Cover for No Agenda Show 1521: Healthscare System
January 15th • 3h 7m

1521: Healthscare System


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.

Your coverage (or lack of) on the ongoing invasion on the Southern border
Sir - your show's failure to address the border crisis and the US media slant towards open borders is puzzling. Mass immigration is the only issue that really matters, not bugs as foods, not Covid/vax fears or whatever topic you and your co-host choose to obsess over. The demographic replacement occurring on an un-precedented scale will make many of our other issues irrelevant. I understand you are No Agenda, but to barely utter any word or comment about Biden's trip to El Paso and the whitewashing that occurred there prior to his visit and the media's silence on that issue is interesting.
If you are pro mass immigration just come out and say it.
Mike Wilkins
Institute of coincidences clip
Not going to make fun of people who were duped.
Confirmed from two sys admin sources I know personally that the NOTAM ground stop was a cyber intrusion. US and Canada. Why jets and tankers scrambled is still unknown, but very troubling. They were definitely looking for something.
Prime Time Takedown
Are classified documents not stored digitally?
J6 - Flags - Brazil and Canada - Truckers Convoy!
Brazil BOTG
I was listening to previous episode of the best podcast in the universe, episode 1520 and regarding Brazil, I'd like to give a boots on the ground report.
About the agent provocateurs, they were indeed definitely there, as were the police officers that happily opened the doors for the people to come in.
The source code of this election's machines has never been delivered to the armed forces, They requested/demanded it, but this was simply ignored by the TSE.
In the runup to the election, I don't think I've ever seen so much and such big demonstrations for a president (Bolsonaro), ever or anywhere. There were none that I know of for Lula. Everyone in green and yellow, squares full, massive amounts of motorcycles and cars with flags on them, horning, really impressive to see how passionate people have become for their country and their president. I dare to say it easily exceeds MAGA, by a big margin. This has been going on for more than a month, but even way before august 2022.
I always get a bit triggered when someone refers to Greenwald "who lives there" as a credible source, so I took my time this morning to warn you about Greenwald. I know you're really good at seeing through the bs, but i'd like to give you a few more pointers:
- His husband David Miranda ( )( ) is part of the political party PDT ( ), which is basically the same as PT, which is Lula's party. This is kind of like in The Netherlands, where VVD, CDA, CU & D66 appeal to slightly different opinions, but have the same ideology and policies, like a cartel.
In Brazil there are about 8 parties that all act the same as PT, using words like union, socialism, communism, inclusivity.
- David Miranda is also full-on LGBTQ+ and WEF approved ( )
- Greenwald has had a hard on for Bolsonaro ever since they met, since Bolsonaro disagrees a gay couple should raise children (Greenwald also wrote a blog article about it in november, I can't find the URL anymore).
- Greenwald has been promoting and pushing for Lula for years, the same Lula who is speerheading lightning fast Sovjet-style regime in Brazil, approved and supported by Moraes ( ) and Barroso ( ).
- Greenwald keeps mentioning how Bolsonaro tried to procecute him (which is actually not true), but fails to mention that he did his reporting based on hacked official's phone data, also, the hacker that handed him the information, Walter Delgatti, mentioned how Glenn has only used a very small piece of the data delivered, suggesting cherry picking ( ), Glenn gave all the rest of the data to Lula's lawyer's. Also, Greenwald is not charged or procecuted for actual illegal finds, which highly contrasts his friend Lula's current actions ( and many more examples ).
- Greenwald keeps saying "there is no proof of fraud", but ignores all clues (whilst making unfounded suggestions, lies and insinuations about Bolsonaro and his family).
Professor Cintra ( ) also published the election data and questions (taken down on his blog, but I can send the full PDF if you'd like).)( ). I just noticed that he made this comment on Greenwald:
Another article about fraud: , by Matthew Tyrmand.
- The comments on Greenwald's latest video are telling:
Comments on Greenwald's Twitter are different, obviously because Rumble's main audience differs from Twitter's, but also because Greenwald blocked everyone, including me, who called him out on his pro-Lula stance, who is anti-free speech, pro-force jabs, and all the fun that comes with it.
I could go on.
If you'd like to scan some quick headlines about what's going on in Brazil, I highly recommend or their Telegram
On a lighter note:
Bolsonaro visiting in one of the many areas where he (according to TSE (Superior Electoral Court) data) recieved 0 votes:
Satire about the "protests fueled by domestic terrorism":
Satire about the M5M's portayal of 7 september's patriotical demonstrations, not subtitled, but i think you'll get the point:
Thank you and John for your courage, looking forward to the next show.
Love, from the beautiful country of Brazil.
Big Pharma
Ukraine & Russia
Bradley Fighting Vehicles BOTG
I am an armor officer and have served as a battalion commander (Lieutenant Colonel). I have operated in and led soldiers in Bradley Fighting Vehicles (BFVs) and Abrams Tanks. I have been to combat more than once and have seen these systems in battle.
All the information I’m sharing is open source and my opinions are my own.
I maintain my position that a secondary objective of US involvement in the Russo-Ukraine war is to study the effectiveness of our legacy equipment against the current threat systems.
There are parallels to this war and the Yom Kipper War where we studied the outcomes of the battles between the Israelis (supplied with US equipment) and Arabs ( supplied with Soviet equipment).
The conclusions of the study of outcomes the Yom Kipper War and the battle damage of the equipment Lead to the development and fielding of the US Army’s Big 5(see link to articles below)(also watch YouTube clip from Pentagon Wars for deeper BFV appreciation.)
The BFV is good, but it’s not “all that”.
There has been a push in the Army to equip the BFV and other systems with a 30mm cannon Vice a 25 mm cannon because the Russians out gunned us. (I’ll site my sources later on this)
The BFV requires crews that are highly trained and that work well together to be effective. They have a role on the battlefield as a scout platform or Infantry (transport) fighting vehicle. They can kill tanks, but do not protect crews very well. The variant of BFV that will be given to UKR has not been specified yet. That may make a difference. The most modern BFV variant is the M2A3. It was the new hotness when I was a lieutenant 21 years ago. The OS for the computers is Windows 95. Lol. Likely what will get shipped to Europe is the M2A2 ODS (Operation Desert Storm) model (plus or minus some upgrades) Which is not as advanced. It is a viable fighting platform with a well trained crew.
Training a crew to be proficient on this platform takes months. If these crews are trained to standard, it will take about 6 months from when the Ukrainians start training to when we should see them in combat given an accelerated timeline. The US has given the BFV to other partners with limited success (see last link)
I don’t believe the hype around the BFV going back to war against an old theat. Its counterintuitive to the Military Industrial Complex argument that Russia outguns us, therefore we need better stuff. Future battles may tell, but perhaps the Pentagon is shorting the BFV. I believe that with well trained crews an robust logistic support, the BFV will likely prove viable.
TB in Ukraine
I am getting more and more reports that there is a massive outbreak of TB among Ukrainian soldiers. There is talk of a epidemic level TB outbreak
No Increased Stroke Risk Linked to Pfizer’s Covid Boosters, Federal Officials Say - The New York Times
Among about 550,000 people aged 65 and older who had received the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster, 130 had ischemic strokes in the 21 days after receiving the shot, raising fears that the two events were related. But analysis of the data using a different method did not reveal an increased risk of ischemic stroke.
CDC & FDA Identify Preliminary COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Signal for Persons Aged 65 Years and Older | CDC
This preliminary signal has not been identified with the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent. There also may be other confounding factors contributing to the signal identified in the VSD that merit further investigation. Furthermore, it is important to note that, to date, no other safety systems have shown a similar signal and multiple subsequent analyses have not validated this signal:
Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) | VSD | Monitoring | Ensuring Safety | Vaccine Safety | CDC
As of September 28, 2022, there are 13 VSD sites that provide clinical, methodological, and data expertise; 11 are data providing sites.
Kaiser permanent
Safety Monitoring of Bivalent COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Booster Doses Among Persons Aged ≥12 Years — United States, August 31–October 23, 2022 | MMWR
Adverse events reported after a bivalent booster dose appear consistent with those reported after a monovalent booster and are less common and less serious than health impacts associated with COVID-19 illness.
Great Reset
Food Intelligence
Childhood obestity BOTG
Dear AC,
I had to comment about the causes of teen obesity.
1 - vaccines. if you have looked at the data, childhood and teen diabetes in the U.S., and western Europe is at an all-time high. MMR and Hib vaccines are highly correlated with inflammation and dysfunction of the pancreas. (do I need to give more details?)
2 - artificial flavors and artificial colors. the food additives, as toxins, force the body to sequester the material in fat cells, and or retain more water to raise the pH.
3 - polyunsaturated omega-6 seed oils (canola - which is GMO, GMO corn, cotton seed oil, safflower, and GMO soy bean oil). Chris Knobbe, MD, has done great work on this. The obesity rates in the U.S., correlate perfectly with in the increase in consumption of these oils - in lieu of butter and beef tallow. (McDs used to have the best fries - cooked in beef fat ...)
4 - BS pharmaceuticals - given in response to the injuries from the vaccines (both anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics), along with all the drugs for diabetes, food allergies, eczema, anti-biotics, etc.
5 - food deserts / fake food - as you said, the "hot pockets" generation use microwave ovens and cannot cook. Furthermore, they take no effort to eat fresh produce. As Knobbe demonstrated, the 2020 and 2021 Covid rates correlated with zip codes / counties, which had the highest rates of obesity, and least access to fresh produce.
6 - water and exercise. Most people in the United States - especially obese people, either do not drink enough water, or drink toxic (highly fluoridated / chlorinated) water. The former means that the body does not flush toxins, the latter means that the body is overloaded with more toxicity. The complementary action of exercise - as a means to force the body to expel toxicity - means that without movement, the obese and overweight people of any age are screwed.
V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker for COVID-19 Vaccine | CDC
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 18:30
Download and print info sheets and a poster to learn more about v-safe, including instructions on how to enroll and complete health check-ins.
V-safe is a safety monitoring system that lets you share with CDC how you, or your dependent, feel after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. After you enroll, v-safe will send you personalized and confidential health check-ins via text messages and web surveys to ask how you feel, including if you experience any side effects after vaccination. Completing health check-ins and sharing how you feel, even if you don't experience side effects after vaccination, helps CDC monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
V-safe features:
Enroll during the waiting period after you get any dose of COVID-19 vaccine or soon after vaccinationAdd a dependent and complete health check-ins on their behalfEnter and report how you, or your dependent, feel after first, second, additional, and updated booster dosesAvailable in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and VietnameseEnroll in V-safeYou can enroll in v-safe after any dose of COVID-19 vaccine, including updated boosters, by using your smartphone and going to Have your vaccination record card available to help you remember which vaccine you received and when.
Add a Dependent in V-safeYou can add any dependent (family member, friend, or individual who relies on you for support) who is vaccinated in v-safe.
Children under age 16 years must be added to a parent or guardian's v-safe account. You can add a dependent to your existing account or create a new account if you don't have one yet. All v-safe communications will be sent to the parent's or guardian's smartphone.
Creating an account to add a dependent does not require that you enter your own vaccination information or complete health check-ins for yourself.
What Happens After I Enroll?During the first week after each vaccination, v-safe will send you a text message each day to ask how you are feeling. After that, you will receive occasional health check-ins. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to get more information.
You can opt out at any time.
Your personal information in v-safe is protected so it's safe and private.
Will I Ever be Contacted by V-safe Staff?If you enroll in v-safe and report that you are pregnant at the time of vaccination or after vaccination, the CDC COVID-19 Pregnancy Registry staff* may contact you.
If you have symptoms or health problems that concern you at any time following COVID-19 vaccination, please contact your healthcare professional.
*Abt Associates has been contracted by the CDC to contact participants for CDC's v-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry.
Safety Monitoring of Bivalent COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Booster Doses Among Persons Aged '‰¥12 Years '-- United States, August 31''October 23, 2022 | MMWR
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 18:29
Anne M. Hause, PhD1; Paige Marquez, MSPH1; Bicheng Zhang, MS1; Tanya R. Myers, PhD1; Julianne Gee, MPH1; John R. Su, MD, PhD1; Phillip G. Blanc, MD2; Alisha Thomas, MD2; Deborah Thompson, MD2; Tom T. Shimabukuro, MD1; David K. Shay, MD1 (View author affiliations)
View suggested citationSummaryWhat is already known about this topic?
CDC recommended bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccination for persons aged '‰¥12 years in August 2022; approximately 22.6 million bivalent booster doses were administered during August 31''October 23, 2022.
What is added by this report?
Early safety findings from v-safe and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System for bivalent booster doses administered to persons aged '‰¥12 years during the first 7 weeks of vaccine availability are similar to those previously described for monovalent vaccine booster vaccines.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Adverse events reported after a bivalent booster dose appear consistent with those reported after a monovalent booster and are less common and less serious than health impacts associated with COVID-19 illness.
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On August 31, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized bivalent formulations of BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines; these vaccines include mRNA encoding the spike protein from the original (ancestral) strain of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and from the B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variants BA.4 and BA.5 (BA.4/BA.5). These bivalent mRNA vaccines were authorized for use as a single booster dose '‰¥2 months after completion of primary series or monovalent booster vaccination; Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster was authorized for persons aged '‰¥12 years and Moderna for adults aged '‰¥18 years.*,' On September 1, 2022, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that all persons aged '‰¥12 years receive an age-appropriate bivalent mRNA booster dose.§ To characterize the safety of bivalent mRNA booster doses, CDC reviewed adverse events and health impacts reported after receipt of bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna booster doses during August 31''October 23, 2022, to v-safe,¶ a voluntary smartphone-based U.S. safety surveillance system established by CDC to monitor adverse events after COVID-19 vaccination, and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS),** a U.S. passive vaccine safety surveillance system managed by CDC and FDA (1). During August 31''October 23, 2022, approximately 14.4 million persons aged '‰¥12 years received a bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose, and 8.2 million adults aged '‰¥18 years received a bivalent Moderna booster dose.' ' Among the 211,959 registrants aged '‰¥12 years who reported receiving a bivalent booster dose to v-safe, injection site and systemic reactions were frequently reported in the week after vaccination (60.8% and 54.8%, respectively); fewer than 1% of v-safe registrants reported receiving medical care. VAERS received 5,542 reports of adverse events after bivalent booster vaccination among persons aged '‰¥12 years; 95.5% of reports were nonserious and 4.5% were serious events. Health care providers and patients can be reassured that adverse events reported after a bivalent booster dose are consistent with those reported after monovalent doses. Health impacts after COVID-19 vaccination are less frequent and less severe than those associated with COVID-19 illness (2).
The v-safe system allows existing registrants to report receipt of a COVID-19 booster dose and new registrants to enter information about all doses received; registrants can also indicate whether any other vaccines were administered during the same visit. On September 2, 2022, v-safe was modified to allow participants to enter up to 6 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Health surveys sent daily during the first week after administration of each dose include questions about local injection site and systemic reactions and health impacts experienced; registrants can provide additional information about these reactions or health impacts via free text message.§§ CDC's v-safe call center staff members contact registrants who indicate that medical care was received after vaccination to request more information; registrants are also encouraged to complete a VAERS report, if indicated.
VAERS accepts reports of postvaccination adverse events from health care providers, vaccine manufacturers, and members of the public.¶¶ Signs and symptoms and diagnostic findings in VAERS reports are assigned Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities preferred terms (MedDRA PTs) by VAERS staff members.*** Reports of serious events to VAERS during August 31''October 23, 2022, were reviewed by CDC physicians to form a consensus clinical impression based on available data.' ' ' Death certificates and autopsy reports were requested for any report of death. CDC physicians reviewed all available information for each decedent to form an impression about the cause of death. Using selected MedDRA PTs, a search was performed to identify possible cases of myocarditis, a rare adverse event that has been associated with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (2).
A bivalent booster dose in v-safe was defined as an age-appropriate mRNA vaccine dose administered on or after August 31, 2022, for registrants who had completed at least a primary series (2 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine or 1 dose of Janssen [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine). Local and systemic reactions and health impacts reported during the week after a bivalent booster dose vaccination were described for v-safe registrants aged '‰¥12 years who received a bivalent booster dose during August 31''October 23, 2022. VAERS adverse event reports after a bivalent booster dose were described by serious and nonserious classification, demographic characteristics, and MedDRA PTs. All analyses were conducted using SAS software (version 9.4; SAS Institute). These surveillance activities were reviewed by CDC and conducted consistent with applicable federal law and CDC policy.§§§
Review of v-safe DataDuring August 31''October 23, 2022, a total of 211,959 v-safe registrants aged '‰¥12 years reported receiving an age-appropriate bivalent booster dose (Table 1); 1,464 (0.7%) were aged 12''17 years, 68,592 (32.4%) were aged 18''49 years, 59,209 (27.9%) were aged 50''64 years, and 82.694 (39.0%) were aged '‰¥65 years. Most registrants indicated that a bivalent booster dose was their fourth (96,241; 45.4%) or fifth (106,423; 50.2%) COVID-19 vaccine dose; 122,953 (58.0%) received a Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster dose and 89,065 (42.0%) received a Moderna bivalent booster dose. More than one third (84,450; 39.8%) of registrants reported receiving at least one other vaccination at the same visit as bivalent booster vaccination; 83,005 (98.3%) received influenza vaccine.
In the week after receipt of the bivalent booster dose, frequency of reporting of local injection site reactions ranged from 49.7% among adults aged '‰¥65 years to 72.9% among adults aged 18''49 years; the prevalence of reported systemic reactions ranged from 43.5% among adults aged '‰¥65 years to 67.9% among adults aged 18''49 years (Table 2). The most frequently reported reactions among these age groups after bivalent booster dose vaccination were injection site pain (range = 45.0%''70.5%), fatigue (30.0%''53.1%), headache (19.7%''42.8%), myalgia (20.3%''41.3%), and fever (10.2%''26.3%).
Reported inability to complete normal daily activities ranged from 10.6% among adults aged '‰¥65 years to 19.8% among adults aged 18''49 years. Receipt of medical care was reported by 0.8% of registrants; most received care via telehealth (0.3%) or clinic (0.3%) appointment. Hospitalization was reported by 55 (0.03%) registrants. Among 45 registrants with information about the hospitalization available from the v-safe call center or free text message response, 29 indicated that the hospitalization was unrelated to vaccination, 13 completed a VAERS report, and three did not wish to complete a VAERS report.
Review of VAERS DataDuring August 31''October 23, 2022, VAERS received and processed 5,542 reports of adverse events among persons aged '‰¥12 years who reported receiving a bivalent booster dose (Table 3).¶¶¶ The median recipient age was 60 years (range = 12''101) and 3,559 (64.2%) were female; 939 (16.9%) reports indicated at least one other vaccine was received at the same visit as booster vaccination, of which influenza vaccine was most commonly co-administered (852; 90.7%).
Events related to vaccination errors (e.g., incorrect product formulation administered, incorrect dose administered, underdose, or wrong product administered) were commonly reported (1,913; 34.5%); among 877 reports of vaccination errors after receipt of Pfizer-BioNTech and 1,037 reports after receipt of Moderna bivalent booster doses, 225 (11.8%) reports indicated that an adverse health event had occurred.
