1443: Elon Sandwich

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 16m
April 17th, 2022
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Executive Producers: Baron Jimbabwe, Aaron Moore, Earnest Parten, Marion Roaman, Luke Cumberland, Alex, Sir NBS, Bruce Schwalm, Anonymous, Sir Weasel, Keeper of Pioneer Peak, J.D. Salazar, Dean, Sir Jon Noles, Viscount of Murfreesboro, Elliot Johnson, Robert Wood, “Pierre”, Sir Nathan of the Attic, Sir Up of the Green Mountain State, Baron of east lake city, Brian Molony, Sir David Fugazzotto Duke of America's Heartland and the Arabian Peninsula

Associate Executive Producers: Matthew McGreevy, Sir Don Francis, Dame Astrid Duchess of Japan and all the disputed Islands in the Japan Sea, Cesar Quinteros, Joshua McLain, Sir Christopher Kessler, Viscount

Cover Artist: Tante Neel

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Start of Show
Woodstock
2:22
Elon Musk's Attempt to Takeover Twitter
Regenblitz
13:20
Effect of Online Harassment on Women
Regenblitz
41:33
Shanghai Residents Start Protesting Against COVID Lockdown
Woodstock
46:15
Premier of South Australia Peter Malinauskas Makes Freudian "Plandemic" Slip
Regenblitz
46:46
Rise of Cardiac Arrest Cases (Heart Issues) in Australia
Regenblitz
53:20
Untitled
Woodstock
55:13
California Delays Vaccine Mandate for Students
Woodstock
55:53
New Pfizer Test Results for Booster Shots on Children
Woodstock
57:47
Untitled
Woodstock
1:06:18
OBAMAPHONE!
Guest producer
1:08:01
Taiwan
Woodstock
1:08:39
Defense Intelligence Agency Report Details Space-Based Threats From Russia & China
Woodstock
1:12:55
Untitled
Woodstock
1:15:06
Union Pacific Curtails Fertilizer Shipments
Woodstock
1:18:06
Untitled
Woodstock
1:22:11
ABC News Clip From The 70s on Global Cooling
Woodstock
1:26:03
US Army Is Using The Ukraine War to Learn How to Use Propaganda
Woodstock
1:28:49
Credits
Guest producer
1:29:31
Suggested chapter: 2198 Trolls
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
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2:07:33
Ukraine War
Guest producer
2:35:31
History Channel Airs Theory on MH370 Landing on Russian Military Base
Woodstock
2:38:11
US Agencies Release Advisory on Discover of Malware Toolkit Pipedream Targeting Critical Infrastructure Systems
Woodstock
2:42:26
Donations
Woodstock
2:55:33
Birthdays & Knighting Ceremony
Woodstock
2:58:02
Meetups
Woodstock
2:59:52
End of Show ISOs
Guest producer
3:01:23
War on Guns
Woodstock
3:06:54
Apple Reportedly Exploring Plans to Decrease Reliance on China, Could Raise Price of iPhones
Woodstock
3:09:46
"Experts" Recommend Taking Down Bird Feeder to Stop Spread of Bird Flu
Woodstock
3:10:10
End of Show
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TODAY
Noah was a conspiracy theorist. And then it started to rain.
Drive through Passion of the Christ exhibit
Mention beef initiative April 23d
Cyber Pandemic
Elon
Twitter is a Headline Amplifier.
It can be beaten by multiple smaller amplifiers connected in series.
Groomers
Great Reset
Canada is a partner in WEF's program to bring digital ID to travel - The Counter Signal
American Airlines Bus Service BOTG
That's in Allentown. United has been doing it ABE to EWR for years . Been on it many times. I like to text out status when "airborne"....flight level 0 speed 65. It replaces a puddle jumper connector, which as you know the regionals are no longer using so rather than drop sn airport they offer an alternative.
Everyone gets a boarding pass with seat 2a. It's always fun to board United 6002 and watch the newbies confusion on seats.
ITM
Mike Mandell KC3BLF
Why Diesel fuel is so expensive now
Just attribute it to have been received ...
From your recovering Refinery Chemical Engineer which I am.
Getting Diesel from crude oil is either by distillation where it is a heavier fraction just above the boiling point of gasoline which is normal refinery process; or by cracking it from even heavier crude fractions which cracking processes are expensive to run (eg. Fluidized Catalytic Cracking or Hydrocracking) and which fractions often have major sulfur content that is too much for EPA regulations; thus it has to be removed by a desulfurization process unit which adds even more cost.
BUT the main reason that Diesel is NOW much more expensive is because Joe has a War on Fracking and the fracked Shale Oil is composed mainly of gasoline and diesel and Shale Oil is most often free of sulfur.
So all that needs to be done with Shale Oil is that it is fractionated by simple distillation and then it is saleable without cracking or desulfurization. Diesel recently before Joe was cheap and often cheaper than gasoline. Now I have seen it as much as $6/gallon.
So ... Joe has fucked the world by killing off USA fracking through regulations and financing costs.
BlackRock’s Newest Investment Paves The Way For Digital Assets On Wall Street
Now, in addition to managing the primary cash reserves of USD Coin (USDC), a $50 billion digital asset available on blockchains including Ethereum, Solana, Algorand, Stellar, Avalanche and Flow, and pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar, BlackRock has entered into a broader strategic partnership with Boston-based Circle, one of the primary issuers of USDC. This was announced yesterday alongside a $400 million funding round raised by Circle from BlackRock, Fidelity Management and Research, Marshall Wace LLP and Fin Capital. Circle is planning to make a public debut via a SPAC deal, valued at $9 billion, by the end of this year.
Ukraine
Dutch Journalist: 'We are Here, in Donbass, to Awaken Westerners Deluded by Propaganda' '' INTERNATIONALIST 360°
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 13:05
Ekaterina BlinovaThere are only a handful of Western journalists on the ground in Donbass, while the Western mainstream press is rubber-stamping fake news about the Ukrainian crisis using the same templates it previously exploited in Iraq, Libya and Syria, says Dutch independent journalist Sonja van den Ende.
Sonja van den Ende, an independent journalist from Rotterdam, Netherlands, went to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics as an embedded reporter with the Russian army to see how the special operation is unfolding with her own eyes.
The sound of shelling and explosion does not frighten her: she's gotten used to it. Seven years ago, van den Ende worked in Syria, months before the Russians stepped in at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and changed the tide. The parallels between the Western mainstream press' coverage of the Syrian and the Ukrainian conflicts are striking, according to her.
''They lie continuously about everything just to implement their own agenda,'' van den Ende. ''Like in Syria, President Assad was 'the murderer' and now President Putin is 'the butcher.' They had used this script for many years in Iraq, Venezuela and [other] countries which don't comply with their agenda; they need a bad ''guy''. But they (media) are not even there on the ground, they can't judge. Only a handful of journalists from the West are here: Graham Philips, Patrick Lancaster, Anne-Laure Bonnel and me.''
However, this is not the only parallel, according to the Dutch journalist. She has drawn attention to Kiev's fake reports and ''false flag'' operations including the Snake Island hoax, hype over Russia's alleged ''attack'' on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the now-debunked story of Russia's ''strike'' on a Mariupol hospital, and the most recent Bucha provocation, to name but a few. Van den Ende says that it resembles nothing so much as jihadists' false flags and the White Helmet's staged ''gas attacks''. She specifically recalls the 4 April 2017 chemical provocation in Khan Sheikhun, Idlib, which was debunked by investigative reporters including Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh.
''The same happened in Bucha,'' says the Dutch journalist. ''Many witnesses are saying that the Russian army left on 30 March. Even the Ukrainian military who came in on 1 April didn't report about corpses on the streets. This happened on 3 April, according to the Western media. Also, evidence is saying that the bodies had white armbands, the sign of the Russian army, the soldiers wear them. So the soldiers are killing the Russian Ukrainians? No way.''
Ukrainian Neo-Nazism is No Myth
Van den Ende talked to many Ukrainian civilians while travelling across Donbass. According to her, nearly everyone condemned the Kiev government for prohibiting the Russian language and depriving them of many cultural and domestic human rights.
''The majority of the people whom I spoke with were very happy that the [Russian special] operation has started,'' the Dutch journalist says. ''Of course, nobody wants violence and war, but they have been suffering already eight years from the war, carnage and destruction by the Ukrainian forces. The worst were the Nazi battalions, who were fighting along with the regular army.''
Ukrainian neo-Nazism is not a myth, emphasises van den Ende. When she visited the Ukrainian port city of Odessa in 2016 and 2017 she noticed the fascist sentiment which has been spreading across the nation for quite a while. Actually, Ukrainian Nazism has been there since the Second World War, says the Dutch journalist.
The ideological successors of Stepan Bandera, the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the 14th SS-Volunteer Division ''Galicia,'' and the Nachtigall Battalion went underground during the Soviet period. However, after many years these forces are alive again with the US, the UK and EU using them to destabilise Ukraine, she says. Previously, these Western geopolitical actors much in the same vein used Islamists to unseat Assad, adds the journalist.
According to van den Ende, after carrying out a 2014 coup d'etat in Ukraine, the minority of neo-Nazis grabbed power and have been terrorising mainly the eastern part of the country using very vicious and cruel Nazi-style methods for eight years.
Feeling Protected at Long Last
The West is continuously trying to blame Russia for all the damage inflicted on Ukrainian villages and towns. However, Eastern Ukrainian eye-witnesses say that most of destruction in the civilian areas was caused by the retreating Ukrainian army and neo-Nazi formations, including the notorious Azov Battalions, according to the Dutch journalist. In addition to using civilian facilities as shields, the Ukrainian military are reported to have indiscriminately shelled the positions they left and cede to the Russian forces.
To illustrate her point, van den Ende describes the shelling of a hospital in Volnovakha, in the Donetsk People's Republic. The building was not bombed from the air, but attacked with grenades and rockets, she says, citing a Volnovakha resident.
''The West claims it was bombed by the Russians, but as a lady told me, that she worked there all her life, and that the Ukrainian [military] '' who were quartered in the hospital '' shelled and destroyed the facility and her house, which was next to the hospital.''According to the Dutch journalist, Eastern Ukrainians are treated very well by the Russian army and regularly receive humanitarian aid in most locations. What's more, the locals say that at long last they feel protected, she adds.
Fierce fight between the Ukrainian armed forces and neo-Nazi battalions on the one side and the Russia-backed DPR and LPR militias on the other side left many houses ruined. However, the people of Donbass have not given up, highlights the journalist.
''As a woman said: 'We are strong, we can rebuild it, for our children and grandchildren, to have peace,''' notes van den Ende.
Is Russia Losing an Information War?
Some observers suggest that Russia is losing the information war with the West. The Western Big Media machine is working day and night with the backing of Big Tech, while most Russian news outlets have been either censored or completely silenced in the Western countries.
''No, Russia is not losing the information war completely,'' argues van den Ende. ''I think it's up to us, the handful of Westerners, to awaken the majority of Westerners who are still asleep and getting bombarded with fake news and made-up stories day by day.''
One should bear in mind that this conflict is being fanned by the Western politicians in the first place, says the Dutch journalist. According to her, the West did completely the same in Syria but has largely lost that war.
The world is changing and the Western establishment has yet to reconcile itself with the emerging multipolar world order, according to van den Ende. She notes that Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined the beginning of this change in his 2007 Munich speech.
Although they opted to neglect his words at that time, it is becoming obvious that a unipolar world is gone for good, the journalist concludes.
Russians Were Welcomed as Liberators in the Southern Ukrainian City of Henichesk Along the Sea of Azov
War on Guns
Ratcheting up the illegal guns and shootings before the economic collapse
Mandates & Boosters
VAERS
A Drone Again
1970's
STORIES
5 people to split reward for turning in alleged subway shooter - ABC News
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 15:10
Several tips "contributed directly to the arrest" of the suspect, the NYPD said.
April 15, 2022, 10:04 PM
' 5 min read
Five tipsters will split a $50,000 reward for providing police with information that led to the arrest of the suspect in Tuesday's mass shooting on a New York City subway train, officials said.
The alleged gunman in the shooting, 62-year-old Frank James, was taken into custody on the streets of Manhattan Wednesday afternoon, about 30 hours after 10 people were shot on a Brooklyn N train.
While the manhunt was underway, police urged the public for help in locating the suspect. New York Police Department detectives identified five people whose tips "contributed directly to the arrest," the NYPD said.
The five good Samaritans, who have not been publicly identified, will evenly split a combined $50,000 worth of Crime Stoppers rewards provided by the Police Foundation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Transport Workers Union Local 100. Crime Stoppers rewards are distributed upon the arrest and indictment of an individual.
"We appreciate all of those who responded to our call for information to locate this suspect, including all of those whose tips did not pan out," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement. "We urged the public to join us in this effort to find this suspect and New Yorkers stepped up."
Police have not shared what information helped lead to the arrest, and tipsters are offered anonymity. Though there have been several reports of witnesses spotting James after he was named as a suspect in the shooting, which occurred Tuesday morning on a rush-hour, Manhattan-bound N train as it approached the 36th Street station in Sunset Park.
A cellphone alert with James' description went out to New York City residents at 10:21 a.m. Wednesday, and multiple sightings followed as the suspect wandered the streets of lower Manhattan.
Suspect Frank James is escorted out of the 9th Precinct by police after being arrested for his connection to the mass shooting at the 36 St subway station in New York, April 13, 2022.
At around 10:30 a.m., he was spotted sitting outside Dimes, a restaurant in Chinatown, sources said. Witnesses took pictures of him sitting, apparently using a Link NYC hub to charge his phone, and posted to social media, tagging police, sources said.
Another possible stop a few hours later was Katz's Delicatessen on the Lower East Side, sources said. A manager at Katz's told ABC News that James did not eat inside the restaurant the day of his arrest but said he might have been spotted nearby.
Just after 1 p.m. Wednesday, James called Crime Stoppers on himself, saying he was in a McDonald's in the East Village, according to sources. James reportedly said: "I think you're looking for me. I'm seeing my picture all over the news and I'll be around this McDonald's."
By the time police arrived, James had already left the McDonald's. But a good Samaritan spotted James nearby at St. Mark's Place and First Avenue and flagged down police, sources said.
James was taken into custody without incident and charged by federal prosecutors with a terror-related offense. At his first court appearance on Thursday, he was ordered held without bail. He faces up to life in prison.
ABC News' Aaron Katersky and Mark Crudele contributed to this report.
CIA Director: Putin Could Get Desperate Enough to Nuke Ukraine
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 15:09
CIA Director William Burns warned that Putin could get desperate enough to use nukes in Ukraine. "None of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons," he said. The war in Ukraine has been disastrous for the Russian military thus far. Loading Something is loading.
CIA Director William Burns on Thursday warned that the US can't "take lightly" the threat of Russian President Vladimir Putin using nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
"Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they've faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons," Burns said in remarks at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Since launching an unprovoked war in Ukraine in late February, Russia has struggled to make major gains on the ground. On top of failing to take Kyiv, Russia has lost thousands of soldiers and seen an astonishing number of generals killed. Russia also recently lost a missile cruiser called Moskva (named after the Russian capital) '-- the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet.
In this context, experts have expressed grave concerns that Putin could turn to the use of weapons of mass destruction as he increasingly feels backed into a corner. Putin ordered Russia's nuclear deterrent forces on high alert a few days after launching the war. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg subsequently decried Russia for "nuclear saber-rattling."
"We're obviously very concerned. I know President Biden is deeply concerned about avoiding a third world war, about avoiding a threshold in which, you know, nuclear conflict becomes possible," Burns, a former US ambassador to Russia, said Thursday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a new interview with CNN's Jake Tapper published Friday said the world needs to be "ready" for the possibility of Russia deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Tactical nuclear weapons are typically far less powerful than strategic nuclear weapons, and have lower explosive blasts designed for use against military positions like bunkers or port facilities. But experts warn that can make their use more appealing.
"Tactical nuclear weapons exist because each side fears it would be deterred from using its big city-razing weapons by their very destructiveness. By making nuclear weapons smaller and the targeting more precise, their use becomes more thinkable. Paradoxically, while this makes deterrence threats more credible, it also makes the arms more tempting to use first, rather than simply in retaliation," Nina Tannenwald, a political scientist at Brown University, wrote in Scientific American last month.
"Especially worrisome is the possibility that the war could escalate to the use of nuclear weapons. By increasing the alert level of Russian nuclear forces, Putin increases the risk of nuclear use through miscalculation or accident in the fog of war," Tannenwald added. "In the worst scenario, if the war is going badly, Putin could reach for a tactical nuclear weapon out of desperation."
Former US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder in late March told Insider that the US and NATO "should help the Ukrainians, and beat the Russians" if Putin uses weapons of mass destruction, whether chemical or nuclear, in Ukraine.
"We can't stand by as Russia decides that it's going to use chemical warfare...or a nuclear weapon and say, 'That's none of our business,'" he added.
The Biden administration has provided Ukraine with billions in military assistance, including lethal aid, but has remained firm that US troops will not be deployed to fight Russia. That said, Biden in March said the US and NATO "would respond" if Putin used chemical weapons in Ukraine, and the White House has also set up a team to develop contingency plans in the event Russia turns to weapons of mass destruction.
In recent days, investigations were launched by the US and its allies over reports Russia used chemical weapons in the besieged port city of Mariupol.
Austin pilot program to give struggling residents $1,000 per month | KXAN Austin
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 15:07
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- The City of Austin is getting ready to move on a pilot program that will give residents facing extreme hardship $1,000 per month for a year.
The guaranteed income program '-- similar to others around the country '-- is meant to help the most vulnerable in the community, such as families on the brink of eviction, and people who have recently found themselves on the street.
A total of 85 recipients will take part in the pilot, according to city documents.
The city's Equity Office on Friday declined to give KXAN further details as to how the recipients would be selected, what qualifications would need to be met and when the application process could open.
An office spokesperson indicated more information would be revealed when the program goes before city council at next Thursday's regular meeting.
Austin City Council included the $1.1 million in funding for the initiative in last summer's budget. The idea came from the city's Reimagining Public Safety (RPS) task force.
''A lot of the research we did showed us that increasing police does not make the city safer,'' RPS co-chair Paula X. Rojas told KXAN. ''But there are many other programs that can actually prevent the need for policing. One of those is this guaranteed monthly income.''
Mayor Steve Adler, a proponent of the program, highlighted the high costs associated with treating and caring for those who find themselves on the Austin's streets.
''It's really expensive for our community when that happens,'' Adler told KXAN. ''Maybe if we can give somebody some assistance just before that happens, we can keep them in their homes.''
The initiative will compliment and expand on another guaranteed income pilot that just wrapped up in the area, this one funded through charitable groups and the California-based nonprofit UpTogether, which advocates for people in ''historically undervalued communities.''
Similar pilots are underway in cities across the U.S., including Los Angeles and Chicago. Most are modeled on a 2019 program in Stockton, California.
A report on the Stockton program's first year showed income recipients saw their financial situations stabilize, and some were able to start saving for unexpected costs.
Others benefited with jobs.
''The folks who received the guaranteed income were more like to have full-time employment at the end of the year,'' said Madeline Neighly with the Economic Security Project, an advocacy group that helped fund the Stockton program.
