1441: Yak Facts

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 59m
April 10th, 2022
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Executive Producers: Sir Earhopper, Dame Tuthola of the Lowland Potheads, Anonymous, Sir Input, Protector of the "Least of These", Viscount Christopher Kessler, Chris Belsky, Millennial Joe, the unnamed knight from Boston, Sam Onan, Kendall, Keeper of the No Agenda Numbers, Anonymous, Sir James, Baron of Class G Airspace, Sir N of the 1B, Jan Leclerc, Capitalist Agenda, john carpenter, Chap Williams, Nathan Garza, Kim Beason, Andrea, Simply Sir Steven, Ted Tatnall, Kelly Cowan, Thomas Reynolds

Associate Executive Producers: Sir David Fugazzotto Duke of Saudi Arabia and America's Heartland, Anonymous, Sir Dean Armandoff, Knight Who Lives Among The Spooks, Vanessa Kapka, Jimmy Walnuts, Brian & Deb Carter, Michael Harrison, Zach Snover, Lorcan Byrne, Melissa LaSalle, Sir Kevin McLaughlin, Duke of Luna, Lover of AMERICA and BOOBS

Cover Artist: Monsieur Thierry


Start of Show
Adam & The Keeper's Holiday Report
Guest producer
New COVID Variant: XE
Guest producer
H5N1 Bird Flu
rob coyote
Shanghai COVID Lockdown
April 2022 ICD-10-CM/PCS Code Release
German Parliament Rejects Vaccine Mandate
Protests Around the World: Sri Lanka, Peru
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Cargo Ship Ever Forward Stuck in Port of Baltimore
Grammy Awards 2022
Boris Johnson Meets Up With Zelensky in Kyiv
Guest producer
Stickers Supporting Ukraine Appear Next to Products in Dutch Grocery Stores
Hillary Clinton Asked About New World Order in NBC's Meet The Press Interview
rob coyote
Jason Whitlock's Fearless Podcast on Disney's Feminizing Strategy
Russian Sanctions
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Ukraine Train Station Bombing
rob coyote
CNN Host Brian Stelter Asked About Disinformation on CNN
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Russia & Ukraine Exchange Prisoners
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Ukraine Aid
Guest producer
Mayor Pete
rob coyote
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Laws Targeting Transgender Children
Guest producer
Guest producer
Guest producer
End of Show
Suggest a new chapter
COVID Continues
COVID Strategy is Vax to prevent hospitalization, Test to Treat with other crap.
Test To Treat
Dutch Grocery Store on Inflation and Ukraine
Great Reset
Strategic Petroleum Reserve BOTG
I'm not a spook, but I realize pointing you toward a .gov site might make you think so. I used to trade oil before switching over to equity derivatives. Our firm pulls oil inventory data from the Dept of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management website, it has details on the physical locations of the SPR here: https://www.energy.gov/fecm/strategic-petroleum-reserve-4 Might be bullshit though, who knows if it's really there without boots-on-the-ground or an independent audit.
One point I found interesting though: I pulled our SPR inventory over time from Bloomberg, showing current inventory of 568 million barrels. The proposed 180 million barrels, or 1 million per day for six months, would reduce our supply by almost a third. Pretty dramatic.
Great show today, thanks for everything you two do.
PERU: The country has declared a state of emergency, mobilized the military to support riot police, and issued several cities a curfew after nationwide protests against inflation, fuel prices and the government spread for a week
Automatic Lights of the future
I work as a cameraman in Dallas. I shoot whatever pays. Sometimes it is a deposition
Yesterday I shot a deposition in Eulesss TX
At the law firm where the depo took place, our conference room was darkened as the ceiling lights did not come on
I was told that due to Euless city ordinance pursuing more Green/Eco work places, the light will only come on if the sensor determines there is not enough light
For most of the deposition we were in the dark, the light would randomly come on for about 3 minutes and then shut off
An attorney who flew in from San Francisco said that even his city was not that progressive
Working in the dark to save the planet
70's quadrophonic sound
70's macramé is coming back
Pet Rocks
Germany BOTG
Thanks for the kind words re: the last Germany report, I'm already compiling a new one per JCD's request.
Two things that are very current:
- Germany's parliament voted against a mandatory vaccination on Thursday. First they wanted 18+ vaccinated, then 50+, then 60+ - none had any success. Meanwhile, they are warning that the next wave will be coming. Aka the 77th flu wave after the Second World War. ;)
- Today, Saturday, the biggest German TV news show will start featuring Ukrainian subtitles. Whether that's for the Ukrainians in Germany or those in Ukraine? Who knows. Let's see if new subtitles are added for each war zone eventually.
Remain vigilant,
- Roland
The Purge
Go Podcasting!
Ghislaine Maxwell to Expose Names of 8 VIP Pedophiles Linked to Epstein’s Crimes - News Punch
Stand Up for Ukraine
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:24
How To Join UsJoin the world's largest social media rally NOW! It's easy.
1. Film a video, explaining why you're standing up for Ukraine.
2. Ask the world to give big at the pledging summit on April 9th.
3. Post it on social media, tagging people you want to stand up and using #StandUpForUkraine.
We'll be watching and amplifying the best posts.
GiveYour donation supports vetted grassroots nonprofits supporting people displaced by the conflict.
#StandUpForUkraineSign petitions, share social posts, and more to #StandUpForUkraine.
Check Out the Rally and Join Us!
What Is A Social Media Rally? On April 8, artists, athletes, actors, and creators will all call on leaders to stand up for refugess from Ukraine and around the world.
You can join us. Just post on social media to help call on leaders to commit billions for refugee relief at a global humanitarian pleding summit on April 9.
Join the Urgent Call
The CrisisTwelve million people need assistance currently because of the war in Ukraine. More than 6.5 million are displaced internally. And in less than three weeks, over 3.5 million people have left Ukraine and fled into neighboring countries. Nearly 2 million among them are women and children. Since the conflict began, nearly every second, one child from Ukraine becomes a refugee.
What Needs to HappenWe need to raise billions of dollars, not just millions at a global humanitarian pledging summit on April 9.
We can do this. Join us to Stand Up for Ukraine.
More About Stand Up For Ukraine
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Stand Up for Ukraine campaign?
We're asking people, artists, athletes, influencers and Global Citizens to use their voice so that world leaders, corporations, and individuals will mobilize funding to support refugees all over the world. We'll be using social media to rally support on April 8, ahead of a pledging conference on April 9 co-hosted by European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
You can start taking action to support people impacted by the war in Ukraine and refugees everywhere here and in the Global Citizen app.
The Stand Up For Ukraine campaign is asking world leaders and corporations to step up funding to UN agencies that are part of the flash appeal as well as GlobalGiving, which gives money to 30+ grassroots organizations in the region.
China City Orders All Indoor Pets of COVID Patients to Be Killed
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:24
China, which has been pursuing a zero-COVID strategy, is seeing a new surge in cases. One city ordered the killing of all indoor pets of COVID-19 patients in one of its districts. State-run media reported that the order was later stopped. It's not clear if any animals were killed. Loading Something is loading.
A Chinese city briefly ordered all indoor pets belonging to COVID-19 patients in one neighborhood to be killed.
The Anci district of Langfang city, in northern China, on Wednesday ordered the "complete culling of indoor animals" of coronavirus patients, the state-run China News Service reported.
The work had stopped by 5 p.m. local time Wednesday, the China News Service reported, citing a staff member for the Langfang Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is not clear how many animals were killed.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that pets can get COVID-19 from humans but that the risk of pets spreading the disease to people was "low."
China has been aggressively pursuing a zero-COVID strategy since the start of the pandemic.
Half of Shanghai '-- which has a population of about 26 million '-- went into lockdown earlier this week after thousands of new cases were recorded in the major city. The other half is due to lock down on Friday.
Hebei province, where Langfang is located, recorded hundreds of new daily COVID-19 cases in the recent weeks, China's CDC reported.
Taliban bans opium as Afghanistan's poppy harvest begins | Euronews
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:23
The Taliban has banned the harvesting and processing of poppies in a move that will have a significant impact on Afghanistan's economy.
A 2021 report by the United Nations estimated that annual opium production contributed 7% to Afghanistan's Gross Domestic Product.
The new law has been introduced as farmers and migrant workers in Helmand province prepare to harvest this year's crop.
Many say the ban will ruin them as they take out loans until they're paid for each crop.
"The money goes into the pocket of others (smugglers), we just get a quarter of the money made from cultivating poppies, and whatever money we make we use it to pay back for the money we borrow before the start of cultivation season," said farmer Sahaar Gul.
The UN report said 6,000 tonnes of opium paste was used to create 320 tonnes of pure heroin, which is supplied to international dealers. The ruling Taliban's edict will disrupt this trade, but will also encourage farmers to sow crops such as wheat instead of poppies.
The lack of income will leave many rural communities facing severe hardship at a time when Afghanistan is cut off from international aid.
Grammy Awards: TV Ratings Sunday, April 3, 2022 '' The Hollywood Reporter
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:22
The Grammy Awards narrowly avoided setting a second straight all-time ratings low.
The 64th annual Grammys on Sunday drew 9.59 million viewers in the final same-day ratings, which include out-of-home viewing. (Earlier figures from Nielsen, which didn't have the out-of-home number, had the show at 8.93 million viewers.) That's an increase of about 4 percent from last year, which were an all-time low for the awards. The 2021 ceremony was a pared-down affair due to the pandemic, while this year's show '-- postponed from January due to the surge in the omicron variant of the coronavirus '-- more resembled past shows.
The 2021 Grammys came in at 9.23 million viewers in the finals last year, down by more than half from their last pre-pandemic telecast in January 2020.
Among adults 18-49, Sunday's broadcast earned a 2.24 rating '-- which is an all-time low for the second straight year. The Grammys fell by 2 percent from last year's 2.28 rating; the four-hundredths of a point equates to about 52,000 people in that age range
The tiny uptick in viewers for the Grammys comes on the heels of the Oscars recording much bigger year-over-year ratings growth a week earlier. The Oscars grew 60 percent in total viewers and 77 percent among adults 18-49, though like the Grammys they did not come close to their pre-pandemic standards.
Ratings for the Grammys mirror those of a couple other recent music awards shows. The American Music Awards posted slight gains in both total viewers and adults 18-49 for ABC last fall, and the CMA Awards (also on ABC) edged up in the 18-49 demo but were down slightly in total viewers.
The Oscars, along with the Critics Choice and Screen Actors Guild awards and last fall's Emmys, all had larger year-to-year gains.
Elsewhere over the weekend, Turner Sports got a big tune-in for the NCAA men's Final Four game between North Carolina and Duke. The Saturday night contest averaged 17.66 million viewers across TBS, TNT and TruTV, making it the third-most-watched college basketball game ever on cable, behind a 2015 Final Four game (22.63 million) and the 2016 national championship (17.75 million). Saturday's early game between Kansas and Villanova averaged 11.7 million viewers.
On Sunday night, ESPN and ESPN2's telecast of the women's NCAA basketball championship drew 4.68 million viewers, up 15 percent from a year ago and the best mark for the women's title game since 2004 (though prior to last year, Nielsen figures don't include out-of-home viewing).
Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.
April 5, 7:50 a.m.: Updated with final weekend ratings.
Snelheid omlaag op wegen om minder afhankelijk te worden van de Russen, wil D66 in Gelderland | Home | gelderlander.nl
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:22
Biden extends payment pause on federal student loans until September
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:21
President Joe Biden announced Wednesday another extension of the payment pause on federal student loans, this time until September.
This is the sixth prolongment of the break, which has spanned more than 24 months and two presidencies. Borrowers have saved nearly $200 billion during that period, the Federal Reserve has found.
The policy freezing the bills of the tens of millions of Americans with education debt was first established by the former Trump administration in March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic brought the U.S. economy to its knees.
The Biden administration has grappled with ending the pause on student loan payments as the economy's recovery from pandemic lows continues.
Supachok Pichetkul / Eyeem | Eyeem | Getty Images
Nearly all borrowers eligible for the pause have used it, with just around 1% of them continuing to pay, according to an analysis by higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.
Although the country has seen tremendous improvements since the crisis began, it would be risky to resume student loan payments right now, Biden said.
More from Personal Finance:Many workers are unhappy with their payThese are the top tax breaks for college expensesWhite House expected to extend student loan payment pause through August
"We are still recovering from the pandemic and the unprecedented economic disruption it caused," Biden said, in a statement.
Restarting the payments could "threaten Americans' financial stability," the president said, citing recent research from the Federal Reserve that forecast a rise in delinquencies and defaults when the bills begin again.
Biden is also under tremendous pressure to forgive student debt. On the campaign trail, he promised to cancel $10,000 for all.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are pushing him to cancel closer to $50,000 per borrower.
Nearly 66% of likely voters are in support of the president forgiving student debt, with more than 70% of Latino and Black voters in favor, a recent poll found.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain said last month that the administration wanted to come to its decision on loan forgiveness before turning payments back on.
"The president is going to look at what we should do on student debt before the pause expires, or he'll extend the pause," Klain said on the podcast "Pod Save America."
Even before the public health crisis, student loans were a major challenge for many households. Outstanding education debt exceeds $1.7 trillion, burdening families more than auto or credit card debt.
Some 40 million people in the U.S. have loans from their schooling, and more than a quarter are past due. The average balance is more than $30,000.
Yet the repeated extensions of the payment pause will cause its own issues for borrowers, warned Scott Buchanan, executive director of the Student Loan Servicing Alliance, a trade group for federal student loan servicers.
"What's a borrower to believe or plan for anymore when the government keeps changing its mind?" Buchanan said. "When the inevitable resumption does finally happen, millions of borrowers will likely miss it and go delinquent because of the false expectations the government is now setting."
Kantrowitz said borrowers are unlikely to take the September restart date too seriously at this point.
"The U.S. Department of Education has extended the payment pause and interest waiver so many times and with such late notice that nobody will believe them when they really do restart repayment," he said.
"They need to stop sitting on the fence about student loan forgiveness," Kantrowitz added.
Questions Abound About Bucha Massacre '' Consortium News
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:21
The West has made a snap judgment about who is responsible for the massacre at the Ukrainian town of Bucha with calls for more stringent sanctions on Russia, but the question of guilt is far from decided, writes Joe Lauria.
Victims in Bucha. (Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Development Mikhail Fedorov/Wikimedia Commons)
By Joe Lauria Special to Consortium News
W ithin hours of news Sunday that there had been a massacre at Bucha, a town 63 kms north of the Ukrainian capital, the verdict was in: Russian troops had senselessly slaughtered hundreds of innocent civilians as they withdrew from the town, leaving their bodies littering the streets.
Unlike their judicial systems, when it comes to war, Western nations dispense with the need for investigations and evidence and pronounce guilt based on political motives: Russia is guilty. Case closed.
Except the case hasn't even been opened yet and the sentence is already being proposed. French President Emmanuel Macron, for instance, has called for Russian coal and oil to be banned from Europe. ''There are very clear indications of war crimes,'' he said on France Inter radio Monday. ''What happened in Bucha demands a new round of sanctions and very clear measures, so we will co-ordinate with our European partners, especially with Germany.''
Other voices are now perilously calling for the U.S. to go to war with Russia over the incident.
''This is genocide,'' Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Face the Nation on CBS. ''Mothers of Russians should see this. See what bastards you've raised. Murderers, looters, butchers,'' he added on Telegram.
Russia has categorically denied it had anything to do with the massacre.
Where to Start
If there were to be a serious probe, one of the first places an investigator would begin is to map out a timeline of events.
Last Wednesday, all Russian forces left Bucha, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
This was confirmed on Thursday by a smiling Anatolii Fedoruk , the mayor of Bucha, in a video on the Bucha City Council official Facebook page. The translated post accompanying the video says:
''March 31 '' the day of the liberation of Bucha. This was announced by Bucha Mayor Anatolii Fedoruk. This day will go down in the glorious history of Bucha and the entire Bucha community as a day of liberation by the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the Russian occupiers.''
Screenshot from Fedoruk Facebook video.
All of the Russian troops are gone and yet there is no mention of a massacre. The beaming Fedoruk says it is a ''glorious day'' in the history of Bucha, which would hardly be the case if hundreds of dead civilians littered the streets around Fedoruk.
''Russian Defence Ministry denied accusations by the Kiev regime of the alleged killing of civilians in Bucha, Kiev Region. Evidence of crimes in Bucha appeared only on the fourth day after the Security Service of Ukraine and representatives of Ukrainian media arrived in the town. All Russian units completely withdrew from Bucha on March 30, and 'not a single local resident was injured' during the time when Bucha was under the control of Russian troops,'' the Russian MOD said in a post on Telegram.
What Happened Next?
What happened then on Friday and Saturday? As pointed out in a piece by Jason Michael McCann on Standpoint Zero, The New York Times was in Bucha on Saturday and did not report a massacre. Instead, the Times said the withdrawal was completed on Saturday, two days after the mayor said it was, and that the Russians left ''behind them dead soldiers and burned vehicles, according to witnesses, Ukrainian officials, satellite images and military analysts.''
The Times said reporters found the bodies of six civilians. ''It was unclear under what circumstances they had died, but the discarded packaging of a Russian military ration was lying beside one man who had been shot in the head,'' the paper said. It then quoted a Zelensky adviser, who said:
'''The bodies of people with tied hands, who were shot dead by soldiers lie in the streets,' the adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said on Twitter. 'These people were not in the military. They had no weapons. They posed no threat.' He included an image of a scene, photographed by Agence France-Presse, showing three bodies on the side of a road, one with hands apparently tied behind the back. The New York Times was unable to independently verify Mr. Podolyak's claim the people had been executed.'''
Bucha, Kyiv region. The bodies of people with tied hands, who were shot dead by ?? soldiers lie in the streets. These people were not in the military. They had no weapons. They posed no threat. How many more such cases are happening right now in the occupied territories? (1/2) pic.twitter.com/AJloZ81JIt
'-- ??????? ??????? (@Podolyak_M) April 2, 2022
It is possible that on Saturday the full extent of the horror had yet to emerge, and that even the mayor was unaware of it two days before, though photos now show many of the bodies out in the open on the streets of the town, something that presumably would be difficult to miss.
In Bucha, the Times was close to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, whose soldiers appear in the newspaper's photographs. In his piece, McCann suggests that Azov may responsible for the killings:
''Something very interesting then happens on [Saturday] 2 April, hours before a massacre is brought to the attention of the national and international media. The US and EU-funded Gorshenin Institute online [Ukrainian language] site Left Bank announced that:
'Special forces have begun a clearing operation in the city of Bucha in the Kyiv region, which has been liberated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The city is being cleared from saboteurs and accomplices of Russian forces.'
The Russian military has by now completely left the city, so this sounds for all the world like reprisals. The state authorities would be going through the city searching for 'saboteurs' and 'accomplices of Russian forces.' Only the day before [Friday], Ekaterina Ukraintsiva, representing the town council authority, appeared on an information video on the Bucha Live Telegram page wearing military fatigues and seated in front of a Ukrainian flag to announce 'the cleansing of the city.' She informed residents that the arrival of the Azov battalion did not mean that liberation was complete (but it was, the Russians had fully withdrawn), and that a 'complete sweep' had to be performed.''
Ukraintsiva was speaking a day after the mayor had said the town was liberated.
By Sunday morning, the world learned of the massacre of hundreds of people. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: ''We strongly condemn apparent atrocities by Kremlin forces in Bucha and across Ukraine. We are pursuing accountability using every tool available, documenting and sharing information to hold accountable those responsible.'' President Joe Biden on Monday called for a ''war crimes'' trial. ''This guy is brutal, and what's happening in Bucha is outrageous, and everyone's seen it. I think it's a war crime.''
The Bucha incident is a critical moment in the war. An impartial investigation is warranted, which probably only the U.N. could conduct. The Azov Battalion may have perpetrated revenge killings against Russian collaborators, or the Russians carried out this massacre. (Once again the Pentagon is dampening the war hysteria, saying it can't confirm or deny Russia was responsible.)
A rush to judgment is dangerous, with irresponsible talk of the U.S. directly fighting Russia. But it is a rush to judgment that we are getting.
[Update: Satellite images, published after this article appeared by The New York Times , purportedly showing bodies strewn on a street in mid-March, should be considered by an impartial investigation. It cannot be considered at this point as conclusive evidence.]
Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe
Beware the 'Paper Shortage' Election Ruse, by Michelle Malkin - The Unz Review
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:21
In the fall of 2020, I warned repeatedly on social media, TV and in my syndicated column about the Zuckerberg Heist -- Silicon Valley's hijacking of our election system through a private nonprofit called the Center for Tech and Civic Life. CTCL was funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, to the tune of \$350 million. Election information-rigging Google joined as a top corporate partner, along with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Democracy Fund (founded by Never Trumper billionaire and eBay former chairman Pierre Omidyar).
THREAD: Who is the Center for Tech and Civic Life'...and why @TheJusticeDept needs to investigate & stop them NOW!
This week's #SovereignNation delved into @HelloCTCL 's alarming election meddling & targeted grants in battleground states.
Overview: https://t.co/phJqorNHX0
'-- Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) October 6, 2020
CTCL created a ''COVID-19 Response Grant Program'' to ''provide funding to U.S. local election offices'' that steered voters toward insecure, fraud-vulnerable alternatives to traditional voting. The Amistad Project led the way in exposing how CTCL's ''dark money network pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into local election systems using the COVID pandemic as a pretense.'' And as I noted at the time, the scamdemic and performative lockdowns provided a handy ruse to sabotage our regular Election Day experience through less transparent, more manipulable absentee and vote-by-mail mechanisms.
Now states and localities are finally bringing the hammer down on ZuckerBucks. Mississippi banned private donations for public voting operations last week, joining more than a dozen other states. Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin have similar ZuckerBuck bans pending. Also last week, a Louisiana appellate court reinstated the state Attorney General Jeff Landry's lawsuit against CTCL for illegal, unconstitutional funding of elections flowing into government coffers ''in the darkness of night,'' as he told The Federalist.
Indeed, the title of a new documentary on CTCL by Citizens United released this week says it all: ''Rigged.''
''Do you believe they used the COVID emergency as an excuse to pull (off) this partisan voter turnout operation?'' Citizens United's president David Bossie asks former President Donald Trump in the documentary trailer.
''Am I allowed to give you a one-word answer?'' Trump asks. ''Yes.''
If you're a conservative, speaking these truths will get you branded a ''conspiracy theorist'' and ''domestic terrorist.'' Reporting on irregularities and concerns with election software and hardware, ballot harvesting, mail-in ballots and paperless voting systems will get you sued or prosecuted -- even though left-wingers from NowThis and HBO to the Brookings Institution and Brennan Center for Justice raised similar concerns for years.
A hacker only needs 1 minute to change election results in 24 states. Watch how vulnerable our voting machines really are pic.twitter.com/NaDFw48h8l
'-- NowThis (@nowthisnews) August 29, 2018
I've been called all the names and am already being sued for interviewing election whistleblowers, so I have nothing to lose in issuing a new warning.
Never forget: COVID-19 chicanery provided the cover and pretext for the Zuckerberg Heist. Learn from history, and hone your pattern recognition skills. It's happening again. For the past month, media outlets and government bureaucrats in both parties have been stirring up fears of election chaos induced by a ''paper shortage'' that has purportedly dragged on for two years due to ''COVID-19.''
That's just more fake virus news. Graphic paper demands have been declining and paper mills shutting down for decades thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement, foreign subsidies and increased imports. But truth never stopped agenda-driven Chicken Littles:
''A paper shortage is looming over the 2022 elections. Seriously,'' Politico warned two weeks ago.
''Worldwide paper shortage causing concerns for balloting ahead of midterm elections,'' Detroit station WDIV trumpeted.
''Midterm mess: States grapple with poll worker and paper shortages,'' CNN intoned.
The American Forest and Paper Association has tried to un-fan the media-generated flames of fear. ''There is no reason to panic,'' the association's Terry Webber assured Americans last week, as long as election officials plan ahead.
But mark my words. This ''paper shortage'' propaganda will be used to further cement the Soros family-spearheaded push to hackable, paperless electronic voting systems, including Dominion, which covers 37% of voters. The Colorado state Senate just passed a bill, SB22-153, that would reportedly mandate electronic voting machines in any county with more than 1,000 residents. The measure is backed by radical leftist Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a recipient of Soros campaign cash who fronts a Soros-funded association for Democrat Secretaries of State -- and who has launched a political and legal vendetta against Mesa County clerk Tina Peters and Elbert County clerk Dallas Schroeder for preserving Dominion server hard drives.
Also in my own backyard on Tuesday, GOP Clerk and Recorder for El Paso County, Colorado, Chuck Broerman invoked the ''paper shortage'' card to strong-arm the county commission into extending a high six-figure, no-bid contract with Runbeck Election Services. Hundreds of citizens turned out to a county board of commissioners hearing to raise alarms about ''cronyism and nepotism'' issues surrounding the deal (Commissioner Holly Williams is married to Runbeck senior adviser and GOP Colorado Springs city councilman Wayne Williams, who brought Dominion machines to the state when he served as Secretary of State, and who was appointed by Mesa County commissioners to oversee elections -- a perch from which he has viciously attacked Peters before her case is adjudicated). Additionally, Runbeck has faced watchdog questions about its work in Tarrant County, Texas; Arizona; and Georgia.
But squawking about a ''paper shortage'' and playing the phony ''military disenfranchisement'' card (which no one is advocating), Broerman declared that ''finding a new vendor'' was ''just not an option'' and time had run out. Turns out city government bureaucrats who finalized the Runbeck contract in late January had themselves dropped the ball for weeks on the mysteriously lost document, a procurement office ''slip'' compounded by the neglect of a clerk's office deputy who was away for several added weeks and didn't get to it because of a ''family emergency.''
Of course, the crisis is all the fault of ''COVID,'' ''paper shortages'' and inconvenient citizens with pesky questions whose scrutiny of their elected officials is causing them emotional distress -- while they arrogantly lecture the people who pay their bills for ''offending'' them with accusations of incompetence and crony favoritism.
If it walks like an election heist and talks like an election heist '... learn from history.
Michelle Malkin's email address is [email protected]
Homeless encampments continue to pop up around Austin, despite law
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:17
Published April 7, 2022 3:29PM
When the ban was reinstated, Austin implemented a four-phase plan to clean up homeless camps. Within a few months of that plan, many public encampments were cleaned up, but, almost one year later, the tents are back and the city says it is a resource issue.
AUSTIN, Texas - "No one can say that what we have now, in all parts of Austin, is helping anyone," said Cleo Petricek, co-founder for Save Austin Now.
More and more homeless encampment tents are popping up across the Austin area regardless of the camping ban voted back in place last year.
"What we have now is unregulated encampments in everyone's neighborhood that are not appropriate for anyone, especially the homeless," said Petricek.
Save Austin Now is the local group that spearheaded the campaign to reinstate the homeless camping ban. Petricek says she believes the city is to blame for the recent uptick in illegal camping.
"I do feel they're letting down every single Austinite, homeless or not. We all deserve to have a safe city and where the homeless have the ability to have a safe campground. These are absolutely things our mayor and city can do," she said.
The city says otherwise.
"We are actively working with individuals who are unhoused, who are living in encampments throughout the city to get them connected to housing and services," said Kathie Tovo, Austin City Council District 9.
Family of dead woman found in homeless camp speaks outThe family of a dead woman found in a homeless encampment last week is speaking out to share her story and how unfairly her body was treated by city officials.
When the ban was reinstated in May 2021, the city implemented a four-phase plan to clean up homeless camps. Within a few months of that plan, many public encampments were cleaned up, but, almost one year later, the tents are back and the city says it is a resource issue.
"The truth is, you know, we don't have the resources. We need to make sure that each and every one of our neighbors who's experiencing homelessness has a safe place to go," said Tovo.
Tovo tells FOX 7 Austin that the city is trying to address the camps through the HEAL initiative that was implemented last summer. Just last month, 59 homeless people were moved out of illegal encampments and into city-owned shelters. In total 303 homeless people have been helped through the heal campaign.
Tovo says it is a process to decide which camps are helped through the HEAL program, and there are not enough resources in the initiative to help every camp in the city."Limited capacity and our staff, unfortunately, they have a very difficult job of identifying those encampments that pose the highest risk to health and safety and housing those individuals, and that means that some of the other encampments are not going to be prioritized for housing," she said.
Austin leaders say the way to end homelessness is to provide housingThe City of Austin plans to have almost 2,200 units available for supportive housing by 2024.
According to city officials, there is no current, set date on when another wave of the HEAL initiative will happen, but the city is working on something else: opening a hotel in North Austin.
"The Candlewood Suites in my district is right now being renovated and it will accept about 75 people who are experiencing homelessness, but that's about a year down the road," said Mackenzie Kelly, Austin City Council for District 6.
Petricek believes something more can be done by the city. "That is sad because it's the homeless that are feeling the consequences of the chaos in the city," said Petricek.
FOX 7 Austin reached out to the City of Austin's Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Gray for a statement on the recent increase in tents. Her team sent this:
"Austin Police Department continues regular enforcement activities related to the local camping ordinance and the statewide ban on public camping. Cross-departmental coordination has resulted in over 100 encampment closure actions since August 2021. While most closures occur via voluntary compliance, APD has issued citations related to the camping ordinances.
Without access to adequate shelter and housing resources, enforcement at one location may result in migration of unsheltered residents to new areas. Enforcement alone is not a solution to homelessness, which is why investments in housing and shelter resources are needed. The City of Austin is taking aggressive steps to increase resources for individuals experiencing homelessness, but there is not currently adequate shelter space for all people displaced by enforcement of state and local public camping laws.
Community-wide goals set in last year's Summit to Address Unsheltered Homelessness include expanding capacity to rehouse an additional 3,000 people by the end of 2024. This collaborative effort, now known as Finding Home ATX, will draw on city, county, state, and private resources.
Last June, Austin City Council voted to dedicate $106.7 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds toward addressing homelessness. In January, Austin Public Health began the process of soliciting up to $53 million in housing stabilization services. Just last week Austin Public Health released another solicitation for $10 million in crisis services to include shelter. An additional solicitation expected by early June will provide resources for employment, behavioral health, and enhanced access to public benefits.
