterious aircraft intermittently on an advanced AN/SPY-1B passive radar.
The radar contacts were so inexplicable that the system was even shut down and restarted to to check for bugs - but operators continued to track the unknown aircraft.
Then on November 14, Commander David Fravor says he was flying in an F/A-18F Super Hornet when he made visual contact with the object, which seemed to dive below the water, resurface, and speed out of sight when he tried to approach it.
As Fravor landed on the deck of the Nimitz, Underwood was just gearing up to take off on his own training run.
Fravor told Underwood about the bizarre encounter, and urged Underwood to keep his eyes open.
He recalls how he suddenly saw a blip on his radar before tracking it on his FLIR camera.
'The thing that stood out to me the most was how erratic it was behaving,' Underwood told the magazine.
'And what I mean by 'erratic' is that its changes in altitude, air speed, and aspect were just unlike things that I've ever encountered before flying against other air targets.'
Underwood said the object wasn't obeying the laws of physics and dropped from 50,000 feet altitude to 100 feet in seconds, which he says, 'isn't possible'. He added that he saw no signs of an engine heat plume or any sign of propulsion.
The pilot refuses to speculate as to whether the object is an alien spacecraft or not, however.
'That's not my job. But I saw something. And it was also seen, via eyeballs, by both my commanding officer, Dave Fravor, and the Marine Corps Hornet squadron commanding officer who was out there as well.'
China Lands on Mars, Closing Gap With U.S. in Space Exploration - Bloomberg
Sat, 15 May 2021 16:14
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Middle East Israel
Israel - Why?
The free World depends upon a strong America. The bad guys smell weakness. The Biden administration is signaling weakness and emboldening all of the players including Iran, their proxies including Islamic Jihad and Hamas, the Palestinaian Authority, China, and Russia. Everybody is trying to get a piece of the middle east. Under Trump we had 4 years of relative calm, now I have to get a gun to feel safe walking in Jerusalem. I know that you watch SkyNews in Australia. Australians are scared to death of a weak USA. They are up against China alone. I know that you get it, having lived outside of the USA for years. Most Americans don't realize how much the rest of the world relies on a free and strong USA for safety and security in their countries.
My agenda in the report was that while I don't vote for Likud since the expulsion of Jews from Gaza in 2005, and that this situation may again create a Netanyahu coalition heading to a 5th election, he is not responsible for the Hamas barrage of missiles at Israel. Abas is responsible and it has already backfired on him. He has just made Hamas his successor.
Israel from another BOTG Producer
Second, both Israeli producers who you quoted proved to be fed by Israeli M5M, which is just as biased and distrustworthy as the U.S. M5M. So here's a thing the local media is trying to mention as little as possible, but explains what's really going on: Next Saturday there was supposed to be an election in the Palestinian territorries - the first one since 2005, which was supposed to be for 4 years. Unsurprisingly, Abbas, which is the president of the northern half of the Palestinian state (he lost in 2005, but since his people had the advantage of already ruling the West Bank - he retained power there, while his people in Gaza, which is the Southern half of the state, were thrown off roofs by Hamas, who won that election), announced late April that it's postponed indefinitely. Hamas is very pissed at the election being postponed for like the 50th time in a decade and a half, so they were building up a war to drive Palestinians and Israeli Arabs (which are 2 different communities) to the streets, to attack Abbas and Israel and crown the terrorist organization as their official leader.
Everything that happened in Israel in the last 2 weeks was driven by that: First, Hamas used his activists in the West Bank to ignite riots in Jerusalem in the last 2 weeks - in the Sheikh Jarrakh neighborhood, in which 6 Palestinian families are supposed to be evicted after a decades-long court battle in which they ADMITTED to not owning the houses but refusing to pay the Jews who bought it in the 1800s any rent, they claim Israel is stealing the homes of poor Palestinian refugees, and on the Temple Mount, on which they sent people with weapons to attack Israeli police and drove the cops to arrest people inside the mosque, which usually is forbidden by the P.M because of the sanctity of the place and the high fragility of inter-religious relations there. Once the riots over these two completely staged events broke, they encouraged Israeli Arabs to attack Jews on the streets of Israel (dozens of Jewish homes, cars, sinagogues and schools were looted and burned last week) and then threatened if Israel didn't stop the "violence" in 1 hour - they'd fire rockets on Jerusalem, which they did.
From the moment they fired at Jerusalem on the day we commemorate as the day of its reoccupation/reclamation/whatever in 1967 (it was June 7th, but the Hebrew date was last Monday), while thousands of Israelis celebrating were suddenly under a missile attack, everything escalated exactly like Hamas wanted. Israel did NOT initiate this. It doesn't serve anyone here, only Hamas is gaining popularity now, since it painted itself as the "defender" of Arab rights on the region.
Did Israel leak false info two Washington Post reporters with Israeli and State Dept. connections to lure Hamas underground before deadly bombing?
Sat, 15 May 2021 14:57
3
A Press Corps Deceived, and the Gaza Invasion That Wasn't - The New York Times
Sun, 16 May 2021 14:13
A spokesman led the international media to believe that Israeli forces had entered Gaza. They hadn't. But the army wanted Hamas to think they had.
Israeli soldiers at a staging area near the border with Gaza on Friday. Credit... Dan Balilty for The New York Times May 14, 2021
The Israeli military abruptly announced after midnight on Friday that its ground forces had begun ''attacking in the Gaza Strip,'' saying it on Twitter, in text messages to journalists, and in on-the-record confirmations by an English-speaking army spokesman.
Several international news organizations, including The New York Times, immediately alerted readers worldwide that a Gaza incursion or invasion was underway, a major escalation of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities.
Within hours, those reports were all corrected: No invasion had taken place. Rather, ground troops had opened fire at targets in Gaza from inside Israeli territory, while fighters and drones were continuing to attack from the air. A top military spokesman took responsibility, blaming the fog of war.
But by Friday evening, several leading Israeli news outlets were reporting that the incorrect announcement was no accident, but had actually been part of an elaborate deception. The intent, the media reports said, was to dupe Hamas fighters into thinking that an invasion had begun and to respond in ways that would expose far greater numbers of them to what was being called a devastatingly lethal Israeli attack.
The military's English-language spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, insisted that the false announcement had been his own mistake, but an honest one, telling foreign correspondents in a tense conference call early Friday evening that he had misunderstood information coming in ''from the field'' and had released it without adequately verifying it.
Image The Israeli military's English-language spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. Credit... Jalaa Marey/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images But in the Hebrew-language press, the military was simultaneously being praised for luring Hamas fighters into a network of tunnels in northern Gaza that was pounded by some 160 Israeli jets in a fury of airstrikes beginning around midnight.
''This is how the tunnels became death traps for terrorists in Gaza,'' Israel's Channel 12 news station headlined a report by its military reporter, which called the spread of misinformation to foreign journalists a ''planned ploy.''
The Israeli press cited the military as saying the plan had worked. That claim could not be independently verified.
But the possibility that the military had used the international news media to rack up a bigger body count in Gaza generated sharp questions for Colonel Conricus in the conference call. Israeli officials insisted that the call be held off the record, but a Times reporter who did not join the call obtained a recording of it from another news organization.
Representatives of The Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio and Agence France-Presse, all of which had mistakenly reported a ground invasion early Friday, peppered him with questions about whether they had been turned into accessories to the military, why it had taken hours for the invasion report to be reversed, and how they would be able to trust the military's statements going forward.
Colonel Conricus, a veteran officer and spokesman with a reputation for precision in what he knows and doesn't know, said there had been no ''attempt to try to fool anybody or to cause you to write anything that isn't true,'' adding: ''I can understand that it may look differently.'' He called it ''frankly embarrassing.''
But Colonel Conricus, who is set to retire from the military at the end of June, also acknowledged that the military had indeed sought to deceive fighters in Gaza, through tactics like noisily moving large numbers of tanks and other armored vehicles up to the border '-- as if an invasion were indeed occurring.
Image Israeli soldiers near the border with Gaza on Friday. Credit... Dan Balilty for The New York Times The objective, he said, was to induce Hamas anti-tank missile crews to emerge from their hiding places and begin shooting at Israeli forces, allowing their positions to be detected and destroyed '-- and to trick other Palestinian fighters to stream into the underground tunnel network, which Israel generals were confident they could now destroy from the air.
''Nobody here on this call are the target audience,'' Colonel Conricus said. ''The target audience are hopefully the dead terrorists that are now lying inside the tunnel. What the I.D.F. wanted to create was a situation where they went down into the tunnels so that we could attack them.''
But that prompted objections from several correspondents, particularly those from organizations with staff members in Gaza, saying it put them at greater risk.
Colonel Conricus declined to be interviewed for this article.
In an interview, Daniel Estrin, N.P.R.'s correspondent in Jerusalem, expressed frustration.
''If they used us, it's unacceptable,'' he said. ''And if not, then what's the story '-- and why is the Israeli media widely reporting that we were duped?''
Because of its vital role defending Israel's military actions in the international court of opinion, the army spokesman's office has been a sought-after posting and something of a launching pad for political careers.
The office has played a part in other deceptive tactics in recent years, including in 2019, when a fake medevac was staged, complete with bandaged soldiers and a helicopter ride to a hospital, to convince the Lebanese media that a Hezbollah missile attack had caused Israeli casualties.
The spokesman's office waited two hours '-- long enough for Hezbollah fighters to declare victory and stand down '-- before announcing that no Israeli troops had actually been hurt.
But Amos Harel, a military analyst for Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, said that involving the office in a pattern of duping journalists would be an alarming development.
Image Israeli artillery firing into Gaza on Thursday night. Credit... Dan Balilty for The New York Times ''It's a very dangerous place for the I.D.F. to be, to be suspected of misleading the international press, especially when we're on the verge of an escalation with Hamas, and Israel depends so heavily on trying to explain itself with the international media,'' Mr. Harel said.
''It's risky for journalists, too,'' he added. ''The Israeli Army may be forgetting that foreign journalists are on both sides of the fence, and it could be dangerous for them if they're suspected of being used for Israeli psychological operations.''
All through the week, the conflict has inspired a broader storm of misinformation on social media, as well. False claims are being widely shared around the world '-- sometimes with misidentified or mischaracterized photos and videos, or fake rumors about Israeli troop movements or Palestinian threats.
Disinformation experts worry that in such a charged atmosphere, the effect of all that false information '-- some of it purposeful, some accidental '-- is potentially deadly, worsening tensions between Israelis and Palestinians at a critical time.
Adding to the swirl of confusion about the specific Gaza claim was a new report by Israel's Channel 10 on Friday that a General Staff Deception Unit had recently been created, and that it had been activated to cause Hamas to think that a ground invasion was underway.
The false invasion announcement came at 12:22 a.m. Friday, in an English-language statement that was vague: ''IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip.''
The ambiguity of the word ''in'' had not been present in the Hebrew-language version of the statement, issued a few minutes earlier. But when Western reporters checked with Colonel Conricus, he assured them that Israeli troops were inside Gaza.
In the Friday conference call, Colonel Conricus at one point tried to minimize the damage, saying that the discrepancy was only ''about a few meters '-- it's not a very big difference.''
But the discrepancy between English- and Hebrew-language reports set off a frantic race in Israeli newsrooms and foreign news bureaus to clarify the situation on the ground.
At 1:43 a.m., Roy Sharon, the military correspondent for Israel's Kann News, provided answers with certitude: ''This is not a ground invasion. Repeat: There is no ground invasion into the Gaza Strip. I don't understand this strange briefing.''
By then, according to Israeli reports, the military operation had already concluded.
Build the Wall!
H.R. 3215: To establish a new nonimmigrant category for alien relatives of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents seeking to enter the United States temporarily for family purposes, and for other purposes.
Fri, 14 May 2021 14:29
Introduced: Sponsor: Rep. Scott Peters [D-CA52]
This bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary which will consider it before sending it to the House floor for consideration.
Govtrack.us Summary
BLM
About - Parents Defending Education
Fri, 14 May 2021 02:10
We believe our children's education should be based on scholarship and facts, and should nurture their development into the happy, resilient, free-thinking, educated citizens every democracy needs. Our classrooms should include rigorous instruction in history, civics, literature, math, the sciences, and the ideas and values that enrich our country.Yet in recent years activists have targeted public, private, and charter schools across the country with a campaign to impose toxic new curriculums and to force our kids into divisive identity groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, and gender. Many schools have already embraced this campaign, and many more are preparing to embrace it.
This new educational mission is not only at war with basic American values, but with our kids' happiness and ability to succeed in life. Couched in vague slogans such as ''social justice,'' the new curriculum divides our children into ''oppressor'' and ''oppressed'' groups. To one, it teaches guilt and shame. To the other, grievance and anger. To all students, it spreads unhappiness, radicalism, and failure.