Most VAERS reports (5,291; 95.5%) were classified as nonserious, including 2,762 (94.3%) after Pfizer-BioNTech and 2,530 (96.8%) after Moderna bivalent booster vaccination. The most commonly reported events among nonserious reports were headache (628; 11.9%), fatigue (575; 10.9%), fever (561; 10.6%), pain (524; 9.9%), and chills (459; 8.7%).
Among 251 VAERS reports classified as serious, five were reports of myocarditis, four were reports of pericarditis, and 20 were reports of COVID-19 disease. The age range of those who experienced myocarditis or pericarditis was 12''78 years and 46''78 years, respectively. Thirty-six deaths were reported; median age of decedents was 71 years (range = 46''98 years). For the four reports of death with sufficient information for review at the time of this report, cause of death included cardiac arrest, dementia, metastatic prostate cancer, and myocardial infarction. CDC has requested medical and vital records for the remaining decedents.
DiscussionThis report provides findings from v-safe and VAERS data collected during the first 7 weeks of bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA booster dose administration among persons aged '‰¥12 years, when 22.6 million booster doses were administered in the United States. The findings in this report are generally consistent with those from safety data from preauthorization clinical trials of a BA.1 Omicron bivalent booster vaccination.****,' ' ' '
Reporting frequencies of reactions and health impacts among the 211,959 v-safe registrants aged '‰¥12 years who received an age-appropriate bivalent booster vaccination are similar to those described after receipt of first and second booster vaccine doses among adults aged '‰¥50 years (3''5). Among adults aged '‰¥18 years, reporting frequencies of local and systemic reactions after bivalent booster vaccination decreased with increasing age. This reporting pattern was also observed for primary series COVID-19 vaccination; v-safe registrants aged '‰¥65 years reported reactions less frequently after primary series doses than did younger adults (6).
Most reports to VAERS for persons aged '‰¥12 years after a bivalent booster dose were nonserious (95.5%) and were usually similar to those after first booster vaccination and second booster vaccination among adults aged '‰¥50 years (3''5). Vaccination errors were among the most common events reported to VAERS (34.5%); most (88.2%) of which did not list an adverse health event. Continued education of vaccine providers could help reduce administration errors.
Myocarditis and pericarditis are rare adverse events associated with receipt of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines (2). To date, five reports of myocarditis and four reports of pericarditis after bivalent booster vaccination were received by VAERS following administration of 22.6 million doses among persons aged '‰¥12 years in the United States. Reporting rates of myocarditis following COVID-19 mRNA primary series and monovalent booster vaccination were highest among adolescent and young adult males; myocarditis rates after monovalent booster dose in these early data are similar to or lower than those after primary series doses (2,7). In one study, an increased risk of pericarditis was detected in the first week after the second dose of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines among males aged 12''50 years and females aged 30''50 years (8).
Among nonserious reports to VAERS were 258 (4.9%) reports of COVID-19 disease; there were 20 (8.0%) serious reports of COVID-19 disease. Vaccine effectiveness studies have shown that among persons who were diagnosed with COVID-19, previous vaccination with mRNA-based vaccines reduced COVID-19 disease severity, including the risk of hospitalization and death (9,10).
The findings in this report are subject to at least three limitations. First, v-safe is a voluntary program; therefore, data might not be representative of the vaccinated population. Second, as a passive surveillance system, VAERS is subject to reporting biases and underreporting, especially of nonserious events (1). Finally, conclusions drawn from these data are limited by the 7-week surveillance period; safety monitoring will continue during the bivalent booster vaccination program.
As of October 12, 2022, ACIP recommends that all persons aged '‰¥5 years receive an age-appropriate bivalent mRNA booster dose '‰¥2 months after completion of a COVID-19 primary series or receipt of a monovalent booster dose (3). Preliminary safety findings after bivalent booster vaccination among persons aged '‰¥12 years are similar to those after monovalent booster vaccination (3''5). Health care providers and patients can be reassured that adverse events reported after a bivalent booster dose are consistent with those reported after monovalent doses. Health impacts after COVID-19 vaccination are less frequent and less severe than those associated with COVID-19 illness. CDC and FDA will continue to monitor vaccine safety and will provide updates as needed to help guide COVID-19 vaccination recommendations.
AcknowledgmentsCharles Licata, Isaac McCullum, David Yankey.
Corresponding author: Anne M. Hause,
1CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response Team; 2Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland.
ReferencesShimabukuro TT, Nguyen M, Martin D, DeStefano F. Safety monitoring in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Vaccine 2015;33:4398''405. PMID:26209838 Block JP, Boehmer TK, Forrest CB, et al. Cardiac complications after SARS-CoV-2 infection and mRNA COVID-19 vaccination'--PCORnet, United States, January 2021''January 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:517''23. PMID:35389977 Hause AM, Baggs J, Marquez P, et al. Safety monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses among adults'--United States, September 22, 2021''February 6, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:249''54. PMID:35176008 Hause AM, Baggs J, Marquez P, et al. Safety monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses among persons aged 12''17 years'--United States, December 9, 2021''February 20, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:347''51. PMID:35239637 Hause AM, Baggs J, Marquez P, et al. Safety monitoring of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine second booster doses among adults aged '‰¥50 years'--United States, March 29, 2022''July 10, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:971''6. PMID:35900925 Rosenblum HG, Gee J, Liu R, et al. Safety of mRNA vaccines administered during the initial 6 months of the US COVID-19 vaccination programme: an observational study of reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and v-safe. Lancet Infect Dis 2022;22:802''12. PMID:35271805 Shimabukuro TT. COVID-19 vaccine safety update: primary series in young children and booster doses in older children and adults. Presented at the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting, Atlanta, GA; September 1, 2022. Le Vu S, Bertrand M, Jabagi MJ, et al. Age and sex-specific risks of myocarditis and pericarditis following Covid-19 messenger RNA vaccines. Nat Commun 2022;13:3633. PMID:35752614 Tenforde MW, Self WH, Adams K, et al.; Influenza and Other Viruses in the Acutely Ill (IVY) Network. Association between mRNA vaccination and COVID-19 hospitalization and disease severity. JAMA 2021;326:2043''54. PMID:34734975 Link-Gelles R, Levy ME, Natarajan K, et al. Association between COVID-19 mRNA vaccination and COVID-19 illness and severity during Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sublineage periods. medRxiv [Preprint posted online October 5, 2022]. Top
TABLE 1. Demographic and vaccination characteristics of persons aged '‰¥12 years* who reported receipt of a bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to v-safe' '-- United States, August 31''October 23, 2022CharacteristicVaccine, no. (%)Pfizer-BioNTechn = 122,953Modernan = 89,006TotalN = 211,959SexFemale77,913 (63.4)56,651 (63.7)134,564 (63.5)Male44,031 (35.8)31,697 (35.6)75,728 (35.7)Unknown1,009 (0.8)658 (0.7)1,667 (0.8)Age group, yrs12''171,464 (1.2)NA1,464 (0.7)18''4941,022 (33.4)27,570 (31.0)68,592 (32.4)50''6434,947 (28.4)24,262 (27.3)59,209 (27.9)'‰¥6545,520 (37.0)37,174 (41.8)82,694 (39.0)EthnicityHispanic6,967 (5.7)4,765 (5.4)11,732 (5.5)Non-Hispanic112,895 (91.8)82,009 (92.1)194,904 (92.0)Unknown3,091 (2.5)2,232 (2.5)5,323 (2.5)RaceAmerican Indian or Alaska Native441 (0.4)328 (0.4)769 (0.4)Asian6,884 (5.6)4,750 (5.3)11,634 (5.5)Black or African American6,574 (5.4)4,583 (5.2)11,157 (5.3)Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander241 (0.2)145 (0.2)386 (0.2)White102,535 (83.4)74,984 (84.3)177,519 (83.8)Multiracial2,518 (2.1)1,667 (1.9)4,185 (2.0)Other1,873 (1.5)1,262 (1.4)3,135 (1.5)Unknown1,887 (1.5)1,287 (1.5)3,174 (1.5)Total no. of COVID-19 vaccine doses received286 (0.1)52 (0.1)138 (0.1)34,919 (4.0)3,186 (3.6)8,105 (3.8)457,603 (46.9)38,638 (43.4)96,241 (45.4)559,807 (48.6)46,616 (52.4)106,423 (50.2)6538 (0.4)514 (0.6)1,052 (0.5)Vaccine co-administration§Yes51,713 (42.1)32,737 (36.8)84,450 (39.8)No71,240 (57.9)56,269 (63.2)127,509 (60.2)Abbreviation: NA = not applicable.* On August 31, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration authorized bivalent formulations of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for use as a single booster dose '‰¥2 months after completing primary or booster vaccination, Pfizer-BioNTech for persons aged '‰¥12 years and Moderna for persons aged '‰¥18 years. In v-safe, a bivalent booster dose was defined as an age-appropriate mRNA dose administered on or after August 31, 2022, for registrants who completed a primary series (2 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine or 1 dose of Janssen).' Includes registrants who completed at least one survey during days 0''7 postvaccination.§ Other vaccines administered during the same visit.
TABLE 2. Adverse reactions and health impacts reported to v-safe for persons aged '‰¥12 years* who received a bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster dose '-- United States, August 31''October 23, 2022Event% Reporting reaction/health impact after vaccination, by age group, yrs' 12''17 n = 1,46418''49 n = 68,59250''64 n = 59,209'‰¥65 n = 82,694Total N = 211,959Any injection site reaction68.772.962.049.760.8Itching4. or hardness13.718.414.79.914.0Any systemic reaction59.867.955.243.554.8Abdominal pain6. pain14.521.716.811.116.1Nausea12.412. health impact26.824.217.311.617.3Unable to perform normal daily activities18.419.814.710.614.8Unable to attend school or work15.611. medical care1. visit0.* On August 31, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration authorized bivalent formulations of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for use as a single booster dose '‰¥2 months after completing primary or booster vaccination, Pfizer-BioNTech for persons aged '‰¥12 years and Moderna for adults aged '‰¥18 years. In v-safe, a bivalent booster was defined as an age-appropriate mRNA dose administered on or after August 31, 2022, for registrants who completed a primary series (2 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine or 1 dose of Janssen).' Percentage of registrants who reported a reaction or health impact at least once during days 0''7 postvaccination.
TABLE 3. Events* reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System for persons aged '‰¥12 years' after receipt of a bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster dose '-- United States, August 31''October 23, 2022Adverse eventsVaccine, no. reporting (%)Pfizer-BioNTechModernaTotal§Total2,9282,6155,542Vaccination errors¶877 (30.0)1,037 (39.7)1,913 (34.5)Error without adverse health event717 (81.8)972 (93.7)1,688 (88.2)Error with adverse health event**160 (18.2)65 (6.3)225 (11.8)Error with nonserious health event' ' 157 (17.9)61 (5.9)218 (11.4)Error with serious health event3 (0.3)4 (0.4)7 (0.4)Nonserious reports§§,¶¶2,762 (94.3)2,530 (96.8)5,291 (95.5)Headache343 (12.4)285 (11.3)628 (11.9)Fatigue318 (11.5)257 (10.2)575 (10.9)Fever299 (10.8)262 (10.4)561 (10.6)Pain293 (10.6)231 (9.1)524 (9.9)Chills254 (9.2)205 (8.1)459 (8.7)Pain in extremity209 (7.8)167 (6.6)376 (7.1)Nausea213 (7.7)144 (5.7)357 (6.8)Dizziness212 (7.7)135 (5.3)347 (6.6)Injection site pain138 (5.0)121 (4.8)259 (4.9)COVID-19169 (6.1)89 (3.5)258 (4.9)Serious reports***,' ' ' 166 (5.7)85 (3.3)251 (4.5)Allergic reaction/Anaphylaxis628Appendicitis415Arrythmia8513Atrial fibrillation549Atrioventricular node block, second or third degree202Supraventricular tachycardia011'...Other101COVID-1914620Death§§§27936Dyspnea415Fall167Guillain-Barr(C) syndrome202Hypertension, acute7310Pericarditis¶¶¶134Pneumonia617Seizure606Thrombotic event201131Stroke or transient ischemic attack12517Pulmonary embolism5510Other314Chest pain, not otherwise specified9312Myocardial infarction538Myocarditis****325Abbreviations: MedDRA PT = Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities preferred term; VAERS = Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.* Signs and symptoms in VAERS reports are assigned MedDRA PTs by VAERS staff members. Each VAERS report might be assigned more than one MedDRA PT, which can include normal diagnostic findings. A MedDRA PT does not indicate a medically confirmed diagnosis.' On August 31, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration authorized bivalent formulations of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for use as a single booster dose '‰¥2 months after completing primary or booster vaccination, Pfizer-BioNTech for persons aged '‰¥12 years and Moderna for adults aged '‰¥18 years.§ One report was for a person who received both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster doses at the same visit and did not experience an adverse health event.¶ Vaccine administration or handling errors.** The most common MedDRA PTs among reports of vaccination error included incorrect product formulation administered, incorrect dose administered, underdose, and wrong product administered.' ' Adverse health events coded for reports with nonserious vaccination errors included arthralgia, headache, injection site erythema, injection site swelling, fever, pain, and pain in extremity.§§ Excluding vaccination error MedDRA PTs.¶¶ Includes the top 10 most frequently coded MedDRA PTs among nonserious reports.*** VAERS reports are classified as serious if any of the following are reported: hospitalization, prolongation of hospitalization, life-threatening illness, permanent disability, congenital anomaly or birth defect, or death. Serious reports to VAERS were reviewed by CDC physicians to form preliminary clinical impressions. ' ' ' Because of the small number of serious reports, percentages are not provided for serious report events. Other clinical impressions included acute pancreatitis, acute respiratory failure, aneurysm, arm pain, arthralgia, aseptic meningitis, bilateral pleural effusion, cellulitis, chronic anemia, compression fracture, confusion, contact dermatitis, costochondritis, erythema nodosum, fever, glaucoma, hearing loss, leukocytoplastic vasculitis, lower extremity weakness, lymphadenopathy, migraine, myalgia, pancreatitis, pericardial and pleural effusions, pericardial tamponade, pylephlebitis, rhabdomyolysis, unspecified bradycardia, unspecified tachycardia, transverse myelitis, vertigo, and vision loss.§§§ For reports of death, cause of death was available for four reports: cardiac arrest, dementia, metastatic prostate cancer, and myocardial infarction.¶¶¶ All four reports of pericarditis have been verified by medical record review.**** Three of the five reports of myocarditis have been verified by medical record review.
Suggested citation for this article: Hause AM, Marquez P, Zhang B, et al. Safety Monitoring of Bivalent COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Booster Doses Among Persons Aged '‰¥12 Years '-- United States, August 31''October 23, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1401''1406. DOI: .
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Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) | VSD | Monitoring | Ensuring Safety | Vaccine Safety | CDC
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 18:29
The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) is a collaborative project between CDC's Immunization Safety Office, integrated health care organizations, and networks across the U.S. The VSD started in 1990 and continues today in order to monitor safety of vaccines and conduct studies about rare and serious adverse events following immunization. As of September 28, 2022, there are 13 VSD sites that provide clinical, methodological, and data expertise; 11 are data providing sites.
The VSD uses electronic health data from participating sites to monitor and assess the safety of vaccines. This includes information on vaccines: the kind of vaccine given to each patient, date of vaccination, and other vaccinations given on the same day. The VSD also uses information on medical illnesses that have been diagnosed at doctors' offices, urgent care visits, emergency department visits, and hospital stays. The VSD conducts vaccine safety studies based on questions or concerns raised from the medical literature and reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). When there are new vaccines that have been recommended for use in the United States or if there are changes in how a vaccine is recommended, the VSD will monitor the safety of these vaccines.
The VSD has a long history of monitoring and evaluating the safety of vaccines. Since 1990, investigators from the VSD have published many studies to address vaccine safety concerns. Examples of VSD's work include the following:
White Paper on Studying the Safety of the Childhood Immunization Schedule [PDF '' 64 pages] Are vaccines that contain additives safe for children? How about vaccines with preservatives?Are rotavirus vaccines safe for infants?Do vaccines cause febrile seizures?Are there safety concerns following HPV vaccine?
CDC & FDA Identify Preliminary COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Signal for Persons Aged 65 Years and Older | CDC
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 18:29
Transparency and vaccine safety are top priorities for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). U.S. government agencies use multiple, complementary safety monitoring systems to help detect possible safety signals for vaccines and other medical countermeasures as early as possible and to facilitate further investigation, as appropriate. Often these safety systems detect signals that could be due to factors other than the vaccine itself.
All signals require further investigation and confirmation from formal epidemiologic studies. When one system detects a signal, the other safety monitoring systems are checked to validate whether the signal represents an actual concern with the vaccine or if it can be determined to be of no clinical relevance.
Following the availability and use of the updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines, CDC's Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), a near real-time surveillance system, met the statistical criteria to prompt additional investigation into whether there was a safety concern for ischemic stroke in people ages 65 and older who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent. Rapid-response investigation of the signal in the VSD raised a question of whether people 65 and older who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent were more likely to have an ischemic stroke in the 21 days following vaccination compared with days 22-42 following vaccination.
This preliminary signal has not been identified with the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent. There also may be other confounding factors contributing to the signal identified in the VSD that merit further investigation. Furthermore, it is important to note that, to date, no other safety systems have shown a similar signal and multiple subsequent analyses have not validated this signal:
A large study of updated (bivalent) vaccines (from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) using the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services database revealed no increased risk of ischemic strokeA preliminary study using the Veterans Affairs database did not indicate an increased risk of ischemic stroke following an updated (bivalent) vaccineThe Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) managed by CDC and FDA has not seen an increase in reporting of ischemic strokes following the updated (bivalent) vaccinePfizer-BioNTech's global safety database has not indicated a signal for ischemic stroke with the updated (bivalent) vaccineOther countries have not observed an increased risk for ischemic stroke with updated (bivalent) vaccinesAlthough the totality of the data currently suggests that it is very unlikely that the signal in VSD represents a true clinical risk, we believe it is important to share this information with the public, as we have in the past , when one of our safety monitoring systems detects a signal. CDC and FDA will continue to evaluate additional data from these and other vaccine safety systems. These data and additional analyses will be discussed at the upcoming January 26 meeting of the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.
No change in vaccination practice is recommended. CDC continues to recommend that everyone ages 6 months of age and older stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccination; this includes individuals who are currently eligible to receive an updated (bivalent) vaccine. Staying up-to-date with vaccines is the most effective tool we have for reducing death, hospitalization, and severe disease from COVID-19, as has now been demonstrated in multiple studies conducted in the United States and other countries:
Data have shown an updated COVID-19 vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 by nearly 3-fold compared to those who were previously vaccinated but have not yet received the updated vaccine.Data have shown that the updated COVID-19 vaccine also reduces the risk of death from COVID-19 by nearly 19-fold compared to those who are unvaccinated.Other preliminary data from outside the U.S. have demonstrated more than 80% protection against severe disease and death from the bivalent vaccine compared to those who have not received the bivalent vaccine.Overall safety data for the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines are available here.
