Cover for No Agenda Show 1525: Mask in a Bottle
January 29th, 2023 • 3h 5m

1525: Mask in a Bottle


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.

Tyre Nichols Protests
Program of the Party for Socialism and Liberation – PSL
The Party for Socialism and Liberation exists to carry out the struggle for socialism inside the United States, the center of world capitalism and imperialism. The PSL stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world who are resisting capitalist exploitation and imperialist domination.
The need for the socialist reorganization of society becomes more apparent and urgent with each passing day. While a tiny part of the population grows ever richer, tens of millions of workers here in the United States and billions of workers around the world sink deeper into poverty. Monumental advances in science and technology, which could have uplifted the many, instead have mainly enriched the few.
The great wealth of society is the product of both natural resources and the labor of working people. Yet, that wealth is increasingly the private property of those who produce nothing of value — the tiny class of capitalist owners. This irreconcilable conflict defines life for the vast majority of people in the world.
The development of capitalism — as already foreseen by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in the mid-19th century — binds the world ever more closely together. Today, there is a vast and growing international working class, of which the U.S. working class is but one section.
Answer Colation
Started as an anti-war front group for the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party
* Started as an anti-war front group for the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party
* Later underwent a factional split in which the Party for Socialism and Liberation took many of ANSWER’s activists with it
* A major organizer of the massive anti-Iraq war rallies of 2002 and 2003
* Anti-Israel
* Supports convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal
* Later underwent a factional split in which the Party for Socialism and Liberation took many of ANSWER’s activists with it
* A major organizer of the massive anti-Iraq war rallies of 2002 and 2003
* Anti-Israel
* Supports convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal
Communists Funding the Resistance: The Alliance for Global Justice - Capital Research Center
Groups like American Youth for Democracy, League of American Writers, and National Lawyers Guild were either fronts for the Soviet Union or established by American-born communists. By using an innocuous title, these groups were able to make themselves appealing to mainstream America. Avoiding the term Communist, they were able to hide their true aim, the spread of an ideology that destroyed liberty and caused the deaths of tens of millions of persons.
After the Cold War, communists replaced the veneer of professionalism in their titles with a hefty dollop of sanctimony. Otherwise, the tactic is the same: employ a name that, on its face, few will find objectionable and that hides the group’s true goals.
One of the better known such groups is International Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER). This group came to prominence during the Iraq War of the last decade. ANSWER is an umbrella group that organizes anti-war protests. About the only objection one could have was to point out how sanctimonious its name was.
Americans don't protest police brutality without the solid racial component
It's too cold
White girls don't protest against cops
Got to diminish the blackness of the cops
Marxists now used openly
Antifa would be bad
The Media
Ukraine vs Russia
Iranian military factory hit by drone attack | Reuters
Probably is (from BOTG)
Technical Error in Newsletter: Ukrainian Agricultural Land Ownership
ontrary to the tweet highlighted in today’s newsletter, Cargill, Dupont, and Monsanto were not allowed to buy Ukrainian agricultural land. Even with the 2016 land reforms, there are still restrictions on foreign purchases and purchases by non-individuals.
The agri-giants circumvented the law by purchasing shares in Ukrainian agricultural firms, instead. The Oakland Institute document has a table that lists the largest foreign investments in Ukrainian agriculture as of December 2014.
Also, the agri-giants are working hard to force adoption of GMO seeds in the country despite a ban under Ukraine law as of 2014. Dupont announced a new Ukrainian seed plant in 2013 and Monsanto announced a $140 million GMO seed corn plant in Ukraine in March 2014– weeks after the old government was overthrown (as the Oakland Institute document points out on Page 4, Paragraph 3 under the “Agricultural Inputs” heading).
The Ecologist article also points out that, according to the August 2011 WikiLeaks documents, the U.S. State Department had been lobbying for Monsanto and other biotechnology companies for GMO seeds (“The Wikeaks Cables- lobbying for GMO”).
Prime Time Takedown
FAA EKG requirement changes
Regulation was 120-200 pr interval
Upped the rate from 220-300 pr interval
Need further testing and wearing a monitor for 1 month
Does NOT Mean this is happening already
Could also be enough to minimize number of passengers
Destroy the system?
Pelosi and riots covering up trumps big campaign speech? Just a thought
Pelosi Timestamps
Climate Change
X Box bullshit
I’m sure you’ve got hella emails, but I’ll make it short and sweet. When you turn off the consul, there is sleep mode always on or power off mode. They’re talking about that.
Big Pharma
Fraudulent Nursing Diploma Scheme Leads to Federal Charges Against 25 Defendants | USAO-DOJ
MIAMI – More than two dozen individuals have been charged in the Southern District of Florida for their alleged participation in a wire fraud scheme that created an illegal licensing and employment shortcut for aspiring nurses.
According to three recently unsealed indictments returned by a South Florida federal grand jury and two informations filed by federal prosecutors, defendants engaged in a scheme to sell fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts obtained from accredited Florida-based nursing schools to individuals seeking licenses and jobs as registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs).
The bogus diplomas and transcripts qualified purchasers to sit for the national nursing board exam and, after passing it, to obtain licenses and jobs in various states as RNs and LPN/VNs. The overall scheme involved the distribution of more than 7,600 fake nursing diplomas issued by three South Florida-based nursing schools: Siena College in Broward County, Fla., Palm Beach School of Nursing in Palm Beach County, Fla., and Sacred Heart International Institute in Broward County. These schools are now closed.
Each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison.
Big Tech
What’s the biggest evidence you are correct about TikTok eating everyone else’s lunch.
Twitter algo learning
Lots of mentions do not surface on timeline
Had to search adamcurry to get them all
Also, differed for Tina
Mandates & Boosters
Egg Prices BOTG
I have been hesitant to share this, my wife is a dumpster diver. We get all kinds of gems from store dumpsters. I have all sorts of yard lighting, heaters, flashlights, tools, and other nick knacks that my wife has procured from the trash. We even got one of those mini projectors and an inflatable outdoor movie screen.
Stores are throwing out gross amounts of eggs that are expired. Something really weird is going on. The price is so high that they aren’t selling and are being thrown away. This does not follow supply and demand, if they are priced so high that no one is buying them the price is to high. But the store is the one loosing out if they are pitching them. This makes no sense. She literally sees grosses of eggs in the dumpsters. Super weird. I will ask her to take some pictures next time she sees this.
Sir Jonny B
Great Reset
Random observation from a producer - a lot of lion heads eveywhere
VIDEO - Davos: Spurring growth in developing countries [Business Africa] - YouTube
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 15:57
VIDEO - Yellen visits coal town to wrap up South Africa trip - YouTube
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 15:57
VIDEO - Ukraine crack down on corruption as US sanction Russian supporting Wagner group '' BBC News - YouTube
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 15:56
VIDEO - The 'bizarre' and 'once-in-a-century' radioactive mystery that has experts puzzled | ABC News - YouTube
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 15:45
VIDEO - Special Thank You Message From Damar Hamlin - YouTube
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 15:27
VIDEO - (1) Scott Jensen on Twitter: "Regulations Causing Pilot Heart Risks? Heart rhythms gone wrong... Is your commercial PILOT at risk? Scary changes in FAA regulations! WATCH the full video and SUBSCRIBE:
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 14:54
Scott Jensen : Regulations Causing Pilot Heart Risks? Heart rhythms gone wrong... Is your commercial PILOT at risk? Scary changes'...
Wed Jan 25 17:00:03 +0000 2023
VIDEO - (8) MAGA War Room on Twitter: "'What's on the laptop son? Every crime you've ever committed, pa.'" / Twitter
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 14:52
MAGA War Room : 'What's on the laptop son? Every crime you've ever committed, pa.'
Sat Jan 28 18:41:33 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Medical Ethics 101: First, Do No Harm - Right Now Speaks To Captain Alan Dana
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 14:45
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VIDEO - Radioactive capsule lost in Western Australia along 1,400 km route, authorities issue health warning - YouTube
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 14:39
VIDEO - Israel announces measures against 'families of terrorists' after attacks in east Jerusalem - YouTube
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 14:23
VIDEO - (6) South Korea hosts NATO's Stoltenberg, US' defence secretary - YouTube
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 14:22
VIDEO - (18) ITV Football on Twitter: "This season's ¼ ReadingFC kits feature the ¼ UniofReading's climate stripes ðŸ'Š Created by Prof Ed Hawkins, each stripe represents the yearly average temperature from 1871 (when the club was founded) to 2021 #IT
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 01:29
ITV Football : This season's ¼ ReadingFC kits feature the ¼ UniofReading's climate stripes ðŸ'ŠCreated by Prof Ed Hawkins, each strip'...
Sat Jan 28 20:34:59 +0000 2023
VIDEO - War, inflation, pandemic and climate change threaten African nations' food security | DW News - YouTube
Sat, 28 Jan 2023 15:37
VIDEO - Bill Gates MRNA Grift EXPOSED? Billionaire TRASHES Jab Despite Reaping MASSIVE Profits: Brie & Robby - YouTube
Sat, 28 Jan 2023 15:33
VIDEO - Weapons to Kyiv: Why German Chancellor Olaf Scholz draws the line at fighter jets | DW News - YouTube
Sat, 28 Jan 2023 15:33
VIDEO - What is Ozempic Face? Doctors Explain
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 23:10
The Type 2 diabetes medication Ozempic and the obesity medication Wegovy have skyrocketed in popularity in recent months, leading to shortages of both. While the side effects of the medications '-- which can induce significant weight loss '-- typically are gastrointestinal, a New York Times report is shining a light on another way they can alter one's body.
The phenomenon has been coined "Ozempic face," by New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, who told TODAY in a Jan. 26 segment that he sees Ozempic face "every day in patients" since the drugs have become more popular.
How Ozempic works for weight lossSemaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, can help manage insulin levels and induce weight loss. Ozempic is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat Type 2 diabetes, and Wegovy is approved to treat obesity.
According to the manufacturer of both medications, Novo Nordisk, the average weight loss with Ozempic is 8 to 14 pounds; with Wegovy, it's 15% of the patient's weight.
The manufacturer of Ozempic and Wegovy, Novo Nordisk, previously told in a statement, ''We do not promote, suggest or encourage off-label use of our medicines,'' which includes using Ozempic for weight loss.
To understand how semaglutide works for weight loss, you first need to understand what obesity is, Dr. Ania Jastreboff, associate professor in medicine and pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine and an obesity medicine physician-scientist, tells Jastreboff is on the scientific advisory board for Novo Nordisk and in charge of a semaglutide clinical trial at Yale funded by Novo Nordisk.
It all starts with what she calls the "defended fat mass set point."
"Our body wants to carry energy, and it carries that energy in the form of fat," Jastreboff explains. "It doesn't want us to carry not enough energy because then we would starve, and it doesn't want us to carry too much energy because then we wouldn't be able to do everything that we do every day. There's a sweet spot, and we call it the defended fat mass set point."
Because the factors that can contribute to obesity, such as highly processed foods and nonactive lifestyles, are more common than ever in today's environment, on a population level, the U.S.'s defended fat mass set point has increased, she says. For example, if you have a BMI of 31 in 2022, 100 years ago, it might've been a 22.
About 42% of the population has obesity, meaning they have a chronic disease "where the body wants to carry extra fat,'' Jastreboff adds.
Semaglutide works by mimicking the body's hormones that signal to the brain about how much weight you're carrying and reregulating the patient's defended fat mass set point to a healthier place.
"We are decreasing their defended fat mass set point, and the consequence of that is that they lose weight," Jastreboff says.
What is Ozempic face?Ozempic face refers to the facial changes that patients who've lost a significant amount of weight sometimes experience: primarily a loss of facial fat that can leave the face sagging and looking older. It's especially common in middle-aged and older patients, Frank said.
"One of the most common things I notice with any form of weight loss in middle-aged and older patients is we don't all lose it in the areas we want," Frank said. "When we get older, definitely the facial volume changes and shifts around. But when you lose weight so acutely and quickly, you see more of a global facial wasting."
"There are certain diseases that cause this, but this is happening in a much milder sense with the use of these medications," he explained. "It's not just a wrinkle we're seeing in one area or a heaviness around the eyes. We're seeing it in the temples, the jaw line, around the mouth, under the eyes."
"For most of my middle-aged patients ... we're seeing these types of changes in their face where it's actually making them look older," he added.
Natasa Valocchi and Dr. Frank. TODAYNatasa Valocchi, who experienced a degree of Ozempic face after losing 68 pounds since she started the medication in November 2021, described her facial changes in a Jan. 26 segment on TODAY: "As the weight goes, your face does go, and you do get a gauntness."
"As we age, we get gaunt anyway, so I think it was just a little bit more excessive. People have definitely noticed in my face, 'Oh, Wow you are looking very thin these days.' So it's maybe a bit much for me, and I think I could use a little bit extra volume," she said, adding that she notices it "primarily ... in the lower jaw."
"Your jowls start to sag because there isn't really the (plumpness) to hold it in anymore," she added.
Is Ozempic face actually caused by Ozempic?Asked whether Ozempic face is actually caused the medication itself, Frank said it's ''too early to tell,'' but noted that weight loss in general can have this effect, regardless of what causes it.
Dr. Rocia Salas-Whalen, Valocchi's endocrinologist, tells that losing weight quickly "is definitely going to affect how the skin adapts to the new weight. And that's why we always recommend slow weight loss, especially at the beginning."
Salas-Whelan worked for Novo Nordisk in the past but on projects unrelated to Ozempic.
The recommended weight loss rate, she noted, is 1 to 2 pounds per week. Valocchi did lose weight at this pace, but other factors can also contribute to Ozempic face, Salas-Whalen explained. These include the natural aging process, genetics and being menopausal, as the lack of estrogen can contribute to wrinkles and sagging skin.
You're also more likely to see Ozempic face traits the more weight you lose, Salas-Whalen said. Patients who take Ozempic to lose 15 to 20 pounds '-- and there are legitimate medical reasons for doing so, she stressed '-- won't see as many facial changes as those who lose 100 pounds, Salas-Whalen said.
Jastreboff agrees that the phenomenon ''is related to the weight reduction rather than specifically to the way that weight reduction is attained.''
She adds that one of the reasons Ozempic face may be catching people off-guard is that semaglutide is "highly effective" at treating obesity.
"Patients are losing weight at a faster rate than what we've seen with other types of obesity treatments," Jastreboff explains. "With bariatric surgery, patients also have potentially changes in their in their facial appearance, and I think potentially why it's coming up is because we're not used to seeing that degree of a change in the amount of fat that is carried in someone's face with a medication."
In fact, she says she finds it "interesting" that Ozempic face is even being called a side effect.
"If a patient had a question about this, (I'd say) the health benefits of treating obesity ... are incredibly important, and as you lose weight, there will be changes in appearance," she said. "It's really important to speak to our patients about this so that they know what to expect and ... to guide them through that process as they reach a weight where the amount of fat they're carrying is healthier for them."
Does Ozempic affect the skin?Jastreboff say she's not aware of any skin side effects that Ozempic may cause, except for a mild injection site reaction. Ozempic and Wegovy are both administered as a shot, so "when you take a little shot, sometimes you can have a very little bruise or something, but usually that does not occur," Jastreboff says.
How can you treat Ozempic face?Frank said fillers can be used to treat Ozempic face, but it's costly.
"When you have global facial volume loss, it can take a significant amount of filler. Whereas someone in middle age may normally spend $1,000 or $2,000, they could spend $5,000 and up to reflate the face from the volume loss," he added. "(For) patients in their late 50s and 60s, often replacement of volume is not enough, and it will require facial plastic surgery."
For those concerned about developing Ozempic face, Frank stressed the importance of staying in contact with your endocrinologist, dermatologist and other relevant specialists "to help you along the (weight loss) journey slowly."
VIDEO - (3) Greg Price on Twitter: "UPDATE: Fox News obtained the surveillance video from the Pelosi house showing David Depape busting a window with his hammer before entering the home." / Twitter
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 23:08
Greg Price : UPDATE: Fox News obtained the surveillance video from the Pelosi house showing David Depape busting a window with h'...
Fri Jan 27 17:41:30 +0000 2023
Forrest Munden : @greg_price11 None of this make sense
Fri Jan 27 23:07:33 +0000 2023
martymac : @greg_price11 🤣🤣🤣 Hysterically funny!
Fri Jan 27 23:04:09 +0000 2023
VIDEO - (36) Adam Friended on Twitter: "BREAKING: Steven Crowder accuses The Daily Wire of faking views so DW can lie to advertisers about their audience sizes and deceptively inflate ad rates. 🮠" / Twitter
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 14:54
Adam Friended : BREAKING: Steven Crowder accuses The Daily Wire of faking views so DW can lie to advertisers about their audience s'...
Tue Jan 24 02:12:11 +0000 2023
Billiam Barkly : @Friended4Ever Lol Crowder knows this because he does this himself lol. He buys views, likes and subscribers. All the grifters do it
Fri Jan 27 13:44:57 +0000 2023
WHO updates critical medicines list for radiological and nuclear emergencies
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 17:49
The World Health Organization (WHO) today updated its list of medicines that should be stockpiled for radiological and nuclear emergencies, along with policy advice for their appropriate management. These stockpiles include medicines that either prevent or reduce exposure to radiation, or treat injuries once exposure has occurred.
''In radiation emergencies, people may be exposed to radiation at doses ranging from negligible to life-threatening. Governments need to make treatments available for those in need '' fast,'' said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Acting Assistant Director-General a.i, Healthier Populations Division. ''It is essential that governments are prepared to protect the health of populations and respond immediately to emergencies. This includes having ready supplies of lifesaving medicines that will reduce risks and treat injuries from radiation.''
Key highlightsThis publication supersedes the 2007 WHO report on the development of national stockpiles for radiation emergencies. It includes updated information on the stockpile formulary based on the developments in radiation emergency medicine in the last decade.It provides policy advice for acquisition of drugs which can prevent or reduce radionuclides uptake or increase elimination of radionuclides from the human body. It looks at the main elements required for developing, maintaining and managing the national stockpiles of specific medical supplies which will be required for radiological and nuclear emergencies. The report looks at the role of national health authorities in stockpile development as well as the role of WHO. As the leading international organization in public health with both the authority and responsibility to assist in health emergencies, WHO provides advice and guidance to countries on public health preparedness and response to radiation emergencies, including stockpile development. In health emergencies WHO may assist in procuring or sharing medical supplies among countries. This report includes a brief review of selected emerging technologies and drug formulations, including potential repurposing of products previously approved for other indications. Finally, the publication provides examples of practices in establishing and managing a national stockpile in selected countries, namely Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and USA.''This updated critical medicines list will be a vital preparedness and readiness tool for our partners to identify, procure, stockpile and deliver effective countermeasures in a timely fashion to those at risk or exposed in these events,'' said Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme.
Typically, a national stockpile for all-hazards health emergencies would include generic supplies and materials used for any type of emergencies, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), trauma kits, fluids, antibiotics and painkillers. This publication includes only specific drugs which are known and licensed today to prevent or treat human over-exposure to radiation.
Radiological and nuclear emergencies may result in exposure to radiation doses high enough to lead to severe health consequences or even death. It is therefore extremely important that governments respond rapidly to such threats. Many countries, however, still lack the essential elements of preparedness for radiation emergencies, according to annual reporting to the WHO Secretariat.
Potential scenarios considered in the publication include radiological or nuclear emergencies at nuclear power plants, medical or research facilities, or accidents during transport of radioactive materials, as well as intentional uses of radioactive materials with malicious intent.
Components of a pharmaceutical stockpile for radiation emergenciesThis publication focuses on pharmaceuticals for treating radiation exposure and addresses the governance and management of such a stockpile. A typical radiation emergency stockpile will include the following medicines:
Stable iodine, administered to prevent or reduce the exposure of the thyroid to radioactive iodine;Chelating sand decorporating agents (Prussian blue, applied to remove radioactive caesium from the body and calcium- / zinc-DTPA used to treat internal contamination with transuranium radionuclides); Cytokines used for mitigation of damage to the bone marrow, in case of acute radiation syndrome (ARS); andOther medicines used to treat vomiting, diarrhoea and infections. Emerging treatments and countermeasures also discussed in the report give insight to the future medical countermeasures that could be used for managing patients overexposed to radiation. In particular, studies identifying new cellular and molecular pathways and means of administrating drugs may be exploited for novel treatments and new products for use during a radiation emergency.
Emergency preparedness, response and recovery saves livesCoordination of local, national and international responses is essential for a harmonized response to radiation emergencies. As the agency responsible for guiding healthcare interventions globally, WHO provides advice and ensures access to medicines and health services for countries that are developing national capacity for preparedness and response to radiation emergencies.
More informationWHO's global expert network, REMPANWHO's global expert network, REMPAN (Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network), is an important asset of the Organization for implementing its work on providing technical guidance and tools for response, delivering activities for building capacity through education and training, and on promoting international cooperation and information-sharing between the members of the network and the professional community in the field of radiation emergency medicine.
WHO is a member of ICARNE, the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies, which provides the coordination mechanism between 20 international organizations with relevant mandates. Members of IACRNE develop, maintain and co-sponsor the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organizations (JPlan 2017). The JPlan describes a common understanding of each organization's roles in making preparedness arrangements and during a response and recovery.
Austin Justice Coalition rallies against police violence after release of Tyre Nichols body cam footage
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 17:47
Published January 28, 2023 9:48PM
Rally held to protest police violence in wake of Tyre Nichols' deathThe Austin Justice Coalition held a rally Saturday to protest police violence in the wake of the death of Tyre Nichols, a Black man who was beaten by five Memphis police officers and died.
AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Justice Coalition held a rally at Huston-Tillotson University against police violence in response to the release of body camera footage in the death of Tyre Nichols.
The footage shows five Memphis police officers beating Nichols for several minutes earlier this month. Nichols died three days later.
Those at the rally remembered Nichols, as well as others who have been killed by police.
Organizers called the event a place for people to express their anger at another unjust police killing.
"This, what we keep doing, is not natural," Chas Moore, executive director of the Austin Justice Coalition said, referring to gathering after another case of police violence.
Organizers say they want to support efforts in Memphis to respond to the tragedy and to connect with those in Austin to end police violence.
"Oh, to be white and not have to dread the idea of something terrible might happen to me at this traffic stop," Moore said.
Some say the body camera video was too difficult to watch. "As soon as I kind of saw the reaction from the police department in Memphis and the media frenzy, I was like, 'okay this is one of the worst we've seen in a long time,'" attendee Walter Hill said.
"I don't need to watch that to be reminded of what this country thinks of people who look like me," Moore said.
"I wish I could've reached out and stopped it. He was trying to figure out what to do. It's excruciating, and it's only one of so many," attendee Jan Wenig said, referring to her reaction as she watched the video.
Congressman Greg Casar (D-Texas) was at the rally. He and other attendees called for changes to policing.
Tyre Nichols bodycam video shows police beating Memphis father for several minutesAfter investigators viewed the footage earlier this month, the five officers involved in the case '-- all of whom are also Black '-- were fired and later charged with second-degree murder. But the video was not made public until Friday '-- partially because of the ongoing investigation, but also because officials feared protests could grow violent.
READ MORE Tyre Nichols videos leave many questions unanswered about Memphis father's death Body cam footage of Tyre Nichols' beating prompts demonstrations in Memphis, New York, DC Tyre Nichols death: What is the Memphis police SCORPION unit? "I think it's time for action. I think there's some actions we could take especially in this community," Wenig said. "In terms of prosecution of police crimes and retraining and criteria for hiring cops who can handle the role."