Schools are adopting this illiberal mission at the behest of a narrow group of activists '-- without the consent of the students, parents, and communities whose interests the schools are supposed to serve. Those who dissent risk being attacked as bigots and shamed into silence.
This must stop. If you are disturbed by these destructive developments, you are not alone. If you want our schools to return to teaching our children what they need to grow and succeed, please join us. We come from diverse races, religions, economic backgrounds, and political orientations '-- but we all agree that it is time to join together and stop the madness in our schools.
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Our Team Nicole NeilyPresident
Nicole Neily is the president & founder of Parents Defending Education. She is also the president of Speech First, a national campus free speech organization, and has worked at the Independent Women's Forum and the Cato Institute.
Asra NomaniVP for Strategy & Investigations
Asra Nomani is the Vice President for Strategy and Investigations at Parents Defending Education, where she is the editor of the IndoctriNation database and FOIA work. She is also cofounder of Coalition for TJ, a group of parents and community members in Virginia, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, codirector of the Pearl Project, and cofounder of the Muslim Reform Movement.
Erika SanziDirector of Outreach
Erika Sanzi is the Director of Outreach at Parents Defending Education. She is a former educator and school committee member and a current senior visiting fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. She is also the mother of three school-aged sons.
Marissa FallonDirector of Advocacy
Marissa Fallon is the Director of Advocacy for Parents Defending Education where she assists parents and parent groups to advocate for their students. She is a founding member of Coalition for TJ, a group of parents and community members in Northern Virginia and has had leadership roles in her Parent Teacher Association. She has over two decades experience as a business owner and researcher. She is the mother of two sons has experience in both public and private schools.
Elizabeth SchultzSenior Fellow
Elizabeth Schultz is a Senior Fellow for Parents Defending Education. She served as the U.S. Department of Education's Deputy Director of the Office of Educational Technology and was twice-elected to serve on the Fairfax County School Board, the nation's 10th largest school system. Elizabeth is an education and public policy expert and former senior contracts and negotiation manager with 25+ years of experience in the areas of asset management, information technology, and global and K-12 education. She is the mother of four sons, who range from college graduate to middle school.
Noodle Gun
On the Hypocrites at Apple Who Fired Antonio Garcia-Martinez - TK News by Matt Taibbi
Sat, 15 May 2021 15:36
Anti-tax-avoidance protesters in France. I'm biased, because I know Antonio Garcia-Martinez and something like the same thing once happened to me, but the decision by Apple to bend to a posse of internal complainers and fire him over a passage in a five-year-old book is ridiculous hypocrisy. Hypocrisy by the complainers, and defamatory cowardice by the bosses '-- about right for the Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style era of timorous conformity and duncecap monoculture the woke mobs at these places are trying to build as their new Jerusalem.
Garcia-Martinez is a brilliant, funny, multi-talented Cuban-American whose confessional memoir Chaos Monkeys is to big tech what Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker was to finance. A onetime high-level Facebook executive '-- he ran Facebook Ads '-- Antonio's book shows the House of Zuckerberg to be a cult full of on-the-spectrum zealots who talked like justice activists while possessing the business ethics of Vlad the Impaler:
Facebook is full of true believers who really, really, really are not doing it for the money, and really, really will not stop until every man, woman, and child on earth is staring into a blue-framed window with a Facebook logo.
When I read Chaos Monkeys the first time I was annoyed, because this was Antonio's third career at least '-- he'd also worked at Goldman, Sachs '-- and he tossed off a memorable bestseller like it was nothing. Nearly all autobiographies fail because the genre requires total honesty, and not only do few writers have the stomach for turning the razor on themselves, most still have one eye on future job offers or circles of friends, and so keep the bulk of their interesting thoughts sidelined '-- you're usually reading a r(C)sum(C), not a book.
Chaos Monkeys is not that. Garcia-Martinez is an immediately relatable narrator because in one breath he tells you exactly what he thinks of former colleagues (''A week before my last day, I had lunch with the only senior person at Goldman Sachs who was not an inveterate asshole'') and in the next explains, but does not excuse, the psychic quirks that have him chasing rings in some of the world's most rapacious corporations. ''Whenever membership in some exclusive club is up for grabs, I viciously fight to win it, even if only to reject membership when offered,'' he wrote. ''After all, echoing the eminent philosopher G. Marx: How good can a club be if it's willing to have lowly me as a member?''
The irony is that if Garcia-Martinez has a failing as a writer, it's that he's too nice. Universally, the best writers are insane egomaniacs obsessed with staring at the great mirror that is the page. Garcia-Martinez, on the whole, would rather be sailing. I believe the reason he decided to go back to tech is that he preferred a quiet life of flying a desk to make mortgage payments to the never-ending regimen of self-salesmanship that the literary life requires (and which, again, is the easy part for most egocentric writers).
Anyway: Chaos Monkeys contains scenes from Antonio's private relationships. Characteristically, they're painted as comedies, where his personal life is depicted as an unpredictable third party over which he has little control '-- only occasionally, it seems, does it even listen to his suggestions. He meets a woman via Match.com whom he calls British Trader, ''an imposing, broad-shouldered presence, six feet tall in bare feet, and towering over me in heels.''
He's enthralled, but everything about her is a surprise that keeps him off balance, from the fact that her ''strapping and strutting'' South African ex-boyfriend docks a boat next to his not long after their first date, or that she sleeps on ''a cheap foam mattress about the width of an extra-jumbo-sized menstrual pad'' above a floor covered from detritus from a recent renovation. She did such work herself because, Antonio explains, ''she made Bob Vila of This Old House look like a fucking pussy.'' Even this side of her life has him tiptoeing. ''Postcoitally it was all I could do to balance myself on the edge of the pad and off the drywall dust,'' he noted.
At one point, as a means of comparing the broad-shouldered British DIY expert favorably to other women he'd known, he wrote this:
Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak, cosseted and naive despite their claims of worldliness, and generally full of shit. They have their self-regarding entitlement feminism, and ceaselessly vaunt their independence, but the reality is, come the epidemic plague or foreign invasion, they'd become precisely the sort of useless baggage you'd trade for a box of shotgun shells or a jerry can of diesel.
Out of context, you could, I guess, read this as bloviating from a would-be macho man beating his chest about how modern ''entitlement feminism'' would be unmasked as a chattering fraud in a Mad Max scenario. In context, he's obviously not much of a shotgun-wielder himself and is actually explaining why he fell for a strong woman, as the next passage reveals:
British Trader, on the other hand, was the sort of woman who would end up a useful ally in that postapocalypse, doing whatever work'--be it carpentry, animal husbandry, or a shotgun blast to someone's back'--required doing.
Again, this is not a passage about women working in tech. It's a throwaway line in a comedic recount of a romance that juxtaposes the woman he loves with the inadequate set of all others, a literary convention as old as writing itself. The only way to turn this into a commentary on the ability of women to work in Silicon Valley is if you do what Twitter naturally does and did, i.e. isolate the quote and surround it with mounds of James Damore references. More on this in a moment.
After trying the writer's life, Antonio went back to work for Apple. A few crucial points. One, he was recruited. Apple reached out to him, not the other way around. He sold his house in Washington State for the job and terminated his media work as part of what he expected would be a long-term commitment to Apple. In the hiring process they asked a slew of questions and checked with numerous references, including about Chaos Monkeys. The company was fully aware of the book and its contents. It was a bestseller for a month, and an NPR book of the year.
When Antonio entered the employment change on his LinkedIn page, Business Insider did a short, uncontroversial writeup. Then a little site called 9to5Mac picked up on the story and did the kind of thing that passes for journalism these days, poring through someone's life in search of objectionable passages and calling for immediate disappearance of said person down a cultural salt mine. Writer Zac Hall quoted from Apple's Inclusion and Diversity page:
Across Apple, we've strengthened our long-standing commitment to making our company more inclusive and the world more just. Where every great idea can be heard. And everybody belongs.
Hall then added, plaintively, ''This isn't just PR speak for Apple. The company releases annual updates on its efforts to hire diversely, and it puts its money where its mouth is with programs intended to give voice to women and people of color in technology. So why is Apple giving Garcia Martinez a great big pass?''
From there the usual press pile-on took place, with heroes at places like The Verge sticking to the playbook. ''Silicon Valley has consistently had a white, male workforce,'' they wrote, apparently not bothered by Antonio's not-whiteness. ''There are some in the Valley, such as notorious ex-Googler James Damore, who suggest this is because women and people of color lack the innate qualities needed to succeed in tech.''
Needless to say, Antonio never wrote anything like that, but the next step in the drama was similarly predictable: a group letter by Apple employees claiming, in seriousness, to fear for their safety. ''Given Mr. Garc­a Mart­nez's history of publishing overtly racist and sexist remarks,'' the letter read, ''we are concerned that his presence at Apple will contribute to an unsafe working environment for our colleagues who are at risk of public harassment and private bullying.'' All of this without even a hint that there's ever been anything like such a problem at any of his workplaces.
Within about a nanosecond, the same people at Apple who hired Antonio, clearly having read his book, now fired him, issuing a statement that implied a problem with workplace ''behavior,'' which was not remotely the case:
At Apple, we have always strived to create an inclusive, welcoming workplace where everyone is respected and accepted. Behavior that demeans or discriminates against people for who they are has no place here.
The Verge triumphantly reported on Apple's move using the headline, '''Misogynistic' Apple hire is out hours after employees call for investigation.'' Other companies followed suit with the same formulation. CNN: ''Apple parts ways with newly hired ex-Facebook employee after workers cite 'misogynistic' writing.'' CNET: ''Apple reportedly cuts ties with employee amid uproar over misogynistic writing.''
Apple by this point not only issued a statement declaring that Antonio's ''behavior'' was demeaning and discriminatory, but by essentially endorsing the complaints of their letter-writing employees, poured jet fuel on headline descriptions of him as a misogynist. It's cowardly, defamatory, and probably renders him unhirable in the industry, but this is far from the most absurd aspect of the story.
I'm a fan of Dr. Dre's music and have been since the N.W.A. days. It's not any of my business if he wants to make $3 billion selling Beats by Dre to Apple, earning himself a place on the board in the process. But if 2,000 Apple employees are going to insist that they feel literally unsafe working alongside a man who wrote a love letter to a woman who towers over him in heels, I'd like to hear their take on serving under, and massively profiting from, partnership with the author of such classics as ''Bitches Ain't Shit'' and ''Lyrical Gangbang,'' who is also the subject of such articles as ''Here's What's Missing from Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up.''
It's easy to get someone like Antonio Garcia Martinez fired. Going after a board member who's reportedly sitting on hundreds of millions in Apple stock is a different matter. A letter making such a demand is likely to be returned to sender, and the writer of it will likely spend every evaluation period looking over his or her shoulder. Why? Because going after Dre would mean forcing the company to denounce one of its more profitable investments '-- Beats and Beats Music were big factors in helping Apple turn music streaming into a major profit center. The firm made $4.1 billion in that area last year alone.
Speaking of profits: selling iPhones is a pretty good business. It made Apple $47.9 billion last year, good for 53% of the company's total revenue. Part of what makes the iPhone such a delightfully profitable product is its low production cost, which reportedly comes from Apple's use of a smorgasbord of suppliers with a penchant for forced labor '-- Uighurs said to be shipped in by the thousand to help make iPhone glass (Apple denies this), temporary ''dispatch workers'' sent in above legal limits, workers in ''iPhone city'' clocking excessive overtime to meet launch dates, etc. Apple also has a storied history of tax avoidance, offshoring over a hundred billion in revenues, using Ireland as a corporate address despite no physical presence there, and so on.
Maybe the signatories to the Apple letter can have a Chaos Monkeys book-burning outside the Chinese facility where iPhone glass is made '-- keep those Uighur workers warm! Or they can have one in Dublin, to celebrate the '‚¬13bn tax bill a court recently ruled Apple didn't have to pay.
It's all a sham. The would-be progressives denouncing Garcia-Martinez don't seem to mind working for a company that a Democrat-led congressional committee ripped for using ''monopoly power'' to extract rents via a host of atrocious anti-competitive practices. Whacking an author is just a form of performative ''activism'' that doesn't hurt their bottom lines or their careers.
Meanwhile, the bosses who give in to their demands are all too happy to look like they're steeped in social concern, especially if they can con some virtue-signaling dink at a trade website into saying Apple's mechanically platitudinous ''Shared Values'' page ''isn't just PR speak.'' You'd fire a couple of valuable employees to get that sort of P.R.
When I was caught up in my own cancelation episode, I was devastated, above all to see the effect it had on my family. Unlike Garcia-Martinez, I had past writings genuinely worth being embarrassed by, and I felt that it was important, morally and for my own mental health, to apologize in public. I didn't fight for my career and reputation, and threw myself on the mercy of the court of public opinion.