Austin City Council member Leslie Pool was the only vote against the funding for the program last summer.
At the time, Pool indicated though she agrees with the idea of guaranteed income, she believes the federal government is better suited to handle it, something she reiterated to KXAN on Friday,
''My concerns regarding a locally-funded guaranteed income program are due to questions about how to sustain a program like this over time, since our city is looking at a very lean future in terms of providing even the most basic city services, due to state-imposed revenue caps on municipalities,'' Pool said in a statement.
Some Austin residents, dealing with financial hardships of their own, expressed frustration with the plan on social media, believing the program is unfairly ''giving out free money.''
''There's going to be pushback, and I hope that people will see the benefit,'' said Monica Guzman, a member of the RPS task force and the policy director for GoAustin/VamosAustin (GAVA), a coalition of community organizers.
''My message to them is think about your families,'' Guzman said. ''If you had a family member, brother, sister, child, and they were struggling, wouldn't you want this kind of program available for them?''
BOMBSHELL: 'Horrific Pedophilic Images' Found On Hunter Biden Laptop '-- Forensic Analyst Reveals Images Of Child Abuse of 'Worst Kind''... MSM 'Aided and Abetted a Pedophile' '' enVolve
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 15:05
Hunter Biden's laptop from hell contains child abuse images and video of the ''worst kind'', according to Kim Dotcom who revealed a forensic analyst has to take ''frequent breaks because of how disgusting the evidence is.''
Dotcom teamed up with Wikileaks and a DNC whistleblower he claims was Seth Rich to play a major role in ensuring Hillary Clinton and the Democrats did not seize power in the 2016 election. Now he has set his sights on exposing what he describes as ''the crimes of the Biden family.''
The Hunter Biden laptop data will be headline news next week. They cannot contain it or discredit it anymore. Stay tuned for updates.
'-- Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) April 14, 2022
According to Dotcom, the Hunter Biden laptop story will be all over the mainstream news next week. While the elites have suppressed the information for as long as possible, a whistleblower is about to blow their cover and send the story into the stratosphere.
''They cannot contain it or discredit it anymore,'' said Dotcom.
I was instrumental in ending the 2016 election hopes of @HillaryClinton with a courageous DNC whistleblower and Wikileaks.
Now I'm helping to expose the crimes of the Biden family.
To others who were involved in the unlawful and corrupt destruction of Megaupload, you're next.
'-- Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) April 14, 2022
Dotcom also suggested a day of reckoning is coming for members of the intelligence community and mainstream media who discredited the laptop as ''Russian information'' in order to influence the 2020 election.
''Did the spies and media that called this ''Russian disinformation'' assist a Pedophile?'' asked Dotcom.
The Hunter Biden laptop data contains evidence of the worst kind of child abuse.
One forensic analyst told me that he has to take frequent breaks because of how disgusting the evidence is.
Did the spies and media that called this ''Russian disinformation'' assist a Pedophile?
'-- Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) April 14, 2022
Dotcom also explained that part of the plan is to name those who received copies of the sickening laptop data but chose to cover it up instead of acting in the public interest and releasing the information to the public.
''They are accomplices,'' said Dotcom. ''They are aiding and abetting criminals.''
The Hunter Biden laptop data was provided to major media organizations months ago.
Part of the plan is to name those who have received copies of the data and to expose them for not acting on it and/or covering it up.
They are accomplices. They are aiding and abetting criminals.
'-- Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) April 14, 2022
The criminals should be concerned. Dotcom unleashed a very similar Tweet storm in 2016, vowing to expose Clinton criminality, in the weeks before WikiLeaks began publishing the material that led to Hillary Clinton's demise.
As Dotcom himself says, ''Stay tuned for updates.''
Hunter BidenKim Dotcomlaptop from hellPedophilia
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BlackRock's Newest Investment Paves The Way For Digital Assets On Wall Street
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 15:03
Larry Fink thinks Russia-Ukraine war could accelerate the use of digital currencies
(C) 2020 Bloomberg Finance LPFive years ago, BlackRock's chairman Larry Fink famously called bitcoin an ''index of money laundering.'' In the years since, the world's largest asset manager, tending some $10 trillion in client funds, has largely stayed away from digital assets.
So when Fink wrote in his annual letter to shareholders, published in late March, that the havoc caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine could accelerate the adoption of digital currencies, many interpreted it as a sign that the financial behemoth is finally warming up to crypto.
Now, in addition to managing the primary cash reserves of USD Coin (USDC), a $50 billion digital asset available on blockchains including Ethereum, Solana, Algorand, Stellar, Avalanche and Flow, and pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar, BlackRock has entered into a broader strategic partnership with Boston-based Circle, one of the primary issuers of USDC. This was announced yesterday alongside a $400 million funding round raised by Circle from BlackRock, Fidelity Management and Research, Marshall Wace LLP and Fin Capital. Circle is planning to make a public debut via a SPAC deal, valued at $9 billion, by the end of this year.
While BlackRock declined to comment on the particulars of the deal, according to today's Q1 earnings call, it is looking at more than just cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, towards asset tokenization and permissioned blockchains. In June, it was reported that BlackRock was looking to hire a blockchain lead.
This partnership is also noteworthy because it is the first digital assets engagement that involves the balance sheet of BlackRock, Inc. itself. Previously, the asset manager was credited with having exposure to crypto through a 7.3% stake in MicroStrategy, the largest corporate holder of bitcoin with nearly $5 billion worth of the cryptocurrency, and a few dozen contracts of CME bitcoin futures, USD cash-settled contracts based on a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. But those investments were made through BlackRock's subsidiaries or funds that manage clients' assets.
Speaking to Forbes, CEO of Circle, Jeremy Allaire said the partnership will ''explore ways to apply USDC in traditional capital markets.'' Though Allaire added that the relationship has been developing for almost a year he did not disclose what percentage of the stablecoin's reserves BlackRock is managing or other details of the partnership.
Such implementations could help drive additional revenue back to Circle and BlackRock. In financial documents released with the announcement of the revised SPAC deal in February, Circle expects its USDC reserves to generate $438 million in income in 2022, swelling to $2.2 billion in 2023.
The deal is also a major nod of approval to USDC. Its market capitalization has swollen from $4 billion at the beginning of last year to over $50 billion today but has yet to catch up with Tether's $82.5 billion. Despite the lack of transparency about the size and composition of its reserves and regulatory oversight, Tether managed to maintain its position as a preferred stablecoin among crypto investors in large part due to its early arrival in 2014.
USDC, launched by Circle and Coinbase four years later, was also criticized for its opacity in declaring its reserves, specifically when it came to the size and creditworthiness of commercial paper and corporate bonds underpinning the asset. However, last August it adjusted its risk strategy and pledged to only back the asset with physical cash and treasuries. It has also applied to become a national bank.
Now, with BlackRock's support, the stablecoin hopes to find a footing as the go-to digital asset for traditional financial institutions and investors.
The collaboration is ''potentially a huge step forward in how dollar digital currency can work not just in the digital asset arena, but increasingly also in traditional finance,'' said Allaire.
The CDC Has Just Loosened Pre-Departure Test Rules For Travelers From Shanghai Despite Surging COVID-19 Cases in China's Financial Capital
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 15:01
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has dropped pre-departure COVID-19 testing rules for U.S. citizens and certain other travelers in Shanghai, China because of the ''current exigent circumstances'' that not only make obtaining a pre-departure almost impossible but could possibly result in travelers being arrested if they tried to get a test.
Pre-departure testing rules for all airline passengers heading from an international destination to the United States have been in place for more than a year and, until now, the Biden administration has shown little interest in easing or even completely dropping the current policy despite widespread criticism from across the travel and airline industries.
Travelers must obtain an authorized test within one day of starting their journey to the United States but a harsh weeks-long lockdown in China's financial capital has made it almost impossible for U.S. citizens to comply with the requirement. Parts of Shanghai have now been locked down since March in an effort to stem a surge in COVID-19 infections but cases continue to hit new daily records.
On Tuesday, the city of 25 million residents reported over 26,000 new daily cases despite an all-out effort from under pressure city officials to maintain President Xi Jinping's 'dynamic zero' strategy that aims to eliminate COVID-19 clusters whenever they crop up through targeted lockdowns and mass testing.
The decision to loosen the policy for travelers from Shanghai was made after a direct request from the State Department following Shanghai's apparent inability to bring the latest outbreak under control. China's 'Zero Covid' policy has come under increasing strain from the highly transmissible Omicron variant which is evading defences that had previously kept COVID-19 largely out of China.
China has already accused the U.S. of ''weaponising'' the lockdown after the State Department ordered non-emergency Consulate employees and their families to leave the city.
Although the lockdown is starting to ease, many residents are still confined to their apartments or compounds. Some residents are now allowed to walk the streets but they are not permitted to stray far. The lockdown is so stringently enforced that residents aren't even permitted to visit a supermarket and everything must be delivered.
There is little leeway to 'break' the lockdown and obtaining a pre-departure test would unlikely qualify as an excuse.
''CDC has determined that the current exigent circumstances in Shanghai, China may preclude individuals from meeting the requirements of CDC's amended Testing Order,'' the U.S. embassy in China said in a statement on Friday.
''if individuals subject to this exercise of enforcement discretion are not able to be tested in the timeframe required, the airlines may proceed with boarding these individuals without meeting the requirement of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19,'' the statement continued.
The airline industry would like to see pre-departure testing rules dropped altogether in the same way that has already happened in Europe, the UK and further afield. Even Australia plans to drop pre-departure testing rules later this month.
''Pre-departure testing is no longer an effective measure in protecting the United States from COVID-19,'' wrote lobby group Airlines for America in a recent open letter to the White House. The group represents the likes of American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines.
''The requirement provides little health benefit, yet discourages travel by imposing an additional cost, as well as a fear of being stranded overseas,'' the letter continued. ''It no longer is logical to keep a pre-departure testing requirement in place for inbound international air travelers to the United States''.
The White House says there are no plans to drop the policy.
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Mateusz MaszczynskiMateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.
Thursday's papers: Nato report, women's voluntary military service, and the PM's leather jacket
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 14:55
The papers were dominated by news of a government report submitted to Parliament on Wednesday detailing changes in Finland's foreign and policy security policies following Russia's attack on Ukraine.
The report (siirryt toiseen palveluun) outlines the advantages and disadvantages of Finland joining Nato, and considered the starting point of an official debate about Finland's possible membership in the military alliance.
Looking at these events, Helsingin Sanomat journalist Teemu Luukka writes (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that it is no longer relevant to discuss Finland's "potential Nato membership", even though no outright stance on whether or not Finland should join the alliance was made explicit in the report.
Luukka argues the report nevertheless outlines a position where Finland would be foolish not to join Nato, as it mainly focuses on several benefits of becoming members. As a downside to joining, the report lists increased tensions on the eastern border, noting Russia's public condemnation of Nato's expansion in Europe.
The report said Nato membership would not necessitate Finland hosting nuclear weapons, a permanent Nato military base, or alliance troops, and estimates the cost of membership at around 1-1.5 percent of Finland's current defense budget.
According to HS sources, Finland is expected to apply for membership in the near future, with its application likely being sent to the North Atlantic Council (NAC) sometime between April and June, but before a Nato conference in Madrid in late June.
Luukka notes that recent events indicating Finland will apply for membership are also visible in the public sphere. No leading politician has argued against joining the alliance, and in fact, naysayers have been notably absent from the public discourse.
Public and political support for Nato membership has seemingly grown in tandem with increasing reports on Russia's brutal actions in Ukraine, Luukka writes.
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Changes to women's voluntary military service
Helsinki's Iltalehti reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on the new legislation concerning women's voluntary military service signed by President Sauli Niinist¶ on Wednesday.
The new law outlines changes such as the deadline for applying being pushed forward by about six weeks.
The Defence Forces said the new law calls for the women's selection event to be held simultaneously with the call-ups, which will be held for both men and women at the same time, making the process faster and easier.
The new law also shortens the period that new voluntary conscripts are permitted to quit training sessions. Female recruits are now allowed to leave up to 30 days after training has commenced, instead of the previous limit of 45 days.
The new law is to come into effect in June, Iltalehti reports.
Finnish politicians have been public proponents of organising universal-call ups to prevent marginalisation and attract more women into military service, with a cross-party parliamentary committee proposing in November to extend military call-ups to women.
Inflation up from last year
Aamulehti carries an item (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reviewing Statistics Finland's fresh report on changes in consumer prices. According to the data, inflation in Finland in March was up 5.8 percent from last year. The last time Finland saw such a rapid rise in inflation rates, Aamulehti writes, was in March 1990.
The Statistics Finland report outlined that the price hike was due to increases in the prices of electricity, fuels, and house repair costs. On the other hand, inflation was curbed by reductions in the prices of children's daycare, average interest rates on housing loans, and costs of prescription medicine.
Finland's inflation rate clearly surpassed local forecasts, but the paper says it is still below the Euro area rate for March, which is expected to be 7.5 percent, according to Eurostat estimates.
The European statistics outfit is scheduled to publish its harmonised index of consumer prices next week, Aamulehti writes.
PM's jacket garners praise
Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat writes (siirryt toiseen palveluun) about Prime Minister Sanna Marin's (SDP) jacket capturing the hearts of Swedish political commentators. Marin wore a black leather jacket for a press conference in Stockholm on Wednesday, held after she met with her Swedish counterpart, Madgalena Andersson.
"After this, I'll be wearing a leather jacket throughout spring," Frida Wallnor, writer for the financial newspaper Dagens Industri wrote on Twitter.
Aftonbladet newspaper columnist Oisin Cantwell argued that no leading Swedish politician would dare wear a leather jacket, while Joanna Bergh from Expressen newspaper announced Marin was bringing contemporary fashion to politics.
"Finally," Bergh wrote, "a prime minister is holding a press conference in a leather jacket."
Russia Debt Default Could See the US Seize the Country's Assets: Economist
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 14:50
The impending Russian debt default is likely to be one of the most difficult in history to resolve, Oxford Economics has said. It could even result in the US seizing the Russian central bank's frozen assets, the consultancy's Tatiana Orlova said. Russia still has a grace period in which to make dollar payments on its foreign bonds, but analysts say a default is likely. Loading Something is loading.
The impending Russian debt default is likely to be one of the most difficult in history to resolve, and could even lead the US to permanently seize assets from the country's central bank, according to a report from the consultancy Oxford Economics.
Russia is facing its first default on its foreign-currency debt since the aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution in 1918.
The US Treasury earlier this month blocked Russia from paying $650 million due on two bonds using funds held at American banks. Russia has instead tried to pay in rubles, but credit ratings agencies have said this would constitute a default.
Russia has a 30-day grace period from April 4 in which to pay in dollars. But thoughts are now turning to the next steps, and how bondholders might recoup their money.
Tatiana Orlova, lead emerging markets economist at Oxford Economics, said investors face a "very long and difficult" legal road. "Russia's debt crisis will be among the most difficult in history to resolve, since the default has its roots in politics rather than finance," she wrote in a report that was sent to clients Thursday.
One of the key problems is that political and financial relations between Russia and the West have completely broken down. That makes the usual default process, whereby bondholders and the government enter negotiations and thrash out a deal, seem unlikely to happen.
Orlova said another problem for bondholders is that Ukraine may lay a claim to Russian assets in international courts to pay for the rebuilding of the country. In that case, investors would have to weigh up whether they want to compete with the Ukrainian government for Russian assets.
The economist said the US might eventually end up seizing the money from the Russian central bank's foreign currency reserves. Western governments have already frozen the bulk of the roughly $600 billion stockpile.
President Joe Biden earlier this year ordered that half of Afghanistan's central bank reserves, which were also frozen, be made available as possible compensation for victims of 9/11 and to fund humanitarian support in the country.
"The US administration could possibly find a stronger moral cause for splitting the US-denominated portion of Russia's FX reserves between Ukraine and bondholders," Orlova said.
Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said the government has fulfilled its obligations by paying in rubles. He said last week Western governments are forcing Russia into a default and threatened to take legal action.
It's not just holders of Russian sovereign debt who may have to take to the courts to try to get their money.
Orlova's report said there is likely to be an "avalanche" of Russian corporate debt defaults, given that the US is taking a hard line and banning American banks from processing payments.
An international committee of banks last week deemed state-owned Russian Railways to be in default, after sanctions stopped the company from making bond payments.
There were roughly $98 billion of Russian corporate foreign-currency bonds outstanding as the war began in February, according to JPMorgan, with $21.3 billion owned by foreign investors.
Read more: Oil shock: A Goldman Sachs analyst lays out how investors can play a multi-year spell of wild crude price volatility with $30 swings '-- and shares his top trade ideas
John Durham says CIA knew Trump-Russia plot was 'user created'
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 14:49
Special Counsel John Durham asserted in a court filing Friday that the CIA concluded data from Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann alleging coordination between Donald Trump and Russia was ''not technically plausible'' and was ''user created.''
In the filing, Durham responded to objections from Sussmann's defense regarding what evidence could be admissible at Sussmann's trial, which is scheduled to begin next month. Sussmann is accused of lying to the FBI by saying he was not attending a meeting on behalf of a particular client when he was actually presenting the information on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign and a technology executive with whom he worked.
Durham in February first revealed that the government would establish during trial that among the data ''exploited'' was domain name system (DNS) internet traffic pertaining to ''a particular healthcare provider, Trump Tower, Donald Trump's Central Park West apartment building, and the Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP).''
In February, Durham said data was exploited ''by mining the EOP's DNS traffic and other data for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about Donald Trump,'' adding the data was used to establish ''an inference'' and ''narrative'' tying Trump to Russia.
But Sussmann is moving to preclude evidence concerning the ''gathering'' of that ''DNS data'' by ''Tech Executive 1,'' who has been identified as Rodney Joffe, and his associates.
In Friday's filing, Durham argued that the gathering of the data is a ''necessary factual backdrop to the charged conduct.''
Durham's original indictment alleges Sussmann told then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016 '-- less than two months before the 2016 presidential election '-- he was not doing work ''for any client'' when he requested and held a meeting where he presented ''purported data and 'white papers' that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel'' between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin.
The indictment alleges that Sussmann lied in the meeting, ''falsely stating to the general counsel that he was not providing the allegations to the FBI on behalf of any client.''
Sussmann has pleaded not guilty and has sought to dismiss the case. The federal judge presiding over the case denied that request this week.
Special Counsel John Durham insists any allegations between former President Donald Trump and Russian firm Alfa Bank are false. APDurham also alleges that Sussmann in February 2017 provided an ''updated set of allegations,'' including the Alfa Bank claims, and additional allegations related to Trump to a second U.S. government agency, which Fox News has confirmed was the CIA.
In his filing Friday, Durham says the government expects to ''adduce evidence at trial'' that will reflect that the FBI and the CIA ''concluded that the Russian Bank 1 allegations were untrue and unsupported.
Former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann allegedly lied to the FBI about his meeting with a man called ''Tech Executive 1.'' Perkins Coie''For example, while the FBI did not reach an ultimate conclusion regarding the data's accuracy or whether it might have been in whole or in part genuine, spoofed, altered, or fabricated, Agency 2 concluded in early 2017 that the Russian Bank 1 data and Russian Phone Provider 1 data was not 'technically plausible,' did not 'withstand technical scrutiny,' 'contained gaps,' 'conflicted with [itself],' and was 'user created and not machine/tool generated,'' Durham wrote.
