1357: Quantum Supremacy

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 31m
June 20th, 2021
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Executive Producers: Dame Sparkler, Sir Karys, Baron of Greater Boston, Sir Gadgeteer of the Woods of Hazel, Sir David French, Sir Michael Van Sligtenhorst, Lily Noon, Anonymous Interpreter, wyatt wermes, Dame Blackhammer, Ryan Tierney, Brandi Kovash, Sir Dan the Man Protector of Cape Coral and the Islands of Sanibel and Captiva, Martin Williamson, Z, Jon Helmer, John Wynn, Old Rivermark Knight, micah edgerton, Kyle Corbin

Associate Executive Producers: Michael Heenan, Liz LeRoy, Scott Smith, Sir Bacevice, Alex, Sir Colin the Friendly Fat Man, Zeus

Cover Artist: Kenny Ben


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CDC delays meeting on kids' COVID vaccine heart risk
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 11:31
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention postponed a special meeting Friday on the health risk to teens from rare cases of heart inflammation after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, citing the newly created Juneteenth federal holiday.
''The June 18, 2021 COVID-19 meeting is being rescheduled due to the observation of the Juneteenth National Independence Day holiday,'' the CDC said in a notice on its website about the online meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
The discussion will be added to the committee's regularly scheduled meeting June 23-25. The draft agenda has yet to be updated to indicate what day and time the matter will be discussed during the three-day meeting, which also will cover topics such as influenza and rabies vaccines.
The abrupt postponement did not sit well with medical experts who have raised alarm over the rate of heart inflammation seen in adolescents, teens and young adults '-- mostly males and typically after the second of the two shots of the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna.
Dr. Marty Makary, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, said Friday on Twitter that he thought the rescheduling was ''a joke,'' given the seriousness of the risk. He argues kids should not get the second shot until the heart risk is better understood.
I thought this was a joke. Because of the new Juneteenth holiday, the CDC is delaying their emergency mtg to review 226 heart complications in kids after vaccination.
I recommend kids do not get a 2nd dose until these complications are properly reviewed.https://t.co/GypiPFSXO6
'-- Marty Makary MD, MPH (@MartyMakary) June 18, 2021
Black Americans for years have been commemorating June 19, the date in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were finally freed following the Civil War. Congress voted this week to make Juneteenth the country's 12th federal holiday, the first since Martin Luther King Jr. Day nearly 40 years ago. President Joe Biden signed it into law Thursday afternoon.
While it took three years for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be observed after it was created, implementation of the Juneteenth holiday has come much faster for some. Though the U.S. Postal Service said it planned to continue operations Friday and Saturday, a number of federal workers were expected to be given Friday off, since the actual holiday this year falls on a Saturday.
The CDC has acknowledged ''rare'' but increased reports of myocarditis and pericarditis mostly in adolescent boys and young men age 16 or older after they received the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna. The inflammation of the heart muscle or lining typically arises within a week, more often after the second of the two shots, with chest pain, shortness of breath and a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heartbeat.
For now, the CDC continues to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for everyone age 12 years and older, ''given the risk of COVID-19 illness and related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death.''
But many health experts like Makary have disagreed with that risk calculation, several of whom cited concerns at a U.S. Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory committee meeting on the matter last week.
Though no one is known to have died of heart inflammation after the COVID-19 vaccines, CDC data at that meeting indicated there were more reported cases than expected. The reported incidents of heart inflammation were much higher than the rare blood clots that had led to a 10-day suspension of Johnson and Johnson's one-shot vaccine and a warning of the risk.
''The issue for me is at what stage are we going to say we know enough to justify widespread use of the vaccine in adolescents and children,'' said Dr. Cody Meissner, a pediatrics professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. ''The first mandate is to do no harm. We don't know if we're doing no harm.''
CDC delays meeting on kids’ COVID vaccine heart risk
New federal Juneteenth holiday prompts rescheduling
Fact Check-British Airways is not in 'crisis talks' with the government over vaccinated pilots | Reuters
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 04:13
Claims that British Airways is in ''crisis talks'' with the British government due to the deaths of three pilots who received COVID-19 shots are unfounded, a company representative and British medicines regulator spokesperson has told Reuters.
Shared in the form of a voice recording on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, an unidentified male says he has spoken to a ''friend who's a BA pilot'' and explains ''things are getting crazy'' after three fellow pilots passed away (here , here and here).
''They've had the third BA pilot die in the last seven days, yeah? Third pilot dead in the last week,'' says the man heard in the recording. ''The first two guys were in their forties and fifties; this guy, mid-thirties, perfectly fit, no underlying conditions. He gets his second jab and he's dead within days, exactly the same with the first two.
''Because of this, BA are now in crisis talks with the government about whether to allow vaccinated pilots to fly. The issue with that of course is that about 80%, according to my friend in BA, 80-85% have been injected.''
The man then goes on to say only ''10% of pilots will be able to fly,'' branding it a ''serious issue''.
On Twitter, some users have also shared a photo of what appears to be four books of condolence next to framed pictures of four men in a British Airways-themed lounge (here). ''I believe it was actually FOUR young pilots who died due to the Maxine,'' tweeted one user.
Reuters presented the claims to British Airways, which said they were unfounded and that no such talks were underway with the government. The spokesperson, however, confirmed the authenticity of the four condolence books, as four company pilots had recently passed away. ''Our thoughts are with their family and friends,'' they said, adding that none of the deaths was linked to vaccines.
In a statement to Reuters, the UK's Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) also denied any such crisis talks with Britain's flagship air carrier.
''We have not been made aware of deaths of BA pilots after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine and have not had discussions with BA or other airlines, about preventing pilots from flying after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,'' said Dr. Sarah Branch, the director of vigilance and risk management of medicines for the MHRA. ''There are currently no restrictions on aviation or other industries and activities post vaccination.
''Our advice remains that'¯the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks in'¯the majority of'¯people. It is still vitally important that people come forward for their vaccination and for their second dose when invited to do so.'¯
''We ask anyone who suspects they have experienced a side effect linked with their COVID-19 vaccine to report it'¯to'¯the Coronavirus Yellow Card website.'''¯
VERDICTFalse. British Airways is not in ''crisis talks'' with the British government about vaccinated pilots. Four pilots have recently died '' and British Airways says none of these is linked to vaccines.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
for-phone-only for-tablet-portrait-up for-tablet-landscape-up for-desktop-up for-wide-desktop-up
Ethylene Oxide
Dear Adam and John,
In reference to your discussion of ethylene oxide, you might be interested to know that it is the subject of hundreds of lawsuits around the country related to its toxicity. The chemical has been used to sterilize sensitive medical equipment for decades, and facilities that used it face potential liability for having emitted it to the atmosphere as part of their operations. You can find a little more about these lawsuits here: 600 new ethylene oxide lawsuits filed against Sterigenics in Illinois; Ethylene Oxide Sterilization Facility Updates. It's still a bit early to tell how things will shake out, but the hazards posed by the chemical don't seem to be in much doubt.
Best regards,
Delta Variant
Temporary Body Storage London
Maybe anticipating lots of vaccine deaths in the London area in late 2021?.. Westminster Council put out a tender for temporary structures to put dead bodies in.. all over 32 boroughs in London. Who knows it could be just a scam to make people think people are dying. But it’s interesting that they only decide to do this after the vaccine is out.
Covid doom predictions that never happened - Noahpinion
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 14:47
Unfortunately, many of the bad predictions about COVID-19 came true. The people who saw cases ramping up exponentially, and warned that this was going to be a mass death event, were right, while the people who minimized the threat and waved it away were wrong. And a lot of people are dead because we didn't listen to the former.
But economic predictions are a different story. When unemployment spiked to Great Depression levels in the early days of lockdown, it seemed to me '-- and to many, many others '-- like this downturn was destined to turn into a decade of mass economic hardship. Fortunately, that was completely off the mark! I got it very wrong and Paul Krugman got it right '-- with no financial crisis and no big overhang of debt, the economy simply wasn't destined for a repeat of 2008-12. Though the recovery has proven bumpy thus far, but most economists still forecast a relatively swift return to the pre-pandemic growth trend.
In fact, this was one of many predictions of economic doom that failed to materialize. Here's a quick list of a few others.
1) Suicides fellSuicides had been rising in the U.S. for years prior to the pandemic, and many people predicted that the stress and isolation of lockdown would send the rate soaring even higher. An article in JAMA Psychiatry in April 2020 predicted:
Remarkable social distancing interventions have been implemented to fundamentally reduce human contact. While these steps are expected to reduce the rate of new infections, the potential for adverse outcomes on suicide risk is high.
The Washington Post said we were headed for a mental health crisis, and predicted a wave of suicides. Other researchers reported a rise in suicidal ideation.
Except guess what happened? Suicides fell. A March 2021 JAMA article found that suicide was about 6% lower in 2021 compared to 2020:
What happened? Maybe it was the government's generous economic bailouts that gave Americans heart, or maybe suicide is just a complex process that responds to external events in ways we don't really understand yet. Either way, it's a very good thing that this prediction was wrong.
2) Savings and net worth rose even as consumption bounced backIt was widely predicted that average Americans would be ruined financially by the pandemic. Which made sense '-- unemployment and the loss of various other sources of income would force Americans to spend down their meager savings in order to sustain themselves. But in fact, that didn't happen. Savings rates actually spiked in the early part of the pandemic, and stayed high throughout:
Meanwhile, stock and housing markets boomed, causing household net worth to rise:
Some of the increase in savings did come at the expense of consumption, but in fact, consumption bounced back faster than economists expected:
How did people manage to save more while quickly restoring their pre-pandemic levels of consumption? The quick recovery has a lot to do with it, but there's also the fact that personal income has gone way up as a result '-- once again '-- of those generous relief bills.
Now, these are all aggregate numbers, and they hide a lot of heterogeneity '-- there will certainly be people who fall through the cracks in the relief spending programs or are financially ruined by the economic shifts and dislocations associated with the pandemic. And people still expect long-term financial difficulties. But overall, Americans' finances are looking healthier now than before Covid, and that's quite a surprise.
3) People are paying their rents and mortgagesIt was very natural to assume that with their incomes getting clobbered, people wouldn't be able to make their mortgage payments. After all, that's what had happened in the Great Recession. It was also assumed that millions would fail to make rent and would be evicted from their homes. Here's NBC News from March 2020:
Federal, state and local governments have scrambled to enact policies to keep renters whose sources of income have disappeared from getting evicted'...But experts say the initial steps are nowhere near enough to protect low- and middle-income renters'...
"In terms of the across-the-board, really big, social policy, human need issue, this is it," Andrew Scherer, a law professor at New York Law School, told NBC News of what he sees as an impending crisis. "This is what's looming."
Except people did manage to pay their rent. The percentage of people who made rent payments on time fell only slightly:
Again, generous relief bills were probably responsible. Between that flood of government cash and anti-eviction moratoriums '-- and the fact that kicking people onto the street during a pandemic is just a generally crappy business decision '-- evictions appear to be lower than before the pandemic.
The same pattern holds for most cities in the country.
Meanwhile, the mortgage delinquency rate did spike, but not to Great Recession levels, and is now coming back down pretty fast:
Now, this could reverse. People are still warning of waves of evictions and mortgage delinquencies to come. But so far it just hasn't happened.
4) State budgets are healthyThe Great Recession clobbered state budgets, and they never really recovered. It was natural to expect that the COVID-19 recession would have the same effect. Most people predicted giant budget gaps and called urgently for a federal bailout of the states. Here's Brookings, from April 2020:
[I]n the coming months, states will experience large declines in tax revenues and increased enrollment in safety-net programs as disruptions caused by COVID-19 drive incomes and consumption lower. Without assistance from the federal government, states will likely be forced to make deep program cuts, enact substantial tax increases, or both.
But fortunately, the crisis never happened. The relief bills raised income, and that income got taxed, filling states' coffers. Capital gains taxes resulting from the big stock market boom helped too. This May it was reported that California has a $75.5 billion budget surplus. New York has a more modest surplus, as does Texas.
In fact, by the time Biden gave states a big dollop of federal cash, most probably no longer needed it.
5) Business formation increasedThough it wasn't unanimous, many people believed early on that the pandemic would crush entrepreneurship. In fact, during the early days of the pandemic, new business formation did fall substantially.
But then a funny thing happened '-- the trend reversed itself with a vengeance! By the end of 2020, business formation was way up compared to 2019:
After cratering by 30% in the weeks following the March lockdowns, paperwork filed by prospective businesses started growing in June and finished the year ahead of 2019's tally by almost a quarter'...It was the highest annual total on record[.]
[T]here is reason to think the boom is legitimate, said Barry McCarthy, chief executive officer of the small business services giant Deluxe Corp. A Deluxe unit that helps startup businesses to incorporate was up 10% last year compared to 2019, and its unit that prints checks for small businesses saw a ''dramatic'' increase in orders, McCarthy said.
Many of these businesses were online stores.
Necessity, it seems, really is the mother of invention. Relief spending undoubtedly helped, but I think this positive surprise should be mostly chalked up to Americans' inventiveness and can-do spirit.
'...But universities really are in troubleUnfortunately, not all of the doom takes were wrong. I repeatedly warned that the pandemic would crush many U.S. colleges and universities, by reducing demand and sending tuition cratering (after state funding was already heavily slashed after the Great Recession).
Unfortunately, there are a number of indicators that this particular doom prediction was pretty right. More than 1 out of 8 higher ed jobs were lost in 2020:
And relief doesn't look to be on the way. New data shows that undergraduate enrollment is down 5% in 2021 compared to 2020. That's going to hit a lot of colleges hard. Mills College and a number of others have already closed down.
Why did this pessimistic prediction come true when others didn't? The shakeout in the higher ed sector is probably due to trends peculiar to that sector, which were already in evidence before the pandemic struck. Federal bailouts, unless they turn into permanent federal funding, are unlikely to reverse those trends.
Why did we get it so wrong? And what have we learned?Overall, most of the grim forecasts of economic doom ended up not coming true '-- or at least, not so far. Why? Was everyone just being emotional and panicky in the early days of the plague? I don't think so. I think those who issued doom-and-gloom predictions got two things wrong.
First, they used the Great Recession as a model. Paul Krugman had this exactly right from day 1 '-- this recession was not an aggregate demand deficiency due to a financial crisis and debt overhang. It was something else entirely, and there was no real deep fundamental reason we couldn't bounce back a lot faster from this one. The Great Recession traumatized us and made us pessimistic; perhaps the swift bounceback from Covid will undo some of that trauma.
Second, forecasters couldn't have predicted the breathtaking size and boldness of the three U.S. relief bills, which together were far more generous even than what our rich-world peers offered:
That bold decisive action on the part of the U.S. government, which set aside our usual stinginess and skepticism of welfare spending, was instrumental in staving off economic devastation for millions of vulnerable people. American ingenuity and determination was very important, of course, but we couldn't have come through the pandemic nearly this strong without a helping hand from our government.
Israeli-Palestinian Vaccine Deal Collapses Amid Expiry Date Dispute - The New York Times
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 11:09
Middle East | Israeli-Palestinian Vaccine Deal Collapses Amid Expiry Date Dispute https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/18/world/middleeast/israel-palestine-vaccine-deal.htmlAfter months of resisting sending vaccine doses to the Palestinian Authority, Israel on Friday morning said it would deliver a million or more. Hours later, the authority rejected the first shipment.
A Palestinian receiving a vaccine shot this month in the village of Dura, near Hebron, in the West Bank. Credit... Hazem Bader/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images June 18, 2021
JERUSALEM '-- For months, rights campaigners have argued that Israel has a moral and legal duty to vaccinate millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. For months, Israel resisted that argument, vaccinating only about 130,000 Palestinians with permits to work in Israel.
On Friday morning, the new Israeli government went some way toward answering its critics, announcing a deal to supply from between one million and 1.4 million vaccine doses to the Palestinian Authority. In return, the authority was to give Israel the same number of doses once its own supply arrived in the fall from Pfizer-BioNTech.
But just hours later, the authority ripped up the agreement, sending back about 100,000 doses that Israel delivered earlier in the day, amid a public disagreement between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships about whether or not the vaccines were too close to their expiration date.
A spokesman for the authority, Ibrahim Melhem, said that the specifications of the doses did not conform to the agreement, and that they were too close to their expiry date to be administered in time.
The authority will instead wait for a direct delivery of four million new vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech later in the year, Mr. Melhem said.
An Israeli official, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said that the initial batch of doses would expire at the start of July and said that would give enough time for Palestinian health workers to administer them.
The official added that the authority had been aware of the vaccines' expiry date before agreeing to their delivery, and said the authority had scrapped the deal only because it had been criticized by Palestinians for agreeing to receive vaccines perceived to be of poor quality.
The official also said that none of the remaining doses would have been delivered less than two weeks before their expiry date.
Negotiations over the deal began in secret several months ago, before Naftali Bennett's new government succeeded that of Benjamin Netanyahu, who was replaced by a narrow vote in Parliament last Sunday.
The announcement follows months of debate about whether Israel, where a successful vaccine campaign has created a largely post-pandemic reality, has a responsibility to provide vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where infection rates are far higher.
In February and March, Israel gave vaccines to more than 100,000 Palestinians who work as day laborers in Israel, but resisted vaccinating millions of other Palestinians living under some form of Israeli control in the West Bank and Gaza.
Instead, the Palestinian Authority ordered several hundred thousand vaccine doses from the global sharing initiative, Covax, and several million from Pfizer-BioNTech. Separately, the United Arab Emirates donated tens of thousands of doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine to Palestinians in Gaza.
Israeli officials said that the Oslo Accords, the interim agreements between Israel and Palestinian leaders signed in the 1990s, give the Palestinian Authority responsibility for its own health care system.
But rights campaigners noted that other parts of the Oslo Accords require Israel to work with the Palestinian leadership during an epidemic, while the Fourth Geneva Convention obliges an occupying power to coordinate with the local authorities to maintain public health within an occupied territory, including during epidemics.
Israel controls all imports to the West Bank, most of which is under full Israeli control, and shares control of imports to Gaza with Egypt.
Those who accepted Israel's official position about the donations said the authority's refusal to accept the vaccines had dented claims that Israel was to blame for the slow vaccination rate among Palestinians. But those who believed the Palestinian position said Israel had acted in bad faith by making the authority an offer that it had no choice but to refuse.
Netherlands offers free herring as Covid jab incentive | Netherlands | The Guardian
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 13:35
After Russia offered cars, Washington state spliffs, Indonesia live chickens and Hong Kong the chance of a £1.2m apartment, the latest country to reward people who show up for their Covid shots is the Netherlands '' with soused herring.
Early batches of Hollandse nieuwe, or new-season Dutch herring, a traditional delicacy consumed to the tune of 75m a year, are being distributed to vaccination centres around the country as an encouragement for people to get their jabs.
The incentive is not, admittedly, quite as big as that in California, whose $116.5m (£83.5m) lottery draw offered 10 top prizes of $1.5m each to winning vaccinees, or New York's Vax n Scratch, which gave away free state scratchcards with a chance to win a $5m prize.
Also in the US, Ohio ran a draw offering five full scholarships to any of the state's universities or colleges, Maine gave away 10,000 fishing and hunting licenses and West Virginia tempted reticent recipients with hunting rifles and custom trucks.
In the race to reach herd immunity, some administrations are even more creative. Washington state's Joints for Jabs scheme, which runs until 12 July, allows licensed pharmacies to reward over-21s who get their a first or second dose with a pre-rolled spliff.
Moscow's mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, has promised that everyone who gets the first of their two doses of vaccine between 14 June and 11 July will be entered into a weekly prize draw with a chance to win one of five cars worth 1m roubles (£10,000) each.
In Hong Kong, where the pandemic has largely been kept under control but low vaccination rates could yet lead to a major outbreak, shopping vouchers, flights and a sumptuous HK$10.8m flat are among the prizes in various vaccination draws.
Elsewhere in Asia, the rural Mae Chaem district of northern Thailand credits its rather more modest cow lottery '' with 27 cows to be won '' with encouraging more than 50% of its mainly elderly residents to register for their shot.
In Indonesia's West Java province, a sceptical, elderly and predominantly Muslim population worried that Covid vaccines are not halal is being persuaded by the promise of a live chicken.
Hesitancy is low in the Netherlands '' polls show more than 80% of the population want to be vaccinated '' but authorities say all encouragement is welcome.
The first barrel of Hollandse nieuwe '' young herring caught from mid-May when their fat content is considered just right, then gutted, soused and consumed raw either whole or on bread with chopped onion '' is usually auctioned off for a good cause.
This year, with an auction impossible, due to Covid restrictions, it was presented ''on behalf of the Dutch people'' to the head of the municipal health services organising the country's vaccination campaign.
More barrels have been sent to vaccination centres nationwide, where the fish '' whose annual arrival on 15 June is celebrated with ceremonies and flag-waving '' is being offered to staff and to everyone who shows up for their shot.
Agnes Leewis, the director of the Dutch fish marketing board, said the decision was only logical. Thanks to the centres' staff, she said ''we can now hopefully trust that everyone in the Netherlands will feel like a 'new Dutch' in a very short time''.
As for recipients, she said: ''A herring for a jab. Who could possibly resist?''
Massachusetts health notifications app installed without users' knowledge | Hacker News
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 18:32
I was reading about this yesterday and confirmed that I did not havegov.ma.covid19.exposurenotifications.v3 nor gov.ma.covid19.exposurenotifications installed. I turned off auto-updates in the Play store (Settings -> Network preferences -> Auto update apps -> Don't auto update apps) and went to sleep. This morning I woke up with a cheerful notification that Google can help with COVID notifications and gov.ma.covid19.exposurenotifications.v3 installed -- the app was pushed overnight over explicit instructions NOT to update (sure, one can say auto-install != auto-update, but it is worrying that forced pushes can happen even with every single relevant UI switch turned off).
adb logcat seems to have the following relevant lines:
Springsteen's back on Broadway '' but no AstraZeneca vaccine recipients allowed | Bruce Springsteen | The Guardian
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 10:58
Bruce Springsteen is bringing glory days back to New York next week, when his show becomes the first to reopen on Broadway since the lights went out for the coronavirus pandemic. But fans without vaccinations approved by the US government will be left dancing in the dark.
The Boss has laid down strict rules for attendees of Springsteen on Broadway, which reopens on 26 June at the St James theatre. For admission, ticketholders must be able to prove they have received one of the three Covid-19 vaccinations with emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration: the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson.
This means those who have had doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford jab, which is not approved for use in the US but is popular in Canada, the UK and other countries, will not be allowed in for what the show's producers are billing ''an intimate night with Bruce, his guitar, a piano and his stories''.
Understandably, the news was not well received in Canada, where the Toronto Star published a report on the perceived snub with the headline Burn in the USA, a play on the title of one of the 71-year-old Springsteen's bestselling hits.
''The show must go on. But if you got the AstraZeneca vaccine, you're not invited,'' the newspaper wrote.
The theatre's owners, Jujamcyn, said it imposed the stipulation ''at the direction of New York state'', and that the only exception would be for children 16 or younger, who must still produce proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test and be accompanied by a fully-vaccinated adult.
Mask-wearing is not required, and producers point out that seating inside the 1,710-capacity theatre is not socially distant.
Springsteen on Broadway is being seen as a test for a wider Broadway reopening, with many other shows not planning their own curtains-up until September or later.
The singer expressed his frustration at not being able to perform because of the pandemic in an interview with the New York Times last year. ''My band is at its best, and we have so much accumulated knowledge and craft about what we do that this was a time in my life where I said, 'I want to use that as much as I can','' he said.
''I'm at a point in my playing life and artistic life where I've never felt as vital.''
AstraZeneca has had a bumpy ride attempting to get its vaccine approved in the US. The company claims the immunisation is 76% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19, 85% effective in those over 65, and 100% effective against severe disease and hospitalisation.
Despite the vaccine's approval in Canada, the UK and Europe, the FDA has demanded evidence from larger-scale trials, results of which the company announced in March.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the company was considering forgoing an application for emergency use authorisation in the US and skipping straight to seeking full approval
US to spend $3.2B on treatments for COVID-19, other viruses
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 14:55
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US Spending $1.2 Billion on Merck's COVID-19 Treatment Is a 'Waste of Taxpayers' Money': Doctor
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 17:05
A critical care doctor has said it's a waste of taxpayers' money for the U.S. government to purchase drug company Merck's anti-viral treatment for COVID-19, if it's approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Dr. Pierre Kory, president and chief medical officer of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), said there's no reason for the Biden administration to ''enrich Merck for a drug, which has already been the source of a whistleblower complaint, and which has already failed in hospitalized patients'' when ivermectin, a ''low cost, safe, widely available [drug that] has proven to work in many phases of the disease, not only as outpatients but inpatients'' is ready to be distributed to Americans.
''And yet we plan on giving money to a drug company for a drug that is in no way going to surpass what we already have available right now and can use. That money should instead be given to supply ivermectin to the country,'' Kory said in a video on June 14.
Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on June 9 that the Biden administration and Merck had entered into a $1.2 billion agreement for the pharmaceutical company to supply 1.7 million courses of molnupiravir, its COVID-19 anti-viral treatment, pending FDA approval or emergency use authorization (EUA).
Molnupiravir, also known as MK-4482, is an oral drug developed in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. It has the potential to inhibit ''the replication of multiple RNA viruses including SARS-CoV-2,'' and has ''shown to be active in several models of SARS-CoV-2, including for prophylaxis, treatment, and prevention of transmission,'' according to a statement by Merck.
SARS-CoV-2 is the scientific name for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that causes the disease COVID-19.
A health care worker audits different health units at a hospital in Toronto on Dec. 9, 2020. (The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette)The drug's potential to reduce the risk of death or hospitalization is being assessed in an ongoing phase three trial that plans to enroll 1,850 non-hospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. The final data is expected to be released as early as this fall.
However, a phase three trial to examine the drug in hospitalized patients was scrapped after findings from phase two showed molnupiravir was unlikely to demonstrate any clinical benefit.
A month prior to releasing its preliminary findings on molnupiravir, Merck released a statement in February 2021 against the use of ivermectin for COVID-19. The company had developed the drug in the 1980s and held a patent until 1996, and said the available data didn't support the efficacy and safety of ivermectin beyond what the FDA had approved it for.
Kory said Merck's statement on ivermectin is untrue and hurts patients.
''I need to call attention to how disturbed I am at Merck,'' Kory said, adding that the company ''issued a statement that there was no evidence to support the efficacy of ivermectin.''
''They even called into question the safety of one of the safest drugs known in history. That statement was a lie. That was a lie, and it's hurting patients and it's caused an incalculable loss of life.''
Merck and the HHS did not respond to requests for comment.
Ivermectin is an FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug initially introduced for animals in 1981 before its widespread use in humans in 1987 to treat river blindness, lymphatic filariasis (a disease that causes severe swelling in the limbs), scabies, and head lice. It earned the title of wonder drug for its safety, efficacy, versatility, and global impact, with it being placed on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines.
Evidence has found that ivermectin also stops the replication of the CCP virus and suppresses inflammation through its anti-viral and anti-inflammation mechanisms, with over 30 randomized controlled trials showing an overall 64 percent improvement in prophylaxis and in all stages of COVID-19.
A screenshot of a summary of studies on the use of ivermectin in COVID-19. (C19ivermectin.com/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)This prompted members of the FLCCC to incorporate ivermectin as a core medication in their ''protocols for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19'' in October 2020.
The FDA has not approved the use of ivermectin for COVID-19, saying that the drug ''is not an anti-viral (a drug for treating viruses).''
The federal regulator didn't reply to The Epoch Times' inquiry about whether the EUA for all the COVID-19 vaccines would be terminated if molnupiravir was approved or issued emergency authorization.
According to the FDA's guidance on EUAs, an unapproved medical product such as the vaccines may be granted authorization during a public health emergency only if ''there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.''
Kory stated that areas that have adopted ivermectin into their COVID-19 treatment guidelines have seen a decrease in their COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations.
Mexico City implemented a home-care program to give out ivermectin kits to anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 and wanted to take the medication on Dec. 28, 2020, as the city dealt with rising cases and hospitalizations.
Ivermectin kits were distributed to almost 80,000 of the more than 200,000 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 between the end of November 2020 to January 2021, according to Trial Site News.
''Results showed up to 76 [percent] reduction in hospitalization in the group that was taking ivermectin,'' according to the outlet.
Soon after Mexico City's results came out, Mexico began mass distribution of ivermectin in the country toward the end of January 2021, despite the World Health Organization's recommendation against the drug as a treatment for COVID-19.
If molnuvirapir gets approved by the FDA in the fall, the drug will be the second anti-viral treatment for COVID-19. Remdesivir was the first therapy approved in October 2020 for hospitalized patients.
More than 4,000 reports of serious adverse events and 1,390 cases of deaths from remdesivir have been made on the FDA's Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS) as of March 31, 2021.
A screenshot of remdesivir adverse reactions reported on the FDA Adverse Reaction System from 2020 to March 2021. (FAERS/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)For ivermectin, about 2,311 serious adverse reactions and 373 cases of deaths were submitted to FAERS between 1996 to March 2021.
A screenshot of the total ivermectin adverse reactions from 1996 to March 2021 reported on the FDA Adverse Reporting System. (FAERS/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)FAERS is a tool that allows users to search for ''data on adverse events reported to the FDA for many drug and biologic products.''
Reports submitted on FAERS do ''not mean that the drug or biologic caused the adverse event'' and ''are not an indicator of the safety profile of the drug or biologic,'' according to the FDA.
Freedom Passport
NYC Concert BOTG
Just got through security at a concert in new yorkistan. They claimed you had to have a clear test
on you within 48 hrs or and vaccine passport to enter. Said you needed to wear mask when walking
Concert was sold at 30% capacity. Not a soul has a mask on nor has one person asked for our
test/vaccine. I think this is all legal jargon to save their asses and none of these states can
actually enforce these rules.
One who identifies as being Covid vaccinated, whether or not they have actually been vaccinated.
Burn in the U.S.A.: Canadians who got the AstraZeneca vaccine can't see 'Springsteen on Broadway' | The Star
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 16:40
By May Warren Staff Reporter Wed., June 16, 2021 timer 4 min. read
update Article was updated 1 day ago
The show must go on. But if you got the AstraZeneca vaccine, you're not invited.
Canadians who got that shot will not, at least for now, be allowed in seats for ''Springsteen on Broadway,'' the first production since the famous theatres went dark at the start of the pandemic.
''It's just plain not fair,'' said University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman. While the Canada-U.S. border is closed to non-essential travel, it's expected to open soon, and though making it to a show is not a life-or-death situation, ''it's a huge problem.''
It could also be just the beginning of bureaucratic vaccine woes, as the world starts to reopen with a patchwork of different approved shots.
''From an ethical point of view it's very difficult, because what has happened is people have made their commitment to being vaccinated for their own health and the health of their communities and the world, and people are turning their nose up at it,'' Bowman said.
AstraZeneca was approved by Health Canada, but not by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. First doses have since been stopped in Ontario due to safety issues with blood clots, but many have opted to go ahead with second shots or mix with Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
According to a Q and A posted on the theatre's website, guests at ''Springsteen on Broadway,'' an intimate show featuring The Boss performing solo starting June 26, will need to be fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved jab. That means at least two weeks after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna. Or at least 14 days after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine.
Guests will have to provide proof of vaccination from their health-care provider on a smartphone, or with a physical copy.
Sadly for the many GenXers who got AstraZeneca firmly in Springsteen's demo, ''at the direction of New York state only FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) will be accepted.''
The only exception is for children under 16, who must be taken by a vaccinated adult and provide proof of a negative rapid COVID test taken within six hours of the performance, or a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken within 72 hours.
The theatre and the New York governor's office did not respond to requests for comments by deadline.
The no-AZ policy touches on a larger problem, said Bowman: the lack of international co-ordination on a registry of acceptable vaccines, that will become more of a problem as countries start to open up again.
