Cover for No Agenda Show 1412: Oil Ball Panic
December 30th, 2021 • 3h 27m

1412: Oil Ball Panic


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

Omicron and Variants
The CDC slashes estimates of omicron's prevalence in the U.S. : NPR
The CDC had previously reported that as of Dec. 18, 73% of new cases were linked to omicron. But on Tuesday, the agency revised those figures, slashing that estimate to 23% — a 50-point drop, suggesting that while the new variant was on the rise, it was not infecting people at the rate the CDC had projected.
Mandates and Boosters
My Experience with Managing Restrictions BOTG
I also own/manage a school.
After the initial 2020 lockdowns, in the summer, as I listened to No
Agenda, the information from you all started to pretty clearly show that
children were not a big vector for this sickness. By the time Fall 2020
came around I had convinced staff that we were safe to go back to in-person
*We were the only school to stay fully open in our big blue city that
year. *
Because of No Agenda, John and Adam, you guys saved the well-being of about
125 children from a year of at-home learning, and allowed those families to
work and have some peace while the children had important socialization.
They and their families don't even know this, *but we know this*, and that
will come back to you in karma so big I think you are set for life.
People are still just getting through this disaster we call a pandemic, but
retrospectives will happen, and when families or children ask me how we
knew to go back to school, I will tell them it was because they were saved
by the Best Podcast in the Universe, and to DONATE, dammit!
FAA rules for pilots on newly approved FDA drugs
FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved less than 12 months ago. The FAA generally requires at least one-year of post-marketing experience with a new drug
before consideration for aeromedical certification purposes. This observation period allows time for uncommon, but aeromedically significant, adverse effects to
manifest themselves. Contact either your Regional Flight Surgeon or AMCD for guidance on specific applicants or to request consideration for a particular
Ivermectin and more
Retired Dr on Monoclonal Antibody Treatments
I am a newly-retired cardiologist and recently heard a public service announcement on the car radio, advising people to “get tested if you think you might have COVID, and, if positive, ask your doctor about treatment.” Well, just what “treatment” am I ALLOWED to prescribe at this point, I wondered. Shortly after hearing this PSA, I received the weekly COVID update email from the hospital where I practice. It opened with the usual fear-porn about the current “surge” and then revealed HHS’s decision to “pause” monoclonal antibody therapy—with zero explanation, and I know for a fact it is not a supply problem and that it is easy to manufacture. One paragraph later I read that the FDA just issued emergency use authorization to Pfizer for its new anti-COVID pill, Pxlovid, which “hopefully will be made available for use at our hospital and outpatient facilities.” It was then obvious to me that HHS was “canceling” monoclonal antibody therapy to clear the deck for Pfizer’s new oral agent.
I decided to send a reply to the hospital, asking what outpatient protocols are currently being recommended. Knowing full well the effectiveness of monoclonal antibody therapy for outpatients, I specifically asked if INPATIENTS were now eligible for monoclonal antibody therapy and, if not, WHY not?
This is what I received back from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO)
of our hospital and my follow-up…
Two years on with this thing, and this is all the guidance this limp-wristed, impotent pencil-pushing, rubber-stamping CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER of our 250-bed hospital can give us?! Talk about malfeasance! I expect he’ll issue no meaningful reply, but I’ll surely be put on some list… not my first entry, I’m sure.
Monoclonal defense production act
Association Between Immune Dysfunction and COVID-19 Breakthrough Infection After SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination in the US | HIV | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network
Conclusions and Relevance This cohort study found that full vaccination was associated with reduced risk of COVID-19 breakthrough infection, regardless of the immune status of patients. Despite full vaccination, persons with immune dysfunction had substantially higher risk for COVID-19 breakthrough infection than those without such a condition. For persons with immune dysfunction, continued use of nonpharmaceutical interventions (eg, mask wearing) and alternative vaccine strategies (eg, additional doses or immunogenicity testing) are recommended even after full vaccination.
Test To Stay
COVID Insurance Ending
I'm starting a new job and had to get gap insurance for a couple months.
Talking to Blue Cross Blue Shield I ask about COVID coverage.
They told me until Dec 31 COVID related events are 100 percent covered.
Starting JAN 1 all COVID related costs will go against your deductible.
Money is gone, COVID is over
Trump strategy 2024
draw out media to criticize VAX
Or at least expose the problems in M5M
Trump VAX joke
Freaked my liberal friend out when he asked if I was Vaxed. Told him I would never take a vaccine from the racist SOB Trump. His head imploded because of his love for vaccines and hatred for trump
Supply Chains
Traders Start Freaking Out Over Fresh Supply Chain Collapse As Covid Sweeps Across China | ZeroHedge
"(T)he latest Chinese covid breakout may be the most serious yet, after
Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics said it’s conducting flexible
adjustment in its chip production line in Xi’an, China, amid coronavirus
spread ...
So what happens next? As a reminder, the last time China's megaports of
Yantian or Ningbo were closed, supply chains collapsed and shipping rates
went astronomical after a modest lag. It is only a matter of time before
the rapidly spreading Omicron leads to a similar port lockdown, and a fresh
round of paralysis in trans-Pacific shipping."
Cyber Pandemic
The Purge
Climate Change
French Nuclear shutdowns
The main reason for the French nuclear power plant idling or shut down is more than likely due to the fact that France doesn’t control their power anymore. Back in 2015 Frances biggest power generation company which built those nuclear plants were bought out by US based GE ( General Electric) . At the Time my uncle worked for Alstom in Zug Switzerland. He also worked for GE before moving to Switzerland to work for Alstom. GE is the world leader in windmill power and natural gas boiler manufacturing. More than likely the nuclear plants are being shuttered for GE’s ESG agenda with it’s energy alternatives.
Press release when GE bought Alstom.
Big Pharma
Fed Going DIrect
Lets Go Brandon
Mass Formation
Biden reveals condition for imposing domestic travel vaccine mandate '-- RT World News
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 15:56
The president says he will act only on advice from health officials, but mixed signals abound
US President Joe Biden said he would agree to impose new travel rules for the unvaccinated should his medical team advise it, after the White House's most senior Covid official suggested the move would be ''reasonable.''
Asked about the restrictions on Tuesday, Biden told reporters he would make a decision ''when I get a recommendation from the medical team,'' according to the Hill.
While the president previously said he would wait for guidance from the scientific community before moving ahead with any new rules, he told ABC News last week that, so far, ''the recommendation I've gotten is [that they are] not necessary.''
On Monday, however, Biden's top coronavirus adviser, Anthony Fauci, suggested otherwise, telling MSNBC that vaccine requirements for domestic travel would be ''reasonable to consider,'' but noting that such a decision was unlikely to be made soon.
''When you make vaccination a requirement, that's another incentive to get more people vaccinated,'' Fauci said. ''If you want to do that with domestic flights, I think that's something that seriously should be considered.''
Asked about Fauci's remarks during an appearance on National Public Radio on Tuesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky appeared to confirm the president's earlier statement, saying that, while the rules had ''certainly '... been a topic of conversation,'' they were ''not something we're revisiting right now.''
Though the United States has imposed a number of foreign travel restrictions throughout the pandemic '' the most recent of which included a ban on visitors from South Africa due to the Omicron variant, lifted by the White House earlier on Tuesday '' no federal rules have been brought in to date for domestic travelers.
Association Between Immune Dysfunction and COVID-19 Breakthrough Infection After SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination in the US | HIV | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 15:32
Figure 1. Time to COVID-19 Breakthrough Infection by Immune Dysfunction Condition
All breakthrough infections that occurred from 0 to 14 days after full SARS-CoV-2 vaccination were excluded. BMT indicates bone marrow transplantation; MS, multiple sclerosis; RA, rheumatoid arthritis; and SOT, solid organ transplant.
Figure 2. COVID-19 Disease Severity in Prevaccination vs Breakthrough Infection Cases
Prevaccination cases were defined as those with a COVID-19 diagnosis before the first dose of a vaccine. Breakthrough infection cases were defined as those who contracted a COVID-19 infection on or after the 14th day of vaccination. Disease severity was assigned as the highest level of health care utilization within 45 days of breakthrough infection. Severe outcomes included inpatient hospitalization with invasive ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or death. Data are given in eTable 4 in Supplement 1.
Table 1. Characteristics of Patients With at Least 1 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination
Table 2. COVID-19 Breakthrough Infection Among Patients With Immune Dysfunction
Table 3. Association of Demographic and Clinical Characteristics With COVID-19 Breakthrough Infectiona
December 28, 2021
JAMA Intern Med. Published online December 28, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.7024
Key PointsQuestion Is immune dysfunction associated with an increased risk for COVID-19 breakthrough infection after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination?
Findings In this cohort study of 664'¯722 patients who received at least 1 dose of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, those with immune dysfunction, such as HIV infection, rheumatoid arthritis, and solid organ transplant, had a higher rate for COVID-19 breakthrough infection and worse outcomes after full or partial vaccination, compared with persons without immune dysfunction.
Meaning The findings suggest that persons with immune dysfunction are at much higher risk for contracting a breakthrough infection and thus should use nonpharmaceutical interventions (eg, mask wearing) and alternative vaccination approaches (eg, additional dose or immunogenicity testing) even after full vaccination.
Importance Persons with immune dysfunction have a higher risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes. However, these patients were largely excluded from SARS-CoV-2 vaccine clinical trials, creating a large evidence gap.
Objective To identify the incidence rate and incidence rate ratio (IRR) for COVID-19 breakthrough infection after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination among persons with or without immune dysfunction.
Design, Setting, and Participants This retrospective cohort study analyzed data from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C), a partnership that developed a secure, centralized electronic medical record''based repository of COVID-19 clinical data from academic medical centers across the US. Persons who received at least 1 dose of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine between December 10, 2020, and September 16, 2021, were included in the sample.
Main Outcomes and Measures Vaccination, COVID-19 diagnosis, immune dysfunction diagnoses (ie, HIV infection, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, solid organ transplant, and bone marrow transplantation), other comorbid conditions, and demographic data were accessed through the N3C Data Enclave. Breakthrough infection was defined as a COVID-19 infection that was contracted on or after the 14th day of vaccination, and the risk after full or partial vaccination was assessed for patients with or without immune dysfunction using Poisson regression with robust SEs. Poisson regression models were controlled for a study period (before or after [pre'' or post''Delta variant] June 20, 2021), full vaccination status, COVID-19 infection before vaccination, demographic characteristics, geographic location, and comorbidity burden.
Results A total of 664'¯722 patients in the N3C sample were included. These patients had a median (IQR) age of 51 (34-66) years and were predominantly women (n'‰='‰378'¯307 [56.9%]). Overall, the incidence rate for COVID-19 breakthrough infection was 5.0 per 1000 person-months among fully vaccinated persons but was higher after the Delta variant became the dominant SARS-CoV-2 strain (incidence rate before vs after June 20, 2021, 2.2 [95% CI, 2.2-2.2] vs 7.3 [95% CI, 7.3-7.4] per 1000 person-months). Compared with partial vaccination, full vaccination was associated with a 28% reduced risk for breakthrough infection (adjusted IRR [AIRR], 0.72; 95% CI, 0.68-0.76). People with a breakthrough infection after full vaccination were more likely to be older and women. People with HIV infection (AIRR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.18-1.49), rheumatoid arthritis (AIRR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.09-1.32), and solid organ transplant (AIRR, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.96-2.38) had a higher rate of breakthrough infection.
Conclusions and Relevance This cohort study found that full vaccination was associated with reduced risk of COVID-19 breakthrough infection, regardless of the immune status of patients. Despite full vaccination, persons with immune dysfunction had substantially higher risk for COVID-19 breakthrough infection than those without such a condition. For persons with immune dysfunction, continued use of nonpharmaceutical interventions (eg, mask wearing) and alternative vaccine strategies (eg, additional doses or immunogenicity testing) are recommended even after full vaccination.
Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have been found to be highly effective and safe in both clinical trials and real-world settings.1-7 Breakthrough infection, which is defined as COVID-19 infection after an individual has completed all required doses of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine with a typical 14-day lag period, is rare in the general population.5,6,8 In the US, 22'¯115 breakthrough infection cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after approximately 183 million persons received full vaccination by September 27, 2021.9,10 However, because most of the breakthrough cases were asymptomatic or had mild disease,9 surveillance data likely reflect underreported cases.
A recent study observed that persons with immune dysfunction, including those living with HIV or receiving immunosuppressant medications (ie, recipients of solid organ transplant [SOT]), have a higher risk for developing severe COVID-19 outcomes.11 Whether a weakened immune system might prevent these individuals from responding to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination has not been examined in a large-scale real-world setting. Marked immune deficiency, noted by lower CD4 cell counts, often indicates antibody responses to vaccines among persons living with HIV.12,13 Common immunosuppressant medications (eg, calcineurin inhibitors or mycophenolic acid) to prevent allograft rejection among SOT recipients affect the immune response to vaccination.14,15 Furthermore, treatment regimens (eg, monoclonal antibody therapies, corticosteroids, or methotrexate) for autoimmune diseases (ie, multiple sclerosis [MS] and rheumatoid arthritis [RA]) might interfere with the immunogenicity of vaccines and the development of an adequate immune response. Patients with cancer, especially those with hematologic cancers who are undergoing bone marrow transplantation (BMT) with ensuing long-lasting T-cell deficiency, also have suboptimal immune response to vaccination.16,17
A large evidence gap exists for patients with immune dysfunction because they were largely excluded from SARS-CoV-2 vaccine clinical trials.2,3 Limited data indicated that immunocompromised patients demonstrated weakened immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.18-23 Studies that evaluated antibody titers as proxies of postvaccine immunogenicity identified lower immune responses in some groups of persons with immune dysfunction.18 However, it remains unclear whether such proxies of immunogenicity are associated with the real-world effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Hence, using a national sample of US patients, we conducted this study to identify the incidence rate (IR) and incidence rate ratio (IRR) for COVID-19 breakthrough infection after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination among persons with or without immune dysfunction.
The National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) is a partnership that is supported and overseen by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. The N3C developed a secure and centralized electronic medical record (EMR)''based repository of COVID-19 clinical data, including testing, diagnoses, and vaccination data, submitted by partner health care organizations (predominantly academic medical centers) across the US. The design, data collection, sampling approach, and data harmonization methods used by the N3C have been described previously24,25 and are summarized in eMethods 1 to 5 in Supplement 1. Each partner site contributes demographic, medication, laboratory, diagnosis, and vital status data to the central data repository, and the data are harmonized into the Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership data model (eMethods 3 and eAppendix in Supplement 1). Deidentified data are transferred and accessible through the N3C Data Enclave under a data-sharing agreement, which is approved under the authority of the National Institutes of Health Institutional Review Board and with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine serving as a central institutional review board. This cohort study received approval from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Institutional Review Board. No informed consent was obtained because the study used deidentified data. We followed the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) reporting guideline.26
For the current retrospective cohort study, we included patients in the N3C Data Enclave who (1) received at least 1 dose of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine between December 10, 2020, and September 16, 2021, and (2) had data that passed initial quality checks (eFigure 1 in Supplement 1). We used December 10, 2020, the date that the US Food and Drug Administration approved the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines for general use,27 as the beginning of the study observation period. The end of the observation period was October 14, 2021. To provide at least 14 days of follow-up after vaccination and account for the lag in data reporting, we included patients who were vaccinated on or before September 16, 2021. To account for changes in COVID-19 breakthrough infection rates attributable to the highly contagious Delta variant, we used June 20, 2021, as the date by which to stratify the follow-up period into a pre'' or post''Delta variant period. The date was based on the CDC report of Delta being the dominant SARS-CoV-2 strain (>50%) in the US.28
Vaccination and Case Definition
Key concept definitions are provided in eTable 1 in Supplement 1. The data set we used included the 3 SARS-CoV-2 vaccines with Food and Drug Administration authorization (2 mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech [BNT162b2] and Moderna [mRNA-1273], and 1 viral vector vaccine from Johnson & Johnson/Janssen [JNJ-784336725]) and other vaccines (eg, from AstraZeneca). We defined full vaccination as completion of the recommended dosing regimen of any vaccine (2 doses for mRNA vaccines, 1 dose for Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, or 2 doses for other vaccines) and partial vaccination as receipt of only 1 dose of an mRNA or other vaccine.
We followed the N3C COVID-19 diagnosis definition,24,25 which is publicly available.29 Patients with COVID-19 had a positive result from 1 of a set of a priori''defined tests (included real-time polymerase chain reaction, antigen, and antibody tests) and diagnostic conditions based on International Classification of Diseases codes.30 We excluded positive antibody test results from the COVID-19 diagnosis after December 10, 2020, because a portion of antibody tests were requested by patients as a confirmation of their immune response after vaccination. Of all breakthrough infection cases, 98% were confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction or antigen test and 2% were confirmed by diagnostic conditions. To allow for immune response, we defined breakthrough infection as a COVID-19 infection that was contracted on or after the 14th day of vaccination.
Preexisting Conditions and Covariates
Demographic characteristics (age, sex, and race and ethnicity [which were self-identified in the EMR of the partner sites]) and diagnoses of preexisting conditions (history of HIV infection, MS, RA, SOT, BMT, and other comorbid conditions) were identified from January 1, 2018, until either the date of breakthrough infection or the end of study observation for non''breakthrough infection cases. Sample distribution of patients with immune dysfunction by N3C partner sites is reported in eMethods 4 and 5 in Supplement 1. The number of comorbidities (including severe heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, dementia, pulmonary diseases, liver disease, diabetes, kidney diseases, and cancer) was classified into 4 groups: 0, 1, 2, 3 or more. Geographic regions were identified according to residential zip codes and then classified according to infection rates and sampling density into 5 categories (Northeast, Midwest, West, South, or unknown) (eFigure 2 in Supplement 1).
Disease severity of COVID-19 was defined using EMR classification procedures and condition codes, which were categorized by the COVID-19 Clinical Progression Scale established by the World Health Organization31 and reported previously11 (eTable 1 in Supplement 1). Death was identified by date of death or transfer to hospice. We identified the most severe event within 45 days after COVID-19 diagnosis and combined outcomes into outpatient visit only, inpatient hospitalization, or severe outcomes (eg, mechanical ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or death). We compared the severity of COVID-19 outcomes in breakthrough infection vs prevaccination cases.
Patient characteristics at first dose of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine are presented for all participants, people without immune dysfunction, and people with specific immune dysfunction conditions (HIV infection, MS, RA, SOT, and BMT). We assigned patients to each immune dysfunction group on a mutually exclusive basis. If multiple conditions were present (0.1% had '‰¥2 conditions), patients were assigned to the highest risk group (HIV infection < MS < RA < SOT < BMT). We estimated unadjusted and adjusted IRRs (AIRRs) for COVID-19 breakthrough infection with 95% CIs using Poisson regression models with robust SEs, comparing people with specific immune dysfunction conditions (HIV infection, MS, RA, SOT, or BMT group vs non''immune dysfunction group) to people without these conditions. Poisson regression model 1 was adjusted for a study period (pre'' or post''Delta variant period: June 20, 2021), full vaccination status, COVID-19 infection before vaccination, demographic characteristics, geographic location, and comorbidity burden. Poisson regression model 2 was adjusted for model 1 covariates and immune dysfunction group.
Person-time (at risk) accrued from the date of the first dose of the vaccine to the date of breakthrough infection, death, transfer to hospice, or October 14, 2021, whichever occurred first. Vaccine status was considered a time-varying variable for patients who received the mRNA or other vaccines, and full vaccination for patients who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine was considered a time-fixed variable. Participants contributed person-time to partial vaccination status from 14 days after the first dose of the vaccine to the date of the second dose, breakthrough infection, or censoring, whichever occurred first. Participants contributed person-time to full vaccination status from 14 days after all required doses of the vaccine to the date of breakthrough infection or censoring, whichever occurred first. We controlled for study period (pre'' or post''Delta variant dominance) and previous COVID-19 diagnosis before the first dose of the vaccine. Other covariates were selected on the basis of data availability, completeness, quality, and a priori knowledge of relevance.11,24,30 To account for other immune dysfunction groups that were not included in the primary analyses, we sequentially excluded from sensitivity analyses those individuals with a history of cancer or other rheumatic diseases (eg, spondyloarthritis, gout, systemic lupus erythematosus, polymyalgia rheumatica, systemic sclerosis, polymyositis, and rheumatoid lung disease). To account for the potential impact of COVID-19 before vaccination, we conducted a separate sensitivity analysis. We used Kaplan-Meier cumulative incidence curves to demonstrate time to breakthrough infection by immune dysfunction status. Descriptive statistics were used to compare COVID-19 disease severity in cases before and after vaccination as well as in patients with and without immune dysfunction.
P'‰='‰.05 indicated statistical significance. All analyses were conducted in the N3C Data Enclave using SparkR package (R Foundation for Statistical Computing).
Of the 664'¯722 patients in the N3C sample who received at least 1 dose of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, with 4'¯436'¯139 person-months of follow-up, more than 90% received an mRNA vaccine (n'‰='‰633 365 [95.3%]) and completed all recommended doses (n'‰='‰604'¯035 [90.9%]). The sample included patients with a median (IQR) age of 51 (34-66) years (although 5.0% of patients were younger than 18 years), 378'¯307 women (56.9%), and 286'¯415 men (43.1%). The sample comprised 31'¯697 Asian American/Pacific Islander (4.8%), 111'¯457 Hispanic (16.8%), 70'¯093 non-Hispanic Black (10.5%), and 394'¯397 non-Hispanic White (59.3%) individuals as well as 38'¯309 persons (5.8%) who identified as having other (eg, multiple, unknown, or self-reported other) race and ethnicity (Table 1). We identified 35'¯512 patients (5.3%) with immune dysfunction. Compared with people without immune dysfunction, those in the SOT, BMT, or RA groups were older; those with HIV infection or SOT recipients were more likely to have a non-Hispanic Black race and ethnicity; and those with immune dysfunction condition were more likely to have 3 or more comorbid conditions.
Breakthrough Infection in the N3C Sample
Of the 604'¯035 fully vaccinated persons, 22'¯917 had a COVID-19 breakthrough infection (5.0 per 1000 person-months). Compared with partial vaccination, full vaccination was associated with a 28% reduced risk for a breakthrough infection (AIRR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.68-0.76). Breakthrough infection rates were substantially higher after June 20, 2021, when the Delta variant became the dominant strain (IR before vs after June 20, 2021, 2.2 [95% CI, 2.2-2.2] vs 7.3 [95% CI, 7.3-7.4] per 1000 person-months; AIRR, 3.46; 95% CI, 3.23-3.72) (Table 2 and Table 3).
Older age, female sex, and a higher number of comorbidities were significantly associated with a higher likelihood of breakthrough infection. Specifically, risk for breakthrough infection increased by 30% to 40% among patients 30 years or older compared with those aged 18 to 29 years. Although risk for a breakthrough infection increased with greater number of comorbidities, this risk was associated with and notably attenuated by immune dysfunction status (Table 3, model 1 vs model 2).
Breakthrough Infection in People With Immune Dysfunction
Compared with people without immune dysfunction (Table 2 and Table 3), those with immune dysfunction had a higher rate of breakthrough infection after receiving partial or full vaccination. The difference is more noticeable in the period after the Delta variant became dominant (Table 2). Specifically, among individuals with full vaccination, the IR of breakthrough infection was 7.1 (95% CI, 7.1-7.2) per 1000 person-months for people without immune dysfunction vs 9.1 (95% CI, 8.8-9.4) per 1000 person-months for HIV infection, 8.9 (95% CI, 8.4-9.3) per 1000 person-months for MS, 9.3 (95% CI, 9.1-9.6) per 1000 person-months for RA, 15.7 (95% CI, 15.1-16.4) per 1000 person-months for SOT, and 8.6 (95% CI, 8.0-9.1) per 1000 person-months for BMT. Furthermore, HIV infection (AIRR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.18-1.49), RA (AIRR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.09-1.32), and SOT (AIRR, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.96-2.38) were independently associated with increased breakthrough infection rate (Table 3). Individuals with vs without prevaccination COVID-19 diagnosis had a 56% reduced risk for a breakthrough infection (AIRR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.40-0.48). All associations were independent of demographic characteristics, geographic region, and comorbidity burden. Overall, sensitivity analyses that evaluated no 14-day lag period, excluded cancer and other rheumatic diseases, and excluded previous COVID-19 diagnosis yielded results similar to those in primary analyses (eTable 2 in Supplement 1).
The median (IQR) time from full vaccination to breakthrough infection was 138 (85-178) days. Overall, 1.2% of patients had a breakthrough infection in 3 months and 2.8% contracted it in 6 months after completing vaccination. Compared with patients without immune dysfunction, patients with immune dysfunction conditions, especially patients with HIV infection or recipients of SOT or BMT, had substantially faster time to breakthrough infection (Figure 1; eTable 3 in Supplement 1). Specifically, more than 6% of SOT recipients contracted a breakthrough infection in 6 months. More than 50% of the breakthrough infections among patients with HIV infection or recipients of BMT or SOT occurred within the first 4 months of full vaccination.
Compared with the 2'¯111'¯515 prevaccination COVID-19 cases in the N3C sample, COVID-19 outcomes within 45 days of diagnosis were less severe for the breakthrough infection cases (Figure 2). Among COVID-19 cases without immune dysfunction, the proportions with inpatient hospitalization and severe outcomes were lower among breakthrough cases compared with prevaccination cases (16.0% vs 24.4%). Patients with immune dysfunction had higher levels of severity but also experienced a notable decline in severity, especially those with severe outcomes from prevaccination to breakthrough infection (6.3% [n'‰='‰4486 of 71 365] vs 3.3% [n'‰='‰50 of 1538]).
Leveraging real-world data from 664'¯722 persons who were vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 in the US, we observed that COVID-19 breakthrough infection occurred infrequently after full vaccination but was notably more common than the CDC surveillance estimates.9 We believe the findings confirm that individuals with varied immune dysfunction conditions had higher breakthrough infection rate. Although the breakthrough infection rate tripled after the emergence of the Delta variant, breakthrough cases tended to be substantially less severe compared with prevaccination COVID-19 cases, regardless of a person's immune status. In addition, we believe that the data confirmed that SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations have been highly successful and emphasized the importance of full vaccination for preventing breakthrough infection. This benefit is apparent, regardless of immune status, although intact immune function is associated with maximum protection.
Persons living with HIV or undergoing immunosuppressant treatment (patients with RA and SOT recipients) had a significantly higher risk for breakthrough infection, independent of older age, female sex, and comorbidity burden. Breakthrough infection occurred substantially faster among persons with immune dysfunction compared with the general population. Although the risk estimates for MS and BMT groups were not statistically significant in the Poisson regression in part because of the limited sample size, the IRs and time-to-event analysis demonstrated their potential higher risk for a breakthrough infection compared with people without immune dysfunction. In addition, patients with severe immune dysfunction (ie, recipients of BMT) may continue nonpharmaceutical prevention strategies, regardless of vaccination status, and thus reduce their risk for contracting a breakthrough infection.
Although patients with immune dysfunction had substantially less severe COVID-19 outcomes after vaccination compared with cases before vaccination, the disease severity of breakthrough infection cases was still noticeable (3.3% with severe outcomes). The finding that a higher likelihood and greater severity of a breakthrough infection were observed among persons with immune dysfunction prompts the consideration of alternative prevention and management approaches in this population.
We observed a higher breakthrough infection rate compared with the reported CDC surveillance data to date (estimated at 2.8% by 6 months after full vaccination vs 22'¯115 cases after 183 million vaccinations).10 Surveillance data from the CDC originated from the existing state health department reporting systems, identified primarily symptomatic cases, and almost certainly underestimated the true rate of breakthrough infection. In contrast, because the N3C population originated from predominantly academic medical centers and consisted of individuals either with or without previous COVID-19 diagnosis, persons at a higher risk for incident COVID-19 were likely overrepresented in this sample compared with the general US population. For instance, the study population consisted of older patients with many comorbidities and higher prevalence of immune dysfunction (5.3% in this study vs 2.7% in US adults32), which are factors associated with a higher susceptibility to a breakthrough infection in both the present and previous studies.5,7,8 Given the routine COVID-19 screening at hospitals for admissions or procedures, the N3C data may have captured more asymptomatic cases compared with the CDC surveillance data. Nonetheless, the observed prevalence in this study is comparable to the population-level data from the United Kingdom,33 in which the breakthrough infection rates after full vaccination against the Alpha and Delta variants were approximately 6 and 14 per 1000 persons, respectively. Although we were not able to directly identify specific variants in the current data, we were able to classify IRs before and after the Delta variant became the dominant strain. Although the true rate of breakthrough infection in the US remains difficult to estimate, the results of this study are reassuring regarding the relative infrequency of severe breakthrough infection among persons without immune dysfunction.
These findings are consistent with results of 2 studies from Israel and US, which corroborated that persons with immune dysfunction had substantially higher risk for a breakthrough infection compared with persons without immune dysfunction.7,8 A US case-control study of 1210 hospitalized patients suggested that 44% of hospitalized breakthrough cases occurred among immunocompromised patients, estimating that the vaccine was less effective at 59.2% within this group.7 We further addressed the excessive risk for a breakthrough infection among patients with specific immune dysfunction conditions in this large national sample. Although we observed that breakthrough infection rates were higher in persons with immune dysfunction, the severity of a breakthrough infection was reduced, underscoring that vaccination, although not as immunologically beneficial in this population, had considerable advantages.
A previous immunogenicity study suggested that the seropositivity rates of antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein after vaccination among patients with immune dysfunction were substantially lower than the rates in healthy control patients (37.2%-83.8% of seropositivity among patients with immune dysfunction vs 98.1% among healthy adults).18 Persons living with HIV showed a comparable immune response to healthy adults in this immunogenicity study,18 although the sample size was small (n'‰='‰37 persons with HIV) and their status of immune dysfunction (ie, CD 4 cell counts) was unclear. The large-scale real-world data we used confirmed that multiple groups of persons with immune dysfunction (SOT, RA, and HIV infection) displayed substantially higher rates for a breakthrough infection. This study included 8536 persons with HIV and showed that they had an independent 33% higher risk for a breakthrough infection after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. A recent study reported an increased risk for severe COVID-19 infection in persons living with HIV that was associated with more advanced immune deficiency.11 Persons living with HIV, especially those with advanced immune deficiency, should be considered at a higher risk, comparable to other patients with immune dysfunction, in guidelines to prevent a COVID-19 breakthrough infection.
We believe the findings provide robust evidence to support the CDC recommendation of a booster vaccine dose in persons with immune dysfunction. Recent studies indicated that patients who underwent SOT experienced weak immune responses to 2-dose SARS-CoV-2 vaccines,21,22 but 3 doses of an mRNA vaccine may improve immunogenicity.20,34 Specifically, the detection of anti''SARS-CoV-2 antibodies increased from 40% to 68% after the third dose of an mRNA vaccine in patients who underwent SOT.20 Although a third dose considerably improved the immune response among SOT recipients, the prevalence of antibody response was still substantially lower in that study than in the general population (<70% vs >90%, respectively).20 Severe immunodeficiency in some patients may preclude the appropriate antibody response regardless of the number of vaccine doses given.
The findings of this study suggest that nuanced guidance for COVID-19 prevention and control is needed for patients with immune dysfunction. Clinicians and patients should consider continuing nonpharmaceutical interventions even after vaccination, including mask wearing, social distancing, and avoiding densely crowded settings (especially indoors) as much as possible. For patients with immune dysfunction who contracted or were exposed to COVID-19 infection after vaccination, future studies can investigate the benefits of postexposure prophylaxis or preemptive therapy, close monitoring for early disease progression, and permissive use of additional therapies while evaluating the duration of viral shedding or potential for onward transmission. Although antibody levels may not always indicate vaccine protection, further immunogenic studies to identify protective thresholds of antibody response may aid in triaging patients with immune dysfunction who are at greatest risk for a breakthrough infection.
This study has several limitations. First, it is limited by the nature of using EMR-based data, which could potentially lead to misclassified immune dysfunction and comorbid conditions, although we anticipate this misclassification to be nondifferential. Second, SARS-CoV-2 vaccination status was captured in the EMR of large academic medical centers, which may not fully account for vaccinations that occur outside of their hospital settings, such as pharmacies and mass vaccination sites. However, this underreporting is less likely to affect patients with immune dysfunction because they are more likely to receive regular care, and would not alter the comparisons of risk. Third, we did not evaluate the risk for a breakthrough infection among patients with other immune dysfunctions, such as cancer and other rheumatoid diseases, nor did we directly evaluate exposure to immunosuppressant regimens. However, the sensitivity analysis we performed that excluded patients with cancer and other rheumatoid diseases yielded consistent results with the primary analyses.
This cohort study provided real-world evidence that patients with immune dysfunction had substantially higher risk for contracting COVID-19 breakthrough infection and had worse outcomes compared with those without immune dysfunction. Completion of all recommended doses of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is crucial in preventing a breakthrough infection regardless of a person's immune status. The findings support the use of alternative vaccine strategies (eg, additional doses or immunogenicity testing) and nonpharmaceutical interventions (eg, mask wearing) even after full vaccination for people with immune dysfunction.
Accepted for Publication: October 9, 2021.
Published Online: December 28, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.7024
Corresponding Authors: Jing Sun, MD, MPH, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2213 McElderry St, Baltimore, MD 21205 (; Rena C. Patel, MD, MPH, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Departments of Medicine and Global Health, University of Washington, 325 Ninth Ave, Seattle, WA 98104 (
Author Contributions: Dr Sun had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Drs Kirk and Patel contributed equally.
Concept and design: Sun, J.A. Singh, Agarwal, N. Singh, Mannon, Kirk, Patel.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Sun, Zheng, Madhira, Olex, Anzalone, Vinson, J.A. Singh, French, Abraham, Mathew, Safdar, Fitzgerald, N. Singh, Topaloglu, Chute, Mannon, Kirk, Patel.
Drafting of the manuscript: Sun, J.A. Singh, Mathew, Patel.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Zheng, Madhira, Olex, Anzalone, Vinson, J.A. Singh, French, Abraham, Safdar, Agarwal, Fitzgerald, N. Singh, Topaloglu, Chute, Mannon, Kirk, Patel.
Statistical analysis: Sun, Zheng, Madhira, Anzalone, Vinson, Abraham, Fitzgerald, Patel.
Obtained funding: Chute.
Administrative, technical, or material support: Madhira, Olex, Anzalone, French, N. Singh, Topaloglu, Chute, Mannon, Kirk, Patel.
Supervision: Sun, Safdar, N. Singh, Kirk, Patel.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Vinson reported receiving grants from Paladin Labs Inc and personal fees from Paladin Labs Inc advisory board outside the submitted work. Dr J.A. Singh reported receiving personal fees from Crealta/Horizon, Medisys, Fidia, PK Med, Two Labs Inc, Adept Field Solutions, Clinical Care Options, ClearView Healthcare Partners, Putnam Associates, Focus Forward, Navigant, Spherix, MedIQ, Jupiter Life Science, UBM LLC, Trio Health, Medscape, WebMD, Practice Point Communications, National Institutes of Health (NIH), American College of Rheumatology, and Simply Speaking; holding stock options from TPT Global Tech, Vaxart Pharmaceuticals, Atyu Biopharma, and Charlotte's Web Holdings Inc outside the submitted work. Dr Abraham reported receiving grants from NIH and personal fees from Implementation Group Inc outside the submitted work. Dr Topaloglu reported being a stockholder of CareDirections LLC. Dr Chute reported receiving grants from NIH outside the submitted work. Dr Mannon reported serving as a steering committee member for IMAGINE trial from Vitaeris; receiving honorarium as deputy editor of American Journal of Transplantation; grants from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, and grants to institution for clinical trial from CSL Behring, Transplant Genomics, and Quark Pharmaceuticals outside the submitted work; and serving as chair of Policy and Advocacy Committee of American Society of Nephrology and co-chair of review committee of Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients. No other disclosures were reported.
Funding/Support: This study accessed data and tools through the N3C Data Enclave (, which is supported by grant U24 TR002306 from National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) is funded by grant U24 TR002306 from NCATS. Ms Olex and Mr French were supported by Clinical and Translational Science Awards UL1TR002649 from NCATS. Dr Abraham was supported by grants U54GM104942-05S2 and U54GM115458 from National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which funds the West Virginia Clinical & Translational Science Institute and the Great Plains IDeA Clinical and Translational Research Network. Dr Safdar was supported by grant DP2AI144244 from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and by a grant from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr N. Singh was supported in part by grant DP2AI144244 from NIAID. Dr Kirk was supported in part by grant K24AI118591 from NIAID. Dr Patel was supported by grant K23AI120855 from NIAID.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. NCATS and N3C had a role in the review and approval of all results reported in the manuscript for public review.
Group Information: N3C Consortium members are listed in Supplement 2.
Additional Contributions: The following N3C core teams contributed to this study: Melissa A. Haendel (principal investigator [PI]), Christopher G. Chute (PI), Kenneth R. Gersing, Anita Walden; Workstream, subgroup and administrative leaders: Melissa A. Haendel (PI), Tellen D. Bennett, Christopher G. Chute, David A. Eichmann, Justin Guinney, Warren A. Kibbe, Hongfang Liu, Philip R.O. Payne, Emily R. Pfaff, Peter N. Robinson, Joel H. Saltz, Heidi Spratt, Justin Starren, Christine Suver, Adam B. Wilcox, Andrew E. Williams, Chunlei Wu; key liaisons at data partner sites; regulatory staff at data partner sites; individuals at the sites who are responsible for creating the data sets and submitting data to N3C; Data Ingest and Harmonization team: Christopher G. Chute (PI), Emily R. Pfaff (PI), Davera Gabriel, Stephanie S. Hong, Kristin Kostka, Harold P. Lehmann, Richard A. Moffitt, Michele Morris, Matvey B. Palchuk, Xiaohan Tanner Zhang, Richard L. Zhu; Phenotype team (individuals who create the scripts that the sites use to submit their data, based on the COVID and long COVID definitions): Emily R. Pfaff (PI), Benjamin Amor, Mark M. Bissell, Marshall Clark, Andrew T. Girvin, Stephanie S. Hong, Kristin Kostka, Adam M. Lee, Robert T. Miller, Michele Morris, Matvey B. Palchuk, Kellie M. Walters; Project management and operations team: Anita Walden (PI), Yooree Chae, Connor Cook, Alexandra Dest, Racquel R. Dietz, Thomas Dillon, Patricia A. Francis, Rafael Fuentes, Alexis Graves, Julie A. McMurry, Andrew J. Neumann, Shawn T. O'Neil, Usman Sheikh, Andr(C)a M. Volz, Elizabeth Zampino; Partners from NIH and other federal agencies: Christopher P. Austin (PI), Kenneth R. Gersing (PI), Samuel Bozzette, Mariam Deacy, Nicole Garbarini, Michael G. Kurilla, Sam G. Michael, Joni L. Rutter, Meredith Temple-O'Connor; Analytics team (individuals who build the Data Enclave infrastructure, help create code sets and variables, and help domain teams and project teams with their data sets): Benjamin Amor (PI), Mark M. Bissell, Katie Rebecca Bradwell, Andrew T. Girvin, Amin Manna, Nabeel Qureshi; Publication committee management team: Mary Morrison Saltz (PI), Christine Suver (PI), Christopher G. Chute, Melissa A. Haendel, Julie A. McMurry, Andr(C)a M. Volz, Anita Walden; Publication committee review team: Carolyn Bramante, Jeremy Richard Harper, Wenndy Hernandez, Farrukh M. Koraishy, Federico Mariona, Saidulu Mattapally, Amit Saha, Satyanarayana Vedula.
Additional Information: This research was possible because of the patients whose information is included in the data from participating organizations ( and the organizations and scientists ( who have contributed to the ongoing development of this community resource (
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CPS extends COVID-19 test deadline after drop boxes overflow - Chicago Tribune
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 15:30
Chicago Public Schools said it has extended the deadline to Thursday for parents to return the district's at-home COVID-19 test kits after photos circulated online Tuesday of drop-off boxes overflowing with packages.
''We are encouraged by the number of families who have submitted test kits so far. We are working with all partners to ensure a timely pick up of test kits at FedEx and libraries,'' a CPS spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday that noted the district has added a drop-off location at the Garfield Ridge branch of the Chicago Public Library and will accept completed test kits at some libraries until 5 p.m. Thursday.
The district said it distributed test kits to 150,000 students at more than 300 schools in areas hit hard by coronavirus that also have low vaccination rates. Families were ''strongly encouraged'' to test students on Tuesday and drop the sample at their nearest FedEx drop box or library that day so results could be processed before students return from winter break next week.
But some parents encountered shipping boxes filled to the brim with packages on Tuesday. Jessica Martinez debated leaving her son's sample at a FedEx drop box, where the overflow spilled out onto the sidewalk of a West Elsdon strip mall on the Southwest Side.
''It is scary to leave your box there. I had to kind of like tuck it in ... to make sure that it doesn't get stolen or it doesn't get misplaced,'' said Martinez, who lives in the West Lawn area. ''They should have added more locations.''
CPS said it will accept kits until Thursday evening at library branches in Englewood at 6151 S. Normal Blvd.; Garfield Ridge at 6348 S. Archer Ave.; South Shore at 2505 E. 73rd St.; Auburn Gresham at 7506 S. Racine Ave.; East Side at 3710 E. 106th St.; Austin at 5615 W. Race Ave.; and Altgeld Gardens at 933 E. 131st Place.
CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said earlier this month the Dec. 28 drop-off date was picked in consultation with health officials so results could be ready Friday. Students are set to return to classrooms Monday. Martinez pleaded with parents to take advantage of the test kits.
In social media posts, the Chicago Teachers Union said the test kit plan was ''not well-thought-out'' and called the drop-off troubles ''bureaucratic failure and chaos.'' The union plans to host free COVID-19 testing from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at its headquarters at 1901 W. Carroll Ave.
At-home COVID-19 tests from CPS students pile up at a FedEx drop-off box on In the West Elsdon neighborhood. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)
The union continues to call for a metric that would cause an individual school and the entire district to transition to remote learning. CPS reported its highest weekly new case count '-- 603 students and 373 adults '-- as it headed into winter break.
About 330,000 students are enrolled in CPS, but its online COVID-19 data does not include charter school cases.
In its Tuesday statement, CPS said the ''safest place for students to be is in school, where mitigation is strong and clear protocols are being followed.'' The district has expressed confidence in its indoor masking policy and weekly testing program that's voluntary for students and mandatory for unvaccinated staff members '-- even as the union and some parents have said the protocols are not enough.
''We expect that classrooms, and sometimes schools, will be transitioned to remote learning, as we identify and manage the positive cases among staff and students. But we are confident that we can manage those decisions in an agile and responsive way,'' CPS said in its statement.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 are directed to isolate for 10 days. The district said Tuesday it will work with health officials and the Illinois State Board of Education to evaluate quarantine guidance issued Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC announced it is shortening the recommended isolation time for infected people from 10 days to five days if they are asymptomatic. After that period, they should wear a mask for five days when around others.
On Dec. 17, the last day of school before winter break, about 9,000 CPS students were in isolation because they tested positive or in quarantine because they came in contact with someone who had, according to district data. CPS has been piloting a program that would allow unvaccinated students determined to be close contacts of an infected person to avoid quarantine if they repeatedly test negative.
Chicago Tribune's E. Jason Wambsgans contributed.
'Don't Look Up' makes one critical mistake - CNN
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 15:29
Holly Thomas is a writer and editor based in London. She is morning editor at Katie Couric Media. She tweets @HolstaT. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. View more opinion on CNN.
(CNN)On January 8, 2017, Meryl Streep gave a speech at the Golden Globe Awards that, depending on who you ask, either gave voice to heartbroken Americans or sorely misjudged voters' frustrations.
Dismayed and scared after Donald Trump's presidential victory, Streep rallied her audience of Hollywood A-listers, filmmakers and the foreign press,
telling them that they belonged to "the most vilified segments in American society right now," but if they were kicked out, the public would have "nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts."
Her speech could not have been less persuasive to the demographic she seemed most desperate to reach.
Many Americans who voted for Trump in 2016 did so because they
felt forgotten by the political and social establishment, and believed their way of life was
under threat. It is unlikely that their driving motivations included ensuring that celebrities continued to be paid millions of dollars to play make-believe. Surrounded by peers who shared her own priorities, Streep's message only emphasized an existing divide.
Nearly five years after that speech, "Don't Look Up," Netflix's star-studded disaster satire featuring Streep alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, spends over two hours making the same mistake. In its efforts to champion its cause, the film only alienates those who most need to be moved by its message.
The movie's heavy-handed premise is that a huge comet is on a collision course for Earth, but the corrupt, self-absorbed president (played by Streep) and the evil media are choosing to ignore the danger because they believe they might be able to profit from it.
It's a climate change metaphor that should be inherently sympathetic. Unfortunately, there's never been a more hostile environment in which to use it.
As "Don't Look Up" would have it, the biggest problem facing the world is that the gullible public and greedy elites keep refusing to listen to the clever scientists.
In the recent context of
vaccine misinformation and billionaires making
vanity trips to space, it's a tempting position. The snag is that when science becomes politicized -- whether by those championing it, or those denying it -- objective truth ceases to wield blanket persuasive power.
As counterintuitive as it may sometimes seem, to win people over, science must remain apolitical.
Take Anthony Fauci, America's long-suffering infectious disease expert. Fauci went to great pains to remain
politically neutral while serving under Trump because he knew that the appearance of bias would only serve to alienate many of the people who desperately needed to heed his advice.
Like Greta Thunberg, who until the
2020 US election relentlessly focused on
climate action without getting into the muck of left versus right, Fauci understands that any political association only serves as a
distraction from the task at hand.