However, Durham states that ''the Special Counsel's Office has not reached a definitive conclusion in this regard.''
But Durham argued that ''separate and apart from whether the data was actually unreliable or provided a motive'' for Sussmann to lie, evidence concerning the steps the FBI and CIA took to ''investigate these matters is critical to establishing materiality.''
Durham said that information will ''enable the jury to evaluate those steps, which, in turn, will inform their conclusions about whether the defendant's alleged false statement was material and could tend to influence or impair government functions.''
Meanwhile, Durham outlines the connection between Sussmann and the now-infamous and discredited anti-Trump dossier, which contained allegations of purported coordination between Trump and the Russian government.
The unverified dossier was authored by ex-British Intelligence agent Christopher Steele and commissioned by opposition research firm Fusion GPS. The law firm Perkins Coie is the firm that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign funded the anti-Trump dossier through.
Former President Donald Trump has long accused Hillary Clinton of spying on his presidential campaign in 2016. AP Photo/David Goldman, FileIn Durham's filing Friday, he revealed that Sussmann met in the summer of 2016 with Steele at the Perkins Coie offices, where he told Steele about the Alfa Bank allegations.
Durham states that after their meeting, personnel from the ''U.S. Investigative Firm,'' which Fox News previously reported is Fusion GPS, tasked Steele to ''research and produce intelligence reports'' about Alfa Bank, ''which he did.''
Durham, in his filing, states that Sussmann ''represented and worked for the Clinton campaign in connection with its broader opposition research efforts'' and ''took steps to integrate'' the Alfa Bank allegations ''into those opposition research efforts.''
Then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton published a tweet accusing Donald Trump of having a ''secret line of communication to Russia'' on Oct. 31, 2016. TwitterDurham argued that the evidence is ''highly probative'' because it establishes that Sussmann ''represented and worked for the Clinton campaign with its broader opposition research efforts.''
Durham also states the evidence establishes that Sussmann ''carried out his September 19, 2016, meeting with the FBI in order to, among other things, further the interests of the Clinton campaign with assistance from'' Fusion GPS.
In the filing, Durham also points to notes from a former FBI assistant director that state, among other things, that ''the dossier's author was hired'' by Fusion GPS to ''dig up dirt on Trump for an unnamed U.S. client.''
Former British Intelligence agent Christopher Steele was allegedly tasked with writing reports about Russian firm Alfa Bank. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images''The fact that FBI headquarters received on the same date both sets of information involving the same political campaign (Clinton campaign), the same law firm [Perkins Coie] and the same investigative firm [Fusion GPS] makes Steele's involvement in these matters relevant,'' Durham wrote.
Meanwhile, Sussmann's defense has made a motion to give immunity to Tech Executive 1, Rodney Joffe, who has not been charged with a crime.
In Durham's filing, however, he reveals that Joffe is ''a subject'' of the investigation and has been since prior to Sussmann's indictment in 2021. Durham says this has been communicated with Joffe's counsel, and that he still remains a subject, even one month short of trial.
Durham said that the decision not to grant Joffe immunity was ''entirely reasonable and consistent with the Department of Justice's practices,'' given that he ''played a critical leadership role in assembling and submitting the allegations at issue, and therefore would likely carry greater criminal exposure and potential culpability in the event the government's investigation were to reveal or confirm the commission of crimes other than the offense currently charged.''
Durham, though, revealed that the only witness for Sussmann's trial ''immunized by the government'' was ''Researcher 2,'' whose identity is unknown. That individual's immunity began in July 2021, over a month before Sussmann's indictment.
Durham said the government immunized ''Researcher 2'' because ''at least five other witnesses who conducted work relating to the Russian Bank 1 allegations invoked their right against self-incrimination.''
Special Counsel John Durham says he's still investigating Rodney Joffe's alleged collaboration with Michael Sussmann. Twitter''The government therefore pursued Researcher 2's immunity in order to uncover otherwise unavailable facts underlying the opposition research project that Tech Executive 1 and others carried out in advance of the defendant's meeting with the FBI,'' Durham states.
In the filing, though, Durham also reveals that the government ''intends to seek immunity at trial for an individual who was employed at the U.S. investigative firm,'' Fusion GPS.
''But unlike Tech Executive 1, that individual is considered a 'witness' and not a 'subject' of the government's investigation based on currently known facts,'' Durham states.
Meanwhile, Durham says the government, during trial, plans to offer redacted, non-privileged documents containing communications between Sussmann and Joffe and redacted billing records reflecting Sussmann's work ''on behalf of the Clinton campaign'' and Joffe.
Durham says prosecutors also plan to offer communications between Sussmann, Joffe and ''Campaign Lawyer 1,'' who sources tell Fox News is Perkins Coie partner and Clinton lawyer Marc Elias, as well as employees of Fusion GPS.
Sussmann's trial is scheduled to begin May 16.
Durham, since 2019, has been investigating the origins of the FBI's original Russia probe, or Crossfire Hurricane, which began in July 2016 through the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017. That was shortly after Mueller completed his years-long investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded or coordinated with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller's investigation found no evidence of illegal or criminal coordination between Trump or the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016.
Durham has indicted three people as part of his investigation: Sussmann in September 2021, Igor Danchenko in November 2021 and Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020.
Danchenko was charged with making a false statement and is accused of lying to the FBI about the source of information he provided to Christopher Steele for the anti-Trump dossier.
Kevin Clinesmith was also charged with making a false statement. Clinesmith had been referred for potential prosecution by the Justice Department's inspector general's office, which conducted its own review of the Russia investigation.
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller previously argued there were no connections between Donald Trump and Russia. AP Photo/Susan Walsh, FileSpecifically, the inspector general accused Clinesmith, though not by name, of altering an email about Trump campaign aide Carter Page to say that he was ''not a source'' for another government agency. Page has said he was a source for the CIA. The DOJ relied on that assertion as it submitted a third and final renewal application in 2017 to eavesdrop on Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Canada is a partner in WEF's program to bring digital ID to travel - The Counter Signal
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 14:40
Canada is a partner in WEF's program to bring digital ID to travel
Keean BexteApril 14, 2022
The Government of Canada, Air Canada and two major Canadian airports have partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF) on a digital ID project that could see a social credit-like system be required for travelling.
The Canadian government is listed as a partner on the WEF's own ''Known Traveller Digital Identity'' website.
''The pilot group, convened by the World Economic Forum, consists of the Government of Canada and the Netherlands, Air Canada, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol,'' writes the WEF.
KTDI is referred to as a way to ''promote secure, seamless passenger travel in anticipation of changing traveller behaviours and expectations, the critical need to strengthen cross-border security and the surge in passenger volumes expected in the coming decade.''
The website claims it's based on a ''decentralized digital identity'' that will allow governments to confirm proof of citizenship and other aspects of identity. Every time a government checks a person's digital ID, it is added to their record, possibly affecting their standing.
''These attestations are the backbone of trust and the basis of reputation and, ultimately, how security decisions are made by each participating organization. The more attestations a traveller collects, the more known he or she could become,'' it reads.
''It is important to note that in order to be allowed to travel, the traveller must share all information required by the relevant entity (such as a border agency.).''
Some have criticized the WEF for pushing the ''Great Reset'' onto the developed world. Indeed, WEF founder Klaus Schwab has even openly bragged about how he has penetrated the cabinets of the world, including the government of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
''I have to say, when I mention now names, like Mrs. (Angela) Merkel and even Vladimir Putin, and so on, they all have been Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum. But what we are very proud of now is the young generation like Prime Minister Trudeau,'' said Schwab in 2017.
''We penetrate the cabinet. So yesterday, I was at a reception for Prime Minister Trudeau, and I know that half of his cabinet, or even more than half of his cabinet, are actually Young Global Leaders.''
Some claim that while the WEF is influential, it's by no means running or directly influencing the Canadian government. However, this pilot program suggests the opposite is true.
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American-Israeli Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff says that the Trudeau government didn't do its ''due diligence'' when they spent nearly one billion dollars training Ukrainian neo-Nazis
One significant consequence of the Freedom Convoy has been Canadians waking up to PM Justin Trudeau's World Economic Forum (WEF) connection and where his priorities lie.
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The push for national digital IDs and even a global digital ID is well underway, but some are more concerned than others.
Keean BexteApril 14, 2022
After re-raising the carbon tax on April 1, Trudeau is considering yet another carbon-based tax that specifically targets truck owners.
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Flight Attendants Demand American Airlines Impose Two Drink Limit - View from the Wing
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 14:07
Alcohol is about to return to American Airlines coach on Monday, and the carrier's flight attendants union '' the Association of Professional Flight Attendants '' has demanded that a two drink limit be imposed on passengers.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) which represents AA crew members, however, would like American to introduce a maximum inflight drink limit of two beverages per customer. The union has already presented its argument to the airline and management are currently reviewing the proposal.
Already flight attendants aren't supposed to overserve passengers. What that means varies, among other things,
By passenger's weightBy the drink they've selected (Bailey's Irish Cream contains less than half the alcohol of whiskey)By the length of the flightA two drink limit in domestic first class would mean that if a passenger has a predeparture beverage (when flight attendants bother to offer one) that they might have a drink with their meal but would be refused a refill on flights like Dallas '' Anchorage, Dallas '' Honolulu, and Miami '' Seattle.
A two drink limit certainly seems silly flying New York JFK '' Doha, which launches in June, or worse Delhi '' New York JFK which has a high likelihood of having to divert. Would the segment from Gander to New York JFK start the drink limit over?
I've generally only had more than two drinks while flying international first class, when there are special wines, champagnes, and spirits I'd like to try. That's especially true on Emirates and Singapore Airlines, the latter where I might have a glass each of Dom Perignon and Krug and then move on to a French red or departing Australia a nice Shiraz. I've never had this issue on American Airlines, and wouldn't likely have more than two drinks even flying long haul. I also haven't found myself flying long haul coach since American used to fly to Sydney via Honolulu with a DC-10 (before I was old enough to drink). I imagine on a flight like that now I wouldn't want to be sober.
Flight attendants already have both the authority and obligation to cut off passengers that have had too much to drink. The American Airlines flight attendants union wants the airline to impose an arbitrary rule that will lead to more conflict with passengers who are sober than it will reduce the frequency of passengers not being sober.
Of course the flight attendants union didn't want to offer even a second non-alcoholic drink on longer domestic coach flights either, and the airline capitulated for a brief period this year.
I take this as posturing by the union for their own members while they're in contract negotiations. It's a weak union, and if they can appear to fight for things at the margin that makes them look less weak if they're unable to deliver on things that matter to the membership.
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The Unseen Scars of Those Who Kill Via Remote Control - The New York Times
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 13:44
April 15, 2022REDWOOD VALLEY, Calif. '-- After hiding all night in the mountains, Air Force Capt. Kevin Larson crouched behind a boulder and watched the forest through his breath, waiting for the police he knew would come. It was Jan. 19, 2020. He was clinging to an assault rifle with 30 rounds and a conviction that, after all he had been through, there was no way he was going to prison.
Captain Larson was a drone pilot '-- one of the best. He flew the heavily armed MQ-9 Reaper, and in 650 combat missions between 2013 and 2018, he had launched at least 188 airstrikes, earned 20 medals for achievement and killed a top man on the United States' most-wanted-terrorist list.
The 32-year-old pilot kept a handwritten thank-you note on his refrigerator from the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was proud of it but would not say what for, because like nearly everything he did in the drone program, it was a secret. He had to keep the details locked behind the high-security doors at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev.
There were also things he was not proud of locked behind those doors '-- things his family believes eventually left him cornered in the mountains, gripping a rifle.
In the Air Force, drone pilots did not pick the targets. That was the job of someone pilots called ''the customer.'' The customer might be a conventional ground force commander, the C.I.A. or a classified Special Operations strike cell. It did not matter. The customer got what the customer wanted.
And sometimes what the customer wanted did not seem right. There were missile strikes so hasty that they hit women and children, attacks built on such flimsy intelligence that they made targets of ordinary villagers, and classified rules of engagement that allowed the customer to knowingly kill up to 20 civilians when taking out an enemy. Crews had to watch it all in color and high definition.
Captain Larson tried to bury his doubts. At home in Las Vegas, he exuded a carefree confidence. He loved to go out dancing and was so strikingly handsome that he did side work as a model. He drove an electric-blue Corvette convertible and a tricked-out blue Jeep and had a beautiful new wife.
But tendrils of distress would occasionally poke up, in a comment before bed or a grim joke at the bar. Once, in 2017, his father pressed him about his work, and Captain Larson described a mission in which the customer told him to track and kill a suspected Al Qaeda member. Then, he said, the customer told him to use the Reaper's high-definition camera to follow the man's body to the cemetery and kill everyone who attended the funeral.
''He never really talked about what he did '-- he couldn't,'' said his father, Darold Larson. ''But he would say things like that, and it made you know it was bothering him. He said he was being forced to do things that went against his moral compass.''
Drones were billed as a better way to wage war '-- a tool that could kill with precision from thousands of miles away, keep American service members safe and often get them home in time for dinner. The drone program started in 2001 as a small, tightly controlled operation hunting high-level terrorist targets. But during the past decade, as the battle against the Islamic State intensified and the Afghanistan war dragged on, the fleet grew larger, the targets more numerous and more commonplace. Over time, the rules meant to protect civilians broke down, recent investigations by The New York Times have shown, and the number of innocent people killed in America's air wars grew to be far larger than the Pentagon would publicly admit.
Captain Larson's story, woven together with those of other drone crew members, reveals an unseen toll on the other end of those remote-controlled strikes.
Image Capt. Kevin Larson flew the heavily armed MQ-9 Reaper drone. He participated in 650 combat missions between 2013 and 2018 out of Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. Credit... via Bree Larson Drone crews have launched more missiles and killed more people than nearly anyone else in the military in the past decade, but the military did not count them as combat troops. Because they were not deployed, they seldom got the same recovery periods or mental-health screenings as other fighters. Instead they were treated as office workers, expected to show up for endless shifts in a forever war.
Under unrelenting stress, several former crew members said, people broke down. Drinking and divorce became common. Some left the operations floor in tears. Others attempted suicide. And the military failed to recognize the full impact. Despite hundreds of missions, Captain Larson's personnel file, under the heading ''COMBAT SERVICE,'' offers only a single word: ''none.''
Drone crew members said in interviews that, while killing remotely is different from killing on the ground, it still carves deep scars.
''In many ways it's more intense,'' said Neal Scheuneman, a drone sensor operator who retired as a master sergeant from the Air Force in 2019. ''A fighter jet might see a target for 20 minutes. We had to watch a target for days, weeks and even months. We saw him play with his kids. We saw him interact with his family. We watched his whole life unfold. You are remote but also very much connected. Then one day, when all parameters are met, you kill him. Then you watch the death. You see the remorse and the burial. People often think that this job is going to be like a video game, and I have to warn them, there is no reset button.''
In the wake of The Times's investigations, the Pentagon has vowed to strengthen controls on airstrikes and improve how it investigates claims of civilian deaths. The Air Force is also providing more mental-health services for drone crews to address the lapses of the past, said the commander of the 432nd Wing at Creech, Col. Eric Schmidt.
''We are not physically in harm's way, and yet at the same time we are observing a battlefield, and we are seeing some scenes or being part of them. We have seen the effects that can have on people,'' Colonel Schmidt said. In the past, he said, remote warfare was not seen as real combat, and there was a stigma against seeking help. ''I'm proud to say, we have come a long way,'' he added. ''It's sad that we had to.''
Captain Larson tried to cope with the trauma by using psychedelic drugs. That became another secret he had to keep. Eventually the Air Force found out. He was charged with using and distributing illegal drugs and stripped of his flight status. His marriage fell apart, and he was put on trial, facing a possible prison term of more than 20 years.
Because he was not a conventional combat veteran, there was no required psychological evaluation to see what influence his war-fighting experience might have had on his misconduct. At his trial, no one mentioned the 188 classified missile strikes or the funeral he had targeted. In January 2020, he was quickly convicted.
Desperate to avoid prison, reeling from what he saw as a betrayal by the military he had dedicated his life to, Captain Larson ran.
Image Darold and Laura Larson were kept in the dark about their son's classified missions. Credit... Mason Trinca for The New York Times A Vexing Moral LandscapeCaptain Larson grew up in Yakima, Wash., the son of police officers. He was a straight-and-narrow Eagle Scout who went to church nearly every Sunday and once admonished a longtime friend to stay away from marijuana. At the University of Washington, where he was an honors student, he joined R.O.T.C. and the Civil Air Patrol, set on becoming a fighter pilot.
The Air Force had other plans. By the time he was commissioned in 2012, the Pentagon had a developed seemingly insatiable appetite for drones, and the Air Force was struggling to keep up. That year it turned out more drone pilots than traditional fighter pilots and still could not meet the demand.
''He was sobbing when he got the news. So disappointed. He wanted to fly,'' his mother, Laura Larson, said in an interview. ''But once he started, he enjoyed it. He really felt like he was doing something important.''
Captain Larson was assigned to the 867th Attack Squadron at Creech '-- a unit that pilots say worked largely with the C.I.A. and Joint Special Operations Command. The drone crews operated out of a cluster of shipping containers in a remote patch of desert. Each crew had three members: a sensor operator to guide the surveillance camera and targeting laser, an intelligence analyst to interpret and document the video feeds, and a pilot to fly the Reaper and push the red button that launched its Hellfire missiles.
Image Captain Larson grew up in Yakima, Wash., and was an Eagle Scout who went to church nearly every Sunday. Credit... via Bree Larson The specifics of Captain Larson's missions are largely a mystery. He kept the classified details hidden from his parents and former wife. His closest friends in the attack squadron and dozens of other current and former crew members did not respond to requests for interviews; secrecy laws and nondisclosure agreements make it a crime to discuss classified details.
But several pilots, sensor operators and intelligence analysts who did the same type of work in other squadrons spoke with The Times about unclassified details and described their struggles with the same punishing workload and vexing moral landscape.
More than 2,300 service members are currently assigned to drone crews. Early in the program, they said, missions seemed well run. Officials carefully chose their targets and took steps to minimize civilian deaths.
''We would watch a high-value target for months, gathering intelligence and waiting for the exact right time to strike,'' said James Klein, a former Air Force captain who flew Reapers at Creech from 2014 to 2018. ''It was the right way to use the weapon.''
But in December 2016, the Obama administration loosened the rules amid the escalating fight against the Islamic State, pushing the authority to approve airstrikes deep down into the ranks. The next year, the Trump administration secretly loosened them further. Decisions on high-value targets that once had been reserved for generals or even the president were effectively handed off to enlisted Special Operations soldiers. The customer increasingly turned drones on low-level combatants. Strikes once carried out only after rigorous intelligence-gathering and approval processes were often ordered up on the fly, hitting schools, markets and large groups of women and children.
Image James Klein, a former Air Force captain, flew Reapers at Creech from 2014 to 2018. Credit... Hannah Yoon for The New York Times Before the rules changed, Mr. Klein said, his squadron launched about 16 airstrikes in two years. Afterward, it conducted them almost daily.