In the past ten months the Homeless Strategy Division at Austin Public Health has opened two new bridge shelters, compassionately closed 8 high priority encampments, and offered nearly 250 people access to crisis shelter through the HEAL Initiative. Many of the individuals served through the HEAL Initiative have already been rehoused, and many more are on their way to finding a safe and stable home."
Tune in to FOX 7 Austin for the latest Central Texas news.
___MORE HEADLINES: Body found at East Austin homeless encampment moments before clean-upCity-owned hotel to be renovated into housing for the homelessMichael & Susan Dell Foundation commits $38 million to fight homelessness in Austin___
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Gerontocracy - Wikipedia
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:16
Oligarchical rule by the elderly
A gerontocracy is a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population. In many political structures, power within the ruling class accumulates with age, making the oldest the holders of the most power. Those holding the most power may not be in formal leadership positions, but often dominate those who are. In a simplified definition, a gerontocracy is a society where leadership is reserved for elders.[1]
Although the idea of the elderly holding power exists in many cultures, the gerontocracy has its western roots in ancient Greece. Plato famously stated that "it is for the elder man to rule and for the younger to submit".[2] One example of the ancient Greek gerontocracy can be seen in the city state of Sparta, which was ruled by a Gerousia, a council made up of members who were at least 60 years old and who served for life.[3]
In political systems [ edit ] Elders had leadership roles in many tribal societies. In the time of the Eight Immortals of the Communist Party of China, it was quipped, "the 80-year-olds are calling meetings of 70-year-olds to decide which 60-year-olds should retire".[citation needed ] For instance, Party chairman Mao Zedong was 82 when he died, while Deng Xiaoping was not retired until the age of 85.
In the Soviet Union [ edit ] In the Soviet Union, gerontocracy became increasingly entrenched starting in the 1970s;[4] it was prevalent in the country until at least March 1985, when a more dynamic and younger, ambitious leadership headed by Mikhail Gorbachev took power.[5] Leonid Brezhnev, its foremost representative,[6] died in 1982 aged 75, but had suffered a heart attack in 1975, after which generalized arteriosclerosis set in, so that he was progressively infirm and had trouble speaking. During his last two years he was essentially a figurehead.[7]
In 1980, the average Politburo member was 70 years old (as opposed to 55 in 1952 and 61 in 1964), and by 1982, Brezhnev's Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Gromyko, his Minister of Defense Dmitriy Ustinov and his Premier Nikolai Tikhonov were all in their mid-to-late seventies.[8] Yuri Andropov, Brezhnev's 68-year-old successor, was seriously ill with kidney disease when he took over,[9] and after his death fifteen months later, he was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko, then 72, who lasted thirteen months before his death and replacement with Gorbachev. Chernenko became the third Soviet leader to die in less than three years, and, upon being informed in the middle of the night of his death, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who was seven months older than Chernenko and just over three years older than his predecessor Andropov, is reported to have remarked "How am I supposed to get anyplace with the Russians if they keep dying on me?"[10]
Communist states [ edit ] Other Communist countries with leaders in their 70s or 80s have included Albania (First Secretary Enver Hoxha was 76 at death), Bulgaria (General Secretary Todor Zhivkov was 78 at his resignation), Czechoslovakia (President Gustv Husk was 76 at his resignation), China (Chairman Mao Zedong was 82 at death), East Germany (General Secretary and head of state Erich Honecker was 77 when forced out), Hungary (General Secretary Jnos Kdr was 75 when forced out), Laos (President Nouhak Phoumsavanh was 83 at retirement), North Korea (Supreme Leader Kim Il-sung was 82 at death), Romania (General Secretary and Conducător Nicolae Ceauşescu was 71 when he was executed), Vietnam (President TrÆ°á>>'ng Chinh was 80 at retirement), Yugoslavia (President and Marshall Josip Broz Tito was 87 at death). On the sub-national level, Georgia's Party head Vasil Mzhavanadze was 70 when forced out, and his Lithuanian counterpart Antanas Sniečkus was 71 at death. Nowadays, Cuba has been characterized as a gerontocracy: "Although the population is now mainly black or mulatto and young, its rulers form a mainly white gerontocracy", The Economist wrote in 2008.[11] Cuba's Fidel Castro had de facto ruled the country for nearly 50 years, effectively retiring in 2008 at the age of 82, although he remained the leader of the Communist Party of Cuba until 2011. He was replaced by his brother Raºl Castro, who was 89 years old at the time of his own retirement.
United States [ edit ] In 2021, the average age of a U.S. senator was 64,[12] and positions of power within the legislatures '' such as chairmanships of various committees '' are usually bestowed upon the more experienced, that is, older, members of the legislature. Strom Thurmond, a U.S. senator from South Carolina, left office at age 100 after almost half a century in the body, while Robert Byrd of West Virginia was born in 1917 and served in the Senate from 1959 to his death in 2010. Senators under the age of 40 are virtually unknown.
Under President Donald Trump, the United States government more generally has been described as a gerontocracy.[13][14] At 70, Trump was the oldest person ever to be inaugurated president of the United States, until the inauguration of Joe Biden. Many senior officials in Trump's administration, such as Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and William Barr, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, have been septuagenarians or older.
In the 2020 United States presidential election, the Democratic Party nominated former Vice President Joe Biden against Trump. Either Trump or Biden would have been the oldest President in American history, with Biden ultimately prevailing.[15] Biden was 78 when he was sworn in on 20 January 2021, making him the oldest person to be inaugurated president of the United States. The Biden administration's cabinet appointments have also reflected these gerontocratic tendencies. For example, Janet Yellen, Biden's Treasury Secretary, is 75.[16] The Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, are also both the oldest holders of their offices in American history.[17] Representative Don Young and Senators Diane Feinstein and Chuck Grassley are the oldest members of congress at 88 years old.[18][19] This observation has been connected to broader themes of American decline.[20]
Theocracy [ edit ] Gerontocracy is common in theocratic states and religious organizations such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Vatican and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in which leadership is concentrated in the hands of religious elders. Despite the age of the senior religious leaders, however, parliamentary candidates in Iran must be under 75. Nominally a theocratic monarchy, Saudi Arabia, likened to various late communist states, has been ruled by gerontocrats. Aged king Saud and his aged relatives held rule along with many elder clerics. They were in their eighties (born c. 1930).[21] Recently, however, power has become concentrated by Mohammad bin Salman''31 years old when, by the king, he was appointed Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia (assuming 'office' 21 June 2017)''who has sidelined powerful, older members of the Saudi family.
Stateless societies [ edit ] In Kenya, Samburu society is said to be a gerontocracy. The power of elders is linked to the belief in their curse, underpinning their monopoly over arranging marriages and taking on further wives. This is at the expense of unmarried younger men, whose development up to the age of thirty is in a state of social suspension, prolonging their adolescent status. The paradox of Samburu gerontocracy is that popular attention focuses on the glamour and deviant activities of these footloose bachelors, which extend to a form of gang warfare, widespread suspicions of adultery with the wives of older men, and theft of their stock.[22]
African societies such as this are known for their gerontocratic hierarchies. The Yoruba people, for example, are led by titled elders known as Obas and Oloyes. Although not an explicit requirement, most of them are decidedly elderly due to a variety of factors.
Other countries [ edit ] The Roman Republic was originally an example; the word senate is related to the Latin word senex, meaning "old man". Cicero wrote: "They wouldn't make use of running or jumping or spears from afar or swords up close, but rather wisdom, reasoning, and thought, which, if they weren't in old men, our ancestors wouldn't have called the highest council the senate."[23]
In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the government headed by M. Karunanidhi the state's chief minister who was 87 years old, was another real-world example of gerontocracy. In another Indian state, West Bengal, Shri Jyoti Basu, was 86 years old when he stepped down from the office of chief minister of the state. But he continued to remain a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) until a few months before his death in January 2010 and was consulted on all matters related to governance by the Chief Minister and his Cabinet as well as his other party colleagues.
Present-day Italy is often considered a gerontocracy,[24] even in the internal Italian debate.[25][26] The Monti government had the highest average age in the western world (64 years), with its youngest members being 57. Former Italian prime minister Mario Monti was 70 when he left office, his immediate predecessor Silvio Berlusconi was 75 at the time of resignation (2011), the previous head of the government Romano Prodi was 70 when he stepped down (2008). The Italian president Sergio Mattarella is 75, while his predecessors Giorgio Napolitano and Carlo Azeglio Ciampi were 89 and 86 respectively. In 2013, the youngest among the candidates for prime minister (Pier Luigi Bersani) was 62, the others being 70 and 78. The current average age of Italian university professors is 63, of bank directors and CEOs 67, of members of parliament 56, of labor union representatives 59.[24][25][26][27]
Organizational examples [ edit ] Outside the political sphere, gerontocracy may be observed in other institutional hierarchies of various kinds. Generally the mark of a gerontocracy is the presence of a substantial number of septuagenarian or octogenarian leaders'--those younger than this are too young for the label to be appropriate, while those older than this have generally been too few in number to dominate the leadership. The rare centenarian who has retained a position of power is generally by far the oldest in the hierarchy.
Gerontocracy generally occurs as a phase in the development of an entity, rather than being part of it throughout its existence. Opposition to gerontocracy may cause weakening or elimination of this characteristic by instituting things like term limits or mandatory retirement ages.
Judges of the United States courts, for example, serve for life, but a system of incentives to retire at full pay after a given age and disqualification from leadership has been instituted. The International Olympic Committee instituted a mandatory retirement age in 1965, and Pope Paul VI removed the right of cardinals to vote for a new pope once they reached the age of 80, which was to limit the number of cardinals that would vote for the new Pope, due to the proliferation of cardinals that was occurring at the time and is continuing to occur.
Gerontocracy may emerge in an institution not initially known for it.
See also [ edit ] AgeismCronyismGerontophobiaGerousiaReferences [ edit ] ^ Maddox, G. L. (1987). The Encyclopedia of Aging (p. 284). New York: Springer. ^ Bytheway, B. (1995). Ageism (p. 45). Buckingham: Open University Press. ^ Palmore, E. B. (1999). Ageism: negative and positive (2nd ed., p. 39). New York: Springer. ^ The Coming Change of Generations in the Kremlin, The New York Times, 6 July 1970 ^ Zwass, Adam. The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, p. 127. M. E. Sharpe, 1989, ISBN 0-87332-496-X. ^ Gerner, Kristian and Hedlund, Stefan. Ideology and Rationality in the Soviet Model, p. 346. Routledge, 1989, ISBN 0-415-02142-1. ^ Post, Jerrold M. Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World, p. 96. Cornell University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8014-4169-2. ^ Kort, Michael. The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath, p. 335. M. E. Sharpe, 2006, ISBN 0-7656-1454-5. ^ Post, p. 97. ^ Dowd, Maureen (18 November 1990). "Where's the Rest of Him?". The New York Times. p. 7:1 . Retrieved 10 December 2020 . ^ "The Cuban revolution at 50 - Heroic myth and prosaic failure". The Economist. 30 December 2008. ^ Manning, Jennifer. "Membership of the 117th Congress: A Profile". Congressional Research Service . Retrieved 25 March 2021 . ^ "America, the Gerontocracy". Politico. 3 September 2019 . Retrieved 21 September 2020 . ^ "Why Do Such Elderly People Run America?". The Atlantic. 5 March 2020 . Retrieved 21 September 2020 . ^ "Biden wins Pennsylvania, becoming the 46th president of the United States". CNN. 7 November 2020 . Retrieved 23 November 2020 . ^ "Biden is expected to name Janet Yellen, former Fed Chair, as Treasury secretary. She'd be the first woman in the job". The New York Times. 23 November 2020 . Retrieved 23 November 2020 . ^ "Nancy Pelosi due to be America's oldest House speaker". Washington Examiner. 14 December 2018 . Retrieved 21 September 2020 . ^ Mayer, Jane. "Dianne Feinstein's Missteps Raise a Painful Age Question Among Senate Democrats". The New Yorker . Retrieved 10 December 2020 . ^ Itkowitz, Colby (12 November 2020). "Alaska GOP Rep. Don Young, dean of the House, tests positive for coronavirus". The Washington Post . Retrieved 10 December 2020 . ^ "America's Unhealthy Gerontocracy". American Affairs. 25 June 2020 . Retrieved 21 September 2020 . ^ Yamani, Mai. "Saudi Arabia's old regime grows older". www.aljazeera.com. ^ Paul Spencer, The Samburu: a Study of Gerontocracy in a Nomadic Tribe, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1965 ISBN 978-0-415-31725-2 ^ Nec enim excursione nec saltu nec eminus hastis aut comminus gladiis uteretur, sed consilio, ratione, sententia; quae nisi essent in senibus, non-summum consilium maiores nostri appellassent senatum. De Senectute, I.16 ^ a b Gunilla von Hall (28 February 2012). "Ung ilska mot Italiens politiska dinosaurier | Utrikes | SvD" (in Swedish). Svd.se . Retrieved 5 January 2014 . ^ a b "Il Parlamento italiano? Maschio e di mezza et " (in Italian). Espresso.repubblica.it . Retrieved 5 January 2014 . ^ a b "La Stampa - Abbiamo i potenti pi¹ vecchi d'EuropaPolitici e manager sfiorano i 60 anni" (in Italian). Lastampa.it. 17 May 2012 . Retrieved 5 January 2014 . ^ "Distribuzione dei Senatori per fasce di et e per sesso" (in Italian). senato.it . Retrieved 5 January 2014 .
The White House is freaked out that Putin's next big win could be in Paris - POLITICO
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:13
A possible victory by Le Pen, a Putin sympathizer, could destabilize the Western coalition against Moscow, upending France's role as a leading European power and potentially giving other NATO leaders cold feet about staying in the alliance, according to three senior administration officials not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.
Senior U.S. officials have warily watched across the Atlantic for any signs of possible Russian interference in the first round of the elections, which will take place Sunday. Polls suggest that Macron and Le Pen would likely then advance to a showdown on April 24 '-- and that the potential two-person race would be close.
Le Pen, in her third attempt at the presidency, has surged over the past couple of weeks, as she has toned down some of her notoriously incendiary rhetoric to focus on cost-of-living issues. Millions in France are struggling to make ends meet after a 35 percent surge in gas prices over the past year.
Her resume deeply worries the White House.
Though Le Pen styles herself a benign populist, her campaign platform on immigration and Islam are still radical, with plans to ban the veil from all public places and stop foreigners from enjoying the same rights as French citizens. Her surname, in certain circles, is synonymous with racism and xenophobia '-- she now fronts the far-right, anti-immigration party her father founded. And she has been an unabashed admirer of Putin, whom she met in Moscow in 2017. Though she has somewhat distanced herself from the Russian president since the invasion of Ukraine, she has spoken sympathetically of Putin's rationale for war and rejected some of the Western coalition's hard-line measures against Russia.
''Do we want to die? Economically, we would die!'' she asked in a recent television debate, when asked if France should cut off oil and gas imports from Russia. ''We have to think of our people.''
A Le Pen victory, once unthinkable, would present the European Union with its biggest crisis since Brexit, potentially triggering a slow death rattle for the constellation of countries and completely upending a continent. And in the short term, it would deeply shake the pro-Ukraine coalition that extends from Warsaw to Washington.
The worst-case scenario, according to White House officials, would be that Le Pen could win and then pull France from the coalition currently standing alongside Kyiv against Moscow. Macron's government has already walked a fine line with Moscow, with the French president attempting to play the role of mediator in the days before Putin's invasion. Since then, France has supported the Ukrainians with weapons and assistance, but they've been quiet about it, refusing to release details on what and how much they're sending.
Washington fears that a Le Pen in the ‰lys(C)e would upset this delicate balance. Her victory could then prompt other European leaders '-- some of whom were already nervous about getting tough on Russia '-- to bail on the alliance as well.
Some Biden aides believe that even if Macron manages a narrow reelection, it could still have a chilling effect on European leaders who may worry about their own eventual political future against populists less toxic than Le Pen. That fear may only be exacerbated if the war between Russia and Ukraine becomes a protracted conflict that lasts months and months, resulting in higher energy prices across Europe, a continent dependent on Moscow for energy.
''We have no comment on another country's presidential race. France is a close ally of the United States and we continue to work with France on a wide range of issues of mutual interest,'' said the National Security Council's Adrienne Watson.
''Her election would be a disaster for Europe and the trans-Atlantic front to support Ukraine,'' said Benjamin Haddad, senior director of the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council. ''She's against sanctions and arms delivery, has always aligned on Kremlin talking points on Ukraine or NATO. Her platform includes leaving NATO military command and a series of anti-EU blocking measures that would de facto amount to a Frexit down the road, though she has taken Frexit off her program this time so as not to spook voters.''
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel was once viewed as Europe's emissary to Putin, a mantle that has now fallen to Macron upon her exit. On the eve of war, Macron sat across Putin's famous long table in an effort to avert invasion; the two leaders have spoken several times on the phone since. Macron has been criticized for engaging Putin, particularly from the president and prime minister of Poland.
Back in France, some resentment has grown that Macron '-- who trounced Le Pen in 2017 '-- has been far more focused on international diplomacy than domestic concerns and pocketbook issues for a country weary after grappling with a pandemic for two years. Macron tussled with the so-called ''yellow vest'' protesters, sparked at first by a gas tax and then became a wider movement in 2018-19. He's also never managed to shed the stigma of being a leader ''of Paris'' '-- not France '-- who has failed to empathize with everyday problems.
That he jumped into the presidential campaign late, confident that acting as an international statesman would guarantee a second term, is case in point for some voters.
A Le Pen win, most analysts believe, remains unlikely. In her run five years ago, polls were tight for a time before the race turned into a substantial Macron win. And when the field is narrowed to just two, she may simply become unpalatable to many voters.
But if Macron were defeated by Le Pen this time, it could put a huge crack in the trans-Atlantic wall built by Biden and his European counterparts. After four tumultuous years of Donald Trump that badly strained traditional alliances, Biden has made a central mission to reassure Europe that it could count on the United States again. He has made three trips to Europe in his presidency '-- including last month to Brussels and Poland '-- to affirm those ties, and he recommitted the U.S. to the NATO alliance designed as a bulwark to Moscow's aggression. The Paris-Washington dust-up over the AUKUS deal, which robbed France of a lucrative submarine deal with Australia, seems to be largely behind Biden and Macron now.
Washington has been watching the elections and sharing information on possible Russia-based intervention, from bots to fake accounts, though most of Moscow's cyber efforts right now are focused on sharing propaganda to support the war effort in Ukraine, the officials said.
The Western allies have worked largely in lockstep in putting vise-like economic sanctions on Moscow and supplying Ukraine with needed military equipment. Russia's invasion has badly struggled in recent days, and Putin has already been forced to dramatically curtail his war aims.
But he would get a major boost by a Le Pen win. This time, she has focused relentlessly on economic issues, promising to reduce gas and electricity prices, and tax the hiring of foreign employees to favor nationals. But while she has toned down her rhetoric, and benefited from the presence of a candidate even further to her right, she has changed little of her platform, including measures like removing benefits from many immigrants, repudiating the primacy of EU law and closing the door on most asylum seekers.
''Le Pen represents a historic threat to one of the most important democracies in Europe,'' Lauren Speranza, director of the Transatlantic Defense and Security program at the Center for European Policy Analysis. ''She has praised Putin, who is a war criminal, and depends on Russian money.
''If she leads France, it will be incredibly difficult to maintain the relative unity the trans-Atlantic community has shown so far in the war in Ukraine,'' continued Speranza. ''Her election would play directly into Putin's goal of exacerbating cracks in the NATO alliance.''
And she cannot dodge her previous praise of Putin. Macron has repeatedly pressed that point, telling reporters this week that he was not the candidate in the race who has shown ''complacency towards Vladimir Putin.''
In 2017, she voiced her support for Putin's invasion of Crimea and her opposition to EU sanctions in response to the annexation. If she had won that time, she pledged to lift the sanctions. Just two weeks ago, she told French TV that Putin ''could become an ally of France again'' when the war ends.
''Russia's not going anywhere,'' she explained to the French public broadcaster France 2. ''I've always said that a great power can be an ally in a number of situations.''
Alex Ward contributed to this report.
Southern strategy - Wikipedia
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:12
In American politics, the Southern strategy was a Republican Party electoral strategy to increase political support among white voters in the South by appealing to racism against African Americans.[1][2][3] As the civil rights movement and dismantling of Jim Crow laws in the 1950s and 1960s visibly deepened existing racial tensions in much of the Southern United States, Republican politicians such as presidential candidate Richard Nixon and Senator Barry Goldwater developed strategies that successfully contributed to the political realignment of many white, conservative voters in the South who had traditionally supported the Democratic Party rather than the Republican Party. It also helped to push the Republican Party much more to the right relative to the 1950s.[4]
The phrase "Southern Strategy" refers primarily to "top down" narratives of the political realignment of the South which suggest that Republican leaders consciously appealed to many white Southerners' racial grievances in order to gain their support.[5] This top-down narrative of the Southern Strategy is generally believed to be the primary force that transformed Southern politics following the civil rights era. The scholarly consensus is that racial conservatism was critical in the post-Civil Rights Act realignment of the Republican and Democratic parties.[citation needed ][6][7] Several aspects of this view have been debated by some historians and political scientists.[8][9][10][11][12]
The perception that the Republican Party had served as the "vehicle of white supremacy in the South," particularly during the Goldwater campaign and the presidential elections of 1968 and 1972, made it difficult for the Republican Party to win back the support of black voters in the South in later years.[4] In 2005, Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman formally apologized to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for exploiting racial polarization to win elections and ignoring the black vote.[13][14]
Introduction Edit Although the phrase "Southern Strategy" is often attributed to Nixon's political strategist Kevin Phillips, he did not originate it[15] but popularized it.[16] In an interview included in a 1970 New York Times article, Phillips stated his analysis based on studies of ethnic voting:
From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.[1]
While Phillips sought to increase Republican power by polarizing ethnic voting in general, and not just to win the white South, the South was by far the biggest prize yielded by his approach. Its success began at the presidential level. Gradually, Southern voters began to elect Republicans to Congress and finally to statewide and local offices, particularly as some legacy segregationist Democrats retired or switched to the GOP.[who? ] In addition, the Republican Party worked for years to develop grassroots political organizations across the South, supporting candidates for local school boards and city and county offices as examples, but following the Watergate scandal Southern voters came out in support for the "favorite son" candidate, Southern Democrat Jimmy Carter.
From 1948 to 1984, the Southern states, for decades a stronghold for the Democrats, became key swing states, providing the popular vote margins in the 1960, 1968 and 1976 elections. During this era, several Republican candidates expressed support for states' rights, a reversal of the position held by Republicans prior to the Civil War. Some political analysts said this term was used in the 20th century as a "code word" to represent opposition to federal enforcement of civil rights for blacks and to federal intervention on their behalf; many individual southerners had opposed passage of the Voting Rights Act.[3]
Background Edit 20th-century Reconstruction to Solid South Edit During the Reconstruction era (1863''1877), the Republican Party built up its base across the South and for a while had control in each state except Virginia, but from a national perspective, the Republican Party always gave priority to its much better established Northern state operations. The Northern party distrusted the scalawags, found the avaricious carpetbaggers distasteful and lacked respect for the black component of their Republican Party in the South. Richard Abbott says that national Republicans always "stressed building their Northern base rather than extending their party into the South, and whenever the Northern and Southern needs conflicted the latter always lost".[17] In 1868, the GOP spent only 5% of its war chest in the South. Ulysses S. Grant was reelected and the New York Tribune advised it was now time for Southern Republicans to "root, hog, or die!" (that is, to take care of themselves).[18]
During the 1876 United States presidential election, the GOP ticket headed by moderates Rutherford B. Hayes and William A. Wheeler (later known as members of the comparably liberal "Half-Breed" faction) abandoned the party's pro-civil rights efforts of Reconstruction and made conciliatory tones to the South in the form of appeals to old Southern Whigs.[19]
1920 presidential election map showing Democrat
James M. Cox winning only the Solid South and Republican
Warren G. Harding prevailing in the electoral college. From the time of Reconstruction until the Civil Rights Era, the Southern states consistently supported the Democratic candidate for President.
In a series of compromises, such as the Compromise of 1877, the Republican Party withdrew United States Army forces that had propped up its last three state governors and in return gained the White House for Rutherford B. Hayes.[20] All the Southern states were now under the control of Democrats, who decade by decade increased their control of virtually all aspects of politics in the ex-Confederate states. There were occasional pockets of Republican control, usually in remote mountain districts.[21]
After 1890, the white Democrats used a variety of tactics to reduce voting by African Americans and poor whites.[22] In the 1880s, they began to pass legislation making election processes more complicated and in some cases requiring payment of poll taxes, which created a barrier for poor people of both races.
Editorial cartoon by
Thomas Nast from the January 18, 1879 issue of
Harper's Weekly criticizing the use of literacy tests. It shows "Mr.
Solid South" writing on the wall: "Eddikashun qualifukashun. The Blak man orter be eddikated afore he kin vote with us Wites." The Republican Nast often satirized the Democratic Party by caricaturing its adherents as poor, ignorant, and violent.
From 1890 to 1908, the white Democratic legislatures in every Southern state enacted new constitutions or amendments with provisions to disenfranchise most blacks[23] and tens of thousands of poor whites. Provisions required payment of poll taxes, complicated residency, literacy tests and other requirements which were subjectively applied against blacks. As blacks lost their vote, the Republican Party lost its ability to effectively compete in the South.[24] There was a dramatic drop in voter turnout as these measures took effect, a decline in African American participation that was enforced for decades in all Southern states.[25]
Blacks did have a voice in the Republican Party, especially in the choice of presidential candidates at the national convention. Boris Heersink and Jeffery A. Jenkins argue that in 1880''1928 Republican leaders at the presidential level adopted a "Southern Strategy" by "investing heavily in maintaining a minor party organization in the South, as a way to create a reliable voting base at conventions". As a consequence, federal patronage did go to Southern blacks as long as there was a Republican in the White House. The issue exploded in 1912, when President William Howard Taft used control of the Southern delegations to defeat former President Theodore Roosevelt at the Republican National Convention.[26][27]
Because blacks were closed out of elected offices, the South's congressional delegations and state governments were dominated by white Democrats until the 1980s or later. Effectively, Southern white Democrats controlled all the votes of the expanded population by which Congressional apportionment was figured. Many of their representatives achieved powerful positions of seniority in Congress, giving them control of chairmanships of significant Congressional committees. Although the Fourteenth Amendment has a provision to reduce the Congressional representation of states that denied votes to their adult male citizens, this provision was never enforced. Because African Americans could not be voters, they were also prevented from being jurors and serving in local offices. Services and institutions for them in the segregated South were chronically underfunded by state and local governments, from which they were excluded.[28]
During this period, Republicans held only a few House seats from the South. Between 1880 and 1904, Republican presidential candidates in the South received 35''40% of that section's vote (except in 1892, when the 16% for the Populists knocked Republicans down to 25%). From 1904 to 1948, Republicans received more than 30% of the section's votes only in the 1920 (35.2%, carrying Tennessee) and 1928 elections (47.7%, carrying five states) after disenfranchisement.
During this period, Republican administrations appointed blacks to political positions. Republicans regularly supported anti-lynching bills, but these were filibustered by Southern Democrats in the Senate. In the 1928 election, the Republican candidate Herbert Hoover rode the issues of prohibition and anti-Catholicism[29] to carry five former Confederate states, with 62 of the 126 electoral votes of the section. After his victory, Hoover attempted to build up the Republican Party of the South, transferring his limited patronage away from blacks and toward the same kind of white Protestant businessmen who made up the core of the Northern Republican Party. With the onset of the Great Depression, which severely affected the South, Hoover soon became extremely unpopular. The gains of the Republican Party in the South were lost. In the 1932 election, Hoover received only 18.1% of the Southern vote for re-election.
World War II and population changes Edit In the 1948 election, after President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 to desegregate the military, a group of conservative Southern Democrats known as Dixiecrats split from the Democratic Party in reaction to the inclusion of a civil rights plank in the party's platform. This followed a floor fight led by civil-rights activist, Minneapolis Mayor (and soon-to-be Senator) Hubert Humphrey. The disaffected conservative Democrats formed the States' Rights Democratic, or Dixiecrat Party and nominated Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina for President. Thurmond carried four Deep South states in the general election: South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The main plank of the States' Rights Democratic Party was maintaining segregation and Jim Crow in the South. The Dixiecrats, failing to deny the Democrats the presidency in 1948, soon dissolved, but the split lingered. In the fall of 1964, Thurmond was one of the first conservative Southern Democrats to switch to the Republican Party just a couple months after Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law.[30][31]
In addition to the splits in the Democratic Party, the population movements associated with World War II had a significant effect in changing the demographics of the South. Starting during World War II, lasting from 1940 to 1970, more than 5 million African-Americans moved from the rural South to medium and major Northern industrial cities as well as mainly coastal munitions centers of the West during the Second Great Migration for jobs in the defense industry and later economic opportunities during the post-World War II economic boom.[32]
With control of powerful committees, Southern Democrats gained new federal military installations in the South and other federal investments during and after the war. Changes in industry and growth in universities and the military establishment in turn attracted Northern transplants to the South and bolstered the base of the Republican Party. In the post-war presidential campaigns, Republicans did best in those fastest-growing states of the South that had the most Northern transplants. In the 1952, 1956 and 1960 elections, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida went Republican while Louisiana went Republican in 1956 and Texas twice voted for Dwight D. Eisenhower and once for John F. Kennedy. In 1956, Eisenhower received 48.9% of the Southern vote, becoming only the second Republican in history (after Ulysses S. Grant) to get a plurality of Southern votes.[33]
The white conservative voters of the states of the Deep South remained loyal to the Democratic Party, which had not officially repudiated segregation. Because of declines in population or smaller rates of growth compared to other states, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and North Carolina lost congressional seats from the 1950s to the 1970s while South Carolina, Louisiana and Georgia remained static. Eisenhower was elected president in 1952, with strong support from the emerging middle class suburban element in the South. He appointed a number of Southern Republican supporters as federal judges in the South. They in turn ordered the desegregation of Southern schools in the 1950s and 1960s. They included Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judges John R. Brown, Elbert P. Tuttle and John Minor Wisdom as well as district judges Frank Johnson and J. Skelly Wright.[34] However, five of his 24 appointees supported segregation.[35]
Roots (1963''1972) Edit The "Year of Birmingham" in 1963 highlighted racial issues in Alabama. Through the spring, there were marches and demonstrations to end legal segregation. The Movement's achievements in settlement with the local business class were overshadowed by bombings and murders by the Ku Klux Klan, most notoriously in the deaths of four girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.[36]
After the Democrat George Wallace was elected as Governor of Alabama, he emphasized the connection between states' rights and segregation, both in speeches and by creating crises to provoke federal intervention. He opposed integration at the University of Alabama and collaborated with the Ku Klux Klan in 1963 in disrupting court-ordered integration of public schools in Birmingham.[36]
1964 presidential candidate
Barry Goldwater won his home state of Arizona and five states in the
Deep South, depicted in red. The Southern states, traditionally Democratic up to that time, voted Republican primarily as a statement of opposition to the
Civil Rights Act, which had been passed in Congress earlier that year. Capturing 61.1% of the popular vote and 486 electors, Johnson won in a landslide.