When Fauci's words were taken out of context in a GOP ad in mid-October 2020, he was swift to
distance himself. As Fauci's recommendations for combating the coronavirus -- such as mask-wearing -- continued to conflict with
Trump's interests, Trump changed tack and began to discredit both Fauci and the science he represented. How did he do that? He claimed that Fauci -- who is not registered with any political party -- was a
Democrat. This political fracturing was reflected in public acceptance (or lack thereof) of the science. By the end of October 2020, according to Pew Research Center, Democrats
accounted for 76% of those who expressed worry about others not using masks, while Republicans accounted for 92% of those expressing skepticism or opposition to masks.
Nearly a year later, Americans who relied mainly on Trump for their Covid-19 information were among the
least likely to be vaccinated. Far from winning people over to evidence-based precautions, Fauci's Trump-imposed association with the Democrats only served to make him a lightning rod for
Republican ire. Science is objective -- the "math," as "Don't Look Up" constantly puts it, either adds up, or it doesn't. But as soon as scientific truth becomes inherently associated with one political creed, people who have conflicting political sympathies will be predisposed to mistrust it.
As well-intentioned as the writers and cast of "Don't Look Up" undoubtedly are, the goal of defending scientific fact must be dissociated from that of asserting moral superiority. The constant implication that those who hesitate to accept fresh evidence -- be that of the safety of vaccines, or the comet's impact -- are stupid, corrupt and hail from the "wrong" side politically, only adds another hurdle for science to overcome.
Toward the end of the movie, as one of the plainly Trumpian rallies held by Streep's character descends into chaos, Jonah Hill -- playing Streep's son and chief of staff -- shouts "rednecks" over his shoulder while making his escape. The intended message -- that the "bad" politicians who try to fool the public have nothing but contempt for them -- is tainted by the fact that the "good" guys who made the film don't seem to think much of them either.
The champions of science must always try to leave politics at the door. Otherwise, the task is not just convincing people that the comet is coming, the planet is rapidly overheating or the vaccine will protect them. It is also forcing huge swathes of the population to accept that a cornerstone of their personal ideology is wrong.
And when the comet is this close, there just isn't time for that.
Above All Else, Jared Schmeck Was a Bad Dad | by Will Leitch | Dec, 2021 | Medium
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 15:06
His kid is gonna realize what his dad did some day. Will Leitch
3 days ago · 5 min read
I've never met a President. Most people haven't. How many people do you think have met the President of the United States? I don't mean people who knew the President when he was in high school, or went to watch one of his speeches, or saw his motorcade drive by one time. I mean actually seeing the man'...
Biden Eyes Raskin as Top Fed Banking Regulator - WSJ
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 15:04
White House slate of Fed picks could also include two academic economists
Updated Dec. 28, 2021 3:24 pm ETPresident Biden is considering Sarah Bloom Raskin for a top role at the Federal Reserve as part of a slate of three nominees for central bank board seats, according to people familiar with the matter.
The administration is eyeing Ms. Raskin, a former Fed governor and onetime Treasury Department official, to become the central bank's vice chairwoman of supervision, the government's most influential overseer of the U.S. banking system, the people said.
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President Biden is considering Sarah Bloom Raskin for a top role at the Federal Reserve as part of a slate of three nominees for central bank board seats, according to people familiar with the matter.
The administration is eyeing Ms. Raskin, a former Fed governor and onetime Treasury Department official, to become the central bank's vice chairwoman of supervision, the government's most influential overseer of the U.S. banking system, the people said.
Mr. Biden, a Democrat, is also considering two economists for other Fed board seats that will soon be vacant: Lisa Cook, a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University; and Philip Jefferson, a professor and administrator at Davidson College in North Carolina.
Ms. Raskin's nomination could mollify progressive Democrats, some of whom opposed Mr. Biden's decision in November to offer a second term to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, a Republican first chosen for the top job by former President Donald Trump.
They have called for the Fed to take a tougher stance in regulating big banks and a bolder approach in addressing financial risks posed by climate change.
In a speech in September 2009, Ms. Raskin blamed the financial crisis on ''a deregulatory fervor that marginalized the interests of many'' and said the downturn had been ''brought upon us through a combination of greed, weak regulation and weak enforcement.''
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While serving as a Fed governor from 2010 to 2014, Ms. Raskin was deeply involved in behind-the-scenes work to write rules implementing the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-regulatory overhaul.
Since leaving the government, Ms. Raskin has spoken out on the need for the Fed and other federal financial regulators to more proactively address growing threats from climate-related events such as natural disasters and wildfires.
''There is opportunity in pre-emptive, early and bold actions by federal economic policy makers looking to avoid catastrophe,'' Ms. Raskin wrote in the foreword of a report last year from the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Markets, a climate advocacy group.
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has signaled to the White House she would support either Ms. Raskin or Richard Cordray, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's first confirmed director, who also has been under consideration for the Fed's banking-regulator post.
The potential nominations of Ms. Cook and Mr. Jefferson, who are both Black, would help Mr. Biden achieve his promise to improve diversity atop the central bank, which in its 108-year history has had only three Black board members, all of them men. The most recent was former Fed Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson, who left the board in 2006.
The Fed's seven-seat board of governors has one vacancy with two more looming. Governor Randal Quarles has said he would resign by the end of the month, and the term of Vice Chairman Richard Clarida ends next month. The White House's slate of nominees for these three seats could still change before an official announcement is made, as soon as early January.
With a closely divided Senate, Mr. Biden needs either universal support of Democrats to confirm his nominees or support from some Republicans to overcome holdouts from his own party.
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After serving as a Fed governor, Ms. Raskin, an attorney, served in the Obama administration as deputy secretary at the Treasury Department from 2014 to 2017. She was confirmed by a voice vote in the Senate for both posts. Before that, she served as Maryland's state commissioner of financial regulation. She currently is a law professor at Duke University and is married to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D., Md.).
At the Treasury, Ms. Raskin led efforts to address the financial stability risks of cybersecurity. At the Fed, she maintained a low profile on monetary policy and backed then-Chairman Ben Bernanke's effort to provide economic stimulus by purchasing government bonds.
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More recently, in a New York Times opinion article in May 2020, Ms. Raskin was critical of broad-based emergency-lending backstops enacted by the Treasury and Fed to assist businesses during the pandemic because she believed they should have taken steps to prevent lending to oil-and-gas concerns. ''The decisions the Fed makes on our behalf should build toward a stronger economy with more jobs in innovative industries'--not prop up and enrich dying ones,'' she wrote.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican, took to Twitter on Tuesday to criticize Ms. Raskin's potential nomination, writing she ''advocated cutting off capital for energy & destroying millions of US jobs.''
Progressive activists praised all three potential Fed board candidates and encouraged Mr. Biden to quickly nominate them, warning that delays filling these slots have crimped the White House's agenda. ''We need them there now,'' said Dennis Kelleher, chief executive at Better Markets, a group that advocates for stricter Wall Street oversight, in a tweet.
Mr. Jefferson, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Davidson College, has been an academic for nearly the entire time since 1990, when he earned his Ph.D. in economics, specializing in monetary economics and finance, at the University of Virginia. He was an economics professor at Swarthmore College from 1997 to 2019 and spent a year as a staff economist in the division of monetary affairs at the Fed board in the 1990s.
His research has focused on labor markets and poverty, including a 2008 paper that examines economic volatility faced by African-American families and female-headed households and its relationship to declining volatility in economic output. In 2005, he analyzed the costs and benefits of policies that promote a ''high-pressure economy'' to spur tighter labor markets, arguing that the latter outweighed the former.
In a 2018 interview with a publication of the Minneapolis Fed, Mr. Jefferson discussed the challenges of being a member of a minority group in the economics field. ''I have never been in an economics department with another African-American economist. Never,'' he said. ''My passion and enjoyment of learning new things, of writing and having a voice in different conversations, compensates me for the absence of colleagues who look like me.''
Ms. Cook formerly served as a senior economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration. She has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and bachelor's degrees from Spelman College and the University of Oxford.
She wrote her doctoral dissertation on the underdevelopment of Russia's banking system after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a feature she attributed to weak property rights.
The project created the germ of what would become her best-known research: a paper exploring the effect of violence and terrorism against Black Americans on innovation between 1870 and 1940.
Ms. Cook expressed support for programs in Mr. Biden's economic agenda during a recent Fed conference on gender and the economy. Asked on a Nov. 8 panel to identify three policies that would be most effective in addressing discrimination and lack of opportunity, Ms. Cook cited child-care and elder-care support, paid family leave and infrastructure. All are included in either the bipartisan infrastructure package that was enacted this year or in the social-spending and climate legislation that passed the House, but has stalled in the Senate.
'--Paul Kiernan and Ken Thomas contributed to this article.
Write to Andrew Ackerman at and Nick Timiraos at
Sarah Bloom Raskin - Wikipedia
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 15:03
American attorney
Sarah Bloom Raskin (born April 15, 1961) is an American attorney and regulator, who was formerly a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and a former United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. Previously, she served as Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation and as a Managing Director at the Promontory Financial Group.[1] She is a Rubenstein Fellow at Duke University.
Early life and education [ edit ] Sarah Bloom was born to a Jewish family in Medford, Massachusetts, the daughter of Arlene (n(C)e Perlis) and Herbert Bloom.[2][3][4] Bloom attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Illinois, where she graduated in 1979.[5]
After graduating from high school, she went on to Amherst College where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in economics in 1983, and wrote her undergraduate thesis on monetary policy. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986. Raskin was honored with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Muhlenberg College on May 19th, 2019.[6]
Government career [ edit ] Raskin worked as an associate at Arnold & Porter and as counsel for the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.[7] Prior to serving as Commissioner, she was a Managing Director at the Promontory Financial Group. Raskin also served as chief financial regulator for Maryland.[8]
President Obama nominated Raskin to the Federal Reserve Board along with fellow nominees Dr. Janet Yellen, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor Peter A. Diamond.[5] Raskin and Yellen were unanimously confirmed as Federal Reserve Board governors by the United States Senate on September 30, 2010.[9] On October 4, 2010, both were sworn in by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.[10] As a member of the Federal Reserve Board, Raskin gained a reputation as someone focused on consumer protection and income inequality.[8]
On July 31, 2013, President Barack Obama announced that he would nominate Raskin to the second-in-command position of Deputy Secretary at the United States Department of the Treasury.[11] She was confirmed to the position on March 12, 2014 by a voice vote.[12] Upon confirmation, Raskin became the highest-ranked woman in the history of the Treasury Department at that time.[8] Raskin was sworn in on March 19, 2014.[13] Upon her confirmation as Deputy Secretary she resigned as a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on March 13, 2014.[14] While serving her term, Raskin had a special focus on the macroeconomic impact of student loan borrowing and cyber security.
Post-government career [ edit ] During the 2017''18 academic year, Raskin was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. During the 2018''19 and 2019''20 academic years, Raskin was a Rubenstein Fellow at Duke University. As a Rubenstein Fellow, the Honorable Sarah Bloom Raskin worked closely with the Rethinking Regulation program at Duke's Kenan Institute for Ethics and with the Global Financial Markets Center at Duke Law School to improve the public's understanding of markets and regulation. In particular, she led a research agenda that sought to shape a new relationship between regulation and resilience in financial markets. It also explored opportunities to harness cyber-data and turn it into a public asset rather than a liability.
In November 2020, Bloom Raskin was reported to be under consideration for Secretary of the Treasury in the Biden Administration.[15] In 2021, she was mentioned as a potential candidate to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).[16]
Personal life [ edit ] Raskin is married to Jamie Raskin, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland's 8th congressional district ,[17] and as of 2006 lived in Takoma Park, Maryland.[18]
Raskin and her husband have two adult daughters, Hannah and Tabitha. On December 31, 2020, Raskin's office announced that their son Thomas (Tommy), a graduate of Amherst College and a second-year student at Harvard Law School, died at the age of 25.[19] On January 4, 2021, Raskin and her husband posted a tribute online which stated that Thomas had died by suicide after a prolonged battle with depression.[20][21]
References [ edit ] ^ "Sarah Bloom Raskin". The Washington Post . Retrieved 2020-05-29 . ^ Marquis Who's Who (1 December 1996). Who's Who of American Women, 1997''1998. Marquis Who's Who. ISBN 9780837904221 . Retrieved 10 December 2018 '' via Google Books. ^ "Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: April 13, 2018". Haaretz. April 13, 2018. ^ "Herbert Bloom, 87". Westport Now. March 26, 2018 . Retrieved April 13, 2019 . ^ a b Reddy, Sudeep (April 29, 2010), "Obama Nominates Yellen, Raskin, Diamond to Fed Board", Wall Street Journal ^ "Post". . Retrieved 2020-05-29 . ^ Chan, Sewell (12 March 2010). "Top Choices Are Floated to Fill Seats on Fed Board" . Retrieved 10 December 2018 '' via ^ a b c Mui, Ylan (12 March 2014). "Senate confirms Fed governor for No. 2 post at Treasury". Washington Post . Retrieved 12 March 2014 . ^ Business news in brief Two confirmed to Fed board; BP updates safety practices; earnings reports, September 29, 2010 (October 9, 2010) ^ Fed Press Release, October 4, 2010 (October 9, 2010) ^ Ylan Q. Mui, Wash. Post, Fed's Raskin is chosen for deputy Treasury secretary, July 31, 2013. ^ "United States Senate Periodical Press Gallery". United States Senate . Retrieved 12 March 2014 . ^ "Sarah Bloom Raskin Sworn in as Deputy Secretary". Press Center. United States Department of the Treasury . Retrieved 22 March 2014 . ^ "Membership of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 1914''Present". Appointive Members. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System . Retrieved 22 March 2014 . ^ "Who Are Contenders for Biden's Cabinet?". The New York Times. 11 November 2020 . Retrieved 11 November 2020 . ^ "Three new candidates emerge to head OCC". American Banker. 2021-03-25 . Retrieved 2021-09-14 . ^ "Congressman-elect Jamie Raskin resigns Maryland Senate seat". The Washington Post. 2016-11-11 . Retrieved 2018-12-10 . ^ Friends of Jamin Raskin (2006). "Biography". Jamie Raskin for State Senate campaign web site. Archived from the original on August 27, 2006 . Retrieved May 4, 2006 . ^ Flynn, Meagan (December 31, 2020). "Rep. Jamie Raskin announces the death of his 25-year-old son". Washington Post . Retrieved January 2, 2021 . ^ Lapin, Tamar (2021-01-05). "Rep. Jamie Raskin, wife say son lost battle with depression in heart-wrenching tribute". New York Post . Retrieved 2021-01-07 . ^ Raskin, Rep Jamie (2021-01-04). "Statement of Congressman Jamie Raskin and Sarah Bloom Raskin on the Remarkable Life of Tommy Raskin". Medium . Retrieved 2021-01-07 . External links [ edit ] U.S. Department of the Treasury biography '' dead linkAppearances on C-SPANThe Next Elizabeth Warren?
Who Invented Covid-19 Vaccines? Drugmakers Battle Over Patents - WSJ
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 14:57
Companies, scientists and governments square off, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake
A high-stakes legal battle is taking shape over lucrative patent rights for Covid-19 vaccines, with drug companies pitted against each other and government and academic scientists over who invented what.
The U.S. government and Moderna Inc., whose collaboration led to one of the most widely used shots, have fought over who discovered a key component and owns its rights. Meantime, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, makers of another leading vaccine, are in a patent battle with a smaller company, and some analysts think they could...
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A high-stakes legal battle is taking shape over lucrative patent rights for Covid-19 vaccines, with drug companies pitted against each other and government and academic scientists over who invented what.
The U.S. government and Moderna Inc., whose collaboration led to one of the most widely used shots, have fought over who discovered a key component and owns its rights. Meantime, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE , makers of another leading vaccine, are in a patent battle with a smaller company, and some analysts think they could end up facing off against Moderna.
At the heart of the disputes: Who can claim to have invented important elements of the Covid-19 vaccines?
Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake. If anyone succeeds in establishing a role in the discovery of the vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna would have to share with others a bigger cut of the tens of billions of dollars in vaccine sales being generated.
''It's scientific credit and money. That's what people want,'' said Jacob Sherkow, a professor who specializes in biotechnology intellectual property at the University of Illinois College of Law. ''This is a major biotech invention, for which tens of billions of dollars are riding on the line.''
The emerging patent disputes cast a shadow over what has otherwise been a remarkable scientific, government and business accomplishment: the development of several effective Covid-19 vaccines at unprecedented speed, during a pandemic.
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Who deserves credit for medical discoveries has long been a battleground for companies, academia and government. Patents are especially valuable in the pharmaceutical industry because they can give a company the exclusive right to sell a drug or vaccine for many years, free from generic competition.
They can also be valuable to scientists'--and the universities and government labs they work for'--if a drug company licenses a patent and pays royalties on sales. Princeton University built a $278 million chemistry lab using royalties from sales of Eli Lilly & Co.'s cancer drug Alimta, based on research by a university professor.
Yet the disputes can be hard to sort out because they involve who gets credit for complicated research that often builds upon a series of iterative discoveries.
Multi-company patent battles have erupted in the past over lucrative new drug markets, such as treatments for hepatitis C in the mid-2010s.
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The market for Covid-19 vaccines has proven to be bigger than Wall Street initially expected. Pfizer and Moderna have booked a combined $35 billion in Covid-19 vaccine sales globally for the first nine months of 2021.
Analysts estimate the two vaccines will post combined sales of more than $52 billion in 2022, helped by demand for booster shots.
Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna already pay royalties on sales of their vaccines because they rely in part on research conducted elsewhere. Both BioNTech and Moderna previously licensed patents on messenger RNA research conducted by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, and BioNTech has licensed a patent from the federal government, for which Pfizer has a sub-license. Moderna paid out $400 million in royalties, including to companies that hold the rights to the Penn patents, on sales of its Covid-19 vaccine for the first nine months of 2021.
One dispute stems from Moderna's decision to deny a National Institutes of Health request to list government scientists as co-inventors on the company's application for a U.S. patent covering a key component of its Covid-19 vaccine.
The patent would have claimed the invention of a genetic sequence incorporated into the Moderna vaccine to trigger an immune response against the coronavirus. The dispute was earlier reported by the New York Times.
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Moderna was working with the NIH on vaccine research for a few years before the novel coronavirus emerged, and they collaborated in developing and testing the Covid-19 vaccine soon after the pandemic began.
Moderna said it has credited government scientists on other patent applications related to its vaccine, such as one covering dosing, but government scientists didn't help invent the genetic sequence used in the vaccine.
Moderna said only its scientists came up with the messenger RNA sequence, which instructs the body's cells to make a version of the spike protein found on the surface of the coronavirus and triggers the immune response.
This month, Moderna dropped the patent application, saying it wanted to allow more time for discussions with the NIH aimed at an amicable resolution.
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The NIH said it welcomed the opportunity to work with the company to resolve patent issues in a way that recognizes the contribution of NIH scientists.
A second dispute could emerge over an NIH patent for an engineered version of the coronavirus spike protein. The engineered spike protein helps a vaccine induce a stronger immune response. Versions of the genetic sequence of the spike protein are found in mRNA vaccines, including Moderna's and Pfizer's.
Vaccine makers, including Pfizer and partner BioNTech, obtained a license to the NIH patent, but Moderna hasn't.
As long as Moderna doesn't have a license, its vaccine infringes upon the NIH patent, according to Christopher Morten, associate clinical professor of law at Columbia Law School who researches biotech and other patents. He has estimated Moderna could be on the hook to pay more than $1 billion to the government for infringing the patent.
Moderna didn't respond to a request for comment regarding the patent.
Both Pfizer and Moderna already are engaged in patent battles with other companies in connection with their vaccines.
In October 2020, a small San Diego company, Allele Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals, sued Pfizer and BioNTech, saying the companies were using a protein in their vaccine testing that infringed on an Allele patent.
Pfizer and BioNTech dispute the claim, and the litigation is pending.
Before the pandemic, Moderna initiated a U.S. patent-office proceeding to invalidate patents held by Arbutus Biopharma Corp. Those claim the invention of certain nanoparticles, like the kind found in Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine, which help deliver a vaccine's RNA inside human cells.
Moderna said it uses its own proprietary nanoparticles, which aren't covered by the claims in the Arbutus patents.
A Moderna loss could ultimately cause the company to pay royalties to Arbutus, according to some analysts. A U.S. appeals court on Dec. 1 upheld some of the Arbutus patent claims. Arbutus and a partner company that licensed the patents said they are pleased with the court's decision.
More patent lawsuits could arise. Last year, Moderna said it wouldn't enforce patents related to its Covid-19 vaccine while the pandemic emergency continued, but would seek to license its patents to other companies once the pandemic emergency is over.
That prospect has left open the possibility that Moderna could file patent-infringement lawsuits against other companies, including Pfizer and BioNTech, if they don't agree on license terms, according to some patent experts and Wall Street analysts.
A Pfizer spokeswoman said the company doesn't expect intellectual property to be a barrier to the availability of its vaccine. The company expects that any desired third-party licenses would be available on reasonable terms.
Write to Peter Loftus at
Trump rails against 'medical deep state' after Pfizer vaccine news comes after Election Day - The Washington Post
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 14:45
Shortly after Trump heard the news Monday, he demanded Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar ''get to the bottom'' of what happened with Pfizer, according to a senior White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the president's actions.
A few hours later, the issue was front and center at a meeting of the White House coronavirus task force when FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn briefed members about the vaccine data.
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The meeting agenda that day had been drafted so Hahn could walk members through the vaccine approval process, a senior administration official said. Hahn said the timing was the sole result of independent decisions made by Pfizer on collecting and reviewing the information, according to three senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal affairs.
Based on its initial data, pharmaceutical company Pfizer said Nov. 9 that its experimental vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing covid-19. (Reuters)Trump weighed in Monday night, tweeting without evidence that the FDA and Pfizer intentionally withheld the news until after the election.
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''As I have long said, @Pfizer and the others would only announce a Vaccine after the Election, because they didn't have the courage to do it before. Likewise, the @US_FDA should have announced it earlier, not for political purposes, but for saving lives!'' Trump wrote. ''The @US_FDA and the Democrats didn't want to have me get a Vaccine WIN, prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later '-- As I've said all along!''
Trump's anger at the FDA raises fresh questions about whether Hahn will hang on to his job until Jan. 20 '-- when Trump leaves office '-- in an administration intent on purging officials deemed insufficiently loyal. Trump called Hahn shortly before he tweeted Monday and was ''screaming at him'' about the Pfizer announcement, in the words of one senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive matters. The accusations against the FDA may further fuel baseless conspiracy theories that the election was stolen from Trump.
The FDA and HHS declined to comment.
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Although there is no evidence that Pfizer withheld data or did not report it as soon as it was available, a White House official said without evidence that Pfizer ''either knew the data and sat on it, or intentionally did not review it as originally planned, in order to push it beyond the election for political purposes.'' The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
But Pfizer did not have access to the data until the Sunday after the election and could not have known the results before then. Neither the trial participants nor the company knew who was getting the vaccine, and the company did not know how many cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, there were on Election Day. An independent monitoring committee analyzed the data Sunday and informed Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla, who learned of the results at 2 p.m. that day. The company announced the news the next morning.
An examination of decisions made by Pfizer and the FDA in recent months shows that while their actions inevitably affected the timing of the clinical trial results, there is no proof decisions were made with the intent of imperiling Trump's reelection prospects.
Rather, the drug company and regulatory agency were reacting to an unprecedented and evolving situation with the goal of dramatically compressing the timeline for vaccine development '-- it routinely stretches for years '-- into 10 months without sacrificing safety, according to numerous individuals who were involved in the process or had knowledge of it.
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They were also responding to public pressure from scientists who repeatedly voiced concerns that Trump would try to force a vaccine decision before Election Day. On several occasions, Trump said he hoped a vaccine would be ready before Nov. 3. Several Trump administration officials said they were frustrated that some of the scientists expressing concerns included experts advising Trump's Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.
''What's going on is they are trying to say there was collusion between FDA and Pfizer to delay this analysis of the trial data so that it wouldn't benefit Trump in the election, and there's no basis to that,'' said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not have permission to speak about the issue.
Bourla said Election Day did not factor into the company's decisions.
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''If it was before [the election], I would have released it before. If it is now, I'll release them now. I learned about those results yesterday, Sunday, at 2 o'clock,'' Bourla told Axios on Monday.
Wednesday afternoon, two days after Pfizer announced its results, biotechnology firm Moderna announced its vaccine trial had also reached enough cases of covid-19 for an independent data committee to assess whether its vaccine works.
When the clinical trial for the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German biotech partner, BioNTech, began in late July, the pandemic seemed to be coming under control. The company drafted an aggressive timeline for the review of data. The plan, which raised eyebrows among some vaccine experts, was designed to allow an independent monitoring committee to take more frequent and earlier peeks at the data than other manufacturers working on coronavirus vaccines.
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The first analysis of the data was scheduled to occur after only 32 cases of covid-19 were reported in a trial that at that time included 30,000 participants. That was about half the number of positive cases being used for initial data analysis by vaccine trials funded and facilitated by Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration effort to speed up treatments and vaccines.
From the start of the Pfizer trial, the FDA was concerned that 32 cases would be too few and urged the company to wait for more cases, Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccine research and development for Pfizer, said in an interview.
''We heard the FDA, but we were concerned it would take us too long to get to the cases'' if it raised the number for the first analysis, Jansen said. ''And so the FDA said, 'Okay, fine, it's your trial.' ''
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But many in the scientific community expressed concerns that reporting interim data based on just 32 positive cases was insufficient. Critics also questioned the FDA's plans to use an emergency authorization, rather than full approval, to expedite the vaccine to consumers. Emergency authorization typically relies on much less evidence than full licensure, and the FDA has used the process only once for a vaccine: the anthrax vaccine, under sharply different circumstances.
Fueling the worries were Trump's repeated promises there would be a coronavirus vaccine by Election Day '-- a piece of good news he desperately hoped would bolster his chances. Scientists on Twitter and elsewhere said they feared the FDA would be pressured to approve a vaccine before it was proved to be safe and effective.
By the fall, FDA officials, hoping to reassure scientists and the public, were stressing they would apply a rigorous new standard before authorizing a vaccine '-- one that would be roughly comparable to full approval.
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But when the agency tried to publish that new standard, which required two months of follow-up safety data on half the participants, the White House tried to block it, realizing the guidelines made it extremely unlikely a vaccine could be authorized before the election. In October, the FDA published a condensed form of the guidance and the White House backed down.
The new standards meant Pfizer would not have sufficient safety data to apply for an emergency authorization until the second half of November. As cases began to surge in mid-October, Pfizer's scientists considered simply waiting to do their first analysis at 62 cases, which would provide more confidence about the result and wouldn't cause much of a delay.
The rapid surge of coronavirus infections in the cooler months, while devastating for the country, means the trial is rushing toward completion faster than company executives anticipated. With more people being exposed to the virus amid the surge, testing the vaccine becomes easier '-- and faster.
In late October, in a public meeting, the FDA's vaccine advisory committee ridiculed the notion of reporting data on 32 cases. Soon afterward, Pfizer decided to revise its protocol to wait for 62 cases, a decision welcomed by the FDA. Pfizer temporarily stopped evaluating test samples from participants while officials discussed the case-count issue and other complex protocol changes with the agency.
''Nobody was trying to do anything bad to anyone's reelection,'' said a senior administration official. ''Everyone was wanting to do the right thing by public health.''
But Trump was furious Pfizer's promising results came shortly after the election. In Monday's task force meeting, hours after the Pfizer news was released, Azar said the FDA's tougher guidelines provided an incentive for the company to wait longer to determine results; there was little upside to disclosing effectiveness data on 32 cases when the company still would have to wait for safety information before applying for emergency authorization.
Azar, who as a board member of Operation Warp Speed does not take part in the FDA's decisions, has worked to distance himself from the FDA's decisions with the president and top White House aides.
Hahn told the task force that Pfizer's vaccine could be authorized soon. Azar again corrected him, saying the FDA should not overpromise given that it took the agency longer than initially expected to issue an emergency use authorization for a promising antibody treatment also announced Monday.
Given the timing of the Pfizer announcement, Trump and his allies are convinced he has been right all along about a ''medical deep state,'' a senior administration official said.
The president and his aides were annoyed when Pfizer's Jansen, in responding to a question from the New York Times, distanced the company from Operation Warp Speed, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal private discussions.
Pfizer did not take money from the government for research and development; instead, it spent $2 billion of its own money. It has a $1.95 billion contract with Operation Warp Speed for distribution of its vaccine assuming its candidate is successful. Pfizer spokeswoman Amy Rose said the company is working closely with Operation Warp Speed on distribution, but that Jansen was referring to Pfizer not receiving government funding for research and development.
Some Trump aides said it was probably better for vaccine confidence for the data to be released after the election.
''Honestly, from my perspective, it's probably better that we announced anything about the vaccine after the election because it's going to be more trusted by the American people,'' said a senior White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized to discuss the matter. ''I'm not sure Pfizer did the wrong thing.''
Donald Trump's Championing of Vaccines Leaves His Followers Angry, Confused
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 14:45
Former President Donald Trump's recent touting of COVID-19 vaccines has caused consternation among some of his supporters amid persistent vaccine skepticism in the U.S.
Trump has previously encouraged vaccinations, but he appears to have become an even stronger advocate for the shots in recent weeks, telling Candace Owens of The Daily Wire that unvaccinated people are the ones getting very sick.
His stance has caused some anger and confusion, with a crowd recently booing him after he revealed he had received a vaccine booster shot and typically friendly commentators criticizing him.
On Sunday night, Trump appeared in Dallas, Texas with former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly during the final part of "The History Tour" event.
O'Reilly told the crowd that both he and Trump were vaccinated, which led to booing.
"Did you get the booster?" O'Reilly asked. "Yes," Trump replied, and O'Reilly added: "I got it, too."
Those comments resulted in more booing and Trump told the audience: "Don't! Don't! Don't! Don't! Don't!" and waved away the criticism with his hand.
O'Reilly later suggested in an interview with Dan Abrams of NewsNation that Trump had been upset by the reaction and he had tried to reassure the former president.
In an interview with Candace Owens released on Wednesday, Trump again promoted vaccination against COVID-19 and pushed back against a suggestion that the vaccines aren't effective.
"I came up with a vaccine, with three vaccines," Trump said. "All are very, very good. Came up with three of them in less than nine months. It was supposed to take five to 12 years."
Owens cut in during those remarks, saying: "And yet more people have died under COVID-19 this year, by the way, under Joe Biden than under you. And more people took the vaccine this year, so people are questioning how..."
"Oh no, the vaccine[s] work, but some people aren't taking them," Trump said. "The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones who don't take their vaccine."
"But it's still their choice, and if you take the vaccine you're protected. Look, the results of the vaccine are very good. And if you do get it, it's a very minor form. People aren't dying when they take the vaccine," he said.
Some figures on the right expressed criticism of Trump for his stance on vaccines.
"Remember when Trump said you would be playing right into the Democrat's hands by mocking the rushed, ineffective shot?" Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander wrote on messaging app Telegram.
"Yeah, Joe Biden praises him and his booster shot. Trump, stop. Just stop. Have your position (backed by Fauci) and allow us to have ours (which is backed by science). This losing is getting boomer level annoying," he said.
Stop the Steal was a campaign promoting the unfounded claim that 2020 presidential election had been stolen from Trump through voter fraud.
Conservative cartoonist Ben Garrison, who has been a strong supporter of Trump, caused some surprise by releasing a new cartoon criticizing the former president for his position on vaccines. It depicted Trump on a "vaccine bandwagon" while people wearing red MAGA hats booed him.
Conspiracy theorist and InfoWars host Alex Jones, who has also been supportive of Trump in the past, said on his show this week that "we're fighting Bill Gates and Fauci and Biden and the New World Order and Psaki and the Davos Group."
"And now we've got Trump on their team," Jones said.
Owens took to Twitter following the widespread coverage of Trump's remarks and while she did not criticize the former president, she made it clear she disagreed with him.
"I have no issue with any person who wants to get the vaccine," Owens wrote. "I just will never ever let that vaccine into my body. I believe firmly that Big Pharma is the greatest evil on the face of the planet. I am healthy, young, in shape and simply unafraid of Covid-19."
In a subsequent tweet, Owens said she doesn't trust the vaccine and questioned its scientific basis.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to hold a rally on July 3, 2021 in Sarasota, Florida. Trump has strongly defended COVID-19 vaccines in recent remarks. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images
McKee provides RI hospitals liability protection during COVID emergency
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 14:37
Gov. Dan McKee has granted Rhode Island hospitals new liability protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An executive order McKee signed last week said licensed hospitals and their workers "are not liable for civil damages arising out of the level or manner of care received by a patient ... if such care has been affected by shortages in staffing and/or supplies."
Hospitals and other health-care facilities have lost thousands of workers since the start of the pandemic, leading to long emergency-room waits and fewer beds available in intensive-care units.
According to the executive order, hospital executives believe the threat of lawsuits is contributing to the staffing crisis and can "hinder staff recruitment, constrain medical professional judgment and limit the hospitals' flexibility to adjust medical staff to patient ratios..."
Hospital liability protection during staffing shortageMcKee's predecessor, Gina Raimondo, first gave hospitals liability protection in an April 2020 executive order. That order was extended and then lapsed in August.
It is unclear whether any Rhode Island hospitals have been sued over the level of care provided since the pandemic began or since Raimondo's initial executive order expired.
Lifespan referred questions to the Rhode Island Hospital Association.
Care New England representatives said they do not comment on pending litigation.
'Heartbreaking milestone':RI COVID deaths hit 3,000 as Gov. McKee tries to combat COVID surge
"Staffing at all of our hospitals is becoming more challenging by the day," Arnold Avila, Care New England senior vice president for human resources, wrote in an email. "Care New England, like all hospital systems across the nation, continually experiences some level of churn in staffing. Also similar to the rest of the nation at this time, CNE is experiencing the staffing shortage, which is touching so many parts of our hospital system."
The most acute staffing shortages have been for nurses and nursing assistants, many of whom left the profession or took lucrative out-of-state contract work as the pandemic dragged on.
Lifespan last week said its employee head count has fallen by nearly 2,000 workers since the start of the pandemic, to 15,000 employees, despite spending $15 million on raises and bonuses.
Care New England on Tuesday said it has 7,500 employees but would not provide a pre-COVID figure.
Care New England declined to say whether it has raised or will raise wages for nurses and other clinical staff.
RI's hospital staffing crisis:What's the solution?
Many of McKee's potential election rivals have called for the state to use some of its federal COVID relief money to pay for health-care worker recruitment and retention bonuses.
The United Nurses and Allied Professionals union is in favor of bonuses but not pushing for them exclusively.
"There is no doubt that Rhode Island's health-care system has reached full-blown crisis mode," Brad Dufault, spokesman for UNAP, wrote in an email. "While the UNAP would be supportive of certain actions the state could take, like using federal funds for retention bonuses for health-care workers, reopening field hospitals, re-routing ambulances for non-emergencies or bringing in the National Guard to assist, there is only one proven way to realistically solve the staffing crisis '-- and that's to get as many people vaccinated and boosted as possible."
In addition to providing liability protection, McKee's executive order tells hospitals to take whatever steps are necessary to increase capacity and consult with other health-care facilities to coordinate patient transfers.
It orders hospitals that offer specialty services, including Women & Infants, Bradley, Butler, Eleanor Slater and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island to "accept transfers of patients, in their respective specialty service areas, from any other licensed Rhode Island hospital to support the expansion of medical/surgical and critical care capacity."
The order notes that it does not provide immunity for acts of negligence of non-hospital staff or "willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith."
(401) 277-7384
On Twitter: @PatrickAnderso_
COVID by the numbers Cases in R.I.: 223,985 (6,757 reported since Thursday)
Negative tests in R.I.: 6,291,900 (60,503 reported since Thursday; 10.0% positive rate)
R.I. COVID-related deaths: 3,046 (28 reported since Thursday)
Rhode Islanders hospitalized with COVID: 295 (44 in intensive care)
Fully vaccinated in R.I.: 799,863 (892,868 at least partially vaccinated)
Cases in Mass.: 1,069,310
Mass. COVID-related deaths: 20,075
Cases in U.S.: 53,093,904
U.S. COVID-related deaths: 820,419
Ghislaine Maxwell Found Guilty in Epstein Sex-Abuse Case - WSJ
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 14:34
Verdict caps yearslong effort to seek justice for Jeffrey Epstein's accusers
Updated Dec. 29, 2021 7:17 pm ETBritish socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty Wednesday on five of six criminal counts in her sex-trafficking case, capping federal prosecutors' push to bring the longtime confidante of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein to justice.
After five days of deliberations, a federal jury in New York convicted Ms. Maxwell on Wednesday for what prosecutors said was her role in helping Epstein sexually abuse underage teens.
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British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty Wednesday on five of six criminal counts in her sex-trafficking case, capping federal prosecutors' push to bring the longtime confidante of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein to justice.
After five days of deliberations, a federal jury in New York convicted Ms. Maxwell on Wednesday for what prosecutors said was her role in helping Epstein sexually abuse underage teens.
On the most serious count, sex trafficking of minors, the jury found Ms. Maxwell guilty. That count carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. A sentencing date hasn't been scheduled yet.
Ms. Maxwell showed little emotion when the verdict was read.
The trial outcome followed a yearslong effort to bring closure to scores of accusers of Epstein, who died while in jail on sex-trafficking charges. Epstein's presence loomed over Ms. Maxwell's three-week trial, during which federal prosecutors said she recruited and groomed teens for sex acts with him between 1994 and 2004, often under the pretext of procuring massages.
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Four women provided graphic testimony about how Epstein sexually abused them at his properties while they were teenagers. They told the jury that Ms. Maxwell instructed them on how to give massages and, in some instances, touched their breasts or took part in the abuse. She also called them to arrange meetups with Epstein, some of the accusers said.
Ms. Maxwell, 60 years old, pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing. Her lawyers said she was a scapegoat who wasn't indicted until nearly a year after Epstein died in a federal jail in August 2019 while awaiting his own sex-trafficking trial. The New York City medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.
In addition to the sex-trafficking charge, Ms. Maxwell was also found guilty on one count of conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts; one count of conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; one count of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity; and a count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.
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She was found not guilty of a separate charge of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts in regard to an alleged victim known as Jane.
''A unanimous jury has found Ghislaine Maxwell guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable'--facilitating and participating in the sexual abuse of children,'' U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. ''The road to justice has been far too long. But, today, justice has been done.''
''We firmly believe in Ghislaine's innocence,'' Bobbi Sternheim, a lawyer for Ms. Maxwell, said outside the courthouse. Ms. Sternheim said Ms. Maxwell planned to appeal the conviction.
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Ms. Maxwell, who was living in a quiet New Hampshire town when she was arrested, has been in federal jail since July 2020. She still faces another criminal trial on two perjury charges for allegedly lying during a deposition. She has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Before her arrest, Ms. Maxwell led a jet-setting lifestyle, hobnobbing in elite circles.
Educated at the University of Oxford, Ms. Maxwell speaks several languages and can pilot a helicopter. She and Epstein dated in the 1990s. The two remained close after their relationship ended, and she continued to manage his estates around the world.
Epstein amassed a half-billion-dollar fortune by leveraging his ties to rich and powerful people. His vast wealth and connections frequently came up at Ms. Maxwell's trial. Some witnesses spoke of seeing photos of him with famous figures, including Fidel Castro and a pope. Others talked about celebrities who flew on his jets.
In all, prosecutors called two dozen witnesses, including former pilots and staff for Epstein.
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A former manager of Epstein's Palm Beach, Fla., estate told the jury that Ms. Maxwell was the ''lady of the house'' who ordered workers to avoid eye contact with Epstein and provided a house manual that instructed them not to speak of what they saw.
Jurors were also shown photos of Ms. Maxwell and Epstein to illustrate how close the two were. Some showed her giving him a foot massage on one of his private jets.
The accuser who testified under the pseudonym Jane said she was being raised by a single mother when she met Epstein and Ms. Maxwell at a camp for talented teens. He later invited the teen to his Palm Beach home, paid for her vocal lessons and flew her on his jet for trips to New York, Jane said. She was repeatedly sexually abused starting at age 14, Jane said.
Robert Glassman, a lawyer for Jane, said the verdict ''confirms what we've known all along: Jeffrey Epstein did not act alone. If it was not for Ms. Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein would never have been able to abuse these girls.''
Another accuser, Annie Farmer, told the jury that her sister introduced her to Epstein and that he had taken an interest in her schooling, offering to pay for a summer immersion trip to burnish her college application.
Ms. Farmer said that when she was 16, she spent a weekend alone with Ms. Maxwell and Epstein at his New Mexico ranch. Ms. Maxwell at one point told her to undress and gave her a massage, touching her breasts, Ms. Farmer said. At another point, Epstein hopped into the then-teen's bed and pressed his body against hers to cuddle, Ms. Farmer recalled.
''I am so relieved and grateful that the jury recognized the pattern of predatory behavior that Maxwell engaged in for years and found her guilty of these crimes,'' Ms. Farmer said in a statement Wednesday. ''I hope that this verdict brings solace to all who need it and demonstrates that no one is above the law.''
Throughout the trial, Ms. Maxwell would sit and confer with her team of lawyers. Eight witnesses testified for the defense, including a memory expert who told the jury that research showed people could develop memories of events that never happened.
During cross-examinations, Ms. Maxwell's lawyers tried to undermine her accusers' testimony by pointing out inconsistencies in what they had previously told investigators. Some accusers had previously sued Epstein over the abuse but didn't mention Ms. Maxwell in their lawsuits, the lawyers said.
''The government recovered memories that Ghislaine was involved, that Ghislaine was the culprit,'' defense attorney Laura Menninger told the jury, adding that the memories were false and changed over time.
Ms. Maxwell's lawyers also questioned the accusers' financial motivations, saying they had an inducement to testify because they each received an award from a victims' compensation fund financed by Epstein's estate.
The accusers said that they weren't after money.
''I am here to hopefully finally find some sort of closure to all of this,'' Jane testified during the trial. ''This is something that I have been running from my entire life up until now, and I'm just tired of it.''
'--Laura Kusisto contributed to this article.
Write to James Fanelli at and Corinne Ramey at
Biden Signs NDAA Relying on Voluntary Private-Sector Cybersecurity Collaboration - Nextgov
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 14:00
President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 which codifies an approach to cybersecurity that depends on the decisions of private-sector entities to protect the bulk of the nation's critical infrastructure.
The NDAA has become the go-to legislative vehicle for efforts to manage the federal government at large, and to regulate the private sector on cybersecurity issues.
On the government side, the law requires the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to biennially update an incident response plan and to consult with sector-specific agencies and the private sector in establishing an exercise program to assess its effectiveness.
It seeks to ''ensure that the National Guard can provide cyber support services to critical infrastructure entities'--including local governments and businesses,'' according to Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. It also establishes a grant program at the Homeland Security Department to foster collaboration on cybersecurity technologies between public and private-sector entities in the U.S. and Israel.
Lawmakers also highlighted the inclusion of provisions codifying existing public-private partnerships at CISA which aim to offer continuous monitoring of industrial control systems'--an effort known as the CyberSentry program'--and to develop 'know your customer' guidelines for companies like cloud and other service providers comprising the ''internet ecosystem.'' Such companies are described as the plank bearers of CISA's Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative.
But provisions all rely on the voluntary participation by industry, which owns and operates the vast majority of the nation's critical infrastructure. Despite bipartisan calls after massive breaches at SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange, Colonial Pipeline and other hacks, the NDAA made it through the House without mandatory incident reporting requirements for the private sector.
''The NDAA takes important steps on cybersecurity, particularly to promote strengthened public-private sector partnerships across the government,'' Laura Brent, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said after the Senate passed the same legislation a week later. ''Given the scale of the cyber challenge, however, the NDAA lacks the necessary sustained urgency. Most significantly, requirements for even some industry reporting of cyber incidents and ransomware payments to the government were not included'--despite being key for the government to get better insight into cyber threats.''
The legislation requiring reporting also had significant industry support after companies successfully appealed to lawmakers to extend the window for reporting incidents to CISA and to exclude financial penalties as an enforcement mechanism.
On a Dec. 22 call with reporters, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine'--co-chairs of the now sunsetted Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which succeeded in creating the National Cyber Director post through last year's NDAA'--said the insurmountable hurdle was the tight control committee leadership likes to keep over their jurisdictions.
Last year, ''we had to get 180 clearances from both sides of committees and subcommittees on both houses of Congress, that gives you a flavor of how complex this process is,'' King said.
In that situation, you just run out of time on the clock, Gallagher said. The lawmakers said the attention on cybersecurity after the high-profile attacks this year both helped and hurt matters. But both agreed that on balance it was a good thing.
The incidents ''made it clear to everyone that what we're talking about here is not an academic problem, an abstract problem, but a very clear and present problem,'' King said. ''I think that helped us overall. The downside, if you want to call it that, is that you do have more people who are engaged and more people who want to be consulted, want to be worked with, want to be involved in the process. But, you know, I'll take that. I think that's a trade off, but I think that's an OK trade off.''
Gallagher was optimistic about the prospects for more ambitious cybersecurity legislation next year.
''Even where we weren't able to get something in NDAA, we did make a lot of progress in clearing certain committee jurisdictional hang ups and engaging with our colleagues who just may not have been tracking the legislation and sort of reflexively opposed it,'' he said.
Preliminary UK data: Triple vaccinated SARS-2 positives are more than four times more likely to have Omicron than unvaccinated.
