Cover for No Agenda Show 1512: Cash is Criminal
December 15th, 2022 • 2h 59m

1512: Cash is Criminal


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

Climate Change
Fusion breakthrough could be climate, energy game-changer
The net energy gain achievement (only) applied to the fusion reaction itself, not the total amount of power it took to operate the lasers and run the project. For fusion to be viable, it will need to produce significantly more power and for longer.
How Dutch farmers became the center of a global right-wing culture war
Q-Anon, of course
Porto BOTG Hydrogen Busses swap
I'm originally from Porto, Portugal, in the early 2000's some of our public buses were replaced by hydrogen powered vehicles. This was part of a EU project called CUTE some information HERE & HERE.
These buses ran smoothly all over the city for years. Around Obama's presidency, the hydrogen buses were replaced by Natural gas powered vehicles, which are still being used.
This year, our city Mayor and the president of STCP—the equivalent of MTA in Porto, gave a press conference introducing brand new clean energy buses. Hydrogen buses. However, according to the mayor, these buses will take a while to arrive because the technology won't be ready until 2024.
In other words, the EU just keeps recycling "projects", and since people don't pay attention they will sell you old ideas as new ones.
Great show as always.
I hope you are feeling better.
FTX CBDC BTC Great Reset
Xi and the Saudi's
Announcement of the investment for the deal to de-peg the riyal from $USD
kills off the petro dollar
Chinese + Russians $400 million deal Pipeline completed
OPEC+ list all oil tenders on Shanghai exchange
The timing now is perfect with $100 oil
Cost is between $9-$20 / Barrel
MBS was put in charge because he is not captured by US politicians or intelligence
Trump played this very well
Xi is getting radical and forcing the de-peg
Why hasn't oil price responded to this?
The EU price cap is part of the plan
Refill the SPR with cheaper price capped oil
Hong Kong peg is on the verge of breaking
Israel is a key player - As the 4 star general said
Continue to act as block between African / EU trade?
Their relationship with USA is detrimental to them
Abraham accords were genius and good
All global institutions are trying to subjugate USA to them
Banks will be the last stand
Globalists want banks gone
Fed will fight hard
Elon / Twitter
Elon: In typical fashion, the prison is being built by the prisoners.
Xi and the Saudi's
Announcement of the investment for the deal to de-peg the riyal from $USD
kills off the petro dollar
Chinese + Russians $400 million deal Pipeline completed
OPEC+ list all oil tenders on Shanghai exchange
The timing now is perfect with $100 oil
Cost is between $9-$20 / Barrel
MBS was put in charge because he is not captured by US politicians or intelligence
Trump played this very well
Xi is getting radical and forcing the de-peg
Why hasn't oil price responded to this?
The EU price cap is part of the plan
Refill the SPR with cheaper price capped oil
Hong Kong peg is on the verge of breaking
Israel is a key player - As the 4 star general said
Continue to act as block between African / EU trade?
Their relationship with USA is detrimental to them
Abraham accords were genius and good
All global institutions are trying to subjugate USA to them
Banks will be the last stand
Globalists want banks gone
Fed will fight hard
Merkel’s ‘confession’ may be grounds for tribunal – Moscow
A confession by former German chancellor Angela Merkel about the Minsk peace agreements could be used as evidence in a tribunal involving Western politicians responsible for provoking the Ukraine conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Thursday.
The deal, brokered by Germany and France, was supposed to be a roadmap for peace in the war-torn country. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that his country's current military offensive was prompted by the failure to implement the terms of the accords.
The former German leader admitted in an interview with Die Zeit on Wednesday that the actual purpose of the Minsk agreements was to give Ukraine time to prepare for a military confrontation with Russia.
“They talk a lot about legal assessments of what is happening around Ukraine, certain tribunals and so on in all sorts of ways,” Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a media briefing on Thursday. “But this is a specific reason for a tribunal.”
She claimed that Merkel’s comments were nothing short of the testimony of a person who had openly admitted that everything done between 2014 and 2015 was meant to “distract the international community from real issues, play for time, pump up the Kiev regime with weapons, and escalate the issue into a large-scale conflict,” Zakharova added.
She said Merkel’s statements “horrifyingly” reveal that the West uses “forgery as a method of action,” and resorts to “machinations, manipulation and all kinds of distortions of truth, law and rights imaginable.”
Airport Bag Check
Heard your comments. Basically it’s a cost/benefit thing. At airports that have high theft rates they rope off the bag pick up and a guard verifies the bag tag with the bag check sticker on your ticket or app. This is rare though. The airlines are responsible for the cost of lost bags. If the costs of stolen bags exceeds the cost of guards the airlines will pay for guards. It’s rare it gets to that point.
Joe from
Build The Wall
Ukraine & Russia
Mandates & Boosters
Daschle at Catastrophic Contagion
Remember that Daschle was the person that the anthrax was mailed to after 9/11
Big Pharma insider Lipids BOTG
The chemist revealed that there are two lipids in the Pfizer vax that have NOT been approved for human use. He also told me that these kinds of lipids aren’t fully soluble in the human body. They begin to accumulate inside the liver, and eventually get released. This can cause inflammation due to the body responding to foreign nanoparticles.
Big Tech
Senate Passes Bill Banning TikTok From Government Devices - WSJ
Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) co-sponsored the legislation with Sens. Rick Scott (R., Fla.), Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Tom Cotton (R., Ark.)
Energy & Inflation
York Region District School Board, which is North of Toronto. Attached is screen shot from an official slide for teacher education material that all teachers must agree to.
Respect For Marriage Act
(1) No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.
(2) Diverse beliefs about the role of gender in marriage are held by reasonable and sincere people based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises. Therefore, Congress affirms that such people and their diverse beliefs are due proper respect.
(3) Millions of people, including interracial and same-sex couples, have entered into marriages and have enjoyed the rights and privileges associated with marriage. Couples joining in marriage deserve to have the dignity, stability, and ongoing protection that marriage affords to families and children.
SEC. 3.
Repeal of section added to title 28, United States Code, by section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Section 1738C of title 28, United States Code, is repealed.
SEC. 4.
Full faith and credit given to marriage equality.
“(a) In general.—No person acting under color of State law may deny—
“(1) full faith and credit to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State pertaining to a marriage between 2 individuals, on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals; or
“(2) a right or claim arising from such a marriage on the basis that such marriage would not be recognized under the law of that State on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.
“(b) Enforcement by Attorney General.—The Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against any person who violates subsection (a) for declaratory and injunctive relief.
Private right of action.—Any person who is harmed by a violation of subsection (a) may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against the person who violated such subsection for declaratory and injunctive relief.
Chicago police joining national wave of encrypting radio communication
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:35
The days of Chicago reporters and news photographers relying on a live, crackling police scanner to chase news and tell the public what officers are doing in real time are quickly coming to an end.
The Chicago Police Department is moving all of its radios to digitally encrypted channels by the end of this year, limiting access to one of the few ways the public can best monitor police activity. Journalists have had a long tradition of listening to police radio traffic to know when breaking news is occurring and to get to the scene of an unfolding event.
Adam Scott Wandt, an assistant professor and vice chair for technology at the Department of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the change equals an end to citizens around the country having full access to know what police are doing as they work.
''Then there's a whole other class and that's the class of reporters in the media, and I am a firm believer in government transparency and accountability,'' Wandt said. ''And it certainly worries me, significantly worries me. If the police lock the media out of live radio broadcasts, it in my opinion, certainly reduces the level of accountability that police departments will face.''
The police zones that will become encrypted will still be available for the public to listen on a 30-minute delay on Broadcastify, which is an online live audio platform. The city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications does not have a contract with the service, officials there said, nor has it paid any money to stream on the website. It is free to the public.
A Broadcastify spokesman said in an email that Chicago officials asked the company to send all media inquiries to the city and declined to comment other than confirming that it is providing the broadcast service. The company has been working with the city for about a year on the project, the spokesman said.
The Broadcastify transmissions are direct audio feeds from OEMC. In addition to the delay, dispatchers will have the ability to pause the transmissions when personal identifiable information is being discussed, the office said.
The city has said the move was made in response to harmful ''rogue radio'' calls that put officers in danger, a reference to outside users interjecting comments and chatter over police traffic, but some experts say taking away the long-used tool from reporters reduces transparency.
Radios are a useful and common tool among law enforcement agencies to communicate with officers and coordinate responses through the central communications center. Chicago's radio communication has long been available for the public to listen to via personally purchased and programmed scanners or through online applications.
A community of people who listen to the scanners has formed on social media, specifically Twitter, where listeners post about things they hear over the scanners, including shootings, traffic, protests and weather.
The city began the process in 2017 to secure public safety radios and prepare to migrate from analog encrypted channels to digitally encrypted channels, according to the Office of Emergency Management and Communication.
Chicago police districts are split into several radio zones, and the first to become encrypted was Zone 9, which covers the Calumet and Morgan Park police districts, on May 12.
Since then, the majority of the zones covering the South Side and Far South Side have been encrypted.
''There's no secrecy or lack of transparency. It's just related to officer safety. We don't want any nefarious (radio traffic) to lead to officers being injured or hurt,'' Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference over the summer when asked about the encryption. ''Because our job is not just difficult, it's very dangerous.''
Brown pointed to this year's increase in the number of officers being shot as an example of why police need an extra layer of protection. OEMC also cited several cases of unauthorized disruptive communication, such as on April 19, when fake police emergencies were called in using real-life audio recordings from past incidents.
The project will be phased in per zone, and the transition to encryption is scheduled on a monthly basis, but there are no exact dates remaining for the zones that have not yet transitioned, officials said.
The 911 call center at the Office of Emergency Management and Communications in Chicago on March 30, 2016. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)
Richard Guidice, executive director of OEMC, agreed that officer safety is a primary reason for the encryption, which is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2022. OEMC receives anywhere between 7,300 and more than 13,000 calls in a day, he said.
The move to encryption will also provide protection against the personal identification of victims, suspects, witnesses and juveniles, which are often broadcast over the radio following a crime or incident, city officials said. Chicago Fire Department radios channels will remain unencrypted, as will other police channels that are used for coordination with outside agencies.
In addition to interfering with police communication, some people have used radio traffic to avoid police after a crime or to avoid DUI checkpoints, Wandt said. As technology increased, it became common for some to broadcast such information over the internet and smartphone apps.
States including New York have passed specific vehicle and traffic laws that prohibit the monitoring of police radio frequencies from a motor vehicle, Wandt said.
Wandt said he believes there are many ways police departments could continue to provide access to the media, including setting up a special credentialed website where reporters could sign in and listen to live radio dispatches or even issue police radios that receive traffic but don't transmit.
But it's a double-edged sword, Wandt said.
''If you are a victim of a crime, would you want your name being broadcasted over the radio '-- hundreds, if not thousands of people listening and recording it, streaming it?'' he said. ''And at the same time, if you were a police officer involved in a tactical operation, could it put your safety in danger to broadcast on an unencrypted channel? The answer is yes.''
Some media experts said journalists' use of police scanners can distort the crime narrative for the communities they cover.
Kelly McBride, chair of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at the Poynter Institute, said reporters often listen to the scanner to chase dramatic stories and images.
''That's not the same thing as covering the stories that most affect public safety,'' she said.
But McBride said there still is a public safety need for the audio, and that fewer people monitoring the scanners does mean less accountability.
''Hopefully, if anything good comes out of this, it will be that news organizations in Chicago start talking to law enforcement about getting better data information, not just about incidents, but about broader trends,'' she said, ''because that's really how you can start to explain public safety risks to the public.''
Moving police communications to encrypted channels is not uncommon. Other major cities have already moved to fully encrypted digital radio channels, including Denver; San Francisco; San Jose, California; Louisville, Kentucky; and others.
Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, said encryption has been a trend among law enforcement agencies in Colorado, and there have been several attempts at legislation around the encryption.
Last year, there was a provision added to a law-enforcement accountability bill that was aimed at making sure news media had access to encrypted transmissions, Roberts said. That required law enforcement agencies that encrypt communications to have a policy that allows news media access.
In Denver and Aurora, Colorado, police have encrypted their communications but have not been able to reach an agreement with the news organizations in the area.
Because the news media does not have access to the radio in those areas, the news media learns about what happened well after the fact and relies on law enforcement agencies' communications departments, Roberts said.
''And maybe their judgment of what is news is different than your judgment of what is news,'' Roberts said.
Photographer Justin Jackson holds a police scanner while monitoring radio transmissions in 2014. (Lenny Gilmore/RedEye)
''I don't know that there's been a lot of cases where journalists have misused their access to police radio transmissions,'' Roberts said. ''I think we are losing something by not having news media access to scanner traffic. We're losing the public's ability to know more about crime in their cities and to know about how law enforcement responds to crime in the cities.''
Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, said encryption especially affects the work of photojournalists, where reporters can write a story afterward, photographers can't re-create photographs.
''Delaying it by 30 minutes, I think as a lawyer, the saying 'Justice delayed is justice denied,''' Osterreicher said. ''Thirty minutes, an incident could be completely over.''
Almost every police vehicle has some type of computer where a lot of information that used to be communicated over the radio is now exchanged, so a lot of it is already not being broadcast, Osterreicher said.
Osterreicher, who worked as a photojournalist for over 40 years, said he had at least five scanners in his car because he didn't want to miss anything.
In California, legislators attempted to enact a law requiring law enforcement agencies to find alternatives to full encryption of radio communications, but it failed to advance because of police opposition.
''I think there's many departments that would rather not have any oversight. ... And that's unfortunate, very unfortunate,'' Osterreicher said. ''It really goes back to transparency and accountability. If you don't know what's going on, that's not very transparent. And certainly, if you don't know what's going on, how are you going to even ask about accountability?''
Ed Yonka, a spokesman for the ACLU of Illinois, said the organization has a lot of concerns over transparency when it comes to encryption.
''(Listening to scanners) is an important vehicle for accessing and understanding what the police are doing, what they have to deal with and where issues exist across our neighborhoods,'' Yonka said.
A police radio on the vest of a Chicago police officer during an incident where a person was barricaded inside a home, Aug. 22, 2022, in the Englewood neighborhood. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
When it comes to the Chicago's argument that encryption is keeping information away from those who may be committing crimes, that is ''at best speculative,'' Yonka said.
''This appears to be a step that is in search of a problem to address as opposed to something that's absolutely necessary, and of course, all of that comes at the cost of transparency and public accountability,'' Yonka said.
Spot News, an online scanner reporter who asked to only be referred to by his Twitter account's name to keep his anonymity, has a following of more than 100,000 users.
He wakes up early in the morning, listens to at least eight scanners in his garage setup and doesn't stop tweeting what he hears until his eyes can no longer focus and he needs to sleep, he said. Even then, he brings a radio with him to bed.
But now he can't listen to the South Side police districts anymore, including his home district, and he's too far south to pick up North Side districts that have yet to be encrypted.
To adapt to the encryption, he said that when he learns of a call he's interested in, he sets a timer for 33 minutes after it occurred. Then he checks Broadcastify for the scanner traffic.
Since citizens of Chicago pay taxes that pay for the Police Department's radio communication, he said, they should have the right to know what the department is talking about.
''The mayor, the superintendent and the state's attorney will tell you that crime is down, and if you're not able to hear it, well, I guess it is down,'' he said.
Donovan Price, a street pastor with Solutions and Resources/Street Pastor Chicago, has been working on the streets since 2016 as a victims' advocate, giving families the knowledge of the process after a shooting and getting them the resources they need. He sets a goal of getting to the scene of a shooting 20 minutes after the call of shots fired was made.
''I'm a first responder,'' Price said. ''I leave immediately, and the sooner I get there, the better position I have to help the people and to build a relationship with the people.''
Afternoon Briefing
Chicago Tribune editors' top story picks, delivered to your inbox each afternoon.
Now Price has three scanners that he listens to regularly, but the encryption has been affecting his work.
''The timing of me getting there is very important because the emotions of the situation and the whole crime scene commotion, I'm one of the people who calms it down,'' he said. ''I'm one of the people who the police respect for helping them in that situation. '... And now I'm not there on time. I don't have the information to help me stay safe and to help me serve the families.''
'Sudden Deaths' Explode in Germany, Experts Raise the Alarm - Slay News
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:33
Experts in Germany are raising the alarm after newly unsealed data shows that ''sudden deaths'' are exploding in the country.
Newly released insurance data for 72 million people shows that unexpected deaths have been skyrocketing since the end of 2020.
The number of sudden deaths has more than doubled since late 2020, jumping from about 6,000 per quarter to 14,000 currently.
According to a report from No Tricks Zone, the difference, 8,000, means more than 80 people each day are dying suddenly and mysteriously.
The data is based on the insurance records of 72 million Germans and comes from the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV).
German parliamentarian Martin Sichert and data analyst Tom Lausen forced the government to release the data.
The German government's medicines regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), had not analyzed and published this data before now.
The reason for the lack of prior government analysis is unclear.
In 2020, the German government standardized the use of insurance data to monitor possible vaccination injuries.
However, this law does not appear to have been followed.
Sichert and Lausen made their shocking findings public at a press conference on Monday.
The former director of the Institute of Public Finance at the University of Hannover, Professor Stefan Homburg, tweeted: ''Since vaccination began in early 2021, 'sudden and unexpected' deaths have exploded.
''This is shown by the new KBV data of the 72 million insured persons.''
Seit Impfbeginn Anfang 2021 explodieren die Todesf¤lle "pl¶tzlich und unerwartet".
Das zeigen neue KBV-Daten der 72 Mio. Versicherten: Sportler, Moderatoren '...
N¤heres ab 10:00 Uhr im Livestream:
'-- Stefan Homburg (@SHomburg) December 12, 2022
The Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance Physician Care has responded to reports on the data showing the soaring deaths by claiming they are ''completely unfounded.''
The organization argues that the increase is an illusion of data analysis resulting from the ''cohort effect.''
Sichert and Lausen have yet to respond to these criticisms.
As Slay News previously reported, health officials in Australia have also been raising the alarm as the country's excess deaths have soared to an ''incredibly high'' rate.
Australia's peak actuarial body is calling on the government to urgently investigate the country's spike in deaths this year.
An analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data by the Actuaries Institute shows a 13 percent rise in deaths during 2022.
The data revealed that an additional 15,400 people died in the first eight months of the year alone.
READ MORE: Australia Raises Alarm: Citizens Dying at 'Incredibly High' Rate
What can media empires look like on Substack?
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:33
launched Common Sense on Substack, she set out to create a media institution that is much bigger than herself. In an interview with
, she declared her intent to build ''a newspaper for the 21st century,'' complete with a roster of contributors and full time staff, plus audio and video components, all supported by a devoted community of paying subscribers. In two years, Bari has made significant progress on that goal, becoming one of the most successful publishers on the platform, with hundreds of thousands of readers in all 50 states and around the world. Now, we're excited to celebrate with her and her team as they introduce the next phase of their burgeoning media empire: The Free Press .
We've been working with The Free Press team to figure out how Substack can support multifaceted media empires, starting with a custom-built website that accommodates the needs of a higher-volume publisher with many contributors. This initiative is in a very early stage and we expect it to evolve as we learn more.
Part of the magic of Substack has always been how easy it is to start a publication. In minutes, anyone can create a Substack, publish their first post, start building a list of subscribers, and make money. We are using this pilot with The Free Press to learn how to apply these principles to publications with more complex needs. Areas we'll be exploring will include how we can help publishers have a more customized brand presence on the platform while retaining the usability and legibility of a Substack, how to support collaboration between many team members in a simple content management system, and how publishers can establish their independence while exploiting the full growth benefits of the Substack network.
We're excited for the arrival of The Free Press and to continue to support the ambitions of a new generation of media companies that are finding success with the Substack model. Watch this space.
Start a Substack
This work is still in very early phases, but if you're interested and would like to stay up to date, please fill out the questions at
Rabobank stuurt brieven naar klanten die vaak contant geld pinnen: wat is er gaande in discussie rond contant geld?
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:32
De Rabobank stuurt brieven naar Nederlanders die regelmatig contant geld pinnen. De bank heeft de brieven zelf bevestigd en waarschuwt haar klanten voor de risico's van cash geld. Maar niet iedereen is het eens met de waakzaamheid over contante transacties. Wat is er allemaal precies gaande in die discussie rondom contant geld?
Onder meer op Twitter wordt de brief van de Rabobank de afgelopen dagen gedeeld. De bank vraagt de klant om te minderen met het opnemen van contant geld. In de brief waarschuwt de bank voor 'žhet risico van contant geld''. Een woordvoerder van de Rabobank bevestigde tegen de Belgische website Business AM, en bevestigde dit ook zelf op Twitter, dat de brieven inderdaad verstuurd werden. Voornamelijk naar klanten die grote hoeveelheden cash geld pinden. Hoeveel dit precies is, wilde de bank niet aan de website vertellen. Dit om criminelen niet wijzer te maken dan ze al zijn, luidde de reactie.
Beste @Rabobank: is dit echt? Zo ja: waar bemoeit u zich mee? Contant geld is een wettelijk betaalmiddel en het opnemen ervan behoeft geen 'waarschuwingsbrief' uwerzijds richting de klanten. In het kader van duurzaamheid, die u ook hoog in het vaandel hebt staan: stop hiermee.
'-- Olaf Ephraim (@Olaf_Ephraim) December 12, 2022
Goedemorgen, het klopt inderdaad dat deze brieven wel eens naar klanten worden verstuurd. Omdat we vanuit de Wet WFT poortwachter zijn van het financile stelsel hoort dit bij onze rol. ^Tom
'-- Rabobank (@Rabobank) December 12, 2022
Dat doen we omdat we vanuit de Wet WFT poortwachter zijn van het financile stelsel. We hebben als bank de taak om witwassen en terrorismefinanciering te voorkomen. 1/2
'-- Rabobank (@Rabobank) December 12, 2022
Brieven Rabobank over contant geldEr spelen een aantal zaken rondom het contante geld. Zo maakt minister Sigrid Kaag (Financin) zich hard voor een nieuwe digitale munt, oftewel de CBDC. Een munt waar de afgelopen tijd nogal wat ophef over ontstond. Want vooral het verdringen van contant geld en privacyschending leidde tot kritiek. En hoewel Kaag benadrukte dat het contante geld niet verdwijnt en er nog niks besloten is, is er op Europees niveau al een hoop gebeurd.
De Rabobank legt in ieder geval uit dat de brieven en controle bedoeld zijn om criminele praktijken en witwassen te te bestrijden. Iets dat in lijn staat met de aanpak van de minister van Financin. Zo werd vorige maand bekend dat de overheid alle transacties boven de 100 euro wil volgen. Ook om witwassen tegen te gaan. Maar daar klonk ook kritiek op door de inbreuk op het privacyrecht. Zo sprak inlichtingenexpert Ronald Prins tegen PowNews uit dat het de vraag is of je bij terrorisme of witwasproblemen de banken de opsporing moet laten doen. 'žOf moeten we dat gewoon bij de politie neerleggen?'', stelde hij.
Witwassen, criminele praktijken en cash geldMaar de discussie over contant geld doet zich niet alleen in Nederland voor. De Europese Unie heeft namelijk richtlijnen opgesteld om de toegang tot contant geld en cryptovaluta te beperken. Volgens deze richtlijnen mogen anonieme contante overdrachten maximaal 10.000 euro bedragen. Maar lidstaten mogen zelf beslissen tot hoever zij dit verlagen. In Spanje zou het om een bedrag van 1000 euro contant geld gaan, in Itali 5000 euro en in Duitsland is daar nog onenigheid over. In Nederland spraken minister Sigrid Kaag (Financin) en minister Dilan Yesilgoz (Justitie en veiligheid) over een bedrag van maximaal 3000 euro.
Overigens kwam het fenomeen cash geld vorige maand ook nog ter sprake aan tafel bij Vandaag Inside. VI-gezicht Ren(C) van der Gijp sprak daar hardop uit dat hij het echt niet zo vreemd vindt als er cash geld in een huis of ligt of als het priv(C) wordt gebruikt. Advocaat Job Knoester, die toen ook aan tafel zat, wees hem op het feit dat grote hoeveelheden cash geld niet meer kunnen in deze tijd. 'žWie heeft er nou nog ¼berhaupt contant geld?'', sprak Knoester toen.
'Wie heeft er nog contant geld?'Wilfred Genee verwees toen naar het monitoren van transacties boven de honderd euro. Waarna Van der Gijp vertelde dat tijdens zijn voetbalcarri¨re bij het Belgische KSC Lokeren, zo'n veertig jaar geleden, hij cash betaald kreeg. Wat ook Derksen meemaakte tijdens zijn voetbalcarri¨re. Van der Gijp zei dat hij het gek vond dat je priv(C) niet dingen cash mag afhandelen. 'žAlles wordt in de gaten gehouden straks, Ren(C). Je moet het allemaal kunnen verklaren. Wat je bij de bank nu moet doen om ¼berhaupt een BV op te richten en de controles die worden uitgevoerd. Die banken hebben enorme boetes gekregen'', reageerde presentator Genee daarop. En over die boetes had hij gelijk, zoals ook bij de Rabobank gebeurde in een grote witwaszaak.
Vorig jaar sprak DNB-beleidsmedewerker Esther van den Kommer tegen uit dat contant geld nog zeker tien jaar een cruciale rol in de samenleving zal blijven spelen. Zij benadrukte dat bijvoorbeeld in Duitsland destijds cash overduidelijk nog de overhand had. Dat cash op de lange termijn gaat verdwijnen, noemde financieel psycholoog Anne Abbenes toen echter al onvermijdelijk. 'žHet is wel belangrijk dat banken deze verandering positief aanvliegen'', vertelde de financieel psycholoog. 'žAls je mensen iets oplegt, werkt het vaak averechts.''
Sigrid Kaag in debat over zwaar omstreden digitale euro: 'Contant geld blijft'
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Rabobank stuurt brieven naar klanten die vaak contant geld pinnen: wat is er gaande in discussie rond contant geld?
Exclusive Transcript: The Full Testimony Bankman-Fried Planned To Give To Congress
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:31
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried will no longer be testifying in front of the House Financial Services Committee (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesSam Bankman-Fried, founder of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, was scheduled to testify Tuesday before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services. But late Monday afternoon, he was arrested in the Bahamas at the request of the U.S. government.
Forbes obtained a draft of Bankman-Fried's testimony and is publishing it here, verbatim. You can also read about the top takeaways in his testimony, and everyone he planned to blame in his remarks for the aftermath of FTX's implosion.
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Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:31
Brain, Nerves and SpinePostural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a blood circulation disorder characterized by two factors:
A specific group of symptoms that frequently occur when standing upright
A heart rate increase from horizontal to standing (or as tested on a tilt table) of at least 30 beats per minute in adults, or at least 40 beats per minute in adolescents, measured during the first 10 minutes of standing
POTS is diagnosed only when orthostatic hypotension is ruled out and when there is no acute dehydration or blood loss. Orthostatic hypotension is a form of low blood pressure: 20mm Hg drop in systolic or a 10mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure in the first three minutes of standing upright.
What You Need to Know POTS is a common condition affecting an estimated one to three million Americans. The symptoms of POTS include but are not limited to lightheadedness (occasionally with fainting), difficulty thinking and concentrating (brain fog), fatigue, intolerance of exercise, headache, blurry vision, palpitations, tremor and nausea. Researchers don't fully understand the causes of POTS, but it is more common in women than men and is more likely to develop in adolescents and young adults. POTS is diagnosed using either a 10-minute standing test or a head-up tilt table test; occasionally other tests are performed to identify specific characteristics of POTS present in some patients. Most people's POTS symptoms respond to a combination of diet, medications, physical therapy and other treatments. What is POTS?POTS is a form of dysautonomia '-- a disorder of the autonomic nervous system. This branch of the nervous system regulates functions we don't consciously control, such as heart rate, blood pressure, sweating and body temperature. The key characteristics of POTS are the specific symptoms and the exaggerated increase in heart rate when standing.
What does POTS stand for? Postural: related to the position of your body
Orthostatic: related to standing upright
Tachycardia: increased heart rate
Syndrome: a group of symptoms
Why does heart rate increase excessively with POTS?In most patients with POTS, the structure of the heart itself is normal. POTS symptoms arise from a combination of the following:
Lower amount of blood in the circulation
Excessive pooling of blood below the level of the heart when upright
Elevated levels of certain hormones such as epinephrine (also known as adrenaline since it is released by the adrenal glands) and norepinephrine (mainly released by nerves).
When we stand, gravity pulls more blood into the lower half of the body. In a healthy person, to ensure that a sufficient amount of blood reaches the brain, the body activates several nervous system responses. One such response is releasing hormones that help tighten blood vessels and cause a modest increase in heart rate. This leads to better blood flow to the heart and brain. Once the brain is receiving enough blood and oxygen, these nervous system responses settle back to normal.
In people with POTS, for unclear reasons that may differ from person to person, the blood vessels don't respond efficiently to the signal to tighten. As a result, the longer you are upright, the more blood pools in the lower half of your body. This leads to not enough blood returning to the brain, which can be felt as lightheadedness (faintness), brain fog and fatigue. As the nervous system continues to release epinephrine and norepinephrine to tighten the blood vessels, the heart rate increases further. This may cause shakiness, forceful or skipped heartbeats, and chest pain.
Some people with POTS can develop hypotension (a drop in blood pressure) with prolonged standing (more than three minutes upright). Others can develop an increase in blood pressure (hypertension) when they stand.
Types and Causes of POTSThe causes of POTS vary from person to person. Researchers don't entirely understand the origins of this disorder. The classification of POTS is the subject of discussion, but most authorities recognize different characteristics in POTS, which occur in some patients more than others. Importantly, these characteristics are not mutually exclusive; person with POTS may experience more than of these at the same time:
Neuropathic POTS is a term used to describe POTS associated with damage to the small fiber nerves (small-fiber neuropathy). These nerves regulate the constriction of the blood vessels in the limbs and abdomen.
Hyperadrenergic POTS is a term used to describe POTS associated with elevated levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine.
Hypovolemic POTS is a term used to describe POTS associated with abnormally low levels of blood (hypovolemia).
Secondary POTS means that POTS is associated with another condition known to potentially cause autonomic neuropathy, such as diabetes, Lyme disease, or autoimmune disorders such as lupus or Sj¶gren's syndrome.
What are the symptoms of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome?POTS symptoms vary from person to person and may include:
Severe and/or long-lasting fatigue
Lightheadedness with prolonged sitting or standing that can lead to fainting
Brain fog: trouble focusing, remembering or paying attention
Forceful heartbeats or heart palpitations (a feeling of the heart pounding or skipping a beat)
Nausea and vomiting
Excessive sweating
Intolerance of exercise or a prolonged worsening of general symptoms after increased activity
A pale face and purple discoloration of the hands and feet if the limbs are lower than the level of the heart
POTS symptoms typically get worse:
In warm environments, such as a hot bath or shower, a hot room or on a hot day
In situations involving a lot of standing, such as waiting for a bus or when shopping
If fluid and salt intake have not been adequate, such as after skipping a meal
POTS symptoms may also get worse when you get a common cold or an infection. In severe cases, POTS symptoms can prevent a person from being upright for more than a couple of minutes. This can greatly affect all aspects of personal, school, work and social life.
Although the origin of POTS symptoms is physical, sometimes people attribute the symptoms incorrectly to psychological disorders such as anxiety. While some people with POTS have anxiety disorders similar to the general population, POTS is not caused by anxiety.
Can postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome be fatal?While POTS can be life-changing, it is not life-threatening. One of the biggest risks for people with POTS is falls due to fainting. Not everyone who has POTS faints. And, for those who do, it may be a rare event. But, if you don't know that you have POTS, you may not take precautions against trauma from falls.
POTS Risk FactorsDysautonomia International estimates that POTS affects between one and three million people in the U.S. The majority of them are women, although men may also develop POTS. POTS is less common in young children, but it affects adolescents, and symptoms often develop during puberty. POTS may begin after an apparent or confirmed viral illness, but it can also appear following surgery and other health events.
POTS can run in families, but no single gene associated with the majority of cases of POTS has been identified. A mutation in the norepinephrine transporter gene appears to affect only a tiny portion of POTS patients. Among genetic factors, there is a strong association between POTS and various joint hypermobility disorders, including Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Recent research has also highlighted an overlap between POTS, joint hypermobility and mast cell disorders, some of which have a genetic origin.
COVID-19 and POTS: Is There a Link? Although many people recover quickly from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, others who recover may continue to experience symptoms for months. Researchers are still determining the cause of these extended symptoms, but some COVID-19 "long-haulers" may actually be dealing with POTS.
POTS and PregnancySince POTS affects women of childbearing age, a common question is whether having POTS will affect the outcome of the pregnancy. In some studies, slightly more than half of pregnant women with POTS felt better than usual during their pregnancies, which might be due to the increase in blood volume that is present after the first few weeks of pregnancy. Others had a more variable course, with either stable POTS symptoms or an increase in POTS symptoms. Other complications of pregnancy appear to occur at about the same rate for women with POTS, and their newborns seem to be as healthy as infants born to mothers without POTS.
How is POTS diagnosed?POTS diagnosis can be complicated because the symptoms can affect a wide range of organ systems, and the most bothersome symptom for each patient may differ. In most instances, symptoms have been present for months before the diagnosis is made. Your doctor will perform a physical exam, order bloodwork and arrange a standing test or a head-up tilt table test to confirm POTS.
Tilt Table Test for POTSDuring the tilt table test, you are secured on a table while lying flat. Then the table is raised to an almost upright position. Your heart rate, blood pressure and often blood oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide levels are measured during this test.
You might have POTS if you meet all three of these criteria:
Your body produces an abnormal heart rate response to being upright
Your symptoms worsen when upright
You don't develop orthostatic hypotension in the first three minutes of testing
Other POTS TestsIn some cases, other tests are warranted. They may include:
Valsalva maneuver to test the response of the autonomic nerves that control the heart.
Quantitative sudomotor axon reflex test (QSART) to measure response of the autonomic nerves responsible for regulating sweating.
Although less common, your physician may also schedule an MRI and other imaging tests to rule out tumors or other abnormalities.
Similar ConditionsMany conditions share the same symptoms as POTS. POTS can complicate any other chronic health condition, from asthma to inflammatory bowel disease. The vast majority of adolescents and young adults with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) have POTS or related forms of orthostatic intolerance. The intensity of the fatigue, exercise intolerance and other symptoms are greater in those with ME/CFS and POTS than in those with POTS alone.
Another condition similar to POTS is inappropriate sinus tachycardia, in which the resting heart rate is usually above 100 beats per minute. Fibromyalgia patients, those with gastrointestinal motility disorders (such as irritable bowel syndrome), excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) and many other conditions can also develop POTS.
How is POTS treated?Treatment for POTS should be tailored to each individual, because the symptoms and underlying conditions may vary widely. Although there is no known cure for POTS, the condition can be managed in most patients with diet, exercise and medications.
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome DietThe foundation of treating POTS is to drink fluids frequently throughout the day. For most POTS patients, the goal is at least 64-80 ounces (about 2-2.5 liters) a day. You would also need to increase your intake of salty foods and add more salt to your diet with a saltshaker or salt tablets. These dietary modifications help keep water in the bloodstream, which helps more blood reach the heart and the brain.
Certain foods or drinks can have an adverse effect on POTS symptoms in some patients. For example, alcohol almost always aggravates POTS. It diverts blood away from the central circulation to the skin and increases loss of fluids through urine. Caffeine can make some people more nervous and lightheaded, but for some it can help improve constriction of blood vessels. Your regular physician or POTS specialist can help you determine how your diet and certain medications could be helping or hindering your treatment.
Exercise for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia SyndromePhysical therapy can make a difference for some people with POTS. Because sometimes POTS symptoms can worsen with exercise, physical therapy has to start slowly and advance based on your tolerance rather than a rigid plan. As your blood circulation improves with medications and diet, the exercise intensity may be gradually increased. The goal is to retrain the autonomic nervous system to allow for more exercise, which then helps increase the blood volume.
Those who can't stand upright may start exercising in a horizontal or reclined position. Aquatic therapy may work for some POTS patients due to the water creating pressure around the body. Many experts find that manual physical therapy that addresses issues with nerve tightness and range of motion works as a bridge to build better tolerance of exercise.
POTS MedicationsWhile no single medication is effective for everyone with POTS, most people with frequent symptoms affecting their quality of life need some form of medication. The search for the right medication or combination of medications requires patience and persistence on the part of both physicians and patients. These medications may focus on:
Improving blood volume
Helping the kidneys retain sodium (e.g., fludrocortisone)
Reducing heart rate or blocking the effect of adrenal hormones on the heart (e.g., beta blockers)
Improving blood vessel constriction (e.g., midodrine)
Treatment The Johns Hopkins POTS Program The POTS program at Johns Hopkins brings together specialists in rehabilitation, cardiology, neurology, physical therapy and other fields to provide well-rounded care for POTS patients. Our team has developed treatment protocols for children and adults with POTS to help you effectively manage your symptoms and have more control over this disabling and unpredictable condition.
Other POTS TreatmentsPOTS can also be addressed by modifying your behavior or environment to avoid the worsening of the symptoms. If you know that prolonged sitting, heat or certain drugs make your POTS worse, work with your doctor to minimize these factors.
Wearing compression garments may help some people reduce excessive blood pooling in the legs. Certain postures while sitting or sleeping may also help reduce POTS symptoms. Some people have developed habits such as standing with legs crossed or sitting in a low chair to compensate for POTS. That's why a tilt table test is necessary to measure the body's true response to standing without adaptive habits.
Does postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome go away?POTS symptoms may spontaneously lessen or disappear for a long time. They may come back just as unexpectedly. The absence of symptoms doesn't necessarily mean that the cause of POTS is gone as well.
Who treats postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome?In many cases, your primary care physician is qualified to treat POTS. For complex POTS cases, it is often helpful to have input from a neurologist or cardiologist experienced in this condition. Rehabilitation physicians can help as well in developing an exercise plan that works for you.
Myositis and Neuromuscular Diseases | Q&A with Dr. Tae Chung Neuromuscular rehabilitation specialist Tae Chung discusses neuromuscular diseases and how they are treated, including with rehabilitation. He also talks about treatment options for myositis and POTS, as well as the current research in the field.
Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity Accused of Sexual Misconduct
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:29
Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, two of the defendants named in the complaint. Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Getty Images
A complaint filed in New York federal court on July 20 alleges sexual misconduct by top Fox News hosts, including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Howard Kurtz. The suit also addresses a previous rape allegation against host Ed Henry, who was fired from the network on July 1 after an internal investigation. ''In reality, Fox News knew that Mr. Henry had engaged in sexual misconduct as far back as early 2017,'' the complaint claims. ''At that time, when Fox News was conducting a company-wide investigation into issues of sexual harassment, multiple women came forward to complain that Mr. Henry had engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct towards them.'' The rape allegation comes from Jennifer Eckhart, a former freelance administrative assistant turned associate producer for Fox Business Network. Along with rape, her claim alleges that Fox News violated federal laws against sex trafficking by supporting Henry.
A second plaintiff, Cathy Areu '-- a former Fox contributor and ''Liberal Sherpa'' on Tucker Carlson Tonight '-- also alleges sexual harassment by Henry. Additionally, she claims that Hannity offered his staff and crew $100 to take her on a date during preparation for a taping, and that she was ''hardly ever, if ever at all'' brought back on his show afterward. During her final 2018 appearance on Carlson's show, she alleges she was kept on set by tech crew, who refused to take off her earpiece, so that Carlson could invite her to a hotel room where he was staying that night without his family. She declined, and has only been featured on his show three times since. She also said she declined a meeting with Kurtz, whose Media Buzz show she had appeared on regularly, at a hotel room one night in 2019, instead suggesting he meet her with a friend for dinner. He did not agree to the meeting, and afterward wouldn't talk with her about possible advancement opportunities, telling her, ''in sum and in substance, 'You're the only woman here who won't come to my hotel room.''' The complaint demands a trial by jury against Fox News, Ed Henry, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Howard Kurtz as defendants.
Update, July 21, 9:30 a.m.: A statement from a Fox News spokesperson denies the women's allegations against all current hosts. The statement reads:
Based on the findings of a comprehensive independent investigation conducted by an outside law firm, including interviews with numerous eyewitnesses, we have determined that all of Cathy Areu's claims against FOX News, including its management as well as its hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity & Howard Kurtz and its contributor Gianno Caldwell, are false, patently frivolous and utterly devoid of any merit. We take all claims of harassment, misconduct and retaliation seriously, promptly investigating them and taking immediate action as needed '-- in this case, the appropriate action based on our investigation is to defend vigorously against these baseless allegations. Ms. Areu and Jennifer Eckhart can pursue their claims against Ed Henry directly with him, as FOX News already took swift action as soon as it learned of Ms. Eckhart's claims on June 25 and Mr. Henry is no longer employed by the network.
Regarding claims against Henry, no longer employed by Fox, a spokesperson said, ''There were not sexual-harassment claims against Ed Henry at FOX News prior to Jennifer Eckhart's claim on June 25, 2020.''
Correction, July 21: This story has been updated to more clearly reflect Eckhart and Areu's job titles at Fox News.
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Bretton Woods II ended today
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:28
I've been waiting for today, knowing it was pre-planned and coming. Today in Riyadh at the China-Arab Summit President Xi of China formally invited the Arab nations to trade oil and gas in yuan on the Shanghai Exchange. Now the way diplomacy works (because it seems to have been forgotten in the West) is that Xi would not have made the invitation unless all the Arab states gathered in Riyadh - and particularly Saudi Arabia as host - had already agreed as a matter of joint policy to take action accordingly. Oil and gas will price in Shanghai and in yuan, breaking the dollar monopoly the US has imposed and enforced since 1974. Since the dollar-for-oil monopoly was the lynchpin of Bretton Woods II stability, it follows Bretton Woods II ended today.
To refresh memories, President Nixon unilaterally repudiated the US treaty obligation under the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement to redeem dollars for gold in 1972. The chaos in foreign exchange markets that followed led to instability, made worse with the inflationary OPEC oil embargo of 1973-74.
In July 1974 the US Treasury Secretary William Simon and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made a top-secret flight to Riyadh to meet King Fahd. They offered a deal: sell Saudi oil exclusively for US dollars and buy US Treasuries with the proceeds, or we kill you, your entire family, and occupy the oil fields with the US military. Unsurprisingly, they left with a secret agreement.
The same deal was more or less extended to all of OPEC. Leaders like Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya who strayed from the US dollar were killed, their countries destroyed and destablilsed, as an example to others. Iran, Syria, and Venezuela have resisted more successfully, but have been badly destabilised by US occupation, oil theft, attempted coups, attempted assassinations, and economic sanctions.
So today marks a big and admirably brave shift. After sending all the weaponry it could spare to Ukraine all year, ending oil and gas trade with Russia under sanctions, weakening allies with surging inflation, and depleting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve of a record amount of oil to blunt inflation before the midterm elections, the US is not in an ideal position to launch wars in every Arab state at once. In fact, it probably can't launch a war or coup even in Saudi Arabia because Saudi Arabia will have prepared and provided for that risk. In any event, a new war in the Middle East would make the inflationary shock of the Ukraine war pale in comparison.
Signs of a shift have been in the wind all year. The fist bump and low-key reception of President Biden compares poorly to the lavish state reception of President Xi. Then Biden's attempt to get GCC states to sanction Russia was unanimously rejected.
And OPEC's outright refusal to defer oil production cuts until after the American midterm elections was a further sign Saudi and OPEC+ no longer take orders from Washington. Saudi took the unusual step of officially rejecting the US request in public.
Rejected Biden's request for OPEC+ to postpone oil production cuts until after the midterm elections
'-- Cornerstone AnalyticsðŸ›Macro Oil 🗣 Oliver Parsons (@CornerstoneOil) October 13, 2022When a presidential state visit by Xi to Saudi began leaking in the fall I began to watch for confirmatory signs of OPEC moving East. There were quite a few, but nothing as momentous as the extravagant welcome for President Xi to Riyadh and the China-Arab Summit. President Xi and King Salman signed a 30-year Strategic Partnership Agreement for cooperation on virtually all forward economic plans yesterday: energy, telecoms, investment, trade, infrastructure, regional development, Belt & Road Initiative, etc. Significantly, the Agreement bars interference in domestic affairs by either nation, a principle China has urged widely for many years.
No one knows exactly where things go from here in terms of monetary, financial and economic stability. That's exactly why Pacemaker.Global is in business. We plan to be the neutral, flexible, collaborative platform for exploring and adapting to the complexities and risks of the shift from the unipolar order of US dollar to the multipolar order of multicurrency global trade, investment, credit, and cooperation.
A key signal to watch will be US Treasury TIC data on foreign holdings. Year on year, China is down -$113.9 Bn to September (most recent published), Hong Kong is down -$50.4 Bn, Saudi Arabia is down -$2.8 Bn, United Arab Emirates is down -$9.8 Bn. The only named Arab exporter up is Iraq, +18.9 Bn, but that is involuntary as the US requires all proceeds of oil sales be paid to an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York where dollars are automatically invested in Treasuries.
We're all of us off the charts as of today as we leave Bretton Woods II behind. But we can begin developing some new charts together tomorrow.
Doctors warn that heart attacks spike this time of year | KGOU
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:28
There's a lot of focus on viruses this season and the threat of a tripledemic (ph). But heart doctors say one health risk that doesn't get much attention is the holiday heart attack spike. NPR's Allison Aubrey reports nearly 800,000 Americans have a heart attack each year. And amid the rush of the holidays, it's easy to miss the warning signs.
ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Donald Lloyd-Jones is a cardiologist at Northwestern University in Chicago and the former president of the American Heart Association. He told me, for years, he and his colleagues have noted a trend.
DONALD LLOYD-JONES: We do see a spike in heart attacks and strokes as we head into the holiday season. And of course, heart attack and stroke are still the leading causes of death worldwide. And that includes the U.S.
AUBREY: The data pointing to a winter spike goes back a few decades. The weather could be part of the explanation since blood vessels can constrict or narrow in cold temperatures.
LLOYD-JONES: And so if you already have compromised blood flow to your heart, that sort of spasm or narrowing down of the arteries in response to cold air can make things worse.
AUBREY: But it's not just the cold. This trend has also been documented in Southern California, where scientists examined death certificates and found about 33% more deaths in Los Angeles County in December and January compared to the summer months.
LLOYD-JONES: There is a broad and shallow dip through the summer months. And then there is a very large spike in the last week of the year between Christmas and New Year's.
AUBREY: He says people tend to get off their routines during the holidays. We tend to eat more, drink more, sleep less, perhaps be more stressed. And some people forget to take their medications.
LLOYD-JONES: If you're already at risk for heart disease or stroke, you know, the changes that happen in our blood pressure with stressors - especially if you add in, you know, a mix of alcohol and not sleeping - all those things really push our body pretty hard.
AUBREY: And in the midst of celebrating holidays, people may miss the warning signs of a heart attack.
LLOYD-JONES: Heavy, heavy pressure in the chest that's new or unexpected, unexplained shortness of breath, especially sudden onset.
AUBREY: But not everybody gets these symptoms. Dr. Tina Shah is a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente. She's based in Seattle.
TINA SHAH: Dizziness, lightheadedness, feeling, like, faint. And it's also important to remember that sometimes we don't have these exact textbook sort of symptoms, especially in women. They can have more subtle symptoms.
AUBREY: She says she's seen instances when people ignore that gut feeling that something is off or wrong.
SHAH: People feel like, I'm out with family. We're doing all this fun stuff. I don't want to be, you know, the damper in the party. I don't want to disappoint my family. I do not feel well. But I'll just hold off on, you know, seeking medical attention until I'm back home or until the holidays or the festivities are over.
AUBREY: Despite the crowds, inconvenience or expense of an ER visit, Dr. Shah says it's better to be safe than sorry.
SHAH: I always recommend to err on the side of caution, to seek attention right away.
AUBREY: Doctors can do an EKG or bloodwork. They can tell whether you're having a heart attack.
Allison Aubrey, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Why You May Soon Find Yourself in 'Digital Prison' ' Children's Health Defense
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:27
Your digital identity will be required to unlock all aspects of life, from logging onto the internet to accessing social services, travel, food, shopping and financial services.
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Story at a glance:
An international vaccine passport, digital identity, a social credit system and a central bank digital currency (CBDC) form a digital control system that will lock down the population in perpetuity.Facial recognition is an essential part of the control structure, as it's the ''password'' to your digital identity.By the end of 2022, there will be 1 billion data-collecting surveillance cameras in the world, all connected to the internet and artificial intelligence (AI). Cameras and audio recording devices in cell phones, automobiles and smart appliances also collect and share data.All these data are then used to give each person an individual score, based on their behavior, expression and interaction with the world. Ultimately, your social credit score, will dictate what you can and cannot do, what you can buy and where you can go.AI is an absolutely crucial component, without which the control system cannot work. The easiest way to push against this system is to starve AI of data by refusing to use technologies that collect and share your personal data.In the video below, Maria Zeee with ZeeeMedia interviews computer scientist Aman Jabbi about the coming international vaccine passport, digital identity, the social credit system being built in the West and CBDCs.
All these factors are now coming together to control the global population. As noted by Zeee, this digital prison, which is already mostly built, will be the final lockdown of mankind.
Your digital identity will be your digital prison
In the video, Jabbi goes through a presentation that explains the digital prison that is your digital identity '-- in other words, how your digital identity ties in with the coming social credit system and will control what you can and cannot do in your everyday life.
As noted by Jabbi, surveillance cameras with facial recognition software have already been erected around the world. They are an essential part of the control structure, and this surveillance will be linked together with digital identity, the social credit score system, carbon footprint tracking, CBDCs and more.
Facial recognition has been sold as a great convenience and security feature. With facial recognition, you don't need to remember pins or passwords, and since no one has your exact face, it's supposed to keep your personal accounts more secure.
But, as with most other technologies sold under the guise of convenience and security, facial recognition is ultimately a tool for mass control and an essential part of your individual digital prison. As explained by Jabbi, the Chinese control system is based on facial recognition in combination with a social credit system.
He describes the Chinese social credit system as a feedback system that responds based on your behavior. Unbeknownst to most Westerners, an identical system has already been set in motion behind the scenes in Western countries '-- they just haven't told you yet.
Weaponized surveillance
By the end of 2022, there will be 1 billion data collecting surveillance cameras in the world, all connected to the internet and AI. The U.S. actually has the most surveillance cameras per capita. China is in second place and the U.K. is in third.
In addition to all of that data collection, cameras and audio recording devices in cell phones, automobiles and smart appliances also collect and share data, even when you're at home.
All these data are then used to give each person an individual score based on their behavior, expression and interaction with the world. Ultimately, that score '-- your social credit score '-- will dictate what you can and cannot do, what you can buy and where you can go.
As noted by Jabbi, there are also additional control mechanisms already built into the hardware being erected. For example, many smart light poles have built-in charging stations for drones, which in the future will be used for law and behavioral enforcement purposes. We will largely be policed by AI and machines.
These smart light poles can also be weaponized. Built-in are LED incapacitators. Sometimes referred to as ''puke rays'' for their ability to induce severe nausea, LED incapacitators are weapons designed like a flashlight that emit an extremely bright, rapid and well-focused series of ''differently-colored random pulses.''
According to Jabbi, these lights can also induce brain damage, spinal damage, sickness and likely even death.
LED combined with radar on some smart poles can also be used to identify people carrying guns, and could theoretically be used as a weapon to selectively take out people carrying weapons.
A new chapter in the 'social contract'
Digital identity has been described by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a new chapter in the social contract. The problem, as noted by Jabbi, is that the WEF's new social contract is one that none of us has agreed to. It's being revised by the WEF and its allies and thrust upon the rest of us, without our consent.
