1473: Meth Raging

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 17m
July 31st, 2022
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Executive Producers: Sir StonksTrader of the Philly Suburbs, Chef Rob McCue, Marion Roaman, Oregon Local 33: The Sane Portlanders, Mark Stokesbury, Stephen Deane, Viscount of the Fox Valley and Chicago Suburbs, Sir Kyle, Baron Grape Drink, clayton moses, Sir Alexander, Black Knight, of Middle Cascadia

Associate Executive Producers: Brian "The Preacher", Stefan Prokop, Sir Mark Jeremy Dytham Duke of Japan and all the Disputed Islands in the Japan Sea, Big Sweetie, Jocelyn Cardenas, Jackson Moore, TJ of the Side Eye, Paul St. Laurent

Cover Artist: Cesium 137


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McDonald's Ends McPlant Test in U.S. | QSR magazine
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 17:00
McDonald's completed its test of the McPlant, without any announcement of a future national rollout.
The burger chain confirmed with media outlets that it ended the pilot as planned, but JP Morgan analysts Ken Goldman and Anoori Naughton said "the reason sometimes being cited is that the product did not sell well enough."
McDonald's U.S. began testing the Beyond Meat product in November in Texas, Iowa, Louisiana, and California markets. In December, global financial services firm BTIG said the product "performed exceptionally well" and that restaurants were selling approximately 500 McPlant burgers per week, or 70 per day, with little operational complexity. As a comparison, Burger King sells about 20 Impossible Whoppers per day, per restaurant.
In February, the experiment expanded to roughly 600 stores, with about 350 in Dallas-Fort Worth and 260 in the San Francisco Bay Area. This particular test did not appear to follow suit. BTIG analyst Peter Saleh said in March the McPlant was underperforming and stores were selling about 20 sandwiches per day, and only three to five in rural areas. The low volume meant the item had to be cooked to order, which lengthened drive-thru times by about a minute.
"Franchisee sentiment on the sales performance was underwhelming," Saleh said in the note. "Their assessment was that they don't see enough evidence to support a national rollout in the near future."
The McPlant was first introduced in the fall of 2020, and by February, McDonald's chose Beyond Meat as its preferred supplier. The McPlant patty is composed of ingredients like peas, rice, and potatoes. It's served on a sesame seed bun with tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and a slice of American cheese. The McPlant is described as a product for flexitarians as opposed to vegans, since it's cooked on the same equipment as meat menu items.
The burger is showing more acceptance in Europe. McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said in January that after a successful pilot in 250 stores, the McPlant launched in all restaurants across the U.K. and Ireland.
"As I've said before, when customers are ready for McPlant, we'll be ready for them," the executive told investors.
The McPlant has also been tested in Austria and the Netherlands. McDonald's Australia rolled out the item across 270 restaurants, according to Vegconomist.
Governments ramp up demands for user info, Twitter warns | AP News
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 16:59
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Twitter warned Thursday that governments around the globe are asking the company to remove content or snoop on private details of user accounts at an alarming rate.
The social media company revealed in a new report that it fielded a record number of legal demands '-- nearly 60,000 during a six-month period last year '--- from local, state or national governments that wanted Twitter to remove content from accounts or reveal confidential information such as direct messages or user locations.
''We're seeing governments become more aggressive in how they try to use legal tactics to unmask the people using our service, collect information about account owners and also using legal demands as a way to try and silence people,'' Yoel Roth, the head of Twitter's safety and integrity, said in a conversation broadcast on the site Thursday.
The U.S. makes up the majority of demands for account information, accounting for 20% of the requests. India follows closely behind. Twitter says it complied fully with roughly 40% of all asks for information on user accounts.
Japan, which is also a frequent requestor for account information, makes the most requests of Twitter to take down content from accounts. Japan made more than 23,000 requests '-- half of all requests '-- for content to be removed. Russia followed closely behind on its takedown asks.
Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, also reported an increase in government asks for private user data during the same timeframe.
Twitter also reported a huge spike in requests from governments that targeted verified journalists and news outlets during the last half of 2021.
Governments also made a record number of legal demands on 349 accounts of verified journalists or news outlets around the globe between July and December of last year '-- a 103% increase.
Twitter did not provide a breakdown of which countries made those requests on journalists' accounts or how many of the asks they complied with.
Governments are using the social media companies to silence critics and censor journalists, Rob Mahoney, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press.
''This surge in government demands for content takedowns and information on journalists is part of a global trend of increasing censorship and manipulation of information,'' Mahoney said. ''Social media platforms are vital for reporters and they must do more to resist government attempts to silence critical voices.''
Library : One-World Church Expected This Year | Catholic Culture
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 16:59
by Cornelia R. Ferreira
Acknowledgements to Catholic Family News.
One-World Church Expected This Year
One of the long-standing goals of the Masonic New World Order seems finally within grasp: its one-world church, in the making for over 150 years, is about to become institutionalized as the United Religions Organization—the UR. Collaborating on the details are Bishop William Swing of the Episcopal Diocese of California, the Communist Gorbachev Foundation/USA, and certain leaders of the Catholic Church, working through the interreligious organization known as the World Conference on Religion and Peace.
Plans for the formation of the UR were first revealed by Bishop Swing at the syncretic service held to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter. Attending the service in San Francisco's Grace Episcopal Cathedral on June 25, 1995, were representatives of all religions as well as political and spiritual luminaries like Princess Margaret of Britain, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, then President Lech Walesa of Poland and UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
One might ask why a religious service (of sorts—it was permeated with consciousness-raising politics) was held to mark the founding of a political group. The answer is that interfaith religiosity is now a must for important social or cultural events, especially those involving world figures, as this gives credibility and form to the concept of a one-world religion and community. The separation of church and state does not apply to the Masonic Church and State. But there was another reason why religious groups and leaders were part of this particular celebration. Rev. Alan Jones, dean of the cathedral, said the service was "also a summons to the great religious traditions of the world to be in deeper conversation with each other ... as workers for peace, as guarantors of the sacredness of the earth...."
A Multi-Deity Service
According to the San Francisco Chronicle 1,"prayers, chants and incantations were offered to a dozen deities". But the tone... for the United Religions Organization was really set by a pantheistic ceremony in which children from around the world mingled water from over thirty so-called "sacred waters" in "a great bowl of unity", to the accompaniment of an international) children's choir singing a mournful dirge from the blasphemous Missa Gaia (the earth-worshipping concert originally commissioned by New York's Episcopal Cathedral, St. John the Divine). Mixed together was water from such sources as the. Ganges, Amazon, Red Sea, Jordan and Lourdes. Bishop Swing intoned, "As these sacred waters find confluence here, may the city that chartered the nations of the world bring together the religions of the world."
According to UR literature and articles on and by Bishop Swing, the UR will be launched with the writing of its charter in June, 1997. The institution should be in place by June, 2000, and fully operational by June, 2005. It will be located at the Presidio, the former military base in San Francisco.
Patterned after the UN, with a General Assembly, a Security Council and a Secretary-General, the UR is meant to be for religions what the UN is for nations. It will be a "permanent gathering center where the world's religions engage in daily prayer, dialogue, and action for the good of all life on this earth". The religions will also daily share with the public their sacred scriptures, music, prayers and wisdom. Rather than the Light of Christ, the UR will shine, declares Bishop Swing, "the light of the world's spiritual traditions [paganism and occultism included] into a world desperately in need of light". Parallelling the World Bank, the United Religions will have a "Value Bank" whose investments are aimed at solving issues of environment, population, poverty or disease.
The Presidio has been chosen as the headquarters for the one-world church as part of the Presidio "vision" of being "transformed from a military post into a national park unlike any other. It will pioneer a new role for a national park by creating a global center dedicated to addressing the world's most critical environmental, social and cultural challenges. The Presidio's new role symbolizes the swords into ploughshares concept." It is hoped that the UR headquarters will become "a magnificent and inspiring showcase for the world's religions".
According to the San Francisco Chronicle 2, Swing wants the Vatican City—so to speak—of the one-world religion to include a "Hall of Speaking, Hall of Listening, Hall of Action, Hall of Meeting" and "a world religions theme park to ... foster better understanding of other faiths." Who will finance all this? "Arab money, Jewish money, Christian ... and other foundations," says Swing. By January he already had $150,000 in "seed money" from unnamed private foundations.
When Richard Scheinin of the San Jose Mercury News 3 asked him how he could justify spending "hundreds of millions of dollars" on the UR complex, rather than distributing the money to the needy, he replied: "It costs a lot of money to have a united anything... But once [religions are] together, they will generate money to ... benefit the poor. And if the religions ... can keep peoples from murdering and raping and torturing each other, that's an awfully big dividend."
Pantheism, Fox, and "Raves"
Swing is worried that religions "are the missing voice at the table of accountability in the world". He sees the UR as an "attempt to bring accountability to the religious forum".
"We're on the threshold of the first global civilization", he told Scheinin. "But there is no global access to [the] soul ... I think that as we become one global unit, we have to find out where religion is in regard to our global tribe."
What Swing seems to be saying is that pantheism, the heresy that everything in the universe is joined together with God in one unified force, is not yet a universally accepted idea. Pantheism is implied by terms such as interconnected, interdependent, global village, global tribe, world community, global civilization, family of nations, etc. A pantheistic world community must, by definition, have unity of religion (i.e., syncretism is pantheism). So Swing says, "the UR will be a symbol that people of faith share a profound belief that all of life is interconnected and that unity is worth striving for". His implied threat is that those who do not subscribe to the "profound belief" of pantheism will be held accountable by the world religious authority—the UR—for causing disunity and strife.
The bishop is friendly with ax-Dominican Matthew Fox, who is now an Episcopalian priest under him. In the fall of 1994, Grace Cathedral was the site of Fox's environmentally-oriented Planetary Mass, an adaptation of a "rave" Anglican Mass he had attended in England. The Dallas Morning News4 described the blasphemous service as a mixture of Christian ritual, occultism, earth worship, theosophy, creation spirituality and an "all-night 'rave' celebrating God and Mother Nature". One participant said it was "totally wild."
"Raves" are dance happenings or love-ins, featuring thunderous techno-music, lasers, strobes, thick smoke and, usually, psychedelic drugs. Presumably drugs were absent at Grace Cathedral, but the bishop himself participated in the dancing, and when quizzed about the service's "pop-culture approach", replied, "Let 'em rave, for God's sake."
Bishop Swing has employed the occult symbolism of earth, air, fire and water in his writings and in his cathedral. He has written that our age is "reversing" "the Noah story where water drowned people". "Now the world is drowning in people.... The water shortage will tell us when the flood has begun." An occult orientation and an anti-population stance, are, of course, standard requirements for any would-be citizen of the new world civilization.
Global Support Vs. "Fundamentalist Resistance"
Swing has support in high places. He has been consulting UN religious Non-Governmental Organizations as well as interfaith leaders and other celebrities about the UR. He says he has been given the "green light" from many people, including Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and the Islamic head of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. This spring he made what he called a "pilgrimage" to the world's religious leaders to gather support. His itinerary took him to King Hussein of Jordan, as well as Rome, Canterbury, Cairo, Jerusalem and other cities. He breathlessly reported an enthusiastic response from Mother Teresa (who later was warned about him and asked to withdraw her support).
After his "pilgrimage", Bishop Swing and his two main collaborators, the Gorbachev Foundation and the World Conference on Religion and Peace, hosted an Interfaith Summit in San Francisco in June. Its theme was "The World's Religions and the Emerging Global Civilization." Its goals were:
(1) "to examine the points of resistance" to the UR concept (emphasis added);
(2) to "create a process leading to a UR charter-writing conference in June 1997"; and
(3) to develop an agenda for presenting the UR vision to the world at Gorbachev's second State of the World Forum, October 2nd-6th.
One "point of resistance" examined was "fundamentalism." As reported by the San Jose Mercury News5, New Ager Robert Muller (a former UN Assistant Secretary-General who was groomed by U Thant to further the UN goal of uniting the world's religions) declared that fundamentalism's "inflexible belief systems" "play an incendiary role in global conflicts". "Peace will be impossible", he said, "without the taming of fundamentalism through a United Religions that professes faithfulness 'only to the global spirituality and to the health of this planet'."
While agreeing that fundamentalism is a "challenge to peace", Swing said fundamentalists are "not the enemy" and they will "bring great gifts to the family of the world". This disagreement between leaders of the religious tolerance school is more than ironic; it reflects the difficulty the UR faces in dealing with the New Age belief that fundamentalists and "creedal religions" cause divisions and wars. More importantly, as articulated by the very influential medium and futurist, Barbara Marx Hubbard, they are seen as holding back the progress of the New World Order and the evolution of the universe towards godhood, an evolution that can only take place under conditions of peace. Hubbard has actually threatened fundamentalists—orthodox Catholics included—with extinction.
The Gorbachev Foundation, one of Bishop Swing's partners, was set up several months before the demise of the USSR as the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It is located at the Presidio. Gorbachev is still a professed Communist. Communism, a Masonic tool, has long been involved in forming the one-world religion. In fact, Communism, which is a form of pantheism has been promoted as the basis for a one-world religion and world unity. Communists have been attending international interfaith conferences for years, even whilst they were the "enemy".
Gorbachev's Global Brain Trust
The Gorbachev Foundation convened the first State of the World Forum in San Francisco in September, 1995. Its goal was to begin a five-year process of articulating the "fundamental priorities, values and actions necessary to guide humanity as it develops the first global civilization". Gorbachev proposed a "global brain trust"—an elite leadership—to provide guidance.
Brain trust contenders present at the Forum included James Baker, then Prime Minister Tansu Ciller of Turkey, George Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Brian Mulroney, Vaclav Havel, George Schultz, Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates, Robert Muller, Matthew Fox, Carl Sagan, Shirley MacLaine and former Humanist of the Year, Ted Turner of CNN, who gave an address. Pagans and witches rounded out the attendees.
The Interim6 reported that the Forum's main theme was population control. As Gorbachev revealed, "... we shall have to address the problem of controlling the world's population." This theme was woven through the topics of global governance, global security and so on, but "nowhere was the theme more evident", said The Interim, "than in the discussions around religion". In the main, Christianity was blamed for the "population dilemma".
The conference summary noted: "there was a very strong agreement [amongst participants] that religious institutions have to take primary responsibility for the population explosion. We must speak far more clearly about sexuality, about contraception, about abortion, ... because the ecological crisis ... is the population crisis. Cut the population by 90% and there aren't enough people left to do a great deal of ecological damage."