''As we roll into 2022 there's going to be just this mosaic of different vaccine backgrounds that people have and there's got to be an A list,'' he said. ''We have got to figure this out.''
AstraZeneca has been used in a number of jurisdictions, including Britain, he notes.
China and Russia have their own vaccines, which are already being used beyond their borders. Brazil is buying the single-shot Chinese vaccine, and Algeria is administering Russia's Sputnik V, neither of which is approved by the FDA or Health Canada.
This means ''people coming back into Canada who have had vaccines not recognized in Canada will have the same problem'' as those barred from Broadway, said Kelley Lee, a professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Health Governance at Simon Fraser University.
''It's a real reflection of how chaotic it's been. Countries adopted their own travel measures when the pandemic occurred and now when they're trying to ease them, it's no surprise.''
The level of vaccination in different countries, as well as testing and quarantine protocols, also varies, said Lee, who noted the vaccine passport idea has been driven by industry groups ''keen to get business going,'' and not the World Health Organization. It will be really important to follow the ''real-world data on vaccine efficacy'' to know which ones work.
''We would ideally need a global system that would give everyone the same treatment in terms of their immunization status and it would be reliable and secure,'' she said. ''We don't have anything like that.''
With almost 60 per cent of adults fully vaccinated, New York City is roaring back to life, well beyond Broadway, and proof of vaccination is increasingly the golden ticket to join in the fun.
Several late-night shows have opened up tapings to live audiences again, but they, too, need to be fully vaccinated. According to NBC's website, AZ does not make the cut for ''Saturday Night Live,'' or ''The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.''
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New York state has also launched the Excelsior Pass, which lets you share you vaccine or negative test status on your phone with a QR code, and provides access to theatres, stadiums, and other events. For now it's only open to those who have been fully vaccinated in the state.
Things are starting to open up, but Lee added that it's important to recognize we're still in a transition phase, especially globally.
''I think we need to be patient, and I think Americans are getting a little more impatient,'' she said.
''I have had AstraZeneca so I guess I won't be able to go to Broadway.''
The facts about California's new digital vaccine verification - Los Angeles Times
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 11:07
California on Friday unveiled a way the public can access digital copies of their COVID-19 vaccination records.
Officials say it's actually a convenience, an easy way to display the same information listed on the physical cards handed out when someone is inoculated.
''You are not required to obtain a digital COVID-19 vaccine record. It is an optional means to obtain your COVID-19 vaccine information, and is the digital version of your paper vaccine card,'' officials wrote in explaining the new system. ''It is one of the options to show proof of vaccination. The state will not be implementing a mandatory passport system in California.''
The basicsThe system is accessible through myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov. Once there, residents will be prompted to provide their name, date of birth, and the email address or cellphone number they used when getting their vaccine. Residents will then create a four-digit personal identification number. If the submitted information matches an official record, the resident will get a text or email with a link to access a digital copy of their inoculation record, as well as a scannable QR code.State officials recommend taking a screenshot to store the vaccine record on a mobile device, or printing out a physical copy and storing it in a safe place. When it would be usedWhile the record may provide a measure of convenience for some, the state has emphasized it's not a compulsory tool.
Under California's reopening guidelines that went into effect this week, the only setting where the state might require someone to prove vaccine status as a condition of entry is an indoor event with more than 5,000 people '-- such as sporting events or a convention. However, in that case, attendees also can submit documentation of a negative coronavirus test to enter.
Proof of vaccination or a negative test is also recommended, though not required, for outdoor events with at least 10,000 attendees.
Some private companies and other institutions have said they will require vaccinations.
San Francisco said this week that workers in hospitals, nursing homes and jails will eventually be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with limited exceptions.
Though many companies have to this point generally avoided requiring workers to be vaccinated, the University of California and California State University systems have announced they will eventually require COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, faculty and staff on campus properties.
Dozens of colleges nationwide also have announced they will require vaccination for enrollment this fall, including Yale, Princeton, Columbia and, in Los Angeles County, Pomona and Claremont McKenna.
Your physical cardWhile everyone who's been inoculated for COVID-19 should have received a white paper card from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailing where and when they got their shots, state officials said an electronic option will give residents an alternative.
Though the California Department of Public Health ''recommends that vaccinated Californians keep their paper CDC card in a safe and secure place, we recognize that some people might prefer an electronic version,'' state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said in a statement. ''And if one of the state's nearly 20 million vaccinated Californians misplaces their paper card, the digital COVID-19 vaccine record provides a convenient backup.''
TroubleshootingResidents who run into issues accessing the portal should double-check that their information is correct and that they're using an email address or phone associated with their vaccine record. If problems persist, or if a record is incorrect or incomplete, residents can contact the COVID-19 hotline at (833) 422-4255 or request help online through the virtual assistant at cdph.ca.gov/covidvaccinerecord.
State officials also offered this tip: ''If you are a parent or guardian and have created multiple appointments with a single phone number or email, enter the requests one at a time to receive separate links for each vaccine record.''
PrivacyState officials pointed out that residents are required to create a PIN to access their vaccine records, and said only residents can decide how and whether to share that information.
Scanning the QR code also won't create a copy of the record or allow that information to be stored, officials said.
Massachusetts health notifications app installed without users' knowledge | Hacker News
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 18:32
I was reading about this yesterday and confirmed that I did not havegov.ma.covid19.exposurenotifications.v3 nor gov.ma.covid19.exposurenotifications installed. I turned off auto-updates in the Play store (Settings -> Network preferences -> Auto update apps -> Don't auto update apps) and went to sleep. This morning I woke up with a cheerful notification that Google can help with COVID notifications and gov.ma.covid19.exposurenotifications.v3 installed -- the app was pushed overnight over explicit instructions NOT to update (sure, one can say auto-install != auto-update, but it is worrying that forced pushes can happen even with every single relevant UI switch turned off).
adb logcat seems to have the following relevant lines:
Springsteen's back on Broadway '' but no AstraZeneca vaccine recipients allowed | Bruce Springsteen | The Guardian
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 10:58
Bruce Springsteen is bringing glory days back to New York next week, when his show becomes the first to reopen on Broadway since the lights went out for the coronavirus pandemic. But fans without vaccinations approved by the US government will be left dancing in the dark.
The Boss has laid down strict rules for attendees of Springsteen on Broadway, which reopens on 26 June at the St James theatre. For admission, ticketholders must be able to prove they have received one of the three Covid-19 vaccinations with emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration: the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson.
This means those who have had doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford jab, which is not approved for use in the US but is popular in Canada, the UK and other countries, will not be allowed in for what the show's producers are billing ''an intimate night with Bruce, his guitar, a piano and his stories''.
Understandably, the news was not well received in Canada, where the Toronto Star published a report on the perceived snub with the headline Burn in the USA, a play on the title of one of the 71-year-old Springsteen's bestselling hits.
''The show must go on. But if you got the AstraZeneca vaccine, you're not invited,'' the newspaper wrote.
The theatre's owners, Jujamcyn, said it imposed the stipulation ''at the direction of New York state'', and that the only exception would be for children 16 or younger, who must still produce proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test and be accompanied by a fully-vaccinated adult.
Mask-wearing is not required, and producers point out that seating inside the 1,710-capacity theatre is not socially distant.
Springsteen on Broadway is being seen as a test for a wider Broadway reopening, with many other shows not planning their own curtains-up until September or later.
The singer expressed his frustration at not being able to perform because of the pandemic in an interview with the New York Times last year. ''My band is at its best, and we have so much accumulated knowledge and craft about what we do that this was a time in my life where I said, 'I want to use that as much as I can','' he said.
''I'm at a point in my playing life and artistic life where I've never felt as vital.''
AstraZeneca has had a bumpy ride attempting to get its vaccine approved in the US. The company claims the immunisation is 76% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19, 85% effective in those over 65, and 100% effective against severe disease and hospitalisation.
Despite the vaccine's approval in Canada, the UK and Europe, the FDA has demanded evidence from larger-scale trials, results of which the company announced in March.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the company was considering forgoing an application for emergency use authorisation in the US and skipping straight to seeking full approval
Chinese Investment in U.S. Senior Housing Halts After Years of Activity - Senior Housing News
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 13:37
Chinese investment in U.S. senior housing did not just stall in 2018, it came to a dead stop. However, Chinese investors continue to hold onto their senior housing assets in this country for the time being.
There were no Chinese acquisitions of U.S. senior housing and care assets last year, according to real estate data and analytics firm Real Capital Analytics (RCA). That is a startling contrast to past years, when China accounted for over $1.4 billion in U.S. senior housing and care deal volume from 2015 to 2017.
Courtesy of Real Capital Analytics This graph shows investment in U.S. Senior Housing by China (in blue) and Hong Kong (in orange) from 2013 to 2018.That rush of activity was spurred by blockbuster deals such as Toledo, Ohio-based Welltower's (NYSE: WELL) sale of a 75% stake '-- valued at $930 million '-- in a portfolio of Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) and Genesis HealthCare (NYSE: GEN) buildings to Chinese companies Union Life Insurance and Cindat Capital Management.
The investment slowdown began after Q1 2017, when Chinese acquisitions accounted for nearly $625 million in deal volume, and coincided with reports of Chinese government pressure to stem the flow of outbound capital into U.S. commercial real estate.
The pressure from Beijing on Chinese sovereign wealth funds may be somewhat warranted. Two of the highest-profile buyers, Anbang Insurance and HNA Group, have become sellers in the past year, amid reports the companies are strapped for cash. Chinese dispositions of U.S. real estate outpaced acquisitions in Q2 2018, reversing a 10-year trend, and Chinese companies sold $1.05 billion in U.S. real estate the following quarter.
Holding and studying U.S. senior housing operationsUnlike their peers in other real estate asset classes, Chinese investors are holding on to their senior housing acquisitions in order to study design and operational best practices, Cambridge Realty Capital CEO and chairman Jeffrey Davis told SHN. Chicago-based Cambridge specializes in senior housing and health care financing.
Cambridge hosted a summit for Chinese investors five years ago where Davis learned their primary interest was studying U.S. senior housing for ways to house an elderly population expected to reach 300 million people over the next 15 years. An inadequate amount of supply and the effects of China's ''one-child'' policy on family planning, are also contributing factors in this interest in U.S. senior housing
''It makes sense because their population is so large,'' Davis said. ''They're looking at different ways to house a growing population.''
One of the lessons Chinese investors are bringing back to the mainland involves building dense, sprawling campuses with a range of care acuities.
Recommended SHN+ Exclusives
Taikang Community Yue Garden in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China '-- the 2018 Senior Housing News Architecture and Design Award winner for Best International Design '-- is an example of this. U.S.-based architecture and design firm Steinberg Hart has designed over 10.6 million square feet of Chinese senior housing since 2010.
Chinese firms are also learning from U.S. senior housing operators that are investing in China, including Tucson, Arizona-based Watermark Retirement Communities and Seattle-based Merrill Gardens.
And while Chinese investment has dried up, there is still plenty of equity targeting the U.S. senior housing space '-- including foreign capital. In recent months, Singapore-based conglomerate Keppel invested in Watermark, and Welltower secured a $300 million investment from an affiliate of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which also has an option to acquire an interest in a development pipeline of urban senior living communities.
Chuck SudoAlways inquisitive and often curmudgeonly, Chuck can often be found on a bike unlocking Chicago's secrets, telling stories, making cocktails, checking out live music, tearing through his podcast and Filmstruck queues and playing with his pitbull, Mira.
BREAKING: Chinese Defector's Identity Confirmed, Was Top Counterintelligence Official '' RedState
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 14:54
We now know the name of the Chinese defector who has been working with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) for a few months and what his position within the Chinese military and government was, among other details.
Matthew Brazil and Jeff Stein at Spy Talk reported on the ''rumor,'' and gave the name and background of the rumored defector:
Chinese-language anti-communist media and Twitter are abuzz this week with rumors that a vice minister of State Security, Dong Jingwei (董ç>>çº¬) defected in mid-February, flying from Hong Kong to the United States with his daughter, Dong Yang.
Dong is, or was, a longtime official in China's Ministry of State Security (MSS), also known as the Guoanbu. His publicly available background indicates that he was responsible for the Ministry's counterintelligence efforts in China, i.e., spy-catching, since being promoted to vice minister in April 2018. If the stories are true, Dong would be the highest-level defector in the history of the People's Republic of China.
RedState's sources confirmed that the defector is, in fact, Dong, that he was in charge of counterintelligence efforts in China, and that he flew to the United States in mid-February, allegedly to visit his daughter at a university in California. When Dong landed in California he contacted DIA officials and told them about his plans to defect and the information he'd brought with him. Dong then ''hid in plain sight'' for about two weeks before disappearing into DIA custody.
According to Spy Talk, Dong's name came up during the Sino-American Summit held in Alaska in March 2021:
In a tweet on Wednesday, Han [Dr. Han Lianchao, a Chinese defector], citing an unnamed source, alleged that China's foreign minister Wang Yi and Communist Party foreign affairs boss Yang Jiechi demanded that the Americans return Dong and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken refused.
RedState's sources say that Chinese officials did demand that the United States return Dong, but Blinken didn't exactly refuse; at that time Blinken wasn't aware that Dong was with the US government, the sources say, and told China that the US didn't have Dong.
It's only in the last three to four weeks that anyone outside DIA knew about the defector, according to RedState's sources. Prior to that time, DIA was vetting the information provided and confronting Langley officials with what they'd learned without divulging the source.
Experts quoted in the Spy Talk piece essentially say that the defection is just a rumor and that rumors happen all the time, but that if it's true it's a big deal but ''not game-changing.'' Based on conversations with sources familiar with the information Dong has already provided and its quantity and reliability, that's simply not the case. Not only does Dong have detailed information about China's special weapons systems, the Chinese military's operation of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origins of SARS-CoV-2, and the Chinese government's assets and sources within the United States; Dong has extremely embarrassing and damaging information about our intelligence community and government officials in the ''terabytes of data'' he's provided to the DIA.
Some of the information provided by Dong was reported on by the Washington Free Beacon earlier this week:
Hundreds of Chinese nationals are the subject of a federal probe after law enforcement officials flagged their travel at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chinese nationals returned to the United States earlier than expected in January 2020, often having modified their travel plans.
The episode is recounted in an internal report that circulated among various national security and law enforcement agencies on June 3. That report surmises that the Chinese students returned to the United States earlier than expected in order to avoid future travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
''The team examined 58,000 inbound Chinese F/J visa holders in the [Passenger Name Record] database and identified 396 individuals whose return travel was [scheduled] after January 2020 but had returned in January 2020,'' the report reads.
The Free Beacon reports that U.S. intelligence officials haven't come to a conclusion about whether or not the students being investigated were spies, but RedState is told that whether or not one wants to use the term ''spy,'' those students were sent back to the United States with specific information-gathering directives with the purpose of helping Beijing understand the US government's response to the pandemic at a much deeper level than they could through publicly-available documents. Those students (spies) were charged with reporting back on public policy changes, economic response and damage, impacts on the healthcare system (equipment/hospital bed shortages, etc), supply chain impacts (including how long it took things like semiconductors from China to reach the United States), civil unrest, and more.
In addition, Dong has provided DIA with the following information:
Early pathogenic studies of the virus we now know as SARS-CoV-2 Models of predicted COVID-19 spread and damage to the US and the world Financial records detailing which exact organizations and governments funded the research on SARS-CoV-2 and other biological warfare research Names of US citizens who provide intel to China Names of Chinese spies working in the US or attending US universities Financial records showing US businessmen and public officials who've received money from the Chinese government Details of meetings US government officials had (perhaps unwittingly) with Chinese spies and members of Russia's SVR How the Chinese government gained access to a CIA communications system, leading to the death of dozens of Chinese people who were working with the CIA Dong also has provided DIA with copies of the contents of the hard drive on Hunter Biden's laptop, showing the information the Chinese government has about Hunter's pornography problem and about his (and Joe's) business dealings with Chinese entities. Some of the files on Dong has provided shine a light on just how it was that the sale of Henniges Automotive (and their stealth technology) to Chinese military manufacturer AVIC Auto was approved.
Again, according to sources, Dong told DIA debriefers that at least a third of Chinese students attending US universities are PLA assets or part of the Thousand Talents Plan and that many of the students are here under pseudonyms. One reason for using pseudonyms is that many of these students are the children of high-ranking military and party leaders.
As we initially reported, DIA has high confidence in the veracity of Dong's claims. The fact that since our original report, which was pooh-poohed by Langley apologists, the New York Times published a rare interview with Dr. Shi Zhengli (the WIV ''Bat Woman''), ABC News has started an ''investigation'' into COVID-19 origins, and now the actual name of the defector has been published in an anti-Trump, CIA-friendly blog, demonstrates what sources told RedState today: ''This defector has the rest of the intelligence community and the LEO community scared sh**less.''
The COVID-19 Lab Leak Theory Is Short on Evidence and Long on Guesswork
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 17:01
Behind every pandemic is a tale of its murky origin.
When HIV/AIDS emerged in the 1980s, it was alleged, with a little Soviet help, that the virus had been developed in an American lab. Between Washington's inaction on the epidemic and its sordid past of shady experiments, proponents said the theory couldn't be dismissed out of hand.
After many early cases of tick-borne Lyme disease were first identified around Long Island Sound, it was deemed too much of a coincidence that the U.S. military's Plum Island animal research lab sat on an island in the sound itself.
When SARS emerged in 2003, so did fears of the severe acute respiratory syndrome's unnatural origin. ''It's a very unusual outbreak,'' bioweapons expert Ken Alibek told the New York Times at the time. ''It's hard to say whether it's deliberate or natural.'' One Russian scientist posited that ''the propagation of the atypical pneumonia may well be caused by a leak of a combat virus grown in Asian bacteriological weapons labs.''
And in recent years, efforts to eradicate Ebola have been hobbled by attacks on health care workers motivated, at least in part, by a belief that the virus is man-made.
Blaming humans for disease is as old as time itself. It's inherently hard to trace outbreaks that take tangled paths from their origin point to where they're first detected. Without firm answers, humankind loves to invent stories, from the Black Death of the 14th century to the 2009 H1N1 outbreak. In the absence of certainty, both sets of theories'--natural or man-made'--seem plausible: like Schr¶dinger's cat, for virology.
When infectious diseases can be explained, however, nature is almost always the culprit. After SARS emerged, scientists suspected that the coronavirus had jumped from a bat to another mammal'--probably the masked palm civet'--but couldn't explain how it had appeared on a farm in Foshan, in China's Guangdong province.
More than a decade after the outbreak, researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology discovered something interesting: Villagers who lived near bat-ridden caves in Yunnan province, around 900 miles from where the first outbreaks were recorded, had high levels of SARS antibodies, despite having never been infected. While it is next to impossible to figure out exactly how SARS traveled that distance, scientists are now fairly sure the journey began in that cave before passing to a mammal that ultimately infected a person.
Bats likely played a crucial role in incubating Ebola as well. A very similar strain of HIV to the ones seen in humans was discovered in chimpanzees in 1999, although it's still unclear when exactly it jumped to humans. It's still uncertain where Ebola or Lyme disease truly came from'--and we may never know. But what we do know is that they almost certainly did not come from a U.S. government lab.
But, of course, sometimes governments do experiment on unwitting civilians. Sometimes viruses do escape from labs.
Yet although lab spillovers do happen, the vast majority are rapidly contained. Instances of serious outbreaks caused by malice or incompetence are vanishingly rare. One of the only known examples dates back to 1977, when a previously eliminated strain of H1N1 reemerged, likely as the result of a Soviet live vaccine program gone awry.
Given that history, it was no surprise that theories around COVID-19's supposed lab origins emerged. But this time around, it's not just idle speculation. It's being taken as a serious possibility by some of the highest levels of the U.S. government'--and by media keen for a new narrative.
Security personnel stand guard outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, during a visit by members of the World Health Organization team investigating the origins of COVID-19 on Feb. 3. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images
When COVID-19 was first detected in December 2019, the Chinese government responded in its usual fashion: with repression and secrecy. Weeks of cover-up suddenly switched to countrywide containment. The ham-fisted attempt at secrecy raised the question: What else were they hiding?
It didn't take long for online sleuths to hold up a compelling piece of evidence: The Wuhan Institute of Virology, the same one that had helped identify the likely origin of SARS, was just about 9 miles from the first reported outbreak.
In January 2020, the theory began on the fringes, with allegations of a secretive bioweapons program. Within weeks, the theory had broken loose on a network of shady and disreputable websites armed with little more than questions and supposition. The mainstream media's silence, they said, was evidence of their complicity. They latched on to crumbs of evidence emerging in the early bedlam of the global pandemic, like a paper, later withdrawn, suggesting HIV genes had been inserted in the virus.
Then, the theory found a powerful constituent. Fox News reported in April 2020 of ''increasing confidence'' in the U.S. intelligence community around the idea that the virus came from the Wuhan lab'--maybe not as a biological weapon, but as the result of an accidental leak. Then-President Donald Trump, in response to the news network, coyly endorsed the theory.
By that May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was promising ''conclusive'' evidence to back up the hypothesis.
That conclusive evidence didn't materialize: Instead, there were dodgy dossiers and yet more sources talking up an ''agreement'' among ''most of'' America's 17 intelligence agencies around the lab leak theory. (The Times would later report that then-Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger had endorsed the lab leak theory early on and had been pressing intelligence agencies to back him up.)
But while the theory was reported, many media outlets also dismissed it as conspiracy mongering. The possibility of a routine lab accident became caught up in the theories about bioweapons and germ warfare. Scientists were keen to focus debate on how to deal with the pandemic, not a geopolitical fracas.
Some circumstantial evidence emerged to support the theory, such as State Department cables reporting security issues at the Wuhan lab from 2018'--although the full cable was less dramatic than the headlines about it. Big claims by the proponents didn't pan out, however. Not one other country from the Five Eyes intelligence community backed up the claim that certainty was mounting'--Australia even contradicted it outright, as did other parts of the U.S. intelligence community.
But as the Trump administration was collapsing, its former members saw pushing the theory as a path to future credibility.
In late December 2020, Pottinger popped up again in the British press, after telling Conservative members of Parliament that ''there is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus.'' One Tory MP reported Pottinger had said a Chinese whistleblower was providing the U.S. government with evidence for the theory.
Matthew Pottinger, then-special assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump and National Security Council senior director for East Asia, arrives at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum at the China National Convention Center in Beijing on May 14, 2017. Mark Schiefelbein/Getty Images
A ''fact sheet'' from Pompeo's State Department from around that time was simultaneously more ambiguous than Pompeo had been, acknowledging that it was indeterminate whether the virus's origins were natural or accidental, and more conclusive, reporting that ''several researchers inside the [Wuhan Institute of Virology] became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.''
Then came the speculation.
This January, the novelist Nicholson Baker took to New York magazine to proffer his conclusion: ''SARS-2 was not designed as a biological weapon. But it was, I think, designed.''
Baker offered an incredibly detailed, but speculative, theory. It goes like this: In 2012, workers in a copper mine in Mojiang, in Yunnan province, contracted a then-unknown illness from bat droppings. Samples of the virus'--particularly one novel virus they named RaTG13'--were transported back to Wuhan, where it was experimented on, including alterations to its spike proteins. And then, Baker wrote, the virus may have just ''got out.''
In May, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists joined the fray, with a piece from Nicholas Wade, a former New York Times correspondent with a dubious line in racial theories, running with Baker's hypothesis.
He noted, correctly, that many of the coronaviruses'--like those that cause COVID-19 and SARS'--originate in the caves of Yunnan province. If it were natural, he contended, why would the outbreak occur nearly 1,000 miles away? ''The bats' range is 50 kilometers, so it's unlikely that any made it to Wuhan,'' he wrote.
On the biology of the virus itself, he wrote that the furin cleavage site'--a tiny set of amino acids on the virus that latches on to the furin enzyme in humans, making it ruthlessly effective at infecting us'--is a clue as to the virus's lab origins. Baker noted that there are two ways in which this cleavage site could be attached to the virus naturally: by mutation of the virus itself or by fusing with another coronavirus through a process called recombination.
Wade, even after quoting a virologist who insisted that ''recombination is naturally very, very frequent in these viruses,'' concluded that both explanations are unlikely. Instead, Wade wrote: ''That leaves a gain-of-function experiment.''
''Gain-of-function'' is a phrase that has gotten plenty of airtime in recent weeks. The process, generally speaking, involves forcing a virus to evolve and mutate in a lab, mimicking but intensifying the conditions it may face in the real world, largely in order to understand how such mutation takes place in the wild. The practice is risky, but not forbidden: The United States also conducts these sorts of experiments.
The theories put forward by Baker, Wade, and others are enormously complicated, and they do latch on to elements of truth: Chinese infectious disease research is secretive and riskier than it ought to be. The Wuhan lab did find a coronavirus it called RaTG13. Workers in Mojiang did fall ill in 2012 with a mysterious pneumonia, prompting researchers at the Wuhan lab to more intensely study the viruses hidden in those caves, as they told foreign reporters.
Beyond those crumbs of truth, however, everything is just speculation.
The floodgates opened on the theory. The Wall Street Journal recycled the report about the ill Wuhan lab workers. New York magazine condemned the dismissal and smears from the ''liberal media'' of the theory's boosters. Sen. Tom Cotton, an early supporter of the theory that the virus came from a lab and may have military origins, has taken a victory lap over his apparent vindication. Sen. Rand Paul dragged the gain-of-function theory into hearings on COVID-19, alleging that the United States helped fund those experiments. The skepticism and debunking, pundit Matthew Yglesias wrote, has amounted to the ''media's lab leak fiasco.''
On May 26, President Joe Biden ordered his advisors to ''redouble'' their efforts to find information about the origin of the virus. At the G-7 summit, a joint statement called for further investigation, while Biden said the virus could have been ''an experiment gone awry.''
An aerial view of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, on May 27, 2020. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images
From the outside looking in, it seems the balance of probabilities has shifted. Where once, in early 2020, the overwhelming preponderance of evidence pointed toward COVID-19 being of natural origin, now the lab leak theory is gaining steam.
But it's a mirage. Despite proclamations to the contrary, there has been scant new, hard evidence pointing to the lab leak theory. What we have are the same conclusions drawn from China's malign incompetence, the same pieces of circumstantial evidence, and a speculative theory.
None of this means a lab leak is impossible. But the ''growing evidence'' simply isn't there.
''I don't think that we've learned anything new in the last few months,'' said Stephen Goldstein, who studies evolutionary virology at the University of Utah.
''We're completely in want of evidence.''
To date, there are few'--perhaps just a couple'--peer-reviewed papers seriously entertaining the lab leak idea. Meanwhile, there have been numerous credible studies pointing to COVID-19's natural origins. An exhaustive study published in Nature Medicine in March 2020 found ''SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.'' One of the paper's authors, Kristian G. Andersen, said in a statement that the conclusions in the paper ''have only since been further strengthened by additional evidence, of which there is a great deal.''
One of the most effective parts of the lab leak theory is not the quality of evidence but the quantity. Bits and pieces are fired out at a rapid pace, some of them even contradicting each other, before they can be adequately discussed or broken down.
Take the report of the sick lab workers: ''What does it mean that three people, out of a large research staff, were sick with flu-like symptoms in flu season?'' Goldstein said. Snappy headlines highlighting that the workers ''sought hospital care'' fall apart when the context is considered; in China, primary care is largely delivered through hospitals, and sick notes are compulsory for time off. Visiting a hospital in Wuhan was the equivalent of a trip to the doctor's office in the United States.
Cheryl Rofer spent 35 years as a chemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and specializes in arms control. She spent years handling plutonium in tightly controlled and highly secretive lab environments. ''If these people became ill while working on a weapons program, or gain-of-function research, or anything like that'--they would not go to a hospital,'' she said.
Even the damning coincidence of the lab's proximity to the outbreak is weak. It's not certain that Wuhan was the origin of the virus, rather than simply where it happened to first be detected. As with SARS, the virus may have originated hundreds of miles away and gone unnoticed amid China's underdeveloped rural medical system even when it jumped to humans. How SARS spread in 2003 makes a mockery of Wade's claim that the distance involved is implausible.
Recently, the Daily Mail and New York Post trumpeted an ''explosive'' new study that supposedly offered firm proof that the COVID-19 virus was man-made. One of the paper's authors told the Mail that four positively charged amino acids in the virus's genetic makeup were the key evidence: ''The laws of physics mean that you cannot have four positively charged amino acids in a row. The only way you can get this is if you artificially manufacture it,'' the author told the British paper.
Scientists wasted no time shredding the idea. One, calling it ''unbelievable bullshit,'' pointed out that a third of the proteins in the human body carry that characteristic. As another noted, ''even man-made things must obey the laws of physics.''
''It has gotten utterly crazy,'' Rofer said. ''Even intelligent people are just losing it.''
Claims about the intelligence community's conclusions must be viewed with a careful and cynical eye as well. U.S. intelligence contains a huge range of agencies'--some with much better hit rates than others, and none of them geared toward answering complicated scientific questions. An exhaustive Vanity Fair feature, digging into the intelligence community's inquiries'--or lack thereof'--provides much fanfare to the same meager pieces of evidence offered by Baker and Wade. The story provides the backstory to Pompeo's brash claims of ''enormous'' evidence for the lab leak. The story reveals that a team inside the State Department's Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance had doggedly pursued the theory as recently as this January. The feature alleges that Christopher Ford, then the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, was ''so hostile to their probe that they viewed him as a blinkered functionary bent on whitewashing China's malfeasance.''
In a lengthy rebuttal, Ford notes that he actually supported the lab leak theory'--his main crime, it seems, was insisting that the conclusion that COVID-19 was a lab leak be put to independent experts. When those independent experts got a look at the State Department's analysis, he wrote in an email at the time, they found it rested on a single statistical analysis prepared by one scientist ''a pathologist, rather than a virologist, epidemiologist, or infectious disease modeler'' without expertise in that type of modeling. The ''statistical case seems notably weak,'' Ford wrote.
CNN reported similar problems: ''The way they did their work was suspicious as hell,'' one source told the network, adding that ''it smelled like they were just fishing to justify predetermined conclusions and cut out experts who could critique their 'science.'''
Shepherds look over the carcasses of sheep whose deaths were caused by a secretive U.S. military chemical weapons test in western Utah on March 25, 1968. Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images Medical personnel attend to a 44-year-old man'--who is believed to have caught the SARS virus because he failed to follow correct procedures in a laboratory'--at the Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital in Taiwan on Dec. 17, 2003. STR/AFP via Getty Images
Rofer knows all too well that bad lab security can lead to accidents. She tells the story of 6,000 sheep who died as a result of a secretive U.S. military chemical weapons test in Utah in 1968. Even ''Los Alamos has had a couple of plutonium incidents,'' Rofer said. And, of course, the world has seen cases of anthrax and SARS due to lab leaks.
The difference is that these are all already-known viruses and compounds. The H1N1 outbreak in 1977 appears to have come as a result of a live vaccine trial'--in an attempt to inoculate soldiers, the Soviets appear to have accidentally infected them.
At its most benign, the lab leak theory holds that China discovered a completely new and dangerous coronavirus, didn't tell anybody, and didn't sequence it or develop a vaccine, then let it get out without noticing or while failing to contain it.
Keeping this work secret is easier said than done. Researchers at the Wuhan lab frequently cooperated with American and Canadian counterparts on coronavirus research'--we know about the security flaws specifically because American officials toured the facilities. The Wuhan Institute of Virology publishes findings from its coronavirus research frequently, as part of China's goal to become a scientific superpower. We know as much as we do about coronaviruses because of the Wuhan lab's research into the caves in Yunnan.
The real clues about COVID-19's origin aren't geopolitical but scientific.
The lab leak theory says the furin cleavage site, a tiny string of amino acids on the virus, is key to understanding the novel coronavirus's origin.