The five Memphis officers were fired and charged with murder. The special unit they belonged to, SCORPION, was disbanded Saturday. Scorpion stands for Street Crimes Operations to Restore Peace in our Neighborhoods.
"Those Black men in that moment, they didn't see Tyre as their brother. He was not in their community. It was after the fact that they realized they were Black because we've never seen justice, and I say that with heavy quotation marks, move so swift," Moore said, referring to the community of policing.
"This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity towards another individual. This incident was heinous, reckless and inhumane," Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said two days before the body camera footage was released.
Austin Police Joseph Chacon released the following statement:
"Based upon what I know of the incident that occurred earlier this month in Memphis, TN, the actions of the former officers are appalling and indefensible. From all accounts, Mr. Tyre Nichols suffered a brutal assault at the hands of the Memphis officers that resulted in his death. The officers have rightly been terminated and criminally charged.
"I applaud Memphis PD Chief CJ Davis and Memphis officials for their sift and decisive action and for facilitating the criminal investigation to proceed quickly. The Austin Police Department also stands with the family and friends of Tyre Nichols and expresses its heartfelt condolences.
"As police officers, we swear a solemn oath to uphold the constitution and honor the sanctity of human life. The former officers' actions have brought disgrace upon the badge and the profession, and they betrayed that oath of office. It has diminished the hard work of the brave men and women who honorably put on the uniform and protect our communities daily. This incident will only make it harder to maintain and increase public trust in those we serve.
"I affirm that the Austin Police Department will continue the great work we have been going around racial equity and justice issues, and we will continue to build community trust and foster stronger relationships between our officers and the public we serve."
Discover the Networks
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 17:46
Overview* Co-director of the International Action Center* National director of International ANSWER* Former member of the Secretariat of the Workers World Party* Co-founder of the Party for Socialism and Liberation
Additional Resources
Brian Becker is the national director of International ANSWER. He has been a co-director of the International Action Center (IAC), and was a member of the Secretariat of the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party (WWP) until 2004. He was also a contributor to the WWP newspaper, Workers World. Through his association with these organizations, Becker became a prominent figure in the anti-war movement's massive post-9/11 peace rallies.
In 1994 Becker was a signatory to a letter drafted by the Peace for Cuba International Appeal (PCIA), a movement composed of Communist Party USA fronts and affiliates calling for increased trade and travel between the United States and Cuba. Other signers included such notables as Ramsey Clark, Teresa Gutierrez, Alice Walker, and Quentin Young.
In Becker's calculus, American history is a narrative punctuated on every line with injustice and oppression. In July 1999, he mocked U.S. government leaders for ''speak[ing] so piously about human rights in countries that they have decided to attack,'' and for spreading ''war propaganda'' designed to ''divert attention from their own [sordid] history.'' Specifically, Becker explained that the U.S. had not become wealthy and powerful by means of ''the so-called 'magic of the free market''' or ''the purported virtues of capitalism,'' but rather as a result of ''the accumulation of wealth from slave labor'' as well as ''the theft and the genocidal ethnic cleansing of millions of Native Indian people.''
In early 2000, Becker traveled with a fellow WWP writer to North Korea to help build what he (Becker) called ''a movement of genuine solidarity'' with Pyongyang. Both were deeply impressed by what Becker's companion described as ''the unbreakable determination of the North Korean people to defend their socialist society against U.S. imperialism.''
At a December 2000 Workers World Party conference in New York, Becker:
boasted that the WWP had ''supported the Soviet Union against imperialism and domestic counter-revolution'';praised the Soviets for having ''sent invaluable aid to Vietnam, Cuba, the African National Congress in South Africa, and other national-liberation movements'';denounced ''U.S. imperialism''; andstated: ''We know that the biggest single contribution that we can we make to the final transition to socialism everywhere is to build a truly revolutionary party that can lead the struggle to overthrow imperialism at its center.''During a speech he delivered in Highland, New York, on November 6, 2001'--less than two months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks'--Becker characterized America's military retaliation against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan as ''one of the great crimes and acts of terrorism'' in modern history. ''Let us not forget,'' he said, ''that September 11 was not the beginning of violence, but just one point in a long continuum of violence that is fundamentally a consequence of U.S. policies around the world.'' Further:
Becker charged that the American ''empire'' was responding with disproportionate force to 9/11 in order ''to offset the impression it was no longer invincible.''He asserted that ''our government rashly hit out at poverty-stricken and weak Afghanistan as '... part of an existing American strategy'' of expansion, for the purpose of acquiring ''new markets and profits.''He claimed that the American government was also using the war on terror as a pretext for launching an assault on the civil liberties of its own citizens: ''It's really not about terrorism but about repression. So-called anti-terrorism laws will be used against the growing anti-war movement'.... Anti-terrorism has replaced anti-communism [as a unifying objective] in the U.S. and on a global scale.''In March 2002, Becker was elected vice-chairman of the Committee of the International Liaison for Reunification and Peace in Korea, an organization that: (a) developed a public-relations campaign on behalf of dictator Kim Jong Il, and (b) called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula. Becker also chaired the U.S. Troops Out of Korea Committee, a role in which he accused the United States of systematically and maliciously murdering Korean civilians in a campaign of genocide.
At a June 18, 2002 news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Becker joined a number of other speakers in announcing the formation of the National Campaign to Defend Civil Rights, an organization whose purpose was to protest the Bush administration's allegedly unjustified domestic spying against Muslim organizations in the post-9/11 era. Other speakers at the press conference included representatives of the Rainbow Coalition/PUSH, the Partnership for Civil Justice, the Muslim Students Association of U.S. & Canada, the Mexico Solidarity Network, the Nicaragua Network, and Black Voices for Peace.
In August 2002, with the possibility looming that the U.S. might soon decide to invade Iraq, Becker traveled to Baghdad as part of a five-person delegation led by Ramsey Clark. In an August 26 press release outlining the objectives of the delegation, International ANSWER wrote:
''The delegation is meeting with high government officials, family members of people who were killed in the U.S. bombing of Basra August 26, and visiting hospitals and food distribution centers. The group is touring Basra at the site of yesterday's bombing raid that killed eight civilians. The purpose of this trip is to report on the latest effects of U.S.-led UN sanctions against the Iraqi civilian population, and to show solidarity with the people of Iraq who are facing the prospect of an imminent U.S. war of aggression. Ramsey Clark is the founder and chairperson of the U.S.-based International Action Center, which has campaigned against the devastating economic sanctions on Iraq for the last decade.''
Meanwhile, in an article in Workers World, Becker denounced the ''lawless aggression'' of the ''imperialist'' and ''racist'' U.S. air patrols that were enforcing a no-fly zone over Iraq at that time.
Depicting the U.S. as a ''rogue state,'' Becker in September 2002 likened members of the Bush Administration to ''drunken gunslingers who shoot up the town in a Saturday night frenzy'--just because they can.'' He ridiculed their ''sneering, swaggering and threatening foreign policy''; condemned America as ''the only country to have used atomic bombs against '... civilian cities'' in the past; and asserted that if the U.S. were to attack Iraq, it would be for the ''re-conquest of a country that had earlier dared to nationalize Western oil installations.''
On January 19, 2003 in Washington, D.C., Becker spoke at an International ANSWER rally titled ''No War, No Way,'' an event designed to delegitimize any calls for a U.S. invasion of Iraq.
On March 20, 2004 in New York City, Becker spoke at a massive Global Day of Action rally initiated by International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice. The purpose of the event was to protest the allegedly unjustified wars and occupations that had been carried out by the United States and the Pentagon.
Becker left the Workers World Party in 2004, when he affected a major split in the organization by grabbing much of its membership and co-founding member of his own radical-Left outfit, the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Becker has had noteworthy ties to radical Islamists. During a July 31, 2006 interview with FOX News, for instance, he said: ''Do I consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization? The answer is no.'' That same month, Becker and then-Muslim American Society president Esam Omeish were guest speakers at a rally in support of Hezbollah and Hamas, where Becker argued that the U.S. supported Israel because the latter ''carries out the fundamental colonial functions against not only the Palestinians but against all Arab people and against other peoples of the Middle East.'' In 2007, when a series of seven-year-old videos showing Omeish at a rally praising Palestinians for using ''the jihad '... to liberate your land'' were uncovered and made public, Becker stepped forward as a character witness for Omeish. He asserted that critics of Omeish were nothing more than ''right-wing anti-Muslim bigots.''
In December 2008, Becker went to Los Angeles to attend a National Conference on Socialism, organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
On February 4, 2011, Becker said: ''The most important thing we can do for the people in Venezuela and the people in Cuba and the people everywhere who want to be free, is build a revolutionary party and organization and movement in the United States, that can fight and defeat U.S. imperialism.'' Two months later, he stated that while he and his fellow PSL members ''don't like violence,'' they ''recognize that sometimes violence '... is necessary '... for the liberation of human beings.'' Becker likened the possibility that PSL and its ideological allies might someday resort to violence, to General George Washington's ''armed struggle against British colonialism,'' and to the Civil War's role in bringing about ''the end of chattel slavery as a legal institution.''
Today Becker hosts the program Loud and Clear on Sputnik radio, a media organization funded by the Russian government with offices around the world. His show is broadcast from a studio in downtown Washington, just a few blocks from the White House.
Additional Resources: Reds StillBy Byron YorkFebruary 10, 2003
Progress Unity Fund - InfluenceWatch
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 17:43
The Progress Unity Fund (PUF) is a radical-left group that fiscally sponsors activist organizations, including the ANSWER Coalition, Women Organized to Resist and Defend (WORD), the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, and Pivot to Peace.
PUF is closely connected to the Workers World Party (WWP) and its break-away group, the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), both of which are revolutionary Marxist-Leninist parties. The fiscally sponsored organizations and the socialist parties often participate together in events, such as International Women's Day protests. The leaderships of all groups often overlap. [1] [2]
PUF also funds the Liberation Alliance for Economic and Social Change, and the Liberation Fund LA. In 2020, the left-wing activism groups received over $21,000 and over $7,000 from PUF respectively. [3]
ANSWER CoalitionThe Progress Unity Fund fiscally sponsors Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, commonly known as the ANSWER Coalition, a radical-left group that opposes American foreign policy and Israel. ANSWER has been described as ''an outgrowth'' [4] and a ''front'' for the communist Workers World Party. Several of ANSWER's leaders, including spokesperson Brian Becker were WWP members. [5] ANSWER also has overlapping membership with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, including its former presidential candidate Peta Lindsay. [6]
ANSWER and PUF share a headquarters in San Francisco. [7]
ANSWER has also been fiscally sponsored by the Alliance for Global Justice, an outgrowth of the Nicaragua Network that supported the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. [8] [9]
WORDThe Progress Unity Fund fiscally sponsors Women Organized to Resist and Defend (WORD), a radical-feminist group which supports abortion access, welfare for women, and closing the gender pay gap. [10] [11] PUF was formed by the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), [12] and has overlapping members. [13] Former PSL presidential candidate Peta Lindsay is Word's co-founder. [14]
National Committee to Free the Cuban FiveThe Progress Unity Fund fiscally sponsored the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five (FFF), a group founded in 2001 to advocate for the release of five Cuban intelligence officers deployed to spy on the Cuban exile population in Miami. The five were arrested in 1998 for espionage and conspiracy to commit murder. [15] [16]
Rosa Penate, former director of PUF, is a member of FFF and chaired numerous rallies. [17]
Pivot to PeaceThe Progress Unity Fund fiscally sponsors Pivot to Peace (PTP), a group which advocates for peaceful relations between the United States and China. According to PTP, the rise of the Chinese economy has caused a ''dangerous reorientation'' in the Pentagon's stance toward China, resulting in ''a palpable feeling of fear, animosity and even hatred'... toward the People's Republic of China'... Chinese people in general, Chinese-American citizens and other Asian peoples in the United States.'' [18] [19]
Signers of PTP's mission statement include members of the anti-Taiwanese independence Committee to Promote Reunification of China, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Popular Resistance, the ANSWER Coalition, as well as former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. [20]
LeadershipThe Progress Unity Fund does not reveal its leadership or members on its website. [21] As of the organization's last tax disclosure in 2020, PUF is led by Susan Muysenberg, [22] who has written for the Peace and Freedom Party, a feminist socialist group, [23] and Liberation News. [24]
PUF was formerly run by co-directors Keith Pavlik, Rosa Penate, and Brenda Sandburg. Pavlik's home formerly and possibly currently served as the headquarters of PUF. Pavlik has written extensively for socialist publications; in one article, he claimed that humanity used to exist in classless matriarchal societies where all wealth was shared, but as economies developed, the ''ruling class'' implemented family structures and private property to hoard wealth, leading to global systemic oppression. [25]
In 2001, all three of PUF's directors had written articles for the Workers World Party's magazine, Workers World. [26]
FundingProgress Unity Fund's annual revenues varied from $81,000 to $240,000 between 2011 and 2018. In 2019, PUF's revenue jumped to just under $2 million. [27]
In 2016, after a protest against President Donald Trump by the ANSWER Coalition, the Daily Caller asked the PUF to reveal its funding sources. PUF did not respond. [28]
In 2019, the PUF received $9,000 from the Lef Foundation. [29]
Who We Are - ANSWER Coalition
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 17:42
Antiwar march in Washington, D.C., January 18, 2003.
Founded just three days after the September 11, 2001 attacks, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) initiated the massive U.S. antiwar movement opposing the U.S.invasion of Iraq in the months prior to March 19, 2003.
The ANSWER Coalition demonstration of 200,000 people on October 26, 2002, in Washington, D.C. ignited a nationwide and global antiwar movement that was nearly unprecedented in history. On January 18, 2003, 500,000 people packed the Mall in Washington, D.C. under the slogan ''Stop the War Before It Starts.'' The Washington Post described the January 18 demonstration as the largest antiwar protest since the end of the Vietnam War.
On February 15, 2003, many millions of people, in nearly every country in the world, joined together in the largest coordinated antiwar actions in history.
On April 12, 2003, just 3 days after the U.S. invasion force conquered Baghdad the ANSWER coalition organized a demonstration of 30,000 people in downtown Washington, D.C. under the slogan ''Occupation is not Liberation.'' This marked the beginning of a new stage of the U.S.antiwar movement which slowly regained its massive character as the resistance movement in Iraq made it clear that the occupation of Iraq would fail.
A distinguishing feature of the organizing principles and work of the answer coalition, in contrast with the traditional U.S.peace movement was its uncompromising support in defense of the rights of the Palestinian people.
In April 2002, the ANSWER Coalition organized the largest demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinian people in U.S. history, of more than 100,000 people.
ANSWER, which at its core included a partnership between Arab and non-Arab activists, fought a long and successful battle against excluding the Palestinian struggle for self-determination from the anti-war and peace movement. In the years since, we have mobilized across the country to stop the repeated assaults against and massacres of the people of Gaza.
ANSWER has mobilized against the illegal coup and UN occupation of Haiti, against the illegal blockade of Cuba, and the illegal 'regime change' war on Libya.
We are actively fighting against the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan, the renewed assaults on Iraq and Syria, the drone attacks on Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, among others.
In recent years, March Forward!, an affiliate of the ANSWER Coalition, has brought together anti-war veterans and active-duty service members to fight for their rights and oppose U.S. wars of aggression.
ANSWER has played an important role in the fight against racist and religious profiling, in support of immigrant and workers' rights, and for economic and social justice for all. Our members are engaged in a range of struggles, from the local battles against police brutality to the international campaigns against militarism and war.
ANSWER Chapters are organizing in cities and towns throughout the United States connecting the flight for social justice at home and in opposition to war and occupation abroad.
Below is a listing of major events in ANSWER's history Thousands take to the streets on the 8th anniversary of the Iraq warMar 19, 2011
On March 19, thousands of people took to the streets to demand an end to U.S. war and military intervention abroad and funding for people's needs at home. Mass demonstrations took place in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and many other cities across the United States and the world.
Thousands take to the streets to demand: U.S. out of Afghanistan and Iraq now!Mar 21, 2010
Thousands take to the streets to demand: U.S. out of Afghanistan and Iraq now! Photo by Bill Hackwell Click here to see a slideshow from the March 20 March on Washington On Saturday, thousands of people converged at the White House for the March 20 March on Washington--the largest anti-war demonstration since the announcement of the escalation of the Afghanistan war.
Breaking the Chains '' A Socialist Perspective On Women's Liberation
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 17:41
U.S Child Care is in CrisisChild care in the United States is in crisis. Working-class women''''in their positions as both child care workers and workers who cannot afford child care''''are bearing the brunt of the crisis. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 100,000 fewer child care workers than there were before the COVID-19 pandemic, an almost 10% decrease.
As annual inflation rates hit an all time high in the last 40 years, child care workers have been some of the hardest hit. A 2020 study at University of California, Berkeley showed that even before the pandemic, 98% of jobs paid more than child care work. The average child care worker makes just $13 per hour. This past year, 29% of child care workers faced food insecurity because they are so poorly paid. This disgusting treatment of essential workers is further amplified by capitalism's exploitation of child care workers' passion for the work, using it to justify poverty wages.
While child care workers are among the most underpaid workers in the United States, the cost of child care is skyrocketing, so much so that it remains unaffordable for 60% of the families who need it. And government support is woefully inadequate; not even 1 in 6 subsidy-eligible children receive assistance. Forty percent of parents have gone into debt over child care costs. The child care sector is being squeezed at both ends: wages for child care workers are too low, and working families cannot afford the current cost of child care.
Those most affected by lack of child care and low wages are working women, who make up the majority of the child care workforce and are also being forced out of work to care for their own children. In 2020, twice as many women as men left the workforce to care for their children, from sectors that have historically employed mostly women. A clear link has been established between child care affordability and employment rates for mothers. The vast majority of mothers are in the labor force, with a significant fraction as the sole breadwinner for their families. Black and Latina mothers, who work at higher rates and are even more likely to be the sole breadwinner for their families, are hit even harder by the rising costs of child care.
But it doesn't have to be this way. The United States is an outlier among wealthy countries in its lack of subsidized child care. In other capitalist countries, such as Denmark, child care is heavily subsidized; parents of toddlers receive quarterly childhood benefits, and low income families receive free child care. This serves as a stark comparison to the U.S., where most child care is privatized, unsubsidized and deprioritized.
It is increasingly clear'--even to the capitalists themselves'--that the contradiction presented by the child care crisis is impacting the entire capitalist system. The competitive labor market that the Federal Reserve claims is driving inflation is a result, in part, of parents''''mostly women''''leaving the labor force to care for children when reliable, affordable child care is out of reach. Business leaders have been forced to face the fact that a decrease in affordable and available childcare means a decrease in their labor force. The Center for American Progress has even recommended that affordable childcare become a priority for policymakers to grow the American economy, after citing $57 billion worth of annual losses due to the child care crisis. As Saint Hilarie, a 35 year child care worker, points out, ''If child care goes away, what is the business community going to do? If our workforce goes, their workforce is going to go right along with it.''
Given the impact of the child care crisis on the entire U.S. labor force, plus the decimation of federal abortion rights, one might expect child care to be a political priority. Instead policies like the child care tax credit or paid family leave are treated like bargaining chips by Democrats and Republicans alike. In fact, it appears that Democrats may attempt to trade child tax credits with the Republican party for extended business tax credits put in place by Trump, amidst Republican pushback that the child tax credits, and thus the livelihood of American families, are too costly.
While the Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress, Biden had the opportunity to fulfill the promises made in his Build Back Better program, which would have subsidized child care and instituted a minimum wage for child care workers of at least $15 per hour. His promises, like many others, have been empty. After wasting time in secret negotiations behind closed doors, Biden abandoned his plans in humiliation when West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin refused to vote in favor of the program. It is clear that the government will not just give the working class what we so desperately need''''if we want to see our interests represented, we will need to organize to turn up the pressure!
We have already seen the effects of organizing around the child care crisis. In May, hundreds of child care providers across 27 states walked out in protest of critical conditions for child care workers. Among these protests was one outside NYC's City Hall, where this year's state budget for child care has increased by $146 million after the protests. New Yorkers will also see expansions to subsidized child care in the coming year. Similarly, New Mexico has announced free childcare for families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line. Although working people agree that these gains are not enough, the power of the people in shaping legislation through grassroots organizing is evident.
More recently, academic workers across the University of California system won child care benefits as part of a militant strike action. With a tentative agreement that includes a 27% increase in child care subsidies and 8 weeks of fully paid parental leave, UC academic workers have demonstrated the power of collective action. If we want to see substantial gains regarding child care, we should follow in the UC strikers' footsteps and continue to dial up the heat! When we fight, we win!
PSL Statement '' 50 years after Roe: Mass resistance the key in abortion struggleThe 50th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision is both a bitter reminder of the cruelty of the current right wing-dominated Supreme Court, and a moment to recommit ourselves to the fight for abortion rights. The right wing is moving aggressively to shred women's rights, but they are opposed by the vast majority and they can be defeated with fierce resistance. The mass sentiment in defense of abortion rights has already defeated the far right in state referenda in ''blue'' and ''red'' states alike, but to win back and extend this right requires continuous grassroots organizing and a return to powerful, large-scale mobilizations.
The decision last June to overturn Roe stripped the rights of millions of women and all those who need abortion access in this country, and opened the floodgates to outright bans at the state level. The consequences over the past seven months have been clear. These bans include ''heartbeat'' bills, waiting periods, excessive requirements for clinics, etc. and also new county-level restrictions, state budget cuts to reproductive care and bans in state constitutions to this crucial procedure. These new attacks have included trying to prohibit federally approved abortion drugs from being delivered through the mail to those who can't afford to travel to a clinic. Thirteen states had ''trigger laws'' in place to prohibit abortion once the Supreme Court ruling was announced.
The impact of these bans has been devastating. In 2020, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 89% of U.S. counties already did not have a clinic that provided abortions. Since the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, even more clinics had to close. Now nearly 50% of U.S. women 15-44 live in a county without a clinic that provides abortion. In addition to the logistical and legal hurdles of accessing this procedure, massive inflation has made the financial burden that much heavier on workers.
Overturning Roe and the elimination of abortion is intended to be a first falling domino in a wave of attacks on working-class and oppressed people. Alongside the bans on abortion, in 2022, nearly 300 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures, primarily targeting trans youth. This term the Supreme Court will be ruling on Moore v. Harper, which could give state legislatures unchecked authority over elections including the power to dramatically reduce Black voting power through gerrymandering. The right of workers to go on strike is now threatened in the Glacier case.
The Democratic Party has completely failed to defend these fundamental rights when in power. It was only in 2017 that Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the House, called abortion a ''fading'' issue as she campaigned for anti-abortion Democratic candidates. In 2022, despite having the presidency and the majority in Congress, Democrats failed to pass the Women's Health Protection Act, which would have made abortion a federally protected right.
When Roe was overturned in June of 2022, there were a number of executive actions President Biden could have taken to protect the right to an abortion, such as declaring a public health emergency and opening facilities on federal land to provide abortion care in states with bans. Instead, Biden and the Democratic Party essentially held abortion rights hostage by refusing to take these concrete actions while trying to manipulate people into voting for them in November. Undoubtedly this did indeed drive millions to the voting booths, and helped prevent a sweeping Republican victory; but again the Democrats have no fighting program to deliver.
When we look for solutions, we should look at ourselves. The right to abortion was never a gift from a benevolent politician or group of judges. It was the outcome of a movement of millions to demand equality.
That fighting spirit has not disappeared. Even before the Supreme Court decision in June there was spontaneous resistance. From mass protests at state houses to disrupting fundraisers for crisis pregnancy centers to building networks to support those seeking abortions, the people fought back, and this still continues. What has been missing are powerful and sustained mobilizations '-- the mainstream reproductive rights organizations did not use their considerable infrastructure and resources, for instance, to call for millions to come to D.C. after the Dobbs ruling was first leaked. Such actions had played a pivotal role in shaping the national discussion and pushing back the far-right in decades past.