I now know this is a mistake. The people who launch campaigns like this don't believe in concepts like redemption or growth. An apology is just another thing they'd like to get, like the removal of competition for advancement. These people aren't idealists. They're just ordinary greedy Americans trying to get ahead, using the tactics available to them, and it's time to stop thinking of stories like this through any other lens.
This story has been updated to include new details.
Go Podcasting!
Can the new Podcast Academy break the awards show curse? - Los Angeles Times
Sat, 15 May 2021 15:37
But how do you know the best podcasts to try? Asdfjasdjfkasdkfdfasdfasdf.
On Sunday night in Los Angeles, the growing, ascendant but still-unruly podcast industry will livestream its most serious collective attempt at an awards ceremony. The Ambies, hosted in its inaugural run by comedian and podcaster Cameron Esposito, aspires to be for podcasts what the Emmys and the Oscars are for TV and movies: a recognition of the industry's best by the industry's best and a guide for would-be fans who just want a recommendation for something good.
The show is the brainchild of the newly created Podcast Academy, whose board of governors includes industry independents as well as executives from heavy hitters such as Amazon, Spotify, iHeartMedia and NPR, which also contributed funding. (The Ambies aren't the industry's first prominent awards show: iHeartMedia already runs its own version.) The Ambie trophy, a genderless figure in headphones holding up a microphone, has that winner's heft associated with prestigious awards and dangerous blunt weapons.
''We definitely wanted something that winners would feel proud displaying on their shelves,'' said Hernan Lopez, the founder and former CEO of Wondery, a Podcast Academy board member and the committee chair for the Ambies, after unboxing a trophy during an interview at a Soho Works conference room in West Hollywood. ''It's plated with gold.''
But these are troubled times for awards ceremonies as a concept. Ratings for the major televised awards shows are down. The Golden Globes' host organization, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., has been riddled with so many allegations of ethical improprieties, unfairness and lack of racial representation that NBC won't even air the show in 2022. The Oscars ended in humiliation this year when the ceremony shifted the final order of its awards to set up a potentially climactic posthumous best actor win by deceased ''Black Panther'' star Chadwick Boseman, only for the award to go to Anthony Hopkins, who was not present.
America loves to hate awards shows, especially when they go wrong, and they seem to go wrong a lot. Why create a new one?
The simplest explanation is that the podcast industry has finally gotten big enough, prominent enough and prestigious enough to risk the kind of trouble that can come with a big-tent award show. It's a marker not solely of industry maturity but of industry ambition. There are just too many podcasts now, too many quality players in the game and far too many listeners to be gained with the hype that a credible award can generate.
''What we see in the research is that once people start listening to podcasts, they start listening to more and more and more, and they completely replace their radio listening experience. It's just a matter of getting people exposed, and that's what the Ambies can help with,'' said Rob Greenlee, vice president of content and partnerships for podcasting company Libsyn, and one of the academy's founding members and its first chairperson. ''There isn't really a Rotten Tomatoes that exists for podcasting.'' (Except maybe the Apple podcast app's star rating system, whose scores come from users, not professional critics.)
Steve Wilson, the chief strategy officer at podcasting company QCODE and one of the Podcast Academy's nearly 1,000 members, said critical validation is a virtuous circle. ''With that sort of mainstream credibility comes consumer audience, and with audience comes real revenue opportunities for creators and real revenue brings better and better content,'' Wilson said. ''You have high-quality talent sometimes who have wanted to go full-time in podcasting,'' but without steady money, ''it was difficult for them to quit their day jobs.''
After early conversations in late 2019, Lopez and other industry players started laying the groundwork for the creation of a new podcast academy and awards ceremony. Then came the unglamorous but critical work of organization-building. Bylaws usually don't make news headlines, but when bylaws fail they can fail spectacularly. ''I'm glad that we launched the organization in 2020, so we were able to start an organization already knowing that diversity was something we need to address head-on,'' Lopez said.
Most entertainment consumers probably don't spend their time worrying about the ways an awards show can go wrong on diversity and representation. There are a lot. The board making the rules could be disproportionately white or male. The artists creating work deemed eligible could be disproportionately white or male. The judges picked to select nominees could be disproportionately white or male. The voters eligible to pick the winners could be disproportionately white or male. Add it all up, and the winner is...
It may not come as a surprise that the Ambies' founders studied the rules of the Oscars, the Emmys and the Grammys to see what seemed to work and what didn't. The Academy hired a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant before it even settled on a logo, at the urging of a founding group of board governors including independent podcast consultant Rekha Murthy.
''This is somebody who is present at our meetings with us, who models inclusive behavior and helps us think more actively on the spot about choices we're making,'' Murthy said, adding that the academy was also ''really intentional from the beginning of [ensuring] a diversity of background and professional expertise for the makeup of the board.''
Having not been part of a similar association before, Donald Albright, president and co-founder of the independent podcasting company Tenderfoot TV in Atlanta, agreed to join the board of governors. He became chairperson in 2021 after Greenlee's term ended.
''What I was thinking was, at least my voice would be represented, not just as an independent podcaster, but as a Black male as well, making sure that underrepresented voices were heard,'' Albright said. And then he set about recruiting members, even sponsoring memberships for some. ''I wanted to make sure that Black podcasters felt that this was an organization for them, because the Black community is looking at award shows like, 'Oh, here goes another [one] where we won't be represented.' Or, 'We have to have our own awards show because they don't understand what's important to us.'''
The academy also recruited more than 100 ''blue-ribbon'' judges from the industry, who are also Podcast Academy members, to each listen to an average of more than 30 hours of award entrants to select nominees in 23 different categories, such as best interview podcast, best sports podcast, best true-crime podcast and best fiction podcast, with the winners to be voted on by academy members, according to Lopez.
Waiting for the outcome of the judging process was an uneasy time for some of the academy's founders '-- here was the first point where recruitment efforts ended and actual critical judgment started happening.
''I'll tell you about my fears '-- when we sent all the entries to the blue-ribbon panelists and were waiting really anxiously to see which shows got nominated,'' Lopez said. ''Fortunately, when the nominees came out, fully one-third of the shows had at least one host who was a person of color, and so we were really proud.''
One of those nominees, for podcast of the year, is ''Say Their Name'' from DCP Entertainment, a Black-owned independent production company, which tells the stories of Black people killed by police and fundraising for their families.
''Just even being nominated is huge. We're up against some of the top companies not only in podcasting but media at large '-- iHeartRadio, Wondery, L.A. Times,'' said Chris Colbert, CEO and Founder at DCP Entertainment. (The Times' ''Chasing Cosby'' podcast is also nominated for podcast of the year.)
With the attention from the nomination, ''now we're able to expose so many more people to these stories,'' Colbert said, adding of the major corporate names on the academy's board: ''Being nominated then puts me on their radar, so now that opens opportunities.''
One of the biggest tensions of the whole Ambies project, however, was about maintaining a balance of power between the independent podcast shows and companies who built the industry and the major corporate players who have started gobbling up talent, shows and companies and who seem poised to dominate the medium's future. It's a reasonable concern, according to experts.
''One pattern that recurs throughout the history of cultural awards is that an award may be founded to honor independent, non-mainstream, alternative artists and works, but then over time kind of migrates toward mainstream tastes and ends up mostly amplifying the power and influence of well-established firms and institutions,'' said James F. English, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied major awards.
Not everyone was satisfied by the roster of nominees. Independent podcast producer, audio editor and voice actor Ned Donovan of New York thought too many of the finalists came from companies who were among the founding financial sponsors of the creation of the Podcast Academy. But he didn't think the outcome was due to favoritism or malfeasance.
''Are those the best shows in the world? They might be,'' Donovan said. ''I do think that the optics of it are really not great for a company that wants to represent all podcasters, not just the top of the top.''
Donovan also thought the academy's rule of creating a $100 fee to enter each award category disfavored independent shows who might have entered in fewer categories compared to bigger companies that might have the budget to submit to as many categories as possible, which would mean ''they had more ballots in the box for the judges to consider and critique.''
Podcast Academy executive director Michele Cobb rejected those criticisms. ''We got over 1,000 entries,'' she said. ''There's 2 million podcasts out there. So there is a little barrier to entry in part because this is thousands and thousands of submitted hours to be judged. So to make it manageable, we have to keep that in mind.''
The Podcast Academy also has a rule in its bylaws to try to prevent the industry's biggest companies from completely dominating the organization: the board of governors ''must be composed of at least 40% by individuals who represent themselves as independent podcasting professionals.''
The organization has applied for tax-exempt status with the IRS as a 501(c)6 business league and is still awaiting a determination.
Once the awards pass this weekend, Murthy is looking forward to later in the year when some of the terms for the academy's hand-picked founding governors start expiring and members start democratically electing the next generation of leaders and the organization starts taking on a life of its own.
''We're going to have a really fun weekend,'' Murthy said. ''Then there's this whole other level of work that begins, because people like me roll off [the board] next year.''
Why Podcasting Is Still A Massive, Untapped Market Opportunity - Big Technology
Sat, 15 May 2021 16:05
Welcome back to Big Technology! This week, we dig into the podcast market, which I learned still hasn't sniffed its potential. And now a word from our sponsor, Flatfile:
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Jason Rosewell / UnsplashFor at least the past five years, most experts would tell you the podcast market was saturated. Everyone has a podcast, they'd say, and the window of opportunity to break in was closed. Podcasting technology had some room to grow, but an RSS feed and a Play button mostly did the trick. Apple, the company that put the 'pod' in 'podcasts,' even seemed to forget the genre existed. It updated its podcasting app about as often as Tim Cook praised Mark Zuckerberg.
But recently, and seemingly out of nowhere, some of the world's largest tech companies have made podcasting a priority. Apple rediscovered its app, updating it with paid subscriptions and better discovery. Spotify built podcasting into its core product and signed deals for exclusive shows (the latest of which it announced this week). Facebook decided it wanted to be the home of podcast discovery. And Twitter waded in with audio tweets and Spaces.
Behind this surge of interest is an increasing recognition that podcasting has far more room for growth than many anticipated. New technology has made listening more accessible. New business models are opening up opportunities for a middle class of podcasters. And podcasting's potential for expansion seems relatively endless given how little it's encroached on its analog alternatives so far.
''We're certainly early,'' Mark Zgutowicz, who covers Spotify for Rosenblatt Securities, told me. Of every 100 minutes people spend listening to audio on average, they spend 42 on AM/FM Radio and only six on podcasts, Zgutowicz said, citing Edison Research. ''That tells me there's a ton of room left.''
The total number of people who listen to podcasts makes it even more clear that adoption is still in its early stages. Terrestrial radio still reaches 91% of U.S. adults each week, yet only 107 million Americans listened to podcasts last year, per eMarketer. For radio, that translated to more than $10 billion in ad revenue, while podcasts earned less than $1 billion.
There is reason to believe, however, that podcasts are going to start eating into terrestrial radio's lead, especially given that they're overcoming the technical challenges that once held them back. Podcasting apps have long been terrible to use, but they're starting to improve, especially after Spotify's significant investment in the format forced the rest of the industry to up its game. Playing podcasts while driving '-- a key use case '-- has also been a pain, but that's getting easier with in-car entertainment systems like CarPlay. Connected speakers like the Echo and Google Home make turning on a podcast in the house as easy as the radio. And wireless earbuds like AirPods are turning podcast listening into a natural habit, where people listen while they wash dishes, go for walks, or wait for the bus.
''AirPods or wireless headphones are actually a major driver in this,'' Jeremy Lermitte, co-founder of RedCircle, a podcast technology company (which I use to host Big Technology Podcast), told me. ''It's is easier than ever before to listen passively to audio.''
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By ignoring its Podcasts app for so long, Apple has actually helped podcasting technology improve by inviting competition. Spotify '-- looking for its ''first, second product'' and seeing the opening Apple left '-- decided to jump all the way in, betting that becoming the go-to podcast app would help it increase music subscription sales. Spotify's slowly cut into Apple's lead in recent years, and now the market is wide open, making competing based on product meaningful again.
And though there have been lots of podcasts, only a limited number have been good. That's changing too as the format figures out its business model. A 'middle class' of podcasters are now emerging, funded by fans who will pay to subscribe to their shows. These shows can't generate mass audiences to support themselves with ads, but they are finding ways to sustain themselves. Apple and Spotify see enough potential in paid subscriptions that they're building them into their products, and other companies that enable them are growing quickly.
''The top 10 podcasters on Supercast now gross $6M+ annually,'' Jason Sew Hoy, the CEO of Supercast, which enables podcast subscriptions, told me. ''We see podcasters making 2-3x when combining subscription and ad revenue, compared with ads alone.''