The vast majority of people don't even know what this new social contract actually entails, or how it will affect their personal day-to-day lives and individual decision-making ability.
That, for obvious reasons, has never been fully delineated because, if fully understood by everyone, virtually no one on earth would accept it. After all, few people with normal intelligence relish having their lives dictated by someone else.
Source: World Economic ForumAs shown in the graphic above, your digital identity will be required to unlock all aspects of life, from logging onto the internet to accessing social services, travel, food, shopping and financial services. If your social credit score is too low, one or more of these aspects can be turned off and made unavailable to you.
''So, by default, you're always a prisoner,'' Jabbi says.
Your digital identity is confirmed through facial recognition, and is tied to your social score, carbon footprint score and CBDCs. As your social and carbon footprint scores go down, so does your purchasing ability.
As noted by Zeee, the international vaccine passport proposed at the 2022 G20 meeting is, at least right now, THE key to the entire effort to get everyone into the digital ID system. So, preventing the adoption of vaccine passports is a central component of resistance to the digital prison system in its entirety.
Jabbi says:
''Once we accept digital identity, it's Game Over for humanity.''
You must also reject the vaccine passport unless you're willing to be a medical lab rat for the rest of your life. Zeee cites documents stating 500 new vaccines will be ready by 2030 that target most common diseases.
It is likely that having an up-to-date vaccination status will be one of the requirements to maintain a valid passport, which will also serve as your digital identity.
In other words, vaccine refusal can be used to nullify or ''lock'' your digital ID, leaving you unable to do, go or buy anything. The question is, what will those vaccines be? Basically, you'll have no choice but to comply, even if you believe or know that a vaccine can injure or kill you, as is the case with the COVID-19 jabs.
Zero-trust system
As explained by Jabbi, the new social contract created by the WEF and its allies is a zero-trust system.
In a physical prison, prisoners are under a zero-trust policy. In other words, the guards don't trust the prisoners and there are security measures in place to make sure they behave. The new open-air prison system envisioned by the WEF is based on the same premise.
Everywhere you go, you must prove who you are and that your compliance metrics are in alignment with the prevailing rules. So, to buy food, you have to not only identify yourself so that your purchase can be permanently logged as one of your purchases, but you also have to meet certain compliance standards, or else your CBDC won't work.
The default in this system is denial, so everything you want to do '-- absolutely everything '-- must be unlocked by your digital ID. As noted by Jabbi, ''Once we accept digital identity, it's Game Over for humanity.''
Geofencing and smart cities form the walls of your prison
To enforce your conditional access to life, geofencing will be used. Smart light poles equipped with LED incapacitators can be used to prevent you from going beyond your designated geofence, but there are also other geofencing mechanisms.
For example, your CBDC can be programmed to not work outside your district, and your smart car can be programmed to shut down past a certain perimeter. Jabbi also reviews the inexorable push toward smart cities, which will:
Limit your mobility and eliminate car ownershipControl you through weaponized surveillanceRation water, electricity and gas consumptionSurveil your speechTrack your actions and whereabouts 24/7Starve the beast
Jabbi cites a formula created by the WEF's philosophical guru Yuval Noah Harrari, to describe technocrats' ever-growing ability to hack humans: B x C x D = AHH.
B stands for biological knowledge, C is computing power, D is data and AHH is the level of ability to hack a human being. As noted by Jabbi, the ability to hack humans is dependent on AI being fed a constant stream of data.
It's a ''beast system'' in the sense that AI is the beast, and it needs to be fed. Its food is data, gathered through a vast array of data conduits such as cameras, recording devices, facial recognition, GPS and sensors of all kinds that make up the Internet of Bodies. You can learn more about this in ''Manufactured Dystopia '-- Globalists Won't Stop Hacking Humans.''
AI is an absolutely crucial component for success of the digital prison. Without it, it cannot work. The answer then is to starve the beast, and we do this by withholding our data. ''No amount of legislation can stop this,'' he says, ''it has to be done by the people.'' In short, we must refuse to use the technologies that gather our data.
We won't be able to avoid them all. Smart light poles and traffic cameras, for example, cannot be avoided unless you avoid certain areas, which could include your own street. But there are many we can avoid, such as smart watches, fitness trackers, smart thermostats, smart TVs, AI assistants and Ring surveillance cameras just to name a few.
We can also fight, on a local level, to prevent the expansion of facial recognition cameras and 5G, and we can refuse the coming vaccine passport and the push toward virtual reality.
As noted by Jabbi, one way in which people are surreptitiously led into the digital prison is by relying on apps that offer convenience, such as apps that allow you to order food or transportation.
Eventually, they'll phase out apps on your phone and transfer them to virtual reality googles, so that you have to be in the virtual world in order to use them. It's important to understand why this is done. It's to force you deeper into the digital prison system, which includes digital clones and living much of your life in a virtual reality.
China demonstrates coming prison state
JUST IN '' Chinese government remotely switched all the protesters's COVID passports to code red.
Meanwhile Chinese iPhone factory workers clash with police as COVID protest turns violent.
'-- Songpinganq (@songpinganq) November 23, 2022
At present, China is being rocked by massive protests against the Zero-COVID policy that is used to imprison tens of millions of people in their homes for weeks on end. You'd think an American company like Apple would stand for American values like freedom but, no, it does not. It's working with the Chinese government to quell dissent.
As reported by Bloomberg Nov. 9, Apple is limiting its iPhone file-sharing tool, restricting AirDrops from non-contacts to 10 minutes. The wireless file-sharing feature was used to share pictures and videos from the protests, thereby encouraging more people to join.
According to Bloomberg, while the change was only made to phones sold in China, Apple says it plans to roll out the same limitation globally. Why? Are they predicting anti-government protests elsewhere?
According to a Twitter user named Songpinganq, the video above shows iPhone workers clashing with police over the country's Zero-COVID policy. In response, the Chinese government is alleged to have remotely switched all of the protesters' COVID-19 passports to ''red,'' which prevents them from entering public spaces.
If they try to enter a building, for example '-- including residential complexes '-- an alarm will go off and they'll be detained and escorted to a quarantine camp which, by the way, they have to pay for. That's how easy it is for the government to eliminate undesirables from society once this kind of control system is in place.
(For the record, I cannot confirm that the featured video is indeed iPhone workers, or that they're specifically protesting the COVID-19 measures. Regardless, the basic premise remains true, which is that government would be able to control large masses of people remotely, through their digital identity/vaccine passport.)
The first video below is said to be from a Chinese quarantine camp. A health worker walks through the complex measuring the detainees' body temperature. The second video shows the inside of a quarantine cubicle.
For those who don't know what china's covid quarantine camps looks like.This may help you'...and you need to pay for your own isolation in china.
'-- Songpinganq (@songpinganq) January 9, 2022
This is how chinese government feed covid inmates.Like feeding cattles!
'-- Songpinganq (@songpinganq) January 9, 2022
The world is starting to catch on
She's right
'-- june slater (Chief Gammon) (@juneslater17) November 27, 2022
The good news is people around the world are starting to realize what's happening.
As explained by legal philosopher Eva Vlaardingerbroek (video above), the reason there are now mass protests around Europe is because they're realizing that the COVID-19 vaccine passport system rolled out in Europe is a control system that has no expiration date.
They're realizing it's meant to be permanent, and that it will be expanded.
In the video below, a young Chinese man describes how digital ID, CBDCs and the social credit system operate in China. By 2017, they already had the technology to automatically deduct fines from your account for infractions such as jaywalking, and the control network is only getting larger and more sophisticated.
Is this what we want in the West? Is this what you want for your children and your grandchildren? If not, you need to participate in the movement to prevent it, and that starts with making changes in your own life to starve the beast of your personal data, and educating your family and friends about this necessity.
Here's a personal account of how digital ID / central bank digital currencies / social credit systems operate in China.
Central banks and governments are nudging us towards this. We cannot let this happen. Wake up before it's too late.
'-- James Melville (@JamesMelville) November 28, 2022
Originally published on Mercola.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children's Health Defense.
Saudi Arabia Considers Accepting Yuan Instead of Dollars for Chinese Oil Sales - WSJ
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:26
Talks between Riyadh and Beijing have accelerated as the Saudi unhappiness grows with Washington
Updated March 15, 2022 11:48 am ETSaudi Arabia is in active talks with Beijing to price some of its oil sales to China in yuan, people familiar with the matter said, a move that would dent the U.S. dollar's dominance of the global petroleum market and mark another shift by the world's top crude exporter toward Asia.
The talks with China over yuan-priced oil contracts have been off and on for six years but have accelerated this year as the Saudis have grown increasingly unhappy with decades-old U.S. security commitments to defend the kingdom, the people said.
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Saudi Arabia is in active talks with Beijing to price some of its oil sales to China in yuan, people familiar with the matter said, a move that would dent the U.S. dollar's dominance of the global petroleum market and mark another shift by the world's top crude exporter toward Asia.
The talks with China over yuan-priced oil contracts have been off and on for six years but have accelerated this year as the Saudis have grown increasingly unhappy with decades-old U.S. security commitments to defend the kingdom, the people said.
The Saudis are angry over the U.S.'s lack of support for their intervention in the Yemen civil war, and over the Biden administration's attempt to strike a deal with Iran over its nuclear program. Saudi officials have said they were shocked by the precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.
China buys more than 25% of the oil that Saudi Arabia exports. If priced in yuan, those sales would boost the standing of China's currency. The Saudis are also considering including yuan-denominated futures contracts, known as the petroyuan, in the pricing model of Saudi Arabian Oil Co . , known as Aramco.
It would be a profound shift for Saudi Arabia to price even some of its roughly 6.2 million barrels of day of crude exports in anything other than dollars. The majority of global oil sales'--around 80%'--are done in dollars, and the Saudis have traded oil exclusively in dollars since 1974, in a deal with the Nixon administration that included security guarantees for the kingdom.
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China introduced yuan-priced oil contracts in 2018 as part of its efforts to make its currency tradable across the world, but they haven't made a dent in the dollar's dominance of the oil market. For China, using dollars has become a hazard highlighted by U.S. sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program and on Russia in response to the Ukraine invasion.
China has stepped up its courtship of the Saudi kingdom. In recent years, China has helped Saudi Arabia build its own ballistic missiles, consulted on a nuclear program and begun investing in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's pet projects, such as Neom, a futuristic new city. Saudi Arabia has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit later this year.
Meanwhile the Saudi relationship with the U.S. has deteriorated under President Biden, who said in the 2020 campaign that the kingdom should be a ''pariah'' for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Prince Mohammed, who U.S. intelligence authorities say ordered Mr. Khashoggi's killing, refused to sit in on a call between Mr. Biden and the Saudi ruler, King Salman, last month.
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It also comes as the U.S. economic relationship with the Saudis is diminishing. The U.S. is now among the top oil producers in the world. It once imported 2 million barrels of Saudi crude a day in the early 1990s but those numbers have fallen to less than 500,000 barrels a day in December 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
By contrast, China's oil imports have swelled over the last three decades, in line with its expanding economy. Saudi Arabia was China's top crude supplier in 2021, selling at 1.76 million barrels a day, followed by Russia at 1.6 million barrels a day, according to data from China's General Administration of Customs.
''The dynamics have dramatically changed. The U.S. relationship with the Saudis has changed, China is the world's biggest crude importer and they are offering many lucrative incentives to the kingdom,'' said a Saudi official familiar with the talks.
''China has been offering everything you could possibly imagine to the kingdom,'' the official said.
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A senior U.S. official called the idea of the Saudis selling oil to China in yuan ''highly volatile and aggressive'' and ''not very likely.'' The official said the Saudis had floated the idea in the past when there was tension between Washington and Riyadh.
It is possible the Saudis could back off. Switching millions of barrels of oil trades from dollars to yuan every day could rattle the Saudi economy, which has a currency, the riyal, pegged to the dollar. Prince Mohammed's aides have been warning him of unpredictable economic damage if he moves ahead with the plan hastily.
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Doing more sales in yuan would more closely connect Saudi Arabia to China's currency, which hasn't caught on with international investors because of the tight controls Beijing keeps on it. Contracting oil sales in a less stable currency could also undermine the Saudi government's fiscal outlook.
Some officials have cautioned Prince Mohammed that accepting payments for oil in yuan would pose risks to Saudi revenues tied in U.S. Treasury bonds abroad and the limited availability of the yuan outside China.
The impact on the Saudi economy would likely depend on the quantity of oil sales involved and the price of oil. Some economists said moving away from dollar-denominated oil sales would diversify the kingdom's revenue base and could eventually lead it to repeg the riyal to a basket of currencies, similar to Kuwait's dinar.
''If it is (done) now at a time of strong oil prices, it would not be seen negatively. It would be more seen as deepening ties with China,'' said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
The Saudis still plan to do most oil transactions in dollars, the people familiar with their talks say. But the move could tempt other producers to price their Chinese exports in yuan as well. China's other big sources of oil are Russia, Angola and Iraq.
The Saudi move could chip away at the supremacy of the U.S. dollar in the international financial system, which Washington has relied on for decades to print Treasury bills it uses to finance its budget deficit.
''The oil market, and by extension the entire global commodities market, is the insurance policy of the status of the dollar as reserve currency,'' said economist Gal Luft, co-director of the Washington-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security who co-wrote a book about de-dollarization. ''If that block is taken out of the wall, the wall will begin to collapse.''
Talks with China over pricing oil in yuan started before Prince Mohammed, the de facto leader of the kingdom, made his first official visit to China in 2016, people familiar with the matter said. The crown prince asked the kingdom's then-energy minister Khalid al-Falih to study the proposal, the people said.
Mr. Falih instructed Aramco to prepare a memo that heavily focuses on the economic challenges of switching to the yuan pricing.
''He really did not think that was a good idea but he could not stop the talks as the ship had already sailed,'' said another person familiar with the meetings.
Saudi officials in favor of the shift have argued the kingdom could use part of yuan revenues to pay Chinese contractors involved in mega projects domestically, which would help mitigate some of the risks associated with the capital controls over the currency. China could also offer incentives such as multibillion-dollar investments in the kingdom.
Another official familiar with the talks said yuan pricing could give the Saudis more influence with the Chinese and help convince Beijing to reduce support for Iran.
Ali Shihabi, who sits on the board of Neom and formerly ran a pro-Saudi think tank in Washington, said the kingdom can't ignore China's desire to pay for oil imports in its own currency, particularly after the U.S. and EU blocked the Russian central bank from selling foreign currencies in its reserves stockpile.
''Any doubts countries had about the need to diversify into Yuan and other currencies/geographies would have ended with that huge step,'' Mr. Shihabi tweeted in response to this article.
'--David S. Cloud contributed to this article.
Write to Summer Said at and Stephen Kalin at
The centrality of the Saudi fixed peg currency regime | Arab News
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:26
Short Url
From time to time, the Saudi fixed peg has come under speculative pressure for the riyal to be loosened from its US dollar anchor. This has occurred during periods of low oil price volatility and sharp drawdowns of the Kingdom's foreign exchange reserves, such as during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, and the more recent 2014-2015-oil price collapse. Even more recently, though it was more muted, it also happened due to the sharp drop in oil prices following concerns over the omicron coronavirus variant.
Are the arguments to de-peg justified, and why has Saudi Arabia continued to justify its fixed peg currency regime? These are not academic questions, but have a significant impact on both domestic business and foreign investors operating in the Kingdom.
Since the beginning of the post-OPEC oil price hikes of 1973, Saudi Arabia's monetary and exchange rate policy has been dominated by a de facto Saudi riyal peg, either to the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Right or the US dollar. Prior to mid-1981, the riyal was loosely pegged with the SDR basket of currencies, but in a major policy decision, from 1986 to the present, the riyal has been tightly pegged at SR3.75 to the dollar. What, then, are the pros and cons of a fixed exchange rate that makes Saudi Arabia so attached to it?
The advantages intuitively seem extensive, whereby a fixed exchange rate maintains investor confidence in the currency, encouraging domestic savings and investments and discouraging capital outflows, and reduces inflationary pressures associated with devaluation, witnessed by some Arab economies and Iran today. While Saudi Arabia's current regime is a fixed conventional peg, the Kingdom's central bank is not statutorily committed to maintain the peg at that rate forever, and the peg can be adjusted either up or down when misalignment or intensive speculative pressure becomes a problem.
SAMA can, and has, defended the peg either through direct intervention in the spot and forward markets, or indirectly through monetary policy and domestic interest rates, such as setting a premium on Saudi riyal interest rates over comparable US dollar rates. Above all, what Saudi monetary policymakers want to achieve by a fixed rate regime is stability, given that the peg is a credible, clear and easy to understand nominal anchor for businessmen and foreign investors.
Various SAMA governors have been vocal on record that the peg is more of a benefit than a disadvantage. As such, SAMA's policy creditability and the preservation of substantial reserves of liquid foreign currency assets become key parameters to maintaining the peg. This becomes a key disadvantage, which includes a requirement for a high level of international reserves and low ability to absorb shocks, which are instead passed on to the economy.
A fall in Saudi international reserves over the period 2015-2020 from SR2.311 trillion in 2015 to SR1.7 trillion in 2020, has been triggered by a combination of sharply reduced oil prices, sluggish global energy demand since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and budget deficit drawdowns by the Kingdom. This has led to a more pessimistic outlook that more reserves could be exhausted, but such pessimism has not taken into account government fiscal reforms, non-oil revenue increase and the tremendous borrowing capacity of the Saudi government, and its proven ability to borrow from both domestic and international sources.
The other key disadvantages of a fixed peg regime is that this does not allow the implementation of an independent monetary policy whereby the pegged currency country has to follow the monetary policy changes of the foreign currency, which might not be appropriate for its own domestic economic condition. Another argument is that fixed exchange rates cannot be adjusted for external shocks or trade imbalances, whereby a floating exchange rate allows a country to adjust with lower export prices and higher import prices helping to regain external balance of payment equilibrium, and that a fixed peg is also a fixed target for speculation.
On balance, Saudi Arabia has a more than comfortable level of foreign reserves to defend the fixed peg, underpinned by the Vision 2030 objective to gradually phase out the Kingdom's dependence on oil and rely more on other sources of income, as positive recent quarterly budget figures illustrate. All this ensures that there is little short or medium term likelihood that SAMA will change the current fixed dollar peg rate policy, as there are also political considerations given a close Saudi-US economic and geopolitical relationship.
SAMA governors and other government officials like to remind us that there is no such thing as a ''painless devaluation'' of the Saudi riyal as a way to balance Saudi budget deficits by boosting government oil revenues, as a devaluation through a floating exchange rate would raise import costs to both the general public, businesses and the government. SAMA officials also point out that the central bank has been able to maintain a stable exchange rate, even during different economic cycles and market conditions, and that short-lived volatility in the spot and forward exchange markets is overcome by the effectiveness of the current fixed peg framework.
Given the hoped for FDI and joint venture plans for Saudi Vision 2030 implementation, it is imperative that the Saudi regulators continue to signal to foreign investors their commitment to the fixed peg as a central plank of monetary policy.
' Dr. Mohamed Ramady is a former senior banker and professor of finance and economics, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point of view
AGSIW | Rethinking the Currency Peg in the Gulf Arab States
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:26
The Gulf Arab states adopted a de facto peg of their currencies to the U.S. dollar decades ago. However, the arrangement became official starting January 2003. The only exception so far is Kuwait, which moved to an undisclosed basket of currencies in order to mitigate the detrimental effects of the peg on imported inflation. Nonetheless, the U.S. dollar remains a major part of the undisclosed basket, and the new arrangement remains an appropriate policy anchor, delivering low and stable inflation while providing significant monetary policy autonomy, according to the International Monetary Fund. For the other Gulf Arab states, with the fluctuations of the price of the main export commodities (oil and natural gas) and other shocks, in the current circumstances, there may be more advantageous options for the region than the peg to the U.S. dollar.
The Pros and Cons of the Currency Peg in GCC StatesGulf Arab states' consensus to keep the peg is mostly a political decision. At the economic level, nonetheless, it is easy to find compelling arguments in favor as well as against the arrangement.
The Rationale in Favor of Maintaining the PegFirst, a large share of the financial assets held abroad by Gulf monetary authorities, sovereign wealth funds, and even the private sector is denominated in U.S. dollars. Therefore, a peg to the dollar provides a degree of certainty with regard to the evaluation of these assets, compared to a fluctuating exchange rate, which limits the exchange rate risk for all concerned agents. This is clear in the Forward Market for the GCC currencies, where the rate fixed today for a transaction that will take place in a year or more is not much different from the spot rate.
Forward Rates of GCC Currencies
Source:, September 2022.Second, the currency mismatch, i.e., a high ratio of short-term debt to official international reserves, was a major issue in the Asian economies during the 1997-98 crisis, for example, because these economies kept an overvalued currency and encouraged the inflow of speculative short-term capital that was reversed as soon as exchange rates plunged, followed by a collapse in stock markets and other assets values. In the case of the Gulf Arab states, however, sufficient official foreign reserves and appropriate communications about the commitment to the peg should prevent speculation against the local currency.
Third, inflation is under control unless the main driver is local, such as the huge shortage of housing in Dubai during the 2006-08 real estate boom. A recent IMF paper warned that: ''moving away from the peg would remove a credible monetary anchor'--delivering low and stable inflation'--with limited competitiveness gains in the near-term.''
Finally, a move to a more flexible arrangement would require monetary authorities to have the technical capabilities to manage the new system. Acquiring such expertise would require resources and time, challenges that could be difficult to address, at least in the short term. Gulf monetary authorities are therefore generally in favor of keeping the peg, as its abandonment is perceived as a leap into the unknown. And even though the Kuwaiti de-peg proved that there is nothing taboo about shifting to an alternative arrangement, there is no urgency to do so either, as long as the current regime seems to be working.
In assessing the relative merits of maintaining the peg, authorities must also consider the costs associated with a permanent overvaluation of the domestic currency that may result from the peg. According to the theory of the Real Equilibrium Exchange Rate, i.e., the exchange rate that achieves both an internal balance (a level of economic activity that keeps inflation stable) and an external balance (a sustainable current account of the balance of payments), the domestic currency should depreciate when the economy is subjected to a negative shock, such as the deterioration of the terms of trade defined as the ratio of export prices index to import prices index. For the Gulf Arab states this could happen as a result of a fall in oil prices, as was the case in mid-2014. Compared to Norway, as an example, where the currency depreciated by about 15%, the de-pegging decision could harm the competitiveness of export-oriented industries and therefore be detrimental to economic diversification.
Arguments Against the PegNorway employs a policy of inflation targeting with a basically free-floating exchange rate. An IMF report noted: ''The Norges Bank does not normally intervene to influence the exchange rate of the krone; however, it may intervene in the foreign exchange market on short notice if the krone deviates substantially from the level the NB considers reasonable in relation to fundamentals and if exchange rate developments weaken the prospect of achieving the inflation target.''
This monetary and exchange rate policy autonomy in Norway allowed an adjustment in the Nominal Effective Exchange Rate of the krone, a trade-weighted exchange rate of the local currency, which fell by 15% from May 2014 to September 2016 and by 19% from May 2014 to December 2019. In contrast, with the peg arrangement in place, the Saudi riyal appreciated by 11.9% and 16.7%, respectively, while the United Arab Emirates dirham appreciated by 12.4% and 17.1%, respectively. Such an appreciation of the Gulf currencies was harmful to the competitiveness of nonhydrocarbon exports, the prices of which increased in foreign currency, thereby hindering economic diversification out of oil, which is the overriding objective of new economic strategies in the Gulf states. What is required in this case is internal devaluation, mainly reducing the labor costs to be able to reduce export prices. The Gulf Arab states have been able to do this in the past by lowering wages for expatriates. But there is a limit to this as expatriates can find better offers in other countries. Governments are also responding to pressures to improve conditions of low-paid nationals. Examples include the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development's on-the-job training programs to improve Saudi workers' skills and the UAE ''Nafis'' (compete) program launched in September 2021 to support UAE nationals who choose to pursue a career in the private sector.
Source: BISGiven these realities, what might be an advantageous alternative exchange rate arrangement for the Gulf countries? The first option might be a free-floating exchange rate with intervention in the foreign exchange market if needed, as is the policy with Norges Bank. The problem for Gulf monetary officials would be that developing the technical skills to manage the new system would likely take time, and the uncertainty that would be introduced with the announcement to de-peg could be sufficient enough to dissuade decision makers.
Another alternative is the adoption of a currency board. The UAE knows this system very well, since it was the precursor of the central bank until its demise with the issuance of ''Union Law No. (10) of 1980 Concerning The Central Bank, The Monetary System, And Organization of Banking.'' With a currency board, the issuance of domestic currency is backed by the inflow of foreign currency. With large swings in oil prices, though the fluctuations in money supply may be large, monetary policy intervention (especially with limited use of macroprudential tools that aim to mitigate risks of shocks to the global financial system) is, by its very nature, restricted. Therefore, a currency board that may be appropriate for a small, open economy, such as in Hong Kong, may not be advisable for oil-exporting Gulf Arab states.
Economist Jeffrey Frankel has suggested a third alternative of a ''currency-plus-commodity basket.'' He argues that the effects of increased swings on Gulf states have been exacerbated by their exchange rate arrangement. The currency peg forced monetary policy to be pro-cyclical, thereby exacerbating economic fluctuations. He suggests that, both during oil booms and oil busts, the problems would have been moderated if the currency had been allowed to adjust, i.e., appreciate during the boom and depreciate during the bust. With a currency-plus-commodity basket, GCC countries would peg their currencies to a basket that includes the export commodity (oil) alongside major currencies. In the simplest case, the basket could assign equal weights of importance to three components: one-third to the U.S. dollar, one-third to the euro, and one-third to oil. Frankel argues that this system would have much of the advantage of a fixed exchange rate (a firm transparent anchor for the value of the currency) and that of a floating exchange rate (an automatic appreciation when world trade conditions favor the country's export commodity, and vice-versa).
Putting the Pieces TogetherAs global economies become prone to unexpected supply shocks, it is important to rethink the economic policy toolkit. For the GCC countries this means rethinking the current peg system, among other things. An option like the adoption of a currency-plus-commodity basket comprised of the U.S. dollar, euro, and oil price could have many benefits. And the success of the new regime would be enhanced by the development of technical capabilities in monetary management and the decision-making framework. Institutions like the IMF and Norges Bank could provide valuable assistance in this regard.
Merkel's 'confession' may be grounds for tribunal '' Moscow '-- RT Russia & Former Soviet Union
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 18:24
The former chancellor gave evidence that the West had orchestrated hostilities in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry says
A confession by former German chancellor Angela Merkel about the Minsk peace agreements could be used as evidence in a tribunal involving Western politicians responsible for provoking the Ukraine conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Thursday.
The deal, brokered by Germany and France, was supposed to be a roadmap for peace in the war-torn country. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that his country's current military offensive was prompted by the failure to implement the terms of the accords.
The former German leader admitted in an interview with Die Zeit on Wednesday that the actual purpose of the Minsk agreements was to give Ukraine time to prepare for a military confrontation with Russia.
''They talk a lot about legal assessments of what is happening around Ukraine, certain tribunals and so on in all sorts of ways,'' Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a media briefing on Thursday. ''But this is a specific reason for a tribunal.''
She claimed that Merkel's comments were nothing short of the testimony of a person who had openly admitted that everything done between 2014 and 2015 was meant to ''distract the international community from real issues, play for time, pump up the Kiev regime with weapons, and escalate the issue into a large-scale conflict,'' Zakharova added.
She said Merkel's statements ''horrifyingly'' reveal that the West uses ''forgery as a method of action,'' and resorts to ''machinations, manipulation and all kinds of distortions of truth, law and rights imaginable.''
The spokeswoman claimed that the West had known well in 2015, when it spent hours negotiating the second part of the Minsk accords, that it would never even attempt to fulfill any part of the agreements and would instead pump weapons into Kiev.
''They did not feel sorry for anyone: women, children, the civilian population of Donbass or the whole of Ukraine. They needed a conflict and they were ready for it back then, in 2015,'' Zakharova said.
Earlier this month, a number of Western officials called for the creation of a special UN-backed court to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Russia during its ongoing military campaign in Ukraine.
The Kremlin has said the West has no legal or moral right to set up any courts to investigate or prosecute Russia over the conflict, which Moscow claims was ultimately provoked by the US and its allies.
Socialist MEPs step down from key roles as European Parliament corruption scandal widens | Euronews
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 17:53
The socialist group in the European Parliament has asked several of its members to step down from key posts and legislative files as the graft scandal involving one of its most well-known colleagues, Eva Kaili, continues to widen and send shockwaves through Brussels.
The Socialists & Democrats (S&D), the second largest formation in the hemicycle, has come under intense scrutiny after Kaili was arrested on suspicion of illicit lobbying in favour of a Persian Gulf state, believed to be Qatar, the controversial host of the 2022 FIFA Men's World Cup.
Kaili was later stripped of her role as one of the parliament's vice presidents. Her lawyer has said her client is innocent and "had nothing to do with bribery from Qatar."
The move follows a new update by the Belgian federal prosecutor, who in a press release said the IT resources of ten parliamentary had been "frozen" to prevent the disappearance of data. A total of 20 searches have been carried out since Friday, with more than '‚¬750,000 seized.
Four people, including Kaili and her partner, Francesco Giorgi, remain in custody.
"My group and myself are shocked by this corruption case," S&D President Iratxe Garc­a P(C)rez told reporters on Tuesday morning. "I want to make it clear that our commitment to transparency is, has been and will always be absolute."
Garc­a expressed her "disappointment" and said her main concern was to protect the Parliament's credibility, which, she said, must not be "tarnished" by the revelations.
"We have decided that the MEPs who are being investigated or those whose assistants are being investigated by law enforcement relinquish any position of responsibility that they exercise in the Parliament and in the S&D group as long proceedings are ongoing," Garc­a said.
Four S&D members relinquish responsibilitiesOn top of Kaili, whose membership was suspended over the weekend, an additional four MEPs have taken a step back while the investigation is ongoing, a spokesperson told Euronews.
None of them has so far been arrested or charged.
Marc Tarabella (Belgium) has been suspended from the S&D group.Maria Arena (Belgium) has stepped down as chair of the subcommittee on human rights.Pietro Bartolo (Italy) has stepped down as shadow rapporteur for the legislative file on visa liberalisation for Qatar and Kuwait.Andrea Cozzolino (Italy) has stepped down as S&D coordinator. (Kaili's partner, Francesco Giorgi, who is also in custody, worked as Cozzolino's assistant.)It is unclear how many of these MEPs took the decision on their own terms or were asked to step aside by the S&D leadership. Euronews has reached out to all of them asking for comment.
Maria Arena denied any "special relation" with the Qatari government and said her removal as subcommittee chair relates to one of her assistants, who used to work for the NGO Fight Impunity, an organisation involved in the corruption scandal.
The president and founder of Fight Impunity, former S&D MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, was one of those arrested alongside Kaili. The organisation does not appear under the EU's transparency registry.
"This is a personal decision in the interest of the work of the commission," Arena told Euronews.
"Temporarily, I will not chair the sub-committee until the investigation clarifies the position of my assistant who, I remind you, is only concerned by this case by the fact she carried out a consultancy for the NGO Fight Impunity as an independent expert specialist in governance issues in Africa and, at that time, she was not my assistant."
The offices of Tarabella, Bartolo and Cozzolino did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Fight Impunity did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
'Individuals who broke the rules'As new twists and turns emerge in the ever-evolving story, the previous actions of certain MEPs are being perceived in a different light.
Just last month, Marc Tarabella delivered a speech defending Qatar's labour reforms in the context of the World Cup, using similar arguments that those voiced by Kaili herself during the same plenary session.
"Much progress remains to be made, but (Qatar) is still the country that has embarked on the path of reform," Tarabella said.
"What is important is that, when the lights of the World Cup have gone out, the positive evolution continues not only in Qatar, but it can spread to all the countries of the Arabian Peninsula."
In early December, Kaili, Bartolo and Tarabella voted in favour of exempting visa requirements for Qatar and Kuwait, which would have allowed visa-free travel across EU territory for 90 days.
Cozzolino and Arena did not participate in that vote.
The file passed the civil liberties committee with 42 MEPs in favour and 16 against, and was expected to be sent to the full plenary. But after the scandal erupted, European President Roberta Metsola announced the visa-waiver discussions would be sent back to the committee in order to be re-examined.
Additionally, Tarabella and Kaili sat on the Parliament's delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula (DARP), which aims to strengthen cooperation with Gulf countries, including Qatar.
Hannah Neumann, the Green MEP who chairs DARP, said that, during her tenure, she has noticed "some embassies" trying to influence the committee's decisions "much more aggressively than others."
"It was quite obvious that a few colleagues from the S&D group had a strong pro-Qatari agenda. However, I never thought that in some cases this might be linked to illegal external interference and the allegations have shocked me," Neumann told Euronews.
"If it turns out to be true that Qatar, or any other country, has tried to influence Members of the European Parliament by means of large bribes, this will be a heavy burden for diplomatic relations and also for my work with the delegation."
The Qatari government has distanced itself from Kaili and the ensuing political storm.
"Any association of the Qatari government with the reported claims is baseless and gravely misinformed," the Qatari Mission to the European Union said in a statement.
Facing mounting revelations, Iratxe Garc­a said her party would launch its own inquiry to "learn lessons" from past mistakes and would present itself as an "injured party" in the legal case.
"This is not a corruption case that affects one political group, one country, one delegation," Garc­a said. "It's about individuals who broke the rules, individuals who have committed crimes, and individuals who must be held accountable before the law."
This article has been updated to include new reactions and developments.
COVID Vaccine Hesitancy and Risk of a Traffic Crash - The American Journal of Medicine
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 17:52
Abstract BackgroundCoronavirus disease (COVID) vaccine hesitancy is a reflection of psychology that might also contribute to traffic safety. We tested whether COVID vaccination was associated with the risks of a traffic crash.
MethodsWe conducted a population-based longitudinal cohort analysis of adults and determined COVID vaccination status through linkages to individual electronic medical records. Traffic crashes requiring emergency medical care were subsequently identified by multicenter outcome ascertainment of all hospitals in the region over a 1-month follow-up interval (178 separate centers).
ResultsA total of 11,270,763 individuals were included, of whom 16% had not received a COVID vaccine and 84% had received a COVID vaccine. The cohort accounted for 6682 traffic crashes during follow-up. Unvaccinated individuals accounted for 1682 traffic crashes (25%), equal to a 72% increased relative risk compared with those vaccinated (95% confidence interval, 63-82; P < 0.001). The increased traffic risks among unvaccinated individuals extended to diverse subgroups, was similar to the relative risk associated with sleep apnea, and was equal to a 48% increase after adjustment for age, sex, home location, socioeconomic status, and medical diagnoses (95% confidence interval, 40-57; P < 0.001). The increased risks extended across the spectrum of crash severity, appeared similar for Pfizer, Moderna, or other vaccines, and were validated in supplementary analyses of crossover cases, propensity scores, and additional controls.
ConclusionsThese data suggest that COVID vaccine hesitancy is associated with significant increased risks of a traffic crash. An awareness of these risks might help to encourage more COVID vaccination.
Keywords COVID-19Human factorsJudgment and reasoningMotor vehicle accidentTraffic crashVaccine hesitancy Clinical Significance 'Coronavirus disease (COVID) vaccination uptake has stalled despite being safe, effective, and free.
'COVID vaccine hesitancy is associated with increased traffic risks.
'The risks in unvaccinated adults apply to differing patients and severe events.
'The traffic risks are comparable with the risks with sleep apnea.
'Physicians counseling patients who decline COVID vaccination could consider safety reminders to mitigate traffic risks.
Introduction Motor vehicle traffic crashes are a common cause of sudden death, brain injury, spinal damage, skeletal fractures, chronic pain, and other disabling conditions. Crash risks occur as a complication of several diseases including alcohol misuse, sleep apnea, and diabetes.
1Redelmeier DA Yarnell CJ Thiruchelvam D Tibshirani RJ Physicians' warnings for unfit drivers and the risk of trauma from road crashes.
Crashes also occur in patients with controlled hypertension, prior cancer, or no disease at all.
2 National Highway Traffic Safety AdministrationTraffic Safety Facts 2019.
The proximate causes of most crashes are human behaviors including speeding, inattention, tailgating, impairment, improper passing, disobeying a signal, failing to yield right-of-way, or other infractions.
3 Ontario Ministry of TransportationOntario Road Safety Annual Report 2018.
These behaviors might partially reflect health consciousness, safety mindedness, community spirit, or other psychological characteristics that are difficult to measure in a systematic manner.
4Adavikottu A Velaga NR Analysis of factors influencing aggressive driver behavior and crash involvement.
,5Redelmeier DA Najeeb U Etchells EE Understanding patient personality in medical care: five-factor model.
Coronavirus disease (COVID) vaccine hesitancy is defined by the World Health Organization as a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination against an important contagious disease despite supply (distribution), access (availability), and awareness (albeit with possible misinformation).
6MacDonald NE SAGE Working Group on Vaccine HesitancyVaccine hesitancy: definition, scope and determinants.
,7Dror AA Eisenbach N Taiber S et al.Vaccine hesitancy: the next challenge in the fight against COVID-19.
Vaccine hesitancy or confidence is not new; for example, the original polio vaccine required multifactorial efforts, including celebrity endorsements (eg, the publicized injection for Elvis Presley in 1956).
8Dudley MZ Privor-Dumm L Dub(C) MacDonald NE Words matter: vaccine hesitancy, vaccine demand, vaccine confidence, herd immunity and mandatory vaccination.
, , 10Sehgal NKR Impact of Vax-a-Million Lottery on COVID-19 vaccination rates in Ohio.
Vaccination preferences mayalso reflect past misadventures (eg, the ill-advised swine-flu vaccine mandate by Gerald Ford in 1976).
11Fineberg HV Swine flu of 1976: lessons from the past. An interview with Dr Harvey V Fineberg.
Vaccine hesitancy in regions of wide availability, however, can be contentious due to conflicting values, fallible self-report, cognitive blind spots, or other behavioral issues.
12Nisbett RE Wilson TD Telling more than we can know: verbal reports on mental processes.
, 13Hall L Johansson P Strandberg T Lifting the veil of morality: choice blindness and attitude reversals on a self-transforming survey.
, 14Krumpal I Determinants of social desirability bias in sensitive surveys: a literature review.
, 15Lambooij MS Harmsen IA Veldwijk J et al.Consistency between stated and revealed preferences: a discrete choice experiment and a behavioural experiment on vaccination behaviour compared.
, 16Arena R Pronk NP Laddu D et al.Mapping one million COVID-19 deaths and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors in the United States: recognizing the syndemic pattern and taking action.
, 17Murphy J Valli¨res F Bentall RP et al.Psychological characteristics associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and resistance in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
COVID vaccination is an objective, available, important, authenticated, and timely indicator of human behavior'--albeit in a domain separate from motor vehicle traffic crashes. Whether COVID vaccination is associated with increased traffic risks, however, has not been tested and might seem surprising.
18Redelmeier DA Shafir E Pitfalls of judgment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Simple immune activation against a coronavirus, for example, has no direct effect on traffic behavior or the risk of a motor vehicle crash.
19Forchette L Sebastian W Liu T A comprehensive review of COVID-19 virology, vaccines, variants, and therapeutics.
Instead, we theorized that individual adults who tend to resist public health recommendations might also neglect basic road safety guidelines.
20Norris FH Matthews BA Riad JK Characterological, situational, and behavioral risk factors for motor vehicle accidents: a prospective examination.
, 21Shrank WH Patrick AR Brookhart MA Healthy user and related biases in observational studies of preventive interventions: a primer for physicians.
, 22Rosenbaum L Escaping Catch-22 '' overcoming Covid vaccine hesitancy.
, 23Fendrich SJ Balachandran M Patel MS Association between behavioral phenotypes and sustained use of smartphones and wearable devices to remotely monitor physical activity.
The study question was ''Does COVID vaccine hesitancy correlate with the risks of a serious traffic crash?''
Methods Study Setting Ontario is the most populous province of Canada, with 14,789,778 residents in 2021.
The yearly crash risk was 2% for an average adult (minor incidents included), the minimum driving age was 16 years, and novice drivers initially received beginner licenses.
3 Ontario Ministry of TransportationOntario Road Safety Annual Report 2018.
The COVID vaccine became available in winter 2020, doses were widely delivered to adults by spring 2021, and uptake had plateaued in summer 2021.
,26Tang X Gelband H Nagelkerke N et al.COVID-19 vaccination intention during early vaccine rollout in Canada: a nationwide online survey.
, , Vaccination was free to all, supported by popular community outreach, accompanied by public campaigns, and connected to a central registration system (COVAXON).
Vaccination Status We identified individuals using encrypted identifiers from official government registries.
31Iron K Zagorski BM Sykora K Manuel DG Living and Dying in Ontario: An Opportunity for Improved Health Information.
We included adults age 18 years or more on July 31, 2021 to ensure that each was eligible for a regular driver's license and a COVID vaccine.
This population-based approach was fully comprehensive, with the exception of excluding cases marked as invalid, containing faulty identifiers, or missing a birthdate.
33Williams JI Young W A summary of studies on the quality of health care administrative databases in Canada.
, , 35Juurlink D Preyra C Croxford R et al.Canadian Institute for Health Information Discharge Abstract Database: a validation study.
We also excluded those living elsewhere (home address), having no earlier activity (record gap), or who were not alive (death database). COVID vaccination status was based on the COVAXON database, with further details on product (manufacturer), date of first dose (earlier or later), and completeness (1 or 2 doses).
36Chung H He S Nasreen S et al.Effectiveness of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 covid-19 vaccines against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe covid-19 outcomes in Ontario, Canada: test negative design study.
,37Leung G Verma A Epidemiological study of COVID-19 fatalities and vaccine uptake: insight from a public health database in Ontario, Canada.
The study was registered in advance, approved by the Sunnybrook Research Ethics Board, and conducted using Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences safeguards.
Additional Characteristics Information on age (years), sex (binary), home location (urban, rural), and socioeconomic status (quintile) was based on demographic databases.
38Yarnell CJ Thiruchelvam D Redelmeier DA Risks of serious injury with testosterone treatment.
,39Redelmeier DA Ng K Thiruchelvam D Shafir E Association of socioeconomic status with medical assistance in dying: a case-control analysis.
Linked health care records were used to identify past diagnoses (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision) and access to care (clinic contacts, emergency visits, hospital admissions) based on the preceding year.
40Government of Ontario. Medical services '' claims history database. Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, IntelliHEALTH ONTARIO. Available at: Accessed June 9, 2022.
,41Macpherson AK Schull M Manuel D Cernat G Redelmeier DA Laupacis A Injuries in Ontario: ICES Atlas.
We directed specific attention to diseases associated with traffic risks, including alcohol misuse, sleep apnea, diabetes, depression, and dementia.
42 World Health OrganizationInternational Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.
,43Redelmeier DA Tien HC Medical interventions to reduce motor vehicle collisions.
For interest, we also checked for a past diagnosis of hypertension, cancer, and COVID infection. The available databases lacked information on driver skill, functional status, personality traits, traffic infractions, political affiliation, and self-identified ethnicity.
44Sehgal AR Lifetime risk of death from firearm injuries, drug overdoses, and motor vehicle accidents in the United States.
Traffic Crashes We identified serious traffic crashes during the subsequent month based on emergency care throughout the region (178 individual hospitals).
45Schull MJ Hatcher CM Guttmann A et al.Development of a Consensus on Evidence-Based Quality of Care Indicators for Canadian Emergency Departments. ICES Investigative Report.
This definition reflected incidents sending a patient to an emergency department as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian (codes V00-V69).
46 Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)CIHI Data Quality Study of Emergency Department Visits for 2004-2005: volume II of IV: Main Study Findings.
Additional crash characteristics included time (morning, afternoon, night), day (weekend, weekday), ambulance involvement (yes, no), and triage severity score (higher, lower).
47Bullard MJ Musgrave E Warren D et al.Revisions to the Canadian Emergency Department Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) guidelines 2016.
In each case we also determined whether the patient was admitted (yes, no) and final status (dead, alive).
45Schull MJ Hatcher CM Guttmann A et al.Development of a Consensus on Evidence-Based Quality of Care Indicators for Canadian Emergency Departments. ICES Investigative Report.
,46 Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)CIHI Data Quality Study of Emergency Department Visits for 2004-2005: volume II of IV: Main Study Findings.
,48Scales DC Guan J Martin CM Redelmeier DA Administrative data accurately identified intensive care unit admissions in Ontario.
, 49Wodchis WP Bushmeneva K Nikitovic M McKillop I Guidelines on Person-Level Costing Using Administrative Databases in Ontario.
, 50Wodchis WP Austin PC Henry DA A 3-year study of high-cost users of health care.
Due to privacy restrictions we did not link to insurance records (financial costs from vehicle damage) or police records (deaths at the scene prior to reaching hospital).
Other Outcomes Our study was not a randomized trial and we selected additional outcomes to check for a difference where a difference was anticipated (positive control) and no difference where no difference was anticipated (negative control).
51Prasad V Jena AB Prespecified falsification end points: can they validate true observational associations?.
Specifically, we replicated methods by focusing instead on emergency care for COVID pneumonia as an alternative outcome (positive control). The rationale was that a lack of COVID vaccination, in theory, would be associated with an increased risk of subsequent COVID infection. Similarly, we tested emergency care for uncomplicated constipation (negative control). The rationale was that uncomplicated constipation is a frequent and distinct medical disorder among diverse patients unrelated to COVID vaccination or COVID infection.
Statistical Analysis The main analysis evaluated emergency visits for individuals injured in traffic crashes. The primary comparison used the chi-square test to analyze those who had not received a COVID vaccine relative to those who had received a COVID vaccine. Odds ratios were used for relative risk estimates, with no censoring for interval deaths (accounting for deaths at the scene and censoring for interval deaths yielded nearly identical results). Stratified analyses assessed differences according to individual characteristics, with special attention to a diagnosis of alcohol misuse. The analysis was then replicated for patients diagnosed with subsequent COVID pneumonia (positive control) and patients diagnosed with uncomplicated constipation (negative control).
Secondary analyses explored further nuances to check the robustness of a potential association between COVID vaccination and traffic crash risks. We used multivariable logistic regression analysis to test the strength of association after accounting for baseline demographic and diagnostic predictors. Prespecified subgroup analyses were used to check for replication according to specific vaccine, recency of first dose, and completeness of vaccination. Similarly, subtype analyses were used to examine whether the association extended across the spectrum of crash severity. In addition, a sensitivity analysis was conducted to account for crossover patients who eventually received a vaccination during the 1-month follow-up interval.
Two more supplementary sets of analyses were conducted in a post hoc manner after examining results from the primary analysis. The first analyses tested a propensity score approach as an alternative method to adjust for observed baseline individual differences. Individual patients were pair matched one-to-one based on age (within 5 years), sex (binary), location (binary), socioeconomic status (quintile), and propensity score of specific diagnosis (total = 8). The second analyses tested additional negative controls to validate statistics and check for a further lack of difference in unrelated outcomes. The 4 separate additional emergency outcomes were a fall, a water transportation incident, appendicitis, and conjunctivitis (
Appendix, available online). Study reporting followed the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology guideline (STROBE checklist).
Results Overview A total of 11,270,763 adults were identified. Overall, 9,425,473 (84%) had received a COVID vaccine and 1,845,290 (16%) had not received a COVID vaccine at study baseline (July 31, 2021). The 2 groups spanned a diverse range of demographics, with comparable general health care utilization (
Table 1). The largest relative differences were that those who had not received a COVID vaccine were more likely to be younger, living in a rural area, and below the middle socioeconomic quintile. Those who had not received a vaccine also were more likely to have a diagnosis of alcohol misuse or depression and less likely to have a diagnosis of sleep apnea, diabetes, cancer, or dementia. About 4% had a past COVID diagnosis, with no major imbalance between the 2 groups.
Traffic Crashes A total of 6682 individuals required emergency care for a serious traffic crash during the subsequent month of follow-up. This rate averaged over 200 individuals per day and was comparable with population norms for high-income countries. Patients who had not received a COVID vaccine accounted for 1682 crashes (25% of total crashes), equal to an absolute risk of 912 per million. Patients who had received a COVID vaccine accounted for 5000 crashes (75% of total crashes), equal to an absolute risk of 530 per million. The difference corresponded to a relative risk of 1.72 for patients who had not received the COVID vaccine (95% confidence interval, 1.63-1.82;
P < 0.001). The risk of a traffic crash was proportional with time for both groups (
Figure 1).
Figure 1 Cumulative incidence plots of absolute risk of a serious traffic crash. X-axis shows days following start of follow-up. Y-axis shows cumulative incidence of events per million individuals. Blue line denotes those vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID) and red line denotes those not vaccinated against COVID. Counts in square brackets indicate cumulative total patients in each group with an event at corresponding time. Relative risk ratio based on logistic regression model. Results show substantial incidence of serious traffic crashes that is increased for those who are not vaccinated relative to those who are vaccinated.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT) Consistency for Subgroups The association between a lack of COVID vaccination and increased traffic risks extended to important subgroups. The pattern was apparent for younger and middle-aged adults, men and women, those in urban and rural locations, and across the range of socioeconomic status (
Figure 2). The smallest relative risk was for adults older than 65 years. The results persisted after stratifying for a diagnosis of alcohol misuse or other specific diagnosis. Stratified analyses based on total clinic contacts, emergency visits, and prior admissions also yielded findings consistent with the primary analysis (
Appendix). All subgroups with at least 1000 total crashes showed a significant finding replicating the primary analysis. No subgroup showed a significant opposite association.
Figure 2 Forest plot of relative risk of a serious traffic crash in different subgroups. Relative risk compares unvaccinated adults with vaccinated adults for each estimate. In each subgroup, counts show total crashes along with absolute crash risk for those vaccinated and for those not vaccinated (events per million). Circles denote relative risk estimate and horizontal lines denote 95% confidence interval. Null association shown as a relative risk of 1.00 on logarithmic axis. Summary data for total cohort at bottom. Findings show substantial counts, increased relative risk for those unvaccinated, and most subgroups overlapping main analysis. High outlier of unvaccinated patients with dementia potentially attributable to chance.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT) Additional Predictors of Crash Risk The baseline risk of a traffic crash was also related to other individual characteristics (
Table 2). In accord with past studies, the risk was greater for younger than older adults, more for men than women, and higher for those with lower socioeconomic status. Living in a rural location was not associated with a large difference in risk in either univariable or multivariable analysis. A diagnosis of alcohol misuse was a substantial risk factor, sleep apnea or depression were modest risk factors, and a past diagnosis of COVID infection was an equivocal risk factor. Adjustment for all measured individual characteristics suggested a relative risk of 1.48 for individuals who had not received a COVID vaccine (95% confidence interval, 1.40-1.57;
P < 0.001).
Secondary Analyses The increased traffic crash risks among those who had not received a COVID vaccine applied across diverse analyses (
Table 3). The increased risk extended to patients who required ambulance transport, had higher triage severity, and needed hospital admission. The increased risk was accentuated in analyses distinguishing earlier rather than later vaccine timing and distinguishing those with 2 rather than 1 dose. The risk was similar for the Pfizer, Moderna, or other vaccines. As expected, the risk of subsequent COVID pneumonia was increased for those who had not received a COVID vaccine, whereas the risk of constipation was unrelated to the COVID vaccine. Results were further validated in analyses of those eventually vaccinated during follow-up, those matched by propensity scores, and those with additional outcomes (
Discussion We studied millions of adults and found that COVID vaccine hesitancy was associated with significant increased traffic risks. The increased risks included adults with diverse characteristics who spanned the range of socioeconomic status and home locations. The increased risks extended across the spectrum of crash severity, including cases requiring ambulance transport and acute hospitalization. The magnitude of estimated risk was substantial and similar to the relative risk associated with sleep apnea, less than associated with alcohol misuse, and greater than associated with diabetes. A relative risk of this magnitude, furthermore, exceeds the safety gains from modern automobile engineering advances and also imposes risks on other road users.