But in the critical months last year, these organizations projected a defeatist line that downplayed protests, and emphasized instead preparation for a post-Roe world. Years of solely relying on Democratic Party ''friends'' and legal strategies to defend abortion rights, combined with the NGO-ization of the women's movement (converting it into a career rather than a cause), produced catastrophic consequences. The grassroots resistance from below was far more energetic and militant than the leadership of the paid activist organizations who had fundraised tens of millions of dollars supposedly to lead this critical fight.
The truth is that the majority of Americans support the right to abortion. Just weeks after the Supreme Court ruling, Kansans mobilized and nearly 60% voted to protect the right to abortion in their state's Bill of Rights. Michigan with 57% of the vote, California with 67% of the vote, and Vermont with 77% of the vote amended their state constitutions to enshrine the right to abortion. While abortion was made illegal in Kentucky due to a trigger law following the Supreme Court decision, 52% of voters rejected an amendment stating that no right to an abortion exists under the state constitution, providing a legal opening to challenge the state ban. An anti-abortion measure targeting doctors was rejected by 53% of voters in Montana.
In the start of 2023, there is resistance in New Mexico to the county bans along the border with Texas and the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned the state's ban on abortion after six weeks, ruling it violates an individual's right to privacy. Activists throughout Texas are mobilizing to stand against anti-abortion bills in the state, which hit poor and working-class women of color the hardest.
The right wing, with the Supreme Court as their weapon of choice, is on the offensive against women's rights and the rights of all oppressed people. We need to rise to meet their challenge and repel it. The threat is real, but so is the opportunity for mass organizing. The majority of the people, tens of millions across the United States, are on our side. We believe that we will win!
Every person who works on the magazine is a full-time or retired worker or student. We are all activists and organizers in our communities. We are revolutionaries, members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. We are people from a broad spectrum of nationalities, LGBTQ and other oppressed communities. We are mothers and daughters and nieces supporting our families and our communities in a myriad of ways.
The women of the Party for Socialism and Liberation have:
Written about historical events that changed the course of history for working class womenArgued for the women's movement to be anti-racist and anti-imperialistInterviewed working class women on the frontlines of struggle Presented socialist & progressive women's art and poetry Summarized, analyzed and detailed the militant politics of working class women and our movement Opposed the right-wing onslaught against women's rights That is what you support when you become a patron of Breaking the Chains magazine Study Guide Now AvailableUnions are popular. Strikes, collective actions and worker organizing are on an upswing as workers are learning through their own experiences that organizing works. The pandemic, which hit women workers hard, also proved the value of the union, of collective workers' organizations, as unionized workers retained more benefits, safer working conditions, stability and higher salaries than non-unionized workers in this period. Concentrated ruling class attacks have whittled down union representation to only a fraction of workers in the United States. But unions continue to be powerful organizations because of their position in the ongoing class struggle and their fundamental class character. At the moment, the possibilities for expanding worker power vis- -vis the unions, and the labor movement, seem great. Moreover, the anticommunism used by the ruling class historically to undermine the labor movement is largely fading as socialism rises in popularity again. Women are playing a larger role than ever in the leadership of unions. The expanded organizing of women workers has the potential to bring class struggle front and center to the women's movement in ways that have been repressed and elided over the last several decades. What do these developments mean for women workers in the struggle for socialist liberation? How do we utilize our history, a vast history of women's leadership and initiative in the labor movement, to inform our work in the current context?
This issue includes:
Women's triple loadBlack women's leadership in labor movements A Marxist analysis of women in the workforce Art, cultural influences in Labor movements and more! History of Women's Struggle Assata Shakur: The making of a revolutionary woman August 23, 2021
Alexandra Kollontai: The struggle for proletarian feminism and for women in the party February 25, 2021
100 Years of Universal Suffrage, a history of struggle August 26, 2020
See More She Who Struggles She Who Struggles: Ernestine Eckstein June 26, 2022
She Who Struggles: Hazel M. Johnson April 22, 2022
She Who Struggles: Eva Bacon April 6, 2022
See More From Struggle to Militant From Struggle to Militant: A Revolutionary Story Ep. 10 Rosa Astra April 13, 2022
From Struggle to Militant: A Revolutionary Story Ep. 9 Kerbie Joseph March 1, 2022
From Struggle to Militant: A Revolutionary Story Ep. 9 Kerbie Joseph February 28, 2022
See More
PSL statement: Justice for Tyre Nichols '-- Take to the streets! '' Liberation News
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 17:41
Photo: Tyre Nichols
Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was mercilessly beaten to death earlier this month during a traffic stop by five Memphis Police Department officers. In a few hours, the video of his murder will be released to the public. Righteous outrage is already boiling across the country, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation will be joining thousands in the streets tonight to demand justice. Only mass action can revive the movement against police terror, and to end that terror ultimately requires a revolution '-- a change in who holds power in this country.
Tyre Nichols was a beloved father of a 4-year-old son who grew up in Sacramento, California, and moved to Memphis in 2020. Tyre ''was a beautiful soul and he touched everyone,'' his mother remembered at a press conference, and had a passion for photography. That he was pulled over in what seemed to be a simple traffic stop and then brutally beaten for three minutes while completely defenseless is testament to the utter inhumanity of the police in this country.
This horrific murder is part of the day-in and day-out terror that Black America is subjected to at the hands of the cops. The oppression, inequality and exploitation of Black people is a defining aspect of U.S. capitalism '-- in fact, it owes its existence to it. From the foundation of slavery, this unjust order has always been enforced through unspeakable violence, repression and intimidation '-- particularly aimed at the Black community. This is not only because it disproportionately faces all the concentrated evils of capitalism, but because it has the most militant tradition of rebellion in the empire's urban centers.
That the five officers who murdered Tyre are Black does not change this fundamental fact. The role of the Memphis Police Department as an institution is to contain and control the Black community with as much brutality as it sees fit. Anyone who becomes an officer, regardless of who they are, is signing up to be part of this.
That the cops and their victim in this case share the same skin color also speaks to police terror as a feature of capitalism itself. Wherever inequality is the sharpest, from South Africa to Jamaica to Brazil, police brutality is widespread. Around the world, it is common for institutions of repression to enlist people who are from the very communities subjected to the worst repression.
The five police officers had been in MPD's ''SCORPION Unit,'' which was started in 2021 supposedly to ''flood the target area'' to ''fight crime.'' But in reality, this ''special unit'' '-- which has many parallels in departments across the country '-- is well known for its obsession with violence and the terror it inflicts on people in Memphis. When speaking to local outlet WREG-TV, Cornell McKinney said that he was targeted by MPD's SCORPION Unit on Jan. 3 while at a gas station '-- in an encounter where police told him, ''Put your hands up before I blow your head off,'' while falsely claiming he had drugs in the car. The SCORPION Unit must be immediately disbanded as Nichols' family has called for.
Drawing lessons from the struggle
In 2020, tens of millions of people took to the streets across the country and around the world against racist police killings in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. This was the largest protest movement in U.S. history. While the mass consciousness against police brutality is still there, the level of protest has declined significantly in the two and a half years since. That same spirit of resistance needs to be revived by demonstrating in huge numbers to demand justice.
But with each new wave of struggle, we also need to reflect on the lessons learned in past battles for justice. The fact is that more people are being killed by police than ever, hitting a record high of at least 1,176 last year. So why hasn't the movement been as strong?
It is obvious that the capitalist state has studied 2020 closely from the standpoint of counter-insurgency, and is doing everything it can to manage the narrative around police violence in general and in the case of Tyre Nichols in particular, to prevent rebellion.
Since the 2020 uprising subsided, pro-police political forces have been on the offensive across the country. They exploited people's concerns over rising violent crime, and falsely presented the cops as the only answer. All the Democratic Party politicians who were falling over themselves to adopt the rhetoric of anti-racism and make symbolic concessions in 2020, so as to tamp down the movement, have abandoned the facade. Joe Biden promised to ''root out systemic racism,'' but then last year released his ''Safer America Plan,'' which called for the hiring and training of 100,000 additional police officers. We should not forget that these same politicians largely endorsed and imposed the state curfews to stop the mobilizations during their most militant phase.
Meanwhile, the liberal arms of the capitalist state directed literally hundreds of millions of dollars to NGOs. The main function of this was to artificially build up a new layer of ''leaders'' without a revolutionary orientation, who typically represented little in the community, and ended up misleading and dispersing the movement into a thousand little pet projects rather than building it into a powerful national social force over the long term.
For several decades now, the dominant form of progressive organization has been the nonprofit, dependent on grants from large foundations and ruling-class donors, and operated primarily by salaried staff, rather than being dependent on and accountable to the masses of people. Regardless of the motivations of the individuals involved, this is not an organizational form capable of building a sustained people's movement and succeeding in struggle against an enemy as formidable as the U.S. capitalist class. Political direction needs to come from grassroots leaders and organizations anchored in working-class communities.
The demands raised by the movement right now need to correspond with the overwhelming mass sentiment that cries out for justice. Killer cops should be locked up in prison, not only as a matter of justice for Tyre Nichols, but also to end the culture of impunity that emboldens police officers to carry out terrible abuses on a routine basis. Raising a vision for a new kind of society is an essential part of any uprising. But it should be threaded through the immediate demands that are capable of uniting millions in the streets, not counterposed to the yearnings for justice.
The police continue to kill with impunity all over the country. We need to turn the tide with massive mobilizations. Through unity and determination, the people can defeat the cops!
Program of the Party for Socialism and Liberation '' PSL
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 17:40
The Program of the Party for Socialism and Liberation was adopted by the First Party Congress of the PSL in February 2010, and amended in subsequent congresses in 2013, 2016 and 2019.
Part 1: The struggle for socialism Part 2: A revolutionary socialist government
Part 1: The struggle for socialismThe Party for Socialism and Liberation exists to carry out the struggle for socialism inside the United States, the center of world capitalism and imperialism. The PSL stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world who are resisting capitalist exploitation and imperialist domination.
The need for the socialist reorganization of society becomes more apparent and urgent with each passing day. While a tiny part of the population grows ever richer, tens of millions of workers here in the United States and billions of workers around the world sink deeper into poverty. Monumental advances in science and technology, which could have uplifted the many, instead have mainly enriched the few.
The great wealth of society is the product of both natural resources and the labor of working people. Yet, that wealth is increasingly the private property of those who produce nothing of value '-- the tiny class of capitalist owners. This irreconcilable conflict defines life for the vast majority of people in the world.
The development of capitalism '-- as already foreseen by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in the mid-19th century '-- binds the world ever more closely together. Today, there is a vast and growing international working class, of which the U.S. working class is but one section.
The working class is defined by its relationship to the means of production and to those who own the means of production, the capitalist class. The working class, deprived of ownership of private property, must work for wages or salaries paid by those who own the means of production. The working class also includes the ''army of the unemployed,'' those who are kept as a reserve labor force. This army of reserve labor has become a permanent feature in modern capitalist society.
While the working class is not a monolithic entity, it is united by its defining features: the lack of ownership of private property and the requirement to work for those who own private property, the capitalists, or for the capitalist government. The capitalists own the banks, corporations, factories, warehouses, retail outlets and major media. In a very real way, they control the lives of workers and the unemployed.
But the working class sets into motion the means of production, distribution and communication. It can shut down production and the capitalist economy as a whole. It is the vast majority of humanity and has vast potential power. It holds the ability to create a new society.
21st century imperialismAs Marxists in the United States, our starting point is an assessment of the world situation, of the struggle between the classes on an international scale. Only by taking the international situation as the point of departure is it possible for our strategy and tactics to conform to the needs of the working class and oppressed peoples worldwide. Nowhere is this approach more critically important than in the United States, the most powerful imperialist country in the world today.
Twenty-first century capitalism in the United States and the other imperialist countries is monopoly capitalism, which is dominated by the giant banks and other institutions of finance capital. Because of their economies of scale, marketing muscle and deep financial pockets, huge monopolies have increasingly squeezed out independent small- and medium-sized businesses and farming operations. This has largely eliminated the ''free market.''
At the same time, the increasing domination of monopoly capitalism has greatly sharpened the contradictions inherent in the system. The growing tendency toward catastrophic crises, militarism and war has resulted in the monopolies becoming increasingly intertwined with the capitalist state and government. Big banks and corporations now dominate the global economy, oppressing entire nations and continents, as well as the working class as a class.
While Wall Street is the center of world finance capitalism, the Pentagon is the headquarters of a military machine that occupies many lands and has bases in more than 100 countries. The military is the enforcer and protector of U.S. capitalism and its global empire, similar to the role played by the racist, anti-worker police and prison system inside the United States. The imperialist occupations of oppressed nations around the world mirror the reality for oppressed communities within the United States.
Photo: Liberation NewsThe past century has shown that imperialism is simultaneously at its most dangerous and most vulnerable when at war. For socialists in the imperialist countries, opposition to imperialist war and support for the right of self-determination of countries targeted by one's ''own'' ruling class must be a top priority. This opposition is based on the irreconcilability of the interests of the working class and all who are oppressed by monopoly capitalism, who must sacrifice and die in these wars, with the imperialists' interests '-- their drive for profit and domination.
The political reality: the dictatorship of the richModern economic crises have exposed key aspects of the present system that formerly remained largely hidden from view in ''ordinary'' times.
For example, the capitalist crisis that began in 2007 and its aftermath demolished the myth of ''free enterprise,'' proving instead that the U.S. system is the most corrupt form of capitalism that has ever existed. Without massive intervention by the federal government in the form of trillions of dollars in direct grants, loans and loan guarantees, the entire private finance/banking sector and many other major corporations would have collapsed.
The bank bailouts showed that while the government rules over the people, the banks rule over the government. Not only were the biggest banks each given tens of billions of dollars, they were not required to report on how they were going to use the money. Instead of the CEOs and other top bank executives awarding themselves huge bonuses out of the bailout funds and continuing to run the banks on behalf of wealthy shareholders, the banks should be seized and turned over to committees of workers and community representatives to be run in the public interest.
The bailouts proved that the long-propagated notion that ''the money is not there'' for health care, education, housing and other social programs is a lie. Had the bailout money been used to meet people's needs, all of the unemployed people in the United States could have been hired at a living wage. Instead, the capitalist government continued to slash vital food, health, education, rehabilitation and other services.
The idea that any contemporary economic system can survive without major government intervention has been shown to be a total fallacy. The remaining question is not whether government intervention is necessary, but which class will benefit '-- the vast majority of society, the working class, or a tiny minority, the superrich?
Above all, the economic crisis has revealed that behind a fa§ade of ''democracy'' the United States today is a dictatorship of the capitalist class. This reality will not change without a socialist revolution. The oppressors have never surrendered their power voluntarily.
Climate crisis: unsolvable under capitalismThe climate catastrophe demonstrates the disastrous self-interest of the capitalist class. To avoid excessive warming, as well as the many severe environmental threats produced by capitalism, it is necessary to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. But the capitalist class is driven to protect its investments in coal, oil and gas, as well as associated industries. It will do whatever it takes to hold on to power, even if that means destroying much of the world. The struggle to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of global warming is therefore a class struggle. It is a struggle for power '-- not a struggle over morality or individual consumer choices.
All people are not equally responsible for the warming climate. Imperialist countries reaped the benefits of fossil fuels while they exploited the resources of countries they colonized. Within industrialized countries the proceeds of workers' labor were channeled into the pockets of the capitalists while the neighborhoods of working, poor and oppressed people were treated as sacrifice zones, dumping grounds for the toxic waste products of the carbon economy.
The class war around the climate is also an imperialist war. Countries damaged by imperialist exploitation and colonialist expropriation are the first to experience the devastation of rising sea levels and disrupted weather patterns. The imperialist response to climate change appears in the closure and militarization of borders. Ever more people are forced to migrate. Yet immigrants are violently apprehended and imprisoned in concentration camps. The imperialist dimension of climate change is undeniable when we recall that the U.S. military is the world's biggest institutional danger to the environment. Dismantling the U.S. war machine is thus crucial for human survival.
Addressing the climate catastrophe and environmental racism in an equitable and just way requires specialized planning at multiple levels '-- international, state, regional, and local. Agriculture, transportation, shipping, construction, mining and virtually all heavy industries must be reconstructed. Even information networks '-- from the coltan used in cell phones to the vast amounts of energy used by massive server farms '-- will have to be reconfigured. The work force of all these industries is immense. Capitalists try to convince workers that threats to the carbon economy are threats to the working class. But of course, the capitalists' interests are antagonistic to the workers. Such transition to socialist production is to guarantee economic stability for workers who transition to sustainable jobs.
The U.S. working class todayThe technological revolution that has continued to this day has fundamentally changed the social composition of the U.S. working class, contributing to the possibilities of unity and the building of a revolutionary movement.
The overall effect of the high-tech revolution has been the de-skilling of many job categories accompanied by ruthless wage-cutting. This has dramatically affected the living conditions of formerly privileged sectors of the white, male working class. It has also meant a more abundant army of the unemployed and underemployed, disproportionately hitting the Black and Latino communities.
A third of the workforce is nonwhite and half are women. This unintended effect of capitalism's drive for greater profits is creating its own gravediggers.
Since its formation, the U.S. bourgeoisie consciously created a complex system of white supremacy and apartheid to prevent class-wide unity and rebellion by all oppressed and exploited sectors of society. Over and above the genocide carried out against Native peoples, the enslavement of African peoples and its racist ideological justifications have been central to both extracting super-profits from the oppressed nationalities within the United States as well as preventing the multinational working class from acting in its own interests.
The collective experience of the civil rights, women's, immigrant rights, LGBTQ and climate justice movements is now blended into the U.S. working-class experience and is something to draw from as it gains consciousness of itself. The critical role that racism, sexism and anti-LGBTQ bigotry play in dividing workers continues to exist '-- but the material basis for overcoming these divisions is greater.
More importantly, it is now objectively possible to build a unified workers' movement with a multinational leadership. In fact, the very real opportunity of political leadership by the historically most oppressed sectors puts the working class today in a stronger position to struggle for power.
The right of revolutionThe present form of government is destructive of the rights of the great majority. It is not a government ''of, by and for the people.'' The existing government and state '-- the military, police, intelligence agencies, courts, prisons, bureaucracy and so on '-- defend the interests of the capitalist class. Racist, anti-working-class police brutality is rampant. A monstrous state machine has imprisoned more people in the United States than in any other country. In recent decades, under the pretext of the ''war on drugs,'' whole communities of Black, Latino and Native young people have been locked away, turning the U.S. government into the world's biggest jailer.
The existing state apparatus and government institutions were established to protect and defend the interests of the capitalist ruling class. The much-heralded system of ''checks and balances'' is really an undemocratic means of protecting the rich against the poor.
At every level of government, from the presidency to city councils, elections have become exercises in ''dollar democracy.'' Corruption is business as usual '-- corporate lobbyists buy legislators' votes on a daily basis. All the important decisions are made behind closed doors, with the ''debates'' nothing more than a public show.
The federal court system, comprised of judges who are appointed for life, has vast powers to overturn legislation and is dedicated above all to safeguarding the rights of private property.
The capitalist system has proven to be incapable of meeting the needs of the people '-- even in the richest capitalist country in history. Every year, millions more people are forced into abject poverty, many while working full time, and many are denied the right to a job.
Simply reforming the capitalist system is not enough.
For the capitalists, reforms are a threat to the status quo. Reforms for the working class mean something different. They ease the burdens of living under capitalism through the extension of civil rights or other beneficial social or economic policies.
While reforms must be fought for, and can be won, they are under constant attack by the ruling class. Capitalism itself cannot be reformed. Its supreme law and driving force is the maximization of profit. The only force capable of putting an end to this criminal system is the organized working class. Capitalism cannot be voted out of power'--it will take a revolution.
The capitalist class will stop at nothing to prevent or overturn reforms by repressing, misdirecting or quelling any form of popular rebellion. Without a complete uprooting of the system that causes all the problems workers and oppressed peoples face, exploitation and oppression will still exist. The capitalist state will continue to rule.
Capitalism is a failed system that, in its insatiable appetite for ever greater profits, threatens global ecological destruction on an unprecedented scale, with workers and oppressed people bearing the disproportionate burden of the environmental disaster.
More than at any other time, it is the working class that holds the future for humanity. For the people and planet to live, capitalism must go.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation is dedicated to building a revolutionary workers' party in the United States. A party that can unite the multinational U.S. working class is an essential and irreplaceable element in the struggle for socialism. The PSL participates in the labor, anti-war, anti-racist, immigrant rights, women's, lesbian/gay/bi/transgender/queer, environmental, student and other movements. A revolutionary party can be built only by engaging in all issues affecting the working class.
For the working class, revolution is a necessity and a right. The most brutal aspects of capitalism will not go away unless there is a socialist revolution. Only a revolution can do away with the rule of the capitalists once and for all.
Socialism and communismThe aim of the PSL is to abolish the corrupt, rotten and anti-people capitalist economy, state and governmental system, and replace it with one dedicated to meeting the needs of the people '-- a socialist system.
Solving the multiple crises of the present system is impossible without a revolution that ends the rule of the capitalist class and replaces it with a new state power that acts in the interest of the working class. Marx wrote, ''The working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purposes.'' In other words, the government that has worked so well for the capitalists cannot serve the interests of the working class. The dictatorship of the rich must be dismantled and replaced with the working class in power. A state and government ''of, by and for'' the workers must replace the capitalist state.
The foundation of any state power is repressive force'--the military, police, prisons, courts and so on. The standing army and police must be disbanded and replaced by the armed people, organized in workers' defense councils. A critical task of the new socialist order will be defending itself from the displaced capitalist class that would like to return to the days of exploitation.
A workers' government would create an entirely different type of court system, with its basic institutions determined by the democratic organs of workers' power. Judges would not be required to be lawyers.
All public officials, without exception, would be elected and subject to recall at any time by those who elected them. The salaries of all elected officials will be no higher than the average wage of workers. The same would be true for all those hired to carry out government and state business. Holding public office would be based on a real desire to serve, not on self-enrichment. Corporate lobbying would be eliminated '-- along with the corporations themselves.
A workers' government would begin to build socialism by expropriating the privatized wealth of the banks, industry, agribusiness, mines and other wealth-generating properties, eliminating the vast control the capitalists have over production. This would be done without compensation to the capitalist owners who have stolen so much for so long from the workers and oppressed peoples of the world.
Under capitalism, each corporation plans how much goods and services to produce and sell in order to maximize profits. There is no overall plan how to allocate society's finite resources, what should be produced, or what should be cut back or eliminated. The result is an enormous waste of resources, while the basic needs of billions go unmet.
Converting the private property of society to socially owned property is a necessary first step in building socialism, which would utilize the productive capacity of society and the natural resources of the planet for the benefit of humanity.
Whereas the goal of capitalist production is to make as much profit as quickly as possible, the goal of a socialist economy is to meet the needs of the people in a long-term and sustainable fashion. A socialist economy would enable workers to have access to more of what society produces. Planning is a critical component of a socialist economy.
Socialism is the necessary stage between capitalism and communism. The full achievement of socialism will require the development of the economy to meet the fundamental needs of the working class and the population as a whole. It will also be marked by the fading away of classes and class antagonisms. This cannot happen overnight.