Once again, no change is recommended in COVID-19 vaccination practice, which can be found here.
No Increased Stroke Risk Linked to Pfizer's Covid Boosters, Federal Officials Say - The New York Times
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 18:28
Health | No Increased Stroke Risk Linked to Pfizer's Covid Boosters, Federal Officials Say uptick hinted at in surveillance data was a mirage, the officials said.
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A booster vaccination clinic in Salt Lake City last year. Credit... Kim Raff for The New York Times Fears that the Covid booster shots made by Pfizer-BioNTech may increase the risk of strokes in people aged 65 and older were not borne out by an intensive scientific investigation, federal officials said on Friday.
''It is very unlikely'' that the risk is real, the officials said. They urged Americans 6 months and older to continue getting booster shots. Federal officials decided to disclose the concern and the results of their investigation despite worries that the revelation might fuel anti-vaccine sentiment.
''We believe it is important to share this information with the public,'' a joint statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said.
Officials declined requests to discuss details of their investigation.
The bivalent vaccine is designed to thwart the original version of the coronavirus as well as versions of the Omicron variant that were circulating in the United States in the summer. The bivalent vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are the only boosters available in the United States now, and scientists are engaged in a heated debate over their usefulness compared with the original vaccines.
It is unclear whether the new reassurance will prompt Americans to receive a bivalent shot if they have not already done so. Only 39 percent of adults aged 65 and older, and only 16 percent of those aged 5 and older, have so far received a bivalent booster shot.
The concerns about a possible link to ischemic strokes '-- which can interrupt blood supply to the brain '-- first emerged late last year. Data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a federal safety surveillance system, hinted that Americans aged 65 and older might be at increased risk of an ischemic stroke in the 21 days after receiving a Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent shot.
That signal was specific to the bivalent vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech. No similar concerns were linked to the original Covid vaccines or to Moderna's bivalent boosters.
The data prompted federal officials to comb through other vaccine safety databases, as well as observations from the United States and other countries. The investigators did not find evidence of an increased risk of strokes in any of these sources, federal officials said in their statement.
Federal officials plan to discuss the findings on Jan. 26 at a meeting of scientific advisers to the F.D.A. on future Covid vaccines.
The Vaccine Safety Datalink is a real-time surveillance system, a collaboration between the C.D.C. and integrated health care organizations and networks across the United States. The system uses electronic health data from about a dozen sites in the nation to monitor vaccine safety.
Among about 550,000 people aged 65 and older who had received the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster, 130 had ischemic strokes in the 21 days after receiving the shot, raising fears that the two events were related. But analysis of the data using a different method did not reveal an increased risk of ischemic stroke.
Another database, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, managed by the C.D.C. and the F.D.A., also did not pick up a signal for ischemic strokes. Neither did a large study of the bivalent vaccines relying on data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a preliminary study using the Veterans Affairs database, nor Pfizer-BioNTech's global safety database.
Other countries have not observed an increased risk for ischemic stroke with the bivalent vaccines, the agencies said. About 795,000 strokes are reported in the United States each year, and about 87 percent of those are ischemic strokes, according to the C.D.C.
''There is no evidence to conclude that ischemic stroke is associated with the use of the companies' Covid-19 vaccines,'' Pfizer and BioNTech said in a statement. More than 30 million doses of the companies' bivalent vaccine have been administered in the United States so far, according to a spokesman for Pfizer.
''Compared to published incidence rates of ischemic stroke in this older population, the companies to date have observed a lower number of reported ischemic strokes'' after the bivalent shot, the companies said.
U.S. to hit debt limit Thursday, Yellen warns Congress
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 18:27
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday notified Congress that the U.S. will reach its statutory debt limit next Thursday.
After that, the Treasury Department this month will begin "taking certain extraordinary measures to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations," Yellen wrote in a letter to new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
The Treasury "is not currently able" to estimate how long those emergency actions will allow the U.S. to pay for government obligations, she wrote.
But, "It is unlikely that cash and extraordinary measures will be exhausted before early June," Yellen added.
She warned McCarthy that it is "critical that Congress act in a timely manner to increase or suspend the debt limit."
"Failure to meet the government's obligations would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability," Yellen wrote.
"I respectfully urge Congress to act promptly to protect the full faith and credit of the United States."
Janet Yellen, US Treasury secretary, speaks during a Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) meeting at the Treasury Department in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022.
Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A spokeswoman for McCarthy had no immediate comment on Yellen's letter.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters later Friday, "Congress is going to need to raise the debt limit without condition"
"It is one of the basic items that Congress has to deal with and that should be done without conditions. So there is going to be no negotiation over it," Jean-Pierre said. "This is something that must get done."
Yellen's letter effectively starts a clock counting down how long the federal government can continue to make interest payments on its debt.
Congress in December 2021 increased the federal debt limit to about $31.4 trillion.
The limit is the total amount of money the U.S. government is allowed legally to borrow to pay for its existing obligations. Those obligations include "Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments," Yellen noted
The so-call called extraordinary measures available to the Treasury secretary free up the government's borrowing capacity.
This can extend the clock for weeks or months while Congress hashes out a bill to raise the borrowing limit.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Democratic leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, in a joint statement, said, "Congress must act on legislation to prevent a disastrous default, meet our obligations and protect the full faith and credit of the United States."
"A default forced by extreme MAGA Republicans could plunge the country into a deep recession and lead to even higher costs for America's working families on everything from mortgages and car loans to credit card interest rates," the leaders said in their statement.
Yellen wrote that the two extraordinary measures that Treasury expects to implement are redeeming existing and suspending new investments of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund; and suspending reinvestment of the Government Securities Investment Fund of the Federal Employees Retirement System Thrift Savings Plan.
She noted Congress previously authorized the Treasury to use such measures, which the department has employed in the past.
"After the debt limit impasse has ended," those funds "will be made whole," Yellen wrote.
A senior White House official told CNBC the Biden administration plans to pursue negotiations in earnest with Congress after the mid-April tax deadline.
At that point, the official said, the federal government will have a better idea of how much revenue is coming in, how far it will go in paying the country's bills and how urgently it needs to reach a deal.
The trajectory of the American economy between now and then will also determine how brazen Republicans become in their demands to cut spending in response.
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Senate Republican, has a long record of rejecting an increase to the debt ceiling unless fiscally conservative policies are included.
It remains unclear whether the new GOP majority in the House under McCarthy will unite over its own set of demands.
McCarthy has made little secret of the fact that Republicans intend to demand massive spending cuts to the federal budget in exchange for approving an increase in the debt ceiling.
But he told reporters on Thursday that GOP lawmakers "don't want to put any fiscal problems through our economy, and we won't."
The new House majority leader, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., earlier this week compared the U.S. borrowing limit to a household credit card, saying the nation needed to curb its spending the same way a person with maxed out credit cards would.
"At the same time you're dealing with the debt limit, you're also putting mechanisms in place so that you don't keep maxing it out," Scalise said to reporters on Capitol Hill, "because if the limit gets raised, you don't go to the store the next day and just max it out again."
"You start figuring out how to control the spending problem. And this has been going on for way too long. And we're going to confront this," he said.
What Republicans have failed to say, however, is that, unlike a household that defaults on its debt, a U.S. government default would have massive repercussions around the world.
A default on Treasury bonds could throw the U.S. economy into a tailspin as bad as the Great Recession, the research firm Moody's Analytics warned in a September 2021 report.
At the time, Moody's also projected a 4% decline in gross domestic product and the loss of nearly 6 million jobs if the U.S. defaulted.
In her letter to McCarthy on Friday, Yellen wrote, "Indeed, in the past, even threats that the U.S. government might fail to meet its obligations have caused real harms, including the only credit rating downgrade in the history of our nation in 2011."
Yellen added: "Increasing or suspending the debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments or cost taxpayers money. It simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and Presidents of both parties have made in the past."
CNBC's Emma Kinery contributed to this article.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the month in which Congress increased the statutory debt limit.
Historic transportation crises haunt Buttigieg
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 15:23
Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images
A historic string of air, rail and supply-chain meltdowns has plagued Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg's first two years in office, placing him '-- for better or worse '-- at the center of crises affecting millions of people.
Why it matters: A modest Cabinet role has become a political albatross for one of the Democratic Party's brightest young stars. Republicans have sought to make Buttigieg the face of the transport disruptions, while Democrats say his crisis leadership is proving his political mettle.
What's happening: A safety system outage forced the Federal Aviation Administration to temporarily ground all U.S. flights Wednesday for the first time since the 9/11 attacks.
Just weeks earlier, a systemwide meltdown at Southwest resulted in thousands of flight cancellations and delays over the holidays.Late last year, Congress had to step in to avert a nationwide freight rail strike after union workers rejected a Biden administration-brokered deal over the lack of paid sick leave.Meanwhile, global supply chain snarls linked to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused massive disruptions to U.S. ports dating back to 2021, resulting in widespread product shortages and persistent inflation.The latest: President Biden has ordered Buttigieg to conduct an investigation of the flight system outage, which the FAA has preliminarily traced to a "damaged database file." In response to a question at a Wednesday briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that Biden still has confidence in Buttigieg.
Between the lines: Buttigieg has in several cases been the victim of circumstances that predated his time in office '-- such as the ancient computers and infrastructure that appeared to contribute to the FAA disaster.
That hasn't stopped Republicans from relentlessly attacking Buttigieg each time a crisis has arisen, accusing the former small-town mayor of being incompetent and ill-qualified.Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a top Republican on the committee that oversees DOT, called the FAA outage "completely unacceptable and just the latest example of dysfunction" at Buttigieg's agency.The other side: "You can't go a day at DOT without some kind of a crisis. You have to provide the leadership, which I think Secretary Buttigieg has," former Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Axios.
Jill Zuckman, a partner at SKDK and former head of public affairs under LaHood, says Republicans are hammering Buttigieg because they see him as a potential presidential candidate. "That's not how past Transportation secretaries were treated," Zuckman told Axios.The lack of a permanent FAA administrator has also required Buttigieg to assume a more public-facing role.His frequent appearances on Fox News and other cable news channels '-- a relic of the "go everywhere" media strategy that vaulted him to the top of the Democratic field in 2020 '-- have reinforced his status as one of the party's most effective communicators.Be smart: The path from a second-tier Cabinet position like Transportation secretary to the White House '-- or any prominent elected office '-- was never as easy as advertised. By the time any future openings pop up, memories of his remarkable underdog presidential campaign will have faded.
The bipartisan infrastructure law has given Buttigieg a rare platform to be front and center: Just last week, he was in Connecticut to promote improvements for the Gold Star Memorial Bridge in New London.But as the last few months of transportation snafus have demonstrated, Buttigieg's day job is filled with plenty of political downsides '-- without much opportunity to set the political agenda.Zoom in: Biden's intention to run for re-election in 2024 removes a clear opportunity for Buttigieg to ascend to higher office.
He relocated to Michigan, a state that's much more hospitable to Democrats than his GOP-friendly home turf of Indiana.But the Democratic bench of ambitious officeholders is deep in his adopted state, and Buttigieg quickly took himself out of the running for the open Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow.Democratic operatives noted that Buttigieg, despite his high profile, would face some of the same challenges in Michigan that he did in his 2020 presidential campaign.
The Trillion-Dollar Coin And Other Long-Shot Debt Crisis Solutions
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 14:53
Richard McGahey Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
I'm an economist studying cities and states and their importance in the economy, focusing on their policies, finances and budgets.
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Jan 11, 2023, 06:30am EST |
a bitter fight over the debt ceiling and a possible U.S. default? getty
With Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) becoming Speaker of the House by giving more power to hardcore conservatives, we face a looming crisis when the federal debt ceiling has to be raised later this year. Is there an alternative to a bitter fight and a possible failed vote that could cause a U.S. default? Can the Treasury Department mint a ''trillion-dollar platinum coin'' and deposit it with the Federal Reserve?
Remember the U.S. is essentially the only country requiring a separate vote on raising the debt ceiling. Most governments assume if spending is legally authorized then the necessary funds must be made available, either through taxes or borrowing.
And although the debt ceiling fight will focus on Republican demands for deep spending cuts, raising the ceiling wouldn't authorize any new, additional spending. It's just accounting, making funds available to cover the expenditures Congress already has authorized in law.
Some Republican leaders have signaled they want deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare as the price for debt ceiling negotiations. Representative Jason Smith (R-MO), the new chairman of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and a self-described ''firebrand'' has made tough statements about cutting spending and rejecting compromise.
Smith is a member of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, which last year issued a report calling for higher Medicare and Social Security eligibility ages, along with cuts in disability insurance. Republicans also have hinted at partial or total privatization of Social Security, a proposal that politicians usually avoid.
President Joe Biden and Democrats will push back strongly against any cuts to Social Security and Medicare, with Biden explicitly rejecting linking such cuts with the debt ceiling. Biden clearly thinks resisting Social Security cuts is a winning political strategy, but if both sides stick to their guns, then raising the debt ceiling is in big trouble.
Are there alternatives? The Republicans only hold a nine-seat advantage in the House. Might a few moderate Republicans vote with Democrats to raise the ceiling? It's unlikely such a vote could ever take place, because of the informal ''Hastert Rule'' among Republicans.
Named after former Speaker Dennis Hastert, it means a vote won't happen unless a majority of Republicans support holding it. So even if all Democrats support raising the debt limit, and they could attract a handful of Republicans, Speaker McCarthy (who supports the Hastert Rule) won't allow it to come to a vote because most Republicans would oppose it.
So congressional action faces a very problematic future. No negotiations on cutting Social Security and Medicare. No chance of a debt ceiling vote with mostly Democratic support. Does the Biden administration have any non-legislative options?
Behold the ''trillion-dollar platinum coin.'' It may sound like a gag, but there are serious people who argue the Treasury Secretary has legal authority to mint such a coin and use it to back up government spending '-- without raising the debt limit.
The idea goes like this: A 1996 law allows minting coins for sale to collectors. Amended in 2000 to only allow ''platinum bullion coins,'' the law gives the Treasury Secretary discretion on the coins' ''specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions.''
The key here is ''denominations.'' Other coinage provisions are specific on value'--dimes, quarter dollars, dollars, etc. But the platinum bullion coin provision doesn't specify any amounts.
So, mint a trillion-dollar coin. Deposit it at the Federal Reserve. Presto'--available funds to spend without raising the debt ceiling.
Although it may sound goofy, the concept has been endorsed by some members of Congress, economic commentators, and serious economists including Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. They see minting the coin as a viable option rather than acceding to Republican threats to drive us into default or slash social spending. Krugman recognizes the coin is a ''silly gimmick,'' but contrasts it to what he calls Republican ''naked sabotage'' of the budget process through ''abuse of the debt ceiling.''
Other options? Some legal scholars and experts say the Constitution's 14th Amendment ending slavery would allow the president to bypass the debt limit. In addition to its anti-slavery provisions, the amendment (section 4) says ''the validity of the public debt'...shall not be questioned.'' The provision was added so former Confederates in Congress couldn't overturn paying Union military pensions and other war costs.
President Bill Clinton actually considered using the 14th Amendment option during a budget fight with Republicans, saying his staff researched it and that, if necessary, he would use it ''without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me.'' But in the 2011 debt ceiling fight, President Barack Obama's staff said the approach wasn't legally sound.
So far, Biden has rejected any non-congressional options. In 2021, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen dismissed the trillion-dollar coin as a ''gimmick.'' And Biden's legal team has reportedly concluded there's no legal alternative to a congressional vote raising the debt ceiling.
But Biden may reconsider if faced with default on U.S. bonds. If hardcore Republicans in the House hold the chamber hostage to deep entitlement cuts and Speaker McCarthy won't let a vote come to the House floor without those cuts, Biden may be forced to consider extraordinary alternatives'--like minting a trillion-dollar platinum coin.
MORE FROM FORBES The Looming Debt Ceiling Crisis By Richard McGahey Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. I'm an economist at the New School's Schwartz Center, author of Unequal Cities, Columbia University Press, I have extensive public sector experience studying cities and states. I've served as Executive Director of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy, Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Research at New York State's Department of Economic Development, and New York City Deputy Comptroller for Policy and Management. I also worked as Director of Impact Assessment at the Ford Foundation.
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Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel wears NASA-inspired moon costume in Miss Universe 2023 | Space
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 14:47
HomeNewsEntertainment Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel wears a NASA-inspired moon costume in the Miss Universe 2023 National Costume Show on Jan. 12, 2023 in New Orleans. (Image credit: Miss Universe)Houston, Miss USA has landed. When Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel took the stage in the Miss Universe 2023 National Costume Show this week, she wore the moon.
Gabriel's costume, an homage to NASA's Apollo 11 lunar landing and current Artemis program, included an actual scale-sized moon held up over her head by an intricate frame surrounded by gleaming silver stars and an outfit bedecked by red, white and blue lights. She carried an American flag to complete the look.
Related: One of these NASA astronauts will be the 1st woman on the moon
"On July 20, 1969 two U.S. astronauts became the first humans to step foot on the moon accomplishing one of the most remarkable achievements in human history. Fast forward to today and women are involved more than ever in the Artemis program aiming to send the US back to the moon," Gabriel (opens in new tab) , 28. wrote of the costume on Instagram (opens in new tab) via her clothing brand R'Bonney Nola.
"As a Houston native, where the NASA space center is located, I am proud to be from a city working to send the first female to the moon," she added.
Houston is the location of NASA's Johnson Space Center, home of the agency's Mission Control Center for human spaceflight mission and astronaut training centers.
"The purpose of this costume was to inspire women in all spaces across the universe to dream big, shoot for the moon and achieve something out of this world," Gabriel wrote.
Related: The evolution of the spacesuit in pictures
Gabriel, the first Filipina American Miss USA, chose Filipino designer Patrick Isorena (opens in new tab) to create the costume. Isorena also designed Gabriel's Miss Texas costume in the Miss USA 2022 pageant, according to ABS CBN News. (opens in new tab) Isorena told ABS CBN News that the costume weighs up to 33 pounds (15 kilograms).
The Miss Universe 2023 pageant wraps up tonight (Jan. 14) in New Orleans. The National Costume Show occurred on Thursday (Jan. 12). You can see the full National Costume Show below.
Email Tariq Malik at or follow him @tariqjmalik (opens in new tab) . Follow us @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) , Facebook (opens in new tab) and Instagram (opens in new tab) .
Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:
Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award (opens in new tab) for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast (opens in new tab) with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network (opens in new tab) . To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik (opens in new tab) .
European Parliament Poised To Ban Pfizer Representatives '-- The European Conservative
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 13:15
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla systematically refused to attend COVI committee meetings in October 2022 and December 2022, triggering protests from committee members.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla systematically refused to attend COVI committee meetings in October 2022 and December 2022, triggering protests from committee members.
The scandal surrounding Pfizer's contracts with the European Union over COVID vaccines has taken a new turn. The European Parliament's COVID committee (COVI) approved on Wednesday, January 11th a proposal to ban Pfizer representatives from Parliament because of the company's repeated lack of transparency.
All political groups approved the proposal, with the exception of the EPP and Renew Europe, but their opposition was not enough to prevent the vote. The procedure has a precedent: in 2017, the agrochemical company Monsanto was also denied access to the European Parliament by the Environment Committee (ENVI) because it had refused to comply with the rule of public hearings.