Advertising on podcasts, meanwhile, is poised to balloon. It's set to go from less than a billion dollars in 2020 to $1.33 billion in 2021 and $1.74 billion in 2022, increases of more than 30% per year, per eMarketer. As more ad money goes to podcasts, the prospect of earning it will inevitably attract more podcasters, who will create a more extensive selection of shows, which will draw in more listeners. It's a flywheel that's just starting to spin.
Further Reading: Twitter Should Make a Podcast App (Alex Carter / Medium)
Joe Rogan Got Ripped Off (Andrew Wilkinson / Supercast)
News Briefs:Even If Epic Loses Against Apple, Developers Could Still Win (Bloomberg)
When a bullet whizzes by your head, you might change some things about your life even if it doesn't hit you. When its trial with Epic '-- the developer of Fortnite '-- concludes, this is what might happen with Apple. Even though Apple is likely to win the court case, it may still make some changes to its developer policies so it can avoid going back to trial, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman writes. This story is the best perspective I've read on the trial so far.
Tech critic Lina Khan gets bipartisan committee nod for FTC post (Politico)
Lina Khan '-- Amazon's worst nightmare '-- just got one step closer to taking on the company as an FTC Commissioner. The Senate Commerce Committee endorsed her nomination on Wednesday, with a bipartisan group of Senators voting to move her nomination forward. With eight Republicans on the committee throwing their support behind Khan, it now seems to be all but certain that her nomination will go through. Jeff Bezos may be getting out just in time.
This week on Big Technology Podcast: Amazon Unbound Author Brad Stone On How Nerdy Bezos Turned Into Ripped BezosBrad Stone is the author of Amazon Unbound, a new book about the inner workings of Amazon. Stone joins Big Technology Podcast to discuss the book, Bezos's transformation, Amazon's culture, and what's in store for the company now that Bezos is leaving the CEO role.
To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Value for Value Audiobook | Daniel Ostermayer
Sun, 16 May 2021 11:22
''Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.''
Warren BuffetThe audiobook market exceeds $2 billion by most estimates, while most small and independent authors earn a few dollars per audiobook sale. Platforms such as audible have served to boost audiobook accessibility and with the ACX platform, many independent authors can source high quality voice actors to narrate. Unfortunately, like most online sales platforms, an intermediary such as Apple or Amazon sits between the author and the listener. Large companies take a significant cut of the already small revenue authors can hope to receive. Not only does the publishing platform create a financial barrier, it also creates a social barrier. The listener interacts with an audiobook platform not the author. The buyer pays Amazon and then Amazon pays the author. The authors feeds an already growing machine that isolates them from their fans.
Most authors accept this situation, know they will never get rich but still write. Their ideas need to get out. Without the ability to write, the idea consumes the mind until it is released into the world for others to enjoy. For the first time, authors can receive value for their work directly from the people who enjoy their writings and audiobooks.
Audiobook as PodcastPodcasting has occupied a refreshing space in the media landscape since its inception in 2004. Listeners without an intermediary subscribe directly to podcaster's feeds and interact directly with the creators. Although many platforms have hoped to create walled gardens of podcasts, the podcast has roots firmly in open-source protocols such as RSS that allow for open, censorship resistant publishing. A podcast is nothing more than a series of audio files, published in a timestamped order. An audiobook is nothing more than a series of audio files published in chapter order.
Adopting the same open strategy that has serve podcasting well for over a decade, audiobooks can easily be adopted to the podcast publishing medium. In fact, long form investigative journalists have created audio series such as the popular Serial podcast as audiobook equivalents. Although episodic, they are nothing more than stories presented in an audio format. It is an audiobook published as a podcast.
Streaming ValueSince podcasts are open, monetization has always been a challenge. Short of advertising the only other means of monetization has involved placing the podcast behind a paywall. Many platforms have offerings for private podcast feeds, but a walled podcast harms discoverability. Since most authors want their books and want to receive value from their readers, paywalls may sound like a good option. In reality it is no different than making a reader buy the book before having a chance to read a chapter or see a preview. Any barrier to entry decreases the chances that a reader will listen.
Enter Bitcoin
Bitcoin, as internet native money, allows peer to peer transactions. Like podcasts, there is no intermediary between the creator and the listener. With bitcoin there is no intermediary between the consumer and the producer. An author, without a payment processor or publisher can receive value directly from the reader. Authors give their stories and listeners give their money. The transaction creates a direct relationship with perfect incentives. If readers enjoy a story, they can provide value proportional to their enjoyment directly to the author.
The Lightning Network
It is worth a small detour to explain that bitcoin can be sent in many different ways. It can be sent from one address to another directly on the bitcoin blockchain, or it can be sent using alternative protocols that help create friction-less payments. The lightning network, which is beyond the scope of this piece, allows for large or small payments to settle instantly between peers. Sub 1 cent payments can stream instantly from a listener to an audiobook author or producer. Bitcoin can be subdivided into any number of divisions. When you send money using the lightning network, you send satoshis (sats), which each represent 100 millionth of a bitcoin.
The original podcast specification, developed before the invention of bitcoin did not include any payment information. The new specification includes a value block that allows the publisher to specify where money is sent for enjoying the content. The money is sent as satoshis on the lightning network.
The SetupAs an example, I have published a audiobook as a podcast feed. In just a few steps, any author can do the same. You just need audio files for your audiobook, a podcast host that will store your files and create the rss feed, and a lightning node to receive the streamed payments.
Step 1: Podcast HostTake control of your audio files. If you do not have a copy of the individual chapters of your audiobook, download them from your publisher or request individual chapter files. Many audiobooks are published as one large file but for the ease of adapting the format to a podcast feed, individual files per chapter work best.
Upload your audio files to a host (I recommend Buzzsprout or Fireside). Keep the chronology intact to ensure that listeners receive the correct chapter order. Podcasts feeds are ordered by published date and time.
Step 2: Lightning NodeCreate a Lightning Node. For most authors this will be the most unfamiliar part. Think of your lightning node as the payment terminal at a store checkout. Your node will receive the satoshis that listeners send. The easiest way to get started is to use a service such as Voltage. They ensure that you can receive money over the lightning network and they will also keep your node up and running.
With a node, and a podcast host, your are now a self sufficient author, publisher, and payment processor in one. You control the content and you control the payments. Value can now stream directly from your listeners.
Step 3: Link everything togetherAdd your node information to the podcast directories. Since streaming value is still a new development in the podcast ecosystem, you will need to tell podcast players the address of your node. Otherwise listeners will not be able to send payments. Your node has an address or public key similar to a website address. This public key is displayed on your Voltage dashboard. Your listeners do not need to know any of this information as it is aggregated by the podcast player and the podcast index. Voltage or any lightning node setup will provide the public key for your node. Create an account on podcasterwallet.com, enter your node RSS feed from your podcast host (step 1) and lightning node public key (step 2).
Although only a few podcast players currently support steaming payments, the Breez app offers the easiest setup for listeners. Listeners on breez will be able to choose the satoshi amount per minute listened in addition to sending extra value boosts.
Create a CommunityNow that you are a self sovereign publisher and author, you can leverage the same lightning network infrastructure that you use for receiving payments to create a community for your readers. Messages can also be sent over the lightning network using applications such as Sphinx Chat and your readers can discuss your book and listen to it at the same time.
Please reach out on twitter if you have any questions or need help setting up your value for value audiobook feed.
Twitter May Be Working a Subscription Service for $2.99 a Month
Sun, 16 May 2021 11:41
Photo: Denis Charlet (Getty Images) Twitter hasn't released many details about the paid subscription model it's cooking up, but thanks to app researcher Jane Manchun Wong we may have some clues about what it will cost and be called. On Saturday, Wong tweeted that the subscription service Twitter Blue will cost $2.99 per month and allow users to undo their tweets and create bookmark collections, among other features.
Twitter also appears to be working on a tiered subscription model , she added. She speculated that higher-priced tiers may unlock additional paid features and give users a more clutter-free, premium experience, similar to what you might find on a news aggregation service.
Wong has made a name for herself reverse engineering popular apps to discover what features Big Tech may be experimenting with or planning to add next. Rumors about Twitter incorporating more ways for users to monetize their content are not new. Earlier this month, Twitter soft-launched a ''Tip Jar'' feature that, as its name implies, lets users send and receive money from strangers on the internet using their choice of third-party services. However, while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed to Insider in July 2020 that it's in the ''very, very early phases'' of exploring a subscription model, the company has remained quiet about its plans since.
But it's becoming increasingly clearer that there's plenty of work going on behind the scenes. Last week, Twitter acquired Scroll , a paid subscription service that gets rid of ads on participating websites. Between the acquisition and Twitter's announcement that it's winding down Nuzzel, a news aggregator acquired by Scroll in 2019 that became popular for sending users a daily newsletter of the top stories in their Twitter feed, it certainly seems that Twitter is prepping to roll out its own subscription service. When we asked about Wong's tweets on Saturday, a Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.
G/O Media may get a commission
A subscription service would be the latest in a slew of new features Twitter has been testing in recent weeks, including an improved image cropping algorithm and an updated warning system for potentially offensive tweets. It remains unclear when Twitter's paid version would launch or who would be eligible, but if all these rumors and clues making the rounds are any indication, we may have an announcement on that front sooner rather than later.
OTG
We Found Joe Biden's Secret Venmo. Here's Why That's A Privacy Nightmare For Everyone
Sun, 16 May 2021 12:30
BuzzFeed News; Getty ImagesBuzzFeed News found President Joe Biden's Venmo account after less than 10 minutes of looking for it, revealing a network of his private social connections, a national security issue for the United States, and a major privacy concern for everyone who uses the popular peer-to-peer payments app.
On Friday, following a passing mention in the New York Times that the president had sent his grandchildren money on Venmo, BuzzFeed News searched for the president's account using only a combination of the app's built-in search tool and public friends feature. In the process, BuzzFeed News found nearly a dozen Biden family members and mapped out a social web that encompasses not only the first family, but a wide network of people around them, including the president's children, grandchildren, senior White House officials, and all of their contacts on Venmo.
The president's transactions are not public, and BuzzFeed News is not identifying the usernames for the accounts mentioned in this story due to national security concerns.
After BuzzFeed News reached out to the White House for this story, all the friends on the president's Venmo account were removed. A White House spokesperson did not have an immediate comment.
After this story was published, a Venmo spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: ''The safety and privacy of all Venmo users and their information is always a top priority, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Customers always have the ability to make their transactions private and determine their own privacy settings in the app. We're consistently evolving and strengthening the privacy measures for all Venmo users to continue to provide a safe, secure place to send and spend money.''
By late Friday night, the Venmo accounts tied to the president and first lady Jill Biden were no longer online.
Ben King / BuzzFeed NewsA view of a user's friends' transactions seen in the Venmo app
Privacy advocates and journalists have warned about Venmo's privacy problems for years, yet the PayPal-owned app has persisted with features that can place people '-- including the president of the United States '-- at risk.
While many critics have focused on how the app makes all transactions public by default, Venmo's friend lists are arguably a larger privacy issue. Even if a Venmo account is set to make payments private, its friend list remains exposed. There is no setting to make this information private, which means it can provide a window into someone's personal life that could be exploited by anyone '-- including trolls, stalkers, police, and spies.
No other major social network or service has contact-based friend lists that are publicly accessible by default to anyone '-- and that cannot be made private. People use Venmo to get paid, often using their real names. They often also import their phone contact lists or Facebook friend lists '-- which the app highly encourages when you sign up '-- creating networks where people automatically ''friend'' dozens if not hundreds of other Venmo users to allow them to find people they want to pay more easily.
Venmo makes it impossible for users to hide their list of friends. To remove someone as a friend, a user has to unfriend the person manually.
Several former Venmo employees told BuzzFeed News that Venmo's public transaction feed and friend lists were integral to the app's early design. Launched in 2009 as a simple and free way to transfer money between friends, it relied heavily on the social dynamics pioneered on Facebook. People were unafraid to publicly share that they had paid their friends for pizza after a night out or were splitting a gas bill among their roommates.
The idea, according to one former engineer, is that building off someone's social network was a much easier way for someone to trust who they were paying or receiving money from. Since then, the app has become one of PayPal's main drivers of growth, clearing $51 billion in payments during the first three months of 2021.
At first glance, disclosing connections among people may seem trivial: Who cares if you know whom someone is connected to? But these public connections can be used to expose very private information. Using the public friend list, for example, a motivated fan was able to figure out who won a season of The Bachelor.
Some examples are much more serious. US government agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration have used this feature in criminal cases, such as in the overdose death of rapper Mac Miller.