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 12:58
Norman Fenton points out an interesting tidbit in the 21 December UK Office of National Statistics infection survey, on ''Characteristics related to having an Omicron compatible result in those who test positive for COVID-19''. The data is for infections from 29 November to 12 December.
First, this remarkable passage from the results sheet:
Those who have received three doses of a vaccine and test positive for COVID-19 are more likely to be infected with infections compatible with the Omicron variant compared with those who are unvaccinated, though individuals who had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine continued to be less likely to test positive for COVID-19, regardless of variant. It is too early to draw conclusions from our data on the effectiveness of vaccines against the Omicron variant.
The data is in Table 1b:
Yes, the numbers are very small. Yes, the 95% confidence intervals are enormous. Nevertheless: According to these numbers, the triple vaccinated were 4.45 times more likely than the unvaccinated to have Omicron, among those who tested positive for Corona. For comparison, those with recent travel abroad were 4.6 times more likely than the unvaccinated to have Omicron, while the double vaccinated were 2.26 times more likely, and the single vaccinated 1.57 times more likely.
This squares entirely with the preliminary data from Denmark, which has the double vaccinated sliding into negative efficacy against Omicron (but not Delta) after 90 days. The authors of that study tried to talk away this awkward result by claiming that it ''was likely the result of Omicron spreading rapidly initially through single (super-spreading) events causing many infections among young, vaccinated individuals.'' The more the same effect is viewed in other data sets, the less likely that explanation becomes.
Maybe, instead of boosting manically in the face of this new variant, as the vaccinators are already demanding, we should be calling for a total and complete shutdown of vaccinations until our public health representatives can figure out what is going on.
UPDATE: See The Naked Emperor's post on this anomaly and related trends in the UK Data: The New Normal '' Pandemics of the Vaccinated?
Traders Start Freaking Out Over Fresh Supply Chain Collapse As Covid Sweeps Across China | ZeroHedge
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 12:56
It may have taken a while, but it was always just a matter of time before China - creator of the covid virus (with funding from Fauci) and trillions in economic devastation - succumbs to the pandemic.
Workers in protective suits disinfect around Xi'an Bell Tower in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province on Dec. 26.As we reported yesterday, the western Chinese city of Xi'an has begun widespread disinfection measures since late Sunday to counter a jump in Covid infections that forced the lockdown of 13 million residents. In images reminiscent of January 2020, authorities are spraying disinfectants across the city and asking residents to close windows and avoid touching architectural surfaces and vegetation on streets. Private cars are not allowed on roads, while lockdown rule-breakers are publicly shamed and paraded through the streets carrying placards with their names in Cultural Revolution-style disciplinary measures.
NEW - Chinese lockdown rule-breakers publicly shamed and paraded through the streets carrying placards with their names in Cultural Revolution-style disciplinary measures.
'-- (@disclosetv) December 29, 2021The move came as daily infections spike to around 150 on Sunday and Monday, one of the highest daily increases since the original covid wave flooded out of Wuhan, as health authorities seek to uncover more cases with a fourth round of mass testing.
Then on Monday, with just over a month until the 2022 Winter Olympics are set to kick off in Beijing on Feb. 4, China reported a total of 162 domestic Covid infections, with 150 of those from Xi'an, the highest daily caseload since Jan. 22. A surge of that scale is rarely seen in China, which is the only major country in the world still aggressively trying to eliminate the virus via closed borders and stringent domestic curbs under what's called a Zero Covid strategy.
Remarkably, the Xi'an outbreak, which has seen more than 600 cases in less than three weeks and is being blamed on the delta variant, underscores the difficulty China faces in returning domestic infections to nil as the virus mutates. While the nation claims it has found just a handful of omicron infections among travelers from other countries, it also claims it hasn't seen the far more infectious and immunity-evading variant spreading into the community.
It's only a matter of time before not even China can cover up the fact that hundreds of millions of Chinese are infected with Omicron, which in turn means it is only a matter of time before we get a new round of collapsing supply China.
Picking up on this theme, Commodore Research founder Jeffrey Landsberg noted in his latest daily that new daily coronavirus cases continue to climb in China, and "each of the last three days have seen at least 200 new daily coronavirus cases reported in China" marking a feat previously not seen since March 2020.
As a result, "new restrictions remain in place in China, including the city of Xi'an (home to 13 million people) remaining in lockdown. Residents are still not allowed to leave the city and are only allowed to leave their homes to shop for essentials or get tested. Overall, it remains to be seen when the outbreak will subside, and in our view it is also becoming increasingly likely that foreign visitors will not be allowed into China for the Olympics. No signs yet, though, that the Olympics will not be held in February as planned."
But a far bigger wildcard than the Olympics is the question we asked last night, namely what happens if (or rather when) China can no longer contain Omicron and is forced to shut down again?
*CHINA REPORTS 152 LOCAL COVID CASES DEC. 28, WITH 151 IN XI'ANwhat happens if China can't contain omicron and shuts down.
'-- zerohedge (@zerohedge) December 29, 2021And speaking of the devil, just hours later we got the first confirmation that the latest Chinese covid breakout may be the most serious yet, after Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics said it's conducting flexible adjustment in its chip production line in Xi'an, China, amid coronavirus spread.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we have decided to temporarily adjust operations at our manufacturing facilities in Xi'an, China.
This decision was made in accordance with our commitment to protecting the health and safety of our employees and partners, which remains our top priority.
We will also take all necessary measures, including leveraging our global manufacturing network, to ensure that our customers are not affected.
So what happens next? As a reminder, the last time China's megaports of Yantian or Ningbo were closed, supply chains collapsed and shipping rates went astronomical after a modest lag (see "Shippers Frantic After China's Busiest Port Shuts Container Terminal Due To Covid" and "Brace For Astronomical Shipping Costs As China Goes Into Lockdown Mode"). It is only a matter of time before the rapidly spreading Omicron leads to a similar port lockdown, and a fresh round of paralysis in trans-Pacific shipping.
New Bird Flu Strain Kills 38% of Those It Infects
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 12:54
British scientists have identified a new strain of bird flu that kills 38 percent of those it infects as the most likely candidate to spark a new worldwide flu pandemic. Prof. Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England with special responsibility for pandemic planning, told the Daily Telegraph that H7N9, a flu virus circulating in poultry in China could be ''the cause of the next pandemic.'' Some 1,625 people in China are known to have been infected with the H7N9 virus, 623 of whom have died. Most of those infected have been been in close contact with poultry; currently, the disease cannot spread from human to human, but experiments have shown it is just three mutations away from being able to do so.
Read it at The Daily Telegraph
Israel Bird Flu Outbreak Could Be 2022's Deadly Global Pandemic
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 12:54
Israel's National Security Council has assumed control of a massive bird flu outbreak in the Galilee, which scientists warn could become a ''mass disaster'' for humans.
Over half a billion migrating birds pass through the area every year, heading for warm African winters or balmy European summers, making this a catastrophic location for a major bird flu outbreak'--right at the nexus of global avian travel.
The virus can be deadly if it infects people. The World Health Organization says more than half of the confirmed 863 human cases it has tracked since 2003 proved fatal. Most strains or variants of avian flu, H5N1, are relatively difficult to transmit to people.
Yossi Leshem, one of Israel's most renowned ornithologists, told The Daily Beast, however, that it is the ability of these viruses to mutate into new strains that poses such a threat, as we have seen with the coronavirus.
''There could be a mutation that also infects people and turns into a mass disaster,'' said Leshem, a zoologist at Tel Aviv University and director of the International Center for the Study of Bird Migration at Latrun.
So far, at least 5,400 wild cranes have died infected with the new H5N1 avian flu, which Israeli authorities fear could expand into a global emergency.
Of the 30,000 Eurasian cranes passing this winter at the Hula Nature Reserve, 17 percent are dead, and scientists fear the worst for their surviving brethren, at least 10,000 of which appear to be ailing. The infection of the cranes is the same strain of avian flu which infected chicken coops throughout northern Israel, and led to the cull in recent days of nearly 1 million birds.
Israelis will be without their beloved chicken schnitzel'--and without eggs'--until a supply chain of imported birds is established.
The deaths of thousands of wild birds in the Hula Nature Reserve, one of the world's premier bird sanctuaries, ''is an extraordinary event with global ramifications,'' warned Tel Aviv University Professor of Zoology Noga Kronfeld Shor in an interview with Reshet Bet Radio.
Shor, who is also the chief scientist at Israel's Ministry of the Environment, noted that the carcasses of other waterbirds, such as pelicans and egrets, have already been found.
Israelis have been warned not to approach any wild bird that looks sick, and not to touch any bird droppings.
Yoav Motro, a specialist in vertebrates and locusts at Israel's Ministry of Agriculture, said that for now, H5N1 is presenting ''like the opposite of COVID. Compared to COVID, the chances of [humans] catching this are very, very slight'--but unlike COVID, the risks of dying from it if you do catch it are very high.''
''It is a tragic ecological event,'' he said. ''And we simply do not know how it will end, or where it will lead.''
Israeli scientists don't yet know the full scale of the die-off in Israel because of the dangers inherent in fishing around marshes and wetlands. Observing birds that shy away from human contact and the urgent matter of retrieving bird carcasses is proving even more challenging because of the lack of waterproof protective gear currently available in the arid country.
While the disaster is evident in the Hula Valley, in Israel's fertile north, crane mortality has also been observed in other sites, though not yet in Jerusalem, according to Yotam Bashan of the Jerusalem Bird Observatory.
''There is no way to know what is going to happen,'' Motro said in an interview with The Daily Beast. ''When you identify avian flu in chicken coops you kill all the chickens and disinfect the coops. In the wild, at this level of infection, I don't know where it will lead. I'm worried.''
Shalom Bar Tal, an experienced wildlife photographer, told The Daily Beast that he was one of the only people allowed nocturnal access to observe the dead and dying birds. ''It could turn into an ecological disaster no less significant than the corona epidemic,'' he said.
For now, no Israeli is known to be infected with H5N1, but Israelis who were exposed to wild birds are taking the antiviral Tamiflu.
Both Motro and Bar Tal noted the heartrending scenes of weak, infected cranes leaning over their dead. Cranes mate for life and live in strong family units, Motro said. ''That means that when one dies, the rest of the family'--I don't know how to define it'--but it mourns.''
The cranes' close physical proximity to one another and tight-knit family structure almost ensures, he said, that when one crane dies, ''a close family member will be the next to die.''
''There is no treatment,'' he said, ''no way to help.''
We can only hope it doesn't mutate and jump species.
FAA Vaccine Policy Violates Its Own Rules, Attorneys and Doctors Say
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 12:50
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is breaking its own rule that states pilots should not fly after having taken medications that have been approved for less than a year, according to a group of attorneys, doctors, and other experts; including a pilot who says his career ended due to adverse reactions from a vaccine.
Airlines, which are government contractors, are affected by President Joe Biden's order from September that states all employees of those companies have to be vaccinated against the CCP virus.
The group of attorneys and doctors wrote a letter directed at the FAA, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Justice, as well as several airlines, demanding that they medically flag all vaccinated pilots and have them re-examined for blood clotting problems as well as their cardiac health.
''The Federal Aviation Agency is charged with ensuring the safety of the flying public. Instead, as we speak the FAA, as well as the commercial airline companies, are acting in contravention of their own federal aviation regulations and associated guidance which tells medical examiners to NOT issue medical certifications to pilots using non-FDA approved products,'' human rights attorney and primary author of the letter, Leigh Dundas, told The Epoch Times via email.
''The title of the section I'm talking about literally says 'Do Not Issue'--Do Not Fly' and then instructs medical examiners to 'not issue' medical certifications to pilots using products that the FDA 'approved less than 12 months ago.' '... The pilots are flying with products which are not even recently approved'--in violation of the above wording'--they are flying with injections in their bodies which were NEVER approved by the FDA at all (as no COVID vaccine which is commercially available in the U.S. has received FDA approval),'' Dundas said.
Amid widespread confusion about the availability of the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine, The Epoch Times did an investigation in October and discovered that the approved Comirnaty version of the vaccine was still not commercially available in the United States. Pfizer says it's the same vaccine that originally received emergency use authorization.
Another one of the signers is Cody Flint, whose career as a pilot ended after voluntarily taking the jab and experiencing adverse effects. He is a father of two with no underlying conditions.
The 34-year-old agricultural pilot doesn't remember how he landed after nearly blacking out in mid-flight.
He was flying his aircraft when tunnel vision started to kick in and a headache he had developed after getting the jab worsened.
About two hours after having taken off, he decided to pull up the plane to go back and felt an ''extreme burst of pressure'' in his ears, then immediately ''nearly blacked out, [and felt] dizzy, disoriented, nauseous, and [was] shaking uncontrollably,'' Flint told The Epoch Times.
As a commercial pilot, Flint was concerned when he first saw FAA's 48-hour no-fly rule after a COVID-19 vaccination.
The FAA has stated that pilots and air traffic controllers may receive the COVID-19 vaccine, with appropriate precautions.
''I find it hard to comprehend how the FAA justified moving the goalposts of safety from one full year of post-marketing safety review to only two days. The dangers associated with a pilot experiencing a severe adverse reaction from an mRNA-type Covid vaccine while at the controls of an airplane can be horrifying and deadly to say the least.
''As a pilot that experienced a tragic and career-ending adverse reaction to the Pfizer COVID vaccine while actively flying an airplane, I feel I can honestly and creditably speak out about the dangers associated with pilots returning to flight duties too early following COVID mRNA type vaccination,'' he added.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Chief Steve Dickson pilots a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on return from an evaluation flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Wash., on Sept. 30, 2020. (Mike Siegel/File Photo/Pool via Reuters)Another signer, Dr. Pete Constantine Chambers, D.O. has been practicing medicine for 25 years, 16 of which he served as a Flight Surgeon attached to Special Operations.
''Unfortunately, several of my soldiers have experienced hospitalizations for serious diagnoses to include brain hemorrhages, myocarditis, anaphylaxis, pulmonary emboli, and vertigo. These were all post-vaccination. Army Regulations state we should be tracking these cases post-immunization. Other concerns stem from the recent rash of suicides amongst soldiers serving on the mission. The added deployment stressors placed upon the young heroes paired with the unknowns of experimental medications concerns me,'' Chambers told The Epoch Times.
He made clear that his opinions are personal and don't reflect those of the State Military Department, the Medical Command, or the Department of Defense.
Chambers believes he might get criticized for speaking out, but just as he is ''perfectly willing, to lay down my life for fellow soldiers,'' also, he is ''perfectly willing to risk professional scrutiny to protect my soldiers with the same zeal and love for their very existence.
''I had warned the medical command and leaders to pay strict attention to these stressors as I was conducting an initial study early in the deployment. My study was cut short when I was ordered to focus only on convincing soldiers to take the vaccine and not to administer informed consents,'' Chambers added.
''I also believe as a provider in the first stanza of the Hippocratic Oath; 'First of all, do no harm.'''
Aerospace Occupational Medicine Specialist LTC Colonel Theresa Long, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Dr. Peter McCullough, Dr. Ryan Cole, and Mary Holland from Children's Health Defense also signed the letter.
Mary Holland (R) Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (C) and Kevin Jenkins (L) speak at Broadway Rally For Freedom in Manhattan, New York, on Oct. 16, 2021. (Enrico Trigoso/The Epoch Times)Upon The Epoch Times' request for comment to the FAA about the potential violation of the 12-month regulation, the agency referred to an FAQ page on its website.
''The Federal Air Surgeon determined that FAA medical certificate holders may not act as pilot in command, or in any other capacity as a required flightcrew member, for 48 hours after each dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The Federal Air Surgeon made this determination after evaluation of available medical information about these COVID-19 vaccines and potential side effects. As a result of this determination and consistent with 14 CFR § 61.53(a), each person subject to part 67 who receives the vaccine must wait 48 hours after each dose before acting as pilot in command or as a required flightcrew member,'' it states.
The Epoch Times reached out to the U.S. Army and Pfizer for comment.
Enrico Trigoso is an Epoch Times reporter focusing on the NYC area.
Leading cardiologist says cluster of collapses in footballers likely to be 'coincidence' | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 12:33
A spate of high-profile heart problems and collapses among professional footballers in recent weeks are likely to be coincidence, rather than an indication players are struggling to cope with the high-intensity game, according to a leading cardiologist.
Football has been rocked when three players were hospitalised this week after falling ill during training sessions or matches.
Wigan striker Charlie Wyke, 28, collapsed in training, Sheffield United's John Fleck, 30, collapsed on the pitch at Reading and Adama Traore 25, went down clutching his chest while playing in the Champions League for Sheriff Tiraspol against Real Madrid.
Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck was taken to hospital after collapsing on the pitch
While the cause of those collapses are being investigated, Barcelona striker Sergio Aguero, 33, was diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia having been forced off with chest pains in a 1-1 draw against Alaves last month and Icelandic midfielder Emil Palsson, 28, required resuscitation after a cardiac arrest in October.
The incidents have renewed concern over the welfare of footballers coming hard on the heels of the harrowing collapse of Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen, 29, who suffered a heart attack at Euro 2020.
Professor Guido Pieles, who leads the Sports Cardiology Clinic at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, said there was no evidence that heart problems were occurring in footballers more frequently and he believes any cluster of incidents is a 'coincidence'.
Adama Traore of Sheriff Tiraspol went down clutching his chest in the Champions League
Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest against Finland at Euro 2020
'At present I would say this is still a coincidence,' Professor Pieles told Sportsmail .
'I don't think we can say this is suddenly increasing, I don't think it is increasing particularly in football.
'Footballers are certainly not the athletes that have the highest volume and intensity of training. Endurance runners, Tour de France cyclists, and rowers they train much longer hours.
'It cannot be said that in the last year or two years they train more but over the last 10 years that is true.
'The game has got faster but also people are fitter. If you play football in the Premier League, you have done this since seven or eight years old.'
The Barcelona striker Sergio Aguero was taken ill on the pitch and treated by medical staff
However, the expert suggests footballers, and elite athletes, should undergo cardiac screening more regularly throughout their career to give them the best possible protection.
'The evidence says players aged 15 or16 should be screened because the highest incidence of sudden cardiac arrest is 16-18,' the cardiologist, who advises the FA, told Sportsmail .
'But I do believe we need to do it more often. Players in their twenties need to be screened.
'Diseases can occur within the 20 years of a player's career. There should be intermittent screening.'
Sudden cardiac arrest can occur where a player has an underlying heart condition and while most problems are picked up through screening, a small percentage may go undetected.
Wigan forward Charlie Wyke (pictured against Solihull Moors on November 16) is in hospital after he collapsed in training. The club have confirmed he is now in a stable condition
In addition, an inflammation of the heart, called myocarditis, may occur after a viral illness making a person more susceptible to heart problems, even a cardiac arrest, during exercise.
Prof Pieles said the FA's cardiac screening programme is one of the most developed in football and it is effective.
'Compared to other associations the FA has a fantastic screening programme. We are quite advanced. It is a rigorous programme for the first four leagues.
'This is as good as it gets in professional football.
'Screening is mandated by the FA and it the responsibility of the clubs to do it. Experts review the scans. It is mandatory at 15 or 16 and recommended for older ages.'
Barcelona striker Sergio Aguero has been diagnosed with a heart problems at the age of 33
Players at many top clubs are screened annually using an electrocardiogram to monitor the cardiac rhythm and electrical activity, and they undergo an ultrasound scan to examine the heart. But this is not necessarily the case further down the leagues.
Prof Pieles, who also works with some of Europe's leading clubs, including Manchester United, added: 'The recommendation is that players should be screened more frequently but we have not set an age when this should happen.'
Research undertaken by Prof Pieles and other cardiologists, who work with the FA, has found that since English football's screening programme began in 1996, six players died as a result of sudden cardiac arrest.
All of these players had been screened at 15 or 16 years of age, but they died around seven years later.
'If a player is screened at 16, we cannot give an assurance that when he is 29 everything is still normal,' said the expert. 'Some diseases come up in the late 20s or 30s that is why we recommend also longitudinal screening.
Eriksen's teammates formed a human shield around him as he was being treated on the pitch
'This is a little bit dependent on clubs. All clubs make all efforts they can to do this, but it does vary. I think more education can be done to make screening more efficient and more frequent.'
In particular, the cardiologist believes support needs to be given to clubs below the highest level to ensure players are screened throughout their careers.
'These tests are not expensive, but it is the practicalities of it for clubs in the lower leagues,' said Prof Pieles.
'It is more challenging. We need to work together with clubs and coaches and have strategies to make this better and make it more accessible'
Manchester City midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe died while playing for Cameroon in 2003
'Governing bodies need to work together to see how this strategy can be implemented,' he added. 'I can see it is different for a fourth-tier club to implement cardiac screening. They have less staff, the set up and strategy have to be embedded.'
It will be 10 years next March since Fabrice Muamba's career was ended after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch while playing for Bolton at Tottenham but the 33-year-old said recent instances proved how much more there was to be done.
Muamba said: 'There's a complacency about it. We have a high profile incident, talk a lot about it and think we have solved it but that's not the case.
''We are supposed to be the fittest of the fittest. If it can happen to them it can happen to anybody else.'
Wigan are yet to confirm what caused their player to collapse. The former Sunderland forward collapsed during a session as the League One team prepared to face Cambridge United, who they drew 2-2 with on Tuesday night.
In a statement Wigan confirmed medical staff immediately attended to Wyke after he collapsed and he has since been transferred to hospital where he remains in a stable condition.
Sheffield United's player, Fleck, was released from hospital on Wednesday morning and headed back to Sheffield, where he will be monitored by the club after speaking clearly to medics and his family.
Fabrice Muamba collapsed during Bolton's game against Spurs at White Hart Lane in 2012
In Moldova, Traore committed to a 50/50 challenge on the touchline with Real Madrid's Nacho Fernandez and when the ball went out of play the Tiraspol player appeared distressed.
Traore turned to walk away from the ball, which had gone out for a throw-in, in the 77th minute when he immediately became uncomfortable, clutching his chest before slumping to the turf.
He remained breathing throughout but after a few seconds of lying on the ground and clearly concerned, the medics raced on to help.
He was seen shaking his head in responses to questions by the medics and was eventually raised to a sitting position before being helped off the field.
Former Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote died in 2017 after suffering a cardiac arrest in training while playing for Chinese outfit Beijing Enterprises Club
Players suffering cardiac arrest is not a new problem. Former West Ham and Manchester City midfielder, Marc-Vivien Foe, died at 28 while playing for Cameroon in 2003 and ex-Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote collapsed and died aged 30, while training with the Beijing Enterprises Group in 2017.
And it is not only elite players, who are affected. In September, 17-year-old Dylan Rich, a popular and talented left-winger for West Bridgford Colts, died after a suspected cardiac arrest during an FA Youth Cup game in Nottinghamshire.
Bolton Wanderers' Fabrice Muamba in 2012 and Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas in 2019 are among those to have had lucky escapes.
The CDC slashes estimates of omicron's prevalence in the U.S. : NPR
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 12:09
A health care worker administers a COVID-19 PCR test at a free test site in Farragut Square on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, the CDC revised data reflecting the prevalence of the omicron variant in new COVID-19 cases. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images A health care worker administers a COVID-19 PCR test at a free test site in Farragut Square on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, the CDC revised data reflecting the prevalence of the omicron variant in new COVID-19 cases.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images Alarms that the hyper-contagious omicron variant accounted for the vast majority of new COVID-19 infections over the past couple of weeks were significantly overestimated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New data released on Tuesday shows that while omicron remains the dominant variant, delta '-- which is the more severe strain '-- is still a worrisome driving force behind the current surge.
The CDC had previously reported that as of Dec. 18, 73% of new cases were linked to omicron. But on Tuesday, the agency revised those figures, slashing that estimate to 23% '-- a 50-point drop, suggesting that while the new variant was on the rise, it was not infecting people at the rate the CDC had projected.
"There's no way around it, it is a huge swing that makes it seem like something went really wrong," Dr. Shruti Gohil, associate medical director for epidemiology and infection prevention at UC Irvine's School of Medicine, told NPR. "But there is always a delay in the testing information that comes in, and that's what the public should take away."
Omicron struck just as public health experts were getting their bearings on testing for the delta strain, Gohil said.
"The way in which we test and the way in which we have certitude about the numbers was all in flux right at that moment. Then along comes this new variant and now here you are trying to project something when you don't have all of the mechanisms in place," Gohil said.
The CDC's latest report adjusts the numbers and better reflects what was happening around the country at the time, she added.
The most recent report shows that as of Dec. 25, 59% of all U.S. infections were caused by omicron. Meanwhile, delta accounted for 41% of cases during the same period. And the number of those infections could be even higher, given the agency's margin of error on the collected data. The true figure could be as high as 58%.
Given the CDC's updated information, Gohil said, "The implication is that we have a lot of delta going on and that requires a lot more attention."
That is especially true for people who are becoming more lax in their preventive habits due to reports that omicron is the milder variant of the virus and carries a lower likelihood of being hospitalized than from delta.
"People are thinking, 'Oh, well, omicron's not that bad,'" she said. "But it's actually still too early to really know even that. Besides, delta is the beast that you should be worried about."
Until omicron came along, delta was the most contagious variant of the virus, and CDC studies suggested that it may be more likely to result in hospitalization in the unvaccinated than other strains.
Gohil adds that the CDC's new findings are also forcing hospitals to recalibrate because treating delta or omicron requires different antibodies and medications.
"The bottom line is, don't take your masks off just yet and get vaccinated, vaccinated, vaccinated, vaccinated '-- and boosted," Gohil said.
11 Golden Rules of Militant Vaccine Pushers - Part 1 | Global Freedom Movement
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 12:06
A Devout Vaccine Apologist's Guide''I have no faith in vaccination; nay, I look upon it with the greatest possible disgust'...Indeed, I consider we are now living in the Jennerian epoch for the slaughter of innocents, and the unthinking portion of the adult population.''Dr. W.J. Collins, MD, BS, BSc, MRCS, Twenty Years' Experience of a Public Vaccinator, 1866 '' printed for the Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League (and you poor sods thought this all started in the 1990s with Andrew Wakefield!)
Introduction The vaccine situation is circus sideshow bizarre now because this great hulking mythology has taken on a life of its own, with such polarizing power that it simply never seems to occur to most proponents/adherents to actually investigate the subject independently and thoroughly for themselves '' and so they don't. (This means spending months and years, by the way, folks. It doesn't mean spending five minutes perusing a Snopes article or some official government brochure touting the unquestioned ''wonders'' of vaccination.)
We're talking swathes of medical professionals who are asleep at the wheel here. Despite their lack of personal investigation, they maintain a disproportional level of confidence in their views '' exactly in the same way that a fundamentalist persists in their blinkered, dogmatic confidence. (No one can beat the ''one true god,'' after all.) Everyone around them is so cock-sure, so righteous, so smug, so authoritative '' how could all those people and agencies (and all that tradition) be wrong? (Ah, the allure of ''safety in numbers.'')
Establishment spokespeople and medical stooges currently refer to an imaginary ''consensus'' that ''the science is settled'' (where have we heard that before? Oh, yes, carbon-dioxide-emission-driven ''global warming'' '' don't talk about the government admissions of geoengineering though!) and thus there is no need to actually bother looking for evidence or consider another perspective. Only crackpots and conspiracy nutters do that. (If you're already triggered by the term ''geoengineering,'' then please leave now, this article is intended for mature, emotionally stable adults.)
Conformity is next to godliness, slave, so learn the 11 golden rules of militant vaccine pushers and know your place.
1. The ''Greater Good'' is all that matters a.k.a. the end justifies the meansMilitant pro-vaccinists are intensely collectivist.
So your child is autistic since they had the MMR jab? You lost your baby after the doctor vaccinated him/her during their last well baby checkup? You've had acute flaccid myelitis since your polio shot? Grandpa died after his flu shot? Too bad. The herd needs protecting and sometimes the weaker members of the herd need to be sacrificed to protect the rest. Buck up, you've done your part for society! Doesn't that righteous inner glow replace the touch of your never-to-be-held-again child? There, see? All better. (My sincere apologies to pro-choice parents out there who actually have lost children. I don't meant to be tasteless, but I am trying to hold up a mirror here for those with eyes to see.)
Individuality must be sacrificed to the ''greater good,'' no matter the cost (consequentialism).
Ignore the fact that ''herd immunity'' cannot be attained through mass vaccination and that the idea itself originally emanated from the observation that natural acquisition of a disease strengthens the ''immunity'' of the ''herd'' in the long run and protects those at high risk of serious infection through the ''herd's'' contact with the pathogen and resultant long-term immunity '' which vaccines attempt to mimic but do not provide.
Ignore the fact that in the developed world measles mortality had fallen by as much as 99.6% before measles vaccines were introduced, while some other diseases, such as scarlet fever and tuberculosis in the USA, virtually vanished (certainly the mortality rates became vanishingly small) with no vaccine being adopted for them at all.
Ignore the parallel decrease in mortality between pertussis and scurvy in England, as seen below. Ignore that no vaccine was developed for scurvy, and disregard how pertussis mortality nosedived well before any vaccines showed up. Also ignore the many other graphs showing the same thing with other diseases.
Image credit: Immunization Graphs: Natural Infectious Disease Declines; Immunization Effectiveness; and Immunization Dangers by Raymond Obomsawin Ph.D., Senior Advisor '' First Nations Centre, National Aboriginal Health Organization, October 2009Ignore the paramount importance of breast millk in protecting a child. Ignore transplacental immunity. Only synthetics and simulacra are acceptable. Nature is to be surpassed and beaten through the religion of technocracy.
Focus single-mindedly/devoutly on vaccines at the expense of ALL else. As in fundamentalist religion, militant vaccinists are monotheists '' there can be only one True God.
Ignore the mounting evidence that an antibody response does NOT confer any ''immunity'' worth the name and ignore the difference between cellular immunity and antibody production. Imply or claim outright that a robust antibody titer after vaccination means ''immunity'' has been achieved, even though the human immune system is vastly more complex than a simple antibody response. Try not to imagine how NASA's mission to Mars might look if rocket scientists adopted a similarly simplistic and naive belief that, as long as the rocket has powerful thrusters, that's all you should need for an ''efficacious'' mission(!)
The extreme nature of current vaccine ideology has led to the Biosecurity Act 2015 and other similar totalitarian pieces of legislation (See: GHSA) leading us to collective mandatory vaccination REGARDLESS of evidence of highly elevated risk for certain individuals and the evidence of intrinsic harmfulness of every single dose.
Policies of mandatory vaccination are policies of physical invasion and violence, and can only succeed if the psychological brutalisation of society softens the public to the next uptick in tyrannical governmental operation.
A recent commenter on a Facebook thread I passed by quipped (and I paraphrase): ''Not even the communists mandated vaccination!'' He had formerly lived in a communist country. Yes, we are outdoing the ultimate collectivists with current vaccine fanaticism.
The fact that many people in the developed world openly welcome the idea of forced vaccination (and microchipping) demonstrates irrefutably that we have systemic Stockholm Syndrome and have bonded with our captors/abusers.
1(a). Censorship of all well-founded contrarian viewpointsThe classic example is one of the moment: we have hordes of people '' including the rather foolish looking head of the AMA (Michael Gannon, who embarrassed himself by referring to polio ''bacteria'' recently on Twitter), advocating censorship of a film (VAXXED) they deem ''dangerous'' and have NEVER SEEN! ''Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance,'' as Einstein observed. This advocacy is about as low and unconscious as cognitive function can get '' short of being fully comatose.
''You really shouldn't see that film, it's dangerous and misleading, you know.''''Oh, have you seen it?''''Ah, no'...It's dangerous and misleading, so I won't be seeing it.''#PolioIsNotaBacterium#NoLogic
2. Create (and maintain) a biased false narrative as context for all vaccine discussion to occur within. Tolerate no deviation from your arbitrarily set boundariesLeave no room for a contrarian point of view by making the sheer act of questioning any of the vaccine dogma seem to be ''shameful'' (sacrilegious) and so ''absurd'' as to be unworthy of anything but vitriol (ad hominem again).
Key: Use Orwellian NLP tactics like referring to the possibility of having two different perspectives available as ''false balance'' (balance is false balance, and ignorance is strength. See: double-think), thus making logical fallacies so acceptable and commonplace as to be invisible. Use inflammatory, emotionally provocative language that defines anyone who raises so much as a modest concern about a vaccine as ''crackpot,'' ''fringe lunatic,'' ''heretic,'' etc.
Favourite phrases hurled by pharma whores include: crackpot, conspiracy theorist, tinfoil hat references, profanity in general, fringe nut, and accusing the ''anti-vaxxer'' of living in an echo chamber. For once Wikipedia is actually useful in clarifying:
''Observers of journalism in the mass media describe an echo chamber effect in media discourse. One purveyor of information will make a claim, which many like-minded people then repeat, overhear, and repeat again (often in an exaggerated or otherwise distorted form) until most people assume that some extreme variation of the story is true.''
Thank you, Wikipedia, for describing EXACTLY how the media, aggressive pro-vax trolls, and government agents like Minister Hennessy work in promoting their distorted ''vaccines are the best thing ever and only crackpots would ever dare raise so much as a whimper of doubt '' oh, and Andrew Wakefield is Satan'' narrative. Jill Hennessy's wildly irresponsible and negligent claim that there is NO risk to vaccination represents just such an ''extreme variation of the story'' that emanates from the echo chamber of militant vaccinism. Evidently Minister Hennessy has never seen a vaccine insert before'... (Here's a link to help you out, Jill.)
In the words of Dr Toni Bark,
I began to see patterns. Children who were seen in the vaccine clinic would then come to our ER with seizures, respiratory arrest and asthma attacks. I began to realize, not all children respond well to vaccination and in fact, some die.
There you go: just one of the MANY doctors reporting the kinds of adverse outcomes listed in the vaccine insert. Denial is a nice place to visit, but'...
2(a). Lie, lie again, and if that fails lie some more. Maintain the false narrativeMake grand, sweeping statements that a real scientist would never use, such as ''the science is settled.'' (Brian Hooker shows here that clearly the science is not settled.) Cherry pick and acknowledge only that ''science'' which supports your view (chronically inflamed confirmation bias). Please note that this author had to overcome his own original confirmation bias in order to arrive at his current view. It is a task too few people accomplish because they never graduate beyond ''thinking'' from the limbic (emotional) brain, and looking coolly and calmly at evidence they fear will not simply fuel their preconceptions.
Lying by omission is often even more valuable than lying overtly. Sometimes the facts you leave out are the most important of all. There's nothing quite like twisting reality to your liking by omitting inconvenient material, for example, vaccine insert information, toxicity of ingredients, failures of vaccine programs, the entire history and origins of vaccines, outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations, etc. Here are just two examples of the latter (below).
Image credit: Immunization Graphs: Natural Infectious Disease Declines; Immunization Effectiveness; and Immunization Dangers by Raymond Obomsawin Ph.D., Senior Advisor '' First Nations Centre, National Aboriginal Health Organization, October 20092(b). The Hennessy Protocol (a.k.a the Jenner Protocol)Can't find enough factual evidence to justify your loathing of the pro-awareness community and non-vaccinators? Worry not, because there's always the option of MAKING THINGS UP AS YOU GO (a.k.a. the Hennessy Protocol '' or ''Jennessy'' Protocol, in honour of the founding liar)!
Yes, ladies and gents, Big Pharma agents and sellouts within the (highly incestuous) pro-vaccine establishment have resorted to fictitious Tweets converted from comments made in Facebook groups '' all aimed at discrediting the pro-choice community.
Victorian Minister for Health Jill ''No Risks'' Hennessy has recently been busy ''naming and shaming'' so called ''anti-vaxxers'' for alleged ''abusive Tweets.'' Hennessy's narrative is that the comments were directed at her personally by ''anti-vax bullies'' on Twitter.
Source: truthlibrary.infoThe Victorian Minister for Health used mainstream media outlets like the Herald Sun (who are thus complicit in the fraud) to push this asinine story, but there's only one minor problem: most, if not all, of these comments were never Tweets to begin with; some were comments stolen from Facebook groups and then attributed to another individual on Twitter, and some (at least four obvious candidates) may have simply been pulled out of thin air. See images below.
Some of Jill's alleged ''bullyers'' were writing ''Tweets'' that were too long to actually be posted on Twitter (going over the character limit), and there is no shortage of confirmation that many of these fake ''Tweets'' were simply pilfered from a Facebook group which at least one well known troll apparently frequents. It appears that troll passed these comments to Hennessy and from there, Hennessy '' or her staffers set about transforming these comments into ''Tweets'', co-opting them into the Establishment's line about ''threatening'' and ''violent'' anti-vaxxers.
If there is such a preponderance of anti-vax ''bullying'' and ''abuse'' going on, why the need to make up all these cases and distort reality? It's a transparent attempt at vilifying and discrediting the entire pro-choice and vaccine awareness movement. (''A'' for effort but an ''F'' for execution, gang.)
Why would such a SENIOR public official engage in such fraudulent behaviour against the pro-awareness grassroots Australian community? Who is paying her? Is there a gun to her head? How has politics gotten THIS pathetic and rotten?
More importantly: Isn't it time to start holding politicians like this personally LIABLE?
Source: truthlibrary.infoHere's a good breakdown of Hennessy's B.S.
To be clear: the bulk of Jill's ''Tweets'' were simply comments made by frustrated observers '' some of them likely parents with vaccine-injured children '' among themselves within a Facebook vaccine-related group (see screen shots above). They were NOT directed at poor, mistreated Jill, and nor were they posted on Twitter. There are even spelling mistakes in at least one of Jill's replications not present in the original Facebook comments. (Yes, wow.)
It appears some disused Twitter accounts have been co-opted into this farcical narrative in the hope that no one would notice (including '' ironically '' a doctor in the Netherlands who actually supports vaccination!). Well, we noticed, Jill (and accomplices). No legitimate screen shots were ever provided by Hennessy, she simply read words off her phone/iPad and expected the public to lap it up (and the credulous pro-vax did indeed LAP it up).
The evidence does not favour her bogus ''anti-vaxxers are vile'' narrative '' in fact, it indicates strongly that she has just defrauded the public with the help of mainstream media outlets in an attempt to demonise the pro-choice community '' a large portion of which is comprised of frustrated parents with a vaccine injured (or killed) child. Is THAT not vile? The hypocrisy is staggering. More victim blaming '' this time from Victoria's Minister for Health (how Orwellian can it get?).
This is the same Health Minister who played a part in censoring VAXXED in Castlemaine recently, much to the outrage of the grassroots community seeking transparency and full disclosure. They were understandably irate that Hennessy had the gall to try and shut down VAXXED and then demonise them with this repulsive treachery.
Step down, Jill, you are not fit to play any part in politics whatsoever. (Sorry, is this a bit ''abusive'' for you? You could always turn it into a Tweet.)
On another note, you may have also noticed bogus missives written by people that claim they were once ''anti-vax crackpots'' but, after ''seeing the light'' pulled a totes authentic volte-face. Once in a blue moon, this undoubtedly does happen, since parents who fall into fear and feel pressured will say and do irrational things (fear impairs reasoning and judgment faculties), however, a skilled pair of eyes with years of study behind them is well equipped to catch the canned, scripted, and staged ''feel'' to some of the recent examples doing the rounds (and emanating from some well known establishment outlets, unsurprisingly).
Remember to ignore the fact that all pro-choice parents with a vaccine-killed or injured child were once ''pro-vaccine.''
2(c). Blame 100% of ''anti-vaccine'' sentiment on earth on one man: Andrew WakefieldThis is the pro-vax establishment's ultimate Strawman argument.
Refer to the ''disgraced and discredited'' Andrew Wakefield as often as possible '' the more the better! Refer to the Lancet ''retraction'' as often as possible. Maintain the false mainstream narrative citing the ''fraudulent study claiming MMR vaccines caused autism'' (and congratulate Brian Deer on a [hatchet] job well done). You can never overestimate the value of a good scapegoat, and the pharmaceutical industry has its Chosen One. This is also part of a distraction technique used to attract attention away from the MANY other doctors and scientists who are highly critical of vaccines for various different reasons. The illusion of a ''consensus'' must be maintained.
Doctors have fought against the vaccine fraud and mandatory vaccination since Jenner's time, for well over 100 years before Andrew Wakefield was even born, but don't let that stop you from blaming him for every SINGLE doubt or query ever raised around vaccines. He's the DEVIL and can bend space and time to his will, deceiving those whose faith is found wanting!
2(d). Blame virtually all disease contracted by anyone anywhere on the unvaccinated populationCorollaries to this are as follows.
Ignore the high frequency of instances where primarily or ONLY the vaccinated get sick, and especially ignore the numerous examples of outbreaks that follow directly in the wake of vaccination campaigns. Failed vaccinations that result in the recipient/s developing the very condition they were vaccinated against are to be re-categorised and swept under the carpet. Vaccines simply cannot cause disease. Why? Because they aren't supposed to, okay?! Because polio, mmkay?!
Absolutely disregard FDA and CDC and equivalent agencies' admissions that certain vaccines produce vaccinated people who can shed and spread the disease.
Also do NOT read vaccine inserts that list side effects including the very disease they are meant to prevent, along with encephalitis, autism, seizures, death, and much more. Because they wouldn't sell products that could harm us, right? (See: ''cigarettes are safe,'' ''thalidomide is safe,'' ''DDT is safe,'' ''amalgam fillings are safe,'' etc., etc.) The good old ''they wouldn't do that to us,'' fallacy borne of misplaced trust. Also known as misjudging the moral compass (or competence) of those in authority.
Image credit: vaccine-injury.infoEspecially ignore open admissions of there being no trials carried out that demonstrate effectiveness of, for example, FLULAVAL in reducing rates of influenza. Who needs evidence that vaccines actually work? They WORK, okay?!
''Shut up and get your flu shot because you're putting my family at risk if you don't!''''But the insert states no controlled trials exist adequately demonstrating a decrease in the flu after vaccination.''''You and your tinfoil hat conspiracies, crackpot! Stay away from my children!''
Find further examples here
Don't talk about the Cochrane assessment of flu vaccine efficacy. Ever.
2(e). Manipulate (and also use bizarre) statistics to enhance apparent vaccine value and downplay harmThis is an ancient strategy '' an oldie but a goodie (with too many examples to cite here in this limited space). Has your patient just developed polio-like symptoms following the polio shot? It can't be vaccines, they're ''safe and effective'' '' the Priesthood of Medicine said so! Better report it under another name! This is a vital card in the pro-vax house of cards.
Think I'm joking? In 1960 the 120th Annual Meeting of the Illinois Medical Society featured a panel discussion, during which one of the medical experts named Dr Bernard Greenberg (who would go on to testify in Congressional hearings),
revealed how data had been manipulated to hide the dangers and ineffectiveness of the (polio) vaccine from the pubic. Dr. Greenberg explained that the perceived overall reduction in polio cases was achieved by changing the criteria by which polio was diagnosed. Prior to 1954, all that was required was an examination on admittance and another 24 hours later; if the classic polio symptoms were discernible, the patient was considered to have polio. No lab test, and no residual paralysis were required to establish a paralytic polio case definitely. When the new criteria was established in 1954, for a case to be reportable as polio, residual paralysis had to linger for 60 days or longer. From this time onward, all cases in which paralysis lasted less than 60 days would no longer be classified as polio! Overnight, the majority of cases that would have been diagnosed as polio, were now shifted into a new disease category, cocksackie virus, or aseptic viral meningitis.
In Canada, the Dominion Bureau of Statistics issued an official bulletin in June 1959 titled Poliomyelitis Trends, 1958. '''...It may be noted that the Dominion Council of Health at its 74th meeting in October 1958 recommended that for the purposes of national reporting and statistics the term non-paralytic poliomyelitis be replaced by 'meningitis, viral or aseptic,' with the specific viruses shown where known.''1
2(f). Bizarre statistics to sell more vaccines: combining flu deaths with pneumonia ''[According to CDC statistics], 'influenza and pneumonia' took 62,034 lives in 2001'--61,777 of which were attributable to pneumonia and 257 to flu, and in only 18 cases was the flu virus positively identified.'' (emphasis added)
Oops. The above quote is from Peter Doshi's report in the 2005 British Medical Journal. The CDC had been claiming that a whopping 36,000 deaths per year were caused by the flu. As you can see, there's only a very SLIGHT difference between 18 and 36,000 '' only a few orders of magnitude or so. No big deal, right? We must convince the public they need to be jabbed using any means necessary. If we lie it's only for their own good.
Why do the CDC combine these two conditions? Apparently they assume that the pneumonia deaths are complications resulting from the flu! It certainly makes flu sound a lot more threatening if you can connect it to 62,000 deaths rather than the meager 18 that actually were confirmed. It certainly sells a lot more batches of product if you can beef the numbers up with a little bit of reality warping.
Disregard the fact that this is the same organization that binned powerful evidence (See: William Thompson) that vaccines can and sometimes do cause autism. You can trust them. Got your flu shot yet?
3. Use guilt and shame as techniques for emotional manipulation to foster acquiescence and subservienceThis technique rests on a pyramid of distorted and false information, i.e., the false narrative touted by the establishment about how vaccines are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and how dare you question it! Questions kill babies, you Satanic bastards!
Basically, society (the brainwashed portions at least) inculcates into parents the baseless notion that they are delinquent in their parental duties if they are so much as a day late on the vaccine schedule with their child. Of course, parents who practice due diligence, and, after months or years of study, choose not to vaccinate are painted outright as child abusers '' the evidence they cite is not worthy of study or discussion. Alternative methods of safely supporting health and immunity are taboo.
This is little more than another bullying tactic, a coercive technique consisting of low level psychological violence (with sometimes very high level resultant biological damage).
It's the vaccine way or NO way. Thou shalt not worship false idols.