Socialists use the term ''private property'' to refer to the system of capitalism'--that is, the private ownership of the means of production: the factories, the land, the natural resources, such as oil and water, and the machinery to produce privately owned wealth. Under socialism, a home is regarded as personal property, not as a commodity for investment. Under socialism, housing would be a guaranteed right, and no individual would be able to own another person's home.
Ironically, under capitalism, the system that claims to uphold the sacred right of private property, homelessness has become a permanent feature and millions of people are losing their homes through foreclosures. Under socialism, in Cuba for example, despite being blockaded by the United States, there is no homelessness because a home is considered a human right. This was only possible through the elimination of ''private property,'' including landlordism.
Achieving fully developed socialism, a goal that has not yet been achieved anywhere, will open the way to communism and the end of class society. Communism will also mean the ''withering away'' of the repressive state, which only came into being with the rise of class society.
Socialism can only be achieved by a mass movement of millions of people organized to fight for what is rightfully theirs. In working to build the movement that will usher in the next revolution'--a socialist revolution'--the PSL puts forward the following struggle-based program. This program outlines what a genuine workers' government would do.
Part 2: A Revolutionary Socialist GovernmentIn order to guarantee the interests of working and poor people who make up the vast majority of the United States, a new revolutionary government run by and for the workers and poor will be established. The present capitalist government'--the role of which has been to defend the big-business system of exploitation by a web of hundreds of measures, legal and illegal, and has been accessible only to the super-rich elite'--will be abolished.
A primary function of the socialist government will be planning and administering the economy in the interests of working and poor people, as set forth below, and implementing the measures to fulfill those interests.Participation and representation in the new government will be guaranteed through democratically organized workplace, neighborhood and school committees. The ''professional politicians'' and big-business political parties will be replaced with the political organization of the working class.There will be no distinction between the legislative and executive functions of government. Those who enact measures will be responsible for carrying them out. All elected representatives will be subject to recall at any time by the bodies that elect them.Elected officials of the new workers' government will be paid an average worker's salary and will receive no special privileges.There will be primary government institutions created guaranteeing representation of all nationalities inside the United States. In recognition of centuries of national oppression and systematic exclusion, and to protect the interests of all, the socialist government structures would be constructed to assure equal representation from all nationalities in the United States.The current legal and criminal justice system is infested with racism and class privilege, and will be replaced by a new justice system based on the democratic organization of the working class and its right to defend its class interests on the basis of solidarity and unity.The rights of freedom of speech and political involvement will be extended to all. These rights will only be abridged in the efforts to eliminate racism, xenophobia and all forms of bigotry, or to prevent the re-establishment of the capitalist system of exploitation and oppression.There will be a complete separation of church and state, with no one religion favored over another and no favoring of religion over the absence of religion.No law will be enacted that discriminates against people based on nationality, gender, sexual orientation or gender expression. The new government will take it as the highest priority to remedy the legacy of institutionalized divisions and inequalities perpetuated against wide sectors of the working class that had continued without respite for hundreds of years, by measures of affirmative action and other measures listed below.Older and retired people will be able to live a dignified and fulfilling life with the constitutionally guaranteed rights to housing, health care, food and cultural activities, among other rights. The socialist government will allocate resources to ensure the maximum participation in society of older and retired people. The socialist government will initiate an educational campaign to promote respect for older people and to value their contributions to society.People with disabilities will be guaranteed full access to, and participation in, society, with the government allocating resources to eliminate barriers in housing, education, employment and public facilities. The new government will initiate an educational campaign to promote respect for and programs in the interests of people with disabilities, promoting their contributions to society.The socialist government will place great importance on the social development of children. The socialist government will allocate resources to develop programs for the intellectual, physical, psychological and social development of young people.The defense of the revolutionary government will be organized on the basis of the armed, organized working class. All foreign military bases will be closed immediately.The socialist government will approach the peoples of the world on the principles of international working-class solidarity. All occupations, military interventions and military proxy wars, agreements and alliances carried out by the previous imperialist government will be ended immediately.A national assembly will craft a new Constitution that enshrines and protects the interests of workers and oppressed peoples, to address, at minimum, the issues outlined below.Socialism: Addressing the interests of working and poor peopleThe socialist government will be directed to address the interests of working and poor people. This means that no laws, regulations or measures will negatively impact the rights of working and poor people in society. The following issues will be addressed by the new government as initial steps in developing socialism, to be further deepened and expanded upon as the process for socialist construction unfolds.
The exploitation of labor for private profit will be prohibited.It will be a right of every person in the United States to have a job with guaranteed union representation and full social benefits provided by the socialist government, including a pension, health care, workers' compensation, paid parental and family leave for up to two years, paid sick and disability leave, a minimum of one month's paid vacation, and at least 12 paid holidays.Poverty will be eradicated by providing a guaranteed living income for any worker who is not able to find or hold a job. Priority in addressing the legacy of capitalism will be granted to communities that have suffered disproportionately in the past.Citizenship rights will be granted to every person living in the United States. No person will be discriminated against in any way due to past citizenship status.Working conditions will aim to enhance the humanity and dignity of all workers. The working week will be 30 hours. Child care for workers will be provided by the socialist government at no cost to the parents. There will be cultural and athletic opportunities for all workers during and after working hours.The socialist government will provide free, high-quality health care to every person living in the United States, regardless of citizenship. For-profit health care and private insurance companies will be outlawed.The socialist government will provide decent housing for every person in the United States. No person will pay more than 10 percent of their income on housing costs. It will be illegal to generate private profit by renting or selling land. No person may suffer foreclosure or eviction.The socialist government will provide free, high-quality education to every person in the United States from pre-school through college, as well as post-college educational opportunities for life-long learning to advance the technical and cultural level of society, as well as the promotion of working-class unity and international solidarity. The historic disparities in educational quality and opportunities in Black, Latino, Asian and Native communities, and other working-class communities, will be addressed as a first order of business. The intellectual products of colleges and universities will be the property of society, with no patents, trademarks, copyrights or private profit from social knowledge and materials.The socialist government will approach agriculture by implementing sustainable methods. This means environmental protection '-- including moving the agricultural system away from harmful industrial practices to more regenerative methods; water and soil conservation; and improving the quality of life of agricultural laborers and rural communities by providing adequate wages, safe working conditions, year-round employment opportunities, housing, health care, education, social and recreational services, the elimination of ''guest worker'' programs and all laws discriminating against workers on the basis of citizenship, and humane treatment of animals.Meeting the food and nutritional needs of the population will be the responsibility of the government. All schools and workplaces will provide healthy meals to those who study or work there. Food and water will be produced according to a democratic and rational plan, with opportunities for the input of all people into what foods are produced and the manner in which they are produced and distributed.The socialist government will recognize that environmental sustainability is essential for the future development of the economy and society. Environmental considerations will be made in every area of economic and social planning, and there will be special efforts to remedy and end environmental degradation, including but not limited to: Ending all fossil fuel and nuclear energy use, creating a distributed energy infrastructure based on renewable sources, retrofitting existing buildings and build new buildings to a net zero energy standard, linking urban centers and rural communities with zero-emission mass transit systems.Penal institutions will be organized on the principle of social education and rehabilitation. Those convicted of unlawful acts will maintain political rights while participating in their rehabilitation.Liberation: Overcoming racism, exploitation, national oppression and all forms of bigotryThe new government will seek to codify the goals of eradicating racism, national oppression and all forms of exploitation and bigotry. The following issues will be addressed by the new government.
With the goal of the unity of the multinational U.S. working class on the basis of class solidarity, the new government will work to eliminate white supremacy, racism and privilege as an immediate task, recognizing that this goal will not be achieved automatically or by decree. It will be prohibited to advocate any form of racism, xenophobia, national hatred or discrimination based on ability.
The socialist government will recognize the inviolable right of all oppressed nations to self-determination with regard to their means of gaining and maintaining their liberation. In the United States, this includes the right of self-determination for African American, Native, Puerto Rican and other Latino national minorities, the Hawai'ian nation, Asian, Pacific Islander, Arab and other oppressed peoples that have experienced oppression as a whole people under capitalism.The socialist government will institute a program of reparations for the African American community to address the centuries of unpaid slave labor and super-exploitation.The existing colonial relationships of the United States will be dissolved. Independence will be immediately granted to Puerto Rico with full reparations for colonial exploitation, and the right of free travel between the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Samoa, Guam, the Virgin Islands and Mariana Islands will be free to exercise their right to self-determination, up to and including independence, with reparations and the right to free travel between the former colonies and the U.S. mainland. Restitution, including the return of land stolen, will be provided for Native Nations. Further, the socialist government will reaffirm the right of Native Nations to self-determination, up to and including independence.The socialist government will institute programs on the basis of proletarian internationalism to help overcome the ravages of U.S. imperialism that have exploited the people, resources and economies of other countries with an emphasis on sovereignty, solidarity, revolutionary assistance and reparations.All U.S. workers will have the right to speak the language of their choosing. All government services and education will be provided with multilingual provisions.Sexism and other forms of male chauvinism and oppression of women will be eliminated as an immediate task, recognizing that this goal will not be achieved automatically or by decree. It will be prohibited to advocate any form of sexism or male chauvinism.The socialist government will guarantee the right of women workers to receive the same pay, benefits and treatment as their male counterparts.The right to contraception, birth control and abortion services will not be restricted in any way, nor will there be any restriction on a woman's right to decide to have children or not. Abortion services will be available free and on demand.It will be the responsibility of the socialist government to provide women with the right to choose to have children by providing free, high-quality pre- and post-natal health care and child care. Any caregiver will be given access to free child care.All forms of bigotry, discrimination or the promotion of hatred against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and queer people, or against anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, will be eliminated, including in marriage rights, employment, housing, adoption and health care. It will be prohibited to advocate any form of bigotry, discrimination or hatred against LGBTQ people.No law or measure will give preference in word or in deed that favors heterosexual relationships over other relationships.There will be a sustained public education campaign promoting the goals of multinational working-class unity and international solidarity, the advancement of women's rights, the promotion of respect of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, as well as exposing the evils of racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, xenophobia, and bigotry based on ability or national chauvinism. Affirmative action measures will be instituted wherever needed to eliminate the effects of historical discrimination in education, employment, promotion, housing and other areas.ConclusionThere are only two choices for humanity today: an increasingly destructive capitalism, or socialism. The PSL believes that the only solution to the evils of capitalism is the socialist transformation of society. The program outlined above is just the beginning of what can be achieved when workers and oppressed people organize and take power.
The people of the United States desperately need and deserve a new government and a new system run by the multinational working class in their interests. The struggle to defeat capitalism and begin building a socialist society is the most pressing issue faced by humanity today.
PSL '' Party for Socialism and Liberation
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 17:40
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TikTok Is Still Hiring as Competitors Shed Jobs - WSJ
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 17:33
Social-media company has said it would add 3,000 engineers, plans to boost head count at Mountain View, Calif., hub
Several of the world's biggest tech companies are laying off employees. One company bucking the trend so far is TikTok.
Amid a retrenchment in Silicon Valley, the Chinese-owned social-media company is in the middle of a three-year hiring push, having committed to add about 3,000 engineers in worldwide locations including the U.S.
TikTok also...
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Several of the world's biggest tech companies are laying off employees. One company bucking the trend so far is TikTok.
Amid a retrenchment in Silicon Valley, the Chinese-owned social-media company is in the middle of a three-year hiring push, having committed to add about 3,000 engineers in worldwide locations including the U.S.
TikTok also is hiring at its major hub in Singapore, according to people familiar with its plans. TikTok's owner, Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., is also recruiting people in China to work on its TikTok platform. TikTok isn't available in China, but ByteDance offers a Chinese alternative called Douyin.
TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew said this week that amid big downsizing at some of his competitors, TikTok was still hiring, though at a measured pace.
''We have always been more cautious in terms of recruitment,'' Mr. Chew said at a Bloomberg-sponsored economic forum in Singapore. ''We're still hiring, although at the pace that we think has to correspond with the global challenges that we're facing.''
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Tech LayoffsWhile closely held ByteDance is based in Beijing, TikTok has no official headquarters. It has major offices in Los Angeles, New York, Dublin, London and Singapore, where Mr. Chew is based. ByteDance employs about 130,000 workers worldwide. TikTok employs more than 20,000, with about a quarter of that number in the U.S.
TikTok plans to increase the size of its biggest American engineering hub, in Mountain View, Calif., which already has more than 1,000 engineers, according to people familiar with the hiring. In some cases, TikTok recruiters have approached people recently laid off from rivals including Meta Platforms Inc. and Twitter Inc. The hiring plans and outreach was reported earlier by the Information.
TikTok hasn't been immune to the economic headwinds buffeting its rivals. It lowered its target for this year's advertising revenue to $10 billion from at least $12 billion, Mr. Chew told staff in a recent online meeting.
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The company now aims to hire at a milder pace compared with previous years, people familiar with the plans said. As with any company, TikTok's plans could change again depending on economic conditions and business performance.
TikTok, which is roughly only five years old, is on a different growth trajectory than many of the older American tech giants that are now shedding thousands of jobs. By some measures, TikTok has surpassed Facebook and Meta-owned Instagram in popularity, especially among American teens. But TikTok still brings in a fraction of the revenue of Meta, which had $118 billion in sales in 2021.
Some more established Silicon Valley rivals have embarked on the biggest job cuts the industry has endured in years. Facebook-owner Meta is laying off about 11,000 employees, while Inc. could cut up to 10,000. Twitter, Lyft Inc. and other companies have also announced layoffs. Those cuts don't preclude other hiring for key roles at TikTok rivals.
In 2020, TikTok said it would hire 10,000 U.S. workers, a move that came as it faced growing scrutiny in Washington over its Chinese roots and its access to information about the millions of Americans that use the app.
For now, the company is still recruiting engineers both to improve features that users see on the app, and to improve the algorithm and other behind-the-scenes infrastructure that make TikTok work, according to people familiar with its hiring plans.
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The company also plans to add employees to its commercialization team, which figures out how to make money from the app, and its nascent e-commerce team, some of these people said. TikTok also plans to add contractors who would monitor the app for inappropriate videos, in both the U.S. and at a content-moderation hub in Dublin, Ireland, they said.
TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, is continuing to recruit people in China, too, according to people familiar with those plans. Some of the new hires would work on TikTok, while others would help ByteDance develop chips.
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ByteDance has also been shifting some roles from China to Singapore, in part to address Washington's concerns about TikTok's ties to China, according to some of these people. The pace has been slower than expected, they said, because Singapore has a smaller talent pool than China and because of complications in acquiring work visas.
ByteDance in August shared a financial report with employees that indicated that after years of large losses, it turned an operating profit in 2022's first quarter, The Wall Street Journal recently reported.
Yang Jie contributed to this article.
Write to Raffaele Huang at and Stu Woo at
Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM) | American Heart Association
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 16:46
What is transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy?Transthyretin (trans-thy-re-tin) amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM) is an underdiagnosed and potentially fatal disease of the heart muscle. In ATTR-CM, a protein called transthyretin that normally circulates in the bloodstream becomes misshapen and builds up in the heart, nerves and other organs.
When these amyloid deposits build up in the heart, the walls can become stiff, making the left ventricle unable to properly relax and fill with blood '' called cardiomyopathy. As the condition progresses, the heart can become unable to adequately squeeze to pump blood out of the heart, ultimately leading to
heart failure.
Hereditary ATTR-CMThere are two types of ATTR-CM. In hereditary ATTR-CM (hATTR-CM), which can run in families, there's a variant in the transthyretin gene, which results in amyloid deposits in the heart, nerves and sometimes the kidneys and other organs. Symptoms may start as early as age 20 and as late as 80.
Hereditary ATTR-CM is more common in localized parts of Portugal, Sweden and Japan; however, there are a number of variants in different parts of the world. Some variants are more common in people of Irish ancestry while others are common among people of African descent.
Different variants may progress in a different way and involve different organs. The most common variant in the United States occurs in 1 in 25 of all African Americans and in older patients who may be misdiagnosed with high blood pressure-related heart disease.
Genetic testing may provide important information to developing a treatment plan.
Wild-type ATTR-CMThe second type is wild-type ATTR-CM (wATTR-CM), in which there is no variant in the transthyretin gene. Wild-type ATTR-CM doesn't run in families. It most commonly affects the heart and can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome and pain and numbness in the hands and feet, called peripheral neuropathy. Symptoms usually start after age 65.
What are the risk factors?Risk factors for hereditary ATTR-CM include: A family member with ATTR-CM or heart failure Age 50 and older (although symptoms can begin anywhere from age 20 to 80) Gender (patients are primarily male) Race '' African AmericanRisk factors for wild-type ATTR-CM include: Age 65 and older Gender (patients are primarily male)What are the symptoms?Symptoms of ATTR-CM can vary or be subtle, and the condition is often misdiagnosed. In its early stages, it may mimic the symptoms of other conditions, such as heart failure related to high blood pressure, or hypertension, and enlargement and thickening of the heart, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Some patients may have no symptoms, while others may progress to end-stage heart failure. The symptoms of wild-type ATTR-CM may be mild and remain undiagnosed.ATTR-CM symptoms are like those associated with heart failure.
Shortness of breath is the most common, especially with minimal exertion and when lying down.
Other symptoms usually occur after the shortness of breath is already there, including: Coughing or wheezing, especially when lying down. Swelling in the feet, ankles and legs Bloating in the abdomen Confusion or trouble thinking Increased heart rate Palpitations or abnormal heart rhythmsAdditional symptoms for ATTR-CM may include: Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet (hATTR-CM) Carpal tunnel syndrome (wATTR-CM)How is it diagnosed?ATTR-CM may be suspected because of typical symptoms and the results of a routine cardiac test '-- an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram. Once suspected, more specialized tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis. These could include:
Imaging studies of the heart, most commonly a cardiac MRI and/or a nuclear medicine scan of the heart A tissue biopsy of an affected organ Genetic testing How can ATTR-CM be treated?There are several promising new therapies for ATTR-CM on the horizon or available, so it is important to talk to your health care professionals about treatment options.
With ATTR-CM, health care professionals focus on easing the heart failure symptoms and slowing or stopping the amyloid deposits. Medications are approved for hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis affecting the nerves, causing a condition called neuropathy.
In cases of advanced heart failure, heart transplantation may be an option. Because the abnormal transthyretin protein is produced by the liver, some patients may require both heart and liver transplantation.
Talk with your health care professionalsAwareness of ATTR-CM among health care teams is low. In fact, it's often misdiagnosed as hypertensive heart failure or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and may already be advanced by the time the patient receives a diagnosis.
If you are living with heart failure and have additional unresolved or seemingly unrelated symptoms, speak to your health care professional about your symptoms and treatment options. Starting that conversation could be a lifesaver.
Tell your doctor about any shortness of breath and ask for a diagnostic testing and treatment plan. If the diagnostic tests don't provide an answer, or if the treatment fails to improve your symptoms, talk with your health care professional about next steps. It's important not to give up until the tests reveal a diagnosis and the treatment relieves your symptoms.
If you do have ATTR-CM,
genetic testing may offer important information to your health care professional to develop a treatment plan.
Get supportGetting support for you and your caregivers is important to your health. Research shows that going it alone and not seeking support during a heart diagnosis can reduce your ability to make the lasting changes you need to live a longer, healthier life.
Learn more about ATTR-CM and connect with others impacted by this form of cardiomyopathy on the American Heart Association's Support Network. There, you will find a community triumphing over their health obstacles each day.
You can share your experience to help others and get support from others who have been there. Connect for free today at
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Last Reviewed: Dec 8, 2021
Pfizer Responds to Research Claims | Pfizer
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 14:40
New York, N.Y., January 27, 2023 '' Allegations have recently been made related to gain of function and directed evolution research at Pfizer and the company would like to set the record straight.
In the ongoing development of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer has not conducted gain of function or directed evolution research. Working with collaborators, we have conducted research where the original SARS-CoV-2 virus has been used to express the spike protein from new variants of concern. This work is undertaken once a new variant of concern has been identified by public health authorities. This research provides a way for us to rapidly assess the ability of an existing vaccine to induce antibodies that neutralize a newly identified variant of concern. We then make this data available through peer reviewed scientific journals and use it as one of the steps to determine whether a vaccine update is required.
In addition, to meet U.S. and global regulatory requirements for our oral treatment, PAXLOVID', Pfizer undertakes in vitro work (e.g., in a laboratory culture dish) to identify potential resistance mutations to nirmatrelvir, one of PAXLOVID's two components. With a naturally evolving virus, it is important to routinely assess the activity of an antiviral. Most of this work is conducted using computer simulations or mutations of the main protease''a non-infectious part of the virus. In a limited number of cases when a full virus does not contain any known gain of function mutations, such virus may be engineered to enable the assessment of antiviral activity in cells. In addition, in vitro resistance selection experiments are undertaken in cells incubated with SARS-CoV-2 and nirmatrelvir in our secure Biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratory to assess whether the main protease can mutate to yield resistant strains of the virus. It is important to note that these studies are required by U.S. and global regulators for all antiviral products and are carried out by many companies and academic institutions in the U.S. and around the world.
Fact-based information rooted in sound science is vitally important to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and Pfizer remains committed to transparency and helping alleviate the devastating burden of this disease.
U.S. INDICATION & AUTHORIZED USE Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent (Original and Omicron BA.4/BA.5) AUTHORIZED USE
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent (Original and Omicron BA.4/BA.5) is FDA authorized under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use in individuals 5 years of age and older as a single booster dose administered at least 2 months after either:
' completion of primary vaccination with any authorized or approved monovalent* COVID-19 vaccine; or
' receipt of the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent* COVID-19 vaccine *Monovalent refers to any authorized and approved COVID-19 vaccine that contains or encodes the spike protein of only the Original SARS-CoV-2 virus.
COMIRNATY® (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA)INDICATIONCOMIRNATY® (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) is an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine for active immunization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 12 years of age and older.
AUTHORIZED USECOMIRNATY® (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) is authorized under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to provide:
Primary Series' a third primary series dose to individuals 12 years of age and older who have certain kinds of immunocompromise
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
AUTHORIZED USES Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is FDA authorized under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use in individuals 6 months and older to provide:
Primary Series' a 2-dose primary series to individuals 5 years of age and older
' a third primary series dose to individuals 5 years of age and older with certain kinds of immunocompromisePfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, BivalentAUTHORIZED USES
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent
are FDA authorized under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use in individuals 6 months to 4 years of age to provide:
Primary Series' a 3-dose primary series as follows:
o Dose 1: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccineo Dose 2: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccineo Dose 3: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, BivalentEMERGENCY USE AUTHORIZATIONEmergency uses of the vaccines have not been approved or licensed by FDA but have been authorized by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in individuals aged 6 months and older. The emergency uses are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of the medical product under Section 564(b)(1) of the FD&C Act unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATIONPfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent (Original and Omicron BA.4/BA.5), COMIRNATY® (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA), and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 VaccineTell your vaccination provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:' have any allergies
' have had myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart)' have a fever' have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner' are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects the immune system' are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding' have received another COVID-19 vaccine' have ever fainted in association with an injection' The vaccine may not protect everyone
' You should not get COMIRNATY (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA), the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, or the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent if you have had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of COMIRNATY or the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine or any ingredient in these vaccines
' There is a remote chance that these vaccines could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to 1 hour after getting a dose of the vaccine. For this reason, your vaccination provider may ask you to stay at the place where you received the vaccine for monitoring after vaccination. If you experience a severe allergic reaction, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital
Seek medical attention right away if you have any of the following symptoms:' difficulty breathing, swelling of the face and throat, a fast heartbeat, a bad rash all over the body, dizziness, and weakness
' Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart) have occurred in some people who have received COMIRNATY® (COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA) or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. The observed risk is higher among adolescent males and adult males under 40 years of age than among females and older males, and the observed risk is highest in males 12 through 17 years of age. In most of these people, symptoms began within a few days following receipt of the second dose of vaccine. The chance of having this occur is very low
' Side effects that have been reported with these vaccines include:
' Severe allergic reactions' Non-severe allergic reactions such as rash, itching, hives, or swelling of the face' Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)' Pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart)' Injection site pain' Tiredness' Headache' Muscle pain' Chills' Joint pain' Fever' Injection site swelling' Injection site redness' Nausea' Feeling unwell' Swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)' Decreased appetite' Diarrhea' Vomiting' Arm pain' Fainting in association with injection of the vaccine' Unusual and persistent irritability' Unusual and persistent poor feeding' Unusual and persistent fatigue or lack of energy' Unusual and persistent cool, pale skin' DizzinessThese may not be all the possible side effects of these vaccines. Call the vaccination provider or healthcare provider about bothersome side effects or side effects that do not go away.