For several months, many MEPs have been trying to obtain clarification on the conditions under which the European Union concluded contracts for the purchase of COVID vaccines in vain. At issue is the lack of transparency regarding the exact content of the contracts and the repeated exchanges of text messages between Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Albert Bourla systematically refused to attend COVI committee meetings in October 2022 and December 2022, triggering protests from committee members. ''The EP has a right to full transparency on the details of this spending and the preliminary negotiations that led to it,'' tweeted Kathleen Van Brempt, chair of the COVI committee in December.
As Committee Chair, I deeply regret Dr. Bourla's refusal. The EU has spent a lot of public resources on vaccine production & purchase. The EP has the right to obtain full transparency on the modalities of these expenditures and the preliminary negotiations leading up to them.
'-- Kathleen Van Brempt (@kvanbrempt) December 5, 2022It was international markets chair Janine Small who finally confronted the parliamentarians of the COVI committee. She assured the MEPs that the contracts were freely available to them'--failing to point out that many passages had been deliberately redacted and made illegible. MEPs also had difficulty accessing the text messages exchanged between Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer during the contract negotiation phase. Janine Small said that nothing had been negotiated by SMS, and that the messages in question were simply due to the teleworking phase caused by the pandemic. These explanations did not satisfy the parliamentarians in charge of the case, who pointed to Pfizer's clear refusal to collaborate. ''I think Albert Bourla deliberately did not come, because he did not want to face the controversies,'' French MEP and COVI member V(C)ronique Trillet-Lenoir told Euractiv.
Following the COVI committee vote, a new vote must take place in the CCC (Conference of Committee Chairs), which brings together all committee chairs. Several options are on the table: the duration of the exclusion, whether the sanction will apply only to Bourla or to all Pfizer representatives, or whether it is upheld at all. The final decision should not be taken for another month.
H(C)l¨ne de Lauzun studied at the ‰cole Normale Sup(C)rieure de Paris. She taught French literature and civilization at Harvard and received a Ph.D. in History from the Sorbonne. She is the author of Histoire de l'Autriche (Perrin, 2021).
Sven R. Larson January 15, 2023
Tristan Vanheuckelom January 15, 2023
H(C)l¨ne de Lauzun January 15, 2023
USC Department Declares the Word ''Field'' to be ''Anti-Black'' '' JONATHAN TURLEY
Sat, 14 Jan 2023 18:46
We have long discussed the increasing speech regulations and restrictions sweeping across universities in the United States, including mandating the use of pronouns and barring the use of other terms. The latest example comes from the University of Southern California's Suzanne Dworek-Peck School of Social Work which has declared that the term ''field'' is racist and ''anti-Black.'' Thus, you cannot say that you are going to do ''field work.'' ''Field'' will be replaced with ''practicum,'' according to the January 9 memo. The announcement was made by the office not of ''field education'' but the non-racist ''Office of Practicum Education.'' The School explained:''In solidarity with universities across the nation, our goal is not just to change language but to honor and acknowledge inclusion and reject white supremacy, anti-immigrant and anti-blackness ideologies. Language can be powerful, and phrases such as 'going into the field' or 'field work' may have connotations for descendants of slavery and immigrant workers that are not benign'...This change supports anti-racist social work practice by replacing language that could be considered anti-Black or anti-immigrant in favor of inclusive language.''
Houman David Hemmati, a board-certified MD Ophthalmologist and PhD research scientist, was obviously perplexed to learn that he has been spewing racist speech for years in discussing field work and exercises. He tweeted: ''Today, @uscsocialwork sent out this letter announcing that they will no longer use the word 'field' (as in 'conducting field work') because it's perceived as racist. Is this with merit or empty virtue signaling?''
Interim Dean of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Vassilios Papadopoulos, rushed to add the obvious without adding any further explanation. He told Fox News that the decision was made by the Office of Practicum Education ''out of a desire to more accurately describe its work.''
Conversely, Elizabeth A. Graddy, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, seemed eager to distance her department from this latest woke controversy: ''The university does not maintain a list of banned or discouraged words. We will continue to use words '' including ''field'' '' that accurately encompass and describe our work and research.''
However, the School of Social Work continues to herald its replacement of the word ''field'' as another triumph in the fight for ''dismantling oppressive and discriminating systems.''
Of course, here may have to be some changes, including in this soon to be renamed movie ''Practicum of Dreams.''
Scientists find more evidence that breast milk of those vaccinated against COVID-19 may protect infants '' News
Sat, 14 Jan 2023 16:22
A 2021 study showed that breast milk of lactating mothers vaccinated against COVID-19 contained a significant supply of antibodies that may help protect nursing infants from the illness.A new follow-up study found these antibodies in the stool of infants who consumed the breast milk of vaccinated mothers.These findings are another piece of evidence suggesting that the breast milk of those vaccinated against COVID-19 may help protect babies from the illness.A new study from the University of Florida provides more evidence that the breast milk of people vaccinated against COVID-19 provides protection to infants too young to receive the vaccine.
This latest study follows up on findings published in 2021 showing that the breast milk of vaccinated people contained antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The new study, published in the Journal of Perinatology, analyzed the stool of infants that consumed this breast milk and found SARS-CoV-2 antibodies there as well.
''Our first study showed there were SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the breast milk, but we couldn't say if those antibodies were getting through the babies' gastrointestinal tract and possibly providing protection there,'' said Joseph Larkin III, senior author of the study and an associate professor in the UF/IFAS department of microbiology and cell science.
Using a technique called a neutralization assay, the researchers showed that the antibodies found in the infants' stool offered protection against the virus. The assay begins by isolating antibodies from the stool and adding them to a special line of cells that have the kind of receptors the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses to enter the cell. The researchers then introduce a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus, which acts like the virus that causes COVID-19 but is safer to use in the lab. The pseudovirus is fluorescent, so when it binds to a cell, the cell lights up.
''We saw that when the antibodies were present, there were fewer fluorescent cells compared to our controls where no antibodies were present,'' said Lauren Stafford, one of the study's first authors and a UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences doctoral student in Larkin's lab.
''The antibodies run interference and don't let the virus get to the cells,'' Larkin added.
While the virus that causes COVID-19 is often thought of as mainly affecting the lungs, it can also invade the gut, which is why finding antibodies there is significant, the researchers said.
''The antibodies ingested through breast milk may provide a protective coating in the infants' mouths and gastrointestinal tract,'' said Dr. Vivian Valcarce Luaces, the study's other first author and a postdoctoral fellowship trainee in neonatology.
Joseph Larkin, left, Vivian Valcarce Luaces and Lauren Stafford in the lab. UF/IFAS photoThe study also measured and tested antibodies found in the mothers' blood plasma and breast milk soon after vaccination and then again about six months later. The researchers found that the antibodies in the plasma and milk of vaccinated people were better able to neutralize the virus, though they also observed that antibody levels decreased at the six-month mark, which other vaccine studies have found as well.
Dr. Josef Neu, one of the study's co-authors and a professor in the UF College of Medicine department of pediatrics, division of neonatology, said the first and second studies together give a more complete picture of how vaccinating against COVID-19 during pregnancy and breastfeeding may be protective for parent and child.
''In our research, we're following the journey of the antibodies, from the time they are produced in mom after vaccination and now through the baby's digestive system. The next question is whether those babies are less likely to get COVID-19,'' Dr. Neu said.
The researchers say larger studies are needed to answer that question, as this latest study included 37 mothers and 25 infants, a relatively small number of participants.
However, this study adds to a growing body of research revealing how vaccination against COVID-19 during pregnancy and breastfeeding may protect newborns, the researchers say. Currently children under sixth months of age cannot receive the vaccine, so breast milk may be the only avenue for providing immunity.
The study was funded by grants from the Children's Miracle Network and The Gerber Foundation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends COVID-19 vaccination for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or who may become pregnant in the future. According to the CDC, as of late November 2022, just over 70% of pregnant people in the United States had completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, though only 14% had received the bivalent booster.
Learn more about the 2021 study>>
Dr. Malone shares dire warning: mRNA vaccines are being injected into our food supply'... - Revolver News
Sat, 14 Jan 2023 16:09
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This could be one of the most alarming warnings yet from Dr. Malone. He wrote an essay on how mRNA vaccines are being injected into livestock and companion animals.
That means, if you consume the vaccinated animal, the mRNA vaccine enters your body.
Dr. Malone:
In today's substack, the state of mRNA ''vaccines'' for animal ''health'' is discussed. Citing public sources, I will review what is known and not known about commercial liaisons and partnerships, the corporations involved, ongoing research and products in various states of development.
Dr. Malone says they've been working on livestock and companion animal mRNA vaccines for over 6 years:
Bayer Partners with BioNTech to Develop mRNA Vaccines, Drugs for Animal
HealthGenetic Engineering and Biotechnology News. May 10, 2016. Bayer will partner with BioNTech to develop novel, first-in-class mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for animal health indications, the companies said today, under a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.
Bayer agreed to secure exclusive rights to BioNTech's mRNA technology and intellectual property for development of mRNA vaccines for animal health applications'...The companies said their partnership is the first of its kind focused on developing mRNA therapeutics specifically for animal health applications.
Infectious disease vaccines is the focus of one of the three therapy platforms BioNTech is building through mRNA technologies; the other two are cancer immunotherapies and protein replacement. The three platforms are designed to produce pharmacologically optimized protein coding RNA for targeted in vivo delivery'...
Dr. Malone goes on to say that it's rather obvious to assume they will soon have livestock and companion mRNA vaccine and RNA therapeutics on the market.
Bayer, BioNTech developing new mRNA vaccines May 16, 2016
Companies collaborate on cutting-edge technology to develop new solutions to protect companion and farm animal health.
Again, note the date'...2016. This means that Bayer and BioNTech have been working on livestock and companion animal mRNA vaccines for over six years'...
There are three therapy platforms that BioNTech has been building through mRNA technologies to be used in livestock and companion animals.
Infectious disease vaccines
Cancer immunotherapies and
Protein replacement.
Dr. Malone believes these facilities were actually built for the production of veterinary vaccines:
Bayer to manufacture mRNA vaccine in Germany
Bayer Website, February 1, 2021
''Following discussions with the German government it has become clear that current manufacturing capacities for vaccines need to be increased, particularly for potential variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
This includes the need to expand production capacity as well as related manufacturing expertise in Germany.
We at Bayer will contribute even further by making more vaccine available to help fight the pandemic.
Merck is already selling mRNA vaccines for swine:
Merck Website, Accessed Jan 2023
Combat current and future swine diseases with SEQUIVITY from Merck Animal Health. A revolutionary swine vaccine platform, SEQUIVITY harnesses RNA particle technology to create customized prescription vaccines against strains of influenza A virus in swine, porcine circovirus (PCV), rotavirus and beyond. It's supported by a sophisticated dashboard filled with comprehensive data and insights, all to help you stay on top.
Dr. Malone cites many more examples. You can read his entire essay on his Substack located here.
When asked if the government would mark packages as ''vaccinated meat,'' Dr. Malone said this, ''I wouldn't count on it. In fact, I bet '' no.''
In response to another Twitter user, who stated that this needed to be stopped ''ASAP,'' Dr. Malone had this to say: ''We have to build alternate systems. I don't think we can stop them, but we can chose not buy their food, take their drugs or mRNA vaccines. We can chose to not use their ''health care providers.'' We can be our own '' independent people outside of their hellscape.''
Time to find a trusted, local meat farmer in your area'...
EXCLUSIVE: Attorney Believes Evidence Will Soon Be Released That Confirms FBI in 2016 Investigated Seth Rich's Laptop, Knew He Supplied Emails to WikiLeaks and Knew Russia Collusion Was a LIE
Sat, 14 Jan 2023 16:02
Ty Clevenger is the bulldog attorney who has been after the DOJ and FBI for years to get to the bottom of who supplied the DNC's and Podesta's emails to WikiLeaks. He believes we may be only a few months away from knowing.
On Wednesday, attorney Ty Clevenger joined the Joe Hoft Show on TNT Radio to discuss his case involving Seth Rich and the DNC and the Podesta emails that were released by WikiLeaks before the 2016 election.
We now know that there is no information whatsoever that Russia hacked the DNC and stole emails or provided them to WikiLeaks. It was a lie perpetrated by the Deep State and mainstream media for years. This lie was finally admitted by the DOJ in a hidden release of documents on late election night, November 3, 2020 and later in court documents.
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BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Late Night Deep State Document Release Shows Mueller Investigated and Chose Not to Charge Assange, WikiLeaks, and Roger Stone For DNC Hacks '' Roger Stone Responds to Vindication
Roger Stone and others were vindicated, but how the DNC and Podesta emails made it to WikiLeaks was never addressed. It was revealed that the DOJ knew the Steele dossier was a sham and a lie and yet used this and the phony story of Russia collusion in an attempted coup of the Trump Administration. No one has been charged with sedition or the overthrow of the Trump Administration to date and yet this lie haunted the country for the entire four years of the Trump Administration.
Clevenger has been attempting to get to the bottom of who supplied the DNC and Podesta emails to the DNC for several years now. This was always the key to the Russia collusion nightmare. If Russia didn't supply emails to WikiLeaks (the FBI has never asked WikiLeaks who supplied the emails by the way) then the Russia collusion story was built on a lie.
After years of denying they had anything related to Seth Rich, the FBI and DOJ were caught lying over and over again. In September, a judge finally demanded the FBI and DOJ provide all they had in regard to Seth Rich and the FBI responded requesting another 66 years before releasing the information.
Attorney Clevenger, who's been after the truth for years, shared the following yesterday (starting at the 17:30 mark in the audio below).
I think we're getting close to the final step which is to show that the US government unequivocally fabricated the whole initiative. I mean this was not just an exaggeration based on Christopher Steele's report, I think we're on the verge of showing that before Christopher Steele's report came about, that the FBI and the CIA knew for sure that the Russians had nothing to do with this hack.
Specifically, I think we're getting close to getting our hands on some of the Seth Rich documents, and all evidence so far points to him being the source of the leaks rather than hackers from Russia.
Clevenger next shared the background on Seth Rich:
Back in 2016 Seth Rich was working for the Democrat National Committee. He was murdered on July 10 of that year in what the police called a botched robbery. Although his watch wasn't taken, his phone wasn't taken, other valuables like his wallet were not taken. Although there was immediate suspicion that he was involved release of DNC emails that were later published by WikiLeaks.
Julian Assange himself, the founder of WikiLeaks, all but said that the documents came from Seth Rich and they offered a $20,000 reward leading the arrest of the people that were responsible for the murder'...
We're trying to get that last step and show that the FBI and the CIA and the whole Obama Administration knew that this came from Seth Rich and they completely fabricated the Russia collusion narrative out of whole cloth.
I think we're getting close. Within the past two or three months the FBI was forced to disclose that it has a report on Seth Rich's work laptop. They've hidden that from us for five years and they just finally admitted this. They're trying to withhold it.
Clevenger goes on to share that reporter Sey Hersh stated under oath that:
A friend of his that he'd known for 35 years in the Intel community read to him from a report stating that the DNC leaks came from Seth Rich. FOX News relied on sources that were reading from such a report.
So we think that we've identified that report that would show that they have known all along.
Clevenger goes on to discuss Crowdstrike was relied on to investigate the servers at the DNC and the FBI never did and the CIA's involvement and responses declining to deny of involvement.
Listen to Clevenger's full interview below starting at the 17:30 mark.
Substituting Mayonnaise For Eggs | Treat Dreams
Sat, 14 Jan 2023 15:58
If you're out of eggs and want to know if you can substitute in mayonnaise in your recipe, you came to the right place.
In this article you will learn what type of recipes mayonnaise can be used in place of eggs.
Whether you're making dessert, dinner, or even baking bread, mayonnaise can be used as an egg alternative.
Replacing Eggs With Mayonnaise When BakingI've been asked many time, and maybe you are wondering too.
Can eggs be replaced with mayonnaise when baking?
Yes! Eggs can be swapped for mayonnaise when baking everything from cake to bread.
For each egg your recipe calls for, add three heaping teaspoons of mayonnaise.
Mayonnaise works as an egg substitute in baking because it contains egg along with oil. But the added oil means that adjustments need to be made in your recipes other fats.
Most cakes, cookies, and baked goods call for butter. Therefore, if your recipe is replacing three eggs with mayo, then you will reduce your butter in half.
This will account for the added fat in the mayonnaise.
Keep in mind that this refers to regular fat mayo. Do not use flavored mayo when replacing eggs. Regular mayonnaise is the way to go.
Why Mayo Works as an Egg AlternativeEggs are added to baked desserts to provide richness, flavor, structure as well as acting as a leavening agent.
Because mayonnaise has eggs in it, structure, flavor, and leavening are provided. But keep in mind that mayo only has egg whites in it.
As stated above, mayo has more fat than eggs which must be adjusted in your recipe by reducing other fats.
With that said, mayo will provide your recipe with the flavor, structure and leavening needed.
Cons of Using Mayonnaise Instead of EggsUsing mayonnaise in place of eggs will effect the flavor, color, and structure of your recipe. While mayo works in a pinch as an egg substitute, it generally produces a lower quality dessert.
Mayo has a higher fat content than eggs as well as less protein. Both of these differences will alter your cakes, bread, muffin, or cookie.
While you can reduce the butter in your recipe to account for the higher fat content of mayo, it can be tricky getting it just right.
And because mayonnaise does not have as much protein as an egg, it will change the structure of your recipe.
So remember, that while you can substitute mayo for eggs in baked goods, it will not yield the same results.
History of Mayonnaise as an Egg SubstitutePopular mayonnaise maker Hellmann's started marketing mayo as an egg replacement when baking cakes in the early 1900's.
The campaign was a success and mayo has been viewed as an egg replacement ever since.
Can Mayonnaise be Substituted for Eggs with a Cake Mix?Yes. Three heaping teaspoons of mayo can be used for each egg called for in your cake mix.
Can Mayo be used in cookie recipes?Yes mayo can be used in place of eggs when baking cookies. Use three teaspoons of mayo for each egg.
Can eggs be replaced with mayonnaise when making brownies?Yes, use the same ratio as for cake and cookies. Reduce butter or oil by half.
Can mayo be subbed for eggs when making cornbread?While eggs can be replaced with mayo when making cornbread it does produce a flat loaf.
Can mayo be used instead of egg when making meatloaf?Yes, mayo is an excellent substitute for eggs in meatloaf. Use three heaping teaspoons of mayo for each egg.
Can eggs be replaced with mayo when making pancakes?Yes mayo can be used when making pancakes. Keep in mind that your pancakes will be quite flat though.
More Egg Alternatives for BakingWhat if you're out of eggs and mayo? Or maybe you find you don't like the taste of mayo in your cake, brownies, or other baked goods.
There are a number of other great egg replacements you can use that work well in most baked recipes.
Peanut ButterPeanut butter has protein and fat making it work well as an egg substitute. It also provide a great flavor that works in many recipes.
Use three teaspoons of peanut butter for each egg you replace.
Almond ButterAlmond butter is another great tasting alternative. It provide the fat and protein you need and a flavor that is incredibly versatile.