Goldstein agrees. But, he said, that cleavage site actually points toward the virus's natural origin.
''You cannot, in a normal cell culture, maintain the furin cleavage site,'' he told me. When the COVID-19 virus is replicated in a cell culture in a lab, he said, the furin cleavage tends to delete itself. A peer-reviewed paper, published in late April in Nature, noted that habit and identified seven other papers that found a similar deletion.
So if researchers were using traditional methods and their preferred cell lines to try to force the virus to replicate, mutate, and change, the furin cleavage site would likely disappear.
The gain-of-function proponents say this furin site is too well adapted for humans to be an accident. But Goldstein said the opposite is true. The cleavage site is imperfect, so odd, that it could have only been a freak of nature. ''No virologist would use that cleavage site,'' he said.
It is possible to replicate the virus in a lab while preserving the cleavage site, Goldstein added, but it would ''require doing things differently than everyone does them.'' And, crucially, it would require them choosing cell cultures that replicate the virus more slowly.
So the researchers would have had to make a series of inefficient and strange decisions to preserve a tiny, novel, odd enzyme. Indeed, the researchers at Imperial College London behind the April Nature article found that the addition of four amino acids in the virus's spike protein ''occurred during its emergence from an animal reservoir and created a suboptimal furin [cleavage site].'' Another study published in January in Stem Cell Research demonstrated how these furin sites naturally evolve in many coronaviruses.
A worker is seen inside a laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 23, 2017. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images
And what about RaTG13, the virus that Wade and Baker argue is so similar to COVID-19 that it would only need some tuneups? In a statement from April 2020, Edward Holmes'--an evolutionary biologist and virologist at the University of Sydney'--noted that ''the level of genome sequence divergence between SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13 is equivalent to an average of 50 years (and at least 20 years) of evolutionary change.''
''Hence, SARS-CoV-2 was not derived from RaTG13,'' Holmes said. Backing up what numerous other researchers have found, Holmes added that ''the abundance, diversity and evolution of coronaviruses in wildlife strongly suggests that this virus is of natural origin.''
''Cramming 50 years of evolution into eight is impossible,'' Goldstein said. ''Forcing 1,000 nucleotide changes'--just, no.''
But maybe this gain-of-function research did not try to replicate the virus in a petri dish but, instead, used live animals to multiply and mutate the virus'--using one sick animal to infect the next, and the next, and the next, until an evolved and efficient virus came out the other end.
Following the theory down this path gets increasingly fantastical. ''How complicated can this get?'' Goldstein said. It would be significantly more expensive, labor-intensive, and difficult to hide. The lab would need to run a veritable petting zoo of different animals to perfect this kind of zoonotic transmission. And it still doesn't account for the decades of necessary evolution.
Prior to the outbreak in December 2019, nothing closely resembling the COVID-19 virus was reported in any lab. Since it has emerged, it has taken hundreds of millions of infections to net just a handful of serious mutations and variants.
''We're not good enough, in virology, to make the perfect virus,'' Goldstein said.
Nature, however, is.
A team of researchers working to understand the origins of COVID-19 collect data from a wrinkle-lipped free-tailed bat at an on-site lab near the Khao Chong Pran Cave in Ratchaburi, Thailand, on Sept. 12, 2020. Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images A pangolin emerges from an underground tunnel at Cuc Phuong National Park in the northern province of Ninh Binh, Vietnam, on Sept. 14, 2020. MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images
Our best available theory is that COVID-19 likely originated in bats, quite likely from the same caves that begot SARS, and jumped through two other animals before reaching humans. Those three hosts led to a ''complex pattern of evolutionary recombination.'' Researchers have found close relatives to COVID-19 in pangolins and raccoon dogs, making them prime suspects in the so-called spillover event. While the Wuhan seafood market's role in the pandemic is still unclear'--whether it was truly the origin or just the first major outbreak'--new research suggests it may be key to proving the natural origin theory. Despite insistence from Beijing that no live animals were kept at the market, a new paper in Scientific Reports reveals photographic evidence that raccoon dogs were kept at the wet market. ''Almost all animals were sold alive, caged, stacked and in poor condition,'' the researchers found.
This theory would mean COVID-19 jumped between three different animals and traveled about 1,000 miles.
Compare that with SARS: The virus went through two animals and traveled about 900 miles before leading to outbreaks in humans.
For the lab leak theory to work, the Wuhan lab would need to have either found a completely novel and hyperinfectious virus in the wild and kept it in a lab without telling anyone, or engineered that virus in a way that would stun scientists at more advanced American labs by truncating decades of evolution into just a few years.
Then, there would need to have been a catastrophic breach of safety protocol that infected one or more staffers from the lab'--but also, the accident would need to have gone unnoticed, so that they simply walked out of the building when their shift was done.
''It sounds simpler than the alternative, but when you get into it, it's much more complicated,'' Goldstein said.
Peter Ben Embarek (right) leaves a press conference after wrapping up a visit by the international team of experts from the World Health Organization in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 9. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images
Peter Ben Embarek is a World Health Organization food security expert, tapped by the internationalist organization to fly to Wuhan and investigate the origins of the virus.
''The idea is to get the studies that are needed to get a better idea of the origin of the virus,'' Ben Embarek told me in January. He and his team were headed to China agnostic about what, exactly, had caused the pandemic. ''The approach is precisely not to follow all kinds of hypotheses,'' he said. The science confirms the COVID-19 virus is a ''natural virus,'' not a bioweapon. But he acknowledged that ''accidents happen'' and they could not, then, discount the idea it had escaped from a lab.
I asked him about the lab leak theory. ''This 'growing body of evidence''--we haven't seen it,'' Ben Embarek said.
In a Feb. 9 press conference, after several weeks on the ground, Ben Embarek and his colleagues announced that they had seen enough to conclude that the lab leak theory was ''extremely unlikely.''
''There had been no publication, no reports of this virus, of another virus extremely linked or closely linked to this, being worked with in any other laboratory in the world,'' Ben Embarek noted then.
Ben Embarek shares possible ''pathways of emergence'' at a press conference in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 9. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images
The scientific conclusions of the WHO study seem compelling. But of course the organization's conclusion only served as proof, for many, that the opposite is true, given the organization's considerable support from Beijing. WHO staff themselves have said the Chinese government stymied the investigation. Beijing tried to manage what researchers and journalists did, and didn't, see. It punished Australia after Canberra called for an independent investigation into the coronavirus's origins.
But China's secrecy and tendency toward cover-up aren't proof of any particular conspiracy. That paranoia is Beijing's default.
Chinese officials always scramble to avoid blame after disasters, natural or otherwise. After the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, for instance, protesting parents whose children died in the quake were arrested, and reporters who attempted to look into construction scandals were detained and censored. It happened, as well, around the Tianjin explosion of 2015 and the Wenzhou train crash of 2011. And it happens around smaller, unnoticed tragedies on a daily basis. Individual officials are eager to avoid being scapegoated'--and the central government seeks to present a simple, propagandized image of competence and compassion.
China tried to cover up SARS, downplaying case counts and even forbidding WHO researchers from visiting the site of the initial outbreak. As one Chinese politics expert told the Times in 2003, SARS ''became a serious political problem for the government as well as a medical one.''
History repeated itself in 2020 as authorities suppressed those trying to raise the alarm about a possible ''second SARS'' outbreak, such as late doctor Li Wenliang.
When it comes to the Chinese Communist Party, cover-up is business as usual.
Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli works at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 23, 2017. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images
Over the past year, I've spoken with a slew of researchers, scientists, and public health experts: Their takes on the origins of COVID-19 generally fall into two camps. Most say that the virus is very likely natural and that theories around the Wuhan Institute of Virology are a possible explanation, but they're unlikely. The other group, a minority, says both theories are more or less equally valid and that the lab leak theory is in desperate need of more study.
It's hard to fault either camp.
But not all research is created equal.
Both Baker and Wade, for example, cite the husband-and-wife duo behind the Bioscience Resource Project, which published a paper last summer promoting the Mojiang miner theory. The project, however, largely focuses on crop science and has pushed junk science and misinformation about genetically modified organisms. Since the start of the pandemic, the group has pivoted toward taking on what they call ''the pandemic virus industrial complex.''
One oft-cited editorial was written by a number of researchers who do not specialize in virology. The team of experts cited in the Vanity Fair article are mostly anonymous. Another prominent webpage compiling evidence for this argument, which Baker and Wade relied on heavily, is entirely anonymously produced.
And, of course, it's hard to divorce many Republicans' clear preference for the lab leak theory from their default position that China is a threat to global security.
Were some people, myself included, too glibly dismissive of the lab leak theory early on? Can a theory be right even when it's pushed by bad actors for political ends and crank theorists? Sure. But that doesn't mean the possibility wasn't being actively explored. It was. There was not a conspiracy to silence research or speculation about the Wuhan lab.
Yet even after more than a year of study, the odds that the lab leak theory is correct remain roughly the same as when it was reported on a year ago'--it's theoretically possible but far less likely than zoonotic origin.
The origin of this virus matters. Yes, if Beijing is culpable for the origin of the novel coronavirus it merits repercussions'--and even if it is not, China still needs to be held accountable for its obfuscation.
If the caves of Yunnan and the surrounding ecosystem gave us two highly infectious coronaviruses in two decades, there is no telling when the next such coronavirus could emerge'--or from where.
If the COVID-19 virus, as previous viruses have done, hopped between various animals, perfecting its ability to infect humans along the way, it's another indicator of how humanity's intrusions into wilderness are unearthing new pathogens at a worryingly fast rate. That requires a substantial rethink of how we settle the Earth and how we manage wild nature.
That, of course, is a more unsettling prospect than simply blaming Beijing.
Discovering, with absolute certainty, the exact origin of COVID-19 may be impossible. But it is crucial that we let science, not hype or anxiety, determine the possible scenarios.
As Rofer told me: ''We all feel a loss of control. And a way to understand this is to understand the origin.''
Correction, June 16, 2021: The March 2020 article cited was published in the journal Nature Medicine. A previous version of this article misstated the name of the journal. This article was also updated to clarify that Kristian G. Andersen was a co-author, not the sole author, of the study cited.
Update, June 18, 2021: This piece has been updated to more precisely describe the furin cleavage site.
Violent Summer
Austin mass shooting teenage dispute 15 and 17 year old
Cashier shot dead and off-duty deputy injured after customer got into an argument over mask policy
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 23:42
A cashier was shot dead after an argument with a customer in GeorgiaVictor Lee Tucker Jr., 30, of Palmetto, allegedly entered the store and argued with staff about wearing a maskTucker allegedly left the store before returning and shooting the cashier dead An off-duty deputy who was working as security guard fired at the suspectThe police officer was also hit twice during the firefight Both the suspect and the officer were taken to hospital Victor Lee Tucker Jr., of Palmetto, Georgia, had got into an argument with staff at the Big Bear grocery store in DeKalb County, on Monday over their store's mask policyA cashier was shot dead and an off-duty deputy was wounded after a male customer pulled out a gun and opened fire when told he had to pull up his face mask in a Georgia grocery store on Monday.
Victor Lee Tucker Jr., of Palmetto, Georgia, had got into an argument with staff at the Big Bear grocery store in DeKalb County, on Monday over their store's mask policy.
The 30-year-old appeared to leave after the argument, but returned moments later, holding a handgun, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Tucker hit the casher, killing her, before he was shot and injured by an off-duty officer, a 30-year veteran of the DeKalb County Police Department, who was working as a security guard.
DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said Tucker managed to fire back twice, hitting the off-duty cop both times.
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The deputy was working part-time in a security job at the store according to 11Alive.
A witness, identified as Alan Williams, said Tucker walked into the store, struck the cashier with a gun, then shot her which is when the deputy and the suspect exchanged gunfire.
The shooter and the officer were both taken to Grady Memorial hospital for treatment.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation which is now assisting with the incident, Tucker was found crawling out the front door of the supermarket.
The off-duty officer was listed in stable condition, but the condition of Tucker is not known.
The cashier was officially pronounced dead at Grady hospital.
A cashier was shot dead after an argument with a customer in Georgia. Victor Lee Tucker Jr., 30, of Palmetto, allegedly entered the store and argued with staff about wearing a mask DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said the suspect, Victor Lee Tucker Jr. managed to fire back twice, hitting the off-duty cop both times The deputy was working part-time in a security job at the Big Bear store
Four shot, one dead, in Oakland, California, police say
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 11:02
U.S. news A Juneteenth celebration was scheduled nearby on the shore of Lake Merritt.
June 20, 2021, 12:45 AM EDT
By Dennis Romero
Four people were shot, one fatally, in the vicinity of Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, where a Juneteenth celebration was scheduled Saturday, police said.
"One of the victims was pronounced deceased at the hospital," the Oakland Police Department tweeted.
Emergency operators fielded calls about shots fired along the northeast shore of Lake Merritt about 6:22 p.m., according to NBC Bay Area.
A Juneteenth celebration was scheduled nearby at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater, featuring DJ D Sharp of the Golden State Warriors. Police made no connection between the events.
RecommendedAuthorities estimated about 1,000 people were in the area at the time, according to NBC Bay Area.
Police did not say if any suspects were in custody.
"This investigation is still active," the police department tweeted.
Dennis Romero Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.
Austin Mullen contributed.
Police: Fatal Austin mass shooting arose from a teenage feud
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 11:33
This photo provided by the Austin (Texas) Police Department shows Jeremiah Tabb. A deadly weekend mass shooting in Austin's famed entertainment district arose from a feud between two groups of Central Texas teenagers, according to a police affidavit filed Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Harker Heights High School student Jeremiah Tabb, 17, was arrested at school Monday and remained in Travis County Jail on Wednesday. He is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison. (Austin Police Department via AP) (All contents (C) copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved)A deadly weekend mass shooting in Austin's famed entertainment district arose from a feud between two groups of Central Texas teenagers, according to a police affidavit filed Wednesday.
Harker Heights High School student Jeremiah Tabb, 17, was arrested at school Monday and remained in Travis County Jail on Wednesday. He is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison.
Bond is set at $500,000, but a police spokesman said it was unclear if he had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
In the arrest affidavit filed by Austin police filed in a Travis County district court Wednesday, a wounded male juvenile is quoted as telling detectives at an Austin hospital that he was with friends on East Sixth Street, a famous entertainment strip, when they began exchanging stares with a youth he identified as JT and JT's friends.
The male juvenile, who was not identified by name, said he had attended the same Killeen middle school as JT, who said to the juvenile's group, ''What y'all wanna do? Y'all wanna fight?'' The juvenile said he answered, ''It's whatever," at which point JT pulled a handgun from his waistband and opened fire. A companion of the juvenile, also a juvenile, drew his own gun and returned fire. One person was killed and more than a dozen others were wounded.
Police showed a yearbook photo of Tabb to the hospitalized juvenile, who identified him as the one who shot him. He told police that Tabb had already shot him in the leg in Killeen a few days earlier. Police in Killeen, 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Austin, have a complaint on file from that shooting, according to the affidavit.
Police found eight spent shell casings on the sidewalk where Tabb and his group were standing, all of which were determined to have likely come from the same gun, the affidavit states. There was no word on whether shell casings were found in the street, where the juvenile's group was walking.
The juvenile gunman also remained under detention. Police have released no information on that suspect, nor on whether they have determined who fired the shot that killed Douglas John Kantor, 25.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Pickup truck driver hits Florida Pride parade spectators, killing one | Florida | The Guardian
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 04:03
Show caption Police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photograph: Jason Koerner/Getty Images
FloridaMayor says truck was part of parade in Wilton Manors when it suddenly accelerated and nearly hit local congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Staff and agencies
Sat 19 Jun 2021 22.44 EDT
A man has died after a truck driver hit spectators at the start of a Pride parade in South Florida on Saturday, seriously injuring another, authorities said.
Fort Lauderdale mayor Dean Trantalis said the pickup truck driver appeared to be part of the Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride parade but then suddenly accelerated when he was told he was next, crashing into the victims, according to WSVN-TV.
Trantalis said he believed it to be a deliberate attack. Justin Knight, the president of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus, whose logo the suspect wore on his t-shirt, said that to his knowledge it was a ''tragic accident'' and not an attack on the LGBTQ community. The suspect was ''part of the Chorus family'' and the injured were members, he told local media.
Fort Lauderdale police detective Ali Adamson said authorities were investigating ''all possibilities'', with the help of the FBI but did not say whether they believed the incident was intentional.
Officers are speaking to the driver. It is unclear whether he has been charged. Wilton Manors police tweeted that the public was not in danger.
The suspect
Trantalis said the vehicle came within inches of Democratic US representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was in a convertible at the parade.
''The parade had just begun and we saw people lining up and ready to move and all of a sudden this white pickup truck dashed right through the crowd, barely missing congresswoman Wasserman Schultz's car by inches and smashed through a gate,'' he said.
In a statement, Wasserman Schultz said she was safe but ''deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost''. ''I am so heartbroken by what took place at this celebration,'' she said. ''May the memory of the life lost be for a blessing.''
Scott Newton, the mayor of Wilton Manors, which lies just north of Fort Lauderdale, said: ''Out of respect for everyone involved, the parade has been canceled and a thorough investigation is being conducted.''
Broward County sheriff Gregory Tony said in a statement. ''Though authorities are still gathering information, we know two individuals marching to celebrate inclusion and equality were struck by a vehicle. This tragedy took place within feet of me and my team, and we are devastated having witnessed this horrific incident.''
Spectator Christina Currie told the South Florida SunSentinel. ''All of a sudden there was a loud revving of a truck and a crash through a fence ... It was definitely an intentional act right across the lanes of traffic.''
Photos and video from the scene showeWasserman Schultz in tears at the scene. A spokesperson for Wasserman Schultz did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
June is Pride Month, commemorating the June 1969 police raid targeting gay patrons at the Stonewall Inn in New York that led to an uprising of LGBTQ Americans and served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement.
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Florida Rep. Wasserman Schultz nearly struck in Pride parade crash that kills at least 1: reports | Fox News
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 11:02
Published June 20, 2021
Last Update an hour ago
Fort Lauderdale's Dem mayor blasts 'terrorist' attack against LGBTQ community -- while driver reportedly claims it was an accidentA pickup truck driver slammed into a crowd at a Florida Pride parade on Saturday evening '' narrowly missing U.S. Rep. Deborah Wasserman Schultz and leaving at least one person dead, according to reports.
At least one other person was seriously injured, reports said.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis quickly denounced the crash at the Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Parade as a "terrorist" attack on the LGBTQ community but police have said they haven't determined if the crash was intentional.
The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus later issued a statement: "Our fellow Chorus members were those injured and the driver was also a part of the Chorus family. To my knowledge, this was not an attack on the LGBTQ community."
The driver was reportedly waiting to join the parade as a representative of the chorus when he accelerated into fellow members waiting to march.
Police and firefighters respond after a truck drove into a crowd of people injuring them during The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, Fla., on Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Associated Press)
Trantalis said the truck missed the congresswoman "by inches" before it crashed into a plant nursery, WPLG-TV in Fort Lauderdale reported. Wasserman Schultz had been riding in a convertible in the parade.
Investigators were speaking with the driver, who was in custody but authorities wouldn't say if he had been arrested, Fort Lauderdale Police Det. Ali Adamson told reporters.
Witnesses said the driver told police the crash was an accident, according to WPLG-TV in Fort Lauderdale. He said he lost control of the truck after his foot became stuck between the gas and brake, according to WFOR-TV in Miami.
He had reportedly been wearing a gay men's chorus t-shirt and had a Pride flag waving from the back of his truck.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., is comforted after a truck drove into a crowd of people during The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, Fla., Saturday, June 19, 2021. Wilton Manors police tweeted Saturday night that the parade was canceled due to a "tragic event." (Chris Day/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat who has been serving in Congress since 2005, later issued a series of statements on Twitter.
"I am deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost and others seriously injured at tonight's @WiltonManorsCty Stonewall #Pride Parade," the congresswoman wrote in one message. "My staff, volunteers and I are thankfully safe."
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., makes a call after a truck drove into a crowd of people during The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, Fla., Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Chris Day/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
She was seen by witnesses in tears after the crash, according to WPLG.
Nikki Fried, Florida agriculture commissioner and a gubernatorial candidate, was also at the parade. "Our hearts are breaking and we continue to pray no more innocent lives are lost," she tweeted.
Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton said in a statement posted to Twitter, "A tragic incident occurred at today's Stonewall event. Out of respect for everyone involved, the parade has been canceled and a thorough investigation is being conducted."
The FBI is assisting with the investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Top cop sacked for possessing child abuse video will return to work | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 20:17
Top cop who was tipped to be Met's first black commissioner is allowed to RETURN to work despite being convicted of possessing child pornography as tribunal rules she was unfairly dismissedPolice officer Novlett Robyn Williams was unfairly dismissed, a tribunal has ruledShe was sacked in 2019 after being convicted of possessing child pornographyTrial heard she didn't report a child abuse video her sister sent her to investigate She is to go back in uniform as trial heard she made an 'error' not reporting videoBy Rebecca Camber Crime And Security Editor For The Daily Mail
Published: 17:04 EDT, 16 June 2021 | Updated: 23:04 EDT, 16 June 2021
A senior policewoman once tipped to be Scotland Yard's first black commissioner was unfairly dismissed for possessing child abuse images, a tribunal has ruled.
Acting Chief Superintendent Novlett Robyn Williams was sacked and put on the sex offenders register in 2019 after being convicted of possessing child pornography.
But now the senior Scotland Yard officer, who was on an £80,000 salary, is to go back into uniform and is expected to receive back pay for missed earnings after a police appeals tribunal ruled her dismissal was 'unfair' and 'unreasonable'.
The astonishing decision comes despite Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball warning that 'members of the public would not have faith that Superintendent Williams would protect them or have faith in the police' because of her conviction.
Acting Chief Superintendent Novlett Robyn Williams (pictured in 2016) was unfairly dismissed for possessing child abuse images, a tribunal has ruled
Her trial at the Old Bailey heard the 55-year-old officer made a 'serious error of judgment' when she failed to report a child abuse video that her sister sent her to investigate.
Her sister, Jennifer Hodge, 56, a social worker, shared a video with 17 people on WhatsApp of a five-year-old girl being abused, telling Miss Williams: 'Sorry had to send this it's so sad that this person would put this out, please post this and let's hope he gets life.'
But Miss Williams failed to report the matter to colleagues, who would have investigated her sister. She denied seeing the video during her trial in 2019.
But prosecutors said there was no way she could have missed the 54-second clip, pointing out that Miss Williams had messaged her sister saying 'please call' after it was sent.
The Acting Chief Superintendent (pictured) was sacked and put on the sex offenders register in 2019 after being convicted of possessing child pornography
Her trial at the Old Bailey heard the officer made a 'serious error of judgment' when she failed to report a child abuse video that her sister Jennifer Hodge (pictured) sent her to investigate
The case came to court when one of the other recipients of the clip reported it to the police.
Miss Williams was convicted of possessing an indecent image of a child, but spared jail after a judge said it was a 'complete tragedy' that she was in the dock as it was obvious she did not have the image for sexual gratification.
Until the prosecution, the officer had enjoyed a stellar career in uniform, winning the Queen's Police Medal twice and dozens of other awards, including one for tackling gang violence.
She was honoured by the Queen for her senior role during the 2011 London riots and for helping Grenfell victims in 2017.
Yesterday a police appeals tribunal upheld her appeal against her dismissal.
Miss Williams said: 'I am extremely pleased with today's outcome. For over a year, before and during the pandemic, I have continued to support local people by working within community initiatives.
'I am delighted to be able to return to the work I love, serving our communities within London.'
Police Superintendents' Association professional standards co-ordinator Victor Marshall said: 'We have continued to support Robyn since the original allegations against her were made.
But Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball (pictured) warned that the 'public would not have faith' that Miss Williams 'would protect them' due to her conviction
'We are pleased that today's panel agreed that her dismissal was unreasonable.'
But only last year Assistant Commissioner Ball, who chaired her original misconduct hearing, said the senior officer's 'disgraceful act' constituted gross misconduct and she should be dismissed without notice.
She said: 'Dismissal after a misconduct hearing is not designed to punish police officers, it's about upholding the reputation of the police force as a whole.
'Williams was in a position of responsibility both on and off duty and her failure to act was very grave. This could have led to further harm to that child in the video.
'It is unacceptable for police officers enforcing the law to break the law themselves.'
The Met Police said: 'The tribunal determined Miss Williams' dismissal should be replaced with a final written warning. We await the full judgment.
'We will then consider the ruling and engage with Miss Williams' representatives accordingly.'
Great Reset B3W
Bloomberg: The American dream of owning a home is dead
Homeownership is becoming unaffordable for too many, but there is another option: renting.
Stacey Abrams backs Manchin's voting rights compromise as Senate eyes vote
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 14:46
Voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams threw her support behind Sen. Joe Manchin's voting legislation compromise '-- including the component requiring a form of voter identification '-- handing the West Virginia Democrat a key endorsement ahead of a crucial vote next week.
Manchin released a list of voting and campaign finance changes to the legislation that he would back on Wednesday, opening the door to compromise on the Democrats' top voting bill, known as S. 1 or the For the People Act. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told the Democratic caucus that the Senate would vote to advance voting rights legislation on Tuesday, June 22, said a Senate Democratic source familiar with the plans. It would be a procedural vote, requiring 60 senators to advance.
Manchin has said he opposes the act, arguing it's too partisan and needs bipartisan support, and said he would not vote to amend the filibuster to pass that or the narrower John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the face of near-unanimous Republican opposition.
Asked in an interview Thursday morning whether she could support Manchin's proposal, Abrams told CNN ''absolutely.''
Republican Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., singled out her endorsement in a statement that made clear his continued opposition to federal election reform.
''In reality, the plan endorsed by Stacey Abrams is no compromise. It still subverts the First Amendment to supercharge cancel culture and the left's name-and-shame campaign model. It takes redistricting away from state legislatures and hands it over to computers," he wrote in a statement. "And it still retains S. 1's rotten core: an assault on the fundamental idea that states, not the federal government, should decide how to run their own elections.''
Manchin said Wednesday that he still opposed changing the filibuster rules to pass any voting legislation without Republican support; if McConnell's opposition is shared by his caucus, it could imperil the compromise.
Manchin, for his part, told reporters on Thursday that he's "talking to everybody" to try and win the votes needed to pass voting legislation.
"I've been talking to Stacey, you know I talked to everybody. And I've been working across the aisle with all the Republicans trying to get people to understand that that's the bedrock of our democracy, an accessible, fair, and basically secured voting," he told reporters.
He said he hopes Republicans will cross the aisle and support it, but so far, it has been Democrats who have raised their voices in support of Manchin's compromise.
'''What Sen. Manchin is putting forward are some basic building blocks that we need to ensure that democracy is accessible no matter your geography,'' Abrams said. ''And those provisions that he is setting forth are strong ones that will create a level playing field, will create standards that do not vary from state to state and I think will ensure that every American has improved access to the right to vote despite the onslaught of state legislation seeking to restrict the access to vote.''
Abrams narrowly lost a bid for governor in Georgia in 2018 and has emerged as the left's most prominent voting rights advocate. Her endorsement lends Manchin's proposed compromise some key support.
His proposal includes changes to both of the current bills. He supports making Election Day a public holiday, offering 15 consecutive days of early voting for federal elections and automatic voter registration through state departments of motor vehicles. He also proposed requiring voter identification but allowing alternatives like utility bills to suffice as proof of identity.
Pressed on the voter ID provision, Abrams said that ''no one has ever objected to having to prove who you are to vote.''
She argued that restrictive voter ID bills '-- like bills that bar voters from using student ID cards but allow gun licenses '-- are the bills she opposes.
In 2020, 35 states requested some form of voter identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while other states check other identifying information like signatures at the polls.
''I support voter identification," Abrams concluded. "I reject restrictive voter ID designed to keep people out of the process.''
Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., said Manchin's proposal was "very significant" and brings Democrats "closer to the goal" of passing voting rights legislation.
"It underscores the ways in which we are continuing to work on this in our caucus, because we know that it's our job to make sure that we preserve voting rights for every American," Warnock told NBC News. "I am encouraged by these recent developments."
Warnock suggested there was a path to compromise on voter identification requirements, as Manchin proposed in his blueprint.
"I have never been opposed to voter ID," Warnock said. "And in fact, I don't know anybody who is '-- who believes people shouldn't have to prove that they are who they say they are. But what has happened over the years is people have played with common sense identification and put into place restrictive measures intended not to preserve the integrity of the outcome, but to select, certain group."
Warnock responded to McConnell's remarks that federal voting rights laws are not needed, asking: "Is he also opposed to the Voting Rights [Act] law in 1965?"
He said that if Republicans don't provide the votes to defeat a filibuster, "we have some decisions to make about how we make sure that every American has the right to vote."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who oversaw the bill in committee, praised what she called "a good faith effort by Sen. Manchin to put forth some ideas."
"We're not going to negotiate it out here. But I think you see people like Stacey Abrams and Rev. Warnock, who know firsthand the horrors of voter suppression, coming out and saying, 'We're glad he's coming forward with some ideas.' I've talked to him a number of times and we'll continue to work through his ideas," Klobuchar said.
"As we've said many times, failure is not an option," she said, without guaranteeing that it would get 50 Democratic votes. "Let's just see. One thing at a time."
Declaration of Juneteenth holiday sparks scramble in states
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 11:04
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Leading Chinese nuclear scientist dies in fall from building | South China Morning Post
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 13:30
Zhang Zhijian, the vice-president of Harbin Engineering University, was found dead on Thursday. Police say there were no suspicious circumstancesThe scientist had received a number of top honours, including the National Award for Excellence in Innovation Published: 9:00pm, 18 Jun, 2021
Updated: 4:08pm, 19 Jun, 2021
Cyber Pandemic
Ransomware attack payments might be tax deductible, says US government
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 10:51
Published 20 hours ago
WASHINGTON - As ransomware attacks surge, the FBI is doubling down on its guidance to affected businesses: Don't pay the cybercriminals. But the U.S. government also offers a little-noticed incentive for those who do pay: The ransoms may be tax deductible.
The IRS offers no formal guidance on ransomware payments, but multiple tax experts interviewed by The Associated Press said deductions are usually allowed under law and established guidance. It's a "silver lining" to ransomware victims, as some tax lawyers have said.
A laptop displays a message after being infected by a ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack on June 27, 2017 in Geldrop. The unprecedented global ransomware cyberattack has hit more than 200,000 victims in more than 150 countries, Europol exe
But those looking to discourage payments are less sanguine. They fear the deduction is a problematic incentive that could entice businesses to pay ransoms against the advice of law enforcement. At a minimum, they say, the deductibility sends a discordant message to businesses under duress.
"It seems a little incongruous to me," said New York Rep. John Katko, the top Republican on the House Committee on Homeland Security.
Deductibility is a piece of a bigger quandary stemming from the rise in ransomware attacks, in which cybercriminals scramble computer data and demand payment for unlocking the files. The government
A ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline last month led to gas shortages in parts of the United States. The company, which transports about 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast,
Ransomware has become a multibillion-dollar business, and the average payment was more than $310,000 last year, up 171% from 2019, according to Palo Alto Networks.
The companies that pay ransomware demands directly are well within their rights to claim a deduction, tax experts said. To be tax deductible, businesses expenses should be considered ordinary and necessary. Companies have long been able to deduct losses from more traditional crimes, such as robbery or embezzlement, and experts say ransomware payments are usually valid, too.
"I would counsel a client to take a deduction for it," says Scott Harty, a corporate tax attorney with Alston & Bird. "It fits the definition of an ordinary and necessary expense."
Don Williamson, a tax professor at the Kogod School of Business at American University, wrote a paper about the tax consequences of ransomware payments in 2017. Since then, he said, the rise of ransomware attacks has only strengthened the case for the IRS to allow ransomware payments as tax deductions.