' Individuals should always ask their healthcare providers for medical advice about adverse events. Report vaccine side effects to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The VAERS toll-free number is 1'800'822'7967 or report online to In addition, individuals can report side effects to Pfizer Inc. at or by calling 1-800-438-1985
COMIRNATY® Full Prescribing Information and EUA Fact Sheets for Vaccination Providers and Recipients and Caregivers Fact Sheets: COMIRNATY® Full Prescribing Information (12 years of age and older), DO NOT DILUTE, Gray CapEUA Fact Sheet for Vaccination Providers (12 years of age and older), BIVALENT (Original and Omicron BA.4/BA.5), DO NOT DILUTE, Gray CapEUA Fact Sheet for Vaccination Providers (5 through 11 years of age), BIVALENT (Original and Omicron BA.4/BA.5), DILUTE BEFORE USE, Orange CapEUA Fact Sheet for Vaccination Providers (12 years of age and older), DO NOT DILUTE, Gray CapEUA Fact Sheet for Vaccination Providers (5 through 11 years of age), DILUTE BEFORE USE, Orange Cap
EUA Fact Sheet for Vaccination Providers (6 months through 4 years of age), DILUTE BEFORE USE, Maroon CapEUA Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers (12 years of age and older)EUA Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers (5 through 11 years of age)EUA Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers (6 months through 4 years age)
U.S. FDA EMERGENCY USE AUTHORIZATION STATEMENT PAXLOVID (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets)PAXLOVID has not been approved but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA under an EUA, for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg) with positive results of direct SARS CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high-risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.
The emergency use of PAXLOVID is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of drugs and biological products during the COVID-19 pandemic under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner. AUTHORIZED USE
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the emergency use of the unapproved product PAXLOVID for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg) with positive results of direct severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.
LIMITATIONS OF AUTHORIZED USE' PAXLOVID is not authorized for initiation of treatment in patients requiring hospitalization due to severe or critical COVID-19
' PAXLOVID is not authorized for pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis for prevention of COVID-19' PAXLOVID is not authorized for use longer than 5 consecutive days'¯ PAXLOVID may be prescribed for an individual patient by physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, and physician assistants that are licensed or authorized under state law to prescribe drugs.
PAXLOVID may also be prescribed for an individual patient by a state-licensed pharmacist under the following conditions:'¯'¯
' Sufficient information is available, such as through access to health records less than 12 months old or consultation with a health care provider in an established provider-patient relationship with the individual patient, to assess renal and hepatic function; and
' Sufficient information is available, such as through access to health records, patient reporting of medical history, or consultation with a health care provider in an established provider-patient relationship with the individual patient, to obtain a comprehensive list of medications (prescribed and non-prescribed) that the patient is taking to assess for potential drug interaction.'¯'¯ The state-licensed pharmacist should refer an individual patient for clinical evaluation (e.g., telehealth, in-person visit) with a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant licensed or authorized under state law to prescribe drugs, if any of the following apply:
' Sufficient information is not available to assess renal and hepatic function.' Sufficient information is not available to assess for a potential drug interaction.' Modification of other medications is needed due to a potential drug interaction.' PAXLOVID is not an appropriate therapeutic option based on the authorized Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers or due to potential drug interactions for which recommended monitoring would not be feasible.'¯ PAXLOVID is not approved for any use, including for use for the treatment of COVID-19.
PAXLOVID is authorized only for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of PAXLOVID under 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. 21 § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATIONPAXLOVID is contraindicated in patients with a history of clinically significant hypersensitivity reactions (eg, toxic epidermal necrolysis [TEN] or Stevens-Johnson syndrome) to its active ingredients (nirmatrelvir or ritonavir) or any other components of the product.
Drugs listed in this section are a guide and not considered a comprehensive list of all drugs that may be contraindicated with PAXLOVID. The healthcare provider should consult other appropriate resources such as the prescribing information for the interacting drug for comprehensive information on dosing or monitoring with concomitant use of a strong CYP3A inhibitor such as ritonavir.
PAXLOVID is contraindicated with drugs that are highly dependent on CYP3A for clearance and for which elevated concentrations are associated with serious and/or life-threatening reactions:
' Alpha1-adrenoreceptor antagonist: alfuzosin
' Antianginal: ranolazine' Antiarrhythmic: amiodarone, dronedarone, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine' Anti-gout: colchicine' Antipsychotics: lurasidone, pimozide' Benign prostatic hyperplasia agents: silodosin' Cardiovascular agents: eplerenone, ivabradine' Ergot derivatives: dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methylergonovine' HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors: lovastatin, simvastatin' Immunosuppressants: voclosporin' Microsomal triglyceride transfer protein inhibitor: lomitapide' Migraine medications: eletriptan, ubrogepant' Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists: finerenone' Opioid antagonists: naloxegol' PDE5 inhibitor: sildenafil (Revatio®) when used for pulmonary arterial hypertension' Sedative/hypnotics: triazolam, oral midazolam' Serotonin receptor 1A agonist/serotonin receptor 2A antagonist: flibanserin' Vasopressin receptor antagonists: tolvaptan PAXLOVID is contraindicated with drugs that are potent CYP3A inducers where significantly reduced nirmatrelvir or ritonavir plasma concentrations may be associated with the potential for loss of virologic response and possible resistance. PAXLOVID cannot be started immediately after discontinuation of any of the following medications due to the delayed offset of the recently discontinued CYP3A inducer:
' Anticancer drugs: apalutamide
' Anticonvulsant: carbamazepine, phenobarbital, primidone, phenytoin' Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator potentiators: lumacaftor/ivacaftor' Antimycobacterials: rifampin' Herbal Products: St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum) There are limited clinical data available for PAXLOVID. Serious and unexpected adverse events may occur that have not been previously reported with PAXLOVID use.
Risk of Serious Adverse Reactions Due to Drug Interactions: Initiation of PAXLOVID, a CYP3A inhibitor, in patients receiving medications metabolized by CYP3A or initiation of medications metabolized by CYP3A in patients already receiving PAXLOVID, may increase plasma concentrations of medications metabolized by CYP3A. Initiation of medications that inhibit or induce CYP3A may increase or decrease concentrations of PAXLOVID, respectively. These interactions may lead to:
' Clinically significant adverse reactions, potentially leading to severe, life-threatening, or fatal events from greater exposures of concomitant medications
' Clinically significant adverse reactions from greater exposures of PAXLOVID' Loss of therapeutic effect of PAXLOVID and possible development of viral resistance Consult Table 1 of the Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers for clinically significant drug interactions, including contraindicated drugs. Drugs listed in Table 1 are a guide and not considered a comprehensive list of all possible drugs that may interact with PAXLOVID. Consider the potential for drug interactions prior to and during PAXLOVID therapy; review concomitant medications during PAXLOVID therapy and monitor for the adverse reactions associated with the concomitant medications.
Anaphylaxis and other hypersensitivity reactions have been reported with PAXLOVID. Cases of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome have been reported with ritonavir, a component of PAXLOVID (refer to NORVIR prescribing information). If signs and symptoms of a clinically significant hypersensitivity reaction or anaphylaxis occur, immediately discontinue PAXLOVID and initiate appropriate medications and/or supportive care.
Hepatotoxicity: Hepatic transaminase elevations, clinical hepatitis, and jaundice have occurred in patients receiving ritonavir. Therefore, caution should be exercised when administering PAXLOVID to patients with pre-existing liver diseases, liver enzyme abnormalities, or hepatitis.
Because nirmatrelvir is co-administered with ritonavir, there may be a risk of HIV-1 developing resistance to HIV protease inhibitors in individuals with uncontrolled or undiagnosed HIV-1 infection.
Adverse events in the PAXLOVID group ('‰¥1%) that occurred at a greater frequency ('‰¥5 subject difference) than in the placebo group were dysgeusia (6% and <1%, respectively), diarrhea (3% and 2%), hypertension (1% and <1%), and myalgia (1% and <1%). The proportions of subjects who discontinued treatment due to an adverse event were 2% in the PAXLOVID group and 4% in the placebo group.
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-authorization use of PAXLOVID. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Immune System Disorders: Anaphylaxis and other hypersensitivity reactions Gastrointestinal Disorders: Abdominal pain, nausea General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions: MalaiseRequired Reporting for Serious Adverse Events and Medication Errors: The prescribing healthcare provider and/or the provider's designee is/are responsible for mandatory reporting of all serious adverse events and medication errors potentially related to PAXLOVID within 7 calendar days from the healthcare provider's awareness of the event.
Submit adverse event and medication error reports to FDA MedWatch using one of the following methods:' Online:
' Complete and submit a postage-paid FDA Form 3500 and return by mail/fax' Call 1-800-FDA-1088 to request a reporting form In addition, please provide a copy of all FDA MedWatch forms to: or by fax (1-866-635-8337) or phone (1-800-438-1985).
PAXLOVID is a strong inhibitor of CYP3A and may increase plasma concentrations of drugs that are primarily metabolized by CYP3A. Co-administration of PAXLOVID with drugs highly dependent on CYP3A for clearance and for which elevated plasma concentrations are associated with serious and/or life-threatening events is contraindicated. Co-administration with other CYP3A substrates may require a dose adjustment or additional monitoring.
Nirmatrelvir and ritonavir are CYP3A substrates; therefore, drugs that induce CYP3A may decrease nirmatrelvir and ritonavir plasma concentrations and reduce PAXLOVID therapeutic effect.
Pregnancy: There are no available human data on the use of nirmatrelvir during pregnancy to evaluate for a drug associated risk of major birth defects, miscarriage, or adverse maternal or fetal outcomes. Published observational studies on ritonavir use in pregnant women have not identified an increase in the risk of major birth defects. Published studies with ritonavir are insufficient to identify a drug associated risk of miscarriage. There are maternal and fetal risks associated with untreated COVID-19 in pregnancy.
Lactation: There are no available data on the presence of nirmatrelvir in human or animal milk, the effects on the breastfed infant, or the effects on milk production. A transient decrease in body weight was observed in the nursing offspring of rats administered nirmatrelvir. Limited published data reports that ritonavir is present in human milk. There is no information on the effects of ritonavir on the breastfed infant or the effects of the drug on milk production. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for PAXLOVID and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from PAXLOVID or from the underlying maternal condition. Breastfeeding individuals with COVID19 should follow practices according to clinical guidelines to avoid exposing the infant to COVID19.
Contraception: Use of ritonavir may reduce the efficacy of combined hormonal contraceptives. Advise patients using combined hormonal contraceptives to use an effective alternative contraceptive method or an additional barrier method of contraception.
Pediatrics: PAXLOVID is not authorized for use in pediatric patients younger than 12 years of age or weighing less than 40 kg. The safety and effectiveness of PAXLOVID have not been established in pediatric patients. The authorized adult dosing regimen is expected to result in comparable serum exposures of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir in patients 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 40 kg as observed in adults, and adults with similar body weight were included in the trial EPIC-HR.
Systemic exposure of nirmatrelvir increases in renally impaired patients with increase in the severity of renal impairment. No dosage adjustment is needed in patients with mild renal impairment. In patients with moderate renal impairment (eGFR '‰¥30 to <60 mL/min), reduce the dose of PAXLOVID to 150 mg nirmatrelvir and 100 mg ritonavir twice daily for 5 days. Prescriptions should specify the numeric dose of each active ingredient within PAXLOVID. Providers should counsel patients about renal dosing instructions. PAXLOVID is not recommended in patients with severe renal impairment (eGFR <30 mL/min based on CKD-EPI formula) until more data are available; the appropriate dosage for patients with severe renal impairment has not been determined.
No dosage adjustment of PAXLOVID is needed for patients with either mild (Child-Pugh Class A) or moderate (Child-Pugh Class B) hepatic impairment. No pharmacokinetic or safety data are available regarding the use of nirmatrelvir or ritonavir in subjects with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class C); therefore, PAXLOVID is not recommended for use in patients with severe hepatic impairment.
Pfizer Contact:Media Relations[email protected]
Hamilton 68: Brief Addendum - by Matt Taibbi - Racket
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 14:27
Hamilton 68 responded to a # TwitterFiles threa d Friday with a series of claims, including that their site was always intended to be understood as ''nuanced,'' that they always maintained that ''witting or unwitting'' accounts could be on their list, and that ''some accounts we track are automated bots, some are trolls, and some are real users.''
They could also have inserted the disclaimer added to the new Hamilton 2.0 page, which as a helpful reader noted this morning, includes in red font a blaring warning to all that it would INCORRECT to label anyone or anything that appears on their dashboard ''as being connected to state-backed propaganda'':
Thank heaven for the Wayback Machine. Here's what was written on the original Hamilton page :
These accounts were selected for their relationship to Russian-sponsored influence and disinformation campaigns , and not because of any domestic political content .
We have monitored these datasets for months in order to verify their relevance to Russian disinformation programs targeting the United States.
'...this will provide a resource for journalists to appropriately identify Russian-sponsored information campaigns .
High on that original page, the Hamilton founders explained they monitored two types of accounts:
There are two components to the dashboard featured here.
The first section, ''Overt Promotion of Content,'' highlights trending content from Twitter accounts for media outlets known to be controlled by the Russian government .
The second section, ''Content Tweeted by Bots and Trolls ,'' highlights themes being pushed by Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence campaigns.
The Hamilton list tracked overt Russian media on the one hand, and ''bots and trolls'' on the other. Note the difference between that language and the language Friday: ''Some accounts we track are automated bots, some are trolls, and some are real users.'' That Hamilton Friday was also trying to distance itself from headlines about ''bots'' is particularly grotesque, given that it was so overt in identifying the composition of its list this way at the start.
I encourage everyone to read language from the original site , then look at Friday's ironically named '' Fact sheet ,'' and compare for yourselves.
Finally I want to note a passage from the Friday ''fact sheet'' I somehow overlooked:
Individual accounts were algorithmically selected based on analytic techniques developed by J.M. Berger that were used to identify the most influential accounts within those networks. The Hamilton 68 team did not individually review or verify all accounts because the focus of the dashboard was to analyze behavior in aggregate networks, not specific accounts.
Translating: individual accounts were chosen through a method developed by J.M. Berger , a writer and think-tanker whose usual specialty is extremism (he's written about ISIS and domestic white nationalism in the U.S.). Still, it wasn't even Berger's fault that ordinary Americans ended up in the list, since said people were chosen ''algorithmically.'' The Hamilton 68 team also ''did not individually review or verify'' all the names, because their ''focus'' was ''aggregate networks,'' not ''specific accounts.''
So, nobody looked at the list.
The list that was ''the fruit of more than three years of observation and monitoring.'''
Sounds solid.
Yes? No?
Iranian military factory hit by drone attack | Reuters
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 14:24
Drones target plant near Isfahan, no casualties -TVIran: 'Cowardly' attack won't slow nuclear activitySays two drones caught in defence traps and blew upLarge fire hits motor oil factory in northwest IranDUBAI, Jan 29 (Reuters) - A loud explosion struck a military industry factory near the central Iranian city of Isfahan overnight in what Tehran said on Sunday was a drone strike by unidentified attackers.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which came amid tension with the West over Tehran's nuclear activity and supply of arms for Russia's war in Ukraine, as well as months of anti-government demonstrations at home.
Iran's foreign minister said the "cowardly" attack was aimed at creating "insecurity" in Iran. The Defence Ministry said the explosion caused only minor damage and no casualties. The extent of the damage could not be independently confirmed.
"Such actions will not impact our experts' determination to progress in our peaceful nuclear work," Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in televised remarks.
Iranian media video showed a flash of light at the plant, which the official news agency IRNA described as an ammunition factory. Footage also showed emergency vehicles and fire trucks outside the complex.
"Around 23:30 (2000 GMT) on Saturday night, an unsuccessful attack was carried out using micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) on one of the ministry's workshop sites," the Defence Ministry said in a statement carried by state TV.
It said one drone was shot down "and the other two were caught in defence traps and blew up. It caused only minor damage to the roof of a workshop building. There were no casualties."
The attack "has not affected our installations and mission ... and such blind measures will not have an impact on the continuation of the country's progress," the statement said.
Separately, IRNA reported early on Sunday a massive fire at a motor oil factory in an industrial zone near the northwestern city of Tabriz. It gave no information about the cause of that blaze.
PAST EXPLOSIONS, FIRESThe Islamic Republic has in the past accused arch-enemy Israel of planning attacks using agents inside Iranian territory. In July, Tehran said it had arrested a sabotage team made up of Kurdish militants working for Israel who planned to blow up a "sensitive" defence industry centre in Isfahan.
An Israeli military spokesperson declined comment when asked if Israel had a connection to the latest incident. Israel has long said it could attack Iran if diplomacy fails to curb Tehran's nuclear or ballistic missile programmes, but has a policy of withholding comment on specific incidents.
In Ukraine, which accuses Iran of supplying hundreds of drones to Russia to attack civilian targets in Ukrainian cities far from the front, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy linked the incident directly to the war there.
"War logic is inexorable & murderous. It bills the authors & accomplices strictly," Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. "Explosive night in Iran - drone & missile production, oil refineries. Did warn you."
Several Iranian nuclear sites are located in Isfahan province, including Natanz, centrepiece of Iran's uranium enrichment programme, which Iran accuses Israel of sabotaging in 2021. There have been a number of explosions and fires around Iranian military, nuclear and industrial sites in recent years.
Talks between Iran and world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal have stalled since September. Under the pact, abandoned by Washington in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, Tehran agreed to limit nuclear work in return for easing of sanctions.
Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but says they were sent before Moscow's invasion of Ukraine last year. Moscow denies its forces use Iranian drones in Ukraine, although many have been shot down and recovered there.
Iran's clerical rulers have also faced internal turmoil in recent months, with a crackdown on widespread anti-establishment demonstrations spurred by the death in custody of a woman held for allegedly violating its strict Islamic dress code.
Reporting by Dubai newsroom,Writing by Parisa HafeziEditing by Daniel Wallis, Cynthia Osterman, Josie Kao, Peter Graff and Mark Heinrich
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Crypto bank Custodia's application to access Fed's payment system denied | Seeking Alpha
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 13:30
We Are/DigitalVision via Getty Images
The Federal Reserve has denied cryptocurrency firm Custodia Bank's application to access its payment system as ties between the digital asset space and traditional lending face tougher scrutiny in the face of the fallout from FTX ( FTT-USD ), according to a release dated Friday.
Cheyenne, Wyoming-based Custodia, formerly known as Avanti Financial Group, is a chartered lender that offers digital asset-focused financial services to various business. The firm was said to have sued the Federal Reserve Board and the Kansas City Fed over a long-standing processing of its application for a master account at the U.S. central bank that's still pending.
''Custodia's risk management framework was insufficient to address concerns regarding the heightened risks associated with its proposed crypto activities, including its ability to mitigate money laundering and terrorism financing risks,'' the Fed said in the release.
The increased resistance to Custodia, founded in 2020 by long-time bitcoin (BTC-USD) advocate Caitlin Long, comes amid increased regulatory scrutiny of the relationship between crypto and traditional banking, triggered by the November 2022 collapse of crypto exchange FTX (FTT-USD).
''Custodia offered a safe, federally regulated, solvent alternative to the reckless speculators and grifters of crypto that penetrated the U.S. banking system with disastrous results for some banks,'' Long said in a statement in response to the Fed's decision. ''Custodia actively sought federal regulation, going above and beyond all requirements that apply to traditional banks.''
In October 2022, Michael Barr, the Federal Reserve's vice chair of supervision, deemed that crypto firms' deposits pose "heightened liquidity risks" for banks.
Highly-Cited 'Hamilton 68' Russiagate Tracker Is Total Hoax: Taibbi | ZeroHedge
Sun, 29 Jan 2023 01:33
Out of the caterwaul of cries proclaiming that Russian collusion, and Russian influence operations, were the only reason Donald Trump won the 2016 US election (a hoax funded and promoted by his opponent, Hillary Clinton), a website which claimed to track said Kremlin efforts sprung forth, and was used to justify baseless allegations;
Hamilton 68: a widely-cited, (indirectly) state-sponsored propaganda tool.
The website claims to monitor a secret list of Twitter accounts which they accused of Kremlin control, however it's impossible to verify their claims as the group has never disclosed their methodology.
Former FBI counterintelligence agent and ''disinformation'' expert Clint Watts, the spokesman for Hamilton As Matt Taibbi notes via Racket:
Hamilton 68 was and is a computerized ''dashboard'' designed to be used by reporters and academics to measure ''Russian disinformation''. It was the brainchild of former FBI agent (and current MSNBC ''disinformation expert'') Clint Watts , and backed by the German Marshall Fund and the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan think-tank. The latter's advisory panel includes former acting CIA chief Michael Morell, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, former Hillary for America chair John Podesta, and onetime Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. -Racket
And now, Taibbi has torn Hamilton 68's 'black box' asunder after reviewing the latest batch of "Twitter Files."
'-- Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 27, 2023As Taibbi notes via Racket:
Ambitious media frauds Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair crippled the reputations of the New Republic and New York Times , respectively, by slipping years of invented news stories into their pages. Thanks to the Twitter Files, we can welcome a new member to their infamous club: Hamilton 68 .
If one goes by volume alone, this oft-cited neoliberal think-tank that spawned hundreds of fraudulent headlines and TV news segments may go down as the single greatest case of media fabulism in American history. Virtually every major news organization in America is implicated, including NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and the Washington Post . Mother Jones alone did at least 14 stories pegged to the group's ''research.'' Even fact-checking sites like Politifact and Snopes cited Hamilton 68 as sources.
A small sample of Hamilton 68-sourced stories. * * *
An American group made false claims about Russian election interference to interfere with American elections
'-- Mr. Tweet (@elonmusk) January 27, 2023Twitter thought they were full of shit
Taibbi reveals that Twitter was concerned enough about Hamilton 68's claims that they ordered a forensic analysis which found that of 644 accounts, just 36 were registered in Russia - many of which were associated with news outlet RT.
Note the second page lists many of the different types of shadow-banning techniques that existed at Twitter even in 2017As Taibbi further notes (emphasis ours):
Examining further, Twitter execs were shocked. The accounts Hamilton 68 claimed were linked to ''Russian influence activities online'' were not only overwhelmingly English-language (86%), but mostly ''legitimate people,'' largely in the U.S., Canada, and Britain. Grasping right away that Twitter might be implicated in a moral outrage, they wrote that these account-holders ''need to know they've been unilaterally labeled Russian stooges without evidence or recourse.''
10. The secret ingredient to Hamilton 68's analytical method? A list: ''Our analysis has linked 600 Twitter accounts to Russian influence activities online,'' was how the site put it at launch.
'-- Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 27, 2023Other comments in internal company emails:
''These accounts are neither strongly Russian nor strongly bots.''