Use three teaspoons for each egg.
BananaMashed bananas provide great flavor that is great in cakes, muffins, and cookies. It is low in fat so add a bit more butter or oil to your recipe and it works like charm.
Use 1/4 teaspoon of mashed bananas for each egg.
AvocadoJust like bananas, mashed avocado can be used in place of eggs in baked recipes. Use the same ratio as in bananas.
ApplesauceThis traditional egg substitute works very well in cakes. It provides a great flavor that is particularly suited for spiced cakes and cookies.
Use 1/3 teaspoon for each egg.
Pureed PumpkinThis is a great egg substitute for fall inspired cakes, muffins, cupcakes, and cookie. The flavor is incredible and it works wonderfully in place of egg.
Use 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin for each egg.
Bottom LineBecause mayonnaise can be found in most pantries, it is a solid option for replacing eggs. It does particularly well in baked recipes but remember that it will alter the flavor and texture of your dessert.
There are a number of other great egg substitutes you can use as well. Be sure to follow the instructions above when substituting for eggs.
Opinion | How to stop overcounting covid deaths and hospitalizations - The Washington Post
Sat, 14 Jan 2023 15:01
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is experiencing around 400 covid deaths every day. At that rate, there would be nearly 150,000 deaths a year.
But are these Americans dying from covid or with covid?
Understanding this distinction is crucial to putting the continuing toll of the coronavirus into perspective. Determining how likely it is an infection will result in hospitalization or death helps people weigh their own risk. It also enables health officials to assess when vaccine effectiveness wanes and future rounds of boosters are needed.
Two infectious-disease experts I spoke with believe that the number of deaths attributed to covid is far greater than the actual number of people dying from covid. Robin Dretler, an attending physician at Emory Decatur Hospital and the former president of Georgia's chapter of Infectious Diseases Society of America, estimates that at his hospital, 90 percent of patients diagnosed with covid are actually in the hospital for some other illness.
''Since every hospitalized patient gets tested for covid, many are incidentally positive,'' he said. A gunshot victim or someone who had a heart attack, for example, could test positive for the virus, but the infection has no bearing on why they sought medical care.
Sign up for The Checkup With Dr. Wen, a newsletter on how to navigate the pandemic and other public health challenges
Dretler also sees patients with multiple concurrent infections. ''People who have very low white blood cell counts from chemotherapy might be admitted because of bacterial pneumonia or foot gangrene. They may also have covid, but covid is not the main reason why they're so sick.''
If these patients die, covid might get added to their death certificate along with the other diagnoses. But the coronavirus was not the primary contributor to their death and often played no role at all.
Dretler is quick to add that the imprecise reporting is not because of bad intent. There is no truth to the conspiracy theory that hospitals are trying to exaggerate coronavirus numbers for some nefarious purpose. But, he said, ''inadvertently overstating risk can make the anxious more anxious and the skeptical more skeptical.''
Another infectious-disease physician, Shira Doron, has been researching how to more accurately attribute severe illness due to covid. After evaluating medical records of covid patients, she and her colleagues found that use of the steroid dexamethasone, a standard treatment for covid patients with low oxygen levels, was a good proxy measure for hospitalizations due to the coronavirus. If someone who tested positive didn't receive dexamethasone during their inpatient stay, they were probably in the hospital for a different cause.
Doron's work was instrumental to Massachusetts changing its hospitalization reporting a year ago to include both total hospitalizations with covid and those that received dexamethasone. In recent months, only about 30 percent of total hospitalizations with covid were primarily attributed to the virus.
This tracks with Doron's experience at her hospital, Tufts Medical Center, where she also serves as hospital epidemiologist. Earlier in the pandemic, a large proportion of covid-positive hospitalizations were due to covid. But as more people developed some immunity through vaccination or infection, fewer patients were hospitalized because of it. During some days, she said, the proportion of those hospitalized because of covid were as low as 10 percent of the total number reported.
Determining the true number of hospitalizations from covid has immediate, practical purposes. ''It allows for better forecasting of hospital capacity,'' Doron told me. ''If our hospital beds are full and we attribute it to covid, we might think that we'll get the beds back when the wave of infections is over. But if people are sick from other causes, the beds could stay full.''
Doron acknowledges that there is a gray zone in the data in which covid might not be the primary cause of death but could have contributed to it. For instance, covid infection could push someone with chronic kidney disease into kidney failure. She and her colleagues are collecting data on this as well.
Guest Opinion: The coronavirus is speaking. It's saying it's not done with us.
Both Dretler and Doron have faced criticism from people who say they are minimizing covid. That is not at all their aim. They have taken care of covid patients throughout the pandemic and have seen the evolution of the disease. Earlier on, covid pneumonia often killed otherwise healthy people. Today, most patients in their hospitals carrying the coronavirus are there for another reason. They want the public to see what they're seeing, because, as Doron says, ''overcounting covid deaths undermines people's sense of security and the efficacy of vaccines.''
To be clear, if the covid death count turns out to be 30 percent of what's currently reported, that's still unacceptably high. But that knowledge could help people better gauge the risks of traveling, indoor dining and activities they have yet to resume.
Most importantly, knowing who exactly is dying from covid can help us identify who is truly vulnerable. These are the patients we need to protect through better vaccines and treatments.
Expert opinions on covid guidance
Lawmakers headed for a big partisan standoff over the debt limit in 2023
Sat, 14 Jan 2023 05:09
L awmakers on Capitol Hill are gearing up for a political showdown over raising the country's $31.4 trillion borrowing limit this coming spring or summer after punting the issue to a new Congress.
Republicans will take control of the House in January, setting up a clash that could have major economic implications.
Some Democrats had urged their leadership to take action to raise the borrowing limit during the lame-duck session of Congress while they had unified control of both chambers. But congressional leaders ran out of time and abandoned the idea, focusing instead on negotiating a sprawling government funding package. Republicans in both the House and the Senate are expected to use the nation's debt ceiling as leverage to push policy changes, setting off a standoff that could shake global markets.
''We had a resolution in the last Congress, any increase in the debt ceiling would have to be accompanied by some manner of fiscal controls,'' Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said to reporters after leading a GOP conference meeting in mid-December in an effort to persuade fellow Republicans to hone in on fiscal conservatism.
Johnson, who often portrays himself as a deficit hawk, said he made the case for needing to rein in government spending and told reporters his fight has only just begun, foreshadowing the looming debt ceiling showdown to come in the new year.
''We talked about using that moment of leverage in the way that it was meant to be used. The whole purpose of the debt ceiling was, should you have to increase it because of deficit spending, that you'd be forced to do some kind of fiscal controls in exchange for what most people don't want to vote for,'' he said.
Democrats and the Biden administration have said they intend to stand firm and won't allow Republicans to pressure them to cut federal programs.
''We're not negotiating. We're giving them nothing,'' said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) to the Wall Street Journal. ''It is their responsibility as members of Congress to pay the bills of the federal government just like they pay their bills for their home.''
Both parties agreed to debt limit hikes three times under Former Republican President Donald Trump. But Republicans blame high inflation on spending during President Joe Biden's first two years.
The debt ceiling increase is a must-pass item awaiting the new Congress, something many Republicans, especially in the House, see as critical leverage. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is in the middle of a battle to become House speaker, may be beholden to members of the very conservative Freedom Caucus, who have suggested debt ceiling increases must be tied to substantial cuts to domestic spending and potential reductions to Social Security and Medicare. Several GOP members have said they would oppose raising the debt ceiling, even if all their demands are met.
In an interview with Punchbowl News ahead of the election, McCarthy said spending cuts would be necessary in order to raise the nation's borrowing limit. ''You can't just continue down the path to keep spending and adding to the debt,'' he said.
The debate is set to become one of McCarthy's most difficult challenges if he is elected speaker. The California Republican would be forced to work with Biden and Senate Democrats to come to an agreement without upsetting his right flank.
At a press conference last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said raising the debt limit must be done in a bipartisan way, refusing to elaborate on how negotiations will go in the new Congress under a divided government.
''I think that it's too early to judge what's going to happen in the House. There's so much discombobulation and disunity on different sides of the Republican caucus,'' Schumer said. ''I've always gotten along with Kevin McCarthy. You know, we don't agree on a whole lot of issues, but I try to work with anyone I can to get things done for the American people.''
The federal debt is likely to reach its statutory limit of nearly $31.4 trillion sometime in early 2023. When the government hits the limit, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be able to stave off default for a couple of months, utilizing so-called extraordinary measures such as withholding scheduled contributions to a federal employee's retirement funds in order to utilize the funds to pay off the debt. Eventually, those options will run out, and if the nation's borrowing limit is not increased, it could lead to a partial government shutdown and delays in government payments, including Social Security checks.
The recent threats from Republicans that they intend to use any vote on raising the debt limit as a way to force Democrats to cut spending echoes a similar standoff in 2011. Congressional Republicans sought to pressure then-President Barack Obama to accept spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit. Fears of government default rocked the financial markets and led to an unprecedented downgrade of the nation's credit rating. Ultimately, this forced a last-minute deal between the two parties.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance, White House chief economist Jared Bernstein warned Republicans against using the nation's borrowing limit as a negotiating tool.
''It is always an absolute awful time to fool around with the debt ceiling the way Republicans have been talking about, but it's even worse now,'' he said. ''We've been talking about an economy that's in transition '... headwinds, which are real. There are obviously risks of different landing scenarios. This is, this is just the absolute worst moment to contemplate one's own goals, of which that would be a massive one,'' he said in the Yahoo interview.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said it's likely his members will insist on enacting budget reforms when they negotiate the limit on government borrowing next year. He pointed to the deal that was made in 2011, when Congress imposed limits on annual spending, enforceable through automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, that ultimately ended the debt-ceiling showdown. The agreement allowed the debt limit to be increased by $2.4 trillion two separate times, which ultimately saved $2 trillion over the course of 10 years.
''We've done things in the past around the debt limit increase that has been bipartisan. The Budget Control Act came out of that in 2011, as you all know, it put a restraint on federal spending,'' Thune said to reporters on Capitol Hill last week. ''We'll see, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.''
Congress last raised the debt limit by $2.5 trillion last December. The Treasury Department has not specified when exactly the limit is expected to be reached in 2023.
inscrutible definition - Neeva
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 19:37
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inscrutable| ɪnËskrudÉb(É)l |
Adjective impossible to understand or interpret: Guy looked blankly 'º browse 'º inscrutable
See synonyms for: inscrutable / inscrutability / inscrutableness on adjective. incapable of
being investigated, analyzed, or scrutinized; impenetrable. not easily understood; mysterious; unfathomable: an inscrutable smile. incapable of being'... 'º dictionary 'º inscrutable
Any person or thing that's mysterious, mystifying, hard to read, or impossible to interpret is inscrutable. You ever notice how it's hard to tell what some people are thinking?'... 'º wiki 'º inscrutable
inscrutable ( comparative more
inscrutable, superlative most
inscrutable ) Difficult or impossible to comprehend, fathom. , or interpret . quotations synonyms . Synonyms: ineffable; see also Thesaurus: incomprehensible. His
inscrutable'... 'º inscrutable
incapable of being investigated, analyzed, or scrutinized. 2. mysterious; unfathomable: an inscrutable smile. [1400''50; late Middle English < Late Latin inscrÅtābilis = Latin in- in- 3 + scrÅtā (ri)'... 'º inscrutable
1. incapable of being investigated, analyzed, or scrutinized. 2. mysterious; unfathomable: an
inscrutable smile. [1400''50; late Middle English < Late Latin inscrÅtābilis = Latin in- in- 3 + scrÅtā (ri)'... 'º inscrutable
Difficult to understand or interpret; impenetrable. One who or that which is
inscrutable; a person, etc. that cannot be comprehended.
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Podcasting 2.0 Introduction - Blubrry Podcasting
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 19:26
Podcasting 2.0 Podcasting 2.0 Documentation: Blubrry Dashboard '' PowerPress Podcasting 2.0 is an initiative of podcast hosts, app developers, and podcast-space enthusiasts to expand the capability of podcasting by increasing the functionality of open RSS.
Podcasting 2.0 has already had a significant impact on podcasters. The most widely adopted function thus far has been the ability to link a transcript within the podcast RSS feed. This gave Blubrry the ability to allow podcasters to have a closed caption-supported podcast player.
While this is one success, a multitude of new ideas have resulted in massive work to expand podcasting. We will see rapid adoption of new features, each with its own goal, function and ultimately what it achieves for the content creator.
History From early 2004 to July 2005, there was immense innovation in podcasting, and that innovation vanished in July 2005 when Apple introduced podcasting to iTunes.
Why innovation stalled was simple, Apple determined the trajectory of innovation. That has changed with a huge desire to move the space forward and reclaim the innovation that launched the podcasting space.
The Future is Now! Many of the features we describe below are yet to be widely adopted. We are in a chicken and egg era where we have to build the features, get you to use them, and then push adoption as a community.
Some adoption will happen faster than others. Still, efforts with a new coalition of podcasting companies and app developers have laid the groundwork for an agreed adoption timeline. We at Blubrry are pressing forward.
We are in a unique position in that 85,000 independent podcasts use our PowerPress plugin, and tens of thousands of shows use our internal publisher. We can, as one company, enable more than 100,000 shows to implement these new features.
We will describe the feature, its goal, and what it can mean for you. We will not get down into the technical jargon, as we want to make it easy for you to use and employ on every one of your shows and episodes.
Blubrry Podcasting implementation includes the following Podcasting 2.0 initiatives.Transcript '' A simple way to link to a transcript file, preferably one that has closed-caption support. Accessibility is the primary goal of transcripts, while they do have limited SEO. Providing a transcript with each episode allows you to have closed captions for hearing-impaired listeners. Our Integration with Rev allows the automatic creation of your closed-caption-capable transcript. Locked '' The locked function prevents your podcast from being transferred to another host by a nefarious character. The podcasting space has seen individuals import shows to other hosting platforms and pretends to be the origin point of a podcast, monetizing those shows and essentially stealing content. Funding '' If you have a Patreon, Paypal, Buy Me a Coffee link, etc., the funding feature provides a way to link to those services. In turn, podcasting apps that support accounts that provide a funding link will display that in the app or portal, giving your listeners a way to participate and support your show through your chosen site. Chapters '' Up until 2021, chapters were only supported by Apple Podcasts, and the data to create them had to be within the media file. With the advent of the new chapters feature. You can create a chapters file (.json) that you can link to upon publishing through select tools found at benefit of this feature is that you do not need the chapter segments documented upon publishing, only a link to the file. This allows you or your fans to document the segment of your show post-publishing.Chapters then can be displayed by a wider range of playback tools '' including web browsers '' and images can be retrieved on playback rather than bloating the audio file size.
Location '' This allows you to document your show's physical location. On occasion, when you do your show remotely, this allows you to let people know either where you are talking about or the physical place the show was recorded. Benefits include that third parties can map where shows originate and allow you to collaborate. It allows listeners to look for shows and episodes being recorded in specific locations. And there are potential commercial opportunities where a company may be looking to sponsor a show that is local to them.
For many years it has been impossible to determine a show's origin. This solves this and allows you to be better served as a podcaster by those offering services in your local area.
Credits '' You can now document your role, co-hosts role, guests, producers, etc. While we realize that for many podcasters, you and your co-host make up your entire team, you may have listeners helping with social and or even a full team. You can now give credit where credit is due and, at show and episode level, document your team and those you have on your show. The movies have credits, so podcasts should as well. Recently the IMDB announced that they will recognize podcasters as official talent. This allows you to have the same credentials as actors and producers in Hollywood. Live '' Today, more and more podcasters are going live, recording their podcasts live, and then publishing the recorded show as an on-demand podcast. Modern Podcast 2.0 apps are now allowing listeners to tune in live on the same podcast app/site where they consume your on-demand podcast. This feature allows you to announce when your show is scheduled to go live, then switch the apps to 'live mode' when you update your status from pending to live. Once your live show is over, you can update your show to end, putting the supporting podcast apps back to on-demand mode.
The goal is to keep your podcast listener in the app, and features under development will allow them to participate in cross-app communications.
Value4Value '' This is one of the most exciting new features yet and, as far as we are concerned, the most significant opportunity for podcasters to earn additional revenue for the show. We have placed this feature in an experimental zone in both the Blubrry Publisher and PowerPress. We have also partnered with Alby to make it easier for you to get started. The Value model uses crypto as a method to donate to a show. It can be in the form of supporting the show with a donation by the minute and episode or a show-level donation known as a boost. Let's talk about the crypto component first. The primary denomination is a Satoshi, of which there are 100 million satoshis (sats) in one bitcoin, meaning each satoshi is worth 0.00000001 BTC. For one satoshi to be worth 1 cent, 1 BTC would need to be worth $1 million. As of early 2022, a satoshi is worth less than a 20th of a cent. For podcasters to participate and receive sats, they need a wallet, which is where our partner getAlby comes in. They provide you with a wallet to receive sats. You can transfer those sats earned to traditional companies that convert crypto into dollars. Today a handful of apps at allow a listener to donate sats to your show every minute they listen (5,10,100 sats a minute) or make donations at the show or episode level (1000, 10,000, 50,0000, 100,000 sats) in what is often called a boostgram, aka boosts. Boostgrams '' Allow the listener to send a message similar to an email, but it is accompanied by a donation in sats. Our test so far has seen monthly sat contributions average between $25 and $100 a month from participating audience members. Some shows participating in the value model are earning considerably more.Crypto astigmatism '' with the crypto market in upheaval, many do not want to be involved. My analogy for this is to forget investment. This is not an investment model. This is a model where your listener converts an appropriate amount of Bitcoin into Satoshis and then donates those sats. The value of the sats will change based on the price of Bitcoin, but if you think of Satoshis that can be converted to cash and not an investment model, it will be easier to get your listeners to participate.
Real-world financial institution issues with a PayPal donation of $2, you would have 50 cents processing fees going to PayPal. In the value world, using Satoshis, that same $2 donation equivalent in sats would cost mere pennies for the transaction.
Everyone wins, and we build a sustainable podcast ecosystem. In the value model, there are splits: each participating app/service takes a small split that the podcast listener funds, usually 1% to 5%. Your participation in the value model supports the app developer/services with ongoing revenue, you help fund the podcasting 2.0 initiative, and you always receive 100% of what the listener intended for you to receive, as the fees are paid by the sender.
Additionally, at an episode level, you can designate a guest to get a split of what you receive. For example, when you set up your splits at the show level, you can specify a co-host to get 50%. And then when you provide a split at the episode level, you can designate a guest to get 10%, and, for that episode's revenue, only you and your co-host split goes down to 45% each and your guest gets 10%.You are providing value to your guest for being on when your audience values your guest and boosts the episode.
The Value4Value model works whether you received a 1000-dollar PayPal donation or a 100,000-sat donation. Shows have the option of adding the Value block to their shows. This can lead to substantial revenue, but you must teach your audience the value of the Value 4 Value system and encourage them to use Apps that support the Value block. By using a podcast listener app at
Read about the Value4Value model at
Podcasting 2.0 Documentation: Blubrry Dashboard '' PowerPress
GitHub - dowodenum/IRCacophony: A framework for triggering sounds via IRC.