Once, Mr. Klein said, the customer pressed him to fire on two men walking by a river in Syria, saying they were carrying weapons over their shoulders. The weapons turned out to be fishing poles, Mr. Klein said, and though the customer argued that the men could still be a threat, he persuaded the customer not to strike.
In another instance, he said, a fellow pilot was ordered to attack a suspected Islamic State fighter who was pushing another man in a wheelchair on a busy city street. The strike killed one of the men; it also killed three passers-by.
''There was no reason to take that shot,'' Mr. Klein said. ''I talked to the pilot after, and she was in tears. She didn't fly again for a long time and ended up leaving for good.''
Squadrons did little to address bad strikes if there was no pilot error. It was seen as the customer's problem. Crews filed civilian casualty reports, but the investigative process was so faulty that they rarely saw any impact; often they would not even get a response.
Over time, Mr. Klein grew angry and depressed. His marriage began to crumble.
''I started to dread going in to work,'' he said. ''Everyone kind of expects you to do that stuff and just be fine, but it ate away at us.''
Eventually, he refused to fire any more missiles. The Air Force moved him to a noncombat role, and a few years later, in 2020, he retired, one of many disillusioned drone operators who quietly dropped out, he said.
''We were so isolated, that I'm not sure anyone saw it,' he said. ''The biggest tell is that very few people stayed in the field. They just couldn't take it.''
Image Captain Larson was an honors student at the University of Washington, where he joined R.O.T.C. and the Civil Air Patrol. Credit... Mason Trinca for The New York Times 'Soul Fatigue'In her job as a police officer, Captain Larson's mother conducted stress debriefings after traumatic events. When officers in her department shot someone, they were required to take time off and meet with a psychologist. As part of the healing process, everyone present at the scene was required to sit down and talk through what had happened. She was not aware of any of that happening with her son.
''At one point I pulled him aside and told him, 'If things start bothering you, you and your friends need to talk about it,''' Ms. Larson said. ''He just smiled and said he was fine. But I think he was struggling more than he ever let on.''
The Air Force has no requirement to give drone crews the mental health evaluations mandated for deployed troops, but it has surveyed the drone force for more than a decade and consistently found high levels of stress, cynicism and emotional exhaustion. In one study, 20 percent of crew members reported clinical levels of emotional distress '-- twice the rate among noncombat Air Force personnel. The proportion of crew members reporting post-traumatic stress disorder and thoughts of suicide was higher than in traditional aircrews.
Several factors contribute '-- workload, constantly changing shifts, leadership issues and combat exposure. But the most damaging, according to Wayne Chappelle, the Air Force psychologist leading the studies, is civilian deaths.
Image Captain Larson earned 20 medals for achievement and killed a top man on the United States' most-wanted-terrorist list. Credit... Mason Trinca for The New York Times Seeing just one strike that causes unexpected civilian deaths can increase the risk of PTSD six to eight times, he said. A survey published in 2020, several years after the strike rules changed, found that 40 percent of drone crew members reported witnessing between one and five civilian killings. Seven percent had witnessed six or more.
''After something like that, people can have unresolved, disruptive emotional reactions,'' Dr. Chappelle said. ''We would assume that's unhealthy '-- having intrusive thoughts, intrusive memories. I call that healthy and normal. What do you call someone who is OK with it?''
Having time off to process the trauma is vital, he said. But during the years when America was simultaneously fighting the Taliban, the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, that was nearly impossible.
Starting in 2015, the Air Force began embedding what it called human performance teams in some squadrons, staffed with chaplains, psychologists and operational physiologists offering a sympathetic ear, coping strategies and healthy practices to optimize performance.
''It's a holistic team approach: mind, body and spirit,'' said Capt. James Taylor, a chaplain at Creech. ''I try to address the soul fatigue, the existential questions many people have to wrestle with in this work.''
But crews said the teams were only modestly effective. The stigma of seeking help keeps many crew members away, and there is a perception that the teams are too focused on keeping crews flying to address the root causes of trauma. Indeed, a 2018 survey found that only 8 percent of drone operators used the teams, and two-thirds of those experiencing emotional distress did not.
Instead, crew members said, they tend to work quietly, hoping to avoid a breakdown.
Bennett Miller was an intelligence analyst, trained to study the Reaper's video feed. Working Special Operations missions in Syria and Afghanistan in 2019 and 2020 from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, the former technical sergeant saw civilian casualties ''almost monthly.''
''At first it didn't bother me that much,'' he said. ''I thought it was part of going after the bad guys.''
Image Bennett Miller, a former technical sergeant, saw civilian casualties regularly on Reapers' video feeds. Credit... Austin Anthony for The New York Times Then, in late 2019, he said, his team tracked a man in Afghanistan who the customer said was a high-level Taliban financier. For a week, the crew watched the man feed his animals, eat with family in his courtyard and walk to a nearby village. Then the customer ordered the crew to kill him, and the pilot fired a missile as the man walked down the path from his house. Watching the video feed afterward, Mr. Miller saw the family gather the pieces of the man and bury them.
A week later, the Taliban financier's name appeared again on the target list.
''We got the wrong guy. I had just killed someone's dad,'' Mr. Miller said. ''I had watched his kids pick up the body parts. Then I had gone home and hugged my own kids.''
The same pattern occurred twice more, he said, yet the squadron leadership did nothing to address what was seen as the customer's mistakes. Two years later, Mr. Miller was near tears when he described the strikes in an interview at his home. ''What we had done was murder, and no one seemed to notice,'' he said. ''We just were told to move on.''
Mr. Miller grew sleepless and angry. ''I couldn't deal with the guilt or the anxiety of knowing that it was going to probably happen again,'' he said. ''I was caught in this trap where if I care about what is happening, it's devastating. And if I don't care, I lose who I am as a person.''
At Shaw, he said, his squadron did not have a human performance team. ''We just had a squadron bar.''
In February 2020, he got home from a 15-hour night shift, locked himself in his bedroom, put a cocked revolver to his head and through the door told his wife that he could not take it anymore. He was hospitalized, diagnosed with PTSD and medically retired.
Beyond their modest standard pensions, veterans with combat-related injuries, even injuries suffered in training, get special compensation worth about $1,000 per month. Mr. Miller does not qualify, because the Department of Veterans Affairs does not consider drone missions combat.
''It's like they are saying all the people we killed somehow don't really count,'' he said. ''And neither do we.''
Image Captain Larson with his former wife, Bree. Credit... via Bree Larson A Question of ForgivenessIn February 2018, Captain Larson and his wife, Bree Larson, got into an argument. She was angry at him for staying out all night and smashed his phone, she recalled in an interview. He dragged her out of the house and locked her out, barely clothed. The Las Vegas police came, and when they asked if there were any drugs or weapons in the house, Ms. Larson told them about the bag of psilocybin mushrooms her husband kept in the garage.
When she and Captain Larson had met in 2016, she said, he was already taking mushrooms once every few months, often with other pilots. He also took MDMA '-- known as ecstasy or molly '-- a few times a year. The drugs might have been illegal, but, he told her, they offered relief.
''He would just say he had a very stressful job and he needed it,'' Ms. Larson said. ''And you could tell. For weeks after, he was more relaxed, more focused, more loving. It seemed therapeutic.''
A growing number of combat veterans use the psychedelic drugs illicitly, amid mounting evidence that they are potent treatments for the psychological wounds of war. Both MDMA and psilocybin are expected to soon be approved for limited medical use by the Food and Drug Administration.
''It gave me a clarity and an honesty that allowed me to rewrite the narrative of my life,'' according to a former Air Force officer who said he suffered from depression and moral injury after hundreds of Reaper missions; he asked not to be named in order to discuss the use of illegal drugs. ''It led to some self-forgiveness. That was a huge first step.''
In Las Vegas, the civilian authorities were willing to forgive Captain Larson, but the Air Force charged him with a litany of crimes '-- drug possession and distribution, making false statements to Air Force investigators and a charge unique to the armed forces: conduct unbecoming of an officer. His squadron grounded him, forbade him to wear a flight suit and told him not to talk to fellow pilots. No one screened him for PTSD or other psychological injuries from his service, Ms. Larson said, adding, ''I don't think anyone realized it might be connected.''
As the prosecution plodded forward over two years, Captain Larson worked at the base gym and organized volunteer groups to do community service. He and his wife divorced. Struggling with his mental health, seeking productive ways to cope with the trauma, he read book after book on positive thinking and set up a special meditation room in his house, according to his girlfriend at the time, Becca Triano.
''I don't know what he saw, what he dealt with,'' she said. ''What I did see toward the end was him really working hard to try to stay sane.''
The trial finally came in January, 2020. His former wife and a pilot friend testified about his drug use. The police produced the evidence. That was all.
After deliberating for a few hours on the morning of Jan. 17, the jury returned with guilty verdicts on nearly every count.
Image Reeves Canyon Road in the Redwood Valley of California, near where Captain Larson fled. Credit... Jason Henry for The New York Times On the RunThe pilot would be sentenced after a break for lunch. His lawyer told him to be back in an hour. Instead he took off.
He loaded his Jeep with food and clothes and sped away, convinced that he was facing a long prison sentence, Ms. Triano said. Within hours, the Air Force had a warrant out for his arrest.
Captain Larson headed southwest to Los Angeles and stayed the night with a friend, then started heading north. By the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 18, he was driving by vineyards and redwood groves on U.S. Route 101 in Mendocino County, north of San Francisco, when the California Highway Patrol spotted his Jeep and pulled him over.
Captain Larson stopped and waited calmly for the officer to walk up to his window. Then he gunned it '-- down the highway and onto a narrow dirt logging road that snaked up into the mountains. After several miles, he pulled off into the trees and hid. The police could not find him, but they knew something he did not: All the roads in the canyon were dead ends, and officers were blocking the only way out.
Night fell. Nothing to do but wait.
In the morning, during a briefing at the bottom of the canyon, records show, Air Force agents explained to the Mendocino County sheriff's deputies that the wanted man was a deserter who had fled a drug conviction, was probably armed and possibly suicidal.
The officers drove up the canyon and spotted tire tracks on a narrow turnoff. Agents crept up on foot until they spotted the blue Jeep in the trees, but did not risk going farther. The deputies had a better option, something that could get a view of the Jeep without any danger. A small drone soon launched into the sky.
Captain Larson was hiding behind a mossy boulder. There was no phone service deep in the canyon, no way to call for whatever hope or solace he might have conjured. He could only record a video message for his family members. One by one, he told them that he loved them. ''I'm sorry,'' he said. ''I won't go to prison, so I'm going to end this. This was always the plan.''
Image Mr. and Ms. Larson visiting their son's grave last month. Credit... Mason Trinca for The New York Times There was a lot he did not explain '-- things that have kept his family and friends wondering in the years since. He did not talk about the hundreds of secret missions or their impact. He did not say what it had felt like to have his commanders stand by quietly as civilian deaths became routine, then stay just as quiet when a decorated pilot was prosecuted for drug possession. He did not talk about the other pilots who had done the same drugs and then avoided him like a virus after he got caught.
Perhaps he was planning to say more, but as he spoke into the phone camera, he was interrupted by an angry buzzing, like a swarm of bees.
''I can hear the drones,'' he said. ''They're looking for me.''
Had they found him alive, his pursuers would have been able to tell him this: In the end, the Air Force had decided not to sentence him to prison, only to dismissal.
But now, just as Captain Larson had done countless times, the officers could only study the drone footage and parse the evidence '-- slumped behind the boulder, shot with his own assault rifle '-- of another unintended death.
Image Captain Larson left a video message to his family before he died. Credit... Mason Trinca for The New York Times
Dutch Journalist: 'We are Here, in Donbass, to Awaken Westerners Deluded by Propaganda' '' INTERNATIONALIST 360°
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 13:05
Ekaterina BlinovaThere are only a handful of Western journalists on the ground in Donbass, while the Western mainstream press is rubber-stamping fake news about the Ukrainian crisis using the same templates it previously exploited in Iraq, Libya and Syria, says Dutch independent journalist Sonja van den Ende.
Sonja van den Ende, an independent journalist from Rotterdam, Netherlands, went to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics as an embedded reporter with the Russian army to see how the special operation is unfolding with her own eyes.
The sound of shelling and explosion does not frighten her: she's gotten used to it. Seven years ago, van den Ende worked in Syria, months before the Russians stepped in at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and changed the tide. The parallels between the Western mainstream press' coverage of the Syrian and the Ukrainian conflicts are striking, according to her.
''They lie continuously about everything just to implement their own agenda,'' van den Ende. ''Like in Syria, President Assad was 'the murderer' and now President Putin is 'the butcher.' They had used this script for many years in Iraq, Venezuela and [other] countries which don't comply with their agenda; they need a bad ''guy''. But they (media) are not even there on the ground, they can't judge. Only a handful of journalists from the West are here: Graham Philips, Patrick Lancaster, Anne-Laure Bonnel and me.''
However, this is not the only parallel, according to the Dutch journalist. She has drawn attention to Kiev's fake reports and ''false flag'' operations including the Snake Island hoax, hype over Russia's alleged ''attack'' on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the now-debunked story of Russia's ''strike'' on a Mariupol hospital, and the most recent Bucha provocation, to name but a few. Van den Ende says that it resembles nothing so much as jihadists' false flags and the White Helmet's staged ''gas attacks''. She specifically recalls the 4 April 2017 chemical provocation in Khan Sheikhun, Idlib, which was debunked by investigative reporters including Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh.
''The same happened in Bucha,'' says the Dutch journalist. ''Many witnesses are saying that the Russian army left on 30 March. Even the Ukrainian military who came in on 1 April didn't report about corpses on the streets. This happened on 3 April, according to the Western media. Also, evidence is saying that the bodies had white armbands, the sign of the Russian army, the soldiers wear them. So the soldiers are killing the Russian Ukrainians? No way.''
Ukrainian Neo-Nazism is No Myth
Van den Ende talked to many Ukrainian civilians while travelling across Donbass. According to her, nearly everyone condemned the Kiev government for prohibiting the Russian language and depriving them of many cultural and domestic human rights.
''The majority of the people whom I spoke with were very happy that the [Russian special] operation has started,'' the Dutch journalist says. ''Of course, nobody wants violence and war, but they have been suffering already eight years from the war, carnage and destruction by the Ukrainian forces. The worst were the Nazi battalions, who were fighting along with the regular army.''
Ukrainian neo-Nazism is not a myth, emphasises van den Ende. When she visited the Ukrainian port city of Odessa in 2016 and 2017 she noticed the fascist sentiment which has been spreading across the nation for quite a while. Actually, Ukrainian Nazism has been there since the Second World War, says the Dutch journalist.
The ideological successors of Stepan Bandera, the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the 14th SS-Volunteer Division ''Galicia,'' and the Nachtigall Battalion went underground during the Soviet period. However, after many years these forces are alive again with the US, the UK and EU using them to destabilise Ukraine, she says. Previously, these Western geopolitical actors much in the same vein used Islamists to unseat Assad, adds the journalist.
According to van den Ende, after carrying out a 2014 coup d'etat in Ukraine, the minority of neo-Nazis grabbed power and have been terrorising mainly the eastern part of the country using very vicious and cruel Nazi-style methods for eight years.
Feeling Protected at Long Last
The West is continuously trying to blame Russia for all the damage inflicted on Ukrainian villages and towns. However, Eastern Ukrainian eye-witnesses say that most of destruction in the civilian areas was caused by the retreating Ukrainian army and neo-Nazi formations, including the notorious Azov Battalions, according to the Dutch journalist. In addition to using civilian facilities as shields, the Ukrainian military are reported to have indiscriminately shelled the positions they left and cede to the Russian forces.
To illustrate her point, van den Ende describes the shelling of a hospital in Volnovakha, in the Donetsk People's Republic. The building was not bombed from the air, but attacked with grenades and rockets, she says, citing a Volnovakha resident.
''The West claims it was bombed by the Russians, but as a lady told me, that she worked there all her life, and that the Ukrainian [military] '' who were quartered in the hospital '' shelled and destroyed the facility and her house, which was next to the hospital.''According to the Dutch journalist, Eastern Ukrainians are treated very well by the Russian army and regularly receive humanitarian aid in most locations. What's more, the locals say that at long last they feel protected, she adds.
Fierce fight between the Ukrainian armed forces and neo-Nazi battalions on the one side and the Russia-backed DPR and LPR militias on the other side left many houses ruined. However, the people of Donbass have not given up, highlights the journalist.
''As a woman said: 'We are strong, we can rebuild it, for our children and grandchildren, to have peace,''' notes van den Ende.
Is Russia Losing an Information War?
Some observers suggest that Russia is losing the information war with the West. The Western Big Media machine is working day and night with the backing of Big Tech, while most Russian news outlets have been either censored or completely silenced in the Western countries.
''No, Russia is not losing the information war completely,'' argues van den Ende. ''I think it's up to us, the handful of Westerners, to awaken the majority of Westerners who are still asleep and getting bombarded with fake news and made-up stories day by day.''
One should bear in mind that this conflict is being fanned by the Western politicians in the first place, says the Dutch journalist. According to her, the West did completely the same in Syria but has largely lost that war.
The world is changing and the Western establishment has yet to reconcile itself with the emerging multipolar world order, according to van den Ende. She notes that Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined the beginning of this change in his 2007 Munich speech.
Although they opted to neglect his words at that time, it is becoming obvious that a unipolar world is gone for good, the journalist concludes.
Russians Were Welcomed as Liberators in the Southern Ukrainian City of Henichesk Along the Sea of Azov
Scientists find world's first cure for heart attacks using same mRNA technology as Covid vaccines | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 12:32
Scientists discover world's first cure for heart attacks using the same mRNA technology as Covid vaccinesTechnology used to make Covid vaccines is now helping to regenerate hearts Genetic codes called mRNAs produce proteins to generate healthy heart cellsResearchers at King's College London say it may lead to cure for cardiac arrestsBy Stewart Carr For Mailonline
Published: 21:04 EDT, 15 April 2022 | Updated: 02:46 EDT, 16 April 2022
Genetic tracking used to create Covid vaccines is now being adapted to help regenerate hearts damaged from cardiac arrests.
Scientists at King's College London have tracked genetic codes called mRNAs which produce proteins to generate healthy heart cells.
The ground-breaking research could lead to the world's first cure for heart attack victims, The Times reports.
Similar technology was used to create the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Lead researcher Professor Mauro Giacca said: 'We are all born with a set number of muscle cells in our heart and they are exactly the same ones we will die with. The heart has no capacity to repair itself after a heart attack. Our goal has been to find a treatment that can convince surviving cells to proliferate.
'Regenerating a damaged human heart has been a dream until a few years ago, but can now become a reality.
Across the UK, around 100,000 people are hospitalised each year after a heart attack - caused by a blocked blood supply to the heart
'We are using exactly the same technology as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to inject micro RNAs to the heart, reaching surviving heart cells and pushing their proliferation. The new cells would replace the dead ones and instead of forming a scar, the patient has new muscle tissue.'
Giacca's team is based at the British Heart Foundation Centre for Research Excellence at King's College London.
In addition to helping hearts regenerate, they also working towards a treatment to stop cells dying during a heart attack.
Across the UK, around 100,000 people are hospitalised each year after a heart attack - caused by a blocked blood supply to the heart.