Kungly "Values"
The second State of the World Forum this month, at which the UR is to be unveiled for the world, intends to pursue the development of a humanistic global ethic, a set of "basic values" shared by the world's religions, which would allow increased cooperation between them. Chief designer of the global ethic is Hans Kung, the discredited Catholic theologian, who says consensus will decide the contents of the global ethic. Kung has tried unsuccessfully for several years to get this consensus.
In 1991, he told the UN that "religions must ... work with world outlooks that are not religious but that propose views on the deep meaning of life and ethics for living." The global ethic "must center on both man and the universe so that humanistic and religious precepts are included". In 1993, Kung presented his global ethic to the syncretic Parliament of the World's Religions conference in Chicago (hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese). The document said that spiritual renewal "can come about if people embrace the 'ethics underlying the world's religions, whether or not they believe in any of the religions concerned" (all emphases added). Kung's global ethic has nothing to do with Christianity. It takes the platforms of justice and peace, women's rights, environmentalism, and tolerance of vice and sin and turns them into humanistic commandments that replace the Ten Commandments.
Ethics (also called "universal values") are "in" today because, as opposed to the absoluteness of the Decalogue, they are changeable rules. As Robert Muller explains, "Each generation must decide what is right and wrong. We need a science [not a religion] to define what is good and bad. We need ethics in time: What is right today may not be right tomorrow." Revealing the totalitarianism of the New Age, Muller "recommends that each nation establish commissions on ethics to control every aspect of ethics".
Global ethicists are actually following Helena Blavatsky, founder of the New Age Movement. Blavatsky said she wished to revive Second—and Third—Century theosophy, which aimed "to reconcile all religions, sects and nations under a common system of ethics" and "to induce [religions] to lay aside their ... strifes, remembering only that they [all possessed] the same truth" or "ancient wisdom".
The World Conference on Religion and Peace
Bishop Swing's other main partner is the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP). It is through this organization that the Catholic Church has become closely involved in founding the United Religions. The WCRP, with strong Catholic representation, was launched in 1970. It had been conceived in 1960 by four American religious leaders, including John Cardinal Wright. The Catholic Archbishop of New Delhi, Angelo Fernandes, was its first international president. The WCRP's 1979 conference featured an interfaith service in St. Patrick's Cathedral. in New York, presided over by Cardinal Cooke.
The UR reflects WCRP goals, such as a world parliament of religions upholding "the common good of all people"—which is precisely what the UR will be, for besides dispensing spirituality, it will also be a debating and resolution-making body —a parliament—"for global good". Also, the WCRP is planning an International Centre for Religion and Conflict Resolution (funded by the Rockefeller Foundation), whilst the UR envisions training peacemaker teams of spiritual leaders, retired politicians and conflict-resolution specialists for world trouble spots (witness the many retired politicians at the first State of the World Forum).
The WCRP promotes planetary rather than national citizenship, i.e., it promotes world government. Archbishop Fernandes, like Robert Muller and other notables, is a "primary endorser" of the New World Order organization, Planetary. Citizens, which is now openly occult.
The WCRP is a UN Non-Governmental Organization, headquartered at the United Nations in New York, with chapters in several countries. It works closely with the UN, UNICEF and UNESCO. Dr. John Humphrey, a past president of the Canadian chapter, wrote the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The WCRP promoted its agenda at the UN's Cairo, Copenhagen and Beijing Conferences and held an interfaith service at Copenhagen.
Catholic Involvement
The importance of the World Conference on Religion and Peace was recently underscored when the Vatican hosted the first session of its sixth General Assembly in November, 1994. The conference theme was "Healing the World: Religions for Peace". This was the first time an official interfaith conference had been convened at the Holy See. In his opening address, the Pope told the 900 representatives of the world's religions assembled in the Synod Hall that "religious leaders must clearly show that they are pledged to the promotion of peace" and religions must "engage in a dialogue of mutual understanding and peace on the basis of the values they share". He ended by remarking, "The Vatican is open to you. I hope you all return soon."
Besides the many non-Christian speakers, the conference featured Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez, one of the founders of liberation theology; the President of the Rockefeller Foundation (which provided financing); Hans Kung, a WCRP international president, discredited by the Pope as a Catholic theologian, but called to present his global ethic (the Assembly sub-theme was "Isolation and Indifference: Searching for a Global Ethic"); and Cardinal Martini of Milan, who is friendly towards Masonry, who wants another Vatican Council to reconsider women's ordination, priestly celibacy and contraception, and who is promoting himself as the next Pope. Also speaking were Roger Cardinal Etchegaray, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Francis Cardinal Arinze, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Cardinal Etchegaray, aided by the WCRP, was the chief organizer of the first Assisi interreligious prayer meeting in 1986. Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria is a World Advisor to the syncretic World Thanksgiving Square in Dallas, Texas, with whom he has a long-standing association. The high-profile Cardinal, who issued joyful greetings to Buddhists for their feast of Vesakh on June 1st, is also considered a front-runner in the race to succeed Pope John Paul II.
The WCRP conference featured prayers and meditation rituals from different religions both at the Vatican and at the secondary conference site, Riva del Garda. The Pope listened to Koranic verses and Jewish, Shinto, Buddhist and Hindu invocations for peace, said Inside the Vatican7. The February, 1995, WCRP newsletter reported that the conference's final declaration acknowledged the new world community taking shape, affirmed "the sacredness of the earth and our unity with it", and asserted that "sharing of sacred texts, respectful observance of other religious traditions and participation in common meditation can facilitate mutual enrichment and inspiration...." These are the exact sentiments of the UR, which the WCRP is helping to found.
Peace Without the Prince of Peace
The bait of the syncretic movement is peace. A world tired of warfare—much of it deliberately fomented—will eagerly follow anyone who promises peace. It does not look like the UN will produce peace by the New Age target date of 2000 A.D. So the torch has been passed to religions. With Communism (which Our Lady of Fatima accused of provoking wars) conveniently "dead" it is easy to engender supposedly religious wars, blame religions in general for conflicts past and present, then tell them they have a responsibility to work for religious unity and peace. This, anyhow, is the propaganda. The hidden agenda, however, made clear by the statements of syncretists themselves, is to unite people under one religion so that they will peacefully accept the one-world government. Unstated is their hope that Catholicism, the real target of all this activity, would finally be destroyed— peacefully, by indifferentism.
To avoid being drawn into syncretism, Catholics have to recognize and reject the three wrong premises on which the New Age concept of peace is based.
The first premise is that advanced by the meaningless Christmas-card greeting: "Peace on earth, Goodwill to men.". What the angels actually sang was, "Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will" (Luke 2:14). In other words, peace can only be engendered by men of good will, i.e., just men. Even atheists are dimly aware that peace is based on justice, though they have no idea of what true justice is.
The just man is one who observes all the commandments. That is what Scripture means when it calls St. Joseph a "just man". Sin consists of breaking the commandments. The greatest sin—and the highest injustice—is to break the First Commandment by refusing to give God the honor, glory and:: worship due to Him and by worshipping false gods instead. So it is impossible for unjust men who repudiate God to engender peace.
The second wrong premise on which the syncretist movement is based is that religions are responsible for wars and strife. This common New Age accusation targets Catholicism, but such an. accusation against the Church was condemned by Pius IX in his: Syllabus of Errors8. War is a product of sin and resultant injustice. It is also a divine punishment for sin, as confirmed by Our Lady of Fatima.
The third wrong premise of syncretism is that uniting religions will bring peace. Only the Catholic religion, true Christianity, can bring peace, as only the true Catholic is closest to the perfect justice which generates peace. So diluting or down-playing: Catholicism can never bring peace. Moreover, the one-world, religion will be the pantheistic, occult religion of Satan, a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). It will result in a blood bath, a common fruit of paganism, as history attests.
Cardinal Ratzinger's Warning
In any case, the mission of the Church is not to bring peace to the world, but to obtain the eternal salvation of all men by, teaching the Gospel and baptizing them into the Faith. In 1988, reported 30 Days9, Cardinal Ratzinger explained that Catholic' participation in an interfaith council for peace is, "due to the very essence of the Church, impossible". He said the Church would not join a meeting which would bring together the world religions on the theme of peace because the Church "is not in a position to obtain peace by force.... She should not transform herself into a sort of political peace movement, in which the achievement of everlasting world peace would become her reason for existing." He said that Church leaders have "received no mandate for this" from Jesus.
Further, "the effort to establish a world-wide reign of peace by means of a world union of religions", he noted, "has a disturbing similarity to the third temptation of Jesus: '... All the kingdoms of the earth I will give unto you if you, prostrating yourself, will worship me.' (Matt. 4:9) For in this conception world peace becomes itself the summum bonum, ... for the attainment of which all other religious doctrines and acts are mere means. But a God who would become the instrument of supposed higher ends is no longer God; He has in reality consigned His true 'being God' to the superior thing, whose establishment He must serve."
He warned that "a peace established in this way would by its very nature be transformed into a totalitarianism of the sole authorized way of thinking or would threaten to be turned upside down into a world civil war" (a blood bath).
The Cardinal reminded us that the Antichrist "will present himself as a messenger of 'peace and security"' (a reference to I Thess. 5:3) and will be "precisely the one who terms himself the establisher of world peace". This, of course, is how the New Agers' "Christ", expected to manifest himself to the world soon is described.
It seems that the United Religions Organization could be the church of the Antichrist. Its imminent establishment is according to plan: New Age leader Alice Bailey, whose teachings and instructions are meticulously followed, said in 1919 that the "Church Universal", a union of occultism, Masonry and Christianity, "will appear towards the close of this century".
Meanwhile, Heaven's Peace Plan, outlined by the Queen of Peace at Fatima, lies largely ignored.
1. San Francisco Chronicle, June 26, 1995.
2. San Francisco Chronicle, January 23, 1996.
3. San Jose Mercury News, March 2, 1996.
4. Dallas Morning News, May 13, 1995.
5. San Jose Mercury News, June 29, 1996.
6. The Interim, April 1996.
7. Inside the Vatican, December, 1994.
8. Syllabus of Errors, Prop. 40.
9. 30 Days, February 1989.
This article was taken from the March 1997 issue of "Christian Order". Published by Fr. Paul Crane, S.J. from 53, Penerley Road, Catford, London SE6 2LH. The annual subscription to "Christian Order" is $20.00.
This item 166 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org
Could the quiet quitting trend be the answer to burnout? What you need to know | Metro News
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 16:57
'You're not outright quitting your job, but you're quitting the idea of going above and beyond. You're still performing your duties, but you're no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life '' the reality is, it's not.'
This is quiet quitting, according to TikTokker @zkchillin, and it could be a rising trend.
What does quiet quitting look like in practice? It might be saying no to projects that aren't part of your job description or you don't fancy doing, leaving work on time, or refusing to answer emails and Slack messages outside of your working hours.
It could be as simple as a mindset shift, that's not noticeable to anyone around you, but allows you to feel less mentally and emotionally invested in your job.
This might sound appealing '' but experts advise proceeding with caution.
'If you are getting to the point in your career where you feel that you're putting work above everything else '' at the expense of other important parts of your life '' it can be incredibly demoralising,' Charlotte Davies, a career expert at LinkedIn, tells Metro.co.uk. 'It's very likely that you'll start to retreat from work '' ''quiet quitting'' '' in an attempt to bring back some balance.
'Of course, the best piece of advice is to avoid this happening in the first place, but we all know that's very hard to do, particularly with the pandemic blurring the lines between career and personal lives, which still impacts how we work now.'
Quiet quitting might appear to be a way to treat burnout '' and it's true, the act of deprioritising your job and recognising that you are more than what you do can help to reduce overwhelm '' but it's worth noting that by the time you're considering quiet quitting, it might already be too late.
It's all too easy for burnout to creep up on you. Once that threshold has been crossed, you will need proper mental health support and time off '' put simply, at this point, quiet quitting might not be enough to help you heal.
Instead, quiet quitting could be more of a preventative measure '' but that requires you to really be in tune with your mental state and suss out that you want to rank other parts of your life more highly before the symptoms of excess stress really settle in. Easier said than done.
It's also worth considering whether rather than quiet quitting, you'd be better off just'... actually quitting.
Are you having issues with this job specifically, or the idea of work as a whole? If it's the former, perhaps it's time to consider a job change '' there might be a role out there that you actually, genuinely enjoy. Or maybe there are specific things about your role that you'd like to tweak '' actively pushing for these changes could you feel more empowered.
Quiet quitting is, by nature, passive. And it's possible that by diving into the trend, you could feel even more powerless.
'Quietly quitting is often a sign that it's time to move on from your role,' says Jill Cotton, career trends expert at Glassdoor. 'If you're reducing your effort to the bare minimum needed to complete tasks, your heart is probably no longer in the job or the company.
'Before deciding to quietly quit, reflect upon what isn't fulfilling you and your reasons for making this choice '' could whatever is causing your frustration be fixed by simply expressing your concerns to your manager?
'Whether your work-life balance isn't right, the salary isn't meeting your needs, or there's no support to get the promotion you want, have a conversation with your manager before deciding to disengage from your role.'
It might go without saying, but it's important to consider that by quiet quitting, you likely are shutting yourself off from promotions and payrises.
If you're actively looking for other jobs or genuinely aren't bothered about progression at your company, that's fine '' but make sure that's the case. If there's part of you that's desperate for a promotion, quiet quitting will feel good at first'... then absolutely awful when you're passed over for something exciting.
'There are risks attached to taking this approach to your career,' says Paul Farrer, the founder and chairman of Aspire. 'Inevitably, your progression within that company will become limited '' particularly if your colleagues are going above and beyond to exceed employer expectations.
'You also run the risk of having little to show to your next employer when interviewing for your next role.'
If your take on quiet quitting involves still doing all your required tasks, you won't be in line for a sacking, but if your judgement of the 'bare minimum' is off, you could be in trouble.
That's especially true if your company might be looking to make redundancies. If they need to make tough decisions, the people who are clearly not putting in much effort will likely be first on the chopping block.
Paul says: 'As long as you are available in your contracted hours there's no reason for you to fear losing your job.
'That said, quiet quitting isn't likely to put you first in line for a promotion or pay rise any time soon.'
'Actively disengaging from your job won't solve the problem '' and could backfire,' Jill notes. 'What you see as ''quietly quitting'' may well be ''loudly saying I don't want to be here'' to your manager and co-workers.
'Once a person has mentally checked out of a job, it is difficult to hide your lack of engagement with the job and company.
'And if this your lack of enthusiasm is sensed, you're less likely to be considered for promotion or other opportunities that could arise.
'It is also difficult to judge just how much to reduce your efforts to achieve what is contractually required.'
Be warned, too, that you might also notice some real backlash to dramatically changing the effort you put in.