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 17:46
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GitHub - valcanobacon/BoostBots: Bots which posts Booots
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 17:45
BoostIRCQuick Start
GitHub - cloudflare/wildebeest: Wildebeest is an ActivityPub and Mastodon-compatible server
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 17:44
Wildebeest is an ActivityPub and Mastodon-compatible server whose goal is to allow anyone to operate their Fediverse server and identity on their domain without needing to keep infrastructure, with minimal setup and maintenance, and running in minutes.
Wildebeest runs on top Cloudflare's Supercloud, uses Workers and Pages, the D1 database to store metadata and configurations, Zero Trust Access to handle authentication and Images for media handling.
Currently, Wildebeest supports the following features:
Authentication and automatic profile creation.Message signing & notification.Inbox and Outbox notes (text, mentions and images), follow, announce (reblog), accept (friend), like.Server to server federation.Web client for content exploration (read-only).Compatibility with other Mastodon clients (Mobile iOS/Android and Web).Cloudflare will continue to evolve this open-source project with additional features over time and listen to the community feedback to steer our priorities. Pull requests and issues are welcome too.
RequirementsWildebeest is a full-stack app running on top of Cloudflare Pages using Pages Functions. We are of course assuming that you have a Cloudflare account (click here if you don't) and have at least one zone using Cloudflare. If you don't have a zone, you can use Cloudflare Registrar to register new a new domain or transfer an existing one.
Some features, like data persistence, access controls, media storage, are handled by other Cloudflare products:
D1 for the database.Workers KV for object caching.Zero Trust Access to handle user authentication and SSO on any identity provider.Images for media handling.Most of our products offer a generous free plan that allows our users to try them for personal or hobby projects that aren't business-critical. However the Images one doesn't have a free tier, so for setting up your instance you need to activate one of the paid Images plans.
Images planTo activate Images, please login into your account, select Images on the left menu, and then select the plan that best fits your needs.
API tokenBefore we begin, you also need to create an API token in your Cloudflare account. To do that, login into your account, and press the Create Token button under My Profile (top right corner) / API Tokens.
Now press Create Custom Token and add the following permissions:
D1, account level, edit permission.Cloudflare Pages, account level, edit permission.Access: Apps and policies, account level, edit permission.Access: Organizations, Identity Providers and Groups, account level, read permission.Workers KV Storage, account level, edit permission.DNS, zone level, edit permission.Cloudflare Images, account level, edit permission.Workers Scripts, account level, edit permission.
You can limit the token to the specific zone where you will using Wildebeest if you want. Don't set a TTL.
Now Continue to Summary, review your settings, and Create Token. Take note of your token and store it in your password manager, you're going to need it later.
Zone and Account IDsYou also need to take note of your Zone and Account IDs. To find them, login into your account and select the zone (domain) where you plan to use Wildebeest. Then, on the Overview page you will the following information:
We're all set now, let's start the installation process.
Getting startedWildebeest uses Deploy to Workers to automate the installation process.
Click here to start the installation.
Please pay attention to all the steps involved in the installation process.
Authorize Workers to use your GitHub account.Enter your Account ID (from the previous section) and the API token that you created previously.Configure your instance/project with the Zone ID, Domain, Title, Admin Email and Description.Fork the repository into your personal GitHub account.Enable GitHub Actions.Deploy.Authorizations and API TokenThe first two steps are authorizing Workers to use your GitHub account and entering your Account ID and the API token you created in the requirements section.
Instance configurationConfigure your instance/project with the Zone ID (see the requirements above), Domain (the full FQDN domain of your zone, where you want to deploy your Wildebeest server), Title, Admin Email and Description.
Now click Fork the repository.
Then enable GitHub Actions and confirm by clicking Workflows enabled.
And finally click Deploy.
The installation script will now build and deploy your project to Cloudflare Pages and will run a Terraform script to configure the D1, KV, DNS, Images and Access settings automatically for you.
Finish installationIf you followed all the steps, you should see a successful GitHub Actions build.
You can also confirm in the Cloudflare dashboard that the Pages project, DNS entry, KV namespace, D1 database and Access rule were all created and configured.
Almost there, only one last step missing:
Configure the access ruleThe installation process automatically created a Zero Trust Access application called wildebeest-your-github-user for you. Now you need to create a policy that defines who can have access to your Wildebeest instance.
Go to and select your account, then select Access / Applications and Edit the wildebeest-your-github-user application.
Now click Add a policy. Name the policy wildebeest-policy, set the action to Allow, and add an include rule with the list of Emails that you want to allow and then click Save policy
You're readyOpen your browser and go to your newly deployed Wildebeest domain https://social.example/ (replace social.example with your domain). You should see something like this:
Go to https://social.example/api/v1/instance (replace social.example with your domain) and double-check your configuration. It should show:
The Pentagon Unveils Plan To Supercharge US Troops' Resistance To Diseases, Biological Weapons
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 17:41
The Department of Defense unveiled a new strategy to supercharge troops' immune systems against a seemingly unlimited array of chemical and biological threats. Defense leaders say that not only has the threat of state-backed bioweapons increased, but naturally occurring pathogens, such as COVID-19, can cripple the force. ''We may be entering a renewed era where nation state [biological warfare] threats will reemerge,'' Gerald Parker, associate dean in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. The Department of Defense (DOD) launched a new strategy aimed at making those who serve in the armed forces impervious to every conceivable chemical or biological threat, according to a strategy document released Tuesday.
Recent technological advances mean DOD's past strategy of developing individual preventative measures or cures for each known chemical or biological threat is no longer realistic, according to the document. Instead, DOD's Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP) will focus on finding ways to engineer servicemembers' immune systems with catch-all vaccines, therapeutics and equipment that can handle a seemingly endless landscape of chemical and biological threats, including ones that aren't directly the result of weapons programs, Politico first reported.
''We may be entering a renewed era where nation state [biological warfare] threats will reemerge,'' Gerald Parker, a former deputy assistant secretary for CBDP and associate dean in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
''There is also an expansion of high containment labs worldwide with ready access to powerful new technologies, increasing the risk of accidental and deliberate outbreaks, even pandemics,'' he added.
CBDP will ''leverage'' existing relationships with pharmaceutical companies to fast-track development of immunization technologies, each of which can protect troops against multiple viruses, the Pentagon strategy states.
One thread of prevention DOD is developing looks to ''modulate the immune system'' through six different metabolic pathways, according to Politico. Researchers are also looking into monoclonal antibodies, a COVID-19 remedy, for three distinct groups of viruses.
The new approach will address ''many bugs'' with ''one drug,'' Parker explained to the DCNF, calling it a ''step in the right direction'' toward guarding the force from pathogens and maintaining troops' readiness to jump into action whenever they are called upon.
The strategy mimics how former President Donald Trump's Operation Warp Speed provided funding and eased regulatory requirements to hasten discovery of a COVID-19 vaccine, experts told the DCNF.
''In a response preparedness posture, we need to invest in unique medical infrastructure designed to rapidly produce new vaccines and drugs, and leverage existing medical infrastructure by adapting them to target new agents quickly,'' Kevin Wingerd, CBDP's medical director, said in a release.
DOD is also exploring wearable devices that can monitor vital signs, such as blood oxygen and heart rate, of troops in the field and generate a diagnosis when a pathogen, chemical or biological, attacks, Politico reported.
The Pentagon's massive expansion of its program to counter chemical and biological weapons grew in part out of the COVID-19 virus' rapid spread around the globe, highlighting both the potential for non-weaponized agents to weaken the military at a large scale and DOD's role in developing a countermeasure, the Pentagon said.
''DOD was essential to Operation Warp Speed's success,'' Parker said.
Researchers disagree whether the COVID-19 originated in a lab or could have a dual use in Chinese military research, but the virus nevertheless put a U.S. Navy vessel virtually out of commission in March 2020, Politico reported.
''An adversary might think about using that to their advantage,'' Peter Brooks, a weapons of mass destruction expert at the Heritage Foundation, told the DCNF.
Major U.S. adversaries have stockpiled pharmaceutical-based agents that are easy to conceal and difficult to contain, experts warned. China's ramped up fentanyl industry is already contributing to an opioid crisis in the U.S., but analysts are worried Beijing could use the drug in a widespread attack, according to Politico.
Russia has also developed and deployed the nerve agent Novichok in multiple assassination attempts in recent years, and officials worry Russia may use similar weapons if its war in Ukraine turns south.
''Instead of just dealing with one specific number of threats, they're worried that some of these threats have actually changed because of biotechnology capabilities,'' Brooks said.
The U.S. is closely monitoring chemical and biological weapons programs in China and Russia, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said at a briefing Tuesday.
DOD has budgeted $1.3 billion over the next five years to work out the strategy, Ian Watson, deputy assistant secretary for CBDP, told Politico.
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Secret rule change will see House lawmakers get a $34,000 PAY BUMP | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 13:03
In one of their final acts in power, House Democrats secretly passed through a rule change that will see lawmakers in the lower chamber get a $34,000 pay raise.
The new rule, proposed by Democrats on the House Administration Committee, allows House members to be reimbursed for the cost of lodging, food and travel while on official business in Washington DC.
It was tucked into the House's internal rules, rather than in annual spending bills, and therefore was not debated on the House floor, according to the New York Times.
In fact many rank-and-file House members did not even find out about the change until Tuesday, just two weeks after former Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a similar pay raise for House staffers.
Advocates say the new raise is necessary to increase the pool of people who could afford to serve in Congress, but Republicans say the 'clandestine' rule should have been up for public debate.
The House Administration Committee '-- under the leadership of California Democrat Zoe Lofgren (pictured) approved a measure allowing House members to reimburse the cost of lodging, food and travel while on official business in Washington DC
The House Administration Committee '-- then headed by California Democrat Zoe Lofgren '-- approved the reimbursement on December 30, 2022, with no lawmaker on the panel opposing the change.
Under the new rule, House members could be subsidized about $34,000 for their expenses in DC, where they live for weeks on end. That means that if all 440 current members and delegates requested the maximum amount, the reimbursements would total around $15.1 million.
In Congress, expenses are capped at a per diem rate by the General Services Administration. The GSA's daily lodging per diem varies between $190 and $260 depending on the season.
The per diem for food currently stands at $79 per day, meaning a lawmaker in DC for congressional business could expense up to about $340 each day.
The money for these expenses would come from the Member's Representational Allowance, the account that covers official expenses, according to Bloomberg.
But in an email obtained by, congressional offices were asked to hold off on submitting their reimbursement expenses until the committee could offer further guidance.
Members of the House already earn an annual salary of $174,000 and receive a slew of benefits for their service
The benefits of being a Congress member Members of Congress earn an annual salary of $174,000Each Congressman gets an annual allowance of $1.27 million in the House and $3.3 million to staff and manage their officesMembers receive a subsidy amounting to 72% of their premiums on health insuranceMembers are eligible for lifetime health insurance under the Federal Employment Health Benefit ProgramMembers are eligible for a lifetime pension of up to 80% of their salaryMembers of the House already earn an annual salary of $174,000, an amount set in 2009, which has not changed since even as the cost of living increased.
Additionally, House members get annual allowances averaging $1.27 million to staff and manage their offices as they see fit, and while members of Congress are required to purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act, they receive a subsidy amounting to 72 percent of their premiums, according to Axios.
The federal lawmakers are also eligible for lifetime health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.
And depending on the member's age and length of service, he or she could also receive a lifetime pension of 80 percent of his or her salary '-- amounting to $139,200 a year.
But, in advocating for the rule change, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress suggested a pay raise would entice more people to serve in Congress.
'Unlike their counterparts in the executive branch and private sector, members do not receive a per diem or reimbursement for their out-of-pocket living expenses when they are at work in Washington,' the committee noted in its final report.
Former Congressman Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, slammed the decision to pass the measure without a discussion on the House floor
Some lawmakers, especially the younger ones, have complained of the cost of affording a place in the nation's capital
Some lawmakers have complained that they struggle with maintaining two residences on a congressional salary. Others have noted they still make far more than the average American.
'Ppl rag on Congress' salary &it's easy to score political points on it, but many don't know it requires paying 2 rents, can't deduct work costs, etc Result is grand gestures to tout that they/staff aren't getting COLA adjustments, but then trading stock to make up for it -worse!' Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York wrote on Twitter in December 2021.
And just last month newly-elected Representative Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a Democrat from Florida, tweeted: 'Just applied to an apartment in DC where I told the guy that my credit was very bad. He said I'd be fine.
'Got denied, lost the application fee,' he wrote. 'This ain't meant for people who don't already have money.'
He later said, 'I also recognize that I'm speaking from a point of privilege cause in two years time my credit will be OK because of my new salary.
The committee suggested raising lawmakers' salaries would decrease 'polarization' because 'more candidates are willing to run for office if they see public service as an economically viable career.'
But former Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, said he was upset that the raise was not discussed on the House floor.
'You can have a good public policy debate on whether congressmen should be paid more in order to attract a better bunch, and you could have a reasonable debate on inflation adjustments, but it really out to be done in public,' he said.
'That's my biggest beef, that it was a clandestine secret.'
Calif. flushed 95% of incoming Delta water to Pacific Ocean during Monday's massive storm
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 13:03
After several years of severe drought, the intense storms over the last week would seemingly be a godsend to California and go a long way toward fixing the state's water problems.
But the opposite is happening as the state is flushing out the vast majority of the incoming water into the ocean.
The big picture: Monday's unrelenting rainfall resulted in 101,433 cubic feet per second of water inflow into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, according to data provided by the Bureau of Reclamation. The rainy first week of the year averaged around 85,000 cubic feet per second of water inflow.
The latest available data recorded Tuesday's inflow total 117,603 cubic feet per second. Yet on Monday, 95,980 cubic feet per second of water was flushed out of the delta into the Pacific Ocean, leaving a net of five percent of the incoming water to remain in the delta to be pumped and exported throughout the state. The three-day average for delta water exports currently sits at six percent, meaning more than 90 percent of the incoming water is being either being retained in the Delta or (in the overwhelming majority case) flushed out into the San Francisco Bay. The backstory: The intense flushing of water from the Delta to the Bay '' rather than by pumping to Central Valley farms, storage facilities, and southern California communities '' is driven by a 2019 legal document known as an ''Incidental Take Permit.''
The document, which was designed by the Newsom administration to counter a sweeping (and now-rescinded) 2019 update to Federal environmental rules governing the operation of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, requires flushing of water when Delta flow intensifies between December 1 and January 30.The first flush provisions of the permit are triggered in two scenarios:
When the three day running average of water flowing into the Delta via the Sacramento River at Freeport meets or exceeds 25,000 cubic feet per second and turbidity in those flows meets or exceeds 50 Nephelometric Turbidity Units Or, in the alternative, the Smelt Monitoring Team (an amalgam of representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Water Resources, and State Water Resources Control Board) determines that conditions pose a high risk of delta smelt migration into areas of entrainment.Sources told The Sun that the first flush provisions were initially triggered on Jan. 3.Once triggered, the Department of Water Resources is to reduce exporting water out of the Delta south into the San Joaquin Valley for 14 consecutive days.What they're saying: In response to the current crush of storms and on-going flush operations, California Republicans '' including Rep. David Valadao (R''Hanford), Rep. John Duarte (R''Modesto) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R''Elk Grove) '' sent a letter to President Joe Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom urging them to waive the impediments to the delta pump operations to ensure that none of the current rainfall goes to waste.
The lawmakers also asked Biden and Newsom to prioritize and expedite water storage projects. ''The past few years of catastrophic man-made drought have crushed California families and farms, and with supply chain disruptions further hamstringing our agricultural producers, we have a moral obligation to provide Californians any relief that is within our control,'' the lawmakers wrote. ''Government regulations should not and must not deny our constituents critical water from these storms. While we cannot make it rain, we must take advantage of opportunities to store water when it does and maximize what can be moved at all times through the Delta for the duration of these storms.'' AuthorDaniel Gligich is a senior reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun. Email him at
12ft | Gwen Stefani Declares 'I'm Japanese,' Defends Herself Against Woke Mob: It 'Should Be Okay to Be Inspired by Other Cultures'
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 12:56
Removing Paywall
Lisa Marie Presley Was Working On Tell-All About Elvis & Michael Jackson Prior To Shocking Death
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 11:42
Exclusive Source: MEGA
Jan. 13 2023, Published 5:00 a.m. ET
Lisa Marie Presley was working on a bombshell book that was set to expose details about her father Elvis and ex-husband Michael Jackson in the months before her death, has learned.
Presley signed the book deal with Gallery Books in 2019. The deal was worth a reported $3-$4 million with Lisa receiving at least a $1 million advance.
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Sources told Page Six the book was set to reveal ''shocking'' details about her life. A source promised the tell-all would provide ''shocking revelations about Michael Jackson and a completely new understanding of Elvis.''
Presley and Jackson were married from 1994 to 1996.
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As first reported, the book was a point of contention in Presley's child support war with her ex-husband Michael Lockwood. Last year, he took her back to court demanding he is paid monthly support. He claimed Presley was rolling in cash after signing the book deal along with money from the Elvis biopic starring Austin Butler.
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Lisa Marie Presley
Grieving Lisa Marie Presley Was 'Entirely Heartbroken' After Losing Her Only Son Two Years Before Her DeathLisa Marie Presley's Inner Circle 'Deeply Worried' About Her Health Months Before DeathLisa Marie Presley Leaned On Smashing Pumpkins Rocker Billy Corgan After Son Benjamin's SuicideArticle continues below advertisement
In addition, his lawyer wrote, ''Presley has significant income for purposes of a child support calculation, due to continuing and recurring distributions Presley receives from her trust(s) and from the significant assets including her family business. Presley's father was Elvis Presley, a world-famous entertainer and one of the most successful people in show business history. Presley is Elvis' sole heir and as such is an owner of Graceland and interests in Elvis' recordings, songs, merchandise rights, and life story rights."
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Lockwood and Presley were headed to trial last year but worked out a settlement weeks before they were set to face off. Elvis' only child agreed to pay $6k a month in support to Lockwood for their 14-year-old twins, Harper and Finley.
In court documents, obtained by, Presley's financial situation had improved in the past couple of years but she still had a ton of debt. In a debt sheet, Presley admitted she owed $280k to her assistant writer on the memoir, $1.17 million owed on a loan to Barclay's Bank UK, $40k on the Maserati she leased, $700k owed to New York for back taxes, $568k to the IRS for 2021, $399,012 to the California Franchise Tax Board for 2017 and 2018 and another $159k for 2021.
As previously reported, on Thursday, Presley died after suffering from a cardiac arrest at the age of 54.
War in Ukraine could lead to 'devastating' tuberculosis problem, warns Anthony Fauci
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 11:39
The Russian invasion of Ukraine could be ''devastating'' for tuberculosis control in eastern Europe, and will cause a ''terrible public health tragedy'', Dr Anthony Fauci has warned.
Ukraine reports roughly 30,000 new TB cases annually and has one of the highest rates of multidrug-resistant TB in the world. According to the World Health Organization estimates, Ukraine has the fourth highest TB incidence rate among the 53 countries of the WHO European Region.