Cardiac arrests caused severe trauma to the heart muscle and kill up to 100 bilion hearts cells.
The human heart has no ability to heal itself, leaving many cardiac arrest victims with debillitating scars that lead to further complications.
Scientists believe the new RNA (ribonucleic acid) therapy could revolutionise cardiovascular medicine and stop millions of heart attacks progressing towards heart failure.
Trials to regenerate damaged pig hearts have so far been successful, with tests due on humans in the next two years.
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Black Swan Event? Top US Fertilizer Producer Hit With Rail Delays To Midwest | ZeroHedge
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 12:01
A fertilizer supply shock is imminent for US farmers as CF Industries Holdings, Inc. warned Thursday that rail shipments of crop nutrients would be reduced to top agricultural states, which couldn't come at the worst time as the Northern Hemisphere spring planting season is underway.
The world's largest fertilizer company said Union Pacific had hit it with railroad-mandated shipping reductions that would impact nitrogen fertilizers such as urea and urea ammonium nitrate shipments to Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, and California. Union Pacific told CF Industries without advance notice to reduce the volume of private cars on its railroad immediately. This means CF Industries had to decrease shipments by a whopping 20% to stay compliant.
"The timing of this action by Union Pacific could not come at a worse time for farmers," said Tony Will, president and chief executive officer of CF Industries.
"Not only will fertilizer be delayed by these shipping restrictions, but additional fertilizer needed to complete spring applications may be unable to reach farmers at all. By placing this arbitrary restriction on just a handful of shippers, Union Pacific is jeopardizing farmers' harvests and increasing the cost of food for consumers," Will said.
The move is particularly problematic for the Midwest, where 90% of corn and 80% of soybeans are produced in the US. The region is a critical node in the global food system, and tightening the fertilizer supply will only drive up food prices by shrinking harvests.
Farmers have been pressured by record-high fertilizer and diesel costs.
CF Industries released an ominous warning about the lack of fertilizer across the Midwest this year and how it may cause food supply woes:
"If farmers are unable to secure all the nitrogen fertilizer that they require in the current season because of supply chain disruptions such as rail shipping restrictions, the Company expects yield will be lower.
"This will likely extend the timeline to replenish global grains stocks. Low global grains stocks continue to support high front month and forward prices for nitrogen-consuming crops, which has contributed to higher food prices," CF Industries said.
Josh Linville, direct of fertilizer at StoneX, called this a "black swan" moment for the Midwest.
UP rail situation:Sounds like the UP is backed up on shipments. As a result, they are restricting "private car" shipments (i.e. not UP equipment) by almost 20%.
We were already struggling with fert logistics coming into spring. This doesn't help at all...#blackswan pic.twitter.com/YOo36UWj2J
'-- Josh Linville (@JLinvilleFert) April 14, 2022In response to record-high fertilizer costs and tight supply, some farmers have already transitioned millions of acres from corn to soybeans this year (soybeans require very little fertilizer versus corn).
Last month, a tweet from Douglas Karr, the founder of the businesses blog Martech Zone, made the point that "media isn't even warning you" a food crisis in America is emerging.
NYC expected to upgrade COVID-19 alert to 'medium risk'
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 11:57
The Big Apple is expected to shift to a ''medium-risk'' COVID-19 alert level within the next week because of an increase in cases, the city's health commissioner says.
''In the next few days, likely by early next week, we're going to be entering a new level of risk, moving from a low-risk environment to a medium-risk environment on the basis of cases,'' Dr. Ashwin Vasan told NY1 Friday.
The city is currently in a ''low'' risk of community spread alert, but health officials say the new sub-variants of the BA.2 variant of Omicron as of Wednesday had accounted for 80.6% of the state's infections.
The city will recommend increased masking in public settings, along with more frequent testing. Photo by John Lamparski/Getty ImagesAlthough there's no evidence that the new variants cause more severe illness than earlier versions of COVID-19, Vasan said they're transmitting faster and people should begin masking more frequently in indoor public settings.
He also suggested those visiting family and friends over the Easter and Passover holiday weekends get tested afterwards.
Fertilizer company complains about railroad shipment limits | AP News
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 11:57
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) '-- A major fertilizer company says the limits Union Pacific is putting on rail traffic to clear up congestion will delay shipments that farmers need during the spring planting season.
CF Industries said Thursday that the railroad ordered it to cut its shipments nearly 20%. Union Pacific has said it is limiting rail traffic and hiring aggressively as part of a plan to improve service after grain and ethanol shippers complained about shortcomings.
Federal regulators have announced plans to hold a hearing later this month about the service problems along Union Pacific and other major U.S. railroads that have forced some grain mills and ethanol plants to curtail production while waiting on trains and left farmers without a place to sell their crops because grain elevators are having trouble shipping grain.
''The timing of this action by Union Pacific could not come at a worse time for farmers,'' said CF Industries CEO Tony Will. ''Not only will fertilizer be delayed by these shipping restrictions, but additional fertilizer needed to complete spring applications may be unable to reach farmers at all.
CF Industries said the limits will affect fertilizer deliveries to Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and California from its plants in Louisiana and Iowa. The company said it believes it is one of just 30 companies Union Pacific imposed restrictions on.
Union Pacific spokeswoman Kristen South said the measures the Omaha, Nebraska-based railroad is taking are designed to address problems in the supply chain that have clogged rail shipments. The railroad has also brought 100 locomotives out of storage and shifted roughly 80 crew members to high-demand locations.
The Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Dead. What's the New Popular Plant? - The New York Times
Sat, 16 Apr 2022 17:15
Mike Rimland, the ''plant hunter'' for Costa Farms, one of the largest houseplant growers in North America, was touring a tiny nursery in Southeast Asia about five years ago when he spotted a bunch of dark purple waxy leaves he didn't recognize.
''I'd never seen anything like it,'' said Mr. Rimland, 66, whose official title is vice president for research and development. He grew up in Miami and has worked in the horticulture business for 45 years.
He spends about four months each year trekking through tropical regions in countries like India, Vietnam and Kenya in search of the ''newest, coolest'' plants '-- that will also thrive indoors '-- to fill the shelves of Ikea, Walmart, Costco and Home Depot, as well as smaller garden centers around the country.
''You're looking for a needle in a haystack,'' Mr. Rimland said.
The plant he saw, the Geogenanthus ciliatus, or Geo, was commercially rare, it looked ''like Mars,'' he said, with slightly curled, almost black sprouts and had a thick leaf that suggested it would be hard to kill '-- all the qualities of a hit houseplant.
Image The Geogenanthus ciliatus recently won the honor of ''Best New Foliage'' at the Tropical Plant International Expo, a top industry trade show. Credit... Scott McIntyre for The New York Times Now, after years of development, the Geo has arrived at stores and recently won the coveted honor of ''Best New Foliage'' at the Tropical Plant International Expo, a top industry trade show. It is on sale at major retailers and small boutiques as far and wide as Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Des Moines and is being marketed with the dollar-sign-eyes of a Timoth(C)e Chalamet movie. Online, fans are beginning to gush. (''My little goth baby,'' one wrote on Instagram.)
Plant sales for all kinds of varieties have surged over the past few years. About 38 million households in the United States participate in indoor houseplant gardening and spent about $1.67 billion in 2020, an increase of 28 percent from 2019, according to the 2021 National Gardening Survey.
Many enthusiasts, including millennials and Gen Zers, continue to gravitate to rare varieties with a sharper look that often sell for hundreds of dollars in online auctions. Now, mass-market growers like Costa Farms are on a mission to deliver the next ''It'' plant at a time when new varieties lose their novelty in a matter of months.
Image The calathea makoyana has been a favorite with houseplant enthusiasts. Credit... Vincent Tullo for The New York Times Image Variegated monsteras have remained in demand in part because certain botanical qualities make them difficult to propagate. Credit... Vincent Tullo for The New York Times ''The 'It' plant is the quest,'' said Katie Dubow, the president of Garden Media Group, a public relations firm that advises companies on market trends. ''Everybody wants to have it, grow it, sell it.''
People's relationships with their plants deepened during the pandemic, industry experts say, and once trendy varieties started to seem dusty. Former ''It'' plants like the pilea peperomioides, with its coin-shaped leaves, and the fiddle leaf fig, a fixture of home design catalogs, have been bumped out of vogue. (The fiddle leaf ''got a bad rap'' in part because it is harder to care for than it looks, explained Christian Esguerra, an influencer who posts under the handle ''crazyplantguy.'') The raven zz had a moment, the philodendron birkin was coveted briefly, and the pink princess is on its way out.
Now, instead of one plant that everyone wants, dozens are popular. The National Garden Bureau declared 2022 the year of the peperomia, but fans are also craving alocasias, anthuriums, calatheas and hoyas of all kinds.
Variegated monsteras with stripes or blotches of color like the Thai constellation, known for its yellow and white splattered leaves, and the monstera albo, beloved for its white paint-like patches, have remained in demand, in part because certain botanical qualities make them difficult to propagate.
On eBay this month, a five-leaf Thai constellation plant sold for $600 and a five-leaf cutting of a monstera albo went for $500. Costa Farms, which has been trying to grow its own version of the Thai constellation for several years, recently released a limited supply of the plants at Walmart '-- priced at about $600 each for a 12-inch pot '-- and sold out quickly. (Proceeds went to charity.)
The look has also evolved. Popular plants now are often variegated with big, highly textured, angular leaves that are frequently pink or purple. And when displayed, instead of a singular statement plant posted in a window, they're often grouped together in a corner like a jungle or packed into a growing case.
''I think style is a much bigger component of this particular wave of houseplant enthusiasm,'' said Leslie F. Halleck, a professional horticulturist and consultant. ''That aesthetic of shape and form, and how it plays into someone's interior space, has become more important.''
Trends are driven, in part, by an avid group of rare plant collectors and influencers who covet specific varieties the way others might seek out sneakers, watches or whiskey, and display their collections with similar pride.
''You grow a big staghorn fern and people come over to your house, and are like, 'What the heck is that thing?''' said Ryan Benoit, who co-founded the blog The Horticult, adding: ''It's like your kids got accepted to an Ivy League college '-- they're doing well.''
There is also, still, a well-established community of buyers who say they connect to their plants emotionally.
Image ''I feel like when I got into plants a part of my heart lit up that I wasn't even connected with,'' said Maria Failla, who runs a virtual garden society and hosts the podcast ''Bloom and Grow Radio,'' photographed at Brooklyn's Greenery Unlimited. Credit... Vincent Tullo for The New York Times Maria Failla, 33, a former Broadway performer, turned to gardening after she lost her job at the start of the pandemic.
''I feel like when I got into plants a part of my heart lit up that I wasn't even connected with,'' said Ms. Failla, who runs a virtual garden society and hosts the podcast ''Bloom and Grow Radio.''
The horticulture industry, which has long relied on the spending habits of baby boomers, has perked up at the interest '-- and money '-- from a new generation. For years, breeders have released plants with specific qualities that sell well, like maple trees that promise brighter fall foliage. By leaning into unique varieties with unusual leaves, they are applying this approach to houseplants, industry consultants say.
''I don't just have a hydrangea. I've got an endless summer hydrangea. It blooms all summer long,'' said Charles Hall, a professor of economics and horticulture at Texas A&M University. ''I think the houseplant category in itself is just now catching up to that phenomena.''
Image Instead of a singular plant posted in a window, houseplants, like this charmed wine, are often grouped together in a corner like a jungle or packed into a growing case. Credit... Vincent Tullo for The New York Times Image Popular plants now often have highly textured, angular leaves and are frequently pink or purple, like this rex begonia. Credit... Vincent Tullo for The New York Times For over 40 years, Mr. Rimland has run a nursery in Miami near Costa Farms, and remembers when people went crazy for houseplants in the 1970s. In 1981, he started ''plant hunting,'' at a time when the market was saturated. Finding and introducing new plants gave him an advantage in the industry, he said. Over the years, he has traveled to about 60 countries.
After a hurricane hit his nursery in 2005, Costa Farms invited Mr. Rimland to work with the company. Over time, he has built relationships with small growers in tropical locations across the globe and continues to search as he always has '-- with few expectations for what he might find.''We don't just need a new plant, we need one that's different,'' he said.
He was vague about exactly where he found the Geo '-- he didn't want to tip off the competition. (As interest in plants has exploded, other growers, large and small, are also always in search of new varieties to develop and sell widely.)
Mr. Rimland said he follows all local regulations and searches only in government-approved regions. ''I'm not out climbing a mountain stealing plants that are endangered,'' he said.
Before leaving Asia, Mr. Rimland shipped several cuttings, roots with a few leaves, to the United States. Costa Farms then began a series of indoor trials to make sure the Geo wouldn't die easily, turn brown, develop diseases or drop leaves. The company tested them in no light, low light and low humidity environments '-- the suboptimal growing conditions houseplants must often endure.
Image ''We don't just need a new plant, we need one that's different,'' said ''plant hunter'' Mike Rimland, whose official title is vice president for research and development at Costa Farms. Credit... Scott McIntyre for The New York Times ''We don't need to introduce something that's fluorescent purple but dies in a week,'' Mr. Rimland said. ''We need customer success.''
Over about four years, the company grew the supply to about 100,000 plants and distributed them to retailers across North America, where a small Geo in a 6-inch pot is selling online for about $45.
''We are not here to supply plants at these crazy prices that you see on the internet,'' Mr. Rimland said. ''We're here to supply plants to everybody that wants one at a fair and reasonable price.''
In the coming months, Costa Farms will continue to release new varieties and has teamed with the influencers behind Black Girls With Gardens, Mariah Grows and House Plus Plant, who are expected to do ''unboxings'' and ceremoniously reveal new plants. Industry experts believe that by constantly feeding the market, growers will keep fans coming back.
Of course, once plants like the Geo are released widely, they are no longer truly rare, said Ms. Dubow, who works in trend forecasting.
Image The philodendron birkin's moment came and went. Credit... Vincent Tullo for The New York Times Image An alocasia, such as this one, is a fan favorite. Credit... Vincent Tullo for The New York Times ''Many people wish there wouldn't be this huge pressure on 'What's the next big 'It' plant?''' Ms. Dubow said. ''It has this peak where it's $400, and then Costa gets it, it goes out to all Walmarts and Ikeas and whatever across the country, and so now it's $19.99 and nobody wants it anymore.''
Conservation groups are also working to raise awareness about the link between the surging interest in rare species and an increase in plant poaching. In South Africa and Chile, authorities say, there has been a rise in succulent and cactus poaching often by people looking for a way to escape poverty.
Abby Meyer, the executive director of Botanic Gardens Conservation International U.S., said the biggest impact has been on biodiversity-rich, tropical zones.
''The demand in collectible tropical plants as houseplants is directly correlated to increased plant poaching in tropical regions,'' Ms. Meyer said.
It can also be difficult for shoppers buying plants online through social media sites to know where varieties are coming from and how they are sourced.
Ms. Meyer advised people to seek out licensed nurseries, talk to growers, ask about their sources and research the issues affecting particular varieties. Or, don't buy them at all, she said, and consider volunteering at botanical gardens that house rare plants instead.
''If you're interested in orchids and your local garden has an orchid collection,'' Ms. Meyer said, ''you can get your orchid fix at the garden, and it's for the public good.''
The Battery That Flies - The New York Times
Sat, 16 Apr 2022 15:33
Kitty Hawk. The invention of the jet engine. And on a frozen Vermont morning, circling above Lake Champlain, the Alia.
In the mind of Christopher Caputo, a pilot, each moment signals a paradigm shift in aviation.
''You're looking at history,'' Mr. Caputo said recently, speaking from the cockpit of a plane trailing the Alia at close distance. It had an exotic, almost whimsical shape, like an Alexander Calder sculpture, and it banked and climbed in near silence.
It is, essentially, a flying battery. And it represented a long-held aviation goal: an aircraft with no need for jet fuel and therefore no carbon emissions, a plane that could take off and land without a runway and quietly hop from recharging station to recharging station, like a large drone.
The Alia was made by Beta Technologies, where Mr. Caputo is a flight instructor. A five-year-old start-up that is unusual in many respects, the company is the brainchild of Martine Rothblatt, the founder of Sirius XM and pharmaceutical company United Therapeutics, and Kyle Clark, a Harvard-trained engineer and former professional hockey player. It has a unique mission, focused on cargo rather than passengers. And despite raising a formidable treasure chest in capital, it is based in Burlington, Vt., population 45,000, roughly 2,500 miles from Silicon Valley.
Image Alia, the electric vertical aircraft.A battery-powered aircraft with no internal combustion has been a goal of engineers ever since the Wright brothers. Larry Page, the Google co-founder, has been funding electric plane start-ups for over a decade. Electric motors have the virtue of being smaller, allowing more of them to be fitted on a plane and making it easier to design systems with vertical lift. However, batteries are heavy, planes need to be light, and for most of the last century, the e-plane was thought to be beyond reach.
That changed with the extraordinary gains in aviation technology realized since the 1990s.
Late last year, curious about the potential of so-called green aviation, I flew in a Pipistrel Alpha Electro, a sleek new Slovenian two-seater designed for flight training. The Electro looks and flies like an ordinary light aircraft, but absent the roar of internal combustion, its single propeller makes a sound like beating wings. ''Whoa!'' I exclaimed when its high-torque engine caused it to practically leap off the runway.
However, the Electro's power supply lasts only about an hour. After ours nearly ran out, I wondered how many people would enjoy flying in an electric plane. That take off is fun. But then you do start to worry about the landing.
Despite the excitement about e-planes, the Federal Aviation Administration has never certified electric propulsion as safe for commercial use. Companies expect that to change in the coming years, but only gradually, as safety concerns are worked out. As that process occurs, new forms of aviation are likely to appear, planes never seen before outside of testing grounds. Those planes will have limitations as to how far and fast they can fly, but they will do things other planes can't, like hover and take off from ''runways in the sky.''
They will also, perhaps most importantly for an industry dependent on fossil fuels, cut down on commercial aviation's enormous contribution to climate change, currently calculated as 3 to 4 percent of greenhouse gases globally.
''It's gross,'' Mr. Clark said. ''If we don't, the consequences are that we'll destroy the planet.''
In 2013, Ms. Rothblatt became interested in battery-powered aircraft. United Therapeutics makes human organs, including a kidney grown inside a pig that was attached to a person last fall, the first time such a procedure has been done. Ms. Rothblatt wanted an electric heli-plane ''to deliver the organs we are manufacturing in a green way,'' she said, and fly them a considerable distance '-- say, between two mid-Atlantic cities.
At the time, though, batteries were still too heavy. The longest an electric helicopter had flown was 15 minutes. One group of engineers told her it would take three years of design and development, too long, in her mind, to wait.
''Every single person told me it was impossible,'' Ms. Rothblatt said.
A grand vision Image Kyle Clark, 42, founder of Beta.Kyle Clark flew alone for the first time in 1997 on a plane from Burlington to Erie, Pa. Mr. Clark, then 16, had just been selected by the U.S.A. Hockey national team. ''I was the worst player on the ice,'' he said, ''so I decided to fight all the opposing players.'' As a result, ''the team named me captain.''