If you've always gone above and beyond, staying late, taking on every project, and doing whatever you can to do a 'good job', suddenly setting a boundary is likely to provoke some surprise from your managers and colleagues. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it '' but be prepared for some not so positive reactions, and consider how you will respond if you're asked what's going on.
It might also be harder than you think to take on quiet quitting. If you're someone with people-pleasing tendencies, it's going to be hard to un-learn certain behaviours.
Quiet quitting could be a useful tool for a short period of time, especially if it's coupled with looking for another role.
Once you start a new job, it's much easier to set boundaries from the get-go '' thus removing the need to quiet quit.
The risks to quiet quitting come if it's employed as a long-term strategy, with no other actions to try to change the reality of your situation. If you want to stay in this job but experience less stress, you may need to talk to your manager to make changes. If you want to leave this job and start another one, you need to take actions to make that happen.
More: Mental healthJill tells us: 'Quiet quitting isn't new. Many of us will have subconsciously practised it after deciding it's time to move on from our current role or when working the last few weeks of notice.
'A downside is that if you're putting in the minimum effort there's little opportunity to learn new skills or broaden your experience. Your experience could stagnate while your peers move on, making it tricky to find another job.
'Future hiring managers may also question your lack of career progression, and with little engagement in your role, you may struggle to give examples of achievements in interviews.
'And if you are doing just what is needed to get by, it's easy to lose pride in your work and achievements.
'Quiet quitting is not recommended as a long-term strategy, but it can be used as a mechanism to create the space you need to work out the next step in your career. Think of it as a transition period.
'And with the taboo around job-hopping beginning to break, there's no need to be in a role you don't like long-term.'
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.
MORE : Five signs your workplace is 'digitally toxic' '' and what to do about it
MORE : Five physical symptoms you might not realise can be caused by burnout
MORE : Office housework: Why women are shouldering the burden of non-promotable tasks in the workplace
Funders & Partners - C40 Cities
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 16:56
Strategic FundersWorking in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people.
Find out more CIFF is the world's largest philanthropy that focuses specifically on improving children's lives.
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Find out more Major FundersC40 is supported by the UK Government through The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy(BEIS). BEIS brings together responsibilities for business, industrial strategy, science, energy and climate change.
Find out more Since 2008, the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) has been financing climate and biodiversity projects in developing and newly industrialising countries, as well as in countries in transition.
Find out more The Danish Foreign Service operates globally to work for Denmarks' interests and values in relation to the surrounding world in a manner that furthers the freedom, security and welfare of Danes in a more peaceful and just world, with development and economic growth for all.
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Find out more ClimateWorks Foundation is a global non-governmental organisation with a single mission: to end the climate crisis by amplifying the power of philanthropy .
Find out more The Global Environment Facility is the largest multilateral trust fund focused on enabling developing countries to invest in nature, and supports the implementation of major international environmental conventions including on biodiversity, climate change, chemicals, and desertification.
Find out more The Grundfos Foundation is a Danish commercial foundation which funds sustainable water projects, focusing its efforts on helping rural communities and refugee camps. In Denmark, the Foundation has a special focus on labour market inclusion of vulnerable groups and supports natural science and technical research environments.
Find out more Ingka Group (Ingka Holding B.V. and its controlled entities) is one of 12 different groups of companies that own and operate IKEA retail under franchise agreements with Inter IKEA Systems B.V. Ingka Group has three business areas: IKEA Retail, Ingka Investments and Ingka Centres.
Find out more The Fondation L'Or(C)al supports and empowers women to shape their future and make a difference in society, focusing on scientific research and inclusivity.
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From August 1: Cash transactions above NIS 6,000 illegal | Israel National News - Arutz Sheva
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 16:32
Israel's Law on Reducing the Use of Cash came into force in 2019 and next week, on August 1, the threshold for cash transactions is set to drop from NIS 11,000 to just NIS 6,000.
This amount refers to payments to businesses, including the self-employed and freelancers. Payments between private individuals (for example, when purchasing a property) have a higher cash threshold though that too is set to drop next week, from NIS 50,000 to NIS 15,000. The threshold for car purchases is the exception and will remain unchanged at NIS 50,000.
Around NIS 5 billion have already been collected in fines since the restrictions were voted into law. Tens of thousands of audit-raids on businesses have been conducted by the Tax Authority with thousands of violators penalized. In 2022 alone, around 6,000 audits have been conducted so far, with 2,189 law-breakers identified, representing a sum of NIS 35 million in illicit transactions.
According to Globes, Tax Authority figures show a gradual increase in compliance with the law, from around 84 percent in 2019 to 92 percent in 2021 and 95 percent in 2022.
The stated purpose of the law is to force the general public to use digital means of payment rather than cash, so that transactions can be easily monitored. The theory is that this will stifle black market activity, limit opportunities for tax evasion, and even make it harder for terrorists to operate (purchasing weapons, paying operatives etc.) Evidence exists that these objectives can be attained when smaller sums are concerned; however, those dealing with larger sums are more likely to identify opportunities to launder cash abroad, which has led to calls in countries such as Germany, which currently has no limits on cash transactions, to put such limits in place in order to stop the country from being a destination for those seeking to process their money.
In Israel there are few exceptions to the laws on cash transactions. One notable exception is that applied to gemachim, free-loan funds that are operated mostly by haredi Jews and lend out money without interest (in order to comply with halakhah, Jewish law, which forbids taking interest in most circumstances). Another exception applies to PA Arabs, although according to attorney Uri Goldman, this situation will be rectified by the end of 2022. Until then, only cash payments above the amount of NIS 50,000 made to PA Arabs must be reported to the authorities.
Goldman told Globes that, "The change to the law will mainly affect the self-employed and freelancers, such as renovators, plumbers, etc., for whom the difference between NIS 11,000 and NIS 6,000 will have a negative impact. The change will also have a detrimental effect on those renting or renting out property, as the threshold here will be dropping from NIS 50,000 to NIS 15,000. Individuals and businesses selling products such as electrical goods and furniture will also be greatly affected by the lowering of the ceiling."
Violations of the law are punishable by significant fines, starting at 15 percent of the transaction if the cash payment was less than NIS 25,000 to a business, increasing to 20 percent where the transaction was between NIS 25,000 and NIS 50,000, and reaching 30 percent for larger transactions.
Between private individuals, the fines are lower, starting at NIS 10,000 for payments up to NIS 25,000, increasing to 15 percent for amounts up to NIS 50,000, and 25 percent for larger sums. As for people who are found to have been paid a salary in cash, they will be fined just five percent if the payment was above the NIS 6,000 ceiling but below NIS 8,500.
It is important to note that the penalties apply to payment by check and banker's check, as well as by actual banknotes.
Furthermore, splitting payments is a criminal offense. "Splitting transactions is prohibited and is a criminal offense punishable by three years in prison," attorney Goldman told Globes. Repeat offenders potentially also face jail sentences.
Unlike many other countries, the laws in Israel apply also to tourists. Goldman also noted that, "Responsibility for breaking the law rests on both parties to the transaction - the individual, the paying customer, and the business owner - but the sanctions imposed are different."
A short period of grace will apply following August 1, but there are plans afoot to impose additional restrictions on cash in the future, with the Treasury and Tax Authority pushing for a law prohibiting any citizen from holding more than NIS 200,000 in cash in his home.
What is the Basis for Forced Sterilization, Chemtrails, Fluoridated Water, and Vaccinations? - The Blue State Conservative
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 14:25
If a state chooses to make sterilization a requirement to receive welfare, that is their right, but to force mutilation on persons because they are deformed, or demented, or diseased, or deaf, or dumb is contemptible, criminal, and crazy.
How would you respond to a proposed law that would give the states authority to force women to be sterilized if they were promiscuous or poor? Or men could be forced to have a vasectomy if they were prisoners or inmates in an institution? No doubt, sane, sensitive people would be horrified and respond, ''That could never happen in America.''
But it could and did happen in America decades ago! From the 1890s to 1920, America was the first nation to perform compulsory sterilizations with one purpose of saving money. While it is only prudent to plan for the future to guarantee a nation will continue to meet its financial obligations, only a scientist or politician with a Frankenstein compulsion would mutilate a human for life to save money. Well, how about doing it to clean up the gene pool? If doing harm to a relative few individuals would save millions of lives in the future, what's to criticize?
Indiana became the first state to enact sterilization legislation in 1907, followed by California and Washington in 1909. Several other states followed them into a deep, dark, devious pit. After the National Socialists in Germany implemented their controlled society in the 1920s and 1930s, maiming human bodies became less acceptable, if not criminal in the free world.
In 1920, Lothrop Stoddard, a Harvard graduate and the author of The Rising Tide of Color against White Supremacy, waved the Nazi flag'--at least he philosophically waved it. He thought the eugenic practices of the Third Reich were ''scientific'' and ''humanitarian.'' He was a member of the KKK and a founding member (along with Margaret Sanger) and a board member of the American Birth Control League that became Planned Parenthood in 1942. It has a sordid, sad, and systemic history of killing and maiming babies.
In 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the scandalous Buck v. Bell case that the State of Virginia had the right to sterilize Carrie Buck against her will. That decision was based merely on the specious criteria that she was ''feeble-minded'' and promiscuous. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes concluded, ''Three generations of imbeciles are enough.'' It seems to me the imbeciles were wearing black robes not a causal dress from Walmart.
All sane people consider that ruling in horror since eugenics has been forever condemned. Even the United Nations now considers forced sterilization a crime against humanity.
And yes, some of the most astute individuals believe the United Nations itself is a crime against humanity.
The Buck v. Bell ruling is considered by some the worst Supreme Court decision. It was never overturned but was nullified by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The most significant era of eugenic sterilization was between 1907 and 1963 when over 64,000 individuals were forcibly sterilized under eugenics legislation in the United States. America's last forcible sterilization occurred in 1981.
The professional mutilators defended their actions as being good for society, ah, yes, good for society. Future encroaches on liberty will be justified as being for everyone's good.
Even after sane people admitted the insanity of sterilizing people against their will, along came some academics that recognized sterilization as the answer to human overpopulation. It was the 1977 book, Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, that favorably discussed compulsory sterilization attempting to give the issue some (undeserved) credibility. The authors considered a variety of ways to address human overpopulation, including the possibility of compulsory sterilization. One of the three authors, John Holdren served as Bill Clinton's science advisor from 1994-2001 and was President Obama's Science Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 2009 to 2017.
But the overpopulation myth is a myth. If the entire population of the world was placed in the state of Alaska, every individual would receive about 3,500 square feet of space. Overpopulation is not a problem, and there has never been more sex and fewer babies.
In a 1973 book, Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions, Holdren argued that the West should be ''de-developed,'' meaning prosperous nations like the U.S. should deliberately dismantle their economies and their wealth redistributed to the poor around the world!
Yet, this jerk was unanimously approved by the Senate to advise President Obama.
Holdren admitted in his 1977 book, ''There is always the threat of biological warfare or of an accidental escape of lethal agents from a biological warfare laboratory or, conceivable, from a laboratory engaged in genetic engineering experiments'...Biological warfare laboratories are potential sources of a manmade 'solution' to the population explosion.''
Wow, that was in 1977!
The book provides a playbook for environmentalist zealots and population control nuts. Among other spurious positions, the book concludes that compulsory population-control laws could be implemented under our existing Constitution if there was a serious danger to society. Officials could require pregnant women (or persons!) to have abortions (page 786) or have their babies taken by the government.
If we permit men to marry men, women to marry women, and women who want to kill their unborn babies to do just that then in two generations, there will be no more Democrats or RINOs.
The government could limit the number of children (page 838) after all, the law is supposed to limit one man to having one wife. Furthermore, babies of single women would be seized and given to families who qualify as parents. Undesirables would be required to be sexually responsible or be sterilized. Finally, an international entity would control the economy and food supply, and the very personal lives of every American using a global force if necessary (pages 942, 943).
On pages 787 and 788 the book suggests a sterilant could be added to drinking water or food supply to limit unwanted births making the overpopulation crowd ecstatic. But then, many tell us that is happening now with fluoridated water supply, chemtrails, vaccines, etc.
Holdren was confirmed on March 19, 2009, by a unanimous vote of the Senate. He had been told to ''not make news'' and he did not. He testified to the committee that he did not believe that government should have a role in determining the best possible population size and that he never endorsed forced sterilization! The stupid, irresponsible senators believed his repudiation of his own textbook.
I don't think John refused his book royalties since that would be gratuitously principled.
About this time normal people are horrified at the thought of such control and manipulation but remember Leftists are fanatics and think they have been ordained to save the human race. We are told that a few million people will be harmed or sterilized, but it will benefit mankind down the road.
Radical leftists consider our society broken and must be dismantled and remade in their image. That requires control and almost anything can be foisted off on stupid Americans if it is ''for the children,'' or ''for everyone's benefit.'' Or ''it's scientific.'' They even tell us it is scientific that a man is not always a man and can have periods and have babies.
The sterilization program stole the reproductive rights of 64,000 Americans. It was justified by the dubious doctrine of eugenics or the selective mating of people with desirable hereditary traits to reduce human suffering by breeding out the diseased, disabled, and deplorable characteristics such as ''poverty, mental illness, and criminal tendencies from the human population,'' according to Holdren.
Eugenic promoters may be sincere, but they are all humanists/evolutionists with no standard of right and wrong since the Bible is no longer accepted. To ask, ''Is this right?'' requires a reliable standard, one that no longer exists for them since Darwin.
Population control freaks, environmental zealots, animal rights enthusiasts, and climate control fanatics are far left, anti-American, anti-free enterprise, anti-common sense, and anti-biblical jerks. They are true believers and believe anything is acceptable if it serves their cause in the long haul. They will implement their nefarious schemes without regard to individual rights or the harm done to those opposed to their policies.
Americans and others bought their basic principle during the COVID pandemic: a few obstinate diehards cannot place others in danger. Consequently, like lemmings, free citizens put on masks without any scientific support for their value, rolled up their sleeves and permitted an unproved substance shot into their bodies, and even did it to their children who were not at risk!
With the much-touted COVID vaccines that were supposed to be ''safe and effective'' over a million Americans have died of COVID and over 15,605 died after receiving the jab according to the CDC!
Plus, thousands of other adverse effects.
The chickens have come home to roost with the deaths, diseases, and disablements following the hard-sell vaccine rollout. In July of this year news reports revealed the chaos at the federal health agencies when a headline reported, ''Health experts quit CDC, NIH due to 'bad science.''' The articles reveal a mass exodus ''amid low morale causing staffing shortages.''
The above may be only the beginning. Within a few months, as more people die from the vaccines and the whole story is known, we may see anarchy and people striking back at incompetent and dishonest health officials as well as politicians who supported them.