Many of the states' rights Democrats were attracted to the 1964 presidential campaign of conservative Republican Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. Goldwater was notably more conservative than previous Republican nominees, such as President Eisenhower. Goldwater's principal opponent in the primary election, Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, was widely seen as representing the more moderate, pro-Civil Rights Act, Northern wing of the party (see Rockefeller Republican and Goldwater Republican).[37]
In the 1964 presidential election, Goldwater ran a conservative, hawkish campaign that broadly opposed strong action by the federal government. Although he had supported all previous federal civil rights legislation, Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act and championed this opposition during the campaign.[38][39] He believed that this act was an intrusion of the federal government into the affairs of state; and second, that the Act interfered with the rights of private persons to do business, or not, with whomever they chose, even if the choice is based on racial discrimination.
Goldwater's position appealed to white Southern Democrats and Goldwater was the first Republican presidential candidate since Reconstruction to win the electoral votes of the Deep South states (Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina). Outside the South, Goldwater's negative vote on the Civil Rights Act proved devastating to his campaign. The only other state he won was his home one of Arizona and he suffered a landslide defeat. A Lyndon B. Johnson ad called "Confessions of a Republican", which ran in Northern and Western states, associated Goldwater with the Ku Klux Klan. At the same time, Johnson's campaign in the Deep South publicized Goldwater's support for pre-1964 civil rights legislation. In the end, Johnson swept the election.[40]
If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you.
At the time, Goldwater was at odds in his position with most of the prominent members of the Republican Party, dominated by so-called Eastern Establishment and Midwestern Progressives. A higher percentage of the Republicans and Democrats outside the South supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as they had on all previous Civil Rights legislation. The Southern Democrats mostly opposed the Northern and Western politicians regardless of party affiliation'--and their Presidents (Kennedy and Johnson)'--on civil rights issues. At the same time, passage of the Civil Rights Act caused many black voters to join the Democratic Party, which moved the party and its nominees in a progressive direction.[42]
Johnson was concerned that his endorsement of Civil Rights legislation would endanger his party in the South. In the 1968 election, Richard Nixon saw the cracks in the Solid South as an opportunity to tap into a group of voters who had historically been beyond the reach of the Republican Party. George Wallace had exhibited a strong candidacy in that election, where he garnered 46 electoral votes and nearly 10 million popular votes, attracting mostly Southern Democrats away from Hubert Humphrey.[43][44][45]
The notion of Black Power advocated by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leaders captured some of the frustrations of African Americans at the slow process of change in gaining civil rights and social justice. African Americans pushed for faster change, raising racial tensions.[46] Journalists reporting about the demonstrations against the Vietnam War often featured young people engaging in violence or burning draft cards and American flags.[47] Conservatives were also dismayed about the many young adults engaged in the drug culture and "free love" (sexual promiscuity), in what was called the "hippie" counter-culture. These actions scandalized many Americans and created a concern about law and order.
Nixon's advisers recognized that they could not appeal directly to voters on issues of white supremacy or racism. White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman noted that Nixon "emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognized this while not appearing to".[48] With the aid of Harry Dent and South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who had switched to the Republican Party in 1964, Nixon ran his 1968 campaign on states' rights and "law and order". Liberal Northern Democrats accused Nixon of pandering to Southern whites, especially with regard to his "states' rights" and "law and order" positions, which were widely understood by black leaders to symbolize Southern resistance to civil rights.[49] This tactic was described in 2007 by David Greenberg in Slate as "dog-whistle politics".[50] According to an article in The American Conservative, Nixon adviser and speechwriter Pat Buchanan disputed this characterization.[51]
The independent candidacy of George Wallace, former Democratic governor of Alabama, partially negated Nixon's Southern Strategy.[52] With a much more explicit attack on integration and black civil rights, Wallace won all of Goldwater's states (except South Carolina) as well as Arkansas and one of North Carolina's electoral votes. Nixon picked up Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida while Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey won only Texas in the South. Writer Jeffrey Hart, who worked on the Nixon campaign as a speechwriter, said in 2006 that Nixon did not have a "Southern Strategy", but "Border State Strategy" as he said that the 1968 campaign ceded the Deep South to George Wallace. Hart suggested that the press called it a "Southern Strategy" as they are "very lazy".[53]
By contrast, in the 1972 election Nixon won every state in the Union except Massachusetts, winning more than 70% of the popular vote in most of the Deep South (Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina) and 61% of the national vote. He won more than 65% of the votes in the other states of the former Confederacy and 18% of the black vote nationwide. Despite his appeal to Southern whites, Nixon was widely perceived as a moderate outside the South and won African American votes on that basis.
Glen Moore argues that in 1970 Nixon and the Republican Party developed a "Southern Strategy" for the midterm elections. The strategy involved depicting Democratic candidates as permissive liberals. Republicans thereby managed to unseat Albert Gore, Sr. of Tennessee as well as Senator Joseph D. Tydings of Maryland. However, for the entire region the net result was a small loss of seats for the Republican Party in the South.[54]
Regional attention in 1970 focused on the Senate, when Nixon nominated Judge G. Harrold Carswell of Florida, a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court.[55] Carswell was a lawyer from north Florida with a mediocre record, but Nixon needed a Southerner and a "strict constructionist" to support his "Southern Strategy" of moving the region toward the GOP. Carswell was voted down by the liberal block in the Senate, causing a backlash that pushed many Southern Democrats into the Republican fold. The long-term result was a realization by both parties that nominations to the Supreme Court could have a major impact on political attitudes in the South.[56]
In a year-by-year analysis of how the transformation took place in the critical state of Virginia, James Sweeney shows that the slow collapse of the old statewide Byrd machine[clarification needed ] gave the Republicans the opportunity to build local organizations county by county and city by city. The Democratic Party factionalized, with each faction having the goal of taking over the entire statewide Byrd machine, but the Byrd leadership was basically conservative and more in line with the national Republican Party in economic and foreign policy issues. Republicans united behind A. Linwood Holton, Jr. in 1969 and swept the state. In the 1970 Senate elections, the Byrd machine made a comeback by electing Independent Harry Flood Byrd, Jr. over Republican Ray L. Garland and Democrat George Rawlings. The new Senator Byrd never joined the Republican Party and instead joined the Democratic caucus. Nevertheless, he had a mostly conservative voting record especially on the trademark Byrd issue of the national deficit. At the local level, the 1970s saw steady Republican growth with this emphasis on a middle-class suburban electorate that had little interest in the historic issues of rural agrarianism and racial segregation.[57]
Evolution (1970s and 1980s) Edit As civil rights grew more accepted throughout the nation, basing a general election strategy on appeals to "states' rights", which some would have believed opposed civil rights laws, would have resulted in a national backlash. The concept of "states' rights" was considered by some to be subsumed within a broader meaning than simply a reference to civil rights laws.[2][3] States rights became seen as encompassing a type of New Federalism that would return local control of race relations.[58] Republican strategist Lee Atwater discussed the Southern Strategy in a 1981 interview later published in Southern Politics in the 1990s by Alexander P. Lamis.[59][60][61][62]
Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry Dent and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [Reagan] doesn't have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he's campaigned on since 1964 [...] and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster...
Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?
Atwater: Y'all don't quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"'--that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me'--because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."
Reagan's Neshoba County Fair "states' rights" speech Edit In August 1980, Republican candidate Ronald Reagan made a much-noted appearance at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Mississippi.[63] His speech there contained the phrase "I believe in states' rights"[note 1] and was cited as evidence that the Republican Party was building upon the Southern Strategy again.[64][65][66] Former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, an African-American, charged that with his support of states' rights, Reagan was signaling that "that it's going to be all right to kill niggers when [Reagan is] president." This remark was criticized by Carter's White House.[67] Two days after his appearance at the Neshoba County Fair, Reagan appeared at the Urban League convention in New York to appeal to black voters, where he said, "I am committed to the protection and enforcement of the civil rights of black Americans. This commitment is interwoven into every phase of the plans I will propose."[68]
Reagan's campaigns used racially coded rhetoric, making attacks on the "welfare state" and leveraging resentment towards affirmative action.[69][70] Dan Carter explains how "Reagan showed that he could use coded language with the best of them, lambasting welfare queens, busing, and affirmative action as the need arose".[71] During his 1976 and 1980 campaigns, Reagan employed stereotypes of welfare recipients, often invoking the case of a "welfare queen" with a large house and a Cadillac using multiple names to collect over $150,000 in tax-free income.[69][72] Aistrup described Reagan's campaign statements as "seemingly race neutral", but explained how whites interpret this in a racial manner, citing a Democratic National Committee funded study conducted by Communications Research Group.[69] Though Reagan did not overtly mention the race of the welfare recipient, the unstated impression in whites' minds were black people and Reagan's rhetoric resonated with Southern white perceptions of black people.[69]
Aistrup argued that one example of Reagan field-testing coded language in the South was a reference to an unscrupulous man using food stamps as a "strapping young buck".[69][73] When informed of the offensive connotations of the term, Reagan defended his actions as a nonracial term that was common in his Illinois hometown. Ultimately, Reagan never used that particular phrasing again.[74] According to Ian Haney Lopez, the "young buck" term changed into "young fellow" which was less overtly racist: " 'Some young fellow' was less overtly racist and so carried less risk of censure, and worked just as well to provoke a sense of white victimization".[75]
Lee Atwater argued that Reagan did not use the Southern Strategy or need to make racial appeals:[59]
Atwater: But Reagan did not have to do a southern strategy for two reasons. Number one, race was not a dominant issue. And number two, the mainstream issues in this campaign had been, quote, southern issues since way back in the sixties. So Reagan goes out and campaigns on the issues of economics and of national defense. The whole campaign was devoid of any kind of racism, any kind of reference.
Willie Horton attack ads Edit During the 1988 presidential election, the Willie Horton attack ads run against Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis built upon the Southern Strategy in a campaign that reinforced the notion that Republicans best represent conservative whites with traditional values.[76] Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes worked on the campaign as George H. W. Bush's political strategists.[77] Upon seeing a favorable New Jersey focus group response to the Horton strategy, Atwater recognized that an implicit racial appeal could work outside of the Southern states.[78] The subsequent ads featured Horton's mugshot and played on fears of black criminals. Atwater said of the strategy: "By the time we're finished, they're going to wonder whether Willie Horton is Dukakis' running mate".[79] Al Gore was the first to use the Willie Horton prison furlough against Dukakis and'--like the Bush campaign'--would not mention race. The Bush campaign claimed they were initially made aware of the Horton issue via the Gore campaign's use of the subject. Bush initially hesitated to use the Horton campaign strategy, but the campaign saw it as a wedge issue to harm Dukakis who was struggling against Democratic rival Jesse Jackson.[80]
In addition to presidential campaigns, subsequent Republican campaigns for the House of Representatives and Senate in the South employed the Southern Strategy.[citation needed ] During his 1990 re-election campaign, Jesse Helms attacked his opponent's alleged support of "racial quotas", most notably through an ad in which a white person's hands are seen crumpling a letter indicating that he was denied a job because of the color of his skin.[81][82]
New York Times opinion columnist Bob Herbert wrote in 2005: "The truth is that there was very little that was subconscious about the G.O.P.'s relentless appeal to racist whites. Tired of losing elections, it saw an opportunity to renew itself by opening its arms wide to white voters who could never forgive the Democratic Party for its support of civil rights and voting rights for blacks".[83] Aistrup described the transition of the Southern Strategy saying that it has "evolved from a states' rights, racially conservative message to one promoting in the Nixon years, vis- -vis the courts, a racially conservative interpretation of civil rights laws'--including opposition to busing. With the ascendancy of Reagan, the Southern Strategy became a national strategy that melded race, taxes, anticommunism, and religion".[84][page needed ]
Some analysts viewed the 1990s as the apogee of Southernization or the Southern Strategy, given that the Democratic President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were from the South as were Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle.[85] During the end of Nixon's presidency, the Senators representing the former Confederate states in the 93rd Congress were primarily Democrats. During the beginning of Bill Clinton's presidency twenty years later in the 103rd Congress, this was still the case.[86]
Role of churches Edit Certain denominations show strong preferences, by membership, for certain political parties, particularly evangelicals for the GOP and historically black churches for the Democratic Party,[87] and voter guides exist, either designed for distribution by churches or easily available for that.[88][89][90] As a consequence, churches have played a key role in support of the Southern strategy, especially Southern Baptists.[91][92] Black Baptists, on the other hand, served as a source of resistance to Jim Crow through parallel institutions, intellectual traditions, and activism which extend into the present day.[93][94][95]
Shifts in strategy (1990s and 2000s) Edit In the mid-1990s, the Republican Party made major attempts to court African American voters, believing that the strength of religious values within the African American community and the growing number of affluent and middle-class African Americans would lead this group increasingly to support Republican candidates.[4][96] In general, these efforts did not significantly increase African American support for the Republican Party.[4][96] Few African Americans voted for George W. Bush and other national Republican candidates in the 2004 elections, although he attracted a higher percentage of black voters than had any GOP candidate since Ronald Reagan.[citation needed ] In his article "The Race Problematic, the Narrative of Martin Luther King Jr., and the Election of Barack Obama", Dr. Rickey Hill argued that Bush implemented his own Southern Strategy by exploiting "the denigration of the liberal label to convince white conservatives to vote for him. Bush's appeal was to the same racist tropes that had been used since the Goldwater and Nixon days."[97]
Following Bush's re-election, Ken Mehlman, Bush's campaign manager and Chairman of the Republican National Committee, held several large meetings in 2005 with African American business, community and religious leaders. In his speeches, he apologized for his party's use of the Southern Strategy in the past. When asked about the strategy of using race as an issue to build GOP dominance in the once-Democratic South, Mehlman replied,
Republican candidates often have prospered by ignoring black voters and even by exploiting racial tensions [...] by the '70s and into the '80s and '90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African-American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out. Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.[98][99]
Thomas Edge argues that the election of President Barack Obama saw a new type of Southern Strategy emerge among conservative voters. They used his election as evidence of a post-racial era to deny the need of continued civil rights legislation while simultaneously playing on racial tensions and marking him as a "racial bogeyman".[100] Edge described three parts to this phenomenon saying:
First, according to the arguments, a nation that has the ability to elect a Black president is completely free of racism. Second, attempts to continue the remedies enacted after the civil rights movement will only result in more racial discord, demagoguery, and racism against White Americans. Third, these tactics are used side-by-side with the veiled racism and coded language of the original Southern Strategy.[100]
Other observers have suggested that the election of President Obama in the 2008 presidential election and subsequent re-election in 2012 signaled the growing irrelevance of the Southern Strategy-style tactics. Louisiana State University political scientists Wayne Parent, for example, suggested that Obama's ability to get elected without the support of Southern states demonstrate that the region was moving from "the center of the political universe to being an outside player in presidential politics" while University of Maryland, Baltimore County political scientist Thomas Schaller argued that the Republican party had "marginalized" itself, becoming a "mostly regional party" through a process of Southernization.[85]
Scholarly debates Edit The Southern strategy is generally believed to be the primary force that transformed the "Democratic South into a reliable GOP stronghold in presidential elections".[6] Scholars generally emphasize the role of racial backlash in the realignment of southern voters. The viewpoint that the electoral realignment of the Republican party due to a race-driven Southern Strategy is also known as the "top-down" viewpoint.[5][101] Most scholarship and analysts support this top-down viewpoint and state that the political shift was due primarily to racial issues.[101][102][103] Some historians believe that racial issues took a back seat to a grassroots narrative known as the "suburban strategy", which Glen Feldman calls a "dissenting'--yet rapidly growing'--narrative on the topic of southern partisan realignment".[10]
Matthew Lassiter says: "A suburban-centered vision reveals that demographic change played a more important role than racial demagoguery in the emergence of a two-party system in the American South".[104] Lassiter argues that race-based appeals cannot explain the GOP shift in the South while also noting that the real situation is far more complex.[105][106][107][104] According to Lassiter, political scientists and historians point out that the timing does not fit the "Southern Strategy" model. Nixon carried 49 states in 1972, so he operated a successful national rather than regional strategy. But the Republican Party remained quite weak at the local and state level across the entire South for decades.[108]
Bruce Kalk and George Tindall argue that Nixon's Southern Strategy was to find a compromise on race that would take the issue out of politics, allowing conservatives in the South to rally behind his grand plan to reorganize the national government. Kalk and Tindall emphasize the similarity between Nixon's operations and the series of compromises orchestrated by Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877 that ended the battles over Reconstruction and put Hayes in the White House. Kalk says Nixon did end the reform impulse and sowed the seeds for the political rise of white Southerners and the decline of the civil rights movement.[109][110]
Dean Kotlowski argues that Nixon's overall civil rights record was on the whole responsible and that Nixon tended to seek the middle ground. He campaigned as a moderate in 1968, pitching his appeal to the widest range of voters. Furthermore, he continued this strategy as president. As a matter of principle, says Kotlowski, he supported integration of schools. However, Nixon chose not to antagonize Southerners who opposed it and left enforcement to the judiciary, which had originated the issue in the first place.[111][112] In particular, Kotlowski believes historians have been somewhat misled by Nixon's rhetorical Southern Strategy that had limited influence on actual policies.[113]
Nicholas Valentino and David O. Sears conducted their own study and reported that "the South's shift to the Republican party has been driven to a significant degree by racial conservatism" and also concluded that "racial conservatism seems to continue to be central to the realignment of Southern whites' partisanship since the Civil Rights era".[114] Valentino and Sears state that some "[o]ther scholars downplay the role of racial issues and prejudice even in contemporary racial politics". And that "the conventional wisdom about partisanship today seems to pointto divisions over the size of government (including taxes, social programs, and regulation), national security, and moral issues such as abortion and gay rights, with racial issues only one of numerous areas about which liberals and conservatives disagree, and far from the most important one at that".[114]
Jeremy Mayer argues that scholars have given too much emphasis on the civil rights issue as it was not the only deciding factor for Southern white voters. Goldwater took positions on such issues as privatizing the Tennessee Valley Authority, abolishing Social Security and ending farm price supports that outraged many white Southerners who strongly supported these programs. Mayer states:
Goldwater's staff also realized that his radical plan to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority was causing even racist whites to vote for Johnson. A Florida editorial urged Southern whites not to support Goldwater even if they agreed with his position on civil rights, because his other positions would have grave economic consequences for the region. Goldwater's opposition to most poverty programs, the TVA, aid to education, Social Security, the Rural Electrification Administration, and farm price supports surely cost him votes throughout the South and the nation.[115]
Political scientist Nelson W. Polsby argued that economic development was more central than racial desegregation in the evolution of the postwar South in Congress.[116] In The End of Southern Exceptionalism: Class, Race, and Partisan Change in the Postwar South, University of Wisconsin political scientist Byron E. Shafer and University of British Columbia political scientist Richard Johnston developed Polsby's argument in greater depth. Using roll call analysis of voting patterns in the House of Representatives, they found that issues of desegregation and race were less important than issues of economics and social class when it came to the transformation of partisanship in the South.[117] This view is backed by Glenn Feldman who notes that the early narratives on the Southern realignment focused on the idea of appealing to racism. This argument was first and thus took hold as the accepted narrative.
Gareth Davies argues that "[t]he scholarship of those who emphasize the southern strategizing Nixon is not so much wrong'--it captures one side of the man'--as it is unsophisticated and incomplete. Nixon and his enemies needed one another in order to get the job done".[118][119] Lawrence McAndrews makes a similar argument, saying Nixon pursued a mixed strategy:
Some scholars claim that Nixon succeeded, by leading a principled assault on de jure school desegregation. Others claim that he failed, by orchestrating a politically expedient surrender to de facto school segregation. A close examination of the evidence, however, reveals that in the area of school desegregation, Nixon's record was a mixture of principle and politics, progress and paralysis, success and failure. In the end, he was neither simply the cowardly architect of a racially insensitive "Southern strategy" which condoned segregation, nor the courageous conductor of a politically risky "not-so-Southern strategy" which condemned it.[120]
Historian Joan Hoff noted that in interviews with historians years later, Nixon denied that he ever practiced a Southern strategy. Harry Dent, one of Nixon's senior advisers on Southern politics, told Nixon privately in 1969 that the administration "has no Southern Strategy, but rather a national strategy which, for the first time in modern times, includes the South".[121]
See also Edit Bible BeltLily-white movementPolitical culture of the United StatesPolitics of the Southern United StatesRace (human categorization)Second RedemptionWhite backlash Politics portal United States portalNotes Edit ^ Quoted from Reagan's speech: "I still believe the answer to any problem lies with the people. I believe in states' rights and I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level. I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment". "Sound file". Onlinemadison.com. Archived from the original (MP3) on March 4, 2016 . Retrieved September 27, 2015 . References Edit ^ a b Boyd, James (May 17, 1970). "Nixon's Southern strategy: 'It's All in the Charts' " (PDF) . The New York Times . Retrieved August 2, 2008 . ^ a b Carter, Dan T. From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich: Race in the Conservative Counterrevolution 1963''1994. p. 35. ^ a b c Branch, Taylor (1999). Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963''65. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-684-80819-2. OCLC 37909869. ^ a b c d Apple, R.W. Jr. (September 19, 1996). "G.O.P. Tries Hard to Win Black Votes, but Recent History Works Against It". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 22, 2012. ^ a b Aistrup, Joseph A. (1996). The Southern Strategy Revisited: Republican Top-Down Advancement in the South. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-4792-5. ^ a b Lisa Bedolla, Kerry Haynie (2013). "The Obama coalition and the future of American politics". Politics, Groups, and Identities. 1: 128''33. doi:10.1080/21565503.2012.758593. S2CID 154440894. It is generally believed to be the primary force that transformed the once overwhelmingly Democratic South into a reliable GOP stronghold in presidential elections (Aistrup 1996; Black and Black 2003) ^ Crespino, Joseph (2007). In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution. Princeton University Press. p. 10. Whatever the shortcomings of the southern strategy thesis, on one score it has been exactly right: it has placed white reaction against the modern civil rights movement at the center of the conservative resurgence since the 1960s. ^ Julian E. Zelizer (2012). Governing America: The Revival of Political History. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-4189-9. younger Southern historians such as Matthew Lassiter, Kevin Kruse, and Joseph Crespino objected to claims about Southern Exceptionalism while agreeing on the centrality of a racial backlash ^ Lassiter, Matthew D. (2006). The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South. Princeton University Press. pp. 4''7. ISBN 978-1-4008-4942-0. ^ a b Feldman, Glenn (2011). Painting Dixie Red: When, Where, Why and How the South Became Republican. University Press of Florida. pp. 16, 80. ^ Matthew D. Lassiter; Joseph Crespino (2010). The Myth of Southern Exceptionalism. Oxford University Press. pp. 25''. ISBN 978-0-19-538474-1. ^ Kevin Michael Kruse (2005). White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-09260-7. ^ Rondy, John (July 15, 2005). "GOP ignored black vote, chairman says: RNC head apologizes at NAACP meeting". The Boston Globe. Reuters. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. ^ Allen, Mike (July 14, 2005). "RNC Chief to Say It Was 'Wrong' to Exploit Racial Conflict for Votes". The Washington Post . Retrieved October 14, 2013 . ^ Javits, Jacob K. (October 27, 1963). "To Preserve the Two-Party System". The New York Times. ^ Phillips, Kevin (1969). The Emerging Republican Majority. New York: Arlington House. ISBN 978-0-87000-058-4. OCLC 18063. passim ^ Richard H. Abbott, The Republican Party and the South, 1855''1877: The First Southern Strategy (1986) p. 231 ^ Tali Mendelberg (2001). The Race Card: Campaign Strategy, Implicit Messages, and the Norm of Equality . Princeton UP. p. 52. ISBN 978-0691070711. ^ About the Vice President | William A. Wheeler, 19th Vice President (1877-1881). United States Senate. Retrieved January 27, 2022. ^ C. Vann Woodward, Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 1877 and the End of Reconstruction(1956) pp. 8, 205''12 ^ Vincent P. De Santis, Republicans face the southern question: The new departure years, 1877''1897 (1959) pp. 71''85 ^ Nicholas Lemann, Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War (New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2007), pp. 74''80 ^ Zinn, Howard (1999). A People's History of the United States. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 205''10, 449. ISBN 978-0-06-052842-3. ^ Perman, Michael (2001). Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1888''1908. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 1''8 ^ "Turnout for Presidential and Midterm Elections". Politics: Historical Barriers to Voting. University of Texas. Archived from the original on August 1, 2008. ^ Boris Heersink and Jeffery A. Jenkins, "Southern Delegates and Republican National Convention Politics, 1880''1928," Studies in American Political Development (April 2015) 29#1 pp. 68''88 ^ Edward O. Frantz, The Door of Hope: Republican Presidents and the First Southern Strategy, 1877''1933 (University Press of Florida, 2011) ^ "Beginnings of black education" Archived 2009-07-21 at the Wayback Machine, The Civil Rights Movement in Virginia. Virginia Historical Society. Retrieved April 12, 2009. ^ Dobbs, Ricky Floyd (January 1, 2007). "Continuities in American anti-Catholicism: the Texas Baptist Standard and the coming of the 1960 election". Baptist History and Heritage. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. ^ "Thurmond to Bolt Democrats Today; South Carolinian Will Join G.O.P. and Aid Goldwater" (PDF) . The New York Times. September 16, 1964. p. 12 . Retrieved December 27, 2010 . Both senators have opposed the Administration on such matters as civil rights... ^ Benen, Steve (May 21, 2010). "The Party of Civil Rights". Washington Monthly . Retrieved June 18, 2012 . ^ Gregg, Khyree. "The Second Great Migration". inmotionaame. inmotionaame . Retrieved 6 May 2015 . ^ James L. Sundquist (2011). Dynamics of the Party System: Alignment and Realignment of Political Parties in the United States. Brookings Institution Press. p. 285. ^ G¼nter Bischof and Stephen E. Ambrose, ed. (1995). Eisenhower: A Centenary Assessment . Louisiana State University Press. pp. 92''93. ISBN 978-0807119426. ^ Sheldon Goldman (1999). Picking Federal Judges: Lower Court Selection from Roosevelt Through Reagan. Yale University Press. p. 128. ^ a b McWhorter, Diane (2001). Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution . New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-80747-8. OCLC 45376386. ^ Robert H Donaldson (2015). Liberalism's Last Hurrah: The Presidential Campaign of 1964. Taylor & Francis. p. 27. ISBN 978-1317466093. ^ "Civil Rights Act of 1964 '' CRA '' Title VII '' Equal Employment Opportunities '' 42 US Code Chapter 21". Finduslaw.com . Retrieved January 22, 2012 . ^ The Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. 2019. ISBN 978-0190265960. ^ Gregg, Khyree. "Election of 1964". American Presidency Project. American Presidency Project . Retrieved 6 May 2015 . ^ 1960s remark to Bill Moyers, "What a Real President Was Like," Washington Post, 13 November 1988. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (29 July 2015). "A Dream Undone". The New York Times . Retrieved 29 July 2015 . ^ Risen, Clay (March 5, 2006). "How the South was won". (subscription required) The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-02-11 ^ Thomas R. Dye, Louis Schubert, Harmon Zeigler. The Irony of Democracy: An Uncommon Introduction to American Politics, Cengage Learning. 2011 ^ Ted Van Dyk. "How the Election of 1968 Reshaped the Democratic Party", Wall Street Journal, 2008 ^ Zinn, Howard (1999) A People's History of the United States New York: HarperCollins, 457''61 ^ Zinn, Howard (1999) A People's History of the United States New York:HarperCollins, 491 ^ Robin, Corey (2011). The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin . New York: Oxford University Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-19-979393-8. southern strategy Corey Robin. ^ Johnson, Thomas A. (August 13, 1968). "Negro Leaders See Bias in Call Of Nixon for 'Law and Order' ". The New York Times. p. 27 . Retrieved 2008-08-02 . (subscription required) ^ Greenberg, David (November 20, 2007). "Dog-Whistling Dixie: When Reagan said "states' rights," he was talking about race". Slate. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. ^ "Nixon in Dixie", The American Conservative magazine ^ Childs, Marquis (June 8, 1970). "Wallace's Victory Weakens Nixon's Southern Strategy". The Morning Record. ^ Hart, Jeffrey (2006-02-09). The Making of the American Conservative Mind (television). Hanover, New Hampshire: C-SPAN. ^ Glen Moore, "Richard M. Nixon and the 1970 Midterm Elections in the South." Southern Historian 12 (1991) pp. 60''71. ^ John Paul Hill, "Nixon's Southern Strategy Rebuffed: Senator Marlow W. Cook and the Defeat of Judge G. Harrold Carswell for the US Supreme Court." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 112#4 (2014). 613''50. ^ Bruce H. Kalk, "The Carswell Affair: The Politics of a Supreme Court Nomination in the Nixon Administration". American Journal of Legal History (1998): 261''87. in JSTOR ^ James R. Sweeney, "Southern strategies," Virginia Magazine of History & Biography (1998) 106#2 pp. 165''200. ^ Aistrup, Joseph A. (2015). The Southern Strategy Revisited: Republican Top-Down Advancement in the South. University Press of Kentucky. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-8131-4792-5. ^ a b Lamis, Alexander P. (1999). Southern Politics in the 1990s. Louisiana State University Press. pp. 7''8, 26. ISBN 978-0-8071-2374-4. ^ Sunshine Hillygus, D.; Shields, Todd G. (2014). The Persuadable Voter. ISBN 978-1400831593. ^ Rick Perlstein (13 November 2012). "Exclusive: Lee Atwater's Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy". The Nation. ^ Exclusive: Lee Atwater's Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy on YouTube ^ "Ronald Reagan's Neshoba County Speech". C-SPAN. C-SPAN. April 10, 2010 . Retrieved June 11, 2015 . ^ Cannon, Lou (2003). Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power, New York: Public Affairs, 477''78. ^ Michael Goldfield (1997) The Color of Politics: Race and the Mainspring of American Politics, New York: The New Press, 314. ^ Walton, Hanes (1997). African American Power and Politics. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-231-10419-7. ^ Smith, Terence (October 16, 1980). "White House Repudiates Andrew Young Remarks; Carter Campaign Financed Trip". New York Times . Retrieved November 20, 2019 . ^ Skinner; Kudelia; Mesquita; Rice (2007). The Strategy of Campaigning. University of Michigan Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-472-11627-0 . Retrieved October 20, 2008 . ^ a b c d e Aistrup, Joseph A. (2015). The Southern Strategy Revisited: Republican Top-Down Advancement in the South. University Press of Kentucky. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-8131-4792-5. ^ Henry A. Giroux (2002). Living dangerously: Identity politics and the new cultural racism: Towards a critical pedagogy of representation. Routledge. p. 38. ISBN 978-0415907781. ^ Dan T. Carter (1999). From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich: Race in the Conservative Counterrevolution, 1963''1994. Louisiana State University Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-8071-2366-9. ^ "The Truth Behind The Lies Of The Original 'Welfare Queen' ". NPR.org. 20 December 2013. ^ Haney-Lopez, Ian (2014). Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199964277. Reagan also trumpeted his racial appeals in blasts against welfare cheats. On the stump, Reagan repeatedly invoked a story of a "Chicago welfare queen" with "eighty names, thirty addresses, [and] twelve Social Security cards [who] is collecting veteran's benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000." ^ Mayer, Jeremy D (2002). Running on Race: Racial Politics in Presidential Campaigns, 1960''2000 . Random House Inc. pp. 152''55. ISBN 9780375506253. ^ Haney-Lopez, Ian (2014). Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199964277. ^ Aistrup, Joseph A. (2015). The Southern Strategy Revisited: Republican Top-Down Advancement in the South. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 51''52. ISBN 978-0-8131-4792-5. ^ Swint, Kerwin (2008). Dark Genius: The Influential Career of Legendary Political Operative and Fox News Founder Roger Ailes . New York: Union Square Press. pp. 37''38. ISBN 978-1-4027-5445-6. willie horton southern strategy. ^ Mendelberg, Tali (2001). The Race Card: Campaign Strategy, Implicit Messages, and the Norm of Equality . Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 143''44. ISBN 978-0-691-07071-1. willie horton southern strategy. ^ Whitaker, Morgan (October 21, 2013). "The legacy of the Willie Horton ad lives on, 25 years later". MSNBC. ^ Mayer, Jeremy D (2002). Running on Race: Racial Politics in Presidential Campaigns, 1960''2000 . Random House Inc. pp. 212''14. ISBN 9780375506253. ^ Jesse Helms "Hands" ad. 16 October 2006. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12 '' via YouTube. ^ Caliendo, Stephen Maynard; McIlwain, Charlton D. (2005). "Racial Messages in Political Campaigns". Polling America: An Encyclopedia of Public Opinion. Vol. 2. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press. p. 643. ISBN 978-0-313-32713-1. ^ Herbert, Bob (October 6, 2005). "Impossible, Ridiculous, Repugnant". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 4, 2012. ^ Aistrup, Joseph A. (1996). The southern strategy revisited : Republican top-down advancement in the South. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0813119045. ^ a b Nossiter, Adam (November 10, 2008). "For South, a Waning Hold on National Politics". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 16, 2012. ^ Alexander P. Lamis, ed., Southern Politics in the 1990s (1999) pp. 1''9 ^ Bobby Ross Jr., Elephant in the pews: Is the GOP the party of Churches of Christ?, The Christian Chronicle, Oklahoma City, OK, Feb. 25, 2016. ^ Christianvoterguide.com ^ Wilcox, Clyde. "Of movements and metaphors: The co-evolution of the Christian right and the GOP." Evangelicals and democracy in America 2 (2009): 331-356. ^ Wilson, Angelia R. (n.d.). "Southern Strategies: Preaching, Prejudice, and Power". American Review of Politics. 34: 299''316. doi:10.15763/issn.2374-779X.2014.34.0.299-316 . ISSN 2374-779X. ^ Paul Rosenberg, "'The Long Southern Strategy': How Southern white women drove the GOP to Donald Trump," Salon, July 1, 2019. ^ Maxwell, Angie, and Todd Shields. "The Not-So-New Southern Religion." The Long Southern Strategy. Oxford University Press 225-258. ^ Mamiya, Lawrence H., and Patricia A. Kaurouma. "You Never hear About Their Struggles: Black Oral History in Poughkeepsie, New York." Afro-Americans in New York Life and History (1977-1989) 4.2 (1980): 55. ^ Azaransky, Sarah (16 May 2018). "Resisting Jim Crow Colonialism: Black Christianity and the International Roots of the Civil Rights Movement". The Religious Left in Modern America. Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements. Cham: Springer International Publishing. pp. 125''144. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-73120-9_7. ISBN 978-3-319-73120-9 '' via Springer Link. ^ Green, John C., et al. "The soul of the South." The new politics of the Old South: An introduction to Southern politics (1998): 261-276. ^ a b African-American voting trends Facts on File.com ^ Hill, Ricky (March 2009). "The Race Problematic, the Narrative of Martin Luther King Jr., and the Election of Barack Obama" (PDF) . Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society. 11 (1): 133''47. ^ Allen, Mike (July 14, 2005). "RNC Chief to Say It Was 'Wrong' to Exploit Racial Conflict for Votes". Washington Post. Archived from the original on March 31, 2012 . Retrieved 2008-08-02 . ^ Benedetto, Richard (July 14, 2005). "GOP: 'We were wrong' to play racial politics". USA Today . Retrieved January 22, 2012 . ^ a b Edge, Thomas (January 2010). "Southern Strategy 2.0: Conservatives, White Voters, and the Election of Barack Obama". Journal of Black Studies. 40 (3): 426''44. doi:10.1177/0021934709352979. JSTOR 40648600. S2CID 143252312. ^ a b Lassiter, Matthew D. (2006). The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South. Princeton University Press. pp. 5''7. ISBN 978-1-4008-4942-0. ^ Frymer, Paul; Skrentny, John David (1998). "Coalition-Building and the Politics of Electoral Capture During the Nixon Administration: African Americans, Labor, Latinos" (PDF) . Studies in American Political Development. 12: 131''61 [132]. doi:10.1017/s0898588x9800131x. ^ Boyd, Tim D. (2009). "The 1966 Election in Georgia and the Ambiguity of the White Backlash". The Journal of Southern History. 75 (2): 305''40. JSTOR 27778938. ^ a b Lassiter, Matthew; Kruse, Kevin (Aug 2009). "The Bulldozer Revolution: Suburbs and Southern History since World War II". The Journal of Southern History. 75 (3): 691''706. JSTOR 27779033. ^ Lassiter, Matthew (2007). The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South. Princeton University Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-691-13389-8. ^ Chappell, David (March 2007). "Did Racists Create the Suburban Nation?". Reviews in American History. V 35 (1): 89''97. doi:10.1353/rah.2007.0004. JSTOR 30031671. S2CID 144202527. Lassiter scrupulously denies suburbanites their racial innocence. The suburbs are disproportionately white and the poor are disproportionately black. But he rejects "white backlash" partly because the term exempts from responsibility those voters, North and South, who have racially liberal roots. Their egalitarianism may be genuine. But unless liberals are lucky enough to live in secession-proof metro areas, whose judges have a strong commitment to comprehensive integration, they behave the same way as people who act frankly on their fear of large concentrations of black people. ^ Chappell, David (March 2007). "Did Racists Create the Suburban Nation?". Reviews in American History. V 35 (1): 89''97. doi:10.1353/rah.2007.0004. JSTOR 30031671. S2CID 144202527. In an original analysis of national politics, Lassiter carefully rejects "racereductionist narratives" (pp. 4, 303). Cliches like "white backlash" and "southern strategy" are inadequate to explain the conservative turn in post-1960s politics. ... Racism has not been overcome. One might say rather that it has become redundant. One of Lassiter's many fascinating demonstrations of racism's superfluousness is his recounting of the actual use of the "southern strategy." The strategy obviously failed the Dixiecrats in 1948 and the GOP in 1964. The only time Nixon seriously tried to appeal to southern racism, in the 1970 midterm elections, the South rejected his party and elected Democrats like Jimmy Carter and Dale Bumpers instead (pp. 264''74). To win a nationwide majority, Republicans and Democrats alike had to appeal to the broad middle-class privileges that most people believed they had earned. Lassiter suggests that the first step on the way out of hypersegregation and resegregation is to stop indulging in comforting narratives. The most comforting narratives attribute the whole problem to racists and the Republicans who appease them. ^ Matthew D. Lassiter, "Suburban Strategies: The Volatile Center in Postwar American Politics" in Meg Jacobs et al. eds., The Democratic Experiment: New Directions In American Political History (2003): 327''49; quotes on pp. 329''30. ^ Bruce H. Kalk, "Wormley's Hotel Revisited: Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy and the End of the Second Reconstruction", North Carolina Historical Review (1994) 71#1 pp. 85''105 in JSTOR ^ George B. Tindall, "Southern Strategy: A Historical Perspective", North Carolina Historical Review (1971) 48#2 pp. 126''41 in JSTOR ^ Dean J. Kotlowski, "Nixon's southern strategy revisited". Journal of Policy History (1998) 10#2 pp. 207''38. ^ Kotlowski, Dean (2009). Nixon's Civil Rights: Politics Principle, and Policy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03973-5. ^ Aldridge, Daniel (Summer 2002). "Review". The Georgia Historical Quarterly. 86. ^ a b Valentino NA; Sears DO (2005). "Old Times There Are Not Forgotten: Race and Partisan Realignment in the Contemporary South" (PDF) . American Journal of Political Science. 49 (3): 672''88. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2005.00136.x. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-05. ^ Jeremy D. Mayer, "LBJ Fights the White Backlash: The Racial Politics of the 1964 Presidential Campaign, Part 2". Prologue 33#2 (2001) pp. 6''19. ^ Byron E. Shafer and Richard Johnston, The End of Southern Exceptionalism: Class, Race, and Partisan Change in the Postwar South (Harvard University Press, 2006) p. vii ^ Byron E. Shafer and Richard G.C. Johnston. "The transformation of southern politics revisited: The House of Representatives as a window". British Journal of Political Science (2001) 31#4 pp. 601''25. In their 2006 book they write that "economics and social class clearly trumped desegregation and racial identity as engines for partisan change". Shafer and Johnston, The End of Southern Exceptionalism p. vii ^ Gareth Davies, See Government Grow: Education Politics from Johnson to Reagan (2007) p. 140. ^ Gareth Davies, "Richard Nixon and the Desegregation of Southern Schools". Journal of Policy History 19#04 (2007) pp. 367''94. ^ Lawrence J. McAndrews, "The politics of principle: Richard Nixon and school desegregation." Journal of Negro History (1998): 187''200, quoting p. 187. in JSTOR ^ Joan Hoff (1995). Nixon Reconsidered. BasicBooks. p. 79. ISBN 978-0465051052. Further reading Edit Aistrup, Joseph A. "Constituency diversity and party competition: A county and state level analysis." Political Research Quarterly 57#2 (2004): 267''81.Aistrup, Joseph A. The southern strategy revisited: Republican top-down advancement in the South (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).Aldrich, John H. "Southern Parties in State and Nation" Journal of Politics 62#3 (2000) pp. 643''70.Applebome, Peter. Dixie Rising: How the South is Shaping American Values, Politics, and Culture (ISBN 0-15-600550-6).Bass, Jack. The transformation of southern politics: Social change and political consequence since 1945 (University of Georgia Press, 1995).Black, Earl and Merle Black. The Rise of Southern Republicans (Harvard University Press, 2003).Brady, David, Benjamin Sosnaud, and Steven M. Frenk. "The shifting and diverging white working class in US presidential elections, 1972''2004." 'Social Science Research 38.1 (2009): 118''33.Brewer, Mark D., and Jeffrey M. Stonecash. "Class, race issues, and declining white support for the Democratic Party in the South." Political Behavior 23#2 (2001): 131''55.Bullock III, Charles S. and Mark J. Rozell, eds. The New Politics of the Old South: An Introduction to Southern Politics (5th ed. 2013).Carter, Dan T. From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich: Race in the Conservative Counterrevolution, 1963''1994 (ISBN 0-8071-2366-8).Carter, Dan T. The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, The Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of Southern Politics (ISBN 0-8071-2597-0).Chappell, David L. A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow (ISBN 0-8078-2819-X).Davies, Gareth. "Richard Nixon and the Desegregation of Southern Schools." Journal of Policy History 19#04 (2007) pp. 367''94.Egerton, John. "A Mind to Stay Here: Closing Conference Comments on Southern Exceptionalism", Southern Spaces, 29 November 2006.Feldman, Glenn, ed. Painting Dixie Red: When, Where, Why, and How the South Became Republican (UP of Florida, 2011) 386ppFrantz, Edward O. The Door of Hope: Republican Presidents and the First Southern Strategy, 1877''1933 (University Press of Florida, 2011).Havard, William C., ed. The Changing Politics of the South (Louisiana State University Press, 1972).Hill, John Paul. "Nixon's Southern Strategy Rebuffed: Senator Marlow W. Cook and the Defeat of Judge G. Harrold Carswell for the US Supreme Court." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 112#4 (2014): 613''50.Inwood, Joshua F.J. "Neoliberal racism: the 'Southern Strategy' and the expanding geographies of white supremacy." Social & Cultural Geography 16#4 (2015) pp. 407''23.Kalk, Bruce H. The Origins of the Southern Strategy: Two-party Competition in South Carolina, 1950''1972 (Lexington Books, 2001).Kalk, Bruce H. "Wormley's Hotel Revisited: Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy and the End of the Second Reconstruction." North Carolina Historical Review (1994): 85''105. in JSTOR.Kalk, Bruce H. The Machiavellian nominations: Richard Nixon's Southern strategy and the struggle for the Supreme Court, 1968''70 (1992).Kruse, Kevin M. White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (ISBN 0-691-09260-5).Lisio, Donald J. Hoover, Blacks, and Lily-Whites: A Study of Southern Strategies (UNC Press, 2012).Lublin, David. The Republican South: Democratization and Partisan Change (Princeton University Press, 2004).Maxwell, Angie and Todd Shields. The Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics (Oxford University Press, 2019).Olien, Roger M. From Token to Triumph: The Texas Republicans, 1920''1978 (SMU Press, 1982).Perlstein, Rick. Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (2009).Phillips, Kevin. The Emerging Republican Majority (1969) (ISBN 0-87000-058-6).Boyd, James. "Nixon's Southern strategy 'It's All In the Charts'", New York Times, May 17, 1970.Shafer, Byron E., and Richard Johnston. The end of Southern exceptionalism: class, race, and partisan change in the postwar South (Harvard University Press, 2009).Shafer, Byron E., and Richard G.C. Johnston. "The transformation of southern politics revisited: The House of Representatives as a window." British Journal of Political Science 31#04 (2001): 601''25. online.Scher, Richard K. Politics in the New South: Republicanism, race and leadership in the twentieth century (1992).
Moderna Recalls 764,900 COVID-19 Vaccine Doses After Contamination Found
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:12
The U.S. pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Moderna Inc. on Friday issued a recall in Europe involving 764,900 doses of its COVID-19 vaccine ''Spikevax'' after contaminants were discovered in a vial.
''The lot is being recalled due to a foreign body being found in one vial in the lot manufactured at the company's contract manufacturing site, ROVI,'' Moderna and Spain's ROVI Pharma Industrial Services said in a joint statement.
The drugmaker did not specify what kind of foreign substance was found and had recalled the whole lot out of ''an abundance of caution.''
The contamination was traced in just one vial of the batch and investigators do not believe the contamination posed a risk to other vials in the lot.
''Moderna conducted a cumulative search of its global safety database, and no safety concerns were reported in individuals who received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from this lot. To date, no safety or efficacy issues have been identified,'' according to the statement.
The lots were distributed from Jan. 13 to Jan. 14 in Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. To date, more than 900 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide.
Last year, Moderna had several lots of its COVID-19 vaccines recalled by Japanese authorities after an investigation found stainless steel contaminants in some vials. The recalled batches were manufactured by the same Spanish company, ROVI.
Japan's biggest drugmaker, Takeda Pharmaceutical, said in a statement the contamination was traced back to the production run by ROVI. The findings were discovered by an investigation carried out by the two companies, not the Japanese health ministry.
Three men in Japan had fallen severely ill in August 2021 after being administered a second dose of the now-recalled COVID-19 vaccine and died shortly after. Takeda said in a statement at the time there is no evidence they are linked to the vaccine, Reuters reported.
''Stainless steel is routinely used in heart valves, joint replacements, and metal sutures and staples. As such, it is not expected that injection of the particles identified in these lots in Japan would result in increased medical risk,'' the company said.
The first two deaths reported in the country linked to contaminated Moderna doses were two men, aged 30 and 38. They both died two days after receiving a second dose from a tainted batch of vaccines.
The third case was a 49-year-old man, who also fell ill after receiving his second dose, and died the next day, the health ministry said, noting that his only known health issue was a buckwheat allergy.
Ghislaine Maxwell to Expose Names of 8 VIP Pedophiles Linked to Epstein's Crimes - News Punch
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 14:27
Ghislaine Maxwell is set to expose the names of eight VIP pedophiles who raped children as part of a deal to get a lesser sentence following her conviction for child sex trafficking.
Maxwell's legal team revealed she will no longer protect the names of ''eight John Does'' who raped young children given to them by Jeffrey Epstein.
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One of Maxwell's attorneys stated in a letter to federal Judge Loretta Preska this week that she would no longer protect the identities of the high-profile ''John Does.''
The names were sealed in a 2015 civil lawsuit brought against Maxwell by Prince Andrew's child rape victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Maxwell had previously refused to identify the VIP pedophiles.
''After careful review of the detailed objections submitted by Non-Party Does 17, 53, 54, 55, 73, 93, and 151, counsel for Ghislaine Maxwell writes to inform the Court that she does not wish to further address those objections,'' said the Jan. 12 letter to the court, signed by Laura Menninger.
''Now that Maxwell's criminal trial has come and gone, there is little reason to retain protection over the vast swaths of information about Epstein and Maxwell's sex-trafficking operation that were originally filed under seal in this case,'' Sigrid McCawley, a lawyer for Giuffre, wrote to Judge Preska on Wednesday.
Tech companies cautiously bring people back while employees hesitant
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 14:23
Atsuko Bolinguit, with tech startup company Fast, works in the office at her desk on March 24, 2021 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
Starting Monday, Google is bringing most employees back to assigned physical offices three days a week. The company has said since the beginning of the pandemic that it eventually wants people to return.
A lot of workers don't understand why, and they expressed their concerns at a recent all-hands meeting.
''Google made record profits through the pandemic," CEO Sundar Pichai said, reading from a question submitted by an employee and upvoted by many others on Google's internal board called Dory. "Why is the RTO policy not work from office when you want to or when it makes sense to?"
Google's balancing act is shared by many employers, particularly as surging gas prices make long drives and traffic jams even more unappealing than they were two years ago. Tech companies in particular have outperformed during the pandemic, thanks in part to a wide array of cloud-based collaboration tools. Employees have gotten used to the flexibility and family time.
Companies now face a test to see how employees will react as some optional work situations become mandatory and the labor market continues to tighten. Megan Slabinski of consulting and staffing firm Robert Half said two-thirds of employers say they want workers back in a "near full-time capacity," and half of employees say they'd look for a new job if that was required.
''It's fascinating the level of disconnect between employers and employees," said Slabinski, who oversees the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Utah and Northern California as district president for Robert Half.
Walking it backSome companies have already changed their policies several times leading up to their office return.
In June, Amazon walked back its original return plan, telling corporate workers it would allow them to come back to the office three days a week instead of full time. The company said it was ''learning and evolving as we go." In October, Amazon said the decision will be left to individual teams.
Microsoft and Google added 30-day "transition" periods to ease workers back into their new schedule.
Last spring, when Google first tried bringing employees back to the office before Covid-19 cases spiked again, the company said employees could apply to work remotely for up to 12 months but would be approved only in ''the most exceptional circumstances.'' They could also be get called back to an assigned office at any point.
Leadership has since lightened its tone. Google says it has approved 85% of requests for relocation or permanent remote work.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images
''You're grownups and we trust you to do what's right for you, your families, and your life, while respecting the new baseline,'' Prabhakar Raghavan, who oversees search, ads and commerce, wrote recently in a memo to employees. ''We don't expect 100% fidelity to the 3-2 hybrid work week 24x7.''
At the all-hands meeting, Pichai said ''there's a real desire for people to communicate and collaborate so we're trying to balance all of that,'' according to audio obtained by CNBC. ''We'll keep taking a close look at all of this," he said.
One reason for the partial return, Pichai said, is for people to get to know their colleagues.
''We hired so many people over the last two years who just don't have a sense of how the company works," he said.
Even Twitter, which announced in 2020 that employees could work remotely "forever," told staffers last month that "distributed working will be much, much harder." CEO Parag Agrawal, who replaced Jack Dorsey late last year, said he had hoped to see people in the office because in-person work will "bring that culture to life in such a powerful way."
Wait and seeSlabinski said some companies are waiting to see what their peers do before making any big decisions. Amazon, for example, hasn't announced a new return date.
''I think there's an element of someone has to go first to require people back,'' Slabinski said. ''Amazon backed away when they started seeing attrition and now Google is requiring people to be back on site and it's like hoping the rest of the industry joins in and it won't become reason for resignations."
Another challenge for employers involves syncing up schedules. Apple designated Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays as in-office days. Other tech companies have kept their plans vague.
Colin Yasukochi, executive director of real estate firm CBRE, said he expects the San Francisco commercial real estate market to get more competitive in the second and third quarters, when there's a better sense of demand.
''They're all sort of moving cautiously because they don't really want to lose key employees,'' said Yasukochi, adding that some people end up not seeing the point of going in when they experience the emptiness of it the office.
''There's nothing worse than 'Oh I made this effort to come in and put on real pants today and I'm the only one in,''' Yasukochi said. He said his San Francisco CBRE office is at 20% to 30% capacity "on a good day."
'Rolling the dice'Retention and employee satisfaction are more critical than ever across the tech sector as record numbers of people in the U.S. are quitting their jobs and exploring new opportunities. Forcing people to commute is an added risk.
"They're rolling the dice and it's a gamble I'm not sure I'd want to make in this environment,'' Slabinski said.
Smaller companies could have an upper hand for talent, she added.
''They could really differentiate their opportunities where maybe they can't compete for comp but they could offer flexibility and trust," said Slabinski.
Google is falling back on one of its best tricks: perks.
Before the company announced a new return date, David Radcliffe, Google's real estate and workplace services vice president, wrote an email to Bay Area employees, announcing that on-campus amenities such as fitness centers, free meals, lounges, game rooms and massages were back open.
There are some signs that other things are coming back as well. Brandi Susewitz, founder and CEO of corporate furniture reseller Reseat, said her business more than doubled since December. Most of its clients are ''cautiously optimistic'' in their office planning. Reseat works with companies like Yelp, Uber and Oracle.
Susewitz said she's getting some pretty interesting furniture requests. One thing people want is single-occupancy phone booths.
''Instead of having assigned seating, they're doing renovations to make it open seating, a hoteling environment," she said. They're "designing spaces to feel more like living rooms.''
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German man gets over 90 COVID shots for fraudulent cards - Chicago Tribune
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 14:20
BERLIN '-- A 60-year-old man allegedly had himself vaccinated against COVID-19 dozens of times in Germany in order to sell forged vaccination cards with real vaccine batch numbers to people not wanting to get vaccinated themselves.
The man from the eastern Germany city of Magdeburg, whose name was not released in line with German privacy rules, is said to have received up to 90 shots against COVID-19 at vaccination centers in the eastern state of Saxony for months until criminal police caught him this month, the German news agency dpa reported Sunday.
The suspect was not detained but is under investigation for unauthorized issuance of vaccination cards and document forgery, dpa reported.
He was caught at a vaccination center in Eilenburg in Saxony when he showed up for a COVID-19 shot for the second day in a row. Police confiscated several blank vaccination cards from him and initiated criminal proceedings.
It was not immediately clear what impact the approximately 90 shots of COVID-19 vaccines, which were from different brands, had on the man's personal health.
German police have conducted many raids in connection with forgery of vaccination passports in recent months. Many COVID-19 deniers refuse to get vaccinated in Germany, but at the same time want to have the coveted COVID-19 passports that make access to public life and venues such as restaurants, theaters, swimming pools or workplaces much easier.
Germany has seen high infection numbers for weeks, yet many measures to rein in the pandemic ended on Friday. Donning masks is no longer compulsory in grocery stores and most theaters but it is still mandatory on public transportation.
In most schools in Germany, students also no longer have to wear masks, which has led teachers' associations to warn of possible conflicts in class.
''There is now a danger that, on the one hand, children who wear masks will be teased by classmates as wimps and overprotective or, on the other hand, pressure will be exerted on non-mask wearers,'' Heinz-Peter Meidinger, the president of the German Teachers' Association, told dpa. He advocated a voluntary commitment by teachers and students to continue wearing masks in class and on school grounds, at least until the country goes on a two-week Easter holiday..
Health experts say the most recent surge of infections in Germany '-- triggered by the BA.2 omicron subvariant'-- may have peaked.
On Sunday, the country's disease control agency reported 74,053 new COVID-19 infections in one day, while less than a week ago it reported 111,224 daily infections.
Overall, Germany has registered 130,029 COVID-19 deaths.
This story corrects the number of new daily infections reported less than a week ago to 111,224.
More contagious omicron BA.2 is on track to displace others in U.S.
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 14:18
A resident receives a Covid-19 swab test during a mobile clinic at Saint Paul MB Church in Cleveland, Mississippi, on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022.
Rory Doyle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The more contagious omicron BA.2 subvariant now makes up 72% of Covid infections that have undergone genetic sequencing in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
BA.2 became dominant in the U.S. last week, and now appears on track to displace the earlier version of omicron, BA.1. Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington state, projected that will happen within the next two weeks.
Though some estimates differ, BA.2 spreads 30% to 80% faster than BA.1., according to data from public health authorities in the U.K. and Denmark.
A top World Health Organization official, Maria Van Kerkhove, has described BA.2 as the most transmissible version of the virus so far. Renewed outbreaks have occurred in major European nations, including the U.K. and Germany.
Here in the U.S., though, White House chief medial advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has said infections might rise, but he doesn't expect another major surge. Mokdad said he believes infections in the U.S. will likely level off for a week or two and then decline until winter.
In the U.S., new infections and hospital admissions have declined more than 90% since the peak of the omicron wave in January. The average number of people hospitalized with Covid in the U.S. was 11,000 as of Monday, the lowest level since 2020, according to data from the federal Health and Human Services Department. The U.S. reported a seven-day average of about 28,000 new infections on Sunday, the lowest level since last July, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
BA.2 generally does not make people sicker than the earlier version of omicron, and the vaccines have the same level of effectiveness against it, according to studies from South Africa and Qatar. However, omicron in general is adept at evading the protective antibodies generated by the vaccines and causing breakthrough infections that normally cause mild illness.
Easter eggs prices jump amid bird flu ahead of holiday, Passover
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 13:07
Egg prices are expected to continue to rise just in time for Easter as more states are hit by an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza A.
H5N1 bird flu viruses have been detected in wild birds and commercial and backyard poultry in 24 states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspective Service.
(How much are you paying for eggs? How is it affecting your budget and holiday plans? Share your thoughts with USA TODAY on the form below for possible inclusion in future stories and social media posts.)
Standard practice in the poultry industry is to destroy all infected and exposed birds to stop the spread of the virus, meaning there are far fewer egg-laying hens to meet the upcoming demand for Easter eggs.
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Eggs are also a symbol for the Jewish holiday Passover and a fixture on families' Seder plates.
Why did egg prices go up?Egg prices typically see a spike in late March to early April '' depending on when Easter falls '' as demand increases.
Often, the holiday is when retailers discount eggs. But the average weekly price for large eggs is 44% higher than this time last year, according to USDA data.
Eggs prices were up 11.4% in February from a year earlier and were up 2.2% from January, according to the latest Consumer Price Index data published in March.
The wholesale cost for a carton of eggs in the Midwest jumped 60% from March 25 to April 1 to $2.47.
That's still below the peak price in late March 2020, when pandemic and Easter demand collided and caused wholesale egg prices to more than triple to an all-time high of $3.07 a dozen.
By far the hardest-hit state has been Iowa, the nation's leading egg producer and home to 46 million chickens on farms as of February, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
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Is it safe to eat eggs amid avian flu?According to USDA's outbreak tracking, more than 13 million hens have been killed in Iowa in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
Nationwide, the outbreak has affected nearly 18 million commercial table egg layer hens and nearly 2 million turkeys.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the risk to the general public's health is low.