Using public friend lists and transaction feeds, BuzzFeed News found two members of Congress who were roommates in Washington, DC, as well as reporters who were on friend lists with Trump administration officials, potentially exposing their sources. BuzzFeed News has also spoken with survivors of domestic violence and abuse who suspected that former partners used Venmo to track them and therapists who use Venmo to receive payment from clients and were unaware their friend lists showed who they were working with.
Last year, Nick Cadena, then a student at Louisiana State University, told BuzzFeed News he had been the victim of an impersonation scam on Venmo. A scammer took his photo and profile details and created a similar account, and then used it to request money from Cadena's friends. Some people completed the transactions, believing that they were paying the real Cadena.
''Venmo's privacy failures are already a big problem for everyday folks who use Venmo, and that's been the case for years,'' Gennie Gebhart, the acting activism director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization, told BuzzFeed News. ''All of those problems are magnified when we're talking about a major public figure.''
T.J. Kirkpatrick / Pool via Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Colonial Pipeline incident in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on May 13, 2021, in Washington, DC.
Ever since 1998, when Bill Clinton sent an email to then-senator John Glenn, presidents have struggled to use new technology while safeguarding national security and complying with public records laws. After months of wrangling, Barack Obama was allowed to use a personal BlackBerry while in office, Donald Trump's Twitter account was reportedly hacked by correctly guessing his password '-- maga2020! '-- and candidate Hillary Clinton faced her own controversy after she set up a private email server at her home while she was secretary of state.
Venmo poses a new challenge, though this is not the first time a government official's Venmo account has been easily discovered through publicly available information. In early 2017, people found White House press secretary Sean Spicer's Venmo account and spammed it. The account of Trump's daughter Tiffany was also found. This year, transactions between Rep. Matt Gaetz and alleged sex trafficker Joel Greenberg appeared to pay three young women for ''tuition'' and ''school.'' (In an op-ed, Gaetz claimed he had ''never, ever paid for sex.'' Greenberg pleaded guilty to federal charges.)
Accounts belonging to celebrities have also been found, and in 2017, privacy researcher Hang Do Thi Duc created the Public by Default project, which scraped public Venmo transactions for terms and emojis commonly associated with drugs. The project revealed how much people don't pay attention to their privacy settings, even when doing personal transactions.
Venmo's parent company PayPal settled an FTC suit in 2018 over how it allegedly failed to properly explain its privacy settings. ''We are pleased to conclude this process with the FTC in a cooperative way,'' a PayPal spokesperson said at the time, and while Venmo streamlined its settings, crucially, transactions were still left public by default for new users.
President Biden's transactions were not public, and he had fewer than 10 friends on Venmo. But he was easily verifiable by the people he was connected to, including an account that appeared to be for his wife, first lady Jill Biden. Jill Biden's account, in turn, was linked to various aides, senior Biden staffers, and family members, including an account that appeared to be for the president's son Hunter Biden.
''For one of the most heavily guarded individuals in the world, a publicly available Venmo account and friend list is a massive security hole. Even a small friend list is still enough to paint a pretty reliable picture of someone's habits, routines, and social circles,'' Gebhart said.
On Friday, the Times wrote that a Biden adviser said the president ''had sent the grandchildren money using Venmo.'' Some of those grandchildren are locatable on Venmo, posing an avenue for possible harassment. On the accounts for at least two extended family members, BuzzFeed News saw that the same stranger had spammed them with requests, asking them to get President Biden to give him money.
''If somebody wanted to map out the activities of the first family, they could just look at their activities on the social network and figure out what the family is up to by looking at what their associates are doing,'' Vahid Behzadan, the director of the Secure and Assured Intellect Learning Lab at the University of New Haven, told BuzzFeed News. ''I assume that the extended associates, like friends, grandchildren, don't enjoy the same level of security as the first family, and so it may be easier to monitor them passively through their network.''
By finding these accounts, a person could physically stalk the president, his aides, or members of his family, creating a physical risk for the White House. There are also espionage risks. A spy or political opponent could also use this information to find out personal information about those close to the president, or to pose as a member of Biden's inner circle and communicate with the president or others under false pretenses. There are other possible consequences. A connection between a White House official and a journalist, for example, could potentially expose a whistleblower.
''This is a great example of why apps with social features should not default to allowing strangers to see each others' data,'' said Stanford University professor and former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos. ''As we've seen with other products such as exercise apps, national security''sensitive information can be easily gathered by intelligence services as well as from more prosaic adversaries, such as abusive spouses and stalkers.'' '—
Clips
VIDEO - No Agenda Social
Sun, 16 May 2021 12:45
This is heartbreaking.
"They Don't Want to See People Like Us''In a Highwire exclusive, Del sits down with three healthcare workers who were on the frontline of Covid vaccine rollouts in America. In a candid and emotional interview, the three women go back to the day they received their vaccine, the severe reactions they endured starting just days after, and the complete denial the medical community has towards the groundswell of injured people looking for... @ adam
https://www. bitchute.com/video/lXklzKsCCwm f/
VIDEO - (173) How To Create Your Own Mastodon Server - YouTube
Sun, 16 May 2021 12:37
VIDEO - Phone Ring SFX stock sound fx. Audio of ring, machine - 108073070
Sun, 16 May 2021 12:09
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VIDEO - (173) Kids in the 1960's predict what the year 2000 will be like - YouTube
Sun, 16 May 2021 11:59
VIDEO - (172) Trudeau says he'll get second dose of AstraZeneca in 'coming weeks' | COVID-19 in Canada - YouTube
Sat, 15 May 2021 16:56
VIDEO - (172) ZDoggMD / Dr. Zubin Damania on Ask Dr. Drew LIVE - YouTube
Sat, 15 May 2021 16:46
VIDEO - Watch - The Highwire The definition of a bio weapon
Sat, 15 May 2021 15:59
(C) Copyright The Highwire 2020
VIDEO - 3mins - MUST WATCH! |Corona virus | David E. martin PHD | missing link - YouTube
Sat, 15 May 2021 15:16
VIDEO - JOY Eurovision | Podcastindex.org
Sat, 15 May 2021 14:46
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VIDEO - Canada has gone full George Orwell
Sat, 15 May 2021 14:21
vivafrei Published May 14, 2021 1,273 Views 427 rumbles
Rumble '-- This is an actual radio ad. Live in perpetual fear is basically the message. Oh yeah, and you have no rights anymore.
2m13sGeorge Orwell ¼ber die Zukunft der Menschheit.MINT17
14m39sWhy George Orwell Wrote 1984Acts17Apologetics
41m58sGeorge Orwell - Notes on Nationalism - Audio BookBezek
1m05sBREAKING : Alex Jones George Orwell Was a LightweightAlex2k21
57sCanada is on full lockdownREDHAT2020
54sCanada on full lockdown exposed 2021REDHAT2020
26sCanada on full police state 2021REDHAT2020
13m19sTony Katz Today Headliner: George Orwell Was RightTony Katz
1m13sCANADA [ A Cinematic Video of Canada ]Only Cinematic Shots
10m04sSTRICTER COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS, FULL COMPLIANCE NEEDED IN CANADA?Alpha's Antidote
VIDEO - Mackenzie Kelly ''—¸ on Twitter: "👠To be clear: I do not support the use of developed park land for our unhoused neighbors. I'm looking forward to clarity on the plan ahead in collaboration with the City Manager + staff. #atxcouncil Watch
Sat, 15 May 2021 09:19
Mackenzie Kelly ''—¸ : 👠To be clear: I do not support the use of developed park land for our unhoused neighbors. I'm looking forward to'... https://t.co/vp41C12mJN
Sat May 15 03:50:20 +0000 2021
TLP : @mkelly007 ''KISS''= Keep It Simple, Stupid! @ AustinCityMgr + Ludicrous $ amt =LA-La Land! NO! Ax most oper costs.AD'... https://t.co/Qb2Fg2SxRn
Sat May 15 04:45:56 +0000 2021
VIDEO - pony menace on Twitter: "@StarshipAlves @adamcurry I made it to 43 seconds. I'd rather watch Elizabeth Warren drink a beer." / Twitter
Sat, 15 May 2021 03:00
pony menace : @StarshipAlves @adamcurry I made it to 43 seconds. I'd rather watch Elizabeth Warren drink a beer.
Sat May 15 02:10:01 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Tom Elliott on Twitter: "In a failure of elementary logic, @mtosterholm frets: "The next question is going to be, How will we know if someone has been vaccinated? If you're sitting close to someone at a restaurant or ... in a theater, how are yo
Fri, 14 May 2021 23:06
Tom Elliott : In a failure of elementary logic, @mtosterholm frets: "The next question is going to be, How will we know if someon'... https://t.co/l5OmkGRQkL
Fri May 14 10:51:17 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Dr. Simon ムon Twitter: "Dr. Evil is striking again. @PeterHotez now advocates for vaccinating children to achieve herd immunity. (Look at his eyes!) What's hardly mentioned is that Hotez regularly receives lots of money from the @gatesfoundatio
Fri, 14 May 2021 21:00
Dr. Simon ム: Dr. Evil is striking again. @PeterHotez now advocates for vaccinating children to achieve herd immunity. (Look at h'... https://t.co/tYchZuSsip
Thu May 13 12:25:20 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Nuclear Reactors Get Small
Fri, 14 May 2021 15:46
Steve Martin was ahead of his time when he told us ''Let's get small!'' While you usually think of a nuclear reactor as a big affair, there's a new trend towards making small microreactors to produce power where needed instead of large centralized generation facilities. The U.S. Department of Energy has a video about the topic, you can watch below.
You probably learned in science class how a basic nuclear fission reactor works. Nuclear fuel produces heat from fission while a moderator like water prevents it from melting down both by cooling the reactor and slowing down neutrons. Control rods further slow down the reaction or '-- if you pull them out '-- speed it up. Heat creates steam (either directly or indirectly) and the steam turns a conventional electric generator that is no more high tech than it ever has been.
One of the key benefits of a small reactor is that it is transportable. That means you can build them in an efficient central location and move them where you need them. Generally, these new reactors have passive safety systems, automated control systems, and can operate for a decade without new fuel. While there are several technologies in development, the Department of Energy says that the earliest available microreactors will use gas or heat-pipe cooling. Liquid metal and molten salt systems are also promising but probably will arrive later.
Of course, small is a relative term. These reactors produce from 1 to 20 megawatts of power and look like they might fit on a large truck. We don't expect a nuclear-powered laptop anytime in the near future.
Maybe these new reactors will benefit from additive manufacturing. Of course, submarines and naval surface ships have had tiny and reliable reactors for a long time. One obvious application for a transportable reactor is to power a means of transportation.
VIDEO - Biden Signs Cybersecurity Executive Order Following Colonial Pipeline Hack : NPR
Fri, 14 May 2021 13:26
Biden Signs Cybersecurity Executive Order Following Colonial Pipeline Hack President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday aimed at protecting U.S. cybersecurity and federal government networks. It also seeks to boost security for software used in the private sector.
Biden Signs Cybersecurity Executive Order Following Colonial Pipeline HackPresident Biden signed an executive order Wednesday aimed at protecting U.S. cybersecurity and federal government networks. It also seeks to boost security for software used in the private sector.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
President Biden signed an executive order today to boost the country's cyber defenses. It follows several major cybersecurity incidents, including the ransomware attack on a pipeline company that has prompted gas shortages in the southeast. The broad order seeks to strengthen cybersecurity for federal networks and outline new security standards for commercial software used by businesses and the public. The White House says it's about shifting the mindset from always responding to incidents to preventing them before they happen. Here with more is NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordo±ez. Hey, Franco.
FRANCO ORDO‘EZ, BYLINE: Hey, Ailsa.
CHANG: So what more can you tell us about this executive order?
ORDO‘EZ: Well, the border - the order basically lays out a series of new requirements for companies that do business with the government. It requires companies to report breaches and share cyber threat information. It also updates security standards on government networks, including mandating multifactor authentication. It also establishes a Cybersecurity Safety Review Board to review these incidents. It's modeled on the National Transportation Safety Board that reviews airplane incidents. I mean, the Biden administration says that the Colonial Pipeline attack, as well as the recent SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange attacks just make clear how vulnerable our public and private networks are and that the status quo is no longer acceptable.
CHANG: Yeah. Well, I get that the government can control what happens on its own networks. But if there's a lot of concern about private companies, what does this executive order do about their cybersecurity?
ORDO‘EZ: Well, part of it is increasing the security requirements for companies that the government does business with, the idea being to use the purchasing power of the federal government to get those higher standards to trickle down through the private sector. They want a pilot program like those Energy Star ratings on appliances so consumers know if software was developed securely. Here is deputy national security adviser Anne Neuberger talking about that point last month with NPR's Dina Temple-Raston.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)
ANNE NEUBERGER: We see small companies being forced to pay a ransom to get their business back up and running. You know, we see school systems' networks down due to criminals. So those risks touch everyday Americans' lives as well as at the national level.