''No evidence to support the statement that the dashboard is a finger on the pulse of Russian information ops.''
''Hardly evidence of a massive influence campaign.''
13.''These accounts,'' they concluded, ''are neither strongly Russian nor strongly bots.''''No evidence to support the statement that the dashboard is a finger on the pulse of Russian information ops.''
''Hardly illuminating a massive influence operation.''
'-- Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 27, 2023Declared Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth: ''I think we need to just call this out on the bullshit it is.''
The two founders of Hamilton 68, the blue-and-red team of former counselor to Marco Rubio Jamie Fly and Hillary for America Foreign Policy Advisor Laura Rosenberger, told Politico they couldn't reveal the names of the accounts because '' the Russians will simply shut them down .'' Tchya , right. One look at the list reveals the real reason they couldn't make it public.
This was not faulty science. It was a scam. Instead of tracking how ''Russia'' influenced American attitudes, Hamilton 68 simply collected a handful of mostly real, mostly American accounts, and described their organic conversations as Russian scheming. As Roth put it, ''Virtually any conclusion drawn from [the dashboard] will take conversations in conservative circles on Twitter and accuse them of being Russian.''
Twitter execs wanted to out Hamilton 68!?
"Why can't we say we've investigated'... and citing Hamilton 68 is being wrong, irresponsible, and biased?" one exec asked, after Russians were blamed for hyping the #ParklandShooting hashtag.
Trust and Safety head Yoel Roth even wanted to confront Hamilton 68 - writing in one email "My recommendation at this stage is an ultimatum: you release the list or we do."
"I also have been very frustrated in not calling out Hamilton 68 more publicly, but understand we have to play a longer game here," said Carlos Monje, the future senior advisor to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
But Future White House and NSC spokesperson Emily Horne advised against it.
19.''We have to be careful in how much we push back on ASD publicly,'' said future White House and NSC spokesperson Emily Horne.
'-- Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 27, 2023 As Taibbi further notes:
" So the ''legitimate people,'' as one Twitter exec called them, never found out they'd been used as fodder for mountains of news stories about ''Russian influence.'' Because the #TwitterFiles contain the list, they've begun finding out."
Hamilton's victims speak out
"I'm shocked," said Sonia Monsour, who as a child lived through civil war in Lebanon. "Supposedly in a free world, we are being watched at many levels, by what we say online."
Another person alleged by Hamilton to be a Russian is Chicago-based lawyer David Shestokas.
"I've written a book about the U.S. Constitution," he said, adding "How I made a list like this is incredible to me."
24. ''When I was growing up, my father told me about the McCarthyite blacklist,'' says Oregon native Jacob Levich. ''As a child it would never have occurred to me that this would come back, in force and broadly, in a way'... designed to undermine rights we hold dear.''
'-- Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 27, 2023Continued:
26. I'm listed as a foreign bot?'' said conservative media figure Dennis Michael Lynch. ''As a proud taxpaying citizen, charitable family man, and honest son of a U.S. Marine, I deserve better. We all do!''
'-- Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 27, 202328.What makes this an important story is the sheer scale of the news footprint left by Hamilton 68's digital McCarthyism. The quantity of headlines and TV segments dwarfs the impact of individual fabulists like Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass.
'-- Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 27, 202330.These stories raised fears in the population, and most insidious of all, were used to smear people like Tulsi Gabbard as foreign ''assets,'' and drum up sympathy for political causes like Joe Biden's campaign by describing critics as Russian-aligned.
'-- Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 27, 2023The Hamilton 68 story shows how the illusion of ongoing ''Russian interference'' worked. The magic trick was generated via a confluence of interests, between think-tanks, media, and government. Before, we could only speculate. Now we know: the ''Russian threat'' was, in this case at least, just a bunch of ordinary Americans, dressed up to look like a Red Menace. Jayson Blair had a hell of an imagination, but even he couldn't have come up with a scheme this obscene. Shame on every news outlet that hasn't renounced these tales. -Matt Taibbi
And Elon with the last word:
Shame on @MSNBC for misleading the public!
'-- Mr. Tweet (@elonmusk) January 27, 2023Loading...
Fraudulent Nursing Diploma Scheme Leads to Federal Charges Against 25 Defendants | USAO-SDFL | Department of Justice
Sat, 28 Jan 2023 15:34
MIAMI '' More than two dozen individuals have been charged in the Southern District of Florida for their alleged participation in a wire fraud scheme that created an illegal licensing and employment shortcut for aspiring nurses.
According to three recently unsealed indictments returned by a South Florida federal grand jury and two informations filed by federal prosecutors, defendants engaged in a scheme to sell fraudulent nursing degree diplomas and transcripts obtained from accredited Florida-based nursing schools to individuals seeking licenses and jobs as registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs).
The bogus diplomas and transcripts qualified purchasers to sit for the national nursing board exam and, after passing it, to obtain licenses and jobs in various states as RNs and LPN/VNs. The overall scheme involved the distribution of more than 7,600 fake nursing diplomas issued by three South Florida-based nursing schools: Siena College in Broward County, Fla., Palm Beach School of Nursing in Palm Beach County, Fla., and Sacred Heart International Institute in Broward County. These schools are now closed.
Each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison.
''Not only is this a public safety concern, it also tarnishes the reputation of nurses who actually complete the demanding clinical and course work required to obtain their professional licenses and employment,'' said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe, who added that ''a fraud scheme like this erodes public trust in our health care system.''
Crimes such as these unfortunately continue to spring up, especially in this area.
''Health care fraud is nothing new to South Florida, as many scammers see this as a way to earn easy, though illegal, money, ''said acting Special Agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough, FBI Miami. ''What is disturbing about this investigation is that there are over 7,600 people around the country with fraudulent nursing credentials who are potentially in critical health care roles treating patients. Were it not for the diligence and hard work of the investigators on this case, the extent of this fraud may not have been discovered.''
The charges speak to the purpose of a nursing license which is to protect the public from harm by setting minimum qualifications and competencies.
''The alleged selling and purchasing of nursing diplomas and transcripts to willing but unqualified individuals is a crime that potentially endangers the health and safety of patients and insults the honorable profession of nursing,'' said Special Agent in Charge Omar P(C)rez Aybar of Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). ''In coordination with our law enforcement partners, HHS-OIG continues to aggressively investigate bad actors who so brazenly disregard the well-being of others in order to enrich themselves fraudulently.''
Charges Related to Fraudulent Nursing Diplomas and Transcripts from Siena College.
U.S. v. Witherspoon, et al., case no.: 23-60005-Cr-Smith
U.S. v. Sanon, case no.: 23-60013-Cr-Moreno
The charging documents describe Siena College as a Broward County school licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education and the Florida Board of Nursing that offers a Practical Nursing Program and an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program. Eunide Sanon managed Siena College.
The indictment charges defendants Stanton Witherspoon of Burlington County N.J.; Alfred Sellu of Burlington County N.J.; and Rene Bernadel of Westchester County, N.Y. with conspiring to commit and committing wire fraud. The indictment alleges that Witherspoon, Sellu, and Bernadel solicited and recruited individuals who sought nursing credentials to gain employment as an RN or LPN/VN. It is alleged that these defendants arranged with Sanon, who managed Siena College and is charged by information with wire fraud conspiracy, to create and distribute false and fraudulent diplomas and transcripts. These fake documents represented that the aspiring RN and LPN/VN candidates had attended Siena College's nursing program in Broward County and completed the necessary courses and clinicals to obtain RN or LPN/VN diplomas. In fact, the aspiring nurses never completed the necessary courses and clinicals.
The information against Sanon alleges that he and others sold thousands of fake Siena College nursing diplomas and educational transcripts to nursing applicants who used them to obtain RN or LPN/VN licenses in various states and nursing jobs with unwitting health care providers throughout the country.
Charges Related to Fraudulent Nursing Diplomas and Transcripts from Palm Beach School of Nursing.
U.S. v. Russ, et al., case no.: 23-60007-Cr-Singhal
According to the charging documents, Palm Beach School of Nursing's objective was to prepare students to meet Florida's licensing and nursing board requirements and become eligible to take the national licensing exam in order to work as registered nurses.
The indictment charges Gail Russ of Broward County; Cheryl Stanley of Collier County, Fla.; Krystal Lopez of Palm Beach County; Ricky Riley of Broward County; Norberto Lopez of Palm Beach County; Damian Lopez of Palm Beach County; Francois Legagneur of Nassau County, N.Y.; Reynoso Seide of Union County, N.J.; Cassandre Jean of Palm Beach County; Yelva Saint Preux of Suffolk County, N.Y.; Evangeline Naissant of Nassau County, N.Y.; Rony Michel of Monmouth County, N.J.; Vilaire Duroseau of Essex County, N.J.; and Yvrose Thermitus, a/k/a ''Yvrose Thompson,'' of Union County, N.J., with conspiring to commit, and committing, wire fraud. The indictment alleges that these defendants solicited and recruited individuals who sought nursing credentials to gain employment as an RN or LPN/VN.
It is alleged that these recruiter defendants then arranged with Palm Beach School of Nursing's owner Johanah Napoleon and school employees Gail Russ, Cheryl Stanley, Krystal Lopez, and Ricky Riley to create and distribute false and fraudulent diplomas and transcripts representing that the aspiring RN and LPN/VN candidates had attended Palm Beach School of Nursing and completed the necessary courses and clinicals to obtain RN or LPN/VN diplomas. In fact, the aspiring nurses never completed the necessary courses and clinicals.
The nursing applicants used the fake diplomas and transcripts they purchased from the owner and employees of Palm Beach School of Nursing to obtain RN or LPN/VN licenses in various states and nursing jobs with unwitting health care providers throughout the country. Napoleon was previously charged by information and has pled guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, as well as wire fraud (case nos. 22-60111-Cr-Smith and 22-60118-Cr-Smith).
Charges Related to Fraudulent Nursing Diplomas and Transcripts from Sacred Heart International Institute
U.S. v. Jean, et al., case no.: 23-60010-Cr-Smith
U.S. v. Etienne, case no.: 23-60012-Cr-Singhal
According to charging documents, Sacred Heart International Institute was a Broward County School licensed by the Florida Board of Nursing that offered a nursing program designed to prepare students for employment as practical nurses.
The indictment charges Ludnie Jean of Harris County, Texas; Serge Jean of Harris County, Texas; Simon Itaman of Harris County, Texas; Anna Itaman of Harris County, Texas; Rhomy Louis of Suffolk County, N.Y.; and Nadege Auguste of Broward County with conspiring to and committing wire fraud. It is alleged that these defendants solicited and recruited individuals who sought nursing credentials to gain employment as an LPN/VN. These recruiters then arranged with Charles Etienne, Sacred Heart's owner, to create and distribute false and fraudulent transcripts and diplomas representing that the aspiring candidates had attended Sacred Heart and completed the necessary courses and clinicals to obtain LPN/VN diplomas. In fact, the aspiring nurses never completed the necessary courses and clinicals. Etienne is charged by information with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The nursing candidates used the fake diplomas and transcripts they purchased from Sacred Heart to obtain LPN/VN licenses in various states and nursing jobs with unwitting health care providers throughout the country.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe; acting Special Agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough, FBI, Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Omar Perez Aybar, HHS-OIG, made the announcement.
FBI Miami and HHS-OIG Miami investigated these cases. Valuable assistance was provided by Homeland Security Investigations, Miami Field Office; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of Inspector General; United States Postal Inspection Service, Miami; and Florida Attorney General-Florida Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Mid-Atlantic Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Clark is prosecuting this case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Grosnoff is handling asset forfeiture. This case is being prosecuted in conjunction with a related criminal matter in the District of Maryland.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or at
Click here to access charging documents.
Pentagon study declares American empire is 'collapsing' '' Canadian Dimension
Sat, 28 Jan 2023 15:30
Photo by Specialist Steven Hitchcock/US Army/Flickr
An extraordinary new Pentagon study has concluded that the US-backed framework of international order established after World War II is ''fraying'' and may even be ''collapsing,'' leading the United States to lose its position of ''primacy'' in world affairs.
The solution proposed to protect US power in this new ''post-primacy'' environment is, however, more of the same: more surveillance, more propaganda (''strategic manipulation of perceptions'') and more military expansionism.
The document concludes that the world has entered a fundamentally new phase of transformation in which US power is in decline, international order is unravelling, and the authority of governments everywhere is crumbling.
Having lost its past status of ''pre-eminence,'' the US now inhabits a dangerous, unpredictable ''post-primacy'' world, whose defining feature is ''resistance to authority.''
Danger comes not just from great power rivals like Russia and China, both portrayed as rapidly growing threats to American interests, but also from the increasing risk of ''Arab Spring''-style events. These will erupt not just in the Middle East, but all over the world, potentially undermining trust in incumbent governments for the foreseeable future.
The report, based on a year-long intensive research process involving consultation with key agencies across the Department of Defense and US Army, calls for the US government to invest in more surveillance, better propaganda through ''strategic manipulation'' of public opinion, and a ''wider and more flexible'' US military.
The report was published in June by the US Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute to evaluate the DoD's approach to risk assessment at all levels of Pentagon policy planning. The study was supported and sponsored by the US Army's Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate; the Joint Staff, J5 (Strategy and Policy Branch); the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Develop­ment; and the Army Study Program Management Office.
Collapse''While the United States remains a global political, economic, and military giant, it no longer enjoys an unassailable position versus state competitors,'' the report laments.
''In brief, the sta­tus quo that was hatched and nurtured by U.S. strategists after World War II and has for decades been the principal 'beat' for DoD is not merely fraying but may, in fact, be collapsing.''
The study's description of this order subtly recognizes its imperial nature as one underpinned by American dominance, in which the US and its allies literally ''dictate'' the terms of how the system operates, to further their own interests:
The order and its constituent parts, first emerged from World War II, were transformed to a unipolar sys­tem with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and have by-and-large been dominated by the United States and its major Western and Asian allies since. Status quo forces collectively are comfortable with their dominant role in dictating the terms of international security outcomes and resist the emergence of rival centers of power and authority.But this era when the US and its allies could simply get their way is over. Observing that US officials ''naturally feel an obligation to preserve the U.S. global position within a favorable international order,'' the report concludes that this ''rules-based global order that the United States built and sustained for 7 decades is under enormous stress.''
The report provides a detailed breakdown of how the DoD perceives this order to be rapidly unravelling, with the Pentagon being increasingly outpaced by world events. Warning that ''global events will happen faster than DoD is currently equipped to handle,'' the study concludes that the US ''can no longer count on the unassailable position of dominance, supremacy, or pre-eminence it enjoyed for the 20-plus years after the fall of the Soviet Union.''
So weakened is US power, that it can no longer even ''automatically generate consistent and sustained local military superiority at range.''
It's not just US power that is in decline. The US Army War College study concludes that:
[A]ll states and traditional political authority structures are under increasing pressure from endogenous and exogenous forces'... The fracturing of the post-Cold War global system is accompanied by the in­ternal fraying in the political, social, and economic fabric of practically all states.But, the document says, this should not be seen as defeatism, but rather a ''wakeup call.'' If nothing is done to adapt to this ''post-primacy'' environment, the complexity and speed of world events will ''increasingly defy [DoD's] current strategy, planning, and risk assessment conventions and biases.''
Defending the ''status quo''Top on the list of forces that have knocked the US off its position of global ''pre-eminence,'' says the report, are the role of competing powers'--major rivals like Russia and China, as well as smaller players like Iran and North Korea.
The document is particularly candid in setting out why the US sees these countries as threats'--not so much because of tangible military or security issues, but mainly because their pursuit of their own legitimate national interests is, in itself, seen as undermining American dominance.
Russia and China are described as ''revisionist forces'' who benefit from the US-dominated international order, but who dare to ''seek a new distribution of power and authority commensurate with their emergence as legitimate rivals to U.S. dominance.'' Russia and China, the analysts say, ''are engaged in a deliberate program to demonstrate the limits of U.S. authority, will, reach, influence, and impact.''
The premise of this conclusion is that the US-backed ''status quo'' international order is fundamentally ''favorable'' for the interests of the US and its allies. Any effort to make global order also work ''favorably'' for anyone else is automatically seen as a threat to US power and interests.
Thus, Russia and China ''seek to reorder their position in the existing status quo in ways that'--at a minimum'--create more favorable circumstances for pursuit of their core objectives.'' At first glance there seems nothing particularly wrong about this. So the analysts emphasize that ''a more maximalist perspective sees them pursuing advantage at the direct expense of the United States and its principal Western and Asian allies.''
Most conspicuous of all, there is little substantiation in the document at all of how Russia and China pose a meaningful threat to American national security.
The chief challenge is that they ''are bent on revising the contemporary status quo'' through the use of ''gray zone'' techniques, involving ''means and methods falling far short of unambiguous or open provocation and conflict.''
Such ''murkier, less obvious forms of state-based aggression,'' despite falling short of actual violence, are condemned'--but then, losing any sense of moral high-ground, the Pentagon study advocates that the US itself should ''go gray or go home'' to ensure US influence.
The document also sets out the real reasons that the US is hostile to ''revolutionary forces'' like Iran and North Korea: they pose fundamental obstacles to US imperial influence in those regions. They are:
'... neither the products of, nor are they satisfied with, the contemporary order'... At a minimum, they intend to destroy the reach of the U.S.-led order into what they perceive to be their legitimate sphere of influence. They are also resolved to replace that order locally with a new rule set dictated by them.Far from insisting, as the US government does officially, that Iran and North Korea are threats mainly due to nuclear weapons, the document makes clear that actually they are considered threatening to the expansion of the ''U.S.-led order.''
Losing the propaganda warAmidst the challenge posed by these competing powers, the Pentagon study emphasizes the threat from non-state forces which are undermining the ''U.S.-led order'' in different ways, primarily through information.
The ''hyper-connectivity and weaponization of information, disinformation, and dis­affection,'' the study team observes, is leading to the uncontrolled spread of information. The upshot is that the Pentagon faces the ''inevitable elimination of secrecy and operational security.''
''Wide uncontrolled access to technology that most now take for granted is rapidly undermining prior advantages of discrete, secret, or covert intentions, actions, or operations'... In the end, senior defense leaders should assume that all defense-related activity from minor tactical movements to major military operations would occur completely in the open from this point forward.''
This information revolution, in turn, is leading to the ''generalized disintegra­tion of traditional authority structures'... fueled, and/or accelerated by hyperconnectivity and the obvious decay and potential failure of the post-Cold War status quo.''
Civil unrestHighlighting the threat posed by groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, the study also points to ''leaderless instability (e.g., Arab Spring)'' as a major driver of ''a generalized erosion or dissolution of traditional authority structures.'' The document hints that such populist civil unrest is likely to become prominent in Western homelands, including inside the United States.
''To date, U.S. strategists have been fixated on this trend in the greater Middle East. However, the same forces at work there are similarly eroding the reach and authority of governments worldwide'... it would be unwise not to recognize that they will mutate, metastasize, and manifest differently over time.''
The US homeland is flagged-up as being especially vulnerable to the breakdown of ''traditional authority structures'':
The United States and its population are increasingly exposed to substantial harm and an erosion of security from individuals and small groups of motivated actors, leveraging the conflu­ence of hyperconnectivity, fear, and increased vulner­ability to sow disorder and uncertainty. This intensely disorienting and dislocating form of resistance to author­ity arrives via physical, virtual, and psychological vio­lence and can create effects that appear substantially out of proportion to the origin and physical size or scale of the proximate hazard or threat.There is little reflection, however, on the role of the US government itself in fomenting such endemic distrust, through its own policies.
Bad factsAmong the most dangerous drivers of this risk of civil unrest and mass destabilization, the document asserts, are different categories of fact. Apart from the obvious ''fact-free,'' which is defined as information that undermines ''objective truth,'' the other categories include actual truths that, however, are damaging to America's global reputation.
''Fact-inconvenient'' information consists of the exposure of ''details that, by implication, un­dermine legitimate authority and erode the relationships between governments and the governed'''--in other words, facts that reveal how government policy is corrupt, incompetent or undemocratic.
''Fact-perilous'' information refers to basically to national security leaks from whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning, ''exposing highly clas­sified, sensitive, or proprietary information that can be used to accelerate a real loss of tactical, operational, or strategic advantage.''
''Fact-toxic'' information pertains to actual truths which, the document complains, are ''exposed in the absence of context,'' and therefore poison ''important political discourse.'' Such information is seen as being most potent in triggering outbreaks of civil unrest, because it:
'... fatally weakens foundational security at an international, regional, national, or personal level. Indeed, fact-toxic exposures are those likeliest to trigger viral or contagious insecurity across or within borders and between or among peoples.Mass surveillance and psychological warfareThe Pentagon study comes up with two solutions to the information threat.
The first is to make better use of US mass surveillance capabilities, which describes as ''the largest and most sophisticated and inte­grated intelligence complex in world.'' The US can ''generate insight faster and more reliably than its competitors can, if it chooses to do so.'' Combined with its ''military forward presence and power projection,'' the US is ''an enviable position of strength.''
Supposedly, though, the problem is that the US does not make full use of this potential strength:
That strength, however, is only as durable as the United States' willingness to see and employ it to its advantage. To the extent that the United States and its defense enterprise are seen to lead, others will follow'...The document also criticizes US strategies for focusing too much on trying to defend against foreign efforts to penetrate or disrupt US intelligence, at the expense of ''the purposeful exploitation of the same architecture for the strategic manipulation of perceptions and its attendant influence on political and security outcomes.''
Pentagon officials need to simply accept, therefore, that:
'... the U.S. homeland, individual American citizens, and U.S. public opinion and perceptions will increasingly become battlefields.Military supremacyHaving mourned the loss of US primacy, the Pentagon report sees expanding the US military as the only option. The bipartisan consensus on military supremacism, however, is not enough. The document demands a military force so powerful it can preserve ''maximum freedom of action,'' and allow the US to ''dictate or hold significant sway over outcomes in international disputes.''
One would be hard-pressed to find a clearer statement of imperial intent in any US Army document:
While as a rule, U.S. leaders of both political parties have consistently committed to the maintenance of U.S. military superiority over all potential state rivals, the post-primacy reality demands a wider and more flexible military force that can generate ad­vantage and options across the broadest possible range of military demands. To U.S. political leadership, maintenance of military advantage preserves maximum freedom of action'... Finally, it allows U.S. decision-makers the opportunity to dictate or hold significant sway over outcomes in international disputes in the shadow of significant U.S. military capability and the implied promise of unac­ceptable consequences in the event that capability is unleashed.Once again, military power is essentially depicted as a tool for the US to force, threaten and cajole other countries into submission to US demands. The very concept of 'defense' is thus re-framed as the capacity to use overwhelming military might to get one's way'--anything which undermines this capacity ends up automatically appearing as a threat that deserves to be attacked.
Empire of capitalAccordingly, a core goal of this military expansionism is ensuring that the United States and its international partners have ''unimpeded access to air, sea, space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum in order to underwrite their security and prosperity.''
This also means that the US must retain the ability to physically access any region it wants, whenever it wants:
Failure of or limitations on the ability of the United States to enter and operate within key regions of the world, for example, undermine both U.S. and partner security.The US thus must try to minimize any ''purposeful, malevolent, or incidental interruption of access to the commons, as well as critical regions, resources, and markets.''
Without ever referring directly to 'capitalism,' the document eliminates any ambiguity about how the Pentagon sees this new era of ''Persistent Conflict 2.0'': '''... some are fighting globalization and globalization is also actively fighting back. Combined, all of these forces are rending at the fabric of security and stable governance that all states aspire to and rely on for survival.''