"So far, current H5N1 bird flu viruses lack changes seen in the past that have been associated with viruses spreading easily among poultry, infecting people more easily, and causing severe illness in people," the CDC said in a March update about the outbreak.
Only one human case of the H5N1 virus has been reported. It was found in January in a person in the United Kingdom who did not have any symptoms and who raised birds that became infected.
No human infections have been identified in the U.S.
The CDC and USDA said poultry and eggs that are properly prepared and cooked are safe to eat.
"The proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses, including H5N1 bird flu viruses," according to the CDC.
Follow Katie Wedell on Twitter: @KatieWedell and Facebook: facebook.com/ByKatieWedell
High egg prices affecting you? Share your thoughts with USA TODAYAre you changing your Easter or Passover plans because of rising prices? Share your thoughts with USA TODAY for possible inclusion in future coverage. If you don't see the form below, click here.
Video of Chinese Kneeling in Street to Authorities While Their Vaccine Passports Are Scanned by Chinese Officials Goes Viral
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 13:05
Chinese citizens were captured on camera kneeling, waiting to be checked for their compliance with the country's vaccine passport requirements. Newsweek reported on the video:
A video appearing to show Chinese citizens kneeling in the street while their vaccine passports are scanned has gone viral.
The footage was allegedly recorded in Jinan City in Shandong Province on April 1, and it has so far been viewed over 450,000 times.
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China is going all-in again with COVID lockdowns and fear-mongering. Compliant Chinese are seen kneeling waiting in line for what appears to be a check by the government to ensure they are vaccinated and have a vaccine passport that is up to date.
ðŸ¤ðŸŒŽ pic.twitter.com/nEnGzQB5B6
'-- Clown World Today ðŸ¤ðŸŒŽ (@cwt_news) April 4, 2022
Back around Christmas in December, the same Twitter account showed Chinese authorities carrying guns at checkpoints. The COVID guards were reportedly checking people's QR codes and green passes to ensure Chinese citizens comply with vaccine passport requirements.
shan'xi province ( not shanxi province it's another province) xia countyMy worst nightmare comes true again: Chinese covid guards are carrying guns at every checkpoint to check people's qr code green passes again'...If you don't comply,they can shoot you immediately!2021.12.25 pic.twitter.com/1aVD9FpI1g
'-- Songpinganq (@songpinganq) December 26, 2021
This is the world of the New World Order where freedom is something that is simply not permitted.
State Department Memo In Early 2020 Assessed That Lab leak Was Most Likely Origin Of COVID-19 | ZeroHedge
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 12:43
Authored by Jeff Carlson and Hans Mahncke via The Epoch Times,
A newly released memo from the U.S. State Department reveals that government officials knew early on that the COVID pandemic likely originated at a lab in Wuhan, China.
That memo, dated April 2020, states that out of five possible origins for COVID, a lab leak was by far the most likely. The memo also suggests that alternative theories had been introduced to prevent a lab leak from being investigated. The memo, which focuses almost entirely on the likelihood of a lab leak, contains a large amount of information that wasn't known publicly at the time it was written.
Although a lab leak is now widely accepted as a likely origin for the virus, when the memo was written, a concerted effort was underway to discredit that possibility. It also raises the question of what senior State Department leadership'--including then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo'--knew and why the information was withheld from the public.
According to the newly released memo, the State Department knew as of April 2020 that the central issue surrounded an obsession with collecting and testing a massive amount of virus-carrying bats on the part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and China's Wuhan-located Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The State Department noted that lab testing of the earliest-known patient at the Wuhan Central Hospital in December 2019 determined that the virus was a ''Bat SARS-like Coronavirus.'' At the time this patient was tested, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hadn't disclosed that there was any problem at all.
When they finally acknowledged an outbreak, they initially blamed it on pneumonia. It was only at the end of January that the CCP finally started admitting that COVID-19 was caused by a new virus that was transmitted between humans.
By that time, the virus had already been seeded across the globe and any chance at suppression had been lost. It was during this same period that the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was made aware of the virus's likely origin, having been told by a group of scientists whom he was funding that there was a high probability that the virus was engineered.
Although it's been known since June 2021 that Fauci and the NIH covered up his knowledge of the virus's origin, the State Department's early insight into these matters wasn't fully known until late March 2022, when the transparency group U.S. Right to Know obtained the April 2020 memo.
Two LabsThe memo, titled ''An Analysis of Circumstantial Evidence for Wuhan Labs as the Source of the Coronavirus,'' comprises five pages and is written in military BLUF style, meaning ''bottom line up front.''
The memo begins by stating that one of two Wuhan labs is the likely source of the COVID outbreak. The two labs identified by the state department are the Wuhan CDC's lab located in downtown Wuhan and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where Shi Zhengli was known to have conducted dangerous gain-of-function experiments on bat viruses.
The State Department's focus on the Wuhan CDC lab as a possible source is particularly significant as that facility is located only a few hundred feet from the Huanan Seafood Market where an already infected customer may have caused a superspreader event in December 2019.
Notably, the World Health Organization's lead investigator of the virus's origin, Peter Ben Embarek, privately told a Danish TV crew that he suspected that the Wuhan CDC lab was the origin of the pandemic. Embarek, who promoted a natural origin for the virus in his public report, privately noted that the CDC lab had mysteriously moved to its new downtown location in early December and that such a move may have increased the chances of a lab leak or accidental spillage.
The other lab identified by the State Department as the likely source of the pandemic is the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been the main focus of attention over the past two years.
The State Department memo noted that the Wuhan Institute, by far the most logical place to investigate the virus origin, had been completely sealed off from outside inquiry by the CCP. The memo also noted that a gag order regarding both Wuhan labs had been issued on Jan 1, 2020, and a major general from the People's Liberation Army had assumed control over the Wuhan Institute of Virology since early January of 2020.
The State Department memo emphatically stated that ''All other proposed theories are likely to be a decoy to prevent inquiry to Wuhan CDC and Wuhan Institute of Virology.''
It bears repeating that the memo was written in April 2020.
That's because the State Department's decoy argument mirrors the actions taken by Fauci and then-National Institutes of Health (NIH) head Dr. Francis Collins who''at the same time this memo was written''were actively suppressing and censoring any public discussion of the lab leak scenario. When Fox News ran a story in April 2020 suggesting that the virus came out of a Wuhan lab, Collins immediately contacted Fauci to explore ways the two men could ''put down this very destructive conspiracy.''
Collins had previously told Fauci and his group of scientists that ''science and international harmony'' could be harmed if the lab leak theory took hold. Collins's directive led Fauci's group to publish two papers that categorically dismissed the lab leak theory, one in the medical journal the Lancet and the other in the scientific journal Nature. Those two papers would become the cornerstone of combined efforts from Fauci's scientists, the media, Big Tech, and the U.S. government to suppress any discussion of a lab leak, while simultaneously promoting the natural origin theory.
The State Department memo also lists many facts that the public has only come to know in piecemeal fashion over the course of the past two years. We've previously covered many of these details on our show, including that the Wuhan CDC had a resident ''Batman'''--Tian Junhua'--who bragged about personally having collected more than 10,000 virus-carrying bats as lab samples from Chinese caves.
Tian also was widely known for his recklessness and carelessness during his collection process.
Regarding the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the State Department memo noted that the director of the lab, Shi Zhengli, had conducted gain-of-function engineering of bat viruses to make them more easily transmittable to humans. As we now know, the defining feature of the COVID-19 virus, its furin cleavage site, is what makes the virus particularly transmissible in humans. While no furin cleavage site has ever been observed in naturally occurring SARS coronaviruses, Shi was part of a 2018 research proposal that aimed to insert exactly such a feature into coronaviruses.
The State Department's memo also highlights the poor safety standards at the Wuhan Institute, a fact that could easily lead to an unintentional leak of the deadly virus to the outside population. Interestingly, the memo also questions the disappearance of lab worker Huang Yanling, whose bio, profile, and picture were scrubbed from the institute's website shortly after the outbreak. To this day, Huang's whereabouts and well-being remain unknown.
Lastly, the memo takes a detailed look at a Chinese medical professional whose online name is Wu Xiaohua. Wu claimed that Shi Zhengli was playing God by creating coronaviruses with the specific aim of making them more transmissible in humans. Wu also claimed that Shi used intermediate animals in her lab and that her lab's management of deadly viruses was appallingly poor and negligent.
The State Department memo found Wu's claims to be credible and that assessment holds up well, given the information that has been made public in the intervening two years. We now know Shi had an active plan to insert furin cleavage sites into bat viruses, we know that she used humanized mice to test how her virus creations would affect humans, and we know that her lab was repeatedly cited for its poor safety record.
The most striking takeaway from the memo is that it focuses almost entirely on the lab leak scenario, reflecting that the State Department was almost certain in April 2020 that the virus had originated in a lab. What remains entirely unclear is why neither the State Department nor Secretary Pompeo released this information as soon as they had it.
Had the memo been made public nearly two years ago when it was written, the course of events would have been very different. Knowing that the virus came out of a lab would have refocused public attention and the search for remedies could have been more focused.
There also would have been more concerted efforts to prevent future leaks. Rather than misdirecting the public toward a natural origin, Fauci and the NIH would have been exposed for their role in funding the work at the Wuhan Institute.
Most importantly, the Chinese Communist Party would have been subjected to greater international pressure for its role in suppressing any advance information regarding the outbreak. The memo might also have had an impact on the 2020 presidential election, as voters tended to see Donald Trump as far more capable than Joe Biden in taking on the CCP.
While we don't know with certainty why the memo was concealed, the only person who had a constitutional role in deciding if suppression of a lab leak should be the policy of the U.S. government was President Trump. Although it's possible that Trump decided it would be better to conceal the facts, it's far more likely that, like all of us, the president was kept in the dark.
ACQUITTED! Two Whitmer Kidnap Defendants Found NOT GUILTY...Judge Declares Mistrial On Other Two Defendants After Defense Lawyers Successfully Argue FBI Entrapped Accused Men
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 12:34
In a case of conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer, two of the four defendants were acquitted of all charges as a mistrial was declared over the other 2 due to the defense's successful arguing that their clients were victims of entrapment by the FBIIn October of 2020 six men were arrested and charged for conspiracy to kidnap Michigan's governor, Gretchen Whitmer. Two of the men have since plead guilty, leaving four defendants to stand trial.
Earlier today, it was announced that the jury was in deadlock over some of the charges levied against the four defendants. Just now the verdict was released and the Justice Department got nothing that they wanted, with two of the men''Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta''being fully acquitted, while a mistrial was declared for the other two''Adam Croft and Barry Fox Jr''due to the jury being deadlocked.
Adam Fox's defense attorney, Christopher GibbonsDespite Judge Jonker, who oversaw the proceedings, making many rulings during the trial which favored prosecution, the verdict was a near perfect success on behalf of the defense.
From American Greatness:
Defense attorneys had argued'--successfully, it would appear'--that their clients were entrapped by the FBI; at least a dozen FBI confidential human sources and undercover agents working out of numerous FBI field offices were deeply embedded in the plot.
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[Judge] Jonker ruled before the trial began on March 8 that defense counsel could not raise the entrapment issue until the government rested its case, but that plan was quickly scuttled when it became obvious the four defense attorneys were unable effectively to represent their clients without demonstrating the FBI's extensive involvement. To prove entrapment, the defense had to convince the jury that the government induced the criminal behavior and the defendants lacked predisposition to carry out the kidnapping conspiracy on their own.
Against the objections of prosecutors, Jonker notified the jury last Friday they could consider entrapment.
The defense attorneys did an excellent job arguing as to how wrong the FBI's entrapment plot was, and, clearly, the jury agreed.
''When I look at what happened in this case, I am ashamed of the behavior of the leading law enforcement agency in the United States,'' Joshua Blanchard, Croft's public defender, said during his closing argument.
Christopher Gibbons, Fox's public defender, called the government's conduct ''unacceptable in America. That's not how it works. They don't make terrorists so we can arrest them.''
With the defendants found to be victims of entrapment, the question now becomes''why?
Whitmer's popularity was plummeting at the time of the kidnapping conspiracy, due to negligence towards the state and tyrannical lockdowns. Many in Michigan''and the US''are left wondering if the FBI's kidnap plot was to help frame Whitmer as a victim while her popularity collapsed and she was auditioning for the role of Biden's VP.
New ICD-10-CM/PCS Codes Become Effective April 1
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 12:32
March 02, 2022 · Regulatory and Health Industry · From AHIMA · Under the Dome By Sue Bowman, MJ, RHIA, CCS, FAHIMAThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is implementing three new diagnosis codes into ICD-10-CM, effective April 1, 2022. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is implementing nine new procedure codes to describe the introduction or infusion of therapeutics, including vaccines for COVID-19 treatment, into ICD-10-PCS, also effective April 1, 2022.
New ICD-10-CM CodesTwo new ICD-10-CM codes have been created for underimmunization for COVID-19 status:
Z28.310 Unvaccinated for COVID-19 Z28.311 Partially vaccinated for COVID-19A third new code describes other underimmunization status:
Z28.39 Other underimmunization statusAdditional codes are assigned, if applicable, to provide additional reasons for underimmunization, such as contraindication (Z28.0-) or the patient's decision for reasons of belief or group pressure (Z28.1).
The new code for ''other underimmunization status'' includes delinquent immunization status and lapsed immunization schedule status.
The new codes for underimmunization for COVID-19 status should not be assigned for individuals who are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines (e.g., children under age 5).
The ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting have been updated to provide guidance regarding the use of the new ICD-10-CM codes. Code Z28.310, Unvaccinated for COVID-19, may be assigned when the patient has not received at least one dose of any COVID-19 vaccine. Code Z28.311, Partially vaccinated for COVID-19, may be assigned when the patient has received at least one dose of a multi-dose COVID-19 vaccine regimen but has not received the full set of doses necessary to meet the CDC's definition of ''fully vaccinated'' in place at the time of the encounter.
New ICD-10-PCS CodesThree new ICD-10-PCS codes have been created for the administration of fostamatinib (Tavalisse®):
XW0DXR7 Introduction of fostamatinib into mouth and pharynx, external approach, new technology group 7 XW0G7R7 Introduction of fostamatinib into upper GI, via natural or artificial opening, new technology group 7 XW0H7R7 Introduction of fostamatinib into lower GI, via natural or artificial opening, new technology group 7Fostamatinib is approved as a treatment for adult chronic immune thrombocytopenia. A request for emergency use authorization (EUA) for fostamatinib is under review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hospitalized adult COVID-19 patients. Fostamatinib is a spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) inhibitor. SYK is involved in the intracellular signaling pathways of many different immune cells.
One new code has been created for the administration of tixagevimab and cilgavimab monoclonal antibody (Evusheld'):
XW023X7 Introduction of tixagevimab and cilgavimab monoclonal antibody into muscle, percutaneous approach, new technology group 7The FDA granted Evusheld EUA for the pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19 in adults and pediatric individuals who are not currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 and who have not experienced a known recent exposure to an individual infected with SARS-CoV-2 and
who have moderate to severe immune compromise due to a medical condition or receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatments and may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination, or for whom vaccination with any available COVID-19 vaccine, according to the approved or authorized schedule, is not recommended due to a history of severe adverse reaction (e.g., severe allergic reaction) to a COVID-19 vaccine(s) and/or COVID-19 vaccine component(s).One new code has been created for other new monoclonal antibody COVID-19 treatments that are administered intramuscularly that may become available and do not yet have a unique code. This new ICD-10-PCS code is:
XW023Y7 Introduction of other new technology monoclonal antibody into muscle, percutaneous approach, new technology group 7Four new ICD-10-PCS procedure codes have been created for COVID-19 vaccines. Two of the new codes were created for vaccines described as a third dose, and two codes were created for vaccines described as boosters. A COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is an additional dose of a vaccine given after the protection provided by the original shot(s) has begun to decrease over time. Currently, the CDC recommends booster doses for individuals age 12 and older after getting two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine) or one dose of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
A COVID-19 third dose refers to an additional vaccine dose administered to people with moderately or severely compromised immune systems. This additional dose is intended to improve immunocompromised people's response to their initial vaccine series. The CDC currently recommends that individuals ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised receive a primary series of three doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, plus one booster of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Children ages 5 through 11 years who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a primary series of three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. A booster is not recommended for this age group at this time. Individuals ages 18 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and received the one-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine should get a second dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) as well as a booster.
Please see the CDC website for the most up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination recommendations as the guidance may change over time.
The four new vaccine codes are:
XW013V7 Introduction of COVID-19 vaccine dose 3 into subcutaneous tissue, percutaneous approach, new technology group 7 XW013W7 Introduction of COVID-19 vaccine booster into subcutaneous tissue, percutaneous approach, new technology group 7 XW023V7 Introduction of COVID-19 vaccine dose 3 into muscle, percutaneous approach, new technology group 7 XW023W7 Introduction of COVID-19 vaccine booster into muscle, percutaneous approach, new technology group 7CMS noted in its announcement of the new COVID-19 vaccine codes that for hospitalized patients, Medicare pays for the COVID-19 vaccines and their administration separately from the diagnosis-related group (DRG) rate. As such, Medicare expects that the appropriate CPT codes will be used when a Medicare beneficiary is administered a vaccine while a hospital inpatient.
See the CMS website for additional information about the new ICD-10-PCS codes going into effect on April 1, 2022.
See the NCHS website for the updated ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting and additional information about the new ICD-10-CM codes becoming effective on April 1, 2022.
Sue Bowman (sue.bowman@ahima.org) is a senior director of coding policy and compliance at AHIMA.
By Sue Bowman, MJ, RHIA, CCS, FAHIMA
1 Journal of AHIMA Sue Bowman, MJ, RHIA, CCS, FAHIMA article 2022-03-02T00:00:00 TEFCA Federal Laws and Regulations,ARRA Regulatory Issues Health Law & Compliance 2.5
Biden Food Shortages: Walgreens Starts Rationing Baby Formula
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 12:01
Two weeks ago Joe Biden warned Americans to expect ''real'' food shortages.
He wasn't kidding.Two weeks later and Walgreens starts rationing baby formula.
Please tell me there isn't a baby formula shortage now pic.twitter.com/7sL6MpZKF8
'-- several people are typing (@LesHorn) April 7, 2022
The Daily Mail reported:
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A national shortage of baby formula brought on by pandemic-related supply-chain issues has forced US retailers such as Walgreens to ration the all-important product.
The company '' the second-largest pharmacy store chain in the United States behind CVS '' said Friday that amid the supply-chain crunch, it is limiting customers to three infant and toddler formula product purchases at a time, at its 9,021 US locations.
A company spokesperson told DailyMail.com that the restrictions, already in effect, stem from an 'increased demand and various supplier issues,' as it was revealed that 29 percent of all top-selling formulas are out of stock at stores across the nation.
The shortage of the product, which roughly three-quarters of infants in the US receive at some point within their first six months, has parents panicked.
Walgreens Starts Rationing Baby Formula as Shortage Worsens
This is what happens when stupid, lazy, entitled, angry people vote socialists and progressives into the government'... The Richest Country On Earth has a shortage of Baby Formula. WTF Over?https://t.co/gRYipOxGS5
'-- NVVitale''Π(@Gunner_Vitale) April 9, 2022
Bill C-11: YouTube says Canadian digital creators could miss out on foreign revenue | CTV News
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 11:56
OTTAWA -- YouTube has warned that Canadian digital creators, including influencers and streamers, could lose foreign revenue if the government forces digital platforms to promote Canadian content.
The proposed legislation that would force YouTube and other streaming platforms to actively promote Canadian content risks downgrading the popularity of that same content abroad, according to a briefing from the company provided on a not-for-attribution basis.
That would also mean cutting into the money that Canada's YouTubers earn.
YouTube fears the measures in the proposed Online Streaming Act, designed to promote Canadian content, could skew the algorithm they and other digital platforms use to match content with viewers' personal preferences.
Prof. Michael Geist, the University of Ottawa's Canada Research Chair in internet and e-commerce law, agreed this could end up being a consequence of the proposals.
''Canada punches above its weight when it comes to the creation of this content, which is worth billions of revenue globally,'' Geist said.
''We are talking about an enormous potential revenue loss for Canadian content producers.''
Geist says proposed law, known as Bill C-11, would make platforms including YouTube and TikTok ''force-feed Canadian content'' that people might not usually choose to watch, rather than curated content matched to their preferences.
If people don't choose the Canadian content they are offered, it could suggest it is not popular, which could lead to it being promoted less heavily around the world.
YouTube's algorithm, which applies across borders, detects whether a video has been watched, ignored or turned off part way through, as well as whether it gets a thumbs up or is disliked. This influences how the content is promoted not just in Canada but beyond its borders.
Videos few people watch tend to be harder to find.
If people do not select Canadian content they are offered, or if they indicate they don't like it or choose another video instead, it could lead to content that wasn't chosen, disliked or not watched to the end automatically being downgraded around the world.
The Online Streaming Act, currently at second reading in the House of Commons, subjects streaming companies, such as Netflix, to the same rules as traditional Canadian broadcasters.
It would force web firms to offer a set amount of Canadian content and invest heavily in Canada's cultural industries, including film, television and music.
It would update the 1991 Broadcasting Act, which predates the internet revolution that changed the way people watch film and video content and listen to music.
The bill also covers platforms such as YouTube and TikTok which promote digital-first creators including influencers, streamers, and people who post DIY videos and live commentary on video games.
The government says the bill would not regulate user-generated material and would give platforms room to decide how they promote Canadian content.
Laura Scaffidi, a spokeswoman for Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, said the act would give online streaming platforms the flexibility to ''choose how they contribute and how they make Canadian commercial content easier to find.''
YouTube says that over 90 per cent of watch time for content produced by Canadian YouTube channels came from outside the country in 2020. The number of Canadian creators making $100,000 on the platform is rapidly increasing every year.
In 2020, Oxford Economics calculated that YouTube contributed $923 million to Canada's gross domestic product, including from payments from ads alongside YouTube videos and royalty payments to music labels.
Popular videos tend to get greater amounts of advertising, and advertiser tends to pay more too.
Bill C-11 updates sections of a previous bill after critics warned it could lead to the regulation of people posting videos on YouTube.
The updated legislation, Rodriguez said, would only cover commercial social media content, such as professional music videos, and would not include popular home videos posted on YouTube, such as cat videos.
Rodriguez added a line in the new bill exempting such content.
But according to YouTube, a legal assessment of the current text of the bill would still give authority to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to regulate user-generated material.
''Clearer definitions and more precise language are needed to ensure the bill doesn't unintentionally scope in digital creators and negatively impact the thousands of Canadian creators on YouTube and the millions of Canadians who use YouTube every day,'' saidJeanette Patell, head of government affairs and public policy at YouTube Canada.
''Minister Rodriguez has been clear that Bill C-11 is not intended to impact digital creators. We're focused on working with officials to make sure that this intention is accurately reflected in this extremely complex legislation.''
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March, 25, 2022.
In Africa, U.S.-Trained Militaries Are Ousting Civilian Governments in Coups - WSJ
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 11:53
Insurrections are disrupting American security strategy in the region and giving Russia an opening to gain sway
FORT BENNING, Ga.'--A flurry of military coups across Africa has disrupted the U.S. strategy of enlisting local armies to counter Islamist extremists and other security threats.
The U.S. has trained thousands of African soldiers, from infantrymen rehearsing counterterrorism raids on the edge of the Sahara to senior commanders attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The programs are a linchpin of U.S. policy on the continent, intended to help African allies professionalize their armed forces to fight armed opponents...
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FORT BENNING, Ga.'--A flurry of military coups across Africa has disrupted the U.S. strategy of enlisting local armies to counter Islamist extremists and other security threats.
The U.S. has trained thousands of African soldiers, from infantrymen rehearsing counterterrorism raids on the edge of the Sahara to senior commanders attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The programs are a linchpin of U.S. policy on the continent, intended to help African allies professionalize their armed forces to fight armed opponents both foreign and domestic.
But U.S. commanders have watched with dismay over the past year as military leaders in several African allies'--including officers with extensive American schooling'--have overthrown civilian governments and seized power for themselves, triggering laws that forbid the U.S. government from providing them with weapons or training.
''There's no one more surprised or disappointed when partners that we're working with'--or have been working with for a while in some cases'--decide to overthrow their government,'' Rear Adm. Jamie Sands, commander of U.S. special-operations forces in Africa, said this week. ''We have not found ourselves able to prevent it, and we certainly don't assess that we're causing it.''
The strategic setback was apparent in recent weeks here at Fort Benning, where the U.S. Army hosted its annual gathering of top ground-force commanders from around Africa. Senior soldiers from three dozen African countries watched American recruits tackle boot-camp obstacle courses, witnessed parachute training and saw live-ammo tank and mortar demonstrations.
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The Army withheld invitations from coup leaders in Mali and Burkina Faso, West African countries engaged in existential struggles with al Qaeda and Islamic State. Guinean soldiers, who in Septembertoppled the West African nation's civilian government, were left out of the Fort Benning events and are no longer included in U.S.-led special-operations exercises.
Sudan's ruling junta, which last year reversed a U.S.-supported transition to democratic rule, was unwelcome at the Fort Benning summit. Ethiopia hosted the last such gathering in 2020; this year its military is on the outs with the U.S. over alleged human-rights abuses in its war against Tigrayan rebels.
''We don't control what happens when we leave,'' said U.S. Army Col. Michael Sullivan, commander of the 2d Security Force Assistance Brigade, a unit created to advise and train African armies. ''We always hope we're helping countries do the right thing.''
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Last year, a logistics advisory team from Col. Sullivan's brigade had just arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, and was waiting out its Covid-19 quarantine at a hotel when the Biden administration decided to cancel the deployment ''due to our deep concerns about the conflict in northern Ethiopia and human-rights violations and abuses being committed against civilians,'' according to a State Department spokesperson.
The advisers completed quarantine and left the country.
''I think everybody is hopeful they will turn the corner again and we'll be able to work with our Ethiopian partners,'' Col. Sullivan said.
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Meanwhile, America's Great Power rivals can seek to take advantage of the U.S. pullback.
Malian commandos attended U.S.-led special-operations exercises in Mauritania in 2020, but were cut off from American training after its military overthrew the president last May. The Malian junta hired Russian mercenaries from the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group to provide security.
The coup and the presence of the Russian agents led to a falling-out between Mali and France, the former colonial power in much of West Africa, and the announcement that Paris would withdraw thousands of troops that were in Mali fighting Islamic State and al Qaeda.
Human Rights Watch alleged this week that the Russians and their Malian allies rounded up and massacred roughly 300 civilian men'--some suspected militants'--in the town of Moura last month.
''The Malian government is responsible for this atrocity, the worst in Mali in a decade, whether carried out by Malian forces or associated foreign soldiers,''
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Corinne Dufka, a director of Human Rights Watch, said in a written release.
The Malian Defense Ministry reported that it had killed 203 ''terrorists'' in the operation and arrested 51 others, seizing weapons and ammunition. The military subsequently announced an investigation into the alleged massacre.
For years, the U.S. trained soldiers from Burkina Faso, which is facing waves of attacks from Islamic State fighters and a coalition of al Qaeda affiliates called Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimin, or JNIM.
In 2019, Burkina Faso hosted 2,000 commandos from 32 African and Western countries for U.S.-led special-operations exercises, aimed at beefing up security in the Sahel, the semiarid strip just south of the Sahara.
In 2020, Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Damiba was among the Burkina Faso army contingent when the American-led exercises moved to Mauritania. Col. Damiba had previously attended a U.S.-sponsored military intelligence course in Senegal and a State Department peacekeeping-training program.
Early this year, the U.S. military was sufficiently concerned about the spread of militant violence in Burkina Faso to dispatch a Special Forces team to Ouagadougou, the capital city, to advise local commandos.
The Green Berets had just arrived when Burkina Faso soldiers, unhappy with the civilian government's conduct of the war, surrounded the presidential palace, arrested President Roch Marc Christian Kabor(C), and announced that a military junta, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration, would take power.
Eight days after the first burst of gunfire in front of the presidential palace, the junta named Col. Damiba president.
Instead of training local forces, the Green Berets reinforced security at the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou, in case the coup unleashed anti-American unrest. The U.S. also suspended work on plans to send one of Col. Sullivan's advisory teams to the country.
Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin and Togo dropped Burkina Faso from a joint task force being formed to prevent militants in the Sahel from pushing south toward the Gulf of Guinea'--a prospect that alarms the Pentagon.
''Burkina was taken out because of the coup,'' said Maj. Gen. Thomas Oppong-Peprah, Ghana's army chief of staff.
American officers say their work with African counterparts routinely includes discussion of the importance of civilian control of the military and adherence to the rule of law.
''So these coups are completely opposite to everything that we're teaching,'' Adm. Sands, the special-operations commander, said in a call with reporters.
Still, Michael Shurkin, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst, questioned whether American lectures can successfully counter the political pressures Africa armies can face amid fierce insurgencies, ethnic divisions and corrupt civilian governments.
''Why is a year at Fort Leavenworth going to change how you behave politically in your own country?'' asked Mr. Shurkin, now with 14 North Strategies, an Africa-focused consulting firm. ''It just doesn't make sense to me.''
American Green Berets were in the midst of training Guinean special forces last year when the local soldiers broke away to oust the country's civilian president. The coup leader, special forces Col. Mamady Doumbouya, had headed Guinea's delegation to the 2019 American-led commando exercises in Burkina Faso.
When they realized they were at the center of an insurrection, the U.S. commandos took shelter at the U.S. Embassy in Conakry, Guinea's capital. ''At this time, the U.S. Africa Command has suspended all training with the Guinea military,'' said a U.S. Africa Command spokeswoman.
Sudan, which had forsaken past ties with terror groups, begun a democratic opening and embarked on a sweeping rapprochement with the U.S., was invited to the U.S.-African army summit in 2020. But a military junta retook power last year and launched a bloody crackdown on protesters, losing its invitation to the Fort Benning event.
U.S. officers say they have no choice but to work with other militaries in global security missions; the U.S. practice is to fight its wars alongside allies. ''Our intent is to continue to extend a hand to African nations to help them and really help them address some of the underlying causes of these coups,'' said Adm. Sands.