At 6 feet 7 inches, a self-described physical ''freak,'' Mr. Clark would go on to a brief professional hockey career as an extremely low-scoring right wing and enforcer. (His LinkedIn page shows him brawling, helmetless, as a member of the Washington Capitals organization.)
After a stint in Finland's professional hockey league, he left the sport and received an undergraduate degree in materials science at Harvard, where he wrote a thesis on a plane piloted like a motorcycle and fueled by alternative energy. It was named the engineering department's paper of the year.
He then found himself considering a career on Wall Street, doing something he didn't want to do away from where he wanted to be: back in Vermont.
''There's a brain drain'' among engineers from his home state, he said. ''People go away to college and come back when they're 40, because they realize San Francisco or Boston isn't the cat's meow.'' Returning to Burlington in his mid-20s, Mr. Clark became director of engineering at a company that designed power converters for Tesla.
In 2017 he attended a conference where Ms. Rothblatt made her pitch for an e-helicopter.
''There were like 30 people in the room, none of whom excited me,'' Ms. Rothblatt recalled. ''Then Kyle stood up and said, 'I'm an electronics and power systems person, and I'm confident we can achieve your specification with a demonstration flight within one to two years.' Other people were shaking their head. He was probably the youngest guy in the room. So I came up to him during break and said, 'Where's your company located?' And he said, 'I live in Vermont.'''
A few weeks later, after a second meeting, Mr. Clark drew a watercolor of his design and sent it to Ms. Rothblatt. Within hours, $1.5 million in seed capital for Beta Technologies had been wired to his bank account.
''He drew a nice design,'' Ms. Rothblatt said.
A prototype with four tilting propellers was assembled in eight months, with Mr. Clark piloting the vehicle himself. Built in Burlington, the plane had to be flown over Lake Champlain, away from population centers.
''It was so fun to fly it that we found an excuse to every chance we could,'' Mr. Clark told an audience at M.I.T. in 2019. Ultimately, though, it turned out to have too complex a design and Mr. Clark threw it out. He created a streamlined prototype modeled after the Arctic tern, a small, slow bird capable of flying uncanny distances without landing.
Since then, Beta's work force has grown to over 350 from 30. The company's headquarters have expanded to several buildings wrapping around the runway at Burlington International Airport, with plans for an additional 40-acre campus.
Image The exterior of Beta's headquarters in Burlington. Image Mr. Clark has been offered opportunities to move the company elsewhere but declined.The board is stocked with players in finance and tech, including Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, and John Abele, founder of Boston Scientific. It has $400 million of funding from the government and institutions, including Amazon. But it is not alone in trying to bring something like this '-- what's known as a vehicle with ''electric vertical takeoff and landing'' or eVTOL '-- to market.
Propelled by advances in batteries, control systems and high performance motors, more than a dozen well-financed competitors have their own prototypes, nearly all focused on what the industry calls ''urban air mobility,'' or flying taxis or privately owned flying vehicles. That no major breakthrough has reached consumers in significant numbers yet gives skeptics ammunition, but does not tamp down the optimism within the industry, especially not at Beta.
Beta is alone in focusing on cargo, and is hoping to win F.A.A. approval in 2024. If it succeeds, it believes it will do more than make aviation history.
In the company's grand vision, electric cargo planes replace fleets of exhaust-spewing short-haul box trucks currently congesting America's roads.
With a limit of 250 nautical miles per battery charge, the vehicles would land atop solar-powered charging stations made out of shipping containers, some equipped with showers, bunks and kitchenettes. (The cabinetry is Vermont maple.) Beta also makes a stand-alone charger that ''our group is placing at airports all over the country,'' said Mr. Clark.
A plane like Beta's could be a catalyst for ''decentralizing'' the hub and spoke system, the company hopes, taking dependence on shipping centers like Louisville and Memphis out of the equation and rebuilding the supply chain.
''If you think about a path between two cities where there's no direct air service,'' Blain Newton, Beta's chief operations officer said, ''the only way is by taking one connection, two connections.'' Alia can change that '-- especially by increasing access to less populated parts of the country, such as northern Vermont.
The ambitions are lofty. Bolstering Mr. Newton's claims, however, UPS has already bought 10 Alias to be delivered in 2024 and signaled its intent to buy 140 more, which it plans to use as ''micro-feeders'' for time-sensitive deliveries such as medicine.
Amazon has invested heavily in Beta through its Climate Pledge Fund. Both the Air Force and the Army have signed contracts with the company worth a combined $43 million. And Blade, the commuter helicopter service, perhaps sensing that urban air mobility is not so far off, has reserved the right to buy five Alias, at a price of $4 million to $5 million apiece.
Image A collection of aircrafts, spanning time and technologies, sit in the hanger at Beta's headquarters. Image James Lott, center, guiding Alia's battery system into position for mounting and connection. 'The DNA of Vermont'Beta's headquarters at the Burlington Airport '-- close enough to be seen from the Terminal B waiting area '-- still have the youthful informality of a start-up. On a December morning in the hangar, Naughty by Nature's ''Feel Me Flow'' somehow penetrated the din of whirring propellers and industrial tools. The heavily tattooed Mr. Clark, whose idea of formal wear seems to be rotating his baseball cap forward, pinballed around the hangar, grabbing stray machinery and vaulting up staircases with the agility of a professional athlete.
Before he joined Beta, Mr. Newton worked in health care. At his job interview, Mr. Clark took him for a helicopter ride.
''He gave me the controls and said: 'Your aircraft. Figure it out,''' Mr. Newton recalled, chuckling. ''I'd never flown before. I ended up taking a 65 percent pay cut to work for him.''
On their way back, with Mr. Clark back at the controls, the helicopter flew over Burlington, a city built largely around the University of Vermont and companies known for their progressive bona fides, like Seventh Generation and Ben & Jerry's. The city is famously left-leaning: Senator Bernie Sanders served four terms as its mayor. It also hosts a number of renewable energy start-ups.
''Clean energy is built into the DNA of Vermont,'' said Russ Scully, a Burlington entrepreneur who raised capital for Beta. The state's electricity supply is carbon free (thanks in part to higher use of nuclear power than any other state) and Burlington is closer to becoming net zero than almost any municipality in the country. In the Beta parking lot, many cars have charging cables inserted.
Another local resource: One hundred miles north, near Montreal, is one of the largest aerospace clusters outside Toulouse and Seattle, led by Bombardier, the Canadian business jet-maker, and CAE, the world's premier manufacturer of flight simulators.
For Blake Opsahl, a network planner who left Amazon to join Beta, doing so was a no-brainer. ''My husband grew up here and we've always wanted to to come back,'' said Mr. Opsahl, who described an affinity between Beta engineers and Vermonters as ''passionate tinkerers.''
'‹'‹Mr. Newton said: ''I don't want to throw any of our competitors under the bus, but some folks out West are paying huge salaries to attract people, and we're capturing a lot of high-end aerospace talent for the lifestyle. They said, No, I want to be part of this thing here.''
Image Mr. Newton, Beta's chief operating officer.Mr. Clark said he was offered opportunities to move the company elsewhere but declined. It has now become one of Burlington's marquee employers, contributing to a population swelling with high-earning remote workers who left larger cities and brought with them a worsening housing crisis. Burlington may be the kind of small city that Beta aims to serve, but as its success has shown, it is also the kind of city where sudden growth can bring challenges to livability.
In high school, Mr. Clark began building planes with spare parts from the machine shop his father ran at the University of Vermont. His mother, an artist, burned one in the backyard to prevent him from flying it.
Like Mr. Newton, many recruits were treated to hair-raising airplane rides. The company has a fleet of aircraft that the communications director, Jake Goldman, calls an ''amusement park for aviation fanatics,'' including a World War II biplane and the experimental Pipistrel. (''I did not puke,'' Mr. Goldman said of his inaugural ride in an aerobatic plane, ''but it was touch and go for a while.'')
The company offers free flying lessons to all its 350 employees, and has more than 20 flight instructors on staff, including Nick Warren, formerly a Marine One pilot for President Barack Obama. The idea is that in order to promote ''critical thinking in aviation'' it helps to be airborne.
''It's very Vermont '-- instead of just analyzing things on a computer, you actually try them out,'' said Lan Vu, a Beta electrical engineer who attended public high school with Mr. Clark.
Like many of her colleagues, Ms. Vu had worked previously for Mr. Clark, who recruited her. (''You know how good of a talker he is,'' she said.)
She had no prior interest in flying, she said, but ''that was one of the things Kyle made sure to talk about when he was pitching me.''
''And I was like: 'Yeah, I don't have that kind of time. I have three kids,''' she said.
After changing her mind and getting her pilot's license through the employee program, however, Ms. Vu began competing in aerial acrobatic competitions. As an engineer, she said, flying helps her address safety concerns. ''If I'm building this, would I fly it?'' said Ms. Vu, who said she considered herself a conservative pilot, although, she admits, ''I was kind of surprised how much I enjoyed flying upside down.''
Image Mr. Clark, right, giving feedback to a group of his colleagues about equipment handling during a flight simulation. Credit... Tristan Spinski for The New York Times Image Lochie Ferrier, a test pilot at Beta. Image Ms. Vu, a battery engineer at Beta. The futurist and the test pilotIs the world ready for wingless hovercraft levitating over cities and hotrodding through congested air corridors?
The consensus within the industry is that the F.A.A., which regulates half the world's aviation activity, is several years from certifying urban air mobility.
''It's a big burden of proof to bring new technology to the F.A.A. '-- appropriately so,'' Mr. Clark said. Currently the certification process for a new plane or helicopter takes two to three years on average. For an entirely new type of vehicle, it could be considerably longer. (One conventionally powered aircraft that can take off and land without a runway had its first flight in 2003. It remains uncertified.)
Ms. Rothblatt has built a career out of the long view. She is a celebrated futurist who has argued passionately for transhumanism, or the belief that human beings will eventually merge with machines and upload consciousness to a digital realm. And she has taken positions on issues such as xenotransplantation '-- the interchange of organs between species, including humans '-- considered audacious not long ago, though no longer.
Yet in certain ways she and Mr. Clark make for unlikely partners. Mr. Clark has a familiar demeanor for a test pilot: exuberant, risk-taking, hyper-confident.
Ms. Rothblatt, on the other hand, calls herself an exceedingly cautious person, both as a pilot and in general. ''I'm an adventurous thinker, but I'm cautious in everything,'' she said. She brought up her life experience as an example. Aside from her accomplishments in medicine and aerospace, Ms. Rothblatt is known as a transgender pioneer; when she started Sirius XM and rose to prominence, she hadn't yet transitioned. ''When I changed my sex, it was only after watching presentations by a dozen top surgeons and I was absolutely confident that it would be safe,'' she said.
Image Ms. Rothblatt at the 2018 Forbes Women's Summit, in New York. Credit... Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images The dichotomy between the futurist and the test pilot gets to a real issue facing any plane with a battery: Who will fly them?
According to Dan Patt, a technology analyst, vehicles like the one Beta is building are ''very unlikely to make money unless they go unmanned.'' Aviation in general faces a pilot shortage, and labor comprises up to a third of operating costs at legacy airlines.
The question for Beta as a business, said Mr. Patt, who led the development of drones for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is: ''What does it take for their model to be competitive with ground transportation?''
Beta says its vehicles are designed to be ''optionally manned'' in the future. Yet analysts such as Mr. Patt see unpiloted commercial aviation as even farther from winning F.A.A. approval than the electric plane itself, raising a dilemma:
''What's more important, going unmanned first, or do you build the vehicle first? Beta is clearly in the latter camp.''
Nathan Diller, an Air Force colonel, is not a futurist, but his job is to find and support companies doing forward-thinking, futuristic things.
The military applications of a vehicle like the Alia '-- especially logistics '-- have gotten attention at the highest levels of the Air Force, which has backed Beta and some of its peers through an accelerator called Agility Prime.
Image Top, Alia, an experimental electric vertical aircraft built by Beta, during a test flight over Burlington, Vt.Last month, for the first time, uniformed Air Force pilots flew an Alia, soaring above Lake Champlain in a plane powered only by a battery.
Colonel Diller sees this kind of transport as a national security issue, in part because of its potential to reduce fuel consumption, but what seems to intrigue him most is ''the democratization of air travel.''
He grew up flying experimental planes on an organic farm in West Texas, aware of the limits on where a plane can land and who can fly. Looking at a floating sculpture twirling above a lake, he sees a different future for aviation: ''Everyone a pilot, everywhere a runway.''
Why Is a Shareholder Rights Plan Called a "Poison Pill?"
Sat, 16 Apr 2022 15:01
NEWS ALERT April 15, 2022, 1:39 p.m. EDT: Twitter's board of directors announced Friday it had approved a shareholder rights plan, otherwise known as a poison pill, allowing shareholders to purchase discounted stock in the event of an entity or person acquiring more than a 15% stake in the company without the board's approval.
Faced with the prospect of a hostile takeover by another company or an investor group, a corporate board might adopt a defensive strategy called a shareholder rights plan. Such plans discourage the unwelcome accumulation of company stock above a set threshold by promising to dilute an activist buyer's stake with discounted share sales to the other shareholders. The goal is to make share purchases above the limit set in the shareholder rights plan unpalatable, hence the "poison pill" nickname for the tactic.
An example of a poison pill defense occurred in 2012, when the board of Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) adopted a shareholder rights plan days after investor Carl Icahn acquired a 10% stake in the company. The poison pill stipulated that in the event of any new acquisition of 10% or more, any Netflix merger or Netflix sales or transfers of more than 50% of assets, other shareholders would be able to purchase two shares for the price of one.
Advantages of a Shareholder Rights Plan Introduced in 1982 as hostile takeovers started shaking up corporate boardrooms, shareholder rights plans have proven effective as a delaying tactic, though they're seldom the long-term answer to activist pressure or merger interest.
A poison pill defense could help a company whose share price has suffered a short-term decline resist a vulture bid from a potential acquirer seeking to take advantage of a temporary discount. Market declines at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic led hundreds of U.S. companies to adopt shareholder rights plans for that reason.
Disadvantages of a Shareholder Rights Plan By discouraging a motivated buyer from buying more company stock, a shareholder rights plan is likely to leave a share price lower than it would be otherwise, at least in the short run.
Poison pills can also shield entrenched and underperforming company managers from shareholder efforts to replace them.
The good news on that score is that since shareholder rights plans are adopted by company boards, replacing a board in a proxy contest can make a poison pill go away if the new board so chooses.
Because poison pills discriminate against activist buyers and restrain trading in a company's stock, they typically require justification, and often have sunset provisions.
Shareholder rights plans cannot dilute the stakes acquired before they were adopted, so they can't reverse the accumulation of shares by activists or potential acquirers.
Knowing Your Rights As A Shareholder
CEOs Beware: ''Feel-Good'' Isolation of Russia Might Make Things Worse - War on the Rocks
Sat, 16 Apr 2022 13:48
Westerners and Ukrainians have cheered U.S.-based corporations as they have chosen to suspend their operations in Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. For the first time in decades, iconic American brands like Coca-Cola and Starbucks are no longer available to residents of the Russian Federation. Private companies that have not yet divested from the Russian marketplace have faced calls from consumers and investors to do so. While government responses to the conflict have varied in hopes of avoiding World War III, these ubiquitous global brands act as important symbols of American might. CEOs have cited humanitarian reasons for their decisions to halt operations in Russia, offering this move as evidence of their choice to ''do the right thing.'' Some global leaders have gone so far as to say they have a ''moral imperative'' to isolate Russia as punishment for its aggression. As Russia's invasion stumbles forward, will such corporate action help to pave the way for peace?
After gathering data from and doing field research in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa, I have found that one-sided corporate engagement can actually prolong a conflict and make it harder to negotiate a peace agreement. Private corporations, as profit-oriented organizations, ought to consider the business side of peace and violence. Any agreement will have implications for the future business environment. When firms act in a wartime setting, they become political actors. Thus, taking a stand in a conflict adds the preferences of the business sector to the complexities of wartime bargaining, often making it more difficult to build a peace agreement that all sides will accept. Corporations looking to promote more peaceful societies are better suited to engage in violence prevention by filling gaps in governance or, in wartime settings, acting as neutral champions of peace processes. If corporations want to really have an impact on peace and stability, they should invest in places that are at risk of conflict but where violence has yet to occur, or they should encourage negotiations without taking a side.
Unfortunately, corporations have been less inclined to proactively invest in peace, instead responding to violence after it has begun. Today's corporate actions are similar to those of the Colombian private sector towards the end of the decades-long civil war with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The business community was disengaged for years but, when violence urbanized and became costlier, businesses began pushing for an end to the conflict. Business leaders eventually took an active role in the negotiations in Havana. While technically present as a government representative, the private sector had its own issues at stake, such as how wartime behavior would be treated legally, and interests in the nature of the final peace deal. Private commercial interests, which were not exclusively pro-peace, likely prolonged the negotiations process, and were instrumental in framing the public-opinion debate that led to the ''no'' vote on the plebiscite for peace requiring different terms be negotiated. In Guatemala, the private sector went even further, actively obstructing the peace process by resisting key reforms since the conflict was viewed as rural issue with few economic implications. These examples offer cautionary tales for today's corporate leaders about the negative impact engagement can have when biased towards a specific outcome.
In seeking to understand how one-sided actions may play out, we can also draw from extensive research on state behavior in conflict management, negotiations, and peace processes. Global leaders are walking a tightrope between conflict management and overtly joining the war on one side. States with strong ties to one of the disputants often use these relationships as leverage in mediation, acting to end the conflict, and employing various conflict-management techniques. This leverage can help governments with bias be particularly effective mediators.
The private sector, however, has interests that fundamentally differ from those of states. When businesses engage in peacebuilding after war has broken out, as in the case of Russia and Ukraine, they become political actors. They also bring their own interests, such as the appeasement of shareholders and consumers, into an already complex conflict environment. As with multi-actor civil wars, conflicts with active private-sector involvement last longer since it is more difficult to find an agreement that is acceptable to all parties with interests at stake. While companies are unlikely to directly engage in Russia-Ukraine peace talks, they will certainly have a stake in any peace terms. This is the nature of the globalized economy, which links states' international interests and market forces. Corporate leaders should proceed carefully, as their actions may further complicate negotiations and prolong violence, even if unintentionally so. More neutral reactions, such as pro-peace statements and future investment promises, are less likely to have adverse consequences.
Recent events also reveal the expanding connections between international politics and global economy. Corporations are increasingly acting in ways beyond standard economic exchange, engaging more directly in arenas once left to governments with implications that are not straightforward and largely depend on the nature and timing of their actions. The war in Ukraine has also created a global commodity calamity, meaning it is likely to impact households in places far from the battlefield. Academics have yet to fully explore the implications of these linkages, however. There is significant management-focused research offering suggested frameworks for corporate policy when operated amidst violent conflict. Political scientists and scholars of conflict processes, however, are just beginning to explore a role for corporations in the topics we study. While corporate actions impact the lives of those in weak states, in particular, the current crisis suggests those living under more capable governments are not immune from their policy decisions. It also suggests that public opinion, a much-debated topic in the study of foreign policy, may be even more prickly when it comes to decisions surrounding corporate social responsibility. My research suggests community investments can help to prevent violence from occurring in the first place, but that companies need to be cautious in the ways they engage once conflict has already begun to avoid unintentionally prolonging violence.