Above: One of the most dangerously misleading ads you are ever likely to see. Learn about the shocking carnage caused by HPV vaccines here. PS: Cannabis oil is being used to reverse cancer everywhere '' even ''incurable'' liver cancer.4. Maintain blanket amnesia and ignore historyThe shorter your memory is the better. History provides a plethora of uncomfortable and embarrassing material that is not flattering to the pro-vax paradigm (to put it mildly). For example, Edward Jenner '' the founding father of vaccination '' was a liar and charlatan. He also became the most famous ''refuser'' of the early era of vaccination: his mentally retarded eldest son (who had been vaccinated for smallpox at 10 months of age) died in a sickly and weakened state around the age of 20 after having been vaccinated multiple times. Jenner chose not to vaccinate his second son.
The undeniably crude and unscientific practice of vaccination was opposed from day one by eminent medical men of the time on the grounds that it was dangerous and due to the observable carnage that followed vaccination wherever it went (did you know there were anti-mandatory vaccination leagues and societies in the 1800s driven largely by concerned doctors? Is Andrew Wakefield to blame for those too? Does he have a time machine?).
The Jennerian notion that people would not develop smallpox if they were inoculated with cow pox was ALREADY observed to be untrue before he started promoting this idea (which he ''borrowed'' from the local dairy maids!). Doctors at the time ridiculed his claims due to their observably false nature. People got cow pox AND small pox and this was common knowledge at the time. Thus, popular vaccine mythology is built on a foundation of sand/fraud.
Above: An old anti-compulsory vaccination posterBig Pharma, of course, was yet to exist, and corporate hegemony over the education system (and research centers) was yet to be established, and thus, doctors in the 1800s were not all blindly indoctrinated into the pro-vax mythology and nor were their careers threatened if they did not toe the line. Times have changed drastically since then. However, while doctors today receive strong indoctrination into the vaccine mythology both via social osmosis and during their time in medical school, their curriculum features almost no factual information on vaccines, their ingredients, what those ingredients do in the human body, whistleblowers, disasters resulting from vaccination campaigns, vaccine history, general harm and risks, Big Pharma's influence over the whole system (obviously), and so forth.
4(a). Ignore chronology and causalityClaim vaccines eradicated diseases that were ALREADY being controlled, declining, and/or virtually wiped out by the development of sanitation systems, improved hygiene, and better eating (and other developments like antibiotics). Don't mention diseases that were conquered without any vaccines being developed for them at all. (See ''scurvy'' above, and Part 2 of 11 Golden Rules of Militant Vaccine Pushers.) Vaccines are our medical messiah sent from on high '' from them all good things (and ONLY good things) come. (Amen.)
4(b). Ignore'...'...the crop of new vaccine-created conditions and diseases that arose in the wake off mass vaccination (especially the current autism explosion which is so dramatic that it simply cannot be attributed to genetic origins '' because it's EPI-genetic!). Don't talk, for example, about how vaccine-induced polio has basically replaced wild polio. (And don't mention the carnage left in the wake of the Gates' oral polio campaign in India. Ssshh'...)
5. Attack the messenger not the message'... (to be continued'...)Want to keep reading? 11 Golden Rules of Militant Vaccine Pushers '' Part 2 Brendan D Murphy Co-founder of Global Freedom Movement and co-host of GFM Media, Brendan D. Murphy is a leading Australian author, researcher, activist, and musician. His acclaimed non-fiction epic The Grand Illusion: A Synthesis of Science & Spirituality '' Book 1 is regarded as essential reading. Download his free ebook here.
EndnotesFeatured image credit: BDEngler Save Save
Twitter suspends virologist Robert Malone '-- RT World News
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 11:54
Big Tech has silenced the US vaccine researcher famous for helping invent mRNA technology
The account of Dr. Robert Malone, a veteran vaccine researcher and a prominent voice of skepticism on the issue of universal inoculation against Covid-19, has been suspended by Twitter.
Malone's account had over 516,000 followers when the platform silenced him on Wednesday. It remains unclear if the suspension was automatic or done by a human. Twitter gave no immediate comment.
Malone reacted to the news on his other social media, saying it meant that he ''must have been on the mark, so to speak.''
''It also means we lost a critical component in our fight to stop these vaccines being mandated for children and to stop the corruption in our governments, as well as the medical-industrial complex and pharmaceutical industries,'' he wrote, encouraging people to tune in to his interview on the Joe Rogan podcast later on Thursday.
Malone is a veteran virologist and vaccine developer, who is credited for significantly contributing to the invention of the mRNA technology, the foundation of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against Covid-19. Amid the pandemic he emerged as a prominent critic of many of the policies taken in response to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
He advocates vaccinations for people in high risk groups, like elderly people or those with comorbidities, and said he personally got vaccinated due to his age. But he believes the risks of vaccination in healthy young people, and especially children, outweigh the benefits of the protection against the virus.
Many policies, like vaccine mandates or hoarding of vaccines by wealthy countries, are not based on science, Malone believes. He also speaks critically about the influence that large pharmaceutical companies and wealthy individuals like Bill Gates have on global health affairs.
Critics accused Malone of spreading misinformation about vaccines and encouraging anti-vaxxers with his skeptical statements. Like other US-based social media, Twitter has policies against health misinformation on its platform.
Xian battles COVID-19 in worst outbreak to hit a Chinese city this year | Reuters
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 11:40
A worker prepares food supplies to be delivered to residents of a residential compound under lockdown, outside the compound following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province, China December 29, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comXian hit by over 1,100 locally transmitted cases since Dec. 9Outbreak in Xian worst for any Chinese city this yearCity officials embark on sixth round of citywide testingBEIJING, Dec 30 (Reuters) - China's industrial and tech hub of Xian reported on Thursday more than 100 new cases of COVID-19, taking its tally of locally transmitted infections to the highest in any Chinese city this year.
Xian reported 155 new local cases for Dec. 29, official data showed. That takes its number of local infections to more than 1,100 since the flare-up began on Dec. 9 and compelled authorities to put the city of 13 million under lockdown.
Despite the low case count compared with clusters in many cities around the world, Xian officials have imposed tough curbs on travel within and out of the city since Dec. 23, as Beijing demands each outbreak be contained quickly.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to"Xian has reached a live-or-die stage in its fight against the virus," Zhang Fenghu, a city government official, told a news conference on Wednesday.
Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and Micron Technology (MU.O), two of the world's largest memory-chip makers, have warned that the lockdown could affect their chip manufacturing bases in the area. read more
Xian is also a major tourism destination, drawing visitors to its collection of terracotta warriors buried with China's first emperor more than 2,000 years ago.
Authorities have embarked on multiple rounds of citywide testing to trace transmissions. A sixth round began on Thursday, a day after a fifth round.
Many residents have been barred from leaving their housing compounds unless going out to take COVID-19 tests or attend to essential matters approved by authorities.
The Xian police have dispatched personnel to each residential compound to make sure COVID curbs are properly implemented, a police official told a news briefing on Thursday.
The restrictions have curtailed access to daily necessities, with many people unable to go out to shop, leaving them dependent on deliveries.
But the curbs have caused a staffing crunch at companies involved in ensuring the delivery of supplies and the government was working on resolving the issue, a Xian government official said on Wednesday.
A Xian resident surnamed He told Reuters she tried to order groceries on the online app of Alibaba-backed supermarket chain Freshippo but could not secure many items including potatoes and cucumber.
The app posted a message under many items saying: "Delivery staffers are not available", according to a screenshot He provided.
Several city districts have arranged for the delivery of free groceries to some residential compounds, state media said.
The total supply of necessities in Xian was sufficient, a spokesperson at the commerce ministry told reporters.
Reuters GraphicsThe Xian lockdown, now in its eighth day, coincides with the second anniversary of early signs of the coronavirus outbreak in the central city of Wuhan.
Wuhan health authorities said in a notice issued on Dec. 30, 2019, that some pneumonia patients were stricken by an illness of an "an unknown cause," according to state media.
Also on Thursday, thousands of people left messages on the social media account of the late COVID-19 whistleblower Li Wenliang on the anniversary of the day - also Dec. 30, 2019 - that he learned of the possibility of a pneumonia-causing virus in Wuhan. read more
As of Wednesday, mainland China had reported 101,890 confirmed coronavirus cases, including both local and imported ones, with a death toll of 4,636.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reporting by Ryann Woo, Roxanne Liu, Beijing Newsroom, Gabriel Crossley and Albee Zhang; editing by Karishma Singh
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
'Don't Look Up' makes one critical mistake - CNN
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 11:37
Editor's Note: (Holly Thomas is a writer and editor based in London. She is morning editor at Katie Couric Media. She tweets @HolstaT. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. View more opinion on CNN.)
(CNN) On January 8, 2017, Meryl Streep gave a speech at the Golden Globe Awards that, depending on who you ask, either gave voice to heartbroken Americans or sorely misjudged voters' frustrations.
Dismayed and scared after Donald Trump's presidential victory, Streep rallied her audience of Hollywood A-listers, filmmakers and the foreign press, telling them that they belonged to "the most vilified segments in American society right now," but if they were kicked out, the public would have "nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts."
Her speech could not have been less persuasive to the demographic she seemed most desperate to reach.
Holly Thomas
Many Americans who voted for Trump in 2016 did so because they felt forgotten by the political and social establishment, and believed their way of life was under threat. It is unlikely that their driving motivations included ensuring that celebrities continued to be paid millions of dollars to play make-believe. Surrounded by peers who shared her own priorities, Streep's message only emphasized an existing divide.
Nearly five years after that speech, "Don't Look Up," Netflix's star-studded disaster satire featuring Streep alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, spends over two hours making the same mistake. In its efforts to champion its cause, the film only alienates those who most need to be moved by its message.
The movie's heavy-handed premise is that a huge comet is on a collision course for Earth, but the corrupt, self-absorbed president (played by Streep) and the evil media are choosing to ignore the danger because they believe they might be able to profit from it.
It's a climate change metaphor that should be inherently sympathetic. Unfortunately, there's never been a more hostile environment in which to use it.
As "Don't Look Up" would have it, the biggest problem facing the world is that the gullible public and greedy elites keep refusing to listen to the clever scientists.
In the recent context of vaccine misinformation and billionaires making vanity trips to space, it's a tempting position. The snag is that when science becomes politicized -- whether by those championing it, or those denying it -- objective truth ceases to wield blanket persuasive power.
As counterintuitive as it may sometimes seem, to win people over, science must remain apolitical.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence play scientists with an important message in the film "Don't Look Up."
Take Anthony Fauci, America's long-suffering infectious disease expert. Fauci went to great pains to remain politically neutral while serving under Trump because he knew that the appearance of bias would only serve to alienate many of the people who desperately needed to heed his advice.
Like Greta Thunberg, who until the 2020 US election relentlessly focused on climate action without getting into the muck of left versus right, Fauci understands that any political association only serves as a distraction from the task at hand.
When Fauci's words were taken out of context in a GOP ad in mid-October 2020, he was swift to distance himself. As Fauci's recommendations for combating the coronavirus -- such as mask-wearing -- continued to conflict with Trump's interests, Trump changed tack and began to discredit both Fauci and the science he represented. How did he do that? He claimed that Fauci -- who is not registered with any political party -- was a Democrat.
This political fracturing was reflected in public acceptance (or lack thereof) of the science. By the end of October 2020, according to Pew Research Center, Democrats accounted for 76% of those who expressed worry about others not using masks, while Republicans accounted for 92% of those expressing skepticism or opposition to masks.
Nearly a year later, Americans who relied mainly on Trump for their Covid-19 information were among the least likely to be vaccinated. Far from winning people over to evidence-based precautions, Fauci's Trump-imposed association with the Democrats only served to make him a lightning rod for Republican ire.
Science is objective -- the "math," as "Don't Look Up" constantly puts it, either adds up, or it doesn't. But as soon as scientific truth becomes inherently associated with one political creed, people who have conflicting political sympathies will be predisposed to mistrust it.
As well-intentioned as the writers and cast of "Don't Look Up" undoubtedly are, the goal of defending scientific fact must be dissociated from that of asserting moral superiority. The constant implication that those who hesitate to accept fresh evidence -- be that of the safety of vaccines, or the comet's impact -- are stupid, corrupt and hail from the "wrong" side politically, only adds another hurdle for science to overcome.
Toward the end of the movie, as one of the plainly Trumpian rallies held by Streep's character descends into chaos, Jonah Hill -- playing Streep's son and chief of staff -- shouts "rednecks" over his shoulder while making his escape. The intended message -- that the "bad" politicians who try to fool the public have nothing but contempt for them -- is tainted by the fact that the "good" guys who made the film don't seem to think much of them either.
The champions of science must always try to leave politics at the door. Otherwise, the task is not just convincing people that the comet is coming, the planet is rapidly overheating or the vaccine will protect them. It is also forcing huge swathes of the population to accept that a cornerstone of their personal ideology is wrong.
And when the comet is this close, there just isn't time for that.
CPS extends COVID-19 test deadline after drop boxes overflow - Chicago Tribune
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 03:32
Chicago Public Schools said it has extended the deadline to Thursday for parents to return the district's at-home COVID-19 test kits after photos circulated online Tuesday of drop-off boxes overflowing with packages.
''We are encouraged by the number of families who have submitted test kits so far. We are working with all partners to ensure a timely pick up of test kits at FedEx and libraries,'' a CPS spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday that noted the district has added a drop-off location at the Garfield Ridge branch of the Chicago Public Library and will accept completed test kits at some libraries until 5 p.m. Thursday.
The district said it distributed test kits to 150,000 students at more than 300 schools in areas hit hard by coronavirus that also have low vaccination rates. Families were ''strongly encouraged'' to test students on Tuesday and drop the sample at their nearest FedEx drop box or library that day so results could be processed before students return from winter break next week.
But some parents encountered shipping boxes filled to the brim with packages on Tuesday. Jessica Martinez debated leaving her son's sample at a FedEx drop box, where the overflow spilled out onto the sidewalk of a West Elsdon strip mall on the Southwest Side.
''It is scary to leave your box there. I had to kind of like tuck it in ... to make sure that it doesn't get stolen or it doesn't get misplaced,'' said Martinez, who lives in the West Lawn area. ''They should have added more locations.''
CPS said it will accept kits until Thursday evening at library branches in Englewood at 6151 S. Normal Blvd.; Garfield Ridge at 6348 S. Archer Ave.; South Shore at 2505 E. 73rd St.; Auburn Gresham at 7506 S. Racine Ave.; East Side at 3710 E. 106th St.; Austin at 5615 W. Race Ave.; and Altgeld Gardens at 933 E. 131st Place.
CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said earlier this month the Dec. 28 drop-off date was picked in consultation with health officials so results could be ready Friday. Students are set to return to classrooms Monday. Martinez pleaded with parents to take advantage of the test kits.
In social media posts, the Chicago Teachers Union said the test kit plan was ''not well-thought-out'' and called the drop-off troubles ''bureaucratic failure and chaos.'' The union plans to host free COVID-19 testing from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at its headquarters at 1901 W. Carroll Ave.
At-home COVID-19 tests from CPS students pile up at a FedEx drop-off box on In the West Elsdon neighborhood. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)
The union continues to call for a metric that would cause an individual school and the entire district to transition to remote learning. CPS reported its highest weekly new case count '-- 603 students and 373 adults '-- as it headed into winter break.
About 330,000 students are enrolled in CPS, but its online COVID-19 data does not include charter school cases.
In its Tuesday statement, CPS said the ''safest place for students to be is in school, where mitigation is strong and clear protocols are being followed.'' The district has expressed confidence in its indoor masking policy and weekly testing program that's voluntary for students and mandatory for unvaccinated staff members '-- even as the union and some parents have said the protocols are not enough.
''We expect that classrooms, and sometimes schools, will be transitioned to remote learning, as we identify and manage the positive cases among staff and students. But we are confident that we can manage those decisions in an agile and responsive way,'' CPS said in its statement.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 are directed to isolate for 10 days. The district said Tuesday it will work with health officials and the Illinois State Board of Education to evaluate quarantine guidance issued Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC announced it is shortening the recommended isolation time for infected people from 10 days to five days if they are asymptomatic. After that period, they should wear a mask for five days when around others.
On Dec. 17, the last day of school before winter break, about 9,000 CPS students were in isolation because they tested positive or in quarantine because they came in contact with someone who had, according to district data. CPS has been piloting a program that would allow unvaccinated students determined to be close contacts of an infected person to avoid quarantine if they repeatedly test negative.
Chicago Tribune's E. Jason Wambsgans contributed.
Darren Star - Wikipedia
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 00:40
American television writer and producer
Darren Star (born July 25, 1961) is an American writer, director and producer of film and television. He is best known for creating the television series Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990''2000), Melrose Place (1992''1999), Sex and the City (1998''2004), Younger (2015''2021) and Emily in Paris (2020''present).
Early life [ edit ] Darren Star was born to a Jewish family[1] in Potomac, Maryland. His mother was a freelance writer and his father was an orthodontist.[2] He attended Winston Churchill High School and UCLA where he studied English and Creative Writing.[3]
Career [ edit ] He created the television series Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, and he was the creator and a writer for the HBO series Sex and the City.[4]
He also worked on Central Park West (1995), Grosse Pointe (2000), The $treet (2000), Miss Match (2003), Kitchen Confidential (2005), Runaway (2006) and Cashmere Mafia (2008).[citation needed ] He was the producer of Sex and the City: The Movie, which was released in 2008, and its sequel Sex and the City 2, which was released in 2010.[citation needed ]
In 2002, he was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival's Outstanding Television Writer Award. He sits on the board of directors of Project Angel Food.[5] In 2020, he signed a deal with ViacomCBS.[6]
Personal life [ edit ] Star is openly gay.[7] He has residences in New York City and Los Angeles.[8] His main residence is in Bel Air, Los Angeles.
Filmography [ edit ] Creator [ edit ] Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990''2000)Melrose Place (1992''1999)Central Park West (1995''1996)Sex and the City (1998''2004)Grosse Pointe (2000''2001)Miss Match (2003)Younger (2015''2021)Emily in Paris (2020''present)And Just Like That... (2021''present)Screenwriter [ edit ] Doin' Time on Planet Earth (1988)Dead Heat (1988) (uncredited; probably an early draft)If Looks Could Kill (1991)Executive producer [ edit ] Melrose Place (1992''1995)Beverly Hills, 90210 (1992''1995)Central Park West (1995''1996)Sex and the City (1998''2000)The Street (2000)Grosse Pointe (2000''2001)Miss Match (2003)Kitchen Confidential (2005)Runaway (2006)Cashmere Mafia (2008)GCB (2012)Younger (2015''2021)Emily in Paris (2020)Producer [ edit ] Sex and the City (2008)Sex and the City 2 (2010)References [ edit ] ^ Haaratz: "'Sex and the City' Creator Darren Star: Hollywood Looking to Israel for Ideas - Star, 47, sat down to speak with Haaretz last week at the end of a brief but intense visit to Israel" by Ruta Kupfer February 12, 2008 ^ ^ Brennan, Patricia (December 23, 1990). "Signals From the Fast Lane". The Washington Post. p. N10. ^ "DARREN STAR, creator, 'Beverly Hills 90210 ' ". New York Times. August 31, 2008 . Retrieved 2010-08-10 . ^ Project Angel Food Board Archived 2013-03-04 at the Wayback Machine ^ " ' Younger' Creator Darren Star Inks ViacomCBS Overall Deal | Hollywood Reporter". . Retrieved 2020-10-23 . ^ Romesburg, Don (December 27, 1994). "Saint Savant?". The Advocate. Archived from the original on October 24, 1996 . Retrieved October 23, 2009 . ^ Kupfer, Ruta (2008-12-02). " ' Sex and the City' creator Darren Star: Hollywood looking to Israel for ideas". Haaretz . Retrieved 3 August 2009 . External links [ edit ] Darren Star at IMDbDarren Star at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television
Alexa tells 10-year-old girl to touch live plug with penny - BBC News
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 16:31
Image source, Getty Images
Amazon has updated its Alexa voice assistant after it "challenged" a 10-year-old girl to touch a coin to the prongs of a half-inserted plug.
The suggestion came after the girl asked Alexa for a "challenge to do".
"Plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs," the smart speaker said.
Amazon said it fixed the error as soon as the company became aware of it.
The girl's mother, Kristin Livdahl, described the incident on Twitter.
She said: "We were doing some physical challenges, like laying down and rolling over holding a shoe on your foot, from a [physical education] teacher on YouTube earlier. Bad weather outside. She just wanted another one."
That's when the Echo speaker suggested partaking in the challenge that it had "found on the web".
The dangerous activity, known as "the penny challenge", began circulating on TikTok and other social media websites about a year ago.
Metals conduct electricity and inserting them into live electrical sockets can cause electric shocks, fires and other damage.
"I know you can lose fingers, hands, arms," Michael Clusker, station manager at Carlisle East fire station, told The Press newspaper in Yorkshire in 2020.
"The outcome from this is that someone will get seriously hurt."
Fire officials in the US have also spoken out against the so-called challenge.
Ms Livdahl tweeted that she intervened, yelling: "No, Alexa, no!"
However, she said her daughter was "too smart to do something like that".
Amazon told the BBC in a statement that it had updated Alexa to prevent the assistant recommending such activity in the future.
"Customer trust is at the centre of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers," said Amazon in a statement.
"As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it."
UK Inches Closer To Eliminating Private Car Ownership
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 15:58
Soon, Brits will own nothing and will be happier for it'...UK Government Transport Minister Trudy Harrison recently spoke at a mobility conference, addressing the future of personal mobility. In her comments, she said it was necessary to ditch the "20th-century thinking centred around private vehicle ownership and towards greater flexibility, with personal choice and low carbon shared transport." That's right, she said the quiet part loud and showed the hand of a growing number of government officials.
Meanwhile, Dodge is eliminating a popular engine in the United States. Learn more here.Harrison went on to praise not only public transportation but also bike share services, e-scooters, and ride sharing platforms. All of these are supposed to tune down how much carbon the UK is emitting into the atmosphere. As with all choices, this comes at a cost, particularly for those living in rural areas.
What's more, 300 residents in Coventry recently expressed interest in giving up their personal cars. The tradeoff from the government reportedly would be a mobility credit worth up to £3,000. This mobility credit program has been going since March of this year, with 73 cars turned in and crushed. No, this isn't a joke, but I wish it were.
Understandably, many Brits are upset about this. Some have asked if they should start riding their horse instead, all the in the name of ''progress.'' Others are tying this statement by Harrison with the looming government ban of internal combustion engines for cars by 2030. After all, EVs aren't exactly cheap, so what better way to force people onto public transportation than by pricing them out of the vehicle market?
I've been calling out the elitist plan in some government circles to eliminate the private ownership of cars for some time. For many, the possibility that such a thing could be real leads to their minds lashing out at the source of such news, and so I've been called a ''crazy conspiracy theorist'' among other things for trying to shed light on this disturbing topic. Well, time has vindicated my stance and people in the UK are starting to wake up to the very real possibility they would be completely dependent on the government to be driven anywhere.
If you think this plan is limited to just the UK, you haven't been paying attention. There have been other efforts to make private vehicle ownership a thing of the past, including a new measure in Southern California. The 2021 Regional Transportation Plan passed recently by the San Diego Association of Government's board of directors is a $160 billion initiative just for the metropolitan area to boost public transportation.
That's a hefty price tag for such a small area, so one of the ways officials have been planning to fund it is by levying a per-mile driving tax against citizens. That was such an unpopular move it was shelved, for now. But I have a funny feeling that driving tax is going to be revisited. Critics say that and other fines, fees, etc. are designed to nuke personal vehicle ownership for all but the wealthy. Expect to see similar measures in other cities and maybe entire states/territories in North America and beyond in the near future.
As unpleasant as politics are, if car enthusiasts and really everyone who enjoys going where they please when they please in their privately-owned vehicle don't start taking a stand, our freedoms could be severely restricted in ways many have thought weren't possible. Failing to do something to stop this push will end poorly for just about everyone.
Source: Express
Photos via Facebook
Chinese lockdown rule-breakers are publicly shamed to ensure Covid rules are obeyed | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 15:53
Armed riot police in southern China have paraded four alleged violators of Covid rules through the streets, leading to criticism of the government's heavy handed approach.
Four masked suspects in hazmat suits - carrying placards displaying their photos and names - were paraded Tuesday in front of a large crowd in Guangxi region's Jingxi city.
Photos of the event showed each suspect held by two police officers - wearing face shields, masks and hazmat suits - and surrounded by a circle of police in riot gear, some holding guns.
The public shaming was part of disciplinary measures announced by the local government in August to punish those breaking health rules.
China banned such public shaming of criminal suspects in 2010 after decades of campaigning by human rights activists, but the practice has resurfaced as local governments struggle to enforce the national zero-Covid policy.
It comes as locked-down residents in one of China's biggest cities say they are at risk of starving in their homes after they were banned from going outside even to buy food under harsh new Covid measures sparked by just a few dozen cases.
Apparatchiks running the city of Xi'an on Monday told 13 million people they are only allowed out of their homes when invited to take part in a new round of mass testing, or for medical emergencies.
Photos of the event showed each suspect held by two police officers - wearing face shields, masks and hazmat suits - and surrounded by a circle of police in riot gear, some holding guns
Four masked suspects in hazmat suits - carrying placards displaying their photos and names - were paraded Tuesday in front of a large crowd in Guangxi region's Jingxi city
China banned such public shaming of criminal suspects in 2010 after decades of campaigning by human rights activists, but the practice has resurfaced as local governments struggle to enforce the national zero-Covid policy
It comes as locked-down residents in one of China 's biggest cities say they are at risk of starving in their homes. Officials running the city of Xi'an on Monday told 13 million people they are only allowed out of their homes when invited to take part in a new round of mass testing, or for medical emergencies (pictured: A medical worker reaches through protective gloves as she administers a nucleic acid test at a private outdoor clinic on December 27, 2021 in Beijing)
The four individuals paraded through the streets of Jingxi city were also accused of transporting illegal migrants while China's borders remain largely closed due to the pandemic, Guangxi News said.
Jingxi is near the Chinese border with Vietnam.
The newspaper said the parade provided a 'real-life warning' to the public, and 'deterred border-related crimes'.
But it also led to a backlash, with official outlets and social media users criticising the heavy handed approach.
Although Jingxi is 'under tremendous pressure' to prevent imported coronavirus cases, 'the measure seriously violates the spirit of the rule of law and cannot be allowed to happen again,' Chinese Communist Party-affiliated Beijing News said Wednesday.
Other suspects accused of illicit smuggling and human trafficking have also been paraded in recent months, according to reports on the Jingxi government website.
Videos of a similar parade in November showed a crowd of people watching two prisoners being held while a local official read out their crimes on a microphone.
They were then seen marching through the streets in their hazmat suits, flanked by police in riot gear.
Meanwhile, officials in the city of Xi'an on Monday told 13 million people they are only allowed out of their homes when invited to take part in a new round of mass testing, or for medical emergencies.
Previously, one member of each household was allowed out once every two days to buy food. City officials said people in 'low risk' areas will be allowed out to buy essentials once testing is complete and if their results are negative.
The tightened lockdown measures prompted some Xi'an residents to turn to social media for help, saying they are 'starving' and appealing to neighbours for supplies.
'I'm about to be starved to death,' wrote one person on Weibo, China's equivalent of Facebook. 'There's no food, my housing compound won't let me out, and I'm about to run out of instant noodles ... please help!'
'I don't want to hear any more about how everything is fine,' said another. 'So what if supplies are so abundant - they're useless if you don't actually give them to people.'
Xi'an on Tuesday reported 175 Covid cases, its highest toll of the current outbreak, pushing up China's seven-day average of cases to its highest level this year (pictured above)
Xi'an reported 175 new cases on Tuesday, a paltry figure compared to other large cities around the world but a major blow to China which is continuing to pursue a 'zero Covid' strategy even in the face of more-infectious variants.
Nearby cities have also logged cases linked to the flare-up, with Yan'an - about 185 miles from Xi'an - on Tuesday shuttering businesses and ordering hundreds of thousands of people in one district to stay indoors.
Xi'an's outbreak is being driven by the Delta variant and is believed to be linked to travel to Pakistan a week ago.
The city has been in lockdown since last Thursday when mass testing revealed a case had escaped quarantine and then spread the virus widely.
So-far this month, Xi'an has reported 810 Covid cases - China's largest outbreak since the virus first emerged in Wuhan.
The 13million-person lockdown is also China's largest since Wuhan was locked down early in 2020, which affected 11 million people.
On Sunday, city workers were dispatched to disinfect public spaces with residents warned not to touch anything until the chemicals had time to disperse.
Lockdown rules were then tightened on Monday evening as a fifth round of mass testing got underway.
City workers disinfect public spaces in Xi'an, as residents were warned not to touch anything immediately afterwards to allow chemicals time to disperse
Wife of Alex Jones arrested after allegedly beating him on head over 20 times Christmas Eve
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 15:14
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Notorious radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones did not have the most joyous of all Christmas celebrations this year, as his wife was taken into police custody in Austin, TX after reportedly giving the Infowars founder a rather savage Christmas Eve beating.
Erika Wulff Jones, 43, was arrested on Friday night at around 8:45pm and charged with misdemeanor charges of assault and resisting arrest after she allegedly struck Jones on the head ''over 20 times,'' according to Travis County police reports obtained by the Daily Beast.
''It's a private family matter that happened on Christmas Eve,'' Jones told The Associated Press. ''I love my wife and care about her and it appears to be some kind of medication imbalance.''
Mr. Jones had called 911 and told a dispatcher that his wife had struck him over the head multiple times and was ''holding a polished club in her hand'' and attempting to ''hit him with it.''
The Daily Beast also reported:
Jones later told police that ''Erika had hit him with both closed fists and open hands on his head in front of their child,'' the affidavit stated.
According to Jones, Erika had accused him of ''cheating on her,'' leading to a violent altercation as the duo bathed their child. (Jones has three other children from a previous marriage.)
Erika allegedly struck Jones ''over 20 times,'' including once over the head with a bottle, ''possibly shampoo,'' causing the contents to get on his face and ''cause burning to his eyes,'' the report continued. ''[Jones] stated he tried to get away from her in the master bedroom, and she followed him with a stone ball trying to strike him.''
It was at this point, police wrote, that Jones was ''in fear for his life.''
Police located a stone, weighing approximately five pounds, in the primary bedroom, ''consistent'' with the alleged weapon. Jones told police that she never hit him with the stone, but ''threw it at his head, missing by inches.''
Erika Jones denied any threats and said there was no assault on her part, but police reported they smelled alcohol on her breath. They also wrote that ''she stated Alexander was angry from trying to visit family prior.'' As she was being taken into custody, according to the outlet and citing a second affidavit, she ''was adamant about not going to jail and at one point broke free of handcuffs and began 'swing[ing] her fists and kicking' police officers called for backup, while 'striking at least one.'''
Recently, Alex Jones was subpoenaed by the kangaroo court that is the January 6th Committee, but he has since filed suit in opposition of the order and says he has no intention of appearing before the House Select Committee.
''Jones has offered to submit documents and answer written questions with written responses,'' the lawsuit says. ''The Select Committee has refused to accept that offer and insists that he appear in person for a deposition in Washington, D.C. on January 10, 2022. Jones has notified the Select Committee that he intends to plead his right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment.''
Jones said his wife's arrest ''doesn't concern my politics'' and that ''it wasn't some kind of personal hateful thing or anything.''
She was released Sunday morning on bond.
Author Recent Posts Staff Writer
Frank (Chip) Webster is a musician and composer, former teacher of percussion and U.S. Army Infantry veteran. He holds a degree in English from Arizona State University.
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Bakmixproducent vergeet gist in oliebollenmix: 'Beslag zal niet rijzen' | NU - Het laatste nieuws het eerst op
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 15:10
Wie voor Oudjaar zelf oliebollen wil bakken en een bakmix van Koopmans heeft gekocht, moet dit jaar even opletten. De bakmixproducent maakte woensdag via een landelijke advertentie bekend dat in een aantal bakmixen geen gist is toegevoegd. Wie er toch nog oliebollen mee maakt, krijgt bakstenen.
"Let op, Koopmans heeft bij een klein aantal bakmixen geen gist toegevoegd. Dit is niet schadelijk, maar u kunt er geen echte oliebollen mee bakken. Het beslag zal niet rijzen en wij adviseren u om dit product niet te gebruiken", staat woensdag in een aantal kranten en op de website van Koopmans.
Hoe dit heeft kunnen gebeuren, zegt Koopmans niet en voorlopig is het bedrijf ook niet bereikbaar voor commentaar. Volgens experts is het inderdaad af te raden om oliebollen zonder gist te maken, omdat je dan bakstenen krijgt die niet eetbaar zijn. Het is ook riskant om zelf gist toe te voegen als je niet weet waar je mee bezig bent, want dan kan je al snel te veel toevoegen. Dat maakt de oliebollen te sponzig en zorgt voor meer spetters.
Volgens Koopmans gaat het wel om maar een bepaald aantal mixen. De pakken zonder gist hebben de productiecode L212447 en een tijdsaanduiding tussen 2.30 en 5.00 uur. De houdbaarheidsdatum is 3 februari 2022. Met alle andere pakken kan een perfecte oliebol gemaakt worden, aldus het bedrijf.
Wie een fout pak in zijn bezit heeft, kan de bovenkant van de verpakking samen met zijn gegevens opsturen naar de klantendienst van Koopmans en krijgt zijn geld terug.
Click 'Like', Get Punished Under Pentagon's New Anti-Extremism Policy - Nextgov
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 15:09
Service members could be punished for ''liking'' extremist content online under a new extension to the Pentagon's anti-extremism policy that was prompted by the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol.
The policy is the result of a review launched by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin shortly after he took office in January. The review aimed to discover the extent of extremism within the ranks, and to look at how the Pentagon can balance privacy rights with the need to prevent people who espouse extremist views from serving in uniform.
The new policy, a revision of DOD Instruction 1325.06, introduces the department's first rules that specifically govern troops' activities on social media, said a senior defense official who briefed reporters before the report's release.
''It basically clarifies exactly that service members are responsible for the content that they publish on all personal and public internet domains. including social media sites, blogs, websites and applications,'' the official said.
Under the new policy, ''liking'' extremist content could result in military punishment.
At a Pentagon briefing after the report's release, press secretary John Kirby said the acts of clicking ''like,'' using certain emojis, or favoriting a site would violate the new extremism policy.
''The physical act of liking is, of course, advocating, right? And advocating for extremist groups, groups that advocate violating their oath to the Constitution, overthrow the government, terrorist activities'... Liking is an advocation and that's laid out clearly in the instruction,'' Kirby said.
He said new training will teach all troops what social media activity is prohibited.
The new rules do not list online groups that troops are barred from joining. Instead, they specify proscribed actions.
''We were very conscious of not focusing on any particular ideology or any political organization focusing exclusively on actions,'' a second senior defense official told reporters Monday.
As part of the review, the Pentagon tried to determine how many active duty troops were engaging in extremist behavior. The review found about 100 that were being investigated by the inspector general or the services' criminal investigators, the officials said.
The officials who wrote the new policy considered crafting a new definition for extremism, but instead decided to clarify what behaviors would run afoul of military code.
The review also looked at how the department could effectively screen recruits and their online activity without violating free speech or privacy rights. Until a person officially enlists, they are still a private citizen.
''As of this time, we are not reviewing the social media content of recruits. We do ask a series of questions during the recruiter interviews, and then we do look extensively on past involvement with law enforcement include arrest charges, citations, parole, probation detention, We also do advanced fingerprint shots and an FBI name check, which serves as a preliminary screening for any history of this activity,'' the official said.
Recruiters also look at things like body tattoos that might indicate membership in an extremist group.
Once a recruit officially joins the military, their actions, on and off duty, are subject to the UCMJ'--including the new anti-extremism rules.
The review also recommended updates to a transition assistance program that aims to help people leaving the military stave off recruitment by extremist groups. A study released last week by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START, found that former and some current service members have been involved in 458 crimes tied to extremism since 1990.
The Pentagon's previous version of DOD Instruction 1325.06, issued in 2012, prohibited service members from participating in groups ''that advocate supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes; including those that attempt to create illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin; advocate the use of force, violence, or criminal activity; or otherwise engage in efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights."
Bhakdi/Burkhardt pathology results show 93% of people who died after being vaccinated were killed by the vaccine
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 15:06
SummaryThe vaccines are bad news. Fifteen bodies were examined (all died from 7 days to 6 months after vaccination; ages 28 to 95). The coroner or the public prosecutor didn't associate the vaccine as the cause of death in any of the cases. However, further examination revealed that the vaccine was implicated in the deaths of 14 of the 15 cases. The most attacked organ was the heart (in all of the people who died), but other organs were attacked as well. The implications are potentially enormous resulting in millions of deaths. The vaccines should be immediately halted.
No need to worry. It is doubtful that anything will happen because the work wasn't published in a peer-reviewed journal so will be ignored by the scientific community. That's just the way it works.
The paperI got an email recently from Mike Yeadon, former VP of Pfizer, who urged me to check out this video. He wrote me this email on 12/24/21:
This is about the worst 15min I've ever seen.
Mass covid19 vaccination is leading to mass murder.
The video references this paper, posted on December 10, 2021, On COVID vaccines: why they cannot work, and irrefutable evidence of their causative role in deaths after vaccination by Sucharit Bhakdi, MD and Arne Burkhardt, MD. It has been getting a lot of attention lately.
Check out the number of likes and retweets'... just in the first 3 hours!!!!
The authors did an autopsy in 15 patients who died (from 7 days to 6 months) after receiving the COVID vaccine. These were all cases where the coroner ruled as NOT being caused by the vaccine.
They discovered that in 14 of the 15 patients there was widespread evidence of the body attacking itself, something that is never seen before. The heart was attacked in all 14 cases.
A number of salient aspects dominated in all affected tissues of all cases:
inflammatory events in small blood vessels (endotheliitis), characterized by an abundance of T-lymphocytes and sequestered, dead endothelial cells within the vessel lumen;
the extensive perivascular accumulation of T-lymphocytes;
a massive lymphocytic infiltration of surrounding non-lymphatic organs or tissue with T-lymphocytes.
Lymphocytic infiltration occasionally occurred in combination with intense lymphocytic activation and follicle formation. Where these were present, they were usually accompanied by tissue destruction.
Here's the video presentation of the results.
VAERS as well as other independent studies (e.g., see this vaccine injury paper) shows the vaccines are killing people and that cardiac events were highly elevated. This study is consistent with those results.
This work independently validates the analysis of Peter Schimacher who showed a minimum of 30% to 40% of the deaths after vaccine were caused by the vaccine.
Reactions from a level-headed scientist (name withheld to protect him from attack)If the autopsy findings are confirmed by other pathologists with additional samples, and if they are combined with the findings of Dr. Hoffe (>60% inoculant recipients have elevated D-dimer tests and evidence of clotting) and Dr. Cole (increase in cancers after inoculation, including twenty-fold increase in uterine cancer), we are seeing a disaster of unimaginable proportions. The conclusion (if supported by further data) is that essentially EVERY inoculant recipient suffers damage, with more damage after each shot. Given the seriousness of the types of damage (autoimmune diseases, cancer, re-emergent dormant infections, clotting/strokes, cardiac damage, etc.), these effects will translate into lifespan reduction, which should be counted as deaths from the inoculations. So, in the USA, where ~200M people have been fully inoculated, the number of deaths will not be the 10,000 or so reported in VAERS, or the 150,000+ scaled-up deaths from VAERS, but could be closer to tens of millions when the inoculation effects play out!
What the above three findings (Burkhart, Hoffe, Cole, and I suspect many others who have not yet come forward) show is that the post-inoculation effects are not rare events (as reported by the media-gov't), but are in actuality frequent events. They may be, in fact, universal, with the severity and damage different for each recipient.
The question in my mind is whether it is possible to reverse these inoculation-based adverse events. Can the innate immune system be fully restored? Can the micro clotting be reversed? Can the autoimmunity be reversed? I have seen a wide spectrum of opinions on whether this is possible, none of which is overly convincing.
Are we headed for the situation where the ~30% unvaxxed will be devoting their lives to operating whatever is left of the economic infrastructure and serving as caretakers for the vaxxed?
I realize the above sounds extreme, and maybe when more data are gathered from myriad credible sources the results and conclusions may change, but right now the above data seem to synchronize with the demonstrated underlying mechanisms of damage. Additionally, we seem to be doubling down on inoculations, with fourth booster being proposed for Israel, and UK suggesting quarterly boosters.
Dr. Ryan Cole's reactionBackground of two of the scientists behind the studyDr. Bhakdi has spent his life practicing, teaching and researching medical microbiology and infectious diseases. He chaired the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany, from 1990 until his retirement in 2012. He has published over 300 research articles in the fields of immunology, bacteriology, virology and parasitology, and served from 1990 to 2012 as Editor-in-Chief of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, one of the first scientific journals of this field that was founded by Robert Koch in 1887.
Dr. Arne Burkhardt is a pathologist who has taught at the Universities of Hamburg, Berne and T¼bingen. He was invited for visiting professorships/study visits in Japan (Nihon University), the United States (Brookhaven National Institute), Korea, Sweden, Malaysia and Turkey. He headed the Institute of Pathology in Reutlingen for 18 years. Subsequently, he worked as an independent practicing pathologist with consulting contracts with laboratories in the US. Burkhardt has published more than 150 scientific articles in German and international scientific journals as well as contributions to handbooks in German, English and Japanese. Over many years he has audited and certified institutes of pathology in Germany.
Pfizer Partnered With China's Vaccine Passport Platform, Admits Being 'Proud To Stand With China Leaders.'
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 15:04
Pfizer Inc partnered with a Chinese Communist Party payment platform which has been used to implement ''vaccine passports'' in China since the outbreak of COVID-19. The company said it was ''proud to stand with China leaders.''
The pharmaceutical giant '' whose U.S. lobbying efforts hit an all-time high in the past year '' expressed its pride for the brutal, communist regime in the following tweet from June 6th, 2018:
We are proud to stand with China leaders & @Alipay to introduce new, digital solutions to improve disease education and vaccine access-creating a brighter future for Chinese children.
'-- Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) June 6, 2018
''We are proud to stand with China leaders & @Alipay to introduce new, digital solutions to improve disease education and vaccine access-creating a brighter future for Chinese children,'' the tweet reads.
''We are honored to be a partner in China's 'Internet + Vaccination' initiative,'' reads an accompanying graphic, quoting Pfizer's China General Manager Wu Kun.
The message also revealed the firm's partnership with Alipay, a Chinese online payment platform originally founded as an offshoot of the Chinese Communist Party-linked company Alibaba.
Alibaba has also been involved in the ''research, production, and repair of weapons and equipment for the People's Liberation Army (PLA)'' and has a ''deep record of cooperation and collaboration'' with China's ''state security bureaucracy,'' according to Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation at the U.S. State Department Christopher Ford.
The State Department has also flagged the company as a ''tool'' of the Chinese Communist Party, aiding in its build-up of ''technology-facilitated surveillance and social control.''
Despite these ties, Pfizer partnered with the platform in 2018, as outlined in the company's annual review:
''We're using the Alipay platform, which has over 700 million active users in China, to provide much needed education about disease and vaccinations. Additionally, to help China reach its ambitious 2030 goals to reduce infant mortality, we are exploring the use of the platform for mobile payments to improve convenience in Chinese Point of Vaccination centers, as well as options for installment payments that may reduce the financial burden for low income families.''
The unearthing of the partnership between Alipay and Pfizer, which occurred a year prior to the onset of COVID-19, also follows China relying on the platform to institute vaccine passports. As The New York Times explains:''After users fill in a form on Alipay with personal details, the software generates a QR code in one of three colors. A green code enables its holder to move about unrestricted. Someone with a yellow code may be asked to stay home for seven days. Red means a two-week quarantine.
In Hangzhou, it has become nearly impossible to get around without showing your Alipay code. Propaganda-style banners remind everyone of the rules: ''Green code, travel freely. Red or yellow, report immediately.''
Alibaba was recently penalized by the CCP for failing to adhere to recent laws requiring the company to put the regime's interests ahead of its duty to report critical cybersecurity vulnerabilities to the world.
MIT-designed project achieves major advance toward fusion energy | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 14:24
It was a moment three years in the making, based on intensive research and design work: On Sept. 5, for the first time, a large high-temperature superconducting electromagnet was ramped up to a field strength of 20 tesla, the most powerful magnetic field of its kind ever created on Earth. That successful demonstration helps resolve the greatest uncertainty in the quest to build the world's first fusion power plant that can produce more power than it consumes, according to the project's leaders at MIT and startup company Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS).
That advance paves the way, they say, for the long-sought creation of practical, inexpensive, carbon-free power plants that could make a major contribution to limiting the effects of global climate change.
''Fusion in a lot of ways is the ultimate clean energy source,'' says Maria Zuber, MIT's vice president for research and E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics. ''The amount of power that is available is really game-changing.'' The fuel used to create fusion energy comes from water, and ''the Earth is full of water '-- it's a nearly unlimited resource. We just have to figure out how to utilize it.''
Developing the new magnet is seen as the greatest technological hurdle to making that happen; its successful operation now opens the door to demonstrating fusion in a lab on Earth, which has been pursued for decades with limited progress. With the magnet technology now successfully demonstrated, the MIT-CFS collaboration is on track to build the world's first fusion device that can create and confine a plasma that produces more energy than it consumes. That demonstration device, called SPARC, is targeted for completion in 2025.
''The challenges of making fusion happen are both technical and scientific,'' says Dennis Whyte, director of MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center, which is working with CFS to develop SPARC. But once the technology is proven, he says, ''it's an inexhaustible, carbon-free source of energy that you can deploy anywhere and at any time. It's really a fundamentally new energy source.''