43Redelmeier DA Tien HC Medical interventions to reduce motor vehicle collisions.
,Our research agrees with past studies about psychology contributing to traffic risks.
53Nabi H Rachid Salmi L Lafont S Chiron M Zins M Lagarde E Attitudes associated with behavioral predictors of serious road traffic crashes: results from the GAZEL cohort.
,54Nunn J Erdogan M Green RS The prevalence of alcohol-related trauma recidivism: a systematic review.
One of the earliest studies evaluated taxi drivers and observed a 7-times greater frequency of personality disorders among those with multiple crashes compared with those with no crashes.
55Tillmann WA Hobbs GE The accident-prone automobile driver; a study of the psychiatric and social background.
A study of young drivers identified a near doubling of crash incidents associated with an aggressive personality pattern.
56Gulliver P Begg D Personality factors as predictors of persistent risky driving behavior and crash involvement among young adults.
A psychometric analysis of motorcycle riders found that personal temperament was the largest predictor of crash involvement.
57Cheng ASK Ng TCK Lee HC A comparison of the hazard perception ability of accident-involved and accident-free motorcycle riders.
The weaknesses of past studies include small sample sizes, fallible self-report, cross-sectional designs, low outcome counts, and narrow generalizability.
58Redelmeier DA Yarnell CJ Lethal misconceptions: interpretation and bias in studies of traffic deaths.
,59Brown TG Ouimet MC Eldeb M et al.Personality,executive control, and neurobiological characteristics associated with different forms of risky driving.
We are aware of no past study testing COVID vaccination and traffic risks.
A limitation of our study is that correlation does not mean causality because our data do not explore potential causes of vaccine hesitancy or risky driving.
60Bullock J Lane JE Shults FL What causes COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy? Ignorance and the lack of bliss in the United Kingdom.
One possibility relates to a distrust of government or belief in freedom that contributes to both vaccination preferences and increased traffic risks.
A different explanation might be misconceptions of everyday risks, faith in natural protection, antipathy toward regulation, chronic poverty, exposure to misinformation, insufficient resources, or other personal beliefs.
62Rosenbaum L No cure without care '' soothing science skepticism.
Alternative factors could include political identity, negative past experiences, limited health literacy, or social networks that lead to misgivings around public health guidelines.
63Johnson NF Velsquez N Restrepo NJ et al.The online competition between pro- and anti-vaccination views.
, These subjective unknowns remain topics for more research.
Another limitation of our study is the lack of direct data on driving exposure in different groups. A 100% increase in driving distance, however, is unlikely to explain the magnitude of traffic risks observed in this study.
65Redelmeier DA The fallacy of interpreting deaths and driving distances.
A difference in driving distance would also not explain why the increased risks extended to pedestrians, why the increased risks were not lower in urban locations, and why the increased risks were not higher on weekends (when discretionary driving is common).
To be sure, physical factors such as vehicle speed and distance are controlled by the driver and part of the mechanism that ultimately results in a traffic crash. These physical unknowns do not change the importance of our study for estimating prognosis.
Our study has other limitations. The analysis does not correct for barriers in access to care or risk compensation that each bias results in the contrary direction.
67Trogen B Caplan A Risk compensation and COVID-19 vaccines.
The analysis does not include minor crashes that do not lead to emergency care or deaths at the scene prior to reaching the hospital (
68Rojas Castro MY Orriols L Basha Sakr D et al.A web-based prospective cohort study of home, leisure, school and sports injuries in France: a descriptive analysis.
The data do not examine the long-term recovery, quality of life, and insurance costs for those who survive initial injuries. Many vehicle factors remain unexplored, including speed, spacing, configuration, location, weather, and distances driven. The study does not test the reliability of COVID vaccination as a proxy for COVID vaccine hesitancy. The available data do not examine long-term trends, test at-fault liability, or assess measurement error that biases results toward the null.
58Redelmeier DA Yarnell CJ Lethal misconceptions: interpretation and bias in studies of traffic deaths.
These uncertainties are further opportunities for future science.
10Sehgal NKR Impact of Vax-a-Million Lottery on COVID-19 vaccination rates in Ohio.
The current findings can help address 4 common misunderstandings.
69Hitti FL Weissman D Debunking mRNA Vaccine Misconceptions-An Overview for Medical Professionals.
We show the high numbers and the diverse profile of adults who are not vaccinated (
Table 1), contrary to claims that COVID vaccine hesitancy is concentrated in men, in poverty, and in rural regions. We validate that vaccination is associated with large reductions in subsequent COVID pneumonia (
Table 3), contrary to claims that industry-funded trials are misleading. We document that traffic crashes have continued unabated during the COVID pandemic (
Figure 1), contrary to claims that social distancing would lead to fewer traffic fatalities or that one pandemic somehow might replace another. We verify that traffic crashes disproportionately involve those in poverty (
Table 2), contrary to claims that traffic safety is unrelated to health disparities.
Our findings have direct relevance by highlighting how injury risks have continued despite the COVID pandemic.
Primary care physicians who wish to help patients avoid becoming traffic statistics, for example, could take the opportunity to stress standard safety reminders such as wearing a seatbelt, obeying speed limits, and never driving drunk.
1,71Redelmeier DA McLellan BA Modern medicine is neglecting road traffic crashes.
The observed risks are sufficiently large that paramedics, emergency staff, and other first responders should be aware that unvaccinated patients are overrepresented in the aftermath of a traffic crash.
72Bledsoe BE Sweeney RJ Berkeley RP Cole KT Forred WJ Johnson LD EMS provider compliance with infection control recommendations is suboptimal.
,73Prezant DJ Zeig-Owens R Schwartz T et al.Medical leave associated with COVID-19 among emergency medical system responders and firefighters in New York City.
The observed risks might also justify changes to driver insurance policies in the future.
74Weisburd S Identifying moral hazard in car insurance contracts.
Together, the findings suggest that unvaccinated adults need to be careful indoors with other people and outside with surrounding traffic.
Acknowledgments We thank Melany Gaetani, Fizza Manzoor, Sheharyar Raza, Eldar Shafir, Richard Thaler, Robert Tibshirani, Chris Yarnell, the Stanford Department of Biomedical Data Science, and the Princeton University Center for Behavioral Science & Public Policy for helpful suggestions on specific points.
Appendix: COVID Vaccine Hesitancy and Risk of a Traffic Crash Table of Contents:
§1. Research in Context...........................................................................2
§2. Directed Acyclic Graph.....................................................................4
§3. Description of Patient Flows..............................................................5
§4. Additional Negative Controls............................................................6
§5. Additional Propensity Score Analyses..............................................7
§6. Additional Stratified Analysis...........................................................8
§7. Accounting for Scene Deaths..........................................................10
§8. Accounting for Later Vaccinations..................................................11
§1 Research in Context Evidence prior to this study: We searched MEDLINE, PsychInfo, Scopus, and Google Scholar on December 31, 2021 with no language or date restrictions. The search terms for MEDLINE were (''vaccines'' OR ''immunization'') AND (''traffic accidents'' OR ''automobile driving''). The search terms for other databases were adapted as appropriate (details on request). Only 3 surveys examined the association of vaccination with traffic crash risks. One survey (n = 104,594) correlated previous influenza vaccinations with driving safety and detected a significant inverse association (individuals who had not received an influenza vaccination were 15% more likely to report risky driving). Two other survey studies (n = 348 and n = 654) assessed general attitudes toward public health and also found clustering of risks (individuals who reported risk-taking tendencies were 39% less likely to be coronavirus disease (COVID) vaccinated and 41% less likely to follow COVID public health instructions). No studies used validated longitudinal analysis to compare objective vaccination status with actual traffic crash risks.
Added value of this study: This is the first population-based longitudinal cohort study to examine an adult's COVID vaccination status and subsequent traffic crash risk. The analysis of over 10 million adults found the risk of a serious traffic crash was significantly higher for adults who had not received a COVID vaccine compared with adults who had received a COVID vaccine. The increased traffic risk associated with COVID vaccine hesitancy persisted in relevant subgroups stratifying for age, sex, home location, socioeconomic status, medical diagnoses, and access to care. The relative risk was similar to the relative risk associated with sleep apnea, less than the risk associated with alcohol misuse, and greater than the risk associated with diabetes. The increased risk was primarily explained by events when driving at night. The increased risk extended across differing degrees of crash severity, was more prominent in analyses based on 2 doses rather than 1 dose, and similar for the Pfizer, Moderna, or other COVID vaccines.
Implications of all available evidence: COVID vaccine hesitancy is associated with an increased risk of a traffic crash. A direct effect from immunization is unlikely; instead, diverse psychological factors contribute to vaccine willingness and driving safety (eg, both entail inconveniences advocated by authorities to protect the community). Traffic crashes have continued during the COVID pandemic, implying that physicians have a responsibility to counsel at-risk patients in primary care. In addition, COVID vaccine status might be considered for regions that prioritize road safety, such as those that mandate physicians to warn risky drivers and report to vehicle licensing agencies. Prehospital care providers need to also be aware that unvaccinated adults are overrepresented in the aftermath of a traffic crash, thereby justifying maintaining adherence to COVID precautions at the frenzied crash scene. In addition, the clustering of risks imposed on others might indirectly promote new strategies to promote COVID vaccination.
§2 Directed Acyclic Graph Footnote: Directerd Acyclic Graph of possible causal pathways relevant to vaccine hesitancy and traffic risks. The diagram displays measured factors (white), unmeasured ancestors of vaccine hesitancy (green), unmeasured ancestors of traffic risks (blue), and unmeasured ancestors to both vaccine hesitancy and traffic risks (pink). Causal pathways denoted as closed (black lines) or open (magenta lines). Specific causal pathways based on literature review, direct clinical experience (Canada's largest trauma center), and expert consultation (International Traffic Medicine Association).
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT) §3 Description of Patient Flows §4 Additional Negative Controls §5 Additional Propensity Score Analyses: General and Stringent The purpose of the first propensity score analysis was to retain a large sample size when matching an unvaccinated individual 1-to-1 with a vaccinated individual and accounting for baseline demographic characteristics and individual diseases.
Analysis of General Matched Cohort Pairs
Tabled 1
Total individuals'¯='¯3,688,974; total pairs'¯='¯1,844,487; total crashes'¯='¯2899; odds ratio'¯='¯1.38; 95% confidence interval, 1.28-1.44; P-value < 0.001.
Open table in a new tab The purpose of the second propensity score analysis was to be stringent when matching an unvaccinated individual 1-to-1 with a vaccinated individual and excluding cases where any person had a medical diagnosis.
Analysis of Stringent Matched Cohort Pairs
Tabled 1
''X'' denotes single digit suppression for privacy regulations; total individuals'¯='¯1,171,044; total pairs'¯='¯585,522; total crashes'¯='¯1111; odds ratio'¯='¯1.63; 95% confidence interval, 1.45-1.85; P-value < 0.001.
Open table in a new tab §6 Additional Stratified Analysis §7 Accounting for Scene Deaths The study examined serious traffic crashes based on emergency care throughout the region and thereby did not include deaths at the scene. In turn, we considered extreme assumptions to examine how results might change based on these missing deaths. Specifically, traffic statistics for this setting (602 total deaths in Ontario, 2018) suggested that 50 total deaths might have occurred in our study during follow-up (602/12). Taking into account the 8 deaths that were included, therefore, we estimated potentially 42 total deaths at the scene (50''8).
Making an extreme assumption and assigning all these deaths to the vaccinated group yielded minimal changes to final results. In particular, the observed event count increased from a total of 5000 crashes to 5042 crashes, equivalent to an absolute risk of 535 per million (rather than 530 per million). This observed absolute risk was still substantially lower than the observed risk of 912 per million in the unvaccinated group. These results suggested that extreme assumptions about the deaths at the scene make minimal difference to final estimates of relative risk.
§8 Accounting for Later Vaccinations The study examined vaccination status based on records on July 31, 2021 and did not include possible later vaccination that might have eventually occurred. In turn, we retrieved information on these subsequent vaccinations and considered extreme assumptions to examine how results might change based on the crossover cases. Specifically, we found 219,740 individuals who were eventually vaccinated from the cohort of 1,8450,290 who had been classified as unvaccinated. These individuals accounted for 155 total traffic crashes during follow-up.
Making an extreme assumption and assigning all individuals to the vaccinated group yielded minimal changes to final results. In particular, the observed event count increased from a total of 5000 crashes to 5155 crashes, equivalent to an absolute risk of 534 per million (rather than 530 per million). This observed absolute risk was still substantially lower than the recalculated risk of 939 per million in the unvaccinated group. These results suggested that extreme assumptions about possible eventual vaccination during follow-up make minimal difference to final estimates of relative risk.
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97 : 301-313 Article InfoPublication HistoryPublished online: December 02, 2022
Accepted: November 2, 2022
Received: October 14, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Journal Pre-ProofFootnotesFunding: This project was supported by a Canada Research Chair in Medical Decision Sciences, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Graduate Diploma in Health Research at the University of Toronto, and the National Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the Ontario Ministry of Health.
Conflicts of Interest: The funding organizations had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, and approval of the manuscript. All authors have no financial or personal relationships or affiliations that could influence the decisions and work on this manuscript.
Authorship: The lead author (DAR) had full access to all the data in the study, takes responsibility for the integrity of the data, and is accountable for the accuracy of the analysis. Other contributions include: Conceptualization (DAR, JW, DT), data curation (DAR, DT), formal analysis (DAR, JW, DT), funding acquisition (DAR, JW), investigation (DAR, JW, DT), methodology (DAR, JW, DT), project administration (DAR, JW), resources (DAR, JW), software (nil), supervision (DAR), validation (DAR, JW, DT), visualization (DAR, JW, DT), original draft (DAR), and revisions (DAR, JW, DT). The protocol was approved by the Sunnybrook Research Ethics board and conducted using privacy safeguards at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. Parts of this material are based on data compiled by CIHI; however, the analyses, conclusions, and statements expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of CIHI. Study participants contributed in important ways to this research yet it was not feasible to directly involve individuals in study design or conduct. Members of the public provided feedback on study results and earlier presentations of this material.
Data Availability: The study dataset is held securely in coded form at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). While legal data sharing agreements between ICES and data providers (eg, health care organizations and government) prohibit ICES from making the dataset publicly available, access may be granted to those who meet criteria for confidential access, available at (email [email protected]). The full dataset creation plan and analytic code are available from the authors upon request, understanding that the computer programs might rely upon coding templates or macros that are unique to ICES.
Copyright(C) 2022 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Fusion breakthrough could be climate, energy game-changer
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 17:36
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Scientists announced Tuesday that they have for the first time produced more energy in a fusion reaction than was used to ignite it '-- a major breakthrough in the decades-long quest to harness the process that powers the sun.
Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California achieved the result, which is called net energy gain, the Energy Department said. Net energy gain has been an elusive goal because fusion happens at such high temperatures and pressures that it is incredibly difficult to control.
The breakthrough will pave the way for advancements in national defense and the future of clean power, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and other officials said.
''Ignition allows us to replicate for the first time certain conditions that are found only in the stars and the sun,'' Granholm told a news conference in Washington. ''This milestone moves us one significant step closer to the possibility of zero-carbon abundant fusion energy powering our society.''
Fusion ignition is ''one of the most impressive scientific feats of the 21st century,'' Granholm said, adding that the breakthrough ''will go down in the history books.''
Appearing with Granholm, White House science adviser Arati Prabhakar called the fusion ignition ''a tremendous example of what perseverance really can achieve'' and ''an engineering marvel beyond belief.''
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday describes a breakthrough in fusion. (Source: CNN/Pool)
Proponents of fusion hope that it could one day offer nearly limitless, carbon-free energy and displace fossil fuels and other traditional energy sources. Producing energy that powers homes and businesses from fusion is still decades away. But researchers said the announcement marked a significant advance nonetheless.
''It's almost like it's a starting gun going off,'' said professor Dennis Whyte, director of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a leader in fusion research. ''We should be pushing towards making fusion energy systems available to tackle climate change and energy security.''
Kim Budil, director of the Livermore Lab, said there are ''very significant hurdles'' to commercial use of fusion technology, but advances in recent years mean the technology is likely to be widely used in ''a few decades'' rather than 50 or 60 years as previously expected.
Fusion works by pressing hydrogen atoms into each other with such force that they combine into helium, releasing enormous amounts of energy and heat. Unlike other nuclear reactions, it doesn't create radioactive waste.
President Joe Biden called the breakthrough a good example of the need to continue to invest in research and development. ''Look what's going on from the Department of Energy on the nuclear front. There's a lot of good news on the horizon,'' he said at the White House.
Billions of dollars and decades of work have gone into fusion research that has produced exhilarating results '-- for fractions of a second. Previously, researchers at the National Ignition Facility, the division of Lawrence Livermore where the success took place, used 192 lasers and temperatures multiple times hotter than the center of the sun to create an extremely brief fusion reaction.
The lasers focus an enormous amount of heat on a small metal can. The result is a superheated plasma environment where fusion may occur.
Riccardo Betti, a professor at the University of Rochester and expert in laser fusion, said there's a long road ahead before the net energy gain leads to sustainable electricity.
He likened the breakthrough to when humans first learned that refining oil into gasoline and igniting it could produce an explosion.
''You still don't have the engine, and you still don't have the tires,'' Betti said. ''You can't say that you have a car.''
The net energy gain achievement applied to the fusion reaction itself, not the total amount of power it took to operate the lasers and run the project. For fusion to be viable, it will need to produce significantly more power and for longer.
It is incredibly difficult to control the physics of stars. Whyte said the fuel has to be hotter than the center of the sun. The fuel does not want to stay hot '-- it wants to leak out and get cold. Containing it is a challenge, he said.
Results from the California lab exceeded expectations, said Jeremy Chittenden, a professor at Imperial College in London specializing in plasma physics.
Although there's a long way to go to turn fusion into a usable power source, Chittenden said, the lab's achievement makes him optimistic that it may someday be ''the ideal power source that we thought it would be'' '-- one that's carbon-free and runs on an abundant form of hydrogen that can be extracted from seawater.
One approach to fusion turns hydrogen into plasma, an electrically charged gas, which is then controlled by humongous magnets. This method is being explored in France in a collaboration among 35 countries called the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, as well as by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a private company.
Last year the teams working on those projects on two continents announced significant advancements in the vital magnets needed for their work.
Chittenden said ''the stakes are rising all the time'' in the race to find clean alternative energy sources. Fusion ''isn't the sole solution to that. It's part of the energy mix. We need to be trying everything we can possibly think of.''
Daly reported from Washington, Burakoff from New York, Phillis from St. Louis and McDermott from Providence, R.I.
Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP's climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Biden administration makes at-home Covid tests available for free again this winter
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 17:11
Take home COVID-19 self testing kits provided by the District of Columbia government, which provides city residents four free take home tests per day, are seen in this illustration taken January 11, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
The Biden administration is making rapid Covid tests available for free again this winter through a limited round of ordering.
Households can now order a total of four rapid Covid tests for free at Orders will start shipping next week, just days before families gather for the Christmas holiday, and deliveries will continue in the following weeks, according to the White House.
The Biden administration shut down the free at-home Covid test program in September because Congress did not pass additional funding to replenish the U.S. stockpile.
The White House decided to shift existing money to buy more tests and relaunch the popular program as Covid cases started increasing again, a senior administration official told reporters during a call Wednesday evening.
"We feel confident that we are going to have enough tests to get through this next round, four per household, in the coming weeks," the official said.
The relaunch of the free at-home test program is part of the Biden administration's preparedness plan for Covid this winter. Covid infections are increasing again as hospital emergency departments are already battling a surge of patients sick with the flu and respiratory syncytial virus.
The Biden administration will make federal medical teams available to strained hospitals as requested by state governments, the official said. Supplies such as personal protective equipment and ventilators will be pre-prepositioned to be given out to states as needed, the official said.
The administration is also focusing on increasing vaccination rates in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, which house some of the people most vulnerable to severe illness from Covid.
The federal government will send out a playbook that calls on nursing homes to keep all residents up to date on the vaccines, offer treatment to residents who do catch Covid and take steps to improve indoor air quality, according to a White House fact sheet.
Health Secretary Xavier Becerra will send a letter to governors, highlighting how vaccination rates in nursing homes in their states compare to others, according to the White House. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will also reach out to jurisdictions with the lowest vaccination rates in nursing homes to remind them of steps they can take to increase coverage.
The federal government is also calling on hospitals to offer Covid vaccination to patients who are unvaccinated before they are discharged.
Senate Passes Bill Banning TikTok From Government Devices - WSJ
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 15:48
Social-media app has come under scrutiny over China-based parent ByteDance
Updated Dec. 14, 2022 10:30 pm ETWASHINGTON'--The Senate passed by unanimous consent a bill that would ban federal employees from downloading or using the social-media app TikTok on government devices, in the face of mounting national-security concerns.
The legislation would still have to pass the House and be signed by the president to become law. A similar bill passed the Senate in a previous Congress but never moved forward in the House.
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WASHINGTON'--The Senate passed by unanimous consent a bill that would ban federal employees from downloading or using the social-media app TikTok on government devices, in the face of mounting national-security concerns.
The legislation would still have to pass the House and be signed by the president to become law. A similar bill passed the Senate in a previous Congress but never moved forward in the House.
U.S. officials and lawmakers from both parties have raised concerns about the app's owner, Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd. In just five years, the application, which allows users to post short videos with music, has exploded into a pop-culture phenomenon. It is the world's most popular app, used by two-thirds of American teens.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) co-sponsored the legislation with Sens. Rick Scott (R., Fla.), Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Tom Cotton (R., Ark.).
TikTok has repeatedly said that it has never shared U.S. user data with the Chinese government and wouldn't if asked.
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TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said Mr. Hawley's bill ''does nothing to advance U.S. national security interests. We hope that rather than continuing down that road, he will urge the administration to move forward on an agreement that would actually address his concerns.''
Biden administration officials have been negotiating with TikTok executives on measures aimed at preventing information TikTok collects on American users from being shared with Beijing.
''TikTok is a Trojan Horse for the Chinese Communist Party. It's a major security risk,'' said Mr. Hawley in a statement after the bill passed. He said that until TikTok ''is forced to sever ties with China completely, it has no place on government devices.''
A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
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(D., Calif.) didn't immediately respond to a question on whether the bill would be brought up in the House before the new Congress begins next year.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, banned last week the use of TikTok on government-issued devices, citing national security concerns that the app could be used to help China surveil Americans and U.S. intelligence officials. Other states have begun taking similar steps.
On Tuesday, Mr. Rubio and Reps. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D., Ill.) introduced legislation in both chambers aimed at banning TikTok from operating in the U.S.
The app is currently going through a national security review process with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., a federal panel that oversees cross-border mergers and acquisitions, also known as Cfius. A TikTok executive who was grilled by senators in September said the final agreement with Cfius would ''satisfy all national security concerns.''
In June, TikTok said it was routing all U.S. user data through
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Oracle Corp.Indiana filed a pair of lawsuits against TikTok earlier this month, alleging the platform is deceiving consumers about its content and data security, the latest in a growing number of moves by state officials to push back against the platform's influence on children and its connections to China.
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The state said its lawsuits are the first of their kind against the popular app and ByteDance. In one of the complaints, Indiana alleged that TikTok's algorithm is designed to addict young users and promotes harmful content that isn't appropriate for them. The lawsuit cites studies and reports linking heavy use of the platform to mental disorders among teenagers, including eating disorders and depression.
TikTok declined to comment on the lawsuits but said: ''The safety, privacy and security of our community is our top priority. We build youth well-being into our policies, limit features by age, empower parents with tools and resources, and continue to invest in new ways to enjoy content based on age-appropriateness or family comfort.''
In 2020, the Trump administration unsuccessfully tried to stop U.S. phone users from downloading TikTok as part of a crackdown on Chinese apps, citing privacy and security concerns.
TikTok's lawyers argued at the time that a download ban could irreparably harm the app's business. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols agreed and determined that the government likely overstepped its authority under a 1970s national-security law, which grants the president broad power to act on threats to the U.S. economy and foreign policy but prohibits restrictions on exchanges of informational materials.
'--Katy Stech Ferek contributed to this article.
Write to Meghan Bobrowsky at and Eliza Collins at
CRIMINAL genetic modification exclusions now in Insurance!!!
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 15:20
I expected it to show up AFTER they had gotten everyone they were going to get to go obey the vaccine injections. And here it is.
Read that a few times, and realize that if you got the vaccine you are NOW a genetically modified Organism. Its an mRNA vaccine after all, and what it does is modify your dna and co-opt cells to produce the proteins they want your body to build anti-bodies against, the problem is its ones OWN CELLS that are producing the invaders, not some actual invader. So heres the rub, the United States generally REQUIRE insurance via legality. But now they've made it so NO INSURANCE HAS TO PAY OUT FOR ANYTHING NOW DEEMED GENETIC MODIFICATION, so why would anyone continue to pay for Insurance that now excludes them from any compensation from said insurance because they obeyed the mainstream media and got the clot shot. Whats idiotic is why do they include plant grafting or plant breeding in the insurance disclaimer? is that to pretend its a full scope exclusion and that Plants are buying insurance for themselves now?
If this is the angle the insurance companies are now going to play, then all insurance companies are of no further value since 90% of the populations have been injected with this crap. They should be dissolved and any funds by paying insurees should be returned since they are now excluded from any coverage given this bullshit exclusion clause.
This shit is Criminal.
Warren and Marshall's New Bill Would Extend Money Laundering Laws to Crypto
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 14:17
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has come out as an antagonist to the crypto industry, but her new bill will see pushback from the more pro-crypto members of Congress. Photo: Kevin Dietsch (Getty Images)
There's a new bill coming to Congress to deal with crypto, and this one's not pulling many punches on the entire crypto ecosystem.
On Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Republican Sen. Roger Marshall announced they were introducing legislation that would extend current money laundering laws to cryptocurrencies. This '' Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act '' would essentially extend the existing Bank Secrecy Act to the groups that provide crypto wallets and crypto miners, essentially turning them all into more traditional money service businesses.
Congress passed the BSA in 1970 to force financial institutions to help the federal government prevent money laundering. This proposed law would give the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, otherwise known as FinCen, wide powers to regulate crypto by, essentially, making them as beholden to certain regulations as big banks.
'‹'‹''The crypto industry should follow common-sense rules like banks, brokers, and Western Union, and this legislation would ensure the same standards apply across similar financial transactions,'' Warren said in her release. ''The bipartisan bill will help close crypto money laundering loopholes and strengthen enforcement to better safeguard U.S. national security.''
Warren and Marshall's bill would cement proposed Know Your Customer rules onto the crypto industry. Two years ago, the Treasury Department proposed new rules that would force entities to record and report any potential malicious activities of users with ''unhosted wallets,'' AKA wallets not tied to any crypto exchange or third party. The agency said that move would ''increas[e] transparency in digital currencies and clos[e] loopholes that malign actors may exploit.''
G/O Media may get a commission
Though current regulation often falls on the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the bill would also direct both agencies to report compliance with these KYC requirements to FinCen.
The bill would also put a complete quash on so-called ''crypto mixers,'' which are programs that take multiple users' crypto, mix it all into one big pot before redistributing the same amount to each user, minus a small fee. Earlier this year, the Treasury Department sanctioned the mixer Tornado Cash , alleging it had been used by North-Korean affiliated hackers to launder billions of dollars in crypto stolen from the NFT-based game Axie Infinity.
Such a move would be a major turning point for the crypto industry, which has so far proclaimed its status as an anonymized and decentralized way of making payments, never mind how so few crypto transactions are for (legal) goods or services . Still, after the utter implosion of the crypto exchange FTX and now the arrest of once-lauded crypto wunderkind Sam Bankman-Fried, Congress as a whole is flabbergasted with how to actually regulate crypto.
Crypto proponents have already decried the proposed bill. Washington D.C.-based pro-crypto think tank Coin Center wrote it was an attack on the ''personal freedom and privacy of cryptocurrency users'' by making all crypto entities act like a regular financial institution.
Warren and Marshall's bill will likely struggle to find traction in Congress. During Tuesday's House Financial Services Committee hearing on FTX, multiple noted crypto proponents and members of the so-called '' Blockchain 8 '' tried to protect ''innovation'' and put the blame on the SEC for essentially forcing crypto companies offshore, where there was less chance of U.S. regulation. A few of the two Democrats' fellow senators are still pushing for regulations to come from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Warren has come out as a major opponent of the crypto industry, having previously taken crypto miners to task over the mass amount of power these operations were using in Texas. Last week, she wrote a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell concerned about the lingering ties between the banking and crypto industries after the fall of FTX.
Rise in heart attacks among healthy young Indians. What's driving it? - India Today
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 13:51
As many as 51% of people have one or more individuals in their close network who have experienced heart or brain stroke, blood clots, neurological complications, cancer acceleration or other sudden medical conditions in the last two years, a recent survey said.
New Delhi, UPDATED: Dec 13, 2022 17:23 IST
Cases of sudden heart attacks and strokes among healthy, young and middle-aged Indians are becoming prevalent, a LocalCircles survey has revealed.
By Tirtho Banerjee: Cases of heart attacks and strokes among healthy, young and middle-aged Indians are becoming prevalent, a survey by LocalCircles, a community social media platform, has revealed. And these growing medical conditions are impacting both the vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
As many as 51% of people have one or more individuals in their close network who have experienced heart or brain stroke, blood clots, neurological complications, cancer acceleration or other sudden medical conditions in the last two years, the survey said.
The percentage of those knowing one or more individuals with sudden severe ailments or complications rose from 31% to 51% within a year, the study found.
Also Read | Bride's father dies while dancing day before wedding in Uttarakhand
A total of 62% of the people in their close network experiencing such severe conditions were double dose vaccinated; 11% were single dose vaccinated while 8% were unvaccinated, the study added.
Interestingly, 61% of the people in their close network experiencing severe medical conditions had experienced Covid once or more while 28% said their contacts with such severe conditions did not have Covid, pointed out the survey, which received over 32,000 responses from citizens located in 357 districts of India.
Over 200 million people worldwide may currently be having long Covid condition where they are experiencing myocarditis, pericarditis, brain fog or memory issues, sleep apnea, fatigue, joint pain and other health conditions, according to researchers.
In the last three months, many healthy, young and middle-aged individuals, both men and women, have experienced a heart attack and died. In several of these cases, the individual was engaged in some physical activity like dance, gym, walking etc. when they experienced cardiac arrest. What is driving such sudden deaths?
''Stroke has been seen as a manifestation of Covid-19 in various studies showing that 0.9% to 23% of Covid-19 patients developed stroke,'' stated Bengaluru-headquartered Narayana Health. Based on its study of Covid-19 impact, Narayana Health in a blog post stated stroke can manifest in severely affected Covid-19 patients who initially develop Covid-19 symptoms and later on develop stroke as a multi-organ involvement. Few studies have shown that some patients present with stroke as an initial manifestation and later on are found to have Covid-19; these are young patients without risk factors for brain stroke.
Also Read | 16-year-old dies while playing cricket in UP's Kanpur, heart attack suspected
Though the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare came out with a 'National Comprehensive Guidelines for Management of post-Covid sequelae'' for doctors last year, not much seems to have been done to inform citizens, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, who survived more than one bout of Covid or its variants, on possible complications and the need to avoid Covid reinfections, the survey underlined.
The government guidelines at the onset state ''cardiovascular sequelae not only occur in symptomatic Covid-19 patients but have also been reported in asymptomatic patients. Up to 20%''30% of patients hospitalized with severe Covid-19 have evidence of myocardial involvement manifested by elevated troponin levels, venous thromboembolism, heart failure and arrhythmias''.
Sachin Taparia, founder of LocalCircles, said, ''The need of the hour here is for the government to take extensive research on these severe medical conditions experienced by people and study this in the context of the impact of Covid by variant and the impact of vaccine by vaccine make and batch numbers. At the same time, the number of Covid infections experienced should also be considered. All of this will bring some clarity to the issue as to what are some of the root causes behind these severe medical conditions experienced by people. It will also enable us to get better prepared for what could be coming.''
Edited By:
Tirtho Banerjee
Published On:
Dec 13, 2022
French Social Media Erupts as Store Clerk on Avenue Montaigne Reports Zelenskyy's Wife Having '‚¬40,000 Christmas Shopping Spree in Paris - The Last Refuge
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 13:49
Olena Zelenska, wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, traveled to Paris France for a three-day visit December 12-14. As reported by Le Monde, ''Members of the Ukrainian government will also come, including Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and several ministers in charge of reconstruction, including Yulia Svyrydenko (economy), Oleksandr Kubrakov (infrastructure) and German Galushchenko (energy).''
However, social media has erupted today after a ''reliable store clerk'' working on the ritzy Avenue Montaigne, has reported that Olena Zelenska went on a Christmas shopping spree spending '‚¬40,000 euros in an hour. (citation) Previously President Zelenskyy's wife was received by French first lady Bridget Macron.
If the reporting is accurate, the spending spree comes at a bad time optically, as Mrs. Zelenska's husband Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is simultaneously asking the European Union to provide more financial support for the embattled country.
Additionally, the Biden administration is trying to push congress to pass another $38 billion spending package for Ukraine to bring the total spent well over $100 billion.
Mrs. Zelenskyy Christmas shopping in glitzy Paris stores and dropping '‚¬40,000 while her husband bangs his tin cup isn't exactly a good look.
Anti-chippers are the latest group of awful people we now have to worry about - IQfy
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 13:39
They're paranoid, don't believe in science, many have white supremacist tendencies, and most importantly they want you to know that microchip implants are super duper scary. They're anti-chippers, and they've got literally dozens more braincells than your average anti-vaxxer. So, what's their deal?
The coronavirus pandemic has the world's most brilliant minds scrambling to find treatments, vaccines, and ways to improve public health going forward. One such savior is Bill Gates, the child-loving philanthropist who founded Microsoft. His proposal is to put a teeny tiny piece of silicone under everyone's skin to improve people's lives by reducing healthcare costs and keeping track of anyone deemed unhealthy by medical professionals.
Now what could possibly be bad about health professionals and doctors keeping Americans safe and healthy? You'd be surprised (or not).
The antisemitic origin of anti-chippersWhen you examine the undercurrent of the anti-chipper movement, one horrid realization towers above all others: antisemitism is festering at the root of this evil.
Of course, not all anti-chippers are antisemites, but it doesn't change the fact that they're engaging in a conspiracy theory propagated by antisemites who fuel fear over what "the elites" or "the globalists" would do to you. This is "coded antisemitic language" and dogwhistling, according to lauded civil rights organization ADL.
One of the leading voices of the anti-chipper movement is none other than Kanye "Ye" West, who said "they want to put chips inside of us" in an interview with Forbes. Take note here: Kanye said "they" want to put chips inside of us. Who is "they" in this case? West clarified that the word "they" is coded language for the Jews in a 2022 interview with radical far right extremist Tim Pool.
In the interview with Forbes, West also said that microchips are "the mark of the beast" and "they want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can't cross the gates of heaven." This appeal to religion, while perhaps innocuous to the untrained ear, is truly antisemitic in nature when you consider who is saying it. West, like other antisemites, often invoke religions like Christianity or Islam as a way to exclude Jews. In other words, West is implying that Jews want to microchip Christians to keep them from going to heaven, which also implies that Jews go to hell. This is an idea shared among many anti-chippers.
Of course, West isn't the only prominent anti-chipper. There's also figures like Alex Jones, who has been an anti-chipper for at least a decade. For example, one article published on Infowars claims that Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu proposed "the mark of the beast" after he suggested that children should have microchips for perfectly reasonable safety reasons.
According to JPost, Netanyahu said "every person, every kid '' I want it on kids first '' would have a sensor that would sound an alarm when you get too close, like the ones on cars."
Of course, Netanyahu's proposal was completely understandable, but it was enough for Alex Jones, who happens to platform fellow antisemite Kanye West, to stir up antisemitic fearmongering about the Jewish "mark of the beast." And it's not a coincidence that Jones put a target on Netanyahu, who is the most prominent Jewish man in the world.
Implants are inevitable, but that's a good thingWhether you like it or not, chances are you will voluntarily get the microchip implants. And if you don't, your children will get the microchip implants. Why wouldn't they? There's nothing nefarious about advancements in health technology. Implants will become a normal part of everyday life, and it will be overall a net positive for humanity.
At first, microchip implants will be used to warn doctors about impending heart attacks. Currently, microchip implants are already being developed and used to control prosthetic limbs. Microchips are also used in some patients with Parkinson's to help detect tremors. According to the experts, the proliferation of this technology is "inevitable."
Be honest with yourself. Are you callous enough to suggest that people with prosthetic limbs "can't cross the gates of heaven" because they have a microchip?
As microchips become normalized, it also seems natural that more services, news, and entertainment will be accessible via a network on the microchip. And eventually, certain services will be only accessible via a microchip, which means that those who refuse to get a microchip will be left out of these services. It would be like not having an internet connection in 2022 and relying only on VHS tapes and a VCR.
Even putting aside the benefits of convenience, microchip implants will offer other benefits like a sharp decrease in crime. Just like pets and farm animals that are given microchips to track their movement, humans with microchip implants will be awarded the same benefit. Crime and disappearances will fade away into distant history and be viewed with disgust -- as we view the medieval world now.
Admittedly, this form of crime fighting might have some systemic racism attached to it, so the future of this particular feature is uncertain. What is certain is that microchip implants will eventually be able to fight evil misinformation like racism and antisemitism at its very core '-- that is, in the brain of antisemites and racists. Fact-checkers and medical professionals will finally be able to interrupt blatantly evil thoughts before they can manifest into stochastic or domestic terrorism. And make no mistake: this is why anti-chippers are obnoxiously fighting tooth and nail to prevent medical progress.
The future holds a promise of a world without hate, without poverty, and without struggle. But it can't happen if we don't resist the anti-chipper dystopia.
Newsom Slams Biden for Border Policy: 'California Is About to Break'
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 13:08
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) is warning California that the state could "break" amid President Joe Biden's decision to reverse Title 42, which allows police and border officers to expedite the expulsion of illegal immigrants.
The Biden Administration is planning to reverse the Trump-era policy, which Newsom says would cause a huge flow of illegal migrants to enter the state through the southern border.
"The fact is, what we've got right now is not working and is about to break in a post-42 world unless we take some responsibility and ownership," Newsom said, as the policy is expected to be lifted next week.
Adding that he doesn't mean to "point fingers," Newsom complained about Biden sending "planes and buses to California full of migrants because of all the good work '... the state is doing for the immigrant community."
The California governor claimed the U.S. government is sending hundreds of illegal immigrants to the state because it is "taking care of folks," adding, "the more we do, the burden is placed disproportionately on us."
California's homeless problem has grown by 22,000 since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is more people out on the street than ever before in the state.
According to federal data, the state has spent upwards of $14 billion to combat the situation that is only getting worse.
"We're already at capacity at nine of our sites," Newsom told ABC News. "We can't continue to fund all of these sites because of the budgetary pressures now being placed on this state and the offsetting issues that I have to address.'... The reality is, unless we're doing what we're doing, people will end up on the streets."
Newsom's comments are surprising following his criticism of Republican governors, such as Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, for sending illegal migrants to the doorsteps of liberal cities like D.C. and New York City.
In the past, the governor has supported immigrants coming into the U.S. and expanded protections for them. However, Newsom seems to be changing his tune.
Deliveries of millions in hard cash prompts concern over financial transparency in Afghanistan - ABC News
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 13:04
A photo said to show millions of dollars in cash piled high but hidden from view in blue bags on an airport tarmac in Kabul is an unusual sight.
The picture is just one of several images of United States $100 notes boxed, bagged, or bound in plastic, posted on Twitter by the Taliban-controlled central bank of Afghanistan in recent weeks.
Da Afghanistan Bank said it had received three separate cash injections of $US40 million for "humanitarian aid", on November 29, December 5 and December 6, and each delivery was passed to a commercial bank.
"Any principled action that leads to the transfer of reserves to the country and helps the needy people of the society, the Da Afghanistan Bank appreciates it, and this bank will continue its efforts in strengthening the banking sector," the bank said.
The photos of the cash appear genuine but the ABC has been unable to independently verify them.
The bank has not clarified where the cash is coming from, or what it meant by humanitarian aid, prompting concerns over financial transparency in Afghanistan.
So, why are such large sums of cash being sent to Afghanistan?
Where is the cash coming from? Experts say it is unclear where the cash in these photos is coming from.( Twitter: Da Afghanistan Bank )The bank's social media posts did not reference UN agencies, who have been importing large amounts of cash to Afghanistan for a year to keep essential humanitarian operations afloat.
The onset of winter will compound the acute humanitarian needs that half the country is already facing, aid agencies have warned.
Da Afghanistan Bank and the Taliban government have been contacted for comment, but the ABC has not received a response and cannot confirm if the money in the photos is UN money.
"What is very clear is that it is not clear where this cash is being shipped from," said Dr Anas Iqtait.
Dr Iqtait, from the Centre of Arab and Islamic Studies at Australian National University, also said the piles of cash shown in the photos looked to be more than $US40 million.
"Especially on the runway, it may have been hundreds of millions of dollars," he said.
Dr Iqtait questioned the purpose of the images, adding that the language in the tweet about what the money is for is "quite vague".
"This is not money for humanitarian support, otherwise it would have gone through other destinations," he said.
"Yes, the tweets say that, but '... I think they are talking about how any humanitarian effort to support the Afghan people is welcome."
The cash in the photos appears to be $US100 notes. ( Twitter: Da Afghanistan Bank )Dr Iqtait said in the past there have been governments that have "shown leniency towards the Taliban government" but declined to speculate as to which governments that could be.
"[They] could be injecting some cash to stabilise the central bank and this would not be unprecedented," he said.
The social media posts come at a time when the US moved $US3.5 billion of Afghanistan reserve funds, which had been frozen, into a Swiss bank account as a fund to aid Afghan people.
"I highly doubt the cash shipments are coming from the trust," Dr Iqtait said.
Creation of the new trust fund came after months of talks between US President Joe Biden's administration, Switzerland, other parties and the Taliban, who demanded the return of $7 billion in Afghan central bank assets held in the United States.
Why are large sums of cash being flown into Afghanistan? An informal banking system in Afghanistan is flourishing. ( Reuters )The banking system in Afghanistan has been largely unable to operate since the Taliban takeover in August 2021.
Banks in Afghanistan, including the central bank, were cut off from the international banking system SWIFT after the Taliban seized control of the government, which is now not recognised by any government in the world.
Afghanistan banks can't interact with banks in other countries, and the Afghan diaspora cannot send money back home through banks.
It's also incredibly difficult for people in Afghanistan to withdraw money from ATMs or banks, with long wait times and withdrawal limits.
"All of these money tools are non-existent in Afghanistan at the moment. Or they are severely limited," said Dr Iqtait.
The Taliban government has not been formally recognised by any government in the world, partly because of its mistreatment of women.( Reuters: Zohra Bensemra )The central bank holds reserves of hard currency, and there is a shortage of both US and Afghani cash in Afghanistan at the moment.
A combination of these factors means much of the day-to-day banking and basic payments in Afghanistan are happening in cash, which is not readily available from inside the country.
Also, as the formal banking sector struggles, an informal banking system known as "havala", is again flourishing.
"The 'havala' is an old system of cash transfer, through personal off-grid individuals and companies, that has taken over the entire banking system," said Sami Abdurahimzai.
Mr Abdurahimzai, a former senior public policy expert from Afghanistan who now lives in Melbourne, said this informal system was making the liquidity crisis worse.
"[This] results in capital flight from the country, illegally, hence making it even worse for the economy and the people," he said.
The way out, Mr Abdurahimzai suggested, was to allow Afghanistan banks to operate internationally and earn back their lost legitimacy.
How does the UN import cash to Afghanistan? Afghanistan is in the grips of a humanitarian crisis.( AP: Ebrahim Noroozi, file )The UN has imported $US1.8 billion in cash to fund humanitarian operations in Afghanistan since December 2021.
In a statement to the ABC, a spokesperson for the UN's political mission in Afghanistan, the UNAMA, said it locally supervises these regular cash transfers which are deposited with an independent bank, Afghanistan International Bank (AIB).
"[The cash] is then credited to the respective AIB accounts of the various United Nations agencies, funds and programs and approved international humanitarian partners, non-government and international government organisations," the spokesperson said.
"In turn, the various organisations are able to use the funds, either in US dollars or converted to Afghanis as needed, in order to maintain their operations in the country.
"This cash transfer mechanism is essential for the day-to-day operations of UNAMA, United Nations agencies, funds and programs (UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, UN Women, OCHA, UN Habitat, WHO, FAO, IOM and others) and other humanitarian partners."
The cash operations are in line with Security Council mandates that look to "increase accountability, transparency and the effective use of aid, and manage risks including the risk of aid diversion", the spokesperson said.
The agency did not directly respond to a question asking if the cash in the central bank tweet was UN aid money.
Could aid cash be exploited by the Taliban? An international aid agency warns roughly 20 million people in Afghanistan do not have a secure food supply.( Reuters: Ali Khara )Dr Niamatullah Ibrahimi, an international relations lecturer and Afghanistan expert from La Trobe University, said he was "profoundly concerned" aid cash could be exploited by the Taliban.
"The distribution and dispersal of the money is not very transparent. There is very little that we know about how this money is used in Afghanistan and the mechanisms of control over aid delivery," Dr Ibrahimi said.
Dr Ibrahimi added that he was worried that the UN humanitarian funding was also indirectly benefiting the Taliban.
"There seems to be an emerging division of labour. The Taliban are concerned with consolidating their control, using revenues to consolidate military control," he said.
"Then the UN agencies and other humanitarian agencies are providing social services. And that seems to be indirectly benefiting the Taliban by allowing it to focus on areas they think are their priorities."
Dr Ibrahimi said there were no clear or quick solutions to the situation, as Afghanistan was in the grips of a humanitarian crisis and at the beginning of a harsh winter.
A UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) initiative that provides health services to 40 million people, the population of Afghanistan, is among the UN agencies flying cash to Afghanistan.
"This money goes to the UN agency bank account. No money goes to the Taliban or the de facto authorities," said Samantha Mort, chief of communications for UNICEF in Afghanistan.
"[We] require $US16 million per month to cover the salaries of 27,000 health workers, and pay the operating costs of 2,300 health clinics, buy medicine and supplies and train health workers."
Dr Nematullah Bizhan, from Australian National University, said details around the cash pictured in the central bank tweets were "not transparent".
"Concerns remain about whether humanitarian assistance reached the intended beneficiaries," he said.
The spokesperson for the UN's political mission in Afghanistan said the UN continued to advocate for the restoration of the formal banking sector to enable humanitarian partners to have efficient access to the funds that their operations need.
"However at present this process [cash deliveries] remains the most feasible means of ensuring donor funds can quickly reach the millions of Afghan men, women and children who are in urgent need of aid," the spokesperson said.
Posted 10 Dec 202210 Dec 2022Sat 10 Dec 2022 at 7:56pm, updated 10 Dec 202210 Dec 2022Sat 10 Dec 2022 at 10:04pm
Prince Harry's all out war on Prince William and King Charles | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 12:57
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle today used their Netflix mini-series to wound Prince William and King Charles for refusing to bless the couple's request for a 'half in half out' Megxit that would allow them to earn a fortune while picking and choosing royal duties and keeping all their titles.
The Duke of Sussex alleged his older brother, now heir to the throne, scared him in January 2020 while he 'screamed and shouted' at him in front of his father and grandmother when he tried to thrash out a deal to leave the UK.
Harry also accused Charles of telling untruths to his face and Her Majesty of saying nothing at the now infamous 'Sandringham Summit'.
He said: 'It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and my father say things that just simply weren't true. And my grandmother, you know, quietly sit there and take it all in'.
Harry and Meghan said that the royals were upset they were 'better' at the job, accusing the palace of briefing against them
Meghan Markle hinted that the royals initially baulked at her because she was different to them and then became jealous of her popularity
Meghan said she asked Charles to walk her down the aisle after she told him she had lost a father, a nod to her estrangement from Thomas Markle
The key claims made in Harry and Meghan's final three Netflix episodes Here are the key points and revelations from Harry & Meghan:
Episode four
- Meghan said it was 'really important' for the King to walk her down the aisle at her wedding to Harry.
- Duchess recalled thinking about taking her own life, saying: 'It was like 'All of this will stop if I am not here'.'
- Harry said it was 'heartbreaking' to see his brother's communications office 'copy' the behaviour of their father's by 'trading' stories with the press.
Episode five
- Meghan broke down in tears as she described receiving death threats online.
- Harry said it was his decision to step back as a working royal, not his wife's.
- Harry claimed the timing of a meeting with senior royals at Sandringham about the couple's future was deliberately arranged so Meghan could not attend. Harry said his brother began to 'scream and shout' at him during their meeting about moving abroad.
- Harry said he wrote to his father in January 2020 to say that he and his wife would be willing to relinquish their titles if the couple's plan to move to Canada as working royals did not work out.
- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex claimed the institution 'blocked' Harry from seeing his grandmother, the Queen, after they decided to step back as senior royals.
Episode six
- Home video footage appeared to show the couple watching their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey before kissing.
- They claim they saw the interview differently. Tyler Perry claimed they could have said much more.
- Other footage showed Harry holding up his phone to Meghan to show her a text from his brother William and her reaction is to say 'wow' as she looks at its screen.
Sussexes insist they were 'blocked' from seeing the Queen who told them: 'I've been told I'm busy all week'The Queen on Harry and Meghan's wedding day
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have claimed the institution 'blocked' Harry from seeing his grandmother, the Queen, after they decided to step back as senior royals.
The duke tells in episode five that they were planning to fly back to the UK from Canada for a visit in early 2020 and the Queen told him she had no plans all week so they could go for tea and stay the night.
Meghan said: 'We're flying back from Vancouver straight to Heathrow and right as we're getting on the plane this urgent message comes through to H, saying: 'You are not allowed to go and see Her Majesty.
'Make sure that your principal is aware he cannot go and see her. She's busy. She has plans all week.''
Harry told the camera: 'I was like 'Well, that's certainly the opposite to what she had told me'.'
'Once we were back in the UK, I rang her and said 'We're now told that you're busy'.
'And she said 'Yes. I didn't know that I was busy. I've now been told I'm busy all week. I've actually been told I'm busy all week'. I was like 'Wow'.'
Meghan added: 'I remember looking at H and thinking 'My gosh. This is when a family and a family business are in direct conflict because they're blocking you from seeing the Queen, but what they're really doing is blocking a grandson from seeing his grandmother.'
The Duke of Sussex claimed: 'I went in with the same proposal that we'd already made publicly, but once I got there I was given five options - one being all in, no change, five being all out. I chose option three in the meeting - half in, half out. Have our own jobs but also work in support of the Queen. It became very clear very quickly that goal was not up for discussion or debate'.
Harry then claimed the Palace did not seek his permission to put out a joint statement denying claims William 'bullied' the Sussexes out of the Royal Family. Viewers said that Harry was implying that William did.
He said: 'I couldn't believe it. No one had asked me permission to put my name to a statement like that... [Meghan] burst into floods of tears, because within four hours they were happy to lie to protect my brother'... and yet they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us.'
He also denied it was Meghan's decision to walk away and move to LA. 'In fact, it was my decision. She never asked to leave. I was the one that had to see it for myself. But it's misogyny at its best,' he said.
Today final three episodes of the docu-series will particularly infuriate and upset William, who was accused of leaving his younger brother 'terrified' after allegedly yelling at him in front of the Queen and Charles during final Megxit talks at Sandringham in 2020.