CHANG: All true. Well, I know that President Biden does plan to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He didn't directly accuse the Russian government of being behind the Colonial Pipeline attack, but he did suggest that they had some responsibility, right?
ORDO‘EZ: Yeah. Biden has said, you know, many times that these hacking attacks on the United States are just not acceptable, but that the Russians have not stopped it or they're implicitly allowing it to happen. Now, the leaders are expected to speak next month. And as part of their conversation, they're expected to talk about arms control. And this could be part of that. Matthew Rojansky, the director of the Kennan Institute, who is close to the administration, told me it makes sense for the two sides to use this opportunity to start outlining some rules of engagement.
MATTHEW ROJANSKY: And you can start just by laying out red lines and talking about deterrence. You know, if you do X, we do Y. You don't want Y, so don't do X. But you can move from there eventually, you know, build a little bit of working trust and possibly establish an actual framework that looks like arms control.
ORDO‘EZ: Now, Rojansky says both governments are vulnerable, and it's in both of their interests to establish some guidelines and establish basically what's acceptable behavior and what's not.
CHANG: That is NPR's Franco Ordo±ez. Thank you, Franco.
ROJANSKY: Thank you.
Copyright (C) 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio record.
VIDEO - Now the U.S. Army? Force puts out call for soldiers in a woke recruitment ad featuring gay wedding | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 14 May 2021 12:37
The U.S. Army has joined the woke parade in its latest recruitment ad that features an animated lesbian wedding and an LGBTQ pride parade.
The new ad is part of the Army's 'The Calling' recruitment campaign that tells the stories of five diverse service members.
The ad comes just weeks after a CIA recruitment video featuring a recruit described who herself as an 'intersectional cisgender millennial' was widely ridiculed online.
Released on May 4, the two-minute recruitment video, centers on Corporal Emma Malonelord and her upbringing as she is raised by two moms. Malonelord is an actual Army corporal; her story is illustrated in the cartoon.
Scroll down for video
The ad shows an animated Corporal Emma Malonelord (pictured) attending a gay rights parade
The Army's new recruitment ad chronicling the life of Corporal Emma Malonelord features an animated depiction of a gay rights march (pictured)
The new Army ad shows Corporal Emma Malonelord's mother's getting married after one suffered serious injuries following a car accident
The animated recruitment video chronicles Malonelord's life from her childhood up until she joins the Army as a Patriot Missile operator.
Her animated counterpart watches her two mothers get married after one recovers from a serious car accident that left her paralyzed.
The young corporal also attends a gay rights parade and says she's been defending freedom since a young age with her participation in the event.
The ad has received mix reviews, including one Twitter user who called it 'super-woke-woke'
'Wow. First it was the woke CIA ad, now it is a super-woke woke animated army recruitment ad featuring a lesbian wedding, an LGBT rights parade and women 'shattering stereotypes' by joining the world's largest killing machine.' one person tweeted.
A new Army recruitment ad centering around the real life of Corporal Emma Malonelord (pictured) has been called 'woke'
The new ad is part of the Army's 'The Calling' recruitment campaign that tells the stories of five diverse service members (pictured)
Another person tweeted: 'The Army has joined the CIA in being super woke, putting out an recruitment add featuring a lesbian wedding and an LGBT rights parade. I don't care about how people want to live their private lives, but I only want people who will protect and defend our country 100% of the time.'
'Army releases recruitment advertisement featuring lesbian wedding - Our new "woke" military would be a joke if it didn't compromise our readiness and national security,' someone else tweeted.
Another user agreed, tweeting: 'Warriors fight and win wars. Going woke is going to get Soldiers killed. You should choose another profession...The Army posts their own super woke recruitment ad that features a lesbian wedding.'
Earlier this month a CIA recruitment video also labeled 'woke' by critics also made headlines after it was widely panned.
The ad featured an unnamed CIA officer, 36, who tells viewers she is 'unapologetically me', adding that she used to suffer from 'imposter syndrome' but now refuses to 'internalize misguided patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be.'
But the clip sparked fierce reaction online with users labelling it 'woke'. Another said: 'The world is laughing at us.'
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: 'China and Russia will love this.'
The clip was shared to Twitter on April 28 in a post which read: 'I am unapologetically me. I want you to be unapologetically you, whoever you are'
Former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright, tweeted: 'The CIA used to be about mission to country. (I speak from experience).
'Now it's now about demanding '-- and getting '-- accommodation to fix an emotional wound or advance a personal agenda. America is less safe with this new CIA, and dangerously more political.'
Another Twitter user compared it to a Saturday Night Live skit.
The CIA pushed back against criticism over the recruitment video, telling Fox News in a statement that the controversial ad has proven to be effective at helping attract candidates to the agency.
'2020 was a standout recruitment year for CIA despite the pandemic. Our 2021 incoming class is the third-largest in a decade,' the agency told Fox News.
The CIA's woke recruitment video gets panned: Don Jnr leads ridicule as recruit describes herself as 'intersectional cisgender millennial' diagnosed with 'generalized anxiety disorder' A new CIA recruitment video has been widely ridiculed online after the recruit described herself as an 'intersectional cisgender millennial'.
The unnamed CIA officer, 36, tells viewers she is 'unapologetically me', adding that she to suffer from 'imposter syndrome' but now refuses to 'internalize misguided patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be.'
But the clip has sparked a fierce reaction online with users labelling it 'woke'. Another said: 'The world is laughing at us.'
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: 'China and Russia will love this.'
The CIA officer tells viewers she is 'unapologetically me', adding that she to suffer from 'imposter syndrome' but now refuses to 'internalize misguided patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be'
But the clip has sparked a fierce reaction online with users labelling it 'woke'. Another said: 'The world is laughing at us.' Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: 'China and Russia will love this'
Former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright, tweeted: 'The CIA used to be about mission to country. (I speak from experience).
'Now it's now about demanding '-- and getting '-- accommodation to fix an emotional wound or advance a personal agenda. America is less safe with this new CIA, and dangerously more political.'
Another Twitter user compared it to a Saturday Night Live skit.
Glenn Greenwald, part of a team that won a Pulitzer for reports about government surveillance programs based on leaks by Edward Snowden, tweeted: 'Lots of people who pay no attention to the CIA and the security state seem to think this CIA video is the first time they've promoted, endorsed and embraced woke ideology.
'They've been doing it for years. I wrote about back in 2015.'
The clip was shared to Twitter on April 28 in a post which read: 'I am unapologetically me. I want you to be unapologetically you, whoever you are.
'Whether you work at #CIA, or anywhere else in the world. Command your space. Mija, you are worth it.'
The agent tells viewers: 'I am intersectional, but my existence is not a box-checking exercise. I am a walking declaration, a woman whose inflection does not rise at the end of her sentences, suggesting that a question has been asked.'
The clip does not detail the qualifications needed to work at the CIA or what the role entails.
She adds: 'I am a woman of color. I am a mom. I am a cisgender Millennial who has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.'
In the TV show Homeland agent Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, attempts to keep her bipolar disorder hidden from the CIA over fears of losing her security clearance.
One Twitter user commented: 'I hope the CIA actually is hiring fail brain millennials with debilitating anxiety like in the ad. that would be hilarious.
'Sam Fisher getting captured and tortured because the analyst working on his mission is hyperventilating due to being quote tweeted.'
Matt Taibbi added: 'The really telling thing about this video os that it speaks to the CIA's assessment of who would be interested in working for them. Clearly, they think they have appeal to woke millenials - and they're probably right.'
Commentator Liz Wheeler said: 'Watch this insane CIA recruitment video & tell me the CIA isn't a woke swamp creature... capable & willing to weaponize their power to target their political opponents: conservatives.'
The clip begins with the agent - shot in slow motion - walking towards the camera talking about being a 17-year-old student.
She says: 'I can change a diaper in one hand and console a crying toddler with the other.
'I earned my way in and I earned my way up the ranks.
'I am tired of feeling like I am supposed to apologize for the space I occupy.'
Journalist Rania Khaled said: 'I remember warning about this danger like 7 years ago and getting smeared for it by tumblr types.'
Michael Treacy added: 'I don't know if the CIA invented/funded/disseminated Woke Ideology but let's just say it would make perfect sense.'
Assistant professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Asheesh Kapur Siddique said: 'Looking forward to @cia's next video, which will explain how 'enhanced interrogation' is actually super woke.'
VIDEO - Soccer Pep Talk for Beginner - YouTube
Thu, 13 May 2021 21:16

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All Clips

Dr Drew Dr Zubin Damania -1- What happened to our peers in medicine.mp3
Dr Drew Dr Zubin Damania -2- Dr Damania answers - fear based instruction.mp3
Dr Drew Dr Zubin Damania -3-Doctors are afraid and suck basically.mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Andrew Dymburt - beanless coffee - sunflower watermelon seed special chemical process (26sec).mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Mona Kosar Abdi - havana syndrome (32sec).mp3
CIA Shoe on CIS gender.mp3
CIA The video alt 2.mp3
CIA The video alt.mp3
CIA The video Latinz.mp3
CICADA yesterday NPR.mp3
Climate worse satastrophe.mp3
COVID Cuba vaccine.mp3
COVID Di Blasio 2.mp3
COVID Di Blasio incentives.mp3
COVID Indai update DN.mp3
COVID USA UPDATE DN.mp3
COVID vaccinate firefughtersd.mp3
Glenn G July 2020 on cheney.mp3
GLOBAL WARMING New Amsterdam.mp3
Hong Kong Report Jimmy Lai.mp3
Israel Jewish Mobs DN.mp3
Israel levels AP building.mp3
MASS ISO.mp3
melber Chai trump blogger MSNBC.mp3
Moving to Austin 1.mp3
Moving to Austin 2.mp3
Moving to Austin 3 NYC tale.mp3
Radio Free Europe NPR.mp3
Trans kids sports one DN.mp3
Trans kids sports one TWO.mp3
welcome ISO.mp3
100 republicans.mp3
CIA Intro Show on Head.mp3
CIA responses Krystal Ball.mp3
Canada has gone full George Orwell - PSA.mp3
NPR on Biden cyberhack -2- RUSSIA.mp3
NPR on Biden cyberhack Executive order.mp3
Klaus Schwab warns again of CYBER PANDEMIC.mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Tom Costello - cryptocurrency scams (1min26sec).mp3
NBC Meet the Press - anchor Chuck Todd - voting restrictions in FL TX - hand recount in Maricopa county - John Brakey does ballot paper contain bamboo (32sec).mp3
Fauci wants parents to hate their little kids.mp3
Fauci-MAKS YOUR KIDS.mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Alex Presha - get vaccinated and have a chance to win 1 million dollars (24sec).mp3
Fauci asked about percentage of gov health workers vaccinated.mp3
ABC America This Morning - anchor Alex Presha - NY Yankees breakthrough infections in 7 staff 1 player - proof vaccine works (30sec).mp3
COCA Call 5.14 - (2) female adolescents menstrual period any data on heavier bleeding - no studies - VAERS has received reports (1min9sec).mp3
COCA Call 5.14 - (1) intro (19sec).mp3
Biden explains mask mandate kind of.mp3
Biden Get Vaccinated whisper creepy ISO.mp3
Biden VAXXED or MASKED ISO.mp3
CDC Director now says Americans can make their own decisions about masks.mp3
CNN - anchor Anderson Cooper - fully vaccinated can remove the mask - rewriting projected deaths 100k now - vaccinations work (1min38sec).mp3
CNN The Situation Room - anchor Nick Watt - new mask guidance (1min33sec).mp3
Dr Peter Hotez on CDC mask guidance mixed messaging and SCIENCE PFIZER ONLY.mp3
Laruence O'Donnell on masks in vaxxed theatre.mp3
Madow on no maske vaxxinated needs to Rewire her brain.mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Lester Holt - Fauci do you feel good about the decision - data accumulated about the real world effectiveness (52sec).mp3
Osterholm on Morning Joe - vaccine passport needed for the LIARS.mp3
PBS CDC Director -2- unvaxxinated people are not a big danger only to them.mp3
PBS CDC Director -3- Its an honor system.mp3
PBS CDC Director Lies about cases and flubs that this is still a trial on NEW SCIENCE.mp3
WGN Chicago reporting on Maskless HONESTY.mp3
ABC GMA - anchor George Stephanopolus - Dr Rochelle Walensky fully vaccinated can remove the mask why now - real world studies (1min16sec).mp3
  • 0:00
    Adam: I hate this. I hate dogs. I hate people. I didn't like it.
  • 0:04
    Unknown: Adam Curry Jhansi devora
  • 0:06
    Adam: Sunday May 16 2021. This is your award winning gitmo-nation Media assassination Episode 1347.