Over the past 20 years, Fort Benning, which specializes in infantry, airborne and Ranger training, has hosted 1,650 soldiers from 37 African countries.
''The military should always collaborate,'' said Maj. Gen. Chikunkha Harrison Soko, Malawi's U.S.''trained land-force commander.
Insecurity in one part of the world quickly leaks into others, he said, through refugee flows and the spread of extremist ideologies. ''What affects Europe, affects Africa,'' Gen. Soko said. ''What affects Africa, affects the whole of Europe.''
Write to Michael M. Phillips at michael.phillips@wsj.com
Putin 'followed by thyroid cancer doctor': Specialist 'spent 282 days' with Russian President | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 11:48
Vladimir Putin is 'constantly' accompanied by a doctor specialising in thyroid cancer, a new investigation shows.
Surgeon Yevgeny Selivanov, of Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital, has flown to the Russian leader no less than 35 times in Black Sea resort Sochi, his favourite place of residence.
The respected doctor's thesis - showing his area of medical expertise - was entitled: 'Peculiarities of diagnostics and surgical treatment of elderly and senile patients with thyroid cancer'.
ENT surgeon Alexey Shcheglov (marked) is seen by Vladimir Putin's side during 2014 Sochi Olympics
Surgeon Yevgeny Selivanov (pictured), of Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital, has flown to the Russian leader no less than 35 times in Black Sea resort Sochi
Vladimir Putin's five medically-related disappearances November 2012 : Business trips and long-distance flights of the president are canceled, some of Putin's meetings shown by the Kremlin turn out to be 'canned food'
March 5 '' 15, 2015 : Putin does not appear in public, all meetings are 'canned' - in other words pre-recorded events were shown with the pretence they were in real time
August 9-16, 2017 : The President, with journalists, visits Abkhazia and Sochi, and then for a week the Kremlin publishes only 'canned food'
February 2018 : In the midst of an election campaign, the president cancels public events. Peskov admits that the head of state 'had a cold'
September 13-29, 2021 : Putin goes into 'self-isolation', all events are held via video link
The discovery by investigative media Project (or Proekt) media - blocked in Russia and now functioning from abroad - backs recent theories that Putin declared war when he was suffering medical problems hidden from the Russian people.
One version is that he has been treated with steroids, leading to a bloated look around the face and neck.
There has been widespread speculation in the West that Putin had serious medical issues when he launched a war in Ukraine that estimates say has killed 17,000 Russian troops plus many Ukrainian defenders and civilians.
'We promised to reveal to you the main secret of the Kremlin. Of course, we are talking about the health of Vladimir Putin,' said Project media.
The report identified medics who regularly travel with Putin - who will be 70 in October - on trips, and especially in Sochi which Putin prefers to Moscow.
Apart from the thyroid cancer specialist, another was a neurosurgeon.
The report stated: 'It is generally accepted that in the 23rd year of his reign, the President of Russia is only interested in geopolitics.
'In fact, there is at least one other issue that Putin is hardly less worried about - his own health.'
It stated: 'Putin has publicly shown interest in the problem of thyroid cancer.
'In July 2020, he met with the head of the National Medical Research Center for Endocrinology, Ivan Dedov, who is the boss of Putin's eldest daughter Maria [Vorontsova].'
Maria is a geneticist, aged 36, from his marriage to former Russian first lady Lyudmila Putina.
Neurosurgeon Oleg Myshkin, pictured, was awarded the title of Honored Doctor of Russia by Putin
'Dedov told the president about the high prevalence of thyroid cancer and spoke about the new hormonal drug Tyrogin, which fights metastases after surgery.
'"Recovery of 95-98%?" Putin asked and heard an affirmative answer.'
The report went on: 'There is indeed talk in medical circles about the president's health problems.
'Especially these conversations intensified in the early autumn of last year, when Putin behaved especially strangely.
'After a long stay in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of state finally began to get out to meet people.
Vladimir Putin is 'constantly' accompanied by a doctor specialising in thyroid cancer, a new investigation shows
'On September 13, he met with the Paralympian's and even allowed the athletes to tightly surround him.
'That is how, standing in a crowd of people, Putin suddenly announced that he had to go into isolation, because there were too many people around who were sick with the coronavirus.
'The news came as a surprise even to the president's entourage.
'His press secretary was at first confused and refuted the chief - allegedly the president, speaking of isolation, expressed himself "figuratively".
'Nevertheless, the next day, Putin went into isolation, took part in the Duma elections from his own office and did not appear in public all September.
'Whether the president was then undergoing some kind of medical manipulation is unknown, but after that he began to communicate with people at a very great distance - sitting on opposite sides of huge tables.
According to the report, in 2016, 12 doctors were 'settled' in the Run sanatorium. Rehabilitation specialist Dr Mikhail Tsykunov (pictured) was also there
'In other words, if before Putin moved away from people in a figurative sense of the word, now he began to do it in the most direct way.'
The medical problems appeared to get worse from 2016-17.
Putin was at this time treated by another specialist Dr Dmitry Verbovoy, an expert in acute illnesses, injuries and poisonings.
Another was Dr Konstantin Sim, an orthopaedic traumatologist, possibly helping with ice hockey injuries.
'The president was regularly accompanied to Sochi by an average of five doctors,' said the report.
'For example, on the same day he was with Sim, four more doctors lived in Rus [sanatorium], including ENT specialist Alexei Shcheglov and infectious disease specialist Yaroslav Protasenko.'
The reports says in 2016, head nurse Lyudmila Kadenkova (pictured) was 'settled' at the Run sanatorium alongside others
In November 2016, 12 doctors were 'settled' in the Run sanatorium.
'First, a group of Putin's personal doctors arrive, headed by Verbov.
'Then a group of operating neurosurgeons from the Central Clinical Hospital, headed by department head Oleg Myshkin, joins them for two days.'
Resuscitator of the Central Clinical Hospital Dr Pavel Sharikov was present along with Dr Elena Rastrusina, a specialist in the neurosurgical department, and at the same time, head nurse Lyudmila Kadenkova.
A rehabilitation specialist was also there - Dr Mikhail Tsykunov.
'The treatment obviously went well - on December 1, Putin was already addressing the federal assembly.
'A year later, the President awarded Myshkin the title of Honored Doctor of Russia.'
The report said that Putin has five times suddenly disappeared from view on medically related absences.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer include the appearance of a thick nodule in the thyroid area; hoarseness of voice; difficulty swallowing; pain in the neck and throat; enlarged lymph nodes in the neck; a dry cough, scratchy or scratchy feeling in the throat or behind the sternum.
There have been previous claims that Putin had suffered from cancer, which were denied by the Kremlin.
Project was told by the Central Clinical Hospital that Dr Selivanov was 'on a business trip', and 'it is not known when he will return.'
Dr Alexey Shcheglov is a surgeon originally with ENT training and he 'follows Putin so relentlessly that during public events he allegedly gets into joint photographs with the head of state.'
He has visited Putin most often with 59 trips encompassing 282 days, said the report.
Evidence of the importance of Shcheglov can be considered the fact that last year his father, Nikolai Shcheglov, also a surgeon, was made an MP from [pro-Putin] United Russia.
Shcheglov is seen as 'the doctor who, among other things, can be the first to detect problems with the thyroid gland, including oncological ones', it is claimed.
Next came another ENT specialist Dr Igor Esakov with 38 trips to Putin, covering 152 days.
The third most frequent medic at Putin's side was cancer surgeon Dr Selivanov, with 35 trips spanning 166 days.
Project did not specify the time period this covered.
Voltage Will Release Two New Lightning Products - Bitcoin Magazine: Bitcoin News, Articles, Charts, and Guides
Sat, 09 Apr 2022 14:17
Voltage bills itself as ''enterprise-grade infrastructure for the Lightning Network. Scalability should be as fast and as easy as Lightning itself.''
The company offers node hosting over clearnet to allow businesses to onboard to the Lightning Network, open payment channels and even run a point-of-sale interface with BTCPay Server.
This author has had the opportunity to set up a Voltage node and the entire process took all of five minutes; the onboarding was simple, the interface was smooth and the whole process was easy enough that my grandma could do it.
In addition to nodes, Voltage also has a liquidity service, Flow, which allows customers to purchase liquidity from other nodes on the network, creating the ability for clients to send and receive payments over the Lightning Network.
The CEO of Voltage, Graham Krizek, made an announcement at Bitcoin 2022, detailing two new products the company is releasing. Surge and its next-generation platform which comes with major improvements.
Surge allows users to monitor and observe their Lightning node. This product gives people who run nodes the ability to find problems, increase reliability and optimize the way their node operates. Surge gives Voltage customers brand new insights into their nodes. This includes keeping node operators up to date with history of peers' online activity, whether or not payments are able to be routed through the node, the state of hash time-lock contracts (HTLCs) and more.
Surge will be available this summer.
The next part of the announcement included the next iteration of the Voltage platform. The goal of this new-and-improved interface is to make a more robust Lightning platform available. There will be major updates and improvements that give clients the capability to create one node or as many nodes as they wish. The company billed this as ''next generation Lightning as a service.''
Voltage plans to make it possible for customers to pay only for what they use, while also giving complete control to the user. The Voltage platform allows a simplified, managed interface with robust APIs, advanced insights, node support and a lot more. The new platform also has a focus on developers with simple APIs, developer modules, logs and webhooks and load balances.
Krizek concluded, ''This changes everything for the Lightning Network.''
Bitcoin 2022 is part of the Bitcoin Event Series hosted by BTC Inc, the parent company of Bitcoin Magazine.
A New Breez: Multiple Apps, Remote Nodes, Optimal UX | Breez Technology
Sat, 09 Apr 2022 14:17
Swiss Army Knives are little miracles. The idea of putting a knife, a corkscrew, tweezers, a couple of screwdrivers, and a can opener onto a single device is pretty absurd. But they're still so useful! No camping trip or pocket is complete without one. And what makes them so useful is their versatility: one gadget, many functions.
But while a Swiss Army Knife can help with a great many tasks, they're not great at performing any of them. No chef will use the folding blade in the kitchen, no mechanic will use those screwdrivers in the workshop, and no manicurist will use that nail file in the salon. Swiss Army Knives are jacks of all trades, but masters of none.
While you admired the cuckoo clocks, while you ate the chocolate, I studied the blade. (Image: James Case)Breez is like a Swiss Army Knife. When we launched the app three years ago, it was pretty much just a nice, little, non-custodial wallet '-- a blade. We have since added two other services that are effectively different apps: the point-of-sale mode and the podcast player. Now we're thinking ahead to new services that we'd like to add: streaming video and chat. Adding them to the existing Breez app could result in an unwieldy mess. We can't just add more gizmos to the Swiss Army Knife without it becoming unusable. It is no longer enough for Breez to grow; now we must evolve.
Packing Breez's services into a single app wasn't really a choice; it was a technological necessity. We've always been committed to user sovereignty, and the only way to provide users with sovereign access to these different services was to make the local Neutrino node the conduit. As long as the node is located in the app on the user's device, any service has to go through that app. As a matter of fact, that's one of the reasons the Breez app has never graduated from beta: we simply weren't sure whether packing more services into the app was viable.
We've now found a way to have our sovereignty and distribute it too: Greenlight, a recent flash of brilliance built on top of Core Lightning, the lightweight, highly customizable, BOLT-compliant implementation of the Lightning Network.
Greenlight offers remote, non-custodial nodes, and it's vital to the next leap forward in the Breez user experience. With Greenlight, the keys reside on the user's device, and the node resides on a remote machine. Whenever a user sends or receives a Lightning payment, be it streaming sats for streaming content, a point-of-sale purchase, or a P2P transaction, the locally held keys authorize the transaction on the remote node.
Remote nodes remove a major technical constraint. Breez no longer has to be a Swiss Army Knife because moving a user's node off their local device means that different apps can access it. A wallet app can access the user's Greenlight node. A separate point-of-sale app can access that same node. And yes, you guessed it, a separate podcast app can stream sats from that same node. Video, chat, pizza and DeFi can all get their own, dedicated apps while all connecting to the same node. The Swiss Army Knife becomes a toolbox.
On the left: a Swiss Army Knife trying to do everything; on the right: a toolbox able to do anything.Breez and Greenlight agree on the fundamental virtue of user sovereignty, and we ensure it together. But there is still a division of labor. For example, Greenlight provides some handy services for nodes on their servers, like encrypted backups and watchtowers. Breez powers Greenlight with its LSP backend, ensuring seamless connectivity to the network and automatically managing channels. By integrating Greenlight, Breez can continue to provide the same services we always have and more with a better UX. It's a fundamentally different, superior architecture.
The UX improvements come from the ability to tailor different front-end apps. Instead of cramming all the tools into a single app, like the Swiss Army Knife, we can now create tools dedicated to specific purposes and usage patterns.
And removing the node from the device in the user's hand means that it could potentially be accessed from any device. For example, many people spend all day on their work computers, but as long as their nodes are on their phones, they can't pay from the device they're using. With Greenlight they can. A local app or web interface on a laptop is just another point of access to the remote Greenlight node. Since we think Lightning should be accessible anywhere, we see a future where Breez will let users access their nodes from a range of apps running on any number of devices.
You can do a lot more with a toolbox than with a Swiss Army Knife, but you can't put it in your pocket. All improvements imply change, and change implies tradeoffs.
The major tradeoff with remote Greenlight nodes is privacy, which is obvious because they're running on third-party machines. Those machines have access to metadata about users' payments.
Many users won't care, but many others will. And so do we '-- we at Breez along with Rusty and Christian at Blockstream too. Since we take users' privacy seriously, we are also taking measures to safeguard it. The existing, local Neutrino nodes are the first measure. They're very private and remain available.
Another way we're working together to ensure privacy is to expand the encryption on Greenlight servers beyond backups to include invoices and payments at rest. User data on third-party servers should be legible on the most restrictive need-to-know terms.
The third way to enhance users' privacy is to enable the Greenlight protocol to run on users' own machines. In this scenario, Breez provides the front-end apps and the LSP, Greenlight is just the interface software between the machines, and all the devices are the user's own. It doesn't get much more private than open-source software running on your own rig.
We reject the custodial dichotomy of privacy/sovereignty vs. usability. Both are possible, and we're doing it.
Satisfied Breez users enjoying their new Greenlight nodes. (Image: freestock)Some of our innovations have been pretty revolutionary, like streaming sats and inventing the LSP. We want to continue revolutionizing Lightning, bitcoin, and money, but our little app can only handle so many revolutions. It's time to evolve with a new architecture that will allow us to grow the technology without constraints. Lightning is getting too big to be locked in a phone.
Breez is changing '... gradually. The Greenlight nodes will probably be ready sometime this summer. They're the first big change that will enable innovations we haven't even imagined yet and a few that we've been wanting to try for some time. Change is good.
But some things must never change, or Breez simply wouldn't be Breez anymore. We won't take custody of users' funds, we won't compromise on bitcoin's ideals, and we'll always try to deliver the best UX that is technologically possible. Blockstream agrees with us on each point, and that's why we're working together.
Enjoy the new apps and the fresh Breez coming your way!
Russia edges close to default on debt, puts roubles aside for bondholders | Reuters
Wed, 06 Apr 2022 22:08
A view shows Russian rouble coins in this illustration picture taken March 25, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Illustration/File Photo
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRussia bond payment was due in U.S. dollars on MondayU.S. Treasury stopped debt payments from frozen reservesRussia credit default swaps rise sharplyInternational creditors face stringent capital controlsU.S. announces fresh sanctions on banks and officialsLONDON, April 6 (Reuters) - Russia edged closer to a potential default on its international debt on Wednesday as it set aside roubles to pay holders of international bonds that need to be repaid in dollars and said it would continue to do so as long as its foreign exchange reserves are blocked by sanctions.
The United States on Monday stopped Russia from paying holders of its sovereign debt more than $600 million from frozen reserves held at U.S. banks, saying Moscow had to choose between draining its dollar reserves at home and default. read more
Russia has not defaulted on its external debt since reneging on payments due after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, but its bonds have remerged as a flashpoint in the diplomatic crisis and sanctions tit-for-tat between Moscow and western capitals.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com"This speeds up the timeline around when Russia runs out of space on willingness and ability to pay," one fund manager holding one of the bonds due for payment on Monday said.
The Kremlin said it would continue to pay its dues.
"Russia has all necessary resources to service its debts... If this blockade continues and payments aimed for servicing debts are blocked, it (future payment) could be made in roubles," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.
Moscow has managed to make a number of foreign exchange coupon payments on some of its 15 international bonds with a face value of around $40 billion outstanding before the United States stopped such transactions. read more
While sanctions have frozen roughly half of $640 billion in Russia's gold and foreign currency reserves, the country still receives billions of dollars from exporting crude and gas. read more
Russia's finance ministry said on Wednesday it had to pay roubles to holders of its dollar-denominated Eurobonds maturing in 2022 and 2042 as a foreign bank had refused to process an order to pay $649 million to holders of its sovereign debt.
The finance ministry said the foreign bank, which it did not name, rejected Russia's order to pay coupons on the two bonds and also did not process payment of a Eurobond maturing in 2022.
Russia's ability to fulfil its debt obligations is in focus after sweeping sanctions in response to what Moscow calls "a special military operation" in Ukraine have frozen nearly half of its reserves and limited access to global payment systems.
The United States on Wednesday targeted Russian banks and elites with a new round of sanctions in response to what President Joe Biden condemned as "major war crimes" by Russian forces in Ukraine. read more
JP Morgan, which had been processing payments on Russian sovereign bonds as a correspondent bank, was stopped by the U.S. Treasury from doing for the two payments due on Monday, a source familiar with the situation said. read more
JP Morgan (JPM.N) declined to comment.
Russia may consider allowing foreign holders of its 2022 and 2042 Eurobonds to convert rouble payments into foreign currencies once access to its forex accounts is restored, the finance ministry said.
Until then, a rouble equivalent of Eurobond payments aimed at bondholders from so-called unfriendly nations will be kept in special 'C' type accounts at Russia's National Settlement Depository, the ministry added.
Both bonds were issued in 2012 and stipulate payment in U.S. dollars - unlike some bonds that were sold later and allow for payment in alternative currencies such as euro, pound sterling, Swiss franc or even rouble.
Russia has a 30-day grace period to make the dollar payment, but if the cash does not show up in bondholders account within that time frame it would constitute a default, global rating agencies have said.
Moscow introduced stringent capital controls to shore up its currency in the wake of the war, which in combination with financial sanctions make it impossible for foreign investors to repatriate any payments.
Default warnings were flashing brightly again on Wednesday.
One-year upfront credit default swaps - a way of insuring exposure to Russia's sovereign debt - jumped to 69 points from 60 points, according to IHS Markit.
Russia's longer-dated dollar bonds, where trading has all but ceased, were quoted well below 20 cents in the dollar, while euro-denominated issues were bid at 15 cents. ,
Russia dismissed this as being a default situation.
"In theory, a default situation could be created but this would be a purely artificial situation," Peskov said. "There are no grounds for a real default."
Bondholders had been tracking bond payments since sweeping sanctions and counter measures from Moscow which have severed Russia from the global financial system.
A Russian default would have been unthinkable before the invasion with the country still holding an investment grade rating as recently as February from major ratings agencies. read more
Russia is already locked out of the international borrowing markets due to the West's sanctions, but a default would mean it could not regain access until creditors are fully repaid and any legal cases stemming from the default are settled.
A default could also create a host of headaches if countries or companies that would normally trade with Russia have self-imposed rules prohibiting transactions with a defaulted entity.
Furthermore, Russian debt default insurance policies known as credit default swaps (CDS) taken out by investors for this kind of situation could be triggered. JP Morgan estimates there are roughly $6 billion worth of outstanding CDS that would need to be paid out.
Russia on Wednesday paid coupons on four OFZ treasury rouble bonds. These were once popular for their high yields among foreign investors, who are now blocked from receiving payments as a result of sanctions and Russian retaliation.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com Reporting by Reuters; Additional reporting by Jorgelina do Rosario and Karin Strohecker in London; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Alexander Smith and Lisa Shumaker
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Putin's Daughters Face Sanctions Over Ukraine but Remain Shrouded in Secrecy - WSJ
Wed, 06 Apr 2022 19:09
Measures being discussed by the U.S. and EU would cast a spotlight on the Russian president's closely guarded family life
Updated April 6, 2022 1:48 pm ETU.S. and European moves to sanction two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin cast a spotlight on a family shrouded for years in secrecy.
The White House said Wednesday it would sanction Mr. Putin's two children from his now-ended marriage to a former Aeroflot cabin crew member, according to U.S. officials. The European Union, meanwhile, is set to make the same move following discussions among its 27 members, according to diplomats. The EU sanctions, expected to take effect by Friday, would entail a freeze of...
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U.S. and European moves to sanction two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin cast a spotlight on a family shrouded for years in secrecy.
The White House said Wednesday it would sanction Mr. Putin's two children from his now-ended marriage to a former Aeroflot cabin crew member, according to U.S. officials. The European Union, meanwhile, is set to make the same move following discussions among its 27 members, according to diplomats. The EU sanctions, expected to take effect by Friday, would entail a freeze of any assets held in the bloc and a ban on traveling to member countries.
The U.S. Treasury on Wednesday identified the two as Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova and Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova. The Treasury said Ms. Tikhonova is a tech executive whose work supports the Russian government and defense industry. It said Ms. Vorontsova leads state-funded programs that have received funding from the Kremlin for genetics research, which the Treasury said are personally overseen by Mr. Putin.
The two have previously been kept far from the public view, so much so that the Kremlin has only ever identified them by their first names.
The moves come after a weekend of reports of alleged atrocities that Ukrainian officials say were committed by Russian troops. Moscow has denied any responsibility for atrocities in territories its army recently occupied in Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov Wednesday declined to comment on plans to sanction Mr. Putin's daughters. EU officials said on Tuesday they were listing dozens of additional senior officials, oligarchs and politicians in their latest sanctions package. The bloc has broadened the criteria for sanctions to make it easier to go after elites close to the Kremlin.
The EU has already blacklisted the son-in-law of Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the former wife of Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin. EU officials said last week they would broaden the number of family members of leading officials and oligarchs to increase the pressure on the Kremlin.
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''We are targeting the Kremlin, the political and economic elites supporting Putin's war in Ukraine,'' said Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, on Tuesday, announcing Brussels' new sanctions package proposal.
One U.S. official said the move against the two daughters is aimed at Mr. Putin's personal wealth. ''We believe that many of Putin's assets are hidden with family members, and that's why we're targeting them,'' the official said Wednesday.
The two Putin daughters were born to Mr. Putin's former wife, Lyudmila Putina. That relationship ended in 2013. Little is known about them. According to the Kremlin's website, Mr. Putin and his wife had Maria before leaving for Germany in 1985, where Mr. Putin was based as a KGB officer. Katerina was born in 1986 in the German city of Dresden.
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They were named after their maternal and paternal grandmothers'--Maria Ivanovna Putina and Katerina Tikhonovna Shkrebneva, according to the Kremlin biography. ''According to their mother, Lyudmila, Putin loves his daughters very much,'' the biography said. Mr. Putin ''always spoiled them, and I had to educate them,'' Ms. Putina, the president's former wife, is cited as saying.
The two women have kept such a low profile that many Russians don't know what they look like. In an interview with the Russian state news agency, TASS, in October 2020, Mr. Putin acknowledged that he enjoys communicating with his grandchildren but doesn't like to be open about his family for security reasons.
''I have grandchildren, I am happy. They are very good, sweet, like that,'' Mr. Putin told TASS. ''I get great pleasure from communicating with them.''
At his annual press conference in 2015, Mr. Putin told the audience that he was proud of his daughters but never ''discusses family matters'' publicly, including anything to do with his daughters' work. ''I'm proud of them,'' he was cited as saying by TASS. ''They continue to study and work. My daughters are fluent in three European languages.''
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He said his daughters weren't involved in business or politics and he dismissed speculation that they live overseas, insisting that they lived in Russia and had never sought permanent residency anywhere else.
''They didn't get an education anywhere except Russia. They studied only in Russian universities,'' he said. ''They are just living their lives.'' He declined at the time to comment on media reports that his youngest daughter, Katerina, was in 2015 running the National Intellectual Reserve Center at Lomonosov Moscow State University, a foundation that supports scientific research.
''To talk about where exactly my daughters work and what they do'--I have never done this and am not going to do it now, for many reasons, including security issues,'' Mr. Putin said. He told the audience that his daughters were never like the children of celebrities and never enjoyed being in the spotlight.
''They just live their lives and do it with dignity,'' he said.
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The latest EU sanctions proposal also takes aim at Oleg Deripaska, a raw-materials magnate who founded Russian aluminum giant Rusal , diplomats said. Mr. Deripaska once enjoyed a broad network of top-level European political contacts. He was sanctioned by Washington in 2018 as part of a broad response to U.S. allegations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections, cyberattacks and other provocations.
He sued the Treasury Department in 2019, challenging the U.S. sanctions against him. The lawsuit alleged the Treasury Department made false allegations based on rumor and innuendo to support the sanctions. Last month, a U.S. appeals court rejected Mr. Deripaska's bid to lift the sanctions, upholding an earlier federal judge's ruling dismissing the appeal. An attempt to reach a representative of Mr. Deripaska, made via Rusal, wasn't immediately successful.
Mr. Deripaska wrote on social media last month that peace ''is very important.'' He also predicted that Western sanctions would drive his country into a prolonged economic crisis. The Financial Times first reported his inclusion in the draft EU sanctions list.
Write to Ann M. Simmons at ann.simmons@wsj.com, Vivian Salama at vivian.salama@wsj.com and Laurence Norman at laurence.norman@wsj.com
Obama's return to the White House after a 5-year absence - The Washington Post
Tue, 05 Apr 2022 14:57
Today, former president Barack Obama returns to the White House for the first time since moving out in early 2017 to make way for the arrival of Donald Trump. Obama's appearance, steeped in political theater, comes as Democrats are looking for a spark heading into the midterm elections. But there's also some substance here: Obama will join President Biden in the East Room for an announcement expanding access to coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature health-care law signed in 2010.
Welcome to Post Politics Now, a new live experience from The Washington Post that puts the day's political headlines into context. Each weekday, we'll guide you through the news from the White House, Capitol Hill and campaign trail with assists from some of the best political reporters in the business providing insights and analysis.
Your daily dashboard
10:30 a.m. Eastern: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke at a conference of North America's Building Trades Unions. Watch here. 1:30 p.m. Eastern: Biden and Obama deliver remarks on fixing the ''family glitch'' in the Affordable Care Act. Watch live coverage here. 3:30 p.m. Eastern: White House press secretary Jen Psaki provides a briefing. Watch live coverage here. 8 p.m. Pacific: Polls close in the special election to replace Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who left the House to lead Trump's social media enterprise. Got a question about politics? Submit it here. At 1:30 p.m. weekdays, return to this space and we'll address what's on the mind of readers.
Noted: Trump's Truth Social network isn't winningReturn to menuThings aren't going very well for Truth Social, the social network of former president Donald Trump.
The Post's Drew Harwell and Josh Dawsey detail the woeful rollout of the app, which has been hamstrung by multiple technical issues, noting that Trump has been fuming about the situation. Drew and Josh write:
The app '-- a Twitter look-alike where posts are called ''truths'' '-- has seen its downloads plunge so low that it has fallen off the App Store charts. The company is losing investors, executives and attention. And though his adult sons just joined, Trump himself hasn't posted there in weeks.
The company is being run by Devin Nunes, the former congressman from California who gave up the seat to guide Trump's venture. Coincidentally, his seat is on the ballot in a special election Tuesday.
You can read the full story here.
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Bullet Key update
This just in: Upton, a Republican who has often crossed the aisle, is exiting U.S. HouseReturn to menuRep. Fred Upton (Mich.), a pragmatic Republican who has often crossed the aisle to work with Democrats, on Tuesday announced his plans to exit the House.
The Post's Amy B Wang reports that Upton, who was one of 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach President Donald Trump, announced his decision to retire on the House floor Tuesday morning and in an email to supporters. Amy writes:
Upton, who has served since 1987, also backed the bipartisan infrastructure bill and received death threats afterward for helping Biden get a legislative win.
''Even the best stories has a last chapter. This is it for me,'' Upton said on the House floor. ''Thanks, again, to the people of my district who placed their faith and confidence in me all these great years.''
You can read Amy's full story here.
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Take a look: In new ad, Senate candidate J.D. Vance asks, 'Are you a racist?'Return to menu''Are you a racist? Do you hate Mexicans?''
That's how Ohio Republican J.D. Vance, who's running for the U.S. Senate, opens a new campaign ad. The conservative commentator, previously best known for his book ''Hillbilly Elegy,'' quickly pivots to say the media calls ''us'' racists for wanting to build former president Donald Trump's border wall. Vance then blames Biden for ''more illegal drugs and more Democrat voters pouring into this country.''
The ad is the latest attempt in a competitive GOP field to appeal to Trump voters. Trump himself has not endorsed a candidate in the race.
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On our radar: An election for a congressional seat in California that soon won't existReturn to menuPolls will close Tuesday night in the first special congressional election of 2022 '-- for a seat that won't exist when the year is over.
The Post's David Weigel has all the details on the contest in California's Central Valley, where six candidates are running to replace former congressman Devin Nunes (R). Dave writes:
California's 22nd Congressional District, which stretches from eastern Fresno into some of the state's biggest farming communities, became vacant in January when Nunes resigned to take over the Trump Media & Technology Group. As the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes became a national figure in his party, and a target for Democrats, raising $12.7 million for his 2018 reelection and $26.8 million ahead of his 2020 win.
The candidates running to replace Nunes, in both parties, have raised a fraction of that, and both Republican and Democratic committees have largely ignored the race. While the district shifted left during Trump's presidency, giving the ex-president just 52 percent of the vote in 2020 and 2016, it was pulled apart by the state's nonpartisan redistricting commission, whose adjusted borders will take effect in regular June primaries and the November election.