Harry claims Meghan 'burst into tears' in Canada when he recounted the row over the phone afterwards before saying that without his permission, his name was added to a joint statement with William 'squashing' claims the now Prince of Wales was bullying Harry out of The Firm.
The couple then said they were 'blocked' by royal figures from speaking to the Queen alone to discuss emigrating, with Harry claiming he was forced to write to his father to say that he and his wife were willing to relinquish their titles if the couple's plan to move to Canada as working royals did not work out.
Meghan said: 'I tried so hard and that's the piece that's so triggering, because you go 'and it still wasn't good enough'... and you still don't fit in'.
Harry then suggested that William had chosen the Royal Family's future over his brother.
Harry said: 'The saddest part of it was this wedge created between myself and my brother so that he's now on the institution's side. Part of that, I get. That's his inheritance. So to some extent it's already ingrained in him that part of his responsibility is the survivability and the continuation of this institution.'
Harry said going back for Philip's funeral was 'hard' in 2021.
He added: 'Especially spending time having chats with my brother and father who were just very much focused on the same misinterpretation of the whole situation.
'None of us really wanted to talk about it at my grandfather's funeral, but we did. And I have had to make peace with the fact that I am probably never going to get genuine accountability or a genuine apology.
'My wife and I were focused on what's coming next.'
Today the Sussexes' Netflix docu-series reached a crescendo today as they launched more salvoes at the Royal Family over Megxit and claims William, Kate and Charles were jealous of their popularity and hated them 'stealing the limelight'.
The couple said they were 'better' at royal duties than others and that stuck in the craw of Harry's family, who didn't Meghan being treated like a 'royal rock star' after they married in 2018.
Harry said palace officials began 'leaking and planting' negative stories about them.
The Duke of Sussex also drew more comparisons between his wife and his mother, claiming Princess Diana was forced out for the same reason because she outshone those who were 'born to do this', like his father and brother.
Episode 4 said that their first tour of Australia in October 2018, where Meghan's pregnancy was revealed, went so well that 'the palace were incredibly threatened by that'.
Harry said: 'The issue is when someone who's marrying in should be a supporting act is then stealing the limelight or is doing the job better than the person who was born to do this. That upsets people. It shifts the balance'.
Today it also emerged:
Meghan refers to herself as a 'little organism' royals couldn't 'adjust to' in hint over being mixed race and American; Doria Ragland sobs over Meghan's claims of suicidal thoughts and feared she 'couldn't protect her' Meghan 'breaks down in tears' when in her Canadian home with Prince Harry;Couple reveal unseen snaps from their wedding;Meghan Markle recalls looking to the late Queen as a 'grandmother figure';Duchess describes the King as 'very charming', saying he reassured her as they walked down the aisle together on her wedding day - after she told him: 'I've lost my dad in this';In the fifth episode of the Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan, the Duke of Sussex said it was 'terrifying' for his brother, now the Prince of Wales, to 'scream and shout' at him during a meeting on January 13 at Sandringham about plans for Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, to move abroad.
Meghan said she was not protected by the royals when she suffered mental health problems. The docu-series then cut to her mother Doria Ragland, who said: 'I remember her telling me that she wanted to take her own life'.
Meghan at her New York baby shower thrown by Serena Williams
The new episodes are full of candid snaps, including when they were expecting their first child
Meghan and Harry said their tours were so successful that it became a problem for their royals
Meghan was compared to a 'rock star' after she entered the family
Meghan said that the Royal Family refused to help her when she said she felt suicidal because it looked bad for them.
The final three parts of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's docuseries have gone live and take in their 2018 Windsor Castle wedding, the decision to quit royal duties and emigrate and their new life in their £11million Montecito mega-mansion.
Meghan then said the situation turned against them, blaming the media and his family. She said that on a walkabout in Liverpool one woman: 'What you are doing to your father is not right' - a nod to her estranged relationship with Thomas Markle.
The Duke of Sussex spoke about the moment when 'the penny dropped' for Meghan in the fourth episode of their Netflix documentary series Harry & Meghan - and said the situation spiraled from there.
He said: 'The first time that the penny dropped for her, M (Meghan) and I spent the night in a room at Buckingham Palace after an event where every member of the family, senior members of the family had been, including the Queen.
'And on the front page of the Telegraph, Meghan. She was like 'but it's not my fault' - and my mum felt the same way.'
They also claim there is a conspiracy against them between Buckingham Palace and the British press to 'scapegoat' them to ensure negative press about other royals would 'go away'.
Meghan suggested that the royals had been revolted by her because she wasn't like them, hinting that it was to do with her being mixed race.
In a bizarre and convoluted analogy, Meghan said one of the Queen's aides compared her to a foreign organism. She said: 'It is like a fish that is swimming perfectly. It is powerful, it is on the right current. Then one day this little organism comes in'.
But Meghan suggested the royal household immediately thought: 'What is that? What is it doing here? It doesn't look like us. It doesn't move like us. We don't like it. Get it off us'.
Royal officials will be watching the denouement of the series with interest, but King Charles III and Prince William are not expected to comment personally unless the claims are so incendiary they require a rebuttal.
Episode 4 begins with preparations for the royal wedding in May 2018.
She said: 'Harry's dad is very charming and I said to him like 'I've lost my dad in this', so him as my father-in-law was really important to me, so I asked him to walk me down the aisle and he said yes.'
Meghan later added: 'H and I are really, really good at finding each other in the chaos.
'When we find each other, reconnect, it's like, 'It's you, it's you'.
'It's not that the rest of it doesn't matter, but the rest of it feels temporary'.
Speaking about the Kingdom Choir gospel group which performed at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding, friend and tennis star Serena Williams said: 'To have her culture represented at that wedding. Amazing, I loved it. I thought it was really courageous breaking boundaries but not trying to.'
The Duchess of Sussex then spoke of her first engagement with the Queen.
Meghan said: 'I treated her as my husband's grandma, and knowing that of course there has to be a completely different sense of propriety in public, when you're sitting and having breakfast to just be able to talk.
The final episode of Harry and Meghan's Netflix series opens with a gleeful video selfie in which the Duke of Sussex says: 'We are on the freedom flight'. Episode six of the bombshell series begins with the couple on their flight from Canada to Los Angeles in March 2020, after they split from the royal family
Another clip also shows Meghan with their son Archie on the private plane
Meghan and Harry laughed about cutting their wedding cake with a sword
Meghan said she couldn't believe that Sir Elton John was performing at their wedding, and said her mother Doria rushed to be close to the stage
The couple kiss in front of well-wishers at their wedding reception in 2018
Harry toasts his wife after they walked down the aisle
'When we got into the car in between engagements she had a blanket and she put it over my knees and we were sitting in this car with this blanket and I thought 'I recognise and respect and see that you're the Queen, but in this moment I'm so grateful that there is a grandmother figure because that feels like family'.
'And because I was so so close with my grandmother,' Meghan said, adding she had taken care of her grandmother 'in her final years'.
The Duchess of Sussex added of her engagement with the Queen that it was 'such a good day, we laughed'.
The Duchess of Sussex said she was being 'fed to the wolves' during the opening of episode 5 of the Harry & Meghan Netflix documentary.
Speaking about wanting her son Archie to have a big family in the way she had not, Meghan says: 'I was just so excited that we were going to be able to create for him that thing that I had always wanted.
'So I just did everything I could to make them proud and to really be a part of the family.'
'And then the bubble burst,' she says while the voices of news presenters can be heard saying: 'Duchess difficult' and 'American'.
The Duke of Sussex then says: 'It was already clear to the media that the Palace was not going to protect her. Once that happens then the flood gates open.'
Meghan then says: 'I realised that I wasn't just being thrown to the wolves, I was being fed to the wolves.'
Meghan's privacy lawyer Jenny Afia has alleged she had seen evidence of briefing from the Palace against the couple to suit other people's agenda.
The duchess herself says: 'You would just see it play out, like a story about someone in the family would pop up for a minute and they'd go 'We've got to make that go away'.'
Her friend Lucy Fraser, Meghan's PR guru, added: 'Meg became this scapegoat for the Palace. And so they would feed stories on her whether they were true or not to avoid other less favourable stories being printed.'
Ms Afia said: 'There was a real kind of war against Meghan and I've certainly seen evidence that there was negative briefing from the Palace against Harry and Meghan to suit other people's agendas.'
Harry says royals were 'upset' when his wife 'stole the limelight' and Meghan refers to herself as a 'little organism' royals couldn't 'adjust to' Prince Harry today suggested he and Meghan were 'better' at royal engagements than other senior royals and people were 'upset' at how his wife 'stole the limelight' - as Meghan claimed she was described as a 'foreign organism'.
Episode four of Harry & Meghan, which aired this morning, sees the Sussexes' friend Lucy Fraser say that their tour of Australia in October 2018, where Meghan's pregnancy was revealed, went so well that 'the palace were incredibly threatened'.
Harry then says: 'The issue is when someone who's marrying in should be a supporting act is then stealing the limelight or is doing the job better than the person who was born to do this.
'That upsets people. It shifts the balance. Because you've been led to believe that the only way your charities can succeed and the only way that your reputation can be grown or improved is if you're on the front page of those newspapers.'
Harry shared text from William with Meghan after Oprah interview The final episode of Harry and Meghan's Netflix series reveals the moment Prince Harry shared a text from his brother Prince William with his wife amid the fallout from their 'truth bomb' interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In footage filmed in the days after the bombshell discussion with Winfrey in March last year, Harry is seen showing his wife his phone, before Meghan says: 'Wow, H just got a text from his brother.'
Earlier in the episode, Harry accuses the Palace of 'institutional gaslighting'.
The episode had opens with a gleeful video selfie in which the Duke of Sussex says 'We are on the freedom flight' as they flew from Canada to Los Angeles in March 2020, after they split from the royal family.
The final episode of Harry and Meghan's Netflix series reveals the moment Prince Harry shared a text from his brother Prince William with his wife amid the fallout from their 'truth bomb' interview with Oprah Winfrey
In footage filmed in the days after the bombshell discussion with Winfrey in March last year, Harry is seen showing his wife his phone, before Meghan says: 'Wow, H just got a text from his brother'
Harry claims he told Charles couple 'would be willing to give up their Sussex titles' if Megxit 'didn't work out' Prince Harry has claimed he and Meghan told King Charles they would give up their Royal titles if Megxit failed.
The fifth episode of the incendiary Netflix series - part of a £100million deal - featured their account of trying to leave the UK to live abroad.
They claimed they had tried to move to New Zealand in 2018 and then South Africa.
Harry said that by the time he spoke to Charles from Canada in Christmas 2019, the family knew they wanted to leave.
He adds: 'My father said 'Can you put it in writing?' I said I would rather not because what had happened last time. He said he couldn't do anything unless it was put in writing. I put it in emails.'
Over footage of Meghan sighing, Harry said he sent messages on January 1,2 and 3.
The Duke adds: 'In one of those I said that if it didn't work out we would be willing to relinquish our Sussex titles if need be. That was the plan.'
Prince Harry has revealed he and Meghan tried to move to New Zealand in 2018 in the show
Home footage of the pair showed Harry jumping into the waters in Vancouver over Christmas
Prince Harry speaks of Prince Philip's death Prince Harry said beloved grandfather Prince Philip died 'peacefully and happily'.
In a touching moment of grief, the Duke of Sussex spoke lovingly of his late 'grandpa'. The Duke of Edinburgh died on April 9, 2021, during the coronavirus pandemic, aged 99. His death rocked the Royal Family.
Speaking of Prince Philip's death during the fifth episode of the six-part Harry & Meghan docuseries, the Prince Harry said: 'I was actually really happy for my grandfather. He went quietly. He went peacefully. He went happily.'
Prince Philip died in April 2021. He is pictured in London in March 2017
Prince Harry walks with his brother, Prince William during the funeral of their grandfather in April 2021
'We didn't see it until the world saw it': Moment Prince Harry and Meghan watch their infamous Oprah interview for the first time Behind the scenes footage shows Prince Harry and Meghan Markle watching their Oprah interview at home in new Netflix episodes.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's new docu-series episodes were released today and the pair can be seen cuddling on the couch with their dog Pula.
A heavily pregnant Meghan is seen stroking Harry's face affectionately throughout and the pair shared a sweet kiss at the end of the interview.
Harry shielded his wife's eyes during parts of the interview when headlines about Meghan would appear on screen.
Behind the scenes footage shows Prince Harry and Meghan Markle watching their Oprah interview at home in new Netflix episodes
Meghan revealed they saw the interview at the same time as the rest of the world but she was shocked that the 'take away' was the race scandal as opposed to her mental health revelations
Meghan revealed they saw the interview at the same time as the rest of the world but she was shocked that the 'take away' was the race scandal as opposed to her mental health revelations.
She said: 'We didn't see it until the world saw it. It was interesting.
'I thought me being very open about the depression I experienced and just how extreme that became, I thought that would be the biggest take away but it was entirely eclipsed by the conversation surrounding race.'
'Beyonce just texted. I still can't believe she knows who I am': Moment singer congratulates Meghan Markle on Oprah interview Meghan Markle received a text from Beyonce saying she 'admires and respects her bravery' after the Oprah interview.
The Duchess of Sussex read out a text message that she received from the pop star in behind the scenes clips from new episodes of the bombshell Netflix docu-series.
Queen Bey wrote that she believes Meghan was 'selected to break generational curses'.
Meghan said: 'Beyonce just texted. I still cant believe she knows who I am.'
Meghan Markle received a text from Beyonce saying she 'admires and respects her bravery' after the Oprah interview which was shown in their Netflix docu-series
Harry quipped: 'Just checking in just casual. Go call her.'
Meghan replied: 'No it's ok, she said that she wants me to feel safe and protected, she admires and respects my bravery and she thinks I was selected to break generational curses that need to be healed.'
Harry replied: 'That's well said.'
'It was the first time someone saw the sacrifice': Meghan Markle claims plane crew thanked her for service to the UK on flight back to Canada Meghan Markle has revealed that a member of the plane crew on board her flight back to Canada from the UK thanked her for her royal service.
In March 2020, the Duchess of Sussex, 41, completed her final engagement as a senior working royal when she attended the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.
Shortly afterwards, the mother-of-two boarded a flight back to Canada to be reunited with her son Archie while Prince Harry remained in the UK to finalise the details of Megxit with the Royal Family.
In the fifth episode of the couple's new Netflix series, the Duchess claims a member of the airport cabin crew took the opportunity to thank her for her work as a royal.
Meghan Markle appeared visibly emotional as she recalled her last engagement as a royal
Duchess seen waving from her car following the Commonwealth Day service in March 2020
After settling into her seat, Meghan claims the head of the plane crew knelt down next to her and gave her some encouraging words.
She explained: 'He took his hat off and I just remember looking at him.
'And he goes, 'we appreciate everything you did for our country.''
Meghan Markle 'breaks down in tears' when in her Canadian home
Meghan appeared to break down in tears when in her Canadian home with Prince Harry in an intimate picture shared in the couple's explosive Netflix documentary.
The Duchess of Sussex, 41, is photographed seemingly overwhelmed, surrounded by clothes and a suitcase, while thought to be in the house her family called home during her stay in Vancouver Island, Canada, in 2020.
'So this was like a week before COVID, and we'd be stuck at this house, where everyone in the world knew where we were. Unprotected, no security,' Harry is heard saying before the image of his wife is shown.
The final episode, released today, then shows actor, comedian and producer, Tyler Perry, who helped the couple as they left their lives in the UK.
Meghan Markle appeared to break down in tears when in her Canadian home with Prince Harry in an intimate picture shared in the couple's explosive Netflix documentary
Among Harry and Meghan's friends appearing in the documentary is comedian and producer, Tyler Perry, who helped the couple as they left their lives in the UK, and royal duties, behind
He says: 'They just wanted to be free. They wanted to be free to love and be happy. They didn't... They did not have a plan. Everyone's like, 'Oh, there's this...' There was no plan.'
Doria Ragland cries over Meghan's suicidal thoughts The mother of Meghan Markle broke down in tears as she said she felt she 'couldn't protect her' when the Duchess of Sussex experienced suicidal thoughts.
Doria Ragland, who lives close to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in California, wiped up tears as she said it had been hard for her to tear that her daughter was suffering from low mental health while she lived in the UK.
She made the heartfelt revelations in the fourth episode of the couple's explosive Netflix docuseries, which was released today.
Doria Ragland, who lives close to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in California, wiped up tears as she said it had been hard for her to tear that her daughter was suffering from low mental health while she lived in the UK
Doria said: 'That she would actually think of not wanting to be here, that... that;'s not an easy one for a mum to hear.. You know,' Doria said, fighting tears.
'And I can't protect her. H can't protect her, she's.. sniffing,' she added.
Speaking in a later episode, Doria also revealed she knew 'the stress they were under. It felt like they were running.'
Meghan Markle tells Netflix docuseries how she became 'close' with women who survived Grenfell fire after watching news coverage of disaster from Kensington Palace cottage Meghan Markle told the Netflix docuseries how she became close with a community of women who survived the Grenfell fire after watching news coverage of the tragedy.
She regularly visited a group of women in a community hub for nine months, helping to feed families and even worked alongside them to launch a cookbook called 'Together'.
In episode four of Harry & Meghan, the Duchess says: 'I just loved these women so much.'
The day of Meghan's first public engagement with the Queen in Chester, also 'happened to also be the one year anniversary of the Grenfell fire,' she recalls in the documentary. They took part of a 72 seconds of silence - one for every life lost.
Meghan helping the community of Grenfell survivors as they cooked to feed families
She rolled her sleeves up and got stuck in after going to the community kitchen
'It was really important to me because I had become so close to with so many of the women who had survived that, even though no one knew that at the time,' Meghan told.
munity twice a week - 'up until the Duchess came' she says.
Meghan Markle breaks down in tears as she has guided meditation session with Prince Harry Meghan Markle broke down in tears as she had a guided meditation session with Prince Harry in the couple's new bombshell Netflix documentary.
The clip, which appears to have been filmed shortly after the Duke and Duchess quit the Royal Family in January 2020, opens with the couple sitting in a unknown friend's New York apartment.
The voice of Prince Harry and Meghan's guided meditation instructor is heard telling the couple to inhale and exhale as they sat on a sofa with their palms facing up at the ceiling.
She tells the couple: 'Remember that what is transpiring in the media, what's being created is an illusion.
Duchess of Sussex had tears streaming down her face during the guided meditation session
Meghan places a hand on Harry's thigh while her husband has his palms facing the ceiling
Meghan is visibly emotional as the instructor reminds them that they 'both know who they are'
'When you try to prove that you're good and that you're not the person they say you are, you're taking the bait, you're feeding the beast. It is an illusion.
'Your work is not to prove your goodness. You know who you are, both of you.'
Meghan reveals how she 'ate croissants and drank mimosas' while listening to Chapel of Love on her wedding day Meghan Markle has revealed how she 'ate croissants and drank mimosas' on the morning of her wedding to Prince Harry in the latest instalment of their Netflix documentary.
The first three episodes '' part of the Sussexes' multi-million-dollar deal with Netflix '' were streamed last week, with the final three hour-long episodes available from today.
In the fourth show, the Duchess of Sussex, 41, spoke about how she went 'into a state of calm' on the morning of her wedding.
She said: 'All I wanted was a mimosa and a croissant and play the song 'going to the chapel' and that's what I did. It was so great.' 'I went into this really calm space, I don't know how I was so calm. I look back and I think, how was I so calm.'
Meghan Markle, 41, has revealed how she 'ate croissants and drank mimosas' on the morning of her wedding to Prince Harry in her new Netflix documentary
Prince Harry and Meghan can be seen cutting their lavish wedding cake in another photograph from the event in 2018
In the latest instalment of the documentary the Duchess sings the 60s soul hit Land of a Thousand Dances, first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962 which later became a bigger hit by Wilson Pickett and Cannibal & the Headhunters
Archie's baby diaries! Unseen pictures in Harry and Meghan's Netlfix show reveal their son's early days - and he took his first steps at Tyler Perry's house Sweet unseen home videos of Meghan reading the Gruffalo to Archie and doting on him and Lilibet have emerged in the new instalment of the Sussexes' documentary.
New pictures document the little boy growing up from a tiny baby in his parent's arms to the cheeky three-year old he is today.
Prince Harry and Meghan's first child, born in May 2019, took his first steps at their friend Tyler Perry's home in California shortly after they moved to the US.
In a beautiful never-before-seen still, Archie is pictured as a baby being bathed by his adoring parents
In another emotional shot, Meghan cradles him as a tiny baby as she sits on a window sill, pressing her forehead against her son's
Garden party: Meghan and Harry celebrating their daughter Lilibet's first birthday in June
The young family can be seen in a short clip celebrating Lillibet's birthday, with cheeky Archie clambering onto the table to help his little sister blow out the candles on a huge cake
In the final episode of the series, Harry reveals that California feels like 'home' for his kids, pointing out that Archie only spent the first five months of his life in the UK
A sweet video in the fifth episode of the docuseries shows Meghan playing with Archie during their holiday in Vancouver in 2019
Archie looks gleeful as Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, pushes her grandson around in a plastic toy car
Episode five opens with Archie running around a maze as his father runs behind him, before the tot takes a little tumble and is scooped up by his mother
Doting father: Prince Harry can be seen feeding baby Archie in one of the many unseen moments revealed in the final episodes of the docuseries today
Lorren Khumalo, who is Meghan and Harry's former nanny, asked the couple is she could wrap Archie in a mud cloth like they do in Zimbabwe, the Duchess enthusiastically agreed
In episode six, Princess Eugenie visits her cousin Harry in the US, joining him and Archie on a beach for some bonding time
Archie is filmed chasing seagulls around the beach during a trip there with his father's cousin, Princess Eugenie
More clips show the young royal showing off his musical talent, smiling as he plays a tiny piano
Smiles from Archie! Adorable footage shows the youngster playing at home with his parents
Adorable footage shows Archie's birthday party - which viewers first caught a glimpse of in the first three instalments of the documentary series
Happy tot: Archie laughs as his adoring mum lifts him up in the air. The behind the scenes insights into the family's life have delighted royal fans
In the final episode, a little Archie could be seen playing around with his father Prince Harry
Elsewhere, the little one could also be seen placing oranges in a basket while playing outside
Grandmother Doria plays a game outside with her son-in-law Harry and her grandson Archie
The Duchess herself also suggested she was made a scapegoat, adding: 'You would see it play out. A story about someone in the family would pop up for a minute, and they'd go: 'We've got to make that go away'.'
Meghan's pregnancy diary: Duchess shares stylish unseen black and white snaps from when she was expecting Archie Meghan Markle shared a glimpse of the last months her first pregnancy with her son Archie in early 2019.
Two previously unseen black and white pictures show the Duchess of Sussex heavily pregnant in the couple's Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
In one snap, Meghan looks out her window, a hand propped her on impressive baby bump. In the other, she is walking in the garden of her and Prince Harry's Sussex estate.
The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan '' part of the Sussexes' multi-million-dollar deal with Netflix '' were streamed last week, with the final three hour-long episodes streaming from today.
Meghan Markle shared a glimpse of the last months her first pregnancy with her son Archie in early 2019
A second picture shows her walking in her garden, dressed in a dotted dress and a coat, her hair tied up in a loose ponytail
The snaps were seemingly taken during her first pregnancy's last semester and show Meghan enjoying the moment, away from the spotlight.
The first snap shows Meghan in one of the cottage rooms, looking at the window in a body-hugging pregnant dress.
In the other, she is walking in her garden, dressed in a dotted dress and a coat, her hair tied up in a loose ponytail.
Her dog Guy can be seen roaming next to her with one of the couple's other pups, and the expectant mother is holding a leash in her hand.
Life at Nottingham Cottage: Meghan dances in the doorway at Kensington Palace love nest Meghan and Harry cut homely figures as they lift the lid on domestic life at their UK home, in the latest instalment of their Netflix show.
Footage of Meghan playfully dancing in the doorway of the couple's farmhouse style love nest was shown in episode four of the docuseries.
Prince Harry watches his wife from afar and gushes: 'Oh My god. It's my favourite video, Thursday afternoon, someone's happy.'
Footage of Meghan Markle playfully dancing in the doorway of the couple's love nest was shown in episode four of the docuseries
Harry eats chicken outside the cottage as Meghan's dog Guy begs for at treat
Meghan takes a selfie while Harrygets on with some outdoor varnishing in the background
The pair go on to talk about their time in Nottingham Cottage, which is part of Kensington Palace.
Despite being at the heart of a royal estate the cottage has a countryside feel to it, with cobbled walkways and shrubs sprouting in the borders. A lemon tree can be seen near one of the doorways as Meghan '' wearing a Barbour gilet, casual leggings and walking boots '' throws some shapes for her husband.
Describing their home, Meghan said: 'People thought we lived in a palace and we did, well a cottage in a palace.'
Harry said: 'It had really low ceilings I don't know who was there before, must have been short.'
Meghan laughed, revealing Harry would 'hit his head constantly because he is so tall'.
Harry and dog guy share a cuddle on the sofa, staying true to his roots, a union jack placemat can be seen on the table with a candle on top
Date night! Meghan shows off a burgundy midi dress with a lace peephole detail at the top and a pleated skirt, she opts for lace-up black shoes and a small black clutch to finish the look
The couple's other dog Pula, a black Labrador, watches the rainfall at Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace
The Duchess of Sussex shows off her gardening skills as she brandishes a hoe, wearing a casual button down shirt and a straw hat
Harry clowns around in his dress uniform at Nottingham Cottage, his suits and shoes can be seen in the background of the dressing room
Inside Meghan's baby shower! Duchess poses with BFFs including Serena Williams in lavish New York hotel Meghan Markle has opened up how her friends 'surprised' her with a 'beautiful' baby shower in New York when she was expecting her son Archie in her new Netflix docu-series.
The Duchess of Sussex, 41, celebrated the impending birth of her firstborn son with Prince Harry, by flying to the Big Apple by private jet in 2019, provoking outcry with the five-day baby shower celebration. Around 20 friends attended, including Serena Williams.
In the fourth episode of the docu-series, which was released today, the royal mother shared a number of pictures from the event, which took place in one of the most expensive suits at The Mark Hotel in Manhatten.
In the snaps, she can be seen beaming with friends in a suite, while in another they could be seen arranging flowers.
Meghan said: 'My friends surprised me with a really beautiful baby shower in New York.
'They were like, 'We're going to shower her with love, and shower her baby, and she's going to survive this and we're going to get through it with her.'
Meghan Markle has opened up how her friends 'surprised' her with a 'beautiful' baby shower in New York when she was expecting her son Archie in her new Netflix docu-series (pictured, Meghan posing for a photograph with friends including Abigail Spencer, Daniel Martin, Misha Nonoo, Serena Williams and Lindsay Roth)
In the snaps, she can be seen beaming with friends in a suite, while in another they could be seen arranging flowers
Meanwhile in another photograph, the group can be seen taking part in a flower arranging class at the hotel
Another snap from the event shows the group of friends all reaching out to Meghan's blossoming baby bump
Sam Bankman-Fried's ex Caroline Ellison likely works with feds
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 12:53
Sam Bankman-Fried's reported ex-girlfriend was likely among the first people to turn on him and help prosecutors build their fast-moving fraud case in the epic, $8 billion-plus collapse of his FTX cryptocurrency exchange, a former US government lawyer said Wednesday,
Caroline Ellison, 28, is a key figure in the case as she was at one time CEO of the Alameda Research hedge fund '-- which authorities claim received billions of dollars that Bankman-Fried, 30, diverted from FTX.
''She would have among the greatest incentives to cooperate, as it was seeming likely that in his effort to exculpate himself, Bankman-Fried would try to finger her,'' former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer Howard Fischer told The Post.
Fischer said ''the speed of the indictment and the breadth of the charges'' against Bankman-Fried meant ''someone relatively senior is cooperating with the federal authorities in exchange for leniency for their own potential misconduct.''
''It is possible Bankman-Fried's publicity tour, in which he repeatedly disclaimed either knowledge of '-- or responsibility for '-- mishandling or theft of customer assets, spurred senior officers to fear that he would specifically blame them,'' he said.
The feds are moving fast on Sam Bankman-Fried's fraud case and several charges relating to it. REUTERS''Often, the first to the table gets the most lenient treatment, so it is smart to turn before others have the chance to.''
Moira Penza, a former federal prosecutor from the Eastern District of New York, added that someone like Ellison would have a clear incentive to cooperate.
''For someone like Ellison who was in SBF's inner circle and who has already publicly implicated herself, there is a strong incentive to cooperate early,'' Penza told The Post in an email.
''It is not unheard of in [the Southern District of New York] for people who cooperate and who would otherwise be facing a decade or more in prison to instead be sentenced to time served,'' she added.
Earlier this month, an unconfirmed sighting of Ellison in a Lower Manhattan coffee shop sparked speculation she was in the Big Apple to meet with law enforcement officials.
Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams revealed Tuesday some of Bankman-Fried's alleged accomplices had flipped on him, saying: ''To anyone who participated in wrongdoing at FTX or Alameda Research and who has not yet come forward, I would strongly encourage you to come see us before we come to you.''
There is speculation Carolina Ellison turned on Bankman-Fried. TwitterBut when asked who was cooperating in the ongoing probe, Williams said, ''I'm not at liberty to say who's come in.''
Bankman-Fried was arrested Monday in the Bahamas on an eight-count indictment accusing him of defrauding FTX customers and using Alameda funds to illegally make campaign contributions to both Democratic and Republican politicians.
The shaggy-haired, onetime billionaire has vowed to fight extradition and is being held in a rat and maggot-infested jail that a former warden has called ''not fit for humanity.''
Former federal prosecutor Duncan Levin told The Post the speed with which prosecutors secured Bankman-Fried's indictment Friday '-- less than a month after FTX went bust '-- suggested they had been able to build a case out of financial records.
''Usually, white-collar cases of this magnitude are under investigation for months, if not years, and then cooperators are used to build a case from the ground-up,'' he said. ''It's unlikely the government even had time to develop any cooperator testimony. The government is certainly basing its case on a torrent of bank and other financial records.''
Bankman-Fried defense lawyer Mark Cohen has said his client was ''reviewing the charges with his legal team and considering all of his legal options.''
US Manhattan Attorney warned Bankman-Fried's accomplices to step forward. Bloomberg via Getty ImagesEllison's lawyer, Stephanie Avakian, didn't immediately return a request for comment.
Creating the ultimate smart map with new map data initiative launched by Linux Foundation | VentureBeat
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 12:45
December 15, 2022 3:00 AM
Image Credit: Yuichiro Chino/Getty (World Map Credit to NASA)
Think about it: Maps are fundamental to human evolution, exploration, innovation.
Since the first maps were drawn up in the 5th and 6th centuries BCE, we have used them to guide ourselves across land, ocean, space (and someday maybe the Earth's very interior).
And today, map data is voluminous and vast; the modern world relies on it not just for navigation, but for local search, routing, logistics, data visualization and other emerging innovations '-- including autonomous driving.
Still, the sourcing and curating of up-to-date, high-quality, fine-grained map data from often disparate sources is expensive, difficult and time-consuming. Data can be inconsistent, vulnerable to errors and based on unique conventions and vocabularies (thus making it difficult to combine). And often, existing open map data lacks the strong foundation on which new products and services can be built.
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Register Here To help usher in the next era of map building '-- particularly with the dawn of the metaverse, the rise in augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) and the many other platforms and worlds not yet conceived '-- the Linux Foundation today announced the formation of the Overture Maps Foundation.
Founded by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta, Microsoft and TomTom, the effort will develop interoperable map data on an open-source methodology. It will be open to all communities with a common interest in building open map data and strengthening mapping services worldwide.
''We're at a place where maps and map data can be built together by a community '-- and it needs to be,'' Mike Dolan, SVP and GM of projects at the Linux Foundation, told VentureBeat. ''No one company can actually do it all. We have to work together.''
Democratizing map data for the futureThe Overture Maps Foundation's goal is to create reliable, easy-to-use and interoperable open map data, according to the Linux Foundation. Members will combine resources to build data that is complete, accurate, and refreshed as the physical world changes.
The project aims to complement existing open geospatial data and integrate with existing open map data from projects such as OpenStreetMap and city planning departments, along with new map data contributed by members and built using computer vision and AI/ML techniques.
Overture will provide:
Collaborative map building: Data will be incorporated from multiple sources including Overture members, civic organizations and open data sources. Global entity reference system: Overture will simplify interoperability with a system that links entities from different datasets to the same real-world entities. Quality assurance processes: Data will undergo validation to detect map errors, breakage and vandalism to help ensure that map data can be used in production systems. Structured data schema: Overture will define and drive adoption of a common, structured and documented data schema to create an easy-to-use ecosystem of map data. ''There is demand for exceptionally high quality data, data that is updated very regularly,'' Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, told VentureBeat. ''By collaborating on this, we will be able to provide that.''
However, he emphasized, ''Overture won't be a mapping service. You're not going to log in and ask how to get from point A to point B.''
Dolan, for his part, noted that the project follows the growing trend of ''democratizing data'' so that it can be updated, modified and reused.
''It's the continued evolution that we have seen of sharing software source code,'' he said, as well as the rise of open standards and participation models. ''It's open to anyone, and anyone can contribute back.''
A giant flywheel of participants As Dolan pointed out, industry leaders have had conversations on the complexities around mapping since around 2016.
''This is just insanely hard to build,'' he said, ''and it's only getting harder.''
Thousands of engineers who have spent decades working on mapping have struggled to collect and maintain accurate quality data, he said.
''Without reliable and modern maps, they just can't build other products and services and capabilities,'' said Dolan.
The availability of open map data can empower developers and map creators to build next-generation location-based applications, said Zemlin. Then there are the societal benefits: rich map data can support research entities and government agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey.
''Building high-fidelity mapping requires a giant flywheel of participants who are consuming and providing data that is accurate and high fidelity,'' he said. ''This is the power of what we're doing.''
Endless possibilities with open map dataOverture expects to release its first datasets in the first half of 2023. Initially, this release will include basic layers such as buildings, roads and administrative information, according to Zemlin. The project will then steadily improve the coverage, resolution and accuracy of existing data, as well as introduce new layers such as geographies, administrative boundaries, border routing and, eventually, 3D building data.
And then what?
It's really a matter of where the community decides to take it, said Dolan. The open community can address features, functions and capabilities that haven't even been considered or anticipated yet.
''Where's this going to go? I'm not entirely sure,'' said Dolan. ''We've got a really good starting point. I think it can only get better. These open-data projects don't go backwards.''
And, the uses and benefits of the project for the evolving metaverse are dramatic, said Jan Erik Solem, engineering director of maps at Meta. In the not-so-distant future, map services will power augmented reality applications that merge digital and physical worlds to deliver immersive social, gaming, education and productivity experiences.
''Immersive experiences, which understand and blend into your physical environment, are critical to the embodied internet of the future,'' said Solem. ''By delivering interoperable open map data, Overture provides the foundation for an open metaverse built by creators, developers and businesses alike.''
Mike Harrell, VP of engineering for TomTom's new maps platform, described the project's implications in no small terms: ''Overture's open and interoperable base map is fundamental to bringing the world together to create the smartest map on the planet.''
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Paul Pelosi's Suspected Assailant's Son Questions Alleged Attack
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 21:42
''There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye,'' Musk wrote in a now-deleted post '' which Gonzalez was seemingly referring to '' alongside a link to the also now-deleted story.
DePape is set to be arraigned in California on Wednesday for the state charges of attempted murder, first-degree residential burglary, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, and threatening family members of public officials.
The suspect was previously indicted in November for one federal charge of attempted kidnapping of a federal officer or employee and one charge of assault of an immediate family member of a federal official. DePape pleaded not guilty to the two federal charges.
Ken Griffin Sues IRS Over Leaked Returns, Says Employees 'Deliberately Stole' Confidential Data - Activist Post
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 19:43
By Tyler Durden
Billionaire hedge fund owner Ken Griffin has sued the IRS and the Treasury Department after his tax information was 'unlawfully disclosed' as part of a 2021 leak published in ProPublica.
In a Tuesday complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida, the Citadel founder and CEO accused the IRS of violating its ''legal obligations to safeguard and protect his information from unauthorized disclosure,'' and for willfully and intentionally failing to ''establish appropriate administrative, technical or physical safeguards'' to prevent such a leak, CNBC reports.
In its report, ProPublica '' the recipient of the leaked data, revealed how top billionaires such as Elon Musk and Carl Ichan have been able to avoid paying federal taxes in certain years. The outlet said it the information was obtained via an anonymous source.
Griffin reported an average income of $1.7 billion between 2013 and 2018, according to the report.
One ProPublica article focused on Griffin's opposition to an Illinois ballot measure '' which he spent $54 million to oppose '' which would have increased his state tax bill by over $50 million a year.
Griffin was not listed as one of the billionaires who paid zero or low tax rates in any one year, and, in fact, the ProPublica tax information showed Griffin pays a higher effective tax rate than many top earners. It also showed he was the second-largest American taxpayer between 2013 and 2018. -CNBC
According to the lawsuit, Griffin is ''proud of his success and has always sought to pay his fair share of taxes,'' but that after 2019,
''IRS personnel exploited the IRS's willful failure to establish adequate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for the IRS's data and records systems to misappropriate confidential tax return information for the highest earning U.S. taxpayers, including Mr. Griffin, and then unlawfully disclosed those materials to ProPublica for publication.''
The IRS inspector general and the DOJ have been investigating the leaks, but have yet to file charges. Republicans, meanwhile, say they're frustrated by a lack of progress. In October, GOP members of the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen which insisted that ''the American people remain in the dark about who was responsible and how the Treasury Department allowed this to happen.''
Easiest way to get your first Bitcoin (Ad)Conservatives have also highlighted the leak in their opposition to the Biden administration's $80 billion in additional funding, which was passed this summer.
Griffin notably spent $60 million during the midterm elections, becoming the second-largest donor to Republicans.
''IRS employees deliberately stole the confidential tax returns of several hundred successful American business leaders,'' Griffin said in a statement.
''It is unacceptable that government officials have failed to thoroughly investigate this unlawful theft of confidential and personal information. Americans expect our government to uphold the laws of our nation when it comes to our private and personal information '' whether it be tax returns or health care records.''
Source: ZeroHedge
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National Ignition Facility achieves fusion ignition | Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 19:23
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the achievement of fusion ignition at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) '-- a major scientific breakthrough decades in the making that will pave the way for advancements in national defense and the future of clean power. On Dec. 5, a team at LLNL's National Ignition Facility (NIF) conducted the first controlled fusion experiment in history to reach this milestone, also known as scientific energy breakeven, meaning it produced more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it. This first-of-its-kind feat will provide unprecedented capability to support NNSA's Stockpile Stewardship Program and will provide invaluable insights into the prospects of clean fusion energy, which would be a game-changer for efforts to achieve President Biden's goal of a net-zero carbon economy.
''This is a landmark achievement for the researchers and staff at the National Ignition Facility who have dedicated their careers to seeing fusion ignition become a reality, and this milestone will undoubtedly spark even more discovery,'' said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. ''The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting our world-class scientists '-- like the team at NIF '-- whose work will help us solve humanity's most complex and pressing problems, like providing clean power to combat climate change and maintaining a nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing.''
The target chamber of LLNL's National Ignition Facility, where 192 laser beams delivered more than 2 million joules of ultraviolet energy to a tiny fuel pellet to create fusion ignition on Dec. 5, 2022. ''We have had a theoretical understanding of fusion for over a century, but the journey from knowing to doing can be long and arduous. Today's milestone shows what we can do with perseverance,'' said Dr. Arati Prabhakar, the President's chief adviser for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
''Monday, December 5, 2022, was a historic day in science thanks to the incredible people at Livermore Lab and the National Ignition Facility. In making this breakthrough, they have opened a new chapter in NNSA's Stockpile Stewardship Program,'' NNSA Administrator Jill Hruby said. ''I would like to thank the members of Congress who have supported the National Ignition Facility because their belief in the promise of visionary science has been critical for our mission. Our team from around the DOE national laboratories and our international partners have shown us the power of collaboration.''
''The pursuit of fusion ignition in the laboratory is one of the most significant scientific challenges ever tackled by humanity, and achieving it is a triumph of science, engineering, and most of all, people,'' LLNL Director Dr. Kim Budil said. ''Crossing this threshold is the vision that has driven 60 years of dedicated pursuit '-- a continual process of learning, building, expanding knowledge and capability, and then finding ways to overcome the new challenges that emerged. These are the problems that the U.S. national laboratories were created to solve.''
''This astonishing scientific advance puts us on the precipice of a future no longer reliant on fossil fuels but instead powered by new clean fusion energy,'' U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (NY) said. ''I commend Lawrence Livermore National Labs and its partners in our nation's Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program, including the University of Rochester's Lab for Laser Energetics in New York, for achieving this breakthrough. Making this future clean energy world a reality will require our physicists, innovative workers and brightest minds at our DOE-funded institutions, including the Rochester Laser Lab, to double down on their cutting-edge work. That's why I'm also proud to announce today that I've helped to secure the highest-ever authorization of over $624 million this year in the National Defense Authorization Act for the ICF program to build on this amazing breakthrough.''
''After more than a decade of scientific and technical innovation, I congratulate the team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the National Ignition Facility for their historic accomplishment,'' said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA). ''This is an exciting step in fusion and everyone at Lawrence Livermore and NIF should be proud of this milestone achievement.''
''This is an historic, innovative achievement that builds on the contributions of generations of Livermore scientists. Today, our nation stands on their collective shoulders. We still have a long way to go, but this is a critical step and I commend the U.S. Department of Energy and all who contributed toward this promising breakthrough, which could help fuel a brighter clean energy future for the United States and humanity,'' said U.S. Senator Jack Reed (RI), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
''This monumental scientific breakthrough is a milestone for the future of clean energy,'' said U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (CA). ''While there is more work ahead to harness the potential of fusion energy, I am proud that California scientists continue to lead the way in developing clean energy technologies. I congratulate the scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for their dedication to a clean energy future, and I am committed to ensuring they have all of the tools and funding they need to continue this important work.''
''This is a very big deal. We can celebrate another performance record by the National Ignition Facility. This latest achievement is particularly remarkable because NIF used a less spherically symmetrical target than in the August 2021 experiment,'' said U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (CA-19). ''This significant advancement showcases the future possibilities for the commercialization of fusion energy. Congress and the Administration need to fully fund and properly implement the fusion research provisions in the recent CHIPS and Science Act and likely more. During World War II, we crafted the Manhattan Project for a timely result. The challenges facing the world today are even greater than at that time. We must double down and accelerate the research to explore new pathways for the clean, limitless energy that fusion promises.''
The hohlraum that houses the type of cryogenic target used to achieve ignition on Dec. 5, 2022, at LLNL's National Ignition Facility. ''I am thrilled that NIF '-- the United States' most cutting-edge nuclear research facility '-- has achieved fusion ignition, potentially providing for a new clean and sustainable energy source in the future. This breakthrough will ensure the safety and reliability of our nuclear stockpile, open new frontiers in science, and enable progress toward new ways to power our homes and offices in future decades,'' said U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15). ''I commend the scientists and researchers for their hard work and dedication that led to this monumental scientific achievement, and I will continue to push for robust funding for NIF to support advancements in fusion research.''
LLNL's experiment surpassed the fusion threshold by delivering 2.05 megajoules (MJ) of energy to the target, resulting in 3.15 MJ of fusion energy output, demonstrating for the first time a most fundamental science basis for inertial fusion energy (IFE). Many advanced science and technology developments are still needed to achieve simple, affordable IFE to power homes and businesses, and DOE is currently restarting a broad-based, coordinated IFE program in the United States. Combined with private-sector investment, there is a lot of momentum to drive rapid progress toward fusion commercialization.
Fusion is the process by which two light nuclei combine to form a single heavier nucleus, releasing a large amount of energy. In the 1960s, a group of pioneering scientists at LLNL hypothesized that lasers could be used to induce fusion in a laboratory setting. Led by physicist John Nuckolls, who later served as LLNL director from 1988 to 1994, this revolutionary idea became inertial confinement fusion, kicking off more than 60 years of research and development in lasers, optics, diagnostics, target fabrication, computer modeling and simulation and experimental design.
To pursue this concept, LLNL built a series of increasingly powerful laser systems, leading to the creation of NIF, the world's largest and most energetic laser system. NIF '-- located at LLNL in Livermore, California '-- is the size of a sports stadium and uses powerful laser beams to create temperatures and pressures like those in the cores of stars and giant planets, and inside exploding nuclear weapons.
To create fusion ignition, the National Ignition Facility's laser energy is converted into X-rays inside the hohlraum, which then compress a fuel capsule until it implodes, creating a high temperature, high pressure plasma. Achieving ignition was made possible by dedication from LLNL employees as well as countless collaborators at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and Nevada National Security Site; General Atomics; academic institutions, including the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley, and Princeton University; international partners, including the United Kingdom's Atomic Weapons Establishment and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission; and stakeholders at DOE and NNSA and in Congress.
Putin 'readies nuke missile for LAUNCH' as Yars rocket able to strike UK and US is locked and loaded in silo near Moscow | The US Sun
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 18:15
VLADIMIR Putin has renewed his nuke threat against the West by appearing to ready a nuclear missile for launch.
Footage shows a huge Russian Yars rocket able to hit the UK and the US being loaded into a silo at a base near Moscow.
A Yars nuclear missile being readied for deployment Credit: East2West 5
One of the missiles being test-fired as part of nuclear drills Credit: AP 5
Putin oversaw October's chilling drills remotely Credit: APThe intercontinental ballistic missile has a 7,500 mile range and when nuclear-armed is reportedly 12 times more destructive than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
It was seen in Russian propaganda being installed in a launch-pad using a special transport and loading unit - but there is no indication of any order for an imminent launch.
Putin was seen in late October overseeing the launch of a similar Yars nuclear missile on a mock attack on the West amid high tension in the war with Ukraine.
In the drills, Russia reportedly practised its response to a Western nuclear attack and were aimed at targeting the UK and US.
Fears are have been raised that the 70-year-old tyrant could detonate a nuke as his forces face mounting loses in the disastrous Ukraine war.
Russia is building up to more nuclear showboating as it marks the annual Strategic Missile Forces Day on 17 December.
Missile force commander Colonel Alexei Sokolov made clear the latest exercise was aimed at sending a message to the West, with both the UK and US within range.
''The importance of this operation lies in the fact that the missile will be put on combat duty on schedule,'' he said.
''The homeland will get another nuclear missile weapon, which will make it possible to solve any tasks at the strategic level.''
Combat engineer Vadim Vyazovsky told TV Zvezda, the Russian defence ministry's own channel: ''I feel proud of Russia that my country is putting such products into service so that the Motherland can sleep well.''
The Kozelsk missile base is currently undergoing modernisation and a revamp, said reports.
The Yars is a modification of the Topol-M missile system, and was first deployed in 2009.
Video released during October's drills showed armed forces personnel in front of computers launching a one of the missiles.
Other footage showed a Sineva intercontinental ballistic missile being fired from a submarine in the Barents Sea and a TU-95 bomber that launched cruise missiles.
The Kremlin said that all tasks set for the exercise were fulfilled and all the missiles that were test-fired reached their designated targets.
One of the huge missiles being readied in the latest drill Credit: East2West 5
Russian military personnel in the missile's control centre
Field training exercise - Wikipedia
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 17:30
A field training exercise, generally shortened to the acronym "FTX", is a coordinated training exercise conducted by military units for training purposes. These are often military simulations conducted in open areas instead of training facilities or military academies, such as training fields, bombing ranges, and even closed-off, typically publicly-accessible areas.
In active duty [ edit ] Field training exercises are usually practice "mini-battles" which provide fairly realistic scenarios and situations based on actual situations a unit might face if deployed. While squad and platoon sized units can conduct an FTX, most of these exercises involve units ranging from a company up to a regiment or brigade. Field training exercises rarely reach division strength.
The exercise is usually carefully planned out by field grade or general officers, usually without disclosing plans or other information to company-grade officers. This makes the situation more unpredictable and realistic since company-grade officers make the majority of quick and immediate decisions on the battlefield. Nearly every possibility is considered during planning, and often the scenarios can be more difficult or more far-fetched than actual battles, thus sharpening the skills of those participating to a level which will surpass that of the enemy.[1]
In basic training [ edit ] All branches of the United States Armed Forces implement field training exercises into their basic military training courses for enlistees and officers. In the Army and often in other branches, the last few days of basic training are used to conduct a field training exercise where recruits can practice the skills they have learned over the past several weeks of training. The purpose of this is to give soon-to-be soldiers a taste of battle before they leave basic training. This also allows instructors to look for mistakes and correct them before their recruits become active duty and potentially go to battle.
U.S. military examples [ edit ] The 101st Airborne Division is famous for its field training exercises. Most of its brigades or regiments conduct their own field training exercises annually and the entire division has conducted a division wide exercise on a couple of occasions. These exercises generally consist of the entire unit deploying to the location by parachute, followed by multi-day engagements with the "enemy".[2]The United States Air Force conducts Operation Red Flag four to six times a year. This is a multifaceted field training exercise consisting of various things such as air-to-air and air-to-ground engagements, mid-air refueling, reconnaissance, close air support, airlift, rescue operations, and special forces operations.[3]See also [ edit ] Recruit trainingComposite Unit Training ExerciseNotes [ edit ]
Prominent DeSantis Donor Dies in Apparent Suicide Amid Sexual Misconduct Probe: Report
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:38
A friend and supporter of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has reportedly committed suicide amid a probe investigating possible sexual misconduct.
Kent Stermon, 50, of Jacksonville, Florida, was a significant financial supporter of Ron DeSantis and other key leaders in the State. According to The Florida Times-Union, his body was found in a truck parked outside the Atlantic Beach post office on Thursday evening at approximately 8 p.m.
Police announced they were investigating the death as a suicide.
🚨NEW: Kent Stermon, a politically well-connected megadonor and adviser to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), was under investigation over allegations of sexual misconduct in the weeks before his suicide.
'-- The Intellectualist (@highbrow_nobrow) December 10, 2022First Coast News noted that Stermon's wife Christie reported her husband missing after an alert system signaled his heart monitor had stopped earlier that day.
Sheriff T.K. Waters of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office reported to the Times-Union that Stermon was under investigation for ''alleged sexual misconduct'' at the time of his death, but did not provide additional details on the death or the investigation.
Stermon had a history of supporting key GOP candidates, including Mayor Lenny Curry and former Sheriff Mike Williams. In 2022, Stermon reportedly made a $50,000 gift to a political action committee tied to DeSantis.
In recent days, much has been made of his unusual amount of swipes of his ''access card to the sheriff's office headquarters and other locations,'' which was reportedly used ''hundreds of times'' in recent years, according to WJXT .
Speaking about the access Stermon had to sheriff records, a spokesperson from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office told First Coast News that Stermon's card access was terminated when Waters took office in late November.
Stermon was a defense contractor with Total Military Management and sat on the state university system's Board of Governors.
On Friday, a spokesperson for DeSantis told Politico the governor and his wife were ''shocked and saddened to hear of Kent's passing'' and were unaware he was the subject of an active investigation.
Noting the impact of Stermon's support, Florida politics reporter A.G. Gancarski told First Coast News:
''You wouldn't have Ron DeSantis as governor without Kent Stermon. He was big with everything '... in the state party.''
Some are questioning why Stermon had virtually unfettered access to sheriff department records. Former sheriff's office candidate Lakesha Burton told First Coast News that it was no secret that ''Mr. Stermon had high-level security access privileges to JSO facilities for years. He made his heavy involvement in the inner workings and politics of the agency well known to all ranks.''
Retired sheriff's office detective Kim Varner agreed, saying to the outlet:
''You give that badge to the wrong person, and they're connected to somebody out there who is doing the wrong thing, then you can walk in the building, do what you want to do, and go back and give them information.''