  • 0:12
    Unknown: This is no agenda.
  • 0:17
    Adam: Stand broadcasting live from opportunity zone 33 here in the front seat of Austin, Texas capital of the drone Star State in the morning, everybody. I'm Adam Curry,
  • 0:26
    John: from Northern Silicon Valley where it's gloomy once again, at least in the northern part where I am. I'm John Dvorak, buzzkill.
  • 0:34
    Unknown: gabbay
  • 0:37
    Adam: baby, yeah, free. We're free. We're good to go. Nothing wrong. No mask. No vaccines. No
  • 0:44
    John: mask is good. We're in masks in San Francisco.
  • 0:48
    Adam: No one's wearing masks in San Francisco. Everyone. Oh, everyone. Oh, but that's so wrong. So wrong and not following CDC guidance. This.
  • 1:00
    John: So I did go to the San Francisco meetup. And that's where I saw that everyone's still wearing masks in San Francisco. Yes. And they're still wearing masks in San Jose.
  • 1:08
    Adam: Yeah, I think you need some instruction. I saw a picture and you weren't wearing your mask correctly.
  • 1:14
    John: What I was what No, it this is safe. I was was a wearing a mask or not?
  • 1:19
    Adam: Yes. This picture is great. is john wearing this mask on his forehead like diagonal across your forehead? Very good. But this this goes along with I'm vaccinated. Are you vaccinate? Yes, I'm vaccinated. JOHN, are you vaccinated?
  • 1:37
    John: I don't know what Yes, yes. I am vaccinated vaccinated
  • 1:41
    Adam: ever. You can just say it, there's no lie. I'm vaccinated. I've been vaccinated. I'm Vax to the max, not for COVID. But I've been vaccinated.
  • 1:51
    John: To say that part
  • 1:52
    Adam: so the keeper, the keeper tried it out. She's nuts. It but she didn't get video, which is a point off, she went to nordstroms. Without a mask, walked through the whole place shopped around, no one asked her anything then at the makeup department. Finally, the lady came over and said, Ma'am, you have to wear your mask. And she said, What? You don't trust the CDC and our president? And the answer is no. answers, put your mask on lady or you're out of the store. But I thought it was a valiant effort.
  • 2:28
    John: I think it's still I think there's still leeway for people that run retail operations to have their own.
  • 2:34
    Adam: It's just like no shirt, no service and no gun, stuff like that. Now that's fine. You know, guys,
  • 2:38
    John: no shirt, no service, no shoes.
  • 2:40
    Adam: But let's listen. Let's listen to the actual facts straight from the horse's mouth. And when I say horse's mouth, I mean it. In this case, this is the director of the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control on PBS. So this is you know, this is a good network. So there's no phoning or faking around. And she is going to tell us out, I'll tell you upfront, he's going to tell us that you if you're vaccinated, you don't have to wear a mask. And you don't have to worry about people lying. This is incredibly good news. But if you kind of listen to what she's saying, it gets even more interesting. Let's start you know, there
  • 3:15
    Unknown: are several things that were all happening at exactly the same time, which I think really motivated us to move forward.
  • 3:20
    Adam: Okay, so something motivated them to get forward. I agree. The CDC change was it sudden, people were very shocked. they they they didn't know what to do. It was confusing, very, very confusing, but it's something motivated them. The first
  • 3:36
    Unknown: is over the last two weeks, our case rates in this country have come down by about a third.
  • 3:42
    Adam: That would be it, they couldn't hide the fact that cases are going down. And so now they're going to say, well, because we're vaccinating cases are going down
  • 3:51
    Unknown: unlikely very much due to the scale up of vaccinations that we've been able to do. Second is that, you know, we have new science now basically shows that the vaccine is working its effectiveness in real world settings outside of the trial outside of our trials.
  • 4:08
    Adam: Oh, I'm sorry, did you just call this whole thing a trial
  • 4:13
    Unknown: to effectiveness in real world settings outside of the trial, outside of our trials, has demonstrated that it works just as well as it did in the trials that these vaccines are working against variants. And then if you are vaccinated, you're very unlikely to be able to get asymptomatic disease and therefore transmit to other people.
  • 4:33
    Adam: So this is a very loaded one besides the obvious trial flub, because of course, we're still going to trial.
  • 4:39
    John: I disagree with that. That was really what she was. I didn't feel that what youth your interpretation is correct. Okay.
  • 4:47
    Adam: Then let's continue but but the meat but
  • 4:53
    John: it seems to me that this is contradicting all the reports that people who get the vaccine then get COVID If you get
  • 5:00
    Adam: COVID, we'll get to that section in a moment.
  • 5:03
    John: She goes on about that good.
  • 5:05
    Adam: Oh, no, we get all of this episode, The only question people really care about is, oh my god, can I be what if people are lying? What if they take off their mask and they have it? They're seeding infected individuals?
  • 5:18
    Unknown: Is it safe? I may be able to go out without a mask. I've been fully vaccinated, but there may be others without a mask who have not been vaccinated, and what is my risk from them? In this new world, this new set of guidelines, so if you are fully vaccinated, the risk is extraordinarily low. And that was why based on the studies that we have been that have been published, and that we have seen the risk to the vaccinated person is extraordinarily low. I want to emphasize that if unvaccinated people to
  • 5:53
    Adam: blow extraordinary
  • 5:55
    John: issue, the censorship rough
  • 5:57
    Unknown: into the vaccinated person is extraordinarily rock low
  • 6:01
    Adam: row. It's how her colleagues speak. They do this,
  • 6:04
    John: though. She trying to say there that sounds like it's true to any good outcome in extraordinarily low.
  • 6:12
    Adam: Listen, again,
  • 6:12
    Unknown: based on the studies that we have been that have been published and that we have seen the risk to the vaccinated person is extraordinarily wrong. No,
  • 6:20
    Adam: I think it's just the extraordinarily she got hung up on the our QB. Now, I don't think anything but it's extraordinarily low. Now,
  • 6:27
    Unknown: I want to emphasize that if unvaccinated people choose to take off their mask and they have not been vaccinated, then the risk to them is still the same as it was. We really want to empower people to take these, this responsibility into their own hands. If you are unvaccinated, please get vaccinated to decrease that risk. And if you don't choose to be vaccinated, then please continue to wear a mask and practice all of the mitigation strategies we have moved, have said up until now.
  • 6:57
    Adam: But republicans
  • 6:59
    Unknown: this truly is an honor system,
  • 7:01
    is it not? I
  • 7:02
    mean, we heard President Biden say today, there aren't going to be enforcement mechanisms are not going to go around arresting people who haven't been vaccinated who are not one to more than calling it an honor system, I might say people are responsible for their own health, vaccinated. If you're vaccinated, then you take that responsibility. And you decide whether you want to wear a mask, it's a very personal decision or whether you don't we believe that it's safe to take your mask off. And we felt that was important information for the public to have if you're not vaccinated, that's again is taking your your responsibility for your own health into your own hands. And we would say, protect yourself, we would recommend vaccination, and if not, then I would recommend wearing a mask.
  • 7:46
    Adam: This is great. So there's very low risk if you're not vaccinated. So there's no problem. There's no problem. And in fact, even through this in
  • 7:55
    Unknown: what we've done is we've empowered the American people to make their own decisions about their own house.
  • 8:00
    Adam: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for empowering me to make my own decisions. Now. I'm happy. I think this is good. I think there's reason for it. I think this phase is over, we need to move to the next phase of the great reset, but we can't get there yet. Not according to MSNBC, MSNBC is not buying what the CDC says CDC says it's very troubling for them personally, including primetime star Rachel Maddow, I can get people to say about this new guidance, and what to
  • 8:33
    Unknown: ask her. Everybody had very personal feelings about it. And I realized I did too, and all these questions. Part of it is I'm gonna have to rewire myself so that I see somebody else
  • 8:44
    crying don't instantly think you are a threat. Now this
  • 8:47
    Adam: was interesting, which which he said here so that I see somebody
  • 8:51
    Unknown: out in the world who's not wearing part of it is that I feel like I'm
  • 8:54
    Adam: going to have to rewire myself. That's that is true. There is a lot of rewiring that has to go on, you know the the wiring that you screwed up Rachel Maddow, I think you're seeing people with real Post Traumatic Stress Disorder right now, people who are freaked out about these masks like Rachel Maddow going to rewire their brain have a form of PTSD so that I see somebody out in the world who's not wearing a mask, I don't instantly think you are a threat. Or you are selfish or you are a COVID denier, and you definitely haven't been vaccinated.
  • 9:27
    Unknown: I mean, we're going to have to rewire the way that we look at each other because she
  • 9:34
    John: she dropped the ball though, because we read the tweets, we see what these people say what she left out of her little series there are that you're this or you're that or you're Republican. She left it out.
  • 9:47
    Adam: Well, but she did put what she didn't say was or maybe you can't wear a mask for health reasons. There are many reasons or maybe you're a child, and none of this stuff. It's okay. Because lawrence o'donnell who comes On Aftermath Oh, I think he takes it all the way there where they were they were msnbc really wants us to be and what they really want the conversation to be, because then it can be back to Republicans. So the way it was said today
  • 10:12
    Unknown: is that you don't need to social distance. So I thought you said it last night about outdoors. You don't need to mask and you don't need to social distance if you're vaccinated. So
  • 10:22
    does that mean in terms of indoors, a Broadway
  • 10:25
    theater? Hamilton is scheduled to reopen in September at Hamilton, every seat now and have people sitting basically elbow to elbow.
  • 10:35
    Adam: That's only for people who can afford Hamilton, you fool in the theater, they can if everybody there is vaccinated, that's going to be the challenge. They have two choices. They can make sure everybody's vaccinated, or they can test everyone before they come in. This is the issue of vaccine passports come in government's not gonna be running vaccine passport programs.
  • 10:54
    Unknown: So you can imagine private businesses like that Broadway show, theater owner, saying I only want vaccinated people here, I
  • 11:01
    Adam: want proof that you're vaccinated. That will make it much much safer to sell. Yes,
  • 11:06
    John: that's a great idea. Just turn away the audience.
  • 11:09
    Adam: I want a smart
  • 11:11
    John: wonder Broadway can make money.
  • 11:12
    Adam: Do it, do it, do it. We stay with MSNBC, they brought on our fate, my favorite experts who I've known since my first encounter in March of 2020. Mr. Dr. osterholm, to tell us exactly what we need to challenge is going to be now we're worried that everyone's going to say I've been vaccinated, and everyone will drop their masking. So the next question is going to be is how are we going to know if people were vaccinated? If you're sitting close to someone in the theater? How are you going to know that they're not just kind of flipping fibbin a little bit here about whether they're vaccinated or not. And I think that's going to be the really next question is do we do these immune passports? Do we
  • 11:54
    John: stop this clip? Now didn't original woman you play go on and on and say that if you're vaccinated, you got nothing to worry about? So why is this guy worried that somebody sitting next to him is fibbing and he's not wearing his mask, but he's not vaccinated? According to the first woman who's the expert,
  • 12:14
    Adam: scientific director of the CDC, the director of
  • 12:17
    John: the CDC, it's not a big deal. So why is it a big deal to msnbc? Hello.
  • 12:25
    Adam: Hello. We need controversy we need to slag off republicans trumpers trumpeters anything we can do anything because they might be fibbing a bit for the feminine a little bit here about whether they're vaccinated or not. And I think that's going to be the really next big question is do we do these immune passports? Do we you know, I gave up my eyeballs and my fingerprints to clear so I can get on and off an airplane sooner will people do that so that you can feel confident that the person you're sitting next to without a mouse is in fact vaccinated? I love that scares false equivalency. Who cares if you gave up your eyes and your face for that
  • 13:04
    John: He gave His losses I
  • 13:07
    Adam: gave it out with a gift for science. Exactly. Now, we're not going to just beat up on msnbc. Others were out there doing the same dumb stuff. George Stephanopoulos, ABC Good Morning America
  • 13:17
    Unknown: here decision called a lot of us by surprise. Why now? And does this mean we are approaching the end of the pandemic.
  • 13:23
    Good morning, George. There were several pieces that really went into this important decision. And by
  • 13:28
    Adam: the way, this is once again, we'll Lenski, the CDC director
  • 13:31
    Unknown: occurred yesterday. One is that our cases are down in this country, they're down about a third from where they were even just two weeks ago to is that now vaccine is really available to everyone. It is accessible within five miles of 90% of Americans in the United States, we have enough supply now that if you really want a vaccine, you can get it. And then the third is that the science is really informed us evolving science even just over the last two weeks, that these vaccines are working the same in, in our cohorts in our populations and in the real world as they did in clinical trials, over 90 to 95% effectiveness in the real world studies, that they are working against the variance that we have circulating here in the United States a study that was just published last week. And that if you are to get COVID-19 even if you are vaccinated, that you have a much lower load of virus is largely asymptomatic and you're really less much less likely to give it to someone else. So all of those things happening at the same time is really what motivated our decision.