You can read Dave's full story here.
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Bullet Key update
Noted: McCarthy's record fundraising haul fuels GOP optimismReturn to menuHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced a first-quarter fundraising total of $31.5 million, believed to be the largest take by a House Republican. He has raised $104 million for the two-year cycle.
McCarthy's fundraising prowess further fuels Republican optimism that the party will take control of the House in this year's midterms. The first midterm election for a sitting president tends to be challenging for congressional members of his party.
McCarthy, who is angling to replace House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said in a statement touting his haul, ''the energy and enthusiasm for Republicans to take back the House has never been stronger.''
His totals don't include money raised when he appears at events for other Republican candidates or on behalf of a House GOP leadership-aligned super PAC.
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8:54 a.m.
Donna Cassata: Sen. Scott's calculus in opposing Jackson '-- Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the only Black Republican in the Senate, said late Monday that he would oppose the historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Jackson would be the first Black woman on the court in its more than two centuries of existence. Scott cited her judicial philosophy and positions in his rejection while acknowledging groundbreakingking nomination. Politically, his move makes sense for a Republican looking toward 2024. Scott traveled to first-in-the-nation primary state New Hampshire last year, triggering talk of a White House bid, and in February, he said he would be happy to be former president Donald Trump's running mate. ''Everybody wants to be on President Trump's bandwagon,'' Scott said. Supporting Jackson when most Republicans oppose her nomination doesn't get you on the Trump bandwagon. Analysis: The role anger over Jan. 6 could play in the midtermsReturn to menuThe House select committee probing the Jan. 6, 2001, insurrection by a pro-Trump mob has generated no shortage of headlines in recent months and its investigation is about to go public, with a series of open hearings planned. So this question looms large: How will this all resonate with voters?
The Post's Jacqueline Alemany and Theodoric Meyer explore that question in The Early 202 with the help of transcripts from a series of focus groups via Zoom with people across the country paid for by progressive groups. Jacqueline and Theodoric write:
The sessions showed participants expressing a strong desire for accountability for attack and negative reactions to Republican lawmakers and candidates who downplayed its significance or seemed sympathetic to people who stormed the Capitol. Further, some of them said they viewed the issue as a reason to get out and vote against a candidate.
Still, it's unclear whether anger about Jan. 6 like that expressed in the focus groups will play a big role in the midterms. You can read the full analysis here.
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8:15 a.m.
Annie Linskey: It's complicated '-- Former president Barack Obama, 60, and President Biden, 79, have long had a complex relationship. When Obama chose Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008, it gave Obama much-needed stature while reviving Biden's national profile. The two were famously close in the White House, but as Obama's presidency drew to a close, many believed that Obama wanted Hillary Clinton as his would-be successor, to the frustration of Biden's circle. After Biden launched his own presidential run in 2019, he rarely appeared with Obama, in part because of the coronavirus but also to avoid being overshadowed '-- a pattern that has continued during Biden's first year-plus in office. But now, as Democrats confront a difficult landscape in the November midterms, Obama's appeal looms large, especially his ability to generate excitement among the party faithful and his popularity among Black voters. You can read my story about Obama's return to the White House here.Annie Linskey, National reporter covering the White House.
Analysis: Did Ginni Thomas advocate for an insurrection?Return to menuMuch has been said about Virginia ''Ginni'' Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in the wake of revelations that she repeatedly pressed then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows through text messages to pursue efforts to support President Donald Trump's claims that he lost the 2020 election through fraud.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has accused Ginni Thomas of ''advocating for an insurrection,'' while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called her ''an admitted and proud contributor to a coup.''
Writing in the Fact Checker, The Post's Glenn Kessler notes that:
There is no question that the texts '-- 29 were supplied by Meadows to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack '-- show that Thomas believed in and touted a series of Four Pinocchio claims about alleged election fraud.
But are Klobuchar and Pelosi overstating the case? You can read Glenn's full fact-check here and see what conclusion he reaches.
Bullet Key update
This just in: With Obama looking on, Biden to announce sought-after tweak to ACA rulesReturn to menuObama's return to the White House on Tuesday will have obvious political overtones, but there's also substance to the event: Biden plans to announce a tweak to federal rules long sought by advocates that would allow millions of additional families to buy health plans through the insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.
The Post's Amy Goldstein reports that tweak involves what is known in health-policy circles as the ACA's ''family glitch.'' Amy explains:
It involves who is eligible to buy health plans with federal subsidies through HealthCare.gov, the federal ACA insurance marketplace that opened in 2014, or similar marketplaces in states that operate their own.
For the most part, those marketplaces are open to U.S. residents who do not have access to health benefits through a job. However, the law also contains a provision that lets people buy ACA health plans even if they have a job that offers health benefits. They can do that if monthly premiums would require them to spend roughly 10 percent or more of their household income on that coverage.
The wrinkle has been that, in calculating how big a bite an employers' health plan would take out of a worker's income, the amount has taken into account only the premiums for an individual insurance policy '-- not a policy that covers a workers' spouse or children, too.
You can read Amy's full story here.
Bullet Key update
The latest: Pelosi voices support for Senate deal on covid fundingReturn to menuIn a statement late Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expressed support for a bipartisan deal reached in the Senate for $10 billion in additional funding for the U.S. coronavirus response.
Her announcement, which landed in our inboxes shortly before midnight, sets up an interesting dynamic in the House, where many Democrats are already complaining about the lack of new funding for the global response to the pandemic, which Biden officials have said is critical to protect Americans from the emergence of new, potentially dangerous variants in other parts of the world.
''With the bipartisan agreement reached today in the Senate, the Congress moves closer to delivering urgently needed funding for President Biden's pandemic response,'' Pelosi said in her statement. ''The House looks forward to considering this urgent package upon its passage in the Senate and sending it to the President's desk for signature.''
Pelosi also noted her disappointment about the lack of global funding but suggested pursuing that in separate legislation. ''No one is safe until everyone is safe '-- and House Democrats will continue fighting for more funding to vaccinate the world,'' she wrote.
The Post's Dan Diamond has details about what's in the Senate package:
It would enable U.S. officials to purchase more therapeutics, tests, vaccines and other supplies, after the White House repeatedly warned that it needed more funding for those priorities. The legislation also calls on federal officials to invest at least $5 billion to develop and procure therapeutics, and at least $750 million in efforts to fight future variants and to build vaccine manufacturing capacity.
You can read Dan's full story here.
Noted: To Rep. Greene, GOP supporters of Jackson are 'pro-pedophile'Return to menuSens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) have broken with fellow Republicans to support the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. That is not sitting well with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who in her short time in Congress has established herself as a rabble-rousing promoter of conspiracy theories and misinformation.
Greene went on Twitter on Monday night, following a procedural vote on Jackson's nomination, to declare that the trio of Republican senators are ''pro-pedophile.''
''At this point, the line is clearly drawn when it comes to voting to confirm #KJB or not,'' Greene opined. ''You are either a Senator that supports child rapists, child pornography, and the most vile child predators. Or you are a Senator who protects children and votes NO to KJB!''
Greene's tweets referred to a GOP line of attack that Jackson, as a federal trial court judge, had been too lenient in sentencing in child pornography cases. During Jackson's confirmation hearing, representatives of the American Bar Association testified that the judge was actually very much in the mainstream when it came to handing out such sentences.
Romney has been particularly outspoken in his pushback against the Republican line of attack. He said last week that GOP senators' aggressive questions on that subject were ''off course'' and that there was ''no 'there' there.''
Bullet Key update
On our radar: Jackson on track for confirmation with some bipartisan supportReturn to menuDemocrats have been eager to put a bipartisan stamp of approval on a Supreme Court nominee whom many Republicans have eagerly painted as soft on crime.
On Monday, Democrats got what they wanted, as the number of Republicans voicing support for the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson grew to three. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) become the second and third Republicans to announce support for Jackson, joining Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), who publicly backed the judge last month.
The Post's Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim recount the latest steps in the historic nomination of Jackson, who would be the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court in its 233-year history:
All 50 members of the Democratic caucus also backed Jackson in a 53-to-47 procedural vote Monday evening, but the late-breaking support of the two GOP senators represented a minor triumph for President Biden and congressional Democrats.
You can read Mike and Seung Min's full story here.
Noted: How Trump's grievances are roiling Michigan's GOPReturn to menuFormer president Donald Trump put on a show of force last week in a Detroit suburb, drawing an adoring throng of 5,000 supporters who cheered his familiar '-- but false '-- claims that the 2020 presidential election was ''rigged'' and ''stolen.''
The scene, however, belied a state of conflict and disorder roiling the Republican Party in Michigan, The Post's Matthew Brown writes. In fact, Trump's support of a growing list of local and statewide candidates pushing his election falsehoods has frustrated many Republican leaders. Matthew reports:
While party strategists and donors in the state mobilize for a competitive fight over control of the Michigan legislature, Trump's preferred candidates have struggled to raise funds while Democratic rivals amass cash advantages. Moreover, some Republican leaders say, the spread of election conspiracies is alienating swing voters and undermining public trust of elections.
You can read Matthew's full story here.
Russia Accused Of ''Magic Massacre'' After Pro-Putin Parties Win Avalanche Victories In Europe
Tue, 05 Apr 2022 09:16
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April 4, 2022
Russia Accused Of ''MagicMassacre'' After Pro-Putin Parties Win Avalanche Victories In Europe
By: Sorcha Faal, and asreported to her Western Subscribers
A gobsmacking new Security Council(SC) reportcirculating in the Kremlin todayfirst noting President Putin forwarded a telegram to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban congratulating him on thevictory of a party coalition he leads in an election to the Hungarian National Assembly, says inresponse to this crushing election victory over his Western colonial funded opposition, Prime Minister Orban declared: '' We won a victory so big that you can see it from the moon,and you can certainly see it from Brussels...The whole world has seen tonightin Budapest that Christian democratic politics, conservative civic politics andpatriotic politics have won '''--a declaration of victoryPrime Minister Orban joined with thestatement: '' We will remember this victory until the end of our livesbecause we had to fight against a huge amount of opponents...Those forcesincluded not only Hungary's own opposition parties, but also Brusselsbureaucrats, the Soros empire '' with all its money '' the internationalmainstream media, and in the end, even the Ukrainian president...We never hadso many opponents at the same time '''--a statementswiftly followed by Serbian PresidentAleksandar Vucic winning a crushing election victory over his Western colonial fundedopposition, and saw him declaring: '' Serbia will remain on the European and reformist path, butalso friends with Russia and China ''.
After these Western colonialpowers failed in their bid to turn the devoutly Christian peoples and leaders of Hungary and Serbia against Russia,this report notes, they were quickly slammed by articles like '' Pollsters Humiliated As 2 Pro-Putin Parties Win AvalancheVictories In European Elections '''--near immediately afterwhich the leftist Western propagandamedia launched a tsunami of articles like '' Bodies Of 'Executed People' Strewn Across Street In Bucha AsUkraine Accuses Russia Of War Crimes '''--in quick responseto this lying war propaganda it saw ForeignMinistry spokeswoman Maria Zakharovastating: '' Heads of state, foreign ministers, public figures, by theway, former politicians came out with their statements only based on the videos,seconds-long videos and several photos'...And they are ready to pouraccusations'...No expert work done, no information from the other side throwinglight on what is going on heard, and the statements made '''--astatement of fact joined by PulitzerPrize winning Americaninvestigative journalist Glenn Greenwald observing :
''It's very alarming watching people who should knowbetter see a few photo and video snippets posted by one of the governmentsfighting the war, then let their valid emotional revulsion lead them toproclaim it's time for World War 3.
In stark contrast to the Twitter experts eager tostart World War 3 by emotionally demanding that the US go to war with Russiadue to horrifying yet context-and-evidence-freephotos and videos posted by Ukrainian officials , the New York Times commendably applies skepticismwhen they said in its article that " it was unable to independently verify the assertions of Ukraine'sDefense Ministry and other officials ."
If the last 20 years taught us anything, it's thatmonstrous outcomes are inevitable when war propaganda cannot be questioned orchallenged, and when neocons are permitted to lead foreign policy debates withno dissent. Smear away. It's everyone's obligation not to allow that.
To put things in some perspective, theofficial civilian death toll after the first 6-8 weeks of the US invasion ofIraq was more than 8,000 - due to 'Shock and Awe'. The civilian death toll in Ukraine is justover 1,000.
It's all hideous, but calls for World War 3 requiresobriety.
If I had one political wish, it'd be thatall wars '-- especially those waged by the USand its allies '-- received the same amount and type of media attention as what Ukraine isgetting, and their war victims received the same empathy. The world would look very different.
I realize dissent from the latest maximalist war calls results in accusations that one is pro-Putin, trying to justify theinvasion, etc. Social media makes thattactic easy.
Opposing World War 3 doesn't make you aKremlin agent .''
In examining the facts of what canonly be described as a '' Magic Massacre '',this report details, last week Russianmilitary forces completed their assigned missions and withdrew from the Kiev region of Ukraine'--a fact confirmed by the Ukraine Defense Ministry, that reported it had recaptured all of the Kyiv Oblast, namely thewar-torn towns of Bucha, Hostomel , and Irpin northwest of the capital '--and after touring his town of Bucha last week, Mayor Anatolii Fedoruk posted a video of him smiling and declaring: '' Dear friends, dear Bucha community, March 31st will go downin the history of our town, the whole territorial community as a day ofliberation from the Russian orcs, from the Russian occupiers by our armedforces of Ukraine of our settlements...So today I say that this day is joyful,joyful and a great victory, great victory of our armed forces in Kyiv regionand we will definitely wait for you, and we will do everything to make a great victoryall over Ukraine'...Glory to our armed forces of Ukraine and glory to Ukraine.Glory to every Ukrainian, no matter where in Ukraine he is now ''
On 2 April, however, this report continues, Ukrainian Nazi forces entered into the town of Bucha to cleanse it of anyone they suspected of aiding the Russian military forces that hadalready withdrawn earlier in the week, and whose exact message posted on Facebook said: '' Today, on 2 April, in the liberated city of Bucha, Kievregion, special units of the Ukrainian National Police began clearing the areaof saboteurs and accomplices of Russian troops '''--a cleansing operation in the town of Bucha followed yesterday, on 3 April, by these same Ukrainian Nazi forces publishing videosnippets and photographs of dead people they claimed Russian military forces and gunned down, one of which shows ''deadbodies'' moving after the camera passed '--among the many messages posted on socialmedia around the world, the majority of them say things like: '' Ukraine gov are known for puttingout fake bs , even using video game footage.. I can'tbelieve anyone trusts them .. sympathise with victims of war, but don't be so naiveto believe a desperate government who's trying to push us into WW3 '''--and among the honest American experts examining this '' Magic Massacre '', they are noting such factslike :
''Yesterday evening aUkrainian station showed a video of Ukrainian troops driving through Bucha,north of Kiev, with several 'dead' people lying in the street allegedly 'killedby Russians'.
There are two difficultieswith these claims:
- One of the dead appearsto move his arm.
- Bucha was declared'completely liberated' of Russian troops by its mayor on Thursday, March 31.
Are we to believeit would take three days for such an 'incriminating' video to come out? Or that those 'dead' were lying there forthree days with no one bothering? ''
In responding to this '' Magic Massacre '', this report concludes, top Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned Western colonial leadersnot to be so quick in believing anything Ukrainesays, and stated: '' The facts and the timeline likewise speak against theveracity of the claims '''--in further response it saw RussianUnited Nations Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyansky declaring: '' In light of the blatant provocation by Ukrainian radicals inBucha, Russia has demanded a meeting of the UN Security Council to be convenedon Monday, 4 April'...We will bring to light the presumptuous Ukrainianprovocateurs and their Western patrons '''--is a UnitedNations Security Council long experienced in finding the quick truth aboutsuch outrageous claims like this, but this month is chaired by Britain, that quickly said it wouldn't allow a meeting '--a denial meant to keep the truth hidden thatwas quickly responded to by ForeignMinistry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova,who stated: '' Yesterday, the current United Nations Security Councilpresident, Britain, acting in accordance with its worst traditions, once againrefused to give consent to holding a Security Council meeting on Bucha...Today,Russia will demand once again the UN Security Council meet in session todiscuss criminal provocations by the Ukrainian military and radicals in thatcity '' [ Note:Some words and/or phrases appearing in quotes in this report are Englishlanguage approximations of Russian words/phrases having no exact counterpart.]
April 4, 2022 (C) EU and US all rights reserved.Permission to use this report in its entirety is granted under the condition itis linked to its original source at WhatDoesItMean.Com. Freebase contentlicensed under CC-BYand GFDL.
[ Note :Many governments and their intelligence services actively campaign against theinformation found in these reports so as not to alarm their citizens about themany catastrophic Earth changes and events to come, a stance that the Sisters of Sorcha Faal strongly disagree with in believing that it is every human being's right toknow the truth. Due to our mission's conflicts with that of those governments,the responses of their 'agents' has been a longstandingmisinformation/misdirection campaign designed to discredit us, and others likeus, that is exampled in numerous places, including HERE .]
[ Note: The WhatDoesItMean.com website was created for anddonated to the Sisters of Sorcha Faal in 2003 by a small group of Americancomputer experts led by the late global technology guru Wayne Green (1922-2013) tocounter the propaganda being used by the West to promote their illegal 2003invasion of Iraq.]
[ Note: The word Kremlin (fortress inside a city) as used inthis report refers to Russian citadels, including in Moscow, having cathedrals wherein femaleSchema monks (Orthodox nuns) reside, many of whom are devoted to the mission ofthe Sisters of Sorcha Faal.]
WhoeverCan Make You Believe Absurdities Can Make You Commit Atrocities
''SoonerOr Later The Endless Spectacle Is Over. Then We Will Take Revenge;Mercilessly.''
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Opinion | The Hunter Biden story is an opportunity for a reckoning - The Washington Post
Mon, 04 Apr 2022 12:16
There was something grotesquely familiar about last week's revelations about Hunter Biden's business dealings abroad, both in the story's particulars and in the more general saga of sleazy self-dealing into which it fits. The idea that these latest revelations definitively vindicate or villainize any party except Mr. Biden himself, however, is misplaced.
The Post reported Wednesday on the multimillion-dollar deals the president's son made with a Chinese energy company. The investigation adds new details and confirms old ones about the ways in which Joe Biden's family has profited from trading overseas on his name '-- something for which the president deserves criticism for tacitly condoning. What it does not do, despite some conservatives' insistence otherwise, is prove that President Biden acted corruptly. This is a reality that an election-year probe by Senate Republicans into improper influence or wrongdoing has already confirmed. The Justice Department, meanwhile, continues its inquiry into Hunter Biden's tax affairs and foreign lobbying.
For now, what's more compelling than the assorted accusations about the Bidens' behavior is this question: Why is confirmation of a story that first surfaced in the fall of 2020 emerging only now? When the New York Post published its blockbuster exclusive on the contents of a laptop said to have been abandoned at a Delaware repair shop by Hunter Biden, mainstream media organizations balked at running with the same narrative. Social media sites displayed even greater caution. Twitter blocked the story altogether, pointing to a policy against hacked materials, and suspended the New York Post's account for sharing it; Facebook downranked the story in the algorithms that govern users' news feeds for fear that it was based on misinformation. Now, The Washington Post and the New York Times have vouched for many of the relevant communications.
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This series of events has prompted allegations of a coverup, or at best a double standard in the treatment of conservative and liberal politicians by mainstream media and social media sites. Yet there was reason in this case for reluctance on the part of the publications and the platforms alike. Both had been the unwitting tools of a Russian influence campaign in 2016, and it was only prudent to suspect a similar plot lay behind the mysterious appearance of a computer stuffed with juicy documents and conveniently handed over to President Donald Trump's toxic personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Indeed, at the time there was also an ongoing disinformation operation from Moscow involving '-- among other things '-- doctored recordings supposedly showing Joe Biden improperly pressuring the then-president of Ukraine to aid Hunter Biden's business interests '-- a fraud promoted by Mr. Giuliani.
This context doesn't necessarily exonerate every action of every publication and platform. It makes obvious sense for newspapers to wait to verify information before turning it into a story; the harder conundrum is what to do with true information that comes from a hack, and harder still is how to treat true information that hasn't been stolen but has been selectively shared to further an agenda. Social media sites face a tougher choice when it comes to whether and how to dampen the spread of a story when they're unsure of its truthfulness or origins. None of these dilemmas have easy answers. The lesson learned from 2016 was evidently to err on the side of setting aside questionable material in the heat of a political campaign. The lesson learned from 2020 may well be that there's also a danger of suppressing accurate and relevant stories.
Short Sellers Bet Tether, Crypto's Central Bank, Is Vulnerable to a Run - WSJ
Sun, 03 Apr 2022 18:33
Tether says it has conservative investments, while hedge funds question how much risk lies in the $82 billion investment portfolio that backs the currency
Short sellers are betting against a cryptocurrency whose price shouldn't move.
A few investment firms, including Fir Tree Partners and Viceroy Research LLC, have placed substantial bets in recent months that the price of tether will fall, according to people familiar with the matter. Tether is the most popular currency for trading bitcoin and is supposed to have a fixed value pegged to the U.S. dollar.
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Short sellers are betting against a cryptocurrency whose price shouldn't move.
A few investment firms, including Fir Tree Partners and Viceroy Research LLC, have placed substantial bets in recent months that the price of tether will fall, according to people familiar with the matter. Tether is the most popular currency for trading bitcoin and is supposed to have a fixed value pegged to the U.S. dollar.
Some hedge funds arranged short sales of tether with Genesis Global Trading Inc., one of the larger crypto brokerages for professional investors, said Matt Ballensweig, Genesis's co-head of trading and lending. About a dozen funds discussed doing the same with Genesis, but many didn't move forward, Mr. Ballensweig said.
With about $82 billion tether in circulation, tether is the largest so-called stablecoin, a digital asset linked to the dollar and backed by reserves of cash or other financial instruments.
The short sellers follow a pack of regulators, lawmakers, prosecutors, plaintiffs attorneys and amateur sleuths who have spent months, or years, in some cases, attempting to unearth details about a cryptocurrency whose usage has far outpaced its transparency.
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Tether isn't a household name, but it is a cornerstone to the crypto ecosystem. Traders on big exchanges often use tether as an easier way to buy crypto than through bank accounts or wire transfers.
A Tether spokesperson said that the short sellers seem to be involved in a ''clever scheme to raise capital from those less knowledgeable, by leveraging on disinformation with the end goal of collecting a management fee.''
''Tether has been stress tested time and time again and passed with flying colors. During such events, its peg remained solid, all redemptions were honored and even the price on exchanges remained stable,'' the spokesperson added.
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That price stability'--tether hasn't traded lower than 0.999 cents against the U.S. dollar in the past year'--means that short sellers' bets have yet to pay off. And most of Genesis's initial clients have since exited the initial trade, Genesis said, though some investors have wanted to discuss ways to short tether in recent weeks. Fir Tree's shorting of tether was earlier reported by Bloomberg News.
Short sellers are betting that the $82 billion portfolio that underpins tether's value, now the size of a big money-market fund, is at risk of losses that the parent company hasn't disclosed, according to some of the people familiar with the short positions.
The Tether spokesperson said that the company takes transparency seriously.
''Tether manages a portfolio of conservative, diversified, liquid assets,'' Tether said. It said that its reserve-fund assets exceeded their liabilities.
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Regulators, lawmakers and other critics have accused tether of being too opaque. Tether Holdings Ltd., its parent company, has promised a full audit of its reserves for years but never produced one. It took a yearslong investigation by New York's attorney general, and an eventual $18.5 million settlement of accusations that Tether misled clients, for Tether to reveal what it holds in only broad terms each quarter through its accounting firm. To prevent more disclosure, even of mundane matters like the name of its chief investment officer, Tether has gone to court to block public-records requests about its business.
Tether said that delivering a full audit remains a priority. It admitted no wrongdoing as part of its settlement with New York's attorney general. Tether's attorneys argued in court filings that additional disclosure of its reserve investments would harm its competitive position in the market and that revealing its chief investment officer's name would ''constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.''
If the tether token is ''backed one-to-one, go and disclose it,'' said Fraser Perring, founding partner at Viceroy who previously spotted accounting problems at German fintech company Wirecard AG
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before it collapsed. ''We know every single really good short of ours, they've obfuscated something.''
''Surely the management, to dispel this fear, could publish exactly each line item,'' said Mr. Perring.
Tether releases new tether tokens when it receives a corresponding amount of dollars from customers. It then invests those proceeds into reserves that back the tokens, a portfolio that includes both safe investments, such as cash and short-term U.S. government securities, and riskier ones, including short-term IOUs known as commercial paper, secured loans to companies and other cryptocurrencies.
Some short sellers believe that a chunk of Tether's commercial-paper holdings, which totaled $24 billion at the end of 2021 and made up a little less than one-third of Tether's reserves, came from shaky Chinese property developers. A faltering Chinese real-estate market and concerns about developers' excessive debt levels have led to selloffs and ratings downgrades in their bonds.
Tether said that it has consciously reduced its commercial-paper holdings since its settlement with New York's attorney general, including a 21% drop in the last three months of 2021. In response to questions about credit exposure to Chinese property developers, Tether referred to a January report from crypto exchange Coinbase that looked at what Tether has disclosed about its commercial paper. That report said that even if Tether ''had owned any short-term liabilities associated with weak sectors, such as Chinese real estate, it would no longer be in its portfolio, as rating agencies have downgraded much of that debt to sub-investment grade over the past year.''
One short seller also sees trouble in Tether's holdings of money-market funds and Treasury bills. That firm learned that an affiliate of Deltec Bank & Trust Ltd., a Bahamian bank where Tether does business, sought to invest billions of dollars in outside hedge funds that invest in highly liquid securities, people familiar with the matter said. That money, much of which the short seller believed came from Tether, could be locked up in those funds for months or years, meaning Tether would have a hard time getting it back in a timely manner to meet a wave of redemption requests, the people said.
Tether declined to comment on Deltec's dealings with hedge funds. Deltec didn't respond to requests for comment.
Tether also reported owning about $5 billion, or roughly 6% of its reserves at the end of 2021, worth of what it called ''other investments.'' Those investments included digital tokens.
In comparison, the assets backing USD Coin, the second-largest stablecoin after tether, consist only of cash and short-term U.S. government securities, according to its issuer.
Some short sellers believe that tether's ''other'' bucket includes equity stakes in or digital tokens issued by unproven crypto startups, people familiar with their trades said. These types of investments are riskier than ultrasafe Treasury bonds.
Tether didn't respond to questions about those investments.
Companies including crypto lender Celsius Network LLC and Exordium Ltd., the maker of a to-be-released science-fiction videogame, have said that companies affiliated with Tether or its executives made stock or token investments.
Short sellers also liked the asymmetry of the trade: Borrowing tether to sell it short costs between 6% and 8% a year, according to Genesis. That is more expensive than many stocks but would still yield considerable profit if tether drops precipitously. Meanwhile, there was a very low probability that tether would trade above $1 for an extended period since then holders of it would pocket a premium by selling it, according to Genesis. That meant a short squeeze in tether would be unlikely.
Tether's opacity, combined with its rapid growth, also has made it a frequent topic of conversation in Washington. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission found last year that Tether only held equivalent dollar reserves in its accounts on a little more than a quarter of the days during a roughly two-year period, leading Tether to reach a $41 million settlement with the regulatory agency. Tether neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing as part of its settlement with the CFTC.
The stablecoin giant said at the time that the investigation focused on its past operations and that it had corrected the issues involved when it updated its terms of service in 2019.
At a February congressional hearing, a senior Treasury Department official, Nellie Liang, said she expected that tether wasn't fully collateralized, citing her understanding of tether's disclosures and its unregulated status.
She also echoed concerns about stablecoins more generally that a Treasury-led panel raised in a November report. ''If investors were to lose confidence in the quality of the assets backing the stablecoin, there could be a run, which has potential systemic risk consequences,'' said Ms. Liang.
Tether said when the November report was published it had been waiting for clarity about stablecoin regulation and that it looked ''forward to working alongside global governments and regulators to ensure proper compliance and issuance of stable assets like Tether tokens.''
In the past, Tether executives have taunted short sellers. After Hindenburg Research offered a $1 million reward for previously undisclosed information about the assets backing tether, its parent put out a statement calling Hindenburg's announcement a ''pathetic bid for attention'' that was ''attempting to discredit not just Tether, but an entire movement.''
Paolo Ardoino, Tether's technology chief, then posted a cartoon on Twitter mocking Hindenburg as a tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorist. ''Woah A miLon daollar bounty,'' the cartoon read in part.
Write to Peter Rudegeair at Peter.Rudegeair@wsj.com
"Today's The Last Day" - BuzzFeed Disaster Worsens As News App Shuts Down
Sat, 02 Apr 2022 23:54
Buzzfeed is being forced to tighten its belt (again) by axing its BuzzFeed News app, which comes a little more than a week after reports indicated the money-losing news organization would shut down its newsroom.
On Friday evening, the BuzzFeed News app posted its final notification:
"Well, folks, today's the last day of the BuzzFeed News app. Thanks for the memories and see y'all out there."
The app's demise comes after the company released abysmal first-quarter results. CNBC noted several large investors urged BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti to shutter the company's newsroom -- what a novel idea to reduce expenses as the company loses more than $10 million a year.
In February, a hiring freeze was reported as investors were furious with the media company's lack of profitability, ill-advised shopping spree of other media firms, and crashing stock price post-SPAC debut.
Investor redemptions have occurred concurrently as the share price has been halved since the SPAC debut in December.
BuzzFeed's downward spiral is particularly troubling for Peretti's buying spree of media companies without a robust valuation. The firm recently bought out Complex and the Huffington Post, two deals that have yet to pay off in terms of revenue.
And as management claimed in a recent presentation to investors, it has grandiose ambitions of expanding its commerce business and its advertising and content businesses.
Troublingly, the abysmal performance of the company's stock price has placed this post-SPAC growth strategy - hoovering up other failing digital brands - further out of reach (since Buzzeed's stock is the currency it was supposed to depend on).