"It's becoming more common, so therefore it becomes more ordinary," he said.
That's all the more reason, critics say, to disallow ransomware payments as tax deductions.
"The cheaper we make it to pay that ransom, then the more incentives we're creating for companies to pay, and the more incentives we're creating for companies to pay, the more incentive we're creating for criminals to continue," said Josephine Wolff, a cybersecurity policy professor at the Fletcher School of Tufts University.
For years, ransomware was more of an economic nuisance than a major national threat. But attacks launched by foreign cybergangs out of reach of U.S. law enforcement have proliferated in scale over the past year and thrust the problem of ransomware onto the front pages.
In response, top U.S. law enforcement officials have urged companies not to meet ransomware demands.
"It is our policy, it is our guidance, from the FBI, that companies should not pay the ransom for a number of reasons," FBI Director Christopher Wray testified this month before Congress. That message was echoed at another hearing this week by Eric Goldstein, a top official at the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency.
Officials warn that payments lead to more ransomware attacks. "We're in this boat we're in now because over the last several years people have paid the ransom," Stephen Nix, assistant to the special agent in charge at the U.S. Secret Service, said at a recent summit on cybersecurity.
It's unclear how many companies that pay ransomware payments avail themselves of the tax deductions. When asked at a congressional hearing whether the company would pursue a tax deduction for the payment, Colonial CEO Joseph Blount said he was unaware that was a possibility.
"Great question. I had no idea about that. Not aware of that at all," he said.
There are limits to the deduction. If the loss to the company is covered by cyber insurance '-- something that also is becoming more common '-- the company can't take a deduction for the payment that's made by the insurer.
The number of active cyber insurance policies jumped from 2.2 million to 3.6 million from 2016 to 2019, a 60% increase, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, Congress' auditing arm. Linked to that was a 50% increase in insurance premiums paid, from $2.1 billion to $3.1 billion.
The Biden administration has pledged to make curbing ransomware a priority in the wake of a series of high-profile intrusions and said it is reviewing the U.S. government's policies related to ransomware. It has not provided any detail about what changes, if any, it may make related to the tax deductibility of ransomware.
"The IRS is aware of this and looking into it," said IRS spokesperson Robyn Walker.
Suderman reported from Richmond, Virginia.
Drought-stricken communities push back against data centers
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 11:24
''The typical data center uses about 3-5 million gallons of water per day -- the same amount of water as a city of 30,000-50,000 people,'' said Venkatesh Uddameri, professor and director of the Water Resources Center at Texas Tech University.
Although these data centers have become much more energy and water efficient over the last decade, and don't use as much water as other industries such as agriculture, this level of water use can still create potential competition with local communities over the water supply in areas where water is scarce, he added.
But some tech companies like Google say they are trying to address their water use.
''As part of our water stewardship efforts, we're working to utilize water more efficiently and exploring ways to incorporate circularity,'' said Gary Demasi, senior director of energy and location operations at Google. ''We have a site-specific approach where we work within the constraints of the local hydrological environment to find the best solutions.''
He added that ''many arid environments provide an abundant supply of carbon-free solar and wind energy,'' which explains why data centers are drawn to those areas.
Sergio Loureiro, vice president of core operations for Microsoft, said that the company has pledged to be ''water positive'' by 2030, which means it plans to replenish more water than it consumes globally. This includes reducing the company's water use and investing in community replenishment and conservation projects near where it builds facilities.
Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.
Local concernsIn recent years, tensions over water use by data centers have flared in communities across the United States. In 2017, conservation groups in South Carolina criticized Google over its request for a permit to draw 1.5 millions of gallons of water per day from a depleted aquifer to cool its expanding data center in Goose Creek. The facility already required 4 million gallons of tap water each day, and residents and conservation groups were concerned about the company's impact on the dwindling groundwater supply. After a two-year battle with the South Carolina Coastal Conservation league over the plans, Google reached an agreement to use only groundwater under limited conditions, for example, during maintenance work or as a backup during drier months, and instead pay for an alternative source of surface water from the Charleston Water System.
Google spokeswoman Mara Harris said that the company partnered with local community stakeholders and water conservation experts to assess the data center's impact and conducted studies that showed that even in an ''extreme worst-case scenario'' the data center's water use in the area would be sustainable.
Both companies and consumers need to start treating water conservation as seriously as reducing carbon emissions, experts say.
''We are going to experience a drier and more water-scare future, and every drop of water counts,'' said Newsha Ajami, director of urban water policy at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment. ''It's not just Amazon, Microsoft and Google causing these water footprints. But it's you and me, searching and needing data that ends up in these data centers.''
Ajami said that water has been historically undervalued as a resource in part because it has been cheap for companies to purchase. While many industries have taken great leaps in reducing their electricity use and carbon footprints, they lag behind in water efficiency throughout their supply chains, she said.
''We often overlook the communities impacted, who are often disadvantaged,'' she added. ''If it was a wealthy community, maybe they wouldn't allow the data centers to be built in their backyard.''
Jobs versus waterWater conservation experts say that a key challenge has been the lack of alignment between cities' economic development plans and their resource conservation efforts. Often the promise of attracting a household-name technology company to build a billion-dollar data center that will bring jobs and investment to the region will override concerns over the water supply.
Servers at the Apple Data Center in Mesa, Ariz. Tom Tingle / The Republic / USA Today Network''Cities don't want to tell tech companies that they can't come to their city because of lack of water,'' said Cora Kammeyer, a senior researcher with the Pacific Institute, a nonprofit research organization that focuses on water conservation.
Duff, the Mesa vice mayor, agrees.
''When it comes to economic development, I don't think we are fully transparent about the water concerns,'' she said. ''We want to keep the image that we are a great place to invest and start a business. But we don't like to talk about the water.'' The Mesa project approved on May 17, which was submitted under the name of a developer called Redale LLC, has been shrouded in secrecy. The name of the company that will run the data center has only been supplied to the city under a nondisclosure agreement, although one Mesa city source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it was Facebook. The specialist news site Data Center Dynamics also reported that it was likely to be Facebook based on similarities in the planning specifications to its other data centers. Facebook declined to comment, and Redale did not respond to a request for comment. The proposed data center will employ an estimated 150 people across three buildings and pay the city millions of dollars in sales tax on the construction and utilities.
Duff added that even though data centers don't use as much water as other industries, they are ''still depleting water in the desert, and that is a concern.''
She noted that this is the ''eighth or ninth'' data center project in Mesa. The city previously approved a Google facility, currently under construction, that will consume up to 4 million gallons of water per day, as reported by Bloomberg. The Redale project represents a significant milestone to Mesa's water supply as it's the first where the city required the developer to obtain water credits from the Salt River Project to use groundwater in the event that the city can't meet the data center's demand for water.
''It's the only way we could say we had enough water for the business,'' Duff said.
Surface water supplies that Arizona uses from Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir, and the Colorado River that feeds it, have already dwindled to their lowest levels ever, according to the Bureau of Reclamation, a federal water management agency. The water level is so low that federal restrictions are likely to be triggered on Arizona's water allocation from the reservoir, which could happen at the start of 2022. Six other states in the West could also face such restrictions.
As that happens, Duff said, more companies will start to draw on their ''water credits'' to use groundwater supplies. However, according to research by Arizona State University, these water credits are over allocated, meaning that if everybody started using them at the same time, there wouldn't be enough water to go around.
''We are very resourceful, but I think we need to wake up,'' Duff said. ''The analysis shows our safeguards aren't there and we need to come up with a concrete plan instead of a hope and a prayer.''
Pushing backTo the south of Mesa, the city of Chandler, Arizona, has taken a different approach. In 2015 the city passed an ordinance that restricted new water-intensive businesses from developing unless they aligned with the city's plan for economic development. It effectively deters businesses that use a lot of water but don't create many jobs, including data centers, in favor of those that create thousands of jobs, such as semiconductor plants.
The city's water resource manager, Gregg Capps, said the ordinance, the first of its kind in the U.S., was introduced as a direct result of discovering in 2013 how much water one of the data centers in the city was using after the company started requesting additional water connections. ''We didn't know a whole lot about them back then, but that brought our attention to their water use,'' he said.
His team took their concerns to the City Council, which spent months developing the ordinance. Since it was adopted in 2015, there have been no new data center developments in Chandler.
''Water is a strategic resource. It's important to us,'' Capps said.
Cool innovationsThe Silicon Valley technology companies that dominate the hyperscale data center market -- Amazon, Google and Microsoft -- are conscious of the business and reputational risk associated with data centers' thirst. All of them have made some progress in reducing their data centers' water footprint through innovative cooling strategies. These include free-air cooling, which uses fresh outdoor air to cool a space, and immersion cooling, where servers are submerged in a liquid that boils at a lower temperature than water, taking the heat with it. However, free-air cooling only really works in cooler climates, and immersion was just used for the first time in a commercial setting by Microsoft in April.
Some companies, including Microsoft have developed underwater or partially submerged data centers that rely on large bodies of already cool water to disperse heat.
Google's Demasi said that the company cooled its data centers using seawater in Finland, industrial canal water in Belgium and recycled wastewater in the United States, at its site in Douglas County, Georgia.
The Google data center in Hamina, Finland during its official opening in 2011. Jarno Mela / Lehtikuva / AFP via Getty ImagesSwitching over to new technologies can be extremely costly, and data center operators are more likely to wait until the end of the lifecycle of the existing equipment than retrofit cooling systems, said Todd Boucher, founder of the data center design firm Leading Edge Design Group.
Future generationsIn Mesa, Duff is thinking about the legacy of the decisions her city, and others, are making about water now. ''I am 61 years old, and I know that in whatever lifetime I have left I will not see the total impact of what we are doing today,'' she said. ''But our children and their children will, and we have to take responsibility for that.''''I hope the next generation does not look back at ours and say, 'What were you thinking?''' she said. ''I'd like to think we saw the warnings and started taking aggressive measures in order to preserve our planet and our lives.''
The Space Force wants to use directed-energy systems for space superiority
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 20:31
The Counter Communications System is used to jam enemy satellites. (Airman 1st Class Andrew Bertain/U.S. Air Force) This story was updated with a comment from a U.S. Space Force spokesperson.
WASHINGTON '-- The head of the Space Force acknowledged that the U.S. is developing the ''appropriate'' directed-energy systems to maintain American space superiority, although he declined to provide details in the unclassified setting of a June 16 congressional hearing.
Noting that directed-energy systems could be a possible defensive tool for American satellites, Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., asked Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond whether the United States was adequately developing a directed energy portfolio ''to be an effective capability for space dominance.''
''Yes sir, we are,'' Raymond responded, suggesting that they discuss the issue in more detail in a classified setting. ''We have to be able to protect these capabilities that we rely so heavily on.''
In a statement to C4ISRNET, a Space Force spokesperson said, ''General Raymond has stated many times that China and Russia have directed energy capabilities that are designed to damage or destroy our satellites. His response to Congressman James Langevin's question was confirming that our architecture developments in the face of these threats are appropriate.''
The Missile Defense Agency has explored using space-based lasers to intercept ballistic missiles in the past, and other nations have fielded ground-based laser dazzling weapons that can blind on orbit sensors. However, the Space Force has been effectively mum on what weapon systems '-- conventional or directed energy '-- it is developing to protect its satellites or defeat enemy satellites. Raymond's acknowledgement at the hearing might be the first time he's publicly confirmed the directed energy systems are under development.
The government cited the development of anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons by China and Russia as a justification for the creation of Space Command and the Space Force, and since their establishment military space leaders have been quick to criticize ASAT development and testing. U.S. Space Command's Gen. James Dickinson has heavily criticized direct-ascent missile tests by Russia, which demonstrated the ability to take out satellites in low Earth orbit and the potential to cause dangerous space debris. Perhaps more concerning is a mysterious Russian satellite that has shown the ability to fire a projectile in space. Raymond refers to the spacecraft as an on-orbit weapon system.
''Russia has made space a war-fighting domain by testing space-based and ground-based weapons intended to target and destroy satellites. This fact is inconsistent with Moscow's public claims that Russia seeks to prevent conflict in space,'' said Dickinson after a Russian ASAT test in December. ''Space is critical to all nations. It is a shared interest to create the conditions for a safe, stable and operationally sustainable space environment.''
However, the Space Force '-- and the Air Force before it '-- have always been secretive about what ASAT weapons the U.S. military has or is developing. The one with the most public details is the Counter Communications System, a transportable system that can jam enemy satellites. And while the Air Force is developing laser weapons, it's not clear what plans '-- if any '-- there are to attach them to space systems or direct them at enemy satellites. The U.S. also has missiles that can reach satellites in low Earth orbit.
Reports from the intelligence community and observers have highlighted the development of kinetic weapons '-- such as those mentioned above '-- as well as non-kinetic weapons '-- such as ground-based jammers or laser systems that can effectively blind satellite sensors '-- by nations deemed American adversaries.
In a report earlier this year, the Center for Strategic and International Studies suggested that the Space Force develop orbital laser weapons to defend American satellites. Titled ''Defense Against the Dark Arts in Space,'' the report lays out the various types of ASAT weapons and describes several ways the Space Force could defend against them. That includes passive defenses, like building a redundant space architecture that could survive the loss of one or even multiple satellites, and active defenses, such as satellite-mounted lasers that could blind incoming threats.
The U.S. has invested heavily in building passive defenses, such as a distributed architecture like the one described in the report, but it's less forthcoming on its active defenses. Other nations are less secretive. Most notably, France has stated that it could equip its satellites with weapons '-- possibly lasers '-- to defend themselves from adversaries.
While Raymond's brief comments didn't give any insight into what the U.S. is developing in regards to directed energy systems for space, they didn't rule out the types of weapons laid out in the CSIS report.
''It was a limited exchange, but the context of the statements and the statements themselves certainly leave the door open to nonkinetic defensive space capabilities of some kind,'' said Todd Harrison, director of the CSIS Aerospace Security Project. ''As we noted in our report, on-board electronic countermeasures, such as laser dazzlers and radar jammers, can be an effective way to defend satellites against certain types of kinetic attacks. And it has the advantage of protecting satellites without producing space debris, which is important to the long-term viability of the space domain for all users, not just the U.S. military.''
Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.
The Purge
Georgia investigator's notes reveal 'massive' election integrity problems in Atlanta
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 17:41
(C) GettyImages
In a nationally televised interview in January, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger rattled off an impressive list of measures his state used to ensure the November election count was accurate.
"We had safe, secure, honest elections," he declared to "60 Minutes." That rosy assessment, however, masked an ugly truth inside his agency's own files:
A contractor handpicked to monitor election counting in Fulton County wrote a 29-page memo back in November outlining the "massive" election integrity failures and mismanagement that he witnessed in the Atlanta-area's election centers.The bombshell report, constructed like a minute-by-minute diary, cited a litany of high-risk problems such as the double-counting of votes, insecure storage of ballots, possible violations of voter privacy, the mysterious removal of election materials at a vote collection warehouse, and the suspicious movement of "too many" ballots on Election Day. "This seems like a massive chain of custody problem," the contractor Carter Jones warned in the memo delivered by his firm Seven Hill Strategies to Raffensperger's office shortly after the election. That glaring notation was written around 4:00 p.m. on Election Day, when Jones observed absentee ballots arriving at the county's central absentee scanning center at Atlanta's State Farm Arena "in rolling bins 2k at a time." "It is my understanding is that the ballots are supposed to be moved in numbered, sealed boxes to protect them," he wrote, noting these ballots weren't. He also feared the flow of absentee ballots seemed too voluminous. "Too many ballots coming in for secure black ballot boxes," he observed. You can read the full report obtained by Just the News from the Secretary of State's office here.
Jones also raised concerns about the temporary workers brought in by a firm called Happy Faces to scan and count ballots after an election observer purported to witness a conversation in an elevator in which one of the workers revealed his intention to "f*ck sh*t up." "I must keep an eye on these two," Jones wrote. "Perhaps this was a bad joke, but it was very poorly timed in the presence of a poll watcher." He wrote that the two suspect workers had been assigned to a "team confirming and boxing ballots that have already been scanned to prepare them for later audit" because "this is the place where they could do least to achieve their declared objective."
But Jones expressed larger concerns about the temporary staffing agency's recruitment of workers. "What is Happy Faces doing to vet the people who they are sending to make sure that they are not sending in people who do actually want to 'f*ck sh*t up?'" he asked. Spokespersons for Happy Faces did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Fulton County said she would speak to elections personnel that worked with Happy Faces, but she had not responded further as of press time.
The public emergence of the Jones report Thursday doesn't confirm enough suspect votes to overturn Georgia's election results, or prove a plot to commit widespread ballot fraud. But its portrait of incompetence, mismanagement and bad election processes in Georgia's largest voting center undercuts claims by state officials that the election went swimmingly.
Raffensperger told Just the News he supports the ouster of Fulton County's top election officials but still trusts the outcome of the election showing Joe Biden beat Donald Trump. "It is no secret that Fulton has had issues in their elections department for decades, which is why I insisted on a state monitor being present to be eyes and ears on the ground," he said. Experts said the 29-page report provides a stunning roadmap for an independent investigation of the vote count in Fulton County, such as the one a state judge recently approved to be led by attorney Bob Cheeley. "This reveal chaos caused by incompetence and in some instances willful violation of law in order to assist Mr. Biden," said Phill Kline, the head of the Amistad Project, which has mounted election integrity legal challenges around the country. "This is consistent with the evidence we are finding in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan despite efforts at intimidation by Attorney General Garland." At the outset of his monitoring, Jones wrote about the difficulties election officials were having in distributing poll pads to local precincts the night before the election. Poll pads are used to check voters in at the precinct level.
One precinct, Jones wrote in the notes, "had only one of two bags of poll pads arrive despite the fact that the system at the warehouse showed that both had been checked out of the warehouse and were on the way." "[M]any bags of poll pads and other election materials have not been packed yet and paperwork is not matching up" at the county's central elections warehouse in Atlanta, he reported. "Some bags have everything and others do not, but the full ones are not organized," the notes read. "It is impossible to tell which bags are missing what without doing a manual count and they don't have the manpower for that at the moment." Jones claims that at one point "someone took the wrong suitcase [of poll pads]," something he indicates is a significant security concern. "Seems to be a mystery who this person was," he writes. "Should have chain of custody paperwork!! That means that a stranger just walked out with sensitive election materials?" The chaos of the poll-pad rollout appeared largely resolved by Election Day morning, yet Jones documented numerous other instances of chaotic management and serious security concerns.
For instance, the Jones report touches on one of the more persistent unresolved mysteries surrounding Fulton County's ballot processing operation, when officials at State Farm Arena appeared to order most election workers to go home at around 10:30 p.m. on election night, after which a skeleton crew continued to count ballots. "News reaches warehouse that Sec. Raffensperger 'ripped' Fulton just came through the wire (apparently someone asked about Fulton stopping scanning at 10:30 while every other county is still working and Sec. said 'Fulton can't get anything right')," the notes read. Just before 11:30 p.m., Jones notes "confusion about whether or not they're still scanning at State Farm bc there were reports that the staff there told the rest of the staff and press to leave, but I am still getting number reports." Jones later arrives at State Farm Arena just before midnight and finds "staff are still scanning on all five scanners."
About twenty minutes later, Jones observes: "Order is starting to break down[.] Ralph newly re-scanned some ballots that had already been processed by Shaye." That was not the only instance in which Jones claims to have witnessed potential double-scanning of ballots. Observing counting on the second day after the election, Jones wrote of a machine that had "shut down because it was causing more problems than it was solving." "Double-feeding and cutting through both the envelope and the ballot, which leads to even more duplicates," he said. On the night of the election, meanwhile, Jones described what appeared to be difficulties managing flash drives in the state's election equipment. "They're pulling compact flashes (CF)," he said. "[P]oll manager put a Mobile 2 CF in Mobile 1 CF slot, which is causing confusion now. People are talking about a 'master bus' problem for the backups, which seems to be causing the confusion." And in one case the investigator expressed worries that ballot workers could obtain private data from the documents they were processing, a major breach of voter privacy. "Are we compromising secret ballot with our ad hoc process?" he asked. "Sorters can see address on the Oath envelope as well as the ballot itself ... Voters could theoretically face reprisal if a processor had the desire to do pursue them for their choice." Jones did not respond to repeated requests for comment from Just the News, though shortly after being contacted yesterday he spoke to the Associated Press about his findings, stating that in spite of all the issues he observed he did not witness "any dishonesty, fraud or intentional malfeasance" among election workers.
He did tell AP, however, that Fulton County "needs to address these mismanagement issues because they are becoming serious."
The revelations in Jones's notes come as a Just the News review of state audit data revealed significant data failures and concerns in Fulton County's handling of the 2020 election.
Data from the county showed over 150 batches of absentee ballots apparently missing from the county's official tally, as well as what appeared to be multiple instances of ballot batches being scanned several times.
State audit sheets also suggested that many of Fulton's absentee ballot batches, when delivered to state auditors, were not sealed per security protocol prior to delivery.
U.S. Fed accepts $755.8 bln in daily reverse repo operation -NY Fed | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 22:50
Thu Jun 17, 2021 / 1:33 PM EDT
NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve accepted$755.8 billion in its daily reverse repurchase operation onThursday at a rate of 0.05%, the New York Fed said.
The U.S. central bank on Wednesday made a technicaladjustment to interest rates it manages, at the end of itstwo-day policy meeting, aimed at keeping its key overnightbenchmark interest rate from falling too low.
The Fed raised the interest rate it pays banks on reservesheld at the U.S. central bank to 0.15% and also lifted the rateit pays on overnight reverse repurchase agreements to 0.05%, atool used to set a floor on short-term interest rates.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-DreyfussEditing by Chris Reese)
Congress barrels toward debt cliff | TheHill
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 10:44
Congress is barreling toward a fight as soon as next month over raising the debt ceiling, creating a huge challenge for President Biden Joe Biden 64 percent of Iowans say 'time for someone else' to hold Grassley's Senate seat: poll Philadelphia shooting leaves 2 dead, injures toddler Ron Johnson booed at Juneteenth celebration in Wisconsin MORE and Democratic leaders in Congress.
Under a 2019 deal during the Trump administration, Congress agreed to let the government borrow through July 31. The Treasury Department at that point can take what's known as extraordinary measures to keep the government solvent, but it's unclear how long it will be able to do this.
In the Senate, raising the debt ceiling is subject to the filibuster, meaning Democrats will need GOP support.
But GOP senators say they don't expect their caucus to provide the 10 votes needed to hike the borrowing limit, which would set up a high-profile financial showdown with dramatic implications for the world's economy.
''I'd say it's unlikely,'' said Sen. John Thune John Randolph ThuneTrump endorses Murkowski challenger Yellen: Disclosure of tax data to ProPublica a 'very serious situation' Sanders won't vote for bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, about the likelihood that enough Republican support raising the debt ceiling.
Sen. Roy Blunt Roy Dean BluntExcellence Act will expand mental health and substance use treatment access to millions Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision MORE (R-Mo.), another member of leadership, argued that lawmakers typically use the debt ceiling ''to try to figure out some mechanism to control future debt.''
''Probably the Budget Control Act was the most effective of all of those things but this is the first year in 10 years that we haven't had a spending cap to try to deal with. ... I think we'll have that same kind of debate again,'' Blunt said, referring to a 2011 law that set top-line spending limits through fiscal 2021.
''I would think it's likely to get 10 Republicans you're going to have to do some kind of spending reform to get a debt ceiling increase,'' he added.
It's not just Republican senators.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, sent a memo to his members outlining demands they could make in exchange for raising the debt limit later this year.
''Given the worsening fiscal outlook for the federal government and at least three-and-a-half more years of President Biden proposing trillions and trillions of dollars of deficit-financed spending, it is more important than ever for conservatives to reclaim the debt limit as a tool to highlight and force action on our nation's spending problem,'' Banks wrote.
The options outlined by Banks include rejecting suspending the debt limit; trying to prevent a debt hike from being linked to a spending package '-- a tactic frequently taken by leadership to try to make it harder to vote "no"; or trying to require spending offsets.
It's the latest sign from Republicans that they are bracing for an all-out fight over any attempt by Democrats to increase the debt ceiling without making spending cuts or reforms, even after taking a relatively hands-off approach to checking the debt under Trump.
Senate Republicans offered symbolic support earlier this year during a debate on their conference rules to offset any increases in the debt ceiling with spending reforms, in a move pushed for by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who chairs the Senate GOP campaign arm.
Thune added that some Republicans might vote for raising the debt ceiling if some reforms are included.
''Most Republicans in order to deliver a vote for a debt ceiling increase are going to want to deal with the debt,'' Thune said.
Democrats are brushing off the threats, warning that it would backfire on Republicans politically by threatening to roil the markets and injecting a huge dose of fiscal uncertainty just as the country is coming out of a year-plus pandemic that put the economy on shaky grounds.
Sen. Chris Murphy Christopher (Chris) Scott MurphyEnd the practice of hitting children in public schools Public option fades with little outcry from progressives Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle MORE (D-Conn.) warned that it would be ''political suicide'' if Republicans risked a debt default by refusing to help raise or suspend the debt ceiling.
''I'm not sure Republicans are going to want to risk the catastrophe that would occur,'' Murphy said. ''I think we've gotten to a good place where we understand you can't negotiate on the debt ceiling.''
When, exactly, Congress will have to deal with the debt ceiling fight is unclear.
The debt ceiling will automatically kick back in Aug. 1. It's not an ideal time for Congress, given that it comes amid the summer recess season when lawmakers are itching to get out of town if they haven't dispersed from Washington already.
The House is scheduled to leave Washington at the end of July and not hold votes again until Sept. 20. The Senate, meanwhile, is scheduled to leave Aug. 6 and return Sept. 13.
The Bipartisan Policy Center is estimating that the so-called X date, or the point at which the U.S. government will be unable to fully meet its financial obligations on time, to arrive at some point in the fall, based on Treasury's announcement about what its cash on hand will be Aug. 1.
The Treasury Department hasn't yet put a firm timeline on how long it expects that it will be able to use extraordinary measures to delay running up against the country's borrowing limit. A spokesperson on Friday pointed The Hill back to guidance it released last month on its latest quarterly statement.
''In light of the substantial COVID-related uncertainty about receipts and outlays in the coming months, it is very difficult to predict how long extraordinary measures might last. Treasury is evaluating a range of potential scenarios, including some in which extraordinary measures could be exhausted much more quickly than in prior debt limit episodes,'' Brian Smith, the deputy assistant secretary for federal finance, said in the quarterly guidance.
Though the debt fight has largely been on the back burner, Democrats are increasingly aware that they are barreling toward the deadline.
Asked about the guidance from Treasury, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer Chuck SchumerCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Senate confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters last month that Congress ''should get something done in the right way.''
''You know, I think it's an absolute disgrace that the Republicans are using the debt ceiling, which deals with the financial security, as sort of a political issue,'' Schumer said.
The issue also came up in an unrelated meeting among senators this week as they discussed the legislative calendar and upcoming deadlines.
One option, if Republicans dig in against helping raise the debt ceiling, could be to try to deal with it through reconciliation, a budget process that allows certain bills to bypass the Senate's 60-vote legislative filibuster.
Democrats are privately discussing what to put in their next package with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders Bernie SandersCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay MORE (I-Vt.) telling reporters that he hasn't yet decided if they will include the debt ceiling.
But one hurdle is that the timing for both when a Democratic-only infrastructure package could pass the Senate and when the debt ceiling fight will ripen are in flux. If Democrats bank on sticking the debt ceiling hike into the infrastructure package, and then those talks stall, that could leave them without a vehicle.
If Treasury determines that it needs Congress to act sooner, an infrastructure package might not yet be ready. Though Schumer has indicated that he wants to pass a potential bipartisan bill and the budget resolution that unlocks a second Democratic-only bill in July, that could still leave passing the second infrastructure bill itself until the fall.
''It's not clear reconciliation is going to be all done and wrapped up by July," Murphy said, while acknowledging that ''it's easier to get a debt ceiling bill done if it's built into something bigger.''
Why demand for Fed's reverse repo facility is surging again - MarketWatch
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 22:52
A key artery of global financial markets may be telling the Federal Reserve that enough is enough.
Demand for an overnight funding through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's overnight reverse repo program (RRP) has begun to flirt with recent records highs, after almost no one used it for months.
Daily repo usage jumped to $450 billion on Wednesday, its highest level since the December 30, 2016, according to Fed data.
The Fed's reverse repo program lets eligible firms, like banks and money-market mutual-funds, park large amounts of cash overnight at the Fed, at a time when short-term funding rates have fallen to next to nothing, and finding a home for cash has become harder.
The program had almost no customers in early April, and few since the pandemic's onset last spring, but daily demand in recent weeks has shot up dramatically. This chart shows the spike in reverse repo demand since April 1.
''Why are they going to the Fed?'' asked Scott Skyrm, executive vice president in fixed income and repo at Curvature Securities, of firms wanting reverse repo funding.
''Either there is too much cash or not enough collateral,'' he told MarketWatch. ''It's two sides of the same coin.''
Declining Treasury bill supply since February has contributed to the imbalance.
It's also pretty much the opposite of what happened in September 2019, when repo rates suddenly skyrocketed, resulting in the Fed jumping in with a slate of short-term emergency lending facilities that helped calm fears that financial markets might otherwise freeze up.
''With more market rates threatening to go negative (either explicitly or through deposit fees), pouring money into the RRP facility at a zero rate is the least painful alternative,'' said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP, in an email to MarketWatch.
''Or, at least, it is the least painful alternative for the system as a whole. It's painful for the money funds that actually channel the cash into the RRP facility.''
Skyrm views high demand lately for the Fed's reverse repo facility as a sign that the central bank's roughly year-old $120 billion-a-month bond-buying program no longer works as intended by adding liquidity to financial markets, and should be scaled back.
''Right now, the more money you put in, you get it right back,'' he said. ''The market is saying 'It's time.' There is the evidence that QE has gone too far.''
This chart shows the recent spike in reverse repos at the Fed as nearing peak levels of the past decade.
Crandall said fiscal stimulus spending also accounts for some of the surge in the supply of cash. ''State and local governments received roughly $100 billion of support payments from the Treasury last week, which helped jack up the amount of excess front-end cash playing musical chairs each day in the market,'' he said.
''But RRP activity would have been trending up even without the Coronavirus Relief Fund boost in the second half of May.''
The Fed, under Chairman Jerome Powell, has purchased about $2.5 trillion in bonds since the pandemic broke out last year, through its monthly purchases of U.S. Treasurys TMUBMUSD10Y and agency mortgage bonds, or ''quantitative easing'' (QE).
''This adds liquidity to the system. As the Fed buys bonds, those sellers receive the liquidity and likely buy other bonds, or other product,'' Padhraic Garvey, ING's global head of debt and rates strategy, wrote in a client note Monday.
''The thing is, the liquidity is being placed here as there is nowhere else for it to go to,'' Garvey wrote of the Fed's reverse repo program. ''And it's not really where you want to park cash, given that the rate paid to the cash lender is 0%.''
As MarketWatch reported in April, the worry is that the U.S. central bank could be on the brink of losing control of its benchmark policy interest rates, without making other tweaks to stabilize rates.
Read: Here's why a flood of cash could be creating a conundrum for the Fed
Meanwhile, Powell has promised ''great transparency'' around the Fed's eventual exit of easy monetary policies. Several Fed officials recently called for the central bank to start discussing a slowdown of its bond purchases, while the latest minutes of the rate-setting committee meeting showed a willingness to explore the topic in coming meetings.
A BTIG Research team led by Julian Emanuel described the situation like a game of cat and mouse.
High demand for the Fed facility ''underscores pressures on the short end of the yield curve as near-term rates probe negative territory after a year-plus of extraordinary accommodative policy,'' the team wrote in a Sunday note.
But they also expect the issue to last ''until investors are confident enough to shift to longer-duration bonds,'' which isn't expected to happen until markets get more clarity on the Fed's plans to taper its bond purchases.