Varner added: ''John Q. Citizen can't walk in there and get a badge to come in and leave when he pleases, so I do think that creates an issue.''
Stermon's attorney, David Barksdale, has not replied to a request for comment.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.
Exclusive Transcript: The Full Testimony Bankman-Fried Planned To Give To Congress
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:24
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried will no longer be testifying in front of the House Financial Services Committee (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesSam Bankman-Fried, founder of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, was scheduled to testify Tuesday before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services. But late Monday afternoon, he was arrested in the Bahamas at the request of the U.S. government.
Forbes obtained a draft of Bankman-Fried's testimony and is publishing it here, verbatim. You can also read about the top takeaways in his testimony, and everyone he planned to blame in his remarks for the aftermath of FTX's implosion.
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INTERVIEW - F. William Engdahl: How BlackRock Created the Global Energy Crisis - 21st Century Wire
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:18
In this episode of the Patrick Henningsen Show on TNT Radio which aired on Nov. 22, 2022, author and geopolitical analyst F. William Engdahl reveals how multi-trillion dollar BlackRock investment fund boss Larry Fink is driving the global energy crisis through deceptive faux 'green' energy, climate change and ESG policies, together with globalists at the World Economic Forum and the Biden Administration '' destroying western economies in preparation for their CBDC cashless Great Reset. In reality, there is nothing 'green' about it as they orchestrate the biggest consolidation of wealth, assets and power in history. All this and more.
Read Engdahl's analysis here:
Also, read his book mentioned in this interview, ''Myths Lies, and Oil Wars'':
'–¶¸ TUNE-IN LIVE to TNT RADIO for the Patrick Henningsen Show every TUES & THURS at 8AM-10AM (NEW YORK) | 12PM-3PM (LONDON) | 10PM-1AM (BRISBANE):'¨
READ MORE GREAT RESET NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Great Reset Files
Musk Shakes Up Twitter's Legal Team as He Looks to Cut More Costs - The New York Times
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 15:08
Twitter has stopped paying rent on offices and is considering not paying severance packages to former employees, among other measures.
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Elon Musk, Twitter's owner, has revamped the company's legal team and is continuing to cut costs. Credit... Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO '-- Over the past two weeks, Elon Musk has shaken up Twitter's legal department, disbanded a council that advised the social media company on safety issues and is continuing to take drastic steps to cut costs.
Mr. Musk appears to be gearing up for legal battles at Twitter, which he purchased in October for $44 billion, according to seven people familiar with internal conversations. He and his team have revamped Twitter's legal department and pushed out one of his closest advisers in the process. They have also instructed employees to not pay vendors in anticipation of potential litigation, the people said.
To cut costs, Twitter has not paid rent for its San Francisco headquarters or any of its global offices for weeks, three people close to the company said. Twitter has also refused to pay a $197,725 bill for private charter flights made the week of Mr. Musk's takeover, according to a copy of a lawsuit filed in New Hampshire District Court and obtained by The New York Times.
Twitter's leaders have also discussed the consequences of denying severance payments to thousands of people who have been laid off since the takeover, two people familiar with the talks said. And Mr. Musk has threatened employees with lawsuits if they talk to the media and ''act in a manner contrary to the company's interest,'' according to an internal email sent last Friday.
Image Alex Spiro, Mr. Musk's personal lawyer, is no longer working at Twitter. Credit... Apu Gomes/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images Mr. Spiro is no longer working at Twitter, according to six people familiar with the decision. Those people said that Mr. Musk has been unhappy with some of the decisions made by Mr. Spiro, a noted criminal defense lawyer who successfully defended the billionaire in a high-profile defamation case in late 2019 and worked his way into the Twitter owner's inner circle.
Among those decisions was Mr. Spiro's call to retain the Twitter deputy general counsel, James A. Baker, through Mr. Musk's various rounds of layoffs and firings. Mr. Baker had served as general counsel at the F.B.I. until May 2018 '-- advising the agency on politically fraught investigations into Hillary Clinton's private email server and Donald J. Trump's campaign '-- and joined Twitter in 2020.
Last week, Mr. Musk said he terminated Mr. Baker after he learned that the lawyer had been responsible for reviewing internal communications about the company's decision to suppress a 2020 New York Post story about Hunter Biden's laptop. Mr. Musk had ordered that those communications, which he has called the ''Twitter Files,'' be given to a group of journalists to release and discredit the decision-making of the company's past executives.
More on Elon Musk's Twitter Takeover An Established Pattern: Firing people. Talking of bankruptcy. Telling workers to be ''hard core.'' Twitter isn't the first company that witnessed Elon Musk use those tactics. Rivals Emerge: Sensing an opportunity, new start-ups and other social platforms are racing to dethrone Twitter and capitalize on the chaos of its new ownership under Mr. Musk. The 'Twitter Files': Mr. Musk and Matt Taibbi, an independent journalist, set off an intense debate with a release of internal Twitter documents regarding a 2020 decision to restrict posts linking to a report in the New York Post about Hunter Biden. Hard Fork: The Times podcast looks at Mr. Musk's two-day clash with Apple, which he had accused of trying to sabotage Twitter before saying the ''misunderstanding'' had been resolved. With Twitter drained of legal talent from layoffs and departures, Mr. Musk has sought lawyers from his other companies, including rocket maker SpaceX, to fill the void. More than half a dozen lawyers from the space exploration company have been given access to Twitter's internal systems, according to two people and documents seen by The Times. SpaceX employees who have been brought in to Twitter include Chris Cardaci, the company's vice president of legal, and Tim Hughes, its senior vice president, global business and government affairs.
A SpaceX spokesman did not return a request for comment.
Image Tim Hughes, senior vice president, global business and government affairs at SpaceX, has been brought in to Twitter. Credit... Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call, via Associated Press Among its legal challenges, Twitter is facing more questions from the Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating whether the company is still adhering to a consent decree. In 2011, the company signed a consent decree with the F.T.C. after two data breaches and said it would not mislead users about privacy protection. In May, the company paid $150 million to the F.T.C. and Justice Department to settle allegations that it had violated the terms of that consent decree, which was expanded.
The F.T.C. has sent Twitter letters asking whether it still has the resources and staff to adhere to the consent decree, two people with knowledge of the matter said. An F.T.C. spokeswoman declined to comment.
On Friday, as Mr. Musk encouraged the release of internal information through the continuation of his Twitter Files, he also sent an email to employees noting ''many detailed leaks of confidential Twitter information'' showed that some were violating their nondisclosure agreements.
''If you clearly and deliberately violate the NDA that you signed when joining Twitter, you accept liability to the full extent of the law and Twitter will immediately seek damages,'' he wrote. The email was first reported by the Platformer newsletter.
Mr. Musk's team has also deliberated the merits of not paying severance to the thousands of people who have left the company since he took over, when there were about 7,500 full-time employees. While Mr. Musk and his advisers had previously considered forgoing any severance when discussing cuts in late October, the company ultimately decided that U.S.-based employees would be given at least two months of pay and one month of severance pay so that the company would be compliant with federal and state labor laws.
Mr. Musk's team is now reconsidering whether it should pay some of those months, according to two people familiar with the discussions, or just face lawsuits from disgruntled former employees. Many former employees still have not received any paperwork formalizing their separation from Twitter, five people said. Mr. Musk has already refused to pay millions of dollars in exit packages to executives he claims were terminated ''for cause.''
As Twitter has downsized, Mr. Musk's team has been hoping to renegotiate the terms of lease agreements, two people familiar with the discussion said. The company has received complaints from real estate investment and management firms including Shorenstein, which owns the San Francisco buildings that Twitter occupies.
A spokesman for Shorenstein declined to comment.
In other money-saving moves, Twitter has laid off its kitchen staff and begun to list office supplies, industrial-grade kitchen equipment and electronics from its San Francisco office for auction.
Mr. Musk also continues to cut staff and leaders, including Nelson Abramson, Twitter's global head of infrastructure, and Alan Rosa, the global information technology head and vice president of information security, according to four people familiar with the moves.
On Sunday night, Mr. Musk sent two emails to Twitter's staff with advice about how to work for him that he had previously shared with SpaceX and Tesla employees. One message focused on first principles thinking, a worldview based on the teachings of Aristotle to reduce assumptions to basic axioms, which Mr. Musk credited with helping him make difficult decisions. The other advocated against workplace hierarchies.
On Monday, Twitter notified members of its trust and safety council, an advisory group formed in 2016, that it would dissolve immediately. The council was created to guide Twitter through challenging safety problems and content moderation issues, and was made up of organizations focused on civil rights and child safety.
''Safety online can mean survival offline,'' said Jodie Ginsberg, the president of the Committee to Protect Journalists, one of the organizations involved in the council. ''As a platform that has become a critical tool in both open and repressive countries, Twitter must play a constructive role in ensuring that journalists and the public at large are able to receive and impart information without fear of reprisals.''
Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.
Is Twitter preparing for bankruptcy? | Boing Boing
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 15:06
This New York Times article seems to suggest that Twitter is insolvent and choosing not to pay all sorts of bills, many of which will expose them to genuine legal jeopardy. We've previously reported on their auctioning off of all sorts of assets, and Twitter's looming wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuits, so when the NYT stacks it all up in one article, the strategy seems to be bankruptcy.
With interest on his loans totaling over $150m/month and a company grossing $5B before screwing it all up and chasing the advertisers out, Twitter's reluctant purchaser Elon Musk seems to be running out of options.
To cut costs, Twitter has not paid rent for its San Francisco headquarters or any of its global offices for weeks, three people close to the company said. Twitter has also refused to pay a $197,725 bill for private charter flights made the week of Mr. Musk's takeover, according to a copy of a lawsuit filed in New Hampshire District Court and obtained by The New York Times.
Twitter's leaders have also discussed the consequences of denying severance payments to thousands of people who have been laid off since the takeover, two people familiar with the talks said. And Mr. Musk has threatened employees with lawsuits if they talk to the media and "act in a manner contrary to the company's interest," according to an internal email sent last Friday.
The aggressive moves signal that Mr. Musk is still slashing expenditures and is bending or breaking Twitter's previous agreements to make his mark. His reign has been characterized by chaos, a series of resignations and layoffs, reversals of the platform's previous suspensions and rules, and capricious decisions that have driven away advertisers.
Televisiemaker Han Peekel op 75-jarige leeftijd overleden - NRC
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:51
Televisiemaker Han Peekel is op 75-jarige leeftijd overleden. Dat heeft zijn dochter bevestigd aan persbureau ANP na een bericht over zijn overlijden in De Telegraaf. Hij overleed plotseling aan een hartinfarct tijdens een vakantie op Bali, aldus zijn dochter.
Peekel begon zijn carri¨re als zanger van Nederlandse chansons, maar werd bij het grote publiek bekend door het tv-programma Wordt vervolgd, een stripprogramma waarin kinderen hun favoriete stripfiguur mochten nadoen. De eerste aflevering werd in oktober 1983 uitgezonden, waarna Peekel het programma bijna zeventien jaar lang presenteerde.
In 1977 ontving de televisiemaker een Edison voor het programma Wie in Nederland wil zingen. Sinds 2009 presenteerde hij voor Omroep Max het programma TV Monument, waarin elke aflevering een andere bekende Nederlander centraal staat.
In de talkshow Op1 laat bestuurder van Omroep Max Jan Slagter weten zeer aangedaan te zijn door het overlijden van Peekel. Het mooie van Han was dat hij tot tientallen jaren terug alles wist van televisie. Hij was toch wel een beetje het televisiegeweten van Nederland.''
Geheel onomstreden was de televisiemaker niet. In de jaren negentig werd Peekel veroordeeld tot een taakstraf omdat hij belastingfraude had gepleegd. In 2012, toen Peekel voor zijn 'žgrote verdiensten voor het erfgoed van de omroepen'' een lintje kreeg van de burgemeester van Hilversum, werd er gepikeerd gereageerd door andere lintjesdragers.
Peekel werd in 1947 geboren in Rotterdam en was naast tv-maker ook radiopresentator, tv-producent en hij schreef boeken en maakte muziek.
Norwegian Lesbian Artist Being Investigated, Faces Criminal Charges For Saying Men Cannot Be Lesbians | The Daily Wire
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:49
A Norwegian woman could spend up to three years in prison for saying that men are not able to be lesbians.
On November 17, Tonje Gjevjon was told that she was being investigated by the police over hate speech because of a Facebook post that criticized men who said they were lesbians.
EXCLUSIVE: A Norwegian woman is facing criminal charges for stating men can not be lesbians.
Tonje Gjevjon is the second woman in the country to be investigated for criminal "transphobia" in 2022. She faces a potential prison sentence of three years.
'-- REDUXX (@ReduxxMag) December 13, 2022
Gjevjon is a lesbian artist who has faced intense pushback for standing up for women. In her post, she also criticized transgender activists who try to prosecute women who are against gender ideology.
''It's just as impossible for men to become lesbian as it is for men to become pregnant,'' Gjevjon wrote . ''Men are men regardless of their sexual fetishes.''
In the post, translated on Facebook, Gjevjon wrote, ''men with fetishes have been protected as a vulnerable minority through the foolish and constructed concept of gender identity is koko. [sic]''
Gjevjon said she posted her Facebook message on purpose to bring attention to Norway's hate speech law. The law was changed in 2020 when the parliament in the country voted to make hate speech against people who identify as transgender illegal. Gjevjon is also not the first to be confronted with charges over saying men cannot be mothers or lesbians.
Last year, Gjevjon asked Anette Trettebergstuen, a politician in the Labour Party, what she was going to do to safeguard women and girls' rights. She also asked if she thought that men could be lesbians.
''I believe it is absolutely necessary to place biological sex as the basis in all contexts where sex has legal, cultural, or practical relevance, and that equating sex with gender identity has harmful, discriminatory consequences for women and girls '' especially lesbians,'' Gjevjon said in her question.
''Will the Equality Minister take action to ensure that lesbian women's human rights are safeguarded, by making it clear that there are no lesbians with penises, that males cannot be lesbians regardless of their gender identity, and by tidying up the mess of the harmful gender policies left behind by the previous government?'' She asked.
Trettebergstuen replied, ''I do not share an understanding of reality where the only two biological sexes are to be understood as sex. Gender identity is also important.''
Gjevjon has also described being pushed out of the art community over her views, even though she was a prominent member of the music and art establishment for over 15 years.
''I have stated that women are female, that lesbians do not have penises, that children should not be responsible for decisions they do not have the capacity to understand the scope of, and that no-platforming is harmful to democracy. For these opinions I have been canceled several times,'' Gjevjon wrote in Klassekampen, a Norwegian oulet.
''I was not prepared for the extent of how queer organizations, politicians and activists would demonize a lesbian artist who was not in step. Trans activists contact people I work with, portraying me as hateful and warning against being associated with me,'' she said.
FBI's Vetted Info Sharing Network 'InfraGard' Hacked '' Krebs on Security
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:47
InfraGard, a program run by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to build cyber and physical threat information sharing partnerships with the private sector, this week saw its database of contact information on more than 80,000 members go up for sale on an English-language cybercrime forum. Meanwhile, the hackers responsible are communicating directly with members through the InfraGard portal online '-- using a new account under the assumed identity of a financial industry CEO that was vetted by the FBI itself.
On Dec. 10, 2022, the relatively new cybercrime forum Breached featured a bombshell new sales thread: The user database for InfraGard, including names and contact information for tens of thousands of InfraGard members.
The FBI's InfraGard program is supposed to be a vetted Who's Who of key people in private sector roles involving both cyber and physical security at companies that manage most of the nation's critical infrastructures '-- including drinking water and power utilities, communications and financial services firms, transportation and manufacturing companies, healthcare providers, and nuclear energy firms.
''InfraGard connects critical infrastructure owners, operators, and stakeholders with the FBI to provide education, networking, and information-sharing on security threats and risks,'' the FBI's InfraGard fact sheet reads.
In response to information shared by KrebsOnSecurity, the FBI said it is aware of a potential false account associated with the InfraGard Portal and that it is actively looking into the matter.
''This is an ongoing situation, and we are not able to provide any additional information at this time,'' the FBI said in a written statement.
KrebsOnSecurity contacted the seller of the InfraGard database, a Breached forum member who uses the handle ''USDoD'' and whose avatar is the seal of the U.S. Department of Defense.
USDoD's InfraGard sales thread on Breached.
USDoD said they gained access to the FBI's InfraGard system by applying for a new account using the name, Social Security Number, date of birth and other personal details of a chief executive officer at a company that was highly likely to be granted InfraGard membership.
The CEO in question '-- currently the head of a major U.S. financial corporation that has a direct impact on the creditworthiness of most Americans '-- told KrebsOnSecurity they were never contacted by the FBI seeking to vet an InfraGard application.
USDoD told KrebsOnSecurity their phony application was submitted in November in the CEO's name, and that the application included a contact email address that they controlled '-- but also the CEO's real mobile phone number.
''When you register they said that to be approved can take at least three months,'' USDoD said. ''I wasn't expected to be approve[d].''
But USDoD said that in early December, their email address in the name of the CEO received a reply saying the application had been approved (see redacted screenshot to the right). While the FBI's InfraGard system requires multi-factor authentication by default, users can choose between receiving a one-time code via SMS or email.
''If it was only the phone I will be in [a] bad situation,'' USDoD said. ''Because I used the person['s] phone that I'm impersonating.''
USDoD said the InfraGard user data was made easily available via an Application Programming Interface (API) that is built into several key components of the website that help InfraGard members connect and communicate with each other.
USDoD said after their InfraGard membership was approved, they asked a friend to code a script in Python to query that API and retrieve all available InfraGard user data.
''InfraGard is a social media intelligence hub for high profile persons,'' USDoD said. ''They even got [a] forum to discuss things.''
To prove they still had access to InfraGard as of publication time Tuesday evening, USDoD sent a direct note through InfraGard's messaging system to an InfraGard member whose personal details were initially published as a teaser on the database sales thread.
That InfraGard member, who is head of security at a major U.S. technology firm, confirmed receipt of USDoD's message but asked to remain anonymous for this story.
USDoD acknowledged that their $50,000 asking price for the InfraGard database may be a tad high, given that it is a fairly basic list of people who are already very security-conscious. Also, only about half of the user accounts contain an email address, and most of the other database fields '-- like Social Security Number and Date of Birth '-- are completely empty.
''I don't think someone will pay that price, but I have to [price it] a bit higher to [negotiate] the price that I want,'' they explained.
While the data exposed by the infiltration at InfraGard may be minimal, the user data might not have been the true end game for the intruders.
USDoD said they were hoping the imposter account would last long enough for them to finish sending direct messages as the CEO to other executives using the InfraGuard messaging portal. USDoD shared the following redacted screenshot from what they claimed was one such message, although they provided no additional context about it.
A screenshot shared by USDoD showing a message thread in the FBI's InfraGard system.
USDoD said in their sales thread that the guarantor for the transaction would be Pompompurin, the administrator of the cybercrime forum Breached. By purchasing the database through the forum administrator's escrow service, would-be buyers can theoretically avoid getting ripped off and ensure the transaction will be consummated to the satisfaction of both parties before money exchanges hands.
Pompompurin has been a thorn in the side of the FBI for years. Their Breached forum is widely considered to be the second incarnation of RaidForums, a remarkably similar English-language cybercrime forum shuttered by the U.S. Department of Justice in April. Prior to its infiltration by the FBI, RaidForums sold access to more than 10 billion consumer records stolen in some of the world's largest data breaches.
In November 2021, KrebsOnSecurity detailed how Pompompurin abused a vulnerability in an FBI online portal designed to share information with state and local law enforcement authorities, and how that access was used to blast out thousands of hoax email messages '-- all sent from an FBI email and Internet address.
Update, 10:58 p.m. ET: Updated the story after hearing from the financial company CEO whose identity was used to fool the FBI into approving an InfraGard membership. That CEO said they were never contacted by the FBI.
Update, 11:15 p.m. ET: The FBI just confirmed that it is aware of a potential false account associated with the InfraGard portal. The story now includes their full statement.
This is a developing story. Updates will be noted here with timestamps.
Marti G. Cummings, Brita Filter join Joe Biden for White House signing of same-sex marriage bill - Washington Times
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:41
Those attending the White House ceremony for Tuesday's signing of legislation codifying same-sex marriage into federal law included two prominent drag queens.
Marti G. Cummings, a New York City drag queen and political activist, and Brita Filter, who was featured on season 12 of ''RuPaul's Drag Race,'' were among those in the audience for President Biden's signing of the Respect for Marriage Act on the South Lawn.
Both performers shared photos afterward on social media that showed Brita Filter decked out in drag and Marti G. Cummings, who identifies as a ''nonbinary drag artist,'' wearing men's clothes at the ceremony.
''Proud to be a drag artist in politics w my sister @thebritafilter representing at @whitehouse for the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act,'' said Marti G. Cummings on Instagram.
The invitations from the White House drew pushback on the right from those who pointed out that the two have performed for children.
''Biden invited a drag queen to the White House today for the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act. This drag queen performs and puts on shows for kids. The Biden admin encourages this,'' tweeted Libs of TikTok.
Drag queens Marti Cummings and Brita Filter at the signing of the so-called Respect for Marriage Act.
'-- Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) December 13, 2022Marti G. Cummings posted a photo Dec. 4 on Instagram dressed in women's clothes and full make-up surrounded by children with the caption, ''I love doing Drag Story Hour.''
''Despite what conservatives say, this family friend[ly] event is a way to spread joy, teach acceptance & love,'' said the post. ''A way to bring people together. Kids just want to hear their favorite stories '... keep spreading hate because I'm gonna keep spreading joy.''
President and Dr. Biden have invited renowned NYC drag artist Marti Gould Cummings to the White House for the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act.
'-- Pop Crave (@PopCrave) December 12, 2022Brita Filter, the stage name of Jesse Havea, drew headlines earlier this year for a performance during a chapel service at the Grace Church School in Manhattan.
''I am honored to be at The White House in full drag representing my community and witnessing this historical moment,'' said Brita Filter in a Tuesday post on Instagram.
The newly signed law repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and requires states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
The Supreme Court made marrying a person of one's own sex a constitutional right in its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision.
But supporters were alarmed by Justice Clarence Thomas saying the court should reconsider the ruling in a concurring opinion earlier this year in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the decision that overturned the federal right to abortion.
' Valerie Richardson can be reached at
Copyright (C) 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
What can media empires look like on Substack?
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:39
launched Common Sense on Substack, she set out to create a media institution that is much bigger than herself. In an interview with
, she declared her intent to build ''a newspaper for the 21st century,'' complete with a roster of contributors and full time staff, plus audio and video components, all supported by a devoted community of paying subscribers. In two years, Bari has made significant progress on that goal, becoming one of the most successful publishers on the platform, with hundreds of thousands of readers in all 50 states and around the world. Now, we're excited to celebrate with her and her team as they introduce the next phase of their burgeoning media empire: The Free Press .
We've been working with The Free Press team to figure out how Substack can support multifaceted media empires, starting with a custom-built website that accommodates the needs of a higher-volume publisher with many contributors. This initiative is in a very early stage and we expect it to evolve as we learn more.
Part of the magic of Substack has always been how easy it is to start a publication. In minutes, anyone can create a Substack, publish their first post, start building a list of subscribers, and make money. We are using this pilot with The Free Press to learn how to apply these principles to publications with more complex needs. Areas we'll be exploring will include how we can help publishers have a more customized brand presence on the platform while retaining the usability and legibility of a Substack, how to support collaboration between many team members in a simple content management system, and how publishers can establish their independence while exploiting the full growth benefits of the Substack network.
We're excited for the arrival of The Free Press and to continue to support the ambitions of a new generation of media companies that are finding success with the Substack model. Watch this space.
Start a Substack
This work is still in very early phases, but if you're interested and would like to stay up to date, please fill out the questions at
'Sudden Deaths' Explode in Germany, Experts Raise the Alarm - Slay News
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:37
Experts in Germany are raising the alarm after newly unsealed data shows that ''sudden deaths'' are exploding in the country.
Newly released insurance data for 72 million people shows that unexpected deaths have been skyrocketing since the end of 2020.
The number of sudden deaths has more than doubled since late 2020, jumping from about 6,000 per quarter to 14,000 currently.
According to a report from No Tricks Zone, the difference, 8,000, means more than 80 people each day are dying suddenly and mysteriously.
The data is based on the insurance records of 72 million Germans and comes from the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV).
German parliamentarian Martin Sichert and data analyst Tom Lausen forced the government to release the data.
The German government's medicines regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), had not analyzed and published this data before now.
The reason for the lack of prior government analysis is unclear.
In 2020, the German government standardized the use of insurance data to monitor possible vaccination injuries.
However, this law does not appear to have been followed.
Sichert and Lausen made their shocking findings public at a press conference on Monday.
The former director of the Institute of Public Finance at the University of Hannover, Professor Stefan Homburg, tweeted: ''Since vaccination began in early 2021, 'sudden and unexpected' deaths have exploded.
''This is shown by the new KBV data of the 72 million insured persons.''
Seit Impfbeginn Anfang 2021 explodieren die Todesf¤lle "pl¶tzlich und unerwartet".
Das zeigen neue KBV-Daten der 72 Mio. Versicherten: Sportler, Moderatoren '...
N¤heres ab 10:00 Uhr im Livestream:
'-- Stefan Homburg (@SHomburg) December 12, 2022
The Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance Physician Care has responded to reports on the data showing the soaring deaths by claiming they are ''completely unfounded.''
The organization argues that the increase is an illusion of data analysis resulting from the ''cohort effect.''
Sichert and Lausen have yet to respond to these criticisms.
As Slay News previously reported, health officials in Australia have also been raising the alarm as the country's excess deaths have soared to an ''incredibly high'' rate.
Australia's peak actuarial body is calling on the government to urgently investigate the country's spike in deaths this year.
An analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data by the Actuaries Institute shows a 13 percent rise in deaths during 2022.
The data revealed that an additional 15,400 people died in the first eight months of the year alone.
READ MORE: Australia Raises Alarm: Citizens Dying at 'Incredibly High' Rate
H. R. 8404 (Enrolled-Bill)
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:29
1.Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Respect for Marriage Act. 2.FindingsCongress finds the following:(1)No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. (2)Diverse beliefs about the role of gender in marriage are held by reasonable and sincere people based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises. Therefore, Congress affirms that such people and their diverse beliefs are due proper respect.(3)Millions of people, including interracial and same-sex couples, have entered into marriages and have enjoyed the rights and privileges associated with marriage. Couples joining in marriage deserve to have the dignity, stability, and ongoing protection that marriage affords to families and children. 3.Repeal of section added to title 28, United States Code, by section 2 of the Defense of Marriage ActSection 1738C of title 28, United States Code, is repealed.4.Full faith and credit given to marriage equalityChapter 115 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this Act, is further amended by inserting after section 1738B the following: 1738C.Certain acts, records, and proceedings and the effect thereof (a)In generalNo person acting under color of State law may deny'--(1) full faith and credit to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State pertaining to a marriage between 2 individuals, on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals; or (2)a right or claim arising from such a marriage on the basis that such marriage would not be recognized under the law of that State on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.(b)Enforcement by Attorney GeneralThe Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against any person who violates subsection (a) for declaratory and injunctive relief. (c)Private right of actionAny person who is harmed by a violation of subsection (a) may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against the person who violated such subsection for declaratory and injunctive relief.(d)State definedIn this section, the term State has the meaning given such term under section 7 of title 1.. 5.Marriage recognitionSection 7 of title 1, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:7.Marriage(a)For the purposes of any Federal law, rule, or regulation in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual's marriage is between 2 individuals and is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is between 2 individuals and is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State. (b)In this section, the term State means a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any other territory or possession of the United States.(c)For purposes of subsection (a), in determining whether a marriage is valid in a State or the place where entered into, if outside of any State, only the law of the jurisdiction applicable at the time the marriage was entered into may be considered. . 6.No impact on religious liberty and conscience (a)In generalNothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to diminish or abrogate a religious liberty or conscience protection otherwise available to an individual or organization under the Constitution of the United States or Federal law.(b)Goods or servicesConsistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, nonprofit religious organizations, including churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, mission organizations, faith-based social agencies, religious educational institutions, and nonprofit entities whose principal purpose is the study, practice, or advancement of religion, and any employee of such an organization, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage. Any refusal under this subsection to provide such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action. 7.Statutory prohibition (a)No impact on status and benefits not arising from a marriageNothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to deny or alter any benefit, status, or right of an otherwise eligible entity or person which does not arise from a marriage, including tax-exempt status, tax treatment, educational funding, or a grant, contract, agreement, guarantee, loan, scholarship, license, certification, accreditation, claim, or defense. (b)No Federal recognition of polygamous marriagesNothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to require or authorize Federal recognition of marriages between more than 2 individuals. 8.SeverabilityIf any provision of this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision to any person, entity, government, or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, or any amendment made thereby, or the application of such provision to all other persons, entities, governments, or circumstances, shall not be affected thereby.
Eva Kaili - Wikipedia
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 18:39
Greek politician (born 1978)
Greek politician
Eva Kaili (Greek: Εύα ΚαϊÎ>>ή ; born 26 October 1978) is a Greek politician who has been serving as a Member of the European Parliament since 2014. She served as one of fourteen Vice Presidents of the European Parliament from January 2022 until she was arrested and charged with corruption in December 2022. Kaili is a former Member of the Hellenic Parliament and former television news presenter for Greek television channel MEGA Channel. [3][4]
Early life and education [ edit ] Kaili studied architecture and civil engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.[5] Kaili continued her studies at the University of Piraeus where she obtained a Master of Arts degree in International and European affairs in 2008.[5] Since 2014 Kaili has been pursuing a PhD in International Economic Policy at the University of Piraeus but, as of 2022, is yet to complete her studies.[1]
Early career [ edit ] Before her political career, Kaili was a newscaster at Mega Channel from 2004 until 2007.[5]
Political career [ edit ] In 1992, Kaili joined the PASOK Youth. In 2001, she was President of the School of Architecture Students' Association and by 2002, she was already the youngest member to be elected to the Thessaloniki City Council.
Member of the Hellenic Parliament [ edit ] In the 2004 national elections, Kaili was the youngest candidate standing.[citation needed ] In the 2007 national elections, she was elected as a member of the Hellenic Parliament for the first district of Thessaloniki. At the time, she was the youngest Member of Parliament with the PASOK party.[6] She retained her seat in the 2009 national elections until 2012.
During her term in Parliament, Kaili served as a member of the following Parliamentary Committees: Standing Committee on Cultural and Educational Affairs, Standing Committee on National Defense and Foreign Affairs, and Special Permanent Committee of Greeks Abroad. She was also a member of the Greek delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean.[1]
Ahead of a crucial vote of confidence for Prime Minister, George Papandreou in November 2011. Kaili made headlines when she announced that she would refuse to support the government in the vote; this would have left Papandreou with the support of just 151 PASOK deputies out of 300.[7] She later backtracked and Papandreou won the vote of confidence with all 155 lawmakers of PASOK expressing their support for his beleaguered government.[8]
Member of the European Parliament [ edit ] Eva Kaili has been Member of the European Parliament since 2014 and was a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group until her expulsion in 2022. Kaili now sits as an independent. She is Vice President for Innovation Strategy, ICT, Technology, Foresight, Businesses, ESG and CSR, UN, WTO, OECD and the Middle East. She was the first woman[9] to Chair of the European Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment body (STOA) 2017''2022.[5] She was also Chair of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence (C4AI), and Chair of the Delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (DNAT) 2014''2019. She has been serving on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), and the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL). She is an alternate member on the Committee on Budgets (BUDG) and on Delegation for relations with the Arabian Peninsula (DARP)[10] and was also involved in the Commission investigating the spy ware Pegasus (PEGA).[9]
In addition to her committee assignments, Kaili is a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on Cancer,[11] the European Parliament Intergroup on Disability, the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (D-RU) and the Delegation for Relations with the United States of America (D-US).[12]
She was the recipient of a 2018 MEP Awards for New Technologies.[13]
Kaili became one of fourteen Vice Presidents of the European Parliament on 18 January 2022 after being elected on the first round by 454 votes. She was suspended from her vice-presidential duties on 10 December.[14]In a vote of the full chamber, Kaili was officially removed as vice president by a Supermajority.[15]
Between 2019 and 2022, Kaili was the Head of the Hellenic S&D delegation until her expulsion from the party.
On 13 December 2022, the European Parliament voted to remove Kaili from her position as one of their Vice-Presidents, with 625 votes in favor of removal, one against, and two abstentions. [16][17]
Corruption charges and arrest [ edit ] On 9 December 2022, Kaili was arrested by Belgian Federal Police following an investigation into organized crime, corruption and money laundering tied to lobbying efforts in support of Qatar. A suitcase of cash was found with her father upon his arrest, and bags of cash were found at her home.[18] The same day she was suspended from both the Socialists and Democratic Group with which she sits in the European Parliament and her national party PASOK.[19] As part of the investigation, Belgian Police raided 16 homes and detained at least four others including parliamentary assistant Francesco Giorgi (Kaili's husband), former MEP Antonio Panzeri (for whom Giorgi had worked at parliament, and with whom he had founded the human rights NGO "Fight Impunity"),[20] and Kaili's father who was arrested while on a train with a large amount of cash, having been warned by an accomplice.[21][22] During the raids over '‚¬600,000 in cash was recovered by investigators.[23][24][25]
On 12 December 2022 the Greek Anti-Money Laundering Authority announced that it had frozen all assets of Kaili and her close family members. This included all bank accounts, safes, companies and other financial asset. Of particular interest to the authorities, according to the head of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority, is a newly established real estate company in the Athens district of Kolonaki.[26][27]
The timing of the arrests coincided with the 2022 FIFA World Cup being hosted in Qatar. At the time, there was significant criticism of the hosts in the West, but during a speech at the European Parliament, Kaili praised the country's human rights record and criticised accusations of corruption made against Qatar.[28][29]
Personal life [ edit ] Kaili is married to Francesco Giorgi, a parliamentary assistant. Their daughter was born in 2020.[30][31]
References [ edit ] ^ a b c "Curriculum vitae Eva Kaili". 25 April 2022 . Retrieved 10 December 2022 . ^ Detained on December 9 by the Belgian Police after an order issued by the Federal Attorney. ^ Photograph of Eva Kaili [permanent dead link ] , Greece. ^ "Εύα ΕυδÎξία ΚαϊÎ>>ή". (in Greek) . Retrieved 10 December 2022 . ^ a b c d "Curriculum vitae | Eva KAILI | MEPs | European Parliament" . Retrieved 12 December 2022 . ^ Weisenthal, Joe. "One-On-One With Eva Kaili, The Most Popular Greek Politician In The World". Business Insider . Retrieved 12 December 2022 . ^ Dina Kyriakidou and Lefteris Papadimas (3 November 2011), Greek prime minister faces knife-edge survival vote Archived 18 June 2020 at the Wayback Machine Reuters. ^ Rachel Donadio (4 November 2011), Greek Leader Survives Vote, Bolstering Deal on Europe Debt Archived 20 October 2020 at the Wayback Machine The New York Times. ^ a b "Eva Kaili". RegHorizon . Retrieved 12 December 2022 . ^ "Home | Eva KAILI | MEPs | European Parliament" . Retrieved 12 December 2022 . ^ Intergroup Archived 3 October 2020 at the Wayback Machine European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC). ^ Members of the Disability Intergroup - S&D Archived 12 December 2022 at the Wayback Machine European Disability Forum. ^ "Eva Kaili wins MEP of the year award in Brussels" . Retrieved 17 August 2021 . ^ "Greek MEP stripped of vice president powers over graft probe". Deutsche Welle . Retrieved 11 December 2022 . ^ "Qatar corruption scandal: MEP Eva Kaili removed as Vice-President of EU Parliament". Brussels Times. 13 December 2022 . Retrieved 13 December 2022 . ^ EU Parliament removes VP status from Eva Kaili Retrieved 2022-12-13 ^ Mutanklagad Kaili bortr¶stad som vice talman i EU-parlamentet Retrieved 2022-12-13 ^ "Cash found in MEP Kaili's Brussels home: reports". Kathimerini. 10 December 2022. ^ "Eva Kaili: Senior EU lawmaker arrested over alleged bribery by Gulf state". BBC News. 9 December 2022 . Retrieved 12 December 2022 . ^ "European Parliament jolted by investigation into alleged corruption benefiting Qatar". Le Monde. 11 December 2022 . Retrieved 13 December 2022 . ^ "Belgium makes EU parliament arrests in Qatar corruption probe". France24. 9 December 2022. ^ Tidey, Alice; Brezar, Aleksandar (9 December 2022). "European Parliament Vice President Eva Kaili brought in for questioning in Brussels corruption probe". Euronews. ^ Coulart, Louis; Matriche, Jol; Clerix, Kristof (9 December 2022). "Soup§ons de corruption par le Qatar: la vice-pr(C)sidente du Parlement europ(C)en Eva Kaili interpell(C)e". Le Soir. ^ Wheaton, Sarah; Camut, Nicolas (9 December 2022). "Belgian police raid homes over Qatar lobbying at EU Parliament". Politico Europe. ^ Balboni, Julien (9 December 2022). "Des sacs d'argent liquide trouv(C)s au domicile de la vice-pr(C)sidente du Parlement europ(C)en". L'Echo. ^ "Corruption au Parlement europ(C)en: Ath¨nes g¨le tous les avoirs de la vice-pr(C)sidente Eva Kaili (C)crou(C)e". Le Soir. 12 December 2022 . Retrieved 12 December 2022 . ^ "Qatar Gate Greece FReezes assets eva kaili". Greek Reporter. 12 December 2022 . Retrieved 12 December 2022 . ^ Sotiri Dimpinoudis [@sotiridi] (9 December 2022). "Here is European Parliament Eva Kaili, saying 2 weeks ago that #Qatar "is a pioneer in labor rights, diplomacy, inteligent high educated" country, now i know why she said those things in front of the stage at the Europe Parlaiment building" (Tweet) '' via Twitter. ^ Knight, Sam (3 December 2022). "At Qatar's World Cup, Where Politics and Pleasure Collide". The New Yorker. ^ "Who is the husband of Eva Kaili who was arrested?". Hellas Posts English. 9 December 2022 . Retrieved 11 December 2022 . ^ "Eva Kaili: Who is her Italian husband, Francesco Giorgi, who'...". Hellas Posts English. 9 December 2022 . Retrieved 11 December 2022 . External links [ edit ] Media related to Eva Kaili at Wikimedia Commons Official website (in Greek) Personal profile of Eva Kaili in the European Parliament's database of membersMember profile on the website of the S&D parliamentary groupLinks to related articles
January 6th Trial UPDATE... or Ernest Goes to Washington - Freedoms Phoenix
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 18:11
12-12-2022 Ernest Hancock More About: Criminal Justice System Here's quick update with the shortest of background information.On January 6th and 7th I conducted interviews that included one of the January 6th defendants, Ed Vallejo, that was reporting from a hotel room near event. & December of 2021 I was first contacted by the FBI to schedule an interview about those shows. I informed them that I would require a subpoena compelling me to attend such a meeting and that I intended to exercise my 5th Amendment right to silence. I also informed them that I was traveling and if they would inform me where an FBI office was on my route I would travel to pick up my subpoena. After a couple of conversations making my position clear, communications stopped and I didn't hear from the FBI until July (going from memory here).I was called by an FBI agent stating that he was at my front door and they knew I was home and I had to come to door to be presented documents for me to sign. We send some mail to my youngest daughter's home in Arizona while Donna and I were in Washington State building Dome Home prototypes for #OccupyTheLand Project. My daughter was home with her 2 year old son and heard aggressive door banging and doorbells,'... her opinion was that she sure as heck won't be buying any solar panels from this guy and ignored the intrusion. The agent was at first very frustrated but I quickly assured him that I was far away and they were bugging my daughter. I shared with him that I was willing to make a trip to be served at any FBI station nearest me. He calmed and said that I can accept service via email. He sent it and I replied that I received it.The issue was that the radio show MP3s are available to anyone but to be able to enter them into a Federal Criminal case they would have to be "certified" by a custodian of the records as accurate copies. This is called a Rule 902 requirement. This Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure has been recently updated to include all digital media that now doesn't require an expert witness to appear in court and can just "certify" the digital media via a document without having to travel to court under a subpoena.I was not worried that I said anything incriminating, but what I think and what the Federal Government thinks is 'incriminating speech' are very different (controversial issues and controversial guests are a regular on the show). So, I felt that I was in a unique position to address a burning question in my mind'...As the host AND custodian of the records requested that are kept on my multiple traditional and IPFS servers (the files could not be obtained from a Big Tech platform with such a form letter that is common now) I was being 'Required/Mandated' to verify files so that they could be used in a federal criminal proceeding that could be used against me. I am of the opinion that the 5th Amendment protection against self incrimination was directly on point. So I made that position clear to the FBI which then set up a conference call with the DOJ's US Attorneys prosecuting the Jan 6th case still going on with the 2nd batch of defendants.I was told that I didn't have a 5th Amendment right because I was not the target of the investigation. So my question was, "Can these files be used against me in a court of law or not?" Then things started getting unclear.
I was to travel to Washington D.C. in September, October and November for Sunday through Friday visits if I didn't 'just sign' the certifications. The US taxpayers would pay for flights, accommodations, travel in DC and $60 a day meals. The FBI travel agents office booked a September appearance that was canceled in place of a ZOOM meeting with US Attorneys, The Judge and all of the defense attorneys. The DOJ stated to judge that Mr. Hancock plans to claim 5th Amendment protection and not certify the files. The judge stated that I had to comply with the subpoena. I responded that I was being cooperative and would appear as compelled and be in possession of the files on a memory stick, but would be claiming 5th Amendment protection. The judge has little else to share since I was willing to show up.The prosecution was adamant that I retain an attorney. I shared that I wasn't willing to endure the cost and that my intentions were simple. I needed to know if journalists have a Fifth Amendment right to not certify shows that may be used against them in a criminal case and I didn't need a lawyer to find that out. The DOJ then encouraged me to accept a free lawyer that they would pay for to advise me on this issue. I thanked them for the option but would not agree to be represented by a US Government appointed lawyer. My primary thought on this point was that Generation Next Podcasters in their 20's being presented with these certification requests from the Federal Government are either going to immediately comply, or have to borrow money from family to pay gazillions for representation. I predict that these forms are already being used much more than we know to suppress the interviewing of whistle blowers and others that have been labeled a threat to those that control The Form Blizzard that be 'acom'n.Then the DOJ presented me with a "Proffer". This is an immunity agreement that states that if I cooperate then the files certified by me could not be used against me in a criminal case (lots of verbiage on conditions and limits etc.). But the main issue is that once granted a proffer, you no longer have 5th Amendment protection and must testify to their satisfaction (seemed like a very subjective determination that the DOJ would make about how I testified).By this time there were too many irregularities and inconsistencies (this is a whole other article that can be written) for me to enter into any agreements with the DOJ so I declined to participate , other than to comply with the subpoena to appear'... and take the 5th from the stand.So the November date came and went so I thought we were done. Then Thursday the 8th of December I received a communication and documents stating that I was being subpoenaed to leave Phoenix Sunday the 11th to be in court Monday the 12th at 9am. So I communicated with FBI travel agent and arrived last night.I appeared at 9am and the courtroom was locked. Called DOJ and was told that court was rescheduled for 1:15pm and was asked if I still intended on claiming 5th Amendment protection. I responded Yes, see you at 1:15pm. I ordered an Uber back to my hotel and received a phone call from the DOJ stating that they had just made an agreement with the defense team and that I was no longer required and I could go home as early as today. I asked if I had to wait for media reports to find out what happened or if he could tell me what happened. "Got to wait". So we'll post on FreedomsPhoenix when we know.I asked Travel agent that my return be tomorrow, she was rushed to get it done for today she said and I have a meeting scheduled for dinner with a friend so tomorrow is acceptable. At least I'll be home for Christmas (that was in question).There are many details about conversations with government agents and lawyers, family, attorneys, friends, subscribers, various reporters, talk show hosts, activists, previous guests, show listeners, institutes, foundations, Libertarian Party activists and FreedomsPhoenix readers etc. Many were more concerned for my safety and well being than the issue I was most concerned about. I thank them all and am very appreciative of their concerns and them taking the time to contact me and talk to me when I had questions.When talking to family and friends (radio show too'... more friends) I would often repeat myself on what was important to me,'... most annoying to family I'm sure, sorry, but this is my way of preparing myself. I want to thank all of the supporters that encouraged me to hold firm and my family especially. My wife Donna, all of my 4 children and all of their spouses were Great. They have a lifetime of experiences of these sorts of challenges and frankly expected nothing less.But I was surprised by the majority of professionals that didn't see the threat I see coming or the protections being stripped from journalists. Maybe I was just lucky and prayers of many were answered, thank you, but these show trials aren't going to stop until the show is exposed for what it is,... a Control Mechanism.No Fear, No Fear, No Fear.Peace,Ernie
Peter Breggin on being sued by Robert Malone - Jerm Warfare
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 15:52
Peter Breggin, who previously chatted to me about the global predators, is a psychiatrist with a great legacy.
Peter Roger Breggin is an American psychiatrist and critic of shock treatment and psychiatric medication and Covid-19 response. In his books, he advocates replacing psychiatry's use of drugs and electroconvulsive therapy with psychotherapy, education, empathy, love, and broader human services.
In other words, Peter's approach is focused first on the person and last on pharmaceutical intervention which, in my view, is not only optimal but also logical.
Being suedI'm not going to get into the personal stuff so I will stick to the overarching talking points and I will say that Peter's critique of mass formation swung me. Mattias Desmet made some excellent arguments on my show (many with which I agree) but I have since been persuaded by the idea that masses can't be hypnotised let alone hypnotise themselves. In short, individuals make choices based on a variety of reasons including propaganda, fear and self-preservation.
Jon Rappoport sealed the deal for me.
Robert Malone, who flip-flopped a little bit on mRNA jabs but, thankfully, found the straight and narrow, perpetuated the mass formation hypothesis on Joe Rogan's show, adding ''psychosis'' to the mix.
Peter, having an obvious interest in all things mental health, wrote a series of critiques which can be read at his website.
After which Robert Malone filed a defamation suit against Peter.
Incredibly, the dispute is not about the dangers and lack of effectiveness of the mRNA ''vaccines,'' nor about vaccine mandates, nor safe and effective early-stage remedies for the covid, nor masks, lockdowns, school closures, nor any of the other totally nonsensical covid restrictions that have plagued human society since the pandemic began.Rather, the dispute centers on Dr. Malone's use of the term ''mass formation psychosis''.
Patrick D Hahn's SubstackIn my opinion, this is a bad move by Robert.
And it doesn't make sense to me.
Something else is going on and I don't know what it is. It's not about money, as Patrick D Hahn notes.
Dr. Malone has plumed himself on his connections with the deep state. ''I've won literally billions of dollars in federal grants and contracts,'' he boasted to talk show host Joe Rogan. ''I'm often brought in by the NIH to serve as a study section chair for awarding 80-to-120-million-dollar contracts in vaccines and biodefense.''By contrast, Dr. Breggin has written: ''Although we often spend more than half our week on reform work, we never take money for it and instead finance it ourselves. Over the years, I have earned most of my income from doing individual and couples therapy, helping people withdraw from psychiatric drugs, and offering medical expert testimony and consultations.''
It's not hard to guess who has deeper pockets here.
Our conversationPeter joined me for a conversation about this whole saga.
Fusion energy, the 'holy grail' of clean power, a step closer to reality - The Washington Post
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 15:23
The Department of Energy plans to announce Tuesday that scientists have been able for the first time to produce a fusion reaction that creates a net energy gain '-- a major milestone in the decades-long, multibillion-dollar quest to develop a technology that provides unlimited, cheap, clean power.
The aim of fusion research is to replicate the nuclear reaction through which energy is created on the sun. It is a ''holy grail'' of carbon-free power that scientists have been chasing since the 1950s. It is still at least a decade '-- maybe decades '-- away from commercial use, but the latest development is likely to be touted by the Biden administration as an affirmation of a massive investment by the government over the years.
Huge amounts of public and private funds have been funneled into the fusion race worldwide, with the aim of ultimately manufacturing fusion machinery that could bring electricity to the grid with no carbon footprint, no radioactive waste and far fewer resources than it takes to harness solar and wind power. Beyond the climate benefits, promoters say it could help bring cheap electricity to impoverished parts of the world.
''To most of us, this was only a matter of time,'' said a senior fusion scientist familiar with the work of the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, where the discovery was made.
Nuclear fusion power inches closer to reality
The development was first reported by the Financial Times on Sunday. It was confirmed by two people familiar with the research, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid getting ahead of the official announcement. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was slated to make the announcement Tuesday at a media event billed as the unveiling of ''a major scientific breakthrough.''
The department and the lab declined to comment. A lab official said researchers there are still finalizing their analysis and will not be releasing any official findings before Tuesday.
The science of nuclear fusion relies on smashing two atoms together at incredibly high speeds and transforming the energy from that reaction into electricity that can power homes and offices without emitting carbon into the air or dumping radioactive waste into the environment.
In the decades scientists have been experimenting with fusion reactions, they had not until now been able to create one that produces more energy than it consumes. While the achievement is significant, there are still monumental engineering and scientific challenges ahead.
The Inflation Reduction Act could push climate change tech into the future
Creating the net energy gain required engagement of one of the largest lasers in the world, and the resources needed to recreate the reaction on the scale required to make fusion practical for energy production are immense. More importantly, engineers have yet to develop machinery capable of affordably turning that reaction into electricity that can be practically deployed to the power grid.
Building devices that are large enough to create fusion power at scale, scientists say, would require materials that are extraordinarily difficult to produce. At the same time, the reaction creates neutrons that put a tremendous amount of stress on the equipment creating it, such that it can get destroyed in the process.
And then there is the question of whether the technology could be perfected in time to make a dent in climate change.
Even so, researchers and investors in fusion technology hailed the breakthrough as an important advancement.
''There is going to be great pride that this is something that happened in the United States,'' said David Edelman, who leads policy and global affairs at TAE, a large private fusion energy company. ''This is a very important milestone on the road toward fusion energy.''
It comes as the Biden administration is prioritizing fusion energy research in its climate and energy agenda. The projects are among the front of the line for the tens of billions of dollars in subsidies and grants authorized through the major climate package Biden signed over the summer, called the Inflation Reduction Act.
Over the past several decades, the United States, Russia and various European nations have allocated billions in government dollars trying to master the science, believing that if they could, it would be a boon for the world.
A clot too far: An embalmer dissects antivax misinformation about blood clots in Died Suddenly | Science-Based Medicine
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 14:51
In my twelve years of funeral service, one thing I have learned to be true; embalmers love a good clot story, and I find myself to be no exception to this. Seven years as an instructor of embalming and restorative art have given me an advantage in that I have more people sharing their clot stories with me. If you gave me ten minutes, it would be easy for me to come up with messages from people who have sent me pictures of large clots they have pulled from the veins of deceased humans during the embalming process. Consider it our version of ASMR in the same way that some people enjoy Dr. Pimple Popper. While I deigned to watch more of the antivaccine ''documentary'' Died Suddenly than I had to (e.g., all of it), I did, however, enjoy the final sequence in the film in which an embalmer named Richard Hirschman pulled large clots from the veins and arteries of the deceased person being embalmed. So when Dr. Gorski unexpectedly asked me to write a review of the film from an embalmer's perspective (his more general review of the film from a science-based perspective can be found here), I was happy to do so.
A person might ask: Why is the scene in Died Suddenly featuring the removal of clots from bodies so appealing to embalmers? The answer is simple: The removal of clots of all shapes and sizes is a hallmark of an embalming going well and is exactly what we would expect and hope to see. This is particularly illustrated when Hirschman is shown removing a clot from the jugular vein and there is a burst of embalming solution behind it shown briefly before the camera stops filming. Every embalmer loves to see this because that's how we know that our embalming solution will have a clear path into the arteries and capillaries. Yes, we embalmers love a good clot story, however it seems that the clot story in Died Suddenly is now being used to repackage many of the same old antivaccination tropes we have heard before.