The death of BuzzFeed's News app and newsroom, along with a hiring freeze, may only suggest the money-losing media company is in dire straits.
Netherlands bans cars every Sunday to curb CO2 emissions and save fuel '' DutchReview
Fri, 01 Apr 2022 22:36
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced that the Netherlands will introduce car-free Sundays from this month.
The first Sunday of every month will now be completely car-free '-- driving cars, trucks, and other vehicles on streets or highways will be against the law for the full 24 hours. 🚗
Returning to the rootsThe Dutch Cyclists' Union (Fietserbond) has lobbied the Dutch government for a long time to include one day free of motor vehicles every month. And they have finally succeeded in convincing the cabinet! 🎉
Een van de maatregelen die bewezen heeft effectief te zijn en goed te werken is thuiswerken. Laten we daar maximaal op inzetten. Komt de autoloze zondag terug? En heeft het zin? Ja, zegt hoogleraar Bert van Wee via @nhdagblad https://t.co/beadYtmrQy
'-- Ger van der Veen (@Gervanderveen) March 22, 2022Tweet translation: One of the measures that has proven to be effective and work well is working from home. Let's bet on that to the maximum. The car-free Sunday returns? And makes sense? Yes, says Professor Bert van Wee via @nhdagbladThe Netherlands is already so bicycle- and public transport-dependent, the Dutch Cyclists' Union argued Dutchies would survive without cars. Lekker fietsen, h(C)? 🚲
Unsurprisingly, the Dutch Cyclists' Union is a pretty tough organisation '-- before you know it, they might go after cars every day of the week. 🤯
''Autoloze zondag'' (Carless Sunday)This isn't the first time the Netherlands is doing car-free Sundays. The Dutch government announced a ban on cars for a number of Sundays from November 1973 to January 1974. And the circumstances are pretty similar too. ðŸ¬
This group of people are definitely taking advantage of the empty highways to make a cool hang out spot! Image: Wikimedia Commons/Public DomainThe Netherlands was facing a pretty serious petrol crisis and the government decided to curb oil consumption and ration fuel by introducing these vehicle-less days.
Now, the Dutch government wants to take serious strides in saving everyone some money and lowering the country's carbon footprint, given the extremely high gas prices, climate change, and fossil fuel consumption.
Ever since Shell ditched the Netherlands for the UK, they're making an extra effort to stick it to them and their oil. 👊
Imposed fines and penalties on violationsAnd to seal the deal, the Dutch government is even adding new types of fines and penalties system for anyone caught with their car out of the garage:
Where you are drivingImposed fineHighway (Randstad)'‚¬650Highway (Outside Randstad)'‚¬600Inner-city'‚¬450Outer-city'‚¬400Countryside'‚¬300School-zone (anywhere)'‚¬450If they catch you more than three times driving in your vehicle on a car-free Sunday, they plan to tow your car away and swap it for a bike.
''We can't be expected to cover all of the costs for extra fuel usage and the road tax'', says a spokesperson for the Dutch government.
The government intends to use the bicycles fished out of the canals as these replacement bikes for those who get fined (call that Dutch ''re-cycling''). Bell and lights NOT included. ðŸ
To make matters worse, when you do the ride-of-shame away, the municipality enforcement officers will slap you with a fine for the lack of lights too.
No problem for us! We're ready to hop back on our bikes and use the reliable and trusted Dutch public transport system. ðŸ'ªðŸ¼
How are you planning on getting around the Netherlands in the coming car-free Sundays?
VIDEO - Austin airport director requested more TSA agents amid influx | kvue.com
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:18
Airport Director Jacqueline Yaft said gridlock has become so bad that passengers flying into Austin sometimes must be held on flights to allow lines to subside.
AUSTIN, Texas '-- U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett said on Friday, April 8, that 15 more federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents will be deployed to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) "soon," bringing the total to 50. The TSA will also double the number of K9 teams at AUS and add a 15% retention bonus for current AUS screening officers.
The TSA confirmed to KVUE that it is also sending a Scheduling Optimization team to AUS to make sure scheduling and checkpoint design principles are efficient. The TSA said additional K9 teams will give "the ability to move screening assets quickly between multiple checkpoints and terminals."
These updates from Doggett and the TSA come after Doggett asked federal officials to expedite a request from the Austin airport's director to increase the number of agents as the facility contends with an ongoing passenger surge.
"TSA leadership has confirmed additional staffing and canine resources to be deployed to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport," an airport spokesperson said Friday. "The Department of Aviation is grateful for the continued collaboration and support from our TSA partners as we work together on the shared goal of improving the AUS passenger experience."
Previous reporting:
Airport Director Jacqueline Yaft said the airport needs at least 100 more agents from the federal TSA and K-9 units because of an unprecedented passenger volume, according to a letter obtained by the KVUE Defenders and Senior Reporter Tony Plohetski. The letter was sent to the top TSA official on March 3. She also asked that the airport be allowed to retain about 40 agents who were sent to Austin from October to March.
In a separate letter, Yaft asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for at least 15 more agents to help screen passengers arriving from international flights. She said that gridlock has become so bad that passengers flying into Austin from abroad sometimes must be held on flights to allow lines to subside at screening facilities.
Neither agency responded to requests for comment on Tuesday, April 5.
Yaft disclosed multiple concerns about current conditions at the airport, saying that they have resulted in missed flights and damage to the city's international image. However, she also said she is concerned about creating terrorist "soft targets" by having passengers spill onto the curb outside while awaiting TSA screening.
"Unfortunately, long lines that stretch through the terminal and even to the curbside peak days have become a normal occurrence at AUS," she wrote. "We fear these issues will only get worse as the spring and summer airline schedules increase passenger demand."
On Tuesday, Doggett sent two letters to the TSA and CBP, asking them to urgently follow up on Austin's request.
''Austin's status as an international city supporting world-class endeavors and worldwide visitors is being held hostage by its airport's inability to access TSA support,'' Doggett wrote. ''Without the support of TSA staffing, AUS's efforts fall short.''
Doggett told KVUE Tuesday that he has not yet received a response from either agency.
The airport has seen explosive growth in use in recent months. Last month, it had about 280 daily departures, up from 215 in the same month in 2019.
Yaft added that passenger traffic has already been exceeding pre-pandemic counts and is forecasted to grow higher to over 35,000 passengers per day, "exceeding our high growth pandemic recovery scenarios."
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VIDEO - (22) Daily Caller on Twitter: "Psaki Says Sex Reassignment Surgery, Puberty Blockers for Kids Is 'Best Practice,' States Preventing It Will Be Held Accountable https://t.co/ZmboFDFIYx" / Twitter
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:14
Daily Caller : Psaki Says Sex Reassignment Surgery, Puberty Blockers for Kids Is 'Best Practice,' States Preventing It Will Be Hel'... https://t.co/0VPN3W6Kf7
Thu Apr 07 22:05:00 +0000 2022
Julie Nielsen : @DailyCaller Why do leftists have trouble saying lgbtq? It's like they can't say it cause they really don't support'... https://t.co/LEFdwnmFlt
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Julie Nielsen : @DailyCaller It's sick to do this kind of surgery on a minor. Shame on Psaki truly sick.
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VIDEO - (20) The Chicago Thinker on Twitter: "WATCH the Thinker's @chrispthetruth absolutely smoke @CNN'... regime propagandists are having a tough day at @Uchicago! https://t.co/A3Rpp9OSgc" / Twitter
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 15:04
The Chicago Thinker : WATCH the Thinker's @chrispthetruth absolutely smoke @CNN'... regime propagandists are having a tough day at @Uchicago! https://t.co/A3Rpp9OSgc
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VIDEO - (27) Greg Price on Twitter: "Navarro: Do you agree that the Florida parents law will "kill kids?" Buttigieg: That's right. https://t.co/VCYsyAgAr6" / Twitter
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Greg Price : Navarro: Do you agree that the Florida parents law will "kill kids?"Buttigieg: That's right. https://t.co/VCYsyAgAr6
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VIDEO - (20) Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Twitter: "The Democrats and the media are already attacking me for my NO votes today. They always twist my words and lie about me. So here is why I voted NO.. https://t.co/2NRSQ321C6" / Twitter
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 13:55
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene : The Democrats and the media are already attacking me for my NO votes today. They always twist my words and lie abou'... https://t.co/L1mHBECN6C
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VIDEO - Two men allegedly impersonated federal agents to get access to Secret Service - CBS News
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 13:53
Two men have been arrested for allegedly impersonating federal agents over the course of several years. The FBI alleges that Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, have been pretending to be various officers and employees of the U.S. government, including members of federal law enforcement agencies, since February 2020.
The two allegedly obtained paraphernalia, handguns and assault rifles used by federal law enforcement agencies. The FBI claims they used their false associations with the U.S. government "to ingratiate themselves with members of federal law enforcement and the defense community."
Taherzadeh, pretending to be a member of the Department of Homeland Security, provided U.S. Secret Service members and a DHS employee with rent-free apartments, "iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a flat screen television, a case for storing an assault rifle, a generator, and law enforcement paraphernalia," FBI Special Agent David Elias wrote in an affidavit.
In one instance, Taherzadeh allegedly offered to buy a gun for a Secret Service agent assigned to the first lady's protective detail. Four Secret Service agents have been placed on administrative leave amid the ongoing investigation.
The two were discovered on March 14, when the U.S. Postal Inspector responded to a D.C. apartment building for a report of an assault involving a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier. Taherzadeh and Ali told authorities they were members of a DHS police force, and that they were involved in undercover gang-related probes, and also investigating last year's riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Other residents in the building said the two '-- who held several apartments in the building that they said were "being paid for by DHS" '-- had access to residents' surveillance cameras, cell phones and other personal information. Authorities later learned that many of the buildings' residents were in the FBI, Secret Service and DHS. Others were members of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Navy.
One person who lived in the building who was not employed by federal law enforcement, identified in the affidavit as "Witness 1," told Elias that Taherzadeh carried a concealed firearm, had a DHS Investigations (HSI) "casefile" marked "confidential," and presented the witness with a badge and other credentials to prove he was in law enforcement.
According to the affidavit, Taherzadeh told Witness 1 that as part of the "HSI recruiting process" he would shoot the witness with an air rifle to evaluate their "reaction and pain tolerance." The witness agreed and Taherzadeh shot them. Ali was present during the shooting.
In July 2021, Taherzadeh and Ali met "Witness 2," a Secret Service agent, according to the FBI. Taherzadeh told the agent about his job with the HSI, and sent the agent several photos of himself in his "police tactical gear" and of HSI training, the latter of which turned out to be a stock image found on the internet, the FBI said. Taherzadeh also loaned the agent's wife what he claimed was a "government vehicle," offered to buy the agent a weapon and gave the agent a gun holder. Ellias alleges the agent still has the holder.
An FBI affidavit filed in federal court includes photos Arian Taherzadeh sent a witness in the case, showing Taherzadeh with police gear in his apartment, including cases often used to carry firearms. U.S. Department of Justice The agent, who lived in the same building, confirmed Taherzadeh had access to security cameras in the building, and that he was carrying a firearm, the FBI said.
Another Secret Service agent, identified as "Witness 3," lived in a penthouse in the apartment building provided by Taherzadeh rent-free from February 2021 until January 2022. The agent said he received emails from what he thought was Taherzadeh's DHS email, but investigators found it was a fake account.
"Witness 4" is a document analysis expert with the DHS-HSI and lived in the same building as well. Witness 4 talked to her supervisors but could not confirm that Taherzadeh worked for the DHS, which Taherzadeh explained by telling her he was undercover, according to the FBI. Witness 4 told the FBI that she saw "a significant amount of law enforcement paraphernalia, including SWAT vests, a large safe, computers, a high-powered telescope and internal surveillance cameras in his apartment."
The fourth U.S. Secret Service agent in the affidavit, identified as "Witness 5," was assigned to protect the White House. The agent lived in an apartment, again provided by Taherzadeh, rent-free from February 2021 to January 2022 after Taherzadeh allegedly told Witness 5 the "HSI had approved extra rooms as part of his operations," which officials say was not true.
The agent said they'd previously seen police respond to the apartment building about a complaint regarding Taherzadeh wearing police equipment. No action was taken, according to Witness 5.
Taherzadeh showed the agent a computer with "DHS information" on it, an HSI badge, special police officer credentials, a ballistic vest with DHS/HSI on it and firearms. Witness 5 also saw Taherzadeh fire a glock at a gun range, and the agent personally fired one of Taherzadeh's AR-15 style rifles at the range. The agent also reported Taherzadeh had two black SUVs and a Chevy Impala with police lights. Taherzadeh gifted the agent with a drone, a gun locker and a Pelican case, according to the FBI.
Witness 5 alleged that Taherzadeh had access to all floors of the apartment and some restricted areas, and believes Taherzadeh used his fake credentials to gain access to such areas from the building's management.
Taherzadeh told Witness 5 that Ali "took care of all administrative issues with Taherzadeh's HSI task force."
The affidavit did not identify what the two men's ultimate goal may have been.
In a statement to CBS News, the U.S. Secret Service said it "has worked, and continues to work, with its law enforcement partners in this ongoing investigation."
"All personnel involved in this matter are on administrative leave and are restricted from accessing Secret Service facilities, equipment and systems," it said. "The Secret Service adheres to the highest levels of professional standards and conduct and will remain in active coordination with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security."
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In: United States Department of Homeland Security United States Secret Service Sophie Reardon Sophie Reardon is a News Editor at CBS News. Reach her at sophie.reardon@viacomcbs.com
VIDEO - (1243) Fmr CDC Director: Bird Flu is the Real Pandemic - C19 was just practice - YouTube
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 13:26
VIDEO - (1243) I Am A Roaring Lion - YouTube
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 12:39
VIDEO - I-Team: Cryptocurrency miners need approval from ERCOT to plug into Texas grid - CBS DFW
Sun, 10 Apr 2022 12:30
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Texas cryptocurrency miners must now get approval from ERCOT to connect to the state's power grid.
State regulators said the new requirement is to ensure new large loads do not overwhelm the grid.
Ever since China began cracking down on Bitcoin mining, miners have been rushing to Texas to take advantage of the state's cheap power prices, tax incentives, as well as the ability to connect to the grid quickly.
In the next two years, cryptocurrency mining operations are expected to quadruple in Texas, according to the Texas Blockchain Council. This would put the Lone Star state on track to become the world's largest producer to Bitcoin in less than two years.
Whinstone, Rockdale, TX Brian New/CBS 11 News "This will put a massive amount of stress on the Texas energy grid," said William Magnuson, the author of Blockchain Democracy and a cryptocurrency legal expert at the Texas A&M Law School. "We know the Texas energy grid has had its struggles in the last couple of years so I do worry about the effects of imposing massive new energy use on a grid that we know is has been relatively unstable."
During the 2021 deadly winter storm, millions of Texans went without power for days as the Texas grid failed in the freezing conditions to keep up with the demand.
In the past year, steps have been taken to increase the power grid's capacity and to winterize power plants.
Still, many energy experts believe the Texas grid remains vulnerable and a rush of high energy using cryptocurrency mining facilities could further stress the grid.
A typical large crypto mining facility houses tens of thousands of high-powered computer servers, referred to as "miners." These miners operate around the clock competing with other miners to solve complex math equations. The computer that solves the problem first produces a new Bitcoin and then is rewarded with Bitcoins for themselves.
The electricity it takes to produce a single Bitcoin is equivalent to amount used to power an average Texas home for 62 days.
Magnuson said ERCOT's new approval process for large cryptocurrency mining facilities is a good start but added it's what state regulators do with the information they learn from the studies that will be key.
"How are they going to weigh the costs and benefits of adding this new mining companies to the grid? That is where the rubber meets the road," he said.
Lee Bratcher, the president of Texas Blockchain Council, said he views the new approval step as an opportunity to share with ERCOT how cryptocurrency miners can strengthen the grid.
"We actually see this approval process as a positive development," he said.
By using electricity that might otherwise go wasted during low demand times and then powering down during peak demand times, Bratcher said Bitcoin miners will attract additional power generators to the state while offering flexibility to stabilize the grid.
In many cases, Bitcoin miners can make money when turning their power off by selling their electricity back to the grid when demand is high.
"Bitcoin mining is not going to solve all the grid's problems, but it is a part of the solution to be sure," Bratcher said.
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 15: Mining cryptocurrency is the process of investing computational capacity to process transactions. Manuel Medir / Getty Images Some cryptocurrency miners have expressed concern about how long the approval process could take.
ERCOT officials told the CBS 11 I-Team, "The time ERCOT takes for its interim review will vary depending on the site and what concerns may be identified. Each study is based on the unique circumstances it presents."
ERCOT officials and cryptocurrency miners are expected to meet later this month to hash out the details of the new approval process.
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  • 0:00
    Holy mackerel. This guy is that dumb. Adam curry,
  • 0:05
    John C. Dvorak. Thursday, April 10 2022. This is your award
  • 0:09
    winning keep our nation media assassination episode 1441.
  • 0:12
    This is no agenda
  • 0:15
    back in the saddle and broadcasting live from the heart
  • 0:18
    of the Texas hill country here in FEMA Region number six in the
  • 0:21
    morning, everybody. I'm Adam curry,
  • 0:23
    and from Northern Silicon Valley. And despite all
  • 0:26
    predictions, we come back and nothing has changed. On Jhansi
  • 0:31
    Dvorak scale.
  • 0:36
    No, nothing changed. It's all the same.
  • 0:39
    But you were thinking the economy's gonna collapse. And
  • 0:42
    you'd get out just in time before the riots in the hill
  • 0:45
    country. And I'm thinking, yeah, don't worry about this war's
  • 0:48
    over, and we come back. Nothing's changed.
  • 0:53
    Well, unfortunately, I did witness the collapse of society
  • 0:57
    in our week off, so we're not entirely wrong.
  • 1:02
    Oh, you witnessed something?
  • 1:03
    Oh, my goodness, John, our entire vacation was ruined.
  • 1:07
    Hold on a second. Stop. Stop. Right says yes. What do you
  • 1:13
    mean? Would you
  • 1:15
    like me to give you a way to run it out
  • 1:17
    straight Hold on. I'm gonna have to, I'm gonna take it slow. So
  • 1:21
    you don't need it? I get every bit and morsel this beauty
  • 1:24
    that's about to unfold.
  • 1:26
    You are such a mean, man sometimes.
  • 1:30
    So, okay, you're gonna take a vacation. And I don't know if
  • 1:33
    we'd never discuss where it doesn't make any difference. But
  • 1:36
    you were headed out. And plans were made weeks in advance.
  • 1:41
    Tickets were bought. You're happy to get out of town. You're
  • 1:46
    sick of it. Had to go somewhere. You had to get out of the hustle
  • 1:51
    and bustle. Yes. So. So you began on Fridays? I believe
  • 1:58
    you're gonna leave because we had the shows together. And I
  • 2:00
    want to mention to the artists and everybody else out, we do
  • 2:03
    when we do these shows done in advance. doing art for after? I
  • 2:08
    would just advise days useless.
  • 2:10
    Yeah, it's too bad because a lot of great art came in for the
  • 2:13
  • 2:14
    One piece. I started the newsletter. A dynamite piece of
  • 2:18
    roundy did yeah. So that was mocking the those album covers
  • 2:22
    of all those best disco combat
  • 2:25
    night. It was great. It was great. And I saw it come in. I'm
  • 2:28
    like, I change it as too much change. Yeah. So you are
  • 2:32
    correct. We had I was just a little tired. You know, once we
  • 2:38
    hadn't been away in a year, and with a way that's not on the
  • 2:41
    road during the show from the road away is unplugged. And
  • 2:45
    actually more work? Oh, yes, away and on the road is a lot
  • 2:49
    more work. And it's really about the prepping. It's not so much
  • 2:52
    about the show itself. You know, I love this. I can do it with my
  • 2:56
    two hands behind my back. I've set up studios everywhere. Not a
  • 3:00
    big deal, but it's about being able to just unplug. And I
  • 3:03
    figured let's go at the beginning of the month. We all
  • 3:05
    know the airline's we have producers who have told us this
  • 3:08
    time and again. Yes,
  • 3:09
    you have this theory? No, it's not. It's not a theory. It's
  • 3:12
    been based on fact. Yes. That you don't want to go at the end
  • 3:15
    of the month. You want the beginning of a shine. You did
  • 3:17
    that? Yes. Because you're good to go? Yeah,
  • 3:19
    well, because the reason is, in the United States, there is a
  • 3:24
    100 hour limit for pilots, you can't fly more than 100 hours in
  • 3:28
    a month. And if you don't have enough pilots near the end of
  • 3:31
    the month, you're going to run into some trouble because the
  • 3:34
    pilots are already working more than the cancellations. I
  • 3:37
    believe the number that we need by 2023 at the end of 2023 is
  • 3:42
    60,000 additional pilots and we can talk about that in bigger
  • 3:50
    detail. So yeah, so we wanted to get out after the the last of
  • 3:54
    the month we'll be able to get somewhere now just finding a
  • 3:56
    place to go. We just wanted to go to somewhere where there's a
  • 3:59
    beach and people can serve us drinks were not very complicated
  • 4:03
    people. And Aruba turned out to be a good place for us because
  • 4:07
    it's reasonably easily accessible. A Aruba, Aruba, yes,
  • 4:11
    I had never been there.
  • 4:13
    Convenient to Texas. Yeah,
  • 4:16
    you just fly down to Miami and then you pop over to Aruba.
  • 4:20
    How far is it from the coast from Miami?
  • 4:23
    I think it's three hours.
  • 4:26
    Someone like me going to Hawaii?
  • 4:29
    Yes. Correct. Yeah, have something like that. And there's
  • 4:32
    no vaccination requirement. This Well, we looked at many places.
  • 4:37
    We can't even go to Hawaii, for example. Yeah, they still have a
  • 4:41
    vaccination money. Yeah. So yes, we booked it in advance and just
  • 4:46
    so everyone understands. And I think many women are like this,
  • 4:51
    but the keeper certainly she organizes this. She's got
  • 4:54
    outfits planned for each day. She nailed the dinner on the
  • 4:57
    beach. The romantic dinner on the beach is planned. We're
  • 5:00
    gonna go to this restaurant which is away from the hotel and
  • 5:03
    that everything, the couples massage, the whole thing is
  • 5:06
    always Couples Massage.
  • 5:08
  • 5:08
    yeah, baby, the whole with chocolate covered strawberries,
  • 5:13
    the whole
  • 5:14
  • 5:16
    the whole thing is always beautifully coordinated upfront
  • 5:21
    this is this is what she does is fantastic. So and it's American
  • 5:24
    Airlines, we actually booked the whole thing through American
  • 5:28
    Express travel, we specifically did away with all other credit
  • 5:31
    cards gotten American Express for the points for our travel.
  • 5:35
  • 5:35
    they also if you get screwed on it, they'll give the day make
  • 5:39
    sure you get your money back. Correct.
  • 5:41
    And I'm happy I did that. Because So, Thursday we did the
  • 5:45
    show. Then after the show. I did podcasting 2.0 Because that airs
  • 5:51
    typically on Friday, and so we got to bed around 11 o'clock.
  • 5:56
    Got up at two to make our 525 Morning. Yes,
  • 6:00
    we have it there you go right there. There's your there's your
  • 6:03
  • 6:04
    5:25am flight from San Antonio. And, you know, we wanted to have
  • 6:11
    at least two hours because we know that it's a Friday and
  • 6:14
    things could be complicated. You know, there's not only pilot
  • 6:18
    shortages, but there's also shortages of TSA and all kinds
  • 6:21
    of stuff. There's just people are not working not enough
  • 6:24
    people. So we get up at two. We're in the car now. Five
  • 6:28
    minutes before we get in the car. Being flight canceled the
  • 6:34
    flight to Miami pike Oh man. And it but then they said but we've
  • 6:39
    rebooked you don't worry. We've rebooked you tomorrow 6am San
  • 6:43
    Antonio to North Carolina, then you can get from North Carolina.
  • 6:46
    There's a flight to Aruba. Okay, so we're bummed out. And I still
  • 6:53
    call American Express travel and takes on their systems were down
  • 6:57
    and it was there's no clarity on anything. Like, all right. I'll
  • 7:01
    just go to sleep. We'll figure it out tomorrow. So we get up
  • 7:03
    the next morning. 2am. We're in the car 315. Bang. Your flight
  • 7:09
    to North Carolina is still on, but your flight from North
  • 7:12
    Carolina to Aruba has been canceled. It's okay. We've
  • 7:15
    rebooked you in two days from now. So we'll fly you to North
  • 7:20
    Carolina today. You stay in North Carolina two nights, and
  • 7:23
    then you can go to Aruba. So at this point, we're like, and then
  • 7:28
    again, I'm on with American Express travel. And we're
  • 7:31
    looking for other. There's nothing. There's no way for us
  • 7:34
    to get there at this point. With travel, we'd be there for
  • 7:37
    exactly three days. So it's like, let's just go back to bed.
  • 7:42
    We'll figure it out. All right. How about we just
  • 7:46
    getting a lot of sleep on and off? No, I'm
  • 7:48
    not getting a lot of sleep. So I'm very tired of this. We're
  • 7:51
    both very tired. Then we just Okay, why don't we just go
  • 7:57
    somewhere where there's just a beach and people service drinks.
  • 8:00
    Let's just go to Florida. What do we have in Florida? Okay, so
  • 8:03
    we find a Marriott property in Florida in Fort Lauderdale. Not
  • 8:08
    wait a minute. This whole thing's a scam to go on to on
  • 8:12
    the spring break.
  • 8:13
    Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that was nice. We checked spring break was
  • 8:17
    over. And we wouldn't be able to get in after spring break before
  • 8:21
    the music festival. Because no one wants to be around for that.
  • 8:24
    We just wanted to beach.
  • 8:27
    Nobody goes to that. There's too many people.
  • 8:30
    So now this flight would be a 7am flight from Austin. Ah, now
  • 8:37
    we're not now we're already hearing this.
  • 8:40
    Live look at Austin's airport where the TSA is coping with a
  • 8:43
    staffing shortage resulting in long wait times for travelers,
  • 8:47
    but help is on the way 15 Federal TSA agents will soon be
  • 8:52
    deployed to Austin's airport bringing the total number of
  • 8:55
    agents to 50. Plus the TSA is adding a 15% retention bonus for
  • 9:00
    current screening officers. The agency is also doubling the
  • 9:04
    number of canine resources at the airport last month, the
  • 9:08
    Austin airport director sent a letter to a top TSA official
  • 9:12
    saying the airport was dealing with unprecedented passenger
  • 9:15
    volume and needed at least 100 more agents.
  • 9:20
    So I realized there's going to be an issue with this trip in
  • 9:23
    the morning and we've booked now on Southwest and Tina did
  • 9:27
    something really smart she said I don't know I got a hunch I'm
  • 9:30
    just gonna book business select in business select is basically
  • 9:34
    the your ticket is $200 more expensive. You can't you still
  • 9:38
    it's still boarding the way they board is not like any extra seat
  • 9:41
    but Austin does have a premium flyer lane. And so you get
  • 9:51
    priority. You can go you know, pass the the typical TSA line.
  • 9:55
    So, so now just to make sure that we're really really smart
  • 9:59
    we stay If at the airport Hilton the night before,
  • 10:04
    tomorrow, yeah, just
  • 10:06
    just another great night of the vacation.
  • 10:09
    Yeah. Then airport Hilton airport Hilton.
  • 10:13
    Then we get to the airport. It's 430 it is wall to wall people.
  • 10:18
    John Walter wall. We check in at the kiosk. That's easy. There's
  • 10:23
    there's just not enough TSA agents. And we're like looking
  • 10:27
    around the fire marshal. He's helping to corral people. It's
  • 10:33
    all hands on deck. This guy. I don't know. He looks at Tina. He
  • 10:36
    looks at me. He says, Can I help you people to Yeah, we're really
  • 10:38
    looking for the priority. No problem. We'll take you over
  • 10:42
    there. And he's telling me like, Oh, we're so screwed. All hands
  • 10:46
    on deck. Everyone's doing everything they can. We need,
  • 10:49
    you know, 50 to 100 more TSA agents. This is this is a
  • 10:53
    disaster. It's all you know, this is the he's just He's
  • 10:56
    beside himself. So we walked past this entire two hour. wait
  • 11:03
    to the end we get into the past the TSA relatively quickly. You
  • 11:08
    bought your way in? Yes. In the in real American tradition. Then
  • 11:12
    we get to the hotel. Oh my god.
  • 11:16
    Wait, it meant he had to go into the to the TSA line to go to the
  • 11:19
    hotel. No,
  • 11:20
    then we fly so the flight is uneventful. It's two and a half
  • 11:23
    hours we're in Fort Lauderdale. Good Alright, so now we check
  • 11:26
    into the hotel beautiful lobby beautiful. Again, no staff so
  • 11:31
    they're cigarette butts everywhere in the on the
  • 11:34
    balcony. Did all the chairs Lauderdale.
  • 11:37
    Now you made it there. Yeah, we made it. But at
  • 11:39
    the hotel, it's shit. Windows are cracked, as you know, the
  • 11:44
    there's holes in the sheets. And it was it was the only redeeming
  • 11:49
    quality is that the staff that was there were really doing
  • 11:53
    their best. And so this is now this is just taking you sit at
  • 11:57
    the pool, which is all grubby and this you know, big pieces of
  • 12:01
    cement have cracked in the pool. Oh, don't worry, we're doing a
  • 12:04
    $2 million renovation next year. So and there's no one to serve
  • 12:07
    drinks, she got to go to the bar if this so and everything is
  • 12:12
    expensive. It's unbelievably expensive
  • 12:16
    price for you suckers.
  • 12:18
    Everything's expensive. So we are just where we're really not.
  • 12:23
    So we the first day we're at the pool, and I'm always careful,
  • 12:28
    you know, I know that I that I can burn some under the under
  • 12:32
    the parasol. Now the waters you know, this unreflecting off the
  • 12:36
    water and we're trying to get into our vibe we're trying like,
  • 12:39
    okay, let's just let's, I'm gonna have the Irish coffee this