Whyte, who is the Hitachi America Professor of Engineering, says this week's demonstration represents a major milestone, addressing the biggest questions remaining about the feasibility of the SPARC design. ''It's really a watershed moment, I believe, in fusion science and technology,'' he says.
The sun in a bottle
Fusion is the process that powers the sun: the merger of two small atoms to make a larger one, releasing prodigious amounts of energy. But the process requires temperatures far beyond what any solid material could withstand. To capture the sun's power source here on Earth, what's needed is a way of capturing and containing something that hot '-- 100,000,000 degrees or more '-- by suspending it in a way that prevents it from coming into contact with anything solid.
That's done through intense magnetic fields, which form a kind of invisible bottle to contain the hot swirling soup of protons and electrons, called a plasma. Because the particles have an electric charge, they are strongly controlled by the magnetic fields, and the most widely used configuration for containing them is a donut-shaped device called a tokamak. Most of these devices have produced their magnetic fields using conventional electromagnets made of copper, but the latest and largest version under construction in France, called ITER, uses what are known as low-temperature superconductors.
The major innovation in the MIT-CFS fusion design is the use of high-temperature superconductors, which enable a much stronger magnetic field in a smaller space. This design was made possible by a new kind of superconducting material that became commercially available a few years ago. The idea initially arose as a class project in a nuclear engineering class taught by Whyte. The idea seemed so promising that it continued to be developed over the next few iterations of that class, leading to the ARC power plant design concept in early 2015. SPARC, designed to be about half the size of ARC, is a testbed to prove the concept before construction of the full-size, power-producing plant.
Until now, the only way to achieve the colossally powerful magnetic fields needed to create a magnetic ''bottle'' capable of containing plasma heated up to hundreds of millions of degrees was to make them larger and larger. But the new high-temperature superconductor material, made in the form of a flat, ribbon-like tape, makes it possible to achieve a higher magnetic field in a smaller device, equaling the performance that would be achieved in an apparatus 40 times larger in volume using conventional low-temperature superconducting magnets. That leap in power versus size is the key element in ARC's revolutionary design.
The use of the new high-temperature superconducting magnets makes it possible to apply decades of experimental knowledge gained from the operation of tokamak experiments, including MIT's own Alcator series. The new approach, led by Zach Hartwig, the MIT principal investigator and the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, uses a well-known design but scales everything down to about half the linear size and still achieves the same operational conditions because of the higher magnetic field.
A series of scientific papers published last year outlined the physical basis and, by simulation, confirmed the viability of the new fusion device. The papers showed that, if the magnets worked as expected, the whole fusion system should indeed produce net power output, for the first time in decades of fusion research.
Martin Greenwald, deputy director and senior research scientist at the PSFC, says unlike some other designs for fusion experiments, ''the niche that we were filling was to use conventional plasma physics, and conventional tokamak designs and engineering, but bring to it this new magnet technology. So, we weren't requiring innovation in a half-dozen different areas. We would just innovate on the magnet, and then apply the knowledge base of what's been learned over the last decades.''
That combination of scientifically established design principles and game-changing magnetic field strength is what makes it possible to achieve a plant that could be economically viable and developed on a fast track. ''It's a big moment,'' says Bob Mumgaard, CEO of CFS. ''We now have a platform that is both scientifically very well-advanced, because of the decades of research on these machines, and also commercially very interesting. What it does is allow us to build devices faster, smaller, and at less cost,'' he says of the successful magnet demonstration.
Proof of the concept
Bringing that new magnet concept to reality required three years of intensive work on design, establishing supply chains, and working out manufacturing methods for magnets that may eventually need to be produced by the thousands.
''We built a first-of-a-kind, superconducting magnet. It required a lot of work to create unique manufacturing processes and equipment. As a result, we are now well-prepared to ramp-up for SPARC production,'' says Joy Dunn, head of operations at CFS. ''We started with a physics model and a CAD design, and worked through lots of development and prototypes to turn a design on paper into this actual physical magnet.'' That entailed building manufacturing capabilities and testing facilities, including an iterative process with multiple suppliers of the superconducting tape, to help them reach the ability to produce material that met the needed specifications '-- and for which CFS is now overwhelmingly the world's biggest user.
They worked with two possible magnet designs in parallel, both of which ended up meeting the design requirements, she says. ''It really came down to which one would revolutionize the way that we make superconducting magnets, and which one was easier to build.'' The design they adopted clearly stood out in that regard, she says.
In this test, the new magnet was gradually powered up in a series of steps until reaching the goal of a 20 tesla magnetic field '-- the highest field strength ever for a high-temperature superconducting fusion magnet. The magnet is composed of 16 plates stacked together, each one of which by itself would be the most powerful high-temperature superconducting magnet in the world.
''Three years ago we announced a plan,'' says Mumgaard, ''to build a 20-tesla magnet, which is what we will need for future fusion machines.'' That goal has now been achieved, right on schedule, even with the pandemic, he says.
Citing the series of physics papers published last year, Brandon Sorbom, the chief science officer at CFS, says ''basically the papers conclude that if we build the magnet, all of the physics will work in SPARC. So, this demonstration answers the question: Can they build the magnet? It's a very exciting time! It's a huge milestone.''
The next step will be building SPARC, a smaller-scale version of the planned ARC power plant. The successful operation of SPARC will demonstrate that a full-scale commercial fusion power plant is practical, clearing the way for rapid design and construction of that pioneering device can then proceed full speed.
Zuber says that ''I now am genuinely optimistic that SPARC can achieve net positive energy, based on the demonstrated performance of the magnets. The next step is to scale up, to build an actual power plant. There are still many challenges ahead, not the least of which is developing a design that allows for reliable, sustained operation. And realizing that the goal here is commercialization, another major challenge will be economic. How do you design these power plants so it will be cost effective to build and deploy them?''
Someday in a hoped-for future, when there may be thousands of fusion plants powering clean electric grids around the world, Zuber says, ''I think we're going to look back and think about how we got there, and I think the demonstration of the magnet technology, for me, is the time when I believed that, wow, we can really do this.''
The successful creation of a power-producing fusion device would be a tremendous scientific achievement, Zuber notes. But that's not the main point. ''None of us are trying to win trophies at this point. We're trying to keep the planet livable.''
Magnetic-Confinement Fusion Without the Magnets - IEEE Spectrum
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 14:23
Tang Jie, the Tsinghua University professor leading the Wu Dao project, said in a recent interview that the group built an even bigger, 100 trillion-parameter model in June, though it has not trained it to ''convergence,'' the point at which the model stops improving. ''We just wanted to prove that we have the ability to do that,'' Tang said.
This isn't simple one-upmanship. On the one hand, it's how research progresses. But on the other, it is emblematic of an intensifying competition between the world's two technology superpowers. Whether the researchers involved like it or not, their governments are eager to adopt each AI advance into their national security infrastructure and military capabilities.
That matters, because dominance in the technology means probable victory in any future war. Even more important, such an advantage likely guarantees the longevity and global influence of the government that wields it. Already, China is exporting its AI-enabled surveillance technology'--which can be used to quash dissent'--to client states and is espousing an authoritarian model that promises economic prosperity as a counter to democracy, something that the Soviet Union was never able to do.
Ironically, China is a competitor that the United States abetted. It's well known that the U.S. consumer market fed China's export engine, itself outfitted with U.S. machines, and led to the fastest-growing economy in the world since the 1980s. What's less well-known is how a handful of technology companies transferred the know-how and trained the experts now giving the United States a run for its money in AI.
Blame Bill Gates, for one. In 1992, Gates led Microsoft into China's fledgling software market. Six years later, he established Microsoft Research Asia, the company's largest basic and applied computer-research institute outside the United States. People from that organization have gone on to found or lead many of China's top technology institutions.
China is a competitor that the United States abetted. A handful of U.S. tech companies transferred their know-how and trained some of China's top AI experts.
Ever hear of TikTok? In 2012, Zhang Yiming, a Microsoft Research Asia alum, founded the video-sharing platform's parent company, ByteDance, which today is one of the world's most successful AI companies. He hired a former head of Microsoft Research Asia, Zhang Hongjiang, to lead ByteDance's Technical Strategy Research Center. This Zhang is now head of the Beijing Academy'-- the organization behind Wu Dao 2.0, currently the largest AI system on the planet. That back-and-forth worries U.S. national-security strategists, who plan for a day when researchers and companies are forced to take sides.
Today's competition has roots in an incident on 7 May 1999, when a U.S. B-2 Stealth Bomber dropped bombs on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, killing three people.
''That's when the Chinese started saying, 'We're moving beyond attrition warfare' to what they referred to as systems confrontation, the confrontation between their operational system and the American operational system,'' says Robert O. Work, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense and vice chairman of the recently concluded National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. ''Their theory of victory is what they refer to as system destruction.''
''The Chinese and the Americans see this much the same way,'' says Work, calling it a hot competition. ''If one can blow apart their adversary's battle network, the adversary won't be able to operate and won't be able to achieve their objectives.''
System-destruction warfare is part and parcel of what the People's Liberation Army thinks of as ''intelligentized'' warfare, in which war is waged not only in the traditional physical domains of land, sea, and air but also in outer space, nonphysical cyberspace, and electromagnetic and even psychological domains'--all enabled and coordinated with AI.
Work says the first major U.S. AI effort toward intelligentized warfare was to use computer vision to analyze thousands of hours of full-motion video being downloaded from dozens of drones. Today, that effort, dubbed Project Maven, detects, classifies, and tracks objects within video images, and it has been extended to acoustic data and signals intelligence.
The Chinese have kept pace. According to Georgetown University's Center for Security and Emerging Technology, China is actively pursuing AI-based target recognition and automatic-weapon-firing research, which could be used in lethal autonomous weapons. Meanwhile, the country may be ahead of the United States in swarm technology, according to Work. Georgetown's CSET reports that China is developing electromagnetic weapon payloads that can be attached to swarms of small unmanned aerial vehicles and flown into enemy airspace to ''disrupt or block the enemy's command and decision-making.''
''I worry about their emphasis on swarms of unmanned systems,'' says Work, adding that the Chinese want to train swarms of a hundred vehicles or more, including underwater systems, to coordinate navigation through complex environments. ''While we also test swarms, we have yet to demonstrate the ability to employ these types of swarms in a combat scenario.''
Chinese firm Baidu'--whose comparatively modest Sunnyvale, Calif. office is pictured here in 2018'--is one of the largest Internet companies in the world. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
This type of research and testing has prompted calls for preemptive bans on lethal autonomous weapons, but neither country is willing to declare an outright prohibition. Barring a prohibition, many people believe that China and the United States, along with other countries, should begin negotiating an arms-control agreement banning the development of systems that could autonomously order a preemptive or retaliatory attack. Such systems might inadvertently lead to ''flash wars,'' just as AI-driven autonomous trading has led to flash crashes in the financial markets.
''Neither of us wants to get into a war because an autonomous-control system made a mistake and ordered a preemptive strike,'' Work says, referring to the United States and China.
All of this contributes to a dilemma facing the twin realms of AI research and military modernization. The international research community, collaborative and collegial, prefers to look the other way and insist that it only serves the interest of science. But the governments that fund that research have clear agendas, and military enhancement is undeniably one.
Geoffrey Hinton, regarded as one of the godfathers of deep learning, the kind of AI transforming militaries today, left the United States and moved to Canada largely because he didn't want to depend on funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. The agency, the largest funder of AI research in the world, is responsible for the development of emerging technologies for military use.
Hinton instead helped to put deep learning on the map in 2012 with a now-famous neural net called AlexNet when he was at the University of Toronto. But Hinton was also in close contact with the Microsoft Research Lab in Redmond, Wash., before and after his group validated AlexNet, according to one of Hinton's associates there, Li Deng, then principal researcher and manager and later chief scientist of AI at Microsoft.
In 2009 and 2010, Hinton and Deng worked together at Microsoft on speech recognition and Deng, then Editor-In-Chief of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, was invited in 2011 to lecture at several academic organizations in China where he said he shared the published success of deep learning in speech processing. Deng said he was in close contact with former Microsoft colleagues at Baidu, a Chinese search engine and AI giant, and a company called iFlyTek, a spin off from Deng's undergraduate alma mater.
When Hinton achieved his breakthrough with backpropagation in neural networks in 2012, he sent an email to Deng in Washington, and Deng said he shared it with Microsoft executives, including Qi Lu who led the development of the company's search engine, Bing. Deng said he also sent a note to his friends at iFlyTek, which quickly adopted the strategy and became an AI powerhouse'--famously demonstrated in 2017 with a convincing video of then-president Donald Trump speaking Chinese.
Qi Lu went on to become COO of Baidu where Deng said another Microsoft alum, Kai Yu, who also knew Hinton well, had already seized on Hinton's breakthrough.
China's ''theory of victory is what they refer to as system destruction.''
'--Robert O. Work, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense
Literally within hours of Hinton's results, according to Deng, researchers in China were working on repeating his success.
Had they not learned of Hinton's work through the research grapevine, they still would have read about it in published papers and heard about it through international conferences. Research today has no borders. It is internationally fungible.
But the United States has since tried to limit this crosspollination, barring Chinese nationals known to have worked for China's military or intelligence organizations from working with U.S. research institutions. Yet research continues to flow back and forth between the two countries: Microsoft maintains its research lab in Beijing, and the Chinese Internet and AI giant Baidu has a research lab in Silicon Valley, for example.
Tsinghua University's Tang said decoupling the two countries would slow China's AI research'--not because it would stop the flow of ideas, but because it would cut China off from the advanced semiconductors needed to train AI models. He said his group is working on chip designs to speed AI training. China, meanwhile, is working to build extreme ultraviolet lithography machines and upgrade its semiconductor foundries to free itself from Western control.
While the U.S. government must negotiate with private sector organizations and researchers to participate in its military modernization, China's National Intelligence Law compels its companies and researchers to cooperate when asked.
China began pouring billions of dollars into AI research in 2017, following Google subsidiary DeepMind's success at defeating the world Go champion with its AI model AlphaGo. Among the organizations set up with that funding was Tsinghua's Beijing Academy, where Tang and his team built Wu Dao 2.0.
''We hope that we can do science for the world, not just the one country,'' Tang says. But, he added, ''we should do something on demand based on the national project research plan.''
By most metrics, Wu Dao 2.0 has surpassed OpenAI's GPT-3. Tang says it was trained on 4.9 terabytes of clean data, including Chinese-language text, English-language text, and images. OpenAI has said that GPT-3 was trained on just 570 gigabytes of clean, primarily English-language text.
Tang says his group is now working on video with the goal of generating realistic video from text descriptions. ''Hopefully, we can make this model do something beyond the Turing test,'' he says, referring to an assessment of whether a computer can generate text indistinguishable from that created by a human. ''That's our final goal.''
The Fed's Doomsday Prophet Has a Dire Warning About Where We're Headed
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 13:51
Thomas Hoenig speaks at a town hall meeting. | Nati Harnik/AP Photo
Christopher Leonard is a business reporter whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Bloomberg Businessweek. He is the author of The Meat Racket and Kochland, which won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. His new book, The Lords of Easy Money: How the Federal Reserve Broke the American Economy, is out January 11.
Thomas Hoenig doesn't look like a rebel. He is a conservative man, soft-spoken, now happily retired at the age of 75. He acts like someone who has spent the vast majority of his career, as he has, working at one of the stuffiest and powerful institutions in America: the Federal Reserve Bank. Hoenig has all the fiery disposition that one might expect from a central banker, which is to say none at all. He unspools sentences methodically, in a measured way, never letting his words race ahead of his intended message. When Hoenig gets really agitated he repeats the phrase ''lookit'' a lot, but that's about as salty as it gets.
This makes it all the more surprising that Tom Hoenig is, in fact, one of America's least-understood dissidents.
AdvertisementIn 2010, Hoenig was president of the Federal Reserve regional bank in Kansas City. As part of his job, Hoenig had a seat on the Fed's most powerful policy committee, and that's where he lodged one of the longest-running string of ''no'' votes in the bank's history.
Hoenig's dissents are striking because the Fed's top policy committee '-- called the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC '-- doesn't just prize consensus; it nearly demands it. The committee likes to present a unified front to the public because it is arguably the most powerful governing body in American economic affairs. Hoenig's string of dissents shattered that appearance of unanimity at a critically important time, when the Fed was expanding its interventions in the American economy to an unprecedented degree. It was a hinge point in American history, and the economy has never been the same since.
Between 2008 and 2014, the Federal Reserve printed more than $3.5 trillion in new bills. To put that in perspective, it's roughly triple the amount of money that the Fed created in its first 95 years of existence. Three centuries' worth of growth in the money supply was crammed into a few short years. The money poured through the veins of the financial system and stoked demand for assets like stocks, corporate debt and commercial real estate bonds, driving up prices across markets. Hoenig was the one Fed leader who voted consistently against this course of action, starting in 2010. In doing so, he pitted himself against the Fed's powerful chair at the time, Ben Bernanke, who was widely regarded as a hero for the ambitious rescue plans he designed and oversaw.
Hoenig lost his fight. Throughout 2010, the FOMC votes were routinely 11 against one, with Hoenig being the one. He retired from the Fed in late 2011, and after that, a reputation hardened around Hoenig as the man who got it wrong. He is remembered as something like a cranky Old Testament prophet who warned incessantly, and incorrectly, about one thing: the threat of coming inflation.
AdvertisementBut this version of history isn't true. While Hoenig was concerned about inflation, that isn't what solely what drove him to lodge his string of dissents. The historical record shows that Hoenig was worried primarily that the Fed was taking a risky path that would deepen income inequality, stoke dangerous asset bubbles and enrich the biggest banks over everyone else. He also warned that it would suck the Fed into a money-printing quagmire that the central bank would not be able to escape without destabilizing the entire financial system.
On all of these points, Hoenig was correct. And on all of these points, he was ignored. We are now living in a world that Hoenig warned about.
The Fed is now in a vise. Inflation is rising faster than the Fed believed it would even a few months ago, with higher prices for gas, goods and automobiles being fueled by the Fed's unprecedented money printing programs. This comes after years of the Fed steadily pumping up the price of assets like stocks and bonds through its zero-percent interest rates and quantitative easing during and after Hoenig's time on the FOMC. To respond to rising inflation, the Fed has signaled that it will start hiking interest rates next year. But if that happens, there is every reason to expect that it will cause stock and bond markets to fall, perhaps precipitously, or even cause a recession.
''There is no painless solution,'' Hoenig said in a recent interview. ''It's going to be difficult. And the longer you wait the more painful it will end up being.''
AdvertisementTo be clear, the kind of pain that Hoenig is talking about involves high unemployment, social instability and potentially years of economic malaise. Hoenig knows this because he has seen it before. He saw it during his long career at the Fed, and he saw it most acutely during the Great Inflation of the 1970s. That episode in history, which bears eerie parallels with the situation today, is the lodestar that ended up guiding so much of Hoenig's thinking as a Fed official. It explains why he was willing to throw away his reputation as a team player in 2010, why he was willing to go down in history as a crank and why he was willing to accept the scorn of his colleagues and people like Bernanke.
Hoenig voted no because he'd seen firsthand what the consequences were when the Fed got things wrong, and kept money too easy for too long.
The last time America suffered a long and uncontrolled period of inflation, Thomas Hoenig was given the miserable job of cleaning up the mess it left behind. This was the period that has come to be known as the Great Inflation, a period in the 1970s characterized by long lines at gas stations and price hikes at grocery stores that came so fast price tags were replaced midday. Hoeing came to realize that the institution he worked for, the Federal Reserve, wasn't just a bystander to this inflation. It had helped create it.
As a bank examiner, Hoenig spent the 1970s watching as the Fed's policies helped pile on the inflationary tinder that would later ignite. These policies are known as ''easy money'' policies, meaning that the Fed was keeping interest rates so low that borrowing was cheap and easy. The Fed had kept interest rates so low during the 1960s that they were effectively negative when accounting for inflation by the late 1970s. When rates are effectively negative, that might be called a super-easy money policy. This kind of environment fuels inflation because all that easy money is looking for a place to go. Economists call this phenomenon ''too many dollars chasing too few goods,'' meaning that everybody is spending the easy money, which drives up the prices of the things they are buying because demand is high.
Importantly, the Fed creates these conditions by creating more and more dollars, or increasing the monetary supply, as the economists say.
As a bank examiner, Hoenig realized another very important thing. Easy money policies don't just drive up the price of consumer goods, like bread and cars. The money also drives up price of assets like stocks, bonds and real estate. During the 1970s, low interest rates fueled demand for assets, which eventually inflated asset bubbles across the Midwest, including in heavy farming states, such as Kansas and Nebraska, and in the energy-producing state of Oklahoma. When asset prices like this rise quickly, it creates that dreaded thing called an asset bubble.
The self-reinforcing logic of asset bubbles was painfully evident in farming, and it reflected the dynamics that would later play out in the housing bubble and the over-heated asset markets of 2021.
When the Fed kept interest rates low during the 1970s, it encouraged farmers around Kansas City to take on more cheap debt and buy more land. As cheap loans boosted demand for land, it pushed up land prices '-- something that might be expected to cool off demand.
AdvertisementBut the logic of asset bubbles has the opposite effect. Rising land prices actually enticed more people to borrow money and buy yet more land because the borrowers expected the land value to only increase, producing a handsome payoff down the road. Higher prices led to more borrowing, which led to higher prices and more borrowing still. The wheel continued to spin as long as debt was cheap compared to the expected payoff of rising asset prices.
The bankers' logic followed a similar path. The bankers saw farmland as collateral on the loans, and they believed the collateral would only rise in value. This gave bankers the confidence to keep extending loans because they believed the farmers would be able to repay them as land prices increased. This is how asset bubbles escalate in a loop that intensifies with each rotation, with the reality of today's higher asset prices driving the value of tomorrow's asset prices ever higher, increasing the momentum even further.
The bubbles weren't just confined to farmland. The same thing was happening in the oil and natural gas business. Rising oil prices and cheap debt encouraged oil companies to borrow money and drill more wells. The banks built a whole side business dedicated to risky energy loans to pay for these wells and related mineral leases, all based on the value of the oil they'd produce. In commercial real estate, it was the same thing.
It all came to an end in 1979, with a severity that has never been repeated. Paul Volcker became chair of the Federal Reserve and he was intent on beating inflation by hiking interest rates. Under Volcker, the Fed raised short-term interest rates from 10 percent in 1979 to 20 percent in 1981, the highest they have ever been. This unleashed massive economic havoc, pushing the unemployment rate to 10 percent and forcing homeowners to take out mortgages with 17 percent interest rates or higher. Volcker recognized that when he was fighting inflation, he was actually fighting two kinds: asset inflation and price inflation. He called them ''cousins,'' and acknowledged that they had been created by the Fed.
''The real danger comes from [the Fed] encouraging or inadvertently tolerating rising inflation and its close cousin of extreme speculation and risk taking, in effect standing by while bubbles and excesses threaten financial markets,'' Volcker later wrote in his memoir.
When the Fed doubled the cost of borrowing, the demand for loans slowed down, which in turn depressed the demand for assets like farmland and oil wells. The price of assets collapsed, with farmland prices falling by 27 percent in the early 1980s and oil prices falling from more than $120 to $25 by 1986. This, in turn, created a cascading effect within the banking system. Assets like farmland and oil reserves had been used to underpin the value of bank loans, and those loans were themselves considered ''assets'' on the banks' balance sheets. When the loans started failing, the banks had to write down the value of those loans, which made some banks appear insolvent because they suddenly didn't have enough assets on hand to cover their liabilities. When land and oil prices fell, the entire system fell apart.
''You could see that no one anticipated that adjustment, even after Volcker began to address inflation. They didn't think it would happen to them,'' Hoenig recalled. Overall, more than 1,600 banks failed between 1980 and 1994, the worst failure rate since Depression.
This was the period when Hoenig traveled around the Midwest, auditing banks to determine if they were still solvent during the recession. Not surprisingly, Hoenig ended up arguing with a lot of bankers when his team declared that the value of the banks' assets were not sufficient to meet their liabilities.
Advertisement''They could become quite stressed and quite vocal in their objections,'' Hoenig later recalled of the bankers. ''You could empathize with them enormously. You could understand the anguish. Lives were destroyed in this environment, people lost everything in this environment. I didn't blame them for yelling or being distraught.''
John Yorke, a former senior vice president at the Kansas City Fed, observed a stubbornness in Hoenig during that period that persisted through his entire career. Shutting down community banks wasn't easy, but Hoenig didn't seem to flinch from the responsibility. ''Tom's German,'' Yorke said, referring to the ethnic origin of Hoenig's name. ''He's strict. There's rules.''
It would have been easy enough for Hoenig to blame the bankers for making so many risky loans after the bubble burst. Examples of banking grotesquery were abundant. But Hoenig didn't think the stupidity in lending was entirely the bankers' fault. The Fed had encouraged the asset bubbles through its easy money policies.
''The fact is, [bankers] made the loans,'' Hoenig said. ''They made them in an environment of incredible optimism in terms of asset values.'' By ''optimism,'' Hoenig was referring to something called ''inflation expectations.'' The bankers expected asset prices would continue rising indefinitely, and that very expectation fueled demand for loans, which in turn caused the price to rise. ''And that, really, was in part the fault of a decade of too-accommodative monetary policy.''
There were many counterarguments to explain inflation that didn't blame the Fed. These arguments rested on the idea of ''cost push'' inflation, meaning that all kinds of forces outside the Fed were pushing price higher. Middle Eastern cartels were boosting the price of oil, for example, while labor unions were pushing up the price of labor. The federal government spent years trying to fight inflation under this theory, even going to far as to impose wage and price controls. It didn't work.
There is strong evidence to support Hoenig's view that the Fed was fueling inflation the whole time. In a 2004 report, the Fed economist Edward Nelson wrote that the most likely cause of inflation during the '70s was something he called ''monetary policy neglect.'' Basically, the Fed kept its foot on the money pedal through most of the decade because it didn't understand that more money was creating more inflation. This kind of inflation is called ''demand pull'' inflation, meaning that the Fed stokes demand, which causes prices to increase.
The author and economist Allan Meltzer, who reconstructed the Fed's decision-making during the 1970s in his 2,100-page history of the central bank, delivered a stark verdict. It was monetary policy, set by the Fed, that primarily created the problem. ''The Great Inflation resulted from policy choices that placed much more weight on maintaining high or full employment than on preventing or reducing inflation,'' Meltzer wrote. ''For much of the period, this choice reflected both political pressures and popular opinion as expressed in polls.''
Hoenig carried these lessons with him. He was promoted to become the president of the Kansas City Fed, in 1991, which gave him a voting seat on the FOMC. He served there during the long tenure of Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, and then Greenspan's successor Ben Bernanke. Between 1991 and 2009, Hoenig rarely dissented.
AdvertisementThen came 2010, when he believed the Fed was repeating many of the same mistakes it made in the 1970s.
The FOMC faced a terrible dilemma after the crash of 2008. The central bank had kept interest rates pegged at zero in the wake of the banking crisis, but it didn't seem to be enough to stoke strong growth. The unemployment rate was still 9.6 percent, close to the levels that characterize a deep recession. While members of the FOMC generally agreed that another recession was unlikely, the committee began considering new and experimental ways to exercise its power.
Hoenig began voting no in 2010 when it became clear that Bernanke wanted to keep interest rates at zero for an extended period of time. A review of Hoenig's comments during the 2010 FOMC meetings (the transcripts of which become public five years after the fact), along with his speeches and interviews at the time, show that he rarely mentioned inflation. Hoenig was warning about even deeper dangers that might be stoked by keeping interest rates pegged at zero. But his warnings were also very hard to understand for people who didn't closely follow the politics of money.
Hoenig, for instance, liked to talk a lot about something called the ''allocative effect'' of keeping interest rates at zero. The allocative effect wasn't something that people debated at the barbershop, but it was something that affected everyone. Hoenig was talking about the allocation of money and the ways in which the Fed shifted money from one part of the economy to another. This is what he'd witnessed during the 1970s. The Fed's policies encouraged or discouraged things like Wall Street speculation that could lead to ruinous financial crashes.
But it also did more than that '-- encouraging speculation and rising asset prices also shifts money between the rich and the poor because the rich own the vast majority of assets in the United States. Hoenig was worried that a decade of zero-percent interest rates would have the same effect.
Bernanke was unpersuaded by these arguments. When Bernanke published a memoir in 2015, he entitled it The Courage to Act. This captured the theory of Bernankeism, which holds that central bank intervention is not only necessary, but even courageous and noble (Bernanke declined to answer questions about Hoenig's dissents that were sent to Bernanke in June).
Bernanke pushed the FOMC to keep rates at zero throughout 2010. Then, in August of 2010, with unemployment high and growth sluggish, he publicly unveiled the plan to create $600 billion new bills through an experimental program called ''quantitative easing.'' This program had been used once before, during the financial crash. But it had never been used in the way that Bernanke proposed it be used in 2010, as an economic stimulus plan to be employed outside of an emergency.
If Hoenig had learned one thing during his decades at the Fed, it was that keeping money too easy for too long could create disastrous side effects that only manifested years later. That's what happened during the 1970s, and again in the mid-2000s, when low rates fueled the housing bubble. Now Hoenig was being asked to vote for quantitative easing, a super-easy money policy that would encourage risky lending and asset bubbles.
AdvertisementThe basic mechanics and goals of quantitative easing are pretty simple. The goal is to pump massive amounts of cash into the banking system at the very moment when there is almost no incentive for banks to save the money, because rates are so low. (When rates are low, banks don't earn much from saving cash because the cash earns meager interest.) The Fed creates the money as it always has, by using its own team of financial traders who work at the Fed's regional bank in New York.
These traders buy and sell assets from a select group of 24 financial firms called ''primary dealers,'' an ultra-exclusive club that includes the likes of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. The primary dealers have special bank vaults at the Fed, called reserve accounts. To execute quantitative easing, a trader at the New York Fed would call up one of the primary dealers, like JPMorgan Chase, and offer to buy $8 billion worth of Treasury bonds from the bank. JPMorgan would sell the Treasury bonds to the Fed trader. Then the Fed trader would hit a few keys and tell the Morgan banker to look inside their reserve account. Voila. The Fed had instantly created $8 billion out of thin air, in the reserve account, to complete the purchase.
Morgan could, in turn, use this money to buy assets in the wider marketplace. Bernanke planned to do such transactions over and over again until the Fed had purchased $600 billion worth of assets. In other words, the Fed would buy things using money it created until it had filled the Wall Street reserve accounts with 600 billion new dollars.
Inside the closed-door FOMC meetings, quantitative easing was debated during 2010 for being what it was '-- a large-scale experiment that carried unclear benefits and risks. There was more opposition to the plan than was publicly known at the time. Hoenig wasn't the only FOMC member with strong objections to the plan. The regional bank presidents Charles Plosser, Richard Fisher and Jeffrey Lacker expressed concerns about it, as did a Fed governor named Kevin Warsh.
The Fed's own research on quantitative easing was surprisingly discouraging. If the Fed pumped $600 billion into the banking system in roughly eight months, it was expected to cut the unemployment rate by just .03 percent. While that wasn't much, it was something. The plan could create 750,000 new jobs by the end of 2012, a small change to the unemployment rate but a big deal to those 750,000 people.
There were many downsides to the plan, but the risks all played out over the long term. The primary worries were the ones Hoenig pointed out, about risky lending and asset bubbles. But there was also concern that quantitative easing could create price inflation, encourage more government borrowing (because the plan worked by purchasing government debt) and that it would be very difficult to end once it began because markets would become addicted to the flow of new money.
The final vote on quantitative easing was set on Nov. 3, 2010, and opposition was still strong. Lacker, president of the Richmond Fed, said the justifications for quantitative easing were thin and the risks were large and uncertain. ''Please count me in the nervous camp,'' Lacker said at the time.
Plosser, the Philadelphia Fed president, was blunter. ''I do not support another round of asset purchases at this time,'' he said. ''Again, given these very small anticipated benefits, we should be even more focused on the downside risks of this program.''
AdvertisementFisher, the Dallas Fed president, said he was ''deeply concerned'' about the plan. ''I see considerable risk in conducting policy with the consequence of transferring income from the poor, those most dependent on fixed income, and the saver, to the rich,'' he said at the time.
According to transcripts of internal FOMC debates, Bernanke defended the plan with an argument that he would use repeatedly in coming years, saying that the Fed faced risks if it didn't intervene. Bernanke also knew he had the votes to pass quantitative easing. Due to a quirk in the FOMC voting rotation, the critics Fisher, Lacker and Plosser didn't have a vote that day. Bernanke had personally lobbied Warsh, the Fed governor, who came to an agreement that he'd support quantitative easing, according to Bernanke's memoir, although he would write an op-ed expressing his concerns about it.
Hoenig believed that there would likely be no going back if the Fed unleashed quantitative easing in late 2008. Just like the 1970s, the Fed might end up keeping money too easy for too long as it tried to juice the job market, chasing short-term gains as it piled up long-term risks.
If Hoenig had voted to support quantitative easing on Nov. 3, he would have almost certainly been praised by his peers. By breaking his long string of dissents that year, he would have allowed the Fed to appear united in the decision to embark on a new and experimental course. But something held him back.
Hoenig has a stubborn streak when it comes to such decision, and it traces back to his long history of working with serious numbers. During his childhood in Fort Madison, Iowa, Hoenig spent his holiday breaks working at his dad's small plumbing shop. Hoenig was sent to the back room with a clipboard so he could record the inventory of plumbing parts. If he made a mistake, his dad could find himself short of supplies. After graduating high school, Hoenig served as an artillery officer in Vietnam, where he calculated the firing range of mortar shells to ensure they landed near enemy positions rather than on his fellow U.S. soldiers. Hoenig's upbringing taught him that getting numbers right was a deadly serious job. And he felt a sense of duty to get it right. When he enlisted to fight in Vietnam, he had explained the decision in simple terms to his sister, Kathleen Kelley.
''I remember him saying: 'You know, I'm an American citizen and I hope to be able to enjoy all the benefits this country offers, so it's my responsibility,''' Kelley recalled. He would later characterize his string of dissents in this language. He called it his ''duty.''
There were 10 votes in favor of quantitative easing. When it was Hoenig's turn to vote, he answered: ''Respectfully, no.''
Hoenig retired from the Fed in late 2011. As he predicted, the round of quantitative easing he voted against was just the beginning. By 2012, economic growth was still tepid enough that Bernanke argued that more quantitative easing was in order. This time, the Fed printed roughly $1.6 trillion. The Fed also kept interest rates remained pegged at zero for roughly seven years, by far the longest stretch in history (rates had touched near-zero in the late '50s and early '60s, but stayed there only briefly).
AdvertisementThe Fed tried mightily to reverse its easy money programs, but largely failed to do so. The central bank tried to raise interest rates slowly, while withdrawing some of the excess cash it had injected through years of quantitative easing. When the Fed tried to withdraw this stimulus, markets reacted negatively. In late 2018, for example, the stock and bond markets fell sharply after the Fed had been steadily raising rates and reversing quantitative easing by selling off the assets it purchased (a maneuver it dubbed ''quantitative tightening''). Fed Chair Jay Powell quickly halted those efforts in a move that traders dubbed the ''Powell Pivot.''
For Hoenig, the most dispiriting part seems to be that zero-percent rates and quantitative easing have had exactly the kind of ''allocative effects'' that he warned about. Quantitative easing stoked asset prices, which primarily benefited the very rich. By making money so cheap and available, it also encouraged riskier lending and financial engineering tactics like debt-fueled stock buybacks and mergers, which did virtually nothing to improve the lot of millions of people who earned a living through their paychecks.
In May of 2020, Hoenig published a paper that spelled out his grim verdict on the age of easy money, from 2010 until now. He compared two periods of economic growth: The period between 1992 and 2000 and the one between 2010 and 2018. These periods were comparable because they were both long periods of economic stability after a recession, he argued. The biggest difference was the Federal Reserve's extraordinary experiments in money printing during the latter period, during which time productivity, earnings and growth were weak. During the 1990s, labor productivity increased at an annual average rate of 2.3 percent, about twice as much as during the age of easy money. Real median weekly earnings for wage and salary employees rose by 0.7 percent on average annually during the 1990s, compared to only 0.26 percent during the 2010s. Average real gross domestic product growth '-- a measure of the overall economy '-- rose an average of 3.8 percent annually during the 1990s, but by only 2.3 percent during the recent decade.
The only part of the economy that seemed to benefit under quantitative easing and zero-percent interest rates was the market for assets. The stock market more than doubled in value during the 2010s. Even after the crash of 2020, the markets continued their stellar growth and returns. Corporate debt was another super-hot market, stoked by the Fed, rising from about $6 trillion in 2010 to a record $10 trillion at the end of 2019.
And now, for the first time since the Great Inflation of the 1970s, consumer prices are rising quickly along with asset prices. Strained supply chains are to blame for that, but so is the very strong demand created by central banks, Hoenig said. The Fed has been encouraging government spending by purchasing billions of Treasury bonds each month while pumping new money into the banks. Just like the 1970s, there are now a whole lot of dollars chasing a limited amount of goods. ''That's a big demand pull on the economy,'' Hoenig said. ''The Fed is facilitating that.''
Hoenig's 2020 paper didn't get much attention. After his retirement from the Fed, he served as stint as vice chairman of the FDIC, where he pushed an unsuccessful proposal to break up the big banks. Now he lives in Kansas City, publishing papers and giving the occasional media interview. He is still issuing warnings about the dangers of runaway money printing, and he is still being mostly ignored.
Hoenig isn't optimistic about what American life might look like after another decade of weak growth, wage stagnation and booming asset values that primarily benefited the rich. This was something he talked about a lot, both publicly and privately. In his mind, economics and the banking system were tightly intertwined with American society. One thing affected the other. When the financial system benefited only a handful of people, average people started to lose faith in society as a whole.
''Do you think that we would have had the political, shall we say turmoil, revolution, we had in 2016, had we not had this great divide created? Had we not had the effects of the zero interest rates that benefited some far more than others?'' Hoenig asked. ''I don't know. It's a counterfactual. But it's a question I would like to pose.''
Read more in THE LORDS OF EASY MONEY, published by Simon and Schuster. Copyright (C) 2022 Christopher Leonard.
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Critics of ''Don't Look Up'' Are Missing the Entire Point ''§ Current Affairs
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 15:41
One problem with film reviews is that they are often so concerned with evaluating the quality of a movie that they don't get chance to seriously discuss the ideas it raises. Reviewers are preoccupied with questions like: How is the acting? The editing? Is the dialogue sharp? The pacing energetic? Are certain mawkish indulgences by the director partly counteracted by a thoughtful score? In the case of a satire trying to make a point, does it make the point well, or does it do it ''ham-fistedly''? Is it subtle and graceful or does it ''beat you over the head''?
I almost didn't see Netflix's satirical asteroid-bound-for-earth movie Don't Look Up, because the reviews were mixed, and many said it was a heavy-handed political satire that made obvious points and was not clever. Since I find nothing more painful to sit through than bad political comedy, I thought I should give Don't Look Up a miss. I decided to watch it when I saw that leftist investigative journalist David Sirota (a former Current Affairs podcast guest) had co-written the story. I know that Sirota is not stupid. (His 2006 book Hostile Takeover remains the single best one-volume debunking of pro-corporate talking points that I have found.) If he was involved with writing a Netflix comedy, I thought it would at least be not completely terrible.
In fact, I really enjoyed Don't Look Up. More importantly, I came away thinking that its critics were not only missing the point of the film in important ways, but that the very way they discussed the film exemplified the problem that the film was trying to draw attention to. Some of the responses to the movie could have appeared in the movie itself.
Let me first spoil the film (I AM GOING TO SPOIL THE FILM) by summarizing it. Two astronomers (played by Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio) discover a comet heading directly for Earth. It is larger than the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, and is expected to end human life on the planet. It will arrive in six months. They attempt to warn the president of the United States (Meryl Streep), who initially dithers and tries to avoid doing anything about the problem until after the midterm elections. The (Trump-like) president will only do what is perceived to be in her immediate political interest. The astronomers try to go on television to warn the country, but Lawrence's media appearance is a disaster, since she is too emotional about the problem and a bad fit for cable news. She is sidelined in the national conversation, and the film implies this is partly for reasons of sexism and partly because her ''extreme'' statements are seen as less credible. (The government also coerces her into silence through criminal charges, on the grounds that she has disclosed sensitive national security information.) DiCaprio, on the other hand, is deemed the Sexy Scientist (spawning a new term, AILF, the meaning of which you will readily deduce). He gets a nationwide fanbase, appears in magazines and on television, and even becomes the president's science adviser. But he makes moral compromise after moral compromise, moderating his criticisms, declining to stick up for Lawrence, and even creating propaganda for the administration. He rationalizes this on the grounds that it would be better to have him in the room with the president than one of the president's science-denying cronies.
Now, the film takes an unexpected turn, or at least unexpected to me. I thought DiCaprio and Lawrence would have to spend longer trying to convince the president to take the problem seriously. In fact, when the politics of the situation change, the president embraces the mission of destroying the comet, puts together a national strategy approved by top scientists, secures the funding, and it appears for a moment that the problem will be tackled with gusto and in a spirit of unity. But at a crucial moment, it is discovered that the comet is made of rare metals that are critical to the manufacture of smartphones. Unwilling to sacrifice the potential trillions of dollars of GDP gains that could come from mining the comet, the president instead turns over the task of stopping the comet to a Silicon Valley billionaire (played by Mark Rylance) who owns a smartphone company. The billionaire's company develops a risky plan that would involve breaking the comet into manageable pieces that can impact the earth semi-non-catastrophically and then be put to industrial use. The plan is endorsed by many top scientists who have joined this ''public-private'' partnership. But (and here's the Big Spoiler) it does not succeed. As the comet strikes the earth, the group who tried their best to stop it eat a final meal together, and share their love for one another. But the billionaire and the president do not have to live with the consequences of their actions. They jet off to space, and in an epilogue, having achieved (seeming) immortality they colonize an Earth-like planet 20,000 years after the rest of us have gone extinct.
Importantly, as the comet is speeding toward Earth, and our astronomer heroes are trying to warn the public, the same dynamics take hold in America as we have seen in both the cases of climate change and the pandemic. Scientists try to assure the public that measures need to be taken to avoid some huge loss of life. The media covers trivia instead. Even those in power who promise action deliver mostly rhetoric. The president wants to ''sit tight and assess.'' Some simply deny that the problem exists at all. Even when the comet is visible in the sky, hurtling toward Earth, the followers of Streep/Trump take pride in the fact that they ''don't look up,'' and stay focused on ''the road ahead.'' They mock those encouraging them to ''look up'' (presumably as hippieish and woke). Don't Look Up appears to depicts a country that cannot come together to solve a crisis, where science becomes politicized, where celebrity culture is more important than matters of life and death. It seems to show us a very negative view of ourselves, as a people who simply cannot cannot get our act together even when it is most necessary.
Or does it? I say that Don't Look Up only appears to depict us this way because I think the film is more subtle than it looks at first, and that negative reviewers have missed some of the most critical parts of the point it is trying to make.
Let me just quote from a few of the reviews, to illustrate what I mean. There have been some very positive ones. But Salon says it is ''farcical, sluggish when it could be screwball'' and wishes it had been ''more fun.'' Parade calls it ''shrill.'' ABC News (Australia) says the director ''doesn't know how to let people enjoy things.'' Some other excerpts:
''[It is] frantic, strident, and obvious. McKay's touch here is considerably blunter and less productive than it has been in a while'... [T]he movie's heartbreaking, unspeakable truth [is that] human narcissism and all that it has wrought, including the destruction of nature, will finally be our downfall. In the end, [director Adam] McKay isn't doing much more in this movie than yelling at us, but then, we do deserve it.'' '-- The New York Times ''We are a dumb, doomed species, too perpetually distracted and misinformed and gullible to endure. The world will end not with a bang, but with a meme and some lolz and way more concern with what pop star broke up with which D.J. than our own survival. And also, should this movie be any indication, a righteous two-hour lecture masquerading as a satire. '... As for DiCaprio and Lawrence, they both take turns channeling the voice of the movie's creator, yelling and bellowing and losing their cool repeatedly over the fact that No. One. Seems. To. Get. It! We keep blowing whatever little chances we have to fix this. It's a sentiment familiar to a lot of us, so much so that, at a certain point, you want to throttle this movie back and match it decibel for decibel: No. Need. To. Keep. Screaming. This. In. Our. Faces!.. .. Don't Look Up is a blunt instrument in lieu of a sharp razor, and while McKay may believe that we're long past subtlety, it doesn't mean that one man's wake-up-sheeple howl into the abyss is funny, or insightful, or even watchable. It's a disaster movie in more ways than one. Should you indeed look up, you may be surprised to find one A-list bomb of a movie, all inchoate rage and flailing limbs, falling right on top of you.'' '-- Rolling Stone''A slapdash, scattershot sendup that turns almost everyone into nincompoops, trivializes everything it touches, oozes with self-delight, and becomes part of the babble and yammer it portrays'... This might have been great fun if it had been executed with some respect for our intelligence, and for the power of sharpshooting satire, rather than glib nihilism.'' '-- The Wall Street Journal ''A disastrous movie, ''Don't Look Up'' shows McKay as the most out of touch he's ever been with what is clever, or how to get his audience to care'... McKay begins to needle the viewer with the joke that no one cares about the end of the world as much the latest distracting scandal'... it does not say anything new about how misinformation became a political cause, or about how scandals are the true opiate for the masses, whether it involves a pop star or the president. It certainly has little to offer about the role technology plays in this, with Mark Rylance playing a half-Elon Musk, quarter-Joe Biden tech guru who calls the shots even more than POTUS. ''Don't Look Up'' thinks it's pushing many savvy political buttons, when it's only pointing out the obvious and the easy, over and over'...'' '-- RogerEbert.comThe complaint of these reviewers is that Don't Look Up makes points that are obvious and easy, that its argument is that ''we'' are all too distracted by our cell phones and celebrity culture to care about the end of the world. It is a nihilistic film about nincompoops. And it does it all without enough subtlety.