The pattern is clear, and the precedent is set: Corrupt U.S. health officials, guilty of foisting a lethal vaccine on innocent people will continue to cover up and control Americans for the ''good of everyone.''
The various government entities used that argument to poison the water supply by dumping tons of fluoride into the system. It may have reduced cavities, but it has poisoned generations of Americans. Fluoride is a major ingredient in rat poison and is a wood preservative. It is in many drugs such as Prozac, Lipitor, etc.
An influential medical journal JAMA Pediatrics published a study in August of 2019 that links fluoride consumption during pregnancy with lower childhood IQs'--a finding that gives credibility to fluoride critics. Three-fourths of Americans drink fluoridated water.
''When we started in this field, we were told that fluoride is safe and effective in pregnancy,'' said study co-author Christine Till of York University in Toronto, ''but when we looked for the evidence to suggest that it's safe, we didn't find any studies done on pregnant women.'' Study author Rivky Green said, ''We saw an association between prenatal fluoride exposure and lower IQ scores in children.''
In this study, maternal exposure to higher levels of fluoride during pregnancy was associated with lower IQ scores in children aged 3 to 4 years. These findings indicate the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy.
Public water should consist of water.
In an effort to influence the climate, shocked Americans and Europeans have watched daily as airplanes dump aluminum and other items into the atmosphere poisoning the water, agricultural fields, and air everyone breathes. Chemtrails are observed as planes fly, usually at high altitudes, leaving a white or gray stream in their wake. The official government tells us it is simply normal contrails that always result when aircraft fly at certain altitudes under specific weather conditions. However, concerned citizens suggest it is a secret government program of weather modification, population control, or testing of biological agents on everyone. Or all three and maybe other nefarious attempts to affect the population.
No serious person questions whether politicians would be so uncaring, unconcerned, and unlawful if they grasped more power and more control over their subjects.
Informed readers are aware that doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disasters since the 1960s and none have come true. Environmental nuts, animal rights zealots, and climate controllers are extremists who care more bugs and beautiful sunsets than they do about people.
A better way to improve the environment would be to dump the plans of the zealots and all of us meet Saturday morning and clean up around the rivers, lakes, and seas.
The sky is not falling but the leftist zealots think it has and anything can be justified because ''Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs,'' declared University of California. professor Kenneth Watt.
Jerry Vlasak, spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that killing medical researchers was ''morally justified'' to save laboratory animals. ''The smallest form of life, even an ant or a clam, is equal to a human being,'' declared Ingrid Newkirk, founder of PETA.
Far leftists are all cut from the same cloth. They are weird, wild, weak, woke, wobbly, and they whine a lot. They are often wicked people who I would not trust to walk my dog. I sure don't want them deciding on any public policy that will undermine my freedom to think, act, and live as a free man.
By Dr. Don Boys
Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives who ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years. Boys authored 20 books, the most recent, Reflections of a Lifetime Fundamentalist: No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets! The eBook is available at Amazon.com for $4.99. Other titles at www.cstnews.com. Follow him on Facebook at Don Boys, Ph.D., and visit his blog. Send a request to DBoysphd@aol.com for a free subscription to his articles and click here to support his work with a donation.
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Argentina's Government Collapsing, People Refuse To Work Amid Major Subsidy Cuts | ZeroHedge
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 14:21
Authored by Autumn Spreadermann via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Protests have erupted in Buenos Aires over the past 90 days and continue to build inside the capital as residents battle with their center-left government over sizeable amendments to social programs.
Members of social and trade union organizations protesting on July 20, 2022, in Buenos Aires, in demand of a universal basic income. The impoverished South American country struggles to repay its US$44 billion dollar debt with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) amid rampant inflation and social unrest. (Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images)Cuts to subsidies in the energy sector based on household income already began in June.
Other subsidies, including the country's notorious welfare program, are also on the chopping block, triggering thousands of angry residents to take to the streets.
State-sponsored aid for civilians has soared in the past 20 years, leaving 22 million Argentinians dependent on some form of government assistance.
In the first quarter of 2022, the national employment rate was 43 percent, according to government figures.
Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez is pictured during a meeting in Germany at Elmau Castle, on June 27, 2022. (Markus Schreiber/AFP via Getty Images)The country's state funded programs extend to nearly every aspect of the economy, from wages to utilities, education, and health care.
Argentina already spends an estimated 800 million pesos per day'--a sum of more than US$6 million'--on state benefit programs.
Concurrently, inflation in the South American nation hit 58 percent in May and soared above 60 percent in July. By comparison, national inflation was just over 14 percent in 2015.
Harry Lorenzo, chief finance officer of Income Based Research, told The Epoch Times the spending habits of Argentina's government are at the root of the escalating problem.
''The Argentine government has been grappling with a collapsing economy for some time now. The main reason for this is the government's unsustainable spending, which has been funded in part by generous welfare programs,'' Lorenzo explained.
Deeper Into Economic ChaosCries for more state money, freedom from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and for President Alberto Fernandez to step down echoed within the angry crowds gathered near the president's office'--Casa Rosada '--during the nation's independence day celebration on July 9.
Since then, scheduled demonstrations have continued, led by professional protest organizers or ''piqueteros'' demanding the abolition of the proposed subsidy cuts and a wage increase.
''This is madness. What the piqueteros are asking for is madness,'' Alvaro Gomez told The Epoch Times.
Gomez has lived and worked in Buenos Aires for more than 15 years and currently is a taxi driver. As the years have passed, he's watched his country dive deeper into economic chaos.
''I've seen five presidents come and go in that time; nothing has improved. Half of our country doesn't want a job, and the ones that do, don't want to pay the taxes for the others,'' he said.
Read more here...
Sinema indicates she may want to change Schumer-Manchin deal
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 14:19
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) had a message for her Democratic colleagues before she flew home to Arizona for the weekend: She's preserving her options.
Why it matters: Sinema has leverage and she knows it. Any potential modification to the Democrat's climate and deficit reduction package '-- like knocking out the $14 billion provision on carried interest '-- could cause the fragile deal to collapse.
Her posture is causing something between angst and fear in the Democratic caucus as senators wait for her to render a verdict on the secret deal announced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin last Thursday. Driving the news: Sinema has given no assurances to colleagues that she'll vote along party lines in the so-called ''vote-a-rama'' for the $740 billion bill next week, according to people familiar with the matter.
The vote-a-rama process allows lawmakers to offer an unlimited number of amendments, as long as they are ruled germane by the Senate parliamentarian. Senators '-- and reporters '-- expect a late night. Republicans, steaming mad that Democrats have a chance to send a $280 billion China competition package and a massive climate and health care bill to President Biden, will use the vote-a-rama to force vulnerable Democrats to take politically difficult votes.They'll also attempt to kill the reconciliation package with poison pills '-- amendments that make it impossible for Schumer to find 50 votes for final passage. The intrigue: Not only is Sinema indicating that she's open to letting Republicans modify the bill, she has given no guarantees she'll support a final ''wrap-around'' amendment, which would restore the original Schumer-Manchin deal.
The big picture: Schumer made a calculated decision to negotiate a package with Manchin in secrecy. He assumed that all of his other members, including Sinema, would fall into line and support the deal.
Now his caucus is digesting the specifics, with Sinema taking a printout of the 725-page bill back to Arizona on Friday for some dense in-flight reading. Schumer will find out this week if his gamble in keeping Sinema in the dark will pay off.What we're watching: While Sinema supported the 15% minimum book tax back in December, which would raise more than $300 billion, Schumer never bothered to check if her position changed, given the darkening economic outlook.
Schumer and Manchin also inserted the language on taxing carried interest as regular income, which would raise approximately $14 billion, knowing full well that Sinema never agreed to it. That move blindsided Sinema. Now the private equity industry, which has contributed heavily to Sinema, is hopeful that she'll knock the provision out. The intrigue: While Schumer and Manchin have a well-documented and tumultuous relationship '-- replete with private fence-mending Italian dinners '-- Schumer and Sinema do not regularly engage.
Flashback: The Schumer-Sinema relationship took a big blow back in February when Schumer declined to endorse Sinema for her 2024 re-election when directly asked by CNN.
She didn't attend her party's caucus meeting on Thursday.Between the lines: Sinema and Manchin always agreed that President Biden's initial $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan needed to be trimmed down.
They are also on the same page on the need to act on climate change. If Manchin has been primarily concerned with inflation, her guiding principles have always been economic growth and new jobs in Arizona. The bottom line: Sinema isn't terribly pleased with how Schumer has foisted this package upon her. She reserves the right to modify it.
But she also knows that a progressive challenger, like Rep. Ruben Gallego, is all but guaranteed in 2024 if she's held responsible for killing the Democrats best shot at a climate bill in years. Editor's note: This version corrects the date of the caucus meeting and the size of Biden's original Build Back Better plan.
Pope Francis considers retiring and acknowledges he needs to slow down following Canada trip - ABC News
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 13:48
Pope Francis has admitted he has considered resigning while acknowledging he can no longer travel like he used to because of strained knee ligaments following a trip to Canada.
Key points: The Pope said the Canada trip showed he needed to slow down He said he had not considered resigning until now He strained his right knee ligaments earlier this year and treatment forced him to cancel a trip to AfricaHe said the week-long pilgrimage was "a bit of a test" that showed he needed to slow down and one day possibly retire.
Speaking to reporters while travelling home from northern Nunavut, the 85-year-old stressed he hadn't thought about resigning but "the door is open" and there was nothing wrong with a pope stepping down.
"It's not strange. It's not a catastrophe," he said.
"You can change the pope."
Pope Francis said while he hadn't considered resigning until now, he realised he has to at least slow down.
"I think at my age and with these limitations, I have to save [my energy] to be able to serve the church, or on the contrary, think about the possibility of stepping aside," he said.
Pope Francis was peppered with questions about the future of his pontificate following the first trip in which he used a wheelchair, walker and cane to get around, sharply limiting his program and ability to mingle with crowds.
Pope Francis said he hadn't considered resigning until now. ( AP: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Pool )He strained his right knee ligaments earlier this year, and continuing laser and magnetic therapy forced him to cancel a trip to Africa that was scheduled for the first week of July.
The Canada trip was difficult, and featured several moments when Pope Francis was clearly in pain as he manoeuvred getting up and down from chairs.
At the end of his six-day tour, he appeared in good spirits and energetic, despite a long day travelling to the edge of the Arctic on Friday to again apologise to Indigenous peoples for the injustices they suffered in Canada's church-run residential schools.
He ruled out having surgery on his knee, saying it would not necessarily help and noting "there are still traces" from the effects of having undergone more than six hours of anaesthesia in July 2021 to remove 33 centimetres of his large intestine.
"I'll try to continue to do the trips and be close to people because I think it's a way of servicing, being close. But more than this, I can't say," he said.
Posted Yesterday at 10:19amSat 30 Jul 2022 at 10:19am, updated Yesterday at 1:20pmSat 30 Jul 2022 at 1:20pm
Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr's investment firm backs world's biggest insect farm
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 13:18
Agtech startup Ÿnsect extends its Series C to USD 372 million, bringing total financing to USD 425 million.
In a press release, insect farming startup Ÿnsect writes that it has extended its Series C funding to USD 372 million '' the largest amount ever raised by a non-American agtech business.
The new capital will fund the completion of the largest insect farm in the world, due to open in the city of Amiens, north of Paris, France, in early 2022. Ÿnsect will produce 100,000 tonnes of insect products annually. The capital will also allow Ÿnsect to grow its product lines and expand into North America.
It will also let the company expand beyond Europe and Asia into the United States, with the support of its first U.S.-based investors, Upfront Ventures and movie star Robert Downey Jr.'s FootPrint Coalition.
Mealworms in the Ynsect workshop in Burgundy, France. PHOTO: YnsectTotal financing of the start-up is now USD 425 million, more than the total amount raised by the entire insect protein sector globally.
To date, Ÿnsect said that it has USD 105 million worth of contracts signed to supply customers including salmon feed giant Skretting.
''Skretting is proud to be a part of Ÿnsect's success and we are confident they will continue to be a pivotal player in the global food chain for years to come,'' said Jenna Bowyer, Category Manager Novel Ingredients for Skretting.
''We have been working with Ÿnsect for the past five years, supporting their progress towards commercialisation through our continuous ingredient development activities while also committing to a long-term partnership,'' added Bowyer.
''Our ambition is to revolutionize the food chain which, literally, starts from the basics: insects and soil. It concerns all of us, whether we are meat lovers or vegans because it is how our plants and animals are fed,'' said Antoine Hubert, Ÿnsect's co-founder, president, and CEO.
Eating Too Much Protein Makes Pee a Problem Pollutant in the U.S. - Scientific American
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 13:06
Protein-packed diets add excess nitrogen to the environment through urine, rivaling pollution from agricultural fertilizers
A coastal engineer collects a concentrated sample of algae and bacteria on Lake Erie in Toledo, Ohio in Sept. 2019. Credit: Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesIn the U.S., people eat more protein than they need to. And though it might not be bad for human health, this excess does pose a problem for the country's waterways. The nation's wastewater is laden with the leftovers from protein digestion: nitrogen compounds that can feed toxic algal blooms and pollute the air and drinking water. This source of nitrogen pollution even rivals that from fertilizers washed off of fields growing food crops, new research suggests.
When we overconsume protein'--whether it comes from lentils, supplements or steak'--our body breaks the excess down into urea, a nitrogen-containing compound that exits the body via urine and ultimately ends up in sewage. Maya Almaraz, a biogeochemist at the University of California, Davis, and her colleagues wanted to see how much of this nitrogen is being flushed into the U.S. sewage system because of a protein-heavy diet. The researchers combined population data and previous work on how much excess protein the average American eats and found that the majority of nitrogen pollution present in wastewater'--some 67 to 100 percent'--is a by-product of what people consume. ''We think a lot about sewage nitrogen. We know that's an issue,'' Almaraz says. ''But I didn't know how much of that is actually affected by the choices we're making way upstream'--when we go the grocery store, when we cook a meal and what we end up putting in our bodies.''
Once it enters the environment, the nitrogen in urea can trigger a spectrum of ecological impacts known as the ''nitrogen cascade.'' Under certain chemical conditions, and in the presence of particular microbes, urea can break down to form gases of oxidized nitrogen. These gases reach the atmosphere, where nitrous oxide (N2O) can contribute to warming via the greenhouse effect and nitrogen oxides (NOx) can cause acid rain. Other times, algae and cyanobacteria, photosynthetic bacteria also called blue-green algae, feed on urea directly. The nitrogen helps them grow much faster than they would normally, clogging vital water supplies with blooms that can produce toxins that are harmful to humans, other animals and plants. And when the algae eventually die, the problem is not over. Microorganisms that feast on dead algae use up oxygen in the water, leading to ''dead zones,'' where many aquatic species simply cannot survive, in rivers, lakes and oceans. Blooms from Puget Sound to Tampa, Fla., have caused large fish die-offs.