While there is limited evidence around corporate engagement in the context of international war, we can learn from their activities during civil wars. These suggest the need to act without taking a side. The Northern Ireland example is especially relevant, as U.S. companies were the some of the first U.S. actors to promote a peace process. Their efforts, which culminated with MacBride Principals (which required all U.S. companies operating in Northern Ireland to adopt fair hiring practices) and U.S.-led mediation. U.K.-based companies followed suit, eventually publishing the highly publicized ''Peace Dividends'' paper, which highlighted the potential for economic growth were a peace deal to be signed. Acting as the ''Group of Seven,'' trade and business organizations advanced a message of peace and prosperity with a strategy of political cooperation and impartiality, hosting collective meetings that urged political parties to work towards peace. The nature of corporate engagement in Northern Ireland, which was instrumental in leading to the so-called ''Good Friday Agreement,'' differs from what we are currently witnessing. Both U.S. firms and, later, firms headquartered in Northern Ireland acted as neutral proponents of peace.
Desmond Tutu famously said that being neutral in cases of injustice was akin to siding with the oppressor. The logic of a moral imperative assumes an outcome that punishes aggressors, protects human rights, and sees justice prevail. This logic has led to historic policy reversals in Switzerland and Germany, pushes for cutting off Russian oil imports to Europe, and mass public support for Ukraine in the United States and globally. The global outcry is only likely to increase with evidence of war crimes emerging. Such a strong reaction seems appropriate in a world that purports to have learned the lessons of the many genocides of the 20th century. And yet, corporate engagement does not easily lend itself to such black-and-white ethical boundaries, acting in a space that is not inherently negative or positive. Rather, corporate engagement should be done with a knowledge of the complexities involved, allowing for potential adverse consequences to what might initially seem morally appropriate.
That is not to say that the firm does not have a salient role to play for the global good. Most importantly, large-N analysis shows that corporations wanting to be good global citizens can also do so by investing in places at risk of violence, such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Mozambique, and Tunisia. Research shows the private sector can prevent the onset of violence with policies and programs that fight corruption, fill governmental gaps in service provision, and promote human rights. As corporate leaders are increasingly motivated by ethical and moral commitments, evidence suggests firms can play an important role in violence prevention and peacebuilding. These might not be the actions that catch news headlines, however.
Actors from international sports leagues to Netflix have responded to Putin's flaunting of international territorial norms, but to what effect? Is Putin likely to reverse course because he can't have a venti caramel macchiato while binge-watching Seinfeld? Unlikely. The effect of sanctions on Putin's popularity in Russia is difficult to gauge since public-opinion polling in Russia faces many obstacles, but scholars suggest sanctions may actually push elite oligarchs closer to Putin. That said, the world has awakened and is watching. And while that didn't deter the invasion, it has implications for Putin's future. While sanctions, withdrawing businesses, and a devastated economy are unlikely to prompt policy reversal or topple Putin's regime, the broad range of responses to the invasion, as well as arms-control measures, may both prevent a wider war in Europe and deter other leaders with territorial ambitions from following suit.
Molly M. Melin is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago. Her publications on third-party interventions in international conflicts, the dynamics of conflict expansion, and peacekeeping operations have appeared in International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Conflict Management and Peace Science, and International Interactions. Her recent book The Building and Breaking of Peace: Corporate Activities in Civil War Prevention and Resolution (Oxford University Press) explores the role of the private sector in peacebuilding.
Image: Creative Commons, Flickr user Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose
U.S. to resume oil, gas drilling on public land despite Biden campaign pledge | Reuters
Sat, 16 Apr 2022 04:07
A 3D-printed oil pump jack is placed on dollar banknotes in this illustration picture, April 14, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comWASHINGTON, April 15 (Reuters) - The Biden administration on Friday said it has resumed plans for oil and gas development on federal lands, a move that could break a pledge Joe Biden made while campaigning for president.
The plan calls for the government to lease fewer acres for drilling than initially proposed, charge steeper royalties to oil and gas companies, and assess the climate impact of developing the acreage.
The proposal was quickly denounced by several environmental groups, with one calling it "a reckless failure of climate leadership." Oil industry groups praised the move but said it did not go far enough.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comThe announcement by the Interior Department, made late Friday before a holiday weekend, is the latest move to reform the federal oil and gas leasing program since Biden took office in January 2021. The administration has faced ongoing pressure to address high energy prices driven by the economic rebound from the pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The Democrat had pledged several times during his presidential campaign to halt federal drilling auctions, but that effort has been stymied by a court challenge from Republican-led states.
During a campaign event in Hudson, New Hampshire, in February 2020, Biden told the audience: "And by the way '-- no more drilling on federal lands, period. Period, period, period.''
The Biden administration has taken several steps to tame surging gasoline prices and inflation, made worse by crude oil prices , spiking due to the war in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russia by the United States and its allies. read more
Inflation is seen as a significant liability for Democrats heading into the November mid-term elections. read more
Friday's announcement would make roughly 144,000 acres available for oil and gas drilling through a series of lease sales, an 80% reduction from the footprint of land that had been under evaluation for leasing, the Interior Department said in a statement.
It would also require companies to pay royalties of 18.75% of the value of extracted oil and gas products, up from 12.5%.
"How we manage our public lands and waters says everything about what we value as a nation," said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who added that the move would "begin to reset how and what we consider to be the highest and best use of Americans' resources for the benefit of all current and future generations."
The agency will issue final environmental assessments and sale notices for upcoming oil and gas lease sales as early as next week, including ensuring tribal consultation and broad community input, the Interior Department added.
The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, slammed the Biden administration's decision.
''The Biden administration's claim that it must hold these lease sales is pure fiction and a reckless failure of climate leadership,'' said Randi Spivak, public lands director for the group. ''It's as if they're ignoring the horror of firestorms, floods and megadroughts, and accepting climate catastrophes as business as usual."
The move was praised by the energy industry as a step in the right direction.
"To really unleash American energy, the Biden Administration should continue to hold ongoing lease sales pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act, issue permits more expeditiously, and provide consistent regulatory certainty,'' said Anne Bradbury, head of the American Exploration & Production Council, whose members include ConocoPhillips (COP.N), Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD.N) and Chesapeake Energy (CHK.O).
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com Reporting by Katanga Johnson and Nicola GroomEditing by Lisa Shumaker
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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VIDEO - 14 injured in shooting at South Carolina's Columbiana Centre mall - ABC News
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 14:51
A 22-year-old man was arrested in connection with the shooting, police said.
April 17, 2022, 5:43 AM
' 4 min read
One person was arrested Saturday in connection with a shooting incident at a South Carolina mall in which 14 people were injured, officials said.
Columbia Police said they arrested Jewayne M. Price, 22, on a charge of unlawful carrying of a pistol. Police said additional charges may be forthcoming.
Investigators said they were still seeking to identify at least two suspects who were seen with guns.
Nine people were shot and five others were injured while fleeing the mall, police said. The injured ranged in age from 15 to 73 years old, police said. Only one victim, a 73-year-old woman, continued to receive medical treatment, police said.
"All other victims have been treated and released or will be released shortly," police said in a statement.
Police had said earlier on Saturday that 10 people were injured by gunfire at the Columbiana Centre mall in Columbia, South Carolina. The incident took place around 2:28 p.m., and officers responded to the scene and began going store to store evacuating people, police said.
Two of the victims were in critical but stable condition earlier on Saturday, Columbia Police Chief William Holbrook told reporters at an evening news conference.
"What is important is that we have no fatalities," he told reporters.
People walk through a parking lot at the Columbiana Centre mall in Columbia, S.C. on April 16, 2022, as police investigate a shooting at the shopping center.
The chief said that three individuals, whom he classified as "people of interest," were detained. The individuals were seen armed and at least one of them allegedly fired a shot, according to Holbrook.
"We don't believe this was random," he said. "We believe the individuals who were armed knew each other."
Price was later identified as one of the three individuals detained for questioning, police said. The other two were released from custody.
Store owners locked down and sheltered people in place as the police swept through the shopping center, Holbrook said. They are being reunited with their friends and family members.
Columbiana Centre tweeted a statement saying the violent incident was "extremely upsetting and our thoughts are with everyone impacted."
Authorities stage in a parking lot at Columbiana Centre mall in Columbia, S.C., following a shooting, April 16, 2022.
"We are grateful for the quick response and continued support of our security team and our partners in law enforcement," the mall said in a statement.
The investigation is ongoing. Holbrook asked anyone with video or information related to the shooting to call the police.
"We know a lot of different people saw a lot of different things. We're asking them to take a moment, clear your thoughts and contact law enforcement," he said.
Prisma Health, a network of hospitals in South Carolina whose facilities received 11 victims, said in a statement that nine were treated and released. Prisma did not share the condition of the two remaining patients in its care.
A representative for Lexington Medical Center told ABC News that no one from the shooting was currently admitted. Police previously said Lexington received victims.
VIDEO - Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's security detail catches man with guns near Millennium Park; Treveon Broadway arrested - ABC7 Chicago
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 14:36
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A member of Mayor Lori Lightfoot's security detail may have prevented a mass shooting after spotting a man with a gun near Millennium Park this week, according to Chicago police.
Police recovered a pair of weapons with laser sights and armor-piercing bullets, and arrested a Wisconsin man.
The man was never near the mayor and so she was never in direct danger, but the sharp eye of a member of her security detail may very well have prevented a terrible tragedy.
The events unfolding Tuesday around 9:00 p.m.
Sources tell ABC7 the mayor's security detail was parked right outside the Shake Shack restaurant at 14 S. Michigan. Mayor Lightfoot had just left a celebration honoring Harold Washington and stopped at a restaurant on the top floor of the Chicago Athletic Association right next door.
Sources said a member of her security detail then noticed something alarming about one of two men standing in line at the Shake Shack.
He immediately notified dispatch.
"...the second has a leather coach-style bag with the outline of a gun," he said to dispatch.
Responding police arrested 21-year-old Treveon Broadway and another man who was not charged, both from Milwaukee.
According to court documents, police recovered two Glock semi-automatic handguns from inside the suspects' vehicle.
Both weapons had an "extended magazine" and "laser sight attachment." One had a "live round in the chamber" and a "switch to shoot full auto."
Broadway is also charged with possessing a "silencer" and "metal piercing bullets," which is considered military-grade weaponry according to one law enforcement expert.
"This is not the type of weapon you carry for personal protection. This is the type of weapon you go to war with and you're looking to inflict maximum damage," said Ed Farrell, a retired deputy U.S. Marshal.
Farrell praised the mayor's bodyguard and given the fact the incident happened right across from Millennium Park, he believes it may have averted something horrible from happening.
"They were obviously up to something that was nefarious or troublesome for the community," Farrell added.
Broadway was released from custody after his aunt posted $1,500 for his bond.
She told ABC7 that she took him to her home in Hammond, Indiana, where he frequently stays.
We knocked on the door but no one answered.
Broadway's aunt said he is a good kid who likes to play basketball and she said doesn't own guns.
Broadway has no known criminal history and it's unclear why he allegedly had those high-powered weapons.
He is facing two felony weapons charges, as well as citations, for possessing the laser sight, silencer and armor-piercing bullets.
The mayor's office declined to comment on the incident.
Copyright (C) 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO - Telegram: Contact @Adelaide_SA_everything
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 14:29
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VIDEO - (20) Australians vs. The Agenda î¨ on Twitter: "Almost every hospital in Australia is struggling to cope with the number of patients that are presenting to emergency. Lots of 'unexplained heart attacks, chest pains, respiratory issues.' You c
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 14:14
Australians vs. The Agenda î¨ : Almost every hospital in Australia is struggling to cope with the number of patients that are presenting to emergen'... https://t.co/7kd0n8T6Ez
Wed Apr 13 08:06:41 +0000 2022
VIDEO - (30) Sir Richard Taylor 🌼 on Twitter: "I kid you not this is Justin Trudeau https://t.co/huyKiWxVUh" / Twitter
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 14:11
Sir Richard Taylor 🌼 : I kid you not this is Justin Trudeau https://t.co/huyKiWxVUh
Sat Apr 09 16:00:33 +0000 2022
VIDEO - 1970s Mainstream Media Ice Age Fearmongering
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 13:07
218 rumbles
''Warm periods like ours last only 10,000 years, but ours has already lasted 12,000. So if the rhythm is right, we are over-ready for a return of the ice,'' Smith said in his comment on the January 18, 1977, ABC evening newscast.
VIDEO - Clashes in Shanghai, China, over Covid lockdown evictions '' BBC News - YouTube
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 12:05
VIDEO - FDA Investigating If Illnesses Are Linked To Lucky Charms Cereal - YouTube
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 11:55
VIDEO - Shanghai residents forced from their homes
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 11:51
Harry and Meghan attend the Invictus Games 01:50
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Russia launches new attack on capital city 02:30
South Carolina mall shooting leaves 12 injured 02:11
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VIDEO - White House Says The Quiet Part Out Loud, Confesses Jabs Killing People Of Color At An Alarming Rate [VIDEO]
Sun, 17 Apr 2022 11:30
WASHINGTON, DC '' On April 14th, the White House debuted a virtual event dubbed ''Convening on Equity,'' where among the presenters featured was Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra who made the astonishing announcement that the COVID jabs were killing off ''people of color'' at a rate twice as high as white Americans.
''Secondly, by having better data, we can do a couple of things. Vaccines a year ago today, by the way, we know that vaccines are killing people of color, blacks, Latinos, indigenous people at about two times the rate of white Americans. So, on vaccines last year, we saw that about two-thirds of white American adults had received at least one shot of vaccine.
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''That was just barely over 50% for black Americans and Latinos at that particular time. So again, we've got to work. Today, a year later, over 80% of white American adults have received at least one shot. Over 80% of black American adults have received at least one shot. Over 80% of Latino Americans have received at least one vaccine shot.''
MORE NEWS: Controlled Burn- Learn How the Fed Used the Covid Lockdown to Wreck the Economy [VIDEO]
The gravity of the HHS secretary outwardly linking these COVID shots to killing people is certainly something, considering that the Biden administration has been a massive advocate of the ''safe and effective'' narrative surrounding these shots.
Get Dr. Zev Zelenko M.D.'s NEW Z-DTOX and Z-Stack Protocol, use code RVM for discount
As time goes on, we're learning more about the adverse effects caused by these COVID shots, with institutions who'd pressured society to take these very shots and quietly admit that they may not have been as ''safe'' as they were promoted to be.
Earlier in April, Red Voice Media reported on how the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged in a March newsletter that cases of ''sudden'' hearing loss and tinnitus were being linked to the COVID jabs, going so far as to admit ''alternative causes were not identified'' regarding the hearing loss and tinnitus cases.
Weeks earlier, Pfizer documents that were released unveiled a list of 1,291 different types of adverse reactions that were of ''special interest'' that occurred during the clinical trials of their COVID shot.
Of course, any talk of severe adverse reactions and even death stemming from these shots is not something that rests well with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, who likens the sharing of these jab-related injuries as being a criminal act.
Back on March 29th, Bourla mocked those who've lost loved ones from these shots, saying, ''They know that what they're saying is lying. But they do it despite that. There's an article with a picture of a man's wife 'I forced her to get the vaccine, and then because of the vaccine, she died.' I realize all of that lies, of course. And they did it, why? Because they wanted to convince people that they were on the fence to do the vaccine or not, don't do it. Look, his wife died. But forget that, that's nothing compared to how many people didn't do the vaccine and died because of that. So they are criminals.''
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Red Voice Media would like to make a point of clarification on why we do not refer to any shot related to COVID-19 as a "vaccine." According to the CDC, the definition of a vaccine necessitates that said vaccine have a lasting effect of at least one year in preventing the contraction of the virus or disease it's intended to fight. Because all of the COVID-19 shots thus far available have barely offered six months of protection, and even then not absolute, Red Voice Media has made the decision hereafter to no longer refer to the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson substances as vaccinations.
VIDEO - (1255) Chinese Government Scared - Flood Truth Exposed - YouTube
Sat, 16 Apr 2022 15:54
VIDEO - Fully vaccinated Australia now seeing massive rise in ''unexplained heart attacks'' '' NaturalNews.com
Sat, 16 Apr 2022 14:15
(Natural News) Now that most of Australia has received all required doses of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) ''vaccine'' as mandated by the government, the country's hospital system is overflowing with patients suffering from a variety of health problems.
One expert revealed that there has been a 40 percent rise in ''Code 1s,'' as well as lots of ''unexplained'' heart attacks, chest pains, and respiratory ailments. The situation sounds truly dire, but nobody seems to want to identify the elephant in the room, which is the injection.
''Sometimes you can't explain why those things happen,'' said the woman in the below interview, pleading ignorance on the matter.
When asked if she has any theories or ideas as to what might be causing this, the woman responded as follows:
''No, we don't have that information yet, uh, but, um, you know, what I do know, uh, and I'm hearing some interjections on the side, is that the vaccines actually help people stay out of hospital, and not put them in hospital.''
In other words, the official story is that nobody knows why all these people are getting sick, but that it is definitely not the jabs because those are supposedly keeping people out of the hospital.
Almost every hospital in Australia is struggling to come with the number of patients that are presenting to emergency.
Lots of ''unexplained'' heart attacks, chest pains, respiratory issues.
You can either blame the vaccine or government mismanagement '-- either way, they fk'd up. pic.twitter.com/O8InGsRkO9
'-- Tony (@mrtdogg_1) April 13, 2022
Do they really expect people to believe that the ''vaccines'' are somehow not responsible for this?This blatant denial of the obvious makes sense for Australia, which like its neighbor New Zealand has been subjected to extreme psychological abuse ever since the plandemic began.
The country was targeted by behavioral manipulation ''experts'' out of the United Kingdom who performed psychological experimentation and abuse on the Aussie population to ready residents for the wave of medical fascism that has overtaken society.
It only makes sense that those in the know are now playing dumb about these spikes in disease and death that are occurring throughout Australia, and presumably in many other parts of the world as well.
''They just can't admit it's the vaccine,'' wrote someone in the comments. ''I have NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER heard of Code 1 heart attacks jumping 30 percent in my lifetime for unexplained reasons. The world has gone certifiably insane.''
''Snake toxins will do that every time,'' said another.
How about the Australian politicians who pushed, and continue to push, the jabs? These people need to be held accountable for all these heart attacks, wrote someone else.
''Just wait until health insurance and life insurance companies get started with their lawsuits,'' chimed in another, to which someone else responded that this is the first time in his life he would root for the lawyers.
''It really makes you wonder how they ever linked cigarette smoking to lung cancer,'' said another, drawing an interesting parallel and contrast to how the establishment is so sure that covid jabs are not causing this uptick in heart disease, but also so sure that tobacco causes lung cancer despite a lack of conclusive evidence.
''You know what they are not linking, though, is the vape pen respiratory disease in the summer of 2019 that killed a bunch of people,'' suggested another. ''That was a covid trial.''
Someone else brought up the fact that all of this could have been avoided if only ivermectin had been distributed as opposed to the injections.
The latest news about the Chinese Virus can be found at Pandemic.news.