''[The war] could be devastating, quite frankly,'' Dr Fauci, the chief medical officer of the United States, told The Telegraph in an exclusive interview.
''As a public health official, as a scientist, and as an infectious disease expert, I'm very worried about the disruption that has already happened and that will continue.''
He criticised the ''indiscriminate attacks'' on the Ukrainians, adding: ''Hospitals being moved to cellars, clinics having to close, are going to have a terrible impact on TB and any other diseases '' HIV, infectious disease of children.
''[The war] is going to interrupt the vaccine programmes of kids, this is going to be a really terrible public health tragedy '' in addition to a terrible tragedy of life lost in war.''
TB remains the second leading infectious killer globally, second only to Covid-19. In 2020 it led to 1.5 million deaths. The WHO has warned that multidrug-resistant TB is a public health crisis and a health security threat.
While TB deaths had decreased since 2005, since the pandemic they have risen. Dr Fauci said this was down to healthcare disruptions, which saw less people diagnosed and therefore not adequately treated.
The WHO said in 2021 that Covid has ''reversed years of global progress in tackling tuberculosis''.
Dr Fauci said it's vital that the scientific community now applies modern technologies to tackle the ''ancient disease.''
''We still do not know as much as we need to [about TB]. We need to revitalise what has been a somewhat neglected approach to an ancient disease,'' he said.
''We have not used cutting edge technology [on it]. And we have a lot of people who are not interested in the field of TB because there's been this somewhat inappropriate mindset: 'It's been around for a long time and we do have the BCG vaccine','' he told The Telegraph.
But, he warned, BCG, which has been used for more than a century, has ''great limitations''. The vaccine is 70-80 per cent effective against the most severe forms of TB, such as TB meningitis, but is less effective in preventing the form of TB that affects the lungs.
TB is particularly dangerous in southern Africa, Dr Fauci said, where there is a high prevalence of HIV. TB is the leading cause of death in people living with HIV.
Dr Fauci's comments come after Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO's emergencies programme, said this week that Ukrainians are also at heightened risk of coronavirus.
''Anytime you disrupt society like this and put literally millions of people on the move, infectious disease will exploit that,'' he said. ''People are packed together, they're stressed, they're not eating, not sleeping properly. They're highly susceptible [to disease].''
Ukraine is lagging on Covid vaccine uptake '' according to Our World in Data, just 35 per cent of the population has had two Covid shots '' and plans to launch vaccination drives have been suspended due to the fighting.
On Tuesday, Dr Jarno Habicht, of the WHO, said health systems in neighbouring countries must enhance their infectious disease surveillance to prevent cross-border outbreaks of diseases like Covid, measles, and vaccine-derived polio.
Since the Russian invasion began, hundreds of structures '' including transport facilities, homes, nursery schools and hospitals '' have been destroyed. This includes a cancer hospital for children which, according to The Kyiv Independent, was hit by Russian artillery fire on Sunday, killing at least one child.
''In the last few days, our hospitals and other public places are what Russian terrorists are targeting,'' Dr Andrii Strokan, deputy chief physician at Feofaniya Clinical Hospital in Kyiv, told The Telegraph this week.
''[On Monday] we had a patient with a gunshot wound to the brain. A paramedic from the ambulance brigade was shot in the street during the patient's transportation,'' he said.
Dr Lesia Lysytsia, a paediatric onco-ophthalmologist at Okhmatdyt, Kyiv's largest children's hospital, added that one ultrasound room at the facility has already been destroyed amid gunfire '' though she believed this was not a targeted attack.
''The children are really, very scared, the [explosions] are awful,'' she told The Telegraph. ''We had one room, with the ultrasound [unit] in it, which was attacked '' shot from the window. We think it was an accident.''
Dr Fauci said: ''I know that there are a lot of groups that are now amassing on the border of Poland to help, people going right into Ukraine, as dangerous as it is, to try to provide some modicum of health care during this very difficult time.
''We, the global community, [must] do whatever we can to mitigate against what is going to be an absolutely profound disruption of healthcare.''
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Why Congo's most famous national park is betting big on crypto | MIT Technology Review
Fri, 13 Jan 2023 11:35
The AK-47 is heavy with extra clips strapped together, jungle style, but the man holding it doesn't flinch as he patrols the heavily forested mountain.
Here in eastern Congo, where the Soviet throwback weapon costs just $40 on the black market, militias use its dawa, or magic, to take land, timber, ivory, and the rare minerals that have long been this region's promise and its curse.
But this man in fatigues is not militia. He's a rare authority figure in a largely lawless region'--a ranger who usually patrols Virunga National Park, a place famous for endangered mountain gorillas.
Today, though, his job is different. In Luviro, a hamlet just outside the park, he is guarding the world's first known Bitcoin mine operated by a national park. One that runs on clean energy. It's a gamble that's energized many who work in and around the park'--and invited skepticism from experts who wonder what crypto has to do with conservation.
On this muggy day in late March 2022, the guard is pacing in front of 10 shipping containers that are filled with thousands of powerful computers. They hum in the midday heat. Suddenly, something shiny flashes over the horizon. He adjusts his beret and hustles to secure a nearby dirt runway as a Cessna circles.
The plane soon touches down on a perilously steep and short landing strip, and out steps its pilot, Emmanuel de Merode, the 52-year-old director of the park, here for a routine inspection. De Merode grabs the leather strap of his bag with one hand; the other salutes the rangers, who puff out their chests and stand stick straight in the sun. Clean-shaven and lightly graying, he's the only person in sight without a weapon. Behind him, the wings of the Cessna are pockmarked with bullet holes and patched with duct tape.
De Merode strides past a barking bush dog and into one of the containers'--40 feet long and chrome green. Inside, surrounded by wiring, laptops, and body odor, a team of technicians in mesh vests monitors the mine.
All day, these machines grind away at complex math problems and are rewarded with a digital currency that's worth thousands of dollars. They're powered by the massive hydroelectric power station perched on this same mountain, making these containers a cathedral of 21st-century green tech, surrounded by greener rainforest.
In many ways, this operation's mere existence defies the odds. Just being in a volatile region known for corruption and rising deforestation, where foreign investment is as rare as electrical grids and stable government, poses a host of problems. ''Problems of internet connection, climate conditions which influence production, working in isolation,'' lists Jonas Mbavumoja, 24, a graduate of the nearby University of Goma who staffs the mine. There's also the threat from dozens of nearby rebel groups. Violence is frequent here, and years of militia activity, missile strikes, and machete attacks have left deep trauma.
This is a pivotal moment for Africa's oldest protected park. After four years of disease outbreaks, pandemic lockdowns, and bloodshed, Virunga badly needs money, and the region badly needs opportunities. The Congolese government provides around just 1% of the park's operating budget, leaving it to largely fend for itself. That's why Virunga is betting big on cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin, though, isn't usually associated with conservation or community development. It's often known for the opposite. But here it's part of a larger plan to turn Virunga's coveted natural resources'--from land to hydropower'--into benefits for both the park and locals. While operations like this mine may be unconventional, they're profitable and they're green.
Proceeds from the sale of Bitcoin are already helping to pay for park salaries, as well as its infrastructure projects like roads and water pumping stations. Elsewhere, power from other park hydro plants supports modest business development.
This is how you build a sustainable economy tied to park resources, de Merode says, even though the mine itself is something of a happy accident.
''We built the power plant and figured we'd build the network gradually,'' he explains. ''Then we had to shut down tourism in 2018 because of kidnappings [by rebels]. Then in 2019, we had to shut down tourism because of Ebola. And 2020'--the rest is history with covid. For four years, all of our tourism revenue'--it used to be 40% of park revenue'--it collapsed.''
He adds, ''It's not something we expected, but we had to work out a solution. Otherwise we would have gone bust as a national park.''
Like all Virunga hydro plants, the Mutwanga project employs a river-run design; it will provide electricity for industry in a nearby town of over 30,000 people.BRENT STIRTON/GETTY IMAGES FOR WWF-CANON
The park started mining in September of 2020 as most of the world was locked down, ''and then the price of Bitcoin went through the roof,'' he says. ''We were lucky'--for once.''
During this visit in late March, the Congolese miners chat with le directeur in French about their progress. Bitcoin is trading at around $44,000 and de Merode predicts revenues of about $150,000 a month, close to what tourism had provided at its peak.
The looming question now is whether their luck has run out.
Nearly a decade ago, Virunga rose to fame thanks to a celebrated Netflix film that showed the park grappling with a rebel invasion and the threat of Big Oil. These dangers have returned, jeopardizing everything.
Congo's government has recently announced plans to auction oil leases in and around the park. It's early stages, but if drilling happens, it would mean disrupting lives and key wildlife habitat. It's also no stretch to say the health of the planet would be at risk: the Congo Basin is the world's second-largest rainforest, after the Amazon, and a crucial carbon sink.
Meanwhile, a militia called the M23 is occupying the park's gorilla sector and sacking towns as it battles Congo's military. In the past, the M23 avoided direct confrontation with Virunga'--but over the past few months, that seems to have changed.
On top of all that, the recent collapse of FTX and the subsequent earthquake that's rocked the entire crypto industry means de Merode's gamble may sound like quite the Hail Mary. But every day of mining is pure profit, he points out'--so no matter how much Bitcoin fluctuates in value, as long as it's positive, it's profitable.
In the face of these threats, de Merode believes the Bitcoin mine can still be their ace. Neither altruist nor crypto grifter, he's a pragmatist willing to risk everything.
If the park can hold on, it may just work.
An "extraordinary solution" in a "bewildering place"One of the first things you notice in this slice of the Democratic Republic of Congo is how green it is'--oceans of emerald fed by heavy rainfall and rich volcanic soil. Virunga borders the Congo Basin on one flank and Uganda and Rwanda on the other. Its 3,000 square miles are home to half of Africa's terrestrial animals, including around a third of the world's last mountain gorillas.
Around 5 million people live just outside the park; most lack electricity to cook, light, or heat their mud-plastered homes. On top of that, 80,000 people live in the park. Many settled here before Virunga's creation in 1925, while the country was under Belgian colonial rule; others are refugees fleeing more recent violence.
That's why the park is a vital source for charcoal, or makala in Swahili, and for food'--even though farming, fishing, hunting, and logging are all illegal. Park resources are stripped with regularity: between 2001 and 2020, Virunga lost almost 10% of its tree cover, and de Merode estimates $170 million in Virunga's trees and ivory are lost annually. But the alternative for locals is being unable to pay local warlords or starving. These are perfect conditions for corruption.
"Congo is a bewildering place to make moral judgments."
''Congo is a bewildering place to make moral judgments,'' says Adam Hochschild, the author of King Leopold's Ghost, which chronicles the Belgian monarch's harrowing 19th-century rule. Congo is further complicated by ''its sheer vastness, people who speak hundreds of languages, and the colonization which was done for the purpose of extracting wealth,'' he says. ''Under those circumstances, it's very hard to have a just and fair society.''
Congo has nearly as many displaced people as Ukraine, and decades of conflict despite decades of UN peacekeeping. Most stolen profits from the park go to armed rebel groups, which some locals join for lack of better options. Some are relics of past wars, most notably Rwanda's 1994 genocide. Others may be linked to the Islamic State. The largest is the M23, a Tutsi-led group so well-armed that the UN says Rwanda backs it. (Rwanda denies this, but its economy relies heavily on Congolese resources.)
As a result, Virunga may be the only UNESCO site that regularly buries its staff: over 200 rangers have been killed since 1996, on average one a month. Cherubin Nolayambaje, who has spent eight years as a ranger, calls it ''the most dangerous job in the world.''
Over 200 park rangers have been killed since 1996, on average one a month. Here, rangers on early morning patrol look for animal snares, illegal fishing activity, and wood cutting.BRENT STIRTON/GETTY IMAGES
Virunga's nearly 800 rangers, including about 35 women, often encounter armed rebels in the park and civilians farming or living there illegally. Many locals don't even know the park's boundaries, adds Samson Rukira, an activist in the nearby town of Rutshuru. While conservation requires community involvement to solve issues, he says, ''we are in areas which are not secure, and that means maybe rangers can't be in dialogue.''
De Merode is sympathetic to community complaints that individuals are being denied access to the park's vast wealth. ''Hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of people suffer what we hope is a short-term cost to turn this park into a positive asset. If we fail in that, we do more harm than good,'' he says. ''But we believe passionately that it can be turned around'--this ecosystem, this park.''
His plan to do that hinges on the three hydro plants the park has opened since 2013, in Matebe, Mutwanga, and Luviro; a fourth is under construction. If you can power your home, the theory goes, you don't need to chop trees to cook. Electricity supports new jobs and businesses, like coffee coops and chia seed production. And, of course, the Bitcoin mine.
''That's the misconception we most want to correct: that Virunga is just about the wildlife,'' de Merode continues. ''No, it's about the community through the wildlife. Our role is to try to facilitate that.'' There's no way to practice conservation in one of the world's most troubled countries without local support, he says.
The Luviro station, like all of Virunga's hydro plants, uses a river-run design, meaning that power is generated by the river's constant flow rather than dams and reservoirs, which has a low environmental impact.
But its construction was daunting from the start. It required workers to first chop off a mountaintop to build an airstrip, then carve roads in the rock with basic hand tools, sometimes while under attack by rebels.
Then, partway through construction, one of the park's biggest benefactors, Howard Buffett (son of Warren), ended his donations over a disagreement with de Merode about how funds were being spent. Buffett, who co-funded other park projects, calls de Merode ''an amazing guy'' but says funds intended for power plants were used to build a network to deliver that power to the provincial capital of Goma instead.
''They're basically right,'' admits de Merode, who insists nothing was misappropriated and later hustled to secure $17 million in grants and loans from the EU and the UK to try to finish the Luviro project. ''When you build an energy project, there's a power plant, but also the network around it. If you can't deliver the electricity to the community, it doesn't have much purpose. We made a mistake in good faith.''
Still, these goals were all a bit more complicated in remote Luviro. There were fewer potential customers in the nearby community than there were for the hydro plants in Matebe and Mutwanga; the idea was to build a network of power'--and buyers'--gradually. But in the meantime, the plant would be creating excess power, and the question was how to find something productive and profitable to do with it.
At the same time, there was yet another problem: by 2019, the Luviro plant was incomplete, and the park still didn't have enough cash to finish construction and then turn the plant on.
"That's the misconception we most want to correct: that Virunga is just about the wildlife. No, it's about the community through the wildlife."
Finally, de Merode and his colleagues landed on an idea they thought could solve all these issues in one go: buying $200,000 in Bitcoin rigs, which could potentially earn short- and long-term profits and provide a viable way to use the hydropower.
''Over a few weeks,'' de Merode says, ''it dawned on us that this was an extraordinary solution.''
A Belgian prince teams up with ''Bitcoin Indiana Jones''That solution presented itself nearly 4,000 miles and a world away from Virunga, at an imposing French castle in the Loire Valley. In February of 2020, the crypto investor S(C)bastien Gouspillou arrived at the Chteau de Serrant around midday, expecting a pitch from some showoff.
''It's very common to rent a chateau in France'--it costs about the same as a hotel,'' he explains.
Instead, he was greeted at the door by a princess whose family had owned the castle since the 18th century. Minutes later, she went to fetch Gouspillou's lunch date: her fils, Emmanuel de Merode.
Virunga's park director was born in Tunisia to Belgian nobility. At just 11 years old, he spent time with the legendary lion guru George Adamson in Kenya. Later, he trained as an anthropologist, and he came to Congo in 1993 to help Garamba National Park rangers and to study the bush-meat trade for his PhD. In 1999, he left for Gabon's Lop(C) National Park, where he worked to habituate gorillas and build ecotourism. That's where he realized: ''You have to be there for 20, 30 years to really succeed. And I wanted to be in eastern Congo.''
De Merode arrived in Virunga in 2001 as civil war raged. He quickly recognized the importance of the work of the rangers, who often went unpaid. Together with the famous fossil hunter Richard Leakey (who would later become his father-in-law), he started fundraising to support their salaries.
When de Merode arrived in Virunga in 2001, he quickly recognized the importance of the work of the rangers, who often went unpaid. Here, he stands with rangers over the body of a murdered female mountain gorilla in July 2007.BRENT STIRTON/GETTY IMAGES.
He became director of the park in 2008, after a group of gorillas were killed and photos of their execution-style murders caused international outrage. In the chaotic aftermath, Virunga's then director was arrested and state officials vowed radical change; there may not be anything more radical than a Belgian prince taking a leadership position in a former Belgian colony.
De Merode made his mark immediately. Two months into the job, rebels stormed park headquarters in Rumangabo, and he crossed enemy lines to negotiate and protect staff. After regaining control, he fired hundreds of rangers and arrested senior officers, and then re-recruited rangers and retrained them. Salaries rose; rations and gear improved. Morale soared and animal populations eventually rebounded.
But in April 2014, the story almost ended. De Merode had gone to Goma to deliver evidence against Soco, a British oil company accused of bribing officials. He was driving alone back to the park when gunmen opened fire on his Land Rover. He returned fire, sprinted to the forest, and hid. But a bullet had hit his chest, breaking five ribs and perforating a lung. Another ripped into his stomach, ''through the liver, diaphragm, lung, and out the back,'' he says.
Eventually farmers on motorbikes pulled over to help. When he finally made it to Goma, he had to translate between Indian and Congolese doctors who lacked a common tongue. With no x-ray machine, the doctors cut him right down the middle.
Two days later, while he was still recovering, Virunga premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. The documentary, later acquired by Netflix, focused on the park's fight to survive a siege by the M23 and Soco. Executive-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, it was nominated for an Academy Award. It also turned de Merode and his colleagues into international heroes.
That's how Gouspillou saw de Merode in that first meeting. At Chteau de Serrant, the two men wound up talking for four hours. De Merode was in a tight spot: eager to figure out how to use Virunga's excess electricity to fund the park, which was quickly losing money. And Gouspillou was eager to do something that mattered.
On the train home, ''I Googled and saw he's a hero," says Gouspillou. ''I wanted to help. We used to do mining by buying electricity'--it wasn't efficient. The money maybe goes to oligarchs in Kazakhstan. In Virunga, we see it's saving the park.''
"We used to do mining by buying electricity'--it wasn't efficient. The money maybe goes to oligarchs in Kazakhstan. In Virunga, we see it's saving the park."
Gouspillou, who got into crypto after working in real estate investment, likes to call himself the Bitcoin Indiana Jones. Despite lacking a whip or fedora'--he prefers jeans and is bald'--he has an adventurous reputation. His company, Big Block Green Services, is known for putting together controversial projects: advising El Salvador on its ''Bitcoin City'' and prepping another crypto project in the Central African Republic.
With Gouspillou's help, in early 2020 Virunga bought secondhand servers and got to building a Bitcoin mine. As with the hydro plant, construction was arduous. Getting shipping containers and Bitcoin rigs from Goma meant two days driving along dirt roads through rebel-held jungles.
''The Italian ambassador was killed on the road we take every day,'' says Gouspillou. When he arrived in Luviro, he found bullet holes in his bungalow that de Merode hadn't told him about. ''I didn't tell my wife, either,'' Gouspillou quips.