I think there is a good argument to be made that there is nothing wrong with being ''shrill'' or ''unsubtle'' when trying to make an important political point, and some of these reviewers remind me of those who criticized Bernie Sanders for being too aggressively angry that people in this country don't have healthcare. Is this really a normative judgment about a film's quality or is it just a reflection of reviewers' temperaments and politics, where anything too angry or obvious seems the enemy of art, which is necessarily cerebral or inaccessible?
But more importantly, they get the message of the film backwards. One reason that these reviewers think that message is an obvious one is that they miss all the parts that are not necessarily obvious. Indeed, the film does depict a media that is more concerned with celebrity relationships than with climate (or rather, comet) science. But it does not have a nihilistic view of Americans. Not in the least, and this is critically important to understand. In fact, the film depicts an idealistic, diverse group of Americans who try their best to protect the planet. Their lives are destroyed not because we are idiots but because those with power choose to delay, deny, and mislead, more interested in their own short-term gain than the future of humanity'--in part because these people know that the catastrophe they have wrought will not have the same consequences for them personally.
I can tell that a leftist, rather than a liberal, was behind the storyline for this film, precisely because it does not say what some reviewers think it does. This is not the film Idiocracy, depicting us all as dumb consumerist sheeple. This is a film with great faith in humanity, and cynicism only about the institutions we have built and the particular people who hold power.
There is an important moment in the film in which the president's chief of staff (he is also her numbskull son, a clear Kushner type) addresses a group of her followers, and says that ''there's three types of American people: there are you, the working class. Us, the cool rich. And then them,'' with them being the enemy, the Woke Cultural Elite or the Globalists or whoever. The point is not that the working class are sheep who don't care about the future, but that the rich manipulate people's perceptions of one another to serve their own self-interest.
The crucial turning point in the plot is when the president decides the comet is too valuable for future GDP to destroy, and thus Silicon Valley needs to be allowed to try something experimental. This is not a simplistic, everyone-knows-this-already-how-obvious-can-you-be point. The same kind of thinking guides some of the worst public policy prescriptions on climate. In mainstream newspapers, and from the mouths of mainstream economists, you can hear that we don't need to do much because letting climate change rip will be better for the GDP than trying to stop it. The reviewers who think the film's messages are Obvious seem to have missed that the ''tech solution'' to the comet is a clear commentary on geoengineering, the cheap-but-incredibly-risky approach to climate favored by those who don't want anything to be done that would substantially hurt the bottom lines of fossil fuel companies. (The first, ultimately abandoned approach to dealing with the comet, based on massive government investment, is the comet equivalent of a Green New Deal.)1
Don't Look Up actually shows us an America that was perfectly prepared to come together to stop the comet, and where people are angry when they find out that their lives are being put at risk in order to protect the future profits of cell phone manufacturers. But they are distracted by a media that won't do its job, and misled by demagogues who say that they should trust the ''cool rich'' more than ''them.'' At the end, however, those who perish are able to take some solace from the fact that they did everything they could. They do not die screaming in terror, nor have they lost faith in each other.2 It is a similar moral to Albert Camus' ''Myth of Sisyphus'': the near-certainty of failure should not lead to resignation, but to even more determination. To end your life contentedly and without regrets, you need to know that you tried, regardless of the outcome. This is not a film that is telling Americans they will die because of how much they suck. Instead, it says that we could solve our problems. It does depict a successful plan for stopping the comet that nearly works. But that plan is derailed by those who would gladly gamble with other people's lives if it meant they themselves might get richer. The question it asks us is: will we stop these people? It is an exhortation and a warning, not a work of misanthropy or nihilism.
The film's depiction of its tech billionaire is impressive. He is clearly based on Elon Musk, but also has a weird touch of Joe Biden in him. He is, as the Intercept's Jon Schwarz put it, ''bizarre and frightening'... a kind of omnipotent baby, soft and vulnerable and mushy and completely unaware that anyone else is real.'' Importantly for the film's message, though, the billionaire sounds half the time like he might be a genius and half the time like he's probably an idiot. You can see very easily how people could be misled into thinking that he knows what he is doing, because he seems like he knows everything even though he also appears to know nothing. He's deeply unsettling but also effective at inspiring confidence, and can silence critics with his seemingly endless knowledge. I have long been fascinated by the strange way that Elon Musk manages to convince people of his genius despite also frequently sounding like a complete fool, and the film shows well how people can come to place trust in a guru entrepreneur that we assume must be far smarter than ourselves, even if half the time he appears to be speaking nonsense. In the film, it is only when it is too late that people discover they should have trusted their gut all along, that the man assuring them he had it all under control in fact had nothing under control at all.
I am glad the film had its billionaire and president escape the apocalypse. My first thought about the comet as a stand-in for climate change was that it would miss a crucial aspect of the climate crisis, which is that it is not like a planet-destroying asteroid, because some people will suffer far more than others. A great many people will be pretty much fine, at least in the near term, while countless others will experience the horrific effects. But Don't Look Up does show how the super-rich see their first priority as escaping the fate they have inflicted on the rest of us. They will devise ''solutions'' to existential problems that put all the risk on other people while protecting their own assets.3
This is not a point that is widely enough understood, and clearly McKay did not make it ''heavy-handedly,'' since reviewers have not really noticed it. In fact, there are a number of interesting and important observations in the film that are easy to overlook but useful to understand for dealing with the crises of our own time. Consider the way DiCaprio is co-opted. He is well-intentioned and wants to solve the problem, but for much of the film he is not courageous enough to confront the powerful directly, and he rationalizes weakening his stances on the grounds that it gets him ''access.'' The daytime TV host played by Cate Blanchett is also seen to have made queasy compromises: she is revealed to have three master's degrees, yet she plays an idiot on TV (shades of former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, a Stanford and Oxford alum who pretended on-air not to know what words like ''czar'' and ''ignoramus'' meant).
Other bits of satire or insightful observations go by quickly and can be missed. The scientists fail in the media not just because they are bumped for celebrity news, but because they never figure out how to communicate with people without either boring them or starting a riot. Spurious ''national security'' justifications are used to bring legal claims against rogue government whistleblowers. There is the Hollywood actor who tries to ''depoliticize'' the comet debate by saying he believes in looking ''both up and down,'' and laments how partisan the debate has become. The coldness with which the president abandons her devoted son at the critical moment shows how those who lick the boots of the rich will find that, no matter how loyal they are, they will be heartlessly abandoned the moment they become an inconvenience.
I have not commented on the quality of Don't Look Up as a film. But as I said, I think that's somewhat beside the point. I'm not interested in even making that evaluation, because I see this as a parable making an important point and I'd like to discuss the point, not give a star rating to the parable. We can imagine, in the world of the film, those concerned about the comet making a film that satirized the lack of national action to stop the comet. And in the world of the film, reviewers simply respond by calling it ''heavy-handed,'' the director's ''worst film yet,'' saying it ''misses its targets,'' that its humor is too ''broad.'' Instead of discussing the issues the film raises, they discuss whether the film is good or bad and whether it is successful in the way that it approaches the issues. I don't really care about any of that. I am far less interested in whether Streep's president is completely plausible than in having a conversation about the various barriers standing in the way of serious climate action, a serious pandemic response, and a rational approach to every public policy issue that has consequences for human lives. A central point made by Don't Look Up is that when things are matters of life and death, we need to treat them as such. Giving such a film a thumbs-up or thumbs-down and assessing the quality of its humor shows that one has missed the point entirely. Let us not have a discussion about Don't Look Up itself. Let us have a discussion about how we can avoid the very real tendencies that the film illuminates.
The Real Reason They Want to Give Covid Jabs to Kids
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 15:03
The reason our children are being targeted by COVID mandates is because vaccine makers want to get the shots onto the childhood vaccination scheduleOnce a vaccine is added to the childhood schedule, the vaccine maker is shielded from financial liability for injuries, unless the manufacturer knows about vaccine safety issues and withholds that informationProducts must satisfy four criteria in order to get emergency use authorization: There must be an emergency; a vaccine must be at least 30% to 50% effective; the known and potential benefits of the product must outweigh the known and potential risks of the product; and there can be no adequate, approved and available alternative treatments (drugs or vaccines). Unless all four criteria are met, EUA cannot be granted or maintainedAccording to a U.S. federal court decision, the Pfizer shot and BioNTech's Comirnaty are not interchangeableComirnaty is not fully approved and licensed. It's only ''ready for approval.'' Comirnaty is licensed to be manufactured, introduced into state commerce and marketed, but it's not licensed to be given to anyone, and it's not yet available in the United States. They're waiting for it to be added to the childhood vaccination schedule, to get the liability shieldIn this interview, Alix Mayer explains why our children are being so aggressively targeted for the COVID-19 injection even though they're not at risk of serious SARS-CoV-2 infection, and clarifies the status of Comirnaty.
Mayer, board president of Children's Health Defense '--California Chapter, is herself vaccine injured; not from the COVID jab, but from a series of vaccines she received 20 years ago. (On a side note, her great-great-grandfather was Oscar Mayer, founder of the Oscar Mayer company, which the family sold to General Foods in 1981.)
Mayer graduated from Duke University with a BA and from Northwestern University with an MBA in finance and management strategy. She worked for Apple in the mid-1990s. When she was 29, Apple promoted her to acting manager of worldwide customer research.
In preparation for a family trip to Bali, her doctor recommended getting six vaccines: hepatitis A vaccine, hepatitis B vaccine, diphtheria, tetanus, polio and oral typhoid, which she did. Eventually, 13 years later, she finally realized it was these shots that triggered her health problems.
''They gave me brain damage and total disability,'' she says. ''I spent three years in my early 30s being 80% housebound, and I really I didn't know if I was ever going to get better.
I went through a whole bunch of diagnoses: lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease. Ultimately, none of those made sense and none of the treatments made me any better, until we put the pieces together and figured out that I was actually vaccine injured.
It's literally just a cause and effect. If you look back at my history and lay out my vaccine schedule, you can see that my health declined two weeks after I got the vaccines.
I had encephalitis and encephalopathy '... digestive issues, hypersomnia '-- sleeping 16 hours a day '-- flu-like symptoms, a 24/7 migraine, joint pain. I really had no life at all in my early 30s until I went on a gluten-free diet. That started my health recovery.
I then became an award-winning medical journalist with a bunch of different blogs, and then a health consultant. In 2018, I retired from all that and joined Children's Health Defense.''
The COVID Jab TragedyWhile many vaccines have a questionable safety profile, especially when combined, data from the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) suggest there's never been a vaccine as dangerous as the experimental mRNA gene transfer injections for COVID.
What's more, while lack of transparency and accountability has been a chronic problem within the vaccine industry, the obvious hazards associated with vaccines are really being highlighted by the COVID jabs.
Many now know of someone who has been injured by the COVID jab, and most were injured so shortly after the shot that it's hard to deny a correlation. The staggering number of injuries reported among adults who have received the COVID shot in turn highlights the insanity of rolling it out to young children.
According to Mayer, the reason they're trying to mandate the COVID shot for children is to evade liability for injuries, because once a vaccine is on the childhood vaccination schedule, vaccine makers have immunity against lawsuits for injuries.
Vaccine Makers Want Zero LiabilityThe COVID shots currently have legal immunity against liability because they're still under emergency use authorization (EUA). If you think BioNTech's Comirnaty has been fully licensed, you'd be mistaken. Mayer explains:
''I put together a slide deck about Emergency Use Authorization (which you can see in the video interview above) because there is so much confusion over this and what's really going on. Once you understand the genesis of EUA and the standards they have to meet in order to keep these products on the market, then you understand the behaviors [we're now seeing].
They're falling all over themselves to protect the EUAs for these products and also introduce other very confusing kinds of approval to get away with stuff. So, let me just start to clarify it right now.
This presentation is all about these three strangleholds that the vaccine makers and our government are never going to let go of '... These are the things they're guarding with their lives.
First of all, they need to guard the emergency '... so they cannot have any early treatments. Those cannot exist. They're also going for full liability protection, and children will be used as pawns to get them full liability protection.
Vaccine makers love EUA products because they have this huge liability shield. If you're injured by an EUA vaccine, you can't sue the manufacturer, you can't sue the person who gave it to you, you can't sue the institution where you got the shot.
You have to go through something called the CICP, the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, where they'll only cover unpaid medical expenses, and probably only for pharmaceuticals and lost wages.
Now, if you're vaccine injured, let me tell you right now, you are not going to be using pharmaceuticals because they do not work for vaccine injury. They will make you sicker. You'll be on two dozen pharmaceuticals before you know it and you're going to be sick from those. They do not work. The only thing that's going to get you better if you're vaccine injured is natural treatments '...
That's the kind of treatment you're going to need, and that's not even covered, even if you were to get compensation. Everybody I know with chronic illness, whether it's a child or an adult who has chronic fatigue syndrome, vaccine injury, Lyme disease, they're paying $50,000 out of pocket per year.
If you can't work and you have to pay for your treatment out of pocket, I don't know how you ever get by. People suffer like crazy, they lose homes, they go into bankruptcy.''
Since its inception, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which pays for injuries caused by vaccines on the childhood vaccination schedule, has paid out about one-third of claims. It's a long, arduous process that oftentimes takes years and in the end rarely provides adequate compensation.
''If you do end up getting compensation '... they don't pay it out in one lump sum, they pay it out year by year, and they pretty much hope that whoever is injured is actually going to die of their injuries before they get compensated.
That's been said to me a bunch of times by people who've been through this horrible process. Now, the CICP has only compensated 3% of claims. And so far, there have been no approvals for [compensation] for COVID shot injuries,'' Mayer says. [Editor's note: The first COVID case was recently determined ''eligible'' for compensation, but the case has not yet been adjudicated.1 ]
Stages of Liability: EUAIn her slide show, Mayer reviews each of the stages of product liability, and whether the mRNA shots can be mandated. As mentioned, vaccine makers have no liability as long as their product is under EUA, as the product is investigational.
''Investigational is a synonym for experimental,'' Mayer says. ''And the word experimental ties it directly into the Nuremberg Code, which says that we cannot be experimented on [without consent]. We always have the right to accept or refuse a medical treatment.
[The Nuremberg Code] is not a law, but it's a code under which the whole world is supposed to be operating by. And it is actually codified into some local and federal laws as well '... So, what everybody needs to know is that coercion and duress are considered de facto mandates and illegal. De facto means that it's basically the same as an outright mandate.
It's illegal medical segregation, medical apartheid [because that is a form of coercion or duress.] So, if you go to a restaurant and they demand your vaccine passport, only let you eat outside, and they might not let you use the bathroom, that's medical segregation.
That is illegal and I do not support businesses that do that and you shouldn't either. Any access privileges that are different between the vaccinated and unvaccinated are illegal, and any visual indication of vaccine status like a sticker or a bracelet '... that's also illegal because that creates segregation and medical apartheid, [since they are all forms of coercion or duress.]''
Importantly, mass violation of the law does not make something legal.
''If we all drove 100 miles an hour on Interstate 80, would we watch the speed limit signs suddenly changed to 100 miles per hour? No, it's not going to happen. Mass violation of the law has never made anything legal. And just because schools and businesses and our government are mandating these shots, it doesn't make it legal. It's all illegal '...
Now, they know full well that it's illegal to mandate these [COVID shots]. President Biden knows it's illegal. But what they're counting on is that the court cases overturning their illegal mandates will take a while, and in that interim, people are going to be scared enough to get the shots. And unfortunately, it's worked.''
Stages of Liability: Full Licensure and Childhood SchedulingThe next stage is full licensure (FDA approval). Once a product is fully licensed, the company becomes liable for injuries. At that point, the product can be legally mandated. Of course, knowing how dangerous the COVID shots are, no manufacturer wants to be financially liable for injuries. They'd be sued out of business.
This is the holy grail if you're a manufacturer of a COVID vaccine right now. You want it to be fully licensed, but not put on the market until you get it on the children's schedule. ~ Alix MayerTo get immunity against liability again, the vaccine manufacturers need to get their product onto the childhood vaccination schedule. This will also allow government to mandate the shots. As noted by Mayer:
''This is the holy grail if you're a vaccine manufacturer of a COVID vaccine right now. You want it to be fully licensed, but not put it on the market until you get it on the children's schedule.''
DOJ Redefines Medical 'Consequence'In Doe v. Rumsfeld,2 the court held that service members could refuse an EUA product without punitive consequences such as dishonorable discharge or other punishments. Therefore, there were no consequences to refusing an EUA product, other than the natural consequence of possibly getting the disease.
However, in July 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice attempted to redefine the term ''consequences'' just for the COVID shot, to suggest that punitive consequences, like job loss or being separated from your working or learning location, are legal when a person refuses an EUA vaccine.
''But this type of consequence, a punitive consequence, has never been adjudicated,'' Mayer says. ''That's not in any law. This is just an opinion from the DOJ. And it absolutely means nothing, except it came from our DOJ, so people give it a lot of authority.
They also stated twice '-- and this is so hard to understand because it's just beyond reason '-- that the right to accept or refuse an EUA product is 'purely informational.'
Literally, you can read that you could die by taking it, but it's purely informational. You cannot act on it. That's what the DOJ says. Again, it's not adjudicated, so it doesn't mean anything. It's an opinion. It holds no legal weight at all. So, as we said before, these mandates are starting to be overturned.''
Four Standards for EUAThere are four standards that must be fulfilled for an EUA. If any of these criteria are not met, EUA cannot be granted or maintained. First, the secretary of Health and Human Services has to declare and maintain a state of emergency. If the emergency were to go away, all EUA products would have to come off the market. And that doesn't just mean vaccines. It also includes the PCR tests and even surgical masks.
The second standard is evidence of effectiveness. Historically, vaccines had to show a 70% or greater effectiveness, as measured by a fourfold increase in antibody levels, in order to qualify. For an EUA vaccine, the efficacy threshold is only 30% to 50%. In another departure from prior vaccine approvals, the COVID vaccine clinical trials relied on the RT-PCR test, not antibodies, to demonstrate effectiveness in the small ''challenge phase'' of the trials.
Now, you probably heard that the Pfizer shot was 95% effective when it first rolled out, but that was relative risk reduction, not absolute risk reduction. Confounding these two parameters is a common strategy used to make a product sound far better than it actually is. The absolute risk reduction for Pfizer's shot was just 0.84%.3
For example, if a study divided people into two groups of 1,000 and two people in the group who didn't get a fictional vaccine got infected, while only one in the vaccinated group got infected, the relative risk reduction would be reported as 100%. In terms of absolute risk reduction, the fictional vaccine only prevented 1 in 1,000 from getting the infection '-- a very poor absolute risk reduction.
The take-home message here is that even though the minimal threshold for effectiveness is ludicrously low, in terms of absolute risk reduction, these shots still don't measure up. Within six months, even the relative risk reduction bottoms out at zero. What's more, there's evidence that the clinical trials were manipulated as well.
''I remember an analysis very early in lockdowns [that showed] if you added back all the probable cases of COVID to the clinical trial [data], the effectiveness went from 90% to between 19% and 29%,''4 Mayer says.
The third standard is that the known and potential benefits of the product must outweigh the known and potential risks of the product. In the case of COVID shots, there's overwhelming evidence showing they do more harm than good.
The fourth and last standard that must be met is there can be no adequate, approved and available alternative treatments (drugs or vaccines). ''This is why hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin were quashed,'' Mayer says. This is also another reason Comirnaty is not treated as a fully approved product in the U.S., because if it were, then all the other COVID shots that are under EUA would have to be removed from the market.
''This is a four-legged stool,'' Mayer says. ''If any one of these legs goes away, you have to take your EUA products off the market '... by law. I put [state of] emergency and [treatment] alternatives in red, because those are two of the things that they have a stranglehold on; those are things they are guarding like crazy.
This means that every variant that comes out, they have to make it sound super scary to keep the emergency going. So, the variants serve a purpose. You have to think about these variants in the context of this crime, where they have to keep the emergency going to keep their products on the market.
You would think this emergency would stop maybe when we get to herd immunity, maybe if we get 90% vaccination uptake, maybe COVID is just going to go away, like smallpox did in the early 1900s [even though] only 5% of people were vaccinated. [But it won't] go away [until] the shots get full approval and the manufacturers get a full liability shield.''
Comirnaty's Quasi ApprovalWith regard to Comirnaty, is it or is it not fully approved and licensed? The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. Mayer explains:
''Comirnaty's quasi approval is just for BioNTech. It doesn't have to do with Pfizer, and this is why I'm doing this presentation because I'm going to explain what's going on with that.
This is the race to get liability protection. Remember, that's the other stranglehold that they want. They really want to get this liability protection. Once the COVID shots are fully approved, the manufacturer has full liability.
There's all this confusion about Comirnaty. Was it fully approved? Is it on the market? Is it interchangeable with the Pfizer shot? And does it make the COVID shot mandate legal? It's all the same answer. No, no, no, no.
The FDA issued an intentionally confusing biological license application approval for Comirnaty. It was an unprecedented approval to both license the Comirnaty shot, saying it's 'interchangeable' with the Pfizer shot. But they also said it's 'legally distinct.'
In that same approval, they retain the vaccine's liability shield by designating it EUA as well. They want it to be fully approved, but they want the liability protection, so they did this BS dual approval.
So, [Comirnaty] is licensed to be manufactured, introduced into state commerce and marketed, but it's not licensed to be given to anyone, and it's not available in the United States. It's available in the U.K., New Zealand and other places, but it is not available in the United States because they're really scared of liability.
Now, are you ready for this one? The BLA actually states that Comirnaty is only 'ready for approval.'5 It doesn't say it's approved anywhere in the document. And they buried this language in a pediatric section to confuse people even more.
Here's what they said; 'We're deferring submission of your pediatric studies for ages younger than 16. For this application, because this product is ready for approval for use in individuals 16 years of age and older, as pediatric studies for younger ages have not been completed.'
Why did they do this? Sixteen is a very important number. You would think the age break would be 18. That's a very typical age break for everything else that we do in this country. Why 16?
The reason they did 16 is because 16- and 17-year-olds are still on the children's vaccination schedule. And then the manufacturer gets full liability protection. That's why this is ready to be approved for 16 and up, not 18 and up.''
Comirnaty Is Not Fully LicensedThis confusion is clearly intentional. On the one hand, the FDA claims Comirnaty is interchangeable with the Pfizer shot, yet it's also legally distinct. Courts have had to weigh in on the matter, and a federal judge recently rejected the DoD claim that the two shots are interchangeable. They're not interchangeable. That means Comirnaty vaccine is still EUA. It doesn't have full approval and it's not on the market.
''Military members involved in lawsuits are challenging the military's COVID vaccine mandate. They filed an amended complaint seeking a new injunction after the judge last month rejected the assertion that the Pfizer COVID shot and BioNTech's Comirnaty are interchangeable. So, we're still hammering on this legally, but a court has ruled that they're not interchangeable.
[Editor's note: This information is accurate at the time of the interview, but legal challenges are ongoing and courts may issue new rulings. December 22, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court announced6 it has slated January 7, 2022, to hear arguments challenging Biden's vaccine and testing mandates.]
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So, how do we know that Comirnaty is not being treated as fully approved? First, the approval states you have the right to accept or refuse the product. That means it's an EUA. Second, it's not available in the U.S. because Comirnaty doesn't have liability protection. Third, if it were available, it's an alternative [treatment] and all other EUA shots would have to come off the market.
No. 4, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) would have to recommend it for ages 16 to 18 and the CDC would have added it to the children's recommended schedule. That's how we know it's not fully approved and on the market.
Here is the label for Comirnaty. It says it's emergency use authorization. It doesn't say it's fully approved, because it's not. But look at the safety information they are recognizing: Myocarditis and pericarditis have occurred in some people who've received the vaccine, more commonly in males under 40 years of age than among females and older males.
So, this is saying that young men are getting heart inflammation. And what we know from all the anecdotal reports is 300 athletes have died or collapsed on the field, and children in schools have died of heart attacks. That's what's going on here.
And the reason they have to declare this is because they know it. They know it's happening. And the only way they can be sued is if they know there's a problem with their vaccine and they don't declare it. So, they declare it here, in very mild language as if it's not that big of a deal, but it's a very big deal. Young people are dying [from the shots] who have a 99.9973% chance of recovering from COVID '...
The holy grail is to get the shot on the CDC recommended schedule for children, because then it gets full liability protection according to the 1986 Act. This is why they're going after our children when they have a 99.9973% recovery rate '...
Every medical intervention is a risk benefit equation, and it doesn't calculate for kids at all. They should never be getting COVID shots. The shots don't prevent transmission. They don't prevent cases. They don't prevent hospitalization or death.''
How You Can HelpChildren's Health Defense has sued the FDA over the approval of Comirnaty, alleging that this is a ''bait and switch'' to convince people they are receiving a licensed vaccine, when in fact they are getting an EUA vaccine that cannot be lawfully mandated. Unfortunately, these kinds of legal cases can take a long time, and children are being needlessly harmed while we wait for legal clarification.
They also have a couple dozen other legal cases underway. If you want to help, please sign up to become a member on It's only $10 for a lifetime membership.
''That really helps us with standing in our legal cases, because the more people we represent, the stronger our cases are,'' Mayer says. If you're in California, you can join the local chapter at You can also help by purchasing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s book ''The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health.''
This book is an absolute must-read and you know people are enjoying it as it has been No. 1 on Amazon for the last month, which is very unusual for a book. It will likely be one of the top best sellers of the entire year. So, get your copy before Sen. Elizabeth Warren convinces Amazon to ban it!
''The Truth About COVID-19'' exposes the hidden agenda behind the pandemic, showing the countermeasures have nothing to do with public health and everything to do with ushering in a new social and economic system based on totalitarian, technocracy-led control. So, it's not misinformation they fear. It's the truth they want to prevent from spreading. Pick up a copy of this best-selling book today before it's too late.
Image by John Vachon(w) for the United States Farm Security Administration(w), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons,
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As patriots, we must stand up for what we believe in. That means we slow or completely eliminate our expenditures with companies who hate us for our ideology. Our sponsors are all proud to support the America-First agenda, which is why we allow them on our pages. Like I said, you won't find Google ads here.
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Men across America are getting vasectomies 'as an act of love' - The Washington Post
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 14:27
After Andy and Erin Gress had their fourth child, Andy decided it was time for him to ''step up'' and help with the family planning. So he did something that the mere thought of makes some men cringe: He got a vasectomy.
It was early one morning last winter '-- a brief moment of peace, before juggling getting the kids ready for online school and work Zoom calls. He happened to see a local news story about discounts being offered during ''World Vasectomy Day.'' He made an appointment that day.
His wife had taken birth control pills, but she struggled with the side effects. She had worked as a night nurse through four pregnancies, and the couple had children ranging in age from 2 to 11.
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''The procedure was a total relief, almost like the covid shot '-- like I'm safe now,'' said Gress, who works in higher education. ''I wanted to man up.''
But Gress's action wasn't just about his family. He also believed he should do more to support his wife and other women who don't think the government should decide what they do with their bodies. ''I've seen the miracle of life,'' he said. ''But I've also seen kids who are born into poverty and misery and don't have a fair shot.''
With the Supreme Court set to decide the fate of Roe v. Wade next year and with more than 20 states poised to ban or impose restrictions on abortion depending on what the court decides, some reproductive rights advocates say it is time for men to take a more active role in both family planning and the fight for reproductive rights.
The battle for abortion rights will be fought in the statehouses
In their own form of protest, state lawmakers in Alabama, Illinois and Pennsylvania introduced legislation that highlights the gendered double standards with regards to reproductive rights.
Pennsylvania state Rep. Chris Rabb (D) introduced ''parody'' legislation this fall in response to the Texas law that amounts to a near-total ban on abortion. Rabb's proposal would require men to get vasectomies after the birth of their third child or when they turn 40, whichever comes first. It would be enforced by allowing Pennsylvanians to report men who failed to comply, for a $10,000 reward.
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''As long as state legislatures continue to restrict the reproductive rights of cis women, trans men and nonbinary people, there should be laws that address the responsibility of men who impregnate them. Thus, my bill will also codify 'wrongful conception' to include when a person has demonstrated negligence toward preventing conception during intercourse,'' Rabb wrote in a memo about his proposal, as reported by the Keystone.
States that have trigger laws and what they mean
Rabb, a father of two who had a vasectomy in 2008, noted that he only had to discuss his choice with his wife and his urologist. The point of his proposal, he said, was to highlight the sexism, double standard and hypocrisy inherent in the antiabortion debate. But it blew up in a way he didn't expect.
''I underestimated the vitriol this proposal brought,'' Rabb said in an interview, adding that he received thousands of hate-filled emails, Facebook posts and even death threats. ''The notion a man would have to endure or even think about losing bodily autonomy was met with outrage, when every single day women face this and it's somehow okay for the government to invade the uteruses of women and girls, but it should be off limits if you propose vasectomies or limit the reproductive rights of men.''
Since Dec. 1, when the Supreme Court heard a case that is expected to decide the future of Roe v. Wade, social media has been filled with tweets, memes and quips using tongue-in-cheek humor to point out how men's role in reproduction is almost never talked about. ''Against abortion? Have a Vasectomy,'' says one bumper sticker.
Koushik Shaw, a doctor at the Austin Urology Institute in Texas, said his practice saw about a 15 percent increase in scheduled vasectomies after the Sept. 1 Texas abortion ban went into effect.
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Patients are saying '''Hey, I'm actually here because some of these changes that [Gov. Greg] Abbott and our legislature have passed that are really impacting our decision-making in terms of family planning,' so that was a new one for me as a reason '-- the first time, patients are citing a state law as their motivating factor,'' Shaw said.
Advocates say they want to be clear: They are not pushing vasectomies as a replacement for the right to obtain an abortion, nor do they believe men should have a say in the decision to have an abortion. In 1976, the Supreme Court ruled in Planned Parenthood v. Danforth that the father's consent to an abortion was no longer required, largely because of a risk of violence or coercion in a relationship.
Doctors who perform vasectomies say they want men to be open and comfortable talking about the procedure instead of recoiling in horror at the idea, said Doug Stein, a urologist known as the ''Vasectomy King'' for his billboards, bar coasters and ads at child support offices around Florida.
''An act of Love,'' for their partners, ''the ultimate way to be a good man,'' is how he and others market the procedure.
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''It's a remarkable trend in the family planning community of recognizing and promoting vasectomy and birth control for men, where this was once considered more fringe,'' said Sarah Miller, a family medicine doctor who has a private practice in Boston and joined Stein's movement.
Advances in the needle- and scalpel-free 10-minute procedure need a cultural push and maybe some fun to make men less bashful around doctors coming near their ''junk,'' Stein said.
He has a full-time vasectomy and vasectomy-reversal practice in Tampa and has traveled the world performing the procedure. He was inspired by his concern about population growth, but he also wanted to empower men to be responsible.
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Stein, a father of two, had his own vasectomy more than 20 years ago.
Reliable statistics on the number of men who have sought vasectomies since the Texas ban and the U.S. Supreme Court hearing aren't available, doctors say. But, Miller said, she has seen an increase in patients at the small clinic she opened in Boston less than three years ago because she couldn't believe ''the paucity of options for men and people with men parts.''
At one point, she was told that vasectomy was not considered part of family planning, and she had to make her own arrangements to get the necessary training.
''It warms my heart to hear men say, 'I am so nervous, but I know this is NOTHING compared to what my wife has gone through,''' she said in an email.
''It's outrageous that we don't have more contraceptive options for people with man parts,'' Miller said. ''There's even a misguided sense that birth control is not a man's job. That men can't be trusted, or that they would never be interested, and that has led to lack of funding and development,'' she said.
Engaging men in the abortion debate is tricky, experts say, because on the abortion rights side, men don't want to be viewed as questioning a woman's right to choose. And on the antiabortion side, the procedure is viewed as murder. But some abortion rights advocates contend that men have a huge stake in legal and safe abortions, and ''the fact we're not out there fighting every bit as hard as women is shameful,'' said Jonathan Stack, a co-founder with Stein of World Vasectomy Day.
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''The quality of life for millions of men will be adversely affected if this right is taken from women,'' said Stack, a documentary filmmaker who made a film about Stein called ''The Vasectomist.''
Stack said that while filming the documentary, he would ask men: ''Why are you choosing to do this?''
''They expressed something rarely heard in films about men '-- love or kindness or care,'' he said.
''I had already come to believe that there was a story about masculinity that was not being told '-- not of power and control or rage, but of alienation, of insecurities, of uncertainty and of fear,'' he said.
When abortion providers have to travel across the country to hand out medication abortions
''We already know that men don't always want to wear condoms, or they don't work, or well, they take them off,'' Esgar Guar­n said with a sigh and chuckle. He is a family medicine doctor who runs SimpleVas in Iowa and performed Gress's vasectomy.
Guar­n trained under Stein and joined his movement. ''We have to invest in helping men understand how easy and safe vasectomies are,'' he said. After having two children, Guar­n performed a vasectomy on himself.
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The doctors also started ''Responsible Men's Clubs,'' chat groups where men can share information such as how sexual performance is just fine after the procedure, and that it ''doesn't take away their manhood, but in fact makes them a better man,'' Guar­n said.
One man asked for a sort of ''vasectomy passport,'' a letter from Guar­n to show his wife that sex would now be free of worry.
Brad Younts, 45, said his wife, Lizz Gardner, wants him to become a ''vasectomy evangelist,'' after he had the ''simple procedure'' without any problems.
''Men are big babies. Considering everything women go through '-- menstruation, Pap smears, OB/GYN visits,'' said Younts, who lives in Chicago. ''I'm proud I did it. And I went on to tell two friends who are also looking into it, too.''
Back order | SDN
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 13:55
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#1 Anyone having issues getting lidocaine, saline and contrast? Being told they are on back order
#2 Anyone having issues getting lidocaine, saline and contrast? Being told they are on back order
yes all 3 (but switched form omni to iso- so not as bad) - hospital facility
#4 for the last month. yes and it has been annoying.
#5 Saline has been impossible. Intermittent problems with lidocaine. No issues with contrast right now. Luckily we have a good supply of all 3
#6 Saline has been impossible. Intermittent problems with lidocaine. No issues with contrast right now. Luckily we have a good supply of all 3
Yeah might have to start using lido instead of saline to dilute lumbar IL
#7 just got an email we're low on depo medrol and lidocaine
#8 Saline, 0.5% marcaine, and 20g Tuohys of all things are not available in my locale.
#9 The White House says supply issues don't exist. So stop spreading lies on this forum'...
#10 Down to two 25-gauge 3.5'' needles, order supposed to arrive 1/6/22. Good thing I didn't schedule a ridiculous number of cases to finish out the year.
#11 Be very careful if any of you use this methypred...This entire box clots off my needles, to the point I cannot inject through it...All the way down to 22g.
I've diluted with saline, local, even dexamethasone.
If any of you use this brand, are there steps necessary to dilute this? We weren't told anything like that. First box we've purchased.
#12 Be very careful if any of you use this methypred...This entire box clots off my needles, to the point I cannot inject through it...All the way down to 22g.
I've diluted with saline, local, even dexamethasone.
If any of you use this brand, are there steps necessary to dilute this? We weren't told anything like that. First box we've purchased.
View attachment 347134 I've unfortunately experienced the same issue with this methylprednisolone which we have been using for a few months now. Much more common that it clogs the 25 gauge needles than the 22s, but I've seen it clog the 22s as well.
#13 Be very careful if any of you use this methypred...This entire box clots off my needles, to the point I cannot inject through it...All the way down to 22g.
I've diluted with saline, local, even dexamethasone.
If any of you use this brand, are there steps necessary to dilute this? We weren't told anything like that. First box we've purchased.
View attachment 347134 Same issue. I'm scared to put that in the spine. Use it for joints only
#14 Same issue. I'm scared to put that in the spine. Use it for joints only
Potential for severe harm is there, and we sent a notice to the company.
We do NOT need another major news story like the fungal incident yrs ago.
#15 Potential for severe harm is there, and we sent a notice to the company. We do NOT need another major news story like the fungal incident yrs ago.
One more of those and cms will then find that esi has no role and will be gone even though the issue is not with us
#16 One more of those and cms will then find that esi has no role and will be gone even though the issue is not with us
We've reached out to the company. If I'm lucky to get on the phone with someone I'm sure they can deny liability given it isn't recommended for use in the epidural space.
Jean-Marc Vall(C)e cause of death revealed
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 13:46
New details have emerged about ''Dallas Buyers Club'' filmmaker Jean-Marc Vall(C)e's unexpected passing.
The 58-year-old director is believed to have died from a heart attack at his cabin outside Quebec City over Christmas, sources told Deadline.
The ''Big Little Lies'' filmmaker was prepping to host guests over the weekend, sources said, adding that it is likely he died Dec. 25 and was found the following morning.
Vall(C)e was a health enthusiast, who abstained from drinking, worked out constantly and practiced Wim Hof's extreme breathing methods, which involve holding one's breath for long periods of time, often in frigid environments.
Jean-Marc Vall(C)e passed away over the weekend at 58. Getty ImagesTributes poured in for the director Monday and many celebrities shared heartbroken condolences for their fallen friend.
''Spy'' director Paul Feig tweeted, ''My god, this is so unbelievably sad. What a huge loss. He was an incredibly talented filmmaker. Sending much love and condolences to his family. #RIPJeanMarc.''
''Big Little Lies'' stars Shailene Woodley and Reese Witherspoon also paid tribute.
''I am in shock. Complete and utter shock,'' began Woodley, 30, via her Instagram Stories. ''My f''king god death is the worst. But I guess somehow I know you will turn it into a grand adventure '... one for the books. One I can't wait to read & to watch when my time comes.''
The actress added, ''It doesn't make sense though dude. It doesn't make sense. Maybe when we wake up tomorrow you'll be there laughing saying it was just a satirical short film you made. That it's not real.''
Vallee and the cast of ''Big Little Lies,'' Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley. Getty ImagesWitherspoon, 45, tweeted out, ''My heart is broken. My friend. I love you.''
The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, also wrote, ''Jean-Marc Vall(C)e's passion for filmmaking and storytelling was unmatched '' so too was his talent. Through his work and with his art, he left a mark in Quebec, across Canada, and around the world. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and fans as they mourn his sudden passing.''
The ''Young Victoria'' director is survived by his two sons, Alex and ‰mile, as well as siblings Marie-Jos(C)e Vall(C)e, St(C)phane Tousignant and G(C)rald Vall(C)e.
GE Completes Acquisition of Alstom Power and Grid Businesses | GE News
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 13:38
PARIS, FRANCE - November 2, 2015 - GE [NYSE:GE] announced today that it has completed the acquisition of Alstom's power and grid businesses. The completion of the transaction follows the regulatory approval of the deal in over 20 countries and regions including the EU, U.S., China, India, Japan and Brazil. It is GE's largest-ever industrial acquisition.
GE reached an agreement with Alstom in 2014 to purchase Alstom's power and grid businesses for '‚¬12.35 billion. Adjusting for the joint ventures announced in June 2014 (renewables, grid, and nuclear), changes in the deal structure, price adjustments for remedies, net cash at close, and including the effects of currency, the purchase price is '‚¬9.7B (approximately $10.6B). This includes working capital usage of approximately '‚¬0.6B in the month of October. GE expects the deal to generate $0.05-0.08 of earnings per share in 2016 and $0.15-0.20 of earnings per share by 2018. GE is targeting $3.0 billion in cost synergies in year five and strong deal returns. The overall economics and strategic rationale remain the same as GE announced in April 2014.
''The completion of the Alstom power and grid acquisition is another significant step in GE's transformation,'' said Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO, GE. ''The complementary technology, global capability, installed base, and talent of Alstom will further our core industrial growth. We are open for business and ready to deliver one of the most comprehensive technology offerings in the energy sector for our customers.''
Customers will realize immediate benefit from the combination of GE and Alstom, including these current projects:
· PSEG Sewaren (New Jersey combined cycle power plant): GE 7HA gas turbine + Alstom heat recovery steam generator (HRSG)
· Punjab Pakistan Bhikki (Pakistan combined cycle power plant): two GE 9HA gas turbines + Alstom steam turbine
· Exelon Power Plants (Texas power projects): four GE 7HA gas turbines + four Alstom HRSGs
· Chempark (Leverkusen, Germany combined heat and power project): GE 9HA gas turbine.
In addition, GE and Alstom are both preferred bidders for a combined cycle plant project in Asia that would use two GE 7HA gas turbines, two Alstom HRSGs and one Alstom steam generator, and Alstom is the preferred bidder for Arabelle steam turbines in two UK nuclear reactors; the preferred bidder for boilers, steam turbines and generators a clean coal project in the Middle East; and has successfully delivered India's first 800 kV High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) power transformer for the Champa-Kurukshetra project.
GE also announced today it has completed the sale of its rail signaling business to Alstom for approximately $800 million.
GE continues to execute its strategy to become a simpler, more focused company. In addition to the Alstom acquisition, the split-off of Synchrony Financial has commenced; the GE Capital exit strategy is ahead of plan, with $126 billion of signed dispositions; the recent formation of GE Digital is consolidating all digital capabilities across the company to provide customers with the best industrial solutions and software; and GE is winning in the marketplace and delivering strong financial results.
A call will be held to update investors on December 3, 2015. Visit
For more information on the deal visit
About GE:
GE (NYSE: GE) is the world's Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the "GE Store," through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry.
Media Contacts:
Jim Healy
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+1 518 852 9568 or +33603399299
Seth Martin
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+1 203 572 3567
Investor Contact:
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[email protected]
Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements:
This document contains "forward-looking statements" - that is, statements related to future, not past, events. In this context, forward-looking statements often address our expected future business and financial performance and financial condition, and often contain words such as "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "believe," "seek," "see," "will," "would," or "target." Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain, such as statements about our announced plan to reduce the size of our financial services businesses, including expected cash and non-cash charges associated with this plan; expected income; earnings per share; revenues; organic growth; margins; cost structure; restructuring charges; cash flows; return on capital; capital expenditures, capital allocation or capital structure; dividends; and the split between Industrial and GE Capital earnings. For us, particular uncertainties that could cause our actual results to be materially different than those expressed in our forward-looking statements include: obtaining (or the timing of obtaining) any required regulatory reviews or approvals or any other consents or approvals associated with our announced plan to reduce the size of our financial services businesses; our ability to complete incremental asset sales as part of that plan in a timely manner (or at all) and at the prices we have assumed; changes in law, economic and financial conditions, including interest and exchange rate volatility, commodity and equity prices and the value of financial assets, including the impact of these conditions on our ability to sell or the value of incremental assets to be sold as part of our announced plan to reduce the size of our financial services businesses as well as other aspects of that plan; the impact of conditions in the financial and credit markets on the availability and cost of GECC's funding, and GECC's exposure to counterparties; the impact of conditions in the housing market and unemployment rates on the level of commercial and consumer credit defaults; pending and future mortgage loan repurchase claims and other litigation claims in connection with WMC, which may affect our estimates of liability, including possible loss estimates; our ability to maintain our current credit rating and the impact on our funding costs and competitive position if we do not do so; the adequacy of our cash flows and earnings and other conditions which may affect our ability to pay our quarterly dividend at the planned level or to repurchase shares at planned levels; GECC's ability to pay dividends to GE at the planned level, which may be affected by GECC's cash flows and earnings, financial services regulation and oversight, and other factors; our ability to convert pre-order commitments/wins into orders; the price we realize on orders since commitments/wins are stated at list prices; customer actions or developments such as early aircraft retirements or reduced energy demand and other factors that may affect the level of demand and financial performance of the major industries and customers we serve; the effectiveness of our risk management framework; the impact of regulation and regulatory, investigative and legal proceedings and legal compliance risks, including the impact of financial services regulation and litigation; adverse market conditions, timing of and ability to obtain required bank regulatory approvals, or other factors relating to us or Synchrony Financial that could prevent us from completing the Synchrony Financial split-off as planned; our capital allocation plans, as such plans may change including with respect to the timing and size of share repurchases, acquisitions, joint ventures, dispositions and other strategic actions; our success in completing, including obtaining regulatory approvals for, announced transactions, such as the proposed transactions and alliances with Alstom and Appliances and our announced plan and transactions to reduce the size of our financial services businesses, and our ability to realize anticipated earnings and savings; our success in integrating acquired businesses and operating joint ventures; the impact of potential information technology or data security breaches; and the other factors that are described in "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014. These or other uncertainties may cause our actual future results to be materially different than those expressed in our forward-looking statements. We do not undertake to update our forward-looking statements.
This document includes certain forward-looking projected financial information that is based on current estimates and forecasts. Actual results could differ materially.
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Israel May Give 4th Dose of Covid Shot, Despite Experts' Doubts - The New York Times
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 11:55
Some scientists warn that too many shots might actually harm the body's ability to fight the Covid-19 virus. But Israeli experts say there isn't time to wait.
Older Israelis received a third Covid-19 vaccine in Tel Aviv in August. Credit... Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press Published Dec. 23, 2021 Updated Dec. 25, 2021
JERUSALEM '-- Israel is considering whether to approve a fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose for vulnerable people to contain the fast-spreading Omicron variant, despite debate among scientists and a lack of evidence either for or against another booster.