Sources include:
CitizenFreePress.com
Twitter.com
NaturalNews.com
VIDEO - (1255) Grapperhaus BLOKKEERT onafhankelijk onderzoek naar kindermisbruik! - YouTube
Sat, 16 Apr 2022 13:40

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1970s Mainstream Media Ice Age Fearmongering ABC News jan 18 1977.mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Deborah Alfarone - taxes -70s reference (1min4sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Rhiannon Ally - remove your bird feeders (18sec).mp3
MSNBC Greta Thunberg bomb shell.mp3
Mika Brzezinski- “Our Job” to “Control Exactly What People Think”[2017 redux].mp3
The Professor and Kara Anne - Elon free speech isn't popular - Hate Listen.mp3
ABC Live - anchor Katy Hartung - twitter poison pill (1min36sec).mp3
FDA Investigating If Illnesses Are Linked To Lucky Charms Cereal [But vax investigation - NO].mp3
WEF Known Traveler Digital Identity Canada Netherlands.mp3
Biden on prostitution wtf.mp3
China and Russia space wars ntd.mp3
China and worl bank ntd.mp3
Dawson ANCR Scott Ritter 2 on Bucha.mp3
Dawson ANCR Scott Ritter 3 on Bucha.mp3
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ISO love that.mp3
ISO SPecial.mp3
ISO Words.mp3
Leftish proterstors get good deal npr.mp3
Mariupol Update BBC NPR.mp3
Peterson on lies to women and babies.mp3
Pope lent easter ukraine.mp3
Sanctions are just punative NPR.mp3
Sinking of the Mosckva 1 F24.mp3
Sinking of the Mosckva 2 F24.mp3
Sinking of the Mosckva Intro FD24.mp3
UKRAINE f24 war analysis 2.mp3
UKRAINE f24 war nalysis.mp3
visiting Taiwan clip.mp3
Women online 2 NPR.mp3
Women online 3 NPR.mp3
Women online 6 NPR.mp3
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Women online NPR 7 finaqle.mp3
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Apple iPhone production in China.mp3
BBC SUBCLIP Kiev location.mp3
Biden genocide comment npr.mp3
USA says its preparing for WWIII propaganda war.mp3
Shanghai Covid lockdowns forcing people out of homes [white POLICE hzamat suits] BBC.mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Ike Ejochi - california delays school mandate (24sec).mp3
ABC GMA3 - anchor Dr Jen Ashton - pfizer trial data for kids (1min2sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Rhiannon Ally - florida -roe v wade (19sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Ike Ejochi - covid breathalyzer (31sec).mp3
InspectIR PNY-1000 [covid breathalyzer] (55sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Chris Livsay - russian flagship sunk (1min6sec).mp3
CIA now blames the MH370 777 disappearance on RUSSIA.mp3
Trudeau - Stand for Ukraine and ourselves.mp3
Aussie Footballer Ollie Wines taken off-field during the game and diagnosed with MyocarditisSelection.mp3
Australian Health Minister cannot explain sharp rise in heart attacks - NOT VAXX.mp3
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra - Convening Equity GAFFE.mp3
Sky Sports show Weekend Panel discussing the incident and openly talking about vaccine injuries.mp3
South Australia’s New Premier Made An Oooopsie [PLANdemic].mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Imtiaz Tyab - israeli palestini clash (1min2sec).mp3
14 injured in shooting at South Carolina's Columbiana Centre mall.mp3
Chicago mayor's security detail catches man with military-grade weaponry near Millennium Park.mp3
  • 0:00
    Babies are being vaporized.
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    Adam curry, John C. Dvorak. April 17 2022 This is your award
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    winning get my nation media assassination episode 1443.
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    This is no agenda,
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    probing the poison pill and broadcasting live from the heart
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    of the Texas hill country here in FEMA Region number six in
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    morning, everybody. I'm Adam curry
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    from Northern Silicon Valley where I'm looking forward to
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    yakking burgers tonight. I'm John C. Dvorak.
  • 0:29
    Buzzkill. Yes. This is a typical California staple for Easter.
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    Yak burgers used to be rabbit.
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    the 70s people would always be eating rabbit.
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    We had a nice little French restaurant to go.
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    Oh, this is the one that close. This is the one that closed the
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    gap.
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    lips polishes rubbing our lips hard.
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    we just made a new dish. I think we need to publish a recipe.
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    burgers. Where'd you get the Yak?
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    Mimi got the Yak from a supplier in Montana. Nice. I believe it
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    but there's a bunch of Yak. It seems as though most of the Yak
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    grown for consumption is there in Texas? Yes. A lot of these
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    ranches that take advantage
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    of you know, I got to Yeah, well, we'll get into it where
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    everyone right now is just collecting rice and canned
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    goods. Here the hill country. It's really true. It's a silent
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    hunting rifles, the crossbows. They're preparing here in the
  • 2:19
    hill country. One, I'd like to get the Elon Musk news out of
  • 2:24
    the way right away because there's something in there that
  • 2:26
    we need to discuss as it pertains to the show.
  • 2:29
    Any Elon Musk clips? I do. I do know me. I don't know. I have
  • 2:35
    no, no. You have some serious, serious series and sequences. I
  • 2:39
    see. So that'll be interesting
  • 2:41
    bunches of those. Musk Musk Musk Musk must know, how about you
  • 2:45
    actually know there is a mosque in here? Yes. And I know what it
  • 2:48
    is. And in fact, they happen to be part of that one series that
  • 2:53
    long series on women online. Well, let's
  • 2:55
    wait for that. Then let's just go through let's go through the
  • 2:58
    top line. And then if you want we can get into women online.
  • 3:01
    Yeah, it has to do with Musk because he's going to ruin it
  • 3:04
    for everybody.
  • 3:04
    Well, as I predicted, he's going to ruin Twitter. And I think
  • 3:08
    he's well on his way
  • 3:09
    Twitter's board of directors with a major counter attack
  • 3:12
    designed to block Elon Musk's $43 billion bid members agreeing
  • 3:17
    on a poison pill strategy that could slow or even prevent a
  • 3:20
    corporate takeover like the one Musk proposed. But as ABC has
  • 3:24
    Kaylee Hartung tells us this is not foolproof.
  • 3:27
    Tonight after Elon Musk's bid to take over Twitter, the company's
  • 3:31
    board fighting back with a corporate defense tactic known
  • 3:33
    as a poison pill. Elon Musk or anyone else acquires 15% or more
  • 3:38
    of the social media platform. Twitter will allow other
  • 3:41
    existing shareholders to buy additional shares at a discount
  • 3:44
    just last week, Musk disclosing that he now owns more than 9% of
  • 3:48
    the company making him one of the largest shareholders. It
  • 3:51
    puts a blockade
  • 3:52
    up from us if he wants to go down the corporate raider route
  • 3:56
    to ultimately women his ability to build shares
  • 4:00
    it's Twitter's latest move to box out the world's wealthiest
  • 4:03
    man. Last week, they offered him a seat on their board. When he
  • 4:06
    found out he wouldn't be allowed to publicly criticize the
  • 4:09
    company. He turned it down. Twitter has become kind of the
  • 4:12
    de facto town square just hours after announcing his $43 billion
  • 4:16
    offer to buy Twitter on Twitter. Musk appearing at a TED
  • 4:19
    conference saying his buyout is extremely important to the
  • 4:22
    future of civilization. But he was evasive when asked what life
  • 4:26
    is offers rejected. Is there a plan B? There is. And Cecilia
  • 4:34
    Twitter says this plan is similar to other plans adopted
  • 4:37
    by publicly held companies in comparable circumstances. Now
  • 4:40
    Elon Musk is known to be unpredictable. So it's a wait
  • 4:43
    and see game for what his next move will be. Yeah,
  • 4:47
    yeah, this is you know, it's keeping Twitter alive, that's
  • 4:50
    for sure. That's all the conversation seems to be on
  • 4:53
    Twitter to man Ilan Oh, he's gonna do this. Who's gonna do
  • 4:56
    that? Now the poison pill is as far as I know from My public
  • 5:00
    company experience is not seen as a positive thing for the
  • 5:03
    market.
  • 5:07
    I think you're right. Yeah. poison pills are considered a
  • 5:09
    negative thing.
  • 5:10
    Because even if someone else, I mean, I thought that at least
  • 5:13
    maybe we'd get a bidding war. I'm sure there was maybe one,
  • 5:16
    perhaps two, maybe existing shareholders who would have
  • 5:19
    wanted to counter Ilan bid, but they too would be subject to
  • 5:23
    this poison pill. Correct.
  • 5:26
    Everyone would be Yeah,
  • 5:27
    yeah. So that. I mean, Monday, this seems like the stock should
  • 5:31
    open down, and Elon should be selling into it.
  • 5:35
    Well, that may be his Plan B. Yeah.
  • 5:38
    I don't think he has any other plan B. But as I said, What Ilan
  • 5:41
    does is he destroys things comes in, and he destroys things. And
  • 5:45
    this is a destruction of Twitter, which I'm personally
  • 5:47
    quite happy about. Now, what was interesting is the the response
  • 5:54
    from in this case, I just have to say, the left the politically
  • 5:58
    left leaning, who dominate Twitter, thanks to its content
  • 6:02
    policies. And I was so surprised how well this one, and it was
  • 6:09
    not wrong, to look at Mika Brzezinski saying, hey,
  • 6:14
    controlling the message, the narrative, that's our job. But
  • 6:17
    of course, I have this clip because we played it for the
  • 6:19
    first time in 2017.
  • 6:22
    Is it new version of it? No.
  • 6:24
    It's the same clip. It's the same.
  • 6:27
    Yes, you're talking about about Twitter being taken over by
  • 6:30
    musk. Now
  • 6:31
    note that if you if you look at the tweet that everyone
  • 6:36
    retweeted, it says Mika Brzezinski talking about Elon
  • 6:39
    Musk, he's not this was talking about Trump back in 2017. About
  • 6:43
    him possibly creating a media company etc. She does not
  • 6:49
    mention trumping Ilan in this. It is the same clip I went back
  • 6:53
    to chatting me that that clip. I don't have a copy. I do. I have
  • 6:56
    three copies, of course. But I don't know about the of course
  • 7:01
    part of that. But well see. I mean, this is just a recycled
  • 7:05
    old clip as being pawned off. Yes, sir. I'm not an officer.
  • 7:10
    But okay. Nor gentlemen. I did not catch that. Yeah.
  • 7:14
    Well, this, I was going to say that this is why you support the
  • 7:18
    show. Now, there's two ways to support
  • 7:21
    this show.
  • 7:22
    There's two of us. There's two of us, luckily, and I caught
  • 7:26
    this right away. I'm like, Oh, my God. This is a recycled clip.
  • 7:28
    But it was so interesting that whoever launched this first put
  • 7:33
    in Mika Brzezinski talking about Elon Musk taking over Twitter.
  • 7:37
    And if you listen, there's no mention of Elon in the clip, and
  • 7:39
    I went back. And yes, I do have three copies of the clip,
  • 7:42
    because we've played it three times throughout the show's
  • 7:45
    history since 2017. And although she still said it, which is the
  • 7:51
    beauty of it, he got almost no traction back then. But be aware
  • 7:56
    that when people post stuff, this is manipulative, and lots
  • 8:01
    of people fell for people even argued me on it. It's like,
  • 8:05
    well, here, why don't I send you the clip from 2017? Here it is.
  • 8:09
    Exactly. That is that's exactly what
  • 8:12
    I hear what you Misha said, is what I hear from all the Trump
  • 8:16
    supporters that I talked to who were Trump voters, and are still
  • 8:20
    Trump supporters, they go, Yeah, you guys are going crazy. He's
  • 8:23
    doing what are you so surprised about? He's doing exactly what
  • 8:26
    he said he's going to do?
  • 8:28
    Well, and I think that the dangerous edges here are that
  • 8:33
    he's trying to undermine the media, trying to make up his own
  • 8:36
    facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the
  • 8:41
    economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much
  • 8:45
    that he can actually control exactly what people think. And
  • 8:50
    that is the that is
  • 8:51
    our job. Yes.
  • 8:54
    Yeah, that was 2017 but she said it because that's exactly how
  • 8:58
    the left in the United States think they think hey, we need to
  • 9:02
    control this. Everything that is that we deemed dumb is
  • 9:06
    unscientific, stupid conspiratorial, that should be
  • 9:10
    kicked off. So now let's play something from the tardes from
  • 9:13
    2022. This is my hate Listen, the professor and cairanne,
  • 9:19
    better known as Scott Galloway, and Kara Swisher, but that's not
  • 9:24
    my new name, the professor and caravan and they're talking,
  • 9:27
    they can't get enough of talking about Elon, but listen to what,
  • 9:33
    what the thinking is. It's really outdated thinking
  • 9:37
    considering how this podcast has thrived for 15 years.
  • 9:42
    And when he has a vision for Mars. It's the right vision and
  • 9:45
    I think he can articulate something really compelling and
  • 9:48
    I don't understand half of what he's saying, Well, I'm like this
  • 9:49
    guy knows what he's talking about when he talks about moving
  • 9:52
    equipment into the atmosphere for less money using reusable
  • 9:55
    rockets when he talks about electric vehicles. He He has
  • 10:00
    absolutely no vision here other than First Amendment blather he
  • 10:05
    hasn't been able to articulate him. Yeah, okay it but there's
  • 10:10
    none of that makes any sense. What does it want to kill a live
  • 10:12
    puppy on Twitter spaces? What would it? What is he talking
  • 10:15
    about recently? Yeah.
  • 10:17
    All right. If you why wouldn't you buy? Why? Why wouldn't you
  • 10:19
    just buy gab parlor true social rumble Mastodon Diaz? Why
  • 10:24
    wouldn't you do that?
  • 10:25
    Because this is the price okay, why wouldn't you migrate Dane
  • 10:30
    just took a dump the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Why wouldn't
  • 10:32
    you buy that there's more value in that than any of the firm's
  • 10:34
    you just mentioned here. Okay, root social getter. And what's
  • 10:38
    the other one gab, gab, but it's dawn rumble rumble? They love
  • 10:44
    they love this whole big First Amendment free speech thing. And
  • 10:47
    because they want to they want to blow paper over the fact that
  • 10:50
    more people they're not very good business. More people are
  • 10:52
    downloading kirtans.com app, then there then there. There's
  • 10:57
    no meeting on these platforms. They don't work.
  • 10:59
    Yeah. They are on Twitter. So this is the one this is the one
  • 11:03
    that someone wants to own.
  • 11:05
    Oh, this says it all. Wow.
  • 11:09
    I mean, I'm, I'm not doing it. But I was going to me I could
  • 11:13
    easily give you a clip of the day for No, no,
  • 11:15
    we can't. I won't accept it. I won't accept it for a hate clip.
  • 11:19
    I cannot in good conscience except today. Now for a hatless
  • 11:24
    Hey relishing those clips. So couple things here first of all,
  • 11:29
    was the first amendment free speech blather What is he wants
  • 11:33
    to do? Kill a puppy on Twitter spaces?
  • 11:37
    Is Twitter space is still a thing apparently. I know I guess
  • 11:41
    so.
  • 11:42
    Yeah, I'm sure it is. I'm sure people use it. But then Kara
  • 11:47
    Swisher technology. Opinions just for the New York Times.
  • 11:52
    Talks about Mastodon as if it's for sale, idiot. No, you can't
  • 11:57
    buy Mastodon and then they both agree that these platforms don't
  • 12:02
    work. This this this free speech First Amendment blather. No one
  • 12:06
    wants it. It's less popular than the curtains.com. App. And so
  • 12:11
    this this will Yes.
  • 12:13
    First of all, if that's the way you feel, then what's the what's
  • 12:18
    the bitch?
  • 12:19
    Yeah. Well, I think he's probably a shareholder of
  • 12:24
    Twitter. So he's annoyed. He doesn't like
  • 12:28
    to make 10 bucks a share out of the blue and he's annoyed.
  • 12:30
    What's wrong with these people?
  • 12:32
    But the thing that they're missing is that when you take
  • 12:35
    all those names, and you put them together, that's where the
  • 12:39
    power is. That is the power of the decentralized world we're
  • 12:42
    moving towards. That's what we're a part of. That's what no
  • 12:44
    agenda social.com is a part of. Yeah. Are they are they? Are
  • 12:48
    they worth billions of dollars? No, not at all. Are they worth
  • 12:52
    billions of dollars to us to the no agenda? Gitmo nation? Yeah,
  • 12:56
    of course. It's our lifeline. It works. It works really well. We
  • 13:00
    communicate with other groups. We get pissed off, we do
  • 13:03
    whatever we want. And these guys are still in the oh, let's keep
  • 13:06
    all that free speech blather out of the way. They're gonna lose
  • 13:10
    so hard. It's gonna be so bad. Anyway, yeah. I'm glad Elon is
  • 13:17
    ruining Twitter. That's a good that's a good thing. All right.
  • 13:20
    Now, let's do your Elan in the women online if that's where you
  • 13:23
    want to go now?
  • 13:24
    Well, I might as well because you have Elan is used as the
  • 13:27
    hook is very creative. They have this woman come on who just did
  • 13:31
    a book about women being you know, being excoriated online.
  • 13:36
    And I got way too many clips to this. But it's so interesting to
  • 13:39
    at least to me, you can kill this this whole bit if you if
  • 13:42
    you think is not good. But I'll tell you this. I like the way
  • 13:46
    they use isla. They use Elon as a hook at the beginning and then
  • 13:49
    they use them as a hook. At the end. It's got nothing to
  • 13:52
    do with Elon, so they use Elon as bookends is what you're
  • 13:55
    saying?
  • 13:56
    Pretty much. Yeah. And so, Elon sandwich. Women online NPR
  • 14:05
    tech titan, Elon Musk has launched a hostile bid to take
  • 14:08
    over Twitter, the social media platform favored by many
  • 14:11
    politicians, celebrities and journalists. That's because he
  • 14:14
    says he's a free speech absolutist. And he says the
  • 14:18
    platform now has too many rules about what people can say. But
  • 14:21
    our next guest says there's a group of people who are
  • 14:23
    essentially censored on social media right now. women,
  • 14:27
    especially women of color, oh, women.
  • 14:30
    Women of color have the loudest voice in all media right now.
  • 14:34
    Are you kidding me? You don't even have to know what a form
  • 14:36
    990 is. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. You're
  • 14:40
    lying. You're lying to make it sound like the these two women
  • 14:44
    they're going to be yakking away here are full of crap.
  • 14:46
    No, I'm sorry, r&d.
  • 14:49
    Because of the vicious, sexist and racist abuse they're
  • 14:52
    subjected to online. Nina Janka, which is known for her research
  • 14:56
    on online disinformation and its effect on democracy her latest
  • 14:59
    book It's called How to be a woman online.
  • 15:02
    scribes. Well, asked Mark Bogner, he knows how you should
  • 15:07
    be online
  • 15:08
    during detail the vastly disproportionate attacks that
  • 15:10
    women face compared to men when they try to have an online
  • 15:14
    presence. And she's with us now to tell us more. Nina Jenkins,
  • 15:16
    welcome. Thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for having
  • 15:19
    me.
  • 15:19
    Oh, yeah, no, she didn't do it. Right. Yeah, she's i Hi, Imogen,
  • 15:28
    do we know where she's from? What so she's a real she's one