Although it is possible to treat algal blooms, many of the current methods'--such as spraying clay particles or chemicals over the surface of a bloom to kill and sink the algae'--are not always effective at eliminating all of the harmful growth. Some of these methods can even lead to additional pollution. So the best strategy for dealing with the effects of nitrogen pollution is prevention, says Patricia Glibert, an oceanographer at the University of Maryland, who was not involved with the new study.
One option for preventing nitrogen from getting into the environment is improving wastewater treatment plants. The technology exists to remove 90 percent of nitrogen from wastewater, but only 1 percent of all U.S. sewage is currently treated this way, partly because the technology is so expensive. Equipping plants in China to remove nitrogen from three quarters of the country's urban sewage cost more than $20 billion. Almaraz and her team suggest, however, that curbing nitrogen pollution could be approached more quickly with a change in eating habits that could save billions of dollars in the long term.
Their new study, published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, broke down protein requirements by age (adults 50 to 70 years old need the most) for the current U.S. population and projected future populations out to 2055. By midcentury, the country's population is expected to be larger overall and to have a greater percentage of older people. The researchers calculated the amount of nitrogen that would enter the environment if people ate today's average American diet and if they instead reduced their protein intake to only what is nutritionally needed. This shift in diet alone could reduce the amount of nitrogen reaching aquatic ecosystems by 12 percent today and by nearly 30 percent in the future, according to the study's results. Such a change could also help reduce damaging nitrogen pollution while wastewater infrastructure catches up.
''Many people think that we need to all switch to becoming vegetarians. Obviously, that's not practical. That's not something that is really ever going to happen,'' Glibert says. Rather than cutting out any foods entirely, she suggests consumers could switch to a ''demitarian'' diet'--an approach that focuses on reducing the consumption of meat and dairy, which currently make up about two thirds of the protein eaten in the U.S. ''Enjoy your steak, enjoy your burger but go modest on your meat consumption in your following meal,'' she says.
''One cool area that opens up here is how human behavior can influence our environment,'' Almaraz says. ''I think it can be really empowering to people to understand that, 'hey, my choices'--once those add up with other people making similar choices'--can actually have a positive impact.'''
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)Sasha Warren is a 2022 AAAS Mass Media Fellow at Scientific American. They are currently working on their PhD in planetary sciences at the University of Chicago. Follow them on Twitter@space_for_sasha
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New York City store locks up Spam in plastic case amid crime spike | Fox News
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 13:03
NEW You can now listen to Fox News articles!
The one-two punch of inflation and rising crime has caused at least one New York City store to lock up its inventory of Spam in a plastic case.
Shoppers, store employees, and social media users expressed disbelief after discovering the $3.99 canned meat product out of reach behind lock and key at a Duane Reade inside New York City's Port Authority bus depot, the New York Post reported.
"I've never seen that before!" one cashier laughed while removing the Spam from its plastic anti-theft covering.
"Some of these things are pretty ridiculous," said Jenny Kenny, a 43-year-old visiting town from Kentucky who says she was aware of the crime spike in the city but still couldn't believe there were "so many" items in boxes.
Other shoppers wondered why Spam, along with $1.89 cans of Starkist tuna, were locked up while more expensive products like $5.49 cans of Amy's soup were not.
"To put Spam in a cage is stupid '-- and kind of insulting to the customers that would buy it," 46-year-old shopper Dennis Snow said.
Closeup of cans of Spam (Photo by: Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Crime in New York City is up this year in six of seven major categories and the New York Post reported that petty larceny complaints are up 52% in the precinct where the Port Authority is located compared to last year.
"I don't think they stop anything," a store clerk named Iggy said about the anti-theft cases. "It's security theater. If you really needed it, you would stomp on it."
Just a few days ago, Iggy's suspicion appeared to be well founded when a man in a black tank top bolted out of the store with a $38 electric razor after asking an employee to remove it from the plastic case.
In addition to the rise in crime, inflation spiked to 9.1% in June which the New York Post explained has created a market for thieves to sell stolen discounted goods to cash strapped consumers.
Spam can still be found in many locations in New York City without the plastic covering including at Duane Reade locations near Times Square.
"Here, we lock up ice cream," an employee at a West 44th Street Duane Reade said.
Andrew Mark Miller is a writer at Fox News. Find him on Twitter @andymarkmiller and email tips to AndrewMark.Miller@Fox.com.
Israel's War On Cash Is About To Get More Drastic | ZeroHedge
Sun, 31 Jul 2022 12:57
Starting Monday, it will be a criminal offense in Israel to pay more than the equivalent of $1,700 in cash to a business or $4,360 in cash to individual, as the government intensifies its ongoing war on tangible money.
It's a war that began in earnest with the 2018 passage of the Law for the Reduction in the Use of Cash. Israeli businesses and individuals began facing limits on cash transactions in January 2019. However, on Aug 1, those limits are being slashed nearly in half.
''We want the public to reduce the use of cash money,'' Tamar Bracha, who's responsible for carrying out the law for Israel's Tax Authority, told The Media Line.
''The goal is to reduce cash fluidity in the market, mainly because crime organizations tend to rely on cash. By limiting the use of it, criminal activity is much harder to carry out.''
Israel also limits the extent to which cash is used in transactions involving multiple payment methods. If the total transaction value is more than the above thresholds, cash may only be used for 10% of the purchase. Car purchases are given a higher, 50,000 NIS (New Israeli Shekels) limit -- about $14,700.
Violators are subject to penalties that can reach 25% of the transaction for individuals and 30% for businesses. According to Israel National News, the government has amassed the equivalent of $5 billion in fines since restrictions began in 2019.
Not all transactions are affected, as The Media Line explains:
There are some exemptions to the new law: charitable institutions, which are most common in ultra-Orthodox society; and trade with Palestinians from the West Bank, who are not citizens of Israel. In the case of the latter, deals including large amounts of cash will be allowed, yet they will require a detailed report to Israel's Tax Authority.
However, in Israel's phased approach to eliminating cash from society, those exceptions are destined to expire.
Next, Israel's finance ministry plans to deliver a proposal to parliament to criminalize the mere possession of cash exceeding a certain sum. One version of the proposal set the possession cap at the shekel equivalent of just $14,700.
Limits like Israel's are just one way to work toward "de-cashing" a population. A 2017 International Monetary Fund paper outlined other tactics, including abolishing large-denomination bills, imposing reporting requirements on cash transactions over a certain threshold, requiring the declaration of cash when entering or leaving a country, or applying an additional tax when cash is used. Various countries and economic blocs have already started implementing measures from this menu.
A war on cash isn't the only way Israel is leading the way to an authoritarian future; it has also:
Started technical trials for a central bank digital currency, which could help eradicate cash and maximize control
Implemented digital vaccination passports that helped bar the unvaxxed -- including those who were unboosted -- from participating in various aspects of life.
Maintained a controversial database storing the biometric data of millions of citizens.
Joined a group of eight countries working toward development of "digital identities."
Aggressively implemented facial recognition programs.
I once warned that the architecture of oppression was near.It has arrived.https://t.co/Ph9s3qhlwH
'-- Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 8, 2021
Yes, Social Media Really Is Undermining Democracy - The Atlantic
Sat, 30 Jul 2022 17:40
W ithin the past 15 years, social media has insinuated itself into American life more deeply than food-delivery apps into our diets and microplastics into our bloodstreams. Look at stories about conflict, and it's often lurking in the background. Recent articles on the rising dysfunction within progressive organizations point to the role of Twitter, Slack, and other platforms in prompting ''endless and sprawling internal microbattles,'' as The Intercept's Ryan Grim put it, referring to the ACLU. At a far higher level of conflict, the congressional hearings about the January 6 insurrection show us how Donald Trump's tweets summoned the mob to Washington and aimed it at the vice president. Far-right groups then used a variety of platforms to coordinate and carry out the attack.
Social media has changed life in America in a thousand ways, and nearly two out of three Americans now believe that these changes are for the worse. But academic researchers have not yet reached a consensus that social media is harmful. That's been a boon to social-media companies such as Meta, which argues, as did tobacco companies, that the science is not ''settled.''
The lack of consensus leaves open the possibility that social media may not be very harmful. Perhaps we've fallen prey to yet another moral panic about a new technology and, as with television, we'll worry about it less after a few decades of conflicting studies. A different possibility is that social media is quite harmful but is changing too quickly for social scientists to capture its effects. The research community is built on a quasi-moral norm of skepticism: We begin by assuming the null hypothesis (in this case, that social media is not harmful), and we require researchers to show strong, statistically significant evidence in order to publish their findings. This takes time'--a couple of years, typically, to conduct and publish a study; five or more years before review papers and meta-analyses come out; sometimes decades before scholars reach agreement. Social-media platforms, meanwhile, can change dramatically in just a few years.
So even if social media really did begin to undermine democracy (and institutional trust and teen mental health) in the early 2010s, we should not expect social science to ''settle'' the matter until the 2030s. By then, the effects of social media will be radically different, and the harms done in earlier decades may be irreversible.
Let me back up. This spring, The Atlantic published my essay ''Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid,'' in which I argued that the best way to understand the chaos and fragmentation of American society is to see ourselves as citizens of Babel in the days after God rendered them unable to understand one another.
I showed how a few small changes to the architecture of social-media platforms, implemented from 2009 to 2012, increased the virality of posts on those platforms, which then changed the nature of social relationships. People could spread rumors and half-truths more quickly, and they could more readily sort themselves into homogenous tribes. Even more important, in my view, was that social-media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook could now be used more easily by anyone to attack anyone. It was as if the platforms had passed out a billion little dart guns, and although most users didn't want to shoot anyone, three kinds of people began darting others with abandon: the far right, the far left, and trolls.
Jonathan Haidt and Tobias Rose-Stockwell: The dark psychology of social networks
All of these groups were suddenly given the power to dominate conversations and intimidate dissenters into silence. A fourth group'--Russian agents''''also got a boost, though they didn't need to attack people directly. Their long-running project, which ramped up online in 2013, was to fabricate, exaggerate, or simply promote stories that would increase Americans' hatred of one another and distrust of their institutions.
The essay proved to be surprisingly uncontroversial'--or, at least, hardly anyone attacked me on social media. But a few responses were published, including one from Meta (formerly Facebook), which pointed to studies it said contradicted my argument. There was also an essay in The New Yorker by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, who interviewed me and other scholars who study politics and social media. He argued that social media might well be harmful to democracies, but the research literature is too muddy and contradictory to support firm conclusions.
So was my diagnosis correct, or are concerns about social media overblown? It's a crucial question for the future of our society. As I argued in my essay, critics make us smarter. I'm grateful, therefore, to Meta and the researchers interviewed by Lewis-Kraus for helping me sharpen and extend my argument in three ways.
Are Democracies Becoming More Polarized and Less Healthy?
My essay laid out a wide array of harms that social media has inflicted on society. Political polarization is just one of them, but it is central to the story of rising democratic dysfunction.
Meta questioned whether social media should be blamed for increased polarization. In response to my essay, Meta's head of research, Pratiti Raychoudhury, pointed to a study by Levi Boxell, Matthew Gentzkow, and Jesse Shapiro that looked at trends in 12 countries and found, she said, ''that in some countries polarization was on the rise before Facebook even existed, and in others it has been decreasing while internet and Facebook use increased.'' In a recent interview with the podcaster Lex Fridman, Mark Zuckerberg cited this same study in support of a more audacious claim: ''Most of the academic studies that I've seen actually show that social-media use is correlated with lower polarization.''
Does that study really let social media off the hook? It plotted political polarization based on survey responses in 12 countries, most with data stretching back to the 1970s, and then drew straight lines that best fit the data points over several decades. It's true that, while some lines sloped upward (meaning that polarization increased across the period as a whole), others sloped downward. But my argument wasn't about the past 50 years. It was about a phase change that happened in the early 2010s, after Facebook and Twitter changed their architecture to enable hyper-virality.
I emailed Gentzkow to ask whether he could put a ''hinge'' in the graphs in the early 2010s, to see if the trends in polarization changed direction or accelerated in the past decade. He replied that there was not enough data after 2010 to make such an analysis reliable. He also noted that Meta's response essay had failed to cite a 2020 article in which he and three colleagues found that randomly assigning participants to deactivate Facebook for the four weeks before the 2018 U.S. midterm elections reduced polarization.
Adrienne LaFrance: 'History will not judge us kindly'
Meta's response motivated me to look for additional publications to evaluate what had happened to democracies in the 2010s. I discovered four. One of them found no overall trend in polarization, but like the study by Boxell, Gentzkow, and Shapiro, it had few data points after 2015. The other three had data through 2020, and all three reported substantial increases in polarization and/or declines in the number or quality of democracies around the world.
One of them, a 2022 report from the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute, found that ''liberal democracies peaked in 2012 with 42 countries and are now down to the lowest levels in over 25 years.'' It summarized the transformations of global democracy over the past 10 years in stark terms:
Just ten years ago the world looked very different from today. In 2011, there were more countries improving than declining on every aspect of democracy. By 2021 the world has been turned on its head: there are more countries declining than advancing on nearly all democratic aspects captured by V-Dem measures.
The report also notes that ''toxic polarization'''--signaled by declining ''respect for counter-arguments and associated aspects of the deliberative component of democracy'''--grew more severe in at least 32 countries.
A paper published one week after my Atlantic essay, by Yunus E. Orhan, found a global spike in democratic ''backsliding'' since 2008, and linked it to affective polarization, or animosity toward the other side. When affective polarization is high, partisans tolerate antidemocratic behavior by politicians on their own side''''such as the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
And finally, the Economist Intelligence Unit reported a global decline in various democratic measures starting after 2015, according to its Democracy Index.
These three studies cannot prove that social media caused the global decline, but'--contra Meta and Zuckerberg'--they show a global trend toward polarization in the previous decade, the one in which the world embraced social media.
Has Social Media Created Harmful Echo Chambers?
So why did democracies weaken in the 2010s? How might social media have made them more fragmented and less stable? One popular argument contends that social media sorts users into echo chambers''''closed communities of like-minded people. Lack of contact with people who hold different viewpoints allows a sort of tribal groupthink to take hold, reducing the quality of everyone's thinking and the prospects for compromise that are essential in a democratic system.