This is a war, then, between US-led capitalist globalization, and anyone who resists it. And to win it, the document puts forward a combination of strategies: consolidating the US intelligence complex and using it more ruthlessly; intensifying mass surveillance and propaganda to manipulate US and global popular opinion; expanding US military power and reach to ensure access to ''strategic regions, markets, and resources.''
Even so, the overarching goal is somewhat more modest: to prevent the US-led order from collapsing further:
'.... while the favorable U.S.-dominated status quo is under significant internal and external pressure, adapted American power can help to forestall or even reverse outright failure in the most critical regions.The hope is that the US will be able to fashion ''a remodeled but nonetheless still favorable post-primacy international order.''
NarcissismLike all US Army War College publications, the document states that it does not necessarily represent the official position of the US Army or DoD. While this caveat means that its findings cannot be taken to formally represent the US government, the document does also admit that it represents ''the collective wisdom'' of the numerous officials consulted.
In that sense, the document is a uniquely insightful window into the mind of the Pentagon, and how embarrassingly limited its cognitive scope really is.
Launched in June 2016 and completed in April 2017, the US Army War College research project involved extensive consultation with officials across the Pentagon, including representatives of the joint and service staffs, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM); U.S. Forces, Japan (USFJ), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Intelligence Council, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), and U.S. Army Pacific [US­ARPAC] and Pacific Fleet [PACFLT]).
The study team also consulted with a handful of American think-tanks of a somewhat neoconservative persuasion: the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the RAND Corporation, and the Institute for the Study of War.
No wonder, then, that its findings and conclusions are so myopic. The research methodology manages to systematically ignore the most critical evidence surrounding the drivers that are behind the myriad forces the study pinpoints as undermining US primacy: such as, for instance, the biophysical processes of climate, energy and food disruption behind the Arab Spring; the confluence of military violence, fossil fuel interests and geopolitical alliances behind the rise of ISIS; or the fundamental grievances that have driven a breakdown in trust with governments since the 2008 financial collapse and the ensuing ongoing period of neoliberal economic failure.
In this context, the study's conclusions are less a reflection of the actual state of the world, than of the way the Pentagon sees itself and the world. Indeed, most telling of all is the document's utter inability to recognize the role of the Pentagon itself in systematically pursuing a wide range of policies over the last several decades which have contributed directly to the very instability it now wants to defend against.
The Pentagon frames itself as existing outside the Hobbesian turmoil that it conveniently projects onto the world'--the result is a monumental and convenient rejection of any sense of responsibility for what happens in the world.
It is no surprise then that even the Pentagon's apparent conviction in the inexorable decline of US power could well be overblown.
According to Dr. Sean Starrs of MIT's Center for International Studies, a true picture of US power cannot be determined solely from national accounts. We have to look at the accounts of transnational corporations.
Starrs shows that American transnational corporations are vastly more powerful than their competitors. His data suggests that American economic supremacism remains at an all-time high, and still unchallenged even by an economic powerhouse like China.
This does not necessarily discredit the Pentagon's emerging recognition that US imperial power now faces a new era of decline and unprecedented volatility.
But it does suggest that the Pentagon's sense of US global pre-eminence is very much bound up with its capacity to project American capitalism globally.
As geopolitical rivals agitate against US economic reach, and as new movements emerge hoping to undermine American ''unimpeded access'' to global resources and markets, what's clear is that DoD officials see anything which competes with or undermines American capitalism as a clear and present danger.
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is a British investigative journalist, author and academic.
This article originally appeared on
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Tractor Supply Chicken Feed Reportedly Causing Egglaying to Stop, Board has Ties to WEF, Jeffrey Epstein
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 22:59
Online claims have emerged, corroborated by others, that the popular ''Producer's Pride'' chicken feed sold by the Tractor Supply chain has been recently altered and that its new formulation is causing chickens to stop laying eggs. Some suggest a deliberate reduction in the amount of protein in the feed may be causing the reduction in egg production.
Let's hope this isn't true. But anything is possible these days.
'-- KeriA (@KeriA1776again) January 22, 2023
Hens do lay fewer eggs in the winter time due to reduced sunlight. Farmers have often used a light to expose hens to longer light so as to produce more egg-laying. Yet farmer sources report that they are seeing a much-greater-than-normal reduction in egg production, to the point where many report that hens are laying zero eggs instead of merely a reduced laying frequency. There is no word on whether this is a temporary or a permanent change among Tractor Supply feed.
This news comes as chicken and egg prices reach historic highs, caused in part by Avian Flu, but also as rampant inflation under the Biden regime causing prices to erratically jump among suppliers and subsequently among common consumer products. Egg prices have gone from $1.71 per dozen 18 months ago to an average over $7 per dozen today.
Not all hen layer feeds seem to be affected. In a quote to the Gateway Pundit, spokeswoman for Nature's Best Organic Feeds Courtney Price said, ''there have been absolutely no changes to our premium feed formulas'' and that they have not heard any customer criticisms or complaints about their non-GMO chicken feed products. Price continued, ''We pride ourselves here at Kreamer Feed on premium nutrition for animals nationwide, and all of the products in our organic, non-GMO brand Nature's Best Organic Feeds line is no exception.''
TRENDING: WATCH: "What About The $80,000 For Alcohol?" - Ronna Romney McDaniel Runs From TGP Reporter When Asked About Spending Millions On Luxury Items Before RNC Chair Election In Dana Point, CA
The U.S. poultry feed market is $5 billion per year. Two of the most popular chicken feeds available for, and marketed to, backyard chicken homesteaders are ''Producer's Pride'' owned by the Tractor Supply corporation and the ''Dumor'' brand owned by Purina.
These two layer feeds seem to be the primary brands mentioned by those experiencing chicken flocks who suddenly stop laying eggs.
Recent reports of chickens not laying comes in the wake of ongoing public concerns that the World Economic Forum is artificially causing food scarcity. The WEF has been widely criticized for repeatedly encouraging citizens to eat bugs in lieu of animal protein.
Tractor Supply's CEO is Hal Lawton, based in Nashville, Tennessee. Tractor Supply is a publicly-listed company with $13 billion in annual revenue, 46,000 employees, and 2,003 locations in 49 U.S. states. Tractor Supply is specifically marketed to more rural Americans, where their company tagline is ''for life out here.''
Tractor Supply has a board of directors composed of 10 individuals. One of them, Joy Brown, is a former executive for Vanguard, an index fund with $5 trillion under management. The three big index funds, Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street, substantially financially support the World Economic Forum for the western world, and sources say also for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization for the eastern world.
These various funds are also behind the ''social credit'' and ''ESG'' left-wing movements among corporate America to force businesses into left-wing economic and cultural compliance. Another current Tractor Supply board member, Thomas Kingsbury, bragged about implementing ESG initiatives while an executive at Kohl's.
Another Tractor Supply board member Andre Hawaux is a former executive with ConAgra, which has been criticized for using genetically modified organisms to change the genetic composition of its foods which dissident voices say causes sterility.
One Wyoming farmer described ConAgra to the Gateway Pundit as 'a bunch of crooks' that make seeds for farmers that eventually go sterile, and also make the soil sterile. Part of their motivation, he says, is to use gene splicing which is, he says, ''bad for both plants and humans.'' ConAgra and other companies were widely criticized 20 years ago for developing sterile seeds on purpose, which critics labelled 'suicide seeds' or 'terminator seeds', that would stop seeds from reproducing so as to force farmers to continually buy seeds only from licensed distributors rather than growing their own replacements.
Most shocking is that another board member, Mark Weikel, was the President of Victoria's Secret from 2003-2007. Victoria's Secret is owned by Leslie Wexner. During this period of time from 2003-2007, as reported by the New York Times, Jeffrey Epstein had a power-of-attorney document that allowed him to hire, manage, and fire all of Wexner's employees and manage all of his finances and entities. The Gateway Pundit asked Mark Weikel point blank whether he reported directly to Jeffrey Epstein and he did not reply or deny as of publication time.
We reached out to Tractor Supply's corporate media offices and they did not respond. We reached out to the Food and Drug Administration's designated media contact Janet Goodwin and they also did not respond. We reached out to Mark Weikel on the board of Tractor Supply and he also did not respond.
U.S. FDA pulls authorization for AstraZeneca's COVID-19 treatment Evusheld '' PharmaLive
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 22:47
U.S. FDA pulls authorization for AstraZeneca's COVID-19 treatment Evusheld
Jan 26 (Reuters) '' The U.S. health regulator has withdrawn emergency-use authorization for AstraZeneca's (AZN.L) COVID-19 antibody cocktail Evusheld as the treatment is not expected to neutralize the currently dominant XBB.1.5 subvariant of Omicron.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had limited Evusheld's use earlier this month for the same reason and the agency's Thursday announcement sent U.S. shares of London-based AstraZeneca down 1.31% to $65.75.
Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 has been spreading rapidly in the country since December and it made up nearly half of all U.S. COVID-19 cases last week, according to government data.
The FDA's decision resonates with concerns raised by the European health regulator about the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies such as Evusheld against newer variants.
AstraZeneca said it was informed that the agency will decide about reinstating authorization of Evusheld if the prevalence of resistant variants in the United States decreases to 90% or less on a sustained basis.
The drugmaker plans to continue to share relevant data with the FDA and other health authorities regarding Evusheld and SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Monoclonal antibodies act by binding to the spike protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but the virus has been evolving, causing changes in this protein and affecting how the antibodies work against them.
In November, the U.S. health regulator also pulled emergency use authorization for Eli Lilly and Co's COVID-19 drug bebtelovimab, citing similar concerns.
Evusheld was first authorized in late 2021 by the FDA to prevent COVID-19 infections in individuals with weak immune systems or a history of severe side effects from coronavirus vaccines.
Reporting by Bhanvi Satija and Khushi Mandowara in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Devika Syamnath
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Source: Reuters
Spotify Reveals Podcast Revenue, Gross Margins and Forecasts - Variety
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 18:01
Spotify disclosed some key financial metrics of its podcast business for the first time '-- and while the $1 billion-plus the streamer has invested into podcasting so far has been a drag on overall profits, the company expects podcasts to eventually have higher margins than its core music biz.
The company outlined its long-term strategy and financial prospects at its 2022 Investor Day event Tuesday.
In 2021, Spotify's podcast business generated nearly '‚¬200 million in revenue, according to CFO Paul Vogel '-- up 300% year over year. About 30% of Spotify's user base, or more than 125 million monthly users, listened to podcasts in the first quarter of 2022, representing 7% of total listening hours on the platform in the period.
However, the podcast business in 2021 had a negative gross margin of -57%, according to Vogel '-- and he said the losses will be even higher this year, peaking in 2022. That said, Spotify monetized only 14% of podcast listening on the platform in Q1, Vogel said, suggesting that the company has room to expand the podcast advertising business. In 2021, Spotify's music business had a gross margin of 28.3%, up 300 basis points since 2018.
Long term, Spotify believes podcasts can achieve potential gross margins of 40%-50% within the next five years '-- even higher than its 30%-35% gross margin target for music.
To enter the podcast market, ''we had to do a lot more heavy lifting'' compared with music streaming, CEO Daniel Ek told investors. Podcasting is ''a market that almost doesn't exist, but it has a lot of tailwinds behind it.'' Spotify also has big expectations for the audiobook market, which it entered with the acquisition of Findaway in November 2021.
On the podcast content front, Spotify's owned-and-exclusive strategy is geared around using ''tentpole'' shows '-- like top 10 podcasts ''The Joe Rogan Experience,'' Alex Cooper's ''Call Her Daddy'' and Dax Shepard's ''Armchair Expert'' '-- to attract podcast listeners from other platforms, said Dawn Ostroff, chief content and advertising business officer. In addition, the O&E podcasts let Spotify ''engage music-only audiences already on the platform'' to ''level them up to become both music and podcast listeners.''
Spotify has paid top dollar to get exclusive rights to popular podcasts: In 2020 it inked a deal with Joe Rogan worth more than $200 million over 3.5 years, and last year nabbed ''Call Her Daddy'' in a $60 million three-year pact with Cooper.
Spotify expects to exceed 1 billion users worldwide by 2030, more than double from 422 million as of the end of the first quarter of 2022, execs said.
The overall message that Ek and other Spotify brass wanted to impart to investors: The company has more upside longer term than many on Wall Street think. ''We've morphed dramatically as a business,'' Ek said. ''Frankly, we probably haven't done a very good job of explaining it.''
Inside Spotify's Unconventional '' And Risky '' Stock Debut | Maryland Smith
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 18:01
SMITH BRAIN TRUST '' What's the big deal about Spotify's unconventional IPO? The music-streaming giant is set to come to market next without the help of some big investment bank. It's a known brand, and it's shown growth in its niche. So, why are investors so jittery about this initial public offering?
The Smith School's David Kass says it comes down to risk. And with Spotify's IPO, he says, ''There is an enormous amount of risk and volatility implied.''
The Stockholm-based Spotify is shaking up the financial world with a so-called direct listing, turning up its nose at traditional IPO conventions that brought other tech innovators like Facebook, Amazon and Netflix to the public market. And while the music-streaming giant's direct-to-market approach is drawing some praise for its democratic approach, the initial public offering does come with some additional risks, says Kass, a clinical professor of finance at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Kass says it's not surprising that Spotify is doing things a little different with its IPO '' it's a disruptor by its very nature. And it's not unheard-of for the tech sector to flout IPO conventions in some way.
Google did so '' with a Dutch auction IPO in 2004 that bypassed underwriters. Kass teaches this example in his IPO class '' how, in a Dutch auction, bids start at a high price and continue at lower prices until they reach a price where all of the shares available have been bid for at this price or higher. All of the IPO shares are then sold at this price. Flower auctions in the Netherlands function in the same way, says Kass. It's serious business there.
By bypassing the underwriters, both Spotify and Google democratized their debut sales, accepting bids from major institutional investors and individual investors alike. In the underwriting process, investment bankers typically will arrange to sell first to their best customers including pension funds and large investment managers who buy up tens of thousands of shares at a time.
''With Google, and now with Spotify, the little guy can bid alongside the big boys,'' Kass says. ''And they will pay the same price, at the same time, whether they are buying 10 shares or 40,000 shares.''
Kass admits he likes the democratized aspect of the move. ''It means that everyone who buys in receives the same opening price'' he says. But the approach won't be for all investors.
The lack of underwriting could deter managers of large pension funds and other institutional investors, Kass says. ''They will understand the risk and volatility implied by this arrangement,'' he says. ''I expect that the shares will be bought up by younger investors, maybe millennials, who might not know what the stock is worth.''
The company itself is not yet profitable. Even though its revenue is growing rapidly, its losses are too. For 2017, Spotify had roughly $5 billion in revenue and $1.5 billion in losses, for a profit margin of minus 30 percent. ''The company is selling memberships, but not enough to keep up with their costs,'' says Kass.
For its IPO, Spotify has retained financial advisers, but it's foregoing many of the traditional underwriting services those investment banks like Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley typically provide.
For example, it won't have the ritual pre-IPO roadshow. This is the weeks-long event, in which investment bankers fan out around the world to visit institutional investors '' hedge funds, pension funds and the like '' to promote the company's initial offering and to gauge buying interest. The roadshow helps drive interest among big-money investors, and helps the underwriters determine a likely opening price per share.
That's one thing that may put potential investors on edge '' that feeling that the price is being set without that broader gauge, Kass says.
The underwriting services don't come cheap, of course. The investment banks charge a fee, typically between 3 percent and 5 percent, depending on the level of risk that is assumed to be associated with the IPO. For Spotify's IPO, the financial advisers are being paid a fee, said to be around $35 million.
And, after the IPO, Spotify won't have underwriters working to stabilize the price of the nascent shares for a period of time. That's one of the key functions that underwriters perform as part of its portfolio of IPO services.
''After an IPO, a stock will fluctuate in price,'' Kass explains, ''and the underwriters will often agree to go in and buy shares if the price falls below a certain level, to stabilize it for a period of time.''
Nor will it have underwriters to impose a lockup period after the public offering. The traditional lockup period bans insiders who already own from selling their shares for a number of months, often six. ''This helps align the interests of insiders with new stockholders at least for that set time,'' says Kass.
That's part of what has investors feeling nervous about Spotify's IPO '' the fact that there's not a major investment bank putting a floor below the share price. They've seen how tech stocks, even well-established, well-known unicorns like Spotify, can be volatile. Just look at Blue Apron, or Snapchat.
But then the tech sector has always been a game of thrones. Some 95 percent of technology startups fail, after all, Kass notes.
Kass says he's heard a lot of excitement among his students for the Spotify IPO. They're bringing it up in class during his pre-lecture current events discussion time. ''People in their 20s and 30s, people who were enthusiastic about Snapchat's IPO and who use Spotify, they're excited for this debut,'' he says.
He anticipates that Spotify will follow an even more volatile path than the one that SNAP has coursed. ''It might open at a certain price and rise sharply, but if it suddenly goes down,'' he cautions, ''there's no floor.''
Spotify is not raising new capital with this IPO. Instead, it is permitting its current owners to sell some of their shares and establish liquidity for them.
Spotify plans for its shares to start trading April 3 and will provide financial guidance on March 26.
It Sounds Like Spotify Is In Trouble
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 18:00
UKRAINE - 2020/10/06: In this photo illustration a Spotify logo seen displayed on a smartphone. ... [+] (Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesPandora Media once stood on top of the music streaming world with over 79 million subscribers. But then, as competition entered the market, it precipitously lost and was acquired in 2019 below its original IPO price. Today, the music streaming business is even more competitive, and the current streaming music market leader could face a similar fate.
With this cautionary tale in mind, fiduciaries should avoid the high risk of owning Spotify Technology (SPOT), this week's Sell Idea.
I first warned about Spotify in April 2018 and again in August 2018. Since my first report, the stock is up 63% while the S&P 500 is up just 28%. As the stock price rises, momentum investors may believe there is opportunity left in this stock. However, fiduciaries should beware of the risks in owning this stock:
Slowing premium subscriber growth rate Losing market share to competitors Exclusive content strategy will lead to increased costs Doing the math: valuation implies Spotify will have twice as many premium subscribers as NetflixGrowth of Premium Subscribers Is Slowing'...
Spotify generates revenue from advertisements and subscriptions. Premium subscribers (or paid users of the service) generated 93% of Spotify's revenue in 2Q20. Per Figure 1, the year-over-year (YoY) growth rate in premium subscribers has fallen sharply from 73% in 1Q17 to just 28% in 2Q20.
Figure 1: Spotify's YoY Change in Premium Subscribers Since 1Q16
SPOT Slowing Premium Users Growth Rate
New Constructs, LLC'...And So Is Revenue
Spotify has seen a corresponding decline in its YoY revenue growth rate as its YoY premium subscriber growth rate has fallen. Compounded with slowing premium subscriber growth, Spotify's average revenue per premium user (ARPU) has steadily declined from EUR 5.32 in 2017 to just EUR 4.41 in 2Q20. Spotify's 2Q20 ARPU represents a 9% YoY decline.
The combination a slowing premium growth rate and falling ARPU has driven Spotify's YoY revenue growth rate down from 57% in 2017 to 33% TTM. Per Figure 2, consensus estimates for Spotify's revenue growth expect the decline to continue to just 18% YoY revenue growth in 2022.
Figure 2: Spotify's YoY Revenue Growth Since 2017
SPOT Slowing Revenue Growth Rate
New Constructs, LLC*Consensus estimates
Spotify Is Losing Market Share
Firms such as Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), YouTube (owned by Alphabet (GOOGL), and more have recognized the large opportunity in audio streaming platforms. Competitors' entrance into the market, along with their vast resources and marketing capabilities, coincide with Spotify losing market share. Per Figure 3, Spotify's market share of the global streaming music subscription market fell from 36% in the first half of 2018 to 32% in 1Q20. Over the same time, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and Tencent Music have all gained market share.
Figure 3: Spotify and Peers' Global Music Subscription Market Share
SPOT Market Share Vs Competitors
New Constructs, LLC and Midia ResearchWhen I look just at the U.S., Apple Music provides a perfect case study in how quickly competition can upend the music streaming market. Apple Music launched in 2015, and by 2018 overtook Spotify as the largest on-demand music streaming subscription platform in the U.S. While Spotify may have more users than Apple Music globally, Apple's quick success in the U.S. market proves the competitive moat of Spotify's business is not as strong as many believe.
Not Owning Content Means No Defensible Moat
My previous report noted how difficult it is for Spotify to grow its margins long term due to its dependency on just a few music labels known as the Big Three for much of its content. Anytime the labels think Spotify is earning too much money with their content, they can simply raise their royalty prices, which compresses Spotify's margins.
Case in point: in 2019, Spotify's revenue increased 26% YoY while royalty payments increased by 30%. The YoY increase in royalty payments is up from the 20% YoY increase in 2018.
Aside from margin pressure, there is another problem with not owning its content. Spotify is unable to differentiate itself from competitors who offer the exact same content. For example, Spotify offers over 50 million songs in its catalog while Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music each offer 60 million songs. All of these services are heavily dependent on the Big Three labels for their content.
A Content Creation Strategy, A La Netflix, Is No Guarantee to Grow Market Share
In order to differentiate itself and take back some of its lost market share, Spotify is following in the footsteps of Netflix by offering exclusive content, an increasingly costly strategy that we've covered in the past. Spotify needs a critical mass or exclusive content to lure customers from competing platforms and pay premium prices.
However, exclusive content deals risk eliminating one of Spotify's advantages: the low amount the firm pays per stream. Spotify pays artists just $0.0032 per stream compared to Apple Music at $0.0056 and Amazon Music Unlimited at $0.012. As Spotify moves toward more exclusive content, it will have to pay more per stream, or sign large capital intensive up-front deals, with no promise of future subscription growth.
The firm has already spent over $700 million to enter the podcast market by purchasing podcast networks such as The Ringer and signing the likes of Joe Rogan, DC Comics, Kim Kardashian, and the Obamas to exclusive podcast deals. In 1Q20 alone, Spotify launched 78 Originals and Exclusives podcasts to bring its podcast catalog to over one million, or about $700 per podcast.
While proprietary podcast content may help the firm retain and attract more podcast listeners, it does not help with the remaining 79% of monthly active users (MAUs) that do not listen to podcasts.
Making this strategy even riskier, exclusive content is no guarantee to grow market share. Ampere Analysis estimates Netflix's share of the other-the-top subscription market, despite its massive investment in original content, has fallen from 52% in 2014 to 19% in 2019, and an estimated 18% in 2020.
Spotify Is Not the Only Service Offering Exclusive Content Either
As the music streaming competition heats up, many other services are also focused on providing their users with exclusive content.
Apple offers exclusive album releases from artists such as U2, Drake, Chance the Rapper, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry to draw users to its service. Apple Music also features Beats One radio, which offers exclusive shows hosted by popular artists.
Apple also easily integrates Apple Music with iTunes libraries.
The popular French streaming service, Deezer, has access to plenty of exclusive content as well. Deezer is owned by Access Industries which owns Warner Music Group, one of the Big Three music labels. Deezer Originals offers users special extended play records, podcasts, and videos.
Tencent, which owns several streaming music services in China, offers original music and original video production. Tencent is also a partner in a music label with Sony Music Entertainment.
Spotify's Falling Profitability Is a Sign of Competitive Industry
Given the competitive forces detailed above, it may not surprise you that Spotify's profits are trending in the wrong direction, despite revenue growing 34% compounded annually from 2016 to 2019. Spotify's core earnings[1] fell from -$8 million in 2018 to -$292 million over the TTM. Spotify has generated a cumulative -$246 million in free cash flow (FCF) over the past three years.