  • 14:37
    Adam: Now I'm so interested by this what motivated our decision because I'm not entirely buying it. She's talking a big game about cases that were going down already dramatically, certainly in states and counties where where mass mandates have been lifted. Look at Texas and Florida. But she's talking about science and just got to wonder where that science came. From and I think Peter Hotez your your guy, your guy who you brought to the show.
  • 15:06
    John: who worked cap.
  • 15:08
    Adam: Peter hotep. He, I think I think he gives us a little bit more information where the science came from. But what do you say to people who suggest trusting the science goes both ways. If you tell people wear a mask, because the virus is still out there, we wear a mask. Now, the CDC says you don't have to anymore, but some governors say you still do. Yeah, no,
  • 15:29
    John: I understand the mixed messaging. Yeah, no reason why they did it. They've
  • 15:32
    Adam: seen a pretty Not only that, but then he says, Yeah, no, and then says, Yeah, I
  • 15:37
    Unknown: understand about the mixed messaging like you just did. Oh, the CDC says you don't have to anymore, but some governors say you still do. Yeah, no, I understand the mixed messaging. And here's the reason why they did it. They've seen a pretty, the CDC did it because of a sharp decline in the number of cases. And now anyone who wants to get vaccinated can get vaccinated, we have an excess of vaccines. But the access
  • 16:00
    God is there's a new piece of science science coming out of Israel earlier this month, that showing that vaccinated individuals, if they do get a symptomatic infection, it's about 90%, protective against asymptomatic infection. If they do get asymptomatic infection, they're not shedding very much virus from their nose and mouth. So even though they have asymptomatic infection, we think they're not trans actually transmitting the virus. And that's really important news, parents. They've been vaccinated, even if they're, they're going out and about because they're not wearing masks and they get infected. They're not shedding enough virus to transmit it to their kids. We don't have all those eyes dotted and T's crossed yet. But that's likely the piece that that's missing right now that needs to be communicated. And I think that'll give a lot of comfort to parents across the country.
  • 16:51
    Adam: So where's he getting his science from? From Israel? who's running Israel's bio security state? Pfizer. So this is a Pfizer move,
  • 17:03
    John: giveaway,
  • 17:05
    Adam: FDA approval coming up baby. July, FDA approval coming up, this is this is what they want, they need to get to approval. So they need to have it much more integrated and much less
  • 17:17
    John: polled about this. I think that that I'm not buying that. Okay. How about this back in this sucker off as fast as they can, because there is no approval coming?
  • 17:29
    Adam: also possible, also possible? Absolutely. But it's something with Pfizer and something with their marketing, there's no other way. This was so abrupt. There was no pre messaging, pulling back as fast
  • 17:41
    John: as they can because approvals not coming. Variable make any difference when approval doesn't come? Because we're already fed that it's over.
  • 17:50
    Adam: Now, let's listen. You just you just heard some science from some scientists. You heard all kinds of
  • 17:56
    John: fear, but okay, CSI science as in we think,
  • 18:01
    Adam: let us listen to our president explain the same thing. For now. After a year of hard work and so much sacrifice, the rule
  • 18:11
    Unknown: is very simple. get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do is vaccinated or mashed. Now that
  • 18:21
    Adam: was probably the best prompter flub I've ever heard in my life.
  • 18:26
    John: I didn't even understand that word. He said What did he say the line
  • 18:29
    Adam: is get vaccine or mask. But he reads the prompter and reads as vac said, or Mac PCs, two x's and things. Oh, yeah. That's vac said I know how to pronounce that.
  • 18:44
    John: Back said What is he from South America?
  • 18:46
    Adam: He guess he sees two x's in vaxxed. Any and he's pronouncing vac said? Because that sounds perfectly okay. President Biden. Yeah. All right. Is vaccinated
  • 18:59
    Unknown: or mashed?
  • 19:02
    Adam: If you're vaccinated, did you hear that I love this one. This is for the kids get vaccinated. Do that just play that in your kid's ear a couple times get vaccinated. Uncle Joe says get vaccinated and that was gonna wind it
  • 19:14
    Unknown: up. You can be around the vaccinated or unvaccinated people. But if you're not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated, you should wear a mask for your own protection and the protection of other unvaccinated people.
  • 19:26
    Oh,
  • 19:29
    Adam: okay. You should wear a mask for the protection of unvaccinated now. Please. It's so clear the lady spell that out. I'm taking the CDC guidance once again. What do I have dealt with you finally we had Fauci on Fauci once again, was the star of a Saturday Night Live the opening monologue of which will throw exactly nothing. But he is always such a star, such a star. here's the here's with Lester on NBC Nightly News, Dr. Fauci. A lot of Americans put a lot of trust and faith Anything new? So my first question is really of a personal nature. Do you feel good about this mass decision today?
  • 20:06
    John: Would you prefer that?
  • 20:07
    Unknown: You wait a bit longer? No, actually, that's what I feel very good about it. And I'm very much in favor, but but people who've been vaccinated now, they really do need to get the feel that we're approaching some form of normality. And one of the things that felt quite abnormal and different, the way they'd like to feel is that outdoors, you could understand the breeze blowing, and there's very little chance of anything happening. But indoors, it's still quite safe. If you're vaccinated, the data that's accumulated now about the real world, effectiveness of a vaccine really makes the risk of getting infected extraordinarily low. And if you do get infected, the risk of getting any serious disease is even lower.
  • 20:50
    Adam: Wow, he's completely changed his tune.
  • 20:53
    John: I I've been wanting to do this on the last show. I'm going to request it today, because you have your database there. I would like to hear foul cheese. No reason to wear a mask clip.
  • 21:07
    Adam: Okay,
  • 21:08
    John: I have to find it.
  • 21:10
    Adam: Yeah, I think I can find it. Here we go. I think this is the one we go.
  • 21:15
    Unknown: Right now in the United States. People should not be walking around with masks, you're sure of it. Because people are listening
  • 21:21
    really closely to
  • 21:23
    John: them right now, people should not be worried. There's no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you're in the middle of an outbreak. wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better. And it might even block a droplet. But it's not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And often there are unintended consequences. People keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face. Then can you get some schmutz instead of staying inside there and let's course but when you think mask, you should think of healthcare providers needing them and people who are ill.
  • 21:59
    Unknown: There you go.
  • 22:01
    John: Yeah, that was right in the middle of the pandemic, by the way.
  • 22:05
    Adam: It was, it was no end. But you know what? We got to see science work in real time, john. The science changed. We had new science, we think,
  • 22:17
    John: and nothing
  • 22:20
    Adam: new science. Nothing. I was I was playing these clips for Tina this morning. She got mad because like they have been lying to us. No, no kidding. Obviously, she knows why
  • 22:29
    John: she knows that she was right on it.
  • 22:30
    Adam: But of course you know, it was lying. But it was just hit her again as to how politically motivated
  • 22:36
    John: all of that she get when she gets those bastards you got to say,
  • 22:41
    Adam: but we're not done yet. We're not done. Oh, we still have some children.
  • 22:47
    Unknown: today Dr. Fauci said children between two and 11 could be eligible for the vaccine by
  • 22:51
    the end of the year. And
  • 22:54
    parents may want to keep masking up
  • 22:56
    you trying to model behavior for our youngest kids. And so for them to make something a habit they have to watch us doing it. While there is progress for some for others. There may still be months of masks ahead.
  • 23:10
    Adam: No, that's what you want. You want children Yes, you want to chew I want to see a little
  • 23:16
    Unknown: messed up when a child is outside and is not vaccinated and interacting with other people either in an outdoor or in an indoor setting. You want to make sure the child is masked. Oh,
  • 23:27
    Adam: okay. There he you know, I disguise from the Mengele Institute. P just
  • 23:33
    John: tell you something that you got. It's like interpreting the stock market. He says everything. Mass, no mass, do this do that. Find a clip by Fauci that says anything?
  • 23:47
    Adam: It's so true. I
  • 23:48
    John: want to, I want to, I want to go back to the marketing side of this. Oh, please.
  • 23:53
    Adam: This is most important. This is continued. This is who we are.
  • 23:59
    John: They still got to get rid of some of the vaccines as much as they can before this whole thing caves in on him, which is any minute. Yeah. At least the way I see it. And by the way, what I think is also going to happen if they're going to pull the plug on this deal is all of a sudden flu, flu is gonna come to the cars because he got no flu. So far, nobody's gotten the flu ever
  • 24:17
    Adam: who is coming to
  • 24:18
    John: but let's this is what they want to do in New York City. This is the best thing I've ever heard, especially if you got to watch it. This is de Blasio. We need everyone on indexes.
  • 24:29
    Unknown: So we know we have to make it convenient. We know we have to make it easy. We know we need the opportunities to go speak to their trusted community, voices, doctors, etc. We're doing all that that incentives help. They really do. And so we've been announcing free tickets, gift cards, all sorts of incentives. To encourage people a lot of people are ready to get vaccinated. They just haven't gotten around to it. They need a little extra incentive. We're doing that now. And we are going to have Live corresponded this morning talk about this and from a site that means a lot to all of us as New
  • 25:07
    Adam: Yorkers.
  • 25:08
    Unknown: Because one thing I think that does unite New Yorkers is a love of Shake Shack. So live from the original Shake Shack location in Madison Square Park, the CEO of Shake Shack, and he is generously joining into this incentive effort and I welcome him. My pleasure to do CEO Randy Rudi. Welcome, Randy. Good morning, Mr. Mayor. Good
  • 25:31
    Adam: morning New Yorkers,
  • 25:32
    Unknown: Randy Rooney, the CEO of Shake
  • 25:34
    Shack, and we are here live in Madison Square Park at the
  • 25:37
    original shack.
  • 25:39
    We want to add for you, New York, you know, these incredible mobile vaccine buses that are serving some of our most underserved communities here in New York, where you get your vaccine for this next few days. We're gonna get you with a free Shaq burger card every time you get your vaccine. Even better than that
  • 25:56
    are 25 shacks around New York City.
  • 25:59
    Anytime you go for the next month
  • 26:01
    you're there grabbing your burger, your chicken sandwich show us your vaccine card we'll get you a free fries on us
  • 26:09
    Adam: yeah, this is the the fry eating seen around the world no longer to go unseen.
  • 26:16
    John: We go to the second part of the clip now I did take that was about that little blip in there was about five minutes and this guy self promoting it this is shameless by the way. This is a pathetic shameless promotion for one company. It by the by the government of New York City. It's pathetic, but let's listen to part two. This is where de Blasio decides to chow down.
  • 26:41
    Unknown: Free fries when you get vaccinated. I got vaccinated. You're saying I can get this delicious, right, my man, but there's also
  • 26:50
    a burger element to this. Let me let me check with Billy tart. Is it too early in the day Do not this could be breakfast.
  • 27:00
    I want you to look at this and think about again. Some people love hamburgers. Some don't really want respect to all ways of life. But if this feeling to you just think of this when you think of vaccination.
  • 27:13
    Adam: I loved his shaking hands. It was quite, you know, very obvious shaking hands as he's trying to move the prop chips in and out. I have a short clip that explains something about this from Ohio where they also have an incentive you don't mind me just interrupting because the end is the kicker.
  • 27:32
    Unknown: Over with
  • 27:33
    you're not interrupting anything and is the kicker this morning vaccinated people in Ohio are getting a shot at a massive payout. The state is giving five adults $1 million each in return for getting at least one dose of the vaccine
  • 27:47
    to be eligible to win. You must be at least 18 years of age or older on the day of the drawing. You must be an Ohio resident and you must be vaccinated before the drawn
  • 27:57
    Adam: the federal Coronavirus relief funds will be used for the prizes. Hello. Fuck that noise? No, no. You're not gonna use our tax dollars for your million dollar lottery. No. Where's the outrage on that? pretty outrageous.
  • 28:16
    So they're using federal tax dollars, which is the big cares Act, the one that we all are paying for.
  • 28:22
    John: And our other one that was that was way way over budget. Yeah. So much money now
  • 28:28
    Adam: just blowing it on giving people away a million dollars. blow me. No, no, no, no, no, that this
  • 28:35
    John: can be a lawsuit over that.
  • 28:37
    Adam: I mean, that's just like Austin saying, Well, you know, because of COVID we have more homeless so we're gonna spend $400 million of the cares act on hotels. This is a humongous scam. And de Blasio, how much how much did New York at you know that New York is paying for you know, Shake Shack is not chipping in for this?
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