According to Meta, however, ''More and more research discredits the idea that social media algorithms create an echo chamber.'' It points to two sources to back up that claim, but many studies show evidence that social media does in fact create echo chambers. Because conflicting studies are common in social-science research, I created a ''collaborative review'' document last year with Chris Bail, a sociologist at Duke University who studies social media. It's a public Google doc in which we organize the abstracts of all the studies we can find about social media's impact on democracy, and then we invite other experts to add studies, comments, and criticisms. We cover research on seven different questions, including whether social media promotes echo chambers. After spending time in the document, Lewis-Kraus wrote in The New Yorker: ''The upshot seemed to me to be that exactly nothing was unambiguously clear.''
He is certainly right that nothing is unambiguous. But as I have learned from curating three such documents, researchers often reach opposing conclusions because they have ''operationalized'' the question differently. That is, they have chosen different ways to turn an abstract question (about the prevalence of echo chambers, say) into something concrete and measurable. For example, researchers who choose to measure echo chambers by looking at the diversity of people's news consumption typically find little evidence that they exist at all. Even partisans end up being exposed to news stories and videos from the other side. Both of the sources that Raychoudhury cited in her defense of Meta mention this idea.
Derek Thompson: Social media is attention alcohol
But researchers who measure echo chambers by looking at social relationships and networks usually find evidence of ''homophily'''--that is, people tend to engage with others who are similar to themselves. One study of politically engaged Twitter users, for example, found that they ''are disproportionately exposed to like-minded information and that information reaches like-minded users more quickly.'' So should we throw up our hands and say that the findings are irreconcilable? No, we should integrate them, as the sociologist Zeynep Tufekci did in a 2018 essay. Coming across contrary viewpoints on social media, she wrote, is ''not like reading them in a newspaper while sitting alone.'' Rather, she said, ''it's like hearing them from the opposing team while sitting with our fellow fans in a football stadium '... We bond with our team by yelling at the fans of the other one.'' Mere exposure to different sources of news doesn't automatically break open echo chambers; in fact, it can reinforce them.
These closely bonded groupings can have profound political ramifications, as a couple of my critics in the New Yorker article acknowledged. A major feature of the post-Babel world is that the extremes are now far louder and more influential than before. They may also become more violent. Recent research by Morteza Dehghani and his colleagues at the University of Southern California shows that people are more willing to commit violence when they are immersed in a community they perceive to be morally homogeneous.
This finding seems to be borne out by a statement from the 18-year-old man who recently killed 10 Black Americans at a supermarket in Buffalo. In the Q&A portion of the manifesto attributed to him, he wrote:
Where did you get your current beliefs?
Mostly from the internet. There was little to no influence on my personal beliefs by people I met in person.
The killer goes on to claim that he had read information ''from all ideologies,'' but I find it unlikely that he consumed a balanced informational diet, or, more important, that he hung out online with ideologically diverse users. The fact that he livestreamed his shooting tells us he assumed that his community shared his warped worldview. He could not have found such an extreme yet homogeneous group in his small town 200 miles from Buffalo. But thanks to social media, he found an international fellowship of extreme racists who jointly worshipped past mass murderers and from whom he copied sections of his manifesto.
Is Social Media the Primary Villain in This Story?
In her response to my essay, Raychoudhury did not deny that Meta bore any blame. Rather, her defense was two-pronged, arguing that the research is not yet definitive, and that, in any case, we should be focusing on mainstream media as the primary cause of harm.
Raychoudhury pointed to a study on the role of cable TV and mainstream media as major drivers of partisanship. She is correct to do so: The American culture war has roots going back to the turmoil of the 1960s, which activated evangelicals and other conservatives in the '70s. Social media (which arrived around 2004 and became truly pernicious, I argue, only after 2009) is indeed a more recent player in this phenomenon.
In my essay, I included a paragraph on this backstory, noting the role of Fox News and the radicalizing Republican Party of the '90s, but I should have said more. The story of polarization is complex, and political scientists cite a variety of contributing factors, including the growing politicization of the urban-rural divide; rising immigration; the increasing power of big and very partisan donors; the loss of a common enemy when the Soviet Union collapsed; and the loss of the ''Greatest Generation,'' which had an ethos of service forged in the crisis of the Second World War. And although polarization rose rapidly in the 2010s, the rise began in the '90s, so I cannot pin the majority of the rise on social media.
But my essay wasn't primarily about ordinary polarization. I was trying to explain a new dynamic that emerged in the 2010s: the fear of one another, even'--and perhaps especially''''within groups that share political or cultural affinities. This fear has created a whole new set of social and political problems.
The loss of a common enemy and those other trends with roots in the 20th century can help explain America's ever nastier cross-party relationships, but they can't explain why so many college students and professors suddenly began to express more fear, and engage in more self-censorship, around 2015. These mostly left-leaning people weren't worried about the ''other side''; they were afraid of a small number of students who were further to the left, and who enthusiastically hunted for verbal transgressions and used social media to publicly shame offenders.
A few years later, that same fearful dynamic spread to newsrooms, companies, nonprofit organizations, and many other parts of society. The culture war had been running for two or three decades by then, but it changed in the mid-2010s when ordinary people with little to no public profile suddenly became the targets of social-media mobs. Consider the famous 2013 case of Justine Sacco, who tweeted an insensitive joke about her trip to South Africa just before boarding her flight in London and became an international villain by the time she landed in Cape Town. She was fired the next day. Or consider the the far right's penchant for using social media to publicize the names and photographs of largely unknown local election officials, health officials, and school-board members who refuse to bow to political pressure, and who are then subjected to waves of vitriol, including threats of violence to themselves and their children, simply for doing their jobs. These phenomena, now common to the culture, could not have happened before the advent of hyper-viral social media in 2009.
Matthew Hindman, Nathaniel Lubin, and Trevor Davis: Facebook has a superuser-supremacy problem
This fear of getting shamed, reported, doxxed, fired, or physically attacked is responsible for the self-censorship and silencing of dissent that were the main focus of my essay. When dissent within any group or institution is stifled, the group will become less perceptive, nimble, and effective over time.
Social media may not be the primary cause of polarization, but it is an important cause, and one we can do something about. I believe it is also the primary cause of the epidemic of structural stupidity, as I called it, that has recently afflicted many of America's key institutions.
What Can We Do to Make Things Better?
My essay presented a series of structural solutions that would allow us to repair some of the damage that social media has caused to our key democratic and epistemic institutions. I proposed three imperatives: (1) harden democratic institutions so that they can withstand chronic anger and mistrust, (2) reform social media so that it becomes less socially corrosive, and (3) better prepare the next generation for democratic citizenship in this new age.
I believe that we should begin implementing these reforms now, even if the science is not yet ''settled.'' Beyond a reasonable doubt is the appropriate standard of evidence for reviewers guarding admission to a scientific journal, or for jurors establishing guilt in a criminal trial. It is too high a bar for questions about public health or threats to the body politic. A more appropriate standard is the one used in civil trials: the preponderance of evidence. Is social media probably damaging American democracy via at least one of the seven pathways analyzed in our collaborative-review document, or probably not? I urge readers to examine the document themselves. I also urge the social-science community to find quicker ways to study potential threats such as social media, where platforms and their effects change rapidly. Our motto should be ''Move fast and test things.'' Collaborative-review documents are one way to speed up the process by which scholars find and respond to one another's work.
Beyond these structural solutions, I considered adding a short section to the article on what each of us can do as individuals, but it sounded a bit too preachy, so I cut it. I now regret that decision. I should have noted that all of us, as individuals, can be part of the solution by choosing to act with courage, moderation, and compassion. It takes a great deal of resolve to speak publicly or stand your ground when a barrage of snide, disparaging, and otherwise hostile comments is coming at you and nobody rises to your defense (out of fear of getting attacked themselves).
Read: How to fix Twitter'--and all of social media
Fortunately, social media does not usually reflect real life, something that more people are beginning to understand. A few years ago, I heard an insight from an older business executive. He noted that before social media, if he received a dozen angry letters or emails from customers, they spurred him to action because he assumed that there must be a thousand other disgruntled customers who didn't bother to write. But now, if a thousand people like an angry tweet or Facebook post about his company, he assumes that there must be a dozen people who are really upset.
Seeing that social-media outrage is transient and performative should make it easier to withstand, whether you are the president of a university or a parent speaking at a school-board meeting. We can all do more to offer honest dissent and support the dissenters within institutions that have become structurally stupid. We can all get better at listening with an open mind and speaking in order to engage another human being rather than impress an audience. Teaching these skills to our children and our students is crucial, because they are the generation who will have to reinvent deliberative democracy and Tocqueville's ''art of association'' for the digital age.
We must act with compassion too. The fear and cruelty of the post-Babel era are a result of its tendency to reward public displays of aggression. Social media has put us all in the middle of a Roman coliseum, and many in the audience want to see conflict and blood. But once we realize that we are the gladiators'--tricked into combat so that we might generate ''content,'' ''engagement,'' and revenue'--we can refuse to fight. We can be more understanding toward our fellow citizens, seeing that we are all being driven mad by companies that use largely the same set of psychological tricks. We can forswear public conflict and use social media to serve our own purposes, which for most people will mean more private communication and fewer public performances.
The post-Babel world will not be rebuilt by today's technology companies. That work will be left to citizens who understand the forces that brought us to the verge of self-destruction, and who develop the new habits, virtues, technologies, and shared narratives that will allow us to reap the benefits of living and working together in peace.
China approves Genuine Biotech's HIV drug for COVID patients | Reuters
Sat, 30 Jul 2022 13:23
People get tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a mobile nucleic acid testing site outside a shopping mall in Beijing, China March 16, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comBEIJING, July 25 (Reuters) - China on Monday gave conditional approval to domestic firm Genuine Biotech's Azvudine pill to treat certain adult patients with COVID-19, adding another oral treatment option against the coronavirus.
The availability of effective COVID vaccines and treatments is crucial in laying the groundwork for China's potential pivoting from its "dynamic COVID zero" policy, which aims to eliminate every outbreak - however small - and relies on mass testing and strict quarantining.
The Azvudine tablet, which China approved in July last year to treat certain HIV-1 virus infections, has been given a conditional green light to treat adult patients with "normal type" COVID, the National Medical Products Administration said in a statement.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com"Normal type" COVID is a term China uses to refer to coronavirus infections where there are signs of pneumonia, but the patients haven't reached a severe stage.
China in February allowed the use of Pfizer's oral treatment Paxlovid in adults with mild-to-moderate COVID and high risk of progressing to a severe condition. In 2020, it approved the use of Lianhuaqingwen capsules, a traditional Chinese medicine-style formula, to alleviate symptoms of COVID such as fever and cough.
In a late-stage clinical trial, 40.4% of patients taking Azvudine showed improvement in symptoms seven days after first taking the drug, compared with 10.9% in the control group, Henan province-based Genuine Biotech said in a statement earlier this month, without providing detailed readings.
Other Chinese companies developing potential oral COVID treatments include Shanghai Junshi Biosciences (688180.SS) and Kintor Pharmaceutical (9939.HK).
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comReporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan WooEditing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Energiecrisis Duitsland: geen warm water in publieke gebouwen Hannover, Berlijn dooft verlichting monumenten
Sat, 30 Jul 2022 12:57
In Berlijn gingen deze week de schijnwerpers bij een aantal monumenten uit om energie te besparen, zo ook de gevelverlichting van de kathedraal. Beeld Getty
'Iedere kilowattuur telt', stelt burgemeester Belit Onay van Hannover. Hij noemt de huidige energiecrisis 'onvoorspelbaar'. Elders in Duitsland wordt onder meer verlichting bij monumenten uitgeschakeld.
De burgemeester stelt dat de prioriteit ligt bij het 'beschermen van de kritieke infrastructuur'. In alle openbare gebouwen in Hannover moet de thermostaat uit voorzorg tot 1 oktober volledig uitgeschakeld blijven. Daarna geldt een maximumtemperatuur van 20 graden. Voor onder meer scholen, ziekenhuizen en bejaardencentra is een uitzondering gemaakt.
Besparing Met de maatregelen hoopt Hannover zo'n 15 procent energie te besparen, in lijn met de plannen van de Europese Unie. De 27 EU-landen gingen dinsdag akkoord met plannen die moeten voorkomen dat huishoudens, belangrijke bedrijven en ziekenhuizen deze winter zonder verwarming komen te zitten.
In de Duitse hoofdstad Berlijn zijn woensdag alvast zo'n tweehonderd schijnwerpers uitgeschakeld die monumenten normaliter verlichten. 'Vanwege de oorlog in Oekra¯ne en Russische dreigingen is het belangrijk dat wij zo voorzichtig mogelijk omgaan met onze energie', zegt een woordvoerder van het stadsbestuur. Eerder werd de temperatuur van verwarmde buitenzwembaden al met twee graden verlaagd.
Hogere rekening De Duitse minister van Economie, Robert Habeck, liet donderdag weten dat het bedrag dat consumenten aan energie gaan betalen hoger uit kan vallen dan eerder werd verwacht. Zo moet worden voorkomen dat energiebedrijven failliet gaan. 'We kunnen nog niet zeggen hoeveel gas in november gaat kosten, maar het bittere nieuws is dat dit waarschijnlijk een paar honderd euro per huishouden zal zijn', aldus Habeck, die de uitdagingen waar zijn land voor staat 'enorm' noemt.
Duitsland was voor de oorlog in Oekra¯ne voor een groot deel van zijn energie afhankelijk van Russisch gas. Om de winter door te komen, moeten de gasreserves in november voor 95 procent zijn gevuld. Op dit moment heeft Duitsland de opslagen voor net geen 67 procent gevuld. Een deel van het gas wordt in Duitsland ook gebruikt om elektriciteit op te wekken.
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The GOP went to war against Google over spam '-- and may win - The Washington Post
Fri, 29 Jul 2022 21:31
The occasion was lunch. The setting was an ornate room off the Senate chamber.
The hosts were some of the top Republican lawmakers in the country and the strategists responsible for filling their campaign coffers. Their guest, on a Wednesday in May, was Google's top lawyer, invited to explain the company's approach to email spam and answer charges that the tech giant was suppressing Republican solicitations.
Amid a chorus of complaints, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) offered an analogy. The 88-year-old suggested that Google's sending emails to spam was equivalent to the post office refusing to deliver the mail, according to three people in the room who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details from a closed-door meeting.
''If you mail a letter, you expect it to be delivered,'' said a ''red-faced'' Grassley, as one person recalled. ''That's what should happen!''