What is going on with Reverse Repos? | by BTCM Research | Money Clip | May, 2021 | Medium
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 02:42
In this post we discuss the recent spike in reverse repo by the Fed. We define reverse repo, discuss SLR, its effects, and what to expect.
Over the last couple of weeks reports have started flying that the Fed is partaking in a record amount of reverse repo transactions. Some people have jumped to saying it is stealth QT (quantitative tightening) because the Fed is worried about too much inflation. We've seen headlines like these:
NY Fed eases eligibility requirements for reverse repo facilityRepo Crisis Looms: Fed's Reverse Repo Usage Soars To $351BN, Fifth Highest EverFed Alert: Overnight Reverse Repo Usage Soars Above Covid Crisis Highs''RRP Explosion'': Fed Reverse Repo Soars To Third Highest With ''Incredible Amount Of Cash''Why is this worthy of the label ''Crisis'', ''Alert'', ''Explosion''? It is my contention that we are seeing rising levels of reverse repo because of the expiration of the SLR exemption forcing a situation where banks can't accept more deposits and their ability to absorb more reserves is questionable. Right now there is no imminent crisis but the system is definitely signaling fragility, exactly what the Fed doesn't want in an era of deflationary pressure and a depressionary mindset.
Let's dig in and find out what we can learn.
What is a Reverse Repo?Reverse Repo works in the opposite direction as QE. In QE, the Fed takes Treasuries and MBS (mortgage backed securities) out of the market, usually from the balance sheets of banks, by swapping for reserves held at the Fed. Reverse repos are when eligible parties swap dollars for Treasuries, taking dollars out of the market and bringing Treasuries back in.
According the NY Fed:
A reverse repurchase agreement conducted by the Desk, also called a ''reverse repo'' or ''RRP,'' is a transaction in which the Desk sells a security to an eligible counterparty with an agreement to repurchase that same security at a specified price at a specific time in the future.
When the Desk conducts RRP open market operations, it sells securities held in the System Open Market Account (SOMA) to eligible RRP counterparties, with an agreement to buy the assets back on the RRP's specified maturity date. This leaves the SOMA portfolio the same size, as securities sold temporarily under repurchase agreements continue to be shown as assets held by the SOMA in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, but the transaction shifts some of the liabilities on the Federal Reserve's balance sheet from deposits held by depository institutions (also known as bank reserves) to reverse repos while the trade is outstanding.
An important aspect of repos are their short-term nature. A vast majority are overnight loans (all of the recent Fed activity is overnight (O/N), ''rolled over'' day after day. In this fashion, when we look at charts of reverse repo levels, we must understand that these are not cumulative. If there were $100 billion in reverse repo yesterday, and $105 billion today, the current total is $105 billion (due to daily settlement), not $205 billion. Also, when this activity stops, it only takes one day to unwind.
What is the SLR rule?This rule is all about the ratio on a bank's balance sheet of certain risk assets relative to deposits. You can think of it like a tailored reserve ratio in fractional reserve banking. The SLR is designed to limit risky lending by big banks. Treasuries and Fed reserves are counted as one of these assets, however, they are given a lower weighting than other more risky securities like corporate bonds.
The SLR effect comes from this weighting. Banks are disincentivized to make loans in favor of holding more Treasuries and reserves than they otherwise would. The SLR rules are part of the Basel III international banking regulation with the primary focus of limiting the risk in large Global-Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs). If banks are penalized for holding more risky securities, they will tend to contract their lending business by increasing lending standards.
On April 1, 2020, at the height of the corona crash, the Fed instituted an exemption to the SLR stating that banks did not have to count Treasuries or Fed reserves in this ratio. Some experts claimed the Fed wanted to ensure a ready market for QE. However, there is no shortage of global demand for US Treasuries and bonds. In fact, at that exact moment the problem was a dearth of collateral.
The SLR exemption was important because at that time, primary dealer banks who partake in QE were full of reserves, and didn't have room or incentive to increase lending into the part of the economy that really needed access to capital. Instead of this exemption boosting Treasury purchases, it boosted riskier lending, exactly at the time when risk was the highest.
RRP concern started growing in March 2021FREDIn March 2021, as the SLR exemption was about to expire, people who were under the impression that banks had loaded-up on the exempted securities were worried banks would dump these ''excess'' Treasuries they had accumulated in 2020. But the banks never were stacking Treasuries. We can check this by simply looking at rising Treasury yields during this whole period (except shorter terms and bills).
Something that was definitely important happened on April 1st. Of course, there are other factors having to do with the end of quarter, but this should tell us that whatever is behind the reverse repo dynamic is extremely important.
QE and Fiscal Spending Piece of the PuzzleAs the SLR exemption ended, banks started counting their Treasuries and Fed reserves again, forcing them to reduce the other riskier securities. Unless, that is, they could increase their deposits. And what did we see around the same time? The $1.9 trillion pandemic relief and the $1.2 trillion TGA (treasury general account) drawdown. Both of these things boost deposits.
As deposits go up, banks' ability to carry SLR leverage assets increases, but it is unlikely to increase at the same rate because much of the money flooding the system will go to paying down debt or finding its way into other accounts, like trading accounts, not to the large primary dealer banks.
In my research for this post, I stumbled across a great blog post from JC Brewer whom I am unfamiliar with, however, he correctly predicted the increase in reverse repo to coincide with the end of the SLR exemption.
I admit, I'm still trying to fully understand it. He summarizes his thinking in several parts, some theoretical, some practical. I'll quote this passage at length (emphasis added):
Theory (Part A): when the Fed conducts QE and buys an asset (UST, MBS) from a bank, the bank receives a Fed Reserve Deposit (effectively a digital token of equivalency to cash, against which can only be used in the Fed Funds Market) in return for selling the UST/MBS to the Fed. As explained above, a bank's TLE includes both Treasuries & Fed Reserves. Therefore, as banks enlarge their balance sheets (shown in below table from Bloomberg) when participating in the Fed's QE, they will need an extension to the SLR exemption to continue participating in the QE programme (unless their numerator grows proportionately, though this is unlikely). Put another way: from the bank's perspective, Fed reserves are a negative externality from participating in QE.
Theory (Part B): customer deposits held with banks can either be used to underwrite loans or held as USTs or Fed reserves, all three of which generate positive carry. However, without SLR exemption being extended, the additional deposits coming from (i) President Biden's US$1.9trn fiscal package and (ii) US$1.2 trillion decline in the Treasury General Account (TGA), will mean banks will either need to (a) charge negative interest on deposits (to maintain their ROTCE) or (b) turn away deposits, which will mean the only place left are (i) depository institutions (State Street, Bank of NY Mellon) or ([ii]) money market funds, which are capped to US$30bn on direct inflows into the overnight RRP facility. In fact, uncapping direct inflows (from $30bn) on overnight RRP facility and hiking the overnight RRP rate to just above 0% would go along way towards alleviating the balance sheet pressure on commercial banks with or without extension to the SLR exemption. The mechanics of the US$1.2trn TGA drawdown is shown in the below table from Credit Suisse, and illustrates the reserve constraint that banks will face.
In other words, banks are full of reserves. The reinstitution of counting reserves in the SLR has created a nasty situation. The banks won't except deposits unless they can get a positive carry by investing it somewhere, but they can't because rates are so low. Riskier lending with an adequate return are disincentivized by SLR. Deposits from fiscal spending and the TGA make their way into money market funds who happily do reverse repo!
DollarWe can also see this date in the dollar (DXY).
Scrolling back to March of 2020. I want to point out a few things with the interplay of the dollar, the SLR, and the amount of reverse repos.
Reverse repos picked-up pace on March 24, 2020, simultaneously with the dollar peaking at 103. Remember, reverse repos are swapping dollars for Treasuries/collateral. There seemed to be a very acute dollar shortage the last week of the quarter, followed by an acute collateral shortage. The dollar immediately switched direction and started dropping. A week later, the SLR exemption went into effect. The dollar continued to drop.
The end of the exemption was also pivotal for gold. The dollar and gold were going down together for most of the SLR exemption period.
Clearly the SLR exemption was important, and the ending of the exemption has affected the market. But why are we seeing reverse repos kicking into high gear, and what does it mean?
Let's do a little thought experiment. What if the government spending programs flooded the banking system while the SLR exemption was in effect? In that case, the banks would not be facing the forced rebalance out of riskier securities, they would be able to invest those deposits into securities that netted them a positive carry.
In other words, the banks could accept the deposits because they could make the math work, expanding their balance sheets would be profitable. That means the reflationary bounce would have continued, pushing CPI higher, as banks created more credit in commercial and industrial loans. Now CPI will likely flip lower.
Our little thought experiment shows us what we are dealing with here. Banks can't expand their balance sheet profitably, unless 1) they can charge negative rates on deposits or 2) expand riskier investments with higher return. Until then dollars will make their way through the money market funds into reverse repo.
What does this mean for the future of QE?The SLR rule dictates the reserve ratio and make-up of the balance sheet for large banks (G-SIBs). It consists of a weighted ratio of assets (securities including Treasuries, reserves and riskier loans) and liabilities (deposits). When banks participate in QE, they are locking Treasuries into Fed reserves, acting like deadweight on their balance sheet, limiting the expansionary activities the banks participate in.
As the banks continue to take part in QE, balance sheet rigor mortis is setting in. They won't stop participating in QE, but will need to tighten lending standards even more to shrink the amount of useful securities, productive assets, they own, because they are weighted more heavily in SLR. Tightening lending standards will slow any recovery there was, force interest rates lower, and exacerbate wealth inequality.
QE is a non-stop drain of useful collateral from the financial plumbing. Right now, that is being compensated for by money market funds doing reverse repo, pulling that collateral back out into the system and draining dollars.
Can QE continue? Yes, but it will be less and less effective. We'll probably start hearing rhetoric around ''transmission of monetary policy,'' Fed code for 'what we are doing isn't working like we thought it would.' The Fed can get around this by exempting reserves from SLR, but the whole point of QE is to add reserves to banks' balance sheets to bolster counterparty confidence in the financial system.
What does it mean for the dollar and goldDuring the previous period of elevated reverse repo activity, 2014''2017, we saw a massive rise in dollar strength and a giant bottoming pattern for gold. Oil also sold-off dramatically during this 2014''2017 period. Bitcoin was also consolidating after the MtGox cycle. Of course, bitcoin is uncorrelated in its monetization phase.
Prior period of high reverse repo, 2014''2017As I said in the beginning, the reverse repo levels are not signaling an imminent crisis, but they are signaling that fragility has not gone anywhere. The market is trying to deal with a collateral shortage caused by QE, when the banks are full of reserves, and the government is creating a lot of deposits.
The market is dealing with circumstances the best that it can, effectively reversing QE with reverse repo. This can stave off imminent issues, but creates a system stressed and out of balance. A collateral shortage could morph into a dollar shortage if it behaves to similar times in the past.
All of that and we didn't even mention unemployment or geopolitical matters in this post, both being a huge concern as well. Bottom line, the economy is not going to grow anytime soon. And that means no inflation. It's now a waiting game for the next crisis.
Bombshell Report Finds Phone Network Encryption Was Deliberately Weakened
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 04:22
Image: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images
Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard's podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.
A weakness in the algorithm used to encrypt cellphone data in the 1990s and 2000s allowed hackers to spy on some internet traffic, according to a new research paper .
The paper has sent shockwaves through the encryption community because of what it implies: The researchers believe that the mathematical probability of the weakness being introduced on accident is extremely low. Thus, they speculate that a weakness was intentionally put into the algorithm. After the paper was published, the group that designed the algorithm confirmed this was the case.
Researchers from several universities in Europe found that the encryption algorithm GEA-1, which was used in cellphones when the industry adopted GPRS standards in 2G networks, was intentionally designed to include a weakness that at least one cryptography expert sees as a backdoor. The researchers said they obtained two encryption algorithms, GEA-1 and GEA-2, which are proprietary and thus not public, "from a source." They then analyzed them and realized they were vulnerable to attacks that allowed for decryption of all traffic.
When trying to reverse-engineer the algorithm, the researchers wrote that (to simplify), they tried to design a similar encryption algorithm using a random number generator often used in cryptography and never came close to creating an encryption scheme as weak as the one actually used: "In a million tries we never even got close to such a weak instance," they wrote. "This implies that the weakness in GEA-1 is unlikely to occur by chance, indicating that the security level of 40 bits is due to export regulations."
Researchers dubbed the attack "divide-and-conquer," and said it was "rather straightforward." In short, the attack allows someone who can intercept cellphone data traffic to recover the key used to encrypt the data and then decrypt all traffic. The weakness in GEA-1, the oldest algorithm developed in 1998, is that it provides only 40-bit security. That's what allows an attacker to get the key and decrypt all traffic, according to the researchers.
"To meet political requirements, millions of users were apparently poorly protected while surfing for years."
A spokesperson for the organization that designed the GEA-1 algorithm, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute ( ETSI ), admitted that the algorithm contained a weakness, but said it was introduced because the export regulations at the time did not allow for stronger encryption.
"We followed regulations: we followed export control regulations that limited the strength of GEA-1," a spokesperson for ETSI told Motherboard in an email.
H¥vard Raddum, one of the researchers who worked on the paper, summed up the implications of this decision in an email to Motherboard.
"To meet political requirements, millions of users were apparently poorly protected while surfing for years," he said.
Raddum and his colleagues found that GEA-1's successor, GEA-2 did not contain the same weakness. In fact, the ETSI spokesperson said that when they introduced GEA-2 the export controls had been eased. Still, the researchers were able to decrypt traffic protected by GEA-2 as well with a more technical attack, and concluded that GEA-2 "does not offer a high enough security level for today's standards," as they wrote in their paper.
Lukasz Olejnik, an independent cybersecurity researcher and consultant who holds a computer science PhD from INRIA , told Motherboard that "this technical analysis is sound, and the conclusions as to the intentional weakening of the algorithm rather serious."
The good news is that GEA-1 and GEA-2 are not widely used anymore after cellphone providers adopted new standards for 3G and 4G networks. The bad news is that even though ETSI prohibited network operators from using GEA-1 in 2013, the researchers say that both GEA-1 and GEA-2 persist to this day because GPRS is still used as a fallback in certain countries and networks.
"In most countries, [the risk is] not very high, and significantly lower risk than at the start of the 2000's since GEA-3 and GEA-4 are used today," Raddum said. "But handsets still support GEA-1. Scenarios where a mobile phone today can be tricked into using GEA-1 exist."
In fact, the researchers tested several modern phones to see if they would still support the vulnerable algorithms and "surprisingly" found that they still do. The researchers said that it's the baseband manufacturers who are responsible for implementing standards.
"The use of GEA-1 has still far-reaching consequences on the user's privacy," the researchers wrote, "and should be avoided at all costs."
Subscribe to our cybersecurity podcast, CYBER.
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Massachusetts health notifications app installed without users' knowledge | Hacker News
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 18:32
I was reading about this yesterday and confirmed that I did not havegov.ma.covid19.exposurenotifications.v3 nor gov.ma.covid19.exposurenotifications installed. I turned off auto-updates in the Play store (Settings -> Network preferences -> Auto update apps -> Don't auto update apps) and went to sleep. This morning I woke up with a cheerful notification that Google can help with COVID notifications and gov.ma.covid19.exposurenotifications.v3 installed -- the app was pushed overnight over explicit instructions NOT to update (sure, one can say auto-install != auto-update, but it is worrying that forced pushes can happen even with every single relevant UI switch turned off).
adb logcat seems to have the following relevant lines:
Google force installs Massachusetts MassNotify Android COVID app
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 12:02
Google is force-installing a Massachusetts COVID-19 tracking app on residents' Android devices without an easy way to uninstall it.
For the past few days, users have reported that Google silently installed the Massachusetts 'MassNotify' app on their devices without the ability to open it or find it in the Google Play Store.
"This installed silently on my daughter's phone without consent or notification. She cannot have installed it herself since we use Family Link and we have to approve all app installs. I have no idea how they pulled this off, but it had to involve either Google, or Samsung, or both," a user wrote in a review on the Google Play Store.
"Normal apps can't just install themselves. I'm not sure what's going on here, but this doesn't count as "voluntary". We need information, and we need it now, folks."
MassNotify is Massachusetts' COVID-19 contact tracing app that allows users who have opted into Android's 'COVID-19 Exposure Notifications' feature to be warned when exposed to the virus.
When opting into this feature, users can select the country and state they want to receive notifications from, and the corresponding states app will be installed on the device
Opting in to the MassNotify appHowever, Android users state that they have received the application even though they have not turned on the Android Exposure Notification settings on their device.
A YCombinator's Hacker News reader contacted the MassNotify Help Desk and was told that the appearance of the MassNotify app in their app list means that it is installed but not necessarily active.
"The appearance of MassNotify in the app list does not mean that MassNotify is enabled on your phone. The presence of the app merely means that MassNotify has been made available as an option in your phone's settings if you wish to enable it. For more information about this, please see this help center article from Google: https://support.google.com/android/answer/10775533
You can see whether MassNotify is active by going to Settings -> Google -> COVID-19 Exposure Notifications. The ''Use Exposure Notifications'' toggle at the top of the page will show you whether MassNotify is active or not. From this screen, you can also enable or disable MassNotify at any time."
Many people, though, are reporting that they cannot find any icons for the app, and it is not found when searching for 'MassNotify' in the Google Play Store, and thus cannot uninstall the force-installed app.
MassNotify not found in the Google Play StoreInstead, users have to go to the MassNotify Google Play Store URL that uses the app's internal name of 'Exposure Notifications Settings Feature - MA' and uninstall it from there.
Uninstalling the MassNotify appBleepingComputer has contacted Google to find out why the app was installed but has not heard back at this time.
Confusion in Afghanistan as U.S. cancels NATO flag-lowering ceremony
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 18:34
WASHINGTON '-- The U.S.-led military mission in Afghanistan planned to hold a flag-lowering ceremony on Friday in Kabul with NATO allies but the event was cancelled at the last moment amid questions over what the ceremony was meant to signify, according to three U.S. Defense officials.
The cancellation reflected a wider sense of confusion and uncertainty surrounding the U.S. troop withdrawal, with defense contractors appealing for more guidance from Washington, former Afghan interpreters pleading for protection from the Taliban and the U.S. embassy hit by a major Covid-19 outbreak.
President Joe Biden announced in April that all U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11, but the pullout is moving faster than scheduled. Pentagon officials say the U.S. military withdrawal is on track to be wrapped up about two months earlier, by the middle of July or even by early July.
The flag-lowering ceremony at the Kabul headquarters for NATO's ''Resolute Support'' mission, which trains and advises Afghan security forces, was called off only hours before it was due to begin, the Defense officials said.
The ceremony was not intended to convey the end of the mission or closure of the headquarters, the officials said, but was an opportunity to gather 13 NATO partners together before coalition troops depart. Senior allied officers planned to lower their nations' flags at the headquarters building as a recognition for their countries' contributions in Afghanistan, the officials said.
''It was causing confusion among allies and partners,'' one Defense official said, adding that it was perceived by some as a closure of the Resolute Support headquarters.
The ceremony likely would be held at another date, two Defense officials said, and would only include officers and officials already working at the headquarters due to concerns over Covid-19. As of August last year, the Resolute Support mission included 36 NATO member states and partners and about 10,000 troops.
The exit gathers paceA number of factors could affect the exit timeline, including weather conditions and the tenuous security situation in Kabul, as Taliban forces continue to gain ground across the country.
U.S. troops already have handed over several bases and airfields to Afghan security forces and C-17 cargo planes are continuously flying out equipment. The United States promised to remove all its troops from Afghanistan in an agreement with the Taliban signed last year during former President Donald Trump's administration.
As the U.S. troop exit gathers pace, the Biden administration has come under criticism over the fate of Afghans who worked for the U.S. government. Lawmakers from both parties have accused the White House of failing to make adequate plans to protect former Afghan partners who face threats of retaliation from the Taliban. Members of Congress and veterans groups have urged an emergency evacuation of thousands of Afghans who risked their lives working with the United States, but the administration has yet to announce any plans for such an operation.
Roughly 18,000 U.S.-funded contractors who maintain the Afghan government's fleet of military aircraft and ground vehicles also have been ordered to withdraw from the country. But the contractors say they had no advance warning about Biden's decision and that it's unclear how their companies will continue to support the Afghan security forces once American troops leave.
Three associations representing federal contractors wrote a letter on May 13 to the Pentagon, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, asking for more clarity and citing several ''as-yet-unanswered questions.''
''What is the role for continued contractor support for Afghan government missions and capabilities, either in-country or over-the-horizon?'' the letter said.
The Biden administration has yet to answer the letter more than a month since it was sent, according to a spokesperson for one of the associations, the Professional Services Council, and an administration spokesperson.
''It's hard for companies to plan, and it's hard for the Afghans to figure out where things are heading," Stephanie Kostro, executive vice president for policy at the Professional Services Council, told NBC News.
She said it is ''a complex and confusing situation'' with contractors trying to plan without clear information about what arrangements could be in place that would allow them to carry on their work effectively and safely after US troops leave.
''My sense is that DoD (Department of Defense) and State (Department) are going through each of these things on a contract-by-contract basis versus having a policy across the board about how to treat contractors,'' Kostro said.
The Pentagon is aware of the letter, appreciated the feedback from the contractor associations and recognized the important role played by contractors in sustaining Afghan government forces' equipment, including aircraft, said spokesperson Maj. Rob Lodewick.
''Moving forward, numerous options exist capable of facilitating the continuation of contracted maintenance and logistical support without requiring U.S. contractors to be on-ground in Afghanistan,'' Lodewick said, without elaborating.
The Defense Department ''continues to pursue, analyze and refine the best options available and will announce corresponding decisions and implementation plans as they become available and appropriate,'' Lodewick said.
Pentagon officials have communicated changes in requirements to contractors working with the Afghan air force and those contracts have been modified, '' he added.
The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development did not respond to a request for comment.
Critics say Afghan security forces cannot keep their planes, helicopters and drones in the air without U.S. contractor support, and that the lack of detailed plans for contractors has sent a damaging message to Kabul.
''As Afghans look for visible signs that Biden's promised support will continue, what they see is a rush to the door '-- and silence about the details that would make the promises real,'' Ronald Neumann, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, wrote in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post.
''Morale is as much a part of combat power as equipment and technology. The current uncertainty undercuts morale and could gravely weaken the Afghan army just as major Taliban attacks begin.'' he wrote.
When Biden unveiled his decision to pull out U.S. troops, it was not clear how the country's main airport in Kabul would be secured. The uncertainty prompted fears that foreign embassies might be forced to close without a safe way to travel in and out of the country.
Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser, said on Thursday that Turkey had agreed to take the leading role in providing security for the Kabul airport. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan made the pledge in talks with President Biden earlier this week, according to Sullivan.
"The clear commitment from the leaders was established that Turkey would play a lead role in securing Hamid Karzai International Airport and we are now working through how to execute to get to that," Sullivan said.
At a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday, Biden, Erdogan, and the other NATO leaders promised to ''provide transitional funding to ensure continued functioning'' of the Kabul airport and ''training and financial support'' for Afghan government forces.
At a time when the administration has promised to expedite visa applications from Afghans who worked with U.S. troops or diplomats, the American embassy in Kabul is facing a surge in Covid-19 infections. One embassy employee has died, 114 have been infected and several have had to be evacuated for medical treatment, according to a notice issued to staff at the embassy.
The U.S. embassy has ordered a lockdown and confined staff members to their quarters except to obtain food or to exercise alone.
The American Foreign Service Association, which represents diplomats working at the State Department, expressed alarm at the outbreak and urged the administration to make vaccination a condition for any employee physically present at the Kabul mission or other U.S. embassies around the world.
''At a time when the U.S. military withdrawal is accelerating, attacks on Afghan and Coalition forces are intensifying and the U.S. is seeking to establish a stable and positive presence in Afghanistan after the withdrawal, the damage to our national security and national interests is potentially grave,'' the association said in a statement Thursday.
The embassy, located on a sprawling compound, had hundreds of staff until recently when officials began scaling back its workforce as U.S. forces withdrew. The State Department recently ordered the departure of U.S. government employees from Kabul "whose functions can be performed elsewhere."
Rothschild 'Inherits' a Semiconductor Patent for Freescale Semiconductors - The Malaysia Airlines MH370 Case
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 18:36
by Eddie L. March 23, 2014
fromWorldTruth Website
Eddie L. is the founder and owner of WorldTruth.TV. This website is dedicated to educating and informing people with articles on powerful and concealed information from around the world.
The disappearance of four members of a patent semiconductor traveling on Malaysia Airlines MH370 makes the famous billionaire Jacob Rothschild at the sole owner of the important patent.
The mystery surrounding the Malaysian Airlines MH-370 is growing as each day passes with more mysterious silence shadowing the disappearance of the airline. More and more conspiracy theories are beginning to boom on the internet .
One of the conspiracies is the Freescale Semiconductor's ARM microcontroller 'KL-03' which is a new improvised version of an older microcontroller KL-02.
This crazy story about how Illuminati Rothschild exploited the airlines to gain full Patent Rights of an incredible KL-03 micro-chip is going haywire across the internet especially when it's involving Jacob Rothschild as the evil master plotter.
A US technology company which had 20 senior staff on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had just launched a new electronic warfare gadget for military radar systems in the days before the Boeing 777 went missing.
Freescale Semiconductor has been developing microprocessors, sensors and other technology for the past 50 years.
The technology it creates is commonly referred to as embedded processors, which according to the firm are,
"stand-alone semiconductors that perform dedicated computing functions in electronic systems."
Why were so many Freescaleemployees traveling together?
What were their jobs?
Were they on a mission and if so what was this mission?
Can these employees be the cause of the disappearance of this plane?
Could the plane have been then hijacked and these people kidnapped?
Did these employees hold valuable information, did they have any valuable cargo with them?
Did they know company and technologicalsecrets ? With all the might of technology why cant this plane be located? Where is this plane where are these people?
The 20 Freescale employees, among 239 people on flight MH370, were mostly engineers and other experts working to make the company's chip facilities in Tianjin, China, and Kuala Lumpur more efficient, said Mitch Haws, vice president, global communications and investor relations.
"These were people with a lot of experience and technical background and they were very important people," Haws said. "It's definitely a loss for the company."
In Malaysia, Freescale's modernoperations facility that manufactures and tests integrated circuits (IC) is based in Petaling Jaya.
Based on information obtained from Freescale's website, the facility began operations in 1972 covering an eight hectare site and is specifically designed for the manufacturing and testing of microprocessors, digital signal processors and integrated radio frequency circuits.
It also owns Freescale RF which is involved in creating solutions for Aerospace and Defence listed below.
Battlefield communication
HF Radar - Band L and S
Missile Guidance
Electronic Warfare
Identification, friend or foe (IFF)
Freescale's shareholders includethe Carlyle Group of private equity investors whose past advisers have included ex-US president George Bush Sr . and former British Prime Minister John Major.
Carlyle's previous heavyweight clients include the Saudi Binladin Group, the construction firm owned by the family of Osama bin Laden.
The fact that Freescale had so many highly qualified staff on board the Boeing 777 had already prompted wild conspiracy theories about what might have happened.
The company says they were flying to China to improve its consumer products operations, but Freescale's fresh links to electronic warfare technology is likely to trigger more speculation and deepen the mystery.
Experts have been baffled how a large passenger jet seems to have flown undetected and possibly beaten military radar systems for up to six hours .
Avoiding radar via "cloaking technology" has long been one of the objectives of the defense industry and Freescale has been active developing chips for military radar.
On its website, the company says its radio frequency products meet the requirements for applications in,
"avionics, radar, communications, missile guidance, electronic warfare and identification friend or foe".
Last June it announced it was creating a team of specialists dedicated to producing "radio frequency power products" for the defense industry.
And on March 3, it announced it was releasing 11 of these new gadgets for use in,
"high frequency, VHF and low-band UHF radar and radio communications".
The company did not respond to questions from Express Online, including whether any of its missing employees had been working on the defense products.
It neither provided any responses to thelatest bizarre conspiracy theory being widely published on the comments sections of newspaper websites and other internet forums.
The comment reads:
"Have you pieced together the puzzle of missing flight 370 to Beijing China?"
If not, here are your missing pieces.
Four days after the flight MH370 disappear, semiconductor patent US 8671381 (System for Optimizing Number of Dies Produced on a Wafer ) was approved by the U.S. patent office patent is divided in parts of 20% between five starters.
One of the owners is the company itself, Freescale Semiconductor, Austin, Texas (USA), and the other fourChinese employees of the company:
Peidong Wang
Zhijun Chen
Li Ying Zhijong,
...all the Suzhou City.
And they all passengers of Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared on March 8, according Eternity .
It adds:
"Here is your motive for the missing Beijing plane. As all four Chinese members of the Patent were passengers on the missing plane."
"Patent holders can alter the proceeds legally by passing wealth to their heirs. However, they cannot do so until the Patent is approved. So when the plane went missing, the patent had not been approved."
The absurd theory does not add up.
Although a Freescale patent does exist under number US 8650327 (Processor with Programmable Virtual Ports ), none of the names listed actually appear on the passenger manifest released by the Malaysian authorities (but maybe the names have been removed from the flight manifest).
If the patent holder dies, the other owners share equally in dividends from the deceased. If four of the five patentees die, then the patentee left alive gets 100% of the patent. That remaining patent holder is the company Freescale Semiconductor.
Who owns Freescale Semiconductor?
The answer is: Jacob Rothschild.
British billionaire owns the companyBlackstone , which in turn owns the company Freescale Semiconductors. Several speculations on the Internet now pay attention to this circumstance.
The Rothschilds are a dynasty of financiers and international bankers of German-Jewish origin. The family is from the nineteenth century one of the most influential families of bankers and financiers of Europe.
The search continues for Flight MH370 but speculation surrounding its fate grows by the day.
BREKING News: Flight 370 Passenger Managed to Send Photo From Hidden iPhone Tracing Back to U.S. Military Base Diego Garcia, located in the Indian Ocean. - See more at: http://humansarefree.com/2014/03/with-disappearance-of-malaysian.html#sthash.Dy30pJmG.dpuf
BREKING News: Flight 370 Passenger Managed to Send Photo From Hidden iPhone Tracing Back to U.S. Military Base Diego Garcia, located in the Indian Ocean. - See more at: http://humansarefree.com/2014/03/with-disappearance-of-malaysian.html#sthash.Dy30pJmG.dpuf
"Flight 370 Passenger Managed to Send Photo From Hidden iPhone Tracing Back to U.S. Military Base Diego Garcia, located in the Indian Ocean" (below report).
Flight 370 Passenger Managed to Send Photo
...from Hidden iPhone Tracing Back to U.S. Military Base Diego Garcia April 02, 2014from HumansAreFree Website
According to freelance journalist Jim Stone, one of the American passengers, Phillip Wood , a technical storage executive at IBM, who was aboard the now missing Malaysian Airlines flight, keystered his iPhone 5 in his anus after the Boeing 777 carrying 239 people was hijacked by military personnel while on route to China.Amazingly, Stone claims that metadata within the photo yields evidence confirming "100 percent" that Phillip Wood sent the photo, along with a brief voice activated text, from GPS coordinates which put Wood only a few miles away from the U.S. controlled Diego Garcia military base which is located on an island south of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
Photograph: US Military Base Diego Garcia | Credits: USAF/AFP
In his post Stone claims that the coordinates may be off by a few miles (see update below post), proving that the iPhone actually sent the otherwise blank black picture revealing nothing else.
Stone speculates the picture was taken in a dark room or in some position in which Wood'‚¬'s hands were bound.
As reported by Stone, the picture was posted along with the following text allegedly from Wood:
"I have been held hostage by unknown military personal after my flight was hijacked (blindfolded). I work for IBM and I have managed to hide my cell phone in my ass during the hijack.