Around this time, the park's body count was rising sharply. Twelve rangers, a driver, and four civilians were killed in April 2020 in the worst attack in Virunga's history. Another ranger was killed in October, six more in January 2021, another in October, and another in November 2021. De Merode describes it as ''our hardest year ever.''
Yet against these odds, by September of 2020, the Luviro mine began operation.
A local job posting led to the hire of nine Congolese crypto miners, who scored well on a questionnaire competition. Most of them had heard of Bitcoin before, but their initial impressions weren't always positive, owing to scams operating in the area. Now many of them have crypto wallets.
''The field is totally new,'' says Ernest Kyeya, a 27-year-old electrical engineering graduate from the University of Goma, who works at the mine.
''It took me a little time to adapt to the jargon, to understand the operation of a mining machine and manage to repair and maintain it,'' he adds. ''But I was treated as a member of the team and not as a simple worker. That responsibility gave me confidence.''
The miners work 21 days straight before getting five days off. The digs aren't ''classy,'' says Kyeya, ''but we like what we do.'' He adds, ''It's not like in town. Everything must be planned. But it's worth it. It's such an honor to work here, as many as 13 hours a day'--sometimes more, because we have nothing else to do in the jungle.''
Today there are 10 containers powered directly by the plant's four-meter turbines. Each container holds 250 to 500 rigs. Virunga owns three containers, with all the proceeds going to fund various park services. The other seven are Gouspillou's. He pays Virunga for the electricity to run his servers, and whatever he mines belongs to him and his investors.
De Merode estimates that the mine generated about $500,000 for the park last year, when the pandemic had shut down most other revenue sources.
And cashing in on the popularity of digital apes, the park teamed up with the NFT project CyberKongz, which auctioned gorilla NFTs through Christie's, providing another $1.2 million for the park. Some of that money was used to buy two of the three park-owned containers.
''That's what got us through covid,'' de Merode says.
Selling Bitcoin as savior ''Emmanuel was very surprised when he saw the money. I was sure about our success,'' says Gouspillou, who speaks rapid-fire when the conversation turns to the sustainability of crypto.
Not everyone is so sure. And not all Congolese are fans of radical development. Even if some do benefit, most won't get jobs. Years of war and foreign exploitation also weigh heavily on locals, who often praise the park and curse it in the same sentence.
Meanwhile, for the international community, the idea of Bitcoin as savior has perhaps never been a harder sell.
That criticism is heavily tied to the enormous amount of electricity required to mine coins'--electricity typically generated from fossil fuels. The director-general of the European Central Bank recently called Bitcoin mining ''an unprecedented polluter.'' And connections are often costly; the seven biggest US crypto miners, for instance, tap the same amount of power as all the households in Houston. (US crypto companies are not legally required to report carbon dioxide emissions.)
Criticism of Bitcoin is heavily connected to the enormous amount of electricity required for mining. Here, La Geo Geothermal Power Plant in El Salvador, where Bitcoin has been declared legal tender.ALEX PE±A/GETTY IMAGES
Many communities, particularly in developing countries, have also been exploited by international crypto miners, some of whom swoop in to take advantage of weak local regulations or tax benefits, siphon power, damage the surrounding environment, and then disappear for the next hot spot.
''The main issue is that the benefit is always extremely limited compared to the cost,'' says Alex de Vries, a PhD candidate at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam who studies crypto sustainability. ''Miners overpromise and underdeliver.''
A key, he says, is that recouping investments means running rigs 24/7. ''Local communities are typically better off without them,'' he concludes.
Peter Howson, an assistant professor in international development at Northumbria University who has conducted research with de Vries, also argues that Congo's clean energy could be used more effectively. ''Bitcoin miners are outcompeting more productive forms of green industrial development in DRC,'' he says. ''Those industries could have employed combatants, poachers, and illegal loggers. Even the largest Bitcoin outfits employ only a handful of people. And those are very precarious jobs with insecure contracts. So is this a good model? No. They should use the hydropower for something useful.''
Esther Marijnen, a Dutch political ecologist who has worked in Congo since 2013, makes a similar point'--arguing that the mine at Luviro is simply at odds with conservation and questioning what a gorilla sanctuary has to do with crypto. For all the development taking place in Virunga, especially around hydropower, she notes that the park has failed to bring widespread stability or employment.
''What is the objective?'' she asks. ''Is it rural electrification so people around the park can actually use electricity to improve their relationship to the park? Or is it to attract business?''
Jason Stearns, the founder of NYU's Congo Research Group and a former UN investigator who considers de Merode a friend, warns that militias too can benefit from hydropower, so it will not necessarily lead militants to drop their guns. ''I admire Emmanuel's tenacity and willingness to think outside the box,'' he says, ''but this ideology that the free market will bring peace flies in the face of the last 20 years in the Congo.''
Nevertheless, Gouspillou maintains that Bitcoin mining ''can be a force for development.'' In fact, he sees the project in Virunga as a potential model: ''People say it's bad for the environment, but here it's clean energy. It's a formula that could be replicated.''
There are no fossil fuels here since the mine relies on rivers, he adds, and the lack of customers in Luviro means no power is being siphoned from local needs.
"Even the largest Bitcoin outfits employ only a handful of people. And those are very precarious jobs with insecure contracts. So is this a good model? No. They should use the hydropower for something useful."
Michael Saylor, the cofounder of the investment firm MicroStrategy, agrees'--calling Virunga's model ''the ideal high-tech industry to put in a nation that has plenty of clean energy but isn't able to export a product or produce a service with that energy.'' To this end, de Merode is speaking to other state national parks about turning their waterways into hydropower supplies.
Peter Wall, the CEO of Argo Blockchain, which runs hydro-powered mines in Quebec, notes that ''85% of [a mine's] operating cost comes from power,'' meaning even a low-power mine can be profitable. ''I think [the Virunga mine is] a first,'' he says. ''I have not heard of any national parks mining. Ultimately you need three things: power, machines, capital.'' Virunga has all three.
Still, all crypto mines, including those in Luviro, need to grapple with the currencies' cratering price. Bitcoin alone has fallen over 70% since its height last year. And then there's the FTX debacle, which wiped out $32 billion overnight. All this, plus crypto's track record of pollution, may turn off the crucial donors that places like Virunga rely on.
But it's still ''an incredibly good investment for the park,'' de Merode says. ''We're not speculating on its value; we're generating it. If you buy Bitcoin and it decreases, you lose money. We're making Bitcoin out of surplus energy and monetizing something that otherwise has no value. That's a big difference.''
Even if Bitcoin dropped to 1% of its value, the 10 containers would remain profitable, he says.
It's a system de Merode hopes can essentially sustain itself, which is one reason the park is building so much infrastructure. When I ask what would happen to the mine if something were to happen to him, he keeps smiling.
''If I crashed? The digital wallet is managed by our finance team,'' he replies. ''It's unlikely we sit on Bitcoin for more than a few weeks anyway, because we need the money to run the park. So if something happened to me or our CFO lost the password, we'd give him a hard time'--but it wouldn't cost us much.''
A Hail Mary for the futureCrypto, de Merode emphasizes, isn't the sole answer to save Virunga but part of a larger eco-business model. The annual GDP impact of Virunga's other green investments, which include coffee and chocolate cultivation, could be as much as $202 million by 2025, according to a 2019 report by the British economic consultancy Cambridge Econometrics.
''What we're trying to demonstrate is that a green economy implies diversity,'' de Merode says. ''Hundreds of different industries can be reliant on sustainable energy over the long term, which makes a healthy society. Unlike being reliant on just oil.''
About 100 miles south of Luviro, from the top of the Matebe hydro plant's tower, you can see the plan in action, with power lines snaking into the town of Rutshuru. It's no metropolis, but in many ways it has been a success'--a place where this vision has been working'--even if that success is incredibly tenuous. This area has become the heart of territory now claimed by the M23. Still, when I visited over the spring, 5,000 bars of soap were being produced a day at the RUSA soap factory via equipment purchased with a microloan backed by Virunga. Christophe Bashaka, the owner, smiled ear to ear and said this work ''was not possible'' without hydropower.
At a maize factory a few minutes away, Elias Habimana took off his leather coat and picked up a giant calculator to show me how many thousands of dollars he's saved: hydropower let him ditch costly generators and employ 30 people.
''De Merode made this possible,'' he said. ''Avec le courant, things are much easier now.''
And a park-run chocolate factory in nearby Beni gives cocoa growers a fair price and a legal market. It produces 10,000 bars a month, also powered by hydro'--numbers poised to grow now that Virunga has teamed up with Ben Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative, an NGO helping bring park-produced chocolate to stores in the US.
According to de Merode, power from Virunga's hydro plants has created over 12,000 jobs; since the average Congolese household has at least five members, one job is an outsize stabilizer in a place where desperation drives radicalization. None of the core Congolese crypto team are ex-militia, but some of the temporary workers who participated in construction were, notes Gouspillou.
"What we're trying to demonstrate is that a green economy implies diversity."
At the park's headquarters in Rumangabo, the stakes of this experiment are on stark display. Near piles of confiscated charcoal and a gorilla cemetery is the grave of the first female ranger. Widows make stuffed animals and rifle straps in a workshop filled with dozens of stars bearing names of the fallen. ''My husband loved this place,'' a woman named Mama Noella told me. With five mouths to feed after he died, she toiled as a day laborer until she learned a trade here: ''It gave me value, hope.''
On my last morning in the park, shelling began early. The next day, missiles streaked over the sky as the M23 moved against the army'--with Virunga staff and thousands of Congolese in the middle.
Within days of my departure, de Merode ordered Rumangabo's evacuation. Matebe was next. Later that week, a UN helicopter crashed over a militia-held area and fighting engulfed Rutshuru and Matebe. Through it all, park staff stayed. By luck or divine magic, the M23 retreated back up the mountain.
The respite, though, turned out to be short-lived.
By mid-summer, fighting had resumed, and towns fell as the rebels swept toward Goma. The government declared its oil ambitions, and in August, US secretary of state Antony Blinken announced a plan to jointly examine the extraction areas.
Since then, a hydro plant has been hit by artillery and a high-voltage line to Goma has been struck. The M23 has continued its bloody campaign in Rutshuru and in October seized Rumangabo, leaving de Merode and staff reliving an occupation that feels eerily reminiscent of what captivated viewers of Virunga a decade ago.
In early January, the M23 announced its withdrawal from Rumangabo, but park staff warn that they've pulled out of other captured territories in recent months only to quickly return, and that rebels are still being seen in the area. And even if the M23 actually retreats, various other rebels remain; just a few weeks ago, around Christmas, a group called the Mai-Mai killed two rangers.
Gouspillou, meanwhile, has continued proselytizing about crypto's future'--traveling to Ghana for the first African Bitcoin conference'--and is waiting for things to cool off before returning to Luviro.
And de Merode is still waiting, Kyeya and Mbavumoja are still hard at work, and the rigs are still plugging away in Luviro. After so much luck, good and bad, le directeur is stuck in place with a small team'--as he put it in a late August WhatsApp call, just ''holding our heads above water.''
Adam Popescu is a writer in Los Angeles.
VIDEO - Dead whales washing ashore prompt local activists to call on President Biden - YouTube
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 18:02
VIDEO - Plant-based protein will play a role in the global food insecurity crisis
Sun, 15 Jan 2023 17:38
Vegans and vegetarians are likely very familiar with alternative proteins like tofu, mushrooms, or beans, but alternative proteins could play a big role in the near future for everyone, no matter their diet. Global food security experts say plant-based proteins are a part of the solution to help feed a growing population.
High Time Foods is the creator of a plant-based protein made of wheat, barley and mung bean. It's not chicken, but it's intended to look and taste like it. It also has similar levels of protein to chicken.
''We're hoping that this can actually solve bigger problems like hunger and malnutrition,'' said Aakash Shah, the founder and CEO of the product.
Shah says he was inspired to make it because of what he witnessed growing up in India.
''When I would see the contrasting image of one side of society splurging on food and meat and spending the amount of water and energy that they would," Shah said. "And then on the other side, there's just people struggling for basic drinking water. That is when something shifted in me.''
To make it accessible to everyone, Shah says he wanted his product to be shelf stable. Right now, he's taking it to local restaurants in the Boston area like Boloco.
''It doesn't have that expiration date the Impossible needed that it has to be refrigerated always," said Paulina Gonzalez, the director of operations for Boloco. "This is a dry product that we just add the amount of water that we need to get the consistency that that we want.''
Shah says it's not to be confused with freeze-dried foods.
"When you look at freeze-dried products, the amount of energy it requires to freeze dry foods, to store them or transport them, and then again, be able to store it at the restaurant or at your home, all of that energy is not required for a product like ours, which can just be kept outside at room temperature," Shah said.
By the end of this year, Shah says his goal is to ramp up production to help people in need.
''We've been speaking with food banks and with disaster relief organizations," Shah said. "For them, this is of extreme interest because this product doesn't require any amount of refrigeration.''
Battling global food insecurity is what Shah says drives him. He's not alone in his work. The Global Food Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington is currently researching the role alternative proteins can play down the road.
''Global demand for meat is projected to rise by 50% between 2013 and 2050," said program director Caitlin Welsh. "The way that we produce protein right now is simply not sustainable, and that's where alternative sources of proteins come into play.''
Welsh says CSIS is launching a policy brief on the topic this spring.
''One quarter of all land area in the world is dedicated to animal protein production, which has enormous implications for carbon sequestration, for biodiversity," Welsh said. "And also, one-third of all water used for global agriculture is used for animal protein production. So, I think it's important as we look to a future with a greater population to find other ways to meet their needs for proteins.''
According to Welsh, climate change is worsening food insecurity all over the world and it will take creative solutions like alternative plant-based protein to get more people the nutrition that they need.
Copyright 2023 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
The Morning Headlines, sign up for a mix of what you need to know to start the day in Colorado, picked for you.
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VIDEO - professor Ehrlich jail time for breeders
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professor Ehrlich jail time for breeders
Episode Summary Neil deGrasse Tyson's Misinformation; Twitter Files Reveals New Government Censorship Collusion; Major Influencers Speaking Out About Covid & Vaccines are leading the Uncancel Culture; Does Death Data Point Toward Population Reduction?; New Edwards Deposition Segment Admission on Childhood Vaccine Trials and Autism; Warrior Mom's A Group that is Rallying to Restore FreedomGuests: Tracy Slepcevic, Peymon Mottahedeh#Uncancellable #UncancelCulture #TwitterFiles #BeforeCovidVax #ItAintJustTheCovidVax #EdwardsDeposition #NeilDeGrasseTyson
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Kim Iversen : SHOCKING: FOIA docs reveal COVID pandemic was a DOD operation. The vaccine was released as part of "countermeasures'...
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Augustina : @MuchemiKimani1 @steefleef Een mega bonus? Er zijn er altijd te vinden die hiervoor zwichten. Geld wat stom is maakt recht wat krom is.
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Clips & Documents

All Clips
2017 Bombshell walls medley.mp3
2018 more walls.mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrea Fujii - citi national red-lining lawsuit fine (1min45sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - x-ray grenade in ukrainian soldier (11sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Christie lleto - cancer deaths down 30% (17sec).mp3
ABC GMA - anchor Aaron Katersky - trump org sentenced to pay fine (52sec).mp3
ABC GMA - anchor Dr Alok Patel (2) booster -moving forward (47sec).mp3
ABC GMA - anchor Dr Alok Patel (3) vaccine skepticism (36sec).mp3
ABC GMA - anchor Dr Jen Ashton - long covid and long term effects (1min45sec).mp3
ABC GMA - anchor Dr Jen Ashton - psychology of superstitions (1min20sec).mp3
ABC GMA - anchor Em Nguyen - yellen says US needs to raise debt ceiling (1min25sec).mp3
ABC GMA - anchor Mona Abdi (1) FDA CDC stand by pfizer booster (47sec).mp3
ABC WNT - anchor David Muir - clouded leopard found (27sec).mp3
ABC WNT - anchor David Muir - navy veteran released by russia (22sec).mp3
ABC WNT - anchor David Muir - pfizer booster safe and effective (27sec).mp3
Ask Adam Debt limit to be raised to what- pbs.mp3
Australian SUPER SHOT.mp3
BBC Cardiologist pop clip.mp3
Blackrock's Larry Fin on ‘crypto’ - Digital Dollar and bitcoin or NEW bitcoin.mp3
Cancer news 33 pbs.mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Adriana Diaz - special council for biden documents (2min1sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Dr Jon LaPook - MDMA to treat PTSD (2min8sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Nancy Chen - adult children moving back in with parents (1min47sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Norah ODonnell - 6 republicans call for santos to resign (51sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Norah ODonnell - operations at FAA and airlines resume (21sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Norah ODonnell - pentagon report on UFOs (34sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Norah ODonnell - vacuum recall battery fire (18sec).mp3
CBS Weekend - anchor Debora Patta - ukraine battle for soledar (1min57sec).mp3
CNN Host Accidentally Exposes Real Motives for Gas Stove Ban Live On-Air.mp3
covid in china update pbs.mp3
Dead whales washing ashore prompt local activists to call on President Biden CBS NY.mp3
Docs-Phil Klein Kansas AG Biden.mp3
drought and climate change.mp3
Drought quickie.mp3
erection supercut.mp3
EU opens first mainland satellite launch port in Arctic Sweden - DW.mp3
FOX BREAKING - Pfizer booster blame.mp3
FOX BREAKING -2- Damar Hamlin death.mp3
German Defense Minister set to resign after series of blunders - DW.mp3
German Social Democrats hesitant on tank deliveries to Ukraine - DW.mp3
ISO DO that.mp3
Karine Jean-Pierre between Wednesday and Friday - 'HE takes classified documents seriously'.mp3
KCRW on Classified Docs.mp3
Lee Smoth on Biden docs 1.mp3
Lee Smoth on Biden docs 2.mp3
Lee Smoth on Biden docs 3.mp3
Lee Smoth on Biden docs 4.mp3
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries - 'Full faith' in Biden concerning classified docs.mp3
NYC vs Trump org pbs.mp3
olsterholm_conspiracy -1-theory_intro.mp3
olsterholm_conspiracy -2- theory_grant_walh.mp3
olsterholm_conspiracy -3- theory_damar_hamlin.mp3
owner of the Miss Unvierse beauty pageant Anne Jakrajutatip.mp3
Oxford, England, beta-test for the 15-minute city - people aren't having it.mp3
Paul Erlich Classic 1970's flashback - Stop the breeders.mp3
Plant-based protein will be a part of the solution to battle global food insecurity - No refrigeration.mp3
Rando podcaster censorship comment.mp3
Short supercut over Trump Classified docs.mp3
Simpsons trillion dollar bill.mp3
UK to send Challenger II tanks to Ukraine DW.mp3
Ukraine conflicting claims PBS.mp3
United Arab Emirates names oil chief to lead COP28 climate talks - HYDROGENE PUSH – BBC News.mp3
Unvaccinated Freedom Flyers pilots wanted for WEF attendees - Exit strategy.mp3
US Marines 1 repurpose.mp3
US Marines 2 logistics.mp3
US Marines 3.mp3
US Marines 4.mp3
US Marines 5.mp3
We are a de-facto NATO member, says Ukrainian defence minister - BBC News.mp3
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