The criticism marked the apex of a pressure campaign waged against Google by the GOP as the party continues to send unrelenting appeals for cash even amid signs its tactics are faltering. The party's online fundraising has fallen off in recent months, declining by about 11 percent in the second quarter of the year, compared with the first, according to federal filings from WinRed, the main donation-processing portal for the Republicans. Online fundraising by Democrats increased by more than 21 percent, according to filings from the Democrats' main portal, ActBlue.
It's unclear what impact Google's spam filters have had on the GOP's fundraising, if any. Nevertheless, Republicans have waged a pressure campaign that has included public Twitter offensives and private discussions with Google chief executive Sundar Pichai. GOP lawmakers have introduced draft legislation in both chambers of Congress.
The effort's impact became apparent this month when Google asked the Federal Election Commission to green-light a pilot program that would exempt campaign emails from spam detection. That change could reshape the experience of Gmail users. The amount of political fundraising conducted over email and text has exploded in recent years, adding to the deluge of promotional messages swamping Americans every day. The program could further intensify the inundation.
The GOP's full-court press drew on the party's longtime protest that Silicon Valley is biased against conservatives '-- a claim disputed by the companies. It is a politically sensitive time for Google, as the company works to defeat antitrust legislation that executives say could compromise user safety and undermine Google's most popular products.
In recent election cycles, the Republican fundraising apparatus, led by Gary Coby, a strategist for former president Donald Trump, has ratcheted up email solicitations for small-dollar contributions. Trump's PAC often sends out more than a dozen pitches a day. Many are misleading, with promises of a ''700%'' match but with fine print showing that donations may not specifically benefit the advertised cause, such as a ''Protect Our Elections Fund.''
Coby also works for the Senate GOP's campaign arm. When Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) took over that operation in November 2020, he expanded the budget for small-dollar fundraising, people at the committee say, and told his team to be more aggressive in raising cash.
Trump's advisers, meanwhile, have received complaints about his constant fundraising solicitations, and some people fear that it will turn off voters, two Trump advisers said. But the former president is pleased with his fundraising, these advisers say, and Coby has told others that his strategy is working.
People familiar with the thinking inside Google said the company is being scapegoated by Republican consultants seeking to shift the blame for poor fundraising caused by lists that have grown stale and recipients who have tired of incessant appeals, especially those coming from entities that have rented or purchased email addresses.
Brett Schenker, an email deliverability specialist who has consulted for Democratic campaigns, echoed that explanation '-- and said it made him ''embarrassed for Google over how they've reacted.''
''It's very suspicious that there's major antitrust legislation that would potentially impact Google's search algorithms that they want killed while this is going on,'' he said. ''So they're acquiescing instead of standing up to Republicans and defending their very effective spam filters.''
Schenker's own analysis of successful inbox placement for 22 campaigns and political organizations shows a roughly even partisan breakdown, he said, with the best-performing domain controlled by a group associated with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).
With July's fundraising deadline looming, Republicans are escalating their tactics, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post. The Republican National Committee's chief digital officer emailed Google representatives this week complaining that the party keeps hearing the same ''debunked'' explanation for the GOP's poor performance in Gmail inboxes '-- ''that there is a threshold of user spam complaints that we teeter on, and then somehow crossover at the same time each month.''
''Bottom line,'' wrote the digital officer, Christian Schaeffer, ''should we expect Google to choose to block the RNC's emails at end of month again this week?''
A Google director promised answers in a phone conversation the next day. ''We will make whatever time works best for you,'' she wrote.
Google spokesman Jos(C) Casta±eda said company representatives discussed the RNC's concerns around deliverability and pointed them to best practices for bulk senders.
He added, in a statement, that ''we do not filter emails based on political affiliation.''
''We recently asked the FEC to authorize a pilot program that may help improve inboxing rates for political bulk senders and provide more transparency into email deliverability, while still letting users protect their inboxes by unsubscribing or labeling emails as spam,'' he said. ''We look forward to exploring new ways to provide the best possible Gmail experience.''
The fight over spam gained new fuel from a study published at the end of March by researchers at North Carolina State University. They found that Gmail sent 77 percent of right-wing candidate emails to spam, compared with 10 percent of left-wing candidate emails. Outlook and Yahoo, by contrast, favored right-wing candidate emails, according to the study, although to a lesser degree.
The authors did not allege ''deliberate attempts from these email services to create these biases to influence the voters'' but, nevertheless, concluded that technology has learned to ''mark more emails from one political affiliation as spam compared to the other.''
Google took issue with the study, saying the researchers used a small sample size and old data while not accounting for which candidates had used recommended tools when sending bulk emails. The company touts its filtering capabilities '-- based on artificial intelligence that incorporates a range of factors, including user input '-- and says they are capable of ''blocking more than 99.9 percent of spam, phishing, and malware from ever reaching users' inboxes.''
By the end of April, the GOP's three main party committees had filed a complaint against Google with the FEC, citing the North Carolina State study and alleging ''Illegal In-Kind Contributions Made by Google to Biden For President and Other Democrat Candidates.''
Around the same time, representatives from the Senate GOP's campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and from a leading GOP digital strategy firm, Targeted Victory, briefed senators on the party's poor performance with Gmail inboxes, according to people familiar with the discussions. The presentation involved a slide deck using the North Carolina State study to illustrate the potential impact on upcoming Senate races.
In May, Senate Republicans invited Kent Walker, Google's chief legal officer, to explain the company's spam detection systems and answer questions. The lunch meeting, which was first reported by Politico, grew tense, according to people who were there.
The most forceful rebuke, attendees said, came from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who claimed that not a single email from one of his addresses was reaching inboxes. The reason, it was later determined, was that a vendor had not enabled an authentication tool that keeps messages from being marked as spam, according to people briefed on the discussions. A Rubio spokeswoman declined to comment.
People familiar with Google's approach said company representatives were not prepared to address specific complaints on the spot, such as Rubio's, because they were not given materials ahead of time. Both Coby, from the Senate GOP's campaign arm, and Zac Moffatt, Targeted Victory's chief executive, were present, which struck some participants as unusual for a policy lunch.
Walker and other Google leaders, including Lee Dunn, a policy director and onetime aide to the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), explained to Grassley how Gmail differed from the post office, namely that users opt in to the online service, according to meeting participants.
Grassley, in a statement to The Post, accused tech giants of bias and said, ''It's past time these companies are held accountable for manipulating algorithms that control what Americans see online, including in their email inboxes.''
Many lawmakers relayed personal anecdotes that revealed limited understanding of how Gmail works, although some of their points touched on areas of ongoing study by Google. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) asked why she wasn't getting emails from a pro-Israel group after signing up for its newsletter.
Some were unconvinced by the company's responses. ''What Google is saying is false,'' Moffatt told The Post, accusing the company of seeking to ''distract attention from the proven problem of unfair filtering. '... Now that there has been independent, third-party confirmations, they are scrambling to find a half-baked solution that is completely unworkable.''
Coby, in a statement, said voters who sign up to receive campaign emails ''should receive 100 percent of the emails unless they unsubscribe or mark the email as spam.''
''This is not what happens on Gmail. They choose to actively block GOP emails even if the voter has not taken these actions,'' he added. ''Google is lying if they tell you they only block emails when a voter marks as spam or unsubscribes.'' (Google does not say that, in fact outlining a range of factors that go into spam filtering, such as suspicious links and phrases, in addition to user behavior.)
In June, several senators, including Scott and the No. 2 Senate Republican, John Thune (S.D.), met with Pichai and raised similar concerns, although the tone was more cordial, according to people who were present or learned about the meetings. Scott pushed for ''higher deliverability'' of emails, said his spokesman, Chris Hartline. A spokesman for Thune declined to comment.
The same month, Republican officials grew increasingly vocal on social media, sharing charts purporting to show the rate at which their emails were reaching inboxes. Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, in a statement, framed the issue as a fight against ''Big Tech power hungry liberals.''
''Big Tech's bias is abundantly clear '-- Google has systematically suppressed the RNC's fundraising and [Get Out the Vote] emails for several months and they are still unable to provide any reasonable explanation for this attack,'' she said. ''These emails are sent to our most engaged, opt-in supporters, yet it keeps happening.''
RNC officials say Dunn, the Google director and former McCain aide, has privately encouraged them to keep speaking out about their emails being blocked. Casta±eda, the Google spokesman, said Dunn encouraged the RNC to continue to provide feedback.
Democrats see matters differently, defending Gmail's spam filter as an asset for users.
''Not content with their ability to bilk their supporters out of $250 million with a fraudulent 'election defense fund,' Republicans have successfully lobbied Google to remove one of the few anti-abuse protections that remain,'' said Daniel Wessel, a Democratic National Committee spokesman, referring to findings from the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2o21, attack on the U.S. Capitol that Trump and his allies used misleading claims about voter fraud to raise enormous sums in the weeks after the 2020 election.
Also in June, Thune introduced a bill with the backing of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the Political Bias in Algorithm Sorting Emails Act of 2022. It would bar email providers from marking messages as spam without the direction of users. Similar legislation was introduced in the House.
The legislation, said Anne P. Mitchell, the chief executive of Get to the Inbox, an email certification service, is ''clearly grandstanding to push Google to do exactly what they're now doing.''
''Rather than dealing with the possibility of the law passing and tying itself in knots defending its ability to apply spam filtering, Google has gone to the FEC,'' she said. ''The result of this will be to cram political spam down people's throats.''
Most requests for advisory opinions before the FEC have something in common: They generate few, if any, public comments.
The sweeping ramifications that could result from Google's request are reflected in the interest it has generated, prompting about 2,500 public comments, mostly from individuals. They overwhelmingly ask the regulator to advise against the proposed Google program allowing candidate and other committees registered with the FEC to evade ordinary spam detection.
''Hello,'' one person wrote to the commission this week. ''I have heard of the new plan to allow political correspondence to evade my spam box. I am vehemently opposed to this plan.''
Another implored, ''Do NOT allow this.''
The public has until early August to weigh in, at which point the six commissioners, divided evenly by party, will consider a draft opinion and determine if there are at least four votes for an answer to Google.
There is some discomfort within the FEC about the genesis of the request and the appearance that it resulted from political and governmental pressure, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing matter. They nonetheless said this context is unlikely to figure in the commission's decision-making, which boils down to whether such a pilot program represents a prohibited in-kind political contribution or an acceptable move in line with Google's ordinary business practices.
Companies routinely make commercial decisions on the basis of government or political pressure, one official noted. Just this week, the Disney-backed streaming service Hulu reversed course after Democratic outcry and said it would accept issue ads on controversial topics.
People with knowledge of Google's approach also said the pilot program is not entirely a reaction to GOP complaints but draws on long-standing efforts to experiment with options for bulk senders. And, even if backed by the FEC, the program may not persist beyond six months if it's not working, they added.
David Mason, a former Republican commissioner who is now the general counsel and chief compliance officer at the data-management company Aristotle, said he would favor Google's request because it unleashes political speech. ''I understand people hate spam,'' he said. ''My response is that they can train their email filters.''
Still, the public provocation that preceded the request puts the FEC in a difficult spot, he added.
''I think it is relevant to the FEC that Google's getting political pressure to do this,'' Mason said. ''It puts commissioners in a position where anything they do or fail to do is going to be interpreted as politically charged.''
Among the thousands of people watching to see what the regulator will do is Hassan Iqbal, the North Carolina State study's first author.
He thinks spam filters should remain for campaign emails, he said. But he relished Google's decision to take action, which ''established that our study is not that flawed after all,'' he said.
Gerrit De Vynck, Cat Zakrzewski and Chris Zubak-Skees contributed to this report.
A Song Is Born (1948) - IMDb
Fri, 29 Jul 2022 18:37
With her gangster boyfriend under investigation by the police, a nightclub singer hides out in a musical research institution staffed by bachelor professors - one of whom begins to fall for ... Read all With her gangster boyfriend under investigation by the police, a nightclub singer hides out in a musical research institution staffed by bachelor professors - one of whom begins to fall for her. With her gangster boyfriend under investigation by the police, a nightclub singer hides out in a musical research institution staffed by bachelor professors - one of whom begins to fall for her. Videos 1 Enjoyable musical comedy (more so if you haven't seen the original)
This is a musical remake of the 1940 classic "Ball of Fire". The plot is almost the same, a gangster's moll crashes the residence of a bunch of professors who are writing an encyclopedia, and falls in love the the youngest one. This time they're a musical encyclopedia rather than a generalized one, which allows for a lot of musical numbers, some of them pretty enjoyable. It's a lively, superficial, colorful musical with some laughs to it, if you haven't seen "Ball of Fire" you'll probably have quite a good time.
But the film and especially the performances are vastly inferior to the original. Virginia Mayo is the same as she always was in musical comedies, a sort of generic leading lady/straight man. Danny Kaye is limited by his role, he's playing an uptight nerd and can't use his fabulous manic energy at all for most of the film (Gary Cooper was absolutely hilarious as the uptight nerd in the original, he was one good actor). The supporting performances are all pretty cartoonish, none stand out, but there are appearances by Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, and Lionel Hampton which you might want to catch.
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By what name was A Song Is Born (1948) officially released in Canada in English?
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    Adam curry, John C. Devora. July 31 2022. This is your award
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    winning get my nation media assassination episode 1473. This
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    live from the heart of the Texas Hill Country here and FEMA
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    reached number six in the morning, everybody. I'm Adam
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    curry and from Northern Silicon Valley where we're noticing
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    Is that the most hilarious thing a news report you've ever seen?
  • 0:37
    I have a question for you. Yeah, how you doing?
  • 0:41
    Oh, thank you for asking. I feel like I'm still a body buzz, you
  • 0:46
    know, and I'm a little shaky, shaky, but that's probably the
  • 0:51
    caffeine and the weed didn't help. But otherwise good to go.
  • 0:54
    Ready for a show. Rock and roll.
  • 0:58
    So you're, and you sound better? Thank you. Not
  • 1:04
    pushing through it, you know,
  • 1:06
    not 100%. But it's better than though last time it was the
  • 1:09
    first time I've ever seen you fail.
  • 1:11
    I will say I will say just about this ba ba five variant. It
  • 1:18
    isn't it is still not the same as a summer cold. There's some
  • 1:22
    fatigue that is that I just don't remember from summer cold.
  • 1:26
    And the only other thing I'd say is what I just have to repeat.
  • 1:29
    If everyone gets this thing. I mean, no wonder we're in a
  • 1:33
    second quarter of negative GDP. I mean, this this knocks you on
  • 1:37
    your ass for about a week. You know, it's like this slows shit
  • 1:41
    down. It's really bad.
  • 1:45
    But you're back on your feet.
  • 1:46
    I'm on my feet. Yeah, I'm
  • 1:47
    on my feet. You don't Andy, have you tested recently?
  • 1:49
    I didn't test at all for this. I probably would I do this so I
  • 1:54
    could for the show. I had COVID Trust me Tina to know for this
  • 1:59
    show. So I
  • 1:59
    had I have a whole bit I could go into about how Biden take
  • 2:04
    stupid crap would with this is the Prometheus what is that drug
  • 2:08
    is hiking packs? Low COVID packs low. COVID. Yeah, pack slow.
  • 2:12
    COVID. So he takes the pack SLOVAN. And just like everyone
  • 2:15
    says you take it it's good for however long to take. It comes
  • 2:19
  • 2:19
    and then it comes back.
  • 2:20
    What good is it?
  • 2:22
    Everything that they've said that was wrong has been proven
  • 2:25
    with the President. That's the best part. Include right down to
  • 2:29
    the they say packs low COVID. I like packs a little bit myself.
  • 2:34
    Well, whatever it is, I'll say this The somebody sent me a link
  • 2:38
    to a medical journal some phony medical journal. Where were they
  • 2:42
    praising Biden for taking PAC SLOVAN. And, and it's a good
  • 2:46
    thing. It says in the article literally, it's a good thing.
  • 2:50
    They didn't give oxy. What's Clora hydro hydro Chloroquine
  • 2:58
    and hydroxychloroquine? No, ivermectin. No, they said
  • 3:02
    specifically in the article. Oh, really good thing. They didn't
  • 3:05
    give him hydroxychloroquine. And then I was reading from this
  • 3:09
    mention ivermectin. They didn't say that. But that's what other
  • 3:12
    people are saying. So heaven forbid, they take these any of
  • 3:16
    these cheap drugs which are more or less harmless, and they're
  • 3:19
    taking red,
  • 3:19
    which, which I took and so you know, we're probably good to go
  • 3:23
    but that guy needs I took him and I kept working. I didn't
  • 3:28
    really stop working well,
  • 3:29
    by is still working too. Well on Zoom when you call. He doesn't
  • 3:33
    work. Yeah, that's good. So
  • 3:36
    here's my question, though. Whatever happened to
  • 3:38
    asymptomatic spread? Did that just get thrown out the door? I
  • 3:43
    mean, that was the whole reason from that's still the whole
  • 3:45
    reason for masking. You know, you might be sick and not know
  • 3:48
    it and then you could kill grandma. Yeah, but that's not
  • 3:51
    that's just oversight. If you got it now you know, five days
  • 3:55
    and then the yield test positive for weeks. Don't worry about it.
  • 3:58
    Just go back to work. Yeah, huh. And these are the this is the
  • 4:04
    problem is the human race forgets very quickly these days.
  • 4:10
    That's where our shows here.
  • 4:12
    But it's getting harder for us, Johnny Boy. I mean, we were
  • 4:15
    still able to catch the videos that are coming back after three
  • 4:17
    years, but one of these days we're just we're gonna get Dale
  • 4:21
  • 4:22
    Oh, well, you know, WWE people helping us I get since you
  • 4:25
    brought it up. You brought a how easy people forget. Yeah. I have
  • 4:30
    a pair of clips. Nice about people forgetting it's pretty
  • 4:34
    much people forgetting. This was Ron DeSantis. He's on your
  • 4:39
    friend. Here we go hair. What's your name here? Hey, Laura.
  • 4:45
    Oh. Oh, Ingram. froward. Sorry. Hair Ingraham it
  • 4:51
    is I'll tell you somebody, you know when I used to let him tune
  • 4:54
    in when she was on the radio. I don't know what kind of mic they
  • 4:58
    had on or what they were doing. I don't think they like Because
  • 5:00
    I was I swear to you when you heard her on the radio sound
  • 5:03
    like a dude. It's Laura Ingraham here. It was great that it was
  • 5:11
    like one of those squeaky voice said like low testosterone,
  • 5:14
    dude. They still sound like a dude. Okay? But Frau Ingraham
  • 5:21
    had on Ron DeSantis. Okay, so here we go DeSantis. And he's
  • 5:26
    making some commentary about leaving California
  • 5:28
    Joining us now. And I'm delighted he's with us, Governor
  • 5:31
    Ron DeSantis. from the great state of Florida Governor, why
  • 5:34
    are these failed left wing governors deciding to hit you
  • 5:38
    all of a sudden? I mean, you're just the guy. You're the man of
  • 5:40
    the moment.
  • 5:41
    Well, I think if you look at like California, they never lost
  • 5:43
    population from the founding of the state until this current
  • 5:47
    governor has been in office. Now they're hemorrhaging people.
  • 5:49
    Illinois is hemorrhaging people, New York and their tax bases are
  • 5:53
    going getting narrower.
  • 5:56
    Okay. Is that fact is that as as California never diminished in
  • 6:02
    population until now?
  • 6:03
    Well, I've heard this a couple of times now. So I've decided to
  • 6:06
    go back to December 17th 1971, Republican governor of
  • 6:12
    California, Ronald Reagan's on The Dick Cavett Show,
  • 6:15
    where are people leaving the state for the first time in
  • 6:18
    history, I was surprised to hear this back. But I always grew up
  • 6:21
    knowing that people were moving by the rate of 400 a day to
  • 6:24
    California sending I believe in this year for the first time,
  • 6:27
    they're hauling out of here, we're being someone who
  • 6:30
    predicted that I'm not at. I've not been too surprised. They've
  • 6:34
    always been people leaving. Well, we've always had them
  • 6:37
    coming in, they've been coming in fast, but they change the
  • 6:41
    balance tide is turning in our favor. But I think what happened
  • 6:45
    is when, when a state grows to the size of California and has
  • 6:51
    large urban centers, it loses some of the appeal that we're
  • 6:54
    bringing the people here, the people were coming here in a
  • 6:57
    kind of a pioneering sense, it was a new frontier, and New
  • 7:00
    Start new jobs and futures and so forth. Now, when you grow up
  • 7:03
    to be well, being the most populous state of the union, you
  • 7:07
    lose some of that. And you find people here leaving for the same
  • 7:10
    reason they're leaving states back here, they're going to
  • 7:12
    Alaska, Arizona, Oregon to Washington get what they used to
  • 7:15
    get here. Let's kind of start.
  • 7:21
    Huh? So the first time first time first time, so I call
  • 7:25
    bullshit on Frau Ingraham, she should have said something. No.
  • 7:30
    And what's perhaps even more interesting, and I just I'd like
  • 7:34
    to know if the absolute numbers are true, but I would presume
  • 7:37
    because of immigration, this is how California has kept up with
  • 7:40
    the with people leaving.
  • 7:43
    Oh, yeah, for sure. Or,
  • 7:45
    or is it gotten so bad that California is now also rejecting
  • 7:49
    immigrants? And they're just sending them all to Texas?
  • 7:53
    Well, that would be a positive thing. Well, you know,
  • 7:58
    California has always had I really wonder if it's, I mean,
  • 8:02
    it grows in bits and spurts. But it's not the first time. And I
  • 8:09
    don't know where they get this. And I'm sure the numbers have
  • 8:11
    been jiggered with over and over again for tax benefits and tax
  • 8:15
    purposes and ways to gouge the government. The federal
  • 8:18
    government in particular, they're trying to do it now.
  • 8:20
    It's very rammed we
  • 8:21
    have this many people send more money. Yeah,
  • 8:24
    that kind of thing. Yeah. And so I just thought I'd point that
  • 8:30
    out. Yeah.
  • 8:31
    That's appreciated. And let me point out that, you know,
  • 8:35
    California is get in more trouble. Especially your
  • 8:39
    backyard, John, right there in San Francisco. I don't know
  • 8:42
    what's happening this weekend. It's
  • 8:44
    going to be a busy weekend in San Francisco. And there's
  • 8:47
    concern that a big party this weekend could spread Monkey Park
  • 8:52
    for the mayor declared a local health health emergency just
  • 8:56
    yesterday, and we see various video content have found some
  • 8:59
    people are reconsidering their plans to attend a rather risque
  • 9:03
    San Francisco.
  • 9:05
    It's called the Dory alley street fair or up your alley.
  • 9:08
    And over the years, it's earned a reputation for being a smaller
  • 9:11
    but racier version of the Folsom Street Fair. And this year, lots
  • 9:16
    of people are reconsidering their plans to go to that event
  • 9:19
    and related dance parties because of the ongoing monkey
  • 9:23
    pox outbreak. It very escaped the declaration of a public
  • 9:26
    health emergency by San Francisco Mayor London breed was
  • 9:28
    enough to convince San Francisco resident Larry Novita to skip
  • 9:32
    the Dory alley street fair this Sunday. I'm just
  • 9:34
    gonna hang out in the neighborhood here. And just
  • 9:39
    listen to what's going on at Dory
  • 9:41
    through friends
  • 9:42
    but others have come to San Francisco just for the event.
  • 9:45
    I think everyone kind of mitigates their own right
  • 9:47
    towners. And, you know, personally, I'm vaccinated, and
  • 9:53
    I had monkey pox.
  • 9:54
    So he's hoping others take appropriate precautions.
  • 9:57
    So it's a painful experience, you
  • 9:59
    know, There's a lot of unknown, you know, questions that even
  • 10:03
    doctors aren't able to answer and it's just scary. Okay, now
  • 10:08
    that this is interesting, so the guy's been vaccinated. He's had
  • 10:12
    monkey pox. And yet he says, you know, there's so much unknown.
  • 10:15
    They're scary. I see that you have monkey pox clips, so I'm
  • 10:19
    going to hand it to you. I
  • 10:20
    have the lead. Thank you.
  • 10:23
    Oh, wait, but wait. But wait, wait, wait. I want to frame it
  • 10:26
    though. We need to frame this with a clip. I didn't play from
  • 10:30
    the last episode, which is
  • 10:32
    before it before you do anything before I play my clips. I've
  • 10:37
    been in the Bay Area forever.
  • 10:42
    Forever since would
  • 10:45
    I've no. I've known about the Pride Parade. I've known about
  • 10:52
    the Folsom Street thing, which is very it's like a bunch of
  • 10:56
    nude men. You know, dry humping each other. That's pretty much
  • 11:00
    what it is. In public. Yeah. I've never even heard of this
  • 11:05
    thing. This must be outrageous. I have never heard of it.
  • 11:10
    Well, I think that is a very good point. And by the way, you
  • 11:16
    should hang up your assless chaps in shame that you've never
  • 11:18
    heard of this one.
  • 11:20
    I know, I have never
  • 11:24
    heard of it. You are the kind of guy who would know you would
  • 11:27
    know I mean, all kidding aside, you know about you know about
  • 11:30
    all the shit that's going on, you know what's happening in a
  • 11:32
    town you know, everything.
  • 11:34
    I know, what's I know, whatever, buddy in the Bay Area knows
  • 11:38
    generally but I keep up with things. But I have never heard
  • 11:42
    of this event. Now. It's either new or it's more at a real event
  • 11:46
    or it's so lewd. And so gross debt. Nobody wants to talk about
  • 11:51
    it, which is my guess must be an embarrassment to the city.
  • 11:57
    I'm not so sure. I mean, I think I think this whole monkey pox
  • 12:00
    thing has there's a different reason behind it.
  • 12:03
    Okay, we'll play your clip. And then but this
  • 12:06
    clip is important because this is Tim un, who was the World
  • 12:10
    Health Organization's high impact events preparedness unit
  • 12:14
    head. That's incredible title, high impact events preparedness
  • 12:21
    unit head. And, and we just need to play this because this is the
  • 12:25
    official word about monkey pox. And where we are and what we
  • 12:28
    know about it and what the science is and about the
  • 12:30
  • 12:31
    have been discussing with those manufacturers what is available
  • 12:34
    in 2022. We have a rough understanding about the three
  • 12:39
    vaccines that are existing at the moment are being mentioned
  • 12:42
    in the Doubletree interim guidance for immunization. So on
  • 12:46
    the MVA bn vaccine, we do know that at the moment, 16 point 4
  • 12:52
    million doses exist in bulk, which means they require fill
  • 12:56
    and finish. We have roughly 1 million of those already in
  • 13:01
    Finland, Finnish a situation on the other third generation
  • 13:05
    vaccine, the LC 16. In Japan, we know from the manufacturer, that
  • 13:11
    this is only being produced for the Government of Japan. And we
  • 13:15
    have good discussion with the Government of Japan, how to make
  • 13:18
    some of these accessible to other countries. And thirdly, on
  • 13:24
    the so called second generation vaccine AKM 2000. We know that
  • 13:29
    roughly 100 million doses of this vaccine exists with various
  • 13:34
    member states in their national stockpiles. So this is the
  • 13:37
    supply situation in 2022. And we're evaluating with the
  • 13:42
    manufacturer what will be more available in 2023. And these are
  • 13:46
    ongoing discussions, I would like to underline one thing that
  • 13:49
    is very important to who we do have uncertainties around the
  • 13:54
    effectiveness of these vaccines, because they haven't been used
  • 13:57
    in this context. And in this scale before, and therefore, we
  • 14:02
    are calling and working with our member states that when these
  • 14:06
    vaccines are being developed, that they are delivered in the
  • 14:09
    context of clinical trial studies and prospectively
  • 14:13
    collecting this data to increase on our understanding on the
  • 14:17
    effectiveness of vaccines. Thank you.
  • 14:19
    It's a clinical trial. They don't know what what it's going
  • 14:25
    to do. And everyone's just lining up.
  • 14:29
    Well, they're small. They're all smallpox vaccines.
  • 14:32
    I understand. I understand. But that makes it even worse. What
  • 14:37
    is this? I don't even know if it's mRNA. I have no idea. No,
  • 14:40
    no, no. But there's three generations of it now. And what
  • 14:44
    he's saying is when they're delivered, they should be
  • 14:47
    delivered in the context of a clinical trial.
  • 14:50
    I because they'd never been used on Monday. Yeah,
  • 14:53
    but I don't think that the the men who have sex with men who
  • 14:57
    are lining up to get a vaccine as freshly in New York City and
  • 15:01
    in San Francisco, that they're being told, Hey, by the way, you
  • 15:04
    know, you're part of a clinical trial. Do you think?
  • 15:07
    I bet I'm betting money that they're signing something? Oh,
  • 15:10
  • 15:11
    okay. But it's not something you're hearing on the news. Oh,
  • 15:15
    by the way, will you just know us at your own risk?
  • 15:21
    Okay, well, when you hear the origins of the monkey pox, this
  • 15:25
    story is one of the better pieces that they've done. And
  • 15:28
    this came from NPR it was done as a kind of as an investigative
  • 15:32
    report. You get you get find out two things. There's something
  • 15:36
    screwy about this particular monkey pox and little boys seem
  • 15:39