I have been separated from the rest of the passengers and I am in a cell. My name is Philip Wood. I think I have been drugged as well and cannot think clearly."
Strangely the blank black above image labeled "1395192158752.jpg" contains the following metadata:
Dimensions: 240 x 320
Device Make: Apple
Device Model: iPhone 5
Color Space: RGB
Color Profile: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Focal Length: 4.12
Alpha Channel: No
Red Eye: No
F Number: 2.4
Exposure Program: 2
Exposure Time: 1/15
Stone also points out in detail how the above Exchangeable Image Format (EXIF) image data is the "smoking gun", writing:
"The Exif is intact. Exif data gets embedded in every image by every camera and includes the circumstances under which the photo was taken. It can be viewed by saving the image to your desktop, and then right clicking it and selecting image properties. Hit the details tab.You can see that the image was taken on March 18 with an iPhone 5, with the ISO at 3200 and a shutter of 1/15. The coordinates are included in the exif data because the iPhone knows where it is, and the coordinates are for Diego Garcia. THE FIRST TIME A BLANK PHOTO SAID IT ALL.
Exif can'‚¬'t be rewritten with common software, it can only be added to in fields such as image credits with some advanced applications. It can be erased as well but NOT CHANGED.
Photos with the exif intact will hold up in court. If the Exif is hacked and this is not real, the CIA or a really good hacker did this, which I doubt, I'‚¬'d say it'‚¬'s probably real.Another smoking gun is that the voice recognition software put the word personal instead of personnel. This is completely consistent with a blind software assisted dial out.Surrounding this story is the fact that the man who managed to get this information to Farganne (forum member Glitch) was harassed and received many threatening voice mails over it, that is another piece of evidence pointing to this as being real. One thing is certain, once it'‚¬'s posted here on this site the genie is OUT OF THE BOTTLE.
I cannot stress how important it is that the GPS coordinates in the photo do not perfectly match what Google says and are not posted anywhere on the web, because it proves that the source of those coordinates did not come from Google or Wikipedia, they really did come from the imaging device and it HAD TO be at Diego Garcia when it took the photo."
Philip Wood'sLinked in profile (picture):
Interestingly, 7-days ago, on March 24, 2014 at 2:30 AM EDT, it wasreported by Intellihub News that flight 370 landed at Diego Garcia, a secret U.S. military base leased from the EU, during the early morning hours of March 8, 2014 after a YouTuber by the name of Montagraph put two-and-two together following other reports.An excerpt from thearticle reads:
"[...] MH370 most likely landed at Diego Garcia and the plane may have been ushered into a massive 'Faraday cage' style hangar to avoid passengers from communicating with the outside world."
Surprisingly, this all dovetails with a Malaysian Insider report released on Mar. 18 titled "US military base, South Asian airports in MH370 pilot'‚¬'s simulator,"says paper , as the pilot of MH370 was found to have had scale simulations of Diego Garcia in his home flight simulator.An except from the Malaysian Insider reads:Investigations into the flight simulator taken from the missing pilot'‚¬'s home showed a software for five practice runways, including one belonging to the United States, Berita Harian reported today.
"Among the software we checked so far is the Male International Airport in Maldives, three airports in India and Sri Lanka, and one belonging to the US military base in Diego Garcia. All have a runway length of 1,000 metres," a source told the Malay daily.
Police seized the flight simulator from pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah'‚¬'s house last Saturday before reassembling it at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman, where experts were conducting checks.If anyone has anymore information on this matter we urge youcontact us at Intellihub News right away.
Jim Stone Update
On 2014-03-31 11:52, Mary wrote:
Jim, I am a longtime reader and supporter.
Philip Wood was my husband Todd's client - my husband is a realtor in Keller, TX and we sold Philip's home on Lazy Lane in Keller several years ago. When he and his wife divorced, we also sold Elaine a new home just a couple of years ago. We kept in touch with him from time to time.I have had trouble sleeping since the info came out about him being held in a cell with a bag over his head. Philip is a very nice guy, a man who lived a simple life, and he was just doing his job for IBM.
He was involved with "data storage" for IBM - at least that's what he told us, and he was so excited to get over there to Beijing and the surrounding areas to see the world and help IBM.Thank you for the work you are doing, my God - our world is so evil it's unimaginable.
Best Regards,
Update 2:49 PM EST The following information was posted as a tip onSteve Quayle'‚¬'s website :
Hi Steve,Re: the black/blank photo from the IBM tech on the lost Malaysian jet. The photo was taken inside a building just off the runways at Diego Garcia. I put the photo into my editing software, grabbed the GPS point and here it is.
Try this: go to: itouchmap.com, choose #6, go to the bottom right box and input the info:
-7 18 58.3 LATITUDE 72 25 35.6 LONGITUDE
Click on: SHOW POINTZoom in and you will see where the photo originated. Wow. You'‚¬'ll probably recognize the heavy aircraft parked nearby.
Image Via itouchmap.com:
VIDEO - (34) COVID-19 outbreak forces partial closure of Yantian Port - FreightWaves NOW - YouTube
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 13:18
VIDEO - What's open and closed for Juneteenth? Info on schools, post offices and more - CNNPolitics
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 16:45
Washington (CNN)Most federal government employees across the country have Friday off after President Joe Biden signed legislation establishing Juneteenth as a US federal holiday.
But the introduction of a new federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States has created a patchwork of responses -- leaving some government offices, schools and businesses open, while others close to observe the holiday.
"Agencies should direct such employees to not report to work on Friday -- unless the agency determines that their services are required. If employees are required to work during qualifying holiday hours, they will earn holiday premium pay," the US Office of Personnel Management announced Thursday in a memo.
A meeting of vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was scheduled for Friday was also rescheduled because of the Juneteenth holiday.
States and schools closed
While June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, governors across the country announced in quick succession a range of plans for their state offices Friday, the closest workday to the new holiday.
Maryland, Nebraska, Missouri, West Virginia and Alabama are giving most public employees the day off, joining states like Texas, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts and Washington, which had already made Juneteenth a paid state holiday.
Some of the largest colleges and universities, like Ohio State and Texas A&M, are closed and have canceled classes for the day.
Several colleges, including Harvard University, Georgetown University, Virginia Tech, Columbia University, the University of Virginia, Towson University, Drake University, Loyola Marymount University, started honoring Juneteenth as a university holiday in 2020. Those colleges are continuing the tradition this year, observing the holiday with a day off Friday.
What is remaining open
The United States Postal Service is still operating Friday and Saturday on a normal schedule.
While saying it's "fully supportive" of the legislation and making June 19 a federal holiday, USPS
said it's "not possible to cease the operations of the Postal Service to accommodate an observance over the next 24-48 hours" and that closing "without providing appropriate time" would lead to service disruptions.
In Washington, DC, "many District employees will continue serving to maintain essential District operations," according to a news release from Mayor Muriel Bowser's office. This includes walk-up vaccination sites, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Parks and Recreation. And while the District's
schools are closed, high school graduation ceremonies will commence.
Government workers in other states, like California, will have to wait to feel the effect of the new law.
"It is encouraging to see bipartisan efforts to recognize the importance of Juneteenth," a spokesperson for California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office said in a statement. "The Governor issues a proclamation each year to celebrate this important day. At the state level, establishing a holiday usually requires legislation and collective bargaining."
Some public school districts are closed, with many already on summer break. In Maryland, for example, Montgomery County public schools, which ended the school year Wednesday, and its offices are closed Friday to observe Juneteenth, while Baltimore County public schools remain open Friday, with their last day scheduled for next week.
Cities and localities also differ as to whether they're observing the holiday.
St. Louis,
Pittsburgh, and Portland, Oregon, have closed most offices for the day.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that Juneteenth would be observed Friday but "due to the short notice, City Hall will remain open with minimal staffing to continue providing services."
In New York City, public schools and most government offices are open Friday. City employees do not have a paid holiday despite Mayor Bill de Blasio's promise last year to make Juneteenth an official city holiday.
During a radio interview on WNYC Friday, de Blasio said his administration still has to negotiate with the city's unions about how to pay for "the impact of the holiday," but that schools will be closed on Juneteenth when the holiday falls on a weekday.
Private businesses
While private businesses aren't bound by federal holidays the way that government agencies are,
many major corporations are celebrating Juneteenth in a similar way.
US corporate employees at Apple have Friday off, as do employees of Lyft and Peloton. Other companies, like Google, struck a middle ground, eliminating meetings on Friday in honor of the holiday.
Companies such as
Nike, Twitter and Target are honoring Juneteenth as a paid day off for the second consecutive year.
Nikes' retail stores and distribution centers are also closed on Saturday.
Bloomberg reports that Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Wells Fargo are giving their employees a floating paid day off this year, with plans to close their offices next year.
While the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve Board's offices in DC are closed Friday, the stock markets and the Fed's financial services are open.
This story and headline have been updated with additional information.
CNN's Chauncey Alcorn, Laura Ly and Lila Watts contributed to this report.
VIDEO - (32) Twitter roasts CNN's Chris Cuomo after he dares them to show examples of him denying facts - YouTube
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 16:42
VIDEO - NASA agency launches a new mission for 'Equity'
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VIDEO - (30) The Housing Market Just Went Negative - YouTube
Sat, 19 Jun 2021 13:43
VIDEO - Health experts push for vaccinations as contagious variants gain ground - YouTube
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 20:41
VIDEO - (26) Scott Morrison is now leading a group of 38 countries to go all out against China - YouTube
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 14:56
VIDEO - HR Executive: Firms are Planning to have their Vaccinated Staff Replaced within the Next 3 Years
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 14:20
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#vaccines#covid-19#genocideThis lady who runs a global gas and oil recruitment firm talks about "succession planning", a focused process for keeping talent in the pipeline.
Executives are having their HR staff and their managers, superintendents, etc... go through '...
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VIDEO - MP Derek Sloan raises concerns about censorship of doctors and scientists '' June 17, 2021 - YouTube
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 08:31
VIDEO - Major Australian banks, U.S. airlines briefly hit by widespread internet outages | Reuters
Thu, 17 Jun 2021 22:57
Central bank cancels govt bond auction after web outageMany affected websites back online late on ThursdayJune 17 (Reuters) - Websites of dozens of financial institutions and airlines in Australia and the United States were briefly down on Thursday, in the second major blackout in just over a week caused by a glitch in an important piece of internet infrastructure.
Server-related glitches at content delivery network (CDN) provider Akamai (AKAM.O) had hampered services at Australian banks, while many U.S. airlines, including American Airlines (AAL.O) and Southwest Airlines (LUV.N), also reported an hour-long outage.
The disruption linked to technical issues at Akamai follows an outage at rival Fastly Inc (FSLY.N) that affected a number of popular websites last week.
The impacted platform is now up and running, an Akamai spokesperson said, adding that the company was "continuing to validate services."
The outage was caused by a bug in Akamai's software that has since been fixed, and was not caused by a cyber-attack or vulnerability, the spokesperson added.
Akamai is one of the largest providers of CDN services, which are used by companies to speed up the delivery of data-heavy content, videos and games to web pages.
An office building with the Commonwealth Bank logo is seen amidst the easing of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in the Central Business District of Sydney, Australia, June 3, 2020. REUTERS/Loren ElliottSeveral U.S. websites, which were hit by the outage, were back up on Thursday.
"Our website and other internet-based tools are back up and running today after a brief outage late Wednesday evening," Southwest spokesperson said in a statement.
"We are continuing to look into the root cause of last night's outage but it's believed to be related to the broad Akamai outage."
American Airlines, United Airlines (UAL.O) and Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) were not immediately available for comment.
In Australia, websites of the central bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AX), Westpac Banking Corp (WBC.AX) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ.AX) had begun to come back online by late afternoon.
Virgin Australia said it was "one of many organisations to experience an outage with the Akamai content delivery system," though the situation was now resolved.
Akamai shares were down 0.15% at $116.56 on Thursday.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
VIDEO - Dr. Leana Wen on COVID-19 Pandemic Response | C-SPAN.org
Sun, 20 Jun 2021 15:08
June 20, 2021 Washington Journal2021-06-20T08:02:23-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/cd0/20210620080359001_hd.jpg Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, talked about the latest developments in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, talked about the latest developments in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
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*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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All Clips

NBC Nightly News - anchor Tom Costello - stay at home workers relucant to return to the office (33sec).mp3
Scott Morrison is now leading a group of 38 countries to go all out against China - TFI Global News.mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Pete Williams - supreme court upholds obamacare (58sec).mp3
Cathie Wood - ESG and Bitcoin.mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Janice Mackey Frayer - china sends astronauts to its space station (1min10sec).mp3
CBS Evening News - anchor David Martin - kim jung un preparing for conflict with u.s. -losing weight (1min41sec).mp3
CBS Evening News - anchor Tony Dokoupil - people living under a heat dome -record temps (9sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Miguel Almaguer - phoenix doctors warn door knobs can burn (10sec).mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Miguel Almaguer - record heat waves -changing planet (41sec).mp3
CBS Evening News - anchor Jonathan Vigliotti - warning to stay inside -so hot it will burn your feet (13sec).mp3
Major Australian banks, U.S. airlines briefly hit by widespread internet outages.mp3
Southwest Airlines Computer GLITCH Grounds Flights.mp3
ABC This Week - anchor Will Hurd - digital infastructure is crumbling -China will gain quantum supremacy (27sec).mp3
Dr Wen C-SPAN - think of the children.mp3
Pfizer vaccine is only 33% effective against Delta Variant.mp3
Shep Smith and Gottlieb - Delta Variant is Covid on steroids.mp3
Think of the Children.mp3
Yantian -1- Another shipping crisis looms on DELTA Covid fears in southern China - Freightwaves Now.mp3
Yantian -2- Is it a variant - Indian Delta + ships details.mp3
CNBC - Biden says delta Covid variant is particularly dangerous for young people.mp3
CNBC - The fast-spreading delta Covid variant could have different symptoms THE KITCHEN SINK.mp3
CBS Weekend News - anchor Lily Luciano - returning to normal -digital vax card -canada stays closed -judge rules cruises ok (1min4sec).mp3
CBS Evening News - anchor Elizabeth Palmer - irans likely new leader (1min33sec).mp3
Cripes Nigeria and Twitter One.mp3
CSPAN Two realities 2.mp3
CSPAN Two realities call in.mp3
fantastiv ISO.mp3
Free trade pact 2.mp3
Free trade pact 3.mp3
Free trade pact One npr.mp3
goamer IDO.mp3
Haberman on Trump CNN.mp3
HB1 2 NPR.mp3
HB1 One NPR.mp3
Hong Kong news PBS.mp3
IRAN Election update 2 mns.mp3
IRAN Election update one.mp3
Judge jeanine says seltzer DOX.mp3
juneteenth in NYC npr.mp3
juneteeth in Denver NPR.mp3
NPR Life lessons.mp3
OTG Texas smart thermo.mp3
Palistinian balloons again PBS.mp3
Quit rate 2 to lame ending.mp3
Quit rate on planet Money.mp3
ronnie jackson texas on Biden screening IQ.mp3
Suck ISO.mp3
ug oh ISO.mp3
amazon streaming MPR.mp3
cooking ISO.mp3
Cripes Nigeria 2.mp3
NASA agency launches a new mission for Equity.mp3
HBO Bill Maher - lin manuel miranda apologizes for lack of afro latinex reprensentation in latest movie (1min8sec).mp3
CBS Evening News - anchor Nancy Cordes - bishops want biden denied communion over abortion rights (31sec).mp3
CBS News On The Hour - anchor Lisa Mateo - truck runs into pride parade (32sec).mp3
FOX News - anchor Mark Levin - Ron Johnson about 309 or 38% of the 800 people that breached the capitol Jan 6th were let in (1min36sec).mp3
Supercut DVE White Supremacy - Starts with Merrick Garland.mp3
NBC Nightly News - anchor Tom Costello - u.s. investing 3.2 billion to develop covid anti-viral pills (15sec).mp3
Australian Military takes control of vaccine rollout.mp3
CBS Evening News - anchor Nancy Cordes - vaccine goals for July 4th falling short -Kamala Harris biblical terms (46sec).mp3
HR Executive says Oil companies are planning on replacing all staff in 3 years.mp3
  • 0:00
    Unknown: What what what what? Adam Curry Jhansi devora. Sunday June 20 2021. This is your award winning cable nation media assassination Episode 1357. This is no agenda, deconstructing the Delta, broadcasting live from opportunity zone 33 here in the frontier of Austin, Texas capital of the drone Star State in the morning, everybody. I'm Adam Curry from Northern Silicon Valley, where they just had the annual Juneteenth shootout in Oakland. I'm John Dvorak.
  • 0:36
    Adam: Oh, man, you know, I am I'm really pissed off about the media. You know, because if you look at what's what's happening on the streets of America, so there was the Juneteenth shootout in Oakland, was it four people shot? How many? Six, six? And were there casualties? That one guy died? One guy died? You know, Saturday in Oakland? I mean, right there No, June right. So we had we had a mass shooting in Austin. Was it last weekend? And now it's 15 people, one of whom has died. And it turns out it was two teenage punks. 15 and 17 years old who was shooting at each other. How is this not national news? How is this not national news? I mean, really big news. Because instead, I'm gonna see if I have a clip of this. I thought I had a clip.
  • 1:40
    Unknown: Let me see.
  • 1:42
    Adam: Yeah, instead, this is the headline and I saw it pop up yesterday. And it's the top the top on Google News. The top on Yahoo the top on. I didn't check Apple news. But you know, just it's the number one story.
  • 1:56
    Unknown: What's it intentional or an accident? That's the question authorities in Florida are asking after a driver slams into a crowd at a pride parade killing one person and injuring another who are TVs bow with gates. The truck was also participating in the parade and had a pride flag on it. The driver was even wearing a pride shirt. as senior official briefed on the incident tell CBS Miami that the initial indications are that this was an accident. The driver of the truck is telling police that his foot got stuck between the gas pedal and the brake causing him to lose control. Bc this didn't
  • 2:29
    matter the details didn't matter. The headline was pickup truck kills one in Pride Parade. You know? Yeah. unclear whether accident or intentional. These eight holes were hoping let it First of all, let's just hope hope it's a white guy. First of all start with that. Okay, so white guy good. Ah, and I didn't have a Trump sticker on his done his pickup truck. Meanwhile, there's death and destruction black on black crime happening all over the country. It's in Chicago again. Two people killed in cold blood and it's on video. You could roll that play that over and over again. You like the trauma? That just just drives me apeshit and virally, it doesn't really word apparently. Well, but yeah, we deconstruct media. And it just has to be pointed out while it's this moment in time, so you can witness it for yourself that all these other horrible events that have taken place, even things that would be within the agenda of the news media. I know you're on now guns. I mean, just give up on that. Let's play a call. I got a couple of decent clips I would just been rolling with for a while I've been moving forward. I was gonna I use them at the end of the show. I'm gonna play him now. Oh, holy crap. Okay. This is the c span calling.
  • 3:52
    This is c span two realities call in mind for Republicans. This is David out of independence, Louisiana. Good morning. JOHN. I'd like to say First off, I want to thank you personally, for being so nice to me over a couple of years here, as well as healthy
  • 4:12
    as it was surprised to see how happy you were with that last guest, you know, and yours tells me a lot about you and the show. Supposed to be fair balanced, but there was no Fox News. How fair balanced would it be? And as far as compared Trump to Biden, he thinks that God's self that Biden is in reality.
  • 4:38
    Trump produced so much 1000 times more than Biden will ever have a chance to win. goes back to something I had told me before. There are two realities that we live in. The average person has reality that they're immersed in, and then there's another one that you TV people create. And that last guest was a bit So example, that awkward thank God, that guy is a dreamland man. Well, let's give our let's give our current guests a chance to talk about these two realities that you talked about. Okay. Well, this is this is something that we have identified for many, many years. And it seems that we're not alone. No, and it's also Scott Adams version of it.
  • 5:23
    He has a two movies playing it. Right, right. two dimensions. Yeah. He has to just play the second half of this trip. And I want to mention that I have to talk about something that I heard on the radio. Well, yeah, I think you have. I mean,
  • 5:35
    you've seen it more and more in the media landscape and the public landscape. You know, Pew Research did a poll for President Biden's 100 days. And the audience of CNN and MSNBC is disproportionately liberal there. They are sort of much more, you know, I think it's 20 or 30%. More liberals in their audience. Think conservatives, if you go to Fox News, I think it's about 30% 30 points more conservatives than liberals. I think people have chosen their, their their media outlet to favor and I think the the executives of those outlets, the host of those outlets know very well what their audience is, who that who's in their audience, what those people want to hear. And so, yes, you know, Brian Stelter to you know, he was just here will tell the the CNN audience, what's most interest to see in an audience, which is, you know, criticizing republicans and finding good things to say about the the Biden administration. Yeah, fair enough. That's pretty pretty much the way we've seen it.
  • 6:38
    John: Yes, and I do and you what you're complaining about early on right? There was the one of the sides of the two dimensions. dimension be clearly so I'm listening to I spend a lot of time now listening to left wing talk radio. This is the same thing I put myself through with watching msnbc all day. It's pretty much Yeah, well, this, this deserves danger pay, I want everyone to listen up. This is hard stuff to do people. So this guy, because in and he's obviously in zhaan, provoca tour for the republicans. And he gets into a debate with this guy. And I don't know who this guy is. Just, they're pretty random. And the guy goes on, he says, You have no idea how much better Joe Biden is than Trump, Joe Biden, at the at the G phi g seven, a read read put in the riot act. He's had a backbone. He stood up, he says, Have you listened to both press conferences from beginning to end? If you did, you'd know that Joe Biden told, you know, lay down the law and and put and back dot back down. Yeah. Joe Biden is the strongest president we've had for a long time. And he went on and on and on rule. And I'm listening to steak, dude. Wow. I mean, and I could kind of understand again, if we go back to this common theme we've had for I don't know how many years a decade, at least, of these two dimensions, and you can see whatever you want with the way they're presenting the news, because they're not giving any facts. It is, in essence, two versions of the simulation. Now, well, now I do
  • 8:20
    have a little aside joke here, Joe. Joe time. All right. Hold on. So everybody's joke time. Yeah. I guess Joe Rogan, made some some slams against Brian Stelter. Yes. He made some slams. And and we've always called him seltzer water. Yes. And, and rightly so. Sure. Now, and we always wonder whether or not anybody at Fox or some of these other networks. Listen to our show on the sly. You know, just like oh, yeah, well, I really can steal from the boys. I've always thought to Tucker Carlson's producers at least checking at the time I think that's fair. Fair. play this judge Jeanine clip. Oh, boy.
  • 9:12
    Unknown: podcast host Joe Rogan, just enough of this far left hypocrisy and called out fake news. CNN is Brian seltzer this week.
  • 9:23
    John: I've heard we really do the full seltzer water. So I'm not sure I've heard other people say seltzer. Okay, have you heard it before? But I don't understand how she says seltzer. Can I just you know, it's in the prompter and is spelled correctly. Yeah. Hey, in the morning to you judge Jeanine. Good to have you on board. Yeah, I think she's fantastic. That would that is a very interesting woman. Well, she's definitely got opinions. She goes down. The whole package is in Interesting go down to the border hops on a horse. I know she's got spunk. She has luck definitely has spunk. spunk is exactly what judge Jeanine has. And john, happy seeding person's day. Oh, they only came up with the male version. Well, I did it. I thought we should as long as it persists. Yeah. Happy seating persons day. Yeah, I like it. Yeah. I mean, it's what's wrong with it? I mean, it's perfectly okay. According to today's vernacular, I think we're good. Yeah, no. Well, Happy Father's Day. should say that to all the Father's Day to you and all the father's Yes. We have quite a few. And they were they appreciate Father's Day a little more than, let's say three years ago. Yeah. Because then Father's Day and Mother's Day were notoriously a joke, to the point on the no agenda show where it was going to be discontinued as a promotion. Yes, true. Like I say that discontinued as a promotion, but just not going to have any of that.
  • 11:07
    Unknown: Okay.
  • 11:09
    Adam: Here's a couple of interesting patterns that I am starting to recognize, since we're talking about the the mind control the manipulation of the individual simulations as spun out through the television telescreen playout systems. Think that's exactly what we said. They're trying to do something else. They collectively although it seems to mainly be coming from the NBC camp. And that is to get us to be afraid of the Delta variant. And it's being done in interesting ways. But first, we need to know that this is indeed some kind of sign up that's taking place so we need to identify the code has
  • 11:54
    Unknown: taken on new urgency as a highly contagious new variant sweeps through the country. The Delta variant has now been detected in 49 states and is responsible for 10% of new US cases, backfires it's Dr. Paul Offit expects that percentage to climb quickly and nodes that studies show the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine is only 33% effective against this variant.
  • 12:20
    Adam: Okay, so so we know we got to pay attention. variant bullcrap on the way. CNBC really doing a good job pulling out all the stops from the daytime programming, where they have financial news, even to the evening lineup with a shepherd Shep Smith, on CNBC, but this first report is they just throw the entire kitchen sink. This is like this is the start. Like we're going with this we're going with this vid Delta variant, this is what we're going to use. We're going to use it politically to scare people we're going to use it financially to promote more vaccine.
  • 12:58
    Unknown: Scientists are still learning about the Delta variant but they agree it appears more transmissible in a new report today, public health English says it's associated with a 60% increased risk of household transmission compared with the alpha strain. Now that's the one associated with the UK, which itself is more contagious than older strains. And researchers here in the US are worried about this because of the precedent set with that alpha variant. It became dominant first in the UK and then here in the US as well. The UK is now seeing an uptick in new daily COVID cases as delta takes over. In the US prevalence of delta is still low, but it's spreading fast. According to Weill Cornell geneticist Chris Mason. its highest in states like Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Colorado. We're in Mesa county this week, public health officials issued a warning that delta is spreading rapidly 125 identified cases were in people under age 20. And though the strange with reports of hearing loss, looming pains and nausea, it isn't clear that it causes those different symptoms more than other strains. Yet, scientists suspect it could lead to more severe disease overall, but say more research is needed. And in India, where this delta strain has been dominant, there's been an increase in cases of what's known as Black fungus that can require surgery to remove. Some patients have lost their eyes and for other people. It's thought that it could be arriving at COVID
  • 14:29
    patients immune systems have been suppressed by drugs used in their treatment oh really immune system suppressed by drugs in their treatment. clinics Dr. Vinton Rajkumar To conclude, quote, this is not last year's COVID last year's COVID. The vaccines are effective against the strain, but vaccination rates are uneven across the US from more than 50% in the northeast, to around 30% in southern states, which experts warn makes them vulnerable.
  • 15:01
    Oh, Crikey. Yeah, the South will rise again with like a vaccines. Well, this this is now now we've got to look at the trend so that we know it's scary. It's really scary. They bring it to a black mold and you lost your eye here. She literally just said they've lost their eyes. What does that even mean? Very bad. So now we need to really end America. We know how it works. We know what you need to say if you want to get the American human beings to do something and
  • 15:35
    delta variant first showed up in wastewater in Branson, Missouri on May 10. Branson is about four hours away from here. Within a week it was detected in the wastewater right here. In Brookfield it's been spreading across the state ever since. Listen to what the President of one local hospital told us
  • 15:54
    it's coming here at risk. You're a sitting duck if you're not vaccinated. And we want you to vaccinate because our hospitals are feeling
  • 16:03
    the University of Missouri is working with the state's health department to detect and track COVID-19 in wastewater facilities all across the state. Not only can scientists detect COVID-19, in wastewaters, and by default in specific communities, but they can also identify exact variants scientists. Data shows them in this state right now is that not only is the Delta variant prevalent, but it is spreading incredibly fast, particularly in smaller rural communities where less people are vaccinated. In Linn County, only about a third of residents are fully vaccinated.
  • 16:41
    All right, let's just take it all the way to the children bring in Godley bring in Shep Smith, we've got to make it clear what's happening here, Doctor earlier today of a former White House adviser on COVID called the Delta variant, the like COVID on steroids. What are your thoughts?
  • 16:58
    About 60% more transmissible than B. 117, which was a UK variant that we know is more contagious. It's doubling about every 10 to 14 days in terms of its prevalence here in the United States, it's about 10% of infections right now. It will become the dominant strain in the United States. Now, the question is, is it going to be 90% of 10,000 infections a day or 90% of 100,000 infections a day? I think as far as summer is concerned, we're unlikely to see a big resurgence of in theory of infection even with this new variant, but this is a significant risk to the fall. And the effects of it are likely to be very regional, we're likely to see a resurgence of infection from 617. From this delta variant in states that have low vaccination rates versus states with vaccination rates are above 70 to 80%. They should be pretty well protected. There's some modeling out right now that shows if you get to about 85% of eligible people vaccinated which some states that will approach as they head towards the fall. That should be pretty good protection against resurgence of infection even with this more transmissible strain. Yeah, let's just do it people.
  • 18:04
    Here she is, Dr. Wen, from the CDC. She is the she's the expert who goes on every show and she's now on c span.
  • 18:13
    There is this fallacy that somehow Coronavirus is not a problem for children that kids can get it. They'll be mildly symptomatic, if at all. Somehow they won't pass it on even or some people even think that kids are immune quote from Coronavirus. And it's not a problem. And I just wanted to address this by giving readers in your viewers a thought experiment of Imagine if this disease did not affect any adults, but only afflicted children. Because I think what's gone on is we keep saying well children tend to not get as severely ill as adults, which is a true statement. But just because that's the case doesn't mean that we should not pay attention to Coronavirus and the impact on children. As you mentioned incited there are children who have died tragically from Coronavirus. They've been hospitalized. There are also kids for living with long term side effects, many of which we don't even fully understand. For example, there was just a prepared a pre printed paper that came out this week from the UK a study looking at the effect of COVID-19 on people's brains. They looked at adult brains not kids brains, but they found that there is a loss of gray matter, even in people who had mild COVID-19. Now we don't know the significance of this. We don't know whether this happens in children. But all I'm saying is there are potential long term effects in children as well, that we cannot dismiss we cannot dismiss the impact on children that 400 kids will die from COVID-19 by the
  • 19:44
    way, disproportionately affecting African American, Latino American children as well. And so, in Africa and South America, important for us to continue to emphasize protection for children.
  • 19:55
    Adam: It's all about children, children, children, children, children. With as far as I know, very little evidence, but we really don't know, because the ope the various databases, who knows erupted? Well, it seems that there are big gaps in data. As some of Of course, people download the data, they analyze it, and they looked at gaps in like, into entire series of reports would just remove, which now they may have been detected as completely bogus, but they should at least be some trail, like a Wikipedia, you know, you come back to a previous version, I see it was there 140,000 have been deleted, and was m word right now we're, I think, over 5000 official, or officially approved them. And actually, if if 140,000 were removed, that means the ones that are there are real. So even if that is the exact number, little over 5000 people died from the vaccine, then that's really significant. Anyway, the real story, besides that this thing now can eat up your brain, which no one's reporting on, okay?
  • 21:05
    is what's happening in China, where they have had an outbreak of this horrible Delta variant, and they have shut down the young, a young tiaan shipping port, which is big. And this is and so you think we have supply chain problems right now? Holy crap. I could not find any reporting on this. Certainly not any video or any clips. And I found this from a news. I don't know, they're only on YouTube. But it's a news outfit, called freight waves now. It's a podcast about shipping freight. At least if it's a podcast with an RSS feed. Here, they're
  • 21:50
    Unknown: one of the biggest things that I'm watching right now, of course, is what's going on in Yan tn. And I'm really surprised that it's not getting the the news that it should be getting because you this is a major port. There is a COVID outbreak in that part of China, where of course you're not getting a lot of information from the Chinese government, as it relates to this outbreak. And you've had more skiff had have pag avoid to rerouting ships, to kind of you know, avoid the area, you have 41 vessels anchored right now outside of that port. This is a major port guys you have about it's a major port for both European as well as us routes 100 routes traveled to and from this port alone 60% to 80% of exports.