Figure 4: Spotify's Revenue and Core Earnings Since 2016
SPOT Revenue And Core Earnings
New Constructs, LLCSpotify's Peers Are Much More Profitable
Spotify's peer group includes other firms that provide subscription-based content services such as Apple, Alphabet, Tencent Holdings Ltd (TCEHY), Netflix, Amazon, and Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (SIRI).
Spotify's net operating profit after-tax (NOPAT) margin of -3% is worst among its peer group and is well below the market-cap-weighted peer group average NOPAT margin of 15%.
The firm earns a bottom-quintile return on invested capital (ROIC) because it earns negative NOPAT and has negative invested capital.
Figure 5: Spotify and Peers' NOPAT Margin, Invested Capital Turns & ROIC
SPOT Profitability Vs Peers
New Constructs, LLCSpotify Is Priced to Be Bigger Than Netflix
Despite facing significant competition, declining ARPU, and a costly exclusive content strategy, Spotify is priced as if it will quickly improve profitability while increasing its revenue beyond what even Netflix generated over the TTM.
To justify its current price of $242/share, Spotify must:
Grow revenue at 20% (equal to average consensus estimates from 2020 to 2024) compounded annually over the next seven years Immediately achieve a 10% (twice Amazon's TTM margin of 5%, and less than Sirius XM's 18%, which is boosted by its monopoly in satellite radio, vs. Spotify's -3% TTM) NOPAT marginSee the math behind this reverse DCF scenario. In this scenario, Spotify's revenue in 2026 would reach $27.2 billion, or 3.5 times greater than exclusive satellite radio provider SiriusXM's (SIRI) 2019 revenue.
In this scenario, Spotify's implied revenue in 2026 equals 60% of MIDIA's 2026 global streaming music revenue forecast of $45.3 billion and is actually 1.2 times greater than the $22.6 billion of revenue Netflix generated over the TTM. Achieving a 60% share of the global streaming music market is a very large expectation especially considering that the firm must do so in direct competition with large, established companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon.
Figure 6: Current Valuation Implies Huge Market Share Growth
SPOT DCF Implied Market Share
New Constructs, LLC and MIDIA researchSpotify's Premium Subscribers Will More Than Double Netflix's
To further illustrate the extraordinarily high growth expectations embedded in Spotify's stock price, I compare Spotify's implied premium subscribers to the paying subscribers of its competitors. By dividing the implied revenue in 2026 of $27.1 billion by the firm's 2Q20 ARPU of ~$59, I arrive at ~459 million implied paying users in 2026.
In other words, SPOT's current valuation implies the company will grow its paying user base to more than 11 times Sirius XM's, 7.5 times Apple Music's, and two times Netflix's.
Figure 7: Spotify's Implied 2026 Premium Subscribers vs. Competitors
SPOT DCF Implied User Growth
New Constructs, LLCSpotify Has Significant Downside With More Realistic Growth
Spotify's current economic book value, or no growth value, is -$13/share. But, let's see what the price looks like if I give the firm credit for being able to grow into a profitable enterprise.
If I assume more realistic revenue and profit growth, SPOT still has significant downside.
In this scenario, I assume Spotify will:
Grow revenue at 15% (twice Research and Markets' industry growth forecast) compounded annually over the next seven years Immediately achieve a 5% NOPAT margin (equal to Amazon's TTM margin) See the math behind this reverse DCF scenario. In this scenario, Spotify grows NOPAT from -$50 million in 2019 to $1 billion in 2026, and the stock is worth just $93/share '' a 62% downside.
Figure 8 compares the firm's implied future revenue in this scenario to its historical NOPAT.
Figure 8: SPOT Has Large Downside Risk: DCF Valuation Scenario
SPOT DCF Implied Valuation
New Constructs, LLCEach of the above scenarios also assumes Spotify is able to grow revenue, NOPAT and FCF without increasing working capital or fixed assets. This assumption is highly unlikely but allows me to create best-case scenarios that demonstrate how high expectations embedded in the current valuation are.
Acquisition Would Be Unwise
Often the largest risk to any bear thesis is what I call ''stupid money risk'', which means an acquirer comes in and buys Spotify at the current, or higher, share price despite the stock being overvalued. Given the analysis above, the only plausible justification for SPOT trading at such a high price is the expectation that another firm will buy it. Given the stock's extremely high valuation, I think potential acquirers would be better off leaving Spotify alone, but stranger things have happened than firms being acquired at unnecessarily high premiums to their intrinsic value.
Below, I quantify the high acquisition hopes that are priced into the stock.
Walking Through the Acquisition Math
First, investors need to know that Spotify has large liabilities that make it more expensive than the accounting numbers would initially suggest.
$1.6 billion in outstanding employee stock options (4% of market cap) $695 million in total debt (2% of market cap)After adjusting for all liabilities, I can model multiple purchase price scenarios. For this analysis, I chose The Walt Disney Company (DIS) as a potential acquirer of Spotify given Disney's experience with creating exclusive content, history of acquisitions, and opportunity to bundle Spotify's service with Disney+ and Hulu to create a one-stop streaming platform. While I chose Disney, analysts can use just about any company to do the same analysis. The key variables are the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) and ROIC for assessing different hurdle rates for a deal to create value.
Even in the most optimistic of scenarios, Spotify is worth less than its current share price.
Figures 9 and 10 show what I think Disney should pay for Spotify to ensure it does not destroy shareholder value. There are limits on how much Disney should pay for Spotify to earn a proper return, given the NOPAT or free cash flows being acquired.
Each implied price is based on a 'goal ROIC' assuming different levels of revenue growth. In the first scenario, I use 25% revenue growth in year one, 22% in year two, and 18% in years three through five (equal to consensus estimates of 25% in 2020, 22% in 2021, and 18% in 2022). In the second scenario, I use a revenue growth rate of 25% in years one through five. I use the higher growth rate in scenario two to illustrate a best-case scenario where I assume Spotify could grow revenue faster while being integrated within Disney's existing business.
I optimistically assume that Disney can grow Spotify's revenue and NOPAT without spending any working capital or fixed assets beyond the original purchase price. I also optimistically assume Spotify achieves a 9% NOPAT margin, which is above Spotify's TTM margin of -3% and equal to Disney's TTM margin of 9%.
Figure 9: Implied Acquisition Prices for Value-Neutral Deal
SPOT DIS Acquisition 5% ROIC
New Constructs, LLCFigure 9 shows the implied values for SPOT assuming Disney wants to achieve an ROIC on the acquisition that equals its WACC of 5%. This scenario represents the minimum level of performance required not to destroy value. Even if Spotify can grow revenue by 20% compounded annually for five years and achieve a 9% NOPAT margin, the firm is worth less than $242/share. It's worth noting that any deal that only achieves a 5% ROIC would not be accretive, as the return on the deal would equal Disney's WACC.
Figure 10: Implied Acquisition Prices to Create Value
SPOT DIS Acquisition 7% ROIC
New Constructs, LLCFigure 10 shows the implied values for SPOT assuming Disney wants to achieve an ROIC on the acquisition that equals 7% and is greater than its WACC. Acquisitions completed at these prices would be accretive to Disney's shareholders. Even in this best-case growth scenario, the implied value is far below Spotify's current price. Without significant increases in the margin or revenue growth assumed in this scenario, an acquisition of SPOT at its current price destroys significant shareholder value.
Catalyst '' Declining EPS and Market Share Due To Heavy Competition
Spotify has missed earnings in four of the past ten quarters. Should the firm have another earnings miss, shares could go lower.
With faster growing competition, Spotify is in a difficult position to maintain its market leadership position. Should Spotify's competitors such as Apple Music and YouTube Music take more of Spotify's market share in the near future, investors may realize the tough road ahead for the firm and take their money elsewhere.
With Apple's recent announcement of its Apple One bundle, the streaming service market share may shift sooner than anticipated. While no specific date has been released, Apple will bundle its existing services, such as Apple Music, Apple TV, and iCloud at a cheaper rate than purchasing all three alone. The bundle could draw existing users of one of Apple's services further into its ecosystem and away from Spotify if users determine the savings are worth the switch.
What Noise Traders Miss With SPOT
These days, fewer investors pay attention to fundamentals and the red flags buried in financial filings. Instead, due to the proliferation of noise traders, the focus tends toward technical trading trends while high-quality fundamental research is overlooked. Here's a quick summary for noise traders when analyzing SPOT:
Slowing revenue growth rates Declining ARPU Losing market share Valuation implies massive premium subscriber growthExecutive Compensation Plan Is Not Creating Shareholder Value
In addition to base salaries, each of Spotify's executives have earned long-term equity incentive compensation. These long-term incentive awards are provided upon hire as well as during employment at the firm's discretion.
In 2019, Spotify established a new incentive mix program that allows its executives the ability to choose between a mix of cash, restricted share units (RSUs), and stock options. Each type of long-term incentive vests over a four-year period. All executives opted for either options or RSUs, thereby tying future compensation with the firm's stock price.
According to Spotify, its long-term incentive awards are designed to align a portion of its executives' compensation to the interests of its shareholders. However, these awards have done little to create shareholder value. Spotify has generated negative economic earnings in each of the past four years.
Instead of incentivizing executives to focus on the stock price, Spotify should link executive compensation with improving ROIC, which is directly correlated with creating shareholder value, so shareholders' interests are properly aligned with executives'.
Insider Trading and Short Interest
Insider trading information is not available for Spotify.
There are currently 3 million shares sold short, which equates to 2% of shares outstanding and just over one day to cover. The number of shares sold short has decreased by 3% since last month.
Critical Details Found in Financial Filings by My Firm's Robo-Analyst Technology
As investors focus more on fundamental research, research automation technology is needed to analyze all the critical financial details in financial filings as shown in the Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan paper,''Core Earnings: New Data and Evidence''.
Below are specifics on the adjustments I make based on Robo-Analyst findings in Spotify's 6-Ks and 20-F:
Income Statement: I made $803 million of adjustments, with a net effect of removing $159 million in non-operating expenses (2% of revenue). You can see all the adjustments made to Spotify's income statement here.
Balance Sheet: I made $4.3 billion of adjustments to calculate invested capital with a net decrease of $2.3 billion. One of the most notable adjustments was $300 million in asset write-downs. This adjustment represented 10% of reported net assets. You can see all the adjustments made to Spotify's balance sheet here.
Valuation: I made $5.8 billion of adjustments with a net effect of increasing shareholder value by $1.3 billion. The most notable adjustment to shareholder value was $3.5 billion in excess cash. This adjustment represents 8% of Spotify's market cap. See all adjustments to Spotify's valuation here.
Unattractive Funds That Hold SPOT
The following funds receive an unattractive-or-worse rating and allocate significantly to SPOT:
Invesco Dynamic Media ETF (PBS) PBS '' 6.4% allocation and unattractive rating Morgan Stanley Advantage Portfolio (MAPLX) '' 6.4% allocation and unattractive rating Global X Social Media ETF (SOCL) SOCL '' 6.1% allocation and unattractive rating Morgan Stanley Insight Fund (MCRTX) '' 5.6% allocation and very unattractive rating Morgan Stanley Growth Portfolio (MGHRX) '' 5.5% allocation and very unattractive rating Morgan Stanley Discovery Portfolio (MACGX) '' 5.% allocation and very unattractive rating Transamerica Capital Growth (TFOIX) '' 4.8% allocation and very unattractive rating Global X Millennials Thematic ETF (MILN) MILN '' 3.6% allocation and unattractive rating Harbor Mid Cap Growth Fund (HIMGX) '' 3.2% allocation and very unattractive ratingDisclosure: David Trainer, Kyle Guske II, and Matt Shuler receive no compensation to write about any specific stock, sector, style, or theme.
[1] My firm's core earnings are a superior measure of profits, as demonstrated in Core Earnings: New Data & Evidence a paper by professors at Harvard Business School (HBS) & MIT Sloan. The paper empirically shows that my firm's data is superior to ''Operating Income After Depreciation'' and ''Income Before Special Items'' from Compustat, owned by S&P Global (SPGI).
BuzzFeed to Use ChatGPT Creator OpenAI to Help Create Quizzes and Other Content - WSJ
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 17:44
CEO Jonah Peretti intends for artificial intelligence to play a larger role in the company this year
Updated Jan. 26, 2023 6:38 pm ETBuzzFeed Inc. said it would rely on ChatGPT creator OpenAI to enhance its quizzes and personalize some content for its audiences, becoming the latest digital publisher to embrace artificial intelligence.
In a memo to staff sent Thursday morning, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive Jonah Peretti said he intends for AI to play a larger role in the company's editorial and business operations this year.
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BuzzFeed Inc. said it would rely on ChatGPT creator OpenAI to enhance its quizzes and personalize some content for its audiences, becoming the latest digital publisher to embrace artificial intelligence.
In a memo to staff sent Thursday morning, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive Jonah Peretti said he intends for AI to play a larger role in the company's editorial and business operations this year.
In one instance, the company said new AI-powered quizzes would produce individual results.
For example, a quiz to create a personal romantic comedy movie pitch might ask questions like, ''Pick a trope for your rom-com,'' and ''Tell us an endearing flaw you have.'' The quiz would produce a unique, shareable write-up based on the individual's responses, BuzzFeed said.
Mr. Peretti expects AI to assist the creative process and enhance the company's content, while humans play the role of providing ideas, ''cultural currency,'' and ''inspired prompts,'' he wrote in his memo. In 15 years, he wrote, he expects AI and data to help ''create, personalize, and animate the content itself,'' rather than just curate existing content.
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BuzzFeed, which went public in late 2021 through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company, last year moved to shrink its news division as it sought to make the business profitable, and said it would be doubling its creator network. The company is getting paid millions of dollars by Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. to help generate creator content for Facebook and Instagram, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
BuzzFeed shares more than doubled in value Thursday, closing at $2.09. The stock remains down by over 75% since the company went public.
BuzzFeed remains focused on human-generated journalism in its newsroom, a spokeswoman said Thursday.
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After receiving Mr. Peretti's memo, a number of employees on Thursday expressed concerns and asked him questions on Slack about the implications of the move.
One staff member asked how Mr. Peretti planned to circumvent ''inevitable legal issues'' around visual work created by illustrators, photographers and art directors at the company, as well as content that is protected by U.S. copyright, according to screenshots of the Slack channel that were reviewed by the Journal.
''We've done experimentation in the past with AI-generative images, and we recognize these concerns and take them seriously,'' Mr. Peretti wrote in response, according to the BuzzFeed spokeswoman. He also said the initial step in BuzzFeed's plan was to use AI for text-based products.
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Other employees asked about whether the use of AI technology would lead to a reduction in workforce, and expressed concerns around fact-checking AI-generated content. In response, Mr. Peretti wrote that the tools are an opportunity to make full-time employees more efficient and creative, not a workforce reduction strategy, the spokeswoman said.
Mr. Peretti also answered staff questions during a companywide meeting earlier Thursday, the spokeswoman said.
Mr. Peretti told staff during the meeting that digital-media companies that choose to rely on AI solely to save costs and produce low-quality content were making a terrible use of the technology, according to the spokeswoman. That isn't BuzzFeed's approach, Mr. Peretti said, noting there were far more creative ways to use AI.
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''I think that news, for good reason, is often the most conservative when it comes to adopting new technologies,'' Mr. Peretti told staff, according to the spokeswoman.
BuzzFeed's move comes as ChatGPT, new chatbot technology from research lab OpenAI, generates buzz among consumers and businesses alike. Some publishers have said they are starting to discuss using AI technology, while others are already experimenting with it.
Digital technology publisher CNET, for example, recently ran a test using internally designed AI technology to help editors create explainers around financial-services topics. CNET's Editor in Chief Connie Guglielmo this week said the publisher paused its test, which had led to the publication of 77 stories, after finding a number of factual errors.
Microsoft Corp. , which has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI, plans to incorporate artificial-intelligence tools like ChatGPT into all of its products, Chief Executive Satya Nadella said last week.
Write to Alexandra Bruell at
Podcast Exclusivity Is Quickly Becoming an Outdated Strategy - Variety
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 15:35
January 20, 2023 6:00am PT
If it's still too early to declare platform-exclusive podcast deals dead as we move into 2023, it's becoming ever clearer that this business model is likely not long for this world.
Spotify in particular has spent the past few years building up its arsenal of exclusive podcast content, shelling out more than $1 billion to acquire studios, lock down popular shows and secure marquee names. Those include podcasting behemoth Joe Rogan, former Presidential couple the Obamas (through their Higher Ground media company) and even the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
But the tide is turning as we enter what many observers project to be a difficult year for the podcasting industry. As in the streaming video space, the major audio players are reportedly reining in their spending amid economic pressures, bringing the booming market of the last several years toward a close.
This sea change has huge implications for the platform-exclusive model, which was never a great business proposition to begin with but will only become less attractive as economic conditions worsen.
For one thing, as the digital ad market continues to sag in the months ahead, competition for podcast ad dollars is going to intensify further '-- bad news for any creator whose show is limited to a single platform.
Despite exponential growth in the number of shows available to listeners '-- on Spotify alone, that number grew from around 700,000 at the end of 2019 to 4.7 million in September 2022, per company reports '-- the podcast ad market, while still growing, has not expanded nearly as rapidly. Spotify's U.S. podcast ad revenue is projected to steadily increase by about 40 percent year-over-year through 2024, far down from the explosive growth rates of 2020 and 2021 as its podcast operations expanded.
As a result, it will be increasingly difficult for any but the most popular podcasts to claim a sizable chunk of the ad dollars available. Creators will therefore need to maximize ad revenue as much as possible, and limiting their potential audience through an exclusive distribution model will be increasingly untenable.
Indeed, some creators are already chafing against this model, which evidence suggests usually reduces a show's listener base. The Obamas reportedly became frustrated by the limitations of their exclusive Spotify deal, which fell apart last year; in June, Higher Ground struck a new deal with Amazon's Audible, which does not make the company's projects exclusive to the platform.
Meanwhile, this past fall, Spotify canceled 11 of its original podcasts from the Gimlet Media and Parcast studios, which the audio streamer paid around $250 million total to acquire back in 2019, and laid off employees from both divisions. In the wake of the layoffs, a joint statement from the Gimlet and Parcast unions claimed that making the canceled podcasts Spotify exclusives ''caused a steep drop in listeners '-- as high as three quarters of the audience for some shows.''
Even Spotify's biggest performers are not immune to this phenomenon; a report by The Verge in 2021 showed that Rogan's observable impact diminished after his blockbuster podcast became a Spotify exclusive. Before the move, Rogan's guests would gain about 4,000 Twitter followers on average in the week following their episode, but afterward that number dropped to around 2,000, suggesting Rogan's audience shrank after the podcast went exclusive.
That dynamic works in reverse as well. According to data shared with VIP+ by podcast company Acast, the popular Spanish-language show ''Se Regalan Dudas'' (now distributed by Acast) grew its audience significantly after its Spotify-exclusive deal expired. Listens were up 25 percent for the three months following the podcast's last 90 days as an exclusive; one year later, listens were up 56 percent, according to Acast. (The company did not provide exact listener numbers.)
Contrary to film and TV streaming, it seems, content is not king in the podcasting space. If large numbers of listeners will not follow even popular shows to an exclusive platform, such deals will look less and less attractive in a declining market, and the prospect of greater reach (and the ad revenue that comes with it) will likely start to trump the paydays offered by the major audio platforms.
Indeed, given the current economic climate, it's hard to see companies like Spotify and Amazon continuing to shell out huge sums for exclusive podcast deals over the next year. Dawn Ostroff, Spotify's chief content and advertising business officer, recently told Variety that while the streamer will continue to pursue such deals, ''there aren't many of them that are at that level'' still on the market.
It's worth considering whether exclusive deals still make the most sense for audio platforms in any case. Spotify's rationale for making such deals was to build itself up as the go-to podcast platform, and to lure audiences from other platforms '-- a strategy, as we've discussed, with limited success.
Spotify may be better served, instead, monetizing its popular original podcasts by licensing them out to other platforms, particularly considering the fairly dismal margins on its podcasting business. (According to CFO Paul Vogel, Spotify's podcast business had negative gross margins of 57% in 2021, and losses were expected to peak in 2022.)
Podcasting remains a growth business, even if that growth is decelerating. But as in any maturing market, business practices must shift with the times '-- and in this case, that means the walled gardens are going to start opening up soon.
Clover Integrates Bitcoin Lightning With Strike - Bitcoin Magazine - Bitcoin News, Articles and Expert Insights
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 15:09
Strike CEO Jack Mallers has taken to Twitter to announce that Strike is now an integrated partner with payments giant Fiserv, parent company of Clover. Subsequently, Strike has launched a pilot integration with Clover allowing merchants to accept bitcoin over the Lightning Network.
According to his announcement, the integration is not limited to Strike. Instead, merchants will be able to accept Lightning payments from any source '-- ''From Cash App to a node over Tor. If it can make a Lightning payment, you can use it,'' Mallers stated on Twitter.
Mallers clarified that this rollout is part of a 90-day trial period, which will involve measuring the speed and cost of facilitating transactions using the new integration. In addition to that, the amount of business that integrating Lightning brings to merchants will be closely monitored.
After the pilot, Strike aims to enter the Clover app store, and afterwards, direct integration into Clover. This would enable Lightning by default for all Clover merchants, putting it right next to card networks like Visa and MasterCard.
''Ultimately, these payment giants want to see Lightning in action,'' Mallers said on Twitter. ''They want to feel it, touch it, and see people use it. An open, instant, cheap, inclusive, and innovative payment network seems too good to be true. Time to show Lightning is the world's superior payments rail.''The trial period is now active and Clover merchants can reach out to Strike in order to enable cheaper, faster payments using the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
As Meta and Twitter slash staff, TikTok plans to keep hiring | CNN Business
Fri, 27 Jan 2023 14:44
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He loves artificial intelligence. Hear why he is issuing a warning about ChatGPT
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While much of Silicon Valley is grappling with hiring freezes and job cuts, at least one social media company is still planning to keep hiring: TikTok.
The short-form video app remains committed to its goal of hiring nearly 1,000 engineers at its Mountain View office, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN on Monday. This specific hiring target is related to the company's goal of ensuring US user data is overseen by a team based in the United States amid scrutiny in Washington due to its parent company ByteDance's ties to China.
News of TikTok's hiring plans was first reported by The Information.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew confirmed that the company was still recruiting during remarks last week at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore, in response to the topic of layoffs at other tech companies, including Facebook-parent Meta and Amazon.
''We have always been more cautious in terms of recruitment,'' Chew said at the conference. ''At this stage of our growth, I think that our pace, our cadence, of hiring is just right for us.''
In recent weeks, Meta said it was cutting 11,000 jobs across the company, Twitter cut about half its staff under new owner Elon Musk, and Amazon confirmed that it had begun wide-ranging layoffs. Current and former leaders of these companies have said they expanded too fast, particularly during the pandemic as consumers shifted their lives online. Now these same tech companies are facing whiplash in demand and cutting thousands of positions as broader economic conditions crumble and recession fears mount.
The shift in the hiring landscape in Silicon Valley could help TikTok as it looks to appease critics and cement its position in the United States, and also as it works to expand into new product categories.
TikTok's career portal website currently lists more than 4,000 global positions, though it is not clear how often the hiring site is updated. In October, as some of the initial reports of hiring freezes and other cost-cutting measures began to emerge from Silicon Valley, TikTok made headlines for listing a number of new e-commerce-related roles that seemed to indicate it was looking to create a logistics and warehousing network in the United States.
''We are still hiring,'' Chew said at the conference last week, ''although, you know, at a pace that we think has corresponds with the global challenges that we're facing.''

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