The panel of experts advising the Israeli government on the pandemic recognized that uncertainty, but on Tuesday it recommended giving a fourth dose, concluding that the potential benefits outweighed the risks. It pointed to signs of waning immunity a few months after the third shot, and said that any delay in additional doses might prove too late to protect those most at risk.
But some scientists warned that the plan could backfire, because too many shots might cause a sort of immune system fatigue, compromising the body's ability to fight the coronavirus. A few members of the government's advisory panel raised that concern with respect to the elderly, according to a written summary of the discussion obtained by The New York Times.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, has made clear he supports a fourth shot, and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz has suggested that a new round of boosters could get underway by Sunday. But by Thursday evening, the health ministry had not acted on the advice, and a senior ministry official said it was waiting for more data from other countries.
Israel, a small country with an efficient public health system, was a leader in rolling out the first round of Covid vaccinations and later in giving booster shots, so its results have been closely watched by the rest of the world. Its aggressive pace has put Israel in position to assess early how effective the shots are and how quickly the protection wears off.
''The price will be higher if we don't vaccinate,'' Dr. Boaz Lev, the head of the advisory panel, said at a news conference late Wednesday. Describing the spread of Omicron as ''a kind of tsunami or tornado,'' he added, ''We don't have a lot of time to make decisions.''
Image Health workers treat patients in the coronavirus ward at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, Israel in August. Credit... Maya Alleruzzo/Associated Press With Omicron sweeping the world at alarming speed, governments are scrambling to figure out how to contain it in the face of significant public pressure against reimposing harsh restrictions on daily life, curbing holiday celebrations and deepening the economic pain wrought by two years of pandemic.
A new British report shows that booster doses are less effective against Omicron than previous variants, and their effectiveness wears off faster '-- within 10 weeks. Vaccine makers are trying to adjust their shots to target Omicron.
In addition to concerns that a fourth shot in less than a year could actually weaken immunity, some experts said Israel's government had still not made the most of other options, such as vaccinating more of the unvaccinated or giving a third shot to about a million eligible citizens who have so far not received one.
Along with the generally sparse knowledge about Omicron, the effect of a fourth dose against the new variant is also unknown. But the country's medical experts point to waning immunity in those 60 or older, who were the first to receive the third shot starting in August.
Israeli researchers from the Health Ministry and several academic institutions presented data to the advisory team that made the recommendation for the fourth shot on Tuesday. The presentation, obtained by The Times, showed a doubling of the rate of infection from Delta among the 60-plus age group within four or five months of the third shot.
There was no clear indication of reduced efficacy against severe illness.
Israel has confirmed a few hundred cases of Omicron, but officials say the new variant is much more widespread, and could overtake Delta as the dominant variant in the country within two or three weeks.
Image A main street in Jerusalem's Old City still had some stalls and restaurants open this week. Most of the visitors were local residents. Credit... Amit Elkayam for The New York Times Given the fear of a major Omicron outbreak during the winter, when the hospitals are already overflowing with patients with complications of flu and other respiratory ailments, the advisory panel voted overwhelmingly to recommend a fourth dose for people over 60, those with compromised immune systems and health workers, to be administered at least four months after their third shots.
The panel did not recommend a fourth shot for the wider population at this stage. But it did advise giving the third dose three months after the second, rather than the current wait of five months.
While there is evidence that Omicron, discovered just last month, usually causes milder illness than earlier variants, Israeli officials said that by the time they have clearer information, it might be too late to protect the people most at risk.
''We can sit in our academic armchairs and wait for research from abroad,'' said Dr. Tal Brosh, another member of the advisory panel, ''but that's a kind of privilege we don't feel we have.''
Israel began giving the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last December and had inoculated a significant share of its population before many wealthy countries had even started. In the spring it became the first country in the world to vaccinate most of its population. Mr. Bennett, the prime minister, prided himself on an early decision in late July to administer the third shot, crediting it with successfully containing the Delta wave while keeping schools and the economy open.
The emergence of Omicron threatens to reverse those gains and send the country back into a kind of lockdown. But Israel was quick to tighten border controls and bar most foreign nationals from visiting, and it is compiling an ever-growing red list of countries with high infection rates to which Israelis may not travel without special permission, including the United States and Canada.
Mr. Bennett enthusiastically welcomed the panel's recommendation of a fourth shot this week, saying, ''The citizens of Israel were the first in the world to receive a third dose, and we are continuing to lead with the fourth.''
The Coronavirus Pandemic: Key Things to KnowGermany's health minister, Karl Lauterbach, said Thursday that he expected Germans would be getting another booster in the next year, depending on how long the protection of the third shot lasts.
But some medical professionals have suggested putting on the brakes.
Prof. Hagai Levine, an epidemiologist and chairman of the Israel Association of Public Health Physicians, said that Israel was not seeing a sharp rise in infections yet '-- daily infections are at around 1,200 a day, down from 11,000 at the peak of the Delta wave in August '-- and there was no evidence that a fourth shot was needed to prevent severe illness from Omicron.
''I respect the opinion of those who say better safe than sorry,'' Professor Levine said in an interview, ''and there is no problem with being prepared. But before giving a fourth shot, it is preferable to wait for the science.''
Image A man received his third dose of the coronavirus vaccine in Jerusalem in August. Credit... Ronen Zvulun/Reuters Another vocal critic, Prof. Dror Mevorach, who heads the coronavirus ward at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, also urged waiting for more data.
''Just because we led with the third dose does not mean that there should be a fourth dose with no scientific basis,'' he said. Decreasing antibodies over time is natural, he said, and boosting antibodies may have limited benefit.
The government advisory panel said its recommendation for a fourth shot stemmed from the particular confluence of Omicron and the additional burden on the health system during the winter, and may not lead so quickly to a fifth.
At first, many Israelis considered their country's lead in vaccinating the public to be a privilege and a ticket to a quick return to normal life. But the prospect of a fourth vaccination within a year was giving some pause.
''Like many people, I'm very ambivalent,'' said Chely Edery, 59, the owner of a gift store in Jerusalem. ''The last thing I want is for my business to close, but I have the feeling that this time, they don't know enough.''
Benny Muchawsky, 80, an architect, said it seemed like hysteria.
''Israel is the laboratory for the coronavirus vaccine,'' he said.
Christopher F. Schuetze in Hanover, Germany contributed reporting.
The Biden Administration Rejected an October Proposal for ''Free Rapid Tests for the Holidays'' | Vanity Fair
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 11:28
On October 22, a group of COVID-19 testing experts joined a Zoom call with officials from the Biden administration and presented a strategy for overhauling America's approach to testing.
The 10-page plan, which Vanity Fair has obtained, would enable the U.S. to finally do what many other countries had already done: Put rapid at-home COVID-19 testing into the hands of average citizens, allowing them to screen themselves in real time and thereby help reduce transmission. The plan called for an estimated 732 million tests per month, a number that would require a major ramp-up of manufacturing capacity. It also recommended, right on the first page, a nationwide ''Testing Surge to Prevent Holiday COVID Surge.''
The antigen tests at the center of the plan can detect the virus when patients are at their most contagious. Though less sensitive than polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory tests, which can detect the virus's genetic material at any stage of infection, antigen tests provide a quick snapshot in time for those seeking assurance that they are safe to travel or won't accidentally infect vulnerable relatives.
The plan, in effect, was a blueprint for how to avoid what is happening at this very moment'--endless lines of desperate Americans clamoring for tests in order to safeguard holiday gatherings, just as COVID-19 is exploding again. Yesterday, President Biden told David Muir of ABC News, ''I wish I had thought about ordering'' 500 million at-home tests ''two months ago.'' But the proposal shared at the meeting in October, disclosed here for the first time, included a ''Bold Plan for Impact'' and a provision for ''Every American Household to Receive Free Rapid Tests for the Holidays/New Year.''
Three days after the meeting, on October 25, the COVID-19 testing experts'--who hailed from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Rockefeller Foundation, the COVID Collaborative, and several other organizations'--received a back channel communication from a White House official. Their big, bold idea for free home tests for all Americans to avoid a holiday surge, they were told, was dead. That day, the administration instead announced an initiative to move rapid home tests more swiftly through the FDA's regulatory approval process.
The meeting attendees came away with mixed opinions. ''The White House, in baseball terms, was playing small ball,'' said Dr. Steven Phillips, a vice president of science and strategy for the Covid Collaborative, a team of high-level experts working to develop consensus recommendations for policy makers. ''When it comes to rapid testing, they're bunting the players along.'' But Andrew Sweet, managing director of COVID-19 response and recovery at the Rockefeller Foundation, found the White House ''responsive'' and believes the meeting laid the groundwork for future announcements.
An administration official who attended the meeting told Vanity Fair that, while everyone present shared the same goal of expanding rapid testing as soon as possible, the plan could not be implemented at that time: ''We did not have capacity to manufacture over-the-counter tests at that scale.'' The problem, in essence, was twofold: The FDA had authorized only a handful of different home tests, and those it had authorized could not increase manufacturing fast enough.
On December 2, with omicron threatening an imminent wave of new infections, Biden announced a smattering of smaller-scale plans that included requiring insurance companies to reimburse privately insured patients who buy at-home rapid tests, which sell for as much as $35 for a box of two tests'--if you can find them amid widespread shortages. Four days after that, White House press secretary Jen Psaki seemed to deride the very idea of free nationwide home tests. ''Should we just send one to every American?'' she mused sarcastically from the briefing room podium. ''Then what happens if you'--if every American has one test? How much does that cost, and then what happens after that?''
The fury with which public-health experts greeted Psaki's comments reflected their longstanding frustration with an administration that, in their view, has put almost all its focus on vaccinating the American public, at the expense of other critical aspects of the response, from getting shots into arms overseas to making high-quality masks widely available. The rapid-test push, in particular, seems to have bumped up against the peculiar challenges of fighting COVID-19 in the 21st-century United States. Difficulties include a regulatory gauntlet intent on vetting devices for exquisite sensitivity, rather than public-health utility; a medical fiefdom in which doctors tend to view patient test results as theirs alone to convey; and a policy suspicion, however inchoate, that too many rapid tests might somehow signal to wary Americans that they could test their way through the pandemic and skip vaccinations altogether. ''It's undeniable that [the administration] took a vaccine-only approach,'' said Dr. Michael Mina, a vocal advocate for rapid testing who attended the October White House meeting. The U.S. government ''didn't support the notion of testing as a proper mitigation tool.''
On Tuesday, faced with a terrifying omicron surge, a stampede of holiday travel, and images of Americans waiting in hours-long testing lines from Brooklyn to Miami, Biden finally announced that his administration would do what many experts had been urging since the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic: Give Americans the ability to diagnose themselves. The federal government will launch a website next month where individuals can request free rapid tests that will be mailed to their homes. That plan requires 500 million test kits that the administration has yet to procure.
''The administration has been focused on expanding testing since the very beginning,'' Dr. Tom Inglesby, who in January will become senior adviser for testing on the White House COVID-19 response team, told Vanity Fair. ''It has always been a major pillar of the approach.'' When Biden took office, there were no rapid, at-home COVID tests on the market; there are now 13. And the monthly supply has almost quadrupled since late summer. The administration has invested more than $23 billion on expanding testing, surging manufacturing capacity, and improving genomic sequencing, according to Mara Aspinall, cofounder of the biomedical diagnostics program at Arizona State University.
"Look, There Is No Federal Solution": Biden Backtracks On Vow To 'Shut Down' Covid-19 | ZeroHedge
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 11:27
On October 22, 2020, then-candidate Joe Biden vowed to "shut down the virus, not the country."
14 months later, now-President Biden just admitted that there's no 'federal solution' to the pandemic, and that it's up to individual states to do what he promised.
"Look, there is no federal solution," he said during a call with state governors. "This gets solved at state level '... and that ultimately gets down to where the rubber meets the road, and that's where the patient is in need of help '-- or preventing the need for help."
"My message to the governors is simple: if you need something, say something. We're going to have your back in any way we can," Biden added.
BIDEN, TODAY: ''There is no federal solution'' to COVID.BIDEN, 2020: ''I'm going to shut down the virus.''
'-- RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 27, 2021NOW - Biden departs to Delaware beach house after telling governors there is "no federal solution" on COVID and it should be "solved at the state level."
'-- (@disclosetv) December 27, 2021(h/t Becker News)
Things already weren't looking good on the 'shutting down' front last week...
Biden said he would shut down the virus. He lied.
'-- RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 20, 2021Biden's admission comes days after a Vanity Fair report which revealed that the Biden admin rejected an October proposal to provide rapid at-home tests to Americans before the holidays, allowing them to screen themselves at will and thereby help reduce transmission.
The plan, in effect, was a blueprint for how to avoid what is happening at this very moment'--endless lines of desperate Americans clamoring for tests in order to safeguard holiday gatherings, just as COVID-19 is exploding again. Yesterday, President Biden told David Muir of ABC News, ''I wish I had thought about ordering'' 500 million at-home tests ''two months ago.'' But the proposal shared at the meeting in October, disclosed here for the first time, included a ''Bold Plan for Impact'' and a provision for ''Every American Household to Receive Free Rapid Tests for the Holidays/New Year.'' -VF
In short, Biden isn't even trying to 'shut down' the virus.
Adding insult to injury, White House Press Secretary scoffed at the idea of nationwide home tests three weeks ago.
"Should we just send one to every American?"
Jen Psaki somewhat mockingly asks reporter at the White House Daily Press Briefing if the US should be sending out rapid #COVID19 tests to every household.In the UK you can order 1 pack (containing 7 tests) everyday.
'-- Matt Karolian (@mkarolian) December 6, 2021Astounding.
'-- Defiant L's (@DefiantLs) December 27, 2021
Google Year in Search de populairste zoekopdrachten van 2021
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 10:57
Het is einde jaar, tijd voor ontelbare lijstjes over welk onderwerp dan ook. Maar heel eerlijk er is natuurlijk maar (C)(C)n ultieme plek waar je echt kunt zien wat ons bezig heeft gehouden het afgelopen jaar. Die plek heet Google en dat zal waarschijnlijk niet snel veranderen. We kunnen immers al heel lang niet zonder de populairste zoekmachine ter wereld en gebruiken Google dagelijks.
De uitspraak dat Google alles eerder weet is nu eenmaal een feit. Ons zoekgedrag is op dat punt heel bepalend. Traditioneel komt de zoekmachine jaarlijks met hun 'Year in Search', een overzicht van de meest populaire zoekopdrachten van het afgelopen jaar. Achteraf blijkt vaak dat we veel onderwerpen alweer vergeten zijn. Maak zelf maar een eigen lijstje met onderwerpen waarvan jij denkt dat die trending waren het afgelopen jaar. En daarna vergelijk je het met Google.
Google Year in Search 2021 (Video)De video van Year in Search 2021 is een mix van momenten uit de internationale trendinglijsten. Volgens Google is het opvallend dat mensen over de hele wereld en in alle talen meer dan ooit op zoek waren naar onderwerpen die met genezing te maken hadden. Er bleek het afgelopen jaar vooral een wereldwijd verlangen te zijn om te helen, waarbij vragen als 'zelfgenezing', 'hoe te genezen van trauma's' en 'helingsproces' nieuwe hoogten bereikten.
De populairste zoekopdrachten in NederlandHet zal niemand verrassen dat het trieste nieuws rond Peter R. de Vries in Nederland de meest gezochte zoekopdracht is geweest. Het EK voetbal scoorde eveneens hoog net als de Stemwijzer. Covid-19 of Corona (vorig jaar meest gezocht) verdween uit de top-10 mede waarschijnlijk door de aanhoudende overload van de dagelijkse berichtgeving over het onderwerp. De zoekopdrachten die hier aan gerelateerd zijn, staan in een eigen categorie.Algemeen1) Peter R. de Vries
2) EK 20213) Stemwijzer4) Avondklok5) Testen voor Toegang6) Sneeuwradar7) Olympische Spelen8) iPhone 139) Nelson Valkenburg10) WhatsApp storing
Coronavirus1) Avondklok2) Testen voor Toegang3) Coronatest4) Coronacijfers5) CoronaCheck-app6) PrullenbakVaccin7) Vaccinatieafspraak maken8) Janssen-vaccin9) Coronavaccinatie10) RIVM vaccinatie
1) iPhone 132) WhatsApp storing3) Microsoft Teams4) CoronaCheck-app5) Zoom6) Vodafone storing7) FIFA 228) Wombo AI9) Clubhouse10) Among Us
TV, Series en Films1) Squid Game2) Bridgerton3) Deal or No Deal4) The Serpent5) Big Brother6) Lupin7) Dansmarathon8) Ex on the Beach9) Expeditie Robinson10) Sinterklaasjournaal
Je vraagt het GoogleNaast het zoeken op onderwerpen gebruiken we Google ook steeds vaker voor het vinden van antwoorden op dingen die we niet altijd weten. Het zijn vragen die bijvoorbeeld met Hoe- en Wat is- beginnen. De meest populaire vragen verbazen wel. Wat is matineus is blijkbaar iets wat ons bezig houdt.
Hoe?1) Hoe laat speelt Nederland?
2) Hoe oud is Stefan de Vries?3) Hoe kom ik aan het gele boekje?4) Hoe laat is de persconferentie?5) Hoe gaat het met Peter R. de Vries?6) Hoe lang duurt corona?7) Hoe betrouwbaar is een zelftest?8) Hoe laat begint de F1?9) Hoe lang in quarantaine?10) Hoe moet je stemmen?
Wat is?1) Wat is 2G?
2) Wat is een antigeentest?3) Wat is een flixie?4) Wat is cenosillicafobie?5) Wat is matineus?6) Wat is de toeslagenaffaire?7) Wat is een zelfstandig naamwoord?8) Wat is Clubhouse?9) Wat is een TIA?10) Wat is een lijdend voorwerp?
Biden pivots to home tests to confront omicron surge | AP News
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 02:43
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Fighting the omicron variant surging through the country, President Joe Biden announced the government will provide 500 million free rapid home-testing kits, increase support for hospitals under strain and redouble vaccination and boosting efforts.
At the White House on Tuesday, Biden detailed major changes to his COVID-19 winter plan, his hand forced by the fast-spreading variant, whose properties are not yet fully understood by scientists. Yet his message was clear that the winter holidays could be close to normal for the vaccinated while potentially dangerous for the unvaccinated.
His pleas are not political, he emphasized. He noted that former President Donald Trump has gotten his booster shot, and he said it's Americans' ''patriotic duty'' to get vaccinated.
''It's the only responsible thing to do,'' the president said. ''Omicron is serious and potentially deadly business for unvaccinated people.''
Biden chastised social media and people on cable TV who have made misleading statements to discourage people from getting vaccinated.
The outbreak from this latest strain of the coronavirus has required the federal government to get more aggressive in addressing the wave of infections, but Biden promised a weary nation that there would not be a mass lockdown of schools or businesses.
''I know you're tired, and I know you're frustrated. We all want this to be over. But we're still in it,'' Biden said. ''We also have more tools than we had before. We're ready, we'll get through this.''
Scientists don't know everything about omicron yet, but they do know that vaccination should offer strong protection against severe illness and death. The variant has spread at such an alarming rate since it was identified in South Africa about a month ago that the Biden administration snapped into action to offer new tests and additional aid. Still more is needed, some medical experts said.
A cornerstone of the plan is for the government to purchase 500 million coronavirus rapid tests for free shipment to Americans starting in January. People will use a new website to order their tests, which will then be sent by U.S. mail at no charge. The 500 million could be increased, depending on developments.
It marks a major shift for Biden, who earlier had called for many Americans to purchase the hard-to-find tests on their own and then seek reimbursement from health insurance. For the first time, the U.S. government will send free COVID-19 tests directly to Americans, after more than a year of urging by public health experts.
Experts had criticized Biden's initial buy-first, get-paid-later approach as unwieldy and warned that the U.S. would face another round of testing problems at a critical time. Testing advocates point to nations including the U.K. and Germany, which have distributed billions of tests to the public and recommend people test themselves twice a week.
The federal government will also establish new testing sites and use the Defense Production Act to help manufacture more tests. The first new federally supported testing site will open in New York this week. The new sites will add to 20,000 already available. White House officials said they're working with Google so that people will be able to find them by searching ''free COVID test near me.''
Still, Biden's testing surge would need to be supported by a further jump in production for all Americans to test at the recommended rate of twice weekly. The U.S. would need 2.3 billion tests per month for everyone 12 and older to do that, according to the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. That's nearly five times the half-billion tests Biden will deploy.
Currently, the U.S. can conduct about 600 million tests per month, with home tests accounting for about half, according to researchers from Arizona State University.
In another prong to Biden's amped-up plan, he is prepared to deploy an additional 1,000 troops with medical skills to assist hospitals buckling under the virus surge. Also, he is immediately sending federal medical personnel to Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Hampshire and Vermont. And there are plans to ready additional ventilators and protective equipment from the national stockpile, expanding hospital resources.
As a backstop, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will deploy hundreds of ambulances and paramedic teams so that if one hospital fills up, it can transport patients to open beds in another. Ambulances are already headed to New York and Maine, and paramedic teams are going to New Hampshire, Vermont and Arizona.
But vaccination remains the main defense, since it can head off disease in the first place. The government will support multiple vaccination sites and provide hundreds of personnel to administer shots. New rules will make it easier for pharmacists to work across state lines to administer a broader range of shots.
Biden said in response to a question that he may lift the Southern Africa travel ban that was imposed to delay omicron from reaching the U.S.
Some prominent experts said that Biden's new actions are a step in the right direction but he hasn't gone far enough, given the risks of infections and hospitals being overwhelmed.
''I don't know that the measures being proposed are going to be adequate,'' said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Hotez said the government may need to authorize a second booster shot for health care workers to prevent infections that would sideline clinicians when all hands are needed.
Dr. Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, said the administration ''finally sees the light'' with Biden's plan to ship 500 million tests, but ''we need to pull out all the stops, and we're not doing that still.''
''We don't have control of this pandemic here,'' said Topol.
He said the government could redefine ''fully vaccinated'' as three shots instead of two of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Biden could order a ban on air travel by people who are not fully vaccinated, and the government could use its authority to ramp up production of high quality masks for free distribution.
''There's a lack of boldness,'' Topol said. ''I am disappointed.''
Scientists say omicron spreads even more easily than other coronavirus strains, including delta. It accounted for nearly three-quarters of new U.S. infections last week.
Underscoring the reach of the virus, the White House said late Monday that Biden had been in close contact with a staff member who later tested positive for COVID-19. The staffer spent about 30 minutes around the president on Air Force One on Friday. The staffer, who was fully vaccinated and boosted, tested positive Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Psaki said Biden has tested negative twice since Sunday and will test again on Wednesday. He cleared his throat several times at Tuesday's event but spoke firmly and appeared fine.
In New York City, nearly 42,600 people citywide tested positive from Wednesday through Saturday '-- compared with fewer than 35,800 in the entire month of November. The city has never had so many people test positive in such a short period of time since testing became widely available.
Associated Press writers Matthew Perrone, Darlene Superville and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to show the trip was from Orangeburg, not Orange.
NASCAR driver who unintentionally sparked 'Let's Go Brandon' chant says corporations don't want to sponsor him | Fox Business
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 22:43
The NASCAR driver who recently rose in fame after unintentionally sparking the "Let's Go Brandon!" phrase says he's had a hard time finding corporate sponsors following the chant going viral.
"It got extremely difficult for us. '... If you're a national corporation, that means you sell to all consumers '... and unfortunately, when you get dragged into the political arena, people want you to take a side,'" Brown told Sports Business Journal in a recent interview.
CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 09: Brandon Brown, driver of the #68 American PetroLog Chevrolet, walks the grid prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 250 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Spee (Getty / Getty Images)
"It's hard for a brand to want to attach to somebody who might be kind of divisive in their consumer base. If I'm going to divide Coca-Cola, why would they want to talk to me?"
The phrase "Let's Go Brandon" took over social media In October after an NBC interview with Brown. Fans of NASCAR were chanting "F--- Joe Biden" during the interview, and in an apparent attempt to steer the interview away from politics, reporter Kelli Stavast said they were chanting "Let's Go Brandon" in support of Brown.
The phrase soon became synonymous with criticisms of President Biden, and rang out at concerts, sports games and events where Biden has spoken.
"So the short answer is it's been tough to connect with partnerships just because it's kind of viewed as a ticking time bomb: 'What is he doing to choose or say and how would that effect our consumer base?' It's too much of a risk.' I understand it on their side but it's made it really hard to tie everything down," Brown continued.
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS - OCTOBER 23: Brandon Brown, driver of the #68 Chevrolet, waves to fans during pre-race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on October 23, 2021 in Kansas City, Kans (Getty)
Just on Christmas Eve, controversy was sparked when a dad of four called to speak with Biden and the first lady during a holiday-themed event and said the phrase live on the call.
"I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas as well. Merry Christmas and Let's go, Brandon!" the dad, identified as Jared Schmeck from Oregon, said at the end of the call.
President-elect Joe Biden leaves The Queen theater, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP Images)
Biden responded: "Let's go, Brandon, I agree."
The president then asked Schmeck where in Oregon he is from, but no one responded.
"I think we lost him," Biden said.
Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2022 - WSJ
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 22:25
Our tech columnists look ahead to electric cars that don't break the bank, earbuds that gauge your health, a fix for social media's harms, package deliveries from above and more
A Facebookname change? A colossal global chip shortage? Digital art selling for millions? No crystal ball could have shown us what 2021 in tech would look like.
That's part of the fun and excitement of this yearly exercise, where our team puts together predictions for what's to come. Even with our best analysis of current trends, industry experts and Ouija boards, there's no way to see it all coming.
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A Facebook name change? A colossal global chip shortage? Digital art selling for millions? No crystal ball could have shown us what 2021 in tech would look like.
That's part of the fun and excitement of this yearly exercise, where our team puts together predictions for what's to come. Even with our best analysis of current trends, industry experts and Ouija boards, there's no way to see it all coming.
What we can say confidently is that 2022 will be full of excitement for new technologies (see: mixed reality and home robots), continuing discussion of tech's impact on our world (see: social media and sustainability) and plenty of curveballs because lately it feels like all curveballs.
Here's our list:
EVs on the cheapThe days when people hunting for an electric vehicle had only a handful of choices are over. By the end of 2022, U.S. car buyers could have more than 100 different models to choose from. And many forthcoming models will be more affordable than what was available just a year or two ago.
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EVs still make up less than 3% of passenger vehicles on U.S. roads, and research suggests price will be key to their wider adoption. (Another key is infrastructure. America has only a fraction of the public fast chargers experts say it will need.)
Globally, the average sticker price of EVs has declined 30% from 2015 to 2020, even as average range has increased 45%, says Scott Shepard, a principal research analyst at Guidehouse, a corporate consulting firm. He expects that trend to continue in 2022, with at least four more models of EV priced below $40,000 arriving in the U.S. market.
The Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck (with a starting MSRP of $39,974) may prove instructive. Ford had to close preorders for F-150 Lightnings after receiving nearly 200,000 of them; 75% are buyers who had never purchased a Ford before, according to the company's latest earnings report.
Meanwhile, Nissan slashed the starting price of its venerable Leaf EV to $28,375 from $32,620, making it less expensive (after a $7,500 federal tax credit) than a comparable conventional 2022 Honda Civic hatchback. Many other models with starting prices under $40,000 from Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia , Mazda , Mini and Volkswagen
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are either here already or will be soon.
Sustainable sustainability Microsoft made a mouse with recovered ocean plastic. Apple 's latest iPhone and iPad models contain recycled materials. Amazon 's new Echo display, also made with recycled plastics, saves energy while idle. Every major tech keynote in 2021 featured a pro-climate component, and there will be much more to come in 2022.
The sector has arguably a larger carbon footprint than the aviation industry, and tech companies are working to reverse course with sustainability efforts that now include the design of our phones, tablets and computers.
Sustainability also means holding on to the same devices longer. ''The real problem is that the industry develops products with very short life time, that are hard to repair and that go to landfills,'' said Magali Delmas, professor of management at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Device makers are attempting to address that, too. Apple is launching a self-service repair program in early 2022 to allow customers and independent technicians to repair devices using genuine Apple parts, a move Right to Repair advocates long lobbied for. And Dell recently showed off Luna, a concept laptop with fewer screws and no fan for maximum repairability.
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Kidproofing social mediaIn 2021, the world got the idea that social-media apps'--especially Instagram and TikTok'--haven't been doing enough to protect younger users from seeing harmful content and getting sucked in by addictive features. In 2022, we'll see more efforts to protect children, by lawmakers and by the social-media companies themselves.
For the early part of the new year, Instagram has promised to roll out alternatives to its main algorithmically driven feed, where users currently have little control over what they see. Instagram head Adam Mosseri also told a Senate subcommittee in December that the company would release more parental controls for teens in 2022, starting in March with a feature that allows parents to set time limits.
TikTok said it has begun to make changes to its algorithm so people don't end up with feeds dominated by videos about eating disorders, depression and other possibly harmful topics. A company spokeswoman said it would continue to limit features by age and provide tools for parents.
Unconvinced that the companies will make the changes needed on their own, however, lawmakers are working on new bipartisan legislation. Sens. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) and Bill Cassidy (R., La.) have reintroduced the Children and Teens' Online Privacy Protection Act, or Coppa 2.0, which would extend current privacy protections to users 13 to 15 years old, ban personalized advertising to kids entirely, and more. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) and
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Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) are working on legislation to require more transparency into social-media algorithms.
Chips ahoyBeginning in early 2020, global lockdowns led to a surge in demand for the things microchips go into'--smartphones for staying connected, laptops and PCs for working and studying from home, automobiles in lieu of public transit.
That led to record demand for chips in 2020 and throughout the first half of 2021. There are signs that demand has begun to soften. Third-quarter sales of smartphones in China, the world's biggest market for them, declined 9% compared with a year before. (Apple, however, said it continues to see strong demand for iPhones and predicts a record profit for 2021.)
No one is sure when the supply of chips will be able to satisfy demand fully, and some analysts say it might not happen until 2023, when a great deal more chip-manufacturing capacity will come online, from Arizona to Beijing. But between the world finally having enough gadgets for now and chip makers running their fabs all-out for the past 18 months, the end may be in sight.
Back in the year 2000, chip-plant operators projected demand would stay strong and growth would continue at a torrid pace, said Stephen Howe, SDI Fabsurplus, a dealer of used chip-manufacturing equipment. ''Lo and behold, in June 2000, the whole market just dropped off a cliff, and I'm pretty sure that same thing is going to happen again,'' he added.
Home is where the bot isNot coming in 2022: The all-helpful home robot who will take care of the kids, do the dishes and unclog the toilet. Coming in 2022: Home robots that can do more than your stationary smart speaker or roving vac'--and might even keep us company.
Astro, Amazon's Alexa-integrated household robot, uses sensors to roam around your home. It can do all the typical Alexa things (play music, answer questions, etc.) but it also uses its cameras to monitor your home when you aren't there. If the robot is in the home of an aging relative, you can use a feature called ''Alexa Together'' to check in remotely.
David Limp, senior vice president of devices and services at Amazon, said Astro represents a shift to ''ambient intelligence,'' where our computers fade to the background and let us ''interact in the real world and not have your head in a phone.''
Amazon began shipping the $1,000 Astro to a small group of invite-only testers in December. Mr. Limp said the number of people requesting invites is many times above his expectations, and the company is working on increasing inventory for 2022.
Similar devices such as ElliQ are already being tested with people 65 or older and living alone. Next year, the company plans to expand availability and add concierge services, which will allow users to order groceries and more.
Mixed reality = our realityLook, we get it, some of us have been saying virtual reality is going to change your life for half a decade now. But we promise you 2022 will bring significant technological progress to VR and better augmented-reality experiences, too. (Remember: VR transports you to a virtual world; AR overlays digital elements in your real world. Combined, they're ''mixed reality'''--but we refuse to shorten that to MR.)
Meta (formerly Facebook) plans to release a headset more advanced and expensive than its current Quest 2. New sensors and improved optics in the device (code name Project Cambria) will make avatar-you more like real-you. You smile, your avatar smiles! Plus, the same device will be able to show your real physical space but with digital features dropped in'--say, look at a giant virtual screen over your real desk. It's all a part of the company's goal to build the metaverse'--a virtual world where we work, shop, hang out and more.
It won't be a one-horse metaverse race. There are reports of a late 2022 release of an Apple mixed-reality headset. According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from TF International Securities, the headset will be powered by Apple's own chips (like the ones found in its MacBooks) and have both VR and AR features. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
Health sensors hop off our wristsAfter a decade of slapping fitness trackers onto our wrists, the health sensors are starting to break free. The screenless Oura ring is packed with mini sensors for heart rate, blood oxygen and skin temperature. Whoop sells clothing, including bras and leggings, where its tracker can be strategically placed. The camera-less Google Nest Hub display uses radar to track sleepers. And mattresses from Sleep Number, Eight Sleep and others log sleep patterns too.
''It's less about a new particular technology or sensor,'' said Chris Becherer, chief product officer at Oura. Hardware makers are looking at more ways to simplify tracking, he added.
The next big health device might be your earbuds. Apple is studying the potential of AirPods to read body temperature and monitor posture, according to a Wall Street Journal report. People familiar with the plans told our colleague that the buds would take a wearer's core temperature from inside the ear and lean on motion sensors to detect slouching. Apple is also working on iPhone features to help detect depression, the Journal reported.
Future screens are so brightIf you've noticed that the display on your phone or smartwatch is brighter and higher in contrast than the one on your laptop, TV or car dashboard, you've experienced one of the biggest evolutionary leaps in display technology in recent years.
Since the iPhone X, Apple's top iPhones have used OLED, ''organic light-emitting diode,'' a technology that distinguishes itself from LCD (liquid crystal display) because the pixels illuminate themselves rather than requiring a separate light source. The benefit is thinner, even foldable, displays, and better contrast and power efficiency.
Samsung 's phones had OLED even earlier'--the Korean electronics giant was among the technology's pioneers. You might've seen a few OLED TVs, but they have been quite expensive. The technology is now becoming cheaper to manufacture. Laptops with OLED displays began to pop up in 2021, and more models will arrive in 2022. The same goes for tablets and TVs.
MicroLED is another advanced display technology, one that could someday scale up to be an affordable successor to OLED. Samsung has already built video walls using these tiny self-illuminating pixels, but the cost is astronomical. At the CES tech show in January, Vuzix plans to show off smart glasses with miniature MicroLED stereo displays for augmented reality in the workplace.
Password-free loginsPasswords are a mess. They can be guessed or stolen. So, to prevent hacks, we arm ourselves with password managers that generate unique, gibberish logins for each service. Many of us don't even know our own passwords at this point! Thank goodness more services are moving away from them.
You can log in to, for example, by getting emailed a special link. Same with Slack and PayPal . Payment system Shopify and the reservation app Resy send codes to your phone number. Microsoft recently let users skip the password and instead opt for a code from the Microsoft Authenticator app, a security key or a verification code sent via phone or email.
One study, from identity-protection tech firm Transmit Security, found that consumers would be 44% more likely to sign up for a service if they could use biometrics and 35% more likely if a no-password option were available. ''2022 will not mark the end of passwords, but we will see some watershed movements in that direction,'' said Andrew Shikiar, executive director of the FIDO Alliance, which promotes the use of security key, facial recognition, fingerprint or voice-based passwords.
The speed we needSo long, 3G. Thanks for providing connectivity to older Kindles and Grandma's flip phone. Next year, U.S. carriers are sunsetting their aging third-generation cellular networks to make more room for the superfast fifth generation, 5G. Yes, this means those 3G devices will soon be defunct. (End dates are February for AT&T , July for T-Mobile and December for Verizon . )
The telecoms have plans to expand their networks in the coming year. T-Mobile said it would reach 50 million more Americans by year-end. And 5G isn't just for phones. Carriers are using the network to provide home internet service where traditional landline providers have not. In September, T-Mobile expanded to cities in Florida and North Carolina, while Verizon added Fremont, Calif., and Niagara Falls, N.Y., to its 5G home coverage.
There's a good chance our internet connections will get faster at home and on the move, though there are speed bumps. President Biden's infrastructure bill, which includes $65 billion in funding for expanded broadband access in rural communities, passed in November, but the program includes a long application process for states. Plus, AT&T and Verizon recently hit a 5G rollout roadblock because of concerns from the Federal Aviation Administration about potential interference with cockpit-safety systems.
Crypto...but less crypticSo you've been getting by, nodding along when people talk about cryptocurrency and NFTs, thinking all chatter about the decentralized web and blockchains will pass by like a cheetah on an e-bike. It won't. Sorry. In fact, in 2022, you might even get in yourself as tools to buy, sell and send digital money and tokens appear in the apps, services and games you already use.
PayPal's Venmo app and the Cash App from Block (formerly Square) now make it easy to buy cryptocurrency and send it to others. The Cash App recently added a simple way to give any U.S. user bitcoin using a debit card. More places you shop will also start to accept your favorite cryptocurrencies. Tesla now takes dogecoin for specific merchandise.
Will you join decentralized social-media sites like DeSo, which are powered by blockchain technology? Eh, probably not, but our current social-media apps may start to embrace this world. Instagram's Mr. Mosseri said the platform is ''actively exploring NFTs and how we can make them more accessible to a wider audience.''
Deliveries ex machinaDepending on where you live, there's a chance a drone will drop you a delivery for the first time this year.
Flytrex, an Israeli startup operating three delivery stations in North Carolina, just received FAA approval to make deliveries in a roughly one-mile radius. The company said this will allow it to carry goods from a variety of retailers, including Walmart , to more than 10,000 households. Wing Aviation, owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc., is currently testing and expects to launch the first commercial drone-delivery service in a dense urban area'--Dallas-Ft. Worth'--in 2022, the company said in October.
Meanwhile, in the coming year, Cardinal Health will be using very different sorts of drones, small fixed-wing electric airplanes made by Zipline, to resupply pharmacies within 10 miles of one of its distribution centers in Kannapolis, N.C. Zipline said it is also doing home deliveries for Walmart in its hometown of Bentonville, Ark.
All of these drones will continue, per FAA regulations, to be piloted by humans.
With the FAA granting more permits and drones from Amazon, United Parcel Service and more than a dozen other companies all in some stage of readiness as well, it's likely that others will follow suit in 2022.
'--For more WSJ Technology analysis, reviews, advice and headlines, sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Write to Joanna Stern at, Nicole Nguyen at and Christopher Mims at
Tents are back in downtown Austin as city wrestles with enforcement
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 22:15
Tent encampments have returned to downtown Austin's Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, renewing questions about whether city officials have a workable plan to enforce the ban on camping along the city's crown jewel recreational area and redirect occupants into shelters.
Camping on the 10-mile trail, and all other city owned parkland, has been unlawful for decades and continued to be unlawful even after the Austin City Council repealed the camping ban ordinance in most areas of the city in 2019.
But when tents started popping up along the trail early in the coronavirus pandemic, city officials declined to take action, pointing to nonbinding guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that discourages disrupting encampments because it could lead to disease outbreaks.
That eventually drew criticism from Mayor Steve Adler, who called it a mistake by the city staff to let people live on or adjacent to the trail and lamented a failure to manage public spaces that should be available to everyone to enjoy.
More: Austin ramps up camping ban enforcement; homeless advocates say shift is dramatic, confusing
More: Austin considers turning over management of Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trail to nonprofit
Trail a factor with voters
The lack of enforcement was viewed by some voters as reason to approve the return of the camping ban under Proposition B in the May election. Heidi Anderson, executive director of the Trail Foundation '-- a nonprofit that in October entered into a contract with the city to take over control of the trail '-- said earlier this year that donations to the foundation had dried up from members who had become upset with the state of the trail.
The presence of tents also coincided with increased litter in and along the banks of Lady Bird Lake '-- a problem the city attributed in part to scaled-back cleanup services during the pandemic.
The tent problem seemed headed toward resolution in August when the city staff assigned to address Austin's homelessness crisis selected an area along the trail on West Cesar Chavez Street for removal of tent residents, shifting them into a hotel. About 60 people were relocated. The hotel functions as a shelter under the council's housing plan, which is dubbed HEAL, for Housing-Focused Encampment Assistance Link.
But tents have made their way back to the trail, this time clustered on the easternmost end near South Pleasant Valley Road. In a recent trip around the trail, the American-Statesman counted roughly 40 tents or temporary living structures, with all but a handful in that specific area and several positioned along the banks of Lady Bird Lake. It was an increase from earlier in the year when roughly a half-dozen tents were in the area.
The city says it is aware of the tents and that the Parks and Recreation Department evaluated the location and documented "substantial growth" since October. The number of 311 calls related to homeless encampments or people experiencing homelessness on parkland has increased through the year, from about 30 calls per week to more than 100 calls per week, the city said.
Park rangers often visit the area and request voluntary compliance, the city said. The parks department is working to have extra trash pickup in the area and, with other departments, hopes to establish a plan for this location in early 2022, the city said.
Anderson, of the Trail Foundation, did not respond to a message seeking comment on the trail encampments.
More: Q&A with Austin Mayor Steve Adler: 'I still believe in this city'
More: Save Austin Now sues city, says it's not enforcing camping ban
Complications for enforcement
A review of court records shows that since the May election, the Austin Police Department has issued 176 citations throughout the city for camping and two other offenses associated with people experiencing homelessness '-- panhandling during prohibited hours and sitting or lying in public spaces. All of the offenses are punishable as Class C misdemeanors. None of the citations was issued related to behavior on the hike-and-bike trail.
Police Lt. Lawrence Davis said the trail has become a destination for people who were displaced from other encampments, including under overpasses, where enforcement has picked up. He said the Police Department recognizes that the trail is "significant to the city" but said strongly enforcing the ban comes with complications '-- people might move to areas of even greater concern because the city does not have enough shelter space to provide a bed for everyone who wants one.
More: Homeless camping debate plays out on Austin's beloved Lady Bird Lake hike-and-bike trail
A plan from the city and other public and private entities aims add 3,000 housing units in the next three years. It would cost in excess of $500 million, all but about $100 million of which has been identified. Much of the money is coming from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, from which the city allocated $106.7 million and Travis County allocated $110 million.
"When we do enforcement, it's not randomly showing up and enforcing," Davis said. "We want that response to be meaningful. We have to consider where the folks are going to go. We have to make sure it's not closer to a school, closer to a community or closer to private land."
Davis said he is unaware of whether there has been an increase in criminal activity on the trail other than camping.
The city says the trail encampment has been evaluated for selection under HEAL, suggesting there has been some thought about removing the tents and moving the people into a hotel. The city has purchased four hotels to house those who are homeless; two are operational at this time. In the early days of the HEAL strategy, the city announced the specific locations it had chosen to address. That no longer happens, presumably to avoid swarms of people moving to certain areas in search of housing.
To this point, more than 150 people have been taken to the hotels, known as bridge shelters, from five encampments deemed dangerous because they are near high-traffic roads or areas prone to wildfire or flooding. That's just a fraction of the roughly 2,200 people believed to have been living outdoors or in a vehicle in early 2021.
The second phase of HEAL began in November with the clearing of an encampment in South Austin on city parkland off of Old San Antonio Road.
A new drug to treat covid could create a breeding ground for mutant viruses - The Washington Post
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 14:22
On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration made what may be the most momentous drug-approval decision in its history: It granted emergency-use authorization for Merck's molnupiravir to treat covid-19. This approval is significant not because molnupiravir is an especially good drug, but because it is a rather ineffective and dangerous one. In particular, molnupiravir might create new variants of SARS-CoV-2 that evade immunity and prolong the pandemic.
The problem with molnupiravir lies in its mechanism of action. Unlike any previous antiviral drug, molnupiravir does only one thing: It introduces mutations into the viral genome. We are already familiar with the fact that viruses naturally mutate to evade immunity; the many mutations of the spike protein in omicron, for example, allow it to evade the antibodies created by prior infections or vaccines. Molnupiravir relies on inducing even more mutations so that eventually the virus's proteins are damaged beyond function. That molnupiravir can mutate SARS-CoV-2 to death has been demonstrated in the controlled conditions of a petri dish and lab animal cages, leading Merck to test it in covid-19 patients in clinical trials.
The best-case scenario with omicron will still be bad
But people are not petri dishes or lab animals, and while molnupiravir works to some extent, it has not worked very well in covid-19 patients. Specifically, molnupiravir reduced hospitalizations by only 30 percent. In contrast, Pfizer's antiviral drug Paxlovid, which works by a different mechanism and was also approved this week by the FDA, reduced hospitalization by 89 percent. (My lab does research on drugs using the same mechanism as Paxlovid '-- inhibition of the viral protease enzyme '-- independently of any company affiliations.) This means that most of the time that molnupiravir was given the opportunity, it failed to inhibit viral replication enough to allow the patient to avoid hospitalization.
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Merck's own research, published Thursday, explains why. It found that viable virus can still be detected in some patients on the third day of treatment with the drug. That means that for at least several days, the drug is in the body mutating the virus '-- but not all virus genomes have picked up enough mutations to die off. For those initial few days, then, the patient is a breeding ground for viable mutated viruses.
The first days of molnupiravir treatment present a clear opportunity for mutant viruses to be transmitted to family members or caregivers. Viral evolution is a process of selecting for rare mutations that are beneficial to the virus. It doesn't matter if just one out of the billions of copies of viruses in an infected individual mutates to a higher level of fitness. That single copy, either by evading existing antibodies or replicating to yet higher levels of fitness, will become amplified either in that patient or in the next person infected.
The worst-case scenario is worrisome. As long as molnupiravir is in use somewhere in the world, it could generate repeated cycles of new variants, with people desperately taking the drug to fight the new variants it spawns, creating a vicious positive feedback loop while causing more suffering and deaths.