  • 22:47
    Have you even heard about this happening that they've that they've shut down? It sounds like this sounds like a Chinese scam. Yeah, of course it is. That's what I'm saying this will keep us from getting our services. Yes. And this I think it's a no deal. It is a big deal. It should be covered a little better. We don't cover this kind of thing, because we got too many other things like they the guy trying to kill a gay man in a parade. Whoo. I have a second part to this reports. 50 seconds. Yes, please. Yeah, no, she goes a little more. This, by the way is a reporter I think from CNBC as she This is her side gig
  • 23:22
    from from the information that we've garnered, it looks like it's it's the Indian variants that that we have unfortunately seen, you know, sweeping through Asia on and what they're doing is you have 30% of the eastern portion of the terminal for tn tn open. And that's according to Marske, the western portion of that terminal is closed. When you're looking at the vessels that are out there. 44 cargo vessels are anchored at the port, seven of those are empty 22 or partially fall 11 are fully flow full. And when you're looking at that flow of trade, what's comprised of on those vessels is a is a combination of exports that have to come to both the United States and Europe, as well as the all important empty containers that we all know are in short supply, and that is driving up rates even more.
  • 24:18
    I don't know anything about the short supply of empty containers, but the way she said it with her voice got this short supply of empty containers. The problem is, is that they ship out a lot of good services the United States and they get 20% of the containers back with our exports. Right We don't deadhead a bunch of empty containers and send them back. We're no fools. Well, do you make tournament housing? Yes, I remember back in the day I was considering that and you can get a shot. I don't think you should have done it. If you live in the property, you would have been well here too. There's good and bad side that analysis. You would have been earlier into the properties A Scam. Yeah, I would have been a multimillionaire and I would not be doing this podcast with you. Or you would have been stuck with a white elephant that you could never, ever sell ever. You still be living there, whether we're the container on it, or the shipping, a white elephant where the shipping container? I remember they're about five, five grand. I wonder where they go for now?
  • 25:24
    I don't know. It's a good. That's a good question. Could have been discussed and you think it had been discussed? Yes. They're short containers. Most of the lot it in the early days. I used to work as an inspector on a container line for early days.
  • 25:39
    Adam: What was it like on the docks like in the wire season to know is that trail mobiel in Fremont? Very different trail. mobiel. Okay, trail mobiel made a lot of the containers they made. They made the ones for matsen and pfal. And somebody else, that's all they did was make these things. I was an inspector. It was it. I just I have stories to tell. So I know. That's why I want to run that now. Okay. Okay, couple more COVID things. Oh, yes. I should mention regarding the children. The CDC, as you know that we're going to do an emergency meeting because of all these kids who have myocarditis, amongst other heart issues. And on Friday, breaking news, breaking news, CDC delays meeting on kids COVID COVID vaccine heart risk, new federal Juneteenth holiday prompts rescheduling? Oh, there's an interesting coincidence. Can you believe that?
  • 26:43
    too, first of all, Friday was June 18. But okay, I guess because it's June 19. The first official time that it's it time in history that it isn't official? Yeah. As an excuse. Yes. It's a good one. I mean, I was I was calling up the different services to cancel because we're almost ready to move. And I called up Austin utilities by the office is closed due to the holiday on the 18th. Yes. But these guys didn't bite and just sign the bill. Yeah, they got it in under the wire the bill the other day, they're all closing down immediately. Yes. All their story after story about how government agencies were scrambling to handle the extra day off on Friday. So it wasn't just June 19. June teeth. That's fine. Yeah, we have all kinds of holidays. That's great. That's good. I'm cool. I mean, I think a different way you think the government should be doing it is that this would be the year where we decided into law. Luckily, it's on a Saturday, don't worry about it. Next year, we'll take the extra day off, or whatever it is, maybe midweek? Who knows? Yeah, instead of this, what you're describing. So but this kind of tells me also that the Biden administration is jumping around, stuff is going on, and they're doing things to try and almost like a just in time manipulation. You know, we saw it with the mask coming off immediately. Then we have the Wu Han lab being walked back. But not everyone's prepared, you know, the mask mandate, who's done everyone's could play
  • 28:10
    a role. You didn't prepare us for that. And it's true. Most governments do that, you know, they have weeks of pre pre massage things. Everybody knows what's coming. And these guys just boop, boop, boop, they just do whatever. Anyway. So there's that there's the, oh, this was a good little sound you made whatever it was a story over the weekend about for British Airways pilots who died, all related to all after being vaccinated. And this was tamped down very quickly by British Airways and by Reuters, who came out with a very full fact check. So at least one of those pilots I believe, was long term actually sick and Houston had been here for, like some record number of days, 250 days they shuttled him back comatose, and he unfortunately died when he got to the UK. The other two or possibly three, I don't know. It's it's not unthinkable that of the 1000 pilots, that you're going to have a couple problems after they have the vaccination just based on the numbers I'm seeing whether it's specific to altitude and thrombosis and blood clots or not. Because a lot of people were following that. Then we have an easy one that we could have seen, you know, if you have something that works, but you've discredited it, and you still want to make money off of it. I don't know maybe this is ivermectin. Maybe it's hydroxychloroquine. Who knows what it is. But this is the both This is the big money with COVID likely to remain a threat for years to come. The White House say they will
  • 29:48
    spend $3.2 billion to develop new antiviral over the counter pills to treat COVID and future viruses at home, keeping people out of ers. So now we're going to get a pill a treatment. Yes. Do you mean like the $2 Little Pill they started not a pill but a whole bunch of pills. They sell an Indian Goa, you know that ivermectin plus zinc pill plus something else you would think. And I think this this contract is going to Merck, from what I can understand 3.2 bucks By the way, it'd be 20 bucks or more 200 200 and Merck needed something, they were pissed, you know, this like, hey, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson got something. I mean, just because you know, we do pills. Don't be a douche, Joe. Because what do you mean? 5 billion? I'll give you two. Let's make it 233 point two. Okay, you got a deal set up to make a press release. So we're supposed to hit some goals as Americans, we're not doing very well. We are underperforming. It's not, not who we are. For on July 4 goals
  • 30:56
    Unknown: with his July 4 goal slipping away, President Biden touted a different milestone today. 300 million shots in arms in his first 150 days, if you haven't gotten vaccinated yet get vaccinated now. Don't put it free
  • 31:15
    to get 70% this thing, this is marketing style is still free. Come on. This always works with Americans. It's free. Now. Don't put it off. It's free.
  • 31:30
    President had hoped to get 70% of US adults at least partially vaccinated by Independence Day. But the country is sitting at 65% with just days to go. In Georgia, where the rate is even lower. The vice president framed the choice to get the shot in biblical terms today is also
  • 31:57
    the vaccine is about.
  • 31:59
    John: Yes, love thy neighbor. That's what the vaccine is about to Wow, these people are really struggling. Do you think that they're gonna make it up and pretend as if they got to? I don't know who's really checking this? Do you think that they'll just say claim victory? That's a good idea. I never thought of that. But that makes sense. That's what you do. I mean, you know, this should really just be for just just like a couple days before July 4, they can make a big announcement Biden comes out. By the way, this is one thing we haven't talked about. Biden's gate. Yes. His forward leaning gate. Explain gate because that's something most people know. It the term refers to the gay horses are notorious for having a gate is the way they this way they they jog. A gate is the way you walk is are you do you look like you're balanced or unbalanced? Or you look like an older person? Do you look like it? alki now the gate I'm always is there's a town, you know, in the Berkeley area, there's a lot of bars and as San Francisco's got more bars per capita, but in some rural towns, they have these bars. And and at night, if you're driving around, you see people leave the bars, and they have a kind of, I would call it a professional drunks gate. It's not like they're staggering all over the place like an amateur would do. Because they've been you know, they're they're Pro, they're pro drinkers. These old timers, they're, they and they have a specific gate. And it's like a, it's
  • 33:36
    like, there used to be a comedian foster Brooks who played a drunk. And he was on all these old rushes. If anyone watches the old time TV, you'll see some of these old things and foster books. He developed the ability to copy the gait of the professional alcoholic and now there was someone who drinks all the time. They're basically a brain shot and their system doesn't work. Right. And so they walk funny, and it's kind of like I like a little hesitancy. It's just not right. And Biden has got the drunken gate. And you people say, Well, he's an old man. I don't think that's not an old man's gate. Guys, you see these old men? They they they're steady, bytes not steady. He's got a gate of a drunk.
  • 34:22
    Unknown: Wow.
  • 34:25
    Adam: I guess there's a reason why we don't hear that discussed. I don't think you can get that in many other places other than on the free and open podcast ecosystem. When you see him walking when you pay more attention to it, because I'm always like, oh, man, is he gonna fall? He's like, he's just walks funny. Do you think it is but it's again a drunk it's again a bit of an old real alcoholic, the type of people that just frequent bars and they gotten part of the just the right part of their brain eating away just enough so they can't really they're not steady. Well, this will tell you So this proves one thing. The whole adrenochrome thing is bullcrap. Give this guy some extra, you know, come on, isn't that the whole point is that you can be as Spry as, as Nancy Pelosi and some of the other 80 year olds in Congress. You just have to have the right the right juice. Yeah. So either they're not going on and Biden. Yeah, I mean, either the not giving him the right stuff or it's not true. It doesn't work. It's not working on him. And I want a refund.
  • 35:34
    John: But he just very it's just something to see. And it drives me nuts, is it? They don't show him walking on much of the mainstream media they do on c a c span is some of the other Fox. They'll show him walking around. But the mainstream media just cuts all that out. And they really do a good job of covering his ass.
  • 35:54
    Adam: Oh, no kidding. I mean, just hear the analysis of of the g7 Oh, man, even I've got to start clipping this show pivot with Kara Swisher and Professor Scott Galloway. Yeah, it's my hate listen. And kawachi hate listening clip. Yeah, I should because how, and these are very intelligent people, a clip a clip them talking like, well, Biden really did a great job at the g7 just the right balance, like holy crap. A lot of that is what I'm hearing on these left wing talk shows. Okay. It's like they just think he's the greatest thing ever. I think we have to do some hate clipping. You're right. It's time. It's the day Hey, new jingle. Okay. Now, Australia for a moment. It's, it's not easy for us to imagine what's going on now with our, our brothers and sisters who were related to the, to the to the Church of England.
  • 37:00
    We can only surmise what it's been like in Canada, it's the closest to us. So we get the most kind of overflow of news very, very, very horrible situation, how they're locked up like dogs. And then in Australia,
  • 37:14
    another country that I feel is very close to us, in many ways, some good, some not so good. They've really had to be incredibly obedient for the good part of a year, a full year, even though they didn't have a horrible situation that they didn't, you know, the the actual people who got really sick and died is very small. But the obedience and the beatdown that they've received, there is crazy. And then in that context, when Trump said operation warp speed, the military is going to deliver it. That's kind of you know, Will Smith like, Independence Day, wow, you become bomb, we're gonna come and save everybody. But when you get this announcement in Australia, with this whole obedience lockdown context, I find it creepy. The pm has asked me to come and take direct control of the rollout and all of the resources and assets involved in the rollout. This, of course, is building on the fabulous work that has already been done by many, including Brendan Murphy, Paul Kelly, Carolyn Edwards, many colleagues at the Department of Health and the whole vaccine Task Force, but this is a new phase. Now the ministers mentioned this new phase will be known as Operation COVID shield. And I am given the aim of ensuring as many Australians as possible get vaccinated as quickly as possible within the available resources. And that's what I intend to do. I am presently conducting a comprehensive review of the program to date. And I will be looking for any opportunity to optimize optimize
  • 38:53
    the current plans to accelerate the rollout where we can as additional supplies come online. We will of course be encouraging all Australians to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. I don't know. Yeah, it just seems a little more creepy.
  • 39:08
    John: We're calling in the military now. They're taking it over now. And we got to get as many people vaccinated as possible. I'm sure it will all be you know, volunteer. But do you think that military began coming to the street knocking just to check? No, that doesn't sound good. But you need some boots on the ground reports. We do need some boots on the ground reports. And surprised they didn't try doing that here. Or at least in California. The California National Guard out you know the real problem that they have with stuff like that in the United States, which is a real problem for the left is that the states don't all act alike. And you have a state like South Dakota where they never even did a shutdown and even in Florida they had a little bit of a shutdown for a while they opened up Really quick but they did but in South Dakota they never did. And and Florida for all practical purposes never did and Texas is kind of half on the half and half. And California was heavy into lockdowns and shutdowns in fact it started in San Francisco when London breeze shut down San Francisco just before anybody did anything right just panicked and shut down services number one foam finger you were number one and then when you see the the numbers at the end of the day and I use that term in this regard after all was said and done I know there's a little phrase when you look at it after a year and a half and used to compare numbers, deaths and cases and everything from state to
  • 40:41
    state to state South Dakota came out pretty much to the top of the list as as did well and in the harshest states especially New York and California came out the bottom more deaths more problems more this more that more money and so you can't you know it's hard to ignore this tell me you can ignore
  • 41:04
    it ignore it of course it's being ignored Yeah, people do ignore it but they it's hard for any reasonable person who actually looks at the data to ignore what what the facts are but this is also a unique Okay, so two things one states rights you know, people who understand this are not surprised. It's like okay, I mean, that's why Texas now as of September one you can carry a gun on your head if you want you can carry it as you can as long as had yeah on your head you know, you can have it concealed Oh, training By the way, have you noticed? Well, I have because I'm listening to leftwing tell us what they say no training that's the make a big stink they don't make a big stink about everyone carrying firearms. It's without training a big stink about the no training Hey, wait a minute, you were the same people. You're not you know, training people that took gun training out of high schools used to be a common thing you could get a gun safety was like a thing you would learn in high school but Oh god, no, can't do that. No. And now you have Texas and they just no training and they make a big fuss. Well, we train our own here just fine in Texas by shooting a stray cats. Sure. And your point is I'm just saying yeah and swine is the it's the wild pigs that's the ones we got to get. Yeah, but those are good eaten. But you know the the way I think it works is let's make a lot of noise. Let's make bills let's do proposals. Let's call them everybody racist. And then the
  • 42:31
    immediate reaction is supposed to actually outrage
  • 42:37
    Adam: outrage the the progressives liberals in Texas, so that you can kind of move the needle a couple years down the road, for example. We passed a heartbeat law which I think is is not okay. Which means you cannot have an abortion once the baby's heart is detected, which then that can be at six weeks. I mean, I'm I personally, I don't like any of it. But I I have to say that if you're going to do any law, make it at least the first trimester, which is traditionally when you even you know, can even start to see something.
  • 43:15
    Unknown: And I think it's meant to just outrage and I think it'll get changed down the line. That's kind of how the needle moves back and forth. And it's all just political everything is political. These a holes all of them. So here's the passport shit, of course, Canada Hello.
  • 43:33
    The first Saturday since California fully reopened and crowds are filling the streets. 73% of adults in the state are at least partially vaccinated. And there's a new digital system to show they got their dose, no paper card needed to make the more convenient to go to go places that you know require it nationally 65% of adults are at least partially vaccinated. But 30 states lag behind with Mississippi, Louisiana, Wyoming and Alabama at the bottom in three of those states. New COVID cases are increasing. Dr. Susan Judd is with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the concern of states don't catch up is that they could be facing another COVID outbreak in the fall. How big of a risk does this delta variant pose? It's a big risk and people that are unvaccinated. It spreads more rapidly than the traditional Coronavirus variants that we've seen in the past. Canada will keep its borders close to American travelers for another month. cruises will soon resume after a federal judge ruled to lift the CDCs no sale order.
  • 44:39
    Adam: So, you know, it's like all this random implementation of stuff of a digital card. By the way, what is what does that have to stop me from just getting a screenshot from my buddy and just using their QR code on my phone? But what is this not a very simple to hack system
  • 45:00
    Unknown: Thanks so now has to be simple to hack because it started off with you know, just this little printed card you could pick up online because it was available. I think the first time I saw it was on the Wyoming Health Department website, somebody pointed out on no agenda social and you could download copies of it there because that's what the doctors are using, they would go to that same site and they download the image and then they print it out on a local printer and sign off on and give it a piece of paper to the person.
  • 45:29
    These are the cards that are being given out to some of the meetups in in New York they have the Excelsior system. Have you ever looked up the definition of Excelsior, it literally means above. So it means above Yes. So if you are if you are Excelsior, you are above the rest of the plebs. plebs who do not have the Royal Excelsior. Yes, Excelsior is pronounced plebes, but it could be I like same plebs
  • 45:58
    John: and Alex one of our producers there has all the documentation and provided a boots on the ground report at a concert attended by our producer just got through security at a concert in New York astan. They claimed you had to have a clear test on with you on you within 48 hours or and vaccine passport to enter. said you needed a mass to to wear a mask when walking around. concert was sold at 30%. Not a soul has a mass knows anyone person asked for our test or vaccine. I think this is all just legal jargon to save their asses. And none of these states can actually enforce these rules. So this is New York where they didn't even it didn't even ask for proof. Yeah. So they just screwed the pooch on this. We're gonna have to wait until it's just getting worse. Boy, you have to wait for the next pandemic for the true mark of the beast. And you're right, they'll probably go for the chip. Now that we that we figured it all out now that we can eat that. And I've always believed this is something of a dry run for something. Yeah. Oh, yeah, just got too many elements of the dry run. I mean, it's got like the phony baloney. First of all, it was accomplish a couple of things that did accomplish a couple of things that got rid of Trump, they wanted to do that. And they did. And I don't think if it wasn't for the pandemic that and you know, they just because the pandemic led to the absentee ballots in the voting booth, he said, it just was just terrific. It was a fantastic
  • 47:29
    ploy. But it also got to test the systems. And I think a lot of them work to their benefit. I think the system's kind of worked. And in terms of getting the public all jacked up. And yeah, but it's not perfect. And there's a lot of mistakes that it takes. This will be one of those posts you're gonna do when they do the post mortem on this. All right, everybody before we get before we do this next run, before we go live for a long time, it's gonna take at least a year or two to get to Oh, even more that a lot went wrong with this one. And maybe now this is just a couple more things about segregation, not just by vaccinated unvaccinated but Kansan avians. Our brothers and sisters up north still locked down like dogs can't get out for another month, at least the border will be closed. When they come to New Yorker, Stan, they will not be allowed to see Bruce Springsteen on Broadway, due to the fact they had the AstraZeneca vaccination and that is just not approved here. We do not want that in our states. Where did you get this idea? Oh, it's all over the place from the garden hood. These Pfizer guys have gone too far. This is one of the problems in the postmortem is great. They're gonna determine that Pfizer had a little too much influence on everything because they were greedy. Yes, they're gonna be cut out of the deal on the next one.
  • 48:54
    Adam: The boss has laid down strict rules for attendees of Springsteen on Broadway which reopens on June 26 at the St. James theatre. for admission ticket holders must be able to prove they have received one of the three COVID vaccinations with emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. The two dose Pfizer bio and TECHO mudrunner. Vaccines are the single shot one and done Johnson and Johnson. This means that those who have had doses of AstraZeneca Oxford jab, which is not approved for use in the US, but is popular. It's popular in Canada, the UK and other countries. The kids are loving it. Like it's a rock star. It's so popular. They will not be allowed in for that for what the show's producers are billing as quote an intimate night with Bruce his guitar, a piano and his penis. Jeez. And his stories. Understand, understandably The news was not well received in Canada. I mean, come on. You're right. They went overboard on this one.
  • 49:52
    Unknown: Yeah, they went overboard. So is Broadway. Well, they just Broadway brought to you by Pfizer, we care. Might as well go That way. Okay, a couple more things here. So we have the treatments. Oh, yes. A couple of incentives. We love the incentives, the incentives thing.
  • 50:14
    John: I mean, here in California, I don't have clips here in California, Newsome, you know, we get the stupid press conference had a picture of in the last, not the last newsletter, but the one before it gives us is a press conference at Disneyland and he's got a bunch of Disney characters surrounding him. And then he does a kind of a lottery, ball pick, you know, he spins a thing. And he picks a bunch of numbers as he's the people to get a million dollars. And here's five of them. It's unbelievable. In the Netherlands every year, there is a something called is an event called the hollington. You and you are hiding. And this is I think it goes but must go back hundreds of years. This is when the fishermen bring in the first herring from the North Sea the first catch of the season, because they're big enough, but they're just they're so so fat. And so just so i mean i i have love become to love hearing of course growing up in in Holland. And do you like to pickle or do you like the greasy? Well, no, I'd like to pick old so it's, they've, they've cooked it by pickling it. And they you know, they cut it open.
  • 51:30
    Adam: take everything off and they put in onions a little bit of pickle and then you hold it upside down, you kind of swap it through the onions to the chopped onions. And you hold it by the tail you and you suck the whole fish right off into your mouth. God That sounded horrible. But Yep, I'm saying it. I'm saying it because it's a big deal. It's a big deal at around the world for the Dutch. And of course you always drink a glass of Geneva with it the the Dutch chilled gin. And it's so big that when I was in New York, the Dutch embassy would send a car for me back when I was you know, super famous and mattered that send a car No, come on over, because we're gonna do our hold on to newer the new herring event. And it's a picture thing. And it's a huge promotion for Holland. But now this is of course being abused. And these a holes are jumping on the train the fish industry, and they're offering the fresh new herring to everyone who gets a COVID COVID vaccination.
  • 52:32
    Unknown: That's like
  • 52:36
    Adam: a lot of lot of things to be kind of disgusted by this I love though, you know, a tender went out from the this was an odd one for you. Well, I wanted to talk about the hearing. There's a tender that went out for a government tender. So a request for proposal from the Westminster Council for London, tender for temporary structures to put dead bodies in all over the 32 boroughs in London.
  • 53:09
    And I'm looking at the web page here. I mean, it really it really is a proper tender. And it says he the authority seeks to procure a framework agreement for temporary body storage in the event of an excess death situation for the 32 London boroughs and the City of London led by the Westminster City Council, the framework agreement will appoint a single provider and will be good for a period of four years.
  • 53:36
    So it's a you know, that's kind of like your FEMA camp story. But this is a where we want to make sure we storage for dead people.
  • 53:46
    Unknown: And maybe it goes along with this expecting they don't have the dead people now, they didn't get to dead people during the COVID. They didn't have the dead people last year that much that they need the storage, but what are they? What's going on? I don't know, build back better.
  • 54:03
    Adam: Build back better position, put on the side of each one, build back better body bags. That's what we need. The five B's. Now this is a story that I picked up off of, you know, this is one of those, hey, I'm in the car. I'm going to tell you my life story. We love these videos. This is where the truth comes out. This is as she states herself an HR executive for the oil and gas industry. And she shares something very disturbing with us. At least she found it disturbing. She said that's going on in the industry. And I am confident that amongst our many producers in gitmo-nation we have people who are in the HR industry in the gas and oil fields. And maybe they can confirm or corroborate this story.
  • 54:50
    Unknown: To this day. I am running a global gas and oil recruitment firm. And the reason that this is important is because of what I am Seeing as an executive in this industry happening right now as a result of the COVID vaccines and at something called succession planning, basically what it is, is companies need to plan for what's going to happen as their staff move on rather than move up the line, they retire. And succession planning is something that I help companies with professionally by offer them recruitment services. So they'll come to me and say, Hey, we're going to need 100 guys to you know, staff, this rig, so on and so forth. And so we'll provide them that service. Well, what's really interesting what's happening right now, and it's actually mortifying, not just interesting. executives are having their HR staff and their managers, superintendents, foremen go through and look at the staff that have received the vaccines. And they're planning to have to replace them all within the next three years. Scott, some of these guys literally in tears as they're going through the company, and literally checking off all of these individuals that have taken the vaccine, knowing that most likely in the next three years, they're going to have to plan to replace that person. And this is a really big thing in the industry that I'm in and a lot of talk going on around this at the moment because these massive companies massive gas and oil companies are looking to have to
  • 56:23
    replace 1000s of personnel and they're pretty petrified as for what's going to happen to their staff but also their businesses because they protect that they're going to lose you know roughly half of their personnel there you go
  • 56:40
    sounds out there sounds out there but yeah, well it's totally out there but it's great. We do baby boys don't idea remotely true. Wait till we start hate clipping
  • 56:54
    John: the hate clips come down to it. I have a letter from one of our producers anonymous to good, anonymous Tom. I basically had to get my jab by mandate from my job.
  • 57:08
    Regardless, I had the Madonna. My first one was okay, no major symptoms that were the second one laid me out. I had the worst headache I've ever had a lymph node in my collarbone swelled up to the size of a large marble, and is painful to the touch. I Additionally, I felt like I was on mushrooms. But without all the fun trippy part of what
  • 57:33
    was the rolling fever I had for two days and the insane and terrifying nightmares. Damn. I never wanted this damn thing, but I need a paycheck more. Honestly, I would have rather have had COVID than this bullshit. Anonymous stamp. Another letter from my happy customer.
  • 57:54
    Adam: Yeah, I'm sure he didn't report it to theirs. That's totally reportable. You can't have a marble sticking out of your collarbone. Just just step back from that just in some overall context of horror movies. If someone gets a vaccination, this marble pops up in your collarbone. You're like you get not the zombie knife. Yeah, to hell. I'm glad to have that by the way. Yo, zombie knife. Don't you remember? I got the zombie knife. The big girl. Yeah, we ordered it on the show deal at the time. Great. Well, I wanted to get it before they were outlawed because the UK was outlawing them. They're outlawing scissors. Long everything. They're still sharp sticks. Let's see anything else that we have here? Yeah, this you know, this story about the so called Chinese defector that keeps popping up. That you know, yeah, you know, it's funny. I don't have any clips on now. The Chinese defector, there really aren't any clips to be had other than people. Busy following the truck guy who hit the gay guy. Yes. I think the truck guy also was a gay guy. FYI. I know he was and he's probably an old gay guy. Yeah, yeah. redstate is the one that's following the story. But you know, when red state sources confirmed that the defector is in fact don't
  • 59:21
    that could that could be an onion blind right there from Babylon be the defectors name is Dong. He was in charge of counter intelligence efforts in China and that he flew to the United States mid February, allegedly to visit his daughter at a university in California when Dong landed in California. He contacted DEA officials and told them about his plans to defects and the information he brought with him. The dog then hid in plain sight for about two weeks before disappearing into DEA custody. Like I need to know a little more about that, that well the way this story is it is portrayed trade is as if this guy has the goods on the FBI and the CIA and the DEA. I had to ferret him off because well, here's the you want to hear the list of the stuff he apparently has. Yes, as I read this article too. Please read early pathogenic studies. The pathogenic studies of the virus we now know as SARS COF, two models of predicted COVID-19 spread and damage to the US and the world financial records detailing which exact organizations and governments funded the research on SARS cov, two and other biological warfare research names of US citizens who provide Intel to China. Names of Chinese spies working in the US or attending US universities, financial records showing us businessmen and public officials who've received money from the Chinese government. Details of meetings US government officials had perhaps unwittingly with Chinese spies and members of Russia's SVR Special
  • 1:01:03
    Victims resuscitation how the Chinese government gained access to a CIA communication system leading to the death of dozens of Chinese people who are working with the CIA. Well, that last one. That last one, you know, we know that a lot of people were killed in China, because they they gained access. Yeah, dozens.
  • 1:01:25
    Unknown: So any Okay, Donna? Chinese have them or somebody there's a mole in the CIA. Well, so here's but here's the interesting connection. Gong has also provided the Defense Intelligence Agency with copies of the contents of the hard drive on hunter Biden's laptop showing the information the Chinese government has about hunters pornography problem. So is this the same guy then who have brought us the previous hunters Greatest Hits? Yeah. Was it him all along? I mean, that's kind of what I mean. That's kind of weird, because no, but the Chinese had nothing to do with it. It showed up at a repair shop. Yeah, yes. With that little aspect of this story is what makes me skeptical that the whole thing's of business is a hoax. Yeah. There is no guy there's no defector, it's but but if there was a guy, and he had this kind of
  • 1:02:20
  • 1:02:23
    John: That was it on a thumb drive that supposedly to the blockchain. The blockchain he then that could explain this. About flank about face on masks on getting Bill Gates out of the way could also explain the shutdown of the Chinese port. Yeah, that I mean that. Thank you for bringing that up. Again. I cannot stress. I mean, we should consider what what comes from that damn port, and if not 80% of all our stuff that we should be hamstring right now hoarding? Oh, good boy. Wow, you're now you're thinking like Horowitz? Now you're thinking like, Horowitz is like what stock should I buy? Well, Horowitz that you will, the reason I like working with him is that he does. If you're in that business for such a long time, everything you think about, it's all connected. And so you can you can say what, then you can buy this stock to take care of that situation. And it was just and it's always something like, Ah, yeah, it's obvious once you point it out, but you definitely pointed out, you won't, he just doesn't come to mind. And that may be what you just did, which is pointed out the obvious that maybe there's a few things we should take, maybe we should get some toilet paper again. I mean, damn, maybe some things out there that come from China that we need to import for a while until this this gets straightened. So how do we figure out what it is? I mean, I don't know. I have no idea. Very helpful. As PCs, you know, might be a good idea. Ace, Ace $150 computers that are
  • 1:04:08
    just dying. I think toilet paper is a better bet than that most likely, most toilet paper is made here. And how much imported toilet paper we really use. I just still get such a kick out of the fact that your mom said that the Chinese were stealing the toilet paper and then you know, decades later that shit came true. Yes, that's my mother that you would go with. It goes like this. She'd say she calls it you got to go buy some toilet papers and why? She says because the Chinese are buying it. What are you talking about? So she would go she'd go to like one of the local stores and there'd be if she saw a bunch of Chinese buying toilet paper. She assumed they knew something.
  • 1:04:51
    Unknown: So she buy a bunch of toilet paper. I love that and tell the family I wish I could have met her.
  • 1:04:59
    Adam: That would have been good. Now we both got the same clip. Of course, it's a story local to me. But I don't even know which version you have. It doesn't matter. I have the Houston version. Yeah. So before we get to that, let's just play a couple of infrastructure, cyber pandemic, great reset type of stuff. So we can keep our finger on the pulse of how we need to wreck the economy if we need to just create the illusion with ransomware and six week cycle cyber pandemics. We can do that. Let's bring in will Hurd Hurd was the he was the cool Silicon Valley guy. Who was was he a Senator, I think it was a senator wasn't Yeah. And he resigned he resigned his pose to take you on you know, he wanted to get back into being a venture capitalist or something but he still comes out and talks about stuff he says he knows stuff about and I found this interesting. I'm wondering when you talk about the infrastructure one thing that is part of infrastructure is our digital infrastructure. And that is crumbling. We're seeing that from the attacks and in Florida on our water supply we've seen it on our energy supply. And let's we're not even talking about what happens when the Chinese get to a quantum supremacy and their ability to read all of our information and the impact of ESCO to have some of the conversations we should be having to make sure that this country has the the infrastructure digital and physical to get things done. Alright, stop I need a T shirt that just
  • 1:06:24
    says quantum supremacist that's what I want. I need a quantum supremacy This is quantum syndrome is a quantum percent with an arrow
  • 1:06:37
    John: an arrow quantum supremacy has what the hell it and how about I love the mix of the metaphors from Mr. Will heard. Our cybersecurity infrastructure is crumbling. Now that's the actual infrastructure. That's that's the highway the freeway. JOHN keeps bitching about cyber doesn't crumble since you mentioned will hurt and you said he might have been? No, he was never a senator. He would have been here. Man Oh, Congressman, he was a spook. He was a congressman in Texas. For looks like four years. Three, three or four terms? Yeah, he's CIA clandestine officer, but this guy, he's the one that says keep saying, you know, when I was in clandestine services in Afghanistan with the CIA to which every spook I know goes, that guy has a pencil pusher bullshit. God sounds like it to me too. Yeah, cuz I've never seen this this moniker, clandestine officer. CIA guys. The old school ones, the good ones, the Catholics in action. They don't do that. No, they will never put that on their business card. clandestine officer. That means you were like, it means that you would achieve Maestro just put douche bag, douche bag.