To the untrained eye, the embalming sequence shown near the end of the movie can indeed appear odd. Because of the secretive nature of funeral service and our reverence for the dead, there aren't a lot of embalming videos available in general, and even fewer are available to the public. In our culture, a precaution we take when using pictures and videos of people's loved ones for educational purposes is getting written permission to take photographs of deceased people. It sometimes is the bullet points found on funeral homes' embalming authorization forms. True, the use of the footage does not have to be specific when an embalmer obtains such permission, and it is unknown if Mr. Hirschman got that permission for this film. Most funeral homes bristle at the idea of bringing this up to grieving families, so it typically is not done unless you are making it part of your embalming case report or working with an embalmer who creates educational content for other embalmers. This is illustrated by Mr. Hirschman's timidness about asking for permission to film at the funeral home, so instead he chooses to surprise them at the last minute with the camera crew. So please allow me to provide some insight for you into what we are seeing during this sequence that starts around 50 minutes in. I will also warn readers that this discussion features screenshots from Died Suddenly that might be disturbing to some.
Not an embalming table. (Screenshot from Died Suddenly.)
What is going on in this prep room?After being told none of the footage has been altered, we are immediately treated to a scene of a dimly lit (and possibly foggy) embalming room (also called a prep room) where Mr. Hirschman is portrayed as headed to a final showdown with a deceased person waiting for him on a table. This scene appears to contain footage of two different people on tables. The sequence that includes Mr. Hirschman'--I am not even convinced this is him and not an actor'--does appear to have a table used for embalming with a body on it. The second shot clearly shows the body wrapped differently and not a table used for embalming (see screenshot above). Embalming tables have trenches around the sides to catch and direct any liquids on the tables (as seen in the shot including ''Mr. Hirschman''), this one does not. So much for unaltered footage.
Anatomy of the iliac-femoral artery/vein confluence, where the external iliac artery/vein turn into the femoral artery/vein. The dotted line represents the inguinal ligament.
Also, as an aside, for someone who is so concerned with public health, ''Mr. Hirschman'' needs to examine his own here, as he is decidedly not dressed in the OSHA recommended personal protective equipment prescribed for embalmers when they are preparing a body.
The first shot is of him pulling clots out of the iliac artery, claiming ''this is not normal''. This claim is patently false. First, unless an embalmer is injecting an autopsied case, they are not using the iliac artery, but the external iliac artery or the femoral artery because these are superficial to the surface of the skin, which allows for easy access. This is an important distinction, because it is in this area is that the external iliac turns into the femoral artery as it crosses the inguinal ligament heading towards the leg. This area is a common site of significant atherosclerosis (the hardening of arteries), which slows blood and can capture clots. In fact, if Mr. Hirschman had picked up his embalming book during mortuary school, he would have recognized that we specifically teach that this is a danger area for clots and arterial blockages. When these are encountered, the embalmer might be required to access the femoral (or iliac) artery to inject the leg with embalming solution. It is extremely common to have to raise (the term we use for accessing the vascular system through an incision) more than one artery to complete an embalming, particularly to get better distribution and diffusion of solution to the legs. It is true that many embalmings begin with injection and drainage from the common carotid artery and the jugular vein in the neck, but it is not unusual for an embalmer to start with the femoral/iliac artery as the primary injection site. Since we see both in this sequence and because of potential editing, it is hard to know in what order he did the injection.
Removal of a clot from the iliac artery. (Screenshot from Died Suddenly.)
We are then treated to a montage of piles of blood clots. Again, this does not appear to be unusual. The difference here, is that clots have been collected for dramatic effect, when typically, most of these would just be washed down the drain during the embalming process, particularly the gelatinous red portion.
Shot showing some of the blood clot from the montage of clots in Died Suddenly.
Angular forceps. (Photo courtesy of Benjamin Schmidt.)
Next, after narration from an embalmer named Nicky Rupright King, we return to the prep room where Mr. Hirschman is removing a clot from the jugular vein followed by the burst of embalming solution I mentioned earlier. He says, ''That's a monster!'''--indeed it is a good-sized clot'--and there is the explosion of embalming solution from the buildup of pressure behind it. I personally breathed a sigh of relief for him because I have done exactly this countless times and taken it as sign that the tide of my embalming was going to turn for the better. Further, the instrument he is using to remove the clot is known as an ''angular forceps'', and in embalming we use this specifically because of its ability to grasp and remove large clots! If he did indeed start injection with the external iliac before the common carotid, the injection directed superiorly would have pushed any clots in the body up to his point of drainage in the jugular. We don't see him doing the actual injection in the footage because there is an absence of an arterial tube (the device inserted into an artery for injection of embalming solution) but we can infer its presence based on the embalming solution and the buildup of pressure in the shot of the common carotid/jugular vein. It is also possible that he was injecting the solution into the iliac artery and draining from the jugular, which is a technique called ''split injection'' (injection from one site and drainage from another). Drainage from the jugular is common because it diverts clots from being lodged in the head and causing swelling in the features.
Removal of clot before the expulsion of embalming solution. (Screenshot from Died Suddenly.)
The clots themselvesSo now that you have a better picture of the embalming process and how it works, we ask ourselves, ''where can the clots be coming from?'' We embalmers have very simple categories we place postmortem clots into:
Currant jelly clots: Blood clots that contain all the blood elements coagulated in an evenly mixed mass.Chicken fat clots: Blood clots that contains all the blood elements with the red and the white cells separated into distinct layers.White fibrin clots: Blood clots that lack red blood cells, often found in the right atrium of the heart.Sludge: Coagulated blood elements that have stuck together (also known as postmortem coagula).I know that these are some very scientific sounding names and can be overwhelming to some when reading them, but the descriptions help. Also keep in mind that all these clots can exist at the same time in the same body. The consistency of the clots will vary as well, based on the following factors:
Moisture content of the body. After a person dies, water moves towards the ground, because you know, gravity. This is called hypostasis, and livor mortis (the red discoloration from the settling of blood) is the outcome. When this happens, the formed elements and blood proteins separate out as gravity continues its work. If a person was dehydrated when they died, theses clots will solidify sooner, and vice versa if they had a higher moisture content. What little case analysis I was able to do while watching this video, this person seems to be of normal moisture content.Time. The more time the body sits, there more solid the clots become based on the separation of moisture. As I mentioned, an indicator of the movement of moisture is livor mortis, and it is not unusual for it to appear very soon after death, and I will explain why in a moment. Based on the angles of the video, I could not determine the movement of moisture based on the appearance of livor mortis.Agonal period. The agonal period is the process of death right before the actual death. If a person is ill, their body process will slow, including their circulation, meaning that the blood can pool in places while the person is still alive due to low blood pressure and perfusion. This is known as agonal hypostasis and is common in people who have been in long term care such as a nursing home, home care, or hospice. Therefore, as I mentioned, livor mortis can appear soon after death in some cases. Based on the case analysis in the video here, I cannot determine the changes during the person's agonal period.Refrigeration. Cooling a body does a few things in the short term and even more in the long term. In the short term, it can allow for blood to remain in a liquid state and separate from the formed elements. Air movement over the surface of the body also causes dehydration. In the long term, oils and proteins of the body coagulate. Based on what I gleaned from the conversation about the person being embalmed, I believe that if this person was refrigerated, it was for a short time.While I cannot definitively do any type of case analysis based on what is in the video, I do believe that it is fair to say that many of the 118 bodies Mr. Hirschman has claimed to have tracked and presented for evidence have been affected by one of the clot creating factors listed above.
So, now that we have an idea of how to categorize clots, let's take a look at what types of clots we can see. First, remember that clots look weird even to us (hence part of why embalmers love clot stories). To the uncalibrated eye, it can be difficult to define them exactly. The other thing is that we must remember that all the different categories of clots can exist in the same body simultaneously. In the sequence where Mr. Hirschman is removing the clot from the iliac it would appear consistent with a currant jelly clot or maybe a chicken fat clot where the white portion is covered with other parts of the blood. The clot clusters in the blood clot montage, are clearly a mixture of chicken fat clots and sludge. Also, in the film Hirschman discusses a doctor's concern over ''microclots'' and describes the drainage as dirty or sandy. The image we are shown of this is exactly what you would expect to see during an embalming. Later, he swirls the ''dirty'' blood in a vial. In fact, I would be concerned if I didn't see this during an embalming, because it indicates the removal of postmortem coagula from the smaller arteries and capillaries.
''Dirty'' blood on the table. (Screenshot from Died Suddenly.)
''Dirty'' blood in the vial. (Screenshot from Died Suddenly.)
The ''monster clot'' from the jugular vein could be a chicken fat clot where the red portion has sloughed off due to the pressure build up and the extraction of it from the vein. We can see evidence of it surrounding the incision. It could also be a white fibrin clot as a properly placed angular forceps enters the right atrium of the heart via the jugular vein, as this is the center for drainage in a deceased human.
Effects of the embalming processWe also need to consider the effect of the embalming process on the clots themselves. A repeated discussion of the clots describes them as ''rubbery,'' and this is reiterated again when a crew member feels one of the clots Mr. Hirschman dangles for all to see. This comes as zero surprise to any embalmer because that is exactly what embalmed tissue feels like. One of the functions of formaldehyde is to coagulate protein, and this is what produces the rubbery feel. In fact, embalming chemical companies add modifying chemicals to their products in order to reduce this texture.
''Oooh, rubbery!'' (Screenshot from Died Suddenly.)
The whopping one sample that has been analyzed by Mike Adams using inductively coupled plasma''mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) came back with these results:
The clot lacks the metals such as calcium and magnesium normally found in blood.The clot had a high concentration of chloride.Again, had Adams or anyone taken the time to open an embalming textbook, they would have had their answers. Embalming fluids used for arterial injection frequently contain the metal chelator EDTA and other anticoagulants whose specific purpose is to strip metals from the blood. Calcium is responsible for the blood clotting reaction even after death, so we have preservative fluids with anticoagulants built in or added to the embalming solution separately to promote drainage and reduce clotting. If Mr. Hirschman was expecting to find clots, it is likely he would have chosen fluids that would aid him in their removal, because his goal after all is to have a well-embalmed body. As for the chloride, again simple explanation; many prep room cleaners, including bleach, contain chlorides. If the clots came into contact with a surface (the embalming table for example) they would be contaminated by the cleaning agent. We also need to consider the physics of embalming as well, embalming machines vary in their pressure and rate of flow combinations, and embalmers like to manipulate these settings as they go.
If Mr. Hirschman was expecting clots, he would have been changing these settings to prevent swelling but loosen the clots at the same time. The general rule for this is low pressure, low rate of flow. There is another thing we should not overlook here; as a seasoned embalmer, I have no doubt that Mr. Hirschman is really good at extracting clots. Developing this technique over time to keep clots intact as you remove them is in an embalmer's best interest to clear arteries and veins, as necessary.
The claims about the clotsBefore I conclude, I would like to examine the claims about the clots through the qualifications of an embalmer and as I see it, there are three; there is a rise in clots, the clots are unusual, and the clots are caused by the COVID vaccine. So let us look at them one by one:
There is a rise in clots.It is impossible to tell, at least from the information presented in Died Suddenly. As far as I know, there is not a database of all reported clots that creates statistics for us to reference. Plus, as you can imagine, it would be really hard for us to accurately gauge the number of clots in all the dead people in the entire world, especially considering that most of the people do not get embalmed and are not examined by a coroner or medical examiner. If there is one, I would love to see it. As early as summer 2020, we were told that a side effect of COVID-19 was clots, so if there is a rise in clots, there's a reasonable explanation.
The clots are unusual.As I have explained, every clot is unique, and the variations of clots are based on all the factors I listed. There is a way we could gain more information about the conditions when the clots were produced and that is if Mr. Hirschman were to release his embalming case reports for review. A typical embalming case report has demographic information such as gender and age as well as any antemortem and postmortem conditions such as medical devices found, signs of moisture content, livor mortis, etc. It would also tell us what embalming fluids he used and the concentration of formaldehyde his embalming solution was. He already has a catalog of his cases, and each sample bottle was labeled with the number, so if he allowed us to analyze his embalming case reports for each one, we would have more information. However, based on the images I have seen, particularly the image in the film's thumbnail of the clots on the blue glove, there is nothing unusual about them at all.
The clots are caused by COVID-19 vaccines.There is no compelling evidence of this, and Mr. Hirschman's own study does not lead us in this direction. He has confirmed 16 of these bodies are vaccinated, but the vaccination status of the other 102 remains unknown. As we see looking over his shoulder on his computer, he has logged a lot of bodies that have clots in them. This makes sense to me because lots of bodies have clots in them. One of the issues never really addressed here is whether we are to assume all of the clots found in a person are caused by the vaccine, or only some of them. How does Mr. Hirschman determine this? Also, more confusing is how Mr. Hirschman has even confirmed the 16 he claims he has verified. At the beginning of the movie, he is identified as a ''trade embalmer''. A trade embalmer is a person who goes from funeral home to funeral home embalming bodies as an independent contractor. They rarely, if ever, have any contact with the families directly, unless of course they also transport the person from the place of death and the family is present. Laws on who can transport a body from the place of death vary from state to state and in Alabama, no specific license for this is required. My guess is that the funeral homes hire a transfer service or have a driver who is paid minimum wage for this purpose if they are not sending one of their own funeral directors as a representative. It would not be considered good etiquette to ask a grieving widow at that time if her husband was vaccinated. So, this means that he is likely getting this information second hand from people at the funeral homes that hire him.
Now the scope of work that Mr. Hirschman and the trade embalmers does vary depending on what services they offer a funeral home, however, based on what we saw in the film we can assume that embalming is his main duty because he was called by a funeral home, went to the funeral home, and then walked like some kind of warrior towards a dead body for a showdown. What should also be noted here is that if a person dies a natural death, the embalmer typically does not know their cause of death at the time of their embalming. Because decomposition begins at the moment of death we try to embalm as soon as possible. It may take several days for a doctor to complete a death certificate, indicating the cause of death. So, as you can imagine, the idea that we would know a person's vaccine history is almost unheard of. Case in point, it was also unknown to us as the viewers of Mr. Hirschman's embalming if the person that was being embalmed was indeed vaccinated. This means all the ''whoa babying'' he was doing over the clots during the embalming, might have been on a person who was not vaccinated. In general, this is all anecdotal evidence causing the embalmers to jump to conclusions and make claims they are not qualified to make. We do not have training in the collection or the testing of blood, and as evidenced by the corruption of the one sample sent to Mike Adam's laboratory, Mr. Hirschman specifically does not have this training.
To me, Mr. Hirschman demonstrates the qualities of a good embalmer but a terrible scientist. Instead of jumping to conclusions based on his own confirmation bias, he should have opened one of the embalming textbooks available to him because that would explain a lot of what's going on here. It is an old trope in our industry that when a new embalmer begins at a funeral home, they are told by the embalmers training them, ''Forget what you learned in school. I will teach you everything you need to know''. There is a culture of hubris and argument from authority that is entrenched in funeral service, and it is on full display here. The assumption that the embalmers make in this film that they have any qualifications to make the claims they are is laughable. I say this with added confidence because I know for a fact that I had the same education as one of the embalmers featured in this film and then went on to teach embalming at the same school we both went to! In short, if you find yourself taking medical advice from embalmers, you are likely to find yourself on their table soon after.
NOTICE: The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post belong to Ben Schmidt alone and are not necessarily representative of any organizations he is affiliated with.
ReferencesMayer, R. (2012). Embalming history, theory, and practice, 5th Ed. McGraw Hill: New York.Strub, C., Frederick, L.G., (1989). The principals and practices of embalming, Professional Training Schools: Dallas.
After spending seven years in the Navy, Ben left to pursue his education, receiving Bachelor's degrees in both Natural Science and Psychology from Thomas Edison State University. After working as a social worker at a residential facility for handicapped children, Ben enrolled at Worsham College of Mortuary Science, graduating in 2011 and earning his Funeral Director and Embalmer License. After four years in the field, and earning his Master's Degree in Organizational Leadership, Ben continued his career in mortuary science as an instructor of embalming, chemistry, anatomy, restorative art, funeral directing, and funeral service history at two mortuary colleges. In addition to his teaching duties, he is a consultant at Raven Plume Consulting, is the co-author of the textbook Creating Natural Form: Restorative Art Theory and Application, the co-creator of the MorTraqr task tracking app, and host of The Funeral Science Podcast.
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Opinion | The Great Delusion Behind Twitter - The New York Times
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 13:25
Ezra Klein
Quakers at a prayer vigil in front of the armed forces recruitment booth in Times Square in 1961. The Quaker way has a lot to teach us about social media. Credit... Allyn Baum/The New York Times Send any friend a story
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For what feels like ages, we've been told that Twitter is, or needs to be, the world's town square. That was Dick Costolo's line in 2013, when he was Twitter's chief executive (''We think of it as the global town square''), and Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter's founders, used it, too, in 2018 (''People use Twitter as a digital public square''). Now the line comes from the ''chief twit,'' Elon Musk (''The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square'').
This metaphor is wrong on three levels.
First, there isn't, can't be and shouldn't be a ''global town square.'' The world needs many town squares, not one. Public spaces are rooted in the communities and contexts in which they exist. This is true, too, for Twitter, which is less a singular entity than a digital multiverse. What Twitter is for activists in Zimbabwe is not what it is for gamers in Britain.
Second, town squares are public spaces, governed in some way by the public. That is what makes them a town square rather than a square in a town. They are not the playthings of whimsical billionaires. They do not exist, as Twitter did for so long, to provide returns to shareholders. (And as wild as Musk's reign has already been, remember that he tried to back out of this deal, and Twitter's leadership, knowing he neither wanted the service nor would treat it or its employees with care, forced it through to ensure that executives and shareholders got their payout.) A town square controlled by one man isn't a town square. It's a storefront, an art project or possibly a game preserve.
Third, what matters for a polity isn't the mere existence of a town square but the condition the townspeople are in when they arrive. Town squares can host debates. They can host craft fairs. They can host brawls. They can host lynchings. Civilization does not depend on a place to gather. It depends on what happens when people gather.
So much genius and trickery and money have gone into a mistaken metaphor. The competition to create and own the digital square may be good business, but it has led to terrible politics. Think of the hopeful imaginings that accompanied the early days of social media: We would know one another across time and space; we would share with one another across cultures and generations; we would inform one another across borders and factions. Billions of people use these services. Their scale is truly civilizational. And what have they wrought? Is the world more democratic? Is G.D.P. growth higher? Is innovation faster? Do we seem wiser? Do we seem kinder? Are we happier? Shouldn't something, anything, have gotten noticeably better in the short decades since these services fought their way into our lives?
I think there is a reason that so little has gotten better and so much has gotten worse. It is this: The cost of so much connection and information has been the deterioration of our capacity for attention and reflection. And it is the quality of our attention and reflection that matters most.
In a recent paper, Benjamin Farrer, a political scientist at Knox College in Illinois, argues that we have mistaken the key resource upon which democracy, and perhaps civilization, depends. That resource is attention. But not your attention or my attention. Our attention. Attention, in this sense, is a collective resource; it is the depth of thought and consideration a society can bring to bear on its most pressing problems. And as with so many collective resources, from fresh air to clean water, it can be polluted or exhausted.
Borrowing an approach from Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel in economic science, Farrer argues that attention is subject to a problem known as the tragedy of the commons. A classic example of a tragedy of the commons is an open pasture that any shepherd can use for his flock. Without wise governance, every shepherd will send his flock to graze, because if he doesn't, the other shepherds will do so first. Soon enough, the pasture is bare, and the resource is depleted.
Farrer argues that our collective attention is like a public pasture: It is valuable, it is limited, and it is being depleted. Everyone from advertisers to politicians to newspapers to social media giants wants our attention. The competition is fierce, and it has led to more sensationalism, more outrageous or infuriating content, more algorithmic tricks, more of anything that might give a brand or a platform or a politician an edge, even as it leaves us harried, irritable and distracted.
One telling study recruited participants across 17 countries and six continents and measured skin conductivity '-- a signal of emotional response '-- when participants saw positive, negative and neutral news. Negative news was, consistently, the most engaging. If you've ever wondered why the news is so focused on tragedy and conflict or why social media furnishes more outrage than inspiration, that's the reason. Negativity captures our attention better than positivity or neutrality.
This is not a new dynamic, and it is by no means unique to Twitter. ''The mission of the press is to spread culture while destroying the attention span,'' Karl Kraus, the Austrian satirist, wrote in the early 1900s. But it is worse now. The tools available to those who would command our attention are far more powerful than in past eras.
Twitter's problems did not begin and will not end with Musk. They are woven into the fabric of the platform. Twitter makes it easy to discuss hard topics poorly. And it does that by putting its participants in the worst state of mind for a discussion.
Twitter forces nuanced thoughts down to bumper-sticker bluntness. The chaotic, always moving newsfeed leaves little time for reflection on whatever has just been read. The algorithm's obsession with likes and retweets means users mainly see (and produce) speech that flatters their community or demonizes those they already loathe. The quote tweet function encourages mockery rather than conversation. The frictionless slide between thought and post, combined with the absence of an edit function, encourages impulsive reaction rather than sober consideration. It is not that difficult conversations cannot or have not happened on the platform. It is more that they should not happen on the platform.
But they do. Of course they do. And this is what critics of the platform, including me, need to reckon with.
''The whole issue of police violence against Black people was fully exposed because of Twitter,'' Sherrilyn Ifill, a former president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, told me. ''Because of videos of Walter Scott running in that park and Philando Castile and Freddie Gray and so many others. Presenting this incontrovertible evidence of the truth we'd been living with and that was so disparaged by white political leaders has forever transformed the conversation over public safety.''
Twitter has real strengths, many of which are the flip side of its weaknesses. It is as flat a medium as any that has existed. It is as fast a medium as has ever existed; that can be maddening, but it can also draw attention to something that is happening and has to change right now. It is an unusually confrontational medium, and that has permitted movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo to flower and for socialists to get a new hearing in American politics '-- and it has also, of course, given new succor and life to the racist right. Put simply, Twitter's value is how easy it makes it to talk. Its cost is how hard it makes it to listen.
It is a failure of imagination to think that our choice is the social media platforms we have now or nothing. I keep thinking about something that Robin Sloan, a novelist and former Twitter employee, wrote this year: ''There are so many ways people might relate to one another online, so many ways exchange and conviviality might be organized. Look at these screens, this wash of pixels, the liquid potential! What a colossal bummer that Twitter eked out a local maximum, that its network effect still (!) consumes the fuel for other possibilities, other explorations.''
What's surprised me most as Twitter has convulsed in recent weeks is how threadbare the social media cupboard really is. So many are open to trying something new, but as of yet, there's nothing that feels all that new to try. Everything feels like a take on Twitter. It may be faster or slower, more decentralized or more moderated, but they're all variations on the same theme: experiments in how to capture attention rather than deepen it, platforms built to encourage us to speak rather than to help us listen or think.
Permit me a weird turn here. I became interested this year in how Quakers deliberate. As a movement, Quakers have been far ahead of the moral curve time and again '-- early to abolitionism, to equality between the sexes, to prison reform, to pressuring governments to help save Jews from the Holocaust. That is not to say Quakers have gotten nothing wrong, but what has led them to get so much right?
The answer suggested by Rex Ambler's lovely book ''The Quaker Way'' is silence. In a typical Quaker meeting, Ambler writes, community members ''sit in silence together for an hour or so, standing up to speak only if they are led to do so, and then only to share some insight which they sense will be of value to others.'' If they must decide an issue collectively, ''they will wait in silence together, again, to discern what has to be done.'' There is much that debate can offer but much that it can obscure. ''To get a clear sense of what is happening in our lives, we Quakers try to go deeper,'' he writes. ''We have to let go our active and fretful minds in order to do this. We go quiet and let a deeper, more sensitive awareness arise.''
I find this powerful in part because I see it in myself. I know how I respond in the heat of an argument, when my whole being is tensed to react. And I know how I process hard questions or difficult emotions after quiet reflection, when there is time for my spirit to settle. I know which is my better self.
Democracy is not and will not be one long Quaker meeting. But there is wisdom here worth mulling. We do not make our best decisions, as individuals or as a collective, when our minds are most active and fretful. And yet ''active and fretful'' is about as precise a description as I can imagine of the Twitter mind. And having put us in an active, fretful mental state, Twitter then encourages us to fire off declarative statements on the most divisive possible issues, always with one eye to how quickly they will rack up likes and retweets and thus viral power. It's insane.
And it will get so much worse from here. OpenAI recently released ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence system that can be given requests in plain language (''Write me an argument for the benefits of single-payer health care, in the style of a Taylor Swift song'') and spit out remarkably passable results.
What ChatGPT can do is a marvel. We are at the dawn of a new technological era. But it is easy to see how it could turn dark '-- and quickly. A.I. systems like this make the production and manipulation of text (and code and images and eventually audio and video) functionally costless. They will be deployed to produce whatever makes us most likely to click. But these systems do not and cannot know what they are producing. The cost of creating and optimizing content that grabs our attention is plummeting, but the cost of producing valuable and truthful work isn't.
These are technologies that lend themselves to cacophony, not community. I fear a world in which the business models behind them run on our attention or profit off our anger. But other worlds and other models are possible.
A few weeks back, I spoke to Audrey Tang, Taiwan's minister of digital affairs. I asked her what it would mean for social media to be run democratically, given the mistrust many Americans have '-- and for good reason '-- of the state. (Imagine if the Trump administration had owned Twitter.) ''Does the social sector mean anything in the American context?'' she asked me.
By the social sector, Tang meant what we sometimes call civil society '-- the layer of associations and organizations between the government and the market. In Taiwan, key parts of digital infrastructure are managed at this level. The PTT Bulletin Board System, which she described as Taiwan's Reddit, if Reddit were far more central to social and political life, is still owned by the student group that started it. It was part of how Taiwan responded so early and so effectively to the coronavirus. ''It has no shareholders,'' Tang said. ''No advertisers. It is entirely within the academic network. It's entirely open source. It's entirely community governed. People can freely join it. It's a public digital space.''
It sounded like utopia to me, before I remembered that a key part of our digital infrastructure is run similarly. Wikipedia remains one of the most-visited sites on the web, and it is owned and managed by the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation. It shows. Wikipedia has never tried to become more than it is. It never pivoted to video or remade itself around an algorithmic feed in order to harvest more of our attention. It is a commons but one that is governed so we may use it rather than so that it may use us. It gives so much more than it takes. It thrives, quietly and gently, as a reminder that a very different internet, governed in a very different way, intended for a very different purpose, is possible.
There are those who believe the social web is reaching its terminal point. I hope they're right. Platform after platform was designed to make it easier and more addictive for us to share content with one another so the corporations behind them could sell ever more of our attention and data. In different ways, most of these platforms are now in decline.
What if the next turn of the media dial was measured not by how much attention we gave to a platform but by how much it gave to us? I am not sure what such a service would look like. But I am hungry for it, and I suspect a lot of other people are, too.
Elon Musk's Twitter takeover: Why the White House isn't worried | Semafor
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 13:25
Max's viewBiden's team seems to view the battle over moderation at Twitter as a matter of some concern '-- like, say, a big fire in California or the political crisis in Peru '-- but not something that's exactly their problem.
The administration does not consider Twitter a vital part of any political strategy that reaches beyond the chattering classes. One former White House official told Semafor the platform is an ''afterthought'' in communications and press meetings, which tend to focus first on television and traditional media and on Facebook, a declining service that still reaches a mass audience.
It's a stark contrast with President Donald Trump, who early this year sued the platform for removing him, comparing the ban to the Catholic Church's silencing of the astronomer Galileo. As then-White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki once put it: ''I think it's safe to say that the president spends a lot less time obsessing over social media than the former president.''
The disdain for Twitter inside the White House has little to do with right-wing control of the platform, and more to do with its role inside the Democratic Party: Biden's wing sees Twitter as fuel for activist voices who push ingroup thinking, left-of-center bias, and socioeconomic bias.
When Biden ran for president in 2016, his staff's mantra was ''Twitter isn't real life.'' Now, aides point to data from The New York Times suggesting that Democrats are ''more moderate, more diverse and less educated'' than those on the social media platform.
Some of Biden's aides tweet a lot: Chief of Staff Ron Klain most prominently, but also rapid response director Andrew Bates, and Digital Director Rob Flaherty.
Klain is well aware of the scrutiny paid to his Twitter account, which he largely uses to influence the journalists he knows are glued to the platform, according to current and former officials. In the months leading up to the midterm elections, he incessantly used Twitter to highlight when gas prices were decreasing (and ignored them when they weren't).
Flaherty is also the main point of contact with social media platforms, and has driven the outreach to many of the administration's most vocal supporters online. The digital team pushed to reward Heather Cox Richardson, the popular liberal Boston College professor and Substacker, and Brian Tyler Cohen, a progressive YouTuber, with rare Biden sitdowns. And earlier this year, his team invited some of the biggest-name #resistance accounts to the White House for a briefing and conversation about some of the victories Biden's team wanted to highlight.
Flaherty, who won an internal battle to move the White House's digital messaging outside its communications office, is among those who have expressed concern that Musk's regime could mean more ''disinformation'' on Twitter.
But there, too, aides said they remain much more worried about false information circulating on Facebook.
One compared the White House view of Twitter to its view of Fox News: A medium with a big audience who aren't usually open to persuasion, but which they can't totally ignore.
Twitter dissolves Trust and Safety Council, Yoel Roth flees home - The Washington Post
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 05:08
Twitter on Monday night abruptly dissolved its Trust and Safety Council, the latest sign that Elon Musk is unraveling years of work and institutions created to make the social network safer and more civil.
Members of Twitter's Trust and Safety Council received an email with the subject line, ''Thank You,'' that informed them the council was no longer ''the best structure'' to bring ''external insights into our product and policy development work.''
The email dissolution arrived less than an hour before members of the council were expecting to meet with Twitter executives via Zoom to discuss recent developments, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the plans.
Dozens of civil rights leaders, academics and advocates from around the world had volunteered their time for years to help improve safety on the platform.
''We are grateful for your engagement, advice and collaboration in recent years and wish you every success in the future,'' said the email, which was simply signed ''Twitter.''
In less than two months, Musk has undone years of investments in trust and safety at Twitter '-- dismissing key parts of the workforce and bringing back accounts that previously had been suspended. As the body unravels, Musk is tightening his grip on decisions about the future of content moderation at Twitter, with less input from outside experts.
The move is just throwing away ''years of institutional memory that we on the council have brought'' to the company, said one council member who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to concerns about harassment on the platform. ''Getting external experts and advocates looking at your services makes you smarter.''
The Trust and Safety Council unraveled after Musk himself had pitched the creation of a content moderation council that would have weighed in on key content moderation decisions, but later appeared to change his mind about introducing such a body.
Many members were already on the verge of resigning, said Larry Magid, chief executive of ConnectSafely, a Silicon Valley nonprofit that advises consumers about children's internet use.
''By disbanding it, we got fired instead of quit,'' he said. ''Elon doesn't want criticism, and he really doesn't want the kind of advice he would very likely get from a safety advisory council, which would likely tell him to rehire some of the staff he got rid of, and reinstate some of the rules he got rid of, and turn the company in another direction from where he is turning it.''
Twitter first formed the Trust and Safety Council in 2016, as social networks were coming under greater scrutiny for their role in amplifying hate, terrorism, child exploitation and other problematic content online. The council convened a wide range of civil society groups, think tanks '-- and even some of Silicon Valley's biggest critics. Twitter executives would regularly brief the council on new products in development and policies.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-profit that promotes press freedom around the world, decried the dissolution of the council. ''Safety online can mean survival offline," the group's president, Jodie Ginsburg, said in a statement. ''Today's decision to dissolve the Trust and Safety Council is cause for grave concern, particularly as it is coupled with increasingly hostile statements by Twitter owner Elon Musk about journalists and the media.''
''I don't understand the logic of doing this when many of these relationships were hard fought to develop,'' said another member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the council's dissolution.
Twitter lawyer long weighed safety, free speech. Then Musk called her out.
Twitter told Trust and Safety members that their ''regional points of contact will remain the best people to contact to escalate concerns.'' However, Twitter's Trust and Safety and policy teams have been gutted by recent layoffs, as well as employee departures following an ultimatum from Musk.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which was a member of the council, will be ''keeping a lookout for how they restructure,'' said Gavin Portnoy, the center's vice president.
''For the moment, we'll continue to encourage reporting to the CyberTipline and hope to continue to have a seat at the table to address child safety on Twitter,'' he said.
Last week, three members of the Trust and Safety Council resigned, warning that the ''safety and wellbeing of Twitter's users are on the decline.''
Musk responded to replies to their tweet announcing their resignation, writing, ''It's a crime that they refused to take action on child exploitation for years!''
Jack Dorsey, the company's former CEO, responded to Musk, calling the claim ''false.'' But Musk's comment nonetheless prompted a wave of threats and harassment at the board members who left the council, as well as some who remained.
The Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit that was a member of the council and has received funding from tech companies, said in a statement that it was ''dismayed by Twitter leadership's irresponsible actions to spread misinformation about the Council, which have endangered Council members and eroded any semblance of trust in the company.''
Musk's treatment of the board mirrored a wave of attacks that enveloped a former top executive at the company over the weekend.
Yoel Roth, Twitter's former head of trust and safety, and his family were forced from their home after Elon Musk's tweets misrepresented Roth's academic writing about sexual activity and children. The online mob also sent threats to people Roth had replied to on Twitter, forcing some of Roth's family and friends to delete their Twitter accounts, according to a person familiar with Roth's situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to concerns about Roth's safety.
Musk's followers also directed harassment at professors who reviewed the dissertation that Roth wrote in 2016, as well as at his graduate school, the University of Pennsylvania, the person said. The university did not respond to a request for comment.
As head of trust and safety at Twitter, Roth was involved in many of the platform's decisions about what posts to remove and what accounts to suspend. His communications with other Twitter officials have been posted in recent days as part of what Musk calls the Twitter Files, a series of tweets by journalists Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss.
Musk's tweets to his tens of millions of followers have for years prompted his supporters to deluge the targets of his ire with online threats '-- famously, a participant in the rescue of a boys soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand, whom Musk branded ''pedo guy.'' But now that Musk owns one of the most powerful social networks in the world and has gutted the company division that previously policed online harassment, the stakes are even higher.
Musk tweets about Roth recalled the QAnon conspiracy movement, which claims incorrectly that Democratic Party leaders direct a child sex abuse network.
''Looks like Yoel is arguing in favor of children being able to access adult Internet services in his PhD thesis,'' Musk tweeted Saturday, attaching a screenshot of Roth's dissertation.
Elon Musk boosts criticism of Twitter executives, prompting online attacks
In the text, Roth suggested that services like the gay dating app Grindr should adopt safety strategies to accommodate teenagers using their platforms, rather than drive them out entirely. Musk also commented on a 2010 tweet in which Roth wrote, ''Can high school students ever meaningfully consent to sex with their teachers?'' Roth then linked to an article about a Washington State Supreme Court ruling about what age students can consent to having sex with their teachers.
Musk's critical comments about Roth are something of an about-face from his early days at the company, when Roth appeared to be one of the few high-level Twitter executives Musk supported. On Oct. 30, the billionaire tweeted, ''I want to be clear that I support Yoel. My sense is that he has high integrity, and we are all entitled to our political beliefs.''
And Roth appeared measured in his comments on Twitter's new owner, seeking to reassure the public about company efforts to fight hate and protect elections. He even appeared alongside Musk in a call intended to reassure advertisers.
Even after he left Twitter in November, Roth was muted in his criticism. He warned in an op-ed in the New York Times that there was ''little need'' for a trust and safety function at a company where ''policies are defined by edict.'' But he also said publicly that it wasn't accurate to depict Musk as the ''villain of the story'' in his takeover of the company.
''I think one of the things that is tricky about Elon, in particular, is that people really want him to be the villain of the story, and they want him to be unequivocally wrong and bad, and everything he says is duplicitous,'' Roth said during an interview at the Knight Foundation conference. ''I have to say ... that wasn't my experience with him.''
Musk's 'free speech' agenda dismantles safety work at Twitter, insiders say
Still, Roth is the most visible former Twitter executive assessing Musk's actions, and his role at the company has been highlighted in the Twitter Files.
Twitter employees have long been wary of Musk's ability to stoke online criticism. Shortly after he announced his plans to take over the company in April, he tweeted a meme to his tens of millions of followers with the face of Twitter's top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, that appeared to suggest the company's decisions are affected by a ''left wing bias.''
Twitter users quickly piled on '-- calling on Musk to fire Gadde or using racist language to describe her. Gadde was born in India and immigrated to the United States as a child. One user said she would ''go down in history as an appalling person.''
Such harassment is part of a years-long pattern for Musk, with few legal consequences to date. Musk ultimately was not held liable in a defamation suit brought after he made his ''pedo guy'' remarks.
Joseph Menn and Naomi Nix in San Francisco contributed to this report.
Top French Central Banker Steps Down After Being Ensnared In Corruption Probe | ZeroHedge
Mon, 12 Dec 2022 17:23
Christine Lagarde is no longer the only (alleged) criminal in charge of a money-printing operation: on Friday, French prosecutors said they had opened a corruption investigation into top central banker Sylvie Goulard, who simultaneously stepped down from the Bank of France.
The probe covers suspicions of accepting bribes, influence peddling, illegal conflicts of interest and breach of trust, the national financial prosecutor's office said, confirming a report from daily Liberation. Graft-fighting group Anticor triggered the probe by filing a criminal report in June, with the investigation launched in September.
In a statement, the Bank of France said Goulard -- a former Member of the European Parliament and briefly defense minister under President Emmanuel Macron in 2017 -- would be leaving her post as one of the institution's deputy governors on December 5.
So what's next for the corruption-tainted Goulard? Will she quietly ride off into the sunset of retirement? Why of course not - she will do what so many alleged criminals ends up doing: work for the government.
According to the Bank of France, Goulard Se wished to "return to the foreign ministry" where she started her civil service career.
Sylvie Goulard"After five years as deputy governor of the Bank of France, Sylvie Goulard wished to join the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, which is her initial Ministry, to pursue her recognised European and international commitment," the Bank of France said in a statement.
A source close to Goulard told AFP that her departure had "nothing to do with the investigation", which of course is a lie.
"Neither Sylvie Goulard nor her lawyer were informed that the investigation had been reopened," the source said. A previous probe in 2019 was closed the following year after no crime was found, case files seen by AFP showed, just like Christine Lagarde never faced any actual punishment even though she was convicted of "financial negligence."
Anticor questioned in its complaint the work Goulard performed for the California-based Berggruen Institute think-tank.
She has acknowledged accepting 10,000 euros ($10,530 at current rates) per month working as a "special adviser" to the Council for the Future of Europe, an offshoot of Berggruen, between 2013 and 2016.
Goulard, who was also an MEP at the time, said her work had "no relation of any kind with the business activities" of the group's founder, German-American billionaire Nicolas Berggruen. She said her role included "reflection, moderating groups, organizing meetings".
The Berggruen Institute denied in 2019 that Goulard had been given a fake job, highlighting that she organised meetings in Brussels, Paris and Madrid.
Goulard has also been charged in a probe into suspected fake jobs among assistants to MEPs from the Democratic Movement, a small centrist party that supports Macron.
President Emmanuel Macron had tapped Goulard, a former member of the European Parliament, to be his defense minister after his 2017 election victory. However, she resigned barely a month into the job after an investigation was opened into the way her political party, MoDem, hired parliamentary assistants in the European parliament. She joined the Bank of France in January 2018 for a six year mandate.
Greenland Birth Control Scandal - Update On The Coil Campaign
Mon, 12 Dec 2022 15:42
The Greenland birth control scandal was told to the whole world. In the scandal, it was revealed that thousands of women in Greeland were fitted with a contraceptive device to control birth. It was known that women were often implanted with these devices without their consent.
A Danish campaign was launched in the early 60s and 70s where women were implanted with contraceptive devices. According to sources, accounts were gathered from women who were victims of the so-called ''Coil Campaign.''
A video was released on the internet where women that were victims of the Coil Campaign were asked to share their experiences. A woman named Bebiane was interviewed. Bebiane was 21 years old, and she went to implant the device.
She said when the doctor was about to start the operation to fit the device, they were whispering something. Bebiane said she knew something was wrong and asked the doctors about the issue.
She added the doctors told her she already had a device implanted in her for a long time.
She said, ''I remember the tears rolling down my cheeks, and I told them that I couldn't understand how I already had a coil in me'... How could I not remember when I had it put in?''
Bebiane said she thinks the contraceptive device could only have been implanted in her body when at the age of 16 when she had undergone an abortion in early 2000.
She said after the device was removed, it caused several side effects. She said she would suffer from severe pain in her abdominal area. This also led her to avoid climbing the stairs.
She said, ''I went to the hospital so many times and they didn't know what was wrong with me'... [The pain] came when I had my period, but it also came when I didn't have my period.''
Bebiane said she would cry whenever she had periods. After not conceiving a child for more than a year, she was advised by her friend to implant the device. This was the time she discovered that she already had a device in her system.
Bebiane removed the device and dropped the idea of implanting a new one. After a year, she was pregnant.
Mira was also interviewed, and she was another victim of the Coil campaign. In the interview, she said that in 2019, she discovered that a device was implanted in her system.
According to her, She went for a medical examination and the doctors found that she had a device in her body. She was shocked after hearing this.
Mira believes that in 2018, the device was implanted in her system when she was undergoing minor uterine surgery.
She said after the surgery, she was suffering from a lot of pain and found that she had a device in her system when she did a medical checkup a year later.
Mira is currently 45 years old, and she had to undergo surgery to remove the device. She said the doctor told her that they had removed her uterus as it could cause cancer.
The surgery was unsuccessful, and now, she cannot get pregnant. She can't have a romantic relationship with anyone as it leads to more bleeding.
The practice of implanting the device without a woman's consent is still being practiced. So, the women, victims of the Coil Campaign, spoke out at Vigil and decided that nothing would be practiced on them without their consent.
How Dutch farmers became the center of a global right-wing culture war
Mon, 12 Dec 2022 15:20
Dec. 12, 2022, 10:25 AM UTC
AALTEN, The Netherlands '-- Erik Luiten seems an unlikely person to be fighting a conspiracy to destroy Western society.
The tall, affable and soft-spoken man is more likely found tending to 150 dairy cows at his farm in the windswept green flatness of the eastern Netherlands. A sixth-generation farmer on this land, he knows the name of each cow and that of its parents. The vast barn echoes to pop classics, including ''Never Gonna Give You Up'' by Rick Astley.
''There has been research on what music cows like best,'' he said with a knowing grin, ''and it's not classical.''
Luiten, 52, is a national organizer in a campaign to stop Dutch government plans to potentially shut thousands of farms in order to reduce harmful nitrogen emissions by half by 2030 '-- a plan that critics say will change the country's huge agriculture industry forever.
Tractors have blocked highways and surrounded government buildings as part of a campaign that has huge public support. The three-year-old Farmer-Citizen Movement, known by its Dutch abbreviation BBB, is now one of the most popular in the country, according to opinion polls.
This grassroots protest movement has been driven largely by ordinary farmers like Luiten and their supporters, but it has another element: the far-right. Radicalized by the opposition to strict Covid measures and spurred on by conspiracy theories about ''globalists'' dismantling national democracies and importing nonwhite immigrants to majority-white countries, these activists see the farmers as the latest victims of an assault on Western civilization itself.
As conspiracy-driven Telegram groups, right-wing commentators and some lawmakers would baselessly put it, Dutch farms are being shut down to make space for asylum-seekers. Right-wing populists around the world have offered their support for the farmers' stand, including former President Donald Trump, France's Marine Le Pen and Poland's far-right populist government.
But, in reality, many Dutch farmers are just trying to make a living.
The A1 motorway stretching east from the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, to the remote rural heart of the country is littered with upside-down flags. Supporters stand on highway bridges every night waving the inverted tricolor as a symbol of defiance against an unpopular government and to call for an end to the nitrogen plan. Passing drivers honk in agreement.
Protesters gather over the A1 motorway in support of local farmers as the Dutch government plans measures to reduce nitrogen emissions. Alexey Yurenev for NBC NewsIn June, Luiten drove a tractor in a slow-motion convoy across almost the entire Netherlands to join a protest organizers claim was attended by up to 60,000. He set off at midnight, arriving 11 hours later.
But there is little sign of militancy or opposition to a new world order near the German border at Luiten's farm, where an automated milking machine shows the name, weight and projected daily milk yield of each animal '-- a Dutch invention now standard across dairy farming. This oddly quiet, high-tech operation can be managed by just him and his wife.
Farms like his across the country could soon shut down.
Livestock manure reacts with urine to generate large amounts of ammonia '-- which can cause acidification of soil and water, a big threat to biodiversity, and emit pungent smell '-- as well as nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas.
In 2019, the European Union's top court and the Dutch Council of State, the country's top administrative court and legislative advisory body, ruled that the Netherlands had breached E.U. environmental standards by failing to ensure they were met in 162 protected nature areas.
The real fury began earlier this year when the Dutch Department for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality released a map showing which areas had to reduce their emissions and by how much '-- in some areas, this meant 95% of farming activity must be stopped within a year. The Dutch farming lobby group LTO estimates there are nearly 54,000 agricultural businesses across the country with exports totaling 94.5 billion euros ($99.75 billion) in 2019.
The radical Farmers Defense Force, which experts described as a far-right group, has said it would not accept any buyouts and promised further protests.
''Farmers aren't against nature, we live in nature, we depend on nature and we want to preserve it,'' Luiten said, sitting in his kitchen dotted with calendars, photos and coffee cups featuring cows. ''But we need to be realistic. In a country this small, with this much activity, it's not realistic to have that much nature '-- you have to choose,'' he said, alluding to the problem of land use in a country that is only a little larger than Maryland.
Luiten has to cut 12% off his farm's activity, which would mean a reduction in livestock and a very slim profit margin in the future, but he thinks he can survive.
Dairy cows at a farm in the village of Oldetrijne in Friesland, a northern province of the Netherlands. Alexey Yurenev for NBC NewsTalks between the government and farmers groups have continued, but with no breakthrough. On Nov. 25, the Dutch government said it would adopt measures set out in a report from former deputy prime minister Johan Remkes '-- who has been mediating between the government and the farmers '-- in which high-emission farms would have to radically reduce emissions, move or shut within a year or face compulsory purchase. The government said it would have this ''conversation'' with 2,000 to 3,000 businesses.
''We are doing this to restore our nature, which is in really bad shape, and to get stalled permits moving. We want to do this approach with an eye for the human dimension and carefully,'' Lisanne de Roos, a press officer for the minister for nature and nitrogen policy, said via email.
''The retiring entrepreneurs will receive a very attractive scheme that is above competitive prices,'' she added.
Dutch Facebook and Telegram groups, often with ''Freedom'' in their names, post memes and videos almost daily arguing that the farmers movement is opposing the ''great reset'' '-- a supposed attempt to remake the world into a single economic-political bloc to the detriment of national identities.
Klokkenluiders voor Vrijheid (meaning whistleblowers for freedom, which has 87,000 subscribers) shared a video in November featuring David Icke, a British conspiracy theorist, arguing that Dutch farms are being shut down so the government can restrict food supply and more easily coerce and control the population.
Icke said Nov. 4 that the Dutch government banned him from entering the Netherlands to appear at a rally, posting a letter from the Department of Justice on his website.
The theory has definite international resonance. It has featured on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show and was given oxygen by the actor Russell Brand on his YouTube channel, which has 6 million subscribers. The theory has echoes of the racist great replacement theory, which has been cited by right-wing mass shooters in their manifestos from New Zealand to El Paso, Texas.
Conspiracy theories tend to begin reacting to a specific, complex problem, but then begin to encompass all of society's problems, especially if there is no other explanation being offered.
''Political scientists call it issue expansion. It's a small issue, but it expands because of vicious circles and before you know it, it's all about the great reset,'' Arjen Boin, an expert in social movements from Leiden University in the Netherlands, said by phone.
At one protest in Amsterdam in July, an upside down Dutch national flag, the symbol of the farmers' struggle but also of a wider anti-government ''freedom'' movement, was emblazoned with the slogan: ''Dutch evicted for Ukrainians? Government? Guilty.''
Luiten is, however, bemused by the idea this is a global fight for Western freedom and that his land could be bought and used to house asylum-seekers. Aside from that, ''it doesn't make sense to build houses in the middle of nowhere,'' he adds.
Erik Luiten, 52, is a dairy farmer and farmers' rights activist in the village of Aalten, in the east of the Netherlands. Alexey Yurenev for NBC NewsHe is reluctant to criticize extremist groups for supporting the farmers, but is clear there is a limit to the movement's tolerance.
''The right-wing side, with the whole World Economic Forum discussion, a lot of farmers believe it. So, there's a lot of crossover support. I'm not here to judge which is right or wrong, I'm happy there are people fighting with us.
''When it's getting violent, we have to take care we're not getting into a situation we don't want to get into.''
The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality told NBC News it had ''no choice'' but to continue with its plans.
''Nature is under pressure, and we need to act swiftly to restore it,'' de Roos said, adding that there was a significant assistance package on the table to help farmers change their methods or leave their farms.
Some see the government's farming plan as a direct challenge to a traditional industry, which inspires national pride of near-mythic proportions. And as with protests against pandemic lockdowns, curfews and Covid passports across Europe, extremists have used the widespread sympathy for the movement to boost their attention and support.
''It lends itself to the heroic, because the farmer is a mythical expression of local against a far-away elite somewhere in these glassy towers making policies that nobody understands,'' Boin said.
There are broadly two far-right groups in the farmers movement, according to Cas Mudde, a Dutch expert on radical extremism at the University of Georgia. There's the Farmers Defense Force, ''who are at the heart of the most radical and violent actions.''
And there's the ''external'' far-right actors, such as the Forum For Democracy (FvD) party, ''which tried to use the farmers for their broader political struggle,'' and whose leadership is largely upper middle-class and urban and has no ideological or personal ties to the farming community, he said.
''The far-right can profit from populist opposition to almost any such an issue, but its bread and butter is nativism, which is why they try to relate all issues to immigration,'' Mudde said via email.
The Farmers Defense Force didn't respond to a request for comment. However, Thierry Baudet, a lawmaker and leader of the FvD party, agreed to talk.
''This is about a globalist takeover,'' he said by phone. ''This was already manifested in the E.U. project, but also in the ongoing support for mass migration and the philosophy that is cherished by most people in the elite circles, that we are all travelers anyway, we're all migrants anyway.''
Farms like Luiten's across the Netherlands could soon shut down. Alexey Yurenev for NBC NewsBaudet links the farmers movement to the one that emerged to oppose pandemic measures. A climate change skeptic, he says there is no environmental reason to reduce nitrogen.
He is in no doubt that the end result of this will be the removal of farms to make way for housing for immigrants.
''Oh, yeah, definitely. That's very obvious,'' Baudet said. ''They think the Netherlands should be a sort of tri-state New York of a federal Europe. That's the long-term vision that they have.''
The ''great reset'' phrase comes from a World Economic Forum summit in 2020 where the forum and Britain's King Charles III, then the Prince of Wales, launched a program designed to boost innovation and collaboration.
But is the political far-right taking advantage of farmers' very real problems to further its own long-held beliefs about national and global governance?
''I wouldn't know how I would be taking advantage in an insincere way, I'm just pointing out that this is precisely part of the trends that I've been trying to oppose for many years, '' Baudet said.
The Netherlands is second only to the United States in global agricultural exports, a staggering achievement for a country with a surface area about 16,000 square miles, much of it reclaimed from the sea. At just 0.42% the size of the U.S, the outline of the Netherlands would fit inside Ohio.
In the northern province of Friesland, Trienke Elshoff-Witteveen runs what the industry's critics would call a ''megafarm,'' her 75 meter-long (246ft) barn home to some 250 Frisian-Holstein cows.
Trienke Elshof-Witteveen, 54, a dairy farmer in the village of Oldetrijne in Friesland. Alexey Yurenev for NBC NewsThe animals are grazing inside because the dry summer has been unkind to the grass. An ear tag reveals one is called Rocky; its father was Solero. Two wind turbines and solar panels on the barn's roof generate almost all the farm's energy needs.
Elshoff-Witteveen, 54, explains in stereotypical Dutch directness that she too has thought of leaving the farm, possibly moving to Denmark or Canada.
''If we have to leave, I don't think there is a future for a lot of farms in the Netherlands. We don't think about it too much because we don't want to leave. We have two sons who want to take over and go further with this farm,'' she said.
Also a regional official for LTO, the national farmers union, Elshoff-Witteveen has been working on the farm since 1998; her parents before her since 1982. She is convinced the government plans are wrong and disproportionate. ''It's too fast, too costly, they can't do it,'' she said.
She argues that farmers can reduce much of the nitrogen emissions by changing the way they feed cattle and manage waste '-- but not without some financial help.
But Elshoff-Wittevee is too busy running a business to think very much about a great reset. Like many others, she sees the militancy as an extension of public unrest about Covid restrictions.
''Conspiracy theories? I don't believe that but there are a lot of farmers who do,'' she said.
''It started with Covid. A lot of people were mad about how the government was telling them they weren't allowed to do this, not allowed to do that. I think that anger is still there,'' she said.
Caroline van der Plas is the founder and the sole lawmaker of the Farmer-Citizen Movement. Formed in 2019, it would have the second most seats in Parliament if a general election was called now, according to opinion polls.
''There's a lot going on in Holland. We have the nitrogen crisis, we have the housing crisis, we have the asylum crisis, energy crisis. There's so much going on and so many people are worried and there's a feeling they are not being taken seriously enough,'' she says.
A worker at a farm in the village of Aalten, in the east of the Netherlands near the German border. Alexey Yurenev for NBC NewsVan der Plaas rejected the idea that farms are being removed to make way for immigrants and wasn't entirely pleased by Le Pen's and Trump's vocal support for her movement. ''I mean thanks, but let us go back to work here and solve the problems.''
The reasons for such widespread support of the farmers isn't ideological, she said.
People in the Netherlands view the farmers ''as hard-working people: They are always working, they make the food, they take care of the landscape. Holland is a very dense country and much of it is agricultural, green and rural.
''There are a lot of villages where people live and work alongside farmers. The silent majority is now speaking in favor of the farmers.''
Patrick Smith is a London-based editor and reporter for NBC News Digital.
Attacks on grid infrastructure in 4 states raise alarm - E&E News
Mon, 12 Dec 2022 14:37
Shootings at two electric substations in North Carolina last weekend are among the numerous threats posed to U.S. electric infrastructure since mid-October, raising questions about whether such incidents are on the rise.
Concerns grew further after Duke Energy Corp. reported gunfire near its Wateree Hydro station in Ridgeway, S.C., on Wednesday '-- several days after gunshots severely damaged two substations the company operates in Moore County, N.C. (Energywire, Dec. 7).
The incidents in the Carolinas followed attacks at six substations in Oregon and Washington in October and November. Local news outlets reported on those events this week. Grid security experts said it's too early to tell whether the incidents were related or unusual in number, but said they showcase a need for the energy industry to be vigilant and prepared.
''It remains troubling and highlights how vulnerable is our critical infrastructure,'' Richard Mroz, a senior adviser at the grid security advocacy group Protect Our Power, said in an email, referring to the string of incidents.
While vandalism and theft of materials like copper at substations are common, ''damage due to firearms is rare,'' said Ross Johnson, a security and intelligence specialist at Bridgehead Security Consulting Inc. There are more than 55,000 substations nationwide, which are considered a key component of the power grid.
''It's a signal-to-noise problem: substation incidents are common, gunfire less so but not unheard of, and until arrests are made we are unlikely to know the motivation,'' Johnson said in an email.
The incidents come at a time when energy regulators and others say that threats to the power system '-- be they physical or cyber in nature '-- are becoming more serious and common.
In particular, threats to power grid infrastructure and elements of the electricity supply chain are increasing ''not only in complexity, but in volume,'' said Manny Cancel, CEO at the North American Electric Reliability Corp.'s Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center.
''It's the most complex threat landscape I've seen in my experience, and I've been in this industry for a long time,'' Cancel said this week during a meeting with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on supply chain issues.
As of Thursday, law enforcement officials had not confirmed motives in any of the recent attacks, nor have suspects been identified. While some of the incidents involved gunfire, it's unclear if guns were involved in all of the events.
The Wednesday incident at the South Carolina hydroelectric plant did not cause any reported outages or known property damage, said Duke Energy spokesperson Logan Kureczka.
Duke said Thursday that it had restored power for all customers in Moore County affected by last weekend's substation attacks, which initially left 45,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina in the dark.
''The complexity of repairs required was extensive, and we appreciate our customers' patience and understanding during a situation we know has been challenging for them, their families and the community as a whole,'' Jason Hollifield, Duke's general manager of emergency preparedness, said in a statement.
Oregon and WashingtonWhile the incident in North Carolina received widespread attention, it was preceded by substation attacks in Washington and Oregon.
Late last month, two electric substations near the Portland, Ore., suburb of Clackamas were targeted in what utilities described as deliberate attacks. The substations are operated separately by the Bonneville Power Administration and Portland General Electric, and it's unclear if they were attacked on the same day or if the events were connected.
The attack on the Bonneville Power Administration substation occurred in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving, during which time utility operators discovered ''a cut perimeter fence and damaged equipment inside,'' said spokesperson Kevin Wingert. No power outages occurred because of the event.
At a Portland General Electric substation, an incident ''briefly impacted'' power service for the utility's customers, said PGE spokesperson Allison Dobscha. The FBI is investigating the attack in Moore County, N.C., and utility representatives said that's also true with the Bonneville and PGE incidents.
''Our teams have assessed the damage and begun repair to the impacted facility,'' Dobscha said in an email.
Both Dobscha and Wingert declined to say what, if any, weapons were used in the attacks, citing security concerns and ongoing law enforcement investigations.
At least four substations in Washington have also been vandalized or targeted.
In mid-November, two utility substations located near Woodland, Wash., operated by the Cowlitz County Public Utility District experienced ''vandalism,'' according to utility district spokesperson Alice Dietz. They resulted in ''brief outages'' and the facilities have since been repaired, Dietz said.
''We don't have any further comment as it is continuing to be an active investigation,'' she said, adding that the incidents were ''unusual.''
Also last month, two substations operated by Puget Sound Energy, an electric and natural gas utility based in Bellevue, Wash., experienced ''vandalism,'' according to spokesperson Gerald Tracy.
''There is no indication that these vandalism attempts indicate a greater risk to our operations and we have extensive measures to monitor, protect and minimize the risk to our equipment and infrastructure,'' Tracy said in a statement, adding that the events appeared to be unrelated to other attacks on substations.
Another substation near Maysville, N.C., meanwhile, fell offline after it was damaged in an incident of vandalism, according to the Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative, which operates the substation. It was unclear as of Thursday whether the substation had come back online.
Vandals managed to damage the substation's transformers '-- which help in the process of moving electric current from generators to homes and businesses '-- and cause coolant oil to leak, the cooperative said in a statement on its website.
Over 12,000 members of the Carteret-Craven co-op lost power for approximately two hours when the incident occurred on Nov. 11, the statement said.
While attacks on power system infrastructure are a reminder of the vulnerability of the grid, widespread, planned events are still relatively rare, said Tony Clark, a former FERC commissioner who is now a senior adviser at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP.
''The more coordinated type attacks '... where it seems like there's something nefarious or coordinated with a big impact, that seems to be less common,'' Clark said. ''But I don't know if I can say whether there's been a trend one way or another.''
Ericsson Partnered With Girl Scouts to Push 5G Technology '-- ProPublica
Mon, 12 Dec 2022 14:18
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Beyond developing their camping skills, participating in a food drive to aid the hungry and donating pajamas for seniors, Girl Scouts across America this year were offered a new way to earn a special uniform patch: learning about the wonders of 5G cellphone technology and, in some cases, promoting it.
The opportunity came courtesy of Ericsson, the Swedish telecommunications giant, which sponsored the ''Ericsson Limited Edition 5G & IoT'' (Internet of Things) patch program. The program, still available on at least one Girl Scout website, targets all age levels, from Daisies (kindergarten-age Scouts) to Ambassadors (those in high school), with an array of activities intended to ''introduce Girl Scouts to 5G and the Internet of Things.''
These include watching ''Explaining 5G to Kids,'' a five-minute video featuring Mats, a bearded Ericsson employee, as he chats with Siofra, Freya and two other squirming but charming children, who speak English with what sound like hints of Swedish accents. Mats explains that 5G is a ''new technology for the mobile phone. So everything will be much better.'' He explains that the technology could allow the kids' toys to connect. ''Wouldn't that be cool?'' he asks. ''This is what Ericsson is doing,'' Mats explains. ''This is what 5G can do.''
Other recommended activities sound more like do-it-yourself advertising. High school-age members on one Girl Scout site are encouraged to ''Find a cell tower and make a video explaining how 5G would change the world for you. Share the video you made with a friend or fellow Girl Scout. Or, with an adult's permission, post your video on social media and tag @gsheartofnj, @ericsson, #girlscoutstalk5G.''
And Scouts of all ages are invited to ''discuss with your troop or an adult how mmWave spectrum is safe and does not cause harm to our health.''
The Ericsson ''Limited Edition 5G & IoT'' patch offered by Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey Credit: Image courtesy of GSHNJ and Ericsson Some health experts, who are concerned that wireless radiation poses a health risk to children, criticize the Ericsson program as an improper and inaccurate form of industry marketing. ''Anytime corporations advertise directly to children, I'm very suspicious,'' Dr. Jerome Paulson, a pediatrician and emeritus professor in George Washington University's department of environmental and occupational health, told ProPublica. ''It would be like Exxon Mobil sponsoring a patch on climate change.'' Paulson previously chaired the Council on Environmental Health at the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has criticized the Federal Communications Commission's wireless-radiation standards for failing to protect children.
The Environmental Health Trust, an activist nonprofit which first spotted the Ericsson program, recently sent a letter of protest to the Girl Scouts' national office, saying the patch materials ''misleadingly state that 5G networks and cellphones are safe,'' and urging their removal from all Girl Scout websites. The ten signers included ''former Girl Scouts and parents of Scouts,'' the chair of the obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences department at Yale's medical school, the former president of Microsoft Canada and a Swedish scientist who has conducted influential epidemiological studies on cellphone radiation.
In an emailed statement, Vidya Krishnan, global chief learning officer for Ericsson, who sits on the Girl Scouts National Board, defended the program: ''The Ericsson Girl Scouts 5G patch has the sole purpose of educating our next generation about the latest wireless technologies that are shaping their lives and their future. Educational awareness is the only intention and impact.'' (In October, the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas honored Krishnan as a ''Woman of Distinction'' at its annual fundraising luncheon, where a ''presenting sponsorship'' went for $100,000 and individual tickets sold for $300.)
The Girl Scouts, of course, are hardly strangers to the world of commerce. They have long been renowned for their annual cookie sales '-- the Scouts call it ''the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world'' '-- which raise about $800 million annually for local activities. Girls are eligible for special ''Cookie Business'' badges by honing their sales pitches and tapping into market research.
And the Girl Scouts have offered other patches sponsored by corporations. Among them: Fidelity Investments, which sponsors a ''girls' guide to managing money.'' One Texas chapter offered a patch for ''Fluor Engineering Month.''
The Ericsson 5G patch was first made available in March 2021 through the website of the Northeast Texas council of the Girl Scouts. Ericsson's U.S. headquarters is in Plano, Texas, and the company, which boasts of being ''the leading provider of 5G network equipment in the U.S.,'' has been involved with the area's Girl Scouts program for several years. Ericsson has focused on promoting interest in science, technology, engineering and math careers, known as STEM, where girls are historically underrepresented. (The company's Facebook page includes photos of hardhat-wearing Girl Scouts on a 2018 field trip to an Ericsson training center with mock cell towers and transmitters.) A second Ericsson executive serves on the local Girl Scouts board, and, according to public disclosures, Ericsson has donated more than $100,000 annually to the northeast Texas council for the past three years.
Ashley Crowe, chief program officer for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, said 697 Girl Scouts have obtained the Ericsson 5G patch. Crowe praised Ericsson's support for the Girl Scouts, saying, ''I for one would never feel exploited by Ericsson,'' but she added that she was unaware of health concerns about children's exposure to cellphone radiation. ''I had never even heard about that,'' she said. ''This has not been brought to our attention at all.''
After ProPublica's inquiries about the matter, the patch program was removed from the Texas council's website. (A spokesperson for the council asserted that ''the patch program was removed from our site at the beginning of October,'' explaining that ''the Ericsson 5G IoT patch program was funded by Ericsson as a one-year optional program for local Girl Scouts and concluded September 30, 2022.'' However, a ProPublica reporter saw the patch on the Texas site as late as Nov. 21.) It remains available on the website of a New Jersey Girls Scouts council.
A spokesperson for Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey submitted a statement on behalf of its CEO, Natasha Hemmings, asserting that ''the safety and well-being of our Girl Scouts is and always has been our top priority.'' The statement continued: ''In line with our mission, we partner with numerous organizations and corporations, including Ericsson, to expand access to education and to empower girls to become leaders of tomorrow.''
The national office for Girl Scouts of the USA did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Scientific concern about whether cellphone radiation poses a human health hazard, including increased risk of cancer, fertility issues or other problems, has been rising in recent years. (ProPublica recently explored this issue in detail.) The research includes a massive U.S. government study that in 2018 found ''clear evidence'' that cellphone radiation caused cancer in lab animals. Some researchers have also warned of special risk to children, citing studies showing that their developing brains absorb more radiation because of their thinner, smaller skulls. The American Academy of Pediatrics has echoed this concern, urging the FCC to revise its exposure standards, saying they don't adequately protect children.
How the FCC Shields Cellphone Companies From Safety Concerns
More than 20 foreign governments have adopted protective measures or recommended precautions regarding wireless radiation, with many of them focused on limiting exposure to children. The European Environment Agency offers similar guidance, noting: ''There is sufficient evidence of risk to advise people, especially children, not to place the handset against their heads.''
The wireless industry and U.S. regulators, including the FCC and Food and Drug Administration, deny that there is any proven health risk for anyone. They dispute that the technology poses any special hazard to children and don't advocate any precautions. The FCC's ''Wireless Devices and Health Concerns'' page, for example, notes that ''some parties'' recommend safety measures, ''even though no scientific evidence currently establishes a definitive link between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses.'' It then states, in bold: ''The FCC does not endorse the need for these practices.''
In the Hudson Valley and Catskills, Veteran Rockers Start Over - The New York Times
Mon, 12 Dec 2022 13:54
How the Hudson Valley and the Catskills became the home to grunge icons, ex-punks and one-hit wonders.
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Melissa Auf der Maur and Tony Stone are the founders of Basilica Hudson, an arts center in Hudson, N.Y. Credit... Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times Published Dec. 3, 2022 Updated Dec. 5, 2022
Melissa Auf der Maur spent 15 years as a rocker on the road, playing bass in alternative bands like Hole and the Smashing Pumpkins, dating Dave Grohl, and at times taking up residence in Janis Joplin's old room at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. But in 2006, when she met and fell in love with the filmmaker Tony Stone, she knew it was time to settle down away from the city, become a mother and raise a child in a ''cozy little town with a cool kindergarten and plenty of nature.''
She was 34 and in the middle of making her second solo album, she said, when Mr. Stone took her to Hudson, N.Y., to visit friends and family who had moved to the area.
''I had a tingling feeling,'' she said. ''I said to Tony: 'If we're going to live anywhere in the U.S., it's going to be here.'''
The couple moved to Hudson in 2008 and started a family soon thereafter. But Ms. Auf der Maur still felt driven by the urge to create. She also wanted to do something community-focused, like starting an arts center similar to the ones she had relied on when she was a struggling young musician growing up in Montreal.
Together with Mr. Stone, she started Basilica Hudson in 2010. The arts and performance space, housed in a former railroad wheel foundry, hosts both international music festivals and local events. A reclaimed elementary school, built around 1901 and close to Basilica's net-zero campus, now serves as a showpiece, design innovation hub and media center for the couple's interest in green design. Basilica has also become one of the Hudson Valley's most popular wedding venues, which, as Ms. Auf der Maur puts it, ''wasn't in our original plan, but totally pays for our wild, purist dreams of arts and culture.''
A former grunge icon for Courtney Love's band in the dangerous days of the '90s, Ms. Auf der Maur is just one of the many musicians who have moved to the Hudson Valley and the Catskills to start over, in one way or another. Some have put their musical careers on hold. Others have continued recording and touring, while devoting themselves to completely new pursuits. But the artists in the area make up a dream festival bill for the Lollapalooza generation, one that remembers vinyl, cassettes, CDs and when MTV still played music videos for most of the day.
Image Melissa Auf der Maur, left, and Courtney Love of Hole, onstage in Los Angeles in 1999. Credit... Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic Inc., via Getty Images There's longtime area resident Natalie Merchant, the former lead singer for 10,000 Maniacs, who has volunteered for educational nonprofits including Head Start in Troy; the bassist Tony Levin, who played with King Crimson and Peter Gabriel, and who now lives in Kingston and pursues photography; the songwriter Amy Rigby, now an author and podcaster in Catskill; Daryl Hall, of Hall & Oates fame, who became a nightclub proprietor with the opening of Daryl's House in Pawling; and Kate Pierson, the inimitable singer of the B-52's, who pioneered the funky retro chic motel concept in the Catskills with the opening of Kate's Lazy Meadow in Mt. Tremper in 2004.
And where else but in Woodstock could the dentist who is filling your cavity have had a former life as a ''one-hit wonder'' in that golden year of pop, 1967?
As a couple, Ms. Auf der Maur and Mr. Stone seemed like the perfect combination for making a thriving arts center in Hudson a reality; she had the vision, and he had the know-how. ''I wanted to see if I could bring the world to us, to bring all the things I had experienced around the world to this tiny town,'' she said.
Mr. Stone is the son of two artists who were active in the SoHo and TriBeCa loft scene of the 1970s. ''Tony's dad, Bill, was a contractor in Lower Manhattan, who at one time almost went in on a plumbing pipe threader with Philip Glass,'' Ms. Auf der Maur said. ''A lot of artists worked renovating many lofts in SoHo, a skill my husband inherited,'' she continued. ''We're not afraid of taking on big buildings without plumbing or electricity. Our destiny seems to be taking these buildings and creating a second life for them and ourselves.''
Mr. Stone described himself as ''an urban-rural hybrid,'' who grew up in a loft on Duane Street in Downtown Manhattan but spent every summer ''off the grid in a hippie cabin'' in Vermont. ''By age 12, I was wiring solar panels and digging wells,'' he said. ''It set the stage for what Melissa and I do today at Basilica.''
He came to know the Hudson Valley as a student at Bard College and again when his aunt bought a house in Hudson, followed by his parents, who moved to the area in 1998. Soon after he started dating Ms. Auf der Maur, Mr. Stone introduced her to family haunts in Vermont and upstate New York, where Ms. Auf der Maur ''began to understand the power of nature in the raw and the need to preserve it,'' she said. ''It makes you look at everything differently. And that, too, changed the whole direction of my life.''
Image Ms. Auf der Maur and Mr. Stone seemed like the perfect combination for making a thriving arts center in Hudson a reality; she had the vision, and he had the know-how; Credit... Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times Now, the couple are players in the local arts and climate scene. Ms. Auf der Maur is a member of the Regional Economic Development Council for the Capital region, where she reviews grant applications. (Basilica Hudson and The River House Project, their green design initiative, have received grants from the council.) She and Mr. Stone were part of the team that helped secure a $10 million grant from the council to revitalize the Hudson waterfront.
Ms. Auf der Maur also joined the writer, musician and producer Jesse Paris Smith (who is the daughter of Patti Smith) and the musician and activist Rebecca Foon to help Hudson become a part of the 1,000 Cities Initiative for Carbon Freedom, a project to get cities of all sizes involved in the renewable energy and zero emissions goals set forth by the Paris Agreement.
''Melissa and Tony's efforts have been a blessing for our community, one that really demonstrates the connection between climate action and social justice,'' said Kamal Johnson, the mayor of Hudson. ''Basilica has been a great asset,'' he continued. ''It has brought world-class artists and audiences to our door and served as the stage for many events that bind together our community.''
The singer Amanda Palmer, who is half of the punk-cabaret duo the Dresden Dolls and has a place in Woodstock, concurs with the mayor's take on Ms. Auf der Maur, now 50, who has also found the time to work on a memoir that will include some of the 30,000 photos she snapped during her time as a musician. ''She's an important nexus, a vital connective tissue in the arts, the environment and in swaying a certain kind of creative, like myself, to take up residence in the Hudson Valley,'' Ms. Palmer said.
About five miles south of Hudson is the town of Catskill. In 2011, the singer-songwriter Amy Rigby (best known for her 1996 album, ''Diary of a Mod Housewife'') moved there from France with her rocker husband, Eric Goulden, also known as Wreckless Eric (best remembered for his 1977 record ''Whole Wide World''). Her friend Deb Parker, a former owner of the Beauty Bar in the East Village and who had become a real estate broker in the area in the late 2000s, showed the couple around.
Image The singer-songwriter Amy Rigby moved to Catskill with her husband in 2011. These days she's writing and producing a podcast. Credit... Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times Once they were settled, Ms. Rigby started working part time at the Spotty Dog Books & Ale in Hudson and pursuing writing. In 2019, her memoir, ''Girl to City,'' about being a musician in the East Village from the 1970s through the mid-90s, was published.
During the Covid-19 shutdown, Ms. Rigby created a podcast based on ''Girl to City'' and began work on a follow-up memoir, ''Girl to Country.'' The Hudson Valley is all about second acts, she said. ''Everybody reinvents themselves up here.''
Image Ms. Rigby onstage with her husband, Eric Goulden, at City Winery in New York City. Credit... Al Pereira/Getty Images Take Tracy Bonham, who had a No. 1 alternative single in 1996 with ''Mother, Mother,'' but who has since used much of her time to teach music to children. In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, she and another musician founded Melodeon Music House, an educational program in Woodstock that was inspired by the popular 1970s Saturday morning TV series ''Schoolhouse Rock!''
But unlike her peers, Ms. Bonham ultimately decided full-time country life was not for her. This fall, she returned to Brooklyn, where she currently teaches the Melodeon curriculum to preschoolers.
''It was really for the energy and vitality of the city, and the diversity of the people,'' Ms. Bonham said of her return to the city. ''Now that I look back on it, it could be a bit isolating,'' she said, referring to Woodstock. ''The sun goes down early and the winters are long and hard, so you can feel a bit trapped. Now that I am back in Brooklyn, I feel re-energized and inspired. There's both more opportunity for work and to socialize.''
Ms. Rigby, too, feels the pull of the city. ''When I was driving down to Manhattan to play a gig at the City Winery recently, I kept telling myself, 'I don't care about the city anymore,''' she said. ''But it's a defense mechanism. I still care about the city that made me, and nothing feels as good as playing to a New York crowd.''
Image Ms. Rigby, at home in Catskill, N.Y. Credit... Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times However, when she hits the New York State Thruway and sees the mountains, Ms. Rigby said, she can breathe again. So for now, she's staying put. ''I probably became a more well-rounded person living up here. New York will always be the paragon of where one goes to pursue a creative life, but that kind of low-rent existence for aspiring artists isn't possible there anymore.''
Tony Levin, who has lived in Kingston since the mid-70s, is also not going anywhere. Best known for his inventive bass playing with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon, Mr. Levin still tours and records. But he is also a writer and a photographer, and he recently took advantage of his downtime during the pandemic to organize many of his photographs into a new coffee table book, ''Images From a Life on the Road.''
Across the river in Beacon, Richard Butler, the charismatic frontman of the Psychedelic Furs, who studied at the Epsom School of Art and Design in London before pursuing music, lived and painted there for decades before relocating to Connecticut last year.
Another rocker with long ties to the area is Bruce Jay Milner, whose band, Every Mothers' Son, had a hit with ''Come on Down to My Boat'' in 1967. The tune also earned him and his bandmates a place in the ''One-Hit Wonders'' exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
Image Bruce Jay Milner at his dental office, Transcend Dental, in West Hurley, N.Y. Credit... Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times ''I had just started dental school at N.Y.U., but this was way, way more exciting,'' Dr. Milner said of the instant success as a young musician. ''I really thought I would pursue this, stay in the music game forever, if we kept getting hits.''
Unfortunately, that was not to be. Dr. Milner ended up finishing dental school and now lives and practices dentistry in West Hurley, about three miles south of Woodstock. Naturally, he claims to have attended the famous festival of peace and music in nearby Bethel, in 1969. The name of his practice? Transcend Dental.
''I still play a lot locally, have a digital keyboard in my office and have had my hands in the mouths of some of the biggest names in music,'' said Dr. Milner, ticking off famous patients like Brian Eno and Sonny Rollins.
The musician Amy Helm, whose father was Levon Helm, the drummer for The Band, is a patient. She said Dr. Milner was ''the kind of guy who will play a song and sing harmony with you before he gives you a root canal.''
Dr. Milner said: ''Being a dentist up in Woodstock, with all these great musicians, is a pretty great second act. And what other dentist can say he is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?''
Image ''He's the kind of guy who will play a song and sing harmony with you before he gives you a root canal,'' a longtime patient said of Dr. Milner. Credit... Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times Sal Cataldi is a writer, musician and former publicist living in Saugerties, N.Y.
Elon Musk Is a Far-Right Activist - The Atlantic
Mon, 12 Dec 2022 13:49
Dimitrios Kambouris / GettyDecember 11, 2022, 6:03 PM ETIf there's one tweet that will tell you everything you need to know about Elon Musk, it's this one from early this morning:
My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci
'-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2022In five words, Musk manages to mock transgender and nonbinary people, signal his disdain for public-health officials, and send up a flare to far-right shitposters and trolls. The tweet is a cruel and senseless play on pronouns that also invokes the right's fury toward Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, for what they believe is a government overreach in public-health policy throughout the pandemic and an obfuscation of the coronavirus's origins. (Fauci, for his part, has said he would cooperate with any possible investigations and has nothing to hide.)
Beyond its stark cruelty, this tweet is incredibly thirsty. As right-wing troll memes go, it is Dad-level, 4chan''Clark Griswold stuff, which is to say it's desperate engagement bait in the hopes of attracting kudos from the only influencers who give Musk the time of day anymore: right-wing shock jocks. But that is the proper company for the billionaire, because whether or not he wants to admit it, Musk is actively aiding the far right's political project. He is a right-wing activist.
Currently, Musk's politics are a subject of debate in the press. On Saturday, The New York Times' Jeremy W. Peters attempted to offer a nuanced portrait of the Twitter owner's ideologies, arguing that Musk ''continues to defy easy political categorization.'' But Peters' laundry list of Musk's recent lib-trolling and ''woke'' scolding'--such as Musk's November recommendation to his millions of followers to vote Republican'--undermines the very thesis of the article. The nuance Peters is looking for does not exist: Musk's actions and associations make a clear case that he is a right-wing reactionary.
Musk, for his part, has maintained that he is a centrist, that his politics have remained unchanged, and that it is the Democratic Party that has veered dramatically leftward. (Musk and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.) Musk's logic'--that wayward leftism has given a lifelong moderate liberal no choice but to support right-wing causes'--is a common trope among far-right activists. It has been employed by many in the so-called Intellectual Dark Web and influencers such as Dave Rubin, Joe Rogan, Glenn Greenwald, and others. The argument stretches far back in American politics. The neoconservative movement in the United States was originated by liberals who grew disillusioned with the Democratic Party, especially in relation to the left's Vietnam protests.
Beyond Musk's political affiliations, his actual political convictions'--by which I mean the bedrock set of values, ideologies, and organizing principles through which he sees the world and wishes it to be structured'--are a slightly different conversation. Here, I tend to agree with The Verge's Liz Lopatto, who wrote recently that Musk doesn't really have political beliefs, only personal interests. But one can have vapid or nonexistent political beliefs and still be a political activist. Political activism is about actions. Here's what those actions look like in practice:
I am gratified for the reinstatement of my account on Twitter and am grateful to @ElonMusk for his commitment to fairness and free speech. God Bless America and thank you, Jesus.
'-- Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) December 7, 2022I affirm your pronouns Elon.
'-- Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@RepMTG) December 11, 2022Publicly, Musk appears deeply committed to the right's culture war against progressivism in most forms. His purchase of Twitter was an explicitly political act couched in the notion of preserving free speech. But Musk's notion of free speech is a broad course correction that involves amplifying and advancing the interests of right-wing reactionaries while trolling the left. Musk might argue that this is restoring balance to the system, but if we are judging based only on actions and outcomes, it is very hard to see his tenure at Twitter as anything other than a series of policies intended to benefit a particular ideology.
Musk also simply loves palling around with far-right influencers on Twitter. A scroll through his Twitter replies is a rather remarkable document of a man who has (or at least had) more money than any other human being in the history of humanity, a fair amount of power, and an endless supply of options for how to spend his time, and who chooses to spend his time as a reply guy for prominent MAGA voices, such as a user who goes by the handle @catturd2 and Turning Points USA's Charlie Kirk.
In a similar fashion, Musk's ''Twitter Files'' project, for which he has been releasing Twitter's old internal documents concerning controversial content-moderation decisions to independent journalists, is an attention spectacle dressed up in the style of investigative journalism designed to delight Musk's Twitter friends. As I wrote on Friday, some of the internal conversations and screenshots from Musk's company are fascinating documents that shed light on the intractable problem of content moderation at scale. But they are presented in a blatantly partisan and misleading manner, and have been released only to journalists who share Musk's pet ideological issues: that the mainstream media is ethically bankrupt, that social media and most elite institutions are biased and colluding with the government.
The hypocrisy at the center of Musk's Twitter tenure is crucial to the understanding of Musk's political activism. He has championed ideals of free-speech maximalism and amnesty to those who've offended his rules. Twitter, under his management, has let back on organizers of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia; neo-Nazis such as Andrew Anglin; and January 6''investigation personalities such as Roger Stone. At the same time, Twitter has suspended accounts that have mocked Musk or expressed left-leaning views. Whether intentionally or not, Musk has, in effect, been governing Twitter using the classic Frank Wilhoit maxim: ''Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.'' Put differently, the billionaire has been advancing a long-running right-wing political project described recently by my colleague Adam Serwer as a ''belief in a new constitutional right. Most important, this new right supersedes the free-speech rights of everyone else: the conservative right to post.''
Why is Musk doing all of this? The answer is reasonably simple. Musk's far-right activism clearly seems to be, like all else in his life, personally motivated, not by a strong political ideology or value system but, as Lopatto argues, by the accumulation of money and ''being perceived as a visionary who will reshape human society.'' Musk is interested in preserving the political values and systems that keep him on top as a revered member of culture. It's a philosophy that the writer John Ganz has described as ''bossism'' or ''bosses on top.'' For Musk, right-wing activism serves that role. Musk's tweets'--like his dismissive tweet this morning, or his concerning insinuations that, perhaps, his former trust-and-safety employees did not stop child-exploitation posts for motivated reasons'--are cruel for the shallowest reasons: because they are likely to draw engagement to the platform that Musk has plunged into financial uncertainty, due to both his piling on of debt and his alienation of advertisers.
But even as a far-right shitposter, Musk is hapless. Unlike somebody such as Donald Trump, who remains the Twitter troll template, Musk is a try-hard. And although the Twitter shock jocks will happily lap him up because he triggers the libs and serves their purposes, Musk is still seen as a dilettante by the inveterate shitposters and bigots. Over on 4chan, the far-right message board, Musk's Fauci tweet barely merited discussion. ''Elon is just being controversial to drive traffic to his website,'' one poster mused. Even in his thirsty attempts to be an edgelord, Musk is failing to be anything other than cringey.
Lawmakers react to Elon Musk's call to prosecute Anthony Fauci
Mon, 12 Dec 2022 13:44
Anthony Fauci attends his final briefing on COVID-19 at the White House on Nov. 22. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle responded on Sunday to Twitter owner Elon Musk's call to prosecute National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci.
Driving the news: "My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci," Musk tweeted early Sunday morning, prompting a barrage of replies from officials.
He also tweeted out a meme of Fauci and President Biden with the caption, "Just one more lockdown, my king."Musk hinted at a fifth "Twitter files" release of internal documents that purport to reveal how Twitter operated under prior management and which Musk has framed as an effort to show that his predecessors at the company engaged in censorship.
In response to a Twitter user asking, "when will we get the twitter files on covid?" Musk replied, "oh it is coming bigtime..."What they're saying: "Re Musk tweet? Courting vaccine-deniers doesn't seem like a smart business strategy, but the issue is this: could you just leave a good man alone in your seemingly endless quest for attention?" Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) tweeted Sunday.
"Elon Musk wants to criminalize Anthony Fauci because he disagrees with him. Elon is no champion of free speech," Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) tweeted."It's America. You can select any pronouns you damn well please. But Anthony Fauci has likely saved more human lives than any living person in the world. Shame on you," Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) tweeted."Dr. Fauci is a national hero who will be remembered for generations to come for his innate goodness & many contributions to public health. Despite your business success, you will be remembered most for fueling public hate & divisions. You may have money, but you have no class," former CIA director John Brennan tweeted.The other side: "I affirm your pronouns Elon," Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) tweeted in response to Musk.
The big picture: Fauci, who served as President Biden's chief medical adviser since January 2021, announced in August that he would be retiring from government service in December to "pursue the next chapter" of his career.
As the nation's top infectious disease expert, Fauci has led the NIAID since 1984 and emerged as the face of the nation's coronavirus response in the early days of the pandemic in 2020.Republicans made clear prior to the 2022 midterm elections they intended to investigate Fauci's role in the COVID pandemic if they won control of the House or Senate. Fauci has previously said he would testify before Congress if called to do so.
"If I become a punching bag, I'm a punching bag. But I am very happy to testify before any congressional oversight committee, I have nothing to hide, I can explain and validate everything that I've done," Fauci said during an interview in a new episode of "Who's Talking to Chris Wallace" that dropped Friday."It's going to be inconvenient if they actually are out there, essentially threatening to make my life miserable," he added, reiterating that, "I'm going to do what I need to do, and that is cooperate fully."Go deeper:
Fauci appears at last White House COVID briefing before retirement
The #TwitterFiles Rorschach test
Column | Het einde van Google - NRC
Mon, 12 Dec 2022 13:29
Toen ik in de eerste klas zat, introduceerde Google zijn revolutionaire zoekmachine. In de mediatheek verruilde ik de drukke zoekpagina's van marktleider Yahoo voor het eenvoudige zoekvenster van de nieuwe concurrent. Aan het einde van mijn middelbareschooltijd had Google een marktaandeel van 60 procent.
Ik werd technologiejournalist. Als het in de techwereld over machtsconcentratie ging, diende Yahoo altijd als schoolvoorbeeld. Dat leek ooit oppermachtig, tot Google kwam. Zoiets zou Google zelf ook kunnen overkomen. Met het klimmen van Googles marktaandeel vond ik deze theorie steeds onrealistischer klinken.
Tot dit jaar. De succesvolle zoekinterface van Google lijkt opeens een achilleshiel.
Stel je zoekt naar een restaurant of hotel. Volgens Googles eigen data gebruikt veertig procent van de Amerikaanse jongeren tussen de 18 en 24 jaar daarvoor liever TikTok en Instagram dan Google Maps. Geef ze eens ongelijk. Wie op Google zoekt, krijgt een rijtje gesponsorde links naast een kaart getoond. Met hooguit een paar thumbnails van gevels ter illustratie. Maar op TikTok heb je binnen een paar minuten talloze hotelkamers en restaurants van binnen gezien.
En waarom kunnen we eigenlijk niet in gesprek met Google? Praten met een virtuele assistent was altijd een frustrerende ervaring. Denk aan die verschrikkelijke klantenservice-bots en smart speakers. Je moet behoedzaam formuleren en dan nog gaat het negen van de tien keer fout.
Tot twee weken geleden. Toen lanceerde het Amerikaanse bedrijf OpenAI zijn nieuwe product ChatGPT. Een dag voor in de geschiedenisboeken. Zoals de iPhone voor de doorbraak van smartphones zorgde, zo zal ChatGPT voor altijd veranderen hoe we met computers communiceren. Want de gesprekken met ChatGPT verlopen verbluffend vloeiend.
Zo soepel, dat de traditionele zoekinterface van Google ineens gedateerd aanvoelt. Want bij ChatGPT hoef je niet door te klikken. Je kunt vervolgvragen stellen. Je hoeft niet op je woorden te letten. Spreektaal is prima. ChatGPT begrijpt je toch wel.
Simpel voorbeeld: ik schrijf deze column vanuit een hotelkamer. In de keuken staat een koffiepers en ik wist niet hoe je daar lekkere koffie mee zet. Als ik dat Google, krijg ik linkjes naar uitlegartikelen waar de advertenties en cookiemeldingen me om de oren vliegen. Maar als ik het aan ChatGPT vraag, krijg ik een bondig geformuleerd stappenplan. Vervolgens kan ik doorvragen. 'Hoe fijn moet ik de koffie malen?' of 'Hoeveel schepjes koffie moeten erin voor een straf bakkie?'. Op beide vragen geeft de chatbot een helder antwoord.
Probeer het (C)(C)n keer uit en je wilt niet meer terug.
Als onze telefoons, tablets, laptops en slimme speakers met deze technologie worden uitgerust, hoeven we nooit meer een zoekmachine te gebruiken.
Google is nog niet verloren. Misschien heeft het achter de schermen al een prima alternatief voor ChatGPT draaien. Misschien integreert het op een slimme manier visuele resultaten. Een martkaandeel van boven de negentig procent raak je niet zomaar kwijt.
Maar voor het eerst in het bestaan van Google, voor het eerst sinds die middagen in de mediatheek, kan ik me voorstellen dat de zoekmachine eraan gaat.
Ernst-Jan Pfauth schrijft om de week op deze plaats een column.
Een versie vandit artikelverscheen ook in
de krantvan 12 december 2022
VIDEO - (19) Benny Johnson on Twitter: "Elon Musk DEMANDS Fauci be PROSECUTED'-- MSNBC hosts utterly TRIGGERED, Compare him to PUTIN" / Twitter
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 17:37
Benny Johnson : Elon Musk DEMANDS Fauci be PROSECUTED'-- MSNBC hosts utterly TRIGGERED, Compare him to PUTIN
Tue Dec 13 18:48:54 +0000 2022
VIDEO - (175) Watch Elizabeth Warren Debate Crypto Investor Kevin O'Leary (FTX Congressional Hearing) - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 17:23
VIDEO - (175) DeSantis seeks grand jury investigation of COVID-19 vaccines - YouTube
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 15:58
VIDEO - Tom Elliott on Twitter: "Biden pledges U.S. taxpayers will pay South Africa $8 billion to shut down their coal power plants" / Twitter
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 14:32
Tom Elliott : Biden pledges U.S. taxpayers will pay South Africa $8 billion to shut down their coal power plants
Wed Dec 14 19:08:19 +0000 2022
🥊quaDRUplicateðŸ‡ðŸ‡... : @tomselliott Piss off and leave S. Africa out of your WEF lies.
Thu Dec 15 14:31:35 +0000 2022
neo phiri : @tomselliott South Africa would be stupid to take this deal. The mining sector contributes the most to the GDP. Get'...
Thu Dec 15 14:30:31 +0000 2022
rhawk : @tomselliott Wealth transfer from us to the banks. They are getting an IMF loan it's not giving, it's theft.
Thu Dec 15 14:30:22 +0000 2022
BigDaddyLove1961 : @tomselliott @zniffo Give away another $8 Billion for BS!! Well that's a drop in the bucket compared to the Trillio'...
Thu Dec 15 14:29:39 +0000 2022
Mad Ludwig : @tomselliott More inflationary spending to fuel the Biden Crime Family's international money laundering operation.'...
Thu Dec 15 14:29:26 +0000 2022
ð'šƒð'šð'šð'š'ð'šŒ ð'"ð'šŽð'šŸ 'š¸ðŸŽ'ƒ¸ : @tomselliott Joke's on him, South Africa has almost no working coal power plants left.
Thu Dec 15 14:28:39 +0000 2022
SuperDuperDave : @tomselliott Nuts!
Thu Dec 15 14:28:37 +0000 2022
timmy g : @tomselliott What's 8 billion dollars when the nation is only 30,000 billion dollars in debt? Stay focused on the cow farts!
Thu Dec 15 14:28:19 +0000 2022
JB : @tomselliott How did that work out for Germany? They've invested hundreds of billions'...
Thu Dec 15 14:28:16 +0000 2022
Brian J Valento : @tomselliott One of these days, the free money is going to be gone..
Thu Dec 15 14:28:14 +0000 2022
Ricky Pucheu : @tomselliott In case you didn't realize it, this is another money laundering operation.
Thu Dec 15 14:28:03 +0000 2022
T : @tomselliott Keeping them empoverished
Thu Dec 15 14:27:42 +0000 2022
Wade : @tomselliott Wtf.
Thu Dec 15 14:27:00 +0000 2022
Deplorable Basket Case : @tomselliott Who the hell is he taking orders from?
Thu Dec 15 14:26:33 +0000 2022
VIDEO - Biden Tells People At LGBTQ Speech ''Don't Jump'' '' Summit News
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 13:54
The drag queen who Joe Biden invited to the White House for the ''Respect for Marriage Act'' signing this week previously tweeted, ''kids are out to sing and suck D!''
Yes, really.
Drag queen activist Marti Cummings celebrated his invitation to the event on Monday by tweeting, ''To be a non binary drag artist invited to the White House is something I never imagined would happen. Thank you President & Dr. Biden for inviting me to this historic bill signing. Grateful doesn't begin to express the emotions I feel.''
Biden invited a drag queen to the White House today for the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act. This drag queen performs and puts on shows for kids. The Biden admin encourages this.
'-- Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) December 12, 2022
Although Cummings has his account on private, other Twitter users were able to uncover previous tweets made by the activist, one of which stated, ''kids are out to sing and suck D!''
"He wants us to perform [with] us next year!"
'-- Mia Cathell (@MiaCathell) December 13, 2022
''Anyone who thinks drag isn't for children is wrong,'' Cummings also asserted, along with a picture of a young boy who was apparently ''excited'' to perform with drag queens.
Cummings also appeared in a music video called ''Show Me Your D*ck,'' which includes erect penises flashing up on screen.
Biden's invited White House guest, a non-binary Drag Queen Story Hour performer who advocates for children embracing drag, starred in a music video for the song, "Show Me Your D*ck," as erect penises flash across the screen.
'-- Mia Cathell (@MiaCathell) December 13, 2022
Another video showed the activist bragging about how he had gay sex with 52 men in a single year, a rate of one per week.
Cummings has repeatedly insisted that children should be exposed to drag queen shows.
''I love doing Drag Story Hour. Despite what conservatives say, this family friend event is a way to spread joy, teach acceptance & love,'' he said in an Instagram post. ''A way to bring people together. Kids just want to hear their favorite stories'...keep spreading hate because I'm gonna keep spreading joy.''
Media outlets responded hysterically when Donald Trump unwittingly met accused anti-Semite Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago mansion a few weeks ago.
Will any of them react similarly to this?
Don't hold your breath.
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VIDEO - (19) Ian McAfee on Twitter: "Thank goodness for whistleblowers! @adamcurry" / Twitter
Thu, 15 Dec 2022 13:41
Ian McAfee : Thank goodness for whistleblowers!@adamcurry
Wed Dec 14 06:51:01 +0000 2022
VIDEO - More heart failure deaths linked to extreme hot, cold | CTV News
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 17:37
New research has found extremely hot and cold temperatures increase the risk of death among people with cardiovascular diseases, particularly heart failure.
An international study, published Monday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, looked at more than 32 million cardiovascular deaths over four decades from more than two dozen countries.
It found people with heart failure experienced the most additional deaths from extreme temperatures compared to those with other heart conditions.
Sign up for breaking news alerts from CTV NewsGet the CTV News App now for breaking news alerts and all the top stories"The decline in cardiovascular death rates since the 1960s is a huge public health success story as cardiologists identified and addressed individual risk factors such as tobacco, physical inactivity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and others," Dr. Barrak Alahmad, a research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a faculty member at the College of Public Health at Kuwait University, said in a news release.
"The current challenge now is the environment and what climate change might hold for us."
The study used health data, pulled from 567 cities in 27 countries across five continents between 1979 and 2019, through the Multi-Country Multi-City Collaborative Research Network.
Researchers compared cardiovascular deaths on the hottest and coldest 2.5 per cent of days for each city with cardiovascular deaths in those same cities on days that had optimal temperatures or when death rates were lowest.
The study found that for every 1,000 cardiovascular deaths, extreme hot days accounted for 2.2 additional deaths, while extreme cold days accounted for 9.1 additional deaths.
When comparing types of heart disease, the greatest number of additional deaths were among people who had heart failure, with 2.6 and 12.8 additional deaths occurring on extreme hot and cold days respectively.
The researchers say the study is limited by the underrepresentation of South Asia, the Middle East and Africa in the data.
Dr. Haitham Khraishah, co-author of the study and a cardiovascular disease fellow at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Medical Center, said the "progressive nature of heart failure" could leave patients more vulnerable to temperature changes.
"This is an important finding since one out of four people with heart failure are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, and only 20 per cent of patients with heart failure survive 10 years after diagnosis," Khraishah said.
The researchers say with climate change, strategies that could reduce the impact of extreme temperatures on cardiovascular disease are needed.
VIDEO - (174) Fusion energy breakthrough by US scientists boosts clean power hopes - YouTube
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 17:09
VIDEO - Fox's Steve Hilton Delivers A.I.-Written Speech On Air
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:57
Fox News host Steve Hilton delivered a monologue completely generated by artificial intelligence, but didn't inform his audience until he was done.
The host of The Next Revolution decided his A.I.-generated monologue should be about A.I. itself, so Hilton went into a wordy defense of A.I. technology and its potential threat to some jobs.
The monologue began a bit clunky with Hilton introducing himself to his ''fellow Americans,'' but otherwise, it was a fairly smooth transition from man to machine, at least for this pro-A.I. argument.
Hilton said in part during his generated monologue:
Good evening fellow Americans. I'm Steve Hilton, and I'm here to talk to you tonight about the threat to jobs from artificial intelligence. First, let me address the elephant in the room. Yes, there is a threat to jobs from artificial intelligence but if we're honest, there are also many opportunities. A.I. is not something to be feared, but something that could be used to our advantage. Think about it. A.I. will alter many of the mundane tasks we have to do every day. This will free us up to focus on more creative and meaningful work. We can use the technology to drive innovation and create new product services and jobs.
Hilton also talked up potential benefits to the education system from A.I. and providing training to those whose jobs could be displaced due to the growing conveniences of technology.
Hilton revealed to viewers that his pro-A.I. bit was written through the program ChatGPT.
''Every word of what you just heard was written by ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence program that can do everything from write poems to scripts in the style of anyone, including me,'' Hilton said.
Hilton called the ''fellow Americans'' opening to the segment ''a little bit too presidential,'' but reviewed the speech as ''pretty good, maybe too good.''
''It's a really big deal for any profession that involves writing '-- for kids in school, kids in college, A.I. is really is the next revolution,'' Hilton said. ''We all need to understand it.''
Watch above via Fox News
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VIDEO - Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on recession fears, inflation and the war in Ukraine - 60 Minutes - CBS News
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:53
As inflation hovers at a 40-year high, the pandemic lingers, and the war in Ukraine rages, a growing number of economists and CEO's are saying the U.S. is headed for a recession.
The secretary of the treasury, Janet Yellen, essentially the nation's chief financial officer, says she's doing everything in her power to avoid one. Yellen is an economist with over 50 years of experience and the former chair of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Central Bank in charge of setting American interest rates. She knows better than most about the delicate balance of trying to engineer an economy that keeps inflation at bay without causing widespread layoffs and a downturn.
We wanted to find out what lies ahead in the new year, so we spent the past week with secretary yellen to get an update on the economy.
Norah O'Donnell: What is 2023 gonna look like for the average consumer?
Janet Yellen: So I believe inflation will be lower. I am very hopeful that the labor market will-- remain quite healthy-- so that people can feel good about their finances and their personal economic situation.
Norah O'Donnell: I mean, it's been decades since the American consumer has had to deal with inflation like this.
Janet Yellen: Yes, and I hope that it will be short-lived. We learned a lotta lessons from the high inflation we experienced in the 1970s. And we're all aware that it's critically important that inflation be brought under control and not become endemic to our economy. And we're making sure that that won't happen.
Secretary Yellen told us she sees positive signs on the horizon that many of the underlying causes are slowly being resolved.
Janet Yellen: First of all, shipping costs have come down. Delivery lags, which were very long-- those-- have shortened.
Norah O'Donnell: Gas prices down.
Janet Yellen: Gas prices are way down. I think we'll see a substantial reduction in inflation in the year ahead.
Norah O'Donnell: It's gonna take a year?
Janet Yellen: Well, I believe by the end of next year you will see much lower inflation. if there's not-- an unanticipated shock.
Norah O'Donnell: But for families who are paying more at the grocery store, when 2023 comes around, do they need to be worried about a recession?
Janet Yellen: There are always risks of a recession. The economy remains prone to shocks. But look, we have a very healthy banking system. We have very healthy business and household--
Norah O'Donnell: So you don't--
Janet Yellen: --sector.
Norah O'Donnell: You have said this, you do not believe there will be a recession next year.
Janet Yellen: There's a risk of a recession. But it certainly isn't, in my view, something that is necessary to bring inflation down.
Secretary of the Treasury Janet YellenIn recent weeks, Amazon, DoorDash, Meta, CBS News' parent company Paramount, and Pepsi have all had layoffs.
Norah O'Donnell: When I talk to business leaders, they say, "We're preparing for a recession." So some have said to me, "Ask the treasury secretary. What does she know that we don't know?"
Janet Yellen: Well, economic growth is slowing substantially. And businesses see that. Look, we had a very rapid recovery from the pandemic. Economic growth was very high. And there was a surge in hiring, put people back to work. We got people back to work. We closed that gap. We have a healthy labor market. To bring down inflation and because almost everybody who wants a job has a job, growth has to slow.
Norah O'Donnell: When you say growth has to slow, that means hiring.
Janet Yellen: We are at or beyond full employment. And so it is not necessary for the economy to grow as rapidly as it has been growing to put people back to work.
Janet Yellen has spent her career in economics focused on putting people to work. As head of the San Francisco Federal Reserve in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession, she gave her staff some memorable marching orders.
Janet Yellen: I tried to remind them that there are people behind the statistics that we look at that there are real people, and we really have to worry about their well-being.
Norah O'Donnell: Thousands of people were being laid off. And you tried to remind everybody that-- that this is not about statistics. Right?
Janet Yellen: I think I said, "They're f***ing people." And I wanted people that worked for me to take seriously the harm and misery that was being experienced by all too many Americans.
Norah O'Donnell: I mean how does that affect how you set policy, how you operate here?
Janet Yellen: One has to realize that people are really suffering, and I try to make sure that everybody remembers we're implementing programs that affect people's lives. And we need to do it with a sense of compassion and urgency.
Sec. Janet Yellen sees economic growth slowing and lower inflation on the horizon Secretary Yellen told us outside of the U.S. economy, the issue she spends the most time on is the war in Ukraine. The only nation's flag we saw in the halls of treasury besides the stars and stripes was the blue and yellow of Ukraine.
Norah O'Donnell: You have said that ending Russia's war against Ukraine is the single best thing we can do for the global economy.
Janet Yellen: Yes.
Norah O'Donnell: Do you see any evidence that that end is in sight?
Janet Yellen: We're doing everything we can to bring this war to a conclusion. Of course, we are providing considerable help-- to Ukraine, both military and economic.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo speaks with correspondent Norah O'DonnellThe agency in charge of implementing more than 1,000 sanctions on the Russian banking, energy and military industries isn't the State Department or the Pentagon '' it's the Treasury. Yellen has put 41-year-old Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo in charge of efforts to cripple the Russian economy and deprive the Russian military of what it needs to fight.
Much of the financial war against Russia is being fought from behind closed doors at Treasury in rooms called secure compartmentalized information facilities or 'SCIFs.'
Norah O'Donnell: And what are some of the things that you can do in this secure room that will limit Russia's ability in Ukraine?
Wally Adeyemo: We're able to view intelligence on Russia's attempts to evade our sanctions. We also see intelligence about what Russia needs to continue its war in Ukraine,
Norah O'Donnell: And so how much time do you spend in the SCIF?
Wally Adeyemo: So-- I will spend sometimes hours a day in the SCIF'--
Norah O'Donnell: Hours? Hours a day?
Wally Adeyemo: Yeah-- And the secretary and I will spend-- do a few meetings in there a week together with the te-- team to review our progress ac-- across a number of issues.
The deputy secretary told us limiting Russia's supply of everything from microchips to ball bearings has made a difference on the battlefield.
Norah O'Donnell: take me behind the scenes about how you know that the sanctions that you have and other countries have imposed is really having an effect
Wally Adeyemo: I won't tell you about any intelligence that I've seen. But I can tell you Russia's top tank producers have shut down their operations and they've made this public because they can't get the equipment that they need.
U.S. and allied sanctions have taken a significant toll on Russia's military, but CBS News has learned some of the cruise missiles that Russia launched in attacks on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on November 23 were made in Russia just weeks earlier.
Norah O'Donnell: Does that suggest that Russia is evading some of these sanctions that you're crafting right here at the Treasury Department?
Janet Yellen: So I don't know the details on these missiles. I would say that-- Russia's ability to supply its military has been very significantly eroded by the sanctions and the export controls.
Starting this past week, the G7, which includes the U.S. and the European Union, plus Australia agreed to a price cap of $60 a barrel on Russian oil.
The elaborate plan, eight months in the making, came together just as Europe placed a ban on the importation of Russian oil, raising fears of a price spike that would hit a continent already suffering from high energy prices.
Norah O'Donnell: What does this price cap on Russian oil do? What's the goal?
Janet Yellen: The first goal is to limit the revenue that Russia receives. And we wanna make sure that they don't get windfall profits. But the second goal is one that concerns Americans and countries all around the world, and that is we wanna keep Russian oil flowing because Russia is a significant supplier of oil to the markets. So, those are our two goals, suppress Russian revenue, make it more difficult for them to fight the war, and keep global prices in a moderate range, and avoid spikes.
Norah O'Donnell: That's a pretty delicate balance.
Janet Yellen: It is. it's new. The price cap only went into effect at the beginning of this week. But I would say so far, so good.
Norah O'Donnell: The American people have committed $38 billion to military aid to Ukraine An additional $13 billion in direct aid to prop up the Ukrainian economy How long can that support in billions of dollars continue for Ukraine?
Janet Yellen: for as long as it takes.
The U.S. Treasury was set up to finance another war, the war of independence against Great Britain, before the U.S. even existed. It is the oldest departmental building in Washington where as the 78th secretary, Janet Yellen made history.
Janet Yellen: (LAUGH) I am the first woman.
Norah O'Donnell: Ah. So this is your office.
Janet Yellen: This is my office.
Yellen enjoys a personal connection to another treasury secretary who once made history himself.
Janet Yellen: This is another portrait of Hamilton.
Norah O'Donnell: And you actually went to Hamilton High School in Brooklyn--
Janet Yellen: I-- I did. I went to Fort Hamilton High School. It was named after Hamilton, of course.
Norah O'Donnell: And did you ever think that, "I would follow in his footsteps?"
Janet Yellen: I never-- certainly never thought of it at the time. I didn't even know that I would study economics.
She was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. After graduating from Brown University, the secretary earned a Ph.D in economics from Yale in 1971. She was the only woman in her class. The notes she took as a teaching assistant are passed down by graduate students to this day.
More than half a century later, this past Thursday, we followed Secretary Yellen to Fort Worth, Texas, to see the first dollar bills with her signature go into production.
Janet Yellen: Oh my gosh. Oh that's fantastic. That's wonderful. I'm so excited, that's just great.
This Bureau of Engraving and Printing plant is part of Treasury and one of only two sites in the nation that print American currency. $2 trillion worth is currently in circulation worldwide, most of it, printed here.
Yellen's signature on the new dollarThis occasion marked the first time in the nation's nearly 250 year history that the two signatures on the dollar '' U.S. Treasurer Lynn Malerba and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen '' were both signed by women.
Janet Yellen: I wish my parents were alive to see this. I think they would find it very exciting.
Norah O'Donnell: You've had many firsts. The first female head of the Fed, the first female head of the U.S. Treasury. And now to see your name on these dollar bills, what does that mean?
Janet Yellen: Well, I'm immensely honored by it but you know our currency is really about our values and our sense of ourselves as a nation. And they signify a sound economy, a strong financial system, and a country that's able to produce currency that, really, is a standard around the world.
Produced by Keith Sharman. Associate producer, Roxanne Feitel. Broadcast associates, Eliza Costas and Olivia Rinaldi. Edited by Warren Lustig.
Trending News
In: Janet Yellen Norah O'Donnell Norah O'Donnell is the anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News." She also contributes to "60 Minutes."
VIDEO - (174) Reichsb¼rger coup: Conspirators planned armed units for 'arresting and executing' people | DW News - YouTube
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:51
VIDEO - (174) One on One - Douglas Lute Former US-NATO Representative - YouTube
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:51
VIDEO - (174) Hot mic moment: Jacinda Ardern calls minor opposition party leader an 'arrogant prick' - YouTube
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:49
VIDEO - POTS, a debilitating heart condition, is linked to Covid and, to a lesser degree, vaccines
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:46
Research published Monday has confirmed a link between a Covid infection and a debilitating heart condition called POTS, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, that has been diagnosed in some patients with long Covid.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Cardiovascular Research, are in line with earlier reports from physicians that Covid may trigger POTS, a disorder of the autonomic nervous system often characterized by a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, fainting and lightheadedness.
Physicians often fail to recognize the condition, experts say, because it can be confused with a myriad of other health problems, including anxiety and dehydration. Many patients spend years trying to get properly diagnosed.
One of the earlier discoveries with long Covid was that it could be associated with POTS and this new research builds on that, said lead study author Dr. Alan Kwan, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
POTS was also linked, to a lesser degree, to Covid vaccination with an mRNA vaccine, according to the new study.
Researchers analyzed data on nearly 300,000 patients from the Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles County from 2020 to 2022 who had either received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine or had a confirmed case of Covid. The vast majority of the vaccinated people in the study got an mRNA vaccine '-- either from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna. People with a confirmed case of Covid had not been vaccinated.
While the researchers found a small but increased risk of POTS following Covid vaccination and, in particular, the first dose, the risk was greater following a Covid infection itself: Getting Covid was linked to a five times greater risk of POTS than vaccination.
''The main message here is that while we see a potential link between Covid-19 vaccination and POTS, preventing Covid-19 through vaccination is still the best way to reduce your risk of developing POTS,'' Kwan said.
He added the study has limitations, including that the results were based on patient data from a single health system. He also said that the link between POTS and Covid vaccination needs to be confirmed with further studies.
It's unclear why the Covid vaccines would trigger the condition, Kwan said, but added that it could be related to the immune response generated by the shots.
Dr. Ofer Levy, the director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children's Hospital, agreed.
He noted that Pfizer's and Moderna's vaccines have been linked to a small risk of myocarditis. That condition, he said, may also be related to the immune response generated by the shots. Still, the myocarditis risk is significantly higher after a Covid infection than after vaccination.
Researchers should further explore the immune response to shots, because ''the better we understand how the adverse events work, the smarter we can become in designing better vaccines in the future,'' Levy said.
Other vaccines have also been linked to POTS in early accounts, but further research did not establish a causal link.
The HPV vaccine Gardasil, for example, was thought to cause POTS based on early reports, but subsequent reviews found that not to be the case, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who was not involved with the new research.
The link between an infection '-- including Covid '-- and POTS, however, is more well-established.
"Many conditions can trigger POTS, including viral infections such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19," Dr. Bala Munipalli, a physician who heads the Post-Acute Sequelae of Covid Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, said in an email.
POTS following other types of infection is not uncommon, Schaffner said. The condition has been linked to a number of viral or bacterial infections, including influenza, mononucleosis and Lyme disease.
Dr. Daniel Dudenkov, a physician at the Mayo Clinic, said that although Covid vaccines may be associated with POTS, it is important to keep in mind that Covid infection itself is much more likely to lead to POTS.
"Vaccines continue to be an important strategy to fight against Covid and its effects," he said.
Schaffner agreed, saying the event following vaccination is "rare."
"The risk of this happening is much greater with Covid than it is with the vaccine. So please get vaccinated," he said.
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VIDEO - (174) Ukraine's allies pledge over a billion dollars in immediate winter aid - YouTube
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:44
VIDEO - GlobalFoundries announces job cuts at Essex Jct. plant
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:39
ESSEX JCT., Vt. (WCAX) - Layoffs are underway at GlobalFoundries in Essex Junction, the largest private employer in Vermont.
There's no official word on the exact number of employees who will lose their jobs. GlobalFoundries announced last month it's cutting its global workforce. Now, the chip maker confirms the Vermont cuts will be finished by the end of the week. Officials have said several economic factors including inflation, continued high energy costs, and rapid interest rate increases contributed to the decision.
The Vermont Department of Labor says it's in contact with the company but is also waiting for some specifics. State officials say that there are hundreds of manufacturing jobs available right now in Vermont and that there are other programs to help the newly unemployed, too.
The job cuts come just months after outgoing Senator Leahy secured $30 million for the company to develop the next generation of computer chips. And there's likely more money heading their way as part of the CHIPS Act, the bipartisan bill signed by President Biden to provide as much as $52 billion in subsidies to chipmakers to expand their domestic semiconductor production.
Related Stories:
GlobalFoundries warns workers of layoffs; unclear if Vermont plant impacted
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Copyright 2022 WCAX. All rights reserved.
VIDEO - Former officer says powerful political player found dead in apparent suicide had unprecedented JSO access
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:37
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. '' The News4JAX I-TEAM has been asking questions as to why a prominent local political donor had badge access to Jacksonville Sheriff's Office headquarters and multiple other locations for five years.
JSO confirmed last week that Kent Stermon, who visited JSO buildings hundreds of times in that span, was under investigation in the weeks leading up to his apparent suicide at the Mayport Post Office in Atlantic Beach on Thursday night. He was 50 years old.
Four sources told News4JAX the investigation into Stermon stemmed from sexual misconduct allegations.
According to a log from JSO obtained by the I-TEAM, Stermon's access card stopped being used just a few weeks before his death.
MORE | I-TEAM: High-profile political donor, who was found dead Thursday, had access card to JSO headquarters
Stermon was linked to campaigns for Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Sheriff Mike Williams and current Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters.
News4JAX spoke to retired JSO officer James Brown who said Stermon's access was unheard of and believes the only way Stermon could come and go from police headquarters is if the sheriff gave him access.
News4JAX asked Brown, a 30-year veteran, if that level of access is normal for someone that is not a current or retired JSO officer.
''From my experience, and when I was employed there, no,'' Brown said. ''Access is controlled and limited sheriff's office staff. Retirees are given that access, but even that access is limited.''
''It would raise a suspicion of, why would that person be given that type of access?'' Brown said.
Brown said that even if a person works for JSO, they wouldn't be given as much access as Stermon had.
According to data from JSO, Stermon swiped his JSO access card hundreds of times, including 140 times at JSO headquarters, since 2017.
He also swiped at substations:
ZONE 1 - 1 time
ZONE 2 - 8 times
ZONE 3 - 30 times
ZONE 4 - 8 times
ZONE 5 - 0 times
K9 JSO - 4 times
There was a previous request to JSO for Stermon's JSO I.D. and key swipes since July 2015. In the response on Aug. 18, undersheriff Pat Ivey said, ''After a diligent search, our office has located no records which are responsive to your request.''
Local attorney John Phillips was hired to represent a former JSO officer in a separate case. Phillips questioned Stermon's access while investigating his client's case.
''We filed the case, did public records request related to a few different people that were rumored to be doing promotions and demotions unfairly within JSO, within that investigation Kent Stermon's name repeatedly came up as somebody who ultimately was either making decisions about who was to get promoted or influential in those decisions which was highly unusual and offensive because he's a private citizen,'' Phillips said.
Phillips said several Jacksonville officers have come forward to him. Phillips said he requested the badge log and other information and still has not heard back from JSO.
JSO gave the badge data to News4JAX on Friday.
The criminal investigation into Stermon will continue, even though he's dead, JSO said. A date for its completion has not been given. According to JSO, it is an ongoing investigation. However, Sheriff Waters said once the investigation is complete the information will be released to the public.
News4JAX asked the Federal Department of Law Enforcement if it was also investigating Stermon, but a statement from FDLE said the agency: ''is not involved in any investigation involving Kent Stermon or Total Military Management.''
News4JAX sent a list of questions to JSO about Stermon's access to JSO over the five-year period this weekend. News4JAX also asked for a status update on those questions to get more clarification.
Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX - All rights reserved.
VIDEO - Corruption scandal rocks EU
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:23
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#eu#qatar#policeJerome Hughes reports from Brussels.@PressTV
Jerome Hughes reports from Brussels.@PressTV
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VIDEO - (174) DeSantis Doubles Down On Covid Paranoia; Vaccine-Rejecting GOP Suffers Higher Death Rate - YouTube
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 16:01
VIDEO - (28) The Babylon Bee on Twitter: "Meet Kamala Harris's 6-Year-Old Speechwriter" / Twitter
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 15:58
The Babylon Bee : Meet Kamala Harris's 6-Year-Old Speechwriter
Tue Dec 13 23:31:49 +0000 2022
VIDEO - 30 years worth of evidence, including DNA, possibly destroyed in NYPD storage facility blaze - CBS News
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 15:56
Investigators: Evidence in NYPD warehouse was likely destroyed in fire
Investigators: Evidence in NYPD warehouse was likely destroyed in fire 02:33 Evidence, including DNA and items collected from crime scenes, dating back up to 30 years may have been destroyed in a 3-alarm fire that overtook a New York City Police Department storage facility in Brooklyn. Eight people suffered minor injuries, fire officials said.
The blaze erupted around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Erie Basin Auto Pound, a facility in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood where the NYPD stores evidence, FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens said in a press conference.
According to NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, the building was a police department pound that stored "a lot of biological evidence" as well as e-bikes and cars.
"DNA, things from past crimes, burglaries, shooting incidents, we have some biological evidence here as well," Maddrey said at the press conference. "It's mainly evidence, but we store other things there as well."
Officials said that rape evidence kits were not stored at the facility.
A blaze broke out at the Erie Basin Auto Pound on Columbia Street in Red Hook at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, authorities said. New York Daily News "The evidence goes back a long time, 20-30 years. Some of the evidence was also property from (Hurricane) Sandy as well," Maddrey added.
Police said they won't know the extent of the damage until the fire is put out, a task the fire department said could take several days. But Hodgens said that he would "estimate that most of the contents are damaged by fire."
The investigation into the cause of the blaze is ongoing.
Hodgens said that eight people, including three members of the FDNY, three EMS personnel, and two civilians, suffered minor injuries as a result of the fire.
A view of the site as a massive fire broke out at an NYPD impound and evidence storage warehouse in Brooklyn on December 13, 2022 in Brooklyn, United States. Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images "We attempted an interior fire attack, but the members were overwhelmed by the amount of fire and we had to back all of our firefighters out of the building and go to an exterior attack," Hodgens said, adding that at one point, part of the building collapsed.
Fire officials are using three marine fire boats and drones to attack the fire.
"It's a deep-seated, heavy volume of fire, that's hard to get to the seat of the fire," Hodgens added.
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VIDEO - Bueller? Bueller? AOC Climate Change Doc Earns Dismal $80 Per Theater Average for Shocking Opening Weekend
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:45
Bueller? Bueller? AOC Climate Change Doc Earns Dismal $80 Per Theater Average for Shocking Opening Weekend
A new documentary focusing on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) and other activists pushing for the Green New Deal flopped on its opening weekend, earning just an $80 average per theater.
To the End is the latest political documentary from director Rachel Lears, who previously directed Knock Down the House, which focused on Ocasio Cortez, among other politicians. That 2019 film debuted on Netflix.
The climate change-centered follow-up debuted in 120 theaters this past weekend and brought in under $10,000, according to data from Box Office Mojo. Documentaries typically make their way to streaming these days and the box office has still struggled to have a full comeback following covid shutdowns. Still, the presence of a celebrity like Ocasio Cortez front and center in a documentary would seem to be a selling point that would earn more than $80 a theater.
There aren't many documentaries at the moment to compare To the End to, but a film with a similar theater count outperformed it plenty this weekend. The Mean One, a horror tale from Atlas Distribution inspired by the children's story of The Grinch, earned an average of more than $1300 from 162 theaters in its opening weekend. People would apparently rather sit through a bloody Christmas movie than hear Ocasio Cortez pontificate on climate change.
Another political documentary released this year was Dinesh D'Souza's 2000 Mules, which spread unproven 2020 election fraud conspiracy theories. That film earned just under $1.5 million in theaters, according to Box Office Mojo.
In the trailer for To the End, Ocasio Cortez calls the climate change fight the ''moon shot of our generation. It premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. The latest version of the film was edited, including the ending, after the film festival premiere to reflect major changes in the political landscape.
The movie's ending now includes the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.
''The film now ends with historic legislation passing and our protagonists reflecting on this. And it really shows how their work that we see in the film leads to what happens,'' Lears told Deadline. ''What they've done is to make politically impossible things become possible.''
Watch the trailer for To the End via Roadside Attractions
The post
Bueller? Bueller? AOC Climate Change Doc Earns Dismal $80 Per Theater Average for Shocking Opening Weekend first appeared on
VIDEO - Excellent work from Nancy Mace'... Transgender censor exposed for 'violent threats''... '' CITIZEN FREE PRESS
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:42
2 '…Îrе fÎоḋ ÑrÎсеѕѕіոǵ Ñ'…¼Ð°Õ¸tѕ Ô'еrе ''ḃսrոеḋ ḋÎÔ'Õ¸' ḃу tḣе ոеÔ' Ô'Îr'…¼á¸‹ оrḋеr tÎ fÕ½rtḣеr Ô'Îrѕеո tḣе fооḋ сrіѕіѕ ḃесаսѕе tḣеу Ô'аոt tоѕtаr'…´Ðµ уÎÕ½ аոḋ '…аkе уоս ḋеÑеոḋеոt оո ''FÐÐ'А аոḋ tḣеіr ÑÎіѕеոеḋ fоÎḋ' ѕΠḋΠtḣіѕ Ð…ΑР'.....
áÑ–Ñ•Ñ–t'...'...'... Ô' ΠŠРŠǑ Ս Ð Ð' . Ð Ó... Ð'
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 9:07 am
Mace is still a Trump hating rino.
Vote Up 2 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 9:07 am
Constitutional Republic
Democracy?? No.
Vote Up 3 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 9:00 am
Leviticus 20:13
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 8:54 am
2 '…Îrе fÎоḋ ÑrÎсеѕѕіոǵ Ñ'…¼Ð°Õ¸tѕ Ô'еrе ''ḃսrոеḋ ḋÎÔ'Õ¸' ḃу tḣе ոеÔ' Ô'Îr'…¼á¸‹ оrḋеr tÎ fÕ½rtḣеr Ô'Îrѕеո tḣе fооḋ сrіѕіѕ ḃесаսѕе tḣеу Ô'аոt tоѕtаr'…´Ðµ уÎÕ½ аոḋ '…аkе уоս ḋеÑеոḋеոt оո ''FÐÐ'А аոḋ tḣеіr ÑÎіѕеոеḋ fоÎḋ' ѕΠḋΠtḣіѕ Ð…ΑР'.....
áÑ–Ñ•Ñ–t'...'...'... Ô' ΠŠРŠǑ Ս Ð Ð' . Ð Ó... Ð'
Vote Up -3 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 8:47 am
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 8:45 am
Vote Up 3 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 8:05 am
They ARE coming for your children. '' Teach your children quietly, for some day sons and daughters will rise up and fight while we stood still. ''
Vote Up 12 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:54 am
This is what happens when God is replaced with psychogists and therapy which are a bunch of nutjobs themselves trying to actually fix their own deficiency.. The psychology industry has also been infested with mentally ill and people with Body Dysphoria. How do you think being part of the LBGTQ gang became Normal. Let's no forget the Pedos in that industry.
Vote Up 18 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:34 am
A good psychologist, however, will push you to confront your own BS.I don't know what to call all the 'experts' pushing the transgender darkness'...soul grifters perhaps. Or they are money changers in the temple God created within each of us for His expression and glory.
Vote Up 3 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 8:38 am
Sophia Miner - I am a Christian
Soul grifters, good term.
Vote Up 0 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 9:40 am
What is that thing? A man pretending to be a woman or a woman pretending to be a man? Such a mentally ill person should not be in government. In fact, he-she should never have any job where they have any authority whatsoever over other people.
Vote Up 16 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:28 am
My mistake'--He-she is not in government, but in education, which is probably worse as it preaches to captive audiences every day. We need to remove these vile satanic commie activists from our schools. It was not that long ago that people like that would have been weeded out from the prospective teacher pool after a psychological test and a quick look at their background.
Vote Up 12 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:42 am
Just substitute the words ''pretending to be a'' for the prefix ''trans''.
''Transwoman'' = Pretending to be a woman.''Transman'' = Pretending to be a man.
Vote Up 9 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:48 am
By using ''he-she'' you are buying into their rhetoric, not making fun of it.
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:52 am
Give it what it really wants '' throw it in the general population at a men's prison.
Vote Up 7 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:27 am
That dude has huge tits!
Vote Up 10 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:01 am
bought and paid for by our tax dollars more than likely
Vote Up 4 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:54 am
Yet they are not mammary glands, are they?Freaks need help, but not from psychiatrists.
Vote Up 0 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 8:39 am
Imagine if psychiatry was recognized as the pseudo-science it always has been. How much of this nonsense and psycho-babble would just vanish. How much more sane the world be.
Vote Up 9 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:00 am
Correct. Any ''community'' that takes a mental illness and turns it into a virtue '' as in body dysphoria in regards to ''gender'' (aka sex) '' needs to be disbanded. With extreme prejudice.
Vote Up 5 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:42 am
You never sat with the wisdom of Carl Jung I am guessing.
Vote Up 0 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 8:41 am
''Weird Al'' Caraballo
Vote Up 2 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 6:57 am
Another man who pretends to be FEMALE, is so full of crap they/them's tits are about to burst. Just like the award winning groomer teacher in canada.
Vote Up 3 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 6:35 am
Alejandra Caraballo is just another whore for the Left. Oh were you offended then let me tell you not to take my comments out of context. Yes you are a whore for the Left but the context of that statement shouldn't be read out of context as you Alejandra, you brown trash whore, might do.
Vote Up 8 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 4:14 am
That fruit loop needs to go!
Vote Up 5 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 2:58 am
The Time Travelling Hipster
Nuts or de-nutted?
Vote Up 5 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 1:47 am
The illogic of these wokist clowns never ceases to amaze me.
Vote Up 17 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 12:34 am
I actually wanted hear her (probably well rehearsed) song & dance routine.
Alejandra Caraballo: I said it and I tweeted it'....but I didn't say it nor did I mean it.
Vote Up 8 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 11:30 pm
'Groomers' hate that word, just like cockroaches don't like bright lights
Vote Up 36 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 11:28 pm
Groooooooomers. Hear that Groomers? Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Groomer, Grooooooooomer.
Vote Up 3 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 7:37 am
When listening to Nancy Mace, it is good to remember that, sometimes, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.
Vote Up 4 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 11:17 pm
Yeah Mace who falsely accused Trump supporters of being insurrectionists.We are a Republic!!!
Vote Up 25 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 10:51 pm
This is not about left versus right or democrats versus republicans anymore. This is a war of good versus evil and the sides are so obvious that if half the country didn't have empty souls due to abandoning God it could never gain traction. The opposition are possessed, I swear.
Vote Up 52 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 10:29 pm
Saying it's not about Democrats vs Republicans but rather about good vs. evil ignores the indisputable fact that all the evil is coming from the Democrats. All of of it. If you, have a counterexample, post it here.
Vote Up 6 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 10:46 pm
Ro Kahn attempting to defend 1st amendment on Twitter files ? I'm sure he's done some ''evil'' things but once upon a time differing opinions existed without the holder being ''evil''
You asked I answered dialogue not taking shots Ollie my friend.
Vote Up 6 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 11:14 pm
We are all born sinful and our every tendency is towards evil. No one is born sinless since Jesus was laid in the manger. Republicans do the same evils as Democrats. If you insist on examples, look at the politicians in Congress. Both sides have grifters, traitors and liars. The only difference is the letters after their names. Voting against marriage? Evil. Voting to let the bureaucracies make laws? Evil. Insider trading? Evil. Lying to your constituents? Evil. Using the courts and corrupt judges to subvert the US Constitution? Evil. Taking away the rights of the people? Evil. A pox on both their houses. I want statesmen who openly and gladly stand for what they believe. Only then can I vote for them.
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December 14, 2022 5:15 am
Mitch McConnell
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December 14, 2022 8:43 am
Half the country has only the vaguest idea of any of this. They're mainstream, corporate media consumers, and they aa result have no idea the scope and severity of our problems.
Vote Up 2 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 6:08 am
When are people going to stop telling me that what I think is wrong?! I'm an adult & fully capable of deciding that for myself. When were they voted the thought police? I wish they'd just shut up & leave me & everyone else alone '-- & I'll be more than happy to let them lead whatever life it is they choose. Just stop telling me how to live & think!!!!! I've had enough of it!!! Doesn't anyone remember the old saying ''live & let live''? Whatever happened to that?
Vote Up 21 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:55 pm
We are waaaaaay past the live and let live portion of the Republic. The marxists will never abide by that.
Vote Up 28 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 10:17 pm
What you are describing is the heart of conservatives/libertarianism. It is a philosophy of as long as I'm not hurting anyone I can do what I want. Western law, common law, is based on this principle.
But the leftists are about control. They must control others in every possible aspect.
Not coincidentally it is also a primary difference between God and the devil. Freedom vs coercion.
Vote Up 17 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 10:31 pm
And, Intimidation'.....If what most societies has deemed and proven to be ''evil'' over 5000 years and have cultural and societal laws condemning IT most likely IT IS evil'.....
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 6:24 am
Ha. Ha. The liberals never believed that '-- it was just something they said until they could gain enough power to censor you and punish you for disagreeing with them.
You were a sucker for ever believing it.
Vote Up 4 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 10:44 pm
Their inner sickness/confusion needs to steal your righteousness to prop itself up.On its own it falls apart. It's not about about what you think. It's about THAT you think.And what they're trying to outlaw in this country of free speech is our freedom to say, '' You really sound full of s#'! ''
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 8:51 am
He wants to clarify and give context to what he tweeted?! His words are very plain. He advocated violence against Supreme Court justices. No further explanation needed.
Vote Up 16 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:45 pm
Courage is not a trait of evil. They only do what they do and say what they say when they think they can get away with it.
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December 13, 2022 10:33 pm
''Context'' ? I'd love to hear that one reasoned out.
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December 14, 2022 8:53 am
The only reason these Trans things are a thing now is because of Michelle Obama.
Vote Up 28 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:40 pm
This person is mentally ill. There are all kind of ''tells'' that are easy a normal person to observe and see for what they are. People who think they are the opposite sex, or some made up fantasy thing are sick and need help. The sad thing is that the less than one percent of screwed up individuals get 99 percent of the attention, and get promoted to show that we are ''inclusive''.
Caraballo promoted violence against Supreme Court Justices, and that's OK? Look at the fruitcake from the department of energy that is a compulsive thief, he would have never suffered any consequences if the story's hadn't got out. These messed up individuals get into positions they would never be qualified for if not for the protected insanity they suffer. Then when the ugly truth comes out'.... It gets swept under the rug unless it's so egregious that it can't be over looked.
While I can't help a kleptomaniac, I can try and help people who are gender confused'....
Vote Up 6 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:40 pm
Like, Liberty University President, Falwell'...'...What he did and apparently sanctioned his wife to do and lied about their actions to a male student was and is deplorable'.....If he were a prominent Democrat'....It would have been swept under the rug never to see the ''light'' of day' Bill and Hillary's antics and actions, or Al Sharpton 's antics and actions'....or Hunter/Joe Biden's antics and actions'....or Roman Polanki/Woody Allen's actions and behaviors'.....there is no End to the Liberal Dem. list and their actions'...'....
Vote Up 0 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 6:40 am
So that dude in a skirt bought the same prosthetic boobs as the Canadian shop teacher.
One of them was joking and making a point about the lunacy of transexualism.
The other is a lunatic testifying before congress with his fake rubber boobs .
Vote Up 8 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:38 pm
They both make the point about the lunacy.
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December 13, 2022 9:51 pm
Tranny censor didn't give it's censor targets a chance to put their tweets ''into context'', yet shamelessly begs to put it's ''threateneing'' into context. Bastards are pure evil.
Vote Up 8 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:35 pm
Is the support for the transgender thing just an effort to line up with depop agenda since they can't reproduce (which is great btw)? There can't be that many..tell me it ain't so.
Vote Up 4 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:26 pm
Listen man, I was in San Francisco from 1959 and I know these trans people. They are criminaly insane.I used to go to this club (I am female) and I was very pretty the trans would stand on the stairs leading to the upstairs club and put a cigarette to burn my hair.Today in the Tenderoin in SF they have the Tranny wars where they fight each other like gladiators in the streets.YOU don't KNOW these PEOPLE.
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December 13, 2022 9:26 pm
Lmao. That's awesome.
Vote Up 3 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:29 pm
I kinda want to see that but the hair pulling seems like it would be a disappointment.
Vote Up 0 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 10:54 pm
Nancy Maze= RINO
Vote Up 2 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:26 pm
release his address on social media and everyone else that acted in violence against conservatives and see how they like being harassed '.... an eye for eye
Vote Up 14 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:17 pm
Reverse fixing only leads to more evil.
Vote Up 0 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 9:08 am
Doxing'...not fixing
Vote Up 0 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 9:08 am
Where is the trans guy now who assaulted these girls? Any law suits? Jail?
Vote Up 7 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:09 pm
Probably elected to the school board by democrats
Vote Up 9 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:32 pm
Most likely'....
Vote Up 0 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 6:42 am
Domestic violence among homosexual couples is statistically quite high. These Drama Queens have a propensity for physical violence.
Vote Up 16 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:01 pm
Fortunately, injuries are quite uncommon, with most damage confined to crockery.
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:08 pm
Dead wrong. Injuries are many times much worse than hetero domestic blowouts. First, there's the inherent mental illness and then the fact that both combatants are generally better matched physically. So the fight goes on much longer. Homicides involving same sex couples are often VERY bloody. Especially in those who identify as dykes. Bludgeoning, face mutilation, dozens of stab wounds and worse. My source? Law enforcement, victim counseling and coroner access in Denver. I don't think Denver is special. Love is love, but man when it goes south, they are an visceral and vicious demographic
Vote Up 12 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:17 pm
A friend of mine would sometimes share the details of the fights he had with his boyfriend. OMG. Brutal, mean & sick. It's like all of their mental illness surfaces. I always worried for him.
Vote Up 2 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 10:23 pm
Drag events and queer clubs used to be illegal. Now because of tolerance they want to groom our children and use their newly found attention to monetize their falsely claimed victim hood.
Vote Up 10 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 8:56 pm
2 questionshow cold is itinside a black holeandif Biden is kidnapped bycartels, will they trade himfor El Chapoand will democrats hesitate and sayno, we don't negotiate with terrorist?
Vote Up 10 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 8:56 pm
Wonder what Caraballo thinks of 'morning boners'.
Vote Up 7 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 8:54 pm
What wood, she'd say
Vote Up 6 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:04 pm
Those are the best onesðŸ‚🤣ðŸ‚🤣ðŸ‚
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:08 pm
Freaking funny! Thumbs up
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 9:10 pm
After trans health care?They will all be mourning boners.
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
December 14, 2022 12:37 am
I worked with a guy who was a Detective for a reasonably sized city at one point. I was 21 or so and he was telling me about his experience since he was retired working security for a UPS hub.
He told me that ''you've never seen a murder scene until you see a 'gay on gay' murder.'' It frankly caught me off guard and in shock I asked ''WHY!'' He even had a ''boyfriend''.
''It's like animals full of rage'' It's been a few decades but his face and tone of voice was serious.
Imagine the likes like this where they've even gone deeper and committed. This is our world right now. Fun times.
Vote Up 18 Vote Down Reply
December 13, 2022 8:38 pm
True. Very similar to chimp attack in terms of sadism
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December 13, 2022 8:56 pm
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December 14, 2022 12:38 am
VIDEO - New World Odor' on Twitter: "Check out this propaganda from Unicef. They project the C19 pandemic into a 6th year. Disgusting." / Twitter
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:09
New World Odor' : Check out this propaganda from Unicef.They project the C19 pandemic into a 6th year.Disgusting.
Tue Dec 13 15:26:06 +0000 2022
Not brainwashed : @hugh_mankind Anything with UN is pure evil!!! Using children to push their death shots that turns humans into spik'...
Wed Dec 14 13:48:12 +0000 2022
linda audet : @hugh_mankind Terrible
Wed Dec 14 13:03:10 +0000 2022
pokerbootz : @hugh_mankind I just threw up in my mouth
Wed Dec 14 11:36:43 +0000 2022
Gabrielle MacDonald : @hugh_mankind Nauseating
Wed Dec 14 10:59:26 +0000 2022
ZenStick108 : @hugh_mankind One of the most demonic things I have ever seen.
Wed Dec 14 08:44:54 +0000 2022
michael ohlinger : @hugh_mankind 🖕ðŸ'🎱 @UNICEF 🎪ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤
Wed Dec 14 06:39:31 +0000 2022
James Gervaise : @hugh_mankind
Wed Dec 14 05:44:51 +0000 2022
Nancy Hokkanen : @hugh_mankind Overdramatic paid child actors left out ''pathogenic priming'' and ''antibody dependent enhancement.'' An'...
Wed Dec 14 05:25:45 +0000 2022
Ell : @hugh_mankind Cringe - why do they all sound like Greta
Wed Dec 14 05:23:07 +0000 2022
Wei : @hugh_mankind So they want C19 to be continued until 2025? Crazy.Isn't it the time for monkey pox (oh, m-pox) to take in-charge?!
Wed Dec 14 05:10:07 +0000 2022
LOVE*LIGHT*TRUTH : @hugh_mankind Wow so gross.
Wed Dec 14 04:30:36 +0000 2022
Happy Willhoite : @hugh_mankind That's because 95% of Africans don't want the fckn jab. Ask them. They'll tell ya real quick. This ain't their 1st rodeo.
Wed Dec 14 03:39:34 +0000 2022
Roadkill Rabbit : @hugh_mankind That's disgusting. Complete manipulative garbage. And Africa in general had very poor take up of th'...
Wed Dec 14 03:28:57 +0000 2022
char-cloth : @hugh_mankind
Wed Dec 14 03:05:07 +0000 2022
VIDEO - James Freeman on Twitter: "🚨 BREAKING NEWS: A prominent leader of the British Heart Foundation has conspired to cover-up research linking mNRA jabs with heart inflammation, says British MP @TheBHF @SteveBarclay @ABridgen
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:08
James Freeman : 🚨 BREAKING NEWS: A prominent leader of the British Heart Foundation has conspired to cover-up research linking mNRA'...
Tue Dec 13 20:51:30 +0000 2022
VIDEO - (1) Bernie's Tweets on Twitter: "AUSTRALIA - Melbourne has started installing defibrillators outside homes, making sure every resident has easy access.. to help with the increase in sudden cardiac arrests. Oh '..." / Twitter
Wed, 14 Dec 2022 14:05
Bernie's Tweets : AUSTRALIA - Melbourne has started installing defibrillators outside homes, making sure every resident has easy acce'...
Tue Dec 13 11:54:32 +0000 2022
MinistryOfTruth : @BernieSpofforth ROFL. this is what Australians want though. I'm willing to bet they're all excited to get that 9th booster too.
Wed Dec 14 14:00:21 +0000 2022
PENELOPPE : @BernieSpofforth Mais stopper l'injection exp(C)rimentale, §a non.
Wed Dec 14 13:59:17 +0000 2022
Notorious D.O.G.🇮🇪 : @BernieSpofforth @NotoriousCATo_o I want a free defibrillator lol
Wed Dec 14 13:57:36 +0000 2022
VIDEO - Latest word salad from Kamala Harris leaves people scratching their heads ''
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 21:01
Vice President Kamala Harris has a real talent for giving speeches that sound like a book report for a book she didn't read. She often sounds like she is just stringing words and phrases together just to take up space on a page, or minutes in a speech.
In this video, she says ''Simply put, your ability to see what can be, unburdened by what has been.''
Simply put, what in the heck is she even talking about?
Watch below:
Kamala Harris has a message for Africa's young leaders: "Simply put, your ability to see what can be, unburdened by what has been."
'-- RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 13, 2022
She is very fond of that statement and has used it before:
This video was played all over conservative media. But I don't feel pride. I feel unburdened by what has been.
'-- Maze (@mazemoore) June 8, 2022
People have thoughts. And questions.
'-- Nielkt 🇺🇲 ðŸš' (@Nielkta) December 13, 2022
Simply put?
'-- Steve Royko (@RoykoSteve) December 13, 2022
What in God's name is she talking about.
'-- Charles "Chaplain" Ratcliff (@Charlesrat74) December 13, 2022
It might be time for yet another shake-up in the Vice President's office.
They need to hire better prompter operators.
'-- Qing Gu (@QingGu5) December 13, 2022
I wonder who wrote that for her?
'-- carl porcelli (@carlporcelli2) December 13, 2022
People are tired of the word salad speeches.
'-- 2BarkingWesties (@2BarkingWesties) December 13, 2022
'-- MOONFISH (@moonefish) December 13, 2022
If Biden doesn't run in 2024, are Democrats really going to put Kamala at the top of their ticket?
Every time she speaks, people are reminded of why she dropped out of the 2016 race before the Iowa caucus.
She almost makes Biden sound smart. Almost.
Editor's Note:
Help us keep owning the libs! Join Twitchy VIP and use promo code AMERICAFIRST to receive a 25% discount off your membership!
VIDEO - (174) 'Very serious' corruption scandal rattles European Parliament - BBC News - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 18:26
VIDEO - Democrats Abandon Free Speech, The Twitter Files w/ Matt Taibbi, and Media Corruption | SYSTEM UPDATE '-- Ep. 1
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 17:49
We are thrilled to announce the series premiere of SYSTEM UPDATE, debuting TONIGHT at 7pm ET on Rumble:Our content-packed inaugural show will feature:
'ž¸ A deep dive into the rapid deterioration of free speech values in America.
'ž¸ An interview with Matt Taibbi to discuss his explosive reporting on the Twitter Files.
'ž¸ SCOOP: An exclusive, inside look at corporate media's corruption.
Reminder: Immediately following the show's conclusion on Rumble, we'll move to Locals for a members-only Q&A where Glenn will take your questions, address any feedback, and celebrate the official launch of the show.
See you tonight!
VIDEO - (174) U.S. announces nuclear fusion energy breakthrough - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 17:40
VIDEO - Samantha Markle and I watch "Harry and Meghan" | The Other Side of the Story | Part 1 - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 15:54
VIDEO - (174) Daughter charged with kidnapping, financial exploitation of 88-year-old mother - YouTube
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 15:27
VIDEO - UK and western Europe in middle of a wind drought - and a 'global stilling' is coming | Climate News | Sky News
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 15:20
Britain is in the middle of a wind drought - and the timing couldn't have been worse.
For several days now, the UK and western Europe have been calm, with barely a breeze.
It is not until Wednesday, or even Thursday, that speeds pick up in Scotland and the North Sea, where most of our wind farms are.
That shows in the mix of energy being used in the freezing conditions.
In the past year, wind has produced 28% of our electricity, gas 42% and coal 1.6%.
Yet as people settled down to work on Monday morning, gas power stations had been ramped up, producing 61% of our electricity.
Wind was down to 3.4%, even less than the amount being generated by coal (3.6%).
This snapshot is unusual, but it does show the limitations of renewable energy in some weather conditions.
The risks could increase with global warming.
Scientists working for the United Nations' intergovernmental panel on climate change have looked at what could happen to wind speeds in future.
Read more:First coal mine in decades approvedWhy is it so cold when climate change is making world hotter?
Big bet on wind
Even if the world reaches net zero soon after 2050, limiting the rise in temperature, winds will weaken significantly in the northern hemisphere.
It's called global stilling. And it's caused by the rapid warming of the Arctic, which is narrowing the temperature difference with the tropics, a gap that drives wind.
In the UK, the average wind speed is expected to drop by 2% to 3% by 2050, and 10% by the end of the century.
That matters because the UK is taking a big bet on wind.
We have 14.2GW of onshore wind turbines, with another 13.7GW offshore.
The government has a target to increase offshore capacity to 50GW by 2030, and to turn off gas and coal power stations by 2035.
Click to subscribe to ClimateCast with Tom Heap wherever you get your podcasts
However, having the turbines doesn't make them turn - as we are finding out now.
Although the government also plans to expand nuclear energy to 24GW by 2050, up from about 6GW now, that would not fill the gap left by the lack of wind.
We will need to find some way of storing vast amounts of energy, invest in new sources, such as tidal power, or import much more through long distance cables.
Only then can we be sure the lights will stay on without fossil fuels.
VIDEO - Covid-19 vaccines have saved 3 million lives in US, study says, but the fight isn't over | CNN
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 14:48
Expert: China has failed to prepare residents when zero-Covid policy ends
CNN '--
The Covid-19 vaccines have kept more than 18.5 million people in the US out of the hospital and saved more than 3.2 million lives, a new study says '' and that estimate is most likely a conservative one, the researchers say.
The US is nearing the second anniversary of its first Covid-19 vaccinations, and although the coronavirus is still causing thousands of illnesses and deaths, the vaccines have made living with the virus more manageable.
To determine exactly how much the shots have helped, researchers from the Commonwealth Fund and Yale School of Public Health created a computer model of disease transmission that incorporated demographic information, people's risk factors, the dynamics of infection and general information about vaccination.
Their study, published Tuesday, found that without Covid-19 vaccines, the nation would have had 1.5 times more infections, 3.8 times more hospitalizations and 4.1 times more deaths than it did between December 2020 and November 2022.
As it stands now, Covid-19 has caused at least 99.2 million cases and more than 1.08 million deaths in the US. Just in the past week, there were 2,981 new deaths and 30,253 new hospital admissions, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study estimates that the vaccinations were also a good financial bet, saving the US $1.15 trillion in medical costs.
If you factor in the cases of long Covid that vaccines likely prevented, the savings may be much higher, according to Alison Galvani, one of the study authors.
''Given the emergency of highly transmissible variants and immune-evading variants like Omicron, it is a remarkable success and an extraordinary achievement,'' said Galvani, founding director of the Yale Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis.
''Moving forward, an accelerating uptake of the new booster will be fundamental to averting future hospitalization and death.''
Nearly 658 million Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States. However, uptake of the new boosters '' which target the original virus strain as well as the Omicron BA.4/5 subvariants '' has been slow since they were authorized this fall. Only about 14% of the eligible population has gotten one, and 1 in 5 people in the US are still completely unvaccinated, according to the CDC.
The Biden administration has been encouraging more Americans to get boosted, especially with holiday gatherings coming up.
''Don't wait. If you wait, you put yourself at risk,'' Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said Friday at an AARP event. ''We're entering the colder months of the late fall and the early winter. We're all going to congregate with our families and friends for the holidays. If you are up to date, great. If you are not, get vaccinated now.''
Covid-19 case numbers have been trending upward, as have deaths and hospitalizations, according to the CDC.
About 14% of the US population lives in an area that meets the CDC's criteria for a ''high'' Covid-19 community level, including New York City, Los Angeles County and Maricopa County, Arizona '' a sharp increase from less than 5% last week but far below levels of prior surges. And at this level, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors.
''We are all sick of sickness,'' AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said Friday. ''Each of us has the power to significantly reduce our risk of getting sick.''
As numbers trend upward, the experts suggest that masks may be appropriate in some circumstances.
The CDC recommends masking for anyone who's on public transportation. It also suggests wearing one in other public settings in communities where there is a high level of transmission. People who are at high risk of severe illness should wear masks even in areas with only medium community levels.
Other basic prevention measures still apply: Keep hands clean, and stay home if you're sick.
VIDEO - Man, father-in-law kicked off plane leaving Flint airport for saying 'penis'
Tue, 13 Dec 2022 14:46
Published December 13, 2022 7:35AM
Two men kicked off plane from Flint airport after one referenced male anatomyA man and his father in law were booted from a flight from Flint Bishop Airport for saying the word 'penis' while on board. Jayson Bauer, one of the two kicked off, said they're still trying to get their money back from Allegiant Airlines.
DETROIT (FOX 2) - A man said he and another relative were kicked off a flight heading out of Flint Bishop Airport after he said the word 'penis' while onboard.
Jayson Bauer said he and his father-in-law were flying down to Florida to help them move when they were approached by flight staff. He said no reason was given for the removal until they were brought off the flight.
"Finally the Flint police and the airport authority came over and said we were removed because I said the word 'penis' on board an airplane," he said. "I meant it in no derogatory (way). I mean, it's part of the male anatomy and we were literally kicked off an airplane in Flint and we had to drive."
Bauer said his wife had to come and pick him and his father-in-law up as a result.
A spokesman with Allegiant Airlines, the company who operates the plane that Bauer was on, said two passengers had become disruptive and verbally abusive after boarding the plane. "When crew members instructed them to cease their unruly behavior, the passengers failed to comply. As a result, both were deplaned and reaccommodated to other flights," read a statement from the company.
"This decision was made with the utmost safety of our customers and crew members in mind. Unruly behavior from a passenger presents a safety risk. As I'm sure you are aware, failing to comply with a crew member's instructions is a violation of FAA regulations. Allegiant does not tolerate disruptive, abusive, or unruly behavior of any kind."
RELATED: Official: Man caught exposing himself on JetBlue flight into Detroit from New York
According to Bauer, they weren't the only ones kicked off the flight. There was another person who was intoxicated while a fourth person also threw up.
The duo were given the opportunity to fly out of Grand Rapids, but Bauer said they wouldn't make it in time to help with moving.
VIDEO - AUSTRALIA - Social credit introduced to acces the internet, via your digital ID.
Mon, 12 Dec 2022 16:04
Bernie's Tweets : AUSTRALIA - Social credit introduced to acces the internet, via your digital ID.Citizens need 100 points of ident'...
Sun Dec 11 20:47:58 +0000 2022
James : @BernieSpofforth Take back your privacy, and take back your freedom. Privacy begins with money. Zcash fixes this. P'...
Mon Dec 12 16:03:16 +0000 2022
MrDiplomat : @BernieSpofforth @VALELORDX
Mon Dec 12 15:59:40 +0000 2022
Robert Novak : @BernieSpofforth One step closer to a one world government/religion. The downfall of Australia was when they came f'...
Mon Dec 12 15:59:30 +0000 2022
VIDEO - No Vaccine, no unemployment benefits'... '' CITIZEN FREE PRESS
Mon, 12 Dec 2022 13:25
Posted by Kane on December 11, 2022 7:38 pmNEWS JUNKIES -- CHECK OUT OUR HOMEPAGE
Audio: Australian Government Employee on Vaccine Mandates: "It's causing a whole world of pain for a lot of people'... There's no consistency whatsoever."
'-- MilkBarTV (@TheMilkBarTV) December 11, 2022
Phone call from Australia posted today. The man speaking is the same man who posted the tweet.
Flashback bonus clip'...
Never forget when Melbourne, Australia was a Covid Police State. Excessive violence & brutality, all in the name of safety! 👇👇
'-- MilkBarTV (@TheMilkBarTV) October 7, 2022
Tweets by TheMilkBarTV

Clips & Documents

All Clips
ABC ATM - anchor Andrea Fujii - sandy hook 10 years -i shall believe (1min40sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - elon suspends jet tracking account (22sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - gene editing cures leukemia (27sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - iran drones -partiot missiles (26sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - keystone pipeline back after spill (16sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - pelosi attacker charged (19sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - russian spies in US (32sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - screen time for children (26sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - shipping container wall on border (20sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Elizabeth Shulze - title 42 set to expire (1min6sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Morgan Norwood - fusion power (1min51sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Morgan Norwood - NASA orion splash down (28sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Morgan Norwood - twitter trust and safety council elminated (30sec).mp3
Andrew Ross Sorkin on Morning Joe - Doesn't see what Elon is doing.mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Norah ODonnell - fire at NYC impound lot (18sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Norah ODonnell - mRNA cancer vaccine (22sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Norah ODonnell - patriot missiles for ukraine (17sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Scott Macfarlane (1) sam bankman fried arrested (1min43sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Scott Macfarlane (2) faces 115 yrs for election finance (21sec).mp3
Congress Hearing FTX- Barr asking John Ray bout ESG.mp3
DNA and 30 years of evidence destroyed in a 3-alarm fire at NYCOD storage facility in Brooklyn [E-BIKES] CBS.mp3
DOE Secretary Granholm announces Fusion -1- [ignition] Success at Livermore BFD.mp3
DOE Secretary Granholm announces Fusion -2- Zero Carbon -w00t - power drill.mp3
DOE Secretary Granholm announces Fusion -3- America invested and we are number 1.mp3
DOE Secretary Granholm announces Fusion -4- 10 more years LOL More Money.mp3
DW Reichsburger Update [War on Guns].mp3
Elizabeth Warren in Crypto debate - Kevin O'Leary - Truth Comes out Drug Companies.mp3
Former officer says powerful political player found dead in apparent suicide had unprecedented JSO access.mp3
Greek EU MP Eva Kaili story from PressTV Highlights EU Corruption.mp3
Janet Yellen 60 Mins - Finaaahnce and short Live-d wtf.mp3
Kamala to Africa's Young Leaders - UNBURDENED again.mp3
Liberal Sherpa [Tucker's accuser] arrested for kidnapping and robbing her mother.mp3
Maxine Waters closing down FTX hearing and gets stopped - Not happy.mp3
NBC Today - anchor Hallie Jackson - senate bill to ban tik tok on govt phones (1min30sec).mp3
Social credit introduced to access the internet with your digital ID..mp3
Steve Rattner - Morning Joe - twitter_equal.mp3
Stve Rattner - Morning Joe - telsa_not_woke.mp3
Tulsi Gabbard interviews Tucker LAUGH TELL Corking for CIA.mp3
UK Wind drought - Global Stilling WTF.mp3
Very serious' corruption scandal rattles European Parliament - BBC News.mp3
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