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Molnupiravir's low efficacy may come as no surprise, because drugs that only mutate a viral genome have never been tested before in people. By contrast, the previous antiviral medication capable of mutating viruses, ribavirin, also had direct effects, including blocking the viral replication enzyme and stimulating innate immunity '-- and that was with much less contagious viruses. We didn't know how well a drug whose sole function is to introduce mutations could work against a highly contagious, rapidly replicating virus. Now we know: not very well.
Just mail covid tests to everyone? Absolutely. My government does it.
The FDA's fact sheet for prescribers, also released Thursday, actually recognizes the risk that a mutated virus could escape. It says: ''Completion of the full 5-day treatment course and continued isolation in accordance with public health recommendations are important to maximize viral clearance and minimize transmission of SARS-CoV-2.'' But how are we going to prevent people from stopping the drug, or forgetting a dose, or merely talking and dining with family members without masks, throughout treatment? This is simply not realistic in the general population.
In addition, the fact sheet recognizes that ''changes in the spike protein occurred at positions targeted by monoclonal antibodies and vaccines.'' Bafflingly, however, it adds, ''The clinical and public health significance of these changes are unknown.'' The significance of changes to spike protein positions by antibodies and vaccines is very well known: These changes are what allowed each variant of concern '-- from alpha to beta to delta to omicron '-- to evade immunity from previous infection, vaccines or monoclonal antibody treatment.
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What can be done? We can take some comfort in the FDA's requiring Merck to report, within three months, the viral mutations induced by molnupiravir in clinical trial participants. Merck will also need to report viral mutations in immunocompromised patients, who are likely to harbor viruses longer. As this crucial information should have been supplied before approval, a responsible approach would be to limit molnupiravir use for the next three months to the best controlled settings. For example, health care providers could prescribe it only to people who live alone, or who live in managed care or nursing facilities where effective isolation can be implemented. And then it will be important for the FDA to be ready to revoke the emergency-use authorization if viable immunoevasive variants do indeed arise, even if only once.
The FDA and Merck have essentially engaged the public in a gamble without public debate. They are betting that every single mutated virus copy that will be transmitted from patients taking molnupiravir will be neutral, or hurt the virus itself and not its host '-- that there won't be even one case of a lucky hit that creates a more capable or evasive virus. This seems like a bad bet, as SARS-CoV-2 has a track record in this pandemic of winning its own bets. But now that the dice have been rolled, we must take every measure we can to use the drug responsibly and quantify its risks. Our ability to end the pandemic may well depend on it.
P&G Issues Voluntary Recall of Aerosol Dry Conditioner Spray Products and Aerosol Dry Shampoo Spray Products | FDA
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 12:44
Summary Company Announcement Date: December 17, 2021 FDA Publish Date: December 17, 2021 Product Type: Cosmetics Reason for Announcement:Recall Reason Description
Due to the presence of benzene detected
Company Name: The Procter & Gamble Company Brand Name:Brand Name(s)
Pantene, Aussie, Herbal Essences, Waterl<ss, Old Spice, Hair Food
Product Description:Product Description
aerosol dry conditioner spray products and aerosol dry shampoo spray products
Company AnnouncementCINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE: PG) today issued a voluntary product recall to the consumer level of aerosol dry conditioner spray products and aerosol dry shampoo spray products from Pantene, Aussie, Herbal Essences, and Waterless produced in the United States, in addition to previously discontinued aerosol dry shampoo products from Old Spice and Hair Food, due to the presence of benzene detected in some products.
Risk Statement: Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen. Exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin and it can result in cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow and blood disorders which can be life-threatening. Based on exposure modeling and the cancer risk assessments published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (IRIS database), daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in our testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences. Benzene is ubiquitous in the environment. Humans around the world have daily exposures to it indoors and outdoors from multiple sources. To date, The Procter & Gamble Company has not received any reports of adverse events related to this recall and is conducting this recall out of an abundance of caution.
Detailed instructions for how to request a reimbursement for eligible products can be found below. The affected products are packaged in aerosol cans. See table below for images, product names, UPC and production code ranges. Refer to the image attached for guidance on where to find the production code details on the bottom of the can. The first four numbers of the production code are the only ones necessary to determine if your product is impacted and falls within the ranges outlined.
The aerosol dry conditioner spray products impacted are:
Production Code Ranges (todetermine if product is inscope of recall)DescriptionUPCin the range of 0002-0248 or 9298-9350Waterless Dry Conditioner Weightless Smooth, 3.6oz.37000543954in the range of 0009-0069 or 9297-9350Waterless Dry Conditioner Instant Moisture, 3.6oz.37000543831in the range of 0084-0085 or 9284-9361Waterless Dry Conditioner Weightless Smooth, .98oz.37000544111in the range of 0017-0100 or 9283-9284Waterless Dry Conditioner Instant Moisture, .98oz.370005442270038Pantene Sultry Bronde All in One Luxury Mist, 4.9oz.80878188710in the range of 0183-0365 or 1042-1046Pantene Smooth Talker Dry Conditioning Oil, 3.9oz.80878192397in the range of 0048-0336 or 1008-1218 or 9247-9349Pantene Mist Behaving Dry Conditioning Mist, 3.9oz.80878190898in the range of 9108-9303Pantene Mist Behaving Dry Conditioning Mist, 3.9oz.80878188758in the range of 0107-0262 or 9112-9288Pantene Mist Behaving Dry Conditioning Mist, 1.0oz.80878188765in the range of 0307 or 9263-9266Pantene Gold Series Instant Nourishing Spray, 4.9oz.808781889870021 or 1038 or in the range of 9294-9325Aussie Smooth Vibes Dry Conditioner, 4.9oz.381519187957in the range of 9196-9246Aussie Petal Soft Dry Conditioner, 4.9oz.381519187544in the range of 0014-0062 or 9198-9349Aussie Sleekend Warrior Dry Conditioner, 4.9oz.381519187537in the range of 9047-9072Herbal Essences Blue Ginger Refresh Dry Shampoo, 4.9oz.190679001498in the range of 0015-0314 or 1004-1019 or 9028-9348Herbal Essences White Grapefruit & Mint Dry Shampoo, 4.9oz.190679000262in the range of 0167-0308 or 1105-1106 or 9049-9348Herbal Essences White Strawberry & Sweet Mint Dry Shampoo, 4.9oz.1906790002550093 or 1075 or in the range of 9029-9294Herbal Essences Cucumber & Green Tea Dry Shampoo, 4.9oz.190679000248in the range of 0036-0329 or 1019-1098 or 9023-9312Herbal Essences Cucumber & Green Tea Dry Shampoo, 1.7oz.190679000330in the range of 9009-9058Pantene Dry Shampoo No Water Refresh, 4.9oz.80878177042in the range of 9025-9260Pantene Dry Shampoo Sheer Volume, 4.9oz.80878185276in the range of 0006-0364 or 1074-1133 or 9157-9329Pantene Never Tell Dry Shampoo, 4.2oz.80878188727in the range of 0139-0140Aussie After Hours Dry Shampoo Texture Spray, 4.9oz.381519187834in the range of 0013-0300 or 1038 or 9189Aussie Tousle Hustle Dry Shampoo, 4.9oz.381519187285in the range of 0013-00357 or 1018-1123 or 9189-9345Aussie Bounce Back Dry Shampoo, 4.9oz.381519187278in the range of 9047-9123Aussie Clean Color Protect Shampoo, 4.9oz.381519187360in the range of 9072-9176Aussie Clean Texture Dry Shampoo, 4.9oz.3815191872859085Aussie Clean Volume Dry Shampoo, 4.9oz.381519187278in the range of 0004-0357 or 9291-9344Waterless Dry Shampoo No Residue, 3.7oz.37000543787in the range of 0175-0176 or 9295-9297Waterless Dry Shampoo No Residue, 1oz.37000543978in the range of 0027-0192 or 9007Hair Food Coconut Dry Shampoo, 4.9oz.37000876717in the range of 9046-9228Old Spice Fiji Dry Shampoo, 4.9oz.37000779421in the range of 9040-9239Old Spice Pure Sport Dry Shampoo, 4.9oz.37000785170Following recent reports that indicated traces of benzene in some aerosol spray products, we began a review of our total portfolio of aerosol products. While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our products, our review showed that unexpected levels of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can. We detected benzene in aerosol dry shampoo spray products and aerosol dry conditioner spray products. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the consumers who use our products and the quality of the products we ship.
No other products from Pantene, Aussie, Herbal Essences, Hair Food, and Waterless are in the scope of this recall and such other products may continue to be used as intended, including those aerosol dry shampoo spray products with production code ranges different from those specifically communicated. The vast majority of our products are not part of this recall, including mousses, hairsprays, liquid shampoos, liquid conditioners, styling products, treatments, and unaffected aerosol dry shampoo sprays.
The recalled products were distributed nationwide in the United States through retail outlets and online. Retailers have been alerted to remove recalled products from shelves. Our brands will also offer reimbursement for consumers who have purchased products impacted by this recall. Consumers should stop using and appropriately discard the affected aerosol dry conditioner spray products and aerosol dry shampoo spray products.
Consumers can visit,,,,, or, for more information about the impacted products and to learn how to receive reimbursement for eligible products. If consumers have further questions, they can also seek more information via the Consumer Care team at 1-888-674-3631 from Monday '' Friday from 9:00am '' 6:00pm EST.
Adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product may be reported to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.
Complete and submit the report OnlineRegular Mail or Fax: Download form or call 1- 800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Company Contact Information Consumers: Consumer Care team 1-888-674-3631 Content current as of:12/17/2021
Shocking video shows crossbow-wielding man threatening to 'assassinate the Queen' | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 12:41
Shocking video showing a crossbow-wielding man threatening to 'assassinate the Queen in revenge for 1919 Amritsar massacre' has emerged - after a 19-year-old who scaled Windsor Castle's spiked fence was sectioned.
The footage which was obtained by The Sun shows the man, thought to be the arrested suspect, holding a black crossbow and using a distorted voice as he makes threats down the camera.
Jaswant Singh Chail uploaded the pre-recorded video to Snapchat at 8:06am on Christmas Day, 24 minutes before a man was arrested by police inside the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Known to friends as Jas, he used a filter to distort his voice and wore a disturbing hoodie and mask '' an outfit thought to be inspired by Star Wars
He says: 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry for what I've done and what I will do. I will attempt to assassinate Elizabeth, Queen of the Royal Family. This is revenge for those who have died in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
'It is also revenge for those who have been killed, humiliated and discriminated on because of their race. I'm an Indian Sikh, a Sith. My name was Jaswant Singh Chail, my name is Darth Jones.'
Sith may be a reference to the leading villains in Star Wars while Darth Jones may relate to James Earl Jones who voiced Darth Vader. A framed picture of Star Wars character Darth Malgus was visible in the background of the clip.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, or Massacre of Amritsar, saw 379 protesters killed and 1,200 wounded by British forces in India.
Alongside the video a message was also sent on Snapchat which said: 'I'm sorry to all of those who I have wronged or lied to.
'If you have received this then my death is near. Please share this with whoever and if possible get it to the news if they're interested.'
The suspect, who police have not yet named, was arrested shortly after 8.30am yesterday after he was spotted on CCTV roaming the gardens after scaling an outer wall. He was later sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Scotland Yard said detectives were examining the footage which was posted on social media before the Christmas Day incident at the Queen's Berkshire home.
Shocking video showing a crossbow-wielding man threatening to 'assassinate the Queen in revenge for 1919 Amritsar massacre' has emerged
What was the 1919 Amritsar massacre, also known as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre?The Amritsar massacre, otherwise known as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, took place on April 13, 1919, during a protest against the arrest of two pro-Indian independence leaders.
It took place in a historic garden, called Jallianwala Bagh, close to the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.
Brigadier-General R. E. H. Dyer surrounded the protesters in response, leaving them with only one exit to get out of the Bagh.
He then ordered his troops to shoot demonstrators, including those who were fleeing the massacre.
On his orders, his soldiers only stopped firing when they had exhausted their ammunition.
Estimates of the death toll range between 379 and more than 1500.
A further 1200 people were injured, among them 192 who sustained serious injuries.
The massacre led to a re-evaluation of the British Army's use of force and soldiers were subsequently trained in less violent methods of crowd control.
But it also led to a complete loss of trust in the British Army by Indian civilians and, some historians have argued, paved the way for Indian independence from British rule.
Police confirmed a crossbow was found after the intruder was detained in the castle grounds while the Queen was in residence.
There is no indication the intruder, who has not been named, was known for making threats to any members of the Royal Family before this week.
And sources say that once he had gained access to the royal estate, the teenager 'didn't know what to do with himself' and was quickly arrested.
But it is clear that the incident is being taken extremely seriously. The Metropolitan Police is investigating and has informed the Home Office.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: 'Following the man's arrest, detectives are assessing the contents of a video.'
Crossbows are often referred to as 'lethal but legal' because they require no licence or registration and can be bought on the internet with ease.
Yesterday police searched the four-bed detached home in Southampton where the suspect lives with his family.
One neighbour told The Sun: 'There was a big commotion with all the police around and it caused some concern, especially as it was Christmas Day.
'The family keep themselves to themselves, like the rest of the estate, but we know there's a teenage lad who lives there with his mum and dad. The police didn't leave the estate until late at night.'
Police will be looking at how the intruder was able to scale the spiked perimeter fence surrounding the Berkshire castle's grounds in the first place.
It is believed he had a makeshift ladder to gain access from the Long Walk, which royals frequently use because of its proximity to the Queen's private apartments.
The Long Walk is located in an area of parkland that can be accessed by members of the public.
A major internal security review will be initiated as a matter of course, particularly as it follows a series of security scares on the Windsor Great Park estate involving Prince Andrew.
In one incident a woman posing as a guest entered his home, Royal Lodge.
Police confirmed a crossbow was found after the intruder was detained in the castle grounds while the Queen (pictured delivering the annual Christmas Day speech) was in residence
Scotland Yard said detectives were examining the footage which was posted on social media before the Christmas Day incident at the Queen's Berkshire home
Tourist stand in front of the Henry VII gate and take pictures at Windsor castle at Windsor, England on Christmas Day
Senior royals, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall, have voiced concern after some of their most trusted police bodyguards were removed in a security shake-up.
Even the Queen has privately expressed disquiet over changes to the way she and her family are protected, sources said.
The latest security scare took place after the suspect with the crossbow was found at 8.30am on Christmas Day, when the Queen would have been at Windsor without her family.
Within hours she was joined by a number of senior royals including the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
Retired chief superintendent Dai Davies, the former head of royal protection at Scotland Yard, said the incident again highlighted the 'very serious threat' that 'fixated people and stalkers' pose.
He said: 'Since the time of George III, 99 per cent of attacks against members of the Royal Family have involved a fixated person, or stalker. And the news that a crossbow was involved actually scares me. They will go through a windscreen.
'And in all my years of crime and catching criminals, it is rare for crossbows to be used for criminal purposes. Anyone knowing the royals were in residence and having a fair idea of their comings and goings, could pose a very real and potentially tragic threat with something like that.'
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have arrived for the Christmas Matins service in Windsor Castle
Sophie and Edward were accompanied by their daughter Lady Louise and son James, Viscount Severn. The royals were greeted at the entrance by the Dean of Windsor before moving inside for the morning service
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester arrive to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St George's Chapel
But he cautioned: 'It is always a balance between public accessibility to the Royal Family and their ability to live even the semblance of a normal life, with their safety. You can't turn these royal residence into prisons. And royalty protection is like an onion.
'There are layers. There would have been a lot of other obstacles for him to get through before he even got near a member of the Royal Family. It is clear he was picked up by CCTV and apprehended at the first possible opportunity. Troubling as the incident is, in this case the security worked.'
In a statement the Metropolitan Police said: 'A 19-year-old man from Southampton was arrested on suspicion of breach or trespass of a protected site and possession of an offensive weapon.
'Security processes were triggered within moments of the man entering the grounds and he did not enter any buildings.
'Following a search of the man, a crossbow was recovered. The man was taken into custody and has undergone a mental health assessment. He has since been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
'Enquiries into the full circumstances of this incident are being progressed by Metropolitan Police Specialist Operations.'
Security at Windsor Castle has been beefed up in recent years, sources have said. A review was carried out in 2003 after self-styled comedy terrorist Aaron Barschak broke in during Prince William's 21st birthday party.
Heightened security inside the grounds of Windsor Castle on Boxing Day after a intruder broke into the grounds on Christmas Day
A major internal security review will be initiated as a matter of course, particularly as it follows a series of security scares on the Windsor Great Park estate involving Prince Andrew
'Comedy terrorist' who gatecrashed Prince William's 21st birthday party This is not the suspected security breach to have taken place in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
In June 2003, self-styled 'comedy terrorist' Aaron Barschak came to national fame by gatecrashing Prince William's 21st birthday party at Windsor.
During the affair, Barschak wore a pink dress, a false beard and a turban in a fashion similar to Osama bin Laden.
In June 2003, self-styled 'comedy terrorist' Aaron Barschak came to national fame by gatecrashing William's 21st birthday party at Windsor. During the affair, Barschak wore a pink dress, a false beard and a turban in a fashion similar to Osama bin Laden
After flashing his merkin at the crowds outside, he scaled the walls of the castle and entered the young prince's party.
Sources told The Guardian at the time that CPS lawyers decided there was 'insufficient evidence' to charge Barschak for one or more of four offences '' burglary, threatening behaviour, criminal trespass and assault.
After learning he would face no action, the 'comedy terrorist' claimed his stunt had brought him celebrity status.
In an interview with LBC News, he said: 'I don't speak to any of my friends anymore. I'm far too famous for them. I get people in the street coming up to me and it's a terrible strain.'
After learning he would face no action, the 'comedy terrorist' claimed his stunt had brought him celebrity status
Barschak claimed that he was challenged and escorted to a police point after breaking into the grounds, but was allowed into the party area after giving what the Met Police described as a 'credible story'.
At least nine police officers were under disciplinary investigation over the incident.
Chief Inspector Mark Goddard, a senior officer who was in charge of security at Windsor, was moved from his position.
Olkiluoto 3 reactor granted license | News | Yle Uutiset
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 12:39
The reactor was originally set to begin operations in 2009 but has been set back by repeated delays and cost overruns.
The OL3 reactor is expected to produce around 14 percent of Finland's electricity. Image: Esa Syv¤kuru / Yle16.12. 12:16 ' Updated 16.12. 12:44
After more than a decade of delays, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Stuk) has finally given the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor the green light to begin operations. It was originally scheduled to go online in 2009.
"The criticality and low power test permission granted today [...] means that the company can start the nuclear reaction in the Olkiluoto 3 reactor (OL3) for the first time," Stuk's press statement (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reads.
STUK added that the commissioning tests, including re-testing after modifications, have shown that the plant is operating as planned. According to estimates, the generator will begin providing energy to the grid in February. The unit is expected to be running at full capacity by June.
Project Manager Essi Vanhanen says that the commissioning process has been "a learning lesson for all the parties involved."
The Olkiluoto nuclear power plant has been operating since 1979 in Eurajoki, near Rauma on Finland's west coast. Its second unit, OL2, went online in 1982. Plans for a fourth reactor were abandoned in 2015.
NASA Has Hired a Priest to Prepare Humans for Aliens
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 00:33
NASA has hired a priest to prepare human beings for alien encounters. According to a report in The Mirror, Rev Dr Andrew Davison, a British priest and theologist, said the prospect for finding life on another planet is becoming ever more real. The reverend, who is a theologian at Cambridge University and has a degree in Biochemistry, has been working with NASA. He is also set to release his book next year. ''He was one of 24 religious experts who took part in the in a NASA-sponsored programme at the Centre for Theological Inquiry at Princeton University in New Jersey to assess how religions would react to news that life exists on worlds beyond our own," the report said.
In his book Astrobiology and Christian Doctrine, Dr Andrew asks the questions: Is there life anywhere else in the universe? Will the discovery of new life outside earth change the origin theories found in all religions? How will the discovery affect the belief system of religious people across the world?
According to Technotrenz, NASA is enlisting the help of 24 theologians as part of a plan to determine how different religions around the world would react to news of extraterrestrial life. ''Consider the implicаtions of аpplying the tools of lаte twentieth аnd eаrly twenty-first-century science to questions thаt hаd been considered in religious trаditions for hundreds or thousаnds of yeаrs," sаid Cаrl Pilcher, former heаd of NASA's Astrobiology Institute.
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, built to give the world its first glimpse of the universe as it existed when the earliest galaxies formed, was launched by rocket yesterday. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, striking a spiritual tone as he addressed the launch webcast by video link, quoted the Bible and hailed the new telescope as a ''time machine" that will ''capture the light from the very beginning of the creation." Webb's instruments make it ideal to search for evidence of potentially life-supporting atmospheres around scores of newly documented exoplanets - celestial bodies orbiting distant stars - and to observe worlds much closer to home, such as Mars and Saturn's icy moon Titan.
Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.
first published: December 26, 2021, 10:51 IST
VIDEO - Opposing Views: Are Vaccines Safe? | Robert F. Kennedy Jr. & Amesh Adalja - MP Podcast #130 - YouTube
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 15:52
VIDEO - (9) Clown World Today ðŸ¤ðŸŒŽ on Twitter: "ðŸ¤ðŸŒŽ ''nobody said the vaccine prevents infection and transmission!''" / Twitter
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 14:40
Clown World Today ðŸ¤ðŸŒŽ : ðŸ¤ðŸŒŽ ''nobody said the vaccine prevents infection and transmission!''
Tue Dec 28 02:37:06 +0000 2021
VIDEO - LIVE FREE OR DIE (Industrial Death Metal Libertarian Anarchist Anthem) - YouTube
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 14:29
VIDEO - FOX Appearance 12 28 2021 - YouTube
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 14:28
VIDEO - Emerging Soon: Parallel Institutions - YouTube
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 12:00
VIDEO - Psaki Calls Out Clipped Video of Biden Vaccine Comments
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 03:04
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on December 20. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo White House press secretary Jen Psaki called out a video of Biden discussing COVID-19. She said a clip of him saying "there is no federal solution" to COVID-19 was misleadingly edited. Psaki tweeted: "Sometimes context and the full clip is important (or almost all the time)." White House press secretary Jen Psaki called out a clipped video shared by the Republican Party in which President Joe Biden said there was "no federal solution" to the coronavirus pandemic, saying the video had been taken out of context.
The video went viral on Tuesday and was shared on the official Republican Party Twitter account.
It shows five seconds of video in which Biden says, "There is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level." It came from a discussion with state governors about the coronavirus pandemic the previous day.
One accompanying tweet said: "Joe Biden claimed he would shut down the virus. Now a year later when he failed to do so, he says there is no federal solution to COVID. Joe Biden is a hypocrite."
A later tweet said: "Republican governors have been leading the way, and now Joe Biden finally admitted he failed."
Psaki subsequently shared a video published by the White House that showed a longer version of what Biden said.
"Sometimes context and the full clip is important (or almost all the time)," Psaki tweeted.
The fuller clip shows that Biden was not admitting failure but responding to Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Hutchinson praised Biden for recent comments about COVID-19 vaccines and also voiced concerns that federal policies designed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic would override those of the states.
"One word of concern or encouragement for your team is that as you look towards federal solutions that will help alleviate the challenge, make sure that we do not let federal solutions stand in the way of state solutions," Hutchinson told Biden.
That is when Biden made his point about the pandemic getting "solved at the state level."
The White House's original tweet said Biden "reaffirmed the need for a strong partnership between Federal and State governments."
Biden himself on Tuesday described elements of a federal plan for the coronavirus pandemic.
"My Administration has the back of every governor fighting COVID-19 in their state," he tweeted. "Last week, I rolled out a federal plan to tackle Omicron by adding vaccination and booster capacity, hospital equipment, staff, and more."
"We're going to get through this by working together," he said.
VIDEO - (22) The First on Twitter: "CDC director on new guidelines: ''It really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate."" / Twitter
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 16:53
The First : CDC director on new guidelines:''It really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate."'...
Wed Dec 29 15:23:45 +0000 2021
no sky too high : @TheFirstonTV So that's science???ðŸ¤
Wed Dec 29 16:05:36 +0000 2021
D M J March : @TheFirstonTV how much The Science can they handle over the next two weeks without, you know, starting a straight-up revolution?
Wed Dec 29 15:46:45 +0000 2021
BehinBluEyes : @TheFirstonTV Propaganda is not science. Science is always questionable. Propaganda is always dictatorial.
Wed Dec 29 15:35:45 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (20) Being Libertarian on Twitter: "You are required to forget this after watching it." / Twitter
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 16:12
Being Libertarian : You are required to forget this after watching it.
Wed Dec 29 00:05:50 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Dr. Makary drops Jim Jordan's jaw with truth about CDC, natural immunity
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 15:59
BonginoReport Published December 28, 2021 131,596 Views 1975 rumbles
Rumble '-- "I don't think they want to know the answer," Dr. Makary said.
4m47sTruth about vaccine and natural immunitygeorgemcollins
2m16sDr. Richard Urso about natural immunity, variants...R.C. Davis
9m58sProject Veritas Exposes Pfizer for Suppressing the Truth About Natural ImmunityOperator436
3m50sPfizer Scientist Caught on Video Telling TRUTH About Natural ImmunityDan Bongino Show Clips
7m46sNatural Immunity with Del Bigtreemikebe
9m58sProject Veritas Exposes Pfizer for Suppressing the Truth About Natural ImmunityThe Charlie Kirk Show
52sNatural Immunityhope4humanity
2m17sNatural immunity BESTDRPaladino
VIDEO - Dr Sucharit Bhakdi: Organs Of Dead Vaccinated Proves Auto Immune Attack - 22/12/2021
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 15:05
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VIDEO - Ivor Cummins on Twitter: "Here's a nephew of the great John F Kennedy - LISTEN CAREFULLY:" / Twitter
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 00:28
Ivor Cummins : Here's a nephew of the great John F Kennedy - LISTEN CAREFULLY:
Tue Dec 28 20:42:59 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Larry Fisherman on Twitter: "Bill Gates nearly has a full blown orgasm hearing Anderson cooper suggest withholding people's social security if they don't take the vaxðŸ"" / Twitter
Wed, 29 Dec 2021 00:20
Larry Fisherman : Bill Gates nearly has a full blown orgasm hearing Anderson cooper suggest withholding people's social security if t'...
Sat Dec 25 04:51:07 +0000 2021
Bill Melugin's hair : @larrysilverson
Wed Dec 29 00:19:23 +0000 2021
Buckets : @larrysilverson @andersoncooper @BillGates explain this you skells.
Wed Dec 29 00:18:47 +0000 2021
ð'š£ð'šŽð'šŽ : @larrysilverson A #sociopath #GIF
Wed Dec 29 00:17:28 +0000 2021
ðŸŽ''¸ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸Charles 🇺🇸''¸''¸ : @larrysilverson Conveniently *social* security is not a ''socialist communist destroy our country'' benefit'...
Wed Dec 29 00:16:15 +0000 2021
Eyes Opened : @larrysilverson Lol
Wed Dec 29 00:15:31 +0000 2021
Wed Dec 29 00:10:39 +0000 2021
Very fine person on one side : @larrysilverson Or you could actually play his entire sentence rather than editing it into a misinterpreted phrase.
Wed Dec 29 00:09:51 +0000 2021
Rock : @larrysilverson In case you needed another reason to not watch CNN. See elitists relish in devising ways to make t'...
Wed Dec 29 00:09:20 +0000 2021
Gracie Pureblood : @larrysilverson How about bs - people payed into social security and you have zero right to keep their money from them.
Tue Dec 28 23:53:14 +0000 2021
VIDEO - CNN Doctor Makes OUTLANDISH Claim About Leading Cause of Death of Young Americans - YouTube
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 14:52
VIDEO - Pay For Success Finance: How the Dorseys of the World Could Use Wearables to Profit from Poor Kids' Prescribed ''Wellness Behaviors'' '' Wrench in the Gears
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 14:23
In 2019 I gave a presentation with Cheri Honkala and The Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign at the Left Forum in Brooklyn on pay for success finance, and how it preys upon the poor. If you don't have time to read the linked post, the steps below outline how it works. This is how tech billionaires and hedge funds extract profit from poverty. It's quite ingenious, but those Wharton MBAs are clever when it comes to setting up synthetic debt products.
Human Capital Finance 101 '' Futures Trading on The Data of Vulnerable Populations
Implement austerity budgeting for 10-20 years.Cultivate Third-Way politicians, similar timeframe as above.Build out smart-city sensor networks, similar timeframe as above.Document and measure social problems in detail '' unemployment, addiction, incarceration, mental illness, special education, affordable housing, etc.Assign fixed costs to as many problems as possible. These will be the cost-offsets against which social impact profit can be extracted.Build support for ''accountability'' and ''transparency'' in pay-for-performance government contracting.Advance e-government and open-data initiatives (optional, but helpful).Invite policy leaders from esteemed global academic and development institutions to advise on enabling legislation.Groom social welfare providers '' non-profits, faith communities, municipal departments, and for-profit-prison companies in ''continuum of care'' transitionConduct pilot programs that will be promoted through ''Solutions Journalism'' media outlets.Evaluate data-warehouse and social impact dashboard options.Standardize ''success metrics'' and hire third party program evaluators.Identify best practices for conducting intrusive, ongoing data surveillance of all who access public benefits.Establish government digital identity.Plan transition to programmable assistance via vouchers that can be programmed using blockchain smart contracts.Alert investors: BlackRock et al, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, high-net worth individuals, charitable endowments, faith communities among others.Once sufficient deal flow is reached, begin to securitize the debt associated with the privatized social welfare ''investments'' (see ReadyNation and the Kaufman Foundation's Invest in Kids Bonds for a model).
By using the Heckman Equation; Richard Layard's ''authentic happiness'' framework; or Clive Belfield's Social Emotional Learning Equation the managerial class can spin profit, like gold from straw, out of someone else's pain. All that is needed is to capture the appropriate data on dashboards to fulfill the requirements of the deals. Each of these equations has a specified ROI (return on investment). Once the infrastructure to track and trace program beneficiaries goes live, the hedge funds can start to securitize and bet on outcomes.
The above system is how the Jack Dorseys of the world will be able to benefit from donations to build recreation centers in Rio's favelas. Since impact metrics rely on real time data flows, this program enriches technology companies and the burgeoning data analytics field while generating fodder for AI machine learning towards the Singularity. To see how they anticipate that working, listen to this five-minute conversation between Charles Hoskinson of Cardano and Ben Goertzel of Hanson Robotics.
Adoption of digital identity and crypto currency is central to execution of this enterprise, since human capital products must be tagged and then monitored for outcomes with new rounds of predictive profiling based on past behavior. Digital ID is where all a person's meta-data will be stored for management, see MIT's Secret Network where queries can be made on encrypted data. This is truly Black Mirror stuff, and yet it's really happening. Listen to Charles Hoskinson speak on Cardano's partnerships in Ethiopia where he lays it all out. Blockchain is about the state being able to identify if you are a ''good actor'' and worthy of having a job.
Given Brazil's deeply rooted revolutionary opposition to enslavement and tradition of marronage, it is not surprising that impact investors would seek to enchant the youth of the favelas during this first phase of the Metaverse campaign.
Wearables And Smart Recreation
When I first saw Glenn Greenwald's posts about the controversy surrounding the financing of the planned youth centers, it brought me back to the critique I'd written about Zach Bush's social impact efforts managed under the umbrella of Robert Smith's ICV Impact fund operating out of Philadelphia, but with ties to the International Peace Institute, the United Nations Capital Development Fund, and the Religions For Peace initiative, all of which have representation in Brazil.
Smith is part of the President's Leadership Council of Jefferson University, a leader in disruptive health innovation and social impact investing linked to chronic illness management through wearable technologies and digital nudges. This same university was behind Studio Ludo's drone / fit bit study of the ''Smart Play'' Kensington recrecation center renovation that consisted of little more than painted-over pavement after the community's data had been extracted and analyzed.
Jefferson University maintains a partnership with the University of Sao Paulo Medical School. Because of the premium that James Heckman's ''equation'' puts on health data, we are now seeing sensor networks installed in playgrounds and public parks. That 7-10% rate of return is not enough for investment portfolios. They really want the additional 3% that the health analytics bring into the mix. To get that they're going to need ''smart'' playgrounds and ''smart'' athletics.
I encourage you to click through and read this patent filed by Italian intellectual property specialist Riccardo Vieri in 2017 ''Systems and Methods For Using Kinetic Energy To Assign Coins Exchanged For Crypto-Currency.'' It's not that much-memed Microsoft one. Go ahead, read it all. Vieri's LinkedIn says he's based in Florence, but he's also founder and CEO of Futurix Lab or Flab, headquartered in Zug, Switzerland's ''crypto-valley.''
The document describes plans for human piezo-electric energy harvest where phones and wearable sensors will monitor ''healthy activity levels.'' The energy captured from programmed activities would be used to power blockchain coin distribution. Beyond movement, Vieri anticipates a future where they will be able to incorporate parameters such as calories consumed, geographical terrain, food choices, time of eating, and even altitude. Users would be assigned tasks to be accomplished within a set timeframe relating to blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, and body mass index. You won't be able to fake it, because it would be linked to personal biometric data like a heart beat.
The programming built into Vieri's patent is such that they will attempt to literally turn us into puppets, assigning each person specific activities like dancing, mall-walking, or using renewable energy. Meta-data associated with a person's digital identity can then be used for targeted advertising and to regulate access to in-network devices. This totalitarian control scenario will be packaged for public consumption as ''green,'' ''renewable,'' and ''liberating.'' Good behavior credits will be assigned in alignment with advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Token-based scrip for ''good behavior'' was piloted here in Philadelphia a decade ago by Recyclebank where households were ''rewarded'' for recycling. Bar codes were supposedly scanned at pick up and you earned points that could be redeemed for a limited number of pre-approved goods and services. Few people actually recycled to get the points and eventually the program was discontinued. It, too, had connections to the University of Pennsyvania. If you care to know more about social prescribing scrip you can watch the discussion I did on it last year.
This kinetic crypto coin exchange sounds like the very thing that could be used to enforce participant compliance in programs like Way to Wellville, a community health program piloted in Clatsop County, OR; Lake County, CA; Muskegon, MI; North Hartford, CT; and Spartanburg, SC. Rick Brush, former Cigna executive who specializes in pay for success finance and consultant on Rippel's ''Rethink Health'' effort, has been working to refine a ''collective impact'' health innovation template that can be brought to scale with help from angel investor Esther Dyson, whose father was physicist and space colonization theorist Freeman Dyson.
Looking at Vieri's patent and imagining how impact investing will unite blockchain identity with sensor-based activity and current harvested from textiles, shoes, and floor tiles, everyone really needs to keep energetics front and center. With that in mind, I want to encourage folks to read my friend Stephers' most recent blogpost, ''The Stench of Digital Dung: Virtual Variants, Trigger Events, and Blockchain Cults.'' If I see five miles ahead, she sees twenty. After spending time with her considerable research I have come to sense that what we are dealing with is occulted (hidden from public view) energetic weapons in the hands of high-level defense interests, the mind as battlespace spoken of by James Giordano. A decentralized energy grid to harvest our bodies and minds is being laid down now, papered over with a thinly-veiled veneer of freedom, ascension, and holistic self-empowerment. That sugarcoating is meant to make the medicine go down more easily. Community health, smart materials, the Internet of Bio Nano Things, and social impact finance will run on blockchain. That decentralized ledger IS the ultimate POWER grid, and they want you to want it. The want you demand your ''sovereignty'' as a ''self-owning enterprise'' on blockchain '' maybe to even remagine your mind as a DAC, decentralized autonomous corporation. The pitch is slick for the novice, but once you see through the deception you can never go back.
Countries like Brazil with socialized medicine are easy targets for this preventative care, ''social prescribing'' regime where health outcomes can be linked to pay for success finance deals. The one prerequisite is blockchain health data storage infrastructure. Residents of Brazil have access to universal health coverage, Sistema Unico de Saud, with a national health card. While the vast majority of health facilities have computer and broadband access, there isn't an interoperable system for electronic health records yet. Brazilian researchers Anne Chang and Luca Forni, both of PharmOrchard at MIT's Fintech '' Future of Commerce program, co-authored a whitepaper that ended up a finalist in the US National Coordinator for Health Information Technology 2016 challenge, ''Data, Privacy and Algorithms.'' The paper leveraged MIT's OPAL / Enigma protocol, which was devised to query on encrypted data to create datasets that would speed drug discovery by providing increased access for researchers to interoperable patient data. It is Sandy Pentland's Enigma, renamed The Secret Network, that will link DID, decentralized identifier, within cyber-physical systems in the spatial web. There is irony in a public so gullible and buoyed by meritocracy and American exceptionalism that they will embrace a ''Trust'' architecture birthed by the war machine.
I don't think anyone can look at this image of children being trained to accept drone surveillance and fit bits handed out on a bare, exposed playground and think this is what justice and equity look like. Keep this in mind as we consider Jack Dorsey's interest in recreation centers targeting vulnerable kids. I imagine the ebullience of youth would be a prized energetic commodity. I direct you now to the closing scenes of Boon Joon-ho's film ''Snowpiercer,'' where the South Korean-born director reveals it is children from the back of the train, poor children, who are put into the machine to fuel the eternal engine. So do you stop the train, the Metaverse, or accept a job running it?
For more information you can watch presentations I've done that go into this in more detail: here, here, here, and this 2018 blog post on digital nudges and wearables ''Minding Our Health.''
VIDEO - Founder of '1619 Project' Says Parents Should Not Be Able to Decide What Their Children are Taught in the Classroom - Big League Politics
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 15:37
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the founder of the pseudo-historical '1619 Project,' has come out publicly to state that she believes parents should have no say in what their own children are taught in the classroom.
Hannah-Jones' comments come as the mask is ripped off of the true agenda that the Radical Left is advancing upon in schools nationwide. The Marxists are now making it publicly known that your children are their property in the new America.
''I don't really understand this idea that parents should decide what's being taught. I'm not a professional educator. I don't have a degree in social studies or science. We send our children to school because we want them to be taught by people with expertise in the subject area, and that is not my job,'' she said during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press.
What is ironic is that Hannah-Jones admits her lack of expertise and knowledge but then demands that her racist '1619 Project,' which is a blood libel against the U.S. founding fathers and all white Americans, be taught in every school nationwide.
''When the governor [of Virginia]'...said that he didn't think parents should be deciding what should be taught in schools, he was panned for that but that's just the fact. This is why we send our kids to school and don't homeschool because these are the professional educators,'' she said.
Her full comments can be seen here:
Nikole Hannah-Jones: Parents shouldn't be in charge of their kids' schooling: "I don't really understand this idea that parents should decide what's being taught. I'm not a professional educator. I don't have a degree in social studies." Yet she wants the 1619 Project in schools.
'-- Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) December 26, 2021Big League Politics has reported on Hannah-Jones' long history as a low IQ bigot who has only received her undeserved academic accolades as the result of affirmative action run amok:
''Nikole Hannah-Jones, leader of the New York Times' 1619 Project, has a history of making extremely racist comments about white people.
In 1995, she wrote to Notre Dame's The Observer that ''the white race is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world'' in a letter to the editor published by the paper.
Hannah-Jones made clear her racist hatred of America and its rich history in her screed titled, ''Modern Savagery.'' She called the European settlers and explorers responsible for the ''acts of devils'' for bringing civilization to the continent.
''[The whites] lasting monument was the destruction and enslavement of two races of people,'' Hannah-Jones wrote.
She made the claims, not backed up by evidence, that Africans came to the Americans before white settlers and made peace with the Indians. She also stated that pyramids built in Mexico were built as a symbol of friendship and goodwill between the indigenous peoples and the Africans.
Hannah-Jones also placed the blame of all social problems in her community squarely on white people, spewing various conspiracy theories of dubious merit.''The descendants of these savage people pump drugs and guns into the Black community, pack Black people into the squalor of segregated urban ghettos and continue to be bloodsuckers in our community,'' she wrote.
''But after everything that those barbaric devils did, I do not hate them,'' Hannah-Jones concluded. ''I understand that because of some lacking, they needed to [sic] constantly prove their superiority.''
Hannah-Jones received a Pulitzer Prize earlier this year for her 1619 Project despite the fact that many historians have pointed out the numerous falsehoods and inaccuracies associated with the project.''
Liberals should continue to double down on their position that children are property of the state. If anything could get middle America to wake up to their evil agenda, it will be boasts by the Left against parental autonomy.
VIDEO - CNN Exclusive: US intel and satellite images show Saudi Arabia is now building its own ballistic missiles with help of China - CNNPolitics
Mon, 27 Dec 2021 14:30
Washington (CNN)US intelligence agencies have assessed that Saudi Arabia is now actively manufacturing its own ballistic missiles with the help of China, CNN has learned, a development that could have significant ripple effects across the Middle East and complicate the Biden administration's efforts to restrain the nuclear ambitions of Iran, the Saudis' top regional rival.
Saudi Arabia is known to have purchased ballistic missiles from China in the past but has never been able to build its own -- until now, according to three sources familiar with the latest intelligence. Satellite images obtained by CNN also suggest the Kingdom is currently manufacturing the weapons in at least one location.
US officials at numerous agencies, including the National Security Council at the White House, have been briefed in recent months on classified intelligence revealing multiple large-scale transfers of sensitive ballistic missile technology between China and Saudi Arabia, according to two sources familiar with the latest assessments.
The Biden administration is now confronted with increasingly urgent questions about whether Saudi's ballistic missile advancements could dramatically change regional power dynamics and
complicate efforts to expand the terms of a nuclear deal with Iran to include restraints on its own missile technology -- a goal shared by the US, Europe, Israel and Gulf countries.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are bitter enemies and it is unlikely Tehran will agree to stop making ballistic missiles if Saudi Arabia has begun manufacturing its own.
"While significant attention has been focused on Iran's large ballistic missile program, Saudi Arabia's development and now production of ballistic missiles has not received the same level of scrutiny," Jeffrey Lewis, a weapons expert and professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told CNN.
"The domestic production of ballistic missiles by Saudi Arabia suggests that any diplomatic effort to control missile proliferation would need to involve other regional actors, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, that produce their own ballistic missiles," Lewis added.
Any US response could also be complicated by diplomatic considerations with China, as the Biden administration seeks to reengage Beijing on several other high-priority policy issues, including climate, trade and the pandemic.
"It's all a matter of calibration," a senior administration official told CNN.
The National Security Council and CIA declined to comment.
Asked if there have been any recent transfers of sensitive ballistic missile technology between China and Saudi Arabia, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CNN in a statement that the two countries are "comprehensive strategic partners" and "have maintained friendly cooperation in all fields, including in the field of military trade."
"Such cooperation does not violate any international law and does not involve the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," the statement said.
The Saudi Government and embassy in Washington did not respond to CNN's request for comment.
New challenges for Biden
first reported in 2019 that US intelligence agencies were aware that Saudi Arabia was collaborating with China to advance its ballistic missile program.
The Trump administration did not initially disclose its knowledge of that classified intelligence to key members of Congress, infuriating Democrats who discovered it outside of regular US government channels and concluded it had been deliberately left out of a series of briefings where they say it should have been presented.
That fueled Democratic criticism that the Trump administration was too soft on Saudi. Nuclear proliferation experts also say Trump's lack of response emboldened the Saudis to continue expanding their ballistic missile program.
"Normally, the U.S. would have pressured Saudi Arabia not to pursue these capabilities, but the first indicators that the Saudis were pursuing these capabilities indigenously emerged during the Trump era. The Trump administration, to put it lightly, was not interested in bearing down on Riyadh over these issues," according to Ankit Panda, a nuclear policy and weapons expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Some lawmakers have been briefed over the past few months on new intelligence about transfers of ballistic missile tech between Saudi Arabia and China, multiple sources told CNN.
The Biden administration is preparing to sanction some organizations involved in the transfers, sources told CNN, though some on Capitol Hill are concerned the White House is not willing to impose significant consequences on the Saudi government for its actions.
Given the current state of negotiations with Iran, the Saudi missile program could make an already thorny problem even more difficult.
"A robust Saudi missile program would introduce new challenges to constraining other missile programs in the region. To take just one example, Iran's missiles, which are a major concern to the U.S., would be more difficult to constrain in the future without parallel constraints on a growing Saudi program," Panda told CNN.
'First unambiguous evidence'
New satellite images obtained by CNN indicate the Saudis are already manufacturing ballistic missiles at a site
previously constructed with Chinese assistance, according to experts who analyzed the photos and sources who confirmed they reflect advancements that are consistent with the latest US intelligence assessments.
Satellite photos taken by Planet, a commercial imaging company, between October 26 and November 9 show a burn operation occurred at a facility near Dawadmi, Saudi Arabia, according to researchers at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, who told CNN this is "the first unambiguous evidence that the facility is operating to produce missiles."
"The key piece of evidence is that the facility is operating a 'burn pit' to dispose of solid-propellant leftover from the production of ballistic missiles," said Lewis, a weapons expert and professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies who reviewed the images.
"Casting rocket motors results in leftover propellant, which is an explosive hazard. Solid-propellant missile production facilities often have burn pits where leftover propellant can be disposed of by burning. Burn operations are, therefore, a strong signature that the facility is actively casting solid rocket motors," he added.
Still, little is known about the ballistic missiles that Saudi Arabia is building at this site, including important details like range and payload.
Considering the facility in question was built with Chinese assistance and new intelligence assessments showing Saudi Arabia has recently purchased sensitive ballistic missile technology from China, it is possible that the missiles being produced there are of Chinese design, according to Lewis.
But there is also evidence Saudi Arabia has looked to other countries for help with developing a ballistic missile program in recent years, making it difficult to identify exactly which weapons system the Kingdom is now building at this facility, Lewis noted.
CNN's Natasha Bertrand and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.

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