  • 1:07:53
    Yes. But he's still on the payroll. Let me read this intelligence career. Now listen to this, that you talk about what your theory is pencil pusher? Yeah. Now listen to this curd word for the Central Intelligence Agency for nine years, which is okay, this 1000 2009 station primarily in Washington, DC. clandestine covert action. He did get one tour of duty as a operations officer. It was literally on a pencil pusher in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. He looks By the way, he looks Pakistani. He speaks Urdu which would make sense. The national language and I don't know is a franca of Pakistan where he worked undercover. He says Oh, and the roles of the CIA was bringing members of Congress, which is what makes her want to pursue politics, which is briefing members of Congress. I'm sorry. He returned to Texas after his CIA service and worked as a partner with Crump, the Crumpton group, cross strategic advisory firm, and as a senior advisor with fusion ex cyber security.
  • 1:09:15
    Well, Hold on What is he talking about quantum he doesn't know what to call it. The guy's full of shit this guy, and I'm reading from the Wikipedia in quantum computing quantum supremacy, is the goal of demonstrating that a programmable quantum device can solve a problem that no classical computer can solve in any feasible amount of time. Wait a minute, I want the Google guys claim this at least three times. The Google guys claim they have done this at least once IBM claims to don't doesn't IBM claimed IBM I don't want to be claimed and I'm claiming clone crap. There's no no none of these guys can do this. You're wrong sense and no agenda show claims quantum supremacy. Okay, john. I'm an Iron Man. We claim quantum stuff. premise it's titled quantum supremacy. We are quantum supremacists. And we're in charge. It's not white supremacy. It's quantum supremacy. So as an aside, I've always believed that this whole quantum thing is just doesn't work. And they can't get it to work and they wish they could. But it's an interesting theory. Well, how can that be because the quantum financial system has already been implemented. XRP is going to become the stable coin of the United States government is even offworld on satellites.
  • 1:10:32
    So I beg to laugh.
  • 1:10:37
    And we have quantum trolls, I like that. That's a good one. So the quantum thing was really popular to discuss into the probably the last decade or so. And when john Mark was the science writer for The New York Times, and the computer guy was top guy before you retired, he covered it. He covered all the quantum guys knows all the players. I mean, I call him up one day, and I said, What is he doing? This is like, it was over one particular announcement that I read from some one of these companies that is quantum computing, which is dread funny to me to read, like, like some sort of practical joke or or a script for April Fool's gag. And he says, you know, all the work that he put into it all those years, he says he still can't, he still doesn't quite buy it. Crap, this thing is nonsense. Yeah, well, I liked it. Well, I mean, that's, that's why I say he's kind of a Silicon Valley guy. You just throw out some shit like that. phrases. Yeah. But I know that type of guy who does this? They don't know what they're talking about. Randy Commissar. WooCommerce store has been in the business long enough. He should know what he's talking about. Now. I've heard him do stuff like that. Well, a lot of just loves. It's a great line to just throw out at it at a cocktail party. Well, you know, when China reaches quantum supremacy, when I'm Joseph, when China achieves quantum supremacy, it'll all be over. We'll all be dead by then. I mean, let's just get real people.
  • 1:12:12
    Finger snaps. This will hurt life. It's got a great life. That guy? Yeah, I guess. So. Professional stooge. So I have two more cybrary kind of, and these are real issues, real problems. They just get highlighted. And of course, when it happens to an airline, it's always a problem. This was from earlier in the week
  • 1:12:36
    Unknown: for in Dallas with the second day of computer issues for Dallas based Southwest Airlines Monday, a glitch stranded at airport terminals around the country. The company's third party weather data provider prompted the airline to ground its jets for several hours before some flights resumed
  • 1:12:54
    John: micro Service says I also don't think that's a valid excuse. There's no reason there's no reason that that unless there's some insurance thing that I'm unaware of, but you know, the weather data is one of the number one things provided in the aviation industry. All of these pilots have their own you know, personal digital flight flight bag on their iPad or whatever they're done. I think you'd be I think you glossed over what it is it has to do with it's obviously a micro services that they're subscribed to. And by some it has to do it either with insurance or some policy or something or other there's this is typical of any company that depends on microservices to this sort of extreme it goes down you're screwed
  • 1:13:45
    Unknown: because that some pilots go off and they were using their own holding their iPhone and going okay, we can make a left here.
  • 1:13:56
    That was like a level of quantum supremacy I've not witnessed yet. Well you guys hold the knife always is okay. Hang on left now. Okay. All right, fine. I'm just calling bullcrap. On that being the reason something else was going on and that's just acceptable to the possibility. Oh, well, we exactly what you said who we can't have the guy doing that as iPhone. Okay, hang a left all right weeks. Exactly what Yes. Counter somewhere saying we can't do that. Shut it down. We can't afford it right now. Shut it down. Tell them whether okay. But in Australia, there was something big that happened.
  • 1:14:34
    Australia's central bank and Postal Service and several commercial lenders were left grappling with internet outages on Thursday to disruption impacted customer accounts and financial transaction. Although some services were restored later in the day Virgin Australia was also hit at said the situation has now been resolved. The country's number two airline said it used Akamai a third party system for it network authentication. representatives at Akamai did not immediately respond to requests for comment websites in Australia, including those belonging to the central bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and others had also started to come back online. Late afternoon, the Reserve Bank of Australia cancelled an operation to buy government bonds. Because of the technical difficulties websites of American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and delta also experienced disruptions on Thursday.
  • 1:15:27
    John: Joe, instead of just saying, aka my fucked up, it's really what the story is. Awesome. I had a problem. And all these websites were connected to it. But I do like this. I'd like hearing these weaknesses in the system. This is what you want. This is where you want the ransomware to take place at CloudFlare Akamai fastly, yeah, microservices, why you need some redundant there's no redundancy in the system. Now there's too much reliance on single single point of failures. Yeah, it is. One is the one micro service that weather report isn't bad. It doesn't have a backup. Yeah, that's they can switch to
  • 1:16:09
    Unknown: this dumb.
  • 1:16:11
    Yeah. And everything runs just in time. And this is what we're noticing this is the biggest problem we're having is this so started with hp. I blame them wait, who was the original just in time there's a different trace fee was an HP. HP pretty much perfected it. There's some training that a lot of people said I've had my star nine five sevens or so yeah. Like I forgot. This Six Sigma? Sigma Six Sigma? Yes, exactly. The Six Sigma Phi thing? Yes, that's Yeah, that thing's dead. So it was a Dell or Toyota deltoid. The six sigma i think was promoted mostly by jack welch was right, right. Right, right. 60. We Yeah. jack welch. That's it. So Six Sigma always sounds like some kind of, you know, like, like, Keanu Reeves is in the club or something? It sounds Yeah. Done. It's got the Six Sigma report. very spooky. But the just in time stuff. You know, we and that's what I think we're seeing with with government, certainly with with the Biden administration is doing everything. I think you might be right about it. What are we doing? Boom, boom, boom, let's do this. Just in time, just in time. Now. This is my last clip, we should take a break unless you got something as What? Nothing, I'm just saying. What, what more doom and destruction? Can we discuss? Well, China, because we learned and I think it was not intended to be that way. from President Biden. He said, Hey, the, the v3 w our build back Better World project is, you know, basically the 38 countries of the eo, c
  • 1:17:57
    72 countries on his list for this? Did he say 72? I don't remember. But it was a big number. And I was and it was all about Belton road, which I think is what you're going to discuss. Yeah. Well, let me just let me just replay that one clip that we had of him on the previous show. And nowhere is it mentioned in any of the documentation. There's a lot of build back better world on the web, the White House website, but nowhere does it say, you know, this is in particular against China, you know, screw the China man, there's none of that talk anywhere. But he says it here. We also made a momentous commitment at the g7 to help meet more than $40 trillion need that exists in for infrastructure in the developing world. I put forward an idea that was called we named the bill back Better World Partnership, which is we're calling that v3 debate. And the point is that what's happening is that China has his Belt and Road initiative. And we think that there's a much more equitable way to provide for the needs of countries around the world. And so it's, it's been as a values driven, high standard transparent financing mechanism we're going to provide Wow, wow, I hadn't even heard this. That's almost like quantum supremacy. It's a high value financing mechanism hold on countries around the world. And so it's, it's been as a values driven, high standard transparent value financing mechanism, we're going to it's a values driven. What's the second part is a values driven,
  • 1:19:38
    high standard, transparent, high standard, transparent financing mechanism, financing mechanism. Uh huh. So via so we're seeing which standard unlike China, unlike China, if you decide not to pay us back, Africa, we're gonna come in with our military and so You up. That's our high standard. And it's a finance mechanism. And so it is going against the Chinese, the Belton road. And so what maybe even started with President Trump is being carried forward by the the American elites now, whoever is controlling Joe, and they're keeping the pressure on China. And this is not just the United States, it may in fact be some kind of cabal that is making the moves. Now, this is a report from TF fi global news, which, I don't know it could be Taiwan news for all I know. It's really one of the few current reports I could find on the strife between Australia Scott Morrison in particular, and China.
  • 1:20:46
    we've all talked about how Australia has given China a bloody nose in the trade war. With the paper dragon waged against the down on the country. The Aussies have quite literally been landing solid kicks on the ccbs posteriors, and Xi Jinping is not liking this cat dead. What's worse, Chinese cities are going down. Chinese factories are being forced to shut down and ration lectricity Not to mention, and China's steel industry is being pushed to the brink of collapse. All because she did things Eagle walk against Australia has gone awfully wrong for the paper dragon. After having taught China lesson Australia has emerged as a formidable power not just in the indo Pacific, but across the world. Australia is today recognized as a country which has successfully taken on an extremely belligerent China and thought it a lesson which shall never be forgotten, fully aware of its renewed stature in the free world order. Australia is now beginning to assume the leadership role in the democratic fight against China. What do you think
  • 1:21:50
    John: naspers is an interesting theory. I mean, I'm just picking up this one report but we know that they said hey, screw that your Belt and Road stuff. We know Italy's is now rejecting, I think some of Chinese deals they have the 5g implementation, the Huawei that's off the table. So maybe this is a big push. And I wonder I mean, are they weak at all? And what what tools do they have to fight back? Besides monetary I guess they could devalue their currency again, well, and of course the ports the ports in the southeast and close that off, sorry, Rona. They are at the point where they want to cut off cut us off. By the way, one of those boxcar trains, not boxcar but container transport buying it didn't have the full complement didn't have empty containers going back to China and I'm talking about the one coming from cha was a full ones lots of stuff or didn't know if it was short it lucid look like with 75% of normal trains. There you go. That's, this is the problem. It's already starting. Yeah. Oh, goodness. Because I train Normally, the train normally consists of about 140 cars. It has two inches in the front, two in the middle. And then another engineer two in the back. And this one only had two in the front, none in the middle. It was shorter. The whole train was less than 100 cars. Yeah. And then a couple of two or three inches. So I would say short go short Amazon, because you know, they're gonna have some they're gonna have no supply.
  • 1:23:22
    Unknown: You're not you can't recommend anything. I've no idea what I'm talking about. I have no idea what I'm talking about. But I do question a money manager, you know, who makes the decisions that Andrew Horowitz makes?
  • 1:23:39
    John: Yeah, okay. Now
  • 1:23:42
    what is
  • 1:23:45
    what you keep bringing this up? And that keeps making me wonder what it what are the plays, stock market plays, but there's got to be something because if China's just gonna say we're going to shut the port down, even for 10 days, we know what happened to the whole world after that one ship was stuck in the Suez Canal for a week. Yeah. I mean, everything went crazy. And that Baghdad ship is still I guess under embargo. Well, let's just face it, it just shuts down it shuts us down this is going to be lack of stuff. Well it actually it'll be I guess it'll be good for kind of the big box stores because people will rush out we get you know, they'll jack up the prices a little bit of that going on. And this one, this won't even be Oh my god. I really worry about this. People have no I know so many truck drivers that I've met throughout the years through no agenda part of gitmo-nation man, if it's one thing if they don't drive, if they got nothing to drive, it ends real quick. I mean, you're just days away from from a problem. Certainly in a place like Texas like Austin, Texas. The people here if there's no ACB Whole Foods and once the CME the central market that people would lose their crap Can I know what to do?
  • 1:25:05
    Well I mean the gun is in most food knew that it's not that much food that's imported from China except in Chinese stores
  • 1:25:15
    Adam: you know there's a lot of food that comes from Apple juice or apple juice. A lot of Walmart stuff comes from China. Walmart's all China Yeah. Okay, so you can't say not a lot of food comes well meat products okay. But you know to a certain point people need Americans eat processed chemicals in a box mac and cheese that's it man if we had gone long mac and cheese when we started joking about it yeah, we were very wealthy by now but now once again we screwed up anyway with that is screw it up. We looked at it with common sense and said no people are dead stupid. With that, I'd like to thank you for your courage and say in the morning to you the man who put the C's in mac and cheese Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. JOHN c. devorah. Well in the morning to you Mr. Adam Curry also in the morning all ships to see boots on the ground feet and hear something in the water. And all the dames and knights out there in the morning to our trolls in the troll room. I'd like to do a little count if you could please put your hands up we got trolls gonna kill count. Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. Let's see we got we have 1909 trolls with us today. JOHN. That's pretty good on the Sunday, I believe. No short wear yet. We're running short. 120 200 Well, it's it's June 19 holiday weekend. So you've got to take that into account. It's Father's Day. It's and his father's they hadn't even thought maybe people were with their father. Possibly.
  • 1:26:48
    I have a registered domain name troll room.io. I figured that would be smart. Although, you know, just if you want to join the troll room, because people always asking where's the troll room?
  • 1:27:05
    That's Yeah, that's what they'd be asking. Yeah, where's the troll room and it's at troll room.io. And that'll take you right to the troll room along with the no agenda stream and you can listen long to the live shows many of them 24 seven that stream goes. It's a whole beautiful system where latest episodes from around gitmo-nation are implanted into the stream. And you can hang out there and talk about what you're hearing or just anything in general troll and troll as much as you can. That's no agenda stream comm or troll room.io. And please follow either john or I or both of us for double your pleasure. At no agenda social calm. Sorry. Can I interrupt you? Yeah, you know, I never got this spreadsheet today.
  • 1:27:50
    Unknown: Oh, I got it. I got a copy. sent it to me. Oh, okay. Well, this is That's odd. Here we go. It came late. I dialed it. Looking at it. I just did a search for at for Eric and not here. Oh, yeah, I do know that it came very late, like 3540 minutes late.
  • 1:28:15
    Adam: So there was a lot of notes that he had to deal with. Yes, I believe this to be true. Okay, it's forwarded to you. And I will get back to my little spiel and telling people how they can follow both of us at no agenda social calm, I'm at Adam at nogen social calm he is at Jhansi Dvorak had no agenda, social calm and works across the fediverse. So whatever server that you may be on, you already know that enjoy the the benefits of a non algo eyes network that is federated across many servers all around the globe. And there's many places you can sign up and just follow us and eventually everything will flow over into your timeline as well. And then thanking the artists for Episode 1356. That we did on Thursday. The title of that was chest feeding. Man, we are really all over our, our, our Newspeak recently these days, we've got we've got seating person chest feeding, we're really we're very woke here. Now this piece of art, this piece of art, which was created by correct directors, hands down one of the most beautiful pieces just perfect the way it was. It was like a comic was created custom for us. It was the build back Better World amusement park, the sign in front of the amusement park and it even said join us for a violence which just is a beautiful piece. It was so perfect. Really, really perfect. So I haven't got your email yet.
  • 1:29:51
    Unknown: Maybe something's wrong with your email because my email I just got another email from somebody else. But why don't you send me a copy to the my Google Email. Okay, hold on a second. Maybe a lot of people had trouble with your with your email, I think. No. The one guy that chose my email was sending it to Oh, I o h ad dvorak.org.
  • 1:30:21
    Should I use it? No.
  • 1:30:23
    John: Can you? Can you tell me your Google? Or do I have to go figure it out? So I can't tell you didn't have to get inundated? Okay, let me go look at your Google that hold on a second. I can get it. Now this, I don't have, I don't have it from your Google cheese. I have to actually go to all the clips. I know who will email to my Gmail, which I have only for clips. So now I have to go into that. I always send a go. I guess you don't even get an error message. Because I always send a cc to your regular email address. Yes. And that always bounces always. Okay. Yes, it works. Because actually, it has more than 10 kilobytes of attachments. I got to say that. Within three guesses, I probably could have figured out your kukuli email address. Okay, right. Well, have we done enough there? it's on its way to you. So back to the artwork. Did you send another copy? Yes. irksome that the regular boxes not showed up? This is the problem with the internet is stinks. No, no, that's not the problem. The problem is that you just claimed to have the best email system in the universe. And sometimes you've got to question Should I question myself? So they question the Google's where's it going wrong? I don't know. But for sure if you want to have an email of the future, you need john cena borax one and only.
  • 1:32:01
    Unknown: Ladies.
  • 1:32:10
    John: microservices is your problem, my friend? Yeah, I'm sure it is. Did you get it? Because now I want to talk about the artwork. You still don't have it. I keep talking. Okay. Well, discussing the artwork is not as fun without you. Okay, good. All right. You have you have what what what what? What was your What? Live? Come on? Yeah. Yes. To the basketball game. I got it fixed. The basketball game. This is a funny I don't know, dude. It's not worth this show. And it's not worth telling you because you don't like bass. I love basketball. What are you talking about? So I'm watching the championship game. Let you know the finals for this. Why? No, of course. You think I wasn't watching? Yes. So. So every time Yanis gets up to do a big guy from Milan, he gets him to do a free throw. The audience says counting him down because you only have 10 seconds to shoot it right? That's by the rules of the game. You can't sit there. Keep your hemming and hawing and taking forever to shoot the fucking ball for a free throw. This is the this is the 10 foot tall Yugoslavian guy. Yeah, yeah. See, I know what I'm talking about.
  • 1:33:29
    So does the audience stretch going one, two. And they counted almost every time he's up to throwing free throws or counting to 13 and 14. So it's a clear violation that should be called every single time and they don't do it. Why not skate? You tell me you know what that guy's using white privilege is a big black guy. Oh.
  • 1:33:54
    I guess he's not from Yugoslavia then. No, no, you're thinking of the other guy. He was from Peru. I think the other guys from Croatia you're thinking? Yeah, a Croatia? Yes. But that's not right. So he gets to do that third, but does he get get to second dribble to what the hell? Oh, they're all double dip dribbling. The whole game is full of that. But anyway, let's Okay, we can read game sounds rigged. It is rigged is a game. All right. Let's talk about the artwork that did not make it on the show. But we always love to discuss because our artists do good work. Well, first of all, yes, first of all, let me say that I saw this piece that we chose and I wrote, I paid very little attention to anything else. I thought this piece was so good. And so well done. And there's nothing that could even hold a candle to an idea to see. For example, Darren O'Neal must have seen it because he normally pumps in about six or seven pieces, and I don't believe him did one. Well what this was is I think on the previous show, you mentioned how Darren just craps all this art out and this was dead crap. So this was a self portrait of Darren crapping out art. And and apparently some turds. He's, he's pooping art onto the end. He's kidding. Do you know what? I don't want to insult him? But he's turning into comic strip blogger row doing art as messages to us. Yeah. Well,
  • 1:35:31
    Unknown: I mean, isn't that
  • 1:35:33
    part of the point? I mean, you just want to keep impressing us for you know, whenever we have a gig for you, for the courier.
  • 1:35:41
    Adam: Did some pieces for today's show will was in the mix. He's He's backed off and crapping art. So then there was also Kenny Ben, who did camela down, which was the Air Force to with its wing breaking off with a fiery downward trajectory, which was pretty easy for us to say, No, I don't think that's a good idea to post that publicly. No, we're not doing that. And then comics or blogger put in the AI generated vice president which Alice She looks like a sex doll, which is kind of weird. birthing person we that was common for a blogger to Yeah, you're right. You're right. And the birthing person one which was designed as a, a tattoo, that's tattoo art. That was was competitive. The reason why we didn't use birthing person art or as title is because it the joke was fun, you know, during Mother's Day. That's when everyone had this birthing person thing. That's why we have the seating person today. The chest feeding? No, yeah, we know. Today we have seating people. Code today. Yes, the person. I'm talking about the title of the show. Oh, yeah. No, no, we know what the title is. And we said we had was outsourcing. I think that was kind of it. Yeah, it wasn't a lot to pick from. Yeah. But regardless, you can see all of these you probably saw some of them flashing by if you are using a podcasting 2.0 compatible podcast app, try one out today, you don't have to get rid of the one you're using. Just try it for some of the features and use the show as an example. Many
  • 1:37:21
    of them have special feeds that show you podcast that are actually 2.0 compatible. You can find them at new podcast apps calm and support our work in preserving podcasting as a platform of free speech. Now I want to mention something and I don't like doing this. I've done it a couple of times. It usually doesn't work out but I'm going to mention it this time. You have to say something to the artist. So they're getting a scolding. The one No, I'm going to just point something out to somebody didn't get the joke.
  • 1:37:52
    Unknown: I got the joke. I think you can be unless you were thinking something differently. But and then the current art that's coming in for this show. The Quantum supremacy this cartoon or you're drawing by Nick darat has the arrow pointing the
  • 1:38:09
    wrong direction? Yes. Now I don't know why how Nick didn't get that joke. But he didn't. I know it's such an easy one. That tells you a lot about Nick the rat doesn't it? Yeah, even Nick the rat to clean cut guide.
  • 1:38:28
    This is cuz your reference was the site it was it was lewd. Thank you, honestly. Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate it. Well, compliments. Yes.
  • 1:38:39
    Adam: Thank you very much correct to record and thanks to all the artists you know, we love to review the work we'd love to give you your honest opinion and we really enjoy it. It's like we're done with the show. But we're not done with the show because then we get to choose art and we get to talk about it and look at all this it's it's like a it's almost like you're done with the you've had this you've played the Super Bowl. And then you know someone hands you a nice cool bottle of beer. You know, it's like
  • 1:39:06
    John: a Rolling Rock. And you just guzzle that shit down. That's just like the art it's just it's in good cooldown activity which is good to just plug the Rolling Rock is a Pennsylvania beer. I believe you should have all these good beers in Texas. I like Rolling Rock it's got 33 is their magic number that's their code. Okay, well here we go with the thanks to the you had some other thing you usually I usually say thank no agenda our generator was what I usually say no agenda our generator you can add artwork and and of course if you know any of these fine folks and reach out to them on no agenda social calm they love hearing from you and the show's over. Okay, good.
  • 1:39:48
    Now, waiting for your email to work. That's when the show ended. They're makin What? I never heard of such a thing. to Makkah nada de la paz in new Browns fells Texas the place that used to make these great barbecues 19 $173.33 Wow damn sure mecanizado de la paz 719 73 was the year I met my wife and friend Elizabeth she is known at the round table as Dame sparkle yes of course we know yeah we know her Yes. sparkler. The producer credit is to her right off the bat okay we got it we got it x game sparkler This makes her a double Dame but no title change at this time we will be at the roundtable however and we'd like to try a some fresh Audrina chrome I don't know if the batch is any good we got the same dealer as Biden yeah staggering around it's not good. And he wants to jingle boo Gotti Bugatti what I have no idea what that is. We have no Bugatti Bugatti oh maybe it's no no no no no no that is a yeah took me a book I'll do the long version four
  • 1:41:26
    karma from now on ever that's gonna be known as the Bugatti Bugatti. Yeah, yeah, my note I received is somebody I think might be we might read this note. I'm not sure that was great guy says it took me forever to figure out why do people want to ring with sealing wax who acts as their ceiling? That's great. Oh, I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. Thank you very much. Sure. MAGA nada de la paz and Dame sparkler and very nice 73 it was a good year and we very much appreciate that tremendous support yeah didn't even have to wait to a show 1973 you know sure carry carries the Baron of Greater Boston in drag it I think it's pronounced Dragon 135791 almost a show that will give him his show both these Yeah, these guys get show club? Yeah, okay. ITM Jan's requesting a heaping helping of karma to allow for go jingles to give back some time to the show. Thank you. Thank you. With this donation I'll have achieved the rank of white count according to the according to be sent by the accounting to be sent by my own so I can't read sir Karis Baron of Greater Boston he's not on the upgrade list. Are you sure to put him on there? I thought he was on double check. Let me just see. upgrades, titles, your rights. Any becomes vi counts. Vi count. Okay. Vi counts. All right, excellent. Anonymous. Yeah, I'll do this one.
  • 1:43:19
    Adam: I prefer to stay mostly anonymous, and just referred to by my moniker Sir gadgeteer. To the esteemed gentle folk. Mr. Curry, Mr. devorah. This is a quick note to go with a donation of 135 7.33. I just sent your way via PayPal, I have been a douchebag for many years, as my wife henceforth to refer to as pega is fond of reminding me whenever we're in the car listening to the two of you, if you would ever if you would be ever so kind as to de-douche me, I would greatly appreciate you ben de deuced. Well, that makes sense. You know, if you've if you've never donated been listening for a long time, then thank you, you've definitely brought the arrears up to date. At the same time, please send some medical karma to our mothers who are both advanced in years and wisdom. Both have chronic health issues live some distance from us, necessitating frequent road trips to connect with and assist them. Sadly, both of our fathers have passed away many years passed away many years ago, but we do remember them always. Please night me sir. gadgeteer of the woods of Hazel, no jingles no karma. While I am fond of echoing A wise man who once said, I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. I'm happy to make an exception. In this case. My choices for the round table would be sorry, and brandy and jelly babies. But sorry. And brandy. Are you familiar with this product? Zarya? No. You'll find the appropriate replicator patterns in the public domain.
  • 1:44:47
    Unknown: Okay, I'm glad the staff is on that. On the subject of fathers. I am a dude named Ben who would have been named Benjamin but my parental grandfather objected. He said that sounded to Jewish
  • 1:45:00
    Adam: At the same time, my maternal grandfather was fond of claiming a bit of Jewish heritage on his side of the family. Family the gift that keeps on giving. Father's Day is a melancholy day for myself since I've never reproduced, not for lack of trying Mind you, please take the following statement with all the love and appreciation with which it is intended. May you never ever find a successful exit strategy, the amygdala of gadgeteer and pega. Need you both and here's some big health karma for the mothers. You've got karma
  • 1:45:34
    John: or David French and Pittsburgh these guys are all being the club. Yes, a club in a huge club. David French Oh 1357 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. No, it's an obvious it's an obvious numerology numerological wonder 1357 I mean, you see the sequence people love that it they're drawn to it. Yes, john and Adam, Happy Father's Day a longtime douchebag I'd like to correct that by joining this show club. And Insta knighting myself loving lit. David. Ben de deuced. I'll get this one. Michael van slag unhorsed in cold Dale coaldale Alberta in Yeah, cool. Well, they have a shell of this that was f call 301 $1,000 she's got a lot of good donors, Tess. First, could Adam say my this is interesting. No credit. Yes. First could Adam say my name properly? I can't speak Dutch and can't properly say my own name. Wow. Okay, let's do this. So now how did you pronounce it? No, he's gonna use it. He's gonna pronounce your quite correctly from now on. Thanks to you. Well, it's going to take a little bit because there is a pronunciation effort that goes into this name that we need to use you as the student so this name is Michael fun. slipped in Horsham horsed. shift in horse clothes it's don't don't saliva at the slip only on the so it's slipped in Horst 10 Horst very good now put it all together slipped, unhorsed flippin horse likes some kind of horse.
  • 1:47:30
    Unknown: Well done.
  • 1:47:34
    Now he knows Yes, he continues this note my donation is $1,000 Canadian, so it was less than this but it came out as 1000 on this list. I have been listening on and off for many years but not but the pandemic. I find myself looking forward to each episode during the pandemic. You have camp my wife and I saying this past while thank you and Happy Father's Day. Happy Father's Day to you. Thank you minier phones slipped unhorsed Lily noon in Seattle. We can't find a note from her. Now look one up while you read the next note she came up with $500 in Seattle. Yes, anonymous interpreter was 3382 20 interesting number let's see what's going on in this message. After the Biden Putin meeting, there has been an increase in Coronavirus related panic in Russian news and social media. This is our Russian producer.
  • 1:48:28
    Adam: They report cases are starting to spike. So new restrictions and new rules are hastily put in place. This is interesting, because of course you will not hear this anywhere. several reasons. At this point, it's seven out of 85 declared they will require vaccinations for at least 60% of all people working in the service industry education centers and for government employees. Moscow hospitals and Justices of peace courts will not serve people who are not vaccinated with the exception of cancer patients and those with blood disorders. This is said to be temporary but no end date is given. Restaurants are opening no COVID zones within access by qR QR codes with proof of vaccination. Children who are not vaccinated may get it may get access with the vaccinated adult. What the hell is his bullshit. They've also been articles on benefits of vaccines for pregnant women. Yay. So
  • 1:49:25
    Unknown: the benefit here is
  • 1:49:28
    John: you want to marvel on your collarbone lady with your kid it balances out that bump some City Mayors getting COVID after the shot claiming that only vaccines save them from severe reactions. Geez. Oh yeah, that's my favorite reminds me of the old wine scam. Oh, Do tell. Well, good wine guy. You got you have a floor guys. And the thing is your taste. You know these wines. You can see this one's no good. It's Oh no, no, it needs age. It needs about five years of age. So just buy it and Ladies, no not necessarily it's bullcrap. It's an old excuse the way you sell the wine is with some bogus because you're not going to be the five years later very few people work at wine store for more than a few years. Yeah. So if anyone tells you it needs age for don't buy it just tell him to get lost.
  • 1:50:20
    Unknown: Another tip here we go.
  • 1:50:27
    Okay the COVID shot claiming that only vaccines say the rumors that one Russian vaccine is substituted for another less effective at vaccination sites blog articles denouncing said vaccine is called epi vac a competitor to the Sputnik and so on. So it's a mess. before June 16 it was really not you know, what shall I tell you? What that is not what this is. That's your CIA in Russia mucking around with them?
  • 1:50:54
    John: Don't you think this sounds this sounds like someone's in there? Making problems spreading misinformation? Making people worry Don't you think it's like this? It just feels it's an interesting theory could be I mean, it's possible that they just got to get some more data points. Yes. has gone to Russia to screw up screw with them because we're not going to we've already we've lost the plot here. Yeah, no thanks to South Dakota, Florida and Texas before June 16 it was really not that ramping people are starting to notice some are afraid some called government out at least in the comments make of it what you will best regards anonymous interpreter Thank you very much. Anonymous interpreter Do you find a no. interpreter get a hold of me so I can get some interpreting? Or I need to I need to get some translating some of my my personal writing product to be in Russian into Russian Yeah.
  • 1:51:51
    I need from someone's oppression. I needed somebody in Russia because it just better to have somebody in Russia. Yes. Let me go continue with Wyatt. We're a vams or worms. I think it's firms. I don't know. Nothing for Lily noon right? You couldn't find anything from her? No, I Lily noon. You're not dairy. I send me a note and we'll put you in the next show. We can highlight Yeah. The Wyatt viruses or worms in Phoenix, Oregon. 34567. This couple of people a lot of people in Oregon be in North Carolina. ITM thank you for your courage and happy dad day. relationship. Karma would be nice. If we can get some jobs karma. Oh, he has Job's Joe EBS. Technically it is Job's that will be great as well. I got some fresh moss fruit from Lord Doran for the roundtable as well. Thanks. Bye he jobs jobs jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, job. Karma. jokes. To this the job one day in black hammer 333 74 jingle requests. Ooh, these are good actually. The pansexual meatloaf that is a classic. It's such a classic that I have to boost the volume on it. We're all gonna die. And what else do we have here? And that's true. Okay. And that